Sunday, December 5, 2010

If my head was not attached to me, I WOULD ACTUALLY LOSE IT.

I attract chaos. Let us go over recent events in my life.  First you must know that I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world. Some people say there is no luck...but some people also say that they were abducted by 'some people' really just can't be trusted....While I am one of the luckier people ever, I also have many things happen to me that make people go 'wow you are the most unlucky person ever.'  They do not quite understand the nature of my luck. So. Here is what has been happening.

About...ohhhhh three weeks ago? I was at a gathering of happy people, where I managed to drop my phone down a flight of steps. I almost feel like I threw it, but why would I do such a thing? Surely I don't fantasize about throwing my phone on trains when I pass over them, unto the Wabash, underneath moving vehicles...(I do)...anyways, as there was a strange amount of people hanging out ON the steps, a lot of people watched the tumble/gradual crumble, until Katrina, at the bottom, started crazily slamming pieces together (she is awesome), and then we found out the phone was broken beyond normal-person repair.  It could receive calls however, and I could call back the last person who called me...but this is not really the best idea for a phone.  *Sidenote - the screen looked like the game SkiFree, which I then downloaded and have played quite a bit, always yelling when the Yeti comes to eat me*

I have sense then procured my less borken baby-pink phone of my mothers, which only doesn't have a working six key, which means I cannot dial any number I don't already have from this area (765 area code), but 3y texts l00k like this, all writteh ih c0de, ahd s03ti3es I fihd 3yself typihg like this 0h 3y c03puter... Soon I will get my first upgrade though! In aggeesss. Three years or, more. I'm so used to having broken phones that I don't really know what to do about getting a new one, I want someone else to pick it...Ah speaking of phones bores me, sorry.

Actually this is no longer chronological.  A week before the phone incident, I lost my keys. My good friend Ben was driving me home after some homework time and as we neared my apartment I realized my keys had evaporated, therefore I had to go back to his, call my roommate, all those good things. Sadly, this was a day that I had BEEN ALL OVER CAMPUS.  Amusingly, I have all semester and indeed for years now marveled at the way I can manage to NOT lose my keys, not only do I have no memory almost ever of locking my door, but I never have any idea where I put them. I've had many a scare of losing them, where I apparently store them in random pockets, backpack parts, etc.  I even put my keys in the fridge once (probably traded it for something more important).  So, the next day I have all these plans of every building to look in, places I have eaten, being me I do not (and still do not) have an extra key to my get on the bus the next morning, ask my bus driver, who says 'Little football, little broken shoe?' and I was SO EXITED, THAT DESCRIBES MY KEYS EXACTLY!! So my friend Jess drove me to the bus place where they were at at the end of the day, and everything was awwwessssommme.

Then I lost my wallet.  All cards canceled; I thought I knew where I lost it but someone at this place (PAO building here, I had gone to a play with Katrina AND IT WAS THE BEST PLAY EVER [Amadeus]) had taken my wallet for a few days before returning it in more organized and without the USD.  Anyways, i drove home without a license, and was planning on not getting on and assuming it would turn up, and good thing I didn't!!! So now I have all my I.D.'s and Swedish money...the best thing is I was never really stressed about losing any of these things.  Everything always comes back, and if it doesn't oh well, someone else might have some fun with it right? Keys not so much, unless the same people who stole my gas would then take my car...if so I hope they fix the catalytic converter and then I will steal the car back...I should probably make a spare key now to make this happen. Oh how gutted would you be if someone stole your car and started smoking in it, and then you get it back and it's all SMOKEY. Sooo guttteeed.

So then I am doing this extra-credit-watch-two-episodes-of-star-wars thing for my movies class, hmm I think I still have a little bit of laundry left in the dryer, but I managed to go to this thing, park in the garage outside of union where you get a ticket but as it's after 6 (or 5?) you don't have to pay, but you DO have to keep the ticket, or else you pay 10 bucks. What did I do? lost my ticket on the 4 minute walk. or was it three minutes, OR WAS IT EVEN LESS. I get to the movie, late (it's in my genes), and start going through all of my things, pockets, making I'm sure the movies people around me think I am insane, and it is just NOWHERE. So after the first movie I ask the class what I can do, how I can get out of there for free, can I walk to the ticket thing and matrix-mind myself to weigh as much as a car so I can get another ticket? No. So I left as the other movie started (too curious), and retraced steps, looking everywhere, get all the way back to my car and what is that little paper lying right behind it on the garage floor? :) Yayyyyy! So I went home to make a sandwich, went back, got another ticket, talking to myself the whole time to make sure I knew where I put it (the wallet, which I have lost recently haha), and then get back to class. I did manage to squish my sandwich a lot, but I CAN'T DO EVERYTHING! 

Since then, as that was Thursday and today is Sunday, I have been relatively successful. But I do remember Mom saying 'you wouldn't lose your head if it wasn't attached to you', as a reprimand to me losing things, or was she asking a question? Whatever it was, I would. I definitely would. I would wander around being a decapitated Laura.  Feeling around blindly for my head. That would really suck, no eyes? goodness. Heads are pretty important.

I did have a pretty amusing misunderstanding with a random bus guy, I will just go ahead and include this in my post and then I will go have food items for consumption.  So random cool Jamaican looking guy decides to start a conversation with me after the bus ride as we are running across the highway-bridge thing, dodging cars (I do this everyday), and I was also being hesitant and not going when he did, so first of all, it starts off with a 'random yell', I stay on the other side, then run back through cars to see what it was. He had asked me if I was a dancer, and I was like, like to dance, why would you think that, and he said 'my shoes' which are what I thought were business shoes sort of, and I was like, oh, nope, business shoes, but I have been in dancing clubs ironically, which he awkwardly mistakes as exotic dancers I believe, so then there is this moment of WHAT, before I explain swing and salsa dancing, he asked me if I play music (I thought he was just a crazy conversationalist but then I remembered that I had on knee high musical staff sock, so he was just observant), and so we had a nice little chat before departing probably forever.  Goodbye friendly amusing ME!..oh, mechanical engineer. That didn't work out so well.

I realllllllllly need to buy some milk so I can make snow ice cream. OH MY GOODNESS I am also going to include my favorite photo in this post. It makes me laugh. I love looking up things that just make me laugh...mmm. hahahaha this just made me laugh out loud so much, just like a crazy person.  How can I ever stress about losing things when I can look at photos of monkeys :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

I just received one of the best text messages of my life. So here it is.

"If u put cookies by a sleeping persons nose theyll dream about cookies and then theyll wake up and there will be cookies right by their face."

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha....that was from one of my new friends Dan C.

Ok. So I am at this AFA (Agriculture Future of America) conference in Kansas City...feeling unusually important - we have had some of the BEST speakers yeah.  Things are good :)  I have enjoyed writing down the phrases that I find extra amazing, like when one of the guys from New Mexico said something about waking up with an 'acute and possible fatal hangover' - I will be using that phrase again.  Also later he said something more enlightening (and maybe I'd heard it before), and this was 'Find what you love to do and you'll never go to work again.' So true! It is a plan of mine as well.

It is about one month from when I wrote this that I am posting this. I need to catch the bus in 12 minutes...ahh! Will write later....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Often when I go to put on lotion, I spray a stream of it all across my room.

How dare I post when I should be finishing this paper!  It's procrastination, my walk of life, my hated yet possibly my best quality. I get more things done procrastinating then I do when I'm actually getting what needs to be done...done.  Some examples: today I managed to figure out my entire class schedule for next year, emailed EVERYONE that I have been putting off, did the dishes, made my bed (when I do that you KNOW there is something I am putting off a ridiculous amount), ...wait is that all I did? No, did research for my witchcraft class (yeah...), finally put together my notes for the lecture I have been skipping religiously (food chemistry, I'd just rather sleep is all! Plus when I get there I cannot pay attention so what's is the use in going)...and I started watching a film for my film class that..I am also religiously skipping. But for better reasons. Now I can participate in the discussion tomorrow (for once, I've been slacking so much!)...yet I am supposed to be doing a very important paper due in said movies about 9 hours. And I have a power hour before that that means it is time to blog as I listen to classical music. It's so...triumphant; would be perfect if I was actually getting something done but instead it makes everything quite amusing, perhaps it is mocking me. Well let it!

By the way, my dear friend Karma, thank you for making my food processing report not be due tomorrow as well.  Had that been the case, I would have NEVER. SLEPT. 

What is this paper about? Good started out sort of normal...talking magic is portrayed in two different films, and then somehow I morphed it into an animal cruelty paper?  I have just given it the title "The Cruelty of Magic (those poor creatures!)" which amuses me as well.  I have over three pages left. I need to find a quote from readings I've never done to put in it (no worries, you actually don't need to do the readings I have discovered - I did just peachy on the first exam). But I am just not in the mood for it...actually I sort of am.  This blogging is helping. My travel blogged turning into my procrastination blog? I think not! Maybe I am procrastinating on travel, ever think of that!? Who am I challenging here so viciously...I must be losing my mind. 

Oh also for the record, I'm no animal rights activist. Please corn feed cattle regardless of the terrible health effects so I can continue getting a double cheeseburger of the McDs menu! I mean I don't like cruelty, not at all, and I don't like people who cut down rainforests and lots of other things, but I'm not about to go protest, chain  myself to a tree in front of bulldozers, picket outside of a Tyson's plant (that'd smell to gross to be out there anyways)...instead, I will write these little words in order to not have to write the other words on my cleverly titled paper.  Actually before I title any paper, I put "Clever title' at the top until I can think of something.  The more you know....

I don't think i have anything else to say about my paper, should I start now? I do have an awfully lot to do tomorrow, pie labs, SPC homework...(statistical process control)...uhm, I don't know, STUDY FOR MY EXAM FRIDAY MORNING? I only have to learn everything.  As I haven't been going to class. Not my brightest move? Maybe not, but neither was spraying lotion all over my room.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I am as happy as I am bad at updating this :)

And this is going to be so short too...

Basically: I have done some gallivanting around the world, tasted the watermelon shakes of Southeast Asia, had to SADLY leave the love of my life (og Denmark ;) hehe) I have been going full speed ahead at Purdue...Last week was the first week I managed to have a day with eight hours of sleep in it!  I actually am taking a cramming-for-food-processing-midterm break right now but am about to get back on track.  I often think I should update this little deal, but it just never happens, since sleeping is my goal. Speaking of sleeping I've been having such NUTTY dreams, and every time I even so much as walk near my bed my dreams start seeping back into my'd definitely weird and awesome. Someday I'll have more time and write more.  Just wanted to make it clear that travels have not killed me yet, and my two jobs are helping me afford the next hopeful one...South America anyone? :)

med elsk,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I can't believe I'm so close to a BEAUTIFUL BEACH!! + more mistakes.

Basically I just had the most gorgeous day.  Plan was, since it was going to be almost 20 C and sunny all day I wanted to spend it outside, reading and with a picnic.  I ended up finally biking to the nearby beach I've been meaning to go to, Daniel giving me the directions.  I didn't have big hopes for it, didn't really think about it too much, just thought maybe some sand I hope, never thought people would be there! And biking there (by the way I passed my favorite store, it is called 'Butt Slaughter') I just noticed sand starting to be between the cobblestones, people seemed to be getting more excited in Danish (or it was just in my head that's alright too), and then suddenly there was a BEACH! a beautiful long pretty beach! sort of like ...double sided too...I'll have to charge my camera that is unfortunately very much breaking *sigh*.  Anyways, it's about 4 miles away from WHERE I LIVE, seriously, I live four miles from a beautiful beach, and what is this by bike? Maybe a 20 minute ride - NOTHING! :) Nothing like having to drive about 14 hours at home to get to one haha.  Ahh so just had this lovely relaxing day in the sun, snacking and such, very happy :)

So other than that I thought I might amuse you (you as in my of maybe three readers, hahaha) with a few more mistakes I have found myself making since I've been here.  I thought I might start off with the fact that I have been taking vitamins for people over 50 years old :(  When I got here I thought 'well since I'm poor I'll have to eat more unhealthily, cant afford all those veggies now!, so I wanted to get some multivitamins.  Gotta keep up the health!  Sadly my woman's daily multivitamins at home that are maybe 5 dollars for 200 pills aren't the same here, I found a smaller bottle with just 100 or something that ended up being about twenty dollars, and I was going for cheap here, that was about how much they all ran.  Being the beginning of my Danish adventure I couldn't read too much, the vitamins said '50+' and so I thought, yeah, lots of vitamins in there, read what I thought was a sampling of them and their amounts on the back and have been taking them daily...

Turns out 50+ means 50+ years...and if you are under 12 you should actually see a doctor about taking them. Amusingly I am a lot closer to 12 than I am to 50...I found out my mistake when I just decided to read a bit more of the bottle one day and realized the bottom said 'for men and women over 50 years', and them my world plummeted. I asked my neighbors what all the back said (depressed, embarrassed), and they laughed a good deal, apparently there are higher than recommended amounts for some things because older people stop being able to absorb some nutrients as well, but also you are supposed to take two pills a day so thankfully I'd only been taking one! Regardless, for being so expensive I feel sort of weird when I take them now, I'm a bit less religious about it and...yeah...I guess I'm fighting oldness one pill at a time over here! No way will I seem 50 and I'm 50, not now that I've got a heads start in nutrition!

What else have I done...well sometimes I sort of suck at biking and run into people, hit the curb, something like that.  It is not as rare as my constant 'I am nervous so I will just stop and use the crosswalk rather than turn left here because the bike lane sort of disappeared?'...but that's not really a mistake.  I think what I'm writing is probably losing any interest because I'm really into this show that involves...some girl pretending she's pregnant all the's called 'Violent Women'...Women in the US of course...goodness....oh wait the TV just corrected me, 'Deadly Women'...anyways...mistakes mistakes...some angry Danish lady yelled at me that I was biking on the area I can't bike on today (in Danish at first and I was all 'Uhm, what?'), anyways, EVERYONE ELSE WAS BIKING ON IT, But I moved  and just biked on the appropriate path RIGHT next to it - but that's not the mistake, the mistake was moving for her because I wasn't in her way she was just a crappy lady.  She was just angry because she was had brown hair and I was more Danish than her, mwahahahaha...oh this show is so scary that I can no longer blog.  Farvel, more later...

Oh wait, massive mistake number 2 (the other bike one wasn't massive it was more mild), loanin g 100 kr, like 20 bucks, to my apparently INCREDIBLY RICH FRIEND here whose German.  I desperately don't have 20 bucks to give away. Yet that is what I did, even though I hounded her for it.  Just a fail really.  Never again!!  Ok food time :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Whoever stole the Danish summer should go to jail.

Hello, time for a little Danmark update!  I'll just cover my weather dilemmas real quick - since May there have been some beautiful days, sunny, not too hot, just perfect.  I would have been happy if that's as hot as it ever got, I just want to be able to wear a tank top! But then those days would go away, and give way to these other colder days, 60 degrees, less...slightly frustrating when I find myself wearing sweaters in June.  ...and I'm in the northern hemisphere.  Everyone says that it's never usually this cold, and I wonder if it is the ash hovering above everything leaving lots of Europe in a bit of a weather funk?  Recently we had a summer party at Signalhuset, the complex where I live, and it involved us grilling outdoors...standing close to the grill, hands warming over it, scarf on etc.  I am refusing to wear gloves though!!! It is June and I will not wear gloves!  I have hoped to do a little packing warm things and maybe sending them home, but that is not very possible when I keep wearing the warm things haha.  But some days are beautiful, and on those days I am very very happy :)

May was ridiculously busy for me - I haven't been doing traveling out of Denmark but I did do lots of research and study for classes (finally).  It seems very normal to not do much until the month before exams (and exams last over a month easy, I still have some friends in them), not much like the one exam week back at home!  I don't mind having exams so spread out, it gives you a chance to study more for one at a time, however I also don't mind getting all over with at Purdue and having a larger summer break :)  The whole schooling system is entirely different - one of my classes (well half of it) was attendance based, (which I managed to pass that woo! It was Danish Culture and had all these sweet free excursions).  The rest of my classes had finals worth 100%.  You could never show up for the class throughout the semester and it wouldn't matter! No homework, no tests!  Not at all three rounds of exams, constant studying, constant learning...You definitely have to just learn on your own IF you want to here.  Danish Language took more work, you had to show up 80% of the time (means you could miss 3.5 classes) in order to qualify to take the exam, but Danish being an insane language makes skipping class the LAST thing you want to do.  That was actually my first exam, still worth 100% and broken up into two parts, one day was the written exam, lots of listening exercises, and the other day had an oral exam type interview, VERY NERVOUS.  And I got a 12 ahh! Sorry for my slight boasting, but as 12s are not given out here much and as I sadly have to have my grades here transfer back as grades at home instead of pass/fail like...everyone else I know here, I am excited to have gotten what will be an A.  And ohhhh I worked for that.  I am very tired of talking about Ivan, Jane, Stine, etc....haha.  Those were our main Danish characters.  I do like speaking it even though I think Danes would prefer I revert to English....

My other classes are finished and my exams turned it, yet I have no idea when I will find out about grades, no for a few weeks apparently.  My 'Conflict and Peacemaking in Divided Societies' course is the one I am most worried about - I have never done such an intense research paper.  It is all up to you and I know I have to do OUTSTANDING yet have never ... just wrote a sociology paper I guess.  My paper was on the ICC (International Criminal Court) and the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) and their involvement/uninvolvement in Darfur and why.  I honestly knew nothing about Darfur and especially the ICC or UNSC before I started on that and it was really never covered in class since it's such an ongoing issue, so was really interesting.  If anyone wants to read a ridiculously long paper be my guest!  I worked so hard on it I'm actually overly proud of it so I know I will just be gutted if I get a 7, or a 4! What if I get less!? I will tell you what, I will cry.  And then move on and try to forget it! I will also say 'Damn you Denmark' or something to that effect (pardon my language).  

I also had to write an essay for my Danish Culture final, and well...essays for courses like that are more annoying, I feel like I have to dumb down to write them and I HATE turning in things that are not intelligent.  Therefore I struggled just..figuring how to write a 'what do you think is most characteristic of Danish Culture in your opinion' without being too much BS.  It doesn't help when they want you to list your sources on your OPINION based paper, what do I site? My brain? A time I talked to a random Danish person? No.  So a little BS was involved in just trying to use anything for sources but they are asking for that with a paper like this.  Silly class.  In the end I was actually happy enough with it - did my paper based on the Danish sense of humor/freedom of press coming from a US standpoint.  So now I just wait and see! It wasn't too comforting when I went to pick up my attendance certificate (just to make sure I got it haha) the other day and I saw LAST semesters grades up about the essay, so many 4s, 7s, few 10s and 12s! Some people even got 2s!  I don't want to think about that now though...maybe I should explain the Danish 7-point grading system real quick.

alright, grades are as follows, -2 (or is it -3? doesn't matter), 0, 2, 4, 7, 10, and 12.  A zero is their fail.  A -2 (or maybe -3 I'm starting to think) means that you somehow screwed up so much you have to redo something, it's not a fail it's more of a pending incomplete.  A 2 is a pass and so are the ones above that, 12s being VERY exceptional and everyone is even really happy with a 10 or a 7.  Even a 4!! They don't think about grades like we do nor do they hand them out the same, some hard classes (like physics) might not give anyone over a 7, which is unheard of at home.  Also your GPA is just the average score you get but it's not something employers really look at, they look at the classes you took.  If you got 4s in your hard classes that's totally fine.  And, as the beginning of my Peace course involved the professor saying 'All these Americans come in and say they want 12s, we don't give 12s' (don't know if I've  mentioned that before)...I am a bit concerned AND I also think Purdue and really any other American school should realize the system is just different here and shouldn't transfer back.  Of course if I get all 12s I'll be thrilled, but I don't think I will, and that is depressing.  Just how they DO their grading system though makes it just...stupid to transfer them as grades.  There is a reason while people from other countries don't have to transfer them, people couldn't believe that I have to get 12s really if I want a good shot at grad school.  So here is how the grades will come back (keep in mind a 2 is a pass here and normal to get).  12 is A, 10 is B, 7 is C, and get this, 7's are considered really good, like no shame in getting a 7.  A 7/C is the lowest I've ever gotten at Purdue AND I HATE IT, it's embarrassing, I'm never proud of myself, though sometimes I am happy I just didn't get a D (Microbiology, Calc 2, 'Quantitative Analysis Chem' those sucked so much I actually was happy with a C just so I didn't have to retake them).  But regardless it's never really GOOD. Anyways, 4 is a D, and 2 is a fail.  Yet a 2 is a pass here.  So, crappy situation!

But enough about grades, and a little more Denmark updating.  

It is light outside until midnight till around 3 am it seems, and I like it. I wish I could stay here until August so I could see how it is when it never really gets dark.  I also now love soccer.  I think I like watching sports here more because I don't know what they are saying and I've never really liked HEARING about whats going on the whole time when sports are on TV at home.  I guess I just would rather watch it and pretend I'm there - do they do announcements of everything at home DURING the game for people to hear? Like Johnson passes to Smith, blah blah blah'? I don't know.  I think I block it out if I do or hopefully can't hear it due to good crowd noises.  I don't mind it at a football game that much or when I cant see whats going on.  But when it's on TV, I can see enough of what's going on.   Maybe that's why I've so far only really liked seeing tennis on TV, they are quiet and only say what's necessary.  So I feel more there.  Anyways watching the world cup here is pretty sweet, they have screens set up around Copenhagen that you can go sit outside and drink and watch, or stand :) I went to the Denmark vs Netherlands one (we lost sadly but the Netherlands are just amazing apparently), and it was sunny and warm mostly outside, good day.   They show it everyday, every match, outside until the world cup is over. Which is cool :)  And watching it on TV is fine too because all I hear I hear is the normal Danish background noises, well also that ridiculous 'there is a bee in my ear' instrument South Africa is quite obsessed with. 

Other things other things....I don't know yesterday I just cleaned and was overly productive, I've realized I say the phrase 'but yeah' way too much...need to stop that...

Oh! I went for almost a week to this BEAUTIFUL little Danish Island of Bornholm (German's definitely like it there), where they have a crazy accent (sounds a bit like Swedish/Danish).  Anyways, I had amazing food, saw the entire island, conversed with the sweetest Dane's ever (I went with my neighbor Daniel and so tried to talk to his grandparents who live there).  It was a perfect inexpensive trip full of seeing round churches, amazing food and sweets, have I mentioned I'm in love with marzipan yet? Because I am...and herring! I had quite a bit more of Danish food :)  Walks on beautiful beaches...just...the most refreshing week for me.  And Bornholm is just a very calm country place basically, fields, beautiful houses, small towns, definitely all of my family would have liked it and found it cute.  Needless to say I love Bornholm :) And their ...troll mascot haha.

Hmm, well if I think of anything later I shall post it. Right now maybe I have a little food, craving some meet, would be great to be home for father's day right now!  And I could wear shorts! Haha.  At least I am now going to Thailand and hopefully Cambodia (maybe others) as well for 3 weeks in July-August. NICE and hot there, and CHEAP, ohh I can't wait for the food! And then back home on August 6th!  So I will leave it at that and chat to my computer via a blog later. Vi ses ;)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Broccoli Worms

I suppose before I start this post I should look up what these worms in broccoli are...bad timing to start a post, here comes a little research - AHHA I'm not nuts! Ok.  I will just start at the beginning like a normal person...

Ages ago back home in Mt. Vernon I was cutting up broccoli/washing it.  As broccoli is very pretty it is fun to inspect closely, but even not inspecting closely I remember finding a little worm looking thing up near the green tree part, Just sort of huddled in what looked like a cocoon.  Ever since this has totally freaked me out basically, I still love broccoli and I order it, eat it when people cook it, even eat it raw sometimes, but I never buy it.  

Recently I wanted to make amazing-stir-fry-number 2, and I thought adding broccoli to the mix would be a fantastic idea, momentarily forgetting about previous worm scares.  While I was cutting it up I remembered to check for them, thinking that since I'm far away from home I wouldn't have to look too close so wasn't too worried about it UNTIL I FOUND ONE.  Once again, cocooned, just like at home. I threw it down the sink and mentally freaked out a little bit because all the rest I had been throwing in the stir fry I hadn't checked too much, so I just thought surely there was nothing else in there and sort of got over it.  Later when I was having the last of my leftovers I just happened to see what looked like a curled up little worm...which I promptly threw away before looking at it too much.  Upon telling Daniel about my broccoli worm troubles, I managed to half-heartedly convince myself that it was just some of the wild rice I had eaten with it, because some of those can maybe go a little crazy.  However I have been dreading using the rest of my broccoli in the fridge...but since I paid for the food I have to use it eventually right?

So. Making a nice healthy soup, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, and oh why not throw in the rest of that broccoli?? I spent at least a good thirty minutes going through the broccoli sooo carefully, finding one more worm in it, and taking the broccoli apart big time before I put it in the soup.  I had maybe two bowls that night, delicious (took me forever to make I was positively starving by the time I was done, which was maybe 10 30 pm), Anyways, recently while working through my massive leftovers I have found two worms :(:(:(  Once just sitting on a carrot and it was right when I was thinking 'I wonder how many bugs blind people accidentally eat', and then there is a worm. No tricking myself there. So I threw it away.  THEN another one!!! AHH! and it was more wormish than the rest, I could see it's little black feet things.  Ok these actually are more like caterpillars...anyways, I have tried to convince myself these last times just to eat it, just make myself eat it and realize that I can't taste it (I'm assuming so anyways), yet I just don't want to eat these worms so I throw them away.  Here is the issue though - I have at least 6 more meals with my leftover soup's just not as good anymore. :( I just keep thinking about worms and looking through it, I wish I could just throw it away or something but I can't do that food costs money!  So...for the next week I will be sifting through soup for worms.  Meanwhile here is what I have found on google to enlighten you-

"Broccoli worms are smooth and green, and they tend to hide in the branches of broccoli florets. If you don’t want green worms to cook along with your broccoli, dissolve a few tablespoons of salt in a pot of water, separate the broccoli into serving-sized florets, and soak the florets in the salt water for twenty minutes. Almost all the broccoli worms will die and float to the surface. If you’re not convinced, inspect the florets before you cook them."

So the question is - will I bother to get more broccoli even though I know I will be forced to inspect the florets after any salt soaking? Or will I just avoid the delicious healthy treat....I'm even a little grossed out to try the salt thing and then just see all these little worms floating in it.  I wish I liked eating worms :(

Monday, June 7, 2010

Undskyld, jeg kommer for sent....

Ahhhh that means 'sorry I'm late'- unfortunately I have to run off in literally one minute - catching a tiny flight to the Danish island of Bornholm! I know I have been failing at updating this but the entire month of May I was frantically working on essays, etc - BUT NOW I AM DONE! Just going to wait for grades now (nervously) Ahh have to run I'll update when I get back on Saturday!!

Laura :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dear family, I have turned into a gypsy (of sorts)....

Upon realizing I am becoming very poor, I have been going on the slimmest budget you can imagine (yes it still affords bikes but that can be sold back you see).  It's actually amusing the things I have stopped buying...lets just start with toilet paper.  Now don't be alarmed, remember I said gypsy here and not 'gross person.'  I also have a reason behind not buying the pricey toilet paper anymore - I was the only person who ever bought it, and I get tired of that. If no one else will ever buy it here then neither will I! I thought it would just make someone else buy it at first...but this is not the case.

No, I steal toilet paper slowly from public places. i will just wind a bunch around my hand (I'm getting really good at it, what a skill!), and then put it in the bottom of my bag, take it home, store in room, saving money!  Often as well I think (while at my apartment), Hmm I have to use the bathroom, I'll go in Field's on the way to class...hehehe. It amuses me.  I'm still hopefully though that someone will buy some...but yeah. It's much easier to steal toilet paper (and I could just be going there to use it all the I'm just taking it some place else so they don't have to clean right?), ...anyways, it's easier to steal toilet paper than to steal delicious pastries. So I buy those! 

Speaking of delicious just so happens that outside of my Danish class today Jenna (another Australian friend, she's super cool, don't know if I have mentioned her yet), and I spotted some .... leftover cake! Outside of the same door that one time had all these water bottles so a bunch of us poor students helped ourselves to those too...

This cake looked pretty good.  Hard to afford kage here (cake) I helped myself to just one of the three random pieces....and yum! so good, so moist, chocolate icing with coconut on it...during the Danish break we split another...and I may have the last piece here wrapped up in a napkin that I will be having after I make myself dinner, which I meant to be making right now but...just in that writing mood while I have so much on my mind you know?  Hmm...

I don't know what else I do that is especially gypsy-ish, maybe that was too strong of a word to use and UGH ghost whisperer is on I despise this show what a waste of an English language show....But! I do a lot of pretend shopping, being a girl (I think we all like new clothes and thing to some extent but also I blame the media, we are pressured to buy things and look nice and have more clothes items than men I think), anyways, I'll see things that I have decided are affordable and just want myself out of them always, and today I even tried on things while walking to my bike to go home, and talked myself out of everything! Feel very proud about that :)

I also had the strangest experience today and I think its the sunrise at 4 30 am that is getting me - I woke up and thought 'oh I need to bike into the city but I definitely slept in, it must be 11 am!' but no, it was 7 30, and I looked at how bright it was and thought, 'noooo my phone is broken, that's so sad, whatever shall I do,' and I thought I'd just go back to sleep until my 8:08 alarm went off, but suddenly I was flipping through a yearbook laying on my bed on my side just like I was sleeping, and trying to find pages that matched, there were so many, and I thought 'ah I'm getting tired of this I'll just get up now and get ready, why waste my time with a yearbook, and I started to get up but then realized my eyes were closed AND THAT I WAS SLEEPING. And seriously this was withing 7 minutes of waking up the first time!  So...I thought that was very strange..

Okok now I will cook, I have to study a lot tonight because I volunteered in class today to have a mock oral exam in Danish in front of the whole class (oh humility!) but thought that'd be good encouragement for me to study....can't hurt anyways....oh and another cheap thing - besides the fact that I buy the broken delicious food to save 10 kr (oh how I want the prettier ones with more icing..), I have now invested in juice concentrate, so I just mix that with water and will have another drink besides water now.  Yay!  

I say all this, but then I bought a 'Find Holger' book (the Scandinavian version of Where's Waldo - and they say find instead of where is, which would have been hvor er) as I saw it two days ago...I have a 'Where's Wally' (the Australia/NZ/UK) version already from once while stuck in the Sydney airport for a layover, and well, I just want to collect amuses me, plus seriously I like the idea of finding's an amusing book!  And seriously how did Waldo turn into HOLGER. time!!! :)

For somebody who don't drive, I been all around the world...

Ok I know I haven't (sadly) been all around the world (yet), but I have recently purchased a bike!!! So everyday (ok this has been my first full day of riding in København) I have that 'Brand New Key' by Melanie song stuck in my head so I'm always softly singing "I rode my bicycle past your window last night..." etc etc.  It's so good I love that song.  About my bike - it's amazingly old :)  Sort of this awesome rust color painted over the rust, no handbrakes, just have to backpedal, sweet wire basket I can put my goods in...strange seat, loud little bell I used today when I just passed someone on the way home from class :)  I feel sooooooooooo Danish!!

So, about biking - apparently I haven't done this in awhile?  I got it last night from this Danish man (min nabo Daniel basically found it online for me, bid on it, and then took me there to pick it up whilst I brought the cash) and thought, oh yeah, let's bike ride so I can find my classes on the Amager campus! Maybe 40 minutes or so of riding, I'm in love with it, today 9 am get to the bike to go into the city and well, my butt is so sore, AMAZINGLY sore.  I'm so out of bike-riding shape, it's just been far too long!!  At first it was fun being jolting around on random cobblestones, but for maybe the next few days (hopefully just a few days!) I will be standing up during that portion.  

I am also a very nervous city biker.  I've never really done anything bigger than cross the highway on the way to Jeannette's....seriously.  Now I'm suddenly on roundabouts and crossing many lanes and using bike lanes, hand signals,  my sweet bell....It was sort of really nerve-racking at first but maybe tomorrow after two more separate trips into the city (Ahh I need to strap a pillow onto my seat but it could rain!) maybe I'll get the hang of it more.  I currently am not sure how I will even get back tomorrow after class without following someone.  On my first 'by-myself' journey in the city today after running errands I found myself...just following people again haha.  It's so much easier, then I don't have to worry about doing something wrong, surely the Dane's know what they are doing.  Hopefully soon I'll have a really good feel for the city/at all the direction of things, especially since it is absolutely GORGEOUS to bike around.

Seriously though, when I was saying bye to my neighbor who I followed in, the first thing I did was ALMOST run into a pole.  And for a bit I was getting nervous and I'd just walk with my bike instead of bike-lane turning left turns.  I mean a car could hit me right? But apparently not- THOUGH, not to worry anyone, but as I am proudly  biking along, knowing what I'm doing for once, some insane taxi pulls a U-y and yeah...scary, thought I would die, but here I am typing!  At least it was not my fault :)

Anything else good to say about biking? I like biking through puddles...Eh. I think I've covered it, just need to buy some bicycle lights tomorrow :)  Should only be 20 kr ($3.80) Yay!  I apparently was quite lucky with the price of this bike as well, 600 kr, but it came with this ancient and awesome complicated lock, which locks apparently cost around 200 kr? Says one of my flatmates.  I do not want to verify with a Dane in case they make me feel like I got ripped off.  Generally people pay 600 lowest for a nice working bike (did I mention the new tires), and will easily pay 800, and these are all for used crappy ones.  When I was looking at the pretty classic city style bikes (nothing fancy here, no carbon no crazy good names that I know of), even the cheapest ones are in the thousands.  Everything is just more here!! However, I will be selling this bike before I leave, hopefully for 600 kr!!! I mean it came with a basket too!!

Also, I was SOOO tempted to buy a metro pass today, the monthly that I usually get but expired the day I got the's 320 kr a month, so just 60 bucks for constant access to buses, trains and metros in the main two zones I use, and while it's such a cheap deal I think, I just want to not buy it and just bike everywhere, save that money!!! So tempted kroner was just staring at me in my wallet...but no!

Another very awesome thing that happened today - not bike related - As I was sitting studying earlier in the city there was a fish tank sort of in the middle of the room, and this small child beating the fish from the outside with his apple.  Of course, being an insane kid as I think all kids must be, he only smashed the part that he had bitten out of, just one bite out of the apple.  Against the glass. Over and over.  And the fish would just sort of shake in the water, and then swim a bit, shake some more, and particles of apple were smushed on the glass...I probably watched this for 10 minutes.  As did his parents. amused me greatly.

Now back to studying! Actually I'm going to make food...I bought an eggplant recently (they are just beautiful I think), and...some asparagus....what do I do with that? Build my muscles for biking!  Aww wait I bet I need to eat meat for that...noo...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Did you just call me white? ...Did you just ask for money, again? :( I love Africa!

I feel I just take ages to write about things on here but I'd love to be caught up... I am currently doing this 'danish study - email people back - danish study - figure out contract things for home - danish study - possible blog post?' thing.  Which is where I am now! And since Africa was soooooo amaaazing I figure I should get on to tales about that because seriously people, it changed my life. It's been terribly long since I've been there though now so I will just forget the chronological order of things and tell you whatever I feel like.  

(then about a week passed before I finished this - seriously, how did I get so busy! I thought I didn't ACTUALLY have to do schoolwork here...if only Purdue didn't take the actual grades and it was just a pass fail...)

So, Africa, where should I even begin? I love it, I hardly got bit by mosquitoes.  Apparently it's not the season for that so I'm glad I didn't bother with malaria pills!  Especially since they were 1000 kr....Wow this is difficult when I wait for so long!  

Besides amaaazing food (a lot of peanut sauces as they farm peanuts, rice, and fish), the Gambians themselves were entirely interesting.  They did not hold back on asking for money, which was the only annoyance of the trip.  Here is how it would be - we would say 'how far is the walk to the ATM? and the taxi controller man would say 'its impossible to walk, you need a taxi, will take two hours at least' and refuse to tell us the directions. Then KEVIN (this guy who tried to get us everrryyy day to go on some Senegalese official tour with him) would pop up, guilt us with things like "i waited for you guys yesterday, thought you said you would meet me at 6 (which we never said), and as soon as he heard we were just going to walk somewhere he would tell us 'oh, you need a guide for that, come, i'll get you one', then when we said no he'd say, no you cant walk that far ever, you need a taxi'.  Often we would just leave and walk.  Turns out it was a nice 30 minute walk! But even on the way there some Gambian followed us the whole way trying to get us to eat at this place or that, and then wanted us to guy him dinner? I really became ruthless in The Gambia, just a rude white woman!

You can really get yourself in some random and epic adventures walking around.  Once this man was all "hey, let me show you this, come come,' and as we were sort of just wonderful AND as I am traveling with a 6'5" white guy (yay intimidation factor) we decided we'd see what he had to show us, and turned out it was the poorest place I have even seen in my life, and definitely the dirtiest.  It had a ridiculously high orphan population and was just so....touching, especially when all the kids would come and go 'tobak, tobak!' (white person), and touch you and just go on in whatever language they spoke.  You have to ask a lot before taking photos of people's extreme poverty as well, but generally after asking them they were OK.  The kids though...the kids just break your heart, you want to do anything for them, especially to get them from growing up and turning into the swindling tourist guys.  This particular village sometimes has peace corps volunteers, which to most of the people I met on this African adventure was the only type of American and had ever seen.  However I wonder what they did there because it was still sooo poor, just building these mud huts that would be ruined in the monsoon season...I dunno.  This village also had an amazing trash dump...everywhere. Of just...pieces of cloth and bras (? weird I remember stepping on a few), and just paper...yeah...I'll have to put up some photos on here.

Lets see what else did we do....we went to markets in both Banjul the capital (such an amazing CAPITAL, I mean, I think Mt. Vernon is small and behind the times, this really puts you in your place!), and ...something that begins with an S...Serre Kunda!  which were supposed to be the biggest markets in The Gambia.  The ones in Banjul were super fun due to the fact that they had all the tourist stuff, so the necklaces and wraps everyone wears, all sorts of paintings and wooden things, and you could bargain like MAD. In fact i often just said horrendously low prices because i wanted to let them know i wouldn't buy it and they would go 'ok :( you're my first customer, i have to sell it'.  also apparently I am related to lots of dark complected people. Sister, sister come here, take this necklace for free, (which I did, thank you....person whose name I forgot.. I now only remember Fatima the fruit lady!)....but yeah. I bought so much stuff there and it was probably all less than 10 USD.  The Dalasi is a high currency though (I possibly just made up that term), so I'd be slightly alarmed when things would be 100 Dalasi, because I'd think, 20 dollars, no way! acting like it was the Kroner, when in fact it was more like three dollars....hehe...or the amazing ice cream we got in the Serre Kunda markets for 25 cents...

Speaking of those markets, those were not for tourists. Seriously, Daniel and I were often the only white people in sight. Also its difficult to really bargain there, our taxi driver came with us and we would give him money so he would get us Gambian prices....but I mean, we do have so much money compared to them and it's...obvious, we simply cannot blend end.

Serre Kunda was this endless array of market food and ... crappy clothes....for example, I saw a kid wearing a Dairy Queen polo, like a workers polo. Something I couldn't even buy at home.  Very interesting...but they sell it all and they at least didn't try to sell us a lot of that stuff because tourists just go their to look...And its just like you would think African markets would be like - insanely colorful, loud, music everywhere, people EVERYWHERE, busy like you can't imagine and we were on the least busy day....just amazing, I loved wandering the markets for sure. Our young taxi driver took us to the black markets too, where things that were stolen were being sold and we were given fishy looks...I think I also saw some prostitutes while I was there...but not sure, wasn't about to ask!  And then at the end he took us to this 'slaughter house'.  Was that ever a food science NO. I seriously don't know how I didn't vomit - it's almost as though the smell and the sights were actually that bad your body couldn't even register how gross it was. heads of animals just on the ground, everything is outside so flies are everywhere, but it was in this open walled barn sort of thing and really dark, and just piled on tables everywhere were random disgusting things, I hardly wanted to take out my camera to have it around that....but the people were awesome, trying to sell us these disgusting things as a joke, because obviously we were not there to buy...intestines?  The Gambians definitely had a good sense of humor.  Once, Bob (who I have mentioned before) said something like 'you all right?' but with their accent I decided to misinterpret it to make a joke and said 'did you just call us all white?' and he was so shocked and then laughing a lot, but they were almost making jokes about our whiteness and how to get BLACK AS EVER like them so figured I'd join in!

Before I go to bed (and tomorrow I'll have to load some photos) I will also mention this monkey walk we did once - went to the national park where the signs are all 'don't take peanuts' but our guide of course brought peanuts for us, and suddenly monkeys are everywhere, including jumping out of trees onto  my back.  It was amazing, it was magical, earlier we had petted crocodiles, oh and our guide let us know that basically everyone in The Gambia believes in pretty insane powers of ....herbs and stuff.  The would go on and on about how the president had found the cure for AIDS, don't you know? And so many other cures just from each leave on every plant, and also a lot of people wore these Juju belts I think, and seriously the guide for crocodile and monkey day literally thought that if I were to take a knife and stab him, his skin would NOT be pierced. He also told us the story of his circumcision.  Seriously the things you don't want to know, yay cultural differences! Alllways makes for an interesting time.  

I'm thinking Senegal stories and .... pictures tomorrow. Sleeep tiiiime! :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

No you smell that? Is this a ... massive joke?

Alright. Let me just set the scene here.

2 weekends ago at a friend's birthday party in Tietgen, this intense party dorm where everything insane seems to always be happening (Brazilian men sunbaking in the nude - Gross!).  Lots of people here celebrating and also just doing normal weekend drinking, not really sure if it was all for the birthday or not or just a pre-party for the dorm party downstairs. 

Anyways, people will sadly have to remain nameless. :( Only I will know their true identities...

So, noticed one person at the party smelling especially rank, just, hadn't showered for awhile it seems, I mean ok, we're all busy alright I can get over it.  Just when the arms would be raised around me I would think, you know, for being a girl, it's amazing to smell this body odor wafting towards me...not SO bad though that it's like walking past the boys locker room in high school - Puha! (Danish, and funny)

Party progresses.  Cake is given. etc.

French man comes over, compliments said rank girl ON HER PERFUME! I am standing in this talking threesome, thinking, WHAT! This still blow my mind.  The girl insists there is no perfume, it's body wash, she doesn't even have perfume here.  He insists is perfume, smells her closer, agrees with himself, she is giggling and laughing, 'No really, it's just body wash!'  And then after further arguing, he taps his nose and says 'I have a French nose, I know a good perfume when I smell one,' and that is the end. 

Meanwhile I am standing there just dying to know if this is a joke or not, or can he not smell? or....are all of our stereotypes about the French actually true haha - that they don't bathe and therefore smell bad? Oh if I could've just entered this man's brain...I still want to know so bad if he didn't like her smell or not, or if he's just insane...ahh!

End result - I suppose the French do not bathe after all... Kidding, but stereotypes can be fun :)

Happy Birthday Queen!!! (a day late now)

As I have epically been failing and updating my blog regularly, I have decided to make most of today a slew of various blog posts, still probably leaving out Paris, Senegal, and The Gambian adventures, as those will be easier to remember later, and some verrry interesting things have been happening in my everyday life.  

And then somehow I managed to not finish writing or posting this allllll yesterday, though what did I do yesterday?  I cooked amazing food...and went bartending!  That's right, turning a new page in my book.  It's not paid but it's really nice, I'll be doing it next Friday as well.  Another bonus of volunteer bartending at Studenthuset (student house, but everyone goes there), anyways, you don't get to keep your tips, (well you're not supposed to), and you just put them up in this tip umbrella.  So! this being said - when middle-aged guys sit next to the bar apparently to chat you up when you are making people drinks etc, I don't feel it necessary to stay there and chat longer or stay over there for any extra moment at all, because I don't even want a tip, it's not for me, hehehheehe...And also, it's just strange...but the two olderish men seemed happy enough sitting there.  People are just weird. But interesting...

Other than that, I enjoy having a pretend job.  I don't think I speak enough Danish to get a real job yet, (however my Danish is improving SO MUCH, I spoke so much last night I am just falling in LOVE with it), anyways, working here is just so good! You meet so many people, you get free drinks the whole time, have an after party with tons of free food, and get free drinks when you're not even working (I have 9 left yay!), so yeah, sort of like alcohol?  But hey I'm a student, that's good enough! (sort of)

Interesting events from last night - 
So apparently people here don't take home food a lot for leftovers.  Frugal me decided, hey, I'll take this giant half burger home, lunch for tomorrow, and meat! (meat is expensive so meat is AWESOME WHEN I GET TO HAVE IT, saying this I do try to have meat everyday still and probably mostly do...not today yet)  But then, I am RIDICULED!  By this Dane named Davey sitting next to me, 'oh you put your burger in your BAG, you take your BAG home, why do you do that!' Ahh I can mock Danish accents now by the way, it's so much fun :)  So after saying 1. I am poor 2. I want to eat this later 3. It is delicious and look at that meat! I go about my business, chatting with other people, and then suddenly he's nudging me going 'I'm eating your BURGer, I took the BAG from the ground and now I am just EATing it, just wanted you to KNOw"  and while I am sad, because there goes my food, there is not much I can do, and it's pretty messy therefore amusing to watch. After somewhat lamenting and pitying myself and my lost burger - oh by the way, the random capital letters are to try to put the strange Danish accent in there, but I'll probably just have to tell you in real life sometime - anyyywayys, then Davy cant FINISH the burger. Ohhhh, and DID I just learn how to insult people in Danish? And by learn I don't mean in class, I mean self taught/making Danish friends telling me if I'm doing it right...hehehe

So the things I end up saying are something like this ' Du er en mand, ikke?' "Er du en mand!" Er du en KVINDE?" Spiser det nå! and then in succession of pointing to the burger, his mouth, and his stomach "Mad. Spiser. Maven"

All of this translates roughly into, 'you are a man are you not? are you a man? are you a woman!?  eat that now! ' food. eat. stomach."  I can really do a lot of harm with my limited vocabulary and I loooove it. As he ended up getting drunkenly offended/sad at my ridiculing, he had to give up and say 'Ja, ja jeg er en kvinde' (I believe I then asked if he was a little girl, en lille piga, and he just looked down sadly, but then I saved it all by saying I was sorry for everything 'Undskyld for alt", and now we are friends :)

Basically, I LOVE DANISH. I just adore learning languages...I like to tell people they are human beings - Du er et menneske!" It's  just amusing...there are so many things I like to say.  When we were learning how to say 'do you have a __ I can borrow for a moment/ til the morning" and "do you have ___ I can have", everytime there was an option of saying borrow or have, I'd just ask to have it in the set up dialogs we use in class. 'Har du et Dankort jeg må få?' and then the person would have to say something like 'of course' or 'yes, here you go', when I just asked for a credit card of theirs to have...hehehe...the simple pleasures...

Unfortunately (desvarre is unfortunately I think), this is exactly how I learned Spanish, poor Sra Madden having to put up with me all the time! It's just...easier to learn when you make it funny.  Though a lot of Danes will go 'what ... what did you say it like that for, no one says it like that Laura... such as when I say 'det var så latterligt lidt' for 'it was so ridiculously little' when someone says thanks to me - I like to say ridiculously, because people will say tak for something like, sheesh, you just say tak for everything, and I like to mix things up. Anyyyywayyyys...

Well not I don't really know what else happened at the bar.  It was just awesome and nice.  Met a girl from Georgia the state, Columbians, cool Dutch people, just so much friendliness! :) And in other news before I post this - I also desperately want to buy a bike!  Everyone here just bikes so I'm going to go to an auction and try to get a crappy one for just a few hundred Kroner...It will just help me really get to know the city and ahh I like biking!  Everyone here bikes!

Oh yeah, and it was the Queens birthday yesterday so that was on all the channels, she is older, pretty, and waves a lot. And then Danish people sing songs in Danish and it sounds weird. hehe :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A lost camera found by all of The Gambia

This will be a little post about a trip we made to Banjul to see the markets in the capital :)  

The green taxis are 'tourist taxis', which insure the tourist and not just the locals like the yellow taxis.  I sort of thought it was a bit of a rip-off since they generally made you pay a bit more (so maybe 4 dollars instead of 2), but then they actually do have a point - after the first day I left my camera in a green taxi apparently, and didn't realize until the next morning.  When we left that morning to go see if we could shake hands with some crocodiles I told the taxi people, and they called the taxi I had been in (I had Abdoulie's business card along with SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE'S business cards, everyone wants you to call them and they will help you later, more money for them! sometimes the business cards were other people's cards, but with numbers and names crossed out and written in pen elsewhere)....

Lost train of thought there. So I had left my camera and reported it right? After I told taxi people, they called and Abdoulie came back later and checked his car and well, basically the next day the taxi controller who stood outside our resort came up to me, said 'hey, when you lose things, you come to me' then pulled my lovely camera out of his pocket, and I became the happiest person in the world :) :) :) BUT super weirdly for the rest of the trip random taxi drivers and tour guides would come up to me and tell me how they helped me find my camera, how nice of them, and so I thanked I feel AT LEAST 20 people for their very important help, and didn't give anyone money for helping me.  I also am still under the impression that the only people who were really involved was the driver, who I also say later and heartily thanked, the main taxi guy, and maybe the guy who called in the first place for me. Very strange very strange...

Correction.  This is no longer a post about the markets in Banjul.  Instead that will be tomorrow - apparently the time is changing tonight so I lose an hour and I have a biiig week ahead of me.  So posts of The Gambia and Senegal events will be more sporadic and spread out, which will be a nice break from horridly long posts like the London one.

Bonne nuit! :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Boss Lady goes to The Gambia!

I am completely in love with Africa/The Motherland, and was in love with it before I even went (the music, insane cultures, languages, animals, enticing danger...).  After finally seeing the 'real Africa' (have been to Morocco before but as everyone says, it's not 'Africa'), my love for the Motherland has been confirmed.  Here is why.

First let me tell you a little background knowledge on Africa, which I have read in a book that I have called 'Africa' (how many times can I say Africa I wonder...especially before it loses meaning as a word...).

So!  The continent of Africa itself is the oldest, and the deepest...remember when you see those little videos of how all the earth plates moved and were all together at the beginning, well, the piece that was Africa never ever moved.  Africa also has very few mountains, because unlike the other plates, it's not colliding with itself and wedging one plate over or under another - in fact Africa is EXPANDING, how weird is that! You can see the continent 'stretch marks' somewhere in Ethiopia I think...besides that and random information about giraffes I think I should probably go one with my Gambian tales, oh wait - another interesting point maybe to remember is that, yes we all know Africa in general is underdeveloped, often disease ridden, and just way behind the times, BUT we often fail to realize that for A REALLY LONG TIME people (yes like us dear Americans) went there to take the biggest and strongest MALES (leaders) and make them do menial tasks.   So yeah, didn't really help. :)  

Anyways after getting a visa and random injections and flying for about 8 hours with a stop in the Grand Canaries (which I had no idea was a part of SPAIN), we arrived in the warmth and haziness that is The Gambia on the west coast of Africa!  It was cheaper for us to arrive and not know where we'd say till we got there, and found out we were staying at Kombo Beach, this fancy resort which IRONICALLY I pretended was my address when I was filling out my visa, how coincidental is that!!

First thing besides the body odor we noticed was that EVERYONE wants to help you, everyone wants your money. You know how the 'I'm thinking Arbys' commercials have that hat above their head? It's like we had dollar signs above our heads.  And everyone saw that...constantly.  What else I have learned is that it would be really good to have planned to have lots of American one dollar bills with me...people definitely like those :)  It's in the movies too, and looks so different from ALL the foreign currency I have dealt with so far.  Am I becoming slightly sentimental about the American dollars? Yes.

Our resort was sweet with a free huge breakfast and nice pool, right on the beach too.  It was interesting how hazy everything was, it wasn't cloudy ever, it's just that the sky was never...clear or blue. Just this amazing African haze that to me was very fitting.  Don't know if it's different during the rainy season though.  A British guy I talked to told me that in The Gambia they play a game called 'spot the cloud.'  

Anyways the first day we really just walked around, got hassled by tons of people to take their tours and rent their bikes etc, also I was called 'Boss Lady' a lot, which will forever remain my favorite nickname I think...the ocean was lovely, the people are deeefinitely friendly, and we ended up meeting the coolest Gambian (part of the Jola tribe when we ate at his restaurant.  His name was Bobuka or something like that, we called him Bob, and he was the youngest in his family, which he then told us that everyone with his name is the youngest in their family :)  Very interesting, all the eldest children often have the same names too!

I think I will just have to write more later after I study some Danish, there is so much to tell....maybe another one tonight :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Corrections #1 (Just in case there will be more in the future)

So apparently London Bridge is in Arizona and Tower Bridge is the tacky one! Haha, makes more sense since it looks like towers, and hey I wasn't too off in the way I used to picture London Bridge after all! Pa enlightened me on this subject tonight, at first I thought it couldn't be true because I definitely remember a map saying 'London Bridge' but, I suppose the Tower Bridge is now the main bridge in London...anyways, sorry about that :)

Anyways, I am armed with a visa, yellow fever antibodies, and hepatitis A antibodies for tomorrow when I enter The Gambia :) And I just heard strange screaming outside....But as I will be getting up in about 3 hours (why am I constantly traveling like this...maybe it's like big kid Christmas and I just get far far far too excited...), and catching the airport-headed train at 5 40ish AM so I'd better get some sleep. :) Hopefully I'll be able to write a little bit while I'm there, I'm assuming there will be computers along with the monkeys and hippos? Ooh well when I think about it like that I am no longer so sure...

Hello WARMTH!!!

London, the Land of Sun :)

Well! I've been back for about a week ... more than a week! How very sad :( Luckily I still have all my memory cells in place so can finally divulge the tales of my travels here, so let us begin... (just realized this truly is easier when you just get back, I'll remember that next time haha)

SO! First of all maybe you want a little idea of what happened the night before we left? It's pretty amusing really; Marcella and I went to some party quite far away in the city really, with the end result of a missed train, a cab, being vomited on in the Metro (the Metro people were just getting on too to the disgusting area we were still in as we were getting off and I was so worried March would get a ticket), walking home in the freezing cold in a dress and thankfully my kind neighbors coat and carrying my putrid smelling coat in a ball in front of me, convincing March she should shower, and then staying up forever doing my nasty washing :):) Haha, always an adventure though :)

Somehow we managed to wake up again for our early EasyJet flight, once again amazing flight, especially when we got the emergency exit row seats (is that what you call it? why do I feel like there is another term for those seats)...I will say this, EasyJet would not be good super-long distance because it's pretty cramped, my knees touch the normal-place seats so it was good to have a little more room this time. And what does one think when surrounded by people with British accents asking you if you want a drink or a pen for random papers we had to fill out? One thinks of Harry Potter I reckon...I thought about Harry Potter WAY TOO MUCH, especially when someone tells me what platform I need to take to get a train to London from Gatwick (we flew to Gatwick, cheaper that way)...

Sorry to get on a tangent here but this just stuck me as an important/sad memory - Recently (maybe this summer) on a flight in the US there was an elderly lady with white hair sitting in the emergency exit row and the flight attend lady was sooo rude to her, trying to convince her she couldn't lift open the door and she should move the the lady wanted to stay there and said she could do it, and the whole plane was really quiet and awkward feeling as this woman was being hassled, and eventually they made her move even and she was really sad about it. Granted she was super frail and timid looking, so just a very awkward situation really, because maybe the flight attendant had to do that but it just seemed...ahh, it seems like a memory better repressed. Yet now I have to share the awkwardness...

On another note I have a hole in the top of my sock and I feel poor :(

SO BACK TO LONDON. Well, the getting there part, the quick Gatwick express which took us promptly to London within 30 minutes...good train that one, and got to see London and the outskirts waking up, such pretty quaint houses in Europe, I really love imaging living in almost every building I pass in general so it's ultimate fun overseas...Not as many colored doors that Ireland boasted however.

OH - We also purchased and Oyster card on the plane, and I think it was a bit over 20 pounds, we had to pay a bit for the card itself (which is rechargeable and never expires), and 20 pounds of transit money on it (which is given at a discounted rate when you use a card and not buy individual tickets) SO, I recommend that to everyone. I think I still have maybe two rides left too next time I'm caught up in the bustle of London.

Anyways, get to Victoria station and walk out to try to figure out where we're at and it was just very pretty, just exactly what I would think London should look like except it was cleaner, you know how you compare (well I do) everything to how it looks in the movies? And London is always cramped and slightly dusty (ok...OLD London movies by I have a really bad concept of time), anyways, I was amazed with out clean everything was and just...nice! So we went straight to the closest British pub with our bags to get some chips (french fries) and I tried this strange British thing called...Ploughman's something, it was good, just cheese and pickle-relish and some other veggies. Interesting though. Then we went back to the station to try out the Underground system and GOODNESS what STEEP escalators they have there! I swear if you fell...everyone would die! And you would die the most! Very freaky but really awesome, often when leaving the CPH undergound metro you take two escalators to get to the top, I wis
h they'd just get one huge steep one so I can add a little more fright to my life everyday haha...The underground here went really fast, UNUSUALLY fast I think, and was really timely and it's also really hot down there. ALSO I forgot the next Olympics will be in London in 2012 (I guess they are not planning on the world ending in 2012), but basically this means that lots of lines were sometimes down for repairs since London's doing a lot of sprucing up apparently for the world to see later :) fair enough, I liked taking the red double-decker buses anyways and ALWAYS sitting on top.

When we got to wherever we were going we were RIGHT OUTSIDE THE LONDON TOWER! Which I thought was going to be just a tower, but no, its this almost 1000 year old castle type thing I think with all sorts of towers in it, but normal castle towers and not like...THE WILLIS TOWER. Heh heh, what a great name for a tower, I'm STILL celebrating that in my mind. So we looked at that and then went off to walk to our doing this we WALKED ACROSS THE LONDON BRIDGE!! Oh and from the London Tower viewing platform we could see London's 'Gherkin' building looming beautiful in the distance. Really lovely how everything is just so close though I think :)

Let me say a little something about the London Bridge...we all sing about it falling over as kids and I don't really know why, and generally when I think about a bridge I picture the Golden Gate Bridge (regardless of the fact that I have never even seen that other than from an airplane), and so I pictured red metal. However, the London Bridge is more like some tacky castle...the concrete etc. of the bridge is beautiful yes, and appropriate for London's monarchical history I think, but the metal girders or whatever one would call them were the tackiest things we'd really ever seen....Painted bright blue and white and the metal railings also all blue and white...with such an ancient pretty stone background....I don't know. Maybe if I had seen pictures before of it I would've just accepted it but Marcella and I both had never really thought about what it would look like before and were equally shocked. Was more interesting this way of course! And we had a beautiful walk across it in the SUNSHINE, because it never rained or was even OVERCAST on us while we were in London (Yeah yeah we are just lucky, or maybe everyone's just too much of a downer about London's amazing weather, that'd be a much more interesting truth). I'd like to say that the London Bridge grew on me as well but in fact it didn't, though I like it for its strangeness. :)

Our hostel was alright once we found it, and definitely every in London seems super friendly as we had to ask a bunch of locals and even a bartender how to find it exactly, since when I was printed off our booking confirmation which I saw from the email had the address on it, my printer managed to ONLY leave off the address part which had been right in the middle of all the information too....Anyways we got a bus and the nice people (EAVESDROPPERS! Totally fine though I'm one too by accident), anyways the nice ladies on the bus told us when to get off because they heard us say where we were going when we were at the front of the bus! So we checked in through the overly complicated gate system, got our room which was very hard to open (sometimes we had to go get a different key, I still don't understand what was up with that door), and then got on our merry little way around London :)

I feel like I wrote so much about Berlin that I should break this trip up differently...and just put the things I saw more and not the nonsense ramblings that come so naturally about food and conversations and let's see if I can manage that. But first a word for the wise - (is that a phrase? do you need to tell the wise more words?) - anyways the YHA Youth Hostel is alright but it is no St. Christopher's (which didn't have room for us). Lots of kids stay at a YHA and they charge you an extra 10 pound fee just to join their society for you to even stay there, which is sort of a rip. However the breakfast is AMAZING. Hot and English and just GOOD. Which maybe explains why we saw more large people in London than well, in CPH for example haha..

Anyways, a list of things we saw and did, sort of in order :)

~Ate at amazing Asian restaurant in Camden (though we didn't realize we were there until a day later haha, it was an accidental wandering when we had meant to go there before we began our journey anyways)

~I managed to lose my Oyster card within about 4 hours of first using it, then after digging through my pockets again and again and looking around, I backtracked and there it was! No one had even picked it up! And it looked so fresh and new and full of pounds...lucky me!

~Get directions from the nicest man working at the hostel who outlined good stops to get off at and how to get to a bus stop we were looking for (And extra point here - black people having British accents are somehow my favorite. I suddenly also feel like watching a Guy Ritchie film...he likes British accents too..)

~Have a nice walk along Canada Water and picture myself living in London because all the houses are just so quaint! Marcella also pointed out that if she was a bird, she would be the retarded bird we watched for a bit struggle to get into the water and walk and just do anything. She says some very amusing things my crazy flatmate...

~Walk and shop down Oxford Street. Sometimes it is just nice to indulge in the girl's fascination with shopping and clothes and new things and deals...very refreshing and affordable too, yay TopShop!

~Make our way to the Maple Arch (to be honest I have no idea why this arch was there so we, being tourists, got a photo with it haha) where we entered Hyde Park where there is 'Speakers Corner' and we wanted to see the people giving free speeches there on Sunday mornings, and SADLY it was a stupid angry black American standing on an American flag and just ... full of crap, calling the Europeans second class Americans and then saying how he studied law in all these fancy places and worked with London Parliament, and here is is drinking at 10 am and being a general ass (pardon my profanity but sometimes you just have to use the correct word you know? hehe)

~Went to the CAMDEN MARKETS, maybe one of my favorite parts of the trips, where we saw sooooooo many awesome things and shops and had so many food samples, finally settling on some type of French food that was very different and well, French I guess, who knows really I haven't ever tried their cuisine other than the occasional crepe...I could spend sooooo much time at the Camden Markets and I recommend going to anyone who goes to London, just a lovely time and so many crazy and interesting people! They also sell a TON of the most intensely gothic clothes yet I didn't see people dressed like that often, maybe I smartly and accidentally avoided all the right areas! :)

~Realized that London is really into Lions and statues of them, they sort of have them everywhere, and then later realizing that a Lion is one of the animals on the crest. And by the way does anyone else have trouble with always thinking of the cowardly lion when they see statues of lions? I don't think this happens to me when I see a real lion, because when I see one of those I am always in a zoo (so far), and I always am just wanting it to move or walk towards me or roar, however statues make me think of wizard of oz...oh what has the media done to me!

~Did ultimate bargain shopping in a 99 pence shop :) Also realized that I don't think the UK uses shillings anymore...just pence. I always quite liked the idea of a shilling, so maybe I'm just wrong and I didn't understand the pence thing :)

~Walk to Buckingham Palace...SOOO amazingly huge. Those poor guards out front too, walking all funky whenever they even get the chance to move around. This Palace was actually really beautiful and so was the gate and fountain and park around it...very fancy for the Queen! Haha I still find it sort of amusing that...monarchies in these ultimately civilized countries still just seems so...I don't know...unnecessary? I can understand it's tradition and maybe they need someone's face for their currency...haha...Just amuses me to imagine the US with a king because I CAN'T! Guess you just have to grow up with it to even ... imagine it's normal. It just seems so fairytale-esque to me. ALSO, I am very confused as to why everywhere surrounding the large area leading right up to the palace and around the big fountain was surrounded with flags alternating between South Africa and the UK. Is it really just for the World Cup as my friend Mahmoud suggested? I cannot think of a reason...

~All the London taxis are really sweet looking and everyone should know this. Also there are far too many red phone booths with no one using them and they are all so close together. Very weird London, very weird. I do enjoy different thing though :)

~Walked to the Big Ben WHICH IS SO MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL AND IMPRESSIVE THAN I HAD THOUGHT IT WOULD BE, and then also my friend Ben let me know that Big Ben is the name of the bell inside and not the tower surrounding it, but oh well, I'm calling it that just so people know I'm not talking about a bell I can't see :) Big Ben seemed very connected to the Houses of Parliament, and this is by far one of my favorite buildings in the WORLD. On a sunny day it is just...just breathtaking. The type of building you can just stare at, and would love walking past everyday.

~Found a random stern faced guard to stand creepishly close to in order to get a creepish photo, I definitely wish I could just break all rules all the time and tickle the guards. But then they might...shoot me :(

~Walked to Westminster Abbey which was not just one giant building like I thought but quiet a few. However I could not break through the giant doors apparently and enter, and no one else seemed to know how, I think they lock them on Sundays, and as it was cold we moved on across the Thames...

~To the London Eye! What a giant ferris wheel thing! We didn't go up in it, though they don't seem to rock like normal ferris wheels and ohhhh I just remember going up in them with Kirk and Kyle who'd just rock and rock and I wanted to cry ahhh so frightening, haha I was SUCH a little wimp :) But this thing looks just crazy, and apparently Brisbane in OZ has a Brisbane Eye too :) Haha, I love when cities blatantly copy each other :)

~Tried to see Alice in Wonderland at the Imax there since we knew it was very close to the London Eye and well I am a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland and not only has Marcelle never seen it, she's never seen a 3-D movie, so while trying to figure out how to enter this mysterious building by walking along it around this tiny unfriendly-for-humans sidewalk, we realized the entrance must be from underground...only to get there and find out it was sold out for the next two weeks haha...

~Ran into the London film festival then as we were looking for a place to eat so went there and saw a Georgia film, which was, hands down, the WEIRDEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. I have now managed to see the weird side of the film festival deal, I think I had slight nightmares about it (and day-mares about it). It was crazy because everyone else was like 'wow WHAT IN THE WORLD', and no one even clapped when it was over, we just felt relieved, it was was called 'The Color of Pomegranates' in case anyone is interested in googling one of the scariest things in the world.

~Had more amazing Thai food at this fancy fancy place with this little boy womanizer waiter who was pretty worthless but the food was so good it did not matter :) Plus we were NOT in Georgia so once again, everything was good :)

~Walked all the way to the Tower of London from our hostel on another nice sunny morning and saw a guy buffering the wooden banister...(is that what you call the thing you put your hand on? I feel like I don't know what a banister is anymore!!! Ahh! Is my brain melting!?) Anyways...he was buffering this wooden..thing you normally put your hands on on the London Bridge. And I wondered, if they keep doing that how long before nothing is left and then they have to get new ...things... and how old is this? From the beginning? So then I touched it just in case they were super old and precious :)

~Took a semi-guided tour of the Tower of London...saw where people had their heads chopped of. It was overpriced but it was educational and very cool to be in it :) Also seeing the crown jewels was RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING. High security too. Seeing torture devices and where the block and ax for the head chopping was not so amazing, more like, my stomach twisted and then I felt guilty for being so intrigued...ALSO, there used to be a moat around this tower of London (naturally), but apparently it ended up being the largest outdoors toilet soooo it is now just grass :)

~Mazed my way through the city trying to find the Gherkin (which I kept calling the Egg because come on, a pickle is all bumpy...why is a pickle all bumpy???), which was more difficult then one would imagine because other buildings block the view, and therefore ended up seeing business London around lunch, which was so brisk, crisp, professional, and they don't wear coats over their suits whats up with that! But when BOOM there it was, and I was a happy person :)

~Pretended I would be grown up and go into a coffee shop while we tried to figure out where the St. Patrick's Cathedral was from where we were at, and ended up with the most amazing hot chocolate and lemon cheesecake...oh wouldn't that be nice right now!

~Saw the beautiful and HUGE St. Patrick's Cathedral, you seriously cannot even fit that thing in a photo...and it had been on fire during the great fire of London too1

~Sort of accidentally wondered into the Museum of London which is still wasn't that impressive, especially since what we wanted to see most was about the Black Plague and the great fire and that part was the smallest of all! But still good, thankfully they had recommended donations and so we donated...the smallest coins :) Hey we are poor students!

~Went into the Portrait Gallery of London which is free and AMAZING, and right on Trafalgar Square which is so pretty, you can see Big Ben in the background, and anyways seeing all of these famous portraits is actually...really really awesome. And getting to read more about them too. King Henry VIII was SUCH a player, and ironically in his portraits his crotchal region was always super emphasized...tsk tsk. I also took photos in there and after a LONG TIME was attacked because apparently it wasn't allowed...but I still have them. My life of crime continues!

~Had a great wander around, got an amazing little notebook that I now use to write down my greatest wish or desire every day on one line (as you can tell I RAMBLE too much to make a daily diary type thing feasible, I've tried and fail and one line is I think my only option), and got some fish and chips and...PEAS? whats up with that London...

~Went to see Alice and Wonderland 3D! :):):) It was amaaaazing, Tim Burton is so delightfully weird. And then we went home because we had to leave early the next morning, and so kindly our Hostel gave us breakfast to go on our walk and train ride back home :)

So that is London in a sunny nutshell and now I will upload photos. Sorry it took me so long to update this but I thought maybe I wouldn't ramble so much if I waited a few day, however this does not prove to be the case at all. So now, I give up :) My next trip will be updated much more promptly...