The Best Thing Ever = The Eiffel Tower at Night!

Yesterday (Saturday) was our second full day in Paris. We started off the day by taking the metro over to the Tour Montparnesse (a skyscraper in Paris with a viewing deck at the top so you can go up and see the whole city, including the Eiffel Tower–if you go up the Eiffel Tower you don’t get to see that in the skyline!). The view was amazing but it was pretty hot (around 90F) and bright and we both forgot our sunglasses back in London. We didn’t stay up on the top deck very long (floor 59), but there is also an observation deck on floor 56 which is inside and air conditioned, so we hung out there for awhile as well.

Right before we went to the Tour, we stopped at what some friends jokingly call “the American Embassy” aka McDonalds 🙂 I feel like a bit of a lame-o for eating McDonalds when I’m in PARIS, but I just wanted something quick and cheap, and everything else around were sit-down cafes. It was yummy, except in France they apparently put the nutrition facts right on the wrapper so there is no blissful ignorance in eating McDonalds here. Ouch.

Then we headed to the Louvre. Sadly, my camera was near dead at that point so I had to switch to the 5 megapixel setting to try to save power and I didn’t take as many pictures as I would have liked to. The Louvre is filled with so much art, but what really struck me was how crazy it was that it used to be a palace. I just couldn’t stop thinking, “this was someone’s HOUSE?” King, sure, but even for a King the Louvre is crazy big. And I also kept imagining people back in the day walking through there when it was the King’s place, and having no idea that a couple hundred years later all these tourists from around the world in their sandals and fanny packs with their digital cameras and cell phones would be strolling through the place in masses. So that is what I was thinking about most of the time– oh, and also about how TINY and insignificant the Mona Lisa seems compared to all of the other art. There was a painting of Napoleon’s carnation (?) that was bigger than the square footage of many peoples homes, and it wasn’t the only big painting… but the tiny Mona Lisa is the one people are fascinated with. It hangs alone on a huge wall… which kind of exaggerates how tiny it is… and is roped off and hoards of people stand around taking photos of it (we got one too… although I wish instead of zooming in I had taken a picture from a distance so you all could see how huge the wall is, and how tiny the painting is). So there you have it– the world is fascinated by Mona Lisa, and I am fascinated by how big the King’s house was. The things we think about 😉

After the Louvre we were exhausted–both from the heat, and all the walking and stairs. Besides all the walking here (both Paris and London), there are rarely elevators. The stairs can be KILLER. When we were flat hunting in London after the first couple days my legs were so dead I had to physically lift them with my hands to get up the stairs. The bright side is– no need for a gym when Europe is my stair-stepper? 🙂 So we headed back to the hotel to rest for awhile. We had planned to visit Notre Dame but the service was at 6:30 and we knew we couldn’t make it back in a hour so we decided to go Sunday instead.

After relaxing for a bit we got dressed up and headed out for dinner near the Eiffel Tower. Alexander had two places in mind (affordable for the area and recommended by a travel book). We got to the first one and the only people in the place were two separate tables with a couple older women at each table, and they were talking very loudly in English to each other across the restaurant. Not appealing. So we walked to the other one–Le Bosque–and it turned out to be very nice. Apparently we were really early for dinner, because the only other people eating when we first got there had full heads of gray hair 😉 But quickly a younger crowd came in as well. However, that also brought our one annoyance with the restaurant. For some reason, still unknown to us, the service to our table (and our table only) was extremely, extremely slow. People who arrived more than 45 minutes after us were getting their food before us, and Alexander’s lamb never came. We ultimately asked them to just bring us the check without the lamb on it, and paid so we could leave because I was getting really tired just sitting there waiting and waiting, and we had other things we wanted to see! Despite the slowness, our food was delicious and the place was so much nicer than option #1!

Next, we hopped on the metro up to the Eiffel Tower. We had planned on walking–it’s a nice walk–but dinner took too long and we wanted to get over there. I am so, so, so glad we went back to see it at night too! It’s so pretty! It’s currently lighted blue with a circle of stars resembling the European Union because France’s President (Sarkozy) is currently the president of the EU as well. It twinkles for 8 or 10 minutes every hour on the hour and Alexander knew the perfect spot to see it from! He also knew about Cafe De L’Homme (a very expensive restaurant with amazing views of the tower) which is in a Museum right there, and he convinced the hostess to let us have a table with a view just for drinks and dessert (she couldn’t let us sit outside if we weren’t buying dinner, but she gave us an AMAZING table inside!) I love, love, LOVED it! Then this morning when I uploaded the pictures I got all excited again. Definitely one of the coolest things I’ve seen/done, and ranks right up there at the top of “Best Nights Ever.”

Our Table at Cafe De LHomme!

Our Table at Cafe De L'Homme!

Today has been a very relaxing day. Sadly, I woke up with (sorry for the TMI male readers) really bad cramps. I still managed to get myself in a dress and make it to the “international mass” at Notre Dame with Alexander, and we went to a nearby sidewalk cafe for lunch. Alexander had to find a pharmacy to get medicine for me, and came back with a pink box that says “regles douloureuses” which I think means something to do with periods 😉 I just asked him for ibuprofen but he told the pharmacist exactly what I needed! Also, it turns out “limonade” is not lemonade, but 7UP. In my desperate-pained state, lemonade sounded good so I ordered it. Not only did it turn out to be 7UP, it also cost 7 EUROS!!! (aka $10 US DOLLARS!! FOR A GLASS OF 7UP!!). So, no more ordering a beverage without (1) knowing what it actually is, and (2) knowing the price! The cheapest I’ve seen here for a diet coke is 2 euros (which is 3 U.S. dollars and I thought that was expensive!) but that is way cheaper than 10!

Anyway, now we’re at the hotel watching rented movies on iTunes because when I have cramps this bad the best I can do for myself is take lots of meds and take it easy. Luckily its today that this happened, a day we planned on taking easy anyway. And today is also the only day it has rained while we’ve been here. So perfect both ways. Hopefully I feel better soon because it’s my last night in Paris! I need to see more of the city!!


Qui Est Le Meilleur? (Who is the best?)

It’s 3:30am in Paris, and I’ve apparently already adjusted to my “London” sleep schedule here as well. Sleep from about 11-12:30, awake until about 4am, sleep until about 11am. Ugg! How I miss the good old days of 8-10 solid hours of sleep before 7am!

I had a crazy day in Paris today! It started out with a failed attempt to find a Bank of America (google said there was one, turns out it was only for business customers), and a failed trip to the American Express office (Alexander has a platinum card so you can go there and get random information. We wanted help with partner banks of B of A, or where we might find women’s shoes in a size 45-46, but they had no answers). We then walked through the Galerias Lafayette asking every shoe place their biggest size and everyone kept saying “quarante-un” which is 41 aka around a size 9. Alexander was really bummed. However, having had large feet for a very long time, and given that only one store that I know of in the U.S. carries my size in store (Nordstrom/Nordstrom Rack) I wasn’t shocked at all about our lack of success in Paris. In one store Alexander asked for 45s pointing at me (all in french) and the guy assured us he had some and led us upstairs… to mens shoes 😦

However, he then told us about a place down the street and long story short… we found a shoe store that carried up to size 45 in womens sizes… and I left with a (very expensive) pair of black leather boots and black flats. I still feel little waves of anxiety when I think about how much I spent on those boots… but the good news is that I did not buy anything from Dolce & Gabana or any of the other designer shops in the Galerias Lafayette 😉

After the crazy shoe search, the sun was out so we hopped on the metro to head over to the Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel). The lines to go up were soooo long and I haaaate lines, so I settled for taking some pictures from the ground level 🙂 We also bought a panini and a crepe at a little stand nearby and sat down for a snack break when I realized it was 4pm and all I’d had all day was a beignet in the morning before our shoe search began.

After that we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready to go back out for dinner. While back in the hotel, I turned on the BBC (british television… yayyyyyy english!) and saw a McCain rally about his choosing Sarah Palin. It felt very weird to be in Paris, watching british television, about something in the U.S.! After that we headed out to Bastille where we split our dinner into 3 parts at 3 little random places we found in the area. The dinner was $$$ but in my top 3 favorite dinners of all time! I think I like Paris more than London, except for the whole “can’t speak the language” thing. We go out for an entire day and the only person I actually talk to the whole time is Alexander. He’s the only one that can talk to anyone else because he knows French. I feel so disabled being unable to speak! I also wonder what the people think of me since I sit there silently not saying anything while Alexander does all the talking. A cashier at a store asked us if we were German tonight. The “are you from [any country other than the states]” questions keep coming. Do I really look that un-american? lol.

Oh, and by the way, in France they drive on the right side of the road like in the U.S.  According to Alexander, it has something to do with Napolean wanting France to be different than the rest of Europe.  Interesting! Anyway, this is my random ramblings at 3a.m. Tomorrow we are going to the Louvre, Notre Dame, and hopefully back to see La Tour Eiffel at night 🙂

For pictures from the Eiffel Tower, click here.

Je suis à Paris! (I am in Paris!)

Today after class, Alexander and I rushed to get pounds exchanged to euros, to pack our bags (I truly have not had time this week to pack for myself any sooner!), and then catch a cab to the train station after it turned out we were supposed to be there sooner than we thought.  Originally, our seats weren’t even together so thankfully we noticed that in time to get it changed.

The train from London to Paris is amazing! It’s so fast! I felt like we hadn’t been on the train very long at all when suddenly the announcer said we’d be arriving in Paris shortly.  I think it’s about a 2.5 hour train ride, but it felt much shorter! That was so much easier than dealing with airports!

When we arrived in the Paris station, I realized this was the first time I’ve actually visited a country where English is not the language.  When I was in Mexico for a week, since we were white, people would speak english to us.  Here, white doesn’t distinguish you much at all, and according to most people I’ve met in Europe so far I don’t look or sound American so nobody tries to speak english to me.  And seriously, my two years of high school french aren’t helping me out much at all over here.  Thankfully, Alexander lived here for a year in undergrad and took french in college so it is much more fresh for him, and he helps us get around.

After finding the hotel (which was super easy from the train station, although not terribly convenient to the center of the city where we want to be) I took a shower and freshened up so we could go out on the town for my first night in Paris.  I also realized I left my dress shoes back in London so I have nothing to wear with the nice clothes I brought.  The only shoes I have with me are my cozy, green Jack Purcells which are perfect for lots of walking, not perfect for looking remotely fashionable or dressed up.  Alexander is convinced we will be able to find me some size 13s in Paris tomorrow so we can dress up for dinner tomorrow night.  We’ll see 😉

Anyway, we headed out initially intending to walk but after getting confused a few times, and then realizing the walk was a lot further than we thought we eventually caught a cab.  My intial impression in the neighborhood where our hotel is was that the drivers in Paris are a lot more mellow than London.  I don’t fear for my life every time I cross the street! However, the sidewalks all had bike paths and I almost got ran down by people on bikes a few times when I happened to gradually sway over into the bike lane.  Luckily, no bike lanes to fear in the city center area where we eventually ended up 😉

We got dinner at this cute little cafe and sat outside.  Alexander convinced me to try escargot (not bad! not something I am dying to try again, but not as bad as I imagined ;)).  But what was definitely amazing was the crepe I had— it was a crepe with cheese, chicken, and tomatoes and it was sooo, sooo good! Sadly, I could only eat half of it because I filled up on bread (dipping it into the garlic butter from Alexander’s escargot) before my crepe came.  I need to stop filling up on bread! Ahhh!  Leaving dinner was a little awkward because we didn’t know how much we were supposed to tip (in the states it’s 15-20%, in London apparently you don’t tip at pubs which is one of the cheapest places to get food and where we usually go if we go out for dinner, and here it turns out it’s only 5%.  So apparently we left our waiter a very good tip!).

After dinner we strolled down the street and looked at a few shops before stopping at another cafe for coffee and dessert.  Yum, yum, yum!  They have so many cafes here with outdoor seating and they’re all so cute!  The only downside is people in Paris seem to smoke like it’s going out of style (um, hello, it is out of style people! boooo lung cancer!).  I’m used to being in L.A. where smoking isn’t allowed pretty much anywhere.  Not my favorite thing to be sitting outside and have people smoking at literally every table around me.  I want to be like “seriously? did you guys miss the memo on how nasty smoking is?”  C’est la vie.  It’s still amazing 🙂

We then stopped in a little bar that Alexander and his friends frequented back when he lived here because it was a local hang out where you can speak English!  I think it was the first time I spoke to anyone besides Alexander the whole time we’d been here so far (a wopping 6 hours or so ;)).  It was a very fun little place, and reminded me of a smaller scale Henry’s (in the Pearl in Portland).  Oh, and I also had one of the craziest experiences of my not-well-traveled life!  A bathroom that was for men AND women.  It was slightly awkward to walk into a stall while a man was standing there at the sink washing his hands. I’m pretty sure we don’t have bathrooms like that in the U.S.

After Alexander talked for a bit with the one guy there who he recognized from when he was last here–4 years ago!–we caught a cab back to the hotel.  I was so tired on the way home, but now I’m sooo awake! I don’t even know what time it is in Paris because my computer is set to Pacific Coast Time.  I think Paris is 9 hours ahead of PST… So maybe it’s 12:40am right now?

Anyway, I need to get to bed because tomorrow we’re going to see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and several other amazing things.  It’s supposed to be sunny and warm tomorrow! *crosses fingers*

Here is one picture I took tonight of a street we walked down.  More pictures will follow when I have more time to sit here cross posting them 🙂

Bayswater (where there is no bay, and no water).

I don’t have classes on Wednesdays, so this morning I slept in, took my time reading for my 1 class tomorrow, and then Alexander and I went out to Bayswater (my future neighborhood) to hang out with Adam and Krissi (where they found a flat too) and begin researching travel deals at a local coffee shop).  When Adam had to leave for class, and Alexander departed to do some errands, Krissi and I did some shopping on High Street.  Well, first I had to get a passport photo for my discount travel card.  They have machines here where you can do it yourself, which was nice… except my head was too big for the oval, and it said all these things like your hair and bangs couldn’t block your ears/face and your head had to fit in the oval and I was getting stressed out because it wouldn’t take the picture and all of a sudden it was like “taking picture now.”  About 20 seconds later I had 4 passport sized photos of me looking like I just got arrested for drunk driving and/or selling meth, for the bargain price of 4 pounds 😉

We also went to Marks & Spencer (the one on high street has a grocery store, clothing, home goods, money exchange, everything) to look at blankets, etc. because I need to buy some for my room.  We ended up going across the street to Argos, a discount catalog place where you look up what you’re going to buy and then pay for it and then wait by a little conveyor belt for your order to show up.  I got a duvet, sheets, duvet cover, 2 pillows, 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels, and 2 wash clothes for less than 25 pounds!  I was pretty excited about that, especially since I won’t have room in my luggage to take any of this stuff home anyway.

Then we headed back to M&S to do some grocery shopping for Krissi.  You have to put 1 pound in the “trolley” (shopping cart) to get it free, and when you return it (to our pleasant surprise) you get the pound back.  After shopping, Krissi cooked a yummy dinner in her cute studio, and then Alexander and Adam  showed up and we walked around the corner for coffee/dessert at a random Indian cafe.  Oh, and somewhere in there Krissi and I bought fake Pashminas (V.Pashmina) for 1.39 pounds each… so basically two for less than $3 USD.  They came in really handy when we were sitting at one of the outside tables at the cafe.

Anyway, now it’s time for me to get to bed because it’s 11:36pm and I have a class at 8:30am in the morning, and then I’ve got to exchange something at Argos, exchange some pounds for euros at M&S, and then pack and get to the train station by noon to head to PARIS!! 5 days and 4 nights in Paris.  I will be bringing my laptop but no guarantees about internet access so if I don’t update for several days, that’s why!

But plenty of pictures and stories will follow!

Lastly, a picture from today— We walked from Bayswater to Kensington through Hyde Park, and this is a statue of Queen Victoria, and the building in the background is one side of Kensington Palace, where Princess Diana lived before she passed away.

Queen Victoria Statue in Front of Kensington Palace

Queen Victoria Statue in Front of Kensington Palace

Troll Encounters, Oh my!

Today was the first day of classes, and getting up at 6:45am was pretty painful.  I know I’ve mentioned being exhausted in several posts now, but today was definitely the worst.  I was nodding off (on the front row no less) all through evidence, and several times was tempted to just lay down across the chairs next to me and pass out (during class!).  Alexander and I walked up to High Street for lunch, and he said I was acting pretty delirious and kept asking if I was ok.  The bright side is that for the first time since I’ve been here, my legs don’t hurt.  It looks like I’m already adjusting to walking miles and miles and miles every day.

After class I decided to go back to my temporary “home” and sleep.  Since I was carrying $550+ worth of law books (which were very heavy… and actually Alexander was carrying the heavier ones but he had his own to carry as well) we decided to take the tube.  We waited for awhile and the platform kept getting more and more crowded but no train came.  I was starting to get agitated because I was hot, tired, and the books were heavy (and I haaaaate waiting for pretty much anything) and we were starting to contemplate walking home.  Then out of nowhere this really short old woman (I’m guessing 4′ even?) appeared out of nowhere and just stood there staring/glaring up at me, occasionally alternating to stare at my books or my bag.  It was really, really awkward and you might think this is really mean of me… but she honestly looked like a story book troll.  Crazy hair, big nose, wart on the nose…. and she just kept staring! And then she started doing this little cackle.  Alexander and I were so uncomfortable that we decided to leave and just walk home, and the lady stared at me the whole way out of the station.  (and then I got charged the equivalent of $3 USD when I didn’t even ride a train… ugg!).  I was really creeped out by the whole encounter the whole walk home.  How random!

Mmmmm Coffeeeee.

Thanks to my summer job (which involved going to Starbucks 2-3 times every day), I’m currently severely addicted to coffee. However, since coffee is crazy expensive here (a simple americano costs around $3.80 USD or more!) I’ve unwisely tried to quit cold turkey. I say unwisely because the withdrawals have made me very cranky, and when combined with the frustrations of trying to find a place to live + trying to deal with my U.S. bank when I can’t get any form of phone to work for me (Vonage isn’t working, my U.S. cell has no reception here, my UK cell can’t make international calls, and even Skype is breaking up)…. I end up going CrAzY!

So today, after trying every form of communication yet again to try to get in touch with my bank, walking to the cell store to try to upgrade to the World plan only to find out it closed early for the “Bank Holiday” I was freaking out and finally gave into my caffeine craving to sooth my super cranky attitude. That $5.40 USD nonfat iced vanilla latte worked wonders. I was instantly in a much better mood. This whole time I thought I was just so cranky and frustrated because the whole situation is frustrating, not realizing my lack of tolerance was also due to the lack of caffiene. I have a very unhealthy addiction to coffee, and have decided to start curing myself of it AFTER I’m all moved in to the new place and I get back from Paris 😉

The bad thing is I didn’t have the coffee until around 5pm which is going to screw with my already messed up sleeping schedule. Right now, I can manage to sleep from about 10pm-12am and about 4am-11am. However, classes start tomorrow which means I’ll be needing to wake up around 6:45am. AHHHHHHH. I’m taking Federal Income Tax, Evidence, and Community Property. FIT and CP are taught by the same prof who didn’t assign any reading for the first day (THANK YOU PROF. P.!). However, our evidence professor assigned FIFTY pages of reading for the first day. I haven’t had a chance to buy books yet either which means I have to borrow Alexander’s book when he is done reading. That should keep me busy during part of that lovely 12am-4am awake time 😉

On a random note, I bought my first thing that was U.S. equivalent in pricing today. 2 diet cokes for 1.50p total which is a little less than $3 USD, and at least in Malibu they always cost about $1.50-$1.80 USD each. The diet coke doesn’t taste the same here though.

Another random UK note for today– Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way here. The cars don’t have to stop for you and you better not take your sweet time crossing the street! I feel like every time I cross a street I have to run to avoid getting hit by a car. As a pedestrian, it’s a little annoying feeling like my life is at risk every time I have to cross a street. However, as a person who has been driving for about 8 years and haaaaaates getting stuck waiting for ridiculously slow walkers to make their way across the street (and those extremely obnoxious people who love to just walk right out in the middle of traffic), I can really appreciate the policy.

It’s crazy adjusting to not having a car. In L.A. this summer I lived in a pretty walkable neighborhood so I often left my car at home and walked places on the weekend. But I think the furthest thing (the Grove) was less than half a mile away. Here, I’ve been walking several miles every day. I’ve definitely walked, and ran, more in the past 5 or 6 days than I have in the entire past year.

Hello Jet Lag.

Since I found a place, and all the stress of not having a place to live has been relieved, I have been soooo exhausted. I really wanted to go check out the church I plan to attend in London this morning, but I was so exhausted I couldn’t pull myself out of bed until after 11, and even then it was only because we had orientation at 12 today. The orientation was pretty much pointless (except for the free food… woo), but we also went on a bus tour which was pretty cool. Sadly, my camera died in the middle of it while we we’re checking out St. Paul’s Cathedral, so I only have pictures from the first half of the adventure. Krissi and I saw a lot of places we want to go back and check out on foot on Wednesdays (on Wednesdays Adam has class and Alexander has work, but Krissi and I will both be free!).

It’s fun figuring out the random words that are different here. For example, they say “take away” at restaurants for “take out” or “carry out” and “collection only” at Pizza places for “carry-out only.” And they say “lift” for elevator, and sometimes with the accent it sounds like left and I catch myself thinking “what do they mean ‘where is the left?'” Also, apparently “fanny” as in your bottom or a “fanny pack” is an offensive word here. The correct term for the bag is “bum bag.” (PS- I love that I get to use air quotes, and quotes in type so much due to the difference in terminology. We know how much I love quoting ;))

People here often do not think I’m from the states. In fact, when I was sitting in the international terminal of LAX back in Los Angeles I was asked if I speak English (?!). Here, on more than one occassion, landlords have told me they wouldn’t have guessed I’m from the states because I don’t look like it, and I don’t have the accent (yes, I know I have a weird, “unique” voice… thanks for bringing it up British people!!). But honestly, in the current times where a lot of people are not big fans of the ole U.S.of.A., I don’t really mind not sticking out like a sore American thumb 😉 The one person who could tell I was from the states went off on a rant about George W., and the upcoming race between Obama and McCain. The rest of the world watches us closer than we do!

Anyway, those are my random tangents for today. I’ve finally uploaded some pictures.

Celebrating London Becoming the Olympic City (for 2012)

Celebrating London Becoming the Olympic City (for 2012)

Some initial pictures from the first few days in London (click here), and some pictures from the bus tour we took this afternoon (click here). Very few pics with actual people in them because (1) we didn’t look so hot walking all over town all day; and (2) we were so stressed out about finding a place that any thoughts of pictures quickly went out the window. But now, I expect the picture taking will increase.

I have today (Monday- it’s 1:24am here right now) off, and then Tuesday classes start, hopefully I’ll be moving into the new place on Wednesday, a class Thursday morning, and then off to Paris for four days Thursday afternoon!

Quick one–I’ve found a place to live!

Yesterday I jumped on a lease for a place that is right on the edge of Bayswater and Notting Hill.  I prefer to say Notting Hill 😉 Either way, it’s about a 25 minute walk to the school, or there is a tube stop right there we can take the underground for somewhere between 1 and 2 U.S. dollars each way (similar to transportation in the U.S. if I’m doing my math right).

I’m not sharing with the Looney’s anymore as originally planned, I’m sharing a 2 bedroom with another girl, but the Looneys found a little studio in the same neighborhood nearby 🙂  It’s such a relief to have that taken care of that the jet lag has finally kicked in and I’m soooo exhausted!!

Weight Management.

I’ve decided to write a quick post on something that is not as borderline completely depressing as the flat situation in London (I can deal with lack of space, and I can even deal with paying way more than I expected to, but can it at least be relatively clean looking and not completely run down???).

Ok, actually one more flat hunting story.  Today we found out about a place in South Kensington (a very expensive area, where the school is) which was advertised as a 2bd for 300 pounds per week, and would be 350 if we only wanted it for 4 months.  We hurried over there all excited, the location is amazing, and we sit on the porch of this really cute building waiting for the landlord to show up.  It later turned out that the flat was around the back alley, down some stairs, and in the basement.  It was so small and cramped and so, so dirty.  Krissi’s first reaction was “how to we get to the flat?” (assuming that what we were in was just the basement where the landlord lived or something).  My first reaction was “where is the second bedroom?” (because apparently the tiny room that just had a TV in it and a bunch of pillows was the prior tenant’s way of “being comfortable” and they could put a bed back in. The two rooms could literally only fit the bed, no space on any side of the bed, and the bed was on the floor. The suitcases of the current tenants were outside on the uncovered porch, there was no living area and the whole thing was dirty, dirty, dirty.  All I could think about was rats running all over me, and how many diseases I would probably catch trying to clean the place).  That being said, I suppose it’s what you have to expect when you see a place advertised for 350 pounds per week in that location (aka about $700 U.S. dollars per WEEK).  Adam was excited about the place and wanted to take it.  Krissi and I were absolutely against it. BLEH.

Anyway, moving on to something a little more positive… all this flat searching = LOTS of walking. And also, we somehow keep forgetting to eat very much (at least I keep forgetting. and for anyone who knows me, Michelle forgetting to eat is pretty much unheard of).  Today, when we finally sat down to dinner around 7pm I realized the only thing I had the rest of the day was an iced americano from starbucks, and a little breaded pizza thing (similar to the size of one half of an english muffin) as a snack at one point in between searches.  Usually, I eat every hour or two… so to go so long with barely eating anything is insane.  I really just forget.  But now that I noticed today how bad I’ve been with eating, I’m going to start making a conscious effort to eat more.  It’s really not a good idea to be in such a stressful situation looking for housing and be so hungry.  That’s probably why I ultimately came back from the searching at the end of the day and started crying and saying I should just buy a plane ticket home and not stay here.   But once I have an established place to live, and a phone line set up so I can actually talk to friends and family back home (my comp doesn’t have a mic so skype won’t work :/) I think it will be much better and I will enjoy being here.  I really do like the city, even though the region of my body from my hip bones to my toes hurt so bad I was tempted today to have Alexander hold my legs so I could walk on my hands and give the ole legs a break.  Luckily I didn’t do that.  According to Krissi, who did crunches last night, it does not help make the pain in your legs less if other things hurt too 🙂

The positive note in all of this is of course something very girly— with all this walking, and much less eating than I did over the summer with all those crazy firm events— I’m destined to lose my “summer weight” in no time 😉

Flat Hunting is nowhere near as fun as the show “House Hunters.”

We are two days in in our search looking for flats (me, Krissi and Adam). It’s nooooot fun.  I’m sure I’ll look back on this and be like “hahaha remember when we were walking all over the city and had to pull on our legs to get them up the stairs because they were so tired and remember how we almost jumped on the 600 pounds per week place (aka $5000 U.S. dollars per month)?”  But right now I’m mainly thinking “What.On.Earth.Have.I.Got.Myself.Into?”

Luckily the Looneys and I are praying as we go which helps.  However, it’s getting a little frustrating that the options seem to be cheaper but small, dirty and seedy (aka 2800-3500 U.S. dollars per month) or clean and more spacious but also super expensive (aka 4500-5000 U.S. dollars per month).

If you stay here longer than four months, it’s a lot easier to find an accomodation… people just don’t like to rent for 4 months and if they do they raise the price.  But apparently it’s normal to take 6-10 days to find a place, So we are weary from the first two days of searching, but tomorrow is a new day, and we will find something!

We found a great place less than a 5 minute walk from Alexander’s.  High cielings, ground (not basement) floor, technically a one bedroom but a separate dining room with a door that could be turned into a bedroom for me.  We talked the guy into $325 pounds per week for 4 months (which works out to about $2600 U.S. dollars per month).  There is also a beautiful court yard garden (that is shared by all the apartments surrounding the block) that we have access to from the back door out the back of the apartment. The problem is that we have to put pound coins into a meter machine inside the apartment to get electricity (random?) and I’m not convinced that the locks on the doors look entirely safe.  I don’t feel worried for my personal safety at all… just slightly concerned that a fellow neighbor might notice we are out of town and sneak in to check out all of our stuff? What are they going to do with clothes for a six foot four female, I have no idea! But I would prefer to keep my clothes as long as possible 😉

We have two more flats to look at tonight, and I’ll be calling an agent for more listings again in the morning.