The Blog

Welcome to my Blog! I hope you enjoy reading about what I am up to!! =D

October 31, 2010

THE LONGEST HAIRCUT I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE!!.. plus, a few more "Londony" excursions!

Hello Hello!

Sorry it has been awhile since my last post...I have been SOOO BUSY!

Well, I guess I should start off by explaining the part of my title about haircuts...!
I don't know if any of you know this, but my hair can be quite the problem for me..It grows fast, it grows thick, and I really really like shorter hair... Those combinations don't mesh well, and so I was in need of a haircut.

The problem with needing a haircut in London is that the majority of the salons charge 20 to 25 pounds for a simple haircut.. Do you know how much that is?? thats around 30-40 dollars!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?... I sure couldn't. However, the bargain-hunter I am got a great deal. I ended up finding a hair cut at this place called Toni & Guy's Academy for 5 pounds!!

But, as you are probably thinking, with cheap stuff there has to include a catch..

Well I will tell you what the catch was... It was SITTING in a chair for TWO & a HALF HOURS, it was SPORADICALLY moving my head to the RIGHT and to the LEFT and UP and DOWN probably about 20-30 times, it was ACQUIRING a SORE, STIFF neck & back, it was getting my haircut by a STUDENT, and it was NOT GETTING the haircut I was really looking for!
It was pretty ridiculous...but I think the most ridiculous part was just how long it took! It was pretty sad when I was one of the last (out of 15) people in the room getting my hair cut when the majority of the "models" were woman. Pretty pretty sad. It is also pretty sad that it took that long when my professional one at home takes around 7 minutes.. Janet = AWESOME! and finally, it is pretty sad when my mom (another learner) cuts my hair and takes around 20 minutes... and it turns out great! haha!

But you know what..thats ok, and we always have to look on the bright side.
I mean, the person who cut my hair was really pretty, and she was 19 years old! So, its not like I had a bad view while I was sitting in the chair for 2 1/2 hours! =D and, my hair cut was 75 % cheaper than if I got it somewhere else! I would say, my bargain-hunting abilities require a round of applause. wouldn't you agree? =D

That night, the night of my haircut, a few of us opted to go to Avenue Q because we were starting to have musical withdrawals. I am not sure if any of you have heard of this musical, but it is very intriguing in the fact that it is done with puppets…I KNOW! Isn’t that strange…I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go or not, but the people I went with convinced me, and I ended up loving it! It had this sort of crude humor that was just hilarious… For example, they had this song about how “Everybody’s a little bit racist..” as well as others…some of which were kinda inappropriate, but hilarious!!

A few days later, Carlin and I decided that we were a little bored…so we decided that the banqueting house was our best bet…It was pretty much a big room with a great…scratch that…AWESOME ceiling! It was pretty incredible. Not too much to see, but it was pretty relaxing inside…

I think the ceiling had kind of a dreamy effect on me… It was the perfect place to take a nap! But…instead I decided against that…took a few pictures of myself, in a mirror, with the ceiling…kinda weird I know!

And then we went on a little adventure. We found a massive ship, a few pubs that I would like to go in in the future, and a great church! It turned out to be quite an eventful day.

The next day, a group of us went to see a theater performance of “The Mousetrap..” I was really excited about it…but, let me tell you….it didn’t live up to my standards… In fact, it was kinda boring, and not as thrilling as the summary about it says it should be. However….I got to test out MY NEW SUIT!! And…that was the highlight of my night!! I even found out that my suit coat allows me to sneak things in to things..…like footlong Subway sandwiches!!! =D But I ended up not eating it, because I didn’t want to disturb everybody because of the crunchy sound that was made every time I bit into it. I shouldn’t have gotten it toasted…darn!

Later on that week, we made a trek up to Windsor castle. Not much to say, except…it was a pretty epic castle, and they didn’t even allow us to take any pictures of the inside…talk about dumb! However, I managed to sneak one of the queens doll house…and this is no ordinary doll house, its MASSIVE! Take a look.

I also got a picture with this guard that was stationed outside a wall…not sure what he was guarding, but he sure was guarding. I was kinda terrified as I was taking my picture with him because I was kinda close, and he wasn’t moving…at all! I thought he was just going to jump to try to scare me…but evidently he was a nice guard!

Our next “London Gang” excursion together was in the town of Oxford. Talk about AWESOME! We got a walking tour of the town, and…. I am actually kinda mad about it, because now I want to transfer to Oxford University…cause it was the greatest! No, I’m just kidding, I love St. Johns/St. Bens even if Oxford was pretty darn sweet! I got my picture taken in St. John’s College though, which is a part of Oxford University. Take a look at the amazing atmosphere.

I tell you what, as loud as it was outside on the streets of Oxford, as soon as you went inside the walls of any of the colleges of Oxford University, you couldn’t hear a sound! Kinda sweet actually! Just a little side note… - In Oxford, we saw this awesome taxi! If any of you know anything about Chemistry, you will notice that the Periodic table is painted all around the outside of it! AWESOME! Take a look!

The next thing a few of us did was go to a Football “Soccer” game at Wimbley stadium..

I am not to much of a sports fan, but I think that they are starting to dawn on me…it was a great experience, even though the game ended in a tie and neither team won. Darn! You would be surprised at how “into the games” British people get…It was pretty great! I heard some crazy combinations of words that I haven’t heard before in my 20 years of living…Some of them I hope I will forget someday! Haha!

If any of you have been to Kew gardens, you would know that it is probably one of the prettiest gardens in England ever!! Words can’t express how beautiful it was, however, I hope that some of my pictures will…I sort of went a little picture crazy!

Musicals, Musicals, Musicals!! Boy, do I love musicals! The next musical we went to was Wicked. All I have to say is that I just LOVE musicals! Let me tell you that these actors/actresses had quite the vocals and it was impressive. Incredible…I just wish I could teleport all of you to London to see it, cause it was great! Oh, and I got to try out my suit again!! YAY! One of the greatest purchases I have ever made!

My next post....which will be posted in a few days will be about my recent (last week) holiday break to Faro, Portugal!! =D


October 03, 2010

The WHOLE month of September...GONE, with a snap of the finger.. !

Hey Everybody!

It is so hard to believe that it has ALREADY been a little more than a month since I landed here in London, England. I sure have been experiencing quite the experience and can't wait to see what else I can tackle and include in my abroad...resume! Fun stuff!.

I would like to start off by telling you about an exhibit I saw for free at the London Scoop! Its called Tarnished exhibition of devastating power. I guess this is the environmentalist part of myself coming out, as this is quite frankly an exhibit showing mans destruction of the Earth and its resources.
I just thought it would be neat to show you this, because I was quite shocked! and I hope that we all continue to strive to become more sustainable in our daily living!

Taken directly from the website ...check it out! Tarnished Earth is a dramatic street gallery of photographs by Jiri Rezac telling the story of one of the world's biggest ecological disasters.

Chief Al Lameman of Beaver Lake Cree, a First Nations community in northeast Alberta.

Aerial view of the Syncrude upgrader and tailings pond in the boreal forest north of Fort McMurray.

Clumps of trees become isolated amid the destruction of the landscape around them.

Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SagD) tar sands operations in boreal forest, north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Tar sands extraction in northern Alberta disrupts the forest habitat of threatened species and contributes to global climate change.

Canada's boreal forest is one of the world's largest intact forests. In Alberta, this rich wilderness of forest is now under threat from the oil industry.

Emma Michael, of the Athabasca Chipenwyan First Nation, at her home in Fort Chipewyan, northern Alberta. She is witnessing the destruction of her ancestral lands by tar sands companies.

Tailings lakes, north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, are filled with toxic wastewater and oily sludge from tar sands processing.

A 'bituman' scarecrow designed to keep migratory birds from landing in the toxic sludge at the tailings pond of the Syncrude upgrader plant north of Fort McMurray. Behind the haunting figure, smoke plumes rise up out of the plant.

Open cast mining pits lay waste to an area that was once rich boreal forest.

Aerial view of the Syncrude Aurora tar sands mine in the boreal forest north of Fort McMurray.

Tar sands are deposits of sand and clay, saturated with water and a low quality oil known as bitumen.

Toxic waste from the extraction of oil from tar sands devastates boreal forest, northern Alberta.

Already visible from space, mining for the tar sands of Alberta has been called the largest industrial project on earth.

That night, a group of us were able to go to the Ain't Nothin' But the Blues Bar...and I wasn't disappointed AT ALL! In fact, it was pretty incredible. There was free music playing by a band called Jimmy C and the Blues Dragons... Quite the name huh? haha! They were quite the group, and I even got a picture taken with them! ha! It was great, and that blues bar hasn't seen the last of Matthew Semerad!

One of the palaces I recently visited was Hampton Court. It was probably the prettiest palace I have been to yet. Not because of the aesthetics of the building itself, but because of the landscape surrounding it. Some crazy trees were a part of the landscape and I swear... these trees were unreal! They were like giant mushrooms, and I probably looked like a nerd as I stood under them trying to examine the inner parts because I have never ever seen trees like them before. The gardens at this place were quite the treat...take a look!

This next point....was definitely a highlight!! I GOT TO SEE SISTER ACT : The musical!! YAY! It was so wonderful I just couldn't stop movin and a groovin in my seat!! Have you all seen Sister Act?? the movie? cause if you haven't you are missing out! All I have to say is that if the rest of the musicals I see while I am in London are as good as Sister Act was...I will be in HEAVEN! LITERALLY! =D

Last week, the group had an opportunity to go to a Celebration of the St. John's Bible in Words and Music Event in this TERRIFIC building called St. Martin in the Field with the reception taking place in a GREAT place called the Crypt! A picture of the entrance is was pretty cool!. So...I TOOK IT! and it was excellent! Beautiful music, free wine, a chance to meet (and get the autograph) of the Chief Calligrapher Donald Jackson, and a chance to attend a pretty high class event. (although I didn't know it was so prestigious until I got there..) I kinda felt out of place in my flip-flops...ooops, but at least I had on a nice sweater and a collared shirt underneath that sweater! right? =D

For those of you who don't know what the St. John's Bible is...well, here is a brief explanation.

In 1998, Saint John's Abbey and University (in Collegeville, MN - where I go to school) commissioned renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson to produce a hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible. This work of art unites an ancient Benedictine tradition with the technology and vision of today, illuminating the Word of God for a new millennium.

Because I couldn't have said it better myself, those words were taken directly from the website . Check it out!

A few nights later... A group of us guys went out and checked out the greatest street ever! It was a street filled with music shops...of all kinds! I was kinda disappointed though, because there wasn't a piano shop... :( only a keyboard shop. Thats ok though, because it was pretty neat to see! If any of you have been to London before, the street was called Denmark street..Anybody heard of it?

The day ended by eating out at the FIRST Hard Rock Cafe ever built! It was absolutely positively DELICIOUS....but I think that my family would die at how much I paid...but you know what, I needed that steak, I have been incredibly conservative so far, and I will never go there again! (can you tell I am trying to make myself feel better? =D =D) haha!

It was pretty cool though.

A few days ago, a group of us went to a Turkish mosque for one of my classes that deals with Islam. It was pretty neat to see! Never been inside a mosque before. Quite the experience. No chairs, no shoes, etc. Kinda different than what I am used to! A few pictures are posted below.
We ended the night by eating a Turkish meal..I had some chicken and it was pretty tasty. Forgot to take a picture of it, oops! And, we ate in our own little cubby, sitting down. very weird very weird. but relaxing!

Last night, we all watched the Johnnie/Tommie game on our computer...It was a great night..except, we lost. So that is the end of the Johnnie/Tommie game, because I don't feel like talking about it anymore.. :)(: