Sunday, October 18, 2009

Andrew Gets His EPA

Andrew fianally got his bottle of EPA. He looked a little disappointed...








Monday, June 15, 2009

6/16 Rome

6/16 Rome

I apologise once again for not having daily updates for over a week. I have not had a computer to work off of. But anyways I will try and bring you all update as best as possible.
When I departed the Uk, my group was headed to Belgium. We spent 2 days in Brussels, 2 days in Gent, and a day in Brugge. For the most part this part of the trip was not very organized like most of us expected it to be. We got to tour a few EU buildings, got lectures at each building, and had the Chief Economist from NATO come talk to us over dinner. Besides that, several Belgium Beers were sampled as well as various chocolates. I'm sure I did several other things but my memories a bit foggy at the moment, its all a big blur. From Belgium, me and several others headed to Amsterdam for a couple nights. The highlights of Amsterdam was the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, and the Heineken Brewery. The atmosphere of the city is um very unique and was quite an experience just to walk through.

Then 4 days ago I had a really really long day which ended in Rome where I ended up running into some people who looked related but weren't as good looking as me. In the past few days we have been all over Rome and have done a ton of walking, some of us are in better shape than the others. The first night we just walked to the Repubblica and around some of the surrounding area to get our bearings. We ended the night with some delicious Gelato.
On our first full day in Rome, we did a hop on hop off bus tour. It took us around to several sites around the city but was not very informative. It played music with the occasional dialogue about some ancient building. After the tour, we decided to do some exploring on our own. We headed to the Trevi Fountain and cooled down by the fountain. From their, we made our way to the Pantheon. This was an incredible building. On the way back to the hotel we stopped in one of the hundreds of churches located around Rome. It was called the Santa Maria Degil Angeli. It looked very plain on the outside, but was breath taking on the inside. Many of the churches here are like this. I can't wait to go inside St. Peters.

The next day started with a tour that took us around the Colosseum, the Palatino Hill, and Circo Massimo. Our guide was very informative on both ancient Rome and his country men in general. The weather has been pretty hot out, so most of the time we are dehydrated and getting sun burnt, but its part of the experience. We came back to the hotel for a short nap and then headed out to an area called Trastevere. This area was recommended to us by both Roy and our guide. We enjoyed a very good meal and decided to head back to the hotel to call it a night.

Yesterday we went on the Official Angels and Demons tour. We followed the Path of Illumination to the four alters of science; Santa Maria del Popolo, St. Peters, Santa Maria Della Victoria, and St. Agnes in Agony. The tour ended at the Castle of Saint Angelo. It was a very interesting tour that made me want to reread the book. After the tour we did some shopping around, cuz apparently some people like to go on vacation to shop. I don't get it. We came back to the hotel for a 2 hour rest and then headed to the meeting point of our second tour. This was a night tour of Rome that covered the topic of dark Rome. It hit the highlights of the famous executions and killings that took place in Medieval Rome. The tour ended around 11:30, just in time for us to find a late dinner. Overall we spent about 12 hours on our feet today, which meant some people were very tired and sore.
Mom & Dad Inside the Castle Of Saint Angelo
The Colosseum

On the Bus Tour
(The Ugly Child Had To Step Out Of The Pic)
Castle of Saint Angelo

Inside the Colosseum
Fountain of Trevi

The Pantheon
Inside the Pantheon
(I am Told The Light Only Shines On THE CHOSEN ONE)
(just informing you of the legend)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

6/1 - 6/3

6/1/09

Today was my last day in Ireland. Drew had booked an earlier flight home than the rest of us. He wanted to see some things before he left, so i decided to go with him. Several people in our room were not happy that we had gotten up early. Oh well its not like they didn't keep me awake so I don't really care. Drew and I headed to Trinity College. We wanted to see the Book of Kells. We had gotten to Trinity College about 20min before the exhibit opened. We walked around the campus for a bit, and then went to get in line. There was a big group from France already in line by this point. I figured I had taken some French over the years and tried to hold a conversation. I am a bit rusty to say the least. The convo quickly switched to English but the lady I was talking to was pleased that I had tried to speak French. The Book of Kells was written on calf skin in 800ad. Its pretty old. I wanted to take a picture but I wasn't aloud to. Oh well.
The rest of the day was spent enjoying this nice weather at one of the local parks. We just laid out in the sun and took a nap. There was a 10k cancer walk going on that ended near the park we were at. There was a band playing at the finish line. We enjoyed the music and the dancing of a drunk old guy. It was very entertaining. It was now time to get to the airport and head back to Bristol. I didn't have any troubles with security this time. However, our 45min flight ended up being delaid by 2 hours which sucked. When we got to the airport we looked for a cab to take us back to Bristol. The airport taxis wanted to charge us £80 for a cab of 4 people. To get to the airport it cost £25 for a cab with 4 people. We said that was highway robbery and refused to pay. Luckily I still had the cab company's number in my phone from our trip to the airport. I called them and they came and picked us up for £25. Our cab driver was appalled when we told him how much the airport was going to charge us. I am just glad that it worked out.

6/2/09

Lets see, today we had to start doing the whole class thing again. Our sessions were on globalization for both companies and cities. This professor was actually able to keep my attention and wasn't a boring economist. We played a game in class to give us a view of world trading. We were divided into 4 groups and given an envelope with resources in it to make paper cut outs that could be sold for money to the bank. My group got the most money to start with and the most resources. The other groups had to come trade with us so they could make money. One of the groups did a shady deal with us. We were trying to get more paper so we could make more money and we traded a pair of scissors for it. The paper that was given to us was not usable for the game, so we kinda got screwed. It all worked out in the end because my group had the most money in the end.

After dinner, I met up with the rest of my group to work on our project that we are presenting on Thursday. We got a good chunk of it done pretty quickly. When we were done working, i convinced Evan to come the casino with me. Going to the casino probably wasn't the best idea but i hadn't been to one in awhile. I ended up loosing £40 on the night. Well technically £39 because I kept a £1 chip to add to my collection of casino chips. When I was in the bus on the way home, I realized that I had forgotten the book that I was reading at the casino. I called up the casino and they had found the book and told me I could come back the next day to pick it up.

6/3/09

This mornings session started out pretty boring. I think it was on international alliances and why competitors work together. Once again it was an interesting topic but it was delivered in a monotone voice that just read everything off of a powerpoint slide. I wasn't the only one struggling to stay awake. In the afternoon, we went on a field trip to take a look at a local business. This business made glass and is called the Bristol Blue Glass company or something like that. We got to see how the glass was made and Dan was even given the opportunity to try blowing the glass because it was his birthday. Besides the building being extremely hot due to the furnaces that are kept at a temp over 2000* F to melt the glass, it was an awesome experience.

After we left Bristol Blue Glass, Paul (our program coordinator) took us to a bar and bout a round. We just sat around in the bar and gave him feedback on the program. When i finished my drink i ran to the casino to go pick up my book that i had forgotten there the previous day. Today was also Dan's 21st bday. So we made sure we went out and that he had a good time. We started at the coronation tap the has a special cider there that is only sold in half pint glasses due to its alcohol content. We then headed to a couple more bars. The girls had gotten pretty drunk so me and Sean ended up being the soberish chaperons. Andrea ended up getting sick at the bar and got kicked out. We took that as the cue to get everyone home. When i got in the taxi i discovered that i did not have my phone. I had used once all night and put it back in my pocket after i used it. I searched the cab, the bar, and the city centre and could not find it. I'm pretty sure i did not leave it anywhere, and think someone stole it. I am really hoping that one of the girls turns up with it tomorrow. oh well.

Temple Bar
Monk Ruins
Bday Boy Shaping Glass

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

5/29-5/31 Dublin

I apologize for the delay, did not have access to a computer and it took awhile to get caught up.

5/29

Today we had only one morning session. It was originally supposed to be a full day of classes but everyone had to get to the airport early to catch flights to Dublin, Paris, and Amsterdam. So our program coordinator was nice and canceled class for the afternoon. I forget what we did in class on the 29th, the last several days have been a blur of activity. It might have been on corporate social responsibility and ethics but it could of had something to due with finance. After classes I went to the computer lab to work on updated my blog and made the mistake of not looking to see when the next bus went to the City Centre. I had scheduled a cap to pick a group of us up from the City Centre at 2. I got on a bus around 1:20 and was told that it would take 35min to get to the City Center. Well the bus driver was right and I got there at 1:55 and had to start looking for the place that the taxi was supposed to pick us up from. I found it and got there at precisely 2, right on time. I had an interesting experience going through security at the Bristol airport. Its not like this is a thriving airport, it only has one terminal. Anyways, I walked through the metal detector and it beeped. The guy told me to take off my shoes I did so and turned around to walk back through the machine. He told me to stop before i got to it. Confused I turned around and discovered he wanted me to get a pat down. It ended up being a 5 min rub down. I didn't really want to get to 2nd base with the airport security guard, and plus he didn't even buy me dinner first. I WAS VIOLATED. It turns out it was the button on my jeans that had set off the security devises. Didn't know it was a crime to have a button on my pants. Oh well it makes for a good story.
The flight lasted about 45min. However we sat on the plan at the gate for an additional 15min before they let us off. Ireland's custom were pretty easy to get through, they barely looked at our passports. From there we grabbed a coach and headed to Dublin and checked into our hostel. There were 10 of us staying in the room again, this time all 10 were guys so they room quickly took on the pleasant smell of a muggy sweat. After some dinner, we decided to experience Ireland's culture and headed to the Temple Bar area. Dublin is very expensive so I did not buy many drink but the rest of the group dropped a small fortune on alcohol. We didn't stay to late and went to head back to the hostel. About 1 min after we got out of the pub, 2 drunks decided to pick a fight with the 2 bouncers of the bar. It was very entertaining to watch the drunks get the crap kicked out of them in about 6 seconds. Great way to end the night. Well this is where the night ended for some of us, the others stayed out a bit later and woke us up when they got home.

5/30

Our hostel provided a very nice complementary breakfast for us. We had the option of cereal, porridge, bacon, eggs, sausage, baked beans, fruit, and toast. We had gotten up early to make sure we could go on the Wicklow tour. When we got to the tour bus they did not have room for a group of 13, so we made reservations for the following morning. At this point everyone was awake and outside so, it was best to go see some of the sites. Without a map, we made our way through Dublin and arrived the the Guinness Brewery and took the tour. It was a very interesting self guided tour that ended in the gravity bar, which is on the 7th floor of the building. The bar is a circular room that provides a great 360* view of Dublin. It was a great view of the city and its surrounding countryside. We also got a free pint of Guinness at the bar, i thought I would be funny and tried to order a Heineken. The bartender laughed and gave me a Guinness. I'm not really a fan of it, but i figured it was part of the experience and did not want to be like the girls and give it to someone else. Due to some of the alcoholics in the group, we ended up spend 3 hours at the brewery, which in my opinion was 2 hours to long.
After we got everyone out, we had a quick lunch and then headed across the river to visit the Old Jameson Distillery and take the tour. This tour was also interesting and informative. At the end of the tour a few were selected to do a whisky tasting and everyone else was given a glass of whiskey. I like the whiskey, it was pretty good. After the tour, most of the group headed back to the hostel to take a nap, but several of us wanted to see the other sites and headed out to explore. We had finally got our hands on a map to help us with this. We walked through the Medieval & Viking area of the city. Didn't really know much about the buildings we were seeing but they looked cool and I took several pictures. From there, we headed to St. Patrick's Cathedral and Dublin castle. We didn't go inside either but took pics of the buildings themselves. We were getting hungry so we headed back to the hostel. It turned out that the rest of the group was getting dinner as well and planned to go on a guided bar crawl that night. The guides were kinda of shady, it felt like we paid 10 Euros for a wrist band that had no use. I was bored for the most of the bar crawl because I didn't want to pay between 5 and 6.5 euros for a drink. For those of you who don't know what that means in dollars, 1 euro is about = to 1.3 dollars last I heard. After the bar crawl ended, i kinda felt like the chaperon and made sure everyone made it back to the hostel. Once again the drunks in the groups were loud and kept most of the others up for a little longer than we wanted to be awake for.

5/31

Today was my favorite day in Ireland. We went on the all day Wicklow tour. It lasted from about 9am to 6:30 pm when we arrived back in Dublin. The tour took us through the hills of Wicklow. It was absolutely gorgeous. The pictures I took of the area do not do it justice at all, it is something that you have to experience yourself. This area appears in parts of several movies. To name a few: Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, and P.S. I Love You are the ones that i remember our guide mentioning. The Guinness family also has their house in these hills, I would kill to wake up to that few every morning. We drove through the area that Paul McCartney spend a day and came away with the song Yesterday. We made a couple stops, several of them being quick photo opportunities and others were at the reconciliation centre in Glencree, and the Valley of 2 Lakes. The reconciliation center is known recently as the place where the peace between the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland was worked out, and where peace talks between several countries in the Middle East took place. The Valley of 2 Lakes contained the ancient ruins of early monk establishments. These building were constructed with stone and did not use any mortar or sand between the stones. When we were about to leave this area, another coach was trying to get out of the parking lot. It could not due to the poorly parked cars. Our tour guide had mentioned earlier that the Irish people don't park their cars, they just abandon them were they feel like it. In order for that coach to get out, several guys from the tour car had to manually move some of the cars in the way. They did not but them back after the bus had gotten through, it would have been entertaining to see the reaction of the owner of the car when they came back to it. We had one more stop in a town for lunch. Our guide told us a good place to eat but after we ate we discovered that we could have eaten across the road for half the price. Oh well the food was good.
On the ride back, Nick decided to take a short video of me being a bobble head. I had fallen asleep and my head was acting like a bobble head. He was entertained by it and took the video. I'm sure he will pass it on to me at some point. We got back to Dublin around 6:30 and decided to find some more food. That night a small group of us went to try and find a hotel that had some Irish Step dancers performing. We were told it would be at 10, but when we got to the place we discovered that they had performed at 9:15. We were a bit disappointed, and decided to go check out Temple Bar. It was a neat pub but we weren't sure what it was supposed to be famous for. We enjoyed the local music for a bit and then headed home. We played some cards, and decided to go to bed. Just as we were getting ready to do that guess who came home? The loud drunks, so once again some of us were kept up a little later than we wanted to be.

Medieval Building (don't remember its name)
Old Monk Building

This Bridge Appears in P.S. I Love You (if anyone cares)
The Guinness Lake & Wicklow Hills

Wicklow Country Side
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Got In Trouble
Outside The Guinness Brewery

Thursday, May 28, 2009

5/28 City of Bath

Today we traveled to teh city of Bath. This was a very cool city, I wish we could have spent more time here. We got to see the Abbey that the first king of England was crowned in. It was over 1100 year old I think. The coolest part of the short trip was the tour of the Roman Baths. This was just a very cool place. There is a hot spring that supplies water to the baths, the water is usually around 80-85*. At the end of the tour you can get a glass of the water that supplies the baths. It wasn't really good but at least i tried it. Outside of the baths, there was a street performer playing and instrument called the Hang. The Hang look like a metal ball with dent in various places. Each dent makes a unique sound when it is hit. The music was very soothings and relaxing, so i bought a cd. After the tour we had to get back on the bus and head back to Bristol to go to class. Somewhere between the baths, the cornish pasty shop, and the bus we managed to loose 6 members of the group. They eventually showed up though.

Class was actually interesting today. We were looking into the reasons why various pieces of art were so expensive. We held a mock auction for a pablio Piccasso piece. I did not bid, I'm not really into abstract art. It was prob the best class session we have had so far. It may of been because the professor wasn't speaking in a monotone voice and was able to engage the class.


We decided to go to the local comedy club called Jesters for their evening show. It was a lot of fun. There were 3 different comedians and a host. The host, first and second comedians were local and difficult to understand at times. But from what we were able to here they were funny. The 2nd comedian was a hilarious Canadian. To see him was worth the entrance fee alone. We talked to him during the intermission and after the show. He was a funny guy. His girlfriend though I had good teeth, and then he offered her to me for a special fee. I respectfully declined though so he offered her to the others. I got his cd and he autographed it, and he wrote on it that i looked rich. Overall it was a great night. Can't wait for tomorrow, I will be going to Dublin for the weekend.

P.S. Spell check isn't working so I am assuming my spelling wil be worse than normal oh well deal with it.



Drinking The Water From The Spring

Filling Up My Glass With The Spring Water

City Of Bath

The Roman Baths

Main Swimming Pool at the Baths

video

Video of Street Performer Playing the Hang

5/27

Well today wasn't to exciting. The bus was 20min late but to make matters worse it was raining. We had another full day of classes. The morning session was on the financial crisis and the afternoon was about military spending around the globe. The second topic was interesting but was delivered in a monotone voice that put half the class to sleep. We were also given our first assignment today. We were broken up into groups, and told to come up with a product or service that is not currently in Europe and develop a business plan to launch it. We will pitch the plan next week at some point to a to a potential investor who has £100 million to finance it (fictional investor). The bus that was supposed to take us home from school was really late so we decided to get on another bus. It was probably the wrong bus to get on because it took an hour to get to the city center, and then from there we took another bus to the area that i live in. It usually takes 25 min to go from the university to the area that i live. When we got home it was time for dinner. We had some sort of soup with dumplings which was pretty good. A lot better than the currie from the night before. After dinner, me and David went over to Douglas's host family to watch the rest of the Manchester United game with him. We only caught the last 15min of the game because dinner ran late. Barcelona won the match, oh well. Me and Dave were both tired and decided to call it an early night and headed for bed.

The Great Hall at Parliament, Oldest Part of the Building
Being Silly

Outside UWE
Tower Bridge

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

5/26 & pics from London

Hello everyone,

Today I did not really do a whole lot. I had a full day of classes that covered topics on international business, geography, ethics, and corporate social responsibility. Overall it was more interesting than the previous sessions i have had so far. Although i did end up doing several sudoku puzzles during class. They make class go by a lot faster.

For dinner my host mom made Indian Currie, Taiwanese Currie, and rest. I ate some of it and spread the rest around my plate to make it appear that i ate more. Currie is definitely something I will not be eating again, but at least i tried it. After dinner i was still quite hungry, but i got lucky because the girls next store had pizza hut for dinner and gave me the left overs. Today was Stephanie's birthday and we had originally planned to go see a movie as a small group. That fell through and the back up plan was for her to celebrate her bday through me and Elizabeth. She wanted us to drink for her (she doesn't drink) because we are funny when we drink. So that is what we did. It turned into a pub crawl up Gloucester Road. It was a fun night that ended with me doing a back flip and trying to do a headstand but that didn't really work.

Piccadilly Circus
I'm A Knight
Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

5/24 & 5/25 Rest of London

5/24

It was another beautiful day in London. Today was very busy and a lot of walking. Mom and dad I hope you are taking walks right now to prepare your legs for the walking you will be doing when you get here. Well today started at Westminster Abbey. It is a huge cathedral where the coronation ceremony for kings and queens are held. We didn't go inside just walked around and took pictures of the outside of the building. From there we walked through St. James Park on our way to see the House of the Guards and Buckingham Palace. We were in time to see part of the changing of the guards but could not get close enough to see the whole thing due to the crowds around the palace. From there we headed to the London Eye, but we didn't feel like spending over an hour in line for it. Instead we just walked around and watched the street performers do some pretty amazing things.

After some lunch, we walked through Green Park on our way back to Buckingham Palace so we could actually get some close up pictures of the palace and its guards. While at the palace some strange contraption rolled/was pushed by. It looked like a wooden platform with a big wheel in the middle. We were not sure what it was for. We decided to go check out some of Hyde Park and the thing it housed. This park is gigantic. We went and looked at both the Kensington Palace and the Princess Diana memorial children's park. We then headed to this little 7 story department store called Harrods. I got quickly bored and was tired of walking and didn't feel like buying any of their over priced merchandise so i left.

Drew (another kid on the trip) wanted to find out where the famous Abbey Road intersection that the Beatles had as one of their album covers was. So with a tip from our waiter about the general location we headed out. Finding it was a little adventure. Everyone we asked along the way for directions said that we were going in the right direction but told us differently how to get there each time (this held true for all 7 or 8 people we asked). We finally found it and took a replica picture of the one that the Beatles used as their album cover. After we found it we realized that we were going to be late in meeting David back at the train station (we told him we would be there around 630 and didn't start the return journey till 630). We were also trying to make it back on time for the Jack the Ripper walking tour that started at 730. Well we got back at 735 and David was no where to be found. We assumed he had gone on the tour. We lucked out and found one of the Jack the Ripper tours that was just leaving the area. We tagged along and didn't have to pay. Who said being late didn't have any benefits. The tour lasted for bout an hour and a half and was very interesting. We also got a side show when a drunk tried to pick a fight with our tour guide and tried to lead the tour, it was pretty amusing.

After the tour we were all very tired and hungry. We found a local place to eat called the Best British Grub. It was delicious but my stomach did not agree with the meal and I was sick for the rest of the night. Maybe I should of payed for the Jack the Ripper tour.

5/25

I felt much better after some sleep. I didn't not get that much due to several of my fellow classmates being a bit under the influence and being loud in the room. We decided to start our our last day in London by visiting Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. The line to get a ticket was over an hour and a half long and we didn't think it was worth the wait. I will probably try and take my family there when I am back in London with them. From there we headed out to see the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange, and the Stock Exchange buildings. We also checked out the Covent Gardens and watched the street performers there.

After some lunch, we headed to the British Museum where we enjoyed several exhibits from Medieval Europe to the Egyptians to present day. It was getting time to go pick up our bags and head to Victoria Station to catch a coach back to Bristol. On the way their, Stephanie had bought a liter and a half of Orange juice. She had forgotten that the juice was carbonated and when she opened it, it sprayed the other Stephanie pretty good. It was very amusing to say the least. We got on the bus without any problems but Drew ran into some issues. I don't have time at the moment to go in to them though. I really don't have time to upload pictures today hopefully I can get some up tomorrow.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

5/23 London Continued (Happy Bday Aunt Robyn)

Today started in Leicester Square looking for cheap tickets to a show. The tickets were a bit more expensive than we were willing to pay, and on top of that it was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky. So we got back on the tube and headed for St. Paul's Cathedral instead. We went inside and mad friends with one of the monks who was quite friendly. The dome at the top of the cathedral was closed so we did not take the tour.

After St. Paul's, we did quite a bit of walking. We walked to the Millennium Bridge and then to the Tower Bridge. There really wasn't anything special about Millennium Bridge, but the Tower Bridge was pretty cool. My favorite part of the day was when we went in the Tower of London. It was a huge fortress. It is the home to the royal crown jewels and it is where people were sent to be tortured (they claim they do not send anyone there these days, I'm skeptical though). I would highly recommend going to the Tower of London if you ever have a chance. It is awesome.
We were tired of walking around and needed to get some energy so we found a nice Italian restaurant and had a delicious meal.

After dinner, most of the group was wanting to go on a bar crawl but me Stephanie and Stephanie did not feeling like tagging along. Instead we choose to wander around London. We ended up in Trafalgar Square. That was fun, we decided to climb up onto the giant lions. Well sort of, I climbed up and helped the other 2 up. It was an entertaining scene to say the least. It was also neat to see the Eye of London, Big Ben, and Parliament all lite up at night. Pictures didn't really turn out but it was quite a few. While taking in the sites, I almost walked through a peddlers sunglasses stand while going across a bridge. In my defense all the sunglasses were on the ground and I was not looking at the ground and I did manage to avoid stepping on the glasses. The peddler was relieved that i was able to stop myself. It would have been a pretty expensive step if I hadn't stopped. Each pair of glasses was £4 and who knows how many I could have crushed. Well its been a long day of walking and I am heading to bed to prepare myself for another day of walking tomorrow. Night all.


Big Ben & Parliament lit up
Tower of London

Tower Bridge
















Only Drinking Fountain in London

Friday, May 22, 2009

5/22 London

Well today we didn't have any classes. A coach was hired to take us to London to see Parliament instead. It was about a 2 hour bus ride from Bristol. We passed the time by reading outloud from the book called I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. It is very amusing, but I would not recommend this book to my mom. Fitz, I bet you could pick this book up and read the entire thing in one sitting. It is that good. I would be very surprised if you didn't like it. We arrived in London about an hour and a half before our tour of Parliament was scheduled to start. I passed the time by walking around Parliament and taking some pictures. I never realized how big it was. The weather was surprisingly nice for the 2nd day in a row. Once again I have discovered how small the world really is. When I was walking around outside of Parliament, I ran into my friend Jill from ISU. She was visiting London for a few weeks and we somehow managed to end up on the same street at the same time. Weird. Anyways, Parliament is a very cool building, and I enjoyed learning about the history that has happened in it over the years. After Parliament, we went to go find the hostel that I was staying in. The train that we were in on the way to the hospital broke down for a bit, so that sucked. But they eventually got the train working again and we were able to find the hostel. There are ten of us staying in the room. Surprisingly I have more room in the hostel than I do at my room with the host family. After we got settled into the hostel, we went to an Italian restaurant that was close. The food was ok, but when you are hungry it really doesn't matter what you are eating. After dinner, we went exploring for a little bit, but we were tired and headed back to the hostel to call it a night.



















Big Ben & Parliament

































Big Ben






























The Eye of London




My Friend Jill From ISU

5/20 & My Birthday!!!!!!!!

5/20

We started off the day with a class on discrimination and different cultures. It was kind of a boring class but it was ok. We watched an interesting video called the Eye of the Storm. It was about a third grade teacher who wanted to give her class a better understanding about racism and taught the lesson by dividing the class up into 2 groups, ones who had brown eyes and ones who had blue eyes. It was very interesting how the kids turned on each other and started discriminating against each group in a matter of 15 min. Later in the day we had a group session in a building called the Octagon. The university is trying to get a program set up the combines faith, spirit, health, and well being. We were broken up into groups and came up with some ideas on how to help them get the program off the ground. Unfortunately I was put into the finance team, but I was still able to offer a lot of good ideas to my group.

This was also the nicest day England has had since I have been here. It was warm, sunny, and didn't rain. Well I take that back it might of drizzled for a few min here and there. David and I wanted to enjoy the nice weather and decided to walk around our neighborhood to explore. We found a local cricket stadium and walked around it for a bit. We also walked past the prison. We have a B level prison about a block from our house. That means it is one level down from a maximum security prison. I think the walls need to be higher than they are. They just do not look big enough to be around a prison.

After dinner, David, Stephanie, Elizabeth, and I went out to a local pub called the Golden Lion. They had some live music playing , a good atmosphere. We made friends with a local named Carl who loves Americans. Apparently he has a villa in FL. His friends didn't seem to like us much but I think we may have stolen their table. Carl informed us to be careful in the surrounding neighborhoods. He said it may look like a safe place but we should really be careful and watch our backs. He also was making fun of me because I only had one cider the entire time I was at the pub. After the pub, we all went back to the girls house to play some cards. Elizabeth and I taught the other 2 how to play rummy. Instead of keeping score we just kept track of how many rounds everyone won. That wasn't to hard to remember because I had won 4 out of the 5 rounds that we played. Elizabeth was not happy with me at all and claims she will beat me next time. I'm not really worried though. MW you better be practicing cause you will need it.

5/21

Its my birthday!!!!!! Apparently my family doesn't love me because I tried calling both mom and dads cells several times and the house phone but no one answered. Thanks. We had a class on politics in the morning and we learned about Parliament, the monarchy, and the corruption going on with the MPs. It was an interesting class and have a little better understanding of their system, but it is pretty confusing. After our politics session, we got to go to Berkeley Castle. That was awesome. We weren't allowed to take pics inside the castle but I have some good shots of the outside. The castles been in the family's name and care for the past 900 years. It was just an incredible sight to look at and long and interesting history. After Berkeley we were taken to see a speaker on human rights named Helen Bamber. She has done a lot of great things but should never be a public speaker. The material could have been presented in a much better way. The most exciting part was when the fire alarm went off before the show started and when Nick feel asleep while Helen was talking. We were all hungry after the human rights session, so Paul (UWE program director) treated us all to dinner and a few drinks at a local restaurant.

The original plan for the night was to go and see a comedy club but the speaker and dinner took too long. So we will be doing that next Thursday night. Instead, we met several other from our group at a local pub and celebrated my bday. It was a fun and I can still do a backflip despite my shoulder being screwed up. Just an fyi if anyone cared lol.

Dinner At Mud Docks
Walking Around The Grounds at Berkeley Castle

The Group at Berkeley
Berkeley Castle
I Surrender
Aunt Robyn, just beyond the fence is the remains of the castle that you were referring to. The church in the background was bombed during WWII and was left standing with no roof.

video

Video of Berkeley Castle & Grounds