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The Return. The Welcome. The Jetlag.

Hello to all!

It’s been a week now since I’ve been back and I can’t believe it! Let me kick this off by saying GO AWAY JETLAG! With the exception of this morning, and yesterday morning, I’ve woken up at 7 a.m. -yesterday and today I woke up at 11 a.m. so I’m getting slightly better.

It’s great to be back and in full swing of things. My classes here are fine (I’m taking six, plus a film forum), and my fraternity welcomed me back with open arms. I got to meet all my new Brothers who became part of the fraternity while I was away studying abroad, and they’re all such chill, friendly people. It’s what I’d call Alpha Chi Polite, the ‘P’ stands for Polite (it’s an inside joke where as opposed to saying Alpha Chi Rho, I replace the ‘P’ with a word that starts with ‘P’ -our letters are AXP this is why, despite when written out it’s [A]lpha [C]hi [R]ho).

Anywho, moving on to the next topic of WHAT THE SNOW?! Okay, let me just say first off how weird it was being home: after the long flight, I had to go through customs…there was a Chinese family in front of me who couldn’t get through, then some Spanish lady in front of me who also had issues. By the time I got up there, the dude was like “How was your trip?” I replied “Very fun!” he said “You’re all set.” Literally took six seconds to get through. Wowwwwwww. Some people just. Ugh. Anyway.

It was weird being home and seeing everything again, and by everything I mean nothing as I had to get home, unpack, then pack for Montclair, then go to sleep as I had to move in the next day. As if that wasn’t fun enough, it began to snow. So we (my father and I) got up to Montclair State University, and we unpacked his car and moved in all of my stuff. We went out to Olive Garden and had an amazing meal! I couldn’t finish mine as my stomach had internally shrunk as for the last and final month in Bournemouth, I was eating smaller portioned meals (ham on sandwich thins).

Right, now where was I? Oh yes, moving in. Moved in, didn’t even meet my roommate until the second night as he didn’t return until the following day after move in, and I was out the following day. I was doing MLK Day of Service and I made cards for veterans with some of my fraternity Brothers. I was seriously out of that room from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. that night. It would have been later but I was tired so I wanted to get back to my dorm and go to sleep. Met my roommate who turned out to be a freshman. –Let me save this blog some time and just say he moved out. I just got here…and he moved out. You may be thinking “Edwards, da fuq did you do?” Let me tell you: nothing. His friend’s roommate up a few flights had moved out so he wanted to live with him and said he’d been planning it for a while now. I was like “Okay. not a problem, man.”

Suffice to say I now have the whole double to myself. :) I like that as I have commuter friends so if they need a place to stay for whatever reason, I now have the extra bed in here.

So much has happened in my first week back: welcome home parties, the meeting of my newest Brothers, homework in every class (boy did I miss this…seriously, I did! I need to keep busy), and just getting into the routine of my life. OHHHHH and I also got hired for two on-campus jobs. How’s that expression go? “Dis be mah yr!” …I don’t even know how the cool kids say it with their fancy colloquial.

Right then. I studied abroad, and now I’m an alumnus of Bournemouth University, and now I have the honor and privilege of being able to help out, guide, and advise those interested in studying abroad. Loving being back already!

I’m not too sure if there will be another blog now as the point of this was to entry and document my travels/studies abroad and now that has happened. So this is me, singing off, or singing off if there’s a typo… It’s been a pleasure typing and not knowing if a soul has read these.

– Michael

p.s. (post scriptum) Check out this awesome photo I took the first night back!

MSU First Night Back

MSU First Night Back

New Year, Same Me. New Time.

Hello, my fellow reader(s) of this blog. Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I meant to do this yesterday, but I didn’t. I’d say something came up, but nothing did as I’m still on break until this Thursday, so I really don’t do much. Anywho…

I will probably make this my last blog, unless something amazingly groundbreaking comes up within the remainder of my time here. I’ve been on break since December 11th, and in that time I completed an essay for my one class, did group work for another, wrote some scripts, finished part ii of my book, and that’s pretty much it. I had plans to go around Bournemouth, but they fell through as a lot of the things being offered I realized I had already been to and saw them all Christmassy. Sure, I could have gone again but I didn’t. There is still the possibility for Bournemouth Lights as they didn’t start until January (the 3rd -tonight- I believe).

-sigh- I don’t know. As it comes down to the wire there isn’t much to do now. I am looking forward to going back home, but it’s at that closing point where I wish I were just there already. I only have two classes left; one this Thursday and one the following Thursday. Then I leave Bournemouth the 15th, head up to a hotel, then get on my flight the next day and head back home. From there I’ll be packing up my stuff and moving into college the very next day (17th) and starting my spring semester two days from then (19th). And before I know it, the spring semester will be over again and it’ll be summer, then fall, then spring, then I graduate, then my life really begins. It’s crazy to think about time and how its course flows like a river, travelling on as it streams down its path. Four months here has gone so fast; I suppose all there is left to do is reflect on the time I’ve spent here, the things I’ve done/experienced, and the friends I’ve made.

I would love to see all of my friends again before departing, but not at some party as that’s not really my thing. Small groups would be nice that way I could give my attention to one group one night, then another group the next night or something. If it’s at one giant even then it’ll be tough to maintain conversation with everyone. –This piano instrumental I’m listening to right now is so melancholy and almost bittersweet; it’s lovely background music as I type this final blog.

When I return to Montclair, I return to seven classes, my clubs, my friends, and my fraternity. It seems so close yet is really far as things back at Montclair aren’t even finalized yet, and here I am acting like I’m leaving tomorrow. I tend to do that a lot; I’ll get ready and start packing when it’s nowhere near time to go. Nevertheless, my time here was well spent: from travelling, to choir, to making friends, to making a film. It’s been a lovely time in Bournemouth. I look forward to keeping in contact with my friends I’ve made here and hopefully working with them in the future when we’re out in the field.

As the new year is upon us, I am still the same me I was four days ago. But the experiences will stay with me for all the new years that come to pass.

Geez, okay, I make it sound like I’m dying and this is my final letter. I’m telling you, this piano song is getting to me! Okay. Whew.

Well, Bournemouth, it’s been fun. I hope I get to see all my friends again, especially you (whoaaaaaaa, he’s being ambiguous!!!). If I do find the sparest of moments (jk, I always have time! I find the busier I am, the more free time I have, it’s crazy!) I shall write another blog entry when I return. But as for Bournemouth, my fingers will travel across this keyboard no more as this chapter of my life is now coming to a close.

Thank you for reading, and until next time…

– Michael

Bournemouth Sunset

Bournemouth Sunset

Media Mosh and Harry Potter Studios

Ha! I tricked you all didn’t I? I actually went to Harry Potter Studios first!

Righto, my Wednesday (December 9th) began with waking up at 9 a.m. and preparing for the Harry Potter Studios tour. The “two hour bus ride” took three hours, but we finally got there and the tour was spectacular! Why? Because I did my own tour which was allowed, so I got to see, in detail, everything I wanted to. It was so marvelous there! Or should I say magical?

Everything Harry Potter was there. I truly loved it and connected with it because 1) I’m a fan (Star Wars is my #1 though) and 2) I’m a film major so the ability to be on a set and inside a studio where eight films happened is mind blowing! I’m gonna say this now and we’ll see how this pans out, but I’m going to make this a short blog because I’m working on shortening my stories. I usually can’t help but tell stories with every, single, tiny, minute detail there is. So here is my practice! Annnnnnnnnd that’s Harry Potter studios. Spent fifteen freakin’ pounds on “Harry Potter candy” which totally isn’t, and some keychain pendant thing. Super amazing though!

Now for Media Mosh. I feel so bad as I was supposed to arrive back to campus at 18:00 (6 p.m.) yet we didn’t. Some girl who is lactose intolerant decided to eat ice cream. Why? I don’t know. Maybe she was put under the imperius curse, but still, I guess Harry Potter Studios can make you do crazy things. So we had to stop so she could–okay, less detail, come on, Edwards! Get to the point! Bus ride took another three hours, didn’t get home until 20:07 (8:07), missed going to the movies and dinner with my friends and “Mallard” crew as I was supposed to meet them at campus at 6. Nevertheless, I went back to 18 Batteryshop Road (the joke I have for the place I reside in), ordered Chinese food, showered, trimmed, missed the last bus to town, ate, got in a taxi -not entirely in this order. Taxi was cheap, much to my surprise. I got to The Old Firestation, met Giuseppe out front. Graziana overheard our conversation of “I didn’t know who I was supposed to be from Disney” and she immediately said “Mr. Incredible when he goes to meet Edna.” Like wow! Spot on! (I was originally going for Sid because I had on a black shirt and jeans). We all went inside, then went to the dance floor and started dancing a bit with the others who were already there (Shannon, Reece, etc. [I’m saying etc. because I have no idea what anyone else’s names are]). Somehow I wound up in the center of a dance circle and started doing “my thing” which is where I just…well, dance. I have a habit of doing this at weddings, too. Suffice to say I made people’s Snapstories. Soon after, we’re joined by Sam, Hamish, Cameron, and Alex [“Mallard” crew]. Lol, almost typed “Sam and I shared a jager bomb”, he bought two jager bombs and we downed them at the same time, hence somewhat of a “sharing” aspect. They all said they saw me dancing, and I tried to convince them I was sober, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t believing me. I really was, though! I have no one here to pre-game with and I rarely drink as is. That was sober Michael out on the dance floor. I can’t attest to what kind of Michael I was later after more alcohol, but hey. I had such a great time there and a fantastic night. Danced with some girls, had some laughs, and at some point had a conversation with my professor. He was dressed as Luke Skywalker with Yoda on his back, while training on Dagobah. You could argue that’s his Bespin attire, but it’s not as his Bespin attire is fuller than that. Right, so then I went outside as the former mentioned friends were going to Cameo.

I have to indent for this one as Cameo sucks. Let me arrive to that, though. Went outside, relocated one of the girls I was dancing with, and Cameron told me to invite her to come to Cameo with us. So I did, and, well something else happened too but I’ll spare you readers the details of what my lips and tongue did with hers. Next thing I know, they’re gone down the sidewalk. Since I didn’t know where Cameo was I decided to return to my previous activity of otherwise being occupied from talking, until I heard “Cameo” mentioned. The new group of people outside are the people also on my course whom I don’t know too well. I know all their names, sure, but we don’t talk hardly. Why? Because class is once a week and there is no campus life, as no one lives on campus as there are no dorms for campus living! Needless to say, the former and I made our way to Cameo. I had two interesting conversations with two separate entities of this group, and share a jager bomb with one of them. Oops, that time I typed it. I mean I bought two jager bombs, and we drank them at the same time. THEN we made our way to Cameo.

Never have I seen so much security for one club, and never have I wanted to swing so hard before in my life. I hate places like this. The proximity of the person next to me is literally on my feet. When people go to pass you, they put their hand on you and push you out of the way. I don’t mind being passed, but I do mind your hand on me and I do mind pushing. Four different guys had issues with me that night, one of whom thought I was security because I “look like a tough douche with my manly black shirt and my rad jeans.” Anywho, whilst also there, five drunk girls tried to play a game called ‘Match My Lips to Yours’. All were denied. Not my thing. They were so far gone and beyond drunk. Alex bought my way in so I said I’d buy him a drink. I looked down for one second at my ticket, looked back up and he was was gone. I didn’t find him for the rest of the night. I actually spend a majority of my time traversing between the four (?) rooms there trying to find the people I came with. It was a place I can now officially cross off my list and say I went to. Yikes! Makes me wonder if Lollipop is like that, as The Old Firestation (from what I saw) is one room. That’s it. Dance floor up front, bar in back, all connected.

Okay, I’m going to wrap this up as there isn’t much left to say. I’d post some pictures, but the photos weren’t uploaded yet from Wednesday. My HP ones are, bu– Screw it, I’ll upload one of those.

Hogwarts Castle

Hogwarts Castle

Bloggish

Hello, Internet friendlies (and not so friendlies), today’s blog will -as always- be a freewrite about my recent and upcoming adventures, as well as randomness of the UK.

To start, let’s talk about this past Thursday and how depressing it was. Why? It was just Thursday the 26th. Big whoop.
Well, maybe to you here in the UK, but to me it was Thanksgiving. I woke up to the sound of my alarm for class, and I checked my phone like I always do to see what I’ve missed whilst sleeping, as the night in the US is still young. I saw a text from my father that I received at 5:27 a.m., meaning 12:27 a.m. in the Us. It read “Happy Thanksgiving! Miss you! Wish you were here!” Well gee, did that hit me right in the -as the cool kids say- feels. That Thursday became so depressing as it was then and there that it hit me that I now officially miss the US. I hadn’t missed it at all up until receiving that text.

Got up, got ready, didn’t eat breakfast as I just wasn’t feeling it. Went to my seminar then later my lecture. Classes just didn’t do it for me and normally I like the seminar, but they were both blah that day. Then immediately after that I went with my seminar mate and friend, lol, mate, and helped her with her monologue. I filmed my monologue the night before and edited it all together. Not my best work, but it’s whatever. We’re graded on the monologue and not the production. So, I helped her film her monologue and that was okay. Did some crazy angles for her. Okay, where was I? Sorry, got distracted as I’m chatting with friends. Uhm, oh yeah. Wait, no… Okay yeah. Came home and it was too late to go shopping so I went online and got Pizza Hut. Then I remembered it was Thanksgiving so I got a crap ton of Pizza Hut and used a coupon so it was only 23 pounds, but if converted that’s like a million dollars. It came very fast! Only twenty minutes. I indulged and enjoyed. Friday and Saturday I didn’t do anything. I was gonna go to a Christmas party in the morning at a church down the street on Saturday, but I forgot to set an alarm and woke up to my phone’s calendar reminding me of the event. Haha.

Today is Sunday, but I didn’t know that until I went out to Aldi to go shop. They were closed, because it’s Sunday and they close early. Tomorrow is Monday, which means laundry day. Tuesday is my first choir concert, Wednesday is class with Shaun who is such a cool guy. He’s like one of us – a student. Wednesday night is choir practice, Thursday is class, Saturday is Stonehenge, Salisbury, and New Forest National Park, and Sunday is my second choir concert. Then we’re back to Monday. I know, crazy! Time flies when you have two classes a week… Then that Wednesday, December 9th is Harry Potter Studios, so sadly I have to miss Shaun’s final class (which I thought would be this Wednesday, but I miscounted). But he’s totally understanding of it and cool. He said “Oh yeah, no worries. You’ve been to every class, you’re on time, you volunteer and contribute which I appreciate, and you’re doing fine. Plus you’re a yank so go explore, damnit.” Like wow. What a response and what an awesome man.

So that’s my week in advance and yeah. Then Thursday the 10th is my last seminar and lecture before Christmas break. Then when Christmas break is over it’s only that class twice more then it’s back home to America to enjoy my room for all of five minutes as I have to pack everything up and move back into college for my spring semester which starts the 19th of January, when I don’t get back home until the 16th of January. It’s approaching fast, but not fast enough. I can easily say that if it weren’t for this Cimorelli concert and my catharsis and now displaying emotions, I wouldn’t have cared about missing holidays or anything. Wouldn’t phase me. It sucks though, as I do miss it and will miss it. I guess you can say I’m going in reverse…started off with little to no feeling and now I’m crying hard at Toy Story and Toy Story 2. Gonna watch 3 tonight and probably become tear duct.

Right, this blog has purpose and then kind of became some journal entry. No pun intended (what pun, Edwards?). Right. I was gonna wait to do this until after I got back from my upcoming adventures, but I figured I’ll give this preview then detail it when it’s all said and done. -sigh-

As always, I probably won’t proofread then proofread anyway. Bye now.

– Michael

Something, Something, Scotland.

See! I told you all I already had a title picked out for my next blog. Then again how would you know that unless you’re inside my brain? And if that’s ever the case…get out, Spongebob!

Okay, so as part of the title dictates, I went to Scotland! But where in Scotland did I go?! Edinburgh! I’ve said this line a million times so I might as well trademark it: “Edinburgh is breathtakingly beautiful!” and “It’s breathing…literally. Amen I don’t skip leg day as the incline was real.” So what exactly did I do? Let me break it down day by day for you.

First I went to London on Saturday, October 31st (’cause you know…I was invited to a Halloween party too late). Didn’t get to explore there at all, which was a bummer. Why? Because of this thing known as the Tube! The Tube is a nightmare! Getting on the train from Bournemouth to Waterloo was the easy part. Just hopped on and enjoyed the ride for two hours. Then came the tricky part: catching the Tube to Kings Cross Station (‘ya know, the one that Harry Potter uses). There were no signs that said “Kings Cross” no information boards that said “Kings Cross”. Just a bunch of boards that said “Northern Line” “Victoria Line” “South Line” like okay, how am I supposed to know where to go my first time? I asked two people, and I didn’t really catch a word of what they said (hence my asking a second person, who spoke exactly like the first person so that was a bust). Something about Oxford Circus and Bakerloo. So I got on a Tube, the right Tube, actually, and I could barely hear the PA system. I looked up and noticed the rail line path printed on the Tube. I saw Oxford Circus but it didn’t say “Kings Cross” so I didn’t know when to get off. And I didn’t want to get off at the wrong stop for fear of my ticket no longer being accepted. So I missed my stop. And instead of getting off at the next stop to go the other way, I rode the whole Tube to the very end. Got off, asked for directions, got on the wrong Tube going the wrong way, rode that two stops. Got off, got on the right Tube, missed my stop –let me take a moment to say this: you know how on television or in the movies you’ll hear “Doors closing” and there will be those people that slip right in through the closing doors and barely make it?! Yeah, I saw that. It was FREAKIN’ AWESOME! But it did not make up for the fact that I kept on missing my stop.– Okay, so I asked some people that spoke English. My kind of English, not British English, ‘ya know ‘Murica and everything. So they were very helpful. Got on the right Tube, rode one stop, got off, crossed to the other side, rode three stops, then finally, and I. Mean. Finally. I arrived at Kings Cross Station. Walked to my hotel which was a straight shot, got up to my room (third floor; highest floor), hot as anything. Amen there was a fan there as I plugged that sucker in and turned it right on. Nice view from my window, but that was quickly closed as heat was pouring in (couldn’t think of a good metaphor). Closed the curtains, turned off the lights, took a shower, and just cooled down. Turned on the t.v. to see what was on and I wound up watching Stephen King’s “IT”. Movie is more funny than it is scary (I’m not even sure if it is supposed to be scary). Then a Sherlock Holmes movie came on and that was wonderful to watch! I must say the commercials in the UK are hardly existent. Had an amazing dinner at this place called ‘Honest Burger’ and since it was my first time the owner treated my like royalty. That was really cool! Okay, moving on to the moment you’ve all been reading for. Gonna toss in a too long; didn’t read.

TLDR: I got on the wrong transportation. Finally got on the right one. Didn’t explore London. Relaxed and watched t.v.

Day One: I finally arrived in Edinburgh and it was already getting dark. I went straight to my hotel, checked in, grabbed my camera and headed right back out. I walked around just to explore. Wow! What a beautiful place! I saw some lovely views, got some awesome photos. The kicker though is as I was walking to my hotel, I could see Edinburgh Castle, and when I got to my hotel I realized that views of the castle were right down the street. This hotel was awesome as it was in walking distance to everything and had amazing views of the castle. I mainly walked around a park which was lower down a hill. This was so beautiful as the trees were all colorful (sorry, colourful), there were leaves on the ground, a silence in the air, blue skies, etc. It was magical. As it was getting darker though I made my way back up the hill and to my hotel for the night.

Day Two: Woke up at 9:30 a.m., got my free breakfast from Rick’s Restaurant, and ventured off to Edinburgh Castle. Man was that a hill to walk up or WHAT?! Getting there was a third of the fun! Lovely views as I was walking up there. On my way up I noticed ‘Camera Obscura’ and thought how perfect as I would just hit that after visiting the castle. I was a bit miffed at first as it was (insert pound sign here [the British one, not this one #] 16.50 for the day. No student discount. I almost didn’t do it at first, but I easily convinced myself saying “Not gonna be here again and it’s only money.” Boom. Simple. Got my ticket and I explored every freakin’ square inch, or whatever you all use over here, of that castle. Breathtaking views. Every part I could possibly climb to had amazing views. There was so much to explore! I got there about 10:30 ish as I went back to the hotel first after breakfast to grab my camera, but I wanted to relax and digest before hiking up the hill. Short lived as housekeeping came on through. I was there from 10:30 until a little after 1 p.m. just exploring. I ended my trip there with the 1 o’clock gun show. Giant canon where a soldier loaded a shell into the canon to fire it. We all knew it was coming and as much as I wanted to get the firing shot on my Snapchat, I was too nervous I’d drop my phone if the shot startled me. Why? Because a woman dropped her tea down the steps after that shot went off. Let me tell you, I’m not easily startled -and I knew this shot was coming- but man…that thing scared the sh*t out of me. It was really cool though! After this I left the castle and went to ‘Camera Obscura and World of Illusions’. Let me tell ‘ya right now this place wasn’t as fun as it could have been. Most everything here required a partner to perform the illusion. :( Nevertheless, was still cool to explore AND I got a student discount! Not much else really to say on the place though as I couldn’t do a lot of the illusions. After this though, I ventured back down the hill to the National Institute Museum of Art. You think art is beautiful? Combine that with absolute silence! The only noise I heard were the footsteps of others. So chilling, so haunting, so awesome. It was absolute serenity in there; harmonious, and just plain beautiful! The paintings were good, too! I swear I spent ten minutes standing in front of this one painting just staring at it. That caught the attention of one of the workers there. She came on over and said “You’ve been staring at this painting for a good bit now, haven’t ‘ya?” I replied back “It’s so beautiful, how can I not?” Then I turned to look at her and said “But of course that’s not the only beautiful thing in here.” My oh my did she blush. I don’t know why as I was talking about the painting behind her… (sarcasm, I was clearly talking about her. I LOVE Scottish accents. They are my weakness. I don’t fall for British, Australian, French or Canadian accents. I used to Skype with my friends from the aforementioned all the time so I got used to them [okay, Canadian accents can get me every now and then. Especially if it’s my friend Sara]). I chatted with her for a few moments in front of the same painting, then we walked to another one, observed, and chatted again. The magic ended when her sister came into visit her. She said was it was nice meeting me, and I said “Nice meeting you too, even though we didn’t exchange names.” She said “Oh! My name’s Gavenia.” “What a lovely name,” I replied. “Thank you! It means-” “White Hawk.” She was shocked when I said that. Naturally she asked how I knew that [readers you should all know how I know what I know when I know it] so I told her: “Etymology, Latin and Wikipedia.” She smiled (lovely smile) and asked my name. Told her my name and she said “Michael. Michael…that means like the Lord.” First off I melted because of how she said my name. Second of all SHE SAID IT TWICE! And third, well hot diggity-dang, she knew what my name meant. You know what they say: If I liked it then I shoulda put a ring on it. Moving on. Enough sappy romance love stories (even though that’s all I can ever write about, be it music, screenplays, journals, or now blog entries). Day Two was my favorite day out of my entire trip. I got to see so much!

TLDR: Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, National Institute Museum of Art (met an awesome girl who works there and we chatted and exchanged words about paintings).

Day Three: Once again woke up at 9:30 to go enjoy my free breakfast. I had planned out all these places to go see whilst here, but my brother told me that a lot of them were closed (curse you, TripAdvisor for listing them on ‘THINGS TO DO IN SCOTLAND DURING AUTUMN’). I was going to go to Jupiter Artland: closed. Inchcolm Abbey: closed. Arthur’s Seat: too far away. Royal Botanic Gardens: closed until 2 p.m., then closed for the day at 4 p.m. What kind of hours are those? Winter hours I suppose. Then I was gonna go to the City of the Dead, but it was way too early in the morning to go do that as it’s supposed to be some kind of scary thing. So I waited until later, and as it got to nighttime, I got hungry and went out for food at TGI Friday’s and tried their ‘Warrior Burger’, a.k.a. ‘I Should Have Written My Legal Will Before Ordering This’ -I didn’t finish the whole thing. I had a good portion of it, but there was still so much left over! So I didn’t go to the City of the Dead, I just went back to my hotel and packed up. On the way back though I noticed that workers were stringing up Christmas lights. Figures that the next day I leave is the same night they’ll be making Edinburgh look even more beautiful than it already is!

Day Four: Leaving day. Got my free breakfast, liberated some food in disposable bags which I liberated from the first hotel I was at in London. Walked to Waverley Train Station, got on the right train which startled me a bit: it’s one thing to get on the wrong Tube which ultimately is like a forty-five minute ride straight through to the end of the line, but to get on the wrong train would be a nightmare as it’s a four hour ride! Nevertheless, got on the right train. Got to Waterloo. Here comes the fun part: I had a train to catch this time going home, whereas when I was trying to get to Kings Cross the first time, that was my destination; nothing else to catch. I knew if I picked the wrong Tube I would miss my train. NAILED IT! Stared at the board. Saw Bakerloo, I was like “Okay, gonna trust the Loo” Got off at Oxford Circus, walked straight to the other side [I was in Bakerloo] got on another Tube to take me to Waterloo. Boom. Made it there with plenty of time to spare. Could have even caught an earlier train, but the lady said it left in four minutes and it was cutting it close. Good thing too as I was in need of food. Hadn’t eaten since breakfast and even that was small as I didn’t want to feel too full on a long ride back. So I got on the very crowded train and I found TWO OPEN SEATS! Heck yes, time to extend my legs and stretch for the next two hours. Then I looked at my watch and realized it was only 14:48. Train didn’t leave until 15:05. This train was packed and, although people kept on coming in, they kept on walking right by my seat too! It was now 15:02 and I was so happy and ready that no one was sitting next to me. Then some lady came up and asked “Is anyone sitting there.” Thank you, Mom and Dad for raising me to be a gentleman: so I moved over to the window to give her the aisle. She whipped out her Samsung Galaxy Tablet and began watching some t.v. show with her Starbucks coffee (put the pieces together yourself). Okay, an announcement was made after two stops that if your stop was ‘Bournemouth’ or any of the other twelve stops listed, you had to move further up the train. Well I got up, past the lady on her tablet, and realized (sorry, realised) I was facing the wrong way. So I let everyone go by me and they were thanking me. Like, sure, no worries. I’m polite and would let you go anyway, but I’m actually trying to get past you. Kept on moving on up and up through the train. Hit the first class door and went to turn back, but people were coming so I was like “Welp, okay.” Went into the first class coach and dang! This thing had like four people in it. So I sat down and enjoyed first class for the next forty-five minutes until my stop. Booh-yah! It was magical. They didn’t even check my ticket. Of course I felt bad, like usual (me and my heavy conscience), but I just relaxed and enjoyed the ride. I stuck out though. Everyone had on black shoes, black socks, black pants, black belts (except one guy who had on a brown belt, like what’reyoudoingbruh?), and a dress shirt with a coat jacket. I’m j chillin’ (that’s what the cool kids say, right?) in jeans, boots and my rain jacket. Train pulled into the station and next mission was to catch a bus. As luck would have it, I got off the train, walked to the bus stop and a bus came a solid minute later!

TLDR: It’s not that long. Read it and stop being lazy!

Now I’m back home in Bournemouth. Kind of missed it. But it’s like I never left…the craziness is all still here and I do miss having my own bathroom in the hotels. I just didn’t like having to eat out my whole time there. I love cooking for myself. I am sad to say I missed choir as I got back late last night (Wednesday).

Anyway, back now. Woo! Back to reality, ope there goes gravity (Marshall Mathers). Meeting up with my group members today to discuss our t.v. series bible and that’s at 3. I’m still cozy in bed and haven’t eaten anything yet. It’s pouring rain! And I need to go shopping. Boo! Speaking of which: I need to find all black clothes. I originally had my black jeans packed too! I need all black for choir events.

Okay. Ending this now. If you’ve made it this far I don’t know what to say. People say “congratulations!” but who’s to say you didn’t just scroll down and skim to the end? Hmmm?!

Until next time.

– Michael

Remember, remember the fifth of November.

Ugh…time to proofread. How do you think I feel? I have to type it and read it, then read it again!

PICTURES! Because putting them where they’d go in the story would break it up too much.

Soldier Next to Canon

Soldier Next to Canon

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Park

Edinburgh Park

The prep, the plan, the plight

Okay, so the only real plight is the weather. Other than that, this blog is all sunshine. Ah, weather puns…they just rain down.

Moving on.

Yup. Another free write blog (like always). Today’s topic: whatever crosses my brain’s path. To begin:

Had a lovely day as I slept in due to my class being non-existent today. Woke up to the peaceful sound of rain and enjoyed a wonderful day of relaxing in bed. Later tonight I went to choir which was, and always is, such a fun time. I got to see my friends Tiffany, Shanthi, and Mimi, as well as my bass squad and I even got to meet some new people tonight, too. I really love choir as it’s a great way to keep my voice in shape for not being able to compose music seeing as I don’t have my keyboard with me. :( Also, it’s a great way to make new friends with a similar interest, step out of a comfort zone for some, and just have fun! Also, who can forget being able to see my friends which I really only see at choir… That sucks, but such is life. I’ll have to make plans with them to see them more often or to do something fun (not to say that seeing them isn’t fun).

Jumping back a bit, finished more of ‘Mallard’ this past weekend, so that was a blast. I just love being on film sets or involved with the process. Behind the camera work is where it’s at! There is another part for that this upcoming weekend, so I’ve that to look forward to.

As for the following weeks to come, I have planned a trip to Scotland. I just booked my hotel today for a fantastic price, and it’s a great location for all of the places I desire to see. More specifically, I’ll be visiting Edinburgh as some of the sights there are just fantastic. I shall see how it stacks up to France, but provided I don’t twist my ankle again, it already has a lead! I’ll be there from November 1st to November 4th (‘ya know, in case I get invited to some Halloween party the night before [gotta be optimistic]).

Well golly gee I thought I would have more to say. ‘Ya know, I find myself starting off a lot of sentences with “Well,” like how annoying is that? Well, it’s just out of my control sometimes.

But yes, tonight was a really good night full of smiles, laughter, price tags, Sam Smith yammer, rain, walking, good vibes, and getting rain shot off the top of a double-decker hitting the hood of my rain coat. I’ve my one and only class this week tomorrow at 11 a.m. and I’m looking forward to it. The seminar part, not the lecture part. The lecture part is me sitting in a wooden chair drawing in my notebook and/or replying to e-mails on my laptop. DEEP DOWN I KNOW THIS NEVER WORKS! …when am I not listening to Sam Smith? OH! Funny moment: Jo asked me if I could hit the lower part tonight in choir for a song, and I said “No, because I’ve been listening to Sam Smith all day.” It got a chuckle from the room, but it was the truth. His voice is angelic.

Cimorelli is posting on Twitter how they’re loving Florida and can’t wait to perform their FOUR shows there. I really, really, really wish I could have been there; I would have gone to all four shows, believe that. They’re going to South America in April of 2016. Grr. They need to come back to New Jersey, or some East Coast state I can easily get to. I requested they go to North Carolina, and guess what? They went. Oh yeah, they went. Way sooner than expected as this US Hearts On Fire Tour was announced way past my UK commitment date. Waah. Someone call the Waaahmbulance.

Okey-day, that just about sums up and wraps up this blog unless I can think of anything else whilst typing this exceedingly long exit for my blog. Nope. Nothing came to mind. Boo. It’s already 10:27 here. It’s at the time of night where I want to watch a movie, but it’s also k- Well it’s not that late to watch a movie. Most movies are like ninety minutes. Oh wait, that makes it midnight, and that’s if I start it right now. Hmm. I do have to be up for class tomorrow at 10 a.m. I really want to watch ‘Spirited Away’ (my favorite animated movie) and I was going to last night but I caught up in whatever I got caught up in. Spiderwebs. Now I’m thinking about ‘Coraline’. Love that book AND movie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie play so close to the book with only like two or three changes.

Now this is turning out to be a long blog. Almost typed vlog. SPEAKING OF! I can’t upload any videos to Youtube here as I must share the Internet with four other students, so that’s a lot of bandwidth consumption. I tried to upload a video and it said “740 minutes remaining.” Guess I’ll just record, import, edit, and export whilst here, then upload what I’ve got when I return home. Even though I’ll barely be home when I get back to the US as my semester at Montclair begins on the 19th of January and I don’t step on a plane to go back home until the 16th of January mid-day.

I miss having a normal sized room to do MMA in. Some of my friends have an interest in learning self-defense, so I’ll find some time to teach them. :)

2013-07-16 21.40.26-1

Everything happens for a reason, and you’re my reason for everything.

– Michael

“Title Here” What? It said to enter that, so I did!

If you have reached this page in error, feel free to read it anyway…

If you read that first line then you guessed it, it’s time for another blog. “Michael, why don’t you boom out blogs more frequently?” Well I’ll have you know I recently did one once I got back from France. So HAH! Also, I like for a culmination of events to occur otherwise it’ll just be boring. I.e. I was the sound recordist/boom operator on my UK friends’ short film “Mallard”. If you don’t know what a mallard is, it’s a duck. How do I know that? I like to read and go on Wikipedia Wanders (‘ya know the…I’m gonna have to explain this whole thing aren’t I?) : Okay, leggo.

Wikipedia Wander: is where I go to Wikipedia (the site and source that CAN be trusted. Don’t believe me? Read my research paper I got a 100 on back in my junior year of high school in AP English) to research a topic of interest. In researching this topic, I’ll read the article and in doing so, if I come across a word I don’t know or that looks interesting, I’ll right-click that word (if applicable; if not, then I’ll Google its definition) and open it in a new tab. Then I’ll continue reading the article I’m presently on. Once done with said article, I’ll close that tab and move onto the next one, and by the time I’m done the first article I tend to have about fifteen to twenty plus tabs open. Then I read the next article on the next tab and repeat the process so the topics can switch and jump around. The example I like to use is when I was reading an article about the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), then how I moved from that to the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit), then onto different jobs within the FBI, soon leading me to the show ‘Criminal Minds’, soon leading to the actors that play the characters, and finally -after I was finished reading all the tabs- the last one I had open was an article on Literae Humaniores. I know. Crazy. So that’s a Wikipedia Wander (or Wikipedia Adventure I’ll call it sometimes).

Okay, I digress, but pretty cool, huh? Wow I sound conceited in this post already…

First things first: I ordered Pizza Hut and it was a speedy delivery of about forty minutes. The delivery person was Czech and asked me if I liked Russians, then proceeded to ask me if I like Czechs (this was after I said I was American). That was awkward…for him, as I don’t believe in awkward situations. So the food was subpar, but I still ate it, because y.o.l.o. (You Only Live Once [my father might read this, gotta break down the acronyms; hi, dad!]). I don’t even know where I’m going with this blog anymore; this just became so mindless.

Mallard. Right. So I did that. Oh yes! I remember. So I got the food, then I went to sleep, as my friend texted me asking for some girl advice (thanks a lot, Kenny!). So! I helped him out, but I really needed to get to sleep as I had to catch a bus at 6:47 a.m. to get to location on time for the shoot. I shut my eyes around 12:30 so you can imagine waking up was fun. Did the shoot, t’was fun. Get to do it again tomorrow through Sunday. These are some great guys to work with as they’re very friendly and welcoming. It was kind of cool as Sam had said if I see them doing something wrong or off that I shouldn’t be afraid to step in, presumably so because I have more experience than them when it comes to film. It’s nice to be recognized for skill in my passion and field. Nevertheless, the easiest way to learn, in many aspects of life, is to just do it and learn it for yourself. –Currently subconsciously listening to Sam Smith as we’ll be doing some songs by him for choir. I l– Nevermind I don’t wan– Oh what the hell, I think I’ve bragged a lot already so I might as well continue to ravish this one blog with bragging. Okay, so I can hit higher notes (not really bragging, just the truth, yo’) and I sing these four songs a lot (“Stay With Me”; “I’m Not The Only One”; “Like I Can” (favorite); and “Latch” [yes, I can hit the high notes of the chorus for “Latch”]). Oh crap, when did it become 12:21? Anyway, I love choir. Some of my good friends do it so it’s a great night out doing something I like to do as a pastime.

I Snapchatted a friend I haven’t seen since her 21st birthday, so plans to hang out with her are being made. “Let’s do something next week!” she said. Next week it is. I just want to be engaging with as many of my UK friends as possible. I mean, it’s already October, and after October is January, ‘ya know, when I go back to the US. “THEY’LL NEVER LOVE YOU LIKE I CAN, CAN, CAN!” Sorry, the chorus came up. Actually, I’m not sorry, it’s a blog. Okay, I’m sorry…

This is turning out to be quite lengthy and is jumping around, but that’s why it’s a freewrite. Okay, back on track: more filming tomorrow (today), catching up on sleep, hanging out with friends next week, choir, Sam Smith, “Fix You” by Coldplay, Tiffany, Shanthi, Mimi, Abbie, Hannah, choir squad, loud noises, random words, Jesus died for our Cyn-thi-as (“22 Jump Street”).

Okay, clearly I’m tired.

The UK is fantastic and wonderful. The people here are fantastic and wonderful. My ankle still hurts; I’d say I’m at 97% healed. I really need to stay off it, but I’m an Aquarius.

That’s my life abroad. How’s yours going? You in choir? You on film sets? You making memories and twisting your ankle in France? Right then. Time to proof-read. Loljkimnotdoingthat (turns out I actually did it after all – 12:40).

Until next time,

– Michael (1.2.3. Hyphen Michael [hit enter three times, toss in that hyphen, hit the spacebar then type my name]). “Then why didn’t you say ‘space’?” Because this isn’t your blog. Wow. Rude. Okay! For real. Thank you for reading and (insert clever, not cliche (fancy ‘e’), line about being informed about my next blog). STAY TUNED! …

Ten points to Gryffindor if you know what “p.s.” means.

p.s. it’s Latin.

p.p.s. it’s “post scriptum”

From today: the film crew of ‘Mallard’.

Whelp, we're the film crew of Mallard.

Whelp, we’re the film crew of Mallard.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Study Abroad Coordinator in SOUTH AFRICA!

Hi all!  I am preparing to leave on Saturday to visit our partners in South Africa  in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.  The trip is arranged by our affiliated partner International Studies Abroad and will allow me to obtain first hand information of the universities, classes, staff, housing, service learning sites and communities that we send our students.  I’ll even have a chance to visit our student Nancy who is currently studying in Port Elizabeth.  I’ll do my best to provide pictures and my impressions while I’m on this site visit! Wish me luck!g5-port-elizabeth-1---BriaWeb-cc.RobertSchrader

Frolicking Through France

That’s right, you read it. I went to France.

Before I dive into the blog, let me just say that I went to choir last Wednesday and had a blast! I went with some friends I met just last week: they’re all very friendly people (some people from the “girl’s night out” group, then some from a birthday party). It was a fun time so I’ll most definitely be going back this Wednesday, especially since I’m in such great company. :)

Okay, so. France. I was dragged into this tour by Dayonara (hi, if you’re reading this) and spent a good deal of money. First off, the tour details said “Three days in France,” but this was boulderdash as the trip and France experience was Saturday and Sunday morning. Spent all of Friday in a van and on a bus just driving there, and there’s a horror story to go along with it, but why ruin a perfectly good blog with complaints? Anyway, let’s get to the bulk of the blog.

Boy did I get some awesome photos and see some amazing things! So, let this journey begin: what did I see? Well I saw lots of things.
Arc de Triomphe
Eiffel Tower
Notre Dame (my personal favorite building due to the Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Palace of Versailles (just its outside; exploring inside wasn’t part of the tour and would have taken way too long)
Garden of Versailles (simply beautiful; one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life)
Montmartre
And some random painting I’ve never heard of before called Mona Lisa, or something like that. -holds up sarcasm sign-

Our tour guide Sean is Belgian and is fluent in speaking French and Spanish (which our whole dang bus was Spanish speaking, besides Dayonara and I -oh and some other Americans that we met, too!- He was a chill guy, but wasn’t too great of a tour guide as we had so much free time. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to go explore on my own with free time, but I did pay for a guided tour. The bus driver Steve was a funny guy and also friendly (this came after he lost his cranky attitude for finally getting some sleep).

It was such a relief, for lack of a better phrase, to hear another American “accent,” as the only one I ever hear is Dayonara’s. On the tour all I heard were Spanish accents, and in the UK it’s all British accents (don’t read/take this the wrong way). The Americans are studying abroad too (obviously), but they reside in London. Although I chatted with all of them, I only got the name of one of them. Her name is Emily and she’s very friendly. It was nice to be able to talk to someone who knew a bit about photography as she had her camera with her, too. Overall everyone on the tour was friendly. I made some friends from Brazil, too, and some more friends from Spain I believe, who also live in Bournemouth.

Although the tour was only for the weekend, I really missed my UK friends. I know it might be odd to say that as I’ve only been here two weeks and I just met a lot of these people last week, but still. That’s when you know that people have had an impact on you; when you really miss them after not seeing them for a weekend.

OH DEAR LORD! The bus driver on the way back home was Spanish and put on Spanish music. Iba escuchando loca a ella.

And the kicker to this whole trip and the reason why I hate France: I rolled my ankle. I was trying to catch up with Dayonara who just took off without saying anything, and in my trying to catch up with her, I went to pass a group of slow walkers and stepped off the sidewalk falling down. The sidewalks in France are very steep! My ankle was oh so very swollen, like I’ve never seen a swelling that big before! But amen that I was wearing my boots as the swelling would have been worse if I wasn’t. I’m still in pain and recovering, but it’s not as bad as other swollen ankles I’ve had, thank God! And of course I had a meeting with my scriptwriting group today, but they came over to my place as so I didn’t have to walk to campus to meet them. That was very kind of them. :) Just more good friends all around! Quality though, not quantity. In that, I’m really looking forward to going back to choir this Wednesday. We should be doing some Sam Smith stuff (alliteration) which will be really awesome!

I know, I’m always jumping around, but it’s a blog and I’ve stated from the beginning that free writing is my style, and in my opinion, the best way to write. This blog isn’t a long or as detailed as I thought. I wrote a lot down in my phone so I wouldn’t forget, but I guess as I was typing I was realizing that I was hitting all the points -wow that’s a lot of gerunds.

Just posing in front of Notre Dame. I'm going to work on uploading more photos as well. I took a lot!

Just posing in front of Notre Dame. I’m going to work on uploading more photos as well. I took a lot!

No longer in my life, forever in my heart. R.I.P., Mom! October 5th, 2005. I love you and I wish that you were still here. I know you’re smiling down on me as I do my very best to make you proud!!! =]

A Night With Day

I know, aren’t my titles just so darn clever?!

Dayonara and I went out to this place called ‘Inferno’ (right next to the Old Fire Station) last night (25/9/15). We met her friends from university there. So it was a girl’s night out, but since Dayonara and I are inseparable, I went with her (which they didn’t mind at all). They were all very friendly and very fascinated with America, as they kept on asking us all of these questions. It’s so very interesting to just be able to talk with people from the United Kingdom to hear their perception of America. We had discussed the Garden State Parkway in which Dayonara and I use to travel throughout New Jersey; in which time was stated that I live at Exit 0 (Cape May), the furthest point south in NJ.

I know, I know, I’m jumping around in these blogs but what else is new? A lot is running through my mind! I went up to the bar with Tiffany, one of Dayonara’s friends (and I guess I can say my friend now, too) to order a drink. I got the same thing she did which was an Apple Flavored Cider. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but it wasn’t the best thing either. I didn’t really taste any apple. So a bit later I went back up to the bar and ordered an ‘Apple Zu’ which consisted of some vodka I’ve never heard of (began with a ‘Z’) and apple juice. This drink was amazing! It tasted just like apple pie! Everyone took a sip as to try it and agreed that it did taste like apple pie, except for one person who said it tasted like “hamsters” (I still can’t tell if that was sarcasm or not -I know, me not being able to tell if something is sarcastic- as two people said that they eat hamsters).

After we had finished up at Inferno, we went to ‘Sprinkles’ which the group was raving about. I got some blue banana and peach “ice cream” (which was totally gelato). I shared a bit with Gemma, ’cause ‘ya know sharing is caring and #gentleman and all that stuff. Then we went back to Tiffany’s flat which was so totally freakin’ amazing awesome! (I was purposely adding a crap ton of adjectives- never know who’s gonna read these things!). It was the size and a half of my single back in Sinatra at Montclair State University (you can see a tour of that room here). But her flat even had its own kitchen, en suite, storage, etc. And it was cheaper than MSU (shocker). As we parted ways from our friends, Dayonara and I waited for our bus to arrive. It was then that a homeless man approached us and asked us for money. I stood up and moved in closer to Dayonara, standing in front of her. I apologized and told him that we didn’t have any as we’re exchange students, as if he couldn’t tell by our accents. He got a bit upset and kept asking. I told him in a stern tone “In my country, ‘no means no'”. Finally getting the idea through his head he began to back off from me. He then looked at Dayonara and said “What about her?” to which I immediately replied “She doesn’t have anything either). I only feel sympathy for homeless people up until a certain point.

Jumping ahead to today, Dayonara, Pavlo and I went to the Freshers’ Fair where we received a bunch of free stuff (which I’ve yet to go through).

Okay, time to finish this up: Tiril just came in and said that we’re leaving in fifteen minutes to go to the “cinema” (movies). Finally gonna get to see “Inside Out”!

Alrighty, time to leave. Did a speedy proof read, so if there are any grammatical errors, get over it, until I get on it. :)

Until next time.

– Michael