Kelley Blankenship
University of Worcester, England

Reflections on my time in Worcester so far:
  • I find myself a terrible chef here. Back home I consider myself a decent cook, but here I don't cook, I just eat. It's not that the food is difficult to work with, or that I don't like it.  I simply just can't cook here. But at the moment, I'm ok with that. 
  • The student life at Uni. of Worcester parties... all the time. There is physically no way to keep up. 
  • Worcester for the first month and a half = cloudy. Worcester in spring = sunny (most days). 
  • Naps are my friend :)
  • People say "Cheers" instead of "Thank you"
  • Being an international student gets you lots of free stuff on Wednesday nights. 
  • Always get your books early in the library. If you don't, they will be gone. 
  • I don't trust the snack machine in the library. It stole 70p from me. 
  • The best chocolate is the Cadbury Bournville dark chocolate bar. Unfortunately, it's also expensive. So when I'm short on cash, I go for a KitKat Chunky. Different, but equally delicious. 
  • The Worcester News posters make for good (cheap) decorations for the kitchen. 
  • You must get in to Tramps nightclub before midnight... or else you pay £6 or something crazy like that. 
  • Running around the horse race track is nice.
  • Theme parks are on a much smaller scale as opposed to the US, but still entertaining and relatively cheap :) 
  • I swore up and down that I wouldn't eat at McDonalds... until I realized that it's the only place decent open past 10pm.
There are many other things that I could add to this list, but one of more recent thoughts that I've been having is that everything feels very normal now. I went through the first two months or so feeling a bit out of place and homesick, but now I'm not really sure what it's going to be like when I go back home. (Probably a bit of reverse culture shock.) Everything (well almost everything) feels so normal now. I have a regular grocery store. I know what food I want at that grocery store. I know my way around Worcester (within walking distance). I know my way around campus. I know how to read the train schedules. I know how to find cheap travel deals online! I know the lingo. I have a group of friends. AND I'm completely OK with people driving on the left. Everything seems normal. Finally. :) 
"Where ever you go, go with all your heart."
 
 
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Kelley Blankenship
University of Worcester, England

Wow! What a weekend! Let me just say that the Irish know how to do St. Patrick's Day!

My weekend started off on Friday morning with a very early wake up call to make it to the Worcester train station by 6:59am.  Tamara and I practically walked like zombies through the cool morning air, but we made it just in time to catch our train to Birmingham. After an hour on the train, we made it to the airport! Woohoo! I remember being very excited that we were actually going to Dublin! Ah! Everything ran smoothly with the exception that Tamara almost had to pay £50 because they said her carry on wouldn't fit in the little measuring thing.  Let me just say that Ryanair is a pain-in-the-behind when it comes to your carry on. They're crazy. Anyway, Tamara didn't have to pay because we squished her bag in, but then it was a bit of a struggle to get it back out :)


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After a very short 45 minute flight, we landed in Dublin!!! Tamara and I took a bus to the city centre, ate a small lunch and then met up with her friend Chris, who we were staying with for the weekend, and the rest of the day we went exploring around the city... in the pouring rain I might add. Despite the rain, it was so much fun! Dublin is such a nice city and it was totally decked out for St. Patrick's Day, so there was green everywhere!


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Saturday morning we all slept in a bit because we had gone to a party the night before at another friend's flat in the city.  Chris made a nice English breakfast that was delicious! We then painted up for the St. Paddy's Day festivities! The first one of the day was the parade! I must say that it was one of the strangest parades that I've ever seen.  There were people on floats saying things like "Dream with your eyes open!!" in really creepy voices, a guy dressed as Dracula, and a giant rhino in a wheelchair....?  Despite some of the strange acts floating down the parade, it was so much fun! We had trouble finding a place to stand and ended up having to walk quite a ways to find a place to stand, but we ended up in a great spot! After the parade we popped in a Japanese restaurant for some lunch and then rode the bus back to our flat for a nice power nap. :)


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The real fun began when we decided to make our way back in the city to the area known as The Temple Bar. There is an an actual pub called 'The Temple Bar', but the area carries the same name.  I've never seen so many crazy drunk people in my life.  I've also never seen so much crap on the ground. haha. There were police officers (called Garda in Ireland), but they weren't really doing anything.  We ended up meeting up with a bunch of French people that were friends with Chris and hung out with them for the rest of the night. The plan was to go on a pub crawl, but that wasn't really possible because of the amount of people that were actually in the pubs. We found one pub that we could fit in and stayed there for the rest of the night. It was so much fun!



 
 
Kelley Blankenship
University of Worcester, England

This morning started out pretty terrible, not going to lie. The gloomy weather seemed to play well with how I was feeling... a little ill, bored, and stressed. But as if God himself was listening to my horrible attitude this morning, He decided to brighten my day with a few things, one of them being the sun. Literally as the sun (finally) came out, I entered into a much needed skype session with Mum. Seeing my pitiful state and listening to my pity party, Mum gave me her motherly advice and told me that I had to get out and do something and give her a full report by this evening! So... I did! I remembered that I really needed to get a hair cut, so I made my way to a place that my flatmate recommended. I decided to take the path along the river (because the day was so nice), and made my way down towards the cathedral. As I was walking up a side street, I noticed two men walking from High Street in World War II uniforms...? A bit confused, but not thinking much of it, I continued on but then realized that there were two other men walking around in what looked to be like Three Musketeer outfits. Ok... now something is up. I rounded the corner to find a whole crowd of people dressed in various period outfits! Ah!!! Naturally, I started laughing, not really sure what I had just stepped into. It turns out that the Worcester Re-enactors were doing an event called "Living History in Worcester"... so cool. The sign said "Free Entry," so of course I went in! I was like a giddy child walking around a candy store. I think I started weirding people out because I was a little too excited.
After feeding my historic appetite, I made my way down to the salon. There I met two very lovely ladies and a nice gentleman. I had an interesting conversation which included comments like "Do you have people tell you that they just love to hear you talk?" and "You have a very calming American accent." HaHa! I must have talked to them for a half an hour after I got my hair cut.

Saturday = a good day. The thing is, if Mom hadn't made me get out of my room, then I would have missed out on meeting those wonderful ladies and having some historic fun! The moral of the story is obvious... Mother Knows Best. :) Love you Mummy!

"Where ever you go, go with all your heart."
 
 
Kelley Blankenship
University of Worcester, England

**Must be read in a British accent!**

On Tuesday, Neil and I went on a little adventure across campus, out the university gate, down the steep alleyway, across the footbridge, past the race track, and next to the river. The day was quite dreary by East Tennessee standards, but the walk was nice all the same. During our stroll by the river, Neil had to put up with me being a tourist and taking pictures every two steps. He played along with my games by shouting, "Hey Kelley, look! Look at the pretty swans!" in an American accent. Our journey to the city center looked something like this...