Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meet Hank

This is Hank the Hedgehog.  He is my new pet of the week. You are supposed to be able to feed him strawberries, but they must not be in season because I can't find any! I have found the strawberries!! You may have to scroll a little down in Hank's box. Then you click the little "more" tab. It puts a strawberry on your mouse. You have to click your mouse near Hank's mouth from him to eat it. Don't be impatient!! He will at the whole things after a few clicks, hey, he is a growing little dude!  He's pretty cute though. He does more tricks than the fishies. If you click on his nose he will jump, and I have even gotten him to curl into his little ball! :)

I'm pretty excited about Hank for a few reasons. The first reason I chose him was for my roomie Jacque. She likes a variety of animals, especially Paris (her kitty cat). But she keeps wanting to bring pets into our apartment. Kelsey (my other roomie) did bring a cat, and soon took her home a few days later (due to landlord drama)..... things you have to deal with when you grow up... geeeshh

Nonetheless, Jacque has been trying to come up with some master plan to bring a pet into our apartment.  It will not be allowed in my room, and my door will be shut at all times. After showing me many animals that we could possibly own, I liked her mini hedgehog idea the best.

They are kind of cute! 
What do you think??
Will Jacque buy a hedgehog for our apartment next year? Added spice to our junior year?? 

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I journeyed to Liverpool yesterday, 26th of January with Jessica (Kansas) and Katie (she's from Canada). We had a jam packed day. I got up at 4 a.m. to get ready and was out of the flat by 5 to walk to the bus station to meet up with Jess and Katie. (I turned on my computer and got on Facebook and it was really weird seeing people at up that time! It was only 10 p.m. your time!) 
Anyway, we hoped on the bus to take us to the train station. We were the only ones in our cart during the 2 hour journey. That was kind of nice! We arrived in Liverpool at 8 a.m. 

We were headed towards Liverpool Cathedral. It's the largest Anglican Cathedral in the Uk, and the 5th largest in the world!! Pretty awesome. 

A picture of the street we were walking down to get to the Cathedral. The sun was rising.. beautiful! 

Before we made it to the Liverpool Cathedral, we ran into a different but  a very unique church. 

This is called the Bombed Out Church, because it was bombed by Germany (like a lot of England cities were) in WWII. In 1811 was the beginning of construction (finished in 1831) and bombed in 1941.
The shell still stands but the inside has nothing (I saw a grass growing in there). 

You can see through the windows. I think they may hold events in there. I saw a sign for the Chinese New Year, that they are hold a movie in there (for you to sit on the ground and enjoy!) 

Well, we finally made it to the Liverpool Cathedral. Isn't she huge? 

The picture doesn't do it justice, or can you tell how big it is? It was just amazing. If you look at the tower and see the little slots between the tall points, keep this in mind... and I will show you pictures because I got to go up there. 

This is the inside. 

This is how tiny we are. 

One more of the ceiling and the arches. 
If you want a better idea (and pictures) of the Liverpool Cathedral I would suggest googling it, because somehow I don't take as good of pictures as the internet provides! I don't know how that works out..... ;) 

We finished looking at the main part of the Cathedral and it was time to go to the top of the tower (for a small fee of 4 pounds). We went in an elevator to floor 5, walked up the steps to get into another elevator to floor 10. Walked up 108 steps (passing the bells)
and finally reaching the top. 
So far the journey to the top of the tower hadn't been worth my four pounds. 
I walked out the doors and was blinded by the sun, and my breath was instantly taken away by the view (instantly worth my 4 pounds!) I could see all of Liverpool. It was amazing!! 

These are the little slots I was talking about in my first picture of the Liverpool Cathedral. These are what I was looking through, and sticking my camera through! I was a little nervous, because it is my dear gram's camera and not my own! Don't worry grandma, I didn't drop it :) 

After our view of Liverpool, it was time to actually go see more of Liverpool. 
Next stop: The Beatles Museum. 
Liverpool aka Home of The Beatles. 
The Beatles Story is a wonderful museum that takes your through the life of The Beatles. From how they all came out meeting and playing music together to their rise of fame. As you went through you had endless little things to look at and audio to entertain. I learned more than I would have ever thought about The Beatles. 
Like how they were turned down by so many record companies in London, before one guy (who wasn't extremely satisfied) said ok (but also said that if he had known that they had been turned down as many times as they had that he would have never signed them). 

The Beatles played very often in Liverpool at the Cavern Club (291 times) and at the Cavern Pub. This is what their set up looked like at the Cavern Club. 

After all these years I still don't understand why people can't get it straight. It's Abby. With a "y". Not an "ey"!! :)

At the end of the tour we all had to accept that The Beatles are no longer together, and will never be together again. 

We moved on with our lives and went to check out the Liverpool Museum. It is a new museum right on the water front. We enjoyed looking at things in the museum, but didn't take the time to read and learn about Liverpool's history.. oops! Had to keep moving...

Next we had a little lunch and walked around Albert Dock. 

Liverpool is oh so pretty. Don't you agree?
Our cameras were all dying at the end of the day (awfully sad). I didn't get to take pictures of the "famous" part of Albert Dock. It is where we had lunch and walked around shops. It's all covered by brick and then has red pillars all around. If you would like to see what i'm talking about then google "Albert Dock Liverpool" you'll have to see for yourself! 

We also went to Merseyside Maritime Museum. I really enjoyed this museum. I learned way more about the Titanic and some about slavery. 
The Titanic has a big history with Liverpool. The family who that owned the company that were creating these giant cruisers were from Liverpool. The ship didn't actually sail  from Liverpool but a town a few miles away. When the ship sunk it was the Titanic's sister shipped who received the call and turned to help rescue the passengers. Just a little bit of information for your Sunday. 

The last  part of the trip was probably one of the coolest things I've done since I've been in England. We went to the Cavern Pub where The Beatles have played (we didn't go to the Cavern Club where they played 291 times, but if we go again we will). It was literally the Pub on one side and the Club on the other side of the street. Probably 50 feet away from each other. We walked into the Cavern Pub and music was already jamming out. We were having a good time listening (with all these older people haha) when this man about my dad's age tells me that the band playing was a popular band about 20 years ago. They tried and tried to make it, but nobody would sign them (though they should have). This is the first time they have been together in 20 years playing. So we just happen to come on a perfect night to get a great show!! (for free!) 

After the show we ate some dinner and walked back to the train station. After hearing an extreme fight on the way back to Birmingham we decide to call it a night. We got back to our flats around midnight, and I didn't go to bed til 1 a.m. I was almost up for a full day, but it was all worth it! Liverpool was a great place and we are excited to go back if we have some time! 

Until then, we will "Let It Be". 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cadbury World!!

Yesterday, 24 January, Sophie, Katie, Jess, and I went to Cadbury World. If you are unsure of the Cadbury brand it's that delicious creme egg that you eat during Easter, or maybe you prefer their mini eggs? 

We purchased our tickets (2 for 1 purple Thursdays!) and headed towards the entrance to the exhibit! We were stopped before we went in to show our tickets and to receive our..... first free chocolate bars! 

The Curly Wurly was my favorite out of the two. It was caramel in the inside and chocolate on the outside. It tasted like Milk Duds (mmmmm)! The Crunchie looked like a Butterfinger, but the middle was more airy (and I thought the middle tasted a like burnt caramel) or something like that. It was hard to put an exact taste down for it. I wasn't the biggest fan of that. I'll stick to my Curly Wurly! 

After we received our chocolate bars, we headed through the doors.. Little did we know that it was a time machine dating way back to... 

Where we saw the Cacao tress and their cocoa beans being harvested. 

We continued our journey to find out where the creator (John Cadbury) thought up his idea. 

Did you ever guess it would have been in a tea shop!? A lot of shops starting offering chocolate drinks (and I don't believe it was hot chocolate, if I remember correctly it was a thick something). Anyway, he needed to keep up with the other shops and so he starting creating his own chocolate drink. He started making really good chocolate, and made a eating bar of it. People loved it, and so he had a little factory in the city of Birmingham producing chocolate bars.  The demand grew and he needed a bigger factory to produce. He thought if people liked living in the country that surely they would like working there. So he found some land about 4 miles away from Birmingham that had canals and a railway right by it, and thought that it would be a good place for his factory. He built places for the workers to live so they could walk to work, and then he built things for the workers to do and enjoy (swimming pool, play courts). He made a little town out of his factory and he named it Bournville. 

We were continuing through our adventure and were at a little sitting where they were showing us a movie about the long process of their chocolate making, when the fire alarms went off. We all had to evacuate the building!! (This was not apart of the "tour")... we asked.

This is all of the people evacuating and even some factory works if you look closely! 
We had a good laugh about this, but when we finally go to go back in the building a field trip of 50 6-7 year olds caught up with us. We tried to hurry and get ahead of them, but for the rest of the trip we were right by them. At that point we felt a little old being there, but then didn't care. :)

One of my favorite parts of the tour was riding in a little car/cart thing that showed us some animated cocoa beans. 

How cute are they!? I thought it was pretty entertaining!! (I'm sure the 7 yr olds did too ;) 

They were making and decorating chocolate shoes!! If you know me, you know I have a small thing for shoes. How awesome!! 

And the last stop of our trip we got to taste melted chocolate and got to pick something to put inside! I picked shortcake bites (it was a hard decision between that and white chocolate discs). It was amazing! The melt chocolate. Oh my goodness. 
I'm sure you can SEE what i'm talking about now! 

I hope you enjoyed your "trip" though the Cadbury Factory with me! I did have to eat some of the chocolate while I blogged this..... and I am just going to assume that I have made your mouths water and crave some chocolate now! 

Cheers to the weekend! I am going to Liverpool tomorrow (home of The Beatles). What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wait, Abby got a pet?

Many of you may know how I feel about pets. The little creatures ever so loving, who love to lick you, jump on you, scratch you, slobber on you, leave hair on you, ruin household items, etc, etc, attack you at young ages, scar you for life, the list goes on! But it's more than that, it is a straight up fear most moments! Needless to say (I would hope) that we just haven't ever gotten along too well. Actually, I take that back. I had a little pug once. We played and had fun, but the fun was cut a little short one day after living on 5th street.

Anyways, I'm great at getting side tracked (especially in stories) haven't you noticed yet?

Back to the point, animals and I are a nahhhh. We will stay that way, most likely, unless God puts the most amazing, loving (without hair, licks, slobber, etc) creature in my path.

SO, I decided to get a pet or pets I should say. I'm taking it easy with some fish for the time being. I haven't named them yet, but I will let you know. They kind of get hungry (like their owner), so if you want to feed them feel free. They are at the top right of my page. Click your mouse to feed them :)

After I have the fish for a week (give or take) I will adopt a different pet. Pretty excited about this step in my life. If I get too attached to a pet (or if YOU do) then let me know and I can readopt or just keep them. I may leave the pets nameless for a few days if you want to name them.  You will have to comment and boom. They will have names.

Xoxo feed my fishies :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I have been wanting to blog recently, but just didn't have any thoughts or experiences that were too blogable! Believe it or not my everyday life here at uni isn't as exciting as you may have thought it was.

However, everyday I find myself learning new things (that's usual for me because i'm a question freak), but I thought I could share what I learned today.

With a bit of background...
When I arrived at uni I had orientation with all the international students, and it was an excellent way to meet people. (If you are thinking about studying abroad and scared about making friends.. have no fear! You will probably meet more of your friends in one day here than you will over the duration of your stay.) I met so many people in one day that I didn't know much about them (you were good if you could remember names), or you could generally classify them by which country.
I may not know your name, but I can sure as heck tell you where you are from!

Anyways, today in psychology class we were trying to figure out what the heck was going on (Sophie aka Alabama, Sabrina aka Singapore, and I). Afterwards we decided to get lunch. We sat down and started talking to Sabrina (just some small talk and odd questions), when we finally came out with it.
Where is Singapore? What language do you speak? What's the weather like? What is life like there? How long did it take you to get to Birmingham? What countries are you near by?

Maybe our geography is a little rusty, or maybe we just have never had a clue. (I'm going with the 2nd option myself.) But we confessed and learned more about Singapore. I thought maybe not everyone in SW Iowa or where ever you are reading from knows all there is to know about Singapore... So i'll share.

Singapore is an island. Covered by the red star in the photo above. Their primary language is English. In elementary and middle school they generally learn Chinese, but my friend Sabrina stopped learning it when she was 16. The island is small, and there isn't a part of it that she hasn't been to. The buildings in Singapore are at least 24 stories high, because they have to build up to have space for anything. She said it is very crowded there and everywhere you go. (I Googled the population and it's slightly over 5 million people.) If she wants to go to the movie theatre on the weekend she has to go buy her ticket in the middle of the week. Otherwise there would be no chance of getting in. From what I understood most people live in apartments (because there isn't enough land to just build houses for everyone).
She said the weather in Birmingham is freezing right now! It's been snowing and it doesn't do that often here, but it's been around 0 and 1 degrees C (which is about 33-34 F). In Singapore it's usually around 25-35 C (which is about 77-95 F).

It took her about 13 hours to get to Birmingham. (I think i'll stick with the 8 hour total flight time).
Rice is in most meals at least for lunch and dinner (sometimes breakfast). She asked Soph and I what would be like a staple item we eat a lot. I thought maybe potatoes. They can go with any meal, and the variety of ways they can be cooked. If you have a better answer, feel free to comment and I will let her know. :)

Here are some cool photos of Singapore. (Compliments of Google)

Beautiful, right?!

Well, I hope you learned a little something like I have today.  If you have further questions on Singapore you can comment and I will get a native perspective on it!

Thoughts, ideas, questions... whatever... are always welcomed (and make the author quite excited!) :)

Tomorrow I might be going to see Les Miserables. Have you seen it? What do you think? Should I "waste" my 5 pounds on it?

Also, what are your favorite Easter treats? Does anyone fancy the Cadbury eggs?!
Well it just so happens that the Cadbury factory is in Birmingham. I am going for a tour (and taste) on Thursday. I'll show pictures and maybe some fun treats I got to try! (Hopefully nothing bad happens to me like the kids on Willy Wonka!) Wish me luck.....

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"The Bet"

So, the bet all started last term after the 6th flatmate moved out. This left an empty room in flat 86 to possibly become occupied.

Emma and Tara made up a story that a 6th flatmate had finally moved in. "She" was from Nottingham, and was studying psychology. "She" had brown hair, and was not considered "fit".
The whole flat knew besides Steph, who lives 3 steps across from us. We consider Steph to be a part of our flat. Steph wanted to meet the new flatmate, but "she" was out with her parents. "She" had moved in because she didn't like her previous accommodation. Every time Steph wanted to meet her, "she" was conveniently busy or gone. Finally, they had to admit that the new flatmate did not exist and that it was all made up for good fun.

UNTIL....... ANOTHER 6TH FLATMATE CAME.... (dun, dun, dun)

When I moved in, I talked about seeing Tilly for a couple minutes. Tilly did not text any of the other flatmates about my arrival. So, when Tara arrived she was welcomed by the news, and did not believe her. Tilly persuaded Tara and swore she was not lying, so when Tara ran into Rose and Char and told them about me they were unsure. Char said she would believe it when she saw it (or met me). Rose just didn't believe it, because when they asked to meet me I was gone with my parents which was the exact same story that they told the first time. In the end, so Rose agreed to bet Tara 5 pounds that there was no new flatmate and that it was all made up.

Rose still hasn't paid......

Friday, January 18, 2013

Meet the Flatmates!!

When I started moving my things into my room no one was at our flat. I saw 6 doors, so that meant I had 5 flatmates. They had notes posted all over their doors, and I could tell right away that they were all very close. I walked into the kitchen and I could see they were all very close AND liked to have a lot of fun. 

To be honest, I was really nervous to meet them. What if they were the 5 best friends ever and didn't want an intruder? What if they were perfectly happy without a 6th flatmate? What if they wanted me to stay locked in my room because I was a "fat, stupid American"?? For those of you who don't know me well... I have quite the imagination and can make up the most mental thoughts (gruesome, nasty, funny, weird, etc. etc. etc.)  

So the first one I met was Tilly. She was bringing some of her belongings inside and I ran out to introduce myself (while my parents were in my room all giddy for me to meet my first flatmate). She was in a hurry and didn't have much time for talk. She actually didn't even tell me her name (I found out the next day), but what she did tell me was that they had an extra room in the flat... because the girl who used to live in my room didn't like them (the 5 of them) and moved out. That's all I found out that day, and I was like oh great. I am not going to be welcomed!! (to be continued....)

                                                           This is Sophie and Tilly. :) aka Till.

Rose. Rose is another flatmate of mine. Her nickname is "Podge", "because she is cute and squishy". Rose is from Southern England and has a "Posh" accent, which she gets reminded of... all.the.time. The good news, I can understand her really well for the most part! 

Emma. Emma aka Em. (which makes me think of my sister) Emma is from Liverpool aka A Scouser and she speaks scouse. I don't know what any of this means, but for your understanding... she speaks like you would think someone from England speaks. 

Tara. Tara aka Taz. Tara is from London, well Zone 8 (Northwestern London). Tara is kind of hard to understand for me sometimes, because she has the thickest accent. With all the girls we will sit and they will say phrases in "American" accent, and I will try out my English accent. Tara does a mean impression of Forrest Gump and a few other characters. She also isn't too shabby at the American impression! My favorite thing about Tara is that she punched a bouncer at a club and was then kicked out. She snuck back in at a later date, they found her and banned her for quite a while. I should mention this is at the guild which is an on campus bar at uni, and if she gets caught again her education will be jeopardized. :) 

Charlotte. Charlotte aka Char. Char would probably understand Logan the best, because she has grown up on a farm. When she came back from the Christmas holidays she brought some milk. Fresh milk from the cows on her farm. I was like wow! Someone who might understand the small town from which I come! She loves rocks. Like really, really love rocks. She got a geology hammer for Christmas and was absolutely thrilled. 

All these girls bring something different to the table. I have a different connection with each of them and I couldn't have been more fortunate to be place in their flat. As soon as I moved in and met all of them I knew that I would have the study abroad experience that I had always dreamed of. My biggest worry was being placed with "bad" flatmates (which to me would be closed minded, didn't need anymore friends and were content, and just didn't like me or whatever else). What I got were flatmates who were opened minded, and could teach me everything there is to know about England (and elsewhere). At the end of my study abroad experience I will owe at least 60% to them, because they made everything perfect. 

I have met so many of their friends, and all their friends are really welcoming too. (One of the first male friends I had met of theirs hugged me goodbye when he stopped by for like 5 minutes,  because he said he would be around a lot and I had better just get used to it) A lot of people like my "accent" I have even been told by a stranger "Where are you from?! Your accent is beautiful!" You don't really think about that, but now you might give it another thought. 
Everyone is extremely nice here, and if they find out you're from the US they might even want to name the 50 states for you :) I always enjoy that one.  

While I am writing Em and Till decide to come lay on top of me. :) It's like I have been since the beginning of the term when they all met for the first time! 

(Continuing...) Later... I find out that the previous flatmate (Katie) just kept to herself and wouldn't do anything with the other flatmates. She came into the kitchen and said, if it looks like i'm moving out.. I'm not. I'm just going to my friends place and taking some stuff. And Emma says.. Well you're not going to pull a runner on us are you? (jokingly, ha ha) And Katie's face had a deer in the headlights look... and Emma said... Oh my gosh you are moving out!! 
She was trying to sneak and move out without telling them. 
She later justified that she was homesick and didn't really fit with them. But they didn't really care, because they never saw her anyway. 

                           All of us minus Tara! But it's Em, Rose, Char, Me, and Till