Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chinese New Year! (and other adventures)

Hello, hello!

In one of our orientation sessions, we were blessed to have Andy Steves (son of Rick Steves) come and speak to us about taking full advantage of our study abroad experience. To make the best of it, he suggested that we build relationships with the local people, visit off the beaten track attractions, and see where it takes us. I wanted to take his advice, but I never thought I would so early in my journey.

Out of all specials nights I thought I would have in London, I wouldn't have expected Chinese New Year in Chinatown to be among them, but, boy, was it fun! Kylie, my suite mate and an avid explorer, suggested we venture to Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year. I have never done this in New York, but thought it would be a great time to get out and about, eat some Chinese food, and celebrate with friends! 

Alex, Kylie, Eliana, Kyung (Kyle).
We loved all of the lanterns, decorations and masks. There were many mock fights that broke out between people with the inflatable batons they gave us!

We decided on one of the Chinese restaurants that looked good and wasn't too busy. We were seated at a table meant for 10 people, and had a very neat rotating circular table that made it easy to share dishes and taste test.
Kylie, Eliana.
Walking home, I snapped some pictures of the local restaurants. 

We had such a great time walking around, and looking at all the shops! Recently, I've been looking up more places to visit that are not normal tourist attractions. So far, I've been lucky enough to be around Kylie when she has been looking for someone to accompany her on another adventure. We went to the Maison Bertuax the other night, and a nearby farmers market today! 

At Maison Bertaux, the oldest patisserie in London, we both got a bit of cake and tea. I had the cheesecake and red berry tea, and it was all splendid. Kylie got a piece of chocolate cake, and mint tea. The venue was so quaint and cute. We plan on going back for Sunday brunch for some quiche and pastries. 

Today, after a run down to the Thames, Kylie and I ventured over a few streets to a local farmers market she found. I picked up a baguette, pain au chocolate, and quite a big bag of brussels sprouts. I baked the brussels sprouts with some salt, pepper, garlic, oil, and they were wonderful!

I am loving these mini adventures. They remind me of things I would do in the city, and as wonderful as London is, I am enjoy doing familiar things. There are some hurtles I am overcoming, being in a new city, but I will save that for a post in a few days! I finally received my package in the mail (what a fiasco that was!), and will be putting up a recommend packing guide this weekend as well.

I hope you all are enjoying coming along for the ride with me. If you have any recommendations in regards to how to make my blog better, please feel free to contact me! I love talking to you all! 

Kelsey Elizabeth
Peaky, adjective, slightly ill, often looking pale. (We have a sign on our refrigerator that says "are you feeling peaky?" and I had to ask my british suite mate what it meant.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Panoramic Coach Tour

On Sunday, we had the pleasure of hopping on a 57 person bus to see the remarkable sites that London has to offer. It was quite chilly and windy, but we had a splendid time. I decided to bring my normal camera and my flip camera along to capture the afternoon. I hope you enjoy the video!

The song I featured in this video is "Out On My Own" by Gabrielle Aplin. 
I did not create the song nor do I own the rights to it. It's a great song though. 

I'm going to put up some posts later this week about Chinese New Year in London, and what worked and didn't work in regards to packing (in retrospect), so look out for those! 
Kelsey Elizabeth
Mates, slang, friend in New Zealand, Britain, Australia and Tasmania (Urban Dictionary).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Run along the Thames

I went out for my first run today. It's the best way to see a new place, in my opinion. Here are some photos I took along the way. 

The Waldorf Hotel is just to the left of this building. Quite beautiful. All of the buildings in this area are.

Waterloo Bridge  (couldn't escape if I wanted to)
London's Eye. 

Hullo, Ben.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

First Day Adventures

I had an exciting, educational and tiring first day, and I just wanted to share some of my adventures with you! Not to worry, there will not be Second Day, Third Day and Fourth Day Adventures posts, but I did want to relive my first day and share with you my first experiences (I didn't get lost on the tube!), as I imagine they will be some of my most vivid memories.

After getting a few hours of sleep on my flight over, I met up with another study abroad student, Sue, to share a cab to our dorms. We used Just Airports, which worked out really well. The experience went smoothly, and the price was reasonable.

After arriving, we decided to meet at noon for a traditional fish and chips lunch, and an ale (since we are of age here). We decided to try The Fryers Delight for fish and chips. We both tried haddock, and I showed Sue how to properly cover her chips with vinegar and then salt. Yum!

Since The Fryer's Delight didn't have any ale, we decided to stop at a promising pub.

We ran across this beautiful pub, which shall remain nameless for the moment because I took a picture of the font, but didn't capture the name. However, I did snap a few pictures of the inside and of the windows.

It is quite a beautiful establishment. Sue and I enjoyed our first Guinness ales as well!

On this same trip we decided to stop at a well known drug store, Boots, for toiletries, etc. My roommate informed me that Superdrug is also a good place to find the same sort of products. I did bring travel sized amounts of shampoo, conditioner, but I was itching to buy full sized products, so that I felt more settled in.

I also discovered that I would need towels (I forgot one), and a mattress pad for my bed. NYU London has stocked us quite fully with the necessities, silverware, pots, pans, and even an electric tea kettle, but the beds could use a little extra padding. My suite mate and I, Marianna, traveled on the tube (with our Oyster Cards!) to the House of Fraser to pick up these items.

We popped up from the tube in Oxford Circus, which is quite a beautiful circle, and holds many (familiar) stores.

At the end of the day, I was quite tired from both jet lag, and shlepping around the city to buy groceries etc. I have found that there are two ways to approach the first day.
  1. The first option is to scout the area, buy the products you need and stay active. The benefits are that you are moving, get things done, and do not fall asleep. The downside is that you are exhausted at the end of the day.
  2. The second option is to take the day easy, do a little site seeing, and use the toiletries you brought. Many times yesterday I wish I had taken this path simply because I was so tired. The benefits are that you do not further exhaust yourself, and do not feel rushed (especially since you are already trying to get acclimated to a new city). However, the downside is that you will probably be fighting to stay awake during the afternoon, if you don't actually fall asleep!
Both options have their own benefits, so the choice is up to you! Doing it a second time, I'm not positive that I would run around trying to get errands done. Overall, I had such an amazing day, and it certainly ranks among the top 5 most productive days I have had!

Kelsey Elizabeth
Cheers, expression, expressing good wishes, or good wishes before drinking.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Bucket List

I decided the smartest thing to do was to create a list of places I want to see in London before I arrive, and get caught up in the hustle and bustle. I find myself to be much more productive when I write down goals, agendas, and the like. When I have a spare hour or two, I see myself pulling up this list, and rushing out the door to embark on a new adventure. I have a lot of places I want to see, and four months just doesn't seem like enough time to see it all!

I also want this bucket list to serve as a running list of places people suggest I visit. The excitement, interest and support I receive from family and friends about my trip to London is simply wonderful. Everyone is always suggesting a new place to go, see or eat, and I need a place to keep track of it all!

If you have a place (or many places) I just can't go to London without seeing, please email me or comment below, and I will be sure to add it to the list!

Here we go! (In no particular order of importance)

  1. Westminster Abbey
  2. The House of Parliament/ Big Ben
  3. Trafalgar Square
  4. Buckingham Palace (This might be near the top of the list in importance)
  5. Changing of the Guard
  6. St. James Park
  7. National Gallery (I love galleries/museums. If you do as well, you'll be getting plenty of that here!)
  8. Leicester Square
  9. Cafe in the Crypt
  10. Somerset House
  11. Covent Garden
  12. St. Paul's Cathedral
  13. Millenium Bridge/ River Thames
  14. Tate Modern
  15. Routemaster Bus
  16. Tower of London
  17. Tower Bridge
  18. London Theatre (A show)
  19. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
  20. Kensington Palace (I also love royalty, you can also expect a lot on palaces and British Royal history!)
  21. Charles Dickens Museum
  22. Shakespeare's Globe (Also, close to the top of the list)
  23. British Museum
  24. Museum of London
  25. Tate Britain
  26. Victoria and Albert Museum
  27. Dining at The Blue Elephant
  28. Having afternoon tea at the Ritz Palm Court
  29. Take a picture at Abbey Road (Visiting Abbey Road)
  30. Science Museum

(Note: I got a great portion of this list from Frommer's London 2012)

I'm sure there are a lot more wonderful places that I will visit while I am there! As I said, please contact me if there is one that I do not have on my list!

On a side note, I decided to take both Frommer's London 2012 and British English from A to Zed with me. They are quite large books, but great resources.

Until next time,
Kelsey Elizabeth

Lift, noun, to go higher in a building without walking. Americans call these elevators. (What you didn't know: In Britain, an elevator is a device you put in your shoe to make you stand taller. In Americas call these lifts. Tricky, tricky.) (From the British English A to Zed dictionary by Norman w. Schur).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chuffed to Bits

My name is Kelsey, and I am a second year student in the Stern School of Business at New York University. Currently, I am majoring in management and finance (who isn't? haha Stern jokes), but I think I will actually graduate with a degree in marketing and economics. Regardless, I will have a minor in social entrepreneurship. (Side note: if you are an NYU student with extra credit, take a class with Ellen McGrath. She teaches SE classes and is life changing).

But enough background! Less than I week away, and I will be in a cab heading to my new home in London for the next four months! I could not be more excited.

Hopefully, this blog will serve multiple purposes:
  1. Be informative! I am hoping to channel the "older you" that gives first hand information and tips you wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Although, the NYUL staff has done such a great job preparing students (including me), so I will have to be creative.
  2. Be entertaining! I do enjoy corny jokes.
  3. Be a snapshot! (Well, there goes my parallel structure!) I want to create a vivid picture my day to day life, so you can experience it with me if you're thinking about studying abroad in London or just want to come along for the ride!
Right now I'm in the process of getting everything in order, which includes getting documents sorted out, packing, and reading. Specifically, I'm reading the new book my mum (too corny?) picked up for me, titled, British English A to Zed, by Norman W. Schur. I figured it would be smart to start on it. This morning I called Just Aiports to reserve a cab from the airport, and I had trouble understanding the British accent. I thought I had the British culture under my belt, but it looks like I will have to step back and learn! In fact, I'm hoping to return home with a British accent. We'll see.

Besides A to Zed, I am also reading London Free and Dirt Cheap, and London 2012 from Frommer's. Flipping through the pages, they seem to be excellent recourses. I shall let you know in one of my later blogs how they worked out!

In upcoming blogs, be on the lookout for stories, new British vocabulary, pictures and videos. For my next blog I'm going to take you through what I packed vs. what I saved to buy in London, and how that worked out for me.

Until next time,
Kelsey Elizabeth

Chuffed to bits, slang, to be thrilled, or pleased with something.