Just a small update

Hey everyone!

I know it’s been a good while since I’ve last updated.  It’s been a fairly busy Summer, filled with working as much as possible to attempt to save up money for the day (week/months/years?) that I go back to Europe and other life goals.  Recently I’ve prepping for my final semester as an Psychology undergraduate student at my University here in NY.  I have a full course load (15 credit hours) as well as an internship at a local Youth shelter.I found out recently my results for my Spring semester from UCLAN – I received the American Equivalent to a 2.94 (which, in letter grades, is a solid “B” average).  I’m pleasantly surprised with the average considering I didn’t do as well as I would have liked on two of my exams.  I’m happy with it though. :)

Unfortunately I do not have much adventuring to write about, like I said, my Summer has been full of work.  Or I have tried.  Being away for five months without a weekly income really set me back a bit, so I’ve been trying to play catch-up.  It hasn’t been the easiest, which irritates me sometimes, but I don’t really mind.  Going to England was easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t regret it one bit. :)

I’m used to the way of life over here again, it took a little bit, but I managed.  There are times when I still miss England and all the friends I made there, and the places that I traveled to in Europe as well.  But I am glad that I have the memories, and the photos to remind myself. They also give me motivation to one day make it back there.  Even if it’s only to visit.

That’s all I’ve got for now.

Until next time,

Cheers! :)


Well, I’m officially back in New York.  I have been since about 7:30ish pm Standard Eastern Time on Wednesday the 22nd.  Since then I’ve been a little busy/jet-lagged.

So here’s the low down on the last few days.

Tuesday:  Jeremy, Peggy & I went and had lunch at O’Neill’s. My favorite flatmate ending up having to leave for Liverpool really early in the afternoon (though her flight for Amsterdam wasn’t until 6am Wednesday) so Peggy & I met her at the coach station (I had to buy my coach ticket for Wednesday anyway to Manchester Airport). Saying goodbye to her was hard.

Afterward Peggy & I met back up with Jeremy had had some icecream. That evening I hung out with the gang and had dinner at Roper Hall.

I walked with Devin & Britney back to Whitendale (our hall of residence) – Devin was going to  study for her exams Wednesday, and Brit wanted to get her pillow for film night. So I said goodbye to Devin then.

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Then Brit & I went back to Flat 40 for horror film night.

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Wednesday: I got very little sleep and got up around 6am to get ready for the day/do some final clean up.  Jeremy came round for tea at 7am, Peggy came over round 7:30.  Around 7:45 we walked down to the courtyard with my luggage. I dropped off my room/building key, then hung out and talked with them until the taxi that Jeremy called for me arrived.  The taxi arrived so that really meant it was time for me to go. Saying goodbye to both of them was really hard. I tried not to cry, but, you know.. it happened.

The taxi dropped me off at the coach station, I hulked my luggage (now two big suitcases and my one carry-on… how did I obtain so much more stuff?!) inside and waited for my coach. On the ride to Manchester airport (about 2.5 hours) I slept on and off. Checked in at the airport, got some lunch and waited around until my flight to Heathrow. 45ish minutes later and it was time to chill at Heathrow airport.  I wandered around, got a small bite to eat, had a cup of camomile tea to calm down.  Being overtired and sad about leaving… not a good combination.  The time to board my flight came, the walk from the terminal to the plane was.. interesting.

First; they had a dog sniffing everyones carry-on/bags.  Then there was Border Force.  One of the ladies on the Border Force pulled me aside, asked me a few questions (about my money – how much I had, was I holding any for anyone else, my bag – if I packed it myself, was I carrying anything for anyone, what I was in the UK for, how long was I there etc etc… very strange). Once on the plane we sat there for a good 40-45 minutes after it was supposed to depart.  Apparently due to the departure runway being pretty busy.

They served us dinner shortly after we were in the air, whilst I ate I watched “Warm Bodies.” Love that movie.  Then I started watching “The Hobbit” and I ended up passing out, lack of sleep had caught up to me.  The flight was a total of about 7.5 hours.. I slept for about 4-4.5 of it. Then of course there was customs, then baggage claims. By 8/8:30 I was on the road with my mom, dad, and grandfather back to my house. We arrived shortly after midnight.

Thursday: I unpacked a bit, and revised for my exams that I would be taking on Friday. We also had a family dinner at the Gourmet Cafe, it was all you can eat Pasta Night (delicious – everything is made fresh for you, right there, you get your choice of pasta/veg/meat/seafood/sauces… etc).

Friday: I had my two exams, I unpacked/reorganised a bit more (when I walked into my room Thursday morning around 12.30am I was sort of surprised by how much stuff I had. It feels like I have way too much, considering I had just come back from living with 1/4-1/2 the amount for four months), then Friday night I hung out with my mom and we had dinner then went to the Cinematheque Theatre (a local, independent theatre in town – I love it!) to see “The Big Wedding.”  Which was hilarious.

Which brings me to yesterday, Saturday.  I had not done much at all yesterday due to jet leg really catching up to me, I slept a good chunk of the day.  It does not help that it’s been raining all day, and the rain relaxes me and makes it easier to sleep. Hah.

Adjusting to my “new”/old surroundings has been interesting.  It’s sort of like, reverse culture shock.

It feels weird being back, it doesn’t really feel right. No British accents, no cars driving on the left side of the road, no pound currency, no pubs within walking distance, no UK locals/European internationals/best flatmate ever within walking distance, no supermarket within walking distance. I have to drive if I want to get to the city next to my town (well, I could walk, but it’d take like.. half an hour/forty-five minutes as opposed to 10-15).  If I want to get anywhere really, I have to drive.

Crossing roads here I’ve noticed that I instinctively now look right first instead of left.  This morning, I woke up, walked out of my room thinking I was back at Whitendale and figured I’d see my flatmate Chrissy or Craig in the kitchen. Then I saw my dogs and was like; “Oh, yeah.. I’m in NY now.”

It’s funny how some things became so automatic, and now, I have to get used to this way of life once again. As I said, it doesn’t feel right, but I suppose I have to get used to it.

Saying goodbye really stinks, and is really hard.  How do you say goodbye to some of the most wonderful people that you’ve ever met, that you might not ever get to see again? How do you say goodbye to them and the place that you’ve felt the most comfortable in,  and have become accustomed to calling it home – but might never see again?

How do you accept the fact that the physical place of residence that you’re going back to, seems like nothing compared to someplace else. How do you accept the fact that the job that you’re going back to, potentially won’t provide you with the same sense of satisfaction as being somewhere else that’s awesome (even though you couldn’t find work)?

Most of all, how do you say goodbye to a place and people you’ve grown to love and adore – gracefully. Without sadness, without tears?  Here’s a top tip; you don’t.

It’s really hard, really, really hard. Tears are generally inevitable.  Though it’s important to remember that you’ve done something that you’ve (hopefully) always wanted to do, and you’ve made some great lifelong friends, and you had a good time.  There are plenty of ways to keep in touch. Also, making such great friends in another country, gives you a viable reason for going back someday.

I’m super thankful that I was able to finally be in England, though it feels like the time was much too short.  I met some wonderfully amazing people whom I’ll never forget, and I had some really awesome times.

I know I’ll be returning as soon as I possibly can.

Since my study abroad experience is now over, I’m not quite sure what will become of this blog.  I may keep it as a travel blog for other adventures I’ll embark on.. even if they’re not overseas adventures for some time. We will see, but I’m fairly certain that’s what I’ll do.

Until next time,


It’s been a long few days.

I’ve covered a lot of ground since Thursday, both with walking and using public travel.  Thursday was traveling to Bournemouth, walking to my hotel with a great view, then walking around for about 8 miles with my friend.  Friday I walked back to the coach station, rode for two hours on the coach to Victoria Coach Station, walked to my hostel on the other side of Hyde Park. Saturday, walked to Euston Train Station to store my luggage, walked to Kings Cross to finally see the Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4,

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walked to Trafalgar’s Square to catch the Evans Evans coach to the Stonehenge (about 2 hours), walked around there,

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rode the coach back to London, walked back to Euston Station, rode 1930 train home (2.5ish hours), walked back to my flat, then walked to my friend Jeremy’s flat.

It was there that I was surprised by these people:

my surprise party

(Photo courtesy of my wonderful flatmate, Chrissy. This was taken well before I arrived, I’m guessing anyway.)

They threw me a surprise/going away party. :) :D

There was even cake! My flatmate, Chrissy, made it. It was delicious!!

surprise cake cake cake-yum

As exhausted and weary I was from all the traveling I had done over the previous three days, it absolutely made my night.  There were others who wanted to come but were unable to make it (as I found out), but that’s quite alright.  I will miss these guys, and a few who aren’t in the picture, very very much. I adore each and every single one of them.

It’s the “final countdown” (cue epic music) until I return to New York State.. but I’m doing my best to not count.  I’m still not ready.. I don’t think I ever will be, to be quite honest.

Tomorrow is clean-up day. Last loads of laundry to ever do in the UK, pack some more, make sure my room and the rest of the flat is nice and tidy for my room/flat inspection, and do a bit of revising.  Tuesday will be more of the same (minus the flat/room inspection).  Then Wednesday I return to the States.

Until next time,


Spending time on the coast

Sorry about the lack of updates. There hasn’t really been much to talk about.  I’ve just been busy revising and trying to enjoy my remaining time here in England.  I’ve taken two exams so far, and I think I’ve done fairly okay.  I have two more exams on the Friday after I get home.  Other than that.. just relaxing and hanging out with my friends.

Yesterday I made my way down to Bournemouth, right on the Southern coast of England. Partially for one last mini-excursion before I leave on the 22nd (:(), but mostly to try to meet my other friend that I’ve known for 14 years now, Neil. Originally I was going take the mega bus down to London, but I decided to take the train down. From there I took the National Express to Bournemouth. The weather here yesterday was absolutely gorgeous!

The hotel I stayed in is The Cumberland on East Overcliff Drive.

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It overlooks the sea! :D

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It was beautiful, hot, and sunny out yesterday.  The weather looks gorgeous today too. It’s a great hotel, I have nothing bad to say about it.  The staff are friendly, my room is great, the breakfast is delicious.  Everything is great, and the best part, I paid a total of 39 pounds (through hotels.com) for my room.  Such a great deal, in my opinion.  If you ever come to Bournemouth, I highly recommend you stay here.

So my hopes of meeting my other friend of 14+ years but had never met in person, was fulfilled.  I was able to meet Neil. :)

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We walked and talked for ages (walked for about 8 miles he said, haha).  It was great to finally meet him after all these years.  It was great to finally meet both (Stu & Neil) of them after all this time.  I hope to see both of them again some day!

In a little bit I’m heading back to London to stay there for the night.  Tomorrow morning I’m taking a tour of the Stonehenge! I’m pretty excited.  I just need to find a printer between now and tomorrow morning so I can print out my ticket, haha.  After the tour of the Stonehenge, it’s back home to Preston.

That’s all I have for today.. or at least right now.

Until next time,


London, round two.

So today I was in London for the second time ever.  Well, technically my third time as when I flew into the UK I flew into Heathrow.. but I didn’t get out into the city to explore.. so that doesn’t really count. :P

My main reason for taking today off from revising was to meet a friend, Stuart.  I’ve known him for about 14 years now, but we had never actually met in person.  Sure we’ve chatted on the internet (originally through Yahoo! Pool – does anyone still play that?! lol).  Then through various messaging services (Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger anyone?! :P), and we’ve video chatted, and have talked over facebook, but never actually met.  The main reason (though you’ve probably guessed it by now) he lives here in the UK and I live in the State of New York.

(Side note; his best mate, Neil, I’ve also known for the same length of time.  However, due to his job/schooling he was unable to make it today. But plans are in the works to pop down and see him before I go).

Today, that matter has been rectified, I met Stu! I met I also met his lovely fiance (Emma) and their adorable (and not so little any more) daughter, Lily. I hopped on the train to London at 9am, arrived in London a little after 12, then made my way over to Baker Street (where their coach was dropping them off).  Traffic was a bit wonky, so they were running a little late. I was aimlessly wandering down Baker street towards a souvenir shop, just passing time.  Then I heard; “Hey Sam!” I look up and it’s Stuart! Huge hugs were exchanged, then he introduced me to Emma & Lily.  I came prepared with a gift for Lily, that way she wouldn’t feel so weird having a stranger hang out with them for a little while. Haha. After about an hour she was chattering away.  We walked around for a bit, walked through some “World Festival” or something on our way to lunch, then walked about a bit more before heading back over to Baker Street where their coach was picking them up.  Stu insisted on buying me a drink, as I apparently paid more than I should have for my portion of the lunch bill. Lol.

About 6pm their coach finally was arriving so that meant it was time to say goodbye.  Or rather, “See you later.” As I hope to see them all again at some point.  Whether it’s by me coming back to the UK to visit or they stop by my neck of the woods for a little while.  Hugs were exchanged all around, and I even got a hug from Lily! :)

Photographic proof that, after knowing each other for 14 years and we’ve spent who knows how many of those years saying that we need or should meet up at some point, it FINALLY happened!

Stu & I 5-12-2013

I had an excellent day, it was so awesome to finally meet him in person after all this time! I was nervous, because online conversation can be different than in real time conversation, but it all went better than I could have hoped.

I was also nervous about meeting Emma. Because he was meeting a girl in person that he’s only known online and she’s never talked to before.. haha. But as I said, it went much better than I could have hoped.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I hope to see them again soon! :)

And that’s all I’ve got for today.. well, yesterday now as it’s ten past midnight.  I think it’s time for a cup of tea then more relaxing before bed.

Until next time,


One exam down, three to go.

This past Wednesday was my first of four exams; it was my exam for the module “Drugs & Behaviour.”  Previously I had found out that the essay exam would sort of be like what we call in the States a “short answer.” Well… it wasn’t.  You’re provided with two booklets, one booklet for each answer (you answer only two).  As I mentioned before there’s the “Compulsory Seen Question” that we’re given a some point during the semester to work on, then there’s the “Unseen Questions.” You choose one question out of four to answer, and they’re all based on the lectures.

The questions have two parts which you need to answer.  The first part is a question, the second part is also a question but it’s (essentially) your opinion of whatever the second part of the question asks you.  I hope this is making sense.  Even though you are not creating a reference page for the information that you called upon to help justify your answer (like the other two essays I did during the semester here for my British Cinema module), it’s still an essay.  It sort of reminds me of the spontaneous English essays we used to do back in High School and the English classes in University. Anyhoo, enough babbling. So I had my first one on Wednesday, and I think I did pretty decently.  I know that I messed up a date and part of a name, but overall I think I did alright.  I suppose only time will tell.

My next essay exam is on the 14th for my “Eating Behaviours & Disorders” module.  After that I am done until the 24th (two days after I arrive back in the United States); it is then that I will be taking my last two exams.  They’re not essays though, they’re multiple choice.  So hopefully that won’t be too bad if I end up having jetlag by then. Haha.

After my exam on Wednesday I went to the gym to work off some stress at Studio Weights. After finding out that the gym took away two of my favorite classes during exam time. Yolates & Kombat. :(  After that my friend Peggy & I celebrated getting out first exam done (she also took the Drugs & Behaviour exam) by getting some well deserved ice cream from O’Neills.  We both chose the Baileys Strawberry Sundae.  Oh my goodness it was delicious.  I have a feeling we’re both going to get it a couple more times before I leave.

Speaking of leaving, I wish I wasn’t. Yes, once again I’m moaning about the day I leave seemingly arriving way too quickly.  Time needs to slow down! Overall, even though the cost of this semester ended up totaling to equal the cost of a whole academic year for my University, and I had to take out a separate loan to finance what Federal Aid couldn’t cover… it’s been totally worth it. I absolutely love it here. I don’t want to go back. I’m not ready to go back in 12 days. :(

On Sunday I will be traveling to London once again to meet a friend whom I’ve known for 14 years now, but have yet to meet in person. I’m hoping his best mate, also my friend, will be able to meet up as well. But at his work, he’s on call almost 7 days a week so he’s not sure if he’ll be able to meet up. The reason Stuart & Neil and I have yet to meet in person is because they’ve lived here in England all their lives, and I have lived in NY all of my life. We’ve always talked about meeting each other one day; they’d come on Holiday to NY or I’d visit them here in England.  Well, I’m here! So we’re meeting up.  At least Stuart and I are.  As I said, hopefully the Neil will be able to as well. As I don’t know when I’ll be able to come back to England; it’s expensive flying over here from the States! :( Meh.

I would like to take one final trip out of the UK before I leave, and I’ve been thinking about taking a short trip to Berlin after my exam on the 14th, but I’m not sure it’ll be feasible, money wise.  I do have the money, but I don’t want to spend too much, that way when I convert it back to American dollars, I’ll “have” more money, thanks to the conversion rate.  I’ll find out after my day trip to London on Sunday.

Okay, enough of that. I should get back to revising for my next exam.

Until next time,


Revision, revision, revision..

It’s really all I’ve been doing lately.  So last night I took a break and hung out with some great people.  We decided to go to this nightclub called “Blitz.” A handful of them have been there before, and liked it – I however have never been.  We got there a little before midnight, there was a live band playing.  I had no idea who they were, but as I found out they are called; “The Feud.”  Unfortunately by the time we got there they were nearing the end of their set.  I say unfortunately because the last handful of songs that I did hear, I absolutely loved.  I wish I had been able to see their full set!  They are awesome, if I had to describe their genre of music I’d say it’s a nicely balanced mix between rock and electric/dance.  They were selling their newest EP, “Electric Fix” which of course I now have. You can listen to it here on their suncloud page.  I will have to purchase their other EP soon. :)

After the band played the DJ took over.  All the songs they played were excellent.  A nice mix of proper oldies (I’m talking 70’s), 80’s and 90’s music.  I didn’t really stop moving/dancing/bee-bopping until a little after 3am when we all decided it was time to go home. Lol.  I had so much fun, it was a well deserved night out.

Though now, it’s back to revising. Bleh.

Until next time,