Late Night Productivity Update

Filled 6 pages in my mini Moleskin with lists of clothes that would be good to pack! My plan is to list everything I think of, then go through and cross off things I won’t actually wear as often or really need. Then I pack my bag, take out almost a fourth of it and put all that back, then leave my bag partially empty for room if I find anything cool on y travels. This plan worked exceptional well when I was in London last summer, and my bag was never over the allowed 50 pounds. I’m ordering my airline carry on approved hiking backpack tomorrow! Found a CHEAP one on Amazon, so I’m going to see if I can fit what I need for the plan ride in it, as well as enough for my 10 day break when I’ll be traveling across Spain and France to see a few friends living abroad as well this year. 40 more days! It’s finally beginning to feel real 🙂 I’ve never been so ready for anything in my entire life.

But all this list making has caused me to put off my workout until now, at midnight. (Yes, I’m crazy. But I was sick with a stomach ache earlier today and the medicine is just now kicking in!) Again, I leave in 40 days. I want to be in the best shape of my life so I’ll have enough energy and strength to do all the things I want to do and be able to climb mountains like they’re nothing. No rest days anymore! 40 days and 40 nights of “Insanity” workouts will hopefully get me into that peak physical fitness level I aspire to reach. People have done it before, and had amazing results after even just 20 days of non-stop dedication. I’ve seen some results in the first 30 days since I’ve been doing Insanity, but my dedication wavered because I claimed I was usually too tired after work. No excuses anymore!! 40 is a magical number (and 4 is my lucky number) so I truly think I can make a positive, healthy change in 40 days. Ok, enough of my obsessive list making and INSANE desire to get incredibly fit before I leave. Gotta go make some progress!!

Xx,

J

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42 Days Away/ Accommodation Application Completed!

41 days, 23 hours, 37 minutes and some odd seconds till I leave for my new home! There have been a few new bits of information in regards to the process that I thought to share with you all, as I have actually had a great experience dealing with the staff in various departments in Chester. Thankfully, nearly all the departments I’ve worked with during my time at UTC were efficient and helpful, but I did have a few experiences where offices recorded things incorrectly and nearly messed up my ability to graduate early. Fingers crossed that everything stays smooth with Chester!

Today, I was finally able to apply for housing (or accommodation as they call it) after a few emails back and forth with the IT Help Desk and my International Welfare officer. I had not been assigned a student ID or password, and could not access their equivalent to UTC’s Mocs Net. This was a bit stressful, because many of the things I need to do are linked to this account and university email. Thankfully, they were able to assign the information to me and I officially registered before the 10 August deadline. Unlike UTC, I did not apply to live in a specific dorm or with other specific people (not that it matters, as I do not know anyone!). Rather, I ranked my preferences to live in a specific type of housing. My top choice was naturally a full board single room with en-suite facilities (aka my own toilet/sink/shower) with similar places following. My last choice was a studio flat, because while that would be awesome if I was out of school, I want something close to the heart of campus where I can meet a lot of new people.

Not knowing exactly which house/hall I’ll be in is a bit stressful, but I feel confident I’ll end up where I need to be. Again, I was just so impressed by how quickly and efficiently my questions were answered. Another thing I like about the Chester process is that they have an iPhone app which allows you to do everything from apply for accommodation to check your email and register for classes. This is a great user friendly app and allows students to check things on the go without having to look at the teeny tiny font of a web page on Safari mobile.

I haven’t even begun to think about considering what I might pack for the trip. However, I am collecting items of clothing I think might be useful and attempting to sell all those that will not be useful online. So far, I’ve only made about $40. I’m taking things to a consignment shop soon, so we’ll see how that goes! More posts on packing will follow. I do have one question for any fellow world travelers out there:
Do you suggest using a hiking backpack as my airplane carry on? I plan to take a LOT of trips (as I don’t have class every day of the week as I did in the US), so I am wondering if taking a backpack would be smarter. I can also fit a LOT of clothes/food/provisions/blankets/etc in one of those backpacks, which is why I thought it might be a good idea. On the plane there, it would be mostly empty, and I could fill it with anything I want to bring back when I leave rather than having to make room in my suitcase.

Getting excited for the upcoming junkets!

Xx,

J

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Hugging The World

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On top of Holyrood Hill. Which was more mountain than hill at some points, but I loved it all the same 🙂

London from the London Eye

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Took this gorgeous photo on my last day in London. It really couldn’t have been a more perfect way to bid farewell to my absolute favourite city. Only two more months till I can return!!

xx,

J

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The Salisbury Crags- Edinburgh, Scotland

The Salisbury Crags- Edinburgh, Scotland

Absolutely one of the happiest days of my life. I felt alive there. Scotland is without a doubt one of my favorite places in the world. Photo taken Summer 2012.

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STATE OF THE J-UNION: 100 DAYS

Well, it’s actually 102, but I’m rounding down. For the sake of a good title, I’ll take artistic license and just fudge the dates a bit. Here’s a little update on how plans and things are going in preparation to study at Chester in the fall. 

I’ve “met” a few American students studying abroad there next semester and they all seem rather interesting. They’re into a lot of British fandom things like I am, so I am sure we’ll get along well and have things in common! Also found a couple fellow bloggers who are actual British students at Chester, and they seem great as well. Very friendly and happy to answer all my questions. It’s reassuring to know I’m going to a place where I’ll get along with the other students. Apparently, they’re aren’t too many international kids studying there in the fall, which was great news for me. Not that I don’t want to befriend Americans or students from other equally unique cultures, but my goal in studying in Chester is to intermingle myself with British students and fully experience what university life is like for them. Many of my friends from here study abroad and come back with great friends from across the country, and that is wonderful. I certainly made some wonderful friends when I studied in London summer 2012, but I also made sure to meet other Brits from the church I attended and from colleges down the road from us. It absolutely made my experience. A lot of kids in our program were there to take in the nightlife and decreased drinking age, which is certainly fine and they had a fabulous time. However, that kind of thing isn’t enough for me. You don’t experience a country by attending it’s nightclubs, bars, restaurants, or shops. Yes, that is certainly part of knowing the culture, and I did my fair share of the above last summer. (Especially shopping. It was ridiculous…)

But if you’re going to say “I’ve been to Edinburgh,” “I lived in England,” or “I traveled to Paris/Berlin/Prague/etc.” it’s in your interest to do things locals would do. Go for a run in their parks. Hike their trails. Hike their mountains and try to talk to the old Scottish local men with accents thick like melting gold who are somehow at the top and less out of breath than you are. Attend the local churches, even if it’s not your religion or faith. Visit their homes when they invite you- which they will, because they’re that kind of gracious and welcoming people, and they’ll be surprised by how polite and funny Americans are. Get lost in the deep recesses of pedestrian streets on your way to visit something and be caught up in stress until you ask for directions and realize you’re a mere skip around a left turn away. Ask to take pictures with all the gingers you see. Laugh when you realize they’re Dutch and don’t understand you at all. When you travel to another city, walk everywhere possible. Don’t lose out on even a second of the experience by taking a cab. That being said, take the Metro when you can’t possibly walk somewhere in time. Try not to be sick when you feel rotten and are packed on like literal sardines. Smile at people on the bus. Talk to them. Give up your seat to a mother with two children. Smile when she says, “Cheers!” as a thank-you. Wonder at the marvels of their grocery stores. Freak out when they seal your purse with a zip-tie in a plastic bag at the Barcelona supermarket. Oggle at the open air markets with stalls selling fish that were only just thrown out of the sea and still wiggling their eyeballs in a frenzy. Order a huge serving of chicken curry from an Indian street food vendor and enjoy the scintillating sun warming you as the spices do simultaneously as you walk around Camden market, eyeing all the fabrics, metals, and people clinking and weaving throughout the pathways. Ask locals for their advice on where to go, what to see, who to ask for. Bring the color-coded guidebook you’ve read and dog-eared and underlined and poured over. Don’t use it once. 

That is my Europe, so far. I feel reassured that I am doing the right thing and pursuing an experience that will alter my life forever. Who I meet and where I go is yet unknown, but it will be great. In all seriousness, even if I just get to know myself on a new level and gain skills to make me a better truth-teller/writer/journalist/traveler/Earthling, that will be a successful experience. Hopefully, a few good friends and a career path will present themselves, but all in time. And I couldn’t be more excited that the time is quickly approaching! 

More posts in the future about packing, plans, and classes. 

 

xx, 

 

J

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Brighton Beach- Summer 2013

Brighton Beach- Summer 2013

I can’t wait to make it back! 122 days till I land in Chester 🙂

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