maandag 28 mei 2012

Goodbye.

Yesterday was my last full day in London. I actually didn't really know what to do, so I went to Westfield in Stratford City (so not upon-Avon, though I do want to go there once), which is a very big shopping mall. Charissa had been there and told me about it.

I got up later than usual: at 9am! (The past two weeks I've been getting up between 7 and 8)
At about 11am I was at the tube station. I took the District Line to West Ham and there took the Jubilee Line to Stratford.
The first thing I did was look for a Boots: I had been sneezing in the tube constantly and the days before the sneezing had gotten worse as well, so it was time to do something about this hayfever!
Well, Boots was still closed, so I went to the Primark that was next to it (not for hayfever-medicines :P). I didn't really feel like browsing their humongous amounts of clothes, so I only bought two pairs of flats, because the ones that I have at home have become very ugly (plus one of them has run off).
After standing in the queue for ages (it was insanely long) I went to Boots and got the pills (and it was 1 + 1 for free :P). Instant relief!

I didn't really do any shopping: I bought wrapping paper for all the souvenirs I've got for my family and a book, because I had finished the other book I was reading.
I also bought a 'brezel'/pretzel! It wasn't as good as the original German ones, but still very nice!
When I was there I was also able to see the Olympic park from a little distance as well as the Orbit-tower. I read the paper the other day and they want that weird tower to become as important to Britain as the Eiffeltower is to France. Weirdos. I don't think that tower will ever replace Benny or the London Eye as one of the most famous British buildings.

I went back at I think 4pm or something and had supper with Tom and Amanda (we ate at 5, because they had to go to an evening mass).
When they were out I retreated to my room and wrapped up all the presents. I also started filling my hand luggage (in which I can also carry 23kg) and now it's quite full. It's got most of my books in it, so I think neither of my suitcases will exceed the 23kg.
I also checked in online and then went downstairs to join Tom and Amanda outside in the garden. They gave me a jar of Tom's homemade raspberry jam and a jar of homemade marmalade and also a pot of ground coffee (the pot looks really nice :P). They were very happy with the chocolate bar from Honeyduke (:
When we got back inside I said goodbye to Amanda, because I won't see her anymore today and she wished me luck with getting into Stirling (she thinks Stirling is better than Dundee :P) and also told me that I was really easy to be around (:
After having pictures taken with both of them, I went to bed.

Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

Yesterday was the day I went to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour!
I got up at... 7.30, I think and then took my time to get ready. I got on the tube and at about 10am I was at Victoria Station, which was an hour before the bus left.
I decided to get a frappuccino and then take my time to find the correct place. Well, the first struggle was the question of which direction I had to walk to.
It turned out I had done very well in coming so early, because it took me quite a while to get to 4 Fountain Square, Buckingham Palace Road! First, I asked a bus-driver, but he couldn't give me any more directions than that I should probably walk around the corner.
Around the corner I came across somebody who works at Sainsbury's and he was able to explain to me that I needed to cross the road and that it was somewhere there. Also very clear.
So I crossed the road and there was this building and it had a display to show what companies were situated in it and Golden Tours was on it!
I walked through the building and ended up in the right place! (:

There already was a queue of Potter-fans, so I just joined them to await the bus. After a couple of minutes, the bus made it's appearance! Now, you must know that I had anticipated a Golden Tours-bus like the ones I had seen driving through the city. I was not prepared for one that was decorated in Harry Potter-theme! It looked amazing!

After we had all checked in and received our tickets, the bus took off. The drive was about an hour and a half, but most time was spent driving through London (finally got see how big it really is!).

So at 12.30 we arrived at Leavesden studios. The first thing I noticed was how HUGE it was. Really, mind-blowing. And I don't believe that is the only building they used. So it was even bigger!

I joined the queue inside and after a while I found myself in a room with four screens hanging on either side of the room on which short fragments were shown about how the Harry Potter films had come into life.
After that, we were guided into the 'cinema'. We got to sit in very comfy chairs and watch a very big screen that showed us Dan, Rupe and Emma talking about the tour.

The next thing was the Great Hall and it really was great! They displayed two of the tables and props on it, some costumes and also dummies of the professors wearing their costumes in front of the professors' table.
After that I've seen props from the Yule ball, chocolate sculptures that had been kept for 7 years, make-up tables, the gate to Hogwarts, the potions classroom, boys' dorm, the ministry of magic and much, much more.
Then the tour went outside, where we could see the Knight Bus and 3 and 4 Privet Drive. Also there was an oppertunity to buy butterbeer there, which I, of course!, did! It was weird, but pretty good! I can understand why these young wizards are addicted to it!

Back inside we came into the room where many of the creatures had been created, like the goblins, giants, mermaids and so on. They also displayed some dummies they had used in the film, for instance a Harry or Dumbledore dummie that was about 20% smaller than the actual person, so that Hagrid would look bigger when standing next to the dummy (I hadn't even thought about doing that!).
We also got to see white paper models of places in Harry's world and artwork that had been made to inspire what a scene might have to look like.
Eventually I entered this room and it took my breath away! Before me, was a huge model of Hogwarts! It looked so real and amazing, wow!
What I learned is that they used this model when they needed to film Hogwarts from air: they'd film the persons that were needed in the scene, in front of a green screen, then they'd film the Hogwarts-location from the air and later edit it, so that it will become realistic! They've done an amazing job with that!
After that I wandered around the souvenirshop and bought myself the Studio Tour-guide, a milk chocolate bar from Honeyduke (the sweetshop in HP) and also a way too expensive chocolate frog. I also bought the same chocolate bar to give to Tom and Amanda as a thank you (they're also Potter-fans, though I don't know for sure they've seen the films).

Then, it was unfortunately time to go.
We went back to Victoria station where I got the tube to Notting Hill Gate, after which I had to find my way to Tom and Amanda's son Joe's cocktail bar, called the Portobello Star. It is, unsurprisingly, on Portobello Road.
We had a cocktail there and afterwards went for dinner with two friends of Tom and Amanda's (one of them who has also worked with my dad) and Joe and his girlfriend. Madeleine, Tom and Amanda's daughter, was also supposed to come, but she is near the end of her pregnancy and was therefore too tired.

It was quite a fun evening and the day itself was just amazing!

zondag 27 mei 2012

The Netherlands: shameful!

This post will be about what I did on Friday, because hey! Hadn't posted about that yet, either :P
Will try to update my activities of yesterday and today as well, but I'm not promising anything!

At work we started with the papers and then Lesley came to me again, to ask me whether I could look up the addresses of some more Swedish publishers. So that's what I did, though one thing was quite odd: there were also quite a few that are Norwegian. She also thanked me for doing the thing with the employee's handbook (yay me!).
After that I think I prepared a bunch of colouring books that needed to be sent to some company. I also prepared some more author copies (loads of authors, I know :P).
Then it was 13.15 and Maddy and Christina took me out for lunch. We went to a pub and sat on the terrace (yay for sun!). They ordered fish cakes (had never heard of that before!) and I ordered fish and chips. It took AGES for our food to be delivered, but it was quite good!

We ended up coming back half an hour later than usual, because it had taken so long to get our food.
At one moment, Mauro came downstairs and he started talking to me about the EuroVision Songcontest. "The Netherlands yesterday! Shameful! The singin: bad! The clothing: woooorse!" is what he said (try to imagine it with an Italian accent and said very dramatically). Well, to be honest, I've never heard Joan Franka's song (she was the Dutch contestant), but I've seen the clothing and on that subject I completely agree with Mauro! Don't really understand why she had to dress up like an indian.

To be honest, I can't really remember what I did after that... But I know that Mauro told me that on the end of the day I was allowed to take a bunch of books that I'd like to have (challenge!).
Furthermore, I received an email from Hannah to thank me for my sticking-efforts and to say that it had worked out well (I had left it on her desk the previous day, because she was out). When I asked her when the colouring book that I had provided ideas for, would come out, she told me that if I gave them my address, they'd send me a copy! Won't be until next year, but still really nice!

At half 4 (16.30) I got to start picking out books. I ended up with Jane Eyre, Sense & Sensibility, Hollow Earth, Dress Up Kate (also got one for Charissa and Vera), London Colouring Book (also got one for Charissa and Vera) and the first book in the series of Where's the Meerkat? (I just had to get one of those, because they've become pretty much the best sold books from Michael O'Mara).
Then Maddy and Christina gave me this really lovely little mug which has got some flags on it, as well as small Union Jacks.
I said goodbye to the Foreing Sales department (I'd seen them the most during my work experience) as well as to Maddy and Christina, and then it was time to leave.

Given the load of books that I had to carry around in two plastic bags that were bound to break if I just kept them bangling from my wrists, I had to carry them in my hands and try to remain cool. It was very hard, but apparently I succeeded. I was especially successful at the point that I was holding these bags, my oyster card ánd a frappuccino! Yes, I've got some serious feat for carrying many things at once!
Apparently, I looked very cool, calm and London-ish whilst doing this, because at some point a guy came up to me to ask which way Piccadilly was. Well, the funny thing is: I had no idea which direction I had to walk, but I was able to give the man the right directions!
In front of the Charing Cross hotel I met up with Vera and then we walked over to Foyles (which was according to Tom one of the best bookshops in existence), because we didn't know much else to do. We were a bit disappointed, as we had anticipated millions of fiction-books, but the majority of the books were non-fiction (and often scientific- / research-related). We decided to sit in the café and wait for Charissa to get in touch with us, as we had agreed to go out for dinner one last time.
I texted Char several times and called her once, but we didn't get an answer. We assumed that she was no longer interested in coming, as she had said she would see whether she would come.
So at about 20.30 we walked around for a bit and decided to sit down in an Italian restaurant (I know, again. The deal is, their food is good and often affordable!).

We had a really nice time and at about... well, some time after 10pm, we said our dramatic goodbyes which were mainly filled with 'I don't want to go home already!'. We ended with 'See you on Tuesday!' and then we parted. Yesterday Vera flew back already.

One Short Day in the Emerald City

I apologize for not posting any earlier but the last three days have been quite a blur, because I've done quite a lot! So now I'm going to try my hardest to remember what I've done on Thursday! This is gonna be hard...

Well, we started reading the papers. After that I phoned the last publisher for Mauro (they hadn't picked up the phone yet, before). Well, of course, the person I needed to talk to was ill, so I left a message with her colleague to email Mauro and Mauro seemed content with that!
Then I continued reading the ebook and I was doing quite well, so I decided I wanted to finish it before lunch. This resulted in having lunch half an hour later than I usually go out for lunch, but I finished the ebook! Man, it's not exactly a really interesting book. But perhaps that's just me, because it's a autobiography and before I had never even heard of the guy. So, maybe it is a good treat for his actual fans.
For lunch I got a sandwich and decided to sit in the park. There I ate and read my book for a bit. After I'd had enough with the park, I went into some shops, but didn't buy anything (though one shop had this really cute jam-making set, with pots and labels and such). I went to get a frozen yoghurt and went back to the office.

In the afternoon I got several jobs to do: read the new Employee's Handbook and compare it to the old, to see if there were any differences (and highlight the differences). Also, for one of the big bosses Lesley, I had to look up the addresses of Swedish publishers (they're planning a visit to Sweden) and I finished cutting out and sticking all the would-be stickers. And then I got to do the regular thing: author/publicity copies and franking the post of the day!

After work (I could leave half an hour early) I decided to go straight to Victoria, so I could go to the theatre and collect my ticket beforehand. You see, the ticket I had was for the R20-something in the Stalls. So a seat in the pink area of the map you see below.
So after some thinking I decided to upgrade my ticket, because I don't think there will be another time that I'm going to Wicked again, so I'd better enjoy the view! The upgrade was 27,50p and that ended up giving me the seat P27 in the Circle (so the first row of red seatings and then the middle one, on the last row). VERY GOOD VIEW!
And the original price for such a ticket is 90 pounds! So even having upgraded, it's still cheaper (I now know what to do the next time I want such a good seat!)
After collecting my ticket I walked around for a bit and got some food at a pub that's attached to Victoria Station. Very good food!

Then.... it was time to see WICKED!
The theatre itself is completely decorated to fit the show (I wonder what will happen to the decorations once they stop with Wicked [if they ever stop]). I decided to finally legalize my listening to songs from Wicked and purchased the CD.

The show itself was AMAZING! Really, it was soo good! Now I finally know in what order the songs are supposed to be and how they fit in with the situations (after listening to them for more than 2 years, I still didn't know).
I did have to do some adjusting, as this was performed by British people and the songs I listened to were from the original Broadway cast with Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel (I really regret that I'll never be able to see them perform this musical, because they're so good!).
But nonetheless, the cast was really good!
God, I'd love to see it again some time... Well, who knows? I might one day go to NYC and decide I want to see a musical there as well... ^^

The show was over way too soon and on my way back in the tube I listened to the songs some more and enjoyed the fact that now I know what happens when they sing the songs.
It was a really good evening!


woensdag 23 mei 2012

I don't know anything about a meeting.

First and foremost I'd like to thank 2 very generous sponsors who have decided they want to make sure I survive my last days in London as well, without starving or having to walk for miles due to the tube that no longer could be afforded. So thank you! Thou shall be given rewards upon the arrival of thy beloved daughter!

Today wasn't so busy either at work, but I did get to do quite a lot of different things, which is good!

Once again (and I have the slightest suspision we will do the same tomorrow and Friday as well) we read the papers! There wasn't much news in celeb-world, so the only things we had to pass on were the things about the Royal family (with the Jubilee celebrations coming up, there's something about them in the papers everyday!).

After that I continued reading the ebook, I'm now at page 180-something out of 251, so I'm hoping to finish it before I leave (might also be convenient for Maddy and Christina).
When I was reading the book, Maddy came to me with something else that I had to do: read the new version of the Employee's handbook and compare it to the old one, to see which things had changed.

For lunch, I went out with Maddy, Christina and Florence and Lill(ian) from Foreign Sales. They wanted to have lunch together, because Florence is moving back to France on Saturday. We sat in a park, enjoying the fantastic weather and before returning to the office we got some ice cream!

Back at the office I had a short conversation with Hannah who had really liked some of my ideas and said they'll definitely using them in the colouring book (my ideas will be famous!)!
Shortly after I got two other things to do: I had to prepare some books to be sent to winners of some competition for Jessica and later I had to do something else for Hannah again: I have to try out to see whether all the stickers they think they need for the new stickerbook match with the 'drawings' they need to be stuck on in the stickerbook.
Furthermore, I called some more Dutch publishers for Mauro. The calls were quite unnerving as most people didn't know who Mauro was or that they had an appointment. I'm starting to wonder whether Mauro had arranged these meetings already at all...

When I got back to Elm Park and had rested for a bit, Tom and I set out to get some fish and chips (Amanda wasn't eating at home). Also, he purchased some mayonaise especially for me.
So, the fish and chips. They were nice, but the chips really should've been fried longer as they were really soft instead of crispy.

After supper, I spent some time in the garden reading and eating Greek yoghurt with Tom's homemade raspberry jam.
Then I chatted for a bit with Tom and Amanda about poetry, checking me in for my flight (which we will be able to do 24 hours prior flying) and Foyles (which appears to be an amazing bookshop and I'm going to have to find some time to visit it :P).

After that I retreated to my room to watch the final Glee episode of season 3, which was quite an emotional and surprising one and writing this blog!

I'll keep you posted (including tomorrow only 4andahalfmoredays! D:),

They obviously do brighter colours in the Netherlands

When I woke up this morning I had decided to wear the dress that had also been up for choice for the posh dinner: the light brown one with colour thingies on it.

When I got downstairs, Amanda immediatly expressed her liking the dress and Tom commented 'they obviously do brighter colours in the Netherlands' (I've been wearing some colourful outfits, including the one that I call 'Colourburst on the Go'). Well, to be honest, I don't think so many people in Holland dress very colourful. All those brown, blue, gray, white and black tones are sometimes just so depressing (especially 'cause the majority wears clothes like that). So I answered, 'Well, maybe it's just me.' To which Amanda replied, 'Whether it's you or the Netherlands, I think it's great.'
Aw yeah! :P

At work I started off with the papers, but this morning there wasn't that much news on celebrities. Then I started with the ebook again and I got surprisingly far!
During the ebook-reading, I got interrupted a few times to do things like prepare publicity copies, making sure two boxes that needed to be returned fit in one big box (and to do so, wrap it up like a present) and some other things.
During my lunch break I got a sandwich at Subway, which will probably be my last 'luxurious' lunch here, as I'm near to being broke. If I'm correct, I will receive my last paycheck from my former employer on Thursday, but I've got no idea how much that will be.
After having eaten my sandwich behind my desk and checking up on social media-life, I went outside with my book (I bought it on Sunday and have finished it by now) and read for a while in the lovely sun! It was absolutely GORGEOUS weather!

In the afternoon I finally got the somewhat-feared visit from Mauro who explained to me who I had to call, what I had to say and such. I really didn't like the prospect of having to call these people (I think it might be because the meetings are important and I don't want to be responsible for screwing things up).
Thankfully it went quite smoothly and my heart stopped thumping in my throat! One publisher said they'd email to confirm, another confirmed and the other two had probably closed already, as the phone wasn't answered.

The rest of the day went by very quickly.
After work I went back to Elm Park and dropped by the Tesco to get some ingredients for hutspot! I had promised Tom and Amanda to cook this Dutch dish for them, so I bought the ingredients and meat to make meatballs as well.
They really loved it; Amanda kept saying 'this is really good', so that's a good sign right?

When I got back to my room I saw that my new dress had been washed, but that, unfortunately, the lasagne stains from last Tuesday were still visible :( :( :(

I guess that's it for today!

I'll keep you posted,

They hate me!

The morning started with reading the papers at work and filtering out the 'important' stuff.
After that, I just continued with the ebook and at times I worked on my ideas for the colouring book.

Yesterday I was sooo tired. Oh my, to be honest, at one point when reading the ebook I almost fell asleep. Thankfully I then got something else to do.

At about 12.30, Charissa dropped by to see the place where I work and meet Maddy and Christina. We then went to the Tesco at Clapham High Street and got croissants for lunch.
After that we walked back to the office and then Char had to go, because I had to work again! (which I didn't for about 10 minutes or so).

In the afternoon I came to the conclusion I had kind of finished with my ideas for the colouring book, so I took them over to Hannah who was quite (pleasantly, I hope) surprised that I had drawn them. Well, I had just figured that was easier for me to do (and for her to look at) than copy-pasting so many links from Google.

In the morning Mauro had come to me with the question if I'd like to make some phone calls for him with Dutch publishers who hadn't comfirmed their meeting with Mauro yet. Strangely enough, he didn't come to me in the afternoon like he said he would.

What I did get to do in the afternoon was walk with a little suitcase around Clapham High Street and visit the charity shops that are there. We apparently had some posters left and the big boss wanted us to bring them around. I got to do this, which I didn't mind at all. The charity shops were very happy with the posters (and they all asked whether I had drawn them...).
Going to these shops brought me another delight! For one pound only, I was able to purchase the last book that was missing in my collection of Cecelia Ahern-books, namely 'A Place Called Here'!

When I got to leave, I went to Leicester Square where I was supposed to be meeting Vera, Charissa, Diederik and Kevin (the last two also being 'classmates') for a drink. Well, after 15 minutes of walking up and down (overground and underground) between the several exits of the station, I still hadn't spotted anyone and I couldn't get any signal, so I wasn't able to call anyone either.
Then, all of a sudden, when I came above the ground again, I received a phone call from Vera! What a timing! Turned out she had already walked to the square. We decided that she would walk over to me and I'd try to get a hold of Charissa in the mean while. Who turned out to still be on her shopping spree in the Primark.
So Vera and I had to wait, as the boys still weren't to bee seen.
After at least 15 minutes of waiting at the same spot, looking around for a familiar face, while being surrounded by a Spanish school class (this almost seemed like a conspiracy against the two of us!) .
When Charissa had arrived, we soon also spotted Kevin. After a couple of minutes we also saw Diederik and then we started the search for someplace to drink/eat.

We ended up in a small Italian restaurant that was between Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. I was supposed to be eating at Tom & Amanda's later (they would leave me some food), but as the restaurant didn't do half pizzas, I was forced to get a whole one (which was very yummy, I must add).
A funny thing to mention is that we are all now convinced that the restaurant and its staff hate Charissa :P
It started off with her Primark-shopping bag standing in the way. Later, she changed her order. A sign of the hatred was the coke she ordered but wasn't brought to her!
Another  very good sign, was that Charissa (who had ordered the same pizza as Diederik and I) got the pizza on a plain plate, whilst ours said something funny about life and pizza.
For some reason, Char wanted them to hate her even more, so she left the crusts of her pizza on her plate and didn't eat them.
*joking about all the hating-stuff, but it was funny!*
After dinner we walked around for a bit in the direction of Piccadilly Circus. We came across 'Trocadero'. I had to go in to see whether it was the same 'shopping mall' my mom and I had been to when I went to London for the very first time, about five/six years ago.
Well, it was the same one, alright! I was very glad I'd finally found it, although it didn't hold quite as many shops as I remember (but my memory may have been a bit distorted over time).

After Trocadero we all decided to go home.
Back in Elm Park I cooked what had been left for me and a little bit of it, but I didn't like it very much.

I'll keep you posted,

maandag 21 mei 2012

It's the best I can do for you.

Man, today was busy. Saw quite a lot, met and talked to quite a few nice people.

To start off, I got ready to leave and left Anna a note (she had her flight at 19.30 or something and I didn't think I would see her anymore, so in the note I thanked her for the two meals and such).
On my way to the station I stopped at a news agent to get a bottle of water and some chewing gum (juicy fruit, very nice!).

I got on the Distric Line, got off at Bow Road and had to walk to Bow Church station to get to the DLR Line. Unlike most stations, I had to 'touch out' with my Oyster card, leave the station, walk quite a bit, 'touch in' at this other station and wait for the train.
Another funny thing about this DLR Line, is that it doesn't have a driver. It's quite strange and also seems a bit futuristic.

In Greenwich I started looking for the Royal Observatory, because Tom and Amanda had recommended it. I got somewhere and bought a ticket for it, but to be honest, I can't tell you for sure that I've seen it...? I went into the Flamsteed house, I believe it is called. Well, it's the house where the first Royal Astronomer lived and worked. Loads of clocks.
Also I went into the Maritime something and the Astronomy something. Both quite interesting.

After that I headed back into Greenwich and visited the market. There I stopped a little corner of the market, which I believe was called 'Artist's corner'. I saw some work that I really liked, by Mark Lupo. I also had a little talk with the master himself and he explained a bit about one particular piece that I liked. Unfortunately, I can't find it on the website, so I'm unable to show you.
Also, there was this stall where a man sold apple cidre and I intended on buying some for Helen. Very unfortunately for my big sis', you can't drink or buy alcohol here unless you're 18+. I did have a talk with guy and he was very nice. To be honest, he looked quite young, but he is 30.
He did say that if I came back when it was legal to buy alcohol he would give me as much as I wanted.

I left Greenwich (which is by the way pronounced as "grenitsh", nobody will understand you if you just say it the way it's written) and took off to Camden Town.

I don't know exactly what I had expected, but it was really quite amazing! Camden Market is soooo huge! Everywhere there were market stalls selling nice things or food or whatever. And around every corner, there's just a whole new part of the market that you haven't been to before! I just loved the buzz the place had.
When I just came out of the subway station, I saw this boy, who looked really a lot like Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley). So for a moment I was really in doubt whether it was him or not. I thought he looked a bit too young, but still. So kept lingering, so I could eavesdrop a little to hear what his accent was like. It turned out it wasn't Rupe at all, as this boy was a foreigner!
At this stall I had been standing at, I saw a little something that I thought would be nice for my lil' sis', Martine. Well, it was 8 pounds, and since I already had something else as well, I didn't want to buy it.
But these tradesmen are really persistant when it comes to selling their stuff! They just keep lowering and lowering the price until at a certain point (which is a pound more than what you were actually willing to pay) and say 'this is the best I can do for you'. Well, I decided I don't mind that! It's more wallet-friendly.

After getting this for Martine, I walked around for a bit and spotted a really nice dress. One with little owls on it. I actually only wanted to pay ten pounds, but at the first stall where I saw it and asked about the price, it was fifteen and the man didn't sound like he wanted to lower the price at all.
Thankfully, there was another stall. To my surprise, there the dress was originally twenty pounds! Well, that was way over budget, but the man asked me what I wanted to pay and I said twelve (I figured I'd be able to miss those extra two pounds). Well, at first he started giving me offers of 18, 17, 16 and 15. But eventually he gave way and offered me the dress for 13 pounds, which was 'the best I can do for you'. Alright, alright, alright! So I bought it.

Then I walked and walked and walked and had to look at so many things at once! And also the scents of all those different kinds of food were really nice. It really got me hungry.
I decided to get a margeritha pizza slice (the man put one pineapples especially for me and warmed it up with pineapples on it, that was really nice!) which was quite good.
After some more strolling around and having no idea where I was, I bumped into this little shop that sold films (and films only). You had to get upstairs for the shop, so that's what I did. There I was greeted by this man and his little, lovely dog.
The man was very friendly and also very passionate about the films he sold, which were mainly less known by the bigger crowd and also older than the films that are sold by HMV and such shops. Well, because this man was so friendly and passionate, I felt I couldn't leave without buying anything, so I stayed as long as I needed to find a film that I thought I might like.
I can't recall the name and I'm too lazy to get up, but I think it might have a little bit of the same atmosphere as Little Miss Sunshine.

Then I decided it was about time go back to the underground, as I had said to Charissa I'd be at The Zetter (where she has her work experience) at five. I don't know how I managed, to find my way back, but I did!

At Farringdon station, I really was confused about where I had to go to find the hotel. I asked a couple of people and they sent me into vague directions, so I walked up and down the road for quite a while. Eventually I decided to go one way, even though I still wasn't sure.
Luckily, a man on a bicycle came past (you know, such a bicycle on which people can be toured around), so I asked him if he knew where it was. He didn't, but he was friendly enough to offer to look it up on his phone for me. So he did and told me which I direction I needed to walk in.
I thanked him and started walking again. After about a max. of 200 metres, I'd reached the hotel. Yes, I know, that's quite pathetic. Especially 'cause it turned out I'd been able to see the hotel from where I was standing when I was talking with the cycle-man :')

At the hotel, Charissa showed me around for a bit and after that I got to sit at the bar (Charissa had to wait tables) and I was offered a non-alcoholic cocktail. Who'd say no to that?
So this guy, Steve I think he's called, whipped up a cocktail by experimenting and it was really good.
Later, Chris, another bartender/cocktail-master came along and thought that he could do better, so he made me a 'Better-than-Steve's-cocktail'-cocktail. Also very nice! (and both for free ^^)

Eventually I went back (with Charissa, who was told she could go home an hour early) to the station. We wanted to do something, but we didn't really know what as it was Sunday-evening, so we decided to part and each head home.

And now I'm here. Oh and as to where 'here' is: I've moved from the 'green room' to the 'purple room', which has an ensuite bathroom! I couldn't stay in this room last week, because they wanted Anna to stay in it.

Pfoeh, quite a long, but very fun(!) day! (:

I'll keep you posted,


zondag 20 mei 2012

I understand completely.

Today I had agreed to meet Vera at 9.30 at Cannon Street. Well, when I got on the tube, it turned out Cannon Street is closed on weekends, so we decided to meet at Monument (this meant Vera had to walk a bit and would probably arrive later). Because I didn't feel like waiting 20 minutes in the same place, I decided to stay on the tube and go the Mansion House (which is the stop after Cannon Street/Monument), where I got off and got on the train back after which I stepped out at Monument. Yes, exciting, right?

When Vera arrived we went to get a drink at Starbucks. I had a Caramel Macchiato and she had a Chai Tea Latte. Her drink was quite odd, but rather nice.
We walked around for a bit and found the Monument itself (quite weird it's just called Monument and doesn't have some other name, isn't it?) and decided very randomly to climb it!

the Monument! Doesn't really look like something that can be
climbed, does it?
It's to commemorate the fire of London that took place in
1666. The Monument was built between 1671 - 1677.
So, we paid the 2 pounds for entrance and set off to climb these 311 steps. It was quite tiring, really! And you went round and round and round. But the view was worth it! We got to see quite a bit of London, although when you're up there, you don't really realize you're 50 metres above the ground because there are so much other buildings that are that much higher.

After we had descended the Monument, we took a stroll towards the Tower of London. During this stroll we made a stop at a very curious place: the ruin of a church which is now a bit like a garden. Also, it was right next to the office where Vera works.
The view from the Monument.
During our stroll we also made a pit-stop at a souvenirs shop, where we bought some interesting things (my family will know what as soon as I get home).

Having reached the tower, we got onto the tube to South Kensington. We walked a bit around, searching for Harrod's (as we had planned to go there).
On the way, we passed some nice shops (where we actually found books published by Michael O'Mara!) and a SNOG.
We looked at each other and decided to get a snog. Well, with this I don't mean the snog-kiss, but the snog-frozen yoghurt.
It was really good!
Here's how it works: you choose a size, a flavour and up to three toppings. I chose for a natural, classic-sized snog with strawberries, white chocolate stars and bits of brownie.
Vera had the same size and flavour, but with strawberries, blackberries (no, not the phones!) and miniature oreo cookies!
The Garden within a ruin of a church.
Here's what it looked like!
Quite good, don't you think? Well, it was delish!

Having stuffed ourselves with these little bites of heaven, we continued our search for Harrod's. Soon enough, we found it and entered the world of where posh (and preferably rich) people shop.
It was amazing. Everything Most things were so beautiful!
But, surprise, surprise, I bought something! A really lovely apron (:

After having gawked at all the beauty of Harrod's in about two hours, we took the tube to Leicester Square, where we got a sandwich at Subway and chose Covent Garden over Chinatown (sorry, Chinatown!).
There we just wandered around. It was really nice to see it again, as the first (and last) time I had been there was about 4/5 years ago! You know, back when I was still a little guppie.

It was 5pm waaaay to quickly and then I had to get on the tube again and head back to Elm Park. I thought I was being clever: taking the Piccadilly Line at Leicester Square to Holborn, there get on the Central Line and then get on the District Line at Embankment.
Should've thought twice.
When I arrived at Holborn, it turned out the Central Line was closed, so I had to go back to Leicester Square, get on the Northern Line, travel to someplace and get on the District Line from there.

When I got back, we took a cab to what Tom had figured was the only decent pub in Elm Park. Well, as West Ham had won an important football-match that afternoon and Bayern had to play against Chelsea that night, it was quite busy.
After finishing our drinks, we walked back and went to an Indian restaurant. There I had some delicious Tandoori Chicken Mango Massala. Really lovely!

And now I'm here!

Interesting detail: I bit on my cheek five times today! According to Tom it's a sign of tiredness. He might be right about that, because I'm completely knackered.
The past week I've been thinking people that have their eyes closed/are sleeping when on the tube were quite odd, but during the trip back home, I admit I closed my eyes as well. It just feels really nice when you're tired: the slight feeling of movement and listening to you're music. Suppose  I should go to sleep now, as I'm planning to see a lot tomorrow as well!

I'll keep you posted,

zaterdag 19 mei 2012

Posh peeps.

I apologize for not having posted anything yesterday, but to be honest I was quite tired and felt more like reading my book (which I've finished now! As well as my other book = need to buy a book ASAP!)

Let's see whether I can remember what I did...

Well, we started at work by reading the papers and picking out the 'important' things. I've learned that Michael O'Mara is a publisher that doesn't really produce much fiction, more biographies about celebrities (depending on what celebrity is 'hot and happening' [no, they didn't phrase it that way], which is why we read the papers), general knowledge books, 'funny' books and books for children (especially activity books).

I spent most of the day reading the ebook (which to be honest, isn't really an interesting book) and searching for mistakes (haven't found many yet!) and every so often I prepared some publicity/author copies for sending, which is actually a bit brain-dead but sort of fun to do.
In the afternoon I had a short talk with George, who is an editorial assistant, and he explained to me a bit about how their books come into existence and so on. He was really nice and said that if I wanted to talk again, or talk to someone else, I'd just have to email him and he'd try to arrange it.

I left about a quarter earlier than usual, because I'd agreed to meet Tom, Amanda and their Norwegian friend Anna in front of that Charing Cross hotel at half five (which is 5.30! yes, weird right?).
After everybody had arrived we had a short walk to Rule's restaurant, which claims to be the oldest restaurant in the UK (according to some, it's the oldest in the world!).
Well, taking that fact into consideration, you can imagine how posh it was. It was quite beautiful.
We started off with some starters. The menu was really something for posh people (e.g.: quail on toast, pressed rabbit, ox cheeks, horseradish and such things).
I chose for the Caramelized Cox's Apple Salad as a starter. I expected it to be a bit like the endive-salad (I really don't think endive is the correct word for andijvie, but anyways) I sometimes make at home (oh, and I've been eating some salads during dinner here; I know that'll surprise you mom, I'm surprised as well, though I don't particularly like it that much). Boy, was I disappointed. It consisted out of lettuce (obviously), some really weird dressing that I didn't really like, hidden bits of cheese and four teeny tiny miniscule pieces of apple (how dare they call it an APPLE salad?).

Well, my main course however, was really good. I had duck breast, cooked medium, and it was delightful. The best I've had since the one I had in Surinam (not that I eat duck so often, but still). Really nice 'crust'/skin. (It's quite odd how there's so much more to say when you don't like something compared to when you do like something).
After that we also had a dessert and I chose for the White & Dark Chocolate Arctic Roll. Very interesting dessert. Very nice. Some where hidden in the roll there was a fruit-flavour, which made it even more excellent.

After dinner, we walked a bit through London, past the Eye, over one of the two spaghetti-bridges and we went to the Plaza Hotel, which is where Anna had been staying for a couple of days, to pick up Anna's luggage (because now she's staying over at Tom and Amanda's as well).

When we got back at The Vicarage (which is actually how Tom and Amanda's house is called), we spent the evening in the lounge. Them talking with Anna, whilst (HA, first time ever I used that instead of 'while) I was reading my book and occasionally taking part in the conversation.

Having only 50 pages left when I went to bed, I decided to just go for it and finally finish it. It was a really good book (Post voor Mevrouw Bromley by Stefan Brijs). Stefan Brijs is actually one of the very few Dutch authors that I like.
And that's how the day ended (remembered it quite well!).

I'll keep you posted,

donderdag 17 mei 2012

Oops...

Today was again not very busy.
We started again by reading the papers after which I continued drawing out some ideas for the colouring book (I think Hannah meant that I had to google images, but I thought it was too much of a hassle to make collages or whatever for every little idea, so I decided to draw. Which I think is funner and more creative anyway! I'm wondering what Hannah will think...)

At 1pm I went out to get some lunch and since I'd spotted a Subway on Clapham High Street last Monday, I figured it was time get my lunch there. Well, I had never ordered something at a Subway before, so my choice wasn't based on experience at all. I chose for the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki with an Italian sandwich and some cucumber and lettuce on it. It was soooooooo good. Literally, out of this world. Seriously. Way better than the chicken sandwiches that are sold at school!

After lunch Maddy asked if I'd like to do something else for a while and well, after spending the whole morning drawing, I didn't mind!
So, remember when I told you I had to collate the mistakes that were found in the ebook versions of a book? Well, today I got the assignments to read such an ebook on the lookout for mistakes. The process looked a bit like what you see in the picture on the right.

Maddy and Christina were both nearly bored to death because things were so quiet. At one moment, Christina went to get water from a watertank (you know, those big things that always make a funny sound when you're getting water from it). And she dropped the glass. It got spilled all over a box with envelopes (somehow the envelopes didn't get wet!) and later when she was getting a towel to dry things, she stumbled over the box with envelopes.

Christina on the left and Maddy on the right!
Maddy said that since Christina's been working there (which is about for three months - she came there after she did her work experience in January) she had broken four glasses already! Luckily for Christina, this time it didn't break. But I guess it's safe to say Christina's a bit clumsy.
Oh and just before I left I took a picture of them, so you've got an idea who these people are!
I got to leave about half an hour early, because the ebook-thing isn't in a hurry and there wasn't much else to do.
On my way to Clapham North I stumbled across this shop that, I think, sells all sorts of vintage things. Well, to be honest, my attention was drawn by a sign outside that said "BOOK SALE. ALL BOOKS 1 POUND". Seriously, who would be able to resist THAT?
So I went in and came out with a book for my dad and a little something for my big sis'!

Back in Elm Park I tried to purchase a travelcard for a week (work will reimburse the costs for that), but it somehow didn't work at the shop. So I went back to the station and tried getting one from a machina, but that didn't accept cash or my bank card. Which was a bummer as the actual person you can buy one from had already left. Also, I've only figured out now that the travelcard thing is way cheaper in the long run, because when you buy it, you pay a lot of money, but then you get to travel unlimited for a week. Should've known that, because now I'm stuck with an oyster card that charges 4.90 for a single trip to work >:[
After that I had dinner - first time ever I ate turkey! It was good, but a bit dry. I suppose that whether it's dry or not depends on the way you cook it!
After dinner, Tom and Amanda had to leave quickly, because they had to lead an evening mass for Ascension day. So I decided to do the dishes for them! (I know, I'm so good :P haha) There's one thing however that I don't understand: they've got a dishwasher, but everyday they wash the dishes by hand... It's a mystery!

When Tom and Amanda had left, I watched the two new Glee episodes and during one of them I was playing with an earring. And broke it. Oops.
Note to self: do not ever play with earrings that in someway could be broken when being played with!

Hmmm. I find it rather interesting that I've somehow managed to write so much about so little! Well, I hope you enjoyed it!

I'll keep you posted,

ps. most people chose the polka-dotted dress and then my dad comes along and chooses for the dress on the left... very helpful! *coughs innocently*

On request of my dad....

...here are some pictures of what I've done/experienced so far in a nutshell!

The Sunniest City in Scotland!

Starbucks in the Union at campus of Stirling uni!

Edinburgh!

My train...

First proper day in London! The gate-like thingy, or however you want to call it, behind me is of Carnaby Street!

Lion Yard at which Michael O'Mara Books is situated!

The London Eye! This was at about... 19.30ish I guess?

Benny at night after we went in the London Eye!

Just casually strutting down the road, eating bacon.

Christina was back again today, which I reckon is good, 'cause it means she isn't dying or anything.

We started out by flipping through today's papers and forwarding everything trend- or celebrity-related to someone else in the company. Still don't know exactly what we're doing it for, but whatever.

After that, I didn't really have anything to do for a while, so I finished with my ideas for the new 'drawing'-book and emailed them. Thankfully Sophie thought there were some good ideas in there!

Then I did nothing for a while again, after which Jonny came to give me something to do: I again had to come up with ideas that could be used in a girls' doodling book. It was quite fun and I think I came up with a lot. Later I emailed him to ask what he thought of it and he actually liked some of the stuff!

After that I prepared a few author copies, sorted out and organized some magazines of Vicky's that are somehow book-related, had lunch and was then approached by Hannah, who also works at the childrens department and also needed ideas. I actually came up with a whole load, so I emailed them. When I later spoke to her again, she said she liked the ideas, but that she also wanted me to create a bit of a visual image to go with them, so they could give the illustrator better directions if the ideas would be used.
So that was practically what I did the rest of the day. I know it's not that much, but there just wasn't much to do today: Maddy and Christina were also trying to find something to do.

When I was on the way back to Clapham North, I did see something quite odd: there was a man, all suited up, eating bacon straight from the package, without anything else. That was so weird.

Also, when I was walking from Elm Park to home, I walked past this bridal shop and there were only three people in there. All three were men.

During dinner Tom and Amanda once again pointed out that the restaurant we're going to has a dresscode, namely: black tie. Right, need to figure out which of my dresses goes best with that dresscode. Wait, I'll just take a picture and show you:
Which one do you reckon is most black tie-suited?
I really don't know... I was thinking about the one on the left....
Well,

I'll keep you posted,

woensdag 16 mei 2012

I'll be back in a minute!

Yesterday I was quite busy the whole day through, so that was good.
Christina was ill, so I got to sit behind the 'big' computer. But because Christina was ill, Maddy had to do her postal deliveries very quickly. She explained to me how to answer the phone just in case she someone did ring in the minute that she was out, although it wasn't very likely that someone would call in that short period.
So Maddy went out the door. And the phone rang. It literally started the ringing as soon as the door closed! So I answered and the person on the other line asked to speak to someone. Well, that wasn't really hard, so I looked up the list to see what number I needed to dial for that person: and it wasn't on it! Fortunately, Maddy came back at that moment and took over: turned out the person that was needed is in France and not on the list. Seriously! Of all people that guy had to pick her to call! :') God, that was nervewrecking.

Most things I did yesterday were preparing author copies to be sent and franking the envelopes of those.
At one time there were so many catalogues that needed to be franked, that Maddy and I did it together just to get rid of it quicker.

Furthermore, I finished filing the business cards for Pinelopi. While I was doing that someone, I think she's called Vicky, came to me to explain me about what the people at the UK sales-division do, which was really good, because to be honest I'd thought there'd be a lot more economics involved! It actually sounded quite fun as well, you know, trying to get bookshops to buy and sell your books.
After or before that Sophie from the children's division came up to me to see if I could come up with some ideas for a new drawing book. So that was nice and different to do (:
Before I can tell you what else I did, I must explain a little bit: the books at MOM also usually have an ebook version. Well, there are two types: sony reader and kindle. When turning the normal file into an ereader file, things might go wrong, so Christina and Maddy have to look up these mistakes and type them out.
Well, what I had to do was to 'collate' the mistakes of both types of ereader: see what mistakes are the same and also put it all in chronological order.

Also I met Jonny, who took over Maddy's desk when she was out to get lunch. He was also really nice.

Oh, and remember the London Underground-song I posted once? Well, since the big bosses are out in France, Mauro and some other people from foreign sales upstairs were playing songs and they asked Maddy and me whether we knew any songs. I said that I knew one about the London Underground. I don't know exactly what they thought of it, but a lot of noise came from upstairs :P

That was practically my whole day. In the evening I just went straight home and had supper with Tom and Amanda. They invited me to come to dinner on Friday with them and another friend who'll be staying over for a couple of days and apparently speaks perfect English.

I ended the day by finishing watching the film on my laptop.

OH AND: Tom is a miracle man! He fixed WiFi on my laptop! Turns out Amanda and I didn't use the password correctly: we thought it was either the letters of the numbers, but it actually is the letters and the numbers, including the / that is between them!

I'll keep you posted,

dinsdag 15 mei 2012

Oh no!

Yesterday was my first day at Michael O'Mara Books.
I had to start at 10am, which is a really good time (especially because it means that in Holland it's 11am by then :P). So I just got up, ate breakfast and out the door I went!
The tube ride to Clapham North is quite long, but being the Londoner I am, I just sat and read my book while listening to music (that's just how I roll, ya know :P).

By the time I arrived at the station I felt the occasional flutters in my stomach, but the building was quite easy to find (this was actually because I'd looked up and walked the route on Google Maps, probably wouldn't have found it if I hadn't).

There I met Madeleine (or Maddy) and Christina, who are both working the reception/post room. I got appointed my own desk including a Macbook (but to be honest, I just prefer a normal laptop).
For starters, Maddy took me around when she delivered the post, so I could see the several buildings that Michael O'Mara is in and she also introduced me to quite a lot of people (I only remember a couple of names though).
Since it's actually not that busy at the moment, I didn't have that much interesting things to do, but that was alright, 'cause I don't think I'd have been able to handle anything that challenging yet.
I started out by filling in the euro prizes for some books on iTunes (this took quite a while, but it was alright to do). Furthermore, I had to collect some books and form them into packets and get them ready to be sent out and also I had to organize/file Pinelopi's business cards (there were quite a lot of them!). To be honest, I can't completely remember what else I did (that's how exciting it was :P), but overall I had quite a good day!
I can take a lunchbreak whenever I want and I can stay away for an hour (which I actually find a bit too long)!
During the day, we actually had a power cut! Really, all of a sudden all the lights went out and so did the computers. This resulted in lots of 'Oh no!'s coming from Maddy, which sounded really funny because she's got such an English accent.
It turned out to be quite local, because up until including Clapham North (the tube station) no longer had power, but the other way (which is headed to Clapham Common) did have power! How weird is that? It probably had something to do with some construction workers who are working on a place on the Lion Yard (which is where our offices are situated as well).
At first, I was the only one able to continue working, because I had a laptop, but later the internet stopped working as well, so none of us could do anything :')
In the end (after nearly an hour!) the power went back on again, which disappointed a lot of people because they'd been hoping to go home early.

At 5pm I got to leave, so I started texting Vera and Charissa (we had agreed to meet on Trafalgar Square). And after a tube ride, a short walk in the wrong way, then a walk in the right way, the decision to take the bus instead to prevent getting lost, I was at Trafalgar Square!
After a short phone call I spotted Charissa and not much later we were joined by Vera. Charissa asked us to sing her a birthday song, so she would feel more like it was her birthday. So we did what she wanted and embarassed her by singing Happy Birthday a little to loudly for her liking (^^).
Then we walked around for a bit, on the look out for a place to eat and we ended up in this tiny Italian restaurant near Embankment park (and station), which is actually where we walked past last year! I had no idea!
Well, the lasagne was really good and Charissa liked her birthday present (we both gave money so she could finally buy the bag she wanted so badly but thought too expensive).

After dinner we went for a walk to the London Eye. We collected our tickets and were led into a weird room, where we apparently were waiting for the 4D-experience of the London Eye. It turned out that was included in our ticket (for free). Well, despite having to wear the most hideous 3D-glasses ever, it was quite cool! Way better quality than that used in a cinema.
Then it was finally time to get on the London Eye and it was really cool! We could see Buckingham Palace, the Penis-building (no idea what it's really called) and lots of other buildings! Quite amazing.
After that, we walked around for a bit and ended up having a chat with a guard at Downing Street. He was really friendly, so that was nice.

I believe it was about 9.15pm by then, so it was about time we went back home. Charissa had to take the Bakerloo Line and Vera and I the Nothern Line (if I remember correctly), so we split up.
Luckily, Vera also had to travel on the District Line for a bit afterward, so we could travel together some more. She intended on getting off at Cannon street, but the train just passed that station (apparently, it doesn't stop there after 8pm), so she had to get off at the next station and figure out how and where to go :P

When I got back, I finally "met" Tom (I've met him before, about 3 years ago), who had been away for business. I actually sat down with Tom and Amanda for quite a bit until it was time to go to bed (which is also why I hadn't written this yesterday).

I'm afraid I must disappoint you, because I don't think I'll be writing about today tonight (I'm quite tired), so you'll have to wait until tomorrow for that!

I'll keep you posted,

zondag 13 mei 2012

Huh, swimsuit models?

Today was the first actual day I spent in Elm Park (where my hosts live) and in London.

When I woke up this morning, Amanda had already gone to church (I believe she's a priest), so I made myself some breakfast. Believe it or not, I tried making toast twice. And it got burned, twice. It's just because here they don't have a toaster but make it by using some kind of mix between an oven and a grill. Well, it got my toast black.

After a shower, I decided to leave Amanda a note and head into the city! My initial plan was to go to Covent Garden, but then the Underground also stopped at 'Tower Hill', so I got out and saw the Tower of London (I didn't go in, because I had already been there about 5 years ago). From there on, I started walking into a direction that I didn't know where it would take me to. I passed the rebuilt Globe theatre (might go inside there sometime during these 2 weeks) and walked across the Millenium Bridge.
Then, I got a text from Charissa, that she was on her way to Oxford street, so I had to overcome the challenge of finding another Underground-station, so I could go there as well.
During this adventure I came across this very little street, with just a few shops and places to eat, but it looked really fun! I think it was called something like Gabriel's blablabla.

Anyways! Soon after that I had finally found Waterloo Station and the Jubilee line took me straight to the stop 'Bond Street', which is situated on Oxford street! I bought myself a crepe with nutella and waited for Charissa. And waited. And waited.
Finally, she arrived! Apparently she had been a little confused or whatever when taking the tube and bus.
We decided to do a little shopping: I ended up with a T-shirt from H&M and a dress that was on sale from Topshop (:
Then we went to the McDonald's to go to the toilet and afterwards we bought a postcard to send to our English teacher (the one in charge of the work experiences). We decided it'd be fun to go to Piccadilly Circus to see if we could find the M&Ms store.

On the way, we walked on Regent Street and Carnaby street (love, love, love Carnaby street!). There was one shop on Regent Street that was really weird: we walked past it and suddenly these guys that were only wearing a swimsuit caught our eyes! Apparantly, that's what they did for their job: stand in the doorway wearing a swimsuit.
We also visited Hamleys, an HMV (where I bought a film to watch on my laptop) and the Ferrari store (Charissa wanted to buy something for her uncle there).

Finally we'd made it to Piccadilly Circus and after having asked someone who was carrying an M&Ms bag, where the store was, we found it! It's huge and they've got many, many M&Ms goodies. I ended up buying some M&Ms, because you can pick all the colours yourself (including silver and gold).
I was disappointed by one thing though: I had anticipated that they'd have all sorts of different M&Ms flavours but all they had were crispy, milk chocolate and peanut. AKA, they didn't have the one with peanutbutter that I love so much.

After that, it was about time to head back to Elm Park again. Amanda and I had lasagne for supper and after that we tried finding a way to connect my laptop to WiFi, but we failed. So I'm typing this from Amanda's laptop, again.
On Tuesday she'll probably ring the company to see if they know how to do it. I guess my laptop's just being stubborn.

At the moment I've paused watching a film to type this and to finish and send some exercises to one of the kids that I tutor (he's got a test on Wednesday, so I promised him I'd send some exercises).

Tomorrow's my first day at work and I'm really excited! Also, I'm going to the London Eye tomorrow evening and according to Amanda it's amazing and really worth the money (:

I'll keep you posted,

zaterdag 12 mei 2012

No, that's not Scott Monument.

Today was the day I finally went to London!
After having breakfast at our B&B, my dad and I packed up our things again and drove towards Edinburgh. There we printed my trainticket, dropped off my luggage until I had to board the train and then we walked around in Princes Street. We actually found this discount store that also sold books, so we both bought 3 books for £5,- which is really cheap. I decided to buy three classics, as I was planning one reading a couple of them anyway, and they'll come in handy when preparing for or during studying English. I purchased Pride & Prejudice, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Wuthering Heights (:
There was some construction going on at Princes Street so there was a map to show where everything was, including Scott Monument. Scott Monument is a bit of a tower-like building with a statue of a man in the middle of it. Well, when we were looking at that map, we were standing right in front of the monument. There was another man also studying this map and he kept claiming that the tower-like building wasn't the monument. That was really weird, because when my dad and I got closer to it, it specifically stated that it was the monument.

After having a drink at Costa, it was time for my dad to get in the car and drive to Edinburgh Airport. While getting there, he apparantly wasn't very lucky: he was to deliver the car filled with gas like it was, but the petrol station was closed, so he was charged £3,- per liter! Furthermore his plane was delayed and all of a sudden he had to check in his little suitcase, because of Idontknowwhat. But he made is home safely!

In the meanwhile, I had to entertain myself. First I got a little something to eat. Then I looked around in a few shops, but there wasn't really anything interesting, so I decided to buy two bananas (figured I needed to eat something healthy after all the cholesterol and bad stuff that I ate in the past two days) and sit down to read a chapter of Never Let Me Go.
When I was finished reading I saw this man who had his luggage on a trolley (why didn't I see one before?), so I went to fetch a trolley and my luggage. Then I walked to Platform 19 and got in the train. Looking back, I might've ditched the trolley, because it wouldn't cooperate very well with me.
At 13.30 the train left Edinburgh and set off for a 4 hours and 25 minutes-long journey to London King's Cross.
I tried to get access to WiFi and it turned out every passenger got 15 minutes for free (in that time I uploaded the other two posts), but to top up those 15 minutes with more time, you needed a creditcard. So that wasn't going to work out.
Eventually I spent the rest of the journey typing some thingies, looking out of the window, taking very few photographs, listening to music and watching Mulan on my iPod.

At about 17.55 I arrived in London! Almost immediatly I was spotted by Amanda who guided  me to the Underground and then to her home. The house is actually barely 5 minutes walking to the tube station, which is terrific!

After arriving here, she showed me around the house and my room. Then I got to unpack and settle for a bit and afterwards we had supper.
Shortly after, we tried connecting my laptop to their WiFi, but my laptop just wouldn't have it. So now Amanda let me type this on her computer, which is very friendly of her (:
She had a talk with Tom and he said that one thing should be the password, but I'll just try that out tomorrow.

I actually think I'm gonna go to bed now (at 22.00, I know. At home I never go to bed this early!) and have some blissful sleep.

I'll keep you posted,

A Bunny per Student / Gateau of the Day


written yesterday evening, uploaded now

This morning we had breakfast in our B&B ‘Cullaig House’ in Dundee. During breakfast we had an interesting conversation with the owner and an Irish philosophy PhD-student who was also staying there (well, to be honest, I was just listening, while my dad talked with them).

After that, we packed up our things again, checked out and drove towards Stirling. We decided to avoid the M90 this time so we’d see a bit more of the beautiful country. We drove some interesting ways, passing villages that were smaller than I’ve ever seen. Also, there was lots of nature that reminded me of Wuthering Heights (though I did not actually read it, but we discussed it in English class!) and there were plenty of houses that could’ve served as the houses Cathy and Heathcliff lived in, as well as houses at an appropriate distance that could’ve been their ‘neighbours’’.  

On the way we stopped at ‘Mona’s coffeeshop’ where I treated my dad with a cappuccino and a scone and myself with a hot chocolate (including the ‘mallows and cream) and toasted tea cake. It was a very odd coffeeshop, but it was quite nice.

                                            
We got back on the road and shortly after we arrived in Stirling. We intended on visiting the Wallace monument, but due to lack of time we had to skip that, so we went to our B&B. We did however enter the giftshop where I bought this really ridiculous, but great mug.



At the B&B it turned out the owner wasn’t present, so we decided to head out for lunch, which we had at The William Wallace (a pub). When we left the pub, we found ourselves having less time left than expected, so we had to haste ourselves to get to the university in time. Thankfully, we were only five minutes late.

There we met the student recruiter, who was really nice and friendly. She told us about how things are done at Stirling and also what they look for in personal statements.

Then we (my dad and I, plus two other guys and a mother) were guided around campus by a student. The campus was really nice, but the halls of residences were quite disappointing after those at Dundee. Also, the Student Union was great, with enough little shops (I already found out where I need to buy my university-sweater when I get in!) and! Wait for it.... A STARBUCKS! That’s right. Really, who’d have thought? I know I didn’t expect it at all! Besides being a Starbucks on campus it was also cheaper than other Starbuckses that one usually visits.

Also, there was one striking thing about the very green campus: the amount of bunnies! They were literally everywhere! It was like a bunny-invasion. I think there might’ve been enough to give one to every student.



When we were finished at the university (and had something from Starbucks in the Union) we headed back to the B&B where we checked in and got to visit loo.

Afterwards we took the bus to the centre where we stumbled upon the most ridiculous thing: Stirling isn’t actually that much of a city with only 40,000 inhabitants and it isn’t quite big, but it has this amazingly big shopping mall! The downside of it is that all the shops close at 5.30am (even on Fridays!). The only shop that was still open, was Poundland. You know, in Holland we’ve got similar stores, but there those kinds of shops aren’t living up to their name and also sell things over a euro. Poundland, however, does not do this! EVERYTHING was a pound!

When we were done there and had succeeded in doing business, we took a stroll around the city and eventually sat down in an Indian restaurant for a bite.

As a starter, I had Chicken Puri and it was absolutely delicious. My main course, however, which was Nawabi Chicken Tikka was less good, but still edible. We were also offered a dessert card and there was a really interesting dessert on it. Namely, ‘Gateau of the Day’. Gateau being French, the restaurant being Indian. Yeah right, go figure.

After diner, we took a bus back to Causewayhead Road where our B&B, Calsey House, is situated.



Currently, my dad is watching a film (AKA being asleep) and I’m typing this. Unfortunately, there’s no WiFi here either. When the owner comes back I could perhaps ask for a password or so, but to be honest I don’t think we’ll see her again this evening. So hopefully I’ll be able to upload these posts when I’m at Tom & Amanda’s tomorrow evening.



I’ll keep you posted,

The Sunniest City in Scotland


‘Oy mates!



I wrote this post the day before yesterday-evening, but as I had no WiFi-connection at that B&B, I couldn’t post it until now J.



Yes, yes, yes! Today was THE day! I finally started my adventure!

Dundee is quite a nice city, well, the part where the buildings aren’t too hideous to look at (most areas are mixed with the old Victorian stuff and buildings from sometime in the 20th century).

Apparently, Dundee is the sunniest city in Scotland! Too bad it didn’t want to keep up its reputation and we got greeted by grey clouds and pouring rain (OK, it wasn’t raining that badly, but we got wet enough). We’ve actually been told about five times that it usually is way sunnier that anyplace else in Scotland. Also, Dundee was the first Fairtrade City (whatever that might mean) in Scotland. So, I guess that’s a good thing?

But, let’s start at the beginning:



This morning I got up at 6 after which we left for the airport at approximately 7.15. Although there was quite some traffic, we didn’t actually get delayed by it.

Well, my dad had checked us in already, so all we had to do was drop off my (currently non-broken!) suitcase, go through passport check and wait. Well, to kill the time, we got something to drink and eat from Starbucks and my dad purchased a magazine.



9.40: it was finally time to go through security and get to our gate! Well, not much happened then. Our plane took off at, I think, 10.15 and it was quite good: nothing went wrong, we’re still alive J. I actually really enjoyed watching the country from the sky: everything looks so miniature.

We landed at 10.45 (English time), got through passport-control, picked up my suitcase (some of my smiley-stickers have come off! :O) and our rental car and drove to Dundee. On the way stopped at a Burger King, because we were getting quite hungry.



We arrived in Dundee at about 13.30: originally we were supposed to go to the B&B and drop off our luggage, but since we had to be at the university at 14.00, we first went there.

A history-graduate showed us and four other (possible) prospective students around campus: we saw the gym, swimming pool, student union, student dorm, the library and the building where Humanities are taught.

I actually also got to speak to someone from the language-/English-department and she also gave me some papers to give me an idea of what the modules/semesters would be like and what kind of exam-questions could be asked. After that, my dad and I walked back to the Student Admissions centre where we had gathered, so we could ask some others questions about applying to Dundee: you know, the fees, requirements, etc. Our questions got answered very well, so now I know what I need to focus on when applying!



After that we finally went to our B&B: Cullaig Guest House in Dundee, where we just sat in our room, while watching the ending of Brother Bear and the beginning of Atlantis on the Disney Cinemagic-channel (or however it’s called).

Then we decided it was time to eat something, so we walked into town, looking for a pub. We ended up at one in the city-centre that was surprisingly big. Also, the food was quite cheap and really good! So even students that can’t cook can eat good meals for not too big prices :P. I had chips, beans and sausages (I got three!) and that was really filling and satisfying.



Then we had to overcome the challenge of finding our B&B again. Well, first we ended up walking a bit more through the centre, which was good, because that offered us the opportunity to pass the Tesco and buy something to drink for now.

After that, we had found the way to our B&B surprisingly fast! But the walk back was so steep! That’s really not going to be fun to cycle!

What I also must mention though, is that the people who thought of the street names here, did not have much inspiration: Constitution Street, Constitution Road, Constitution Terrace, Upper Constitution Street, et cetera.



So, now we are back in our room again, my dad is watching NCIS while I type this post.

Today was a really good, but very tiring, day. I’m looking forward to tomorrow!



I’ll keep you posted,

woensdag 9 mei 2012

Can you believe it?

I know I certainly don't! I just can't believe I'm leaving tomorrow! I'll be waking up an hour earlier than I'd wake up for school, but I'm not going to school! That's so weird, because all of my friends and other classmates do have to go to school.
Today Soshannah, Talitha and I had a very dramatic goodbye-saying: lots of hugs and "BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"s. Quite fun, actually. It is weird though, that I won't be seeing them for two weeks and a half without having actual holidays.

Right now, my dad and I trying to deal with a drastic last minute problem: my suitcase is broken. It's still brand-new, I've never used it before, but when I closed it and lifted it to its wheels, it turned out one of the hinges is broken! It looks like the screws weren't screwed in correctly in the factory, because now the holes that the screws were in, have been widened.
God, I hate this. I'd been dying to get my own suitcase, I finally bought one, and the day before I'm leaving (after Hema, where I'd purchased it, had closed), it turns out my suitcase is broken!
My dad is going to try to use some thicker screws, but to be honest, I don't have that much faith in it. In five minutes we'll know...

Okay, my suitcase now looks like it might hold for a while (YAY FOR DADS!), but I'm still really disappointed that it was just broken like that! So I sent a complaint to the firm, we'll see what they'll do with it.

Tomorrow morning I'll have to get up at 6 and at 7.15 we're leaving for Schiphol. My dad already checked us in, so we only need to get rid of our my luggage (I really fear that my suitcase might be too heavy...).

So yeah. We now also have a B&B in Dundee, which is good, because I don't want to sleep in the car tomorrownight.

My suitcases are packed. I've got stroopwafels with me, to give to nice people. I'm going to put my iPod in my bag after I finished writing this. So I guess that's it.

I'm leaving tomorrow. God, it's so weird that it's finally happening! Since last June I've been looking forward to this, and now I'm really going to experience it!

I'll keep you posted,

donderdag 3 mei 2012

My London-playlist

A trip always needs the company of some music. For my journey by train I got myself a playlist which includes songs that have London in the title. I actually still have never listened to some of them (but I will soon!).

In a random order:
  • Greyson Chance - Little London Girl
  • Amateur Transplants - London Underground
  • Coldplay - Cemeteries in London
  • Jamie Cullum - London Skies
  • Panic At The Disco - London beckoned Songs about Money written by Machines
  • 3 Doors Down - Landing in London (All I think about is You)
  • Girls Aloud - Swinging London Town
  • KANE - It's London Calling
  • ABC - Tower of London
  • Sweeney Todd (the film) - No place like London
  • Paul McCartney and Wings - London Town
  • Rancid - Tropical London
Quite a few, but still not very much.
Know any other London-songs? Please let me know!

I'll keep you posted,

woensdag 2 mei 2012

It's getting closer and closer...

Today I hung out with my two previously mentioned, also London-bound friends, Vera and Charissa. Besides baking cupcakes and topping them with a frosting that didn't quite look like the picture did, we also went into town to see if we could find something for our host families/people from our work experience placements.

First, we went to this little shop that I actually had never been to before: I probably still wouldn't have been to it, if I hadn't accidentally walked passed it and looked inside last Friday.
It's, I believe, a shop/archive/centre with all kinds of history of our town, but they also sold some typical Dutch souvenirs (you know, with the blue/white print on them).
For instance, they had keychains and magnets looking like the wooden shoes on the side.

I ended up buying two tiny blue/white-like-the-wooden-shoes-on-the-side trays shaped like a teapot on which you can leave your used teabags, so you can use them again. I bought one for Tom and Amanda and one for Madeleine, I suppose.
Furthermore, I bought a square oven glove with an old mill on it (again in the blue/white print). Besides that, I also bought two postcards, but those are for Postcrossing (:
When we wanted to leave, the people working there also gave us two other postcards so we could show the people there what our town looks like. Unfortunately, these postcards are a little outdated and lots of the buildings that are on there are now gone/replaced or changed.
The people in the shop/archive/whateveritwas were really nice! Lovely people (:

Then we went to the bank so I could put all my piggybank-savings-for-London on my account and after some more useless walking around, we went home again.
That's when we booked our tickets to the London Eye! (we had to use a credit card, again! seriously! what's it with international financial traffic that makes it impossible to use something like iDEAL instead of a credit card?)

What I didn't mention yet, is that the plans regarding coming to London have, again, changed: my dad and I decided that it was to much of a hassle and it would be way too rushed if we travelled to London together by means of a ROADTRIP. Therefore, we decided that on Saturday May 12, he'll fly back to Amsterdam and I'll take the train from Edinburgh Waverley to London King's Cross.
So that's what we're doing!
The funny thing is, because some planes are a bit retarded and don't fly straight to Amsterdam from Edinburgh on Saturday afternoon, my dad is taking a flight which includes a transfer in... I bet you got it right: London!
His plane from London to Amsterdam takes off at about the same time my train arrives in London :P

Besides booking plane and train tickets this weekend, we also made a reservation at Calsay House, a B&B, in Stirling (yes, I decided that it would just suck for my dad to be alone while I'd be having fun in a student dorm, and I would probably feel very guilty, so I decided we should just find a place in a B&B) and we made a reservation for a rental car.

We also tried to get a room in a B&B in Dundee, but so far, we haven't been very successful, yet... It's getting a bit on my nerves, as we're leaving in 8 days!

I suppose it'll all get sorted in time and until then:

I'll keep you posted,