Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Unexpected Wonderful Occurrences of Studying Abroad: Contiki Youtube Meet-up!

So I realized I meant to blog about this way earlier, but better late than never!

I found out that Michael Aranda, Charlie McDonnell, and other YouTubers were going to be visiting London on October 14th I was not going to pass up the opportunity. Luckily for me my friends Amy and Kathryn where also interested in this adventure so we planned a day in London just for the occasion!

Check out the Contiki Video Recap of the Day!
It involved getting up early to catch a bus from Bath Spa to Swindon train station to catch a train from there to London Paddington. We then had to navigate the elusive Underground system and made it to the Acklam Village Market just in time before the crowd made it to about 3,000 people. CRAZY. 

We waited for about 2.5 hours before making it to the front of the line where we chose to go in the line to meet Michael and Charlie. The anticipation kept building as we inched closer and closer to the meet and greet lines. 

Finally at the front!
Before I knew it, I was standing in front of Michael Aranda and I was in awe. He was so friendly and maintained a bit of conversation with the three of us - even recommending us to ShakeAway Bath (which was DELICIOUS!). One thing I'll never forget was that I asked him what was the best part of the experience so far, which he took as meaning life experience and said, Love. He was so sincere about it and I said that he needed to stop being so adorable. And then I snorted. In typical Katelyn fashion. Hey - you only get the chance once to make a first impression right? Haha. 

Ridiculously Photogenic Michael Aranda
We then talked to Bryarly who was ADORABLE. We'd totally be friends in real life. I think it was easier to talk to her versus Charlie and Michael because granted I'd seen some of her videos but have been following Charlie and Michael for longer. 

Finally, meeting Charlie. He was quite subdued, being the introvert that he is and considering he doesn't like large crowds.  Still, it was great to talk to him.
You've had the almost imponderable joy of meeting charlieissocoollike which makes you like, cool!

Overall, the experience was great! My expectations were a little high so I was a little disheartened when they weren't totally fulfilled but what can you do?

The rest of the day we spent wandering around London and having photoshoots all over the place. Definitely one for the books!
Kathryn, Amy, and I at Buckingham Palace!

Hope everyone in the Northeast back home stays safe during Hurricane Sandy! 
Katelyn :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Unexpected Wonderful Occurrences of Studying Abroad: Mayday Parade Concert

Studying abroad has been a magical experience in and of itself. Luckily for me I've been able to experience things I would have never thought - like traveling to see high school friendsstudying at UNIV, and now going to a concert!

Whilst visiting my friend Jenna - we went to a concert to see The Natives, The Summer Set, and Mayday Parade! Now out of the three only one is actually native to the UK (I bet you can guess which one) but I'd been wanting to see MP for a while and the tickets were cheap and I was totally game. 

After making it back from Sheringham, we walked to The Waterfront and waited in the queue for about a half hour before the doors where open. 

A few things were interesting about this concert:
1. Moshing is an entirely different form here. It's like a circle and people move in and out and bump people outside of it. We tried to avoid it as much as possible...
2. Because the drinking age is lower here, more people were making use of the bar. Which is fine, but the drinks should go in your mouth and not on people. 
2A. Don't drink to the point where you become obnoxious. Just in general, but especially in a crowded, small area. People will not appreciate it. 
3. No matter where you are, in what country you are, there are typical stereotypes of music junkies. For instance, there were many people there who would be considered scene, indie, hipster, etc that were very much like many Americans I've seen at concerts at home. 
4. The Natives - while I found their music okay - liked to swear. Granted I've noticed that swearing is a relatively normal thing here in England; I couldn't take the lead vocalist seriously after I kept hearing him swear between each song. 

The Summer Set lead singer Brian Dale
Other than that I was so glad I went! I got to hear some good oldies from The Summer Set and a new song that I actually really liked. Mayday was PHENOMENAL and I was worried I wouldn't recognize any of their songs since I've listened to most of their older stuff but they played my favorites like "Three Cheers for Five Years" and "Miserable At Best". 

Alex Garcia from MP-love this shot!
Jeremy Lenzo from MP adjusting sound levels! LOVE

I definitely enjoyed going to a concert abroad and come November, a bunch of my friends and I are going to see Imagine Dragons in Oxford - CRAZY! I'm so super stoked I can't believe it. 

Hope you've been enjoying reading about my adventures because I've enjoyed having them!
Be on the look out for an adventure from London!
Katelyn :)

p.s. crazy fact - in exactly 2 months, I'll be back in the US. What? Where is the time going?!

Places to Go, People to See

This past week was a blur. Just finished our 'mid-term' weeks here at ASE submitting paper after paper for class. So far I've gotten two back with stellar grades and I couldn't be happier!

But wait...what's that? I got to see my friend Jenna? WHY YES I DID! 
I was luck enough to travel to Norwich (pronounced Nor-itch) from Wednesday until Friday to hang out with one of my best high school friends! 
She goes to the University of East Anglia, about a 5 hour trip from Bath. Thus this required me to take train after train, station after station to make it through to Norwich. 

A sign of fall!

While I was there I got to meet her British flatmates and see what it is like to study abroad on a campus.  Norwich is HUGE compared to Bath so we were very reliant on the bus to get everywhere. The campus itself is huge but a nice walk through all the buildings. 

One cool thing we got to do was a trip to Sheringham for one of her anthropology classes. It's the cutest little North Sea shore town about an hour train outside of Norwich.

Jenna and I at the Sheringham beach!

Only a day later I would return to Bath since Jenna was going on a weekend hiking trip. I had another adventure planned for Sunday which I will post shortly. 

Needless to say I am well-versed in the station of London Paddington after two days of basically living there haha. It will come in handy for sure!

Hope you all enjoy your week and keep looking for updates on my adventures!
Katelyn :)