Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

Because you had a bad day, You’re taking one down, You sing a sad song just to turn it around.

Yesterday started off pretty well, then got a little worse.  I had a relaxing morning before going to a Cybercrime Seminar that went as quickly as it came and I probably didn’t even notice I was learning.  Then after a quick shower and outfit change, I headed off to an international students night which was organised for the outward bound University of Leeds Study Abroad Students for next year.  We met the massive influx of students about to invade Monash University for next semester (Monash is their most desired University to go on exchange to we found out), had a stupid quiz about Australia/New Zealand and just generally chatted.  We were asked questions about what it is like in Melbourne, what will they need to adjust to, how much things cost (which lead to a lot of quick internal division calculations) and just the generally banter that you would expect to go on.

After that event finished up at about 7pm we headed to Charcos.  Charcos is a fast food, nandos’ like place we had been to before, but I won’t be going back.  Although my hot and spicy chicken wrap was hot and spicy and very tasty.  I am pretty sure it had something wrong with it as about 3 hours later I started feeling ill.  We had made our way to Bar Risa to watch a game of football (Mancheter City vs Copenhagen for those who care) and waited for our night to begin.  The plan was to head to Oceania, check it out as it was free entry before 10pm and had cheap drinks before heading off to Mezz.  The same Mezz where we spent last Thursday night.  Unfortunately before I could even take advantage of those cheap drinks, the aforementioned Charcos incident had started to take affect and at about 11:30, when all my friends were off to Mezz and leaving the 5-themed roomed Oceania, I made the smart decision to head home and deal with my ‘dodgy’ feeling.

After struggling to get to sleep and chatting with some friends from back in Australia. I was off to sleep.  Unfortunately I was awoken as my dad sent me a text that put my ‘stomach issues’ well on the back burner.  I don’t really want to go into it, but I certainly haven’t been able to concentrate all day as I went through the motions.  I followed the Brisbane Lions vs Essendon NAB cup match online, I went to my lecture, had a small lunch with mates and am now watching the test cricket.  But I suppose I am just trying to keep going on with my life, be positive about how things will go and wait to be updated by my family back in Australia.  Although, I am feeling, for probably the first or maybe second time, that I would much rather be in Melbourne than over here at the moment.

I am off to Wales tomorrow though, and just heard the good news that I have been upgraded to a hotel room from a hostel room due to an overbooking issue – possibly one of my few smiles all day.  Hopefully it is a fun trip and everything works out back in Melbourne…but I think letting myself be encompassed by worry won’t help anything.  We will just have to wait and see and hope for the best.

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February 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

All the music of life seems to be, Like a bell that is ringing for me!

I am a little unsure what to write about today.  Nothing really eventful has happened.  I went to be at 6:30pm last night and woke up 9am, bar a little awakening to finally manage to call my grandmother. The biggest news of today is that I have booked my flights and hostels for my 2 weeks in Ireland/Northern Ireland.  I will be flying out on March 27th from Leeds to Belfast, staying three nights then I will bus/train it to Dublin for a Luther 6 nights before 3 nights in Cork and 3 nights in Killarney.  Finally I then make my way up to Dublin on the 11th of April to fly to London at night into London where I will once again be staying with family for a couple of nights.

Easily planned and doesn’t look like it should cost me THAT much.  I will see how the bill looks at the end of it though haha.

I then had to go to our seminar for Cybercrime, which finished 45 minutes early and the only constructive thing we got was our first assignment question (and of course DS Wall’s hints for success ;)….and now I am here.  See I told you nothing really exciting happened today and there were no real revelations.  We are going to an Australian International students night later tonight before dinner and most likely going out on the town again.

Not to make this a pointless post I have to more observations about my time in the UK:

  • I bought a packet of 12 snowballs for a pound the other day…disappointing!  They were too ‘goo-ey’ and the outside chocolate was too hard. It was almost like ‘liquid marshmallow’ inside 😦
  • This blog is my first real experience with blogging, on either side -as a reader or as a writer.  However, I have noticed that since I started writing this blog I have become more interested in reading other people’s blogs with there now being about 5 a day that I follow…that was probably to be expected though!

February 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

There’s a fire in the priory, And it’s ruining this cocktail party, Yesterday I heard they cloned a baby, Now can I finally sleep with me?

So yesterday was going to be a quiet day.  I got up late (but not in the afternoon ;)) and did my fortnightly shop.  I got probably more food than just a fortnights worth though!  I bought about 25 packets of these microwave rice dishes I have been loving.  Loving because they taste good, the rice doesn’t get hard and crunchy, they are cheap and also they mean I don’t need to cook.  After my food run I walked past a sign that said there was a chinese buffet upstairs next to the cinema. I have been to the movies plenty of times, and walked past this sign even more, and I had never noticed it before.  So quickly I texted off the good news to Josh and we had arranged to have dinner there that night…you have to love a good chinese buffet 😛

I had an hour of university before we had dinner but the wait was worth it.  It was a little pricey, but the food was good, the place was clean and friendly  and they had the BEST desserts of all the chinese buffets we have frequented so far.  Coconut agar is becoming an addiction haha.  Josh and I then headed up to the Eldon pub (our usual haunt on a tuesday night…) but we did take a 45 minute detour to watch the first half of Inter Milan vs Manchester United in Bar Risa. Man U dominated and would’ve been very angry not to be infront at half time -C Ron is a freak though, what would you give to have that talent?!

We then eventually made it to the Eldon and saw the usual crowd of people such as Will, Brent, Rob, Caitlyn, etc and as always met some new friends.  I wasn’t really in the mood for a big night out so was planning on heading home at about midnight.  Unfortunately (or should that be fortunately :P) some gentle persuasion from Rob…who called me Un-Australian (an outrageous thing I couldn’t accept from a Brit), lead to me joining the throngs as we walked to Tiger Tiger.  Now regular readers may remember that Tiger Tiger was where I went last tuesday but there was a difference this time.  As we walked in we ran into the girls and they were drenched. We quickly realised downstairs it was a foam party and things got messy (Foam gets EVERYWHERE!).  It was a great night though and the music couldn’t have been better even if they were playing it from my ipod haha. A funny incident was when a guy we have decided to call George begged me to lend him my glasses so that he could “fool” the bouncers into letting him in.  I saw the flaw in his plan and didn’t give them to him…but at least he next tried to get in by reversing his white t-shirt, WHICH WAS IDENTICAL INSIDE AND OUT!

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At 3am the club shut down and again I was going to head home (especially as I had made plans to call my grandmother for her birthday at about 9am).  However, once again I followed the crowd…although it was slightly smaller this time with just Rob, Clare, Francois (I think thats how you spell it… he was, and still is, French lol) and myself.  I decided that I would just go with them, stay up chating and have a few more drinks as the odds of my being able to stay up until I needed to call my Grandmother were a lot better than me being able to wake up.  Unfortunately though when I did decide to call her, it wouldn’t work…I don’t know what the problem was but it may have something to do with the reception in Clare’s house.  I will have to call her later tonight…not on her birthday but I am sure the thought still counts.

It was good fun at Clare’s though (even though our “silent party” was definitely not that silent in hindsight – especially with the testimony of her housemates the next day confirming this).  I only got about two hours sleep in the end…on a rather comfortable couch.  But I am still awake as the clock approachs 4:40pm as we were relaxing most of the time.  The amount of time in bed listening to music this morning would’ve put Shan and me in Rye’s laziness to shame!
Anyway….I am not sure if this makes sense. I am quite sleep deprived and am not sure if I will function properly until tomorrow (I did also miss my first seminar/lecture…but I had done all the work for it anyway *Mum, Dad, etc PLEASE IGNORE THIS* :D).  It is interesting though how sometimes the best nights can spring up on you from the shadows when you least suspect it 🙂

February 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

If you lose the moment, you might lose a lot, so why not, why not …

A popular topic of discussion among us international students (and one that was discussed quite a bit on our trip to Cumbria) is why are we here?  Everybody has a slightly different answer, but most people seem to have an answer.  When ever I am asked, I struggle to find any one overriding reason.

The most common reason people give is it is about testing themselves out.  They will move to the otherside of the world for 6 (or 12 months) test out can they live without the comforts of home, can they organise their own finances and hope to clarify who they are by the end of their adventure.  This is one of the “selling points” that is used by Study Abroad departments at universities all over the world as well. However, although it is true that I am excited by the challenge of looking after myself, leaving the comforts of home behind and the like…couldn’t I have just moved out of home but stayed in Melbourne?

Another common point is that they came because they wanted to travel.  In some people this is so extreme that part of me wonders why they didn’t just take 6 months off university and travel without being tied down to study, classes and one city.  Of course the travel is something that appealed to me.  I had travelled through most of Australia, large parts of Asia as well as been to America while I hadn’t touched Europe and the UK.  I wanted to see as much as I could and I will see it…but again, couldn’t I have just taken the time off to travel?

There are also people here who decided to study abroad as a way of assisting them with family issues back home. Now my family is screwed up …but in the last few years I have come to realise that EVERY family is screwed up to some degree (So don’t be offended people who are part of my family 😉 haha).  Even those families that appear to be the “true family as defined in the 1950s” with 2.4 children, always smiling, a father making bad jokes, a mother who can cook and respectful children probably have an alcoholic father, a mother who is suicidal and both the children are sneaking out at night and taking every drug in sight lurking in the shadows.  So with that level of realism shading my views I have come to terms with a lot of my family issues a while ago, will going away for 6 months affect those relationships at all?…I don’t think so, but if they do… couldn’t I have achieved the same results from just talking to them from home?

Another percieved reason for people to make this leap is to deal with issues with their friends.  People talk about hanging out with people “back home” that they feel aren’t helping them but hindering them OR some people are using it as a way to add new friends to their ‘network.’  Now for me, I love the friends I have back in Australia.  They are an eclectic bunch as anyone who went to my 21st could testify to, but I like that.  I have managed to end up with quite a few very close friends and even if I don’t see them as regularly as I wish I could when in Melbourne, I am very happy with that side of my life.  However, it has been great to meet new people (from both the UK and around the world including Australia) while over here…but couldn’t I have continued to be satisfied with the friends I had already met before I started this journey?

There is one other, less common, reason for people to have come to study on exchange at University of Leeds and that is that some people have wanted to figure out what the UK or their home country means to them.  Do they think that living where they come from for the rest of their life is what they want to do?  Now I have a somewhat unique position on this in that I LOVE MELBOURNE, I love Australia too, but Melbourne suits me to a tee. However, I also have a paternal link to the UK so maybe I wanted to see it for myself.  To see how strong that link was.  Interestingly, the two weeks I spent with family in London probably told me more about how I feel about my family connection to Sri Lanka than the UK.  However, although I have realised that ‘possibly’ there are other places I could live for the short term, I still feel very strongly that at least for the next 50 years Melbourne will be home!  But couldn’t I have answered these questions by again just travelling for a few weeks/months?
I suppose the search for one simple answer is probably going to be a search in vain.  Maybe for me it is a mixture of some of the reasons I have discussed or even some I haven’t discussed.  Maybe those people who give a quick and simple answer to “why are you studying abroad in Leeds?” just haven’t realised that their rationale is actually a lot more complicated…

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Sometimes i run when i wanna stay, It’s all about life that we’re living, I just gotta watch what your scheming, And when i see you i wanna hide…

Sunday February 22 2009

Okay so my blog-a-thon is almost over.  Sunday started a little later than Saturday as our busy weekend was starting to catch up with us.  Johnno was probably the worst of us all, but not because his shoes and belt didn’t match like yesterday morning but as he had not had the best sleep.  But as always coffee and breakfast fixes all.  As our accommodation didn’t include breakfast this morning we raided the local sandwhich shop and Costa.  I embraced my English roots and likelihood for high cholesterol and bought a bacon, sausage and egg “butty”.
We then drove back to Whitehaven and was again shocked with how different a place can look during the day.  Instead of the drunken Chavs, there was peaceful elderly people strolling around, etc.  It really was a different place.  The view of the Irish sea was also quite spectacular as it definitely was not calm. We even spent a little longer than planned exploring the coastline and monument (The ‘Candlestick’) that was dedicated to the many people who had died when Whitehaven was a mining town. It was quite clear though why it seemed a much rougher place at night as there was a significant amount of council housing.  Josh pointing out, correctly, that those views, and life in a coastal town, generally are reserved for those with a little more money behind them.

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We then drove back to Keswick to explore it during the day but first off drove down a track so as to see another one of the lakes.  This time it was Bassingthwaite (as in Natalie ;)).  This lake was quite undeveloped and was border on one side by quite a major road but , once again, was beautiful.  Although its secluded nature has obvious been seen as an opportunity for some of the “other minded” people…if few bits of rubbish we discovered are anything to go by 😛

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It was then time to find Derwent Water in the day time and initially we were scared it would be an anti-climax.  From the car park there was a lot of development and temporary fencing put up..but luckily most of the area was largely untouched once you made off to explore.  Johnno said this was his favourite lake and you could see why.  The landscape and the colours were truly amazing.  We took our numerous photos and then made our way off in to the mountains that surrounded it.

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We took a lunch break first though and it provided a lot of laughter for the group. As Jonathan sat in the drivers seat devouring his pie, sausage roll and dessert (Brent and Josh doing the same in the back) a rather inquisitive Robin Red Breast decided to swoop at him through his open window not once, but twice, causing him to come diving over onto my passenger’s side of the car.  Even after the window was  shut the bird wouldn’t give up…apparently not realising the window had been raised.

As we drove one we came up to a path.  The path looked steep….very STEEP, full of people hiking and reached the top of one of the mountain peaks overlooking Keswick and the Derwent.  Much to Josh’s annoyance we decided to hike up to the top, even though none of us were dressed for hiking (Jonathan and I had particularly slippery shoes).  As the legs burned as we reached the top there was a sense of achievement.  A sense of achievement that quickly gave way to fear as I realised my fear of heights was going to get the better of me.  Every gust of wind gave me fears that I will be blown off and plummet to my death.  I braved on but wouldn’t go near the edge…and was rather fearful for others when they did. A quite irrational fear, but a fear I couldn’t master.

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Yes, my eyes are shut because I am SCARED hehe

After our cautious descent (which could’ve quickly become ‘sliding’) we decided we had one last lake we needed to visit, before heading back to Leeds – Buttermere.  Now this lake was in a very much farming area of Cumbria and as we walked through the mud and “other” we realised this was probably one of the highlights. There was little waterfalls (or ghylls according to the English), a great drive through the valleys to it and from it and this wonderfully quaint little town (even though I will forever hate it for the ice cream shop being shut and the fact it, like most of the lakes, have outrageously overpriced pay-and-display parking).  You really could imagine yourself living a very relaxed life on the edge of Lake Buttermere.

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After a quick refuel and a less quick drive, our tired, yet satisfied, group reached our respective homes in Leeds.  I was utterly exhausted…but it was probably the best thing I’ve done so far since I left Australia!

February 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Too good to deny it! Ain’t no big deal, it’s innocent!

Saturday February 21 2009

So after a ‘tolerable’ night’s sleep we got up nice an early, had some of the complimentary toast the nice (as well as surprisingly clean) hostel provided and set off to make the most of our day in Cumbria.  The best thing about the morning though was the view.  We had been gifted a nice sunny day (the maximum temperature was even in double figures), and as we walked back to the car we just got to start seeing glimpses of the beauty that is Cumbria.  A beauty that had been somewhat hidden by darkness the night before.

We decided to start off by retracing our steps (or tracks to be accurate) and repeat some of the driving we had done the night before…this time with the ability to see. WOW!  The first thing we saw was Lake Windermere which we couldn’t believe was the same place we stood the night before.

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We also drove the struggle again…only to realise there had been massive cliffs on either side of us at points (if not at least on one side of us) when we were driving these same roads the night before.  It was such beautiful countryside though that we would periodically pull over to the side so that we could take some photos.  The fact the day was so perfect meant that the views never ended and also gave the contrast of the clouds intersecting the mountains.  It is the kind of landscape where you would love to just retire too!

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After seeing Ullswater (The biggest lake and the one below) and Grasmere we took the drive to Penrith.

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Penrith is one of the larger cities in Cumbria and is slightly more built up/industrial.  It held a lot of memories for Johnno as he had lived/schooled here for a while before moving back to Australia. Thus besides our sightseeing we also drove past a few of his old haunts. In Penrith, we saw the destroyed castle of King Richard II (although he only stayed there before he was King and I must say it was tiny!), the city Centre and the George Hotel.  Of course, once we saw the George Hotel we knew it was time for some tea and cake (I had the best slice of carot cake ever!)

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Our Group then drove off into the more rural areas of Cumbria that were equally as beautiful.  Jonathan was able to give us a bit of an insight into how it all worked with all the Manor/Houses and estates.  We even dropped in on his godparents for a few minutes who have an estate with a 3 mile long driveway and over 300 acres.  It was really interesting to see a side of England that is just so far removed from the big cities.  Victor, Jonathan’s godfather, was wearing a Cravat and all 😉

We even had a bit of spare time to explore the area a little bit closer so Jonathan went into his old house, while we had turns driving Gerald, looking at the Church that was on Lord Inglewood’s estate and being stalked by a loud, but fun, pack of sheep 😛

Carlise is the capital of Cumbria and after snaking our way along a series of definitel NON-main roads, we arrived.  It was strange to see a city that resembled Manchester/Liverpool in Cumbria, which is sucha  uniquely brilliant place.  We walked around the city centre, laughed at the Chavs, ate KFC (being served by Kath and Kim haha) and saw the outside of the Cathedral and Castle…but we knew there was a lot better places to explore in Cumbria and the day was only so long.

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As Carlise is up the North of the County and thus the very North of England we couldn’t resist driving the 15 or so miles and stepping in to Scotland for the first, albeit brief time.  Nothing really to see here…although there was much laughter had at how ‘stupidly awesome’ this idea had been 😛

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After our 5 mins in Scotland, we then set about the overly long drive in search of Hadrian’s wall.  Light was fading, we had NO maps and we were pretty sure the wall itself would be not that impressive in the area we were in, but we knew we knew we had to at least ‘tick it off the list’. Which we did.  We were able to see the wall, the remains of one of the turrets and then started the quite long drive south towards Keswick (the w is silent ;)) which was our home for the night.

Once again we checked into our hostel with ease (even easier as there were no keys this time) and we knew our 18 seater room would have just us 4 in it. We all had a shower and then drove into town to grab a feed.  We settled on pub food at one of the numerous “Traditional English Pubs”, with myself taking it a little further and ordering Bangers and Mash (My first experience with Cumberland Sausage was a good one :)). Dinner went quickly but it was a while before we got up.  Whether it was discussing if our waitress was german or just slow (the consensus being eventually both!) or our own personal histories, there was always plenty to discuss and it was only the idea of another late night driving trip that lead to us getting up.

Our first stop was to drive up a little laneway to “the boatshed” as we wanted to at least see Derwant Water (yes this is the area they make the pencils) before we headed to bed. Unfortunately the bad lighting, poorly maintained road and our own fears got the better of us and we ended this adventure without seeing/hearing the water and only ending up frieghtened. The lake would have to wait until morning.

We then drove off to see the coast at Whitehaven, as this would mean we truely have criscrossed the county and also it could be claimed that seeing the Irish sea was seeing Ireland 😉  It turns out Whitehaven must have a very poor nightlife as the streets were full of Chavs, people too old to be out clubbin in THOSE outfits and generally the type of peopl that made us ensure Gerald’s doors were locked.  However, we did make it up past the Beacon to the look out point. To our surprise not only could we hear/smell/feel the ocean…we could also see it. However, we made a resolution that we would once again retrace our steps the next morning so as to get a proper view!

Then it was home (after we saw a guy walk into a sign at full speed LOL) with only a short tour to Cockermouth.  Just another one of those towns that was so close that we wanted to see if we could fit in just a little more in to our day.

Then it was off to bed,  still scared due to the Boatshed, horror stories about people getting attacked when driving late at night and Josh/Brent being no calming influence.  I am glad to say…at least Johnno was more scared 😛

February 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s up darlin’? I been keeping my eye on your movement, I can’t see no room for improvement…

Friday February 20

Okay, so we are off with my rambling recollections of our trip to Cumbria.  Firstly I think it is important cover who was on the trip.  There were Josh (Fellow Melbourner), Brent (The Queenslander), Johnno (The Melbourner who spent 10 years living in Cumbria and largely playing the role of tour guide/driver), Gerald and myself.
Who is Gerald, you ask?  Well he was our best friend the three days:

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It was relatively cheap for us to hire ‘Gezza’, but we went all out and got an extra 12 quid a day ‘unliminted insurance’.  That may or may not come in handy.

So we set off from Leeds just before 3 and started driving up to Cumbria.  The journey itself was pretty easy (just follow the road signs as nobody was pre-occupied with a british accented Sat-Nav) and I got to have my first real look at rural Northern England…after we got out off the ‘rush hour’ of Leeds city traffic.  The countryside was so interesting.  Firstly it was green – an unusual sight in Australia.  Also, all the walls were made of stone.  Very rarely did you see a wooden fence and I would hate to think the amount of man hours that went in to building these vast lengths of wall!

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This was taken on the Saturday but you get the idea!

We may our way through the Yorkshire Dales and stopped off for a rest at a town called Kirkby Lonsdale. Now this was a beautiful little town, with windy little streets and obviously a fair bit of money around.  It was well looked after.  Unfortunately due to the time most of the shops were shut, but we still managed to walk around and have our tea/coffee in a quaint little shop.  Tea/Coffee would become a common feature of this trip. Other features would be “The Annual 2009” which was our only CD and thus got played (or over-played) for a large percentage of the time whenever we struggled for radio reception, Johnno’s pea-sized bladder and Josh’s ability to wear his Tom Ford sunglasses at any time of day or night.
We got into our destination for the night (Ambleside) at around 7pm and as such it was pitch black.  We got a good-ish look of the town at night as we drove around the mainly one way streets trying to find our hostel (In the end asking the kind people of Cumbria was our last resort).  In retrospect, Ambleside would be one of my favourite towns we saw in Cumbria (and we saw A LOT).  It wasn’t too big, not too small, situated right on the lake and from what we saw not too touristy or whatever the opposite of touristy is 😛

After we dealt with checking in and a weird ‘phillips head’ shaped door key, we set off to find a place for dinner.  Of course, as today was still Josh’s birthday we found a good place.  Actually we found a place that not only smelt good from outside but was packed…always a good sign.  We waited a few minutes and were soon devouring one of my best meals in ages.  I had a steak and it was cooked to perfect, the meat was quality and I am getting hungry just reminiscing about it now!

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After dinner we set off to walk around the town but darkness wasn’t necessarily our friend so we ended up jumping in the car.  We had a few rules about how we were driving though.  We had NO IDEA where we wanted to go, would follow the signs that interested us and just have a little night time adventure. It was a great way to spent a few hours.  We were scared out of our minds by steep hills, roads called ‘the struggle’, the idea of what could be out there in the quiet darkness and also there were many jokes to be had.  The scariest point was probably where were made the most likely safe, but equally likely stupid idea to get out of the car at a rest point and just have a look around.  4 men…all wondering “WHY are we doing this?!”

After heading back into town, we parked the car (a fair bit away from the hostel as limited parking was now full…but Gerald could look after himself) and headed off to bed.  Our room was a 12 seater and although it would fill up, we had a few hours to ourselves where we just chatted and fell asleep.  Before the loud and gassy gorillas (or british men) would invade…even though to their credit they did their best to try not to disturb us.

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February 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Superstar! Where you from, how’s it going?

Okay so I got back from my trip to Cumbria  a few hours ago.  I have relaxed and cooked dinner (twice :@ as I dropped the pasta all over the floor when I was trying to strain it :().  It was a great weekend but before we get there, I have to catch up on the few blog posts that I wanted to, but didn’t have time to do.  I have realised that ‘dot pointing’ things in my phone as a drafted text message is a good way to do this though…especially when I go days without a computer :O

Thursday 19th February

I woke up to my trivia calender quizzing me about Austria (An easy one as I picked it on the 2nd clue!) and then set about doing another load of clothes washing.  I had concluded that as 1) I was out of clean jocks and socks and 2) I was going away from Friday through Sunday, IT NEEDED TO BE DONE.  Once again there was large amount of success (he said proudly 😉 ) Although it takes a few goes in the dryer for most clothes to dry….maybe its the cold?

I then went off to my Comparative European Systems lecture (on court room procedure nonetheless!) before our big night began.  Tonight had been planned for weeks as it was officially Josh’s last day as a 21 year old, as at the stroke of midnight he would turn in to a pumpkin (or a 22 year old….it was a few days ago and I forget which one).  We went around to everyone’s respectively places to drop bags off and started off by having a celebratory beer at Josh’s apartment in JPB, as he has BY FAR the largest room.
We then made the walk down to Ahkmal’s (a curry resteraunt).  Now the reason for us (Brent, Josh and I) heading here were partially as we had seen it and it did look good and also partially because Johnno was eating there with the ‘Leeds Labour Group’ and fresh ideas don’t come cheap!  The food was great though.  I had a lamb biryani and didn’t leave a scrap…even though it was a BIG plate.  It cost 12 quid, but it was worth it.
We then made our way to the library where pool was played and beer was drunk (Carlsberg has become a ‘staple’ beer of choice for me in England by the way!).  We then went down to Oceania (a club 10 mins walk away) but on sight of a line of people that was Northern Rock crisis-esque, we quickly revised our plans and returned to the Library just in time for the Leeds Labour Group, that Johnno had left previously, to also be arriving.  Now I had already chatted to Chris and Rob a few times through Johnno, but the main tid-bit you need to know for the rest of this story to make sense is that Brent/Josh are conservative/right wing in their thinking and obviously myself, and Johnno AND the Leeds Labour Group, aren’t.

So after Andrew arrived and we discovered a screen that would display texts that were sent to a specific number….much fun was have.  All sorts of political, personal, English/Australian, etc jokes were made and I stand by my thinking that it was the GREATEST idea a pub has ever had.  I would hate to know the money that was wasted by us texting our little jokes as Britney and Busted played in the background.  As we went to move on from the Library, again, we noticed a stack of free glowsticks and quickly started to look as rainbows had taken human form.

We ended up going to Mez and entering JUST as the calender turned over (poor Josh spent the dawning of his birthday in line).  Once we had paid our 5 pounds and gotten our first set of drinks that were obscenely cheap we hit the dancefloor.  Quickly I was reminded about my lacking skills on said floor and we all found our groove for the rest of the night (Johnno ensuring to ‘own’ the podium the best he could).

The details of the rest of the night aren’t really important BUT it is good to note that I made it to both my 10am (2 hour lecture) and 12pm (1 hour seminar) classes on friday…although the participation level was slightly less that usual after my only few hours of sleep.

I’ll leave the Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s posts til tomorrow as I AM BUGGERED! (Large hostel rooms, a group of guys mucking around day and night and an incredibly busy 3 days does not leave Simon ‘re-freshed’)

February 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You say yes, I say no, You say stop and I say go, go, go, Oh, no, You say goodbye and I say hello…

You may be wondering “what has Simon been up to?” or “what will Simon get up to this weekend?” Well unfortunately I am very rushed in leaving to go to Cumbria with the guys for the weekend (13 mins til they come round in the car :O), so in the great words of Eddie McGuire “well find out…just after this break”!

So you may actually have to work while AT WORK or start studying for the next few days…but fear not, I will have a bloggin barrage to catch up when I get back 🙂

February 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tell me all that you’ve thrown away, Find out games you don’t wanna play, You are the only one that needs to know…

In the spirit of yesterday’s post, I have an introductory statement for today. “You know you are staying in an accommodation building full of people from asia when the sign up sheets for the building’s cricket and badminton teams are full, yet ‘football’ is empty…” 😛

After I made my post yesterday I headed off to my one hour of class (which went quickly although I was a little confused about what he meant by a “sleeping policeman”, a phrase my lecturer was using often…until he showed us a picture of a ‘speed bump’. Clearly ‘speed bump’ is a more logical description for an academic to use!) , had some dinner and then we hit the town.  For dinner we went to Mahmoods, now to a layman Australian this may not sound familiar…but if you walked past the yellow and red fast food shop which serves quarter pounders with cheese, you could probably quickly pick up on what Mahmoods is trying to be.  Actually, in reality the food was better than most MacDonalds (even if still not ‘good food’) and was about half the price.  A win-win scenario if you ask me.
Our night out started at the Olde Bar, but as there was half the room dedicated to a “Christian Barn Dance” and the other half swamped with people doing a pub quiz, we sat outside.  Yes, you know you’re dealing with freezing cold England quite well when you can drink your cold pint in the even colder ‘great outdoors’.  Being outside did give us a good opportunities to chat to the British smokers, including spreading those rumours that we all have pet Kangaroos, Wallabies and Wombats in Australia to the gullible English.

We were then off to the Eldon, which is the home to the international students night on a tuesday and it was great fun.  Around ever corner you would bump into a fellow foreigner you had met before, or were just meeting for the first time, and were able to have a chat.  We even managed to get “involved” with watching a soccer game that went to penalities between “Poor, small and shit team #1” and “Poor, small and shit team #2”.  I think the white shirts won…and I had chosen to adopt the whiteys as my team for the night.

As the Eldon slowly increased beyond its capacity to comfortably hold the number of people within the walls, we made our way across the road to the Library.  Here we encountered cheap Jagerbombs and a group of people dressed as mimes who would become our pseudo guides for the night. We had made some rather beer induced plans to head to a Karaoke bar at some point but in the end, when the Mimes headed off to their next pub. We were with them…

We were held up for a little bit though first by a car accident (where we helped out a girl who had been hit by a taxi driver…who seemed to do everything in his power to intimdate her, and us, and had to wait around as the ‘witnesses’ as the police eventually turned up). We were further held up by just as we met up with the Mimes outside the University, bladder related issues caused us to run to the Union Building.  However, it is quite easy to catch up with a group of people in Berets and white face paint – we knew we would see them again soon.

And soon enough we did and off into Tiger Tiger we went.  At about 3am I decided I had had my fill and headed off home.  However, my desired sleep was held off by the fact that as soon as I took 3 steps inside the hallway of my building.  THE FIRE ALARM WENT OFF AGAIN! This is beyond a joke!  However, at least this I was already dressed for braving the conditions outside.

As a result of my late night, today for me started at midday, after some internet/tv and a quick bite to eat I was off to see a movie with Joey.  Although Mr Joseph got distracted at uni, so when I got to the cinemas in town (about 10mins walk away) I then spent about 15mins waiting and texting back and forth as he apologised furiously (although he did put forward some rather impressively thought out reasons why ‘it was better he was late’ which I enjoyed haha).

We were able to brave the long line (it turns out it is half term for the schools in Leeds ARGHHHH!)  and bought our tickets to see the Pink Panther 2.  I had quite low expectations for this movie, although I hadn’t seen the first one…I hadn’t heard good things.  Yet after chatting  and eating an “apology sundae” graciously bough for me by Joey (A sundae so good I am 99% sure I now have diabetes lol) we were treated to a very FUN film.  Okay the plot was very very predictable…but it was funny!  There were plenty of jokes (including physical comedy), which may not sound surprising in a comedy but laughter seems to be the missing ingredient to most comedies in the 21st century.  All of this we told to the guy with the clipboard who interrogated us after the flick.

And now I am here, at the end…and my rather uneventful day seems to have once again filled up WAY too many words.  So sue me! 😛

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment