Sunday, January 31, 2010

Phone Heaven

It seems like today went by waaay too quickly, but I guess that happens when the sun sets at 4:30. My friends and I all hung out for a little while today, then we went to the down town area and went shopping. We all got a something that is really going to improve our quality of life/happiness here. I really never considered myself a person that is completely dependent on my phone, but not having one really sucks! Whenever we split up we have specify when and where we are going to meet again, and it's really a big hassle. Also, there is just something about having a phone that makes you feel connected with the world. So first thing we did today was walk into down and browse the numerous phone shops and plans available. We all ended up getting cheap £5 phones that are pay as you go. However, the great part about it is when you pre pay you get 300 free international minutes for 30 days. Then if I want more international minutes I can call on my phone (which is like 25 pence per minute) or I can just top up. When I do that I get 300 more mintues. So today I prepaid £20 onto my phone, and I now have a phone on me and can call my friends if I need to, and I won't have to get a calling card and find some obscure phone to call home with. I have to call my customer service number tomorrow to activate my free international minutes, so I should be able to make calls after class tomorrow.

I'm a lot happier now that I have a phone, and I feel like it was the best £25 that I could have spent. And I'm hoping that it's going to last for a good while. I'm hoping that I won't have to top up every month, but we'll see what happens. But I have a feeling that we'll have to go back there sometime and thank the nice "fit" Scottish boy that helped us for about an hour figure out what plan and phone we wanted! ("fit" is the word people in the UK use for people they find attractive. I've come to the conclussion that it means hot) He's in the business school at Aberdeen so Jessie and I were like ohhh hiii helpful Scottish boy. Haha. It was pretty funny. I have a feeling that Jessie might have been crushing on him a wee bit.

Last night I spent all night talking to my flat mate, and she's a really nice girl. I learned that she is actually a foriegn exchange student from Finland, but she's studying here for a whole year instead of just a semester. So she was giving me a lot of tips, and telling me about some organizations that I should join. I'm pretty excited about it. She seems really nice. It looks like there is a lot of hiking in my future!

Last night I also realized that my power sockets didn't work. I think that my fuse blew when my alarm clock blew up. I talked to the guy working at our front desk and he said that he was going to go and fix it. So I'm hoping that it's all fixed now. I haven't been in my room all day long (since 11:30). Basically I just slept there, woke up, ate some cheerios, and haven't really been back since... except maybe to drop somethings off real quick. But I expect that once I get my internet working I will spend more time in my room, instead of walking to the computer lab every night (it's really loud in here!) I'm going to take my computer to IT tomorrow and see if they can help me set it up. But that means that I can't update pictures yet :( I feel like I should be taking a super lot for you all, but the truth is I haven't really taken ALL that many. I have taken quite a few, but I haven't really been anywhere too great yet. I've just been in town, which pretty much looks like any other town in the world... so it's not all that exciting to take pictures of... I have taken a few though. I've taken some of my friends, my flat, the waterhole, and around town a bit.

Tonight my new best friends (Julia and Jessie, I hang out with a bunch of people but I usually hang out with the two of them on a constant/consistent basis) and I all ate dinner at this really awesome chinese place. It was a really cool setup, and I took some pictures there too! So hopefully whenever my computer starts working I'll have some cool pictures for you all to look at!

One new thing that I learned today is that hand sanatizer is apparently "hand gel" here.

Oh one last thing, I'm really curious as to who reads my blog. I'd really like it if you'd send me a facebook message if you read my blog, because if no one is reading it I feel silly writing it everyday! So yeah, please let me know :)

Tomorrow is the first day of classes, and I'll probably be out and about all day long again... but then again by the time all of my classes are done and I run most of my errands it'll probably be like... noon at home hahaha.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Currency and Tidbits

The British pound is worth a lot more than the American dollar right now. When I converted my money I got about £585 for $1000 which i thought really sucked. However, while i've been over here I've learned that the exchange rate and the prices of things here kind of even it out.

Here is my grocery list for earlier today:

Loaf of bread £.59
2 really cute porcelain mugs £.99
A huge box of Cheerios £2.76
Pringles (special really good tasting Pringles) £1.99
Hand wash (which I thought was hand santatizer) £.46
Strawberry Jam £.89
Honey Ham £2.69
2 liter of milk £.86
ketchup £.55
Peanut Butter £1
Organic potatoes (a pretty good sized bag) £1
4 organic apples £.30

In total I spent £14.80 for everything. And for a 5 liter bottle of mineral water it costs £.67 Today at Subway my friend and I shared this deal for £5.99 you got two 6 inch subs, two fountains drinks, and two chips or cookies.

So things even out a bit.

A couple of the people that I've met have studied abroad before and are more experienced at traveling than I am. My one friend introduced me to a pass that will let us stay at hostels really cheaply. It says that for £9 we will have access to over 4,000 hostels worldwide, but for some reason I just find this too good to be true. Other people know about megabus deals that will take us from Aberdeen to Edinburgh for £1 and then there are really cheap airflights to other places as well. So that will all help with the budget and traveling!! I have a feeling that I'm not going to be too heart broken about leaving my flat for extended periods of time. It looks as if Jessie and I aren't going to be having any Friday classes this semester, and I'm pretty sure other people won't either. There are a lot of groups on campus that go on trips throughout the semester so I'm looking into joining them.

It's pretty interesting ordering anything to eat here, because I've come to realize even if it's the same brand it's probably not the same product. Everything is different, and it all has different names here. For example crisps are potato chips, and chips are actually french fries. But I'm hoping I'll get the hang of it.

Another thing that is really weird is the driving!! I've always known that people in Europe drive on the opposite side of the road, but I never really thought of what kind of difference that would make in just walking around. Crossing the road is definetely an interesting experience, because you're always expecting cars to come from the opposite direction. So when you cross the street you have to look to the left instead of the right. It sounds like it should be easy to just look the other way, but looking to the right is a hard habit to break!!

Also people in Scotland are very very friendly. We've been asking people for directions all day, and everyone we've come across has been very helpful "Oh ye just walk a wee bit in that direction, and then turn to the right, and then when ye walk a wee more distance turn to ye left"
Tomorrow we are hoping to explore the city more, and hopefully get to take some pictures!! Yay! So tomorrow I will hopefully be able to post some awesome Scotland pictures for you all to see!!

Arrival update!

Sorry for the delay of posts, but these past couple days have been really really super busy!!! I thought on Wednesday that I was almost packed up but I ended up having more packing to do than I thought!!! I packed the entire day on Thursday. I was planning on updating my blog in Chicago or in London, but neither place had free WIFI. Then yesterday when I got to Scotland blizzard type weather hit. It took FOREVER to get a taxi and then it took even longer to get to my campus building.

The flat that I'm living in (dorm/apartment) is really small! It's not what I really expected, but I'm not completely shocked at the same time. When I first saw it I was a little bummed. I have a small fridge. I don't want to say that it is the size of a mini fridge exactly, but it's like two mini-fridges ontop of each other. One half is the fridge part and the other is the freezer, and I share that with 4-5 other girls. So needless to say I don't have a ton of fridge space. Also we have a mini stove. It's two burners and a convention oven. However there are two toliets, and a fair sized bathroom area. I have an individual room that I can lock which makes me really happy. I wanted to post pictures of my flat along with this post, but due to some issues that I'll explain later that's not possible yet.

My roommates are all really friendly and helpful. They are all from different countries throughout Europe. I know the one is from Denmark and the other is from France. The other girl that I met told me where she was from but I'm not sure exactly what she said.

Overall it's not the worst place that I've ever stayed at. I think that I've got a pretty good system of where I'm going to keep all of my stuff now. Also there are a lot of american international students in my dorm. Right across the hall from me there are two girls that I've become pretty good friends with already, and then I've been hanging out with Jessie, the other girl from BG and another girl that we met at the airport when we arrived. All day we've been meeting people (all american girls), and walking around with each other. I've been in a steady group of 3-5 girls all day, and sometimes more. In about a half an hour I'm going to be meeting a group of about 10 or so possibly more people at "The Watering Hole" And yes it really is a place to meet and hang out called the watering hole. It is literally the next building over from my flat. There is the main check in area, a dining area, a way overpriced convenient store, and then the bar/pub called the watering hole. The name really cracks me up. I guess it's one of the main places that people go to hang out at night. In the day time everyone goes to a place called the Hub which is like BG's student union.

Due to the fact that I need to not E register before I got to campus I could not access internet last night. In order to sign onto the wifi you have an Aberdeen username and password which I had not created yet. Also I have to reconfigure my computer so that it will work here. I was planning on doing this today, but unfortunately it takes 24 hours for my account to be activated so I won't be able to sign onto my own computer until tomorrow or possibly Monday (first business day). After that I should have working internet in my room and be able to post pictures and skype!

In hind site I'm actually really glad that my internet didn't work yesterday, because I was 100% planning on just coming onto the internet and updating my blog, facebooking, and emailing... and due to it not working I had to go out and meet other people. So now I know a bunch of girls in my flat area so I guess it all worked out good! Also the adapter that i brought with me from home didn't work very well, or at least that's what I assume because when I plugged my alarm clock in it blew up after a few mintues. So I went out and got a different adapter that other people have been using that has worked good. So I have my fingers crossed that nothing else will go wrong!

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update and let everyone know I was alright!! I'm going to meet up with some more people tonight and hopefully make some more friends!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Song of the Week

So I decided that I'm going to try something out. Every week I'm going to post the "song" of the week. I'm not sure if I'll make this post on a consistent day every week, but I do promise that I will post one sometime during the week.

So drum roll please! The first song of the week is "If today was you're last day" by Nickleback. I think this is an accurate description of my thoughts for this week. :)

You can click there to watch it. Perhaps if I get real good at this I'll figure out a way to just make the youtube video show up here in my blog so that you can just click on it and watch it. If anyone is a blog whiz and knows how to do it, or knows anyone that might please pass the info on to me. :)

There isn't too much more to update from yesterday. Except that I'm juuuust about packed!! I amazingly fit all of my clothes into one large suitcase :) I'm quite proud. But yeah I still have some odds and ends stuff to do until my flight tomorrow but for the most part I'm set. I'm super excited for tomorrow. Mom is making me my "last supper" tomorrow. She's going to make a roasted chicken with her yummy stuffing. Then I'm visiting my grandma, and then probably heading to the airport not too long afterwards. The one thing that I'm really sad about is that my phone going to be coming along with me :( I don't know what I'll do without being able to text all day, but somehow I'll get through it haha. I don't think I'm even going to take my phone for my layover in Chicago, but I don't know yet... we'll see.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2 Days and counting!

Well I'm coming down to the wire here! Only two more days until I go to Scotland which seems crazy to me! It feels like I've been waiting forever to go, but that I totally need more time to get ready at the same time! I still am not really packed, and I need to get some pounds (money) to have while I'm over there. But my mom told me that she had that taken care of so I'm not too worried about it.

Tonight I'm going out with my little cousin and we're going to hang out. We might end up catching a movie and going to Cracker Barrel or something. THEN I'm going to be packing until the sunrises! Haha. I'm hoping to have everything packed by tomorrow night, because my plane is leaving on Thursday!

Ohh by the way if you want me to send you a post card make sure that you facebook me your address so I have it. :) I'll probably send something out on facebook reminding everyone, but I have an address book that I'm putting together and taking with me. If you send it on facebook make sure that you send it in a message and don't post it on my wall, because number one if you post it on my wall everyone will be able to see it, and I'll probably lose it as it gets farther down my page.

Well I have quite a bit of things to get done now, so I'm going to keep this as a short post! I'm sure my posts will get a lot more interesting as I get to Aberdeen!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In BG for the weekend!!

So this is my last weekend in the US for a while, so I decided to go down to BG to visit all of my friends. I was originally planning on staying up in BG for Friday and Saturday, and then coming home on Sunday to see the family, but on my way to BG I talked to the other girl going to Scotland with me (Jessie), and she told me that we were supposed to turn in paper work for our finanical aid to tranfer. We never received or filled out any paperwork, so we were both a little bit concerned. I got to BG right around 5 (when all the offices closed) on Friday so I decided to stay in BG until Monday to make sure that everything got worked out!! It was too important to try to straighten out over the phone. I was really sad to not get to go home and visit everyone though :(

But I'm having fun in BG! I'm trying to figure out how to work my new camera!! The only thing that I kinda might not like about it is that it has a really bright flash!! And if you know me, then you know I am an avid blinker when flashes go off hahaha. But I'm hoping it won't be a huge problem. It looks like it takes really really good pictures. :) It has a lot more features than my old camera so it's pretty cool.

But yeah being in BG this weekend has been pretty fun. It's good to get to see all my friends and hang out a little bit before I have to leave! But the next couple of days are going to be full of hard core packing!!! I feel sort of bad that I'm procrastinating packing so much, but I've been pretty busy. Luckily I'm not leaving on Wednesday like I originally thought I was. My plane actually leaves later on Thursday night.

But... until I get to all of that... I'm really excited about Desperate Housewives tonight! My friend Rodney doesn't know it yet... but he's watching it with me tonight haha. Speaking of my friends I'm going to end my post soon so that we can go and play cards. Yay for finding friends that like back alley!!! I've been in my full glory this weekend, because we've been playing so much :) I'll probably post some pictures with my new camera Monday night or Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Making a list, Checking it twice

With only 8 days until my trip I'm trying to make sure that I don't forget anything! I haven't started officially packing yet, but trust me it won't be long now!! I've been looking at Rick Steve's packing list and it seems like it's pretty thorough! I have a couple of things that I need to add to it. Like finding a mini-foldable hair dryer! I can't stand sleeping with a wet head, so that is essential for me to find one! Also I need to make sure that my laptop is updated with my music, and that I know how to work my new camera and webcam.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera battery on my trip with my dad so we don't have any pictures from it. I was really looking foward to taking pictures from our cabin, and in Savannah, but oh well what can you do? I'll just have to start taking a bunch of pictures with it throughout this week and weekend. I'm hoping to get the hang of it before I get off my flight for my 6 hour layover in London!

My mom and I decided that I'm going to buy a bedding set from Aberdeen (the school I'm going to), because it's going to be a lot easier to just get the stuff from them, rather than trying to stuff it all into my suitcase! I have enough stuff that I need to pack that is more important then that anyways. BUT I have decided that I am going to smuggle my favorite pillow into my luggage somehow! I can't imagine 5 months without it!! I also have a couple of soft cuddly blankets that fold up pretty small so I'll easily be able to fit them in too.

If anyone has an experience with packing for trips, and they think that something else should be on my list that isn't please let me know!! I don't want to forget anything, because it would suck to have to buy it there.


Welcome to my blog! This is an experiment for me! I've never really kept a journal or made blogs before, but I told everyone that I would start a blog to keep everyone up to date on my travels... So I'm keeping my word, and starting this up!

I'm sure I'll have some more interesting news in a couple of day as I get ready to go to Scotland :) 8 days and counting!