Tuesday, December 9, 2014

last afternoon tea

Well, today was my last day of having traditional afternoon tea in England. And what better way to indulge in some fine tea than with some fine friends? Stacie, Eric, and I went to Richmond Tea Rooms, which is mainly Alice and Wonderland themed. The inside is really cute, and the designs made it seem all the more special and fancy. They also had up some pretty Christmas decorations, and played many Christmas songs by my favorite, Michael Buble (or we call him "Michael Bubble").

We went all-out this time with the "Queen's Tea," which was served with a variety of finger sandwiches, cakes, a scone with my forever favorite clotted cream, a quiche, and a pot of tea. All of our orders were served together on a huge three-tiered stand, and it was beautiful. Everything was delicious, and I was so full that I couldn't even finish a few of my cakes by the end of the meal! We also stayed at the tea rooms for nearly 3 hours. Our chats just flew by! The waiters were probably annoyed at us for staying so long, but oh well. You can't rush tea time.



I still don't understand why afternoon tea is so expensive, but like I always say, TREAT YO SELF. I know there are some tea rooms in California that may suffice when I'm back at home, but it just won't be the same! This is definitely a part of British culture that I will truly miss.

And to all of my friends who are preparing for finals back at home: Keep calm, and drink tea.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

lincoln christmas market

Yesterday, Stacie, Kyle, Eric and I went on our last (*cries*) trip with the International Society to the Lincoln Christmas Market! I came here with the intention of buying more gifts, but instead we mainly spent the whole day eating. But hey, I'm not complaining.

It was incredibly cold throughout the whole day. Thank goodness I wore tights under my pants again. When we arrive late in the morning, it was also extremely sunny. The sun didn't keep us warm, though. It made things worse by basically blinding us because we couldn't see where we were going. This is when sunglasses actually come in handy in England...

The market surrounded the Lincoln Castle. We wanted to visit and explore the castle too, but apparently there were renovations going on and we couldn't find a way in. But it was beautiful, anyway.

As you can tell from the photos, the markets were SUPER crowded. Apparently the Lincoln Christmas Market is one of the largest in England, so maybe that's why. Plus, it's only a 4-day event and it was a Saturday. So the crowds were partly why I didn't buy anything; people were just in the way everywhere and it made me frustrated. Tis the season to be jolly, y'all.

But what made me happy was the food. Oh, the food was everywhere and it was glorious. To start off our morning, we grabbed some good ol' sausages. I was tempted to get their Pork, Venison, and Mushroom sausage, but in the end I got the classic Lincolnshire sausage. And yes, it was amazing. The crispy casing gets me everytime.

As we walked around some more, we spotted a Danish Pancakes ("aebleskivers") stall. I've been wanting to try these for a while! I remember seeing them when I visited Solvang several years ago, but I didn't try them (I forget why!). We couldn't resist getting an order of 10 to share (though I probably could've eaten them all for myself). They were warm, light, and fluffy and just so darn delicious.

Okay, here is my last mention of food. Shortly after devouring the Danish pancakes, we passed by a stall that had piles of different pastries. I ended up buying a "cappuccino shell" (a donut filled with whipped cream with a cappuccino-flavored icing) because I mean, look at this beautiful picture of the mountain of donuts:

How dare you do this to me.
So throughout the day, we walked through the entire market, stopping at stalls here and there to browse/buy. We also stopped by a little restaurant near the end of the day to have some nice afternoon tea to keep warm.

Overall, the city itself is pretty--but not when it's crowded. Nevertheless, I had a wonderful time with my friends, and all of the International Society trips have been awesome and a convenient way to explore different cities around England (and Scotland!). I would definitely recommend study abroad students to join their university's International Society, as it's also a great way to meet students from around the world.

It is now hailing once again as I'm writing this. Apparently it was supposed to snow today, but it never did. We only get snow's evil twin.

And I can't believe I'm going home in 6 days! I went shopping today and I didn't even finish. I need to get crackin' on my essay as well. It's so difficult to start. Remember that Spongebob episode "Procrastination"? That's what's happening.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

it's been 3 months...



MY GOODNESS, there's less than 2 weeks left until I return home! It also means I have two more essays to turn in before I leave (and another two I have to complete during Winter Break). The panicking is happening and stress levels are high.

Besides having the quarterly breakdown (or hoedown?), I can't believe my time here is almost coming to an end! I'm sorry I didn't post that often in November; I was just so busy juggling travelling with schoolwork. But last month was full of fun and wonderful times. Almost every weekend I would be hopping on a plane or a train to a different city, which was exhausting yet exhilarating. From clapping along to Irish songs and pouring Guinness in Dublin, to observing very "interesting" statues and being broke in Oslo, I've had some of the best trips of my life that I know I'll remember forever. It's definitely going to be weird and super boring once I go back home and not being able to travel to a different country on the weekends. Oh, the joys of living in Europe.

I'm excited to see my family and friends back at home, yet I'm already feeling sad that I have to say goodbye to Manchester. I've met some of the funniest and kindest people here, and I'm really going to miss them. And while I wasn't all that into the city in the beginning, it has certainly grown on me and I love it for what it is. I've got to make these last several days worth it! I'm already thinking about what my last meals would be here. It will most likely be afternoon tea, and a healthy dose of fish and chips. Oh, and maybe another praline cappuccino from Costa. Costa > Starbucks (at least in England). Their Christmas cups are also way cuter (the snowman is adorable)!

I've started to put my souvenirs into my luggage, and I definitely know I'll go over the 50 lb. weight limit. I haven't even finished shopping for souvenirs and Christmas gifts yet! This is not good. Wish me luck as I attempt to re-pack all of my stuff during these last weeks.