Author Archives: katie

Week 15 in Philadelphia & The Gate City

On Monday it was back to having regular sorority chapter meetings again – it’s always nice to see the girls! On Tuesday night the sorority hosted a recruitment night for potential new members (we’re trying to recruit a fair amount of people) – we had a Taco night with a bunch of different foods, I ate lots. We met some cool girls and bonded with some of them; it was great to see people showing interest in the sorority. After this, Catherine and I went to Shakeshack and I got Cheese Fries (absolute favourite) and a Peanut Butter milkshake (my other absolute favourite) and just had some nice banter and bonding time. After that, despite being full of food from the day, we went to Northside and picked up a bunch more junk – chocolate covered pretzels, a range of different chocolate and just got fat while watching Sirens in our apartment with Mick; it was a very fun and chill evening. On Wednesday, it was back to our routine of doing the grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s and stopping by Dunkin on the way for an iced coffee (Dunkin do the best, in my opinion – all gift cards will be greatly accepted and appreciated as presents, FYI) – I just wish everything wasn’t so expensive haha, I’m spending far too much money. On Wednesday evening it was the second night of our informal recruitment – my sorority hosted a games night with ‘Cards against humanity’ and a bunch of other hilar activities (not to forget snacks) and we got to speak to the PNM’s (potential new members) more and just hang out, which was super fun. We then had to vote on the PNM’s and decide who we should and shouldn’t offer a ‘bid’ to, in preparation for the upcoming ‘Bid day’ which was supposed to be on that Saturday but got cancelled because of the blizzard/snow storm that was happening in Philly – the snow was supposed to be a record-breaking amount and based on the snow we’ve been receiving, I can believe it. On Thursday, Catherine, Will, Angela and I all went to Cavs – it’s literally never NOT a good night at Cavs so I’m glad we went (despite the fact that I had to give a presentation the next morning so I was somewhat nervous about doing this). It was again, really fun – saw a bunch of people I knew, had some good conversations, some excellent dancing and a copious amount of food was eaten afterwards. My presentation the next day actually went really well – it was for my Critical Reasoning class and I don’t think I was very prepared at all but it still came across well, so I’m super happy about that! On the same day, Friday, Janelle, Catherine, Chloe and Chloe’s friend from Miami went to ZaVino’s – it’s Japanese cuisine and it was so good. I had eaten tonnes that day so I just had vegetarian Sushi and Mushroom Wonton’s but it was incredible; Japanese food never disappoints. Absolutely lovely restaurant too – I’m all about the vibe of places and the interior design was just beautiful. I especially love candle light in restaurants and a nice ambiance, best thing. Then Will came around to mine and Catherine’s and we all just chilled, had a few drinks, played some Halo – it was a nice relaxing Friday, as oppose to our usual antics. The snow had started quite heavily on Friday and it made Drexel look so incredibly beautiful. When we woke up on Saturday, the snow was crazy! Like it’s hard to go out in; incredibly beautiful though. On Saturday, me and Catherine had a few drinks at our usual place – very chill and fun. Four Loko is perhaps one of the more interesting things I’ve encountered in the US – give it a try. Was pretty difficult walking there and back in the snow haha. Had a pretty chill day with Catherine and Janelle prior to that because we couldn’t do much in the snow. On Sunday, despite the STILL crazy snow, we drove to Target and Walmart to get some stuff for the apartment. It was my first time ever in Target (I know I’m lame) and I was actually excited about it haha. Guys, Target is amazing! Like it’s weirdly awesome, please come to the UK Target (a).

So moving onto the next week, On Tuesday Catherine and I baked Red Velvet cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting – so good. We also mixed some of them up and used some Chocolate frosting, so it was pretty epic. On Wednesday we went to the Drexel homecoming bonfire with free Smores, hot Chocolate, hot Apple Cider and live music. By the time we got there though they had ran out of hot Chocolate so we made our own with Hershey’s (well, Catherine did) and it was MAGNIFICENT. Best tasting hot chocolate I’ve ever had! I really like Bonfires for some reason so this was pretty nice, I’m very intrigued as to who will win Hoco King & Queen! I spent most of Thursday just preparing for my trip to Atlanta, Georgia with Kyomi as we flew out on Friday and I hadn’t packed or got anything prepared really haha. I had to wake up super early on Friday because the flight was crazy early (cheapest way to do it). We planned to do this at the start of the quarter as we both wanted to travel and see a state that was a bit more southern than Philly. This was actually a really bad timed trip because when I got back to Philly, I had 3 midterms literally one after the other meaning I didn’t get the chance to study for them. However, I’m really glad I went cos it was such an awesome opportunity to get to explore some of Georgia! As soon as we got there, we noticed a very obvious accent change from Philadelphians – it was way more southern than I expected it to be, it was so cool haha. So we flew out on Friday super early (my friend drove us to the airport), had breakfast at the airport (bagels are bae) and checked into our hotel. The first thing we did was go to Coca-Cola world and let me tell you, this was AMAZING. I didn’t expect it to be so awesome but it was literally such an incredible experience – we were greeted with free drinks and literally tried over a hundred free samples while we were there, from all around the world. There was actually so much cool stuff to do and I really underestimated how cool of an experience this was gonna be. If you’re ever in Atlanta, please do visit – Coca Cola was first invented in Atlanta so everybody’s obsessed with it! I actually learned a lot about the drink too. I think this experience affected how much I wanted soda this whole trip, cos I had like 2 cokes, at a minimum, every day – my insides were gross AF by the end of it haha. After this, we went to the Olympic Centennial Park (in 1996 the Olympics were hosted in Atlanta) which was actually a lot smaller than I expected but still a really beautiful park. My favourite part of going somewhere new is just walking around outside and acting like you live like a local would and this is kind of what this felt like. Then we went to a diner called Flip Burger Boutique (it was highly recommended online and I see why!) and I got a Veggie Burger and Nutella & Smores milkshake which was, as it sounds, amazing! On the way there we saw the largest drive in restaurant in the US called The Varsity, it looked insane haha. After this, we were super tired from being awake so early so we basically just called it a night! On Saturday we went to the US’s largest aquarium – I’m not entirely sure how I feel about aquariums but Kyomi wanted to go so we did – they’re not really my thing, I’ll be honest, but it seemed like a cool aquarium and the dolphins and animals and such seemed pretty well looked after and healthy so fair play. It was a good experience. I got my boyfriend the cutest little teddy :’) haha. We then went to the Center for Civil and Human Rights which was kind of a museum about human rights activists and people who have fought for equality in the past/currently are doing so. A lot of this was focused on MLK! This is my favourite museum, to date. I’ve never been to a museum that I enjoyed so much. It was so eye-opening and overwhelming; highly emotional too. It actually inspired me to do what I can to have a positive impact on the world and the people I meet – it sounds so lame to say but I think it changed me a little bit in the way I see things and my perspective on the US. This is something else I’d highly recommend checking out in Atlanta! We then had a tour of the CNN studios which was pretty cool. The CNN building is crazy inside – just full of different food outlets and merch stores. During this whole trip, I basically lived off of Nacho’s and I’m not sure why. I’ve recently developed an obsession with Nacho’s and Mexican food – like more so than usual haha. It was cool to see behind-the-scenes of CNN, definitely worth the money. After this, we went to Woodruff Park in a somewhat dangerous-looking part of the city – that was definitely an interesting experience. As well as City Hall and the State Capitol Building – they almost looked somewhat isolated and deserted. City Hall and the State Capitol building were super beautiful buildings though – they were just located in a place that seemed pretty lowly populated. On Sunday, we used the Metra (similar to the London Underground or Subway) and went to Piedmont Park which was actually really nice – it had everything that a park could want and an awesome running track which I’d definitely utilise if I lived there! We then went to the Margaret Mitchell House (what a woman!) and got to learn more about her life, who she is as a person and the inspiration behind ‘Gone with the Wind’ – this was really awesome, my mum would definitely have been jealous of this. We then took the Atlanta Streetcar (it’s kinda similar to a tram but on the road) to the MLK historic site which basically consisted of his birthplace/home, where he went to school and where he spent most of his life, etc – this was a super cool experience and enlightening to realise that a man who achieved so much came from an area and a background where he didn’t really have much! After this, we checked out Inman Park which is basically a neighbourhood of super beautiful and expensive houses – the houses were cray and made me jealous. We also got to see Peachtree Street which is what ‘Gone with the Wind’ was based on and Little Five Points/Underground Atlanta (which was like an alternative place to live and shop – pretty interesting). On Monday, our final day, we went to the Atlanta History Center which featured information about basically ALL of Atlanta’s history – there was a lot! We also went to the Swan House (which was actually used to shoot a few scenes in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – the interior and exterior of this house was absolutely amazing) and the Tullie Smith House Family Farm/plantation – I really want to go to a real cotton plantation in the south. There were even people role-playing on the farm! Again, this was something awesome to see! We then went to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History (cos it was included in our Atlanta City Pass which we purchased upon arrival) and I’ve been to a fair few history museums now throughout my travels and this one, in my opinion, wasn’t incredible but it was still pretty good and interesting! After this, we basically checked out from the hotel, got our bags and headed to the airport for our flight home! Touched down in Philly around 10pm  and my friend picked us up again. Trip was a fairly successful one! From my personal experience, Atlanta isn’t the safest place. It was quite scary at times because we’d find ourselves in places that were quite isolated and were quite run-down. I don’t think it’s the kind of place where you want to spend much time walking the streets at night. It was definitely eye-opening as I didn’t expect Atlanta to be like this at all. I’d like to go back to Georgia some day and explore Savannah, however. I think that’d be so interesting! I haven’t gone into much detail about what we did but I can assure you, it was a pretty unique trip and if you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask! Some of the views just walking around the streets of Atlanta are incredibly beautiful!

Happy New Year!

So I had the BEST winter break! It was honestly the most wonderful Christmas and New Years Eve that I’ve ever had. I had about 3 weeks at home in England and it was just so lovely. It was so incredible to be back with Tom, my family and my friends (not to forget Molly). It was honestly just fun-packed and highly eventful – I did something every single day and remained quite busy throughout, with it still being really non-stressful, which I love. I got to spend a whole week with my boyfriend which made me the happiest person alive cos I miss him so much (seriously, being apart from him has literally been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done)! And I got to spend loads of time with my family and have catch ups with some old friends, and of course, party quite a lot. Coming back to Philly on the 3rd Jan, just before class starts the next day, was quite difficult as my boyfriend took me to the airport and I was not yet ready to say goodbye to him again 🙁 Another 2 and a half months without him is hard. I actually love living in Philly, it’s just that I miss the people back home so much! If they were here, this would be a perfect place to live in. But now I’m back, it’s been good to see my American friends and get back into the swing of things – I’ve actually missed Catherine loads! Will picked me up from the airport and we grabbed dinner together from Oregon Diner and had a catch up, which was a nice way to settle back into the country. American accents don’t seem so odd now, they seem quite familiar, which I like! I’m still adjusting to being back, think it’ll take a little time to get fully comfortable again.

This quarter I have all new classes. Specifically, Critical Reasoning, Forensic Psychology, The Psychology of Eating Disorders & Obesity and Introduction to Eastern Philosophy. I had the option of taking some non-Psychology classes while I’m here so I thought why not? I think these classes may be harder than the classes I took last quarter though and last quarter I got perfect grades (a 4.0) so it may be difficult to achieve that again haha, but we’ll see!  Being back at Drexel one week has already been way more stressful than it was at any point during the last quarter, meaning my classes this time are substantially harder already. But hey, I’m reminding myself that I’m here more for the experience than the academic side of the placement. Despite this, I’ve really been feeling the stress – my classes are a lot harder and require a lot more work this time, which I’m really not a fan of 🙁 but some of them are quite interesting. Others, however, are just treacherous haha. But I’m not expecting good grades from the year already!

In good news, the social life has picked right back up where I left it – Cavs on Thursday was absolutely bangin’. I love being able to have a boogy with my girls (Catherine and Janelle are hilarious and beautiful and fab and all that is good with the world)and just have a good time with good music and good people – it’s the best when you run into a bunch of people that you know and actually meet a bunch of new people who are surprisingly awesome. It was pretty packed as it was the first week of school – such a good night. Absolutely always end the night by consuming way too much food :’). On Friday, we went to Deep Fried Friday (a fundraiser where you can take any food to be deep fried or choose from the already available foods for a small price) and it was actually really good. We had deep fried Oreo’s and Reeses peanut butter cups. We actually ended up staying at the frat house this was being held at all night just chilling with the boys, having a few drinks and some banter – really good evening actually. On Saturday, Will, Pete and I went shooting in Orefield, Pennsylvania. I actually really enjoy shooting guns? :L I kinda want more practice and to get better and stuff, it’s really fun. I’m pretty against the use of guns though, so I don’t really understand my fascination with them. This was a cool day though, we got lunch and spent a lot of time at the range. Of the evening, me and some of my sisters went to 2 frat parties – both of which were incredibly fun. We kinda just alternated dependant on which party we were feeling at the time. This ended up being a super late night, as per usual and I genuinely had the best time. It was just such a laugh – like good banter, good people, good music – it was actually awesome. The only thing that could have made this evening better would have been for my boyfriend to have been there with me :(. But other than that, it was incredible 🙂 On Sunday, me and a few bros (Will, TD & Steve) got breakfast at Oregon which was probably the funniest breakfast experience of my life. I was just not mentally or physically ready for the day and this was very apparent – I was still a bit messed up from the previous late night and was frankly, not functioning as a human. It was hilarious for everyone involved :’)

On the Tuesday of the following week, some sisters and I were gonna go see ‘Sisters’ at the movies but we actually got there too late and they had sold out! How weird is that? It wasn’t like it was opening day or anything, I think it was just a smaller theatre. So instead, we ended up going to Kiwi’s to get froyo – of course, I had like tonnes of different flavours (many of which included peanut butter) and with tonnes of different toppings. I actually love Kiwi’s – definitely some of the best froyo I’ve had! Then I came home to find that we had a new TV and Xbox in our apartment, yassss! Goodbye social life, hello snacks and gaming (cos I really need more of an excuse to eat more food… not). On Thursday, Catherine, Linda and I all went to Kiwi’s AGAIN because you could fill your cup for only $5 (plus tax) – such a good deal. I always have all of the peanut butter flavours, cos it’s me… and it’s delicioso. I’m actually glad I went to Kiwi’s twice this week as my throat has been killing me lately, I’m super ill 🙁 Froyo is supposed to help soothe a sore throat. On Thursday evening, Will and I had a few drinks unexpectedly (this is why I never get any homework done haha) and then I had a pretty chill night in with Catherine and Mick and some crackin’ banter! I was hella ill, hence the fact that I was in on a Thursday! But I really had a good time just watching TV and talking to the girls. I’m so fortunate to have been placed in accommodation with two girls that I get on so well with – it’s crazy how it worked out cos I got moved around so much before I got to Drexel but it actually worked out incredibly as they’re really like my best friends now! On Friday, Catherine and I went to Deep Fried Friday again at the same frat, took our own food to get deep fried and ended up with an amazing tasting Cinnabon, Oreo Cupcake and Cannoli – this is why I love Catherine, the girl has amazing ideas! And of course, ended up staying and chatting, having a lovely time with drinks. The frat house always seems to be getting more and more busy, which I like. On Saturday morning, Catherine, Will and I went to Sang Kee for Dim Sum. I had an awesome tofu lettuce wrap with mushrooms, brown rice and soy sauce – it was actually so good. I had a bunch of Catherine’s food too cos she ordered literally 8 plates to herself haha like egg custard rolls, egg tarts, chicken feet, etc – it wasn’t actually as expensive as you’d think, for so many plates but it was actually really good. In the evening, it was Theta Chi’s initiation party for the new members (aka Hotel Party) and this was hella fun – everyone was super dressed up and in a lovely friendly mood, was wonderful 🙂 I really need to make a point of not having such late nights, my sleeping pattern is literally non-existent! Thankfully, this Monday is MLK day meaning, NO CLASS! I should probably do some homework!

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Week 12 in Philadelphia

Monday-Friday, for most people, were heavily taken up by finals. Everyone was stressed AF cos of exams, papers, the whole works. I, however, wasn’t too stressed fortunately (though I can’t see myself doing incredibly well on this round of finals haha – I guess I’ll find out soon). On Wednesday, as a mid-week celebration/we’re-nearly-at-the-end-of-finals celebration, Catherine, Janelle, Linda and I had a cute little meal at Zavinos. It’s a lovely Italian restaurant and so of course, I had pizza (cos that really makes a difference from my every day choices… not) – it was really nice tbh, I really like that place. I’ve spent copious amounts of money since being here and I am rapidly running out, so I thought why not spend some more right :’) Catherine gave me my Christmas present too after this and it was 2 half pound Peanut Butter cups and tickets to Hershey Park – could she actually know me any better than she does? Haha. This is why she’s my best friend, folks.

On Thursday, after a stressful trip to UPS with Catherine (shipping stuff to Brazil is expensive AF, just so ya know), I met up with Chloe and we went and explored The Franklin Institute – most INTERESTING museum I’ve ever been to, seriously. It was all interactive meaning there were activities that you do throughout and you just really get involved. At one point, Chloe and I were climbing through an elevated maze? It was really weird but really fun – there was a planetarium too. Just 100% would recommend, so fun. It was very sciencey – lots of stuff to do with the brain and body, but also, a bunch of stuff to do with Franklin, which was what I found the most interesting – there was a whole section on electricity. We then met up with our Bigs in Center City (Caitlyn & Amy) and went to the Macy’s light show – it’s an annual thing and it was VOICED BY JULIE WALTERS. Haha I love her. This was actually so cute and adorable – it told a story through LED lights. It was so odd cos everyone was just sitting on the floor in the middle of Macy’s looking up at some lights – I’ve never seen that before haha. On Thursday evening, Chloe and I very unexpectedly went to Cavs and had the best time (as Cavs usually is) – Chloe’s headed to Chicago soon so she needed to experience the Philly bar scene before she left, of course. It was a pretty wild night – the international students at Drexel really know how to party haha, without a doubt. Again, not too much info will be divulged here but a lot of money was spent and a lot of partying was done – crazy time. I met a lot of cool people too and had some interesting chats, from what I remember.

The next morning, Friday, Mick was headed to New Jersey and then DC (I think) for the Christmas break so Catherine and I thought it would be nice if we all grabbed lunch together. We went to Sabrina’s (one of my favourite places to eat, seriously) and it was really nice – there are so many vegetarian options at Sabrina’s and they’re all amazing – I especially like the sweet potato fries you can get as a side for basically all of the meals. I was feeling a bit delicate this day so I stuck with a veggie burger and it was delicious 😛 Thankfully, my last final was on Friday (do not judge the fact that I went out the night before haha), so Catherine, Zara, Angela and I all went to a frat party at Penn to celenbrate – it was pretty lit, I’ll be honest. It had a very underground and grimey vibe, which I liked. Everyone was very sweaty though, reminded me of a rave. The DJ was flawless (literally, take me back) and the drinks were good, so there isn’t much more that you could want really. We then went back to Drexel and went to like 3 other frats (not gonna list them obvs) so we actually went to 4 frat parties this night haha. Most of which were incredibly hapnin (excuse my ghetto) and we all had a really good time. I love all these girls so it was such a laugh. I went to bed at 6am 🙁 this happens far too often. Not even because we were out that late, just because I got home and my boyfriend was online as it was actually a normal time of the morning in England haha so we had a long ass chat on the phone, was lovely!

The next afternoon, Saturday, Will and I went for what was supposed to be a lunch but we met too late and it turned into fivesies/dinner/whatever you wanna call it. We went to Jack’s Firehouse I think? It was actually an amazing restaurant – it was in East Philly. It’s quite expensive but if you wanna go somewhere nice to eat in Philly, I’d really recommend this place – it was actually an old firehouse converted into a restaurant. It was a beautiful day so we sat outside and the view overlooked the East State Penn (still yet to go in) and we sat there for ages and it was just lovely. I had one of the best Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes for dessert (with complimentary scones and muffins? Weirdly) – I’m literally obese rn, if anyone is remotely interested haha. We then had some drinks to celebrate the ending of Will’s exams (and of course, cos drinking 3 days a week/in a row has become the norm for me here in the US) and it was a very lovely day. I then had to rush home and pack all my stuff ready for my flight to England the next day – I passionately hate packing so I did absolutely everything I could to not pack. Fortunately, I managed to get it all done before my flight haa.

My friend Will drove me all the way to JFK airport from Philly for my flight back on Sunday – what a dear. I actually wrote most of this blog post from JFK – sat in the terminal, very full of cookies and peanut butter cups, jamming to Chance the Rapper, waiting for my flight. I was pretty sleep deprived too as the night before a flight, I never sleep too well. Considering it’s a red eye and I lost 5 hours of time anyway, I wanted to get as much sleep as possible on the flight – that didn’t happen! It’s an 8 hour flight and I probably slept for 2 haha. We got lunch at the airport and I’m super thankful that he was able to drive me all this way – I have the best friends. When I arrived in England, my mum literally ran at me outside the airport and started crying – we had a very emotional reunion in front of an unexpecting family :’)

I’m not really sure what I’m going to do regarding this blog while I’m back in England as this is a travel blog and I don’t really consider being in England a part of travelling for me, but if I can update this with anything interesting, then I may. If not, I’ll just start blogging again when I’m back in the states!

The Windy City & Week 11 in Philadelphia

So on Monday at 6am, Nicole and I had a flight to Chicago O’Hare from Philadelphia – being awake at 3am wasn’t the best situation, but we had a lot of fun with it (I personally drank a lot of coffee and Gatorade) and we were incredibly excited. I actually fell asleep in the Uber to our hotel when we arrived haha. The hotel we stayed at (Inn of Chicago) was incredible – it was pretty cheap and what we got for our money was amazing. THE most comfortable double beds and the warmest/squiggliest bedrooms ever! A solid 4/5 stars – would highly recommend – especially for the traveller who just wants to come back to their room to relax after a long day. The location was also really good – incredibly central and most the things we wanted to do/see were within walking distance so this was really ideal. There were also a tonne of food stores nearby so this was perfect for a foodie like myself. On this first day, Monday, we walked along the Magnificent Mile (essentially a street/area of famous stores) – I think Chicago is an incredibly beautiful city – I expected it to feel a lot colder than it was, based on its location and what people have told me, but maybe I’m used to it, being British. I also wore 5 layers every day. I often felt pretty warm whilst walking about so as long as you dress appropriately, it’s definitely do-able. This is one of my favourite parts of exploring – just walking around the city and being on the streets, seeing what it’s all really like to live there. We walked along to the John Hancock Centre (specifically, the observatory) and this was amazing – I’m not sure how high it was but the views of Chicago were immense. Chicago is the 3rd biggest city in the US so this was breathtaking. We saw Lake Michigan and genuinely questioned whether it was the lake or an ocean – you actually cannot see the end of the lake, I was so shocked. Lake Michigan is the 3rd biggest lake in the US and I’m surprised it isn’t the first. We saw this numerous times throughout the trip because of how large it is – it looked beautiful from every different position/angle/place we saw it at. The observatory drew our attention to a beach nearby (Oak something) so after this, we went and checked that out – never have I ever before seen a beach with snow on the sand – this was beautiful – the pictures we took couldn’t quite capture the beauty of what we were seeing, unfortunately. We walked along the beach to Navy Pier (a similar concept to Brighton Pier, for those of you who’ve been to East Sussex in England) – a lot of entertainment, restaurants, shops, rides, etc – I had a veggie Chicago hot dog (they were highly recommended) and I must say, it did not disappoint. I’m not sure I could fully appreciate it though as I’d previously stocked up on Munchkins from Dunkin beforehand and was still feeling rather sick :’) After exploring Navy Pier, we walked along Michigan Avenue (this was our go-to street) and then went along the Chicago Riverwalk – the Chicago River actually runs backwards. This was a mesmerising view too – Chicago is incredibly scenic. Then, because Nicole and I are obsessed with food, went to the Corner Bakery Cafe – I got chocolate chip m&m Christmas cookies (there were like 30, I ate them all) and Nicole got pancakes – it was nice to warm up. We then got an Uber (we didn’t know where we were at this point) to Lincoln Park and found out it had a free zoo and conservatory, which we checked out. The conservatory is now one of my favourite places in the world – it was incredible – I want to bring my boyfriend back here some day and my parents. The zoo was pretty nice too – I liked that it was free as it suggests that the staff really care about the animals and aren’t doing it for profit. Having said that, however, I’m pretty against holding animals in captivity but I’m also for the idea of the protection of endangered or at risk species – I know that many animals live a much longer life in zoo’s but it’s questionable as to whether the quality of these animal’s lives are acceptable. So essentially, my stance on zoo’s are undecided. I got a little sad with the lack of space some of the animal’s had to move around, while I was there. But moving on, the park itself was wonderful. We had a good time exploring! There were copious amounts of Christmas decorations already up in Chicago too – which was odd as Thanksgiving hadn’t happened yet. It definitely made the city more magical though. Walking around at night was my favourite thing – it felt like I was in a movie. For dinner we went to Gino’s Pizzeria and obviously HAD to have deep dish Chicago pizza! It’s not an exaggeration when I say that this was the best pizza I’ve ever had – I actually couldn’t finish it – and that is very unlike me :L It was so thick and dense – I felt so sick about 3/4 of the way through! It was insane. The pizzeria was a really cool joint too – there were graffiti all over the walls, a bar, really loud music and tv everywhere – very cool vibes.

On Tuesday we went to the Field Museum of Natural History – this was HUGE. I’m super interested in dinosaurs so this was amazing – I actually love museums, I wish I could spend the whole day going through and reading everything that’s available but I’m usually on a time schedule, meaning I don’t get to see and learn as much as I’d like :(. We covered a lot of the museum though, really interesting – we also had lunch there (meaning chips and chocolate cheesecake – nutritional as always). We then headed over to the Shedd Aquarium (it was nearby) and I had similar issues to the ones I had with the zoo – there were dolphins, sharks, turtles, numerous species of fish and other incredible animals – all of whom didn’t have enough space and actually looked almost bored and sad? I’m aware that you can’t tell how an animal is feeling by looking at him/her but I really do not think that a huge dolphin swimming around in the same tank backwards and forwards continuously is having his/her needs satisfied – this must be incredibly frustrating. Things like this just get me so upset – I feel like as humans, we have a responsibility to almost ‘speak up’ for animals who can’t speak for themselves – this just wasn’t OK, animals should be free. For animals like this, the ocean is their home – not a tank that is too small for them so people can come by and take pictures. Ugh. I really hope that this aquarium is treating these animals kindly – you can never be too sure. It seemed like a well constructed place – lots of workers providing good quality care – but I can’t help but feel bad for animals in environments like this. OK anyway, we spent a long period of time in the museum and aquarium – afterwards, we went to the Willis Tower Skydeck (aka Sears Tower – 2nd tallest tower in the US) and this was jaw-dropping. This was 103 floors high and at night time with all the lights on, easily one of my favourite places in the world. You could actually see bits of Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan from this skydeck (I also got a big chunk of peanut butter chocolate fudge and m&m fudge which made the whole experience way better). There was a glass floor which you could stand on too meaning when you look down, you just have 103 floors worth of space looking down on Chicago – scary and amazing at the same time. We stayed here for hours just looking at the city – magnificent. We then walked along and saw people ice-skating on the route home – this was truly lovely, especially with all of the Christmas decorations. This was when I saw James Maslow from Big Time Rush (those of you who have me on Facebook will know of my sheer excitement and disappointment that he was so close to me yet I didn’t get to see him). After this, we went to an Italian restaurant called Tre Soldi (it was way too expensive)but the food was exquisite – I had THE BEST Tortellini Pasta and then Biscotti for dessert – both of which were delicious. The waiter was actually Italian and Nicole is Brazilian and as an English person in America, we all chatted for a while and bonded over our international status and the peculiarities of the US :’) The Italian waiter tried to give me his phone number haha, but having a boyfriend, I politely declined :L This was actually such an interesting conversation/such a good time. After this, we walked around the city some more, trying to rid ourselves of food babies but instead, ended up getting some booze from a 7/11 and having some drinks back at the hotel – we were very tired and wanted to relax. I wish we had Raspberitas and Strawberitas in England, they’re so damn good. Nicole and I just stayed up for hours talking, watching TV and getting drunk – it was actually lovely.

The final day, Wednesday, we did breakfast correctly at Waffles Cafe – I had Red Velvet with cream cheese waffles – beautiful (and of course, Iced Coffee from Dunkin – extra sugar and cream!). We then dedicated this day to exploring Millennium and Grant Park. Millennium Park is where the famous Cloud Gate (or better known, The Bean) resides, as well as Wrigley Square/Field – I really liked the structure of this park as well as the art sculptures inside. The park is near the Art Institute of Chicago, which explains why all of these pieces of art work are here. Grant Park was just next to it and we got to see Buckingham Fountain and some other lovely grass areas – I really adore walking in parks, especially when they’re covered in snow. We then sat for a while by the Chicago Lakefront Trial, overlooking Lake Michigan – considering the weather was quite nice for Chicago, this was just a wonderful time to relax and reflect and talk. We then went and looked for the train station (Nicole was headed to Madison, Wisconsin) in a few hours so we wanted to know how to get there and I needed to find the L-line to get to the airport (it only costs 3 bucks on the L and it cost us 50 with an uber – lesson learned!). We then went and explored some more and of course, ate some more – cookies and bagels predominantly, was fab. When I got to the airport after, what seemed like the longest subway trip (there was a scary guy on there, seemingly very drunk, who wouldn’t leave me alone), I was alone and very bored – so of course, I got Cheeseitz, Gummy Worms and Reese’s pieces to keep me occupied – as well as talking to the random guy next to me about his Thanksgiving plans (meeting random people who are nice restores me). I got back to my apartment in Philly around 1am – not too bad. I still haven’t unpacked though :’)

On Thursday, I went to Camden and Cinnaminson in New Jersey for Thanskgiving with Catherine’s family – they’re truly the loveliest people! The food was ridiculous – tofurkey (yes this is really what this is called), turkey obviously, mashed potatoes, carrots, mac and cheese, stuffing and vegetarian stuffing, bread rolls, vegetarian lasagne, apple pie, pumpkin pie (my FAVE – especially with whipped cream and icecream) and a bunch more that I’ve probably repressed as the thought of that much food again HURTS ME. A lot of the food was homemade and it was truly delicious, so props to the fam for the cooking skills. We played Catchphrase after dinner and drank lots of Moscato (amazing) – lot of good banter flying about haha, I really had such a good time. My first Thanksgiving was definitely a success – I’m so thankful that Catherine’s family invited me around -truly had such a good time.

I came back to Drexel on Friday morning and the campus was so dead – everyone was still visiting their families for Thanksgiving or doing some Black Friday shopping – it was actually nice to see Drexel not crowded with people though, relaxing almost! I just had a really chill weekend – I got really ill at this point meaning it was nice to just have time in bed watching movies and eating copious amounts of junk, with not many people there. It was a very peaceful time at Drexel and was very enjoyable haha.

Monday was the start of finals week – this really lasts for 2 weeks though. This when all of our final projects are due and every student has WAY TOO MUCH work to be doing. While I’m stressed AF, I’m remembering that I’m not really here for the academic aspect that much but more so for the experience aspect, so I’m still having a fab time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still learning lots and enjoying my classes at Drexel…. haha. However, I haven’t done nearly as much studying or working as I should have been doing :’)

On Tuesday, Chloe, Erica, Mae and I went to a basketball game at Wells Fargo. It was the 76ers vs the LAKERS! It was incredible, I seriously had the best time. I’ve always wanted to see The Lakers and this so happened to be Kobe’s last game before he retired, so it got really emotional at the end when he waved goodbye – there was a tinge of sadness and beautifulness in the arena, was amazing. I was cheering for the sixers though, gotta support Philly seeing as though I live here now 😉 And we freaking won (feel bad for Kobe though)! Think it was like 103-92 so it was crazy. We had a bit of an interesting time trying to get to the stadium haha (THANKS MAE) but it was so fun, it was really incredible – I always love games in Philly cos they’re so intense and the fans are wild. I also get pretty into the games haha.

On Wednesday, Catherine and I (and also Chloe – a different one than previously mentioned) went to PUPPY PAWLOOZA! This was like a room with dogs at different stations and you could just go play with them, cuddle them and spend time with them to de-stress during finals week! We spent way too long here, it was incredible! I. love. dogs. I fell in love with a dog called Bear and just had the most wonderful time. Seriously, it was amazing. They were all therapy dogs so they knew to be relaxing and calming around people and they were seriously just the cutest things in the world. So happy I went – I definitely felt a lot less stressed after going! Haha. In the evening, I took Catherine to go see The Book of Mormon at Forrest Theatre – now folks, these tickets were expensive AF and we weren’t even very close to the stage so if you wanna go see this show, just be wary – it will not be cheap haha. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen (but I feel like I say that about all the shows I go to, I absolutely adore em).  It was pretty hilarious – very energetic and captivating performances from the cast; absolutely great story too. As an agnostic, it was great to see a story which almost mocked the literal interpretation that followers will take of their religious readings. I think the general take-away message from the play was to essentially not take religion so seriously and if anything, to take it metaphorically when it’s applicable to your every-day life. I personally respect if someone wants to follow a certain religion and adhere to those beliefs and lifestyle but I don’t believe or disbelieve the idea that there is a God or any other non-physical/non-material existences past what we currently know, so I’m still open to what other people have to say on the matter as I’m fairly undecided myself. The play was very funny though and talked of how people who claim to follow religion so strongly will then go on to have their doubts too, even though they continue on preaching and attempting to convert others.

On Thursday, Linda, Emily, Rovi and I went to a Drag Queen show – it was incredible. So so so fun  – drag queen acts always are. Very sassy and fierce – love it! It was free too cos it was hosted by CAB I think? Really great entertainment, I’m glad I went! It was an incredibly odd show, very unlike anything else I’ve seen, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! Haha. Then on Thursday evening, Catherine, Janelle and I unexpectedly went to Cavs – we were all monging out at 11pm being fat when my friend invited us, so we got ready super quick and went. It was a super fun night – I spent way too much money though, I just brought everyone shots cos I kept seeing a bunch of people I knew! Was an awesome evening though – super late night (I certainly felt this the next day). I always love Cavs though cos it’s just so lit but chill at the same time – music is always pretty on point and the people are always great. I always meet a bunch of international students there, never fails to be an interesting night.

On Friday evening, Chloe asked if I wanted to go to a Penn party and Penn parties are supposed to be substantially better than Drexel parties so I was like, hell yeah!? It definitely had a different vibe to Drexel parties – we pregamed a little at Chloe’s, then beforehand at a random apartment near Penn (it was actually a birthday party – THEY HAD CAKE) and then we headed to the actual party where myself and Chloe personally drank the entire keg to ourselves cos we bonded with the British guy giving out the drinks haha. Penn is definitely a bit more grimey than Drexel – very sweaty, couldn’t move much, everyone was dancing and grinding – very much like a club scene. It was really fun though – all of Chloe’s friends were super nice so I’m glad I met them. Me and Chloe just drunkenly wondered off from the party near the end, back to Drexel, checking out the frat scene and stealing some of their drinks – was a good way to end the evening haha. Ended up being a pretty late night (all of my nights are these days – I should probably remember that it’s finals week and I need to do some studying?!). I’m really gonna miss Chloe when she goes to Chicago after Christmas break – she’s leaving Drexel 🙁 my favourite Brit.

On Saturday morning, way too early, some friends and I decided to go to a shooting range near Allentown (we decided at 4am the night before that it would be a good idea to fire some dangerous weaponry with a killer hangover) so I essentially had 4 hours sleep and then we were on the road. I love long car rides and it was nice to be back in a car and not on public transport for once – we got lunch on the way (from the BEST. SANDWICH. SHOP. EVER), picked up some guns and required accessories and hit the range. It was actually really fun – I really enjoyed shooting the guns, definitely wanna do it again and improve. Felt VERY American (it’s crazy that owning a gun is legal here). I especially liked the AK47 and the P200 (I think?). We also got some dinner on the way back and had some chill drinks back in Philly (it’s almost concerning that drinking 3 times a week is so normal now!) and it was just a nice chill evening, compared to the 2 previous nights of craziness haha.

On Sunday morning (more so, Sunday afternoon), a bunch of friends and I got some breakfast at Oregon Diner in South Philly and I had the BEST chocolate chip pancakes – I 100% need this for breakfast on the daily. I’m super happy with the friends I’ve made here at Drexel – like there’s copious amounts of them and they’re all incredible individuals. I’m truly gonna miss this place – been feeling emotional about it somewhat lately :’) I can’t wait to get back home and see my boyfriend but I also really love my life here – I wish he could be here with me! As you can probably tell, I’m not really doing much work or non-enjoyable things – everything’s pretty fun right now, which I love!

Just a random side note, I’ve become obsessed with F’Real milkshakes – every. single. goddamn. flavour. is. amazing. The only problem is they’re all at least 700 calories and I’ve started having at least one a day :/  I genuinely have not eaten anything healthy since I got to the US and that’s a solid 3 months+! I’m very concerned about my health right now – I don’t exercise and I literally only eat food that is bad for me. Without even considering the waistline, just my general health is worrying. I need to start taking care of myself and my body but I’m living pretty recklessly and spontaneously every single day – I mean, I love it, I’m totally about that, but I don’t wanna suffer any adverse consequences as a RESULT of the way I’m living. I honestly cannot remember the last time I ate something that provided me with genuine nutrition and THAT, my friends, is an issue :’).

 

Week 8 & 9 in Philadelphia

So on Monday I registered to take new classes for the Winter Term and although I didn’t get all the classes I wanted cos they were closed up, I got some exciting ones I think! Forensic Psychology, Neuroeconomics, Introduction to Eastern Philosophy and Critical Reasoning – I’m combining Psych and Philo and I’m hella excited about it!  I also went shopping with some of the sorority girls (Emily, Maura, Gaby, Maria, Mae & N’Dea) and it was so much fun – we needed to get some white clothes for our sorority initiation the following weekend so thought we’d all go together and I literally love these girls – they’re so nice and hilarious – I’m so glad they’re my sisters <3 (I’m being cheesy AF I know). I’m spending all my money on frappuccino’s at Starbucks – legit, I’ve tried every Christmas flavour now and I’m obsessed (I have one EVERYDAY). I’ve also been spending money like it don’t mean a thinggg since I got here – I kinda need to stop that cos I’m gonna run out real soon haha. But I’ve seriously had no thoughts about not buying something cos it’s too expensive – my purchasing habit is becoming a real problem. I think I’m going a lil crazy just cos I’m in a new country. But yeah I got my whites and some slippers cos I love slippers. I had my first 5 Guys and it was freakin amazing – the fries at 5 Guys are second to none, let’s be real. And the veggie burger was one of the best I’ve had, ever. Also, random side note, the fashion and clothes in the US is SO MUCH BETTER than the fashion and clothes in England – I wanna buy it all but I’m not gonna be able to bring it back to the UK with me and I’m also definitely not skinny enough :’) On Wednesday morning, Catherine and I went into Center City again and I FINALLY got a US sim card and number – so glad! I now only have about 40 contacts (American bro’s) but I’m glad I’ve got it – gotta go around collecting peoples numbers now haha. It has unlimited texts, calls and data (1GB) for $40 a month, not too bad. We also went to Macy’s and there’s this lilac dress which I am honestly truly deeply overwhelmingly in love with – except it’s like 200 bucks and I can’t justify dropping that much on one piece of clothing 🙁 but it’s MAGICAL. Macy’s has my heart <3  Me and my wonderful boyfriend also had dinner together (we basically ate at the same time whilst on Skype) and this lasted for like 3 hours haha – this was cos it was our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY – exciting times. It was actually really nice, sucks so bad not being in the same country as him though. We sent each other gifts too, of course! He got me a personalized world map (you scratch out where you’ve been and it reveals a colour – I love it cos I love travelling and now I can track my travels!), a cute fluffy teddy bear (personal joke), a vase of red roses and some fancy chocolate 😛 It was an adorable gift, I love him ineffable amounts. And I brought him tickets to go see the Wizard of Oz together when I’m back in the UK – pretty random purchase, I know, but I thought that seeing a show with him would be cute and fun?! I also got a bunch of other stuff which isn’t exactly family friendly so I won’t mention it haha. On Friday I went to Center City AGAIN with some of my sorority girls (literally 3rd time this week) and we did some shopping, spent too much money and went to The Cheesecake Factory and no lie, this is my new favourite place – the menu is UNREAL! It has literally everything you could want – I was so impressed. I had a sharing platter of Nacho’s to myself and a Peanut Butter/Oreo cheesecake and it was honestly the best cheesecake I’ve ever had – the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted and I can’t say that enough. Seriously this is the best place in the world, I am so passionate about it :’) On Saturday I had my tri sig initiation – it was actually pretty fun. I was quite scared tbh cos the ritual procedure is very weird and unusual but it’s interesting and always a laugh with the sisters. I’m now officially a sister which is cool to say -it was a long ass day, I’ll be honest – I can’t really disclose what happened though. We had a post initiation CBM afterwards which was pretty short so that was good and then me and my ‘family’ went to Drexel Pizza with another family. I had a whole Pizza before initiation and then a whole Pizza after initiation so I was loving life at this point – there was loads of us on a big table with lots of food and with some top banter so it was a pretty awesome time. We hit Theta Chi afterwards for a bit of a party (I couldn’t drink cos of initiation rules but it was still fun) – super late night. Then on Sunday I had a meeting at Phi Mu and then ended up drinking somehow afterwards – my life is substantially lacking structure at the moment haha, it’s all incredibly spontaneous but that’s how I like it to be! This again, was a fun night.

On Tuesday, Linda, Janelle, Catherine and I had a ‘friends giving’ – so just Thanksgiving with friends.  It was super cute – we had so many leftovers and we all were in food coma’s – Thanksgiving done correctly! We gave little speeches about what we were thankful for too – how adorable 😉 These girls will probably be the thing I miss most upon my return to England. On Wednesday, Linda, Catherine and I went to the first Drexel Men’s Basketball game – it was the most fun thing ever! We brought all the team spirit haha – very much so like what you would expect – cheerleaders, dancers, chants, a lot of advertisements – I had a really good time. On Thursday, we hit cavs and drank WAY too much. Like we were gone – it was such a fun time though, from what I remember haha. On Friday we had the Tri Sig formal which was at the adventure aquarium in New Jersey (which is literally amazing – the best place to have a formal) and of course, my date was Catherine. Everyone was SO drunk – it was great. The buffet style food was not too shabby either – I ate a lot! And we danced so much, it was seriously just the best time, I loved it. My sisters are just incredible people – so happy I’m in Tri Sig! The DJ was KILLIN IT, my tunes came on, my feet killed cos we danced the entire night and it was just really fucking fun. I was so tired afterwards – can’t wait for our next formal tbh! So worth the 55 bucks. Anyone who goes to college/uni in America, PLEASE join a sorority – it’s one of the best experiences you’ll ever have! I say that from the bottom of my heart -truly, some of my fondest memories have been because of the girls in my sorority! But obviously make sure you like the sorority and click with them or it won’t be an awesome year! On Saturday we went to the second Men’s Basketball game at Drexel – we’re avid fans! I just hung out with Mick on Saturday night too, all the partying caught up on me and I needed a chill :’) And I basically spent Sunday preparing for my trip to Chicago the following day, very excited!

 

Week 7 in Philadelphia

Not an incredible amount to report this week in terms of school –  midterm exams and homework have been going on. The stress levels at American colleges are really high – people take college and education very seriously here, probably because it’s so expensive and so difficult to get into compared to British colleges (this is a fairly uninformed opinion, so anybody at a British college/university, please do not take that offensively). On Friday night me and Catherine went to a comedy show hosted by CAB at Drexel and Pete Davidson was the headliner – he’s a comedian on SNL and a writer for Comedy Central and frankly, this was one of the funniest shows I’ve ever been to – we were literally crying and couldn’t breathe – he was straight up hilarious. We were so glad we went – there were 3 warm up performers too who were hilarious themselves – I’m not sure who they were, I think they were pretty non-famous but props to them, cos they were awesome. Seriously had such a good time – I have really fond memories of this! We then went to a Halloween party and yet again (I was happily Super Girl twice), had an awesome time. Again, won’t go into the details of that cos fraternities and jungle juice are involved but it was literally super fun. It ended up being a really late night too – one of those where you’re totally messed up the next day haha. But the next day, Saturday, me and Catherine went to Cinnaminson, New Jersey (that’s where she lives) for her families Halloween party (this is right over the Ben Franklin Bridge, was a 20 min drive) and we helped set up the house (they had a horror house thing going on – it was highly impressive – I arrived and actually didn’t want to enter cos it looked so scary) and got ready there and basically spent the day preparing for that. We drove to a nearby complex to get candy and food and I got to see a little bit of New Jersey but I basically still haven’t seen anything of it yet – I’m excited to explore at some point (I know, ‘New Jersey sucks’ according to Americans but I’m English and this is exciting for me haha). The party was really fun – quite chill but people still got drunk and had a great time – we ordered way too much Pizza considering we had chips & dip, cookies, cakes, candy, cupcakes, etc – the amount of food I ate this night is actually shocking – those of you who know me know I love food but this may have shocked you too :’) And of course, copious amounts of red wine. On Sunday we came back to Philly pretty early and I met up with my friend Nicole to go see Independence Hall – this had been what I was most excited about seeing before coming to Philly – I saw the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and it was literally amazing. We had a tour around Independence Hall and it was just the freakin’ coolest thing – seriously. I know America is criticised for its’ lack of history but the history in Pennsylvania is fairly impressive. We also saw the Liberty Bell – something I genuinely adore – such an awesome representation of freedom and liberty. I was so glad I got to see these things – if you ever come to Philly this is an absolute must! We also saw a little bit of Congress Hall but not all of it, I think? Was crazy. When you’re standing in a room that George Washington or Ben Franklin were once in, you feel a lil bit overwhelmed. We also went to Jim’s Steaks – some of the best cheesesteaks in Philly, or so I’ve heard?
When I got back I had an ARC session with the Sigma ladies which was pretty standard but then when I got home, my still yet-to-be-known Big had left me an awesome design on my dorm door – it was so cute! This was part of the build up to Big/Little reveal on Friday and it literally killed me not knowing throughout the week – I actually had no idea who it was going to be and I desperately wanted to know. What was worse was that Catherine knew who my Big was (cos she had to let her in the dorm to give me this stuff) and she WOULDN’T TELL ME -.- On Monday, she gave me some Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (cos it’s harder to come by in the US so I was missing it), Peanut Butter cups (for obvious reasons – they are bae), Diet Dr Pepper (fave drink ever), a handcrafted picture frame (for a photo of us together) and a cute little note!  On Tuesday I received a beautiful canvas and a handcrafted ‘violets’ box for whenever we receive ‘violets’ from a sorority member (this is essentially a way of saying ‘Kudos’). They’re super cute and I see that my big definitely stuck with the theme of purple as she knows that’s my favourite colour 😉 and on Thursday she gave me MORE CADBURYS CHOCOLATE (yas) and another beautiful canvas – so appreciative of this! On Friday night it was FINALLY the reveal and it was so much fun – I found out my big is a girl called Caitlyn and she’s so lovely and awesome so I was so happy about that! We went out to Savas with our ‘family’ (meaning my sisters, grand-big, etc) and I literally had the BEST veggie burger and fries. Like the ACTUAL BEST I’VE HAD- no lie. Love Savas! I really like my ‘family’ and ‘big’ so I’m excited for the year with these guys 🙂 My Big also gave me some more cute canvases and free t-shirts and awesome goodies!
Aside from the sorority stuff, on Thursday, Catherine, Will and I went to Cavs (my first US bar woop woop) and it was literally awesome – kinda grimey and dirty – the best bars are. Was really cool – cheap drinks, good music and a dance floor, awesome people there – was generally just a great night 🙂 On the Friday morning as we were walking back home, we FINALLY hit up Sabrina’s Cafe and I had a veggie cheesesteak which was DOPE AF with sweet potato fries – best breakfast haha. We stayed at Will’s the night before as we were a bit messed up from Thurs so the food was literally on point! Like D A M N. Philly food over all other food. On Friday night we went out again – frat party & porched – this was hella fun – met some seriously cool people this evening. Again, not too many details about this for numerous reasons but it was great – very late night again – they all seem to be ending at like 5am/6am. And then on Saturday night I went out again – another frat party & porch situation – same deal, met some awesome people, had a great time, drank too much – good stuff haha. Fraternities really aren’t how a lot of people would expect them to be – all the guys in numerous frats are absolutely lovely. Though the whole $5 entry fee for guys compared to free entry for girls is always gonna be dodgy in my eyes. Considering I went out 3 nights in a row I felt great on Sunday still? My ability to deal with a lack of sleep is becoming worryingly impressive. I had my Tri Sig meeting on Sunday which was fun. I’ve come to the conclusion that the quality of friendships in the US are way higher than the quality of friendships in the UK – thats based on my personal experiences though. I expected it to be the opposite way around but that’s really not the case – people really have your back here and it’s more like being a family member than a friend  – I really like it.
P.S. I only remembered/had time to do 1 blog post in the past 2 weeks but I thought this might be more efficient to collapse all my info from 2 weeks into a smaller amount than to drag it out with 2 diff posts 🙂

Week 6 in Philadelphia

Hi folks, so I’m pretty into midterms right now and it’s a stressful time for most people but I think I’m handling it pretty well and not letting the stress affect me too much, which is good! Don’t get me wrong though, I have TONNES of homework to do, it’s insane! I’ll get straight into the highlights of my week though…

Sunday we did our standard trip to Trader Joe’s for groceries and then had an ARC meeting for Tri Sig – standard educational information about the sorority and hanging out with the girls, was nice and pretty interesting. I have to do these every week to get information about the sorority, what is required of me as a member and get to know all the policies/procedures/workings of things – there’s surprisingly a lot that goes into a sorority which I think most people wouldn’t expect! On Monday – Wednesday we had a big/little event each night for Tri Sig – these were all basically opportunities to get to know your potential ‘big’ (which, for those who aren’t in the know, is a girl within the sorority that you’re assigned to and acts like a best friend, a shoulder to cry on, your go-to person when you need to hang out/chat and someone who showers you with gifts and love and awesomeness – it’s a big deal and a really cool idea) so you could think about who you’re most compatible with and who you think you’d be a good ‘little’ for. I only got to go to one of the events (the Monday event) as I had other commitments but this was really fun – we got lots of free food and I got to meet more people in the sorority – we played some games and it was actually a cool time. I don’t think I really mind who I get as my ‘big’ because I like everyone – I have a few preferences but I don’t dislike anyone so I can’t imagine having any actual problems with any ‘big’ I get. On Tuesday Tri Sig had a waffle fundraiser which I believe was very successful? $5 for all you can eat waffles is a pretty good deal though! I had to miss this event as me and 3 Brazilian people and 2 Spanish people (how cultured are we ha) went to see a hockey game at Wells Fargo, it was the Philly Flyers vs the Dallas Stars and unfortunately we lost 2-1 🙁 But it was still an excellent game and such a good experience – I love how seriously everybody takes their sports around here, it’s great – the atmosphere of the event was unlike anything else, so interesting. I actually really enjoy watching Hockey – I’ve never played it before but I’d happily go to a game again! Super interested and really enjoyed the experience, had a really good time! Then on Wednesday me and a few of the sorority girls did some voluntary work at Rubye’s kids, which is kind of like a homeless centre/organization and this was one of the most touching experiences I’ve had. I absolutely LOVED the kids there, like I made some connections with some of them and I actually didn’t want to leave, I had such a good time and they were just so wonderful and lovely. I felt like I was really making a difference by just hanging out with these kids and that’s the best feeling ever – they were telling me that they didn’t want me to leave and that they were so happy. Just being able to bring these kids some happiness and fun is honestly such a rewarding feeling – I really want to volunteer here again, I’m shocked at how amazing an experience it was. Seriously, if you can volunteer and help people at a homeless shelter anywhere in the world, do it – it’s rewarding and you’re helping so much in such a simple way! Anyway, moving on, of the evening we OF COURSE watched AHS – absolute favourite TV show and I can’t tell you why – it’s so messed up and crazy but I haven’t missed a single episode, I’m obsessed. Friday was the best night – a Halloween themed party and so obviously, I rocked up as Superwoman (cause what else would I have gone as?!) and it was such fun! It was a frat party so we weren’t allowed to take any pictures and I won’t talk much about the night but it was really great – me and Chloe had the smallest pregame haha of just the two of us (with Mick in and out – it was really fun) then everyone there was awesome; drinks, dancing, games, banter – pretty on point, had a really good solid night. Saturday I was able to rank my ‘bigs’ – this was a hard process but I’m fine with whoever I get so I’m excited for our big/little reveal in about 2 weeks! Me and Janelle were just chilling and eating junk together this night and we randomly decided to have a few drinks (despite how delicate I was feeling from the night before) and then that turned into us wanting to go out and so we found a party and got some other people to pregame with and met up with a bunch of people and the night was a really weird and a really cool one hah. I met like 5 British people this night – that’s more British people than I’ve ever met in the US in just this one night, was really interesting – and people from some other backgrounds in parts of Europe too. We got to a party and then they ran out of drink so we spent a lot of this night just walking around West Philly drunk and trying to work out where we should go – Janelle got a invite from a random guy on Tinder so after originally planning on going to a party there, we thought it might be safer to not do that :’) So we had drinks back in North in a guys flat and it was fun and chill, we watched a bit of American Pie haha. I ran into my friend on the way back and invited him too – very weird but cool night. On Sunday again, had another standard arc session with the girls – a good time again, really like these girls. Also, I decided I’m getting Dining Dollars so I didn’t do any shopping – thought itd be way easier to just go somewhere on campus than trek to TJ’s for like a mile (ok so it’s not that much effort really but we all know I’m a lazy person) – might even get to try some new food that way too.

Week 5 in Philadelphia

So on Columbus day (Monday), we finally got around to going to the Philadelphia Museum of Art – so big and so incredibly beautiful. I’m quite a nerd with how much I love museums so I really appreciated this – we got to see only about half of it cause it was closing so I hope to go back someday but it was literally so beautiful! An incredible museum, truly – would highly recommend that everyone who visits Philly goes there! We walked along the Schuylkill River to get there and that is such a romantic walk way – seriously, I need to take my boyfriend a long there :’) It was a beautiful day too in terms of the weather. If you ask me to go to a museum with you, I 100% will, I’m not sure why I love them so much? I love how central Drexel is within Philly – the location is very accessible for a lot of awesome stuff and geographically, I think it’s perfect!

On Friday me and some of the sorority girls hit Kiwi’s for some Froyo and I decided it’d be fun to have a bit of every flavour… until I went to pay for it and it was way more expensive than everyone else’s haha. It was so good though, I much prefer Froyo to ice-cream. All the girls were lovely too. I love trying new food places. Then on Friday night, we (Janelle, Catherine & I) went to South Street – probably the most dangerous time and place to go here but oh well :’) we went anyway (& survived!). The Subway at night is a very interesting thing to experience haha – keep yourself to yourself is all I will say on that matter. I absolutely loved South Street – it’s quite a unique place. It’s considered an ‘alternative’ and ‘punk’ neighbourhood/area and is known for its diverse chain of shops – there are tonnes of sex shops, pubs, bars, eateries, etc (kinda similar to Christiania in Copenhagen, Denmark, if anyone’s been) but a lot more metropolitan. Some of the thrift shops were incredible – I need to go back in the day to do some shopping – such a good mix of vintage and modern clothing/art, the prices weren’t awful either. I’m actually obsessed with the fashion in West Philly, I love how people dress down here, it’s just incredible. I personally wish I cared more about how I look – I used to care so much but I just can’t be bothered anymore haha. We actually randomly went to South Street diner and had a pancake date – we got chocolate chip pancakes which were so fluffy and delicious (American Diner’s are the absolute best thing) and it was just a cool time to have with my girls – you know those moments in life that you’re just really chill, vibing and appreciating what’s going on? It was like that. Very warm and comfortable but new at the same time – this sounds hella emotional haha but I’m just trying to convey that it was a really nice feeling and time.

On Saturday I did my first voluntary/charity/philanthropy work and I did it for the Lindy Scholar Science Saturday’s program – despite the very early start and my tiredness, it was really fun. The kids were so lovely and fun – and incredibly confident (I was shocked, I was definitely not that confident at that age). We painted, had a dance class, there was a zoo demonstration where different animals were brought in, there were different arts and crafts going on etc. There’s a minimum amount of voluntary work that is required to be within a society so this covered some of mine and I actually had a genuinely interesting and cool time – I think all the kids really enjoyed it too, which is what it’s all about! Though they could paint AND dance better than I could… I think I have issues :L On Saturday night, the parties around Philly seemed a little dry so we got a tonne of junk food (and I mean a TONNE – like I could not move afterwards) and watched scary movies at Janelle’s and had girly chats and stuff. Was really nice, I actually love these girls. I also did something pretty spontaneous and booked a flight to Chicago, Illinois with my friend Nicole haha. What. We’re heading up there before Thanksgiving – still gotta get a lot of the logistics and planning sorted but yeah, my bank balance isn’t looking so hot right now. BUT FORTUNATELY, I may be getting a student grant from Santander which I’m incredibly excited about – they contacted me and were like ‘based on your placement location and your academic performance, you’re eligible for our grant’ which I am so pleased with because I’m super poor right now and I just spend all of my money on copious amounts of food. So hopefully, I can actually afford the flight I just booked :’)

I’m writing this really early on a Sunday morning and I think today will just be spent having a Tri Sig meeting, relaxing after a really busy week and doing my weekly food shopping haha. Though I’m thinking about getting Dining Dollars? I’m not sure whether or not it’d work out cheaper or more expensive for me for the rest of the quarter… I may get them anyway just cause it’s closer than TJ’S! Other than that, just been hanging out with the bro’s watching American Horror Story and baking too many mug cakes that any one person should… And of course, going to my lovely classes and having lots of lovely homework. I need to start writing notes on my phone about what I’m doing throughout the week so I can keep you guys informed -I always forget. On the whole, I think it’s safe to say I’m having an amazing time – I love being in a different country and generally just experiencing everyday life amongst people of a different culture – I’m meeting so many people from so many different backgrounds and frankly, just getting the opportunity to interact with these people is a blessing. The only thing that’s put a dampener on my being away, of course, is missing my boyfriend. I feel like the year would have been utterly perfect if he’d have also gotten a placement in Philly! Don’t get me wrong, we speak every second of every day and Skype lots, but it’s just not the same :/

Week 4 in Philadelphia

So it’s become a routine of ours that we watch Scream Queens every Tuesday which I LOVE! Scream Queens is hilarious, in case you didn’t know – it’s also good bro time. It’s also like a ritual that when we should be doing our homework on week nights, me and Catherine just end up eating too much junk and dancing round the flat to old school rap. We’re also now developing a routine of watching American Horror Story every Wednesday – we watched the premiere this week and it was SO. DAMN. GOOD. Not gonna lie, 50% of the reason I watch the show is for Evan Peters and he wasn’t even in the first episode – gutted. Still, was really awesome and I’m super excited for the rest of Hotel, got a good feeling about this one! Moving on, on Tuesday night I had my first Tri Sig meeting and experienced my first sorority ritual – it was very interesting and scary at first as none of us had any idea about what was going on. We had to enter a room individually and then the ritual took place (not sure I can say anything about it so I’m not going to) and we got a Sigma pin to wear and it was like a really cool welcoming. All the Tri Sig girls seem genuinely lovely and just fun and cool people – I’m super excited to hang out more with these girls and they’ve been so welcoming and made me feel so comfortable, I really appreciate that! There’s so many documents and things you need to do to join a sorority so at the info meeting we got a little bit of extra info about this. Afterwards too, a bunch of the Sigma girls messaged me on FB saying they’d just read my blog and loved it – how cute! So SHOUTOUT ladies 😉 On Thursday we hit the Chinatown food festival – it was pretty awesome. I love Chinese food – I wanted to buy everything there! 🙁 Dumplings, Veggie Taco’s and Bubble Tea may be my new life sources. They always have really awesome pastry shops and bakeries in Chinatown too which I think we can all appreciate… on Friday we pregamed and then went to a frat party (I won’t list the frat’s name for obvious reasons) and it was freakin. awesome. Standard procedure of beer pong, stack cup & I think Mexico? I’m not sure what one of the games was called. The party was in a basement and the basement was actually bigger than my house – it was crazy – it looked like a rave in one room and that room was one of my faves. The house itself was crazy big, so impressive! We actually left the party half way through to get Pizza? Like this is the level of love that I have for food. We returned to the party soon after, obviously. I did my very first American keg-stand.. in a skirt.. I had to get people to hold my skirt down for me haha. I’m obsessed with Jungle Juice – which FYI, is actually evil. How does it taste so good with all that stuff in it!? In America, it’s very true that people drink a lot of beer – I’ve missed my spirits I’ll be honest but luckily, I like beer! It was a crazy night and I really enjoyed it – the girls there were the loveliest too! I’m gonna miss American frat parties so bad in the UK 🙁 Saturday day time Catherine went cray in Target and just got loads of cute stuff for our dorm – it looks so homely and lovely now – I’m like super impressed, this girl gets shit done. I woke up and all her family were just here re-assembling the living room haha. And then of the night, we hit Fall Fest which was AWESOME! It’s like a concert every year for Drexel students and this year we had Wiz Khalifa and Lil Wayne (how. cool.). Like, I’m gonna be honest, everyone was high… it’s to be expected if Wiz is in the vicinity though haha. It was such a good concert, like I thoroughly enjoyed it so much! There were also a few other less known artists like Mr Carmack (awesome DJ) who kinda got everyone hyped for the main artists – then we headed to an after party which was way too crowded and stuffy, so we decided to go to a different after party which was way better cause we knew the frat already. It was a really good party – I think it’s safe to say that British and Australians own at beer pong… sorry America ;). I’m eating so much food after parties, that’s like all of my daily calories and more. Sunday was just a day full of food – we went to Axis Pizza, Subway, Insomnia Cookies on Penn’s campus, Urban Eatery, 7/11, Sabrina’s, etc. Like, I am actually the fattest human alive rn and I’m obsessed with food – it’s a problem. Drexel’s gym is free and I’m not using it either haha – America is frankly, THE place for food! This all sounds really rushed, I apologise, I don’t have much down time so I have to get in what I need to say really quickly haha. I feel like because I live with my suite-mates in such a confined and tight-knit environment, that I have a closer bond with them automatically compared to my flat-mates back home. Like for example, walking round in a towel here and half naked is totally normal but it was a bit unacceptable with flat-mates in the UK. I prefer the vibe of this I think, it’s a lot more relaxed and there’s a lot of strength in the family relationship we’ve got going on! Also, side note, the weather seems to have picked up again, HELLO FLIP FLOPS! I love that I can wear shorts here basically all the time.

I’m now adjusting a little bit to the quarter system at Drexel – it’s really fast paced and I have a lot of work to do all the time, but I’m dealing. In finals week though, I think I only have 1 exam cause all of my classes are homework based so that’s good – means I have to revise less when it comes to it but also means I have a lot of work to do but I’m trying to just relax and enjoy the year and do as much as I can outside of academia – after all, travelling and exploring is what I’m here for! But ‘cause it’s my placement year at Aston, I’m assessed here at Drexel and then I have an assessment from Aston too – I would much prefer just one as this is unneeded extra stress!

Week 3 in Philadelphia

This week has been a crazy week of sorority recruitment! For sorority recruitment, we literally had to spend hours on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday choosing a sorority and deciding which one we wanted to rush! On Wednesday & Thursday, we went to the 6 different sorority houses (3 each day) and chatted with as many sorority sisters as possible and got a feel of the sorority itself and the girls in it – its super important that you’re really yourself during this process so you can see where you best fit and which is most appropriate for you! On the first night it was hard to decide which sorority I liked best but my initial favourite based out of the 3 I saw was Alpha Sigma Alpha but the other 2 followed really closely! On the second night, we saw the other sororities and I really started to like Phi Mu and Phi Sigma Sigma – at this point though, Phi Mu and Alpha Sigma Alpha were my top choices! They were all so physically flawless and beautiful, not to forget so friendly/charismatic and confident – I swear it’s a requirement that you need to be actually perfect in order to rush a sorority! On the third night, you got invited back to different sororities who ‘saw something’ in you – so you really had to impress people in this situation and leave a good impression and luckily, I got invited back to 3 so I did pretty well there. Unfortunately, I didn’t get invited back to my favourite 2 at this point 🙁 I was absolutely gutted but I continued with the process anyway as my Rho Gamma’s reminded me to have an open mind – I saw the 3 houses again (the ones that invited me back) and again, my opinions changed on each house – it’s true that it’s different every time – I think it depends a lot on which sisters you talk to too! This was when I went to Sigma Sigma Sigma, Delta Phi Epsilon and Phi Sigma Sigma. And then on the 4th night, you could be invited to a maximum of 2 houses (literally no more) and I got invited back to Sigma Sigma Sigma, who I liked a lot from the night before. So I went and spoke to them again and things changed again and I liked them even more – the more I spent time with these girls, the more I liked them! I really got on with the girls – they were all just so chill and fun and down for a laugh, which is a requirement if they’re gonna be my future sisters so I was happy that they invited me back. This day was such a long process – contracts had to be signed to say that if you received a bid from a sorority, you had to accept it and that you couldn’t join a different chapter and you couldn’t participate in fall recruitment and so on and there was just a lot of formalities and many girls! The following day was Bid Day – this day is really important – it’s when you receive a formal initiation to join a sorority! And of course, I received a bid from Sigma Sigma Sigma (AKA Tri Sig) – the bid process was actually cray, everyone was screaming and crying and running and laughing and jumping – it was definitely a day full of emotion. I met all of Tri Sig, we played games, we took loads of photos, we got given free t-shirts and merch, we ate loads of pizza and junk and then we road tripped it to North East Philly and went Roller Blading (YES, ROLLRER BLADING) and I really had a blast – it was so fun – the girls are all just so cool. This was my first time roller blading and I was literally awful, my sisters helped me out a lot but I was so bad! I’d go back though and try again, deffo a skill I need to improve :’) Generally it was just a wonderful day! I’m really happy with my Tri Sig choice at this point and I’m excited for the year with them! I have my first meeting on Tuesday where I get to learn all about Tri Sig and I’m rather looking forward to it! Throughout the week itself, things sometimes got intense – I saw many girls actually crying because they didn’t get invites from the sororities they wanted! It was actually really upsetting to see as all these girls were so beautiful and a lot of the time, the sorority recruitment system is based on superficial things – its genuinely such a shame. A lot of girls dropped out of the process too, it’s a really serious thing here and it’s been very hectic. I’m glad I can relax a little! Fitting in homework and classes with all the sorority stuff has been a struggle :’) But I’m alive so hey! The hectic-ness of this has been lessened by all the free food at the sorority houses – I’ve eaten so many cake pops, cakes, chips, chocolate and brownies – it’s been AMAZING. Nonetheless, I’m very stressed right now with everything I have to do… there’s a lot!

Other than the sorority craziness, not much else has been happening in my life – just had classes really and been hanging out with my friends. Me, Catherine and Janelle randomly went to a pumpkin painting session the other night – we literally painted pumpkins haha. It doesn’t sound fun but it genuinely was  – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Unfortunately this week, the weather has taken a turn from the worst! WINTER IS COMING! I was loving the Philly sun and being able to wear shorts at night but now it’s just cold and raining hard and heavy… it’s like I’m back in England! To each of the sorority nights, we had to dress up and be outside in the cold for long periods of time so we were all there in our cute little dresses and our massive coats and rain boots on top hah – I was walking round Drexel with a fluffy blanket all wrapped around me at one point – if you don’t get why we call it Hell Week then I don’t know how else to spell it out for you haha. And yes, that means I was literally dressed up for 4-5 days/nights in a row – that takes so much effort! At least it never rains on Bid Day! Anyway, I spend half my time just in Catherine’s room annoying her or in my room annoying Mick, it’s great 🙂 Or just eating too much food with my friends and generally not doing anything of much importance!  This Monday classes were cancelled because of a threat of violence which was posted online by an anonymous individual – luckily though, someone was caught at a university in Philly with a gun before he/she could do any harm. My uni took the threat pretty seriously considering the recent shootings in Oregon (the same thing happened with the threat of violence) and I’m glad that the security level here is so high! That’s something I definitely miss about England – the lack of gun crime! I’m really not sure still about my stance on the use of guns and the legality of them!

On a brighter note, I’ve decided that I’ll be returning to the UK for Christmas & NYE! I cannot wait to see my boyfriend! 😀