Saturday, December 31, 2016

Europe: Den Haag, Netherlands and Clair's Arrival

We woke up to a text saying that Clair(not Claire from England) was arriving soon! We quickly tried to clean up the room to make room for her. Once she arrived we hit up the grocery store for real food. We made breakfast and headed to Smokey's, while Clair took a quick nap.

We then went back to the Student Hotel to pick up Clair and Nin. We walked to Grote Markt, which is like a small town square surrounded by bars. I was introduced to La Chouffe, which is my favorite beer! We hit up Septembers for a few drinks and Victoria introduced us to bitterballs, which is like a deep-fried meatball that are famous in the Netherlands. 

When we decided to head home we made it only a few hundred feet before deciding we needed another drink and stopped at The American Bar. After drinking we got some chips(fries) and hung outside for a while, before heading back inside to make a pizza. It was a low key day, but was much needed.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Europe: England to The Netherlands

Alex, Abbi, and John picked us up in the morning. They had to bring two cars in order to fit all of us, plus Whitney's suitcase! It was so sad having to say goodbye to everyone. We were treated so well in England! Whitney had to pay 70 british pounds, because her suitcase was so overweight. Our plane kept getting delayed, because of the fog in Amsterdam. It was so foggy when we finally landed! I thought we were still high up in the clouds until I felt our plane hit the ground. I was so impressed with the pilot! Our train then got delayed, because of an issue with the track!

We finally made it to The Student Hotel in Den Haag where Victoria lived this past semester. We unpacked, tried to figure out the sleeping situation, and got ready to head out for the night. Victoria brought us to Smokey's her favorite coffeeshop! We hung out and talked about life and our time in England.

 We then walked to the grocery store to stock up on food, which was not the best idea in our state. We managed to cook dinner and get ourselves settled in Victoria's dorm room. Travel days are always exhausting and it was nice to head to bed somewhat early.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Europe: Manchester, England

We woke up surprisingly early and Lisa picked us up at the house.
She offered to drive us to the train station in Doncaster for we didn't have to take the bus. 
She kept bringing up how much fun she had with us and how well we fit in with her friends and family. When we got on the train there were no free seats! When we tried to sit down an Asian couple told us they had reserved those seats so we had to go back to standing. 

When we arrived in Manchester we found a cute cafe with wifi.
We had to find out how close we were to some of the places we wanted to see.
The one downside to traveling abroad is that your phone doesn't work unless you have wifi or pay a ridiculous amount on an international card. We should really learn how to read good ole' fashioned maps and go old school. 
Travel tip: Download google maps for that exact reason mentioned above. You can download a map of the city beforehand and it works without needing wifi. It makes your life so much easier!

Our first big stop was Affleck's, which is a giant indoor market that has alternative and quirky shops.
It's a hipsters mall essentially!
The place was like a giant maze with the funkiest stories and the walls were all painted with crazy things. I felt like I had gone back in time to the 80's grunge scene.
I highly recommend checking it out if you ever find yourself in Manchester!

We then walked to Manchester's Gay Village on Canal Street.
It's more of a night scene so not many places were open, but there were some cool things to see. 
Victoria and I also stumble upon China Towns almost everywhere we travel and Manchester was no exception.

We randomly came across Manchester Town Hall, which was a beautiful building!
The architecture in Europe is unbelievable. 

We ate at a hipster BBQ place and our waitress just happened to be from Los Angeles.
She was really sweet to us and said it was nice to hear American accents. 
She suggested we head back to the Northern Quarter to get a drink. 
The bar we stopped at was really cozy, but the drinks weren't that great. 

Abbi and Alex picked us up at the train station in Doncaster.
We stopped at a grocery store to get food, because we were starving. 
After we finished packing our stuff, we went inside to hang out with Jaime and Claire.
Claire was so hungover!
We watched The InBetweeners, which is a British comedy show to end our day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Europe: Christmas Party

Alex and Abbi had to head to Leeds to celebrate Christmas with their dad on the 26th.
We didn't have anything going on so John and Lisa invited us to one of their friends Christmas parties. Victoria and I always find ourselves partying with older adults! We walked over to Brad and Kate's house with Claire and Jaime. We drank Old Mout Cider(Lime and Kiwi being my favorite flavor) on the walk over there. If you ever go to England drink the hard cider! I have never tasted better cider. 
All the adults were drinking and dancing in the kitchen!
We were treated like celebrities and everyone kept calling us, "The Americans."
Apparently, a few days earlier one of them saw us walking down the street and called John and Lisa to tell them that they had spotted "The Americans." 
A 98 year old man kept feeding Whitney and I shots, because we wanted to get "The Americans" drunk. How can you say, "No" to a cute old man?
A little girl asked me if I was a real life american...
The garage was the ultimate man cave and we spent a lot of time out there.
My favorite part of the night was everyone dancing and letting loose. 
Claire brought a giant pitcher and kept filling it up with a random mixture of alcohol and pouring everyone shots. She was the ultimate shot queen! At one point in the night I was running away from her, because I couldn't handle anymore shots. She was handing out shots even when she could barely stand herself and her attempts at pouring shots left more liquor on the floor than in the glasses.

At one point we were standing outside with Baz, Bailey, and Jaime talking to them about their sex lives. It was good insight into our future when we are old and married, except we kinda re-confirmed we didn't want to get married. Baz tried to teach me how to dance and that failed. I also tried to go on a hover board, but was too drunk to get anywhere. 

There were kids running around everywhere, while their parents got wasted.
It was great.
It reminded me of my childhood with my friend Katie.
Her parents were always throwing parties and we were always running around oblivious to the shenanigans the adults were getting themselves into.
At one point some of the guys were writing dirty things into the dirt on Kate and Brad's cars and blaming it on the kids. 
Whitney headed home early and Victoria and I stuck around even after John and Lisa left.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Europe: Christmas Day in England

Josh woke us up bright and early to open presents.
Alex's family was so sweet and got all three of us a bag of stuff with things like Yorkshire tea, Lush products, chocolate, and beer. They even got me a cat keychain! Lisa brought out the mimosa's after we finished our tea. Lisa bought herself, Alex, and Abbi matching dresses, which was adorable even though Alex didn't think it was. Alex's grandparents arrived and they were so sweet! All the girls piled into Abbi's room to do our make-up for Chrismas dinner. 
Before we ate we all stood around the table and pulled what they called "crackers". They popped open and revealed paper crowns and tiny trinkets. Everyone wore their crown during dinner. The dinner was pretty similar to an American christmas dinner with a few additional things like a veg jelly spread that you put on bread with brie cheese and yorkshire pudding.
After dinner we headed to the living room and watched The Queen's Speech. 
Everyone fell asleep at some point! 
I called my parents and Brennan for a short period of time, while Alex decided to test out her new drink mixing set. Her cocktail creations were so good! Josh decided to pull out his Pie Face game, which was not fun. Alex, Whitney, Victoria, and I decided to play Fuck Pyramid, but changed the name to just pyramid for Josh could join. 
We wanted John and Lisa to join our drinking games and they actually did!
We found out that they were master drink chuggers. After Fuck pyramid we played circle of death. We completely forgot that the game "Never Have I Ever" was involved. Poor Alex had to find out way too many things about her parents because of that.  At one point I just started to eat the leftover turkey in the fridge and the next day John mentioned only finding a carcass left. Oops! 

We all got so drunk.
John and Lisa loved us so much that they invited us to their friends party the next day. 
Victoria kept shouting, "Get out of my mom's car!" 
I'm sure she woke up the entire neighborhood on our walk home.

This was easily one of my favorite Christmas days!
Alex's family went all out for us and really made us feel apart of the family. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Europe: Christmas Eve

We surprisingly dragged ourselves out of bed around noon after our night out in Doncaster. Whitney was the most hungover and struggled most of the day. We walked over to Alex's house to watch Christmas movies. It's a tradition to go to the pub on Christmas Eve so after getting ourselves put together we headed over. All the kids were running around and the adults were mingling and getting drunk. Lisa was keeping track of Santa's location so all the kids were running up to her. At one point I went outside with Victoria to smoke and a few of the dads joined us. They were telling us stories about their travels and talking about Trump. It was really nice! We ended the night back at Alex's house watching Love Actually and drinking champagne. Lisa was so funny and was updating us about drama in her friend group. We decided to spend the night so we could wake up and open presents right away with them. It was a good Christmas Eve surrounded by amazing people. I also think I want to make the pub tradition part of my future Christmas Eve's.
Santa and his reindeer's food

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Europe: Night out in Doncaster

After our day in Leeds we got ready for our night out in Doncaster.
All the adults were warning us about how sketchy the clubs in Doncaster are.
Jamie and Claire(the people who were letting us stay in their guest house) were having a Christmas Eve Eve party. They kept coming to bring us shots as we were getting ready! We finally joined the party only to find their friend Baz running around in a mankini. Further proof that even if you're an adult you can still have a good time. 

We partied with them, until our cab arrived to take us to Doncaster.
We were already so drunk!
Alex, Abbi, Victoria, Whitney, and I all piled into the cab.
Victoria and I kept calling Alex and Abbi's mom a MILF as she walked back into the house. 
The first club we went to was called Frank & Steins. 
They were playing Christmas music!
At one point Victoria and I found ourselves in a bathroom stall talking for 30 minutes. When we reunited with the group everyone was so worried about where we had been. So we lied and said that we had also been looking for them the entire time. Oops. 

The next club we went to was called Kooke's and it had two venues inside. 
They had these giant plastic beakers filled with shots so we all bought one. 
We danced our butts off, made numerous trips to the bathroom, and hunted down so many cigarettes in the smoking area. 
Whitney got so drunk and almost started a fight with a random guy. 
Abbi ended up puking in the middle of the dance floor, got kicked out, and somehow made her way back inside after recovering. We were all hot messes having the time of our lives.

At 4am we finally decided to get a cab and head home.
Amelia was running around without shoes on and ended up cutting her foot.
It took forever to find a cab and I was so thankful when we finally did!

We did run into a lot of sketchy guys and there was cocaine everywhere, but besides that we didn't find Doncaster to be that bad. We had a ton of fun and everyone was getting along so well. It was one of my favorite nights!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Europe: Leeds, England

The next day we met Alex at the bus stop and got to sit in the front seat on the top of the double decker bus(aka: we were front of the bus wankers). I don't think I'll ever get use to driving on the opposite side of the road! We then had to catch the train heading to Leeds.
Leeds was my first big European city that I got to explore and it didn't disappoint!
We went to a few thrift stores, had lunch at Wetherspoons (Spoons), and walked around the outdoor mall, which wasn't like a mall at all. I also got to see my first red telephone booth!

We then met up with Alex's dad, step-mom, and half-sister Millie. Millie told us that she doesn't want to turn 10 or 11, because she doesn't want to get the "boobs". I almost died when she said that. We went to a bar that opened in the 1700s and had yummy ciders! England has the best ciders by the way. I feel in love with Old Mout Ciders, especially the Kiwi and Lime one! 

After saying goodbye to Alex's family we went to the Alchemist, which is a fancy cocktail bar.
My drink was made in a round-bottom flask, heated up on a bunsen burner, and dry ice made it steam up. It tasted good on top of looking cool!

On the bus back to Finningly we met some Mormon ministries from Utah. I was tempted to ask if they have seen The Book of Mormon on Broadway, but I didn't. 
Leeds was a fun city and I'm glad I got to experience it!
The day wasn't over yet though...