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Circle of Death...

As I mentioned last night, I was leaving to go drink my face off.  Well, I can safely say, I certainly accomplished that task.  Sigh.  My head and stomach are a bit upset with me today. 

 

Before I try to pass out again and sleep off this hangover, here are the rules for the card game we played last night, "Circle of Death".  It's aptly named as you take a deck of cards, fan them out face down in a circle and draw a card, one at a time, in a clockwise direction.  In the middle of the circle of cards, you put a "penalty" shot.  Last night we had two: a shot of tequila and a shot of Crown for those that don't enjoy tequila. 

 

Each card has a different rule associated with it.

2 - You - pick a person to drink

3 - Me - you have to drink

4 - Floor - touch the floor, the last person to touch takes a drink

5 - Chicks - all the girls drink

6 - Dicks - all the guys drink

7 - Heaven - raise both arms in the air, last to do it takes a drink

8 - Choose a Mate - you and the person of your choice take a drink

9 - Bust a rhyme - say a sentence, everyone has to say another sentence that rhymes, in order around the table

10 - Left - person on your left drinks

J - Right - person on your right drinks

Q - Across - person across from you drinks

K - All - everyone drinks

A - Waterfall - everyone starts drinking at the same time.  You get to stop whenever you want, and then the person on your left can stop, and then the person to their left, etc. all the way around until the person on your right finally gets to stop...they often get screwed ;)

 

If you get stuck drinking 3 in a row, then you have to take the penalty shot.  In any case, I blame the card game for my pain and suffering this morning...grroooan. :S

 

At least we didn't play "Hit the Post".  I don't think there's a game that gets you drunker quicker (except maybe "Up the River, Down the River").  It's also played with a deck of cards, and you take turns being the dealer for the person on your left.  You deal a card face up, and the person you're dealing for has to say one of four statements about the next card.  They can say it will be higher or lower than the card showing, or red or black.  If the person is right, then they make another statement (same 4 choices) about the next card.  If they're wrong, they have to drink.  If they say higher or lower and the next card matches the previous card in number, then they "hit the post" and have to drink 3 drinks.  (Well, they either have to drink 3 drinks, or they have to finish their drink...I can't remember.)  The person must get 3 cards correct in a row before they become the dealer for the person on their left. 

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Windows Live Writer and drinking my face off....

I just wanted to try out Microsoft's new Windows Live Writer software.  It's pretty neat actually.  I like the way you can auto-preview your stuff as you write, as well as the support for many different blog providers.  I think I could get used to this! :)

 

I haven't posted in about 8 1/2 months...crazy!!  It turns out that when you join the real world, it takes up a lot of your time!  I know a bunch of people who have "real" jobs and still manage to post things, but I think it says something that I'm too busy living my life to write about it.  I have a pretty decent life too! 

 

Lots of my time is spent working, obviously, and I enjoy my time off from that by hanging out with my friends, relaxing by watching some TV or seeing a movie, reading, exploring new areas of Seattle, or playing with my cats.  I'm hoping to get more involved in the blogging world again, but it honestly depends on the demand of my work life and social life. 

 

Speaking of my social life, I have to get going.  Lorrissa and Aneesha just moved into their new townhome today and we're celebrating by drinking our faces off tonight! ;)

 

Hope everyone else is getting wild and crazy too!  Woo hoo!

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Toto, I don't think we're in Canada anymore!

Alright...so I never really did conclude my European vacation tales. In my defense, I did start an entry, but originally wanted to devote enough time to capture it all in detail. Well, that didn't happen. I was consumed with moving details so the best I can do is finally post what I had written weeks ago.

Here's the post: Collapse )

Soo...The Move. Capital "T", capital "M". I'm in Seattle. No longer a Markham, Ontario, Canada resident. It's been really good so far actually. I was worried, obviously, about adjusting, and to be fair, not enough time has passed to comment on the success of my adjustment. I was worried about bringing my kittens on the plane, and the complications that could arise with importing cats. Fortunately there were no problems, and they arrived with me, unscathed. I'm actually really glad that I brought them with me. They have been the source of enormous comfort and companionship. I don't feel weird talking out loud to them, and having others to take care of really takes the focus off of how I'm doing.

I'm in temporary housing until my apartment is available (November 10th, so not too bad). I just saw it today for the first time and it's as beautiful as I'd hoped! :) I can't wait to move in, even though it's about half the size of the temporary housing. It's in downtown Bellevue, and located just minutes away from Bellevue Square, the swanky mall and my personal mecca. ;) I've seen Lorrissa, we went out to dinner last night at Applebee's, and it's so nice to know she's close by. I've managed to apply for a SSN, and get a bank account, so I'm on the right track to getting all settled in. Tonight is going to be more low-key in the hopes that I can get a good chunk of solid sleep (granted, I think letting the kittens sleep with me is a big factor as to why I'm not sleeping for 8 hours straight, but nevermind about that).

Hopefully I'll post more soon. Ciao!
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I was in London, Baby!

Well kids, today was my daytrip into jolly old London. I took the Oxford Espress bus that goes directly between Oxford and London every day, and leaves approximately every 15 minutes. I left around 8:30 this morning, and since it was rush hour it took about 2 hours to get into London. I didn't really care what time I got there; it just had to be after 9:30 so I could get an all-day travelcard for the tube. The travelcard was an off-peak one (between 9:30 and 4:30) and between zones 1 and 2 (there are 6 in London). Fortunately, all the sites I wanted to see were in zone 1, so that didn't matter.

Since the Espress (not a spelling mistake, that's what it's called) dropped me off at Victoria Station, I thought I'd start with taking a look-see at Buckingham Palace (it's just a few minutes walk from the Victoria station). Of course, as soon as I started to walk it just started to pour! So, I looked at the other must-see places on my list and decided I'd rearrange my schedule and hit Harrod's. I jumped on the tube and got off at Knightsbridge on the Picadilly line. I got in with no problems (10 years ago when I was last there I was in ratty jean shorts and wasn't allowed in :'( ).

I entered right at the cosmetics section and actually breezed right through it. I can get all the cosmetics I want in Markham for cheaper prices and will be able to get all that and more when I move to Seattle. I wandered into the food section and marvelled at the different cheeses and chocolates. I sat down for a quick bite at the sushi counter. It was good sushi, but not as good as our local sushi restaurant at home, and certainly not as good as the west coast! It cost £12.00, which was just crazy...I'm having troubles getting over how expensive the UK is.

After my sushi break, I took a look at the map and decided to hit the restrooms before heading upstairs to home furnishings and decorative accents (my current obsession). Of course, whenever you want a washroom, it's impossible to find! I went round and round through ladies fashion, following closely (or so I thought) the signs to the WC. Finally I made it, and though I had wandered a bit aimlessly, I did manage to see all the lovely designer clothing: Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Fendi, Dior, etc.

After that I actually saw a sign for shoes, and being a female, I couldn't resist. I'm telling you, Harrod's is ridiculously expensive...£395 for a pair of shoes! I don't think I could ever justify that, and I hope I never want to. Anyway, I tore myself away from the shoes and went upstairs. The second floor was great. Tons of home decorations and though I was tempted, I manged to resist buying a cool mug. I also came across the pet department. I thought that maybe since I can't really afford anything for myself, I could maybe buy some accessories for my new kittens. But it seems that the "Pet Shop" should actually be called the "Pet Dog Shop". Not exactly what you'd call cat-friendly.

I heard from a staff member there that Jessica Simpson was there on Wednesday! I thought that was pretty cool...apparently she was there for a photo shoot. But that's really neither here nor there. After I left the pet shop, I stumbled into the Christmas World....gahhh! It's WAYYY too early for Christmas!! But I wandered through it, and despite the date, all the decorations and carols did manage to make me sigh. I love Christmas, although I don't let myself listen to carols until November at least! (Which I know makes people cringe, but hey, that's my privilege.) I did end up buying an ornament to commemorate my travels here. It's silver with red script and says "Harrod's 2006".

After a couple hours of wandering, I decided I should see more than just Harrod's while I was in London. I grabbed a card for Gwen and bought her a Union Jack keychain as a little gift and then left Harrod's.

I was feeling a bit tired and looked at my itinerary, quickly prioritizing the items on my list. I decided I'd hit the Tower of London next, which is something I definitely wanted to see. I also wanted to include Westminster Abbey and Big Ben and the parliament buildings. I also had Trafalgar Square, Covent Gardens, Abbey Road, and Buckingham Palace on my list. Those places, I'm sad to say, I didn't get to this trip.

I went to the Tower of London next, and this attraction, I'd never seen before. It was great! I bought my student ticket (gotta love having a student card that expires April 2010!) and decided I should really do a tour, rather than see it on my own. I joined a tour given by the Yeoman Warders ("Beefeaters") and he was great! His name was Simon and he had such a flair for drama! He went through a ton of history, most of which I find fascinating. I was surprised how much the bloodthirsty nature of the tales didn't bother me. It was very interesting to hear about the executions on Tower Hill and the private ones on the Tower Green. Also neat to hear about some of the people that had been held in various prisons within the Tower of London, including the Bloody Tower. Anyway, it went pretty quickly and I can't recount much more than that here. After the tour, I wandered a bit on my own within the tower and saw the Crown Jewels. That was craaaaazy! There is a sceptre with a diamond in the top that is 530 carats...it's the size of a baseball!

After the jewels, I moved on to see some torture instruments. Those included the Rack, the Manacles, and the Scavenger's Daughter. I won't describe them here, but you can look them up on wikipedia if you're curious.

I left the Tower of London then and checked out the Tower Bridge, but only from afar. It was pretty neat cause it was raising to allow a ship to pass underneath. I took some great pictures of it. I even asked some people to take a few pictures of me at the bridge and within the tower too, so it's not just all scenery. :)

Again, I was feeling pretty tired and decided I'd better get the rest of my must-sees out of the way. I jumped on the tube again and got off at Westminster. I left the station and managed to exit right at the base of Big Ben. I wandered a bit and took a couple great shots of it. Westminster Abbey is right across the way, so I walked by there too. I took some pictures of the exterior, but I didn't really feel up to paying another entrance fee and going inside. I wanted to walk to Buckingham Palace, but it started to rain and then started to pour, so I decided that since it was 4:00pm anyway, I'd just head back to Victoria station and head back to Oxford.

I had a great time in London though and thoroughly enjoyed the places and history I experienced. I hope to come back one day and see the sites I missed! I won't get the chance this trip though. I'll be in Oxford until Monday, and then Mom and I head to Edinburgh before I leave on Wednesday (and get to see my kitties...I miss them so much!).

That's all for now.

Cheerio kids!
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In an Aside from European Adventures...

I've been perusing the internet a bit tonight as Gwen has found herself some friends from her dorm and is out pubbing with them (I have an early day tomorrow and my feet hurt, so I'm staying in). I came across this quote on msn.com from Sean Penn:

"I tell them that whatever they do to my daughter that night, they better be prepared to come home and do it to me too."
(His dating advice to is 15-year-old daughter. Note from msn.com: Michael Jackson is taking notes)

That's priceless. I'm going to remember that for if I have a daughter one day. Which reminds me of this crazy-freaky dream I had....but that's for another posting.

P.S. My early day is because I'm taking a day trip into London tomorrow! I'm super-excited because I haven't been in a really long time and I really want to see some of the sites again. I'm very interested in taking a tour of the Tower of London and seeing the Tower Bridge as well. I also want to go to Harrod's, even though I know it's ridiculously expensive and I won't be able to afford anything in there. Other stops include Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Abbey Road, and Covent Garden(s?). Can't wait!!
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Ahhh Brits

Well Gwen and I made it successfully to Oxford! But I'll quickly (yeah, right haha) post an update since my last post.

Gwen and I were about to go to a restaurant in Paris recommended by my uncle. It was called Bistrot du Boucher in Montmartre near the cemetary. We walked over there cause it wasn't too far and found a couple neat-looking bars on the way. It looked really cool, with warm colours and tones and a great relaxed atmosphere. We decided to splurge a bit and ordered a half bottle of French red wine. We also ordered appetizers and main courses for once. My appetizer was a "mille feuille" of eggplant, tomato and goat cheese and it was fantastic. My main course was a "croustillant de confit de canard", which was basically shredded duck in phyllo pastry, with a foie gras sauce and mashed potatoes...yum yum! It was really great, with exquisite flavours, really unlike what we were used to eating. We both agreed the extra expense was worth it.

After dinner, we walked back the way we came and stopped at one of the bars we'd passed on our way to dinner. We ordered another bottle of French red wine, but this one wasn't as good as the wine at the restaurant. Gwen and I sat and talked and laughed and the waiter gave us some popcorn, which we determined was called "pop-corn" by the French, not mais souffle, like I had thought. :) We walked home after that and went to sleep.

On Tuesday, we woke up a bit earlier - around 8:30 and made our way to Musee d'Orsay. The museum was packed! The line was winding around and around outside the museum and it looked like it was going to take forever to get in. Gwen said it'd take an hour and I said it'd take two. We actually ended up waiting for only about half an hour, and Gwen spent the time writing postcards while I read, so it really wasn't that bad at all. Gwen had really really wanted to go to Musee d'Orsay because that's where Monet's waterlilies are housed. She missed it on her European tour last year because she'd thought they were in the Louvre.

Well we saw them this time, and both of us were moved to tears. I know for Gwen they'd been such an important fixture in her high school and university education that it was just so overwhelming to finally see the originals, right there, two feet in front of us. For me, it was partially seeing Gwen be so affected by them, and also the significance wasn't lost on me either. They were really beautiful. It was more overwhelming than I expected and we didn't stay as long as we'd like to, in retrospect. Hopefully we'll both have another chance at some point in the future to see them again.

After Musee d'Orsay, we headed towards Notre Dame. At this point we were starving, so we stopped at a cafe overlooking the Seine and ordered Croque Monsieurs and salads. The sandwiches were great, and I had a crepe de sucre to top it off. We then walked along the Seine, checking out the vendors that have the stalls with postcards and prints, and other souvenir-ish items. This one print caught both of our eyes and so Gwen and I each bought a copy of it. Then we headed over to Notre Dame, the last stop on our Paris itinerary. We walked through it and caught the quintessential Rose Window shot. But I think the whole place is beautiful, much like the rest of Paris. Even though it was pretty early at that point, we decided we'd had enough walking (over the last week our poor tootsies are pretty worn out) and so we went back to the hotel.

For our last night in Paris, we thought we'd try a different restaurant, also recommended by our uncle. This one's called "Le Bar a Huitres", the Oyster Bar. I'd wanted to try seafood in Paris, and this was highly recommended so we went. In order to not make the night too extravagant, we ordered an appetizer and entree off the "Deep Sea Meat" fixed menu, for 20 euros each. My appetizer was a seafood platter. I'll post pictures not too far off in the future, cause really, you have to see the pictures to fully understand this meal. The platter consisted of 4 oysters, 2 mussels, 2 clams, a bunch of snail shells shaped like small hermit crabs and then a ton of little tiny snails, and one prawn to top it off. The entire platter was cold, and I'm hoping (seriously crossing my fingers) that everything except the oysters was cooked. I had some rough moments, let me tell you, trying to get everything down, but I was determined to finish it all and I did! The snails were accompanied by little spears so as to get the "meat" (read, squishy grey stuff) out of the shell. The clams were the hardest to get down, but I'm proud to say that I got through the whole thing. And in fact, the hermit-crab-snails were excellent, and I was definitely not disappointed by Paris oysters.

Fortunately the main course was a bit easier to eat :). I had red gurnard, which apparently looks a bit like a catfish. It was on warm cabbage with some roasted potatoes. Gwen and I were both stuffed afterwards, and I was particularly glad that we'd splurged and gone for a whole bottle of white wine between us, since I definitely needed a push during the appetizer. ;)

We took the metro back to our hotel after since we had to get up at 4:30 today to make our Chunnel train reservation. This morning was tough, which was expected considering the early hour. We made it to the station with little difficulties and the train ride was really nice. Once we got to London, though, we had some difficulties. We arrived at London Waterloo and in order to get to Oxford, we had to take the Oxford Espress from Victoria station. So, we figured, sure no problem, we'll just take the tube to Victoria. That was easy, but we ended up in the Victoria rail station, and the Oxford Espress left from the Victoria coach station. These are two distinctly different geographical locations. After some confusion, and several directions like "go left, then left, then straight for 5 minutes", we did manage to find our way, and with the help of the wonderfully jolly English coach driver, we made it to St. Catherines unscathed!

Gwen is in love with Oxford and positively giddy. I'm also really pleased as the place is very beautiful (much like the rest of Europe) and people speak English! I got her set up with Internet and we bought her a UK SIM card for her cell, so she feels connected to the rest of the world (I know how key this is!). She's off now with her new Dutch friends apparently and I'm updating my blog, whew! Before her afternoon of orientation, we walked along High Street to find the SIM card, and some converters since what we had with us wasn't quite right, unfortunately. We stopped for lunch at a Pizza Hut of all places! It was really nice to have familiar food. :) So now, a few hours later, I'm starting to feel peckish again, and I just received a text message from her that she's on her way back.

I guess I'm off for now (if you made it all the way to the end, congratulations, I know I'm long-winded! ;))

Cheers folks!
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Paris, je suis dans l'amour

Bonjour à tous!!

I'm trying to type correctly, but bear with me since I can't STAND this keyboard.

To pick up where I left off, Friday night Gwen and I had dinner at a restaurant next to the hostel as we were just too tired to bear travelling looking for one. The pasta was the best I had in Italy...I had Penne alla Vodka (or something) and I loved it. We also split a half-liter of wine that both of us were pretty sure had been watered down. Afterwards we tried some gelato (again just down the road from our hostel) which was much better than the gelato by the Trevi Fountain...ahh the Trevi, sniff I miss you.

We just lounged and chillaxed in the common room of the hostel, which was pretty entertaining as it's a great way to meet loads of interesting people. The fun Aussie playing Oasis with the rest of the crowd singing along was one of my favourite moments...it's always cool to experience that one feature (everyone singing together) that is known worldwide. I had a couple of beers and some wine and decided to head to bed before too much damage to my liver was done...and sure enough, I made up for it on Saturday night.

Saturday morning was an early one as we were hitting the Vatican that day. We met Dustin, our guide, and since we had 6 people, we were off! I was really glad we did the Vatican with a guide cause it was pretty overwhelming...the lines, the art, the architecture. But Dustin was awesome and after confirming that there were no really religious people in our group, he incorporated quite the gay-dramatic flair in his historic story-telling. ("So Michelangelo is pissed and says to Pope Julius II, 'hey Jules, where's my fucking money?'")

Anyway, the Vatican was amazing...the Sistine Chapel is absolutely unlike anything I've ever seen and soo different than any pictures I've seen of it. The Last Judgement was way bigger than I expected and just gorgeous. Also, St. Peter's Basilica was awe-inspiring. It is huge, though it's scaled down using tricks in perspective to make it seem more welcoming (thanks Dustin!). Gwen and I rubbed St. Peter's right foot for safe travels home and to absolve some sins. The foot's actually been rubbed so much that it just looks like a boot. We were exhausted after that (about 5 hours were spent in the Vatican city) so we mailed some postcards - postal service in the Vatican city is much more efficient than in the rest of Italy - and headed straight back to the hostel for a much-needed nap.

The Yellow pub crawl was that night and we got dressed up and had a quick dinner before leaving at 8:30. Dustin (from the Vatican tour) was our pub crawl leader and again, tons of fun. It was quite the gong-show. I liked the earlier parts of the night better, as I was sober then :). We spent an hour at a pub where it was open bar and we played drinking games...pointing games, math-based games, and Dustin's choice, "it's called Chug. I say 'chug', and everyone drinks the rest of their drinks as fast as they can. Ready?". We moved to 3 other clubs after that and at the door of each one, we were given a free shot. The last one was poured into our mouths by our fearless leader. Soon after that I decided I'd had enough and Gwen and our friend Cameron (the drifter from Australia) found me a cab and put me to bed.

That brings me to Sunday morning, the most painful day-after I've had in a lo-ong time. It was travelling day and though the pub crawl had been fun, I admit I had had my share of Italy and was looking forward to Paris very much. I managed not to puke on the shuttle bus to Ciampino airport, or on the Ryanair flight to Paris Beauvais, and not even on the shuttle bus to Paris or cab to the hotel. I was very proud of myself though I suspect that I would have felt a lot better if all the toxins I'd put in my body had left more quickly. In any case, that was yesterday and today is just sooo much better.

I know Gwen's sad to leave Roma, but I am in love with Paris. Last night, Gwen and I explored Montmartre a bit, at least the area around our hotel, and had a small dinner at a nearby restaurant. The pasta was pretty good and the bread was awesome! I admit, I was a little nervous when we got to our hotel (it's rated 2 stars, which makes me think "yikes" about other hostels here...); the area is quite sketchy in Montmartre, but today restored my faith.

Today Gwen and I didn't set our alarms and slept in until 10 to allow ourselves some recovery from our wild night in Rome! We made up for it though by going straight to the Louvre for my much sought-after photo of the inverted pyramid. Then we decided that since we were already there and there had been no real lines to speak of we'd buy tickets and go through after all. I have to say I'm sooo glad we did. It was so awesome to see it all...I have so much more of an appreciation for art now than I did 10 years ago when we were last here.

After the Louvre (this time the Mona Lisa seemed much bigger to me!), we strolled down to the Eiffel Tower...and strolled and strolled and strolled. Whew! It was much further than it looked on the map! But we made it and it was breathtaking. I'd really wanted to go up since I hadn't when I was last in Europe, so we avoided the lines and took the stairs by the South Tier....ohh man, I almost feel like I've made up for all the pasta consumed in Rome. That's quite the climb that is. Even I started to feel affected by the height and even though it's made of iron, I didn't really feel safe and secure. But the view was awesome and I think it was worth it.

Safely back on the ground, Gwen and I steered ourselves towards the Champs Elysées, our last item on the day's itinerary. We explored for a bit, took a picture of the Arc de Triomphe but decided not to risk our lives crossing the roundabout that surrounds it for a closer look. We went in Louis Vuitton and oohed over Cartier. After resting our feet and sampling a glass of French red wine each, Gwen left the area and headed back to our hotel, while I explored a bit more. I went into the Paris Sephora and bought myself a makeup bag as it didn't seem ridiculously overpriced like the rest of items (all pretty much the same numbered amounts as in Canada, only they're in euros...yikes).

I'm pretty tuckered out now, but very happy and satisfied that we used the day wisely. Tomorrow it's the Musée d'Orsay and Notre Dame. Tonight we're going to try a restaurant recommended by our uncle, the food connoisseur.

Ok, I realize I'm addicted to rambling and lengthy posts and I would apologize except that I'm glad to have a full recounting of our adventures abroad.

Au revoir mes amis!
Erin
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Posting from Rome

So, my European adventure has begun. This is my second day in Rome (first full day) and I'm pretty tired after doing a ton of walking today. Daily recaps:

Thursday, September 21, 2006:
Arrived at FCO airport around 12:15pm. Found my luggage, bought a ticket on the Leonardo Express, just missed the first train, but caught the next one at 1:05. Gwen and I had been texting each other like crazy since she arrived the day before. She met me on the platform at the Rome Termini and led the way back to our hostel, The Yellow.

It's a decent hostel, but if it's rated the 5th in the world, I shudder to think what some of the crappier ones are like. We have beds and sheets in a dorm we share with 4 others. We put our stuff in the room (Gwen had been in a different one the previous night) and then immediately grabbed some lunch at the Pizzeria next to the hostel. I had my first taste of authentic Italian pizza and beer...pretty good stuff, though I have to admit, I wasn't blown away.

We decided to hit the Colosseum first, and walked our way over. It took about 20 minutes - it's weird, I'm having a hard time judging time and distances when walking here. Some things seem really close and others far away, but we walk everywhere, which is free and good exercise, so it's all good.

The Colosseum was magnificent, and though we didn't go in (crazy lines), we did take a few pictures (including some with some Italians dressed like Roman gladiators...we got conned into paying for them and the skeezeballs kissed our cheeks like crazy, yuccch!). After exploring the area around the Colosseum a bit more, we decided to head back to the hostel.

When we got there, we met 2 more people in the room, a really nice Australian girl, Jess (who we found out was 18, much to our surpise - she looks about 21) and this Israeli guy, Tom. He seemed nice but has since turned out to be a bit of a jerk. We chatted for a bit and then went to the lounge area of the hostel to grab a beer. The 4 of us decided to eventually go out to this restaurant near the Trevi Fountain for dinner. It was recommended by the guy at the hostel desk, and he said it'd take about 20 minutes to walk there. When we went back up to the room to get ready, we met a new guy in our room, an Irishman named David. Then the 6th person came back, a girl named Natalia from Argentina that Gwen and I had actually noticed on the street earlier that day. Everyone was game to try this restaurant so we headed out.

The walk was definitely more than 20 minutes, though part of that was because we didn't really know where we were going. David had stayed at the hostel a week before and had been to the Trevi Fountain so we made him the leader and eventually we made it there...much to my relief! I was totally jet-lagged and exhausted and just wanted to eat and then go to sleep. When we made it to the Trevi Fountain area, we realized we didn't have the address of the restaurant! I kept my eyes peeled though, and noticed it as we found our way to actually see the Fountain. :)

Ahh, the Fountain. It's breathtaking...by far my favourite site in Rome so far (we've also seen the Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps, the Piazza Venezia with a monument I can't remember the name of right now, and the Teatro de Marcello..along with various other Piazzas and fountains and stuff). I was totally blown away by the beauty of the architecture, along with the water and the lighting - it was about 9:00pm.

As we were all starving, we went back to the restaurant, Il Chianti, but it was very busy and there were 6 of us. It was clear we wouldn't get a table there. Instead we stopped at a restaurant a bit out of the way of the touristy area, hoping it'd be better quality. The food was ok (I had home-made spaghetti with tomato and basil), but the service was TERRIBLE! We were all starving and I was getting dizzy, I was so tired.

Fortunately Gwen could see I needed to get rest, so right after dinner, we grabbed a quick taste of gelato (again, it was alright, but nothing out-of-this-world), and headed home. I immediately changed into my pj's and went to sleep.

All in all, it was a fun evening with neat people and great conversations. We all exchanged email addresses as David was only there the one night, and the others will be leaving at different times. We also snapped a few photos together.

Friday, September 22, 2006:

Gwen and I set our alarms for 8:30am so we could go on a tour of the Vatican, arranged through our hostel. We got up, showered and made it to the meeting area with about 10 minutes to spare. Our guide arrived but because there was only 3 of us, the tour was cancelled - we're trying to go again tomorrow. So instead of going to see the Vatican today, Gwen and I decided to do what we had planned for Saturday, which was go see the designer shops and boutiques, and maybe see the Trevi fountain again (this time to throw in some coins). We grabbed breakfast at a cafe and walked over to the shopping district.

On the way, we found the Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps. We walked down them, taking pictures, and also bought "an original watercolor" from a street vendor (the same "original" we saw at another vendor a couple hours later!)...we got try out our bargaining skills and managed to buy it for €10 instead of the marked price of €25. The Spanish Steps were great to see and we really enjoyed coming across them before continuing on to see the designers.

There were so many designer shops, it was so awesome to see them all in one place! I just loved it and had Gwen take my picture by the Prada boutique. I had wanted to see Prada, Gucci, Versace, and Dolce and Gabbana. I saw all those, as well as Dior, Fendi, Bulgari, and many others.

We then stopped at another cafe just to rest our feet and grab some water and then headed to the Piazza Venezia, where there's supposed to be the best view of Rome. We climbed this monument (forgotten the name) and took pictures of these awesome statues and architecture...I suck at describing them, you'll have to wait until the pics are up). The view was spectacular indeed and we found this war museum inside the monument. It's quite sad how much we both don't know about history, especially Italian history.

We had another sit-down at the cafe around the back of the monument and I enjoyed a beer while we both read for 15 minutes and rested our feet. It was about 1:00 pm at this point and we were getting hungry, so we decided to try lunch at Il Chianti back near the Trevi Fountain. We had a nice lunch there (again, slow service, but not nearly as bad as the night before), I had home-made pasta with cheese and pepper and Gwen had a salad, as she felt like her body was severly lacking vegetables!

We visited the fountain again, threw in the coins, making our wishes and decided to walk back to the hostel for a nap! It's been a lo-ot of walking so far! We stopped at a couple street vendors on the way as Gwen was looking for a fake Burberry bag, but ended up not getting anything, as she's decided they look TOO fake.

Gwen's resting now in the hostel and I'm finishing checking my email and posting this at an Internet cafe not too far from the hostel. It's been fun so far, my favourite things have been seeing the shops, and visiting the Trevi Fountain (more so at night, but it's beautiful at any time).

We're planning on hitting a pub crawl on Saturday night, arranged by the hostel, and don't know what we're going to do tonight yet. After the Vatican tour and pub crawl all on Saturday, we'll be leaving Rome on Sunday, headed for Paris. I can't wait to see all the sights there!

Anyway, this is costing like €5 or something, so I should stop. I'll try to update again soon, so stay tuned for more tales of European adventures!

Ciao!
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Ok, I am a bad l-j user. I suck at posting at regular, frequent intervals. But, really, I think that's better cause it means I'm busy living my life.

In the past 6 weeks, I've finished one course, spent many, many hours in front of my computer trying my damndest to finish really hard assignments, dealt with stupid stupid tenants and shitty house situations, watched my baby sister graduate (sniffle!), saw some friends I hadn't seen in awhile, met an Italian boy, and spent more time in Markham than in Waterloo.

It's been busy. I've got the official countdown up on my msn display name, counting down the days until I'm done school. (44 left!)

This weekend should be fun - it's the Canada Day long weekend so naturally I'm spending it in the States! Mom and I are going to Seattle for the weekend (from Thursday until Monday) to do some scouting. Checking out the different neighbourhoods, meeting with our real estate agent and checking out various condos, and shopping, of course! ;)

I'm really looking forward to it! Anyway, the library is closing down, so I have to hurry to finish this up. Even though I didn't have much work to do, I still spent the majority of it in the DC library, mostly because if I'm stuck in Waterloo (a shitty attitude, I know, but I can't help feeling that way), I feel like I should take advantage of my time here and be studious, but also because the library is air-conditioned. My room in Waterloo is not. Fortunately it's slightly sub-ground, so it's not torturously hot.

Ok, they're really starting to kick us out now. Yay Seattle tomorrow! I can't wait!
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Great weekend!

It's Sunday night and I've had a great weekend. It was Mother's Day today, and Gwen and I bought Mom some perfumed body lotion she wanted, a CD, and a candlestick from a collection of China (?) she likes. Then we went with her to Bayview Village and spent the day shopping with her.

Ok, Oh My God. I'm writing this entry in the commercials of Grey's Anatomy Season Finale part 1 (it's a 3-hour season finale, starting tonight - Sunday - and continuing with the two-hour conclusion tomorrow night at 9pm)....and WOW...so intense.

Ok, back to the entry (I'm not going to give anything away from the finale, for those who want to watch it on their own time). So, I had to drop Gwen at the train station for her 5 o'clock train and then I went back to Bayview Village and had a nice dinner with Mom at Oliver and Bonocini, which was awesome.

Saturday was my family birthday party and it was great!! It was the first time it really felt like my birthday. We had a meal I got to choose (grilled Spanish-style shrimp on a tomato salsa, oops...back to Grey's....hooooooly shit, this show is nuts!!!...ok, back to the menu...then fresh oysters with champagne, then grilled BBQ'd vegetables, Tex-Mex chicken on the BBQ, Tex-Mex rice with vegetables and a green salad with my favourite dressing. Not to mention the strawberry-rhubarb pie for dessert! YUM!) and great conversation with family and friends. It was a really great time. And just before that, Mom and Gwen and I saw Mission Impossible 3. It was alright. A little cruel at times, but exciting.

And then on Friday, I didn't do much but pick up Gwen from the train station...back to Grey's...OH MY GOD....I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS SHOW...
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that was me taking a few moments to process it...ok, if you don't watch Grey's Anatomy, you have no idea what you are missing. Wow. Show's over for today, I have to wait 22 hours until I can find out what the hell is going to happen! Augh!

So yeah, Friday was low-key, but painful because of Thursday. Thursday night I went to Guelph to visit my friend Jamey. We had a great time! I haven't had a chance to really talk to him in ages, and we both had fun.

(ok, I just spent the last hour chatting online and getting ready for bed...I swear I'm going to finish this entry soon...)

We went out for sushi and then we hemmed and hawed trying to decide between going out to a movie or renting one and finally decided to rent Narnia. We drank almost 4 bottles of wine between the two of us (!) and fell asleep before finishing the end of the movie. Fortunately on Friday night, I rented it and watched it with Mom and Gwen, so at least I did manage to see the end. Good movie, by the way. So yeah, Friday morning was the teensiest bit painful...I don't think I've drank that much wine since the infamous wine night in Waterloo two years ago. It definitely wasn't that bad, but still a rough day on Friday.

So yeah, ultimately, I had a really fun weekend. I probably should have studied more for my 30% multiple choice test in my Intro to Human Sexuality course on Tuesday, but hopefully I'll have a few hours to study tomorrow for it. Anyway, off to bed for me (it's 12:04 am). Good night!