After getting back from Florida, this week has been pretty chill. We had our sorority chapter meeting on Monday instead of Sunday because it was Mothers Day (I sent my mum a huge 47 inch teddy bear and a personalized huge Millie’s Cookies cookie – I’m cute I know) and then for the rest of the week, I’ve just been avoiding responsibility and pretending to do work! I’ve had a super heavy workload and loads of academic things to do. For example, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I had to meet up with my assigned group for my International Politics class as we had to give a presentation/debate on Wednesday about what the most effective and best way to take action against climate change is. It actually went pretty well and I genuinely really liked everyone in my group – we all got along so well and worked really well together. Some of us have actually developed friendships because of it! I’ve been spending a lot of time chilling at Mad Greeks with the guy who owns it and everyone there too – that’s always fun! On Wednesday, James, Monica, Izzi, Carlton and I went and pregamed at City Tap House (it’s actually super expensive there because it’s a restaurant: note to self) and then headed out to Smokey’s (a cool ass bar that I went to for the first time this night) and it was a lot of fun! I saw a bunch of people at the bar that I already knew (my fellow international students and some Americans) and the bar was really cool. I had a lot of fun this night and I’m pretty sure everyone else did too! I always forget to take pictures when I’m out at bars for some reason – America has changed me! On Thursday, I basically spent the day preparing and getting everything sorted for my trip to Vegas the next day! I went with Mae and Maria from my sorority and I didn’t have anything sorted for it so I had to do it all last minute! Our flight was super early on Friday; like I literally had 2 hours sleep before hand. We got the train to the airport as it was a lot cheaper than getting an uber. We caught our first flight to Dallas, Texas because we had a one hour layover there which wasn’t bad at all – I think I slept during the whole flight. Then on the flight from Dallas to Las Vegas I sat by the coolest people – I made a new friend called Nate who I spoke to for the whole flight! He was 26 and from Utah originally, and he told me all the coolest stuff to do in Vegas (as he goes there a lot for business). The flight was actually hilarious cos we had some great banter – we got along really well. Time literally flew by (get it? flew? we were on a plane? lol ok). So that made the start of the trip really cool! As soon as we landed, we went to our hotel (Treasure Island – it’s at one end of the strip) and checked in. The hotel was gorgeous – it was literally so beautiful and we had the most amazing view from our hotel room. Considering it was like 110 degrees, we got our bikinis on and went down to the pool and had a cocktail or 6… it was great. I can confirm, alcohol in Vegas is SO EXPENSIVE. Every single cocktail was at least $20, no lie. But they were so incredibly strong you honestly didn’t need many. Straight away I knew that Vegas was going to be one of my new favourite places… and I wasn’t wrong :’) So this first day we basically spent partying in the pool and chilling, having a good time! A little later, we went to an all you can eat buffet at the hotel and it literally killed all of us. I don’t wanna know how much I ate that day but I know that it was impressive haha. I actually was in genuine crippling pain afterwards – it was stupid in retrospect. At night, we went to explore the strip. Every single hotel on the strip is absolutely beautiful and one of my favourite things was exploring the different themes. We went to the Venetian (which has an Italian theme and was one of my favourites) and spent time exploring the sheer beauty inside, we walked around outside a lot because when everything is lit up it actually is mesmerizing, we saw Caesars Palace (yes, where the Hangover was filmed – it’s just as beautiful in person folks and the stores inside were crazy), saw the Mirage hotel and kind of just ‘got our bearings’ with the strip and where we were. I was so amazed the whole time – everything was so grand and impressive. Aesthetically, this place was incredible. You can spend hours just walking up and down the strip because of how beautiful and large and lit up everything in. I also love how everyone parties every single night in Vegas – that is exactly the kind of lifestyle I am about :’) The next morning we got up early and got breakfast at ‘Hash House a Go-Go’ (the guy on the plane recommended it and I’m glad he did) – it was in the Linq hotel which is actually a fairly new one (fairly central on the strip). The lines for this restaurant were insane but I can see why – the food was phenomenal. I got their snickers filled pancake and it was actually only one pancake but it was the biggest thing I’ve ever seen – it actually lasted me all day – I boxed it and then had the rest for lunch. That right there, is what you call real American food :’). I think it’s safe to say that they were honestly the best pancakes I’ve ever had – you could really taste the snickers inside of it and it was just flawless. It wasn’t just my food that was amazing though – I saw what other people ordered and it was all literally so huge. Like falling off the plate! After this we proceeded to do some more exploring and explored the Flamingo hotel which was again, phenomenal – there were actually Flamingo’s in the garden and it was such a beautiful day (I appreciated the weather so much – we were in the middle of the desert so it was unlike anything I’d ever experienced) and then we went to the Paris hotel and actually went on the ‘Eiffel Tower Experience’ which basically means that you get to go to the top of an Eiffel Tower replica and look out over all of Las Vegas. It was immensely beautiful! It was nowhere near as tall as the real Eiffel Tower but it was in fact, incredibly tall. So much so that Maria was genuinely scared to be stood at the top of it! It was a phenomenal view we spent so long up there. After this we walked down to Planet Hollywood and then saw the fountain show outside of the Bellagio – it was actually super beautiful, especially when the fountains were dancing to a Frank Sinatra song. The Bellagio is phenomenal. At the night time, we got dinner at I <3 Burgers (no, it was really called that) and then got a Gondola ride in the Venetian outside. It was so beautiful at night – it honestly just looked amazing. Our Gondola driver even serenaded us hahaha. We then saw the Volcano show at the Mirage which was pretty amazing in itself! The lights and graphics were immense. We then went back and saw the Bellagio fountains show at night too and compared it to when we saw it in the day time – both of which were magnificent in so many ways. I felt so fortunate to be able to see these views – they were second to none! The hotel we were staying in, Treasure Island, had the most amazing rooms. Truly epic! P.S. I was ‘cocktail in hand’ for most of this trip – the cocktails in Vegas were extortionately priced but so worth it. The next day, we woke up early and went to the other side of the strip – we started off with an all-you-can-eat buffet at Mandalay Bay and it was literally SO WORTH IT. The food was delicious and there was an unbelievable range! We actually couldn’t move afterwards haha. After this we explored Mandalay Bay (so beautiful and impressive), MGM Grand, The Luxor (Egyptian style), Excalibur (all to do with knights, castles, jousting – that sort of medieval stuff – very nerdy but cool), New York New York (I’m sure the theme here is pretty obvious from the name) and then even went into some non-hotel stores like M&M world & Hershey world. These hotels were all mesmerizingly beautiful and impressive – I honestly wish the pictures did it justice. You just needed to be there, to be able to see all these views. I felt so fortunate to be able to go! We got to and from each end of the strip by using the monorail because it was really hard to walk the whole length – it was incredibly long. We asked the guy I met on the flight if we could borrow his hotel pass to use the wave pool and lazy river in Mandalay Bay and he actually let us!? So after exploring all of these hotels, we went back to get our swimwear and then hit the pool for some more fun in the sun. The lazy river was genuinely the best thing – so much fun. Me and Mae found rubber rings and just floated down the whole way, drinks in hand :’) We then dried off, got changed and went to get some food (after literally like 3 hours just messing about in the pool and drinking – it was a blast) at ‘Slice of Vegas’ (an Italian Pizza place). After this, we returned the passes to the guy we met on the flight and he invited us to a party at Mandalay Bay so obvs, this was something that you cannot turn down. The party was phenomenal, guys! Mandalay Bay’s rooms are INSANELY gorgeous. It was such a fun night – I’m glad I got to meet such cool people on my trip! I wish I’d have taken pictures though 🙁 It was honestly just so immense, I wish yall could’ve been there to experience a true Las Vegas party! We partied till a ridiculous time. And then had to head back home to wake up in a couple hours to see the Las Vegas sign before we left! There were so many people at the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign – such a tourist opportunity 😛 After this, we regrettably headed to the airport, got food and caught our flight home! I was so sad to be returning – I don’t think I explained our time very well cos I didn’t convey how much fun it was and just how amazing Vegas really is. I think it’s more a ‘you had to be there’ kinda situation. Vegas is definitely one of my favourite places in the U.S. so if you ever have the opportunity, PLEASE GO.
So we got back from Vegas late Monday night and me and James and Monica went for dinner when I got home and had a bit of a catch up. I love the food at Landmark American, it’s kinda expensive but I think it’s pretty high quality. Now that I’m back in Philly and I’ve officially spent the last 10 months of my life travelling around 11 different U.S. states, I can honestly say that the sadness about leaving for England in under a month is really getting to me. I feel guilty about saying this because of course I’m excited to see my mum, dad, boyfriend, dog and the rest of my family and friends but this has been truly, the most incredible year of my life! I can’t even comprehend the fact that I’ve been able to do the things I’ve done and see the things I’ve seen. Let alone have such amazing friendships with the people I’ve met. I honestly don’t know what I’m supposed to do when I go back to England. Everyone I’ve met here has been so amazing and I’ve just gotten to learn so much and explore, live and adventure in so many ways! I hate how cheesy I sound when I say all these things because it doesn’t sound as legitimate and genuine as I’d like it to. I’m honestly heartbroken to be leaving all my friends here who have truly, become family! What will I do without Catherine and Mick to wake me up in the morning and deal with my loudness when I’m drunk? What will I do without coffee and dinner dates with every single one of my sorority sisters? Who am I gonna call to get drunk with me on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday when I’m just a little bored and have none of my fraternity friends to party with? What am I supposed to do on a Thursday night if I can’t annoy the bouncers at Cav’s and order way too many drinks for everyone I know at the bar? Who will I message when I wanna check out another U.S. state if I can’t see my Brazilian, British or other European friends anymore? I can’t express the difficulty it’s going to be, going from such an immense, crazy, fun lifestyle to living back in England and not really doing that much. I wish I could thank the people I know here enough but it’s definitely not going to be enough for what they’ve contributed to my life and the experiences they’ve given me! It’s even going to be difficult to say goodbye to the people who aren’t necessarily best friends of mine but they’re people who if they ask me to do something with them, I will! Moving on from the soppy stuff, I’ve been thrown straight back into academia and loads of work because it’s Drexel and I travel lots haha. Let’s not forget the stress of severely running low on money because I’ve been going a little crazy. Despite these concerns, James and I still managed to go to Village Whiskey (a super classy and fairly expensive bar in Center City) on Wednesday night. That was pretty fun! It’s the kinda place where you need to know about different whiskey’s and beers or you won’t fit in haha. There’s always a lot of great banter when James is there so I had a lot of fun this night! On Thursday, my sorority had I-night which is basically the pre-initiation meeting that we have. This was pretty nice! All the new members are honestly great. We all spoke about why we joined Sigma and why we love it so much, including what our values mean to us. And then this night, Catherine was actually able to come to Cavs with me and Michelle! It was literally so fun. We danced all night and screamed way too loud. It was really hot in the bar though cos it was like 80 degrees, the sweat was so real. I’ve never been out with Michelle before so this was great (she’s a sorority sister) and I definitely wanna party with her again – nicest girl ever, seriously. I always eat so much food when I’m drunk, like o m g. Lately my go-to is Doritos?! On Friday, Sigma had a free tie-dye event that was open to the public where if you brought along a t-shirt, we would dye it for you – we also had free white shirts available. This was just a way of getting our name out there and promoting the sorority a little bit – it was a lot of fun. There was free chips, hot dogs, soda, etc – a lot of people came out so that was pretty cool. Side note: I have the best best friend. Catherine brought me pizza back from work just because she got some for free. WHAT A WOMAN. Ok back on track. After the tie-dying event, Catherine and I rushed to her cousin’s 16th birthday party somewhere in Philadelphia. I love how her family invite me to all the events – it’s actually so sweet. The party was a lot of fun! Everyone looked literally so cute and had such a lovely time. It made me miss being 16 :’) the food was phenomenal! There were these stuffed ricotta shells which were carbalicious and amazing and I cannot get started on the desserts because I will not shut up. It was buffet style and there was such a range of food – the stocks cake, PEANUT BUTTER CAKE (no really) and the chocolate balls were my favourite. I couldn’t move after this party haha. The songs were bangin too. The party was like 4 hours but it flew by (maybe it was the alcohol) and we all got to take home leftover food haha. Then after the party (around 11.30 – 12) we drove to Catherine’s house in New Jersey and got our PJ’s on and then embarked on the two hour drive to Cape May, NJ (it’s the most southern point of NJ) and we arrived just before 3am. Catherine and her family have a boat out there and we slept on the boat for the weekend (it’s really nice – it was just docked in the harbour and literally has everything you need – I want a boat so bad haha). We went straight to bed because it was so late and then woke up early on Saturday. When we woke up, Catherine’s mum greeted us with morning Margaritas (i love her) and then we headed out for breakfast. We went to Raw Bar and because we’re surrounded by water (Cape May used to be called Cape Island), Cape May is huge on seafood. I obviously didn’t have seafood though haha. The restaurant was super nice and the food was delicious! It was so nice hanging out with Catherine and her mum the whole day! They had great coffee there too. We headed to the Emlen Physick estate after this and had a tour of the mansion – it was owned by the richest person in Cape May who actually retired at the age of 21 because of all of his wealth (goals)! The mansion was beautiful on the inside and we learned a lot of history about the Victorian era – they were into some pretty unusual stuff haha. It was really cool and I’m very grateful that Catherine and her family allowed me to come to Cape May, stay on their boat and act as my tour guide the whole time! It was so lovely. This is basically where they go in the summer – it’s like a little vacation destination. After this we got scones, tea, little sandwiches and cakes and some other rather British things in the merchandise store near the estate! We then continued on to the town and it was so cute – full of little boutique stores selling clothes, cupcakes and other baked goods, art and everything you can think of. There was a whole store dedicated to peanut butter (my dream)! Literally everything was peanut butter – spreads, cookies, cupcakes, chocolate, sandwiches, bars – I was so happy the entire time. Here is where I had the best fluffer nutter I’ve ever had, in my whole life! It was called peanut butter co. and I’m for sure, going to order things online from them haha. Is it sad that this was the whole reason I wanted to go to Cape May in the first place?! As soon as Catherine told me about this, I WAS SOLD. I also got a really great peanut butter cookie. I just freakin love this place so much! After this we went to people-watch at Congress Hall by the fireplace, seeing as though it was a rainy day! It was so lovely. Catherine actually fell asleep haha while me and her mum talked about everything! After spending a copious amount of time doing this (there was actually a wedding happening at Congress Hall so we watched a bunch of that), we went back out to explore Cape May a little bit more before heading back to the boat! Catherine’s mum and dad actually drove back home that night because they had to look after and feed their dogs while Catherine and I stayed! After they left, we went to get dinner at Panico’s Bistro and I was so happy that we did. This was easily one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. It was pretty expensive but I feel like it was definitely worth it – it was all Mediterranean food and it was such high quality food! Catherine’s food looked amazing but I personally had the house bruschetta (absolutely flawless), the fried eggplant pasta with penne (I liked it way more than I expected to – fried eggplant IS SO MUCH NICER than regular eggplant and the pasta was bangin) and a side of truffle fries. I genuinely couldn’t breathe for hours after this meal – there was so much food. I want the truffle fries now again just because I’m writing about them! The service was excellent here too – this was just an amazing place. If you’re ever in Cape May, definitely check out Panico’s – surprisingly a good amount of vegetarian options too! After this, we got tickets for a trolley Ghost Tour around Cape May at night. It was actually pretty scary because it was heavily raining and super dark out. I really don’t believe in stuff like this but it was actually a lot of fun just to hear about the stories that the tour guides were telling us and to get excited about the concept of something supernatural :’) After this, we just went back to the boat and watched ‘The Sandlot’ – this is literally one of my new favourite movies! It’s so cute and hilarious at the same time :’) The next morning we had to get back to Drexel for initiation of new members into Tri Sigma so we got breakfast and then drove back and made it in time, thank god. Initiation was long because for each new member it takes around 10-15 minutes… so we were there for a while. After initiation, we all went out to Qdoba Mexican grill and it was literally SO DELICIOUS. Something that pleasantly surprised me about Qdoba was the amount of vegetarian options. Places like this don’t usually have a lot of veggie options but this place definitely did! I got some sort of veggie taco and it was so yummy – I’ll definitely go back.