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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!