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Archive for the ‘England’ Category

I’m in the paper! Well, not me… but my photo.

In the summer of 2006, I ventured across Northern England along Wainwright’s Coast to Coast trail. My partner and I spent 3 week hiking across hills, plains and mountains through wind, rain and a record-breaking heatwave. It was a life-changing accomplishment.

I look a few hundred photos that sit on my hard drive — except for the few lucky ones that made it through the Costco poster printer and now sit in frames on the floor of my living room! A while ago I randomly submitted a bunch to Newsday to be published in their Sunday travel section, Go! And this week, one of my photos was published. (How cool!)

Patterdale, Cumbria, UK

For my Masters dissertation I had to submit a 3,000-word feature article. I wrote a travel memoir about the walk. Here is an excerpt describing the build up to when this photo was taken:

Continuing onward, the path followed a lofty and narrow Roman road called the High Street. During the time of the Roman Empire people allegedly raced their horses along the ridge. Characterised by practically vertical pebbly drops on either side, I couldn’t help but wonder how successful they had been. The remainder of the day’s journey twisted through a maze of rolling grassy mountains. The tops of the peaks were hidden in thick grey cloud not far above us. The wind was bitter and whipped through my nylon track pants. I was shivering even though I was wearing every shirt I had brought with me. The trail circled high above bright green valleys and crystal blue lakes. Except for the odd sheep, it was silent for hours. Rounding a mountain the trail began to dangerously descend. In front of us, deep within the valley, was Patterdale. We watched as the clouds parted and a heavenly ray of light decorated the village as if to guide us home.

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Only the British find it just as enjoyable to re-create natural experiences such as beaches and ski slopes for enjoyment…

Nottingham brings the beach to locals with riviera development – Times Online

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(May 12, 2008) The article mentioned below is up for reading… (not very exciting if it doesn’t relate to you personally!)

Study at Nottingham University in England: Tips from a Study Abroad Graduate
(http://transitionsabroad.com/publications/studentwritingcontest/study_abroad_nottingham_england.shtml)

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(Back in April sometime) A few weeks ago on the way to visiting my friend upstate, I splurged and purchased a $150 train ticket to allow myself the time to write a travel article for Student Travel Writing Contest put on by Transitions Abroad. The topic was focused on helping students prepare to travel abroad: what did you need to know; how did you fit your experience into your life upon returning; what you wish you knew before you left, etc.

With just a bit of study abroad behind me, I rambled on for 2,000 words or so and sent it in… lightly proofed… 15 minutes before the deadline. As I mentioned in the email, I would have been happy if they published it, forget winning!

A few weeks later I was informed I received the 2nd place award out of over 100 entries. I must say I am quite chuffed with myself as winning a Travel Writing Contest is a nice addition to my resume.

And the prize?? $150!! Was well worth the cozy Amtrak ride if you ask me!

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It has been quite a while since the last time I wrote… almost a year actually. Wow!! Apparently ‘New York Minutes’ do fly by a lot faster…

I am very aware my correspondence has been slacking recently. Throughout all my travels and moves, I always flourished in maintaining communication, so why now the change? Well, I have entered a new era in my life. After spending a good 4-5 months at my computer “working on” my dissertation, I decided it was time to distance myself from the silver fruit and focus on non-internet related activities. Luckily this coincided with my move to an ‘unwired’ location making the transition easier. Over this time period—since the start of Autumn—I sought out some new hobbies and broadened my literary scope. A previous flirtation with yoga had left me intrigued; so a couple months ago I dove in headfirst (like my impulsive nature would have it any other way…?). As I had hoped, the physical release it is exactly what my body requires to conquer my [partially self-induced] stresses. Not to mention it’s the only place in public where it’s acceptable to hang out with your ass in the air and legs beside your head—and I am usually able to incorporate a 5-10 power minute nap in the end.

For a more mentally stimulating exploit I took on one of the most legendary fictional characters of the 21st century. After dishing out much unprovoked ridicule regarding the character’s ability to intrigue a sensible, realistic adult like myself, I agreed to complete the first 200 pages, fascinated or not! I took it slow. And by page 100, I was beginning to fall for Harry Potter. It wasn’t until book five did I recognize it for what it was… true love. Over a two-month period, from mid-Sept through mid-Nov, I completed Books 1-6. Having taken on so much mental adventure in such a short period of time, I took a breather allowing myself a few weeks time to digest and defrag Harry’s first 6 years of Hogwart’s. It was then that it occurred to me; once I was finished with Book 7 it was all over. Not only would Harry be finished with Hogwart’s, but also my short visit in the magical world would be over. Needless to say, I have yet to read the last book.

While my previous avoidance of Harry was due to my lack of interest in fantasy novels, this false assumption proved a sturdy safeguard against my inability to differentiate between reality and fantasy. My habit of getting fully engrossed in books to the point where I find the plot merging with my own life has always limited me to somewhat realistic stories. The more disheartening, the more conflict it creates in my own life. Therefore upon entering the world of witches and wizards, I was sure my grasp on reality would prevent me from becoming fully absorbed in this genre. I was wrong! This new lifestyle that incorporated hours of Hogwart’s escapades, left me struggling for spells to counteract mistakes, clean up spills and fix broken items. At least I wasn’t trying to “ctrl + z” all my actions.

The whole point of my posting this was to answer everyone’s question of “what have you been to?” …not ramble about Harry! Currently, I am still working at Costco Photo Lab. Not my life’s ambition but has some interesting moments. I particularly enjoy being yelled at by customers because I didn’t “give them their negatives” for their digital pictures. I’m seriously dumbfounded by some of the questions/comments I receive. I kindly explained to the woman that the only way I could create negatives would be to follow her around and recapture each of her images with a 35mm film camera. She politely nodded and left, but I don’t think she really understood.

The memory-making industry is busy at this time of year. Yet I was very lucky to have stumbled across a work experience opportunity. I am working on my off days (2 days a week) at a local magazine called Long Island Bride and Groom. It’s advertises EVERYTHING you need for your wedding. I bet most girls would love to look at the advertisements and liaise with the high-end retailers. I personally find it stressful. I have decided if I get married, everyone’s getting a Facebook event invite. Ha! In all seriousness, it is a great experience. I am enjoying learning about this aspect of magazine production and the publishers are great to work with.

I finally finished my Masters. It was not a relaxing experience, as those who were beside me throughout the summer can vouch! I sat down in March to ‘bang it out’… and five months later, I was standing in Kinko’s at 4am on Monday morning having the two mandatory copies printed, bound and shipped in order to arrive by the Friday morning deadline. I thought I had left my procrastinating behind in undergrad but apparently it tagged along. Either way… IT’S DONE and I can’t use “I’m working towards my Masters” as an excuse anymore.

I flirt with the odd job application but haven’t met my ‘career soul mate’ yet. That leaves me with the question of what to do and where to live. I was set on staying home for the holidays so that buys me two weeks before I have to start making some serious decisions. Although I love NY, I am not keen to live here for any extended amount of time and therefore will be focusing my job search elsewhere. I was approved for and received an HSMP visa, allowing me unrestricted access to work in the UK for two years (through August 2009). So I would be qualified for any job position in the UK, as if I was born and breed there. I bet the Brits love that—another loud American coming to steal jobs. Ha! Don’t worry, they aren’t knocking down my door. Bloody hell, forget the door, they aren’t even on my street!

I very much would LOVE to move back to England by the springtime but I have to be realistic about it all considering my lack of funds. I do miss it very much during the holidays. I soooo want to go to the pub on the cold wintery nights. In the meantime, I’m going to try to get myself a well-paying temp gig in the big city to help pay off last year’s trips to BZR. If nothing else it’s more fun to ‘wallow in dog shit’ in Manhattan than it is on Long Island.

I hope you all are well and having a very Merry holiday season! ‘Tis the most wonderful time of the year! Cheers to the New Year!!

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Story relayed by Azzy’s mom/mum regarding the snow in England:

“I was listening to the BBC…it was a few inches and it was like a white out had occurred. Someone texted in saying terrorist didn’t need bombs—just a couple of snow machine makers and they’d have the English at their needs. ‘What do we do mate? What do we do!!?!?!?! It’s everywhere!'”

So funny! The Brits need to toughen up—it won’t hurt ya! 😉

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BA is on strike!

My flight was cancelled!

…But within minutes the wonderful people at STATravel.co.uk were to my aid transfering me to a Virgin flight. Flying with the Virgin wasn’t my first choice but many people seem to think they are the best, so we’ll see how it goes.

Will now be home at 7pm on the 31st – that’s 4 hours earlier for all of you who are stalking my return! (should I be so lucky) 😉

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January 31st I am heading back to the good ol’ U.S. of A. Although it is against my will and I am being forced to leave due to the difficulty of sorting out a new visa while being here, I am quite excited to see everyone back in NY – especially those of you I unfortunately missed last time I visited.

When I booked I had an option of a couple different airlines to which I chose my favourite – British Airways! I love the planes, the accents, the free wine, the stewardesses, the token homosexual steward and the foods not bad either. Although I did wonder, since the uncovered bomb plot this past summer, if I should choose a less ‘targeted’ airline but considering my options – United, BA, Virgin, US Air – I could be doomed no matter what.

Yet, in the midst of my excitement, I picked up Monday morning’s Metro and was greeted with the headline ‘No Progess in BA Strike Dispute.’ Oh wonderful… they they are planning three, three-day strikes beginning January 29th which they expect to delay them for two weeks each. Wow – that’s convenient.

So now boys and girls, who knows when I’ll be home. It’s not definite and they will allow you to change your date/time but I personally think it’ll be more fun to wait it out and see what happens. With an expired visa I am curious to see if they will make me hang out in the airport, on neutral territory, until I can find a flight. How lovely would that be – a huge sleepover with tons of horny drunk Brits and obnoxious whinging Americans and maybe a hijacker or two.

Wish me luck and I hope to see you all soon 😀

I heart NY!

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