Send Me On My Way -Rusted Roots

Jun 30, 2013

That One Time In France When I Slept In A Monastery And Then A Castle

June 15th-June 18th
Southern France is gorgeous! Like Emma Watson.
    Howdy doody. Remember where we left off? Sleeping in the worst apartment ever? Yeah? Okay good. Well not really cause it sucked. But anyway… Lyon left a bad taste in my mouth. I was ready to leave the next morning and we did. Thank the Lord. We took a couple trains to get to La Bastide where we planned on staying at a monastery for four days. I found this place online and thought it would be a cool experience, especially for Mom. To be honest, this didn’t start out much better than Lyon and I was already in a bad mood from the night before, so the lack of buses and 3.3 kilometer hike uphill on gravel with our luggage in the heat was not my idea of a good time.
Notre Dame des Neiges. And cool fluffy angel clouds.
     When we actually did get to the monastery, we had to search for which building we would stay in and no one, I mean NO ONE, spoke English. About an hour later, we finally got where we needed to go and I took a much needed shower. Unfortunately, the shower took longer than expected and I missed the bells for dinner. I was not about to show up late either, because they took dinner in silence and it would have been very awkward if I had come in late. So I sat in my room instead, eating dry oatmeal packets I had packed and pouting. Mom came in after with some delicious bread and an orange, so I didn’t starve. Dinner was at 7:20 PM, so soon after we all hit the hay.
Monastery hiking is just as bad as normal hiking.
     The next morning, we woke up early for breakfast which consisted of a bowl of coffee or tea and bread. We had to drink it like the milk left over in your cereal bowl. It was a bit odd to say the least. This was not enough to give me energy, so I promptly returned to bed until lunch where I was properly fed. In silence of course. After my first satisfying meal at this place, Mom and Dad decided we should hike to town. I have no idea what they were thinking because it was definitely hotter than a sidewalk-fried-egg-day, but we went and quickly sweated through our clothes again. The payoff was good though; there was WiFi at the bottom. Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you that Dad’s first words about the monastery were: “Do you think the monastery has WiFi?” Pffffft.
Cool as ice (which is pretty cold cause it's ice)
     Anyway, after a refreshing drink of raspberry juice and a satisfying amount of WiFi, we headed over to the river about 200 meters away and started fooling around on those different height wood step things. See pictures. First Loni and I went from opposite sides and back and then Mom and Dad went. Then I got in the river because I could. I would have done anything to delay that horrible 3.3 KM trek back up the hill. I couldn’t postpone it forever though because dinner was exactly at 7:20 PM and we had to have enough time to all take  showers beforehand. So we went back up, showered, had dinner in silence, and went to a French church service no one could understand. Dad wanted to go to sleep, but I forced everyone to watch that zombie movie, ‘Fido,’ that Marius put on my computer. Everyone thought it was weird and Dad complained the whole time, but I liked it.
Look at me. I'm mysterious and in a tower.
     The next morning was exactly the same. I went to get a bowl of coffee for breakfast and then back to bed again until lunch. I know I wasted time sleeping, but you gotta understand how exhausting travelling is. And I rarely have an actual bed, so I had to take advantage. Again when we finished silent lunch, the family went hiking and this time I played music from ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ because they both take place in France. Dad hated it and made me walk far enough ahead that he couldn’t hear the music. I got a sun burn. I don’t have more to say about that. When we got back to the abbey, the sky turned dark and it started thundering so I lay in bed and listened with the window open. It was lovely. Dinner happened and Mom cried because we were to leave in the morning and she was sad to leave so soon.
Look Dad! Dad! Look! Hey Dad! Take a picture Dad!
     At dark thirty in the morning, we made the hike to the station and found out our train wouldn’t be arriving until four hours later due to a train strike in France. SERIOUSLY!?!? WE COULD HAVE HAD A BOWL OF COFFEE!!! NOT TO MENTION MORE SLEEP. Well I suppose we did get more sleep. On the train station bench. Like homeless people. -__-  What. Ever. We did make it to Lyon eventually, much later than expected, to catch our connecting train and the station had WiFi. I took this opportunity to Skype my lovely friend Ethan. It was great to see him again, kinda. On my phone. Same difference, right? Not really, but it was better than nothing. We had a nice long chat until it was time for me to shepherd my family to the next train that took us to our next adventure.
     Our next adventure? A CASTLE!!! I booked a night for the four of us to stay in a castle in Le Creusot, France. It was beautiful! Every bit of it. Jeane, the owner, took us on a quick tour of the castle and the grounds before she returned to prepare dinner. One of the places she showed us was her art gallery inside the top floor of the barn. It was GORGEOUS. All of the pieces inside were done by her ex-husband and they were magnificent. It was great to listen to her explain the meanings behind many of the paintings. When we went inside, many more pieces were hung throughout the castle including pieces of her sons and many, many naked pieces of herself and other women. I guess, it’s her castle and she had a rockin’ body, so why not? She looked almost exactly like Lucy Liu.
This place is a castle and I was here. That makes me cool.
     Before dinner, we went hiking around the grounds a bit and then after finding a tick crawling on my leg, a massive slug, and a dead mole, we decided to return to the castle. We’ve seen wilderness before; not castles. And a castle with WiFi. (Of course). For dinner, Jeane prepared for us a delicious meal of salad, bread, and quail along with some red wine. She and her boyfriend attended dinner with us and we had some great conversations about her and her castle. She said many centuries ago the castle was occupied by Augustine monks. Apparently this order was very strict because they weren’t allowed socks or shoes and when one cheeky monk had cold feet and asked for socks, they locked him in the tower for eight years. EIGHT YEARS JUST BECAUSE HE ASKED FOR SOCKS! Goodness gracious. Poor guy. I bet his feet were colder up there.
My castle. Mine. I'm keeping it. Except not really...
     The bed in the castle was super comfy. Fit for a queen. HA! Cause it’s a castle. Get it? No? You are so daft sometimes. Loni and I slept in what Jeane called the Gold Room and Mom and Dad slept in the Lover’s Tower. Eesh. Anyway… so the next day, after a lovely breakfast, I wen exploring and found the tower Jeane spoke about last night. It was pretty creepy actually. The spiral staircase had two foot wide stairs and was very steep and cold. They led from the second floor to the top of the tower. And going down was pitch black.  Sadly, that was the end of our castle adventure and we left the next day. More later people. And don’t worry. I’ll be available for autographs when I return to the states. (One per person please).


Jun 26, 2013

Germany and France and the Ridiculously Crappy Apartment

June 7th-June 11th
     And we’re back! Another post for another week. I promise that eventually I’ll be caught up to what I am actually doing at the time I post, but for now, I am posting about what I did two weeks ago. I’m in Spain posting about Germany. We haven’t even gotten to France yet. But we will in this post!!! At the moment, though, I am having trouble thinking in English. I’m not so sure if that’s good or bad… No se.
An old building.
     So leaving off from my last post: We awoke in Stuttgart and then took a train into Munich. The train ride was kinda long, so we were pretty much famished when we finally arrived. I had never been to Munich before, so we all just ambled out of the station and looked for ac  restaurant. My Mom HATES big cities and lucky us, we headed out of the train station to the worst possible area. Crazy traffic, many many people, and shady stores were everywhere we looked. Mom was not thrilled. We found a restaurant and ate amidst the chaos. 
I took a picture of Dad taking a picture.
     We decided it would be best if we stored our luggage in a locker and then took a bus tour around Munich rather than trying to fight our way through the crazy crowds. We had a few hours until we needed to meet our CS host in Dachau, so we did a one hour tour. It was nice I suppose. I REALLY felt touristy and I suppose I am, but I’m not used to such absolute tourism. But hey, we did get to see some cool stuff like, old buildings, trees, and more old buildings. I took a lot of pictures. Mostly of Dad taking pictures, though. Somehow he was more appealing as a subject.
     After the bus tour, we had a coffee, retrieved our baggage, and took a short train to Dachau where I promptly led my family 20 minutes in the wrong direction.  Then we walked twenty minutes back to the station and 10 more minutes to our actual destination. All of this with baggage. -__- My bad. 
Funny cup. Pahaha.
     When we finally did arrive, our hosts weren’t even home, so we ate pizza at a nearby (I’m talking literally next door) pizza place and waited until I saw them return. Our hosts this time were Fabian and Farah. Fabian was German and Farah was from Malaysia. Their cats were super cute too. Fabian’s birthday was the next day, so we watched them prepare some sort of weird looking cake with creamy berry Jell-o stuff on top. Fabian wanted to put more stuff on top, but Farah kept saying no because she was afraid it would over flow, so every time she looked away he would add a little more until finally he filled it a precarious amount. It was quite funny to watch. My family was tired though, so we all went to sleep before long.
     I’m sure for many of you, the name ‘Dachau’ rings a bell in your memory. Dachau is known for its concentration camp during WWII. Such a beautiful town with a horrible past. The next day, we went to the site of the camp and walked around for a few hours. I had visited Buchenwald before, so concentration camp stuff was nothing new to me, but it was new to Dad, Loni, and Mom. Needless to say, it was pretty sad regardless of whether I’ve seen it before. The movie was awful. Mom cried. Obviously.
Their Grumpy Cat.
     Enough sadness. After, we went to search for the palace in Dachau and ended up giving up in favor of lunch. The place I picked had a terrace with an amazing view, a funny waitress (who probably thought we were crazy), and tasty food. This lunch took nearly two hours. We did have a funny moment though, because when Dad asked the waitress something about beer, she responded and he said ‘Si.’ We all had a good laugh about that one (the next day, Mom said gracias, so Dad felt a little better). That was pretty much our second day completed.
     On third day, we convinced Mom to try Munich again and we set out for an open market we had seen on the bus tour. We found it, however, it was closed on Sundays. Great. New plan. Beer Garden for Dad. Garden for the ladies. Believe it or not, there was a beer garden inside of the English Garden which is basically just a really nice/big park. Dad got his beer, Mom got her park, Loni got her waterfall. We were content. And then we saw naked old men sunbathing. Eyes burning, we decided it was time to leave Munich. We had one last traditional German breakfast for dinner with Fabian and Farah and then the next morning we were on a train to France!
Dad loves his German beers.
     So we left Munich for Lyon. This is pronounced Lee-ON, not Lion as I had previously thought. I was quickly corrected by the French ticket man. Whoops. Anyway, we only wanted to stay in Lyon for one night, so I didn’t want to CouchSurf. I think it’s rude to only stay one night with a host unless it is an emergency simply because it really doesn’t allow enough time to get to know your host. So for this reason, I decided to book a little apartment for a night through This was my first time using it and I ended up picking a cute little apartment with a washing machine and WiFi. Both very important amenities.
     Let’s just say it didn’t start or end well. First, we couldn’t find the apartment and I had no internet to double check the address. After walking down the street about three times, I eventually found the place and lugged my baggage up three flights of narrow stairs. So okay. That’s not TOO bad right? Right. So then we walked into the apartment. At first glance it was okay. It looked much smaller than the pictures and way more dingy, but no big deal. Then we started looking a little closer. The apartment was NASTY. The couch looked as if it had never been cleaned. The living room was full of random things shoved into corners. This made it nearly impossible to climb the barely attached ladder up to the loft in which a large bed with unwashed, hairy sheets was situated. 
The English Garden's beer garden.
The light in the living room didn’t work, so I had to steal a light bulb from a broken lamp and put that in the ceiling fixture. I went to take a shower and there was no curtain on the window looking out into the street with more apartments and the shower was so small that if you closed the curtains, there was no room to move. Not only that, but the holder was broken so I had to hold the shower head above  me the whole time and that was only after I figured out how to use the broken knob to change the water from bath to shower. This isn’t all. Every time Mom opened the refrigerator, the apartment smelled like death mixed with the distinct aroma of rotten milk. The washing machine only soaked our clothes and never stopped, continuing all night long so we had to put our sopping clothes in plastic bags to pack them. All of this cost us over $150 for that one night. Seriously. WTF lady?! WHY ARE YOU RENTING OUT YOUR DISGUSTING APARTMENT?! NOT EVEN PRISONERS LIVE THIS BADLY!
     End of rant. End of post. The next one is much happier, I promise! Stay tuned folks! x


Jun 19, 2013

Family Time!

June 5th-7th
     Hello peeps! When we left off, I was leaving Marius in Brussels, Belgium. Flash forward to me sleeping on the train and the ticket lady waking me up. Oops. My alarm didn’t wake me and it was going off very loudly for the whole car to hear. So… I guess I’m THAT person. My bad. I got all that stuff taken care of and soon I was in Stuttgart where I then had to track down my family in the airport. Not hard. I found them waiting like lost puppies in the terminal and herded them to where we needed to be. Well… I tried. I couldn’t understand the directions, so our CouchSurfer host, Chip, drove up on his motorcycle (mohawked helmet and all) and walked us to his place.
Giant pretzel in Germany.
     It was super nice and so was he. Turns out, he was a US Army Captain and he had to go to work. He left us his keys and the names of a few places we should visit and took off, just like that. Well, I wasn’t surprised because I had done this many times before, but Mom and Dad were a bit shocked that he just left us with his keys. I mean to be fair, we weren’t much of a match for him if things went down (3 women and a hobbit man), but the trust he put in us was still pretty neat. We didn’t have much time to be shocked though before the jet-lag hit the fam hard while I myself struggled to keep my eyes open after I opted for a night of Youtube and movies over sleep.
Mom in front of a building. Classic.
     So I had a mission now: Keep us awake until at least 8 PM. Sounds easy enough, but at this point it was only about 1 PM and we were fading fast. First plan: Eat! That’s usually a good idea, so I took them to the main street across from the train station to search for food. After walking a while, I found a German food restaurant. Score!! Schnitzel all around! Except for Mom who, of course, couldn’t have it due to her Celiac disease. She had a salad. Dad, Loni, and my schnitzels were really good, but Dad and I picked some nasty German soda drink. Ew. No. But Stuttgart made up for their crappy drinks with magnificent gelato. Just get in my belly. Just do it. Right meow. It was so good, Mom had seconds. Haha. The cashier was probably thinking something like: Typical American.
In the music museum listening to some tunes.
     So we stayed awake so far, but it had only been about three hours after we ate and walked around the sights. I ran out of ideas, so we headed back to Chip’s place and Dad and I got online while Mom and Loni both fell asleep on the couch. Luckily, just in time, Chip returned and invited Mom and Loni to go for a run with him since he knew she had workouts to do and they were roused and went out for a run. No I didn’t go. PAHAHA. Really? Me? Nope. So Dad and I fell asleep instead. Right as I drifted off, Mom was back and in panic-mode because Loni and Chip were missing. She was crying and screaming and so I left and found them and brought them back. It wasn’t that easy, but it wasn’t hard either. They had just stopped to do pushups at the top of busy stairs and Mom kept running and lost them. No problem. I saved the day again.
     Once again, we were on the brink of passing out when Chip dressed us all up in costumes and paraded us through Stuttgart on our way to an Irish karaoke pub. Though he assured us everyone dresses up at the pub, we soon looked quite out of place in my captain hat, Loni’s and Mom’s dog ears and Dad’s leopard print shirt. Like seriously. No one was dressed up except us. Like good guests, over the next few hours, we stayed and watched his karaoke performance of Backstreet Boys and made a few friends before eventually leaving the pub, eating a couple Yufalas (delicious fast food thingy), and sleeping like a bunch of rocks.
Don't ask.
     The next day, we slept and slept and slept until noon. Chip left for work around eight, so he didn’t witness our shameful waste of Germany thank goodness. When we finally got up, we did some laundry and then went for lunch at a tasty pasta place because one can only handle so much schnitzel. Hey. I like that. I think I will use that as a catchphrase. “One can only handle so much schnitzel.” Catchy. So after that, we went to a musical instrument museum and then sat in the courtyard/park/public square area on a fountain where we watched a duck land by doing rolls. Haha. Clumsy duck.

    When we tired of the duck, we stopped at Starbucks for free WiFi and a cold coffee before heading to the pharmacy for my recurring throat infection and buying some ridiculously delicious tea and groceries. We cooked dinner at the apartment and then just kinda chilled out until the sleepy time she came.  
     Just like now. I am sleepy so good night and until next time! x

Jun 15, 2013

Les Not So Miserables. In Belgium.

Brussels, Belgium June 3-5, 2013
They call it A Very Bad Trip. HA!
     On Monday, I left London via bus and made the six hour journey to Brussels. It was meant to be a quick two-night stop on my way to Stuttgart to meet mi familia, but it was actually a really nice time! As I said before, I am CouchSurfing across Europe, and this time I thought I’d shake it up a bit and stay with a new CSer without any references. Hey now. Don’t read at me with that tone of thought! I mean come on! Think about it. Someone went out on a limb for me before I had any references, so this was my way to help expand the CS community and pay it forward. Obviously I was a little extra cautious, but I really didn’t worry about that too long. You all shouldn’t be surprised after I’ve told you about making friends with many of my previous CS hosts. This dudes name was Marius and he was lovely.
Marius and I At The End Of The Day.
     After sitting on the curb like a lost puppy for a few minutes, he met me at the bus station and saved me from the mini-panic that always occurs in me when I am waiting for my CS host. On the way to his flat, he told me that he was from around Normandy, France and studied art. I could totes tell. He met me in a stylish hat and scarf combo paired with a tailor-made suit. Super artsy. It was kinda apparent that we were both a bit nervous at first, with him being a new CSer and me knowing this, but really it was no big deal and we became pretty comfortable together in no time. The first day, Marius and I relaxed in his quite large and surprisingly clean apartment, talking about ourselves, our homes, and anything we thought of. I showed him pictures of my family and friends and where I live on Google Maps. Many hours later, it was dawn and we were both like, “Oh shit. I need to sleep!” And so we did.
This is the prison in Brussels... THE PRISON. Someone arrest me.
     In the morning, we lazed about again (I mean really. What did you expect after an accidental all-nighter?) until we ventured to the train station to buy tomorrow’s ticket to Frankfurt. On the way back, we stopped for a few drinks at his favorite pub and he told me of his family, adventures, and really tried (God bless’im) to teach me a bit of French. My French was sub sub sub-par so eventually he gave up and we headed back to his place where he showed me his life through his Facebook pictures as I had done the previous night. Marius told me a story about some of the demonstrations that he participated in and I about died of excitement. No seriously. I Dreamed A Dream about this. I couldn’t tell anyone though because I was On My Own. Luckily I had a Red And Black cell phone which I used to Bring Him Home to my Heart Full Of Love. Then we had to go inside because there was A Little Fall Of Rain but that was okay because it was At The End Of The Day and after the rain, there is always One Day More. I could’ve sworn, though, that while it was raining I saw A Castle On A Cloud and then I knew I saw it because Pancho pointed to it and asked ‘Do You Hear The People Sing?’ And I was all like, ‘Thenardier Waltz.’ Wait what? Oh yeah. So as I was saying… My CouchSurfer host in Brussels was named Marius. He is French. He takes part in many protests In one he used barricades. He fought 1000 cops with the other protesters. They fought into the wee hours of the morning until there was only one barricade left. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. I just wish they all sang together about colors and furniture...
Speaking of missing friends...
    Anyway, Marius and I decided to watch a zombie movie, Fido. Watch that. It’s funny. Of course, the movie ended around 2 AM and with only 3 hours until I needed to wake up, I brilliantly decided to show him Jenna Marbles, Glozell, and several other Youtube videos he had never heard of before (how has France not heard of these geniuses?!) for another hour and a half before once again going to sleep.

     An hour and no sleep later, we rose, looking much like the zombies in Fido, and headed to the train station. Both of us were pretty sad to say goodbye because we really did have a good time, but then the train came and, sadly, we did say goodbye. I was on the train for a few minutes unpacking my stuff and claiming my territory and then, out of nowhere, Marius was coming to me on the train and hugging me again. He said he was already off of the platform when he started getting really emotional and decided he still had time to say goodbye. Again. That kinda sucked because then I felt really bad for leaving him all alone. UGH. It was a horrible feeling. CS should come with a warning: You will make friends and you will hate leaving them.

Jun 7, 2013


Sardines. I brought my blanket because
I hide so well I had time for a nap.

     Again. A very late post, but now I am finally catching up.
       The last several weeks at uni were filled with birthday parties, club disasters, colds, and homework. Probably the most exciting thing was when I vacuumed my room and realized my carpet was more blue than brown. What a revelation! To be honest, the only reason I vacuumed was because Mom was staying with me one night in halls. If she wasn't coming, I probably would have done it eventually... Maybe. Not.
     A couple days later, it was time to go meet Mother in London. Yay! Mumsey! I met her at the bus station and we went to meet my previous CouchSurfing hosts Claudine and Paul for a tasty Korean dinner. It was so good! Paul always knows the best places for food. Claudine even invited Mom to CouchSurf with her when she returned to London and Mom did, but anyway, after eating and great conversation, Mom and I headed off to our hotel (at 1 AM) and after much calamity, we made it to our rooms and delved into dreamland.
Hey look. I found my Haggis/Black Pudding picture.
      The next morning, Mom unloaded her bag with gifts for me and Laura from home; Thus making her bag lighter and mine considerably heavier. No complaints though. She brought Laura an Oklahoma State University shirt and me a pretty neat Commedia dell'arte looking shirt. Along with other edible goodies, Dad sent with her a mug for me that said 'Off to see the world' which I really loved (and broke two weeks later). This was all great and stuff, but I haven't even mentioned what Mom and I had planned. 
Insert excited shrieks here:
      WE WERE GOING TO HARRY POTTER STUDIOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm sorry but there is literally NO WAY I can hide my excitement. I should also mention how awesome my mother is for buying these tickets. And me a VIP pass. I don't know where to begin. I'm scrambling for things to say. 
HOGWARTS. I can't look. I just can't. Too emotional.
     I think I will try and add an album especially of Harry Potter pictures to this post, but I'm not quite sure how to so I'll fiddle around with it later.
I figured out how to do it. Click here:
     To start off the tour, my mom bought me a Ravenclaw jacket because it was kind of cold and also because I am a Ravenclaw (take the test via in Chapter 7 part 2). 
     The tour started with the cupboard-under-the-stairs and led into a room with movie posters and another room with a movie about how HP impacted the world. Then there were these HUGE doors from the movie that led into the Great Hall! I can't go on. I have to take a break before I keep writing about this. I'm going to write the end of the post first because I am getting way too emotional. In fact I may make you Google it. Breathe. I shall return after a while.
     Hello. It is five days later. I can’t tell you details on here, but I saw SO MUCH. There was the Gryffindor Common Room, The Potion’s Classroom, The Burrow, Dumbledore’s Office, The Ministry of Magic, Umbridge's Office, Privet Drive, the Potter House, Diagon Alley, and a huge scale model of Hogwarts. All of these are in the pictures. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take a look. It’s beautiful. The woman at the check in desk said the tour would last about three hours; I took six…
Gross pizza. Beans and corn. SERIOUSLY ENGLAND?!
     At this point, I should tell you that we were planning on going the day after, but for some reason, that was the only day that was completely booked months in advance. Now we know why. The next day in the news I saw that the Royals, several actors from Harry Potter, several others who worked on the films, and JK FREAKING ROWLING VISITED THE STUDIO. WHAT THE ACTUAL TRUCK?!?!!? That’s some bullshit right there. The only thing that makes this okay is the fact that I’d probably not have paid as much attention to the actual tour as I did if they were there the whole time. But still. DAG BLAST IT!
     At the souvenir shop, I bought Laura a Crookshanks teddy as promised. This wasn't easy though. I went through the whole dang store and there wasn't a single one until I went back to where I started and somehow there was miraculously ONE left. Crazy stuff. So I bought that and in addition to the jacket Mom had bought earlier, she also bought me a box of Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans and a Ravenclaw keychain. I wanted to go insane and buy a lot, but I was good and didn't. Sadly though, this meant it was time to go.

That fluff on her legs is Crookshanks. And hey.
Nice shirt.
     After that amazingly and utterly perfect day, Mother and I managed to make it to the correct buses necessary to take us to Birmingham! If you follow my blog regularly, you know this is a miracle. I took Mom up to my room to deposit her things and then swiftly introduced her to as many people as I could find about. Laura came back to my room with me where I promptly gave her the Pistol Pete shirt Mom brought and forced her to try it on. Super cute. With that sorted, Laura and I forced Mom to take the Pottermore test an discovered that she, like Laura, is a Hufflepuff! (I knew it. I mean come on. So did you). Immediately after she was sorted, Mom fell asleep while Laura and I delved into My Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans. "They mean every flavor." Seriously. There were some normal flavors as well as Black Pepper, Bogey, Dirt, Earwax, Earthworm, Grass, Soap, Sausage, Vomit, and Rotten Egg. I tried them all, and all of them tasted like what they said. Vomit and Rotten Egg were by far the worst, but the others sucked as well. If I am in a generous mood, I will post the expressions that went with each flavor. I mean really. I didn't know my face contorted this way. So after we each tried every flavor,  we heard Max outside and casually offered him a Rotten Egg bean which he chewed several times while speaking to us before he paused and said, “WHAT THE bleep did you FEED me?!” This moment is recorded. Score.
Don't cry! This blog took so long you're actually with me now!
     As Lara and I were about to put away the beans, someone *cough*(KRIS)*cough* set off the fire alarm and woke up Mom who then bolted out of bed like a wild animal. I was terrified. She was scary. We proceeded downstairs with the others and then finally went back in and fell asleep.
Free flowers. BAM.
     The next day, the three of us headed into town to meet up with Linda, Laura’s mother, only to find out she wouldn't be joining us due to a friend being in the hospital. Linda was upset to miss my mom, but we all agreed that she should totes stay with her buddy. After a nice, ridiculously spicy salad, it was time to walk Mom to the bus station. She kept it together until it was time to load her bags, at which point she burst into tears and Laura almost did too. It did suck she was in Birmingham less than 24 hours, but what can you do? Mom left and ended up CouchSurfing with Claudine in London the night before her flight and then made it safely back to the US. I however, was not safe. It was finals time. UGH. I don’t even want to talk about it. What’s important is that I got it all done and have now finally caught up on my sleep.
     The semester was winding down and people slowly began leaving and heading back home. We had a few going away parties, a failed barbecue  an awesome rave, and I got free flowers from Tesco. On the last bar night, we watched Rocky Horror and I ripped Laura’s underwear. I’ll not elaborate on that one.
     A few days before we moved out, it was Loni’s birthday and graduation, so Laura and I made an awesome (if I do say so myself) video and sent it to her as a gift.

     Yeah! Cool video, right? What? You didn't watch it? Well watch it you cretin. Seriously. People these days…
Titus Andronicus was pretty much Sweeney Todd with stubble.
     Flash forward a few days. It’s time to move out of halls and into Laura’s house. Can I just say, her family welcomed me like their own and I love them like they are? I can? Good because fabuloso, me gusta, oui oui. (Side note, oui oui sounds like wee wee. Snigger.) I stayed for about a week, traveling to Stratford-Upon-Avon twice to see Hamlet one night and Titus Andronicus the next. Hamlet was meh, but TA was BRILLIANT. My new favorite Shakespeare. And Linda and Wayne (Laura’s parents), the dears, picked me up both nights. Way too good to me. The point is that family is fantastic. Even Thomas seemed to like me and talked to me quite a bit before Laura told me not to talk back. The pets, Alfie, Maisy, and Jess enjoyed my company too as my clothes sported their fur like a badge of friendship.
Ello Poppet. Will you date me? No because
I don't date toothless, mangy pirates. Duh.
     Two completely off topic side notes: We were in the park when some kids heard my American accent and then began taunting me by yelling “Twin Towers” at me. The little bastards. And also, I had twitter interactions with Nolan Gould (Luke Dunphee from Modern Family), Harry Shum Jr. (Mike Chang from Glee), Chris Lankin (Percy Weasley from Harry Potter), and Lee Arenberg (Ello Poppet from Pirates of the Caribbean). Score. Lee even follows me back and chats with me through direct message. Yeah. I know you don’t care, but I felt like bragging a bit so shove off.
Farewell Newman UK. It was real.
     When my 2 month Eurail pass finally arrived (thanks Mom), I headed off to England a day late. I missed my bus (fifth time now) and stayed an extra night with Laura watching The Breakfast Club, The Hunger Games, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. All great films I have to say. But the next day, I actually made it to my bus early and the early bus to London let me ride with them. This bus had WiFi. Oh hhhheck yes. WiFi and Huck Finn. Good trip. That night, I stayed with Paul and Claudine again and Paul made a lovely dinner and I brought dessert. It was a short stay, though, because the next morning I was off to Brussels on another WiFi bus! Also, buses fit in trains that go under the English channel. Who knew!?

Stay tuned for my Brussels, Stuttgart, and Munich adventures with the family in a couple days!

Russell Merlot x