Sunday, August 29, 2010

Harlaxton Manor

We arrived at Harlaxton Manor on Friday afternoon. This was one of our first views of the manor in which Ashley and I were both in awe. We were given our room assignments straight away; Ashley in the manor in the 400 corridor, and I in the Carriage House (seen below).

I have three roommates, which is very common for the rooms here. I was the last to arrive and was thus left with the leftover bed, desk and wardrobe, and therefore, have a top bunk next to the door, the desk in the corner, and the wardrobe that blocks the walkway to the door. I basically have all of the worst areas in the room. However, I'm working on not letting it bother me too much (working...not necessarily achieving it yet). My roommates are all very nice but we haven't gotten the chance to get to know one another yet. So far, we've all been living very different sleep schedules, so I'm curious as to how that will play out as the semester continues on.

We've all been very busy here with orientation meetings, fancy dinners and explorations of the manor, Carriage House and the grounds. I've been quite busy so far and have barely gotten the chance to explore much more than a few floors in the manor! I've found 3 pianos so far and am thinking I'm going to have the chance/want to play a lot more this semester than I was expecting!

I've already signed up for the choir, volleyball team, special events club and am thinking of applying for the student ambassadors. I hope to fill my time with lots of fun activities and opportunities to meet lots of people!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

English Immersion Week

My week with the Burnett family absolutely flew by. Our adventure to Carlby, the Burnett family's village, took much longer from London on Monday night than we expected due to lots of road maintenance that directed us in a very roundabout way. We arrived at our week's home past midnight, settled in quickly and slept way past breakfast hours the next day. However, we still managed to eat granola with (gasp!) WHOLE milk, English breakfast tea, and lots of fruit. We finally met Jennie, Matt's mum, once she arrived home from work, who immediately became a fabulous hostess and took care of our every need.

We explored the neighborhood area of Carlby via a walk along the trails only to be caught in the rain. The rest of the week ended up being pretty dreary. Ashley and I got very used to people telling us that the weather was horrible for this time of year and was pretty much "absolutely miserable". We were unable to do very much sight-seeing around Stamford, the nearest town, or anything else really due to the weather. However, Ashley, Matt and I spent a lot of time catching up for the first time in 15 months.

Ashley and I also really enjoyed meeting a mixture of Matt's friends during a BBQ that was held the first night we were there. All of the friends were very genial and truly interested in learning more about the American and Bahamian way of life. It was really fascinating to be the only American in the room and to have the challenge of trying to answer questions about the country, climate, different states, political stances, pop culture, etc. But, of course, our main point of discussion was the difference in American and English language and what it really meant to wear "pants" vs. "trousers".

On our second to last day, we did some exploring of the Burghley House (pronounced Burley) which is Stamford's famous manor house. We toured the whole place and immediately became excited for Harlaxton. The house was huge and ornate and overwhelmingly busy. There was always too much stuff to look at! It also was pouring down rain outside as well as extremely windy and so we looked really cool attempting to pose in front of the manor! 

On our last day, we finally explored the town of Stamford. The town was absolutely beautiful and full of walking shoppers everywhere. It intrigued me as to how many people did all of their shopping on foot around the town. It definitely was no Safeway and Fred Meyer! Ashley and I were very disappointed to leave because we spotted many trendy clothes shop that caught our eyes...but Harlaxton was waiting us and we knew we'd soon be back to visit the Burnett's! They were wonderful hosts, and thankfully, I forgot a few things there which means I'll need to return very soon!

Monday, August 23, 2010


From the beginning, I knew my travels to London would not be completely perfect once I realized at SeaTac that I would be unable to make my second flight due to my first flight's delay. After a slightly confusing/frazzled call to Delta, they were able to get me a good flight change. Both flights were comfortable, for the most part, and spent sleeping. I arrived into London only about 20 minutes late and go through customs very easily. I knew at baggage claim, however, that things would not be as easy. I waited for 45 minutes to reconfirm that my luggage definitely had not made it with me. As frustrating as it was, I wasn't too worried about it because all of my really important things had been crammed into my backpack with me. I finally met up with Matt, Ashley, and Matt's brother Pete about an hour and half late, but all was well. 

We drove to Matt's aunt's house in Balham, London as Matt and Pete tried to find their way through the London streets whilst avoiding the "Congestion Zones" that required pay. It pretty much felt like forever in the car and that we were driving in circles, but we found the house just fine. As I suspected, driving on the left-hand side of the road felt completely normal for me! Once we arrived at the house, Ashley and I met Matt's cousin Faye and were very warmly welcomed. We spent most of the day lazing around the beautiful house (it's HUGE!) and catching up, eating pickle and cheese sandwiches (apparently an English staple), curry, and drinking lots of coffee and tea. Ashley and I fought sleep and jet-lag for the entire day and finally decided it was appropriate to go to bed once the sun had set. I passed out until about 5:30am, which was actually 9:30pm for me, and tossed and turned for a bit, finally falling asleep again until 10:00am here. Now I feel MUCH more rejuvenated and ready to the experience London culture more than just talking about in on the couches! Don't know the plan for the day quite yet, nor for the rest of the week, but I figure I best get ready for anything!

With love,