Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ancient History Volume III

This isn't so much a story about travelling. Okay, so there's travel INVOLVED. But it's more a (long winded) story about doing study abroad and meeting one of my BFFs. </disclaimer> 

A millionty Ten (argh!) years ago, I won a scholarship to do a semester's study abroad. Which is how I ended up in the UK, living in halls of residence with 43 total strangers and sharing a grand total of four showers between 22 girls. The very first night there, our whole block had a shindig on the stairs that separated the girls' rooms from the boys' rooms. And I ended up chatting to a ginger American girl (the very same whose wedding I went to in Colorado last year) for most of the evening. We bonded over movies and books, and not understanding what the crazy British people were saying, and the rest is history! (HI MEGAN!!! xx)
Oh my God, I can't believe this was taken nearly 10 years ago. ARGH.

From that first evening, Block 6 went on to have many adventures. A bunch of us spent Megan's 21st birthday at Alton Towers, and got completely drenched. I'd order alcohol for the Americans in the dorm because when they asked for Archers and lemonade, the bar staff got confused by their accents and served them orange juice and lemonade.
Hanging out at the local pub
We discovered that the Chinese mushroom noodles from the pasta place on campus looked like they had slugs mixed through them. We went to Stratford-on-Avon to see a weird samurai version of Coriolanus that included an actual heart. And we discovered the special knack the paternoster had for breaking down when we had to hand assignments in on the 16th floor.

A lot of the other international students took advantage of cheap flights to Europe and regularly jetted off to France, Italy and Spain. I, on the other hand, was at the mercy of the Australian dollar, which spent most of my stay hovering somewhere around the 32p mark. So when the American students said "Oh, but the tickets are only £50!", I would sit quietly in the corner, cursing the fact that I didn't HAVE a spare $150 to fly to Italy. I did, however, go on an archaeology fieldtrip to I have no idea where. But it was pretty!

From memory, that picturesque steam was actually
the toilet drain...........

One of the first weekends we were there, a few of us went to a barbeque at one of the other halls of residence. That hall was a guys only hall, and so the barbeque consisted entirely of meat. And a bag of lettuce, in case there were any vegetarians. A random Welsh guy got drunk, climbed on the roof and started yelling "I'm a loooooonely shepherd!" over and over again. The following week, Megan and I were sitting around trying to remember the lyrics to We Didn't Start the Fire being cool when her phone rang. It was T, one of the other American exchange students. The block he lived in had no other exchange students, and it was doing his head in.
T: *whispering* I need a British break
Megan: Who is this?
T: It's T-! I need. A British. BREAK. Please. Save me from all the British people?

And that's how we ended up going to see Van Wilder. Obviously.

A few weeks later, one of the guys in our dorm was involved in a play. He got back from the after party at stupid o'clock in the morning, completely plastered, and proceeded to attempt to cook a pie. He failed miserably, which is how the entire dorm ended up having to evacuate into the drizzle at 4.30am. And for some reason, he was dressed solely in his underpants. As there were emergency exits at each end of the building, half the dorm ended up at one end of a lawn and half at the other. Underpants Guy decided that he needed to run between the two groups apologising profusely. Obviously, we all stood there yelling "PLEASE STOP RUNNING OH MY GOD STOP RUNNING!!!!!" over the noise of the fire alarm.

Eventually, at about 5.30am, we got back into the building. And Underpants Boy decided he needed to knock on each person's door to apologise again. He was still in his underpants. Scarily, this guy is now a medical doctor...

The last weekend in November, Megan and I made the brilliant decision to go to Edinburgh. Turns out, Edinburgh in early December is COLD. #whoknew We stayed in a youth hostel that had Mr Men on the walls, and did all manner of touristy things. Well. Mostly we went to the castle and wandered around the Royal Mile because everything else was closed and we were poor. Oh, and ate gummi bears for breakfast.

On the Saturday, we decided to head out to Stirling and visit the William Wallace memorial. Except that the woman at the tourist office who gave us instructions had a really strong Glasgow accent and neither of us understood a word she said. Which is how we ended up getting off the bus in downtown Stirling, and having to walk three miles through the drizzle to get the Wallace Monument.
That spiral-y thing on the left side is the stairs to the top.

It was kind of worth it. The view from the top was pretty awesome, although it was blowing a gale and positively arctic.
Hey look! I'm so pasty that my face matches the sky!

But mostly it was worth it for the HILARIOUS statue of Mel Gibson a la Braveheart that they had to lock up every night because people kept painting its face blue. Of course when we were finished laughing hysterically, we had to walk the three miles BACK through the drizzle to get to the bus stop, because we didn't know where the bus stop near the monument was. Good times!!

And now because I have absolutely NO idea how to finish this post, here's a picture of a postcard my brother sent me while I was there. He was on the school Latin (!!) study tour, in which they swanned around Italy for a week and a half and then swanned around England and Scotland for a week and a half #totallynotjealousinanyway

Yup. It's a statue of a man with a penis attached to his forehead. YOU'RE WELCOME. Apparently there's an entire ROOM of stuff like this at the Naples Museum and you have to prove you're over 16 to go in there.

Did anyone else do study abroad? If so, where did you go??

K xx


  1. I was trying to read this while taking my vitamins this morning and I couldn't do it because I kept laughing so hard. Love it!

    1. Oh dear, sorry to have hampered your vitamin taking! :)

  2. All I can think about after reading this post is how complicated making a pie is anyway, let alone making a pie while plastered.

    It's amazing that kid didn't set himself on fire.

    1. I'm pretty sure it was a premade, frozen pie, so basically all he had to do was heat it up. But that still seems pretty challenging while plastered. Actually, given the outcome, it WAS pretty challenging while plastered!

  3. I studied abroad in Australia - imagine that :)

    And my reaction was never "I need a australian break" but I need an "american break" as I lived with all americans all the time.

    1. Awwww, poor Deidre!! I imagine I would have had much the same reaction if there'd been more international students in our dorm. As it was, there were only three of us.


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