Tuesday, April 17, 2007


oh my... paris was probably one of my favorite trips if not my favorite. it was so much fun and paris is absolutely beautiful. sooo here it goes..

day 1:
wednesday was full of traveling.. we took the train to pattington, underground to waterloo, and waterloo to paris on the chunnel.. it was fun and it didnt seem as far away as it is.. once we got to paris we dropped off our stuff at the hotel and headed to our bike tours. we were doing fat tire bike tours and it was on of my favorite things... it was night time and we had a tour guide that took us around paris and showed us all the major things and while it was night everything was lit up and just gorgeous. we stopped to get ice cream and it took a about 3 hours but it was a real leisurely ride and we had a blast after traveling all day-- it was a perfect way to get some energy out. after the bike tour was over we went on a boat ride around the river and it showed us major spots of paris while just chillin on the boat..once it was over we headed back to the subway station but who knew the subway station closed? not us. soo we ended up having to get taxis and that was stressful but it was fine. we made it back safe and it was a good first night.

on the chunnel
getting ready to bike around paris! cool vests huh? we thought so.
roomies with notre dame in the background!
the louvre at night lit up
on the boat afterwards being goofy
the rest of the group on the boat!

day 2:
thursday was a good day.. we didn't have anything planned because our whole group went to normandy but elise, meiko, ashley, and i didn't want to so we decided that since we had so much fun on the bikes and paris is so much easier to get around on bikes, and cheaper bc it was only 2 euro an hour, we would just bike around all day and see some spots. we rode around and it was so much fun, unfortunately i don't have pictures but they say once you learn to ride a bike you don't forget but after this trip i swear thats not true. so biking in paris is a only a good idea if you know how to ride a bike.. we ate lunch at les deux magots and it was goood a little over priced but not bad at all... there is a strip that has a ton of shops so we just parked our bikes and walked up and down the strip for about an hour.. it was fun and relaxing. we decided to return the bikes and then go take pictures around the eiffel tower. so once we were at the eiffel tower we were trying to get a group picture but bc we dont speak french it was hard to ask so we just took turns taking pictures until someone came to ask if we wanted a group picture obviously observing that we were having difficulties. it turns out the guy that came over worked for fat tire biked tours and after chatting with him for a bit he invited us to sit on the champs de mars (the lawn in front of the eiffel tower) with him and some of his co workers. they were all from the states and all went to OU, UT, or aTm.. it was crazy but fun to chat.. turns out one of the guys that was there i graduated with his little brother.. so that was fun they told us things we really needed to do and things that wern't really worth it.. it was good to get some good pointers from people that had actually been living there. so after they took us out for pizza and it was amazing, so good and so cheap and they were all nice.. with all of them we had a connection knowing them with a mutual friend which was crazy and random being in paris.. anyways it was a good first day and by that night we were exhausted.

meiko and i at les deux magots
elise and i after lunch!
elise and i in front of the tower
at sunset with the tower lit up!!
taylor, one of the guides who showed us around!

day 3:
so friday was fun, we woke up around 6am and left for versailles.. we got there in the morning and were there all afternoon. we didn't leave till around 4pm. it was gorgeous.. ridiculously huge but it was fun to see everything. we spent the day walking through the palace and then headed towards the back of the property to see marie antoinette's cottage and house. we got done with all this about 2 hours early before the meeting time so we went to grab lunch and crepes and just laid out in the lawns. people were everywhere having picnics on the lawn and taking boats out on the canal. it was such a beautiful day i dont think i could have asked for better weather. once we met back with the group we hoped back on the train and headed back. we went in the louvre because students get in free on friday between 6-9 or something so we got to go for free and see the mona lisa and lots of other stuff. it was fun but we were exhausted we ate dinner and just hung out at the champs de mars almost every night. it was so much fun and relaxing.. the phrase of the night: "can you believe we are sitting in paris?" "who does this?" "we are looking at the eiffel tower.." "we are in paris..." among many others.. basically we were kinda shocked we were really in paris.

beautiful versailles
having fun at versailles!

day 4:
so this was our last day and we wanted to make the most of it. we had seen pretty much everything we wanted to with the exception of a few things that we planned on seeing that day.. we woke up around 10 and got breakfast at a french bakery and then grabbed some american coffee at mcdonalds while we ate our breakfast. after we jumped on the subway we headed towards the musee d'orsay. by far my favorite museum so far. they had degas, monet, van gogh, all the impressionists and it was amazing.. the louvre had the mona lisa but this was just all my favorites so it was a million times better. after that we headed back to the champs de mars to meet up with the group for a picnic and to talk about what we wanted to do for the rest of the day. we ended up splitting up and renting bikes again.. we got bikes and rode around for a little bit, went back by the louvre, and we decided we wanted to bike to the arc de triomphe.. not a good plan.. in order to get there we had to bike the champs-elysees. horrible idea. one of busiest roads in europe. its full of major designers and huge sidewalks packed with people. we were the only ones on bikes for sure and we got off after about the 12th honk in about 3 seconds. not a good idea at all but luckily we are alive. after that we had had plenty of excitement about to die more then once. we weren't having the best luck with the bikes either and my chain popped off in the middle of going across the street. we decided it was about time to take them back and grab food because we were starved. we took them back and hung out for a while waiting for everyone else to show up. we grabbed some food for a snack.. everyone was exhausted but some of the group went up into the eiffel tower and i didn't go but we just played frisbee, soccer, catch and stuff on the champs de mars.. once they got done we all went to a nice dinner together and then hung out on the champs de mars to watch the lights. at the top of every hour they sparkle and then for the finale at 1am they turn the orange back lights off and just sparkle the white lights. some people went back to the hotel because they were tired but we decided to stay cause i mean its paris..
picnic on the champs de mars
kissing the tower
group shot in front of the tower
pinching the tower
chilling with an elephant outside the musee d'orsay
after we bike the champs elysees and looking at the arc de triomphe
roomies with the tower at night
trevor, katie, me and meiko!

day 5:
we headed back, that morning we went to get some souvenirs and one more crepes before jumping back on the chunnel to head home. it was such a fun relaxing trip. some of the other acu students that came before said they did everything in paris in one day, versailles in another, and then they left and went somewhere else for a 4 day weekend. there is a lot to do in paris but since we spread it out over 4 days it felt more like a vacation then a rushed time trying to see everything else. it was sooo much fun and it was fun to meet up with some other americans who showed us around and some fun stuff to do!
waiting for the chunnel

Monday, April 9, 2007

easter in oxford!

so easter was absolutely fabulous here! probably one of my favorite days i have spent while i have been here!! friday night we went to st. aldates anglican church and participated in the seder meal which is a typical jewish meal. the next night we went to our favorite restaurant in oxford called smollenskys.. its delicious! but on sunday is when the real fun began.. the day started early for an easter sunrise service. we walked to port meadow and had a bible study/church/devotional that was led by our peer worship team for the week. we had an amazing lesson and it was just gorgeous sitting outside enjoying the amazingly beautiful sunrise and fabulous port meadow. we hung out there for a little after and janine made hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls. it was an amazing morning but thankfully it was only the beginning.
my table at the seder meal
kate and i in front of the best tree in oxford on a gorgeous saturday afternoon
elise and kate at dinner saturday night
meiko and i at smollensky's!
the sunrise devo in port meadow!

after the sunrise devo we came back to the houses and the girls had an easter basket exchange, sort of like secret santa, and it was so much fun! i had brianna allen and mimi barnard had me. i got a mug, a huge cadburry chocolate egg, some tea, and more chocolates! it was so much fun..
exchanging gifts!

after that we had a cookout in the backyard! it felt like we were back home but it was such a beautiful day and it was fun being surrounded by my oxford family! we had hotdogs, hamburgers, crisps, fruit, ice cream and cake!
colin, me, elise, sarah, doug, and wayne in the back, at the cookout!
eating lunch in the backyard! (the people next to me and meiko are janines friends who came for the weekend) and janine is at the head of the table
another table of girls!
easter bunny kate with trevor and courtney
me, sarah, and laura

after the lunch cookout elise and meiko and i headed to university park to read and hangout outside.. we didn't get much reading done but we had a blast just hanging out and goofing off. everyone else came to the park a little bit later and we played outside for the afternoon. we played a game of football then ultimate frisbee, and some rugby. after we were exhausted some of the kids had set up easter eggs all over the park and we had a little easter egg hunt! it was so much fun and it was just a gorgeous day outside! after this, we were all dead tired so we came back showered up and then everyone watched a movie!
one of the only good pictures we got trying to balance the camera on a timer in the grass
playing football!
one intense game of football
elise and kate before the easter egg hunt
ready, set, go! the beginning of the hunt!

it was amazing being outside and enjoying all of God's creation all day and just loving life in oxford... i hope everyone else's easters were just as fantastic!

Sunday, March 25, 2007


when in rome...
saturday morning we woke up and were headed for ROMEEEEE!!! we left the house around 6:45 and after driving to london and all that jazz then we landed in rome around 3:15 but with 2 less people then we were supposed to. after landing in rome we found out that one of the girls and one of the professors didn't make it on the plane cause she misplaced her passport in the airport. so that added a little time to the trip but after figuring out that they were coming the next day and getting all that squared away we left the airport and hoped on the coach bus and took a driving tour of rome and saw some of the major stuff we would be seeing in the next few days

beautiful rome...

by the time we got done everyone was hungry and exhausted to we headed back to the hotel, had a nice dinner there and thought we would get to crash and just chill in the hotel, but mike, (janines cousin who was giving us the tour of rome, assisi, and florence) had other plans for us. we continued to walk around and that night we went to the trevi fountain where we got to make wishes! it was beautiful at night, the pictures do not even do justice because it was so big i couldn't get a descent picture.. we continued to walk around a little more and then got gelato and just walked around more. it was st patricks day so people were crazy drunk everywhere and were all dressed in green but it was fun. after walking close to 10 miles we were exhausted and crashed in bed around 12:45.

eating gelato!!
the trevi fountain, doesnt do it justice though
making wishes!!
part of the group in front of the trevi fountain!
drinking out of the fountain that is supposed to bring you love!
haha scott jumped in!!!!
the spanish steps.. we raced and i won!

giorno due in roma!
so day two (sunday) in rome began at 6:45. we woke up and whoever wanted to go to the market could but im not really sure how i managed to get out of bed but i just kept thinking when in rome... haha so i woke up and we went to this market in the middle of the city that is about 6 streets full of stuff. its blocked off and its just like a huge garage/estate sale. it was amazing.. you could get stuff for so cheap but really its just fun to barter. we spent about 2 hours there and then after headed back to the hotel to get breakfast and meet up with the rest of the crew that didn't go to the market. around 11:30 we headed out to see our sites of the day. we walked around and saw some churches and leisurely made our way towards the vatican city. on the way we stopped in a square and there were people painting and hanging out by the fountains a lot of restaurants with outdoor seating, it was beautiful. there was also a marathon going on and people from all over were coming to run in it- it began at the colosseum and there were just runners everywhere. once we got to the vatican it was amazing. we saw the pope when we got there because he was doing mass and there were just loads of people everywhere.. it was packed and we finally made our way to st. peters basilica and walked around heard some cool stories then we went down into the papal tombs and saw where the past popes are buried. (a lot of this stuff i dont have pictures of because your not allowed to take them inside a lot of these places) it was amazing, and once we left elise and i split from the group to go look at all the purses, sunglasses, and tons of cheap stuff. we then grabbed a bite to eat and then after of course got gelato! we just sat for a while and were freaking out about the events of the day and basically just taking it all in watching people and what not. after sitting for a while we went back to the hotel to drop off our stuff and head to the museum but ended up getting there late and missing the group that went so we just went and laid down outside on this little island on the tiber.. people play on the concrete, ride bikes, lay out, and it was a gorgeous day so we just went down there to hang out for a little bit. after we just went back to the hotel and napped before dinner. around 7:30 we left and got pizza at this place that was amazing and just hung out really... we were all so tired from walking all over rome and waking up early so we got pizza and gelato and then went back to the hotel and called it a night.

on a bridge overlooking the tiber
the group on the bridge! (it cuts out the right side because the pic is too big)
beautiful roma
meiko haha we weren't paying attention to the lecture
castle sant' angelo
heading towards the vatican!!!!
we were super super excited!!!
the pope was in that window.. its hard to see in this picture though
elise and i in the piazza del popolo
The Pietà sculpted by Michelangelo
the pietà sculpted by michelangelo
the view of the dome from the drum in st peters

giorno tre in roma!
so day three (monday) began with us waking up around 8 and eating breakfast. after breakfast we had chapel/church because which was fun. we had a lesson about water and it tied into everything with rome because its built off a river and all the water in rome is pure. when you walk down the streets there are these little fountains and you can just drink out of them and it tastes so good and fresh. so we tied that into church and then went outside by a fountain by our convent which was a tribute to a christian martyr. we had communion and sang so that was fun.

mike drinking out of one of the fountains!

we then walked to the pantheon and then they gave us time to just walk around, shop and grab lunch before our tour of the colosseum. so we went and got these little espresso slushes that were amazing and were highly recommended by mike, our tour guide, and its basically just espresso shots mixed with ice and sugar. they were really good, very very strong but were delicious. we just walked around and got lunch then headed to meet up with everyone. around 2 we met up with the rest of the group and then walked around old rome, saw where the courthouse was, went by the mouth of truth, saw a bunch of cool stuff. mike is a prof of art history so he knew so much and just told so many stories, some would say too many but it was fun to hear and see it all at the same time. so we made our way to the colosseum and saw it all took pictures all inside of it then were free to go for the rest of the day. it had been raining on and off all day and by the time we left the colosseum it started raining hardcore. it was gross outside and luckily we got done everything that day before the rain hit. it didn't let up so once we got back to the hotel we left to get dinner and then hung out in the hotel all night. a bunch of us played card games, and then just sat in each others rooms talking and hanging out. it was fun and we finally made it to bed around 1am.

the pantheon
some of the girls with our espresso slushes!!
statue of romulus and remus
a statue of marcus aurelius in the piazza del campidoglio
old rome
more of old rome
old rome again
paying attention to the lesson of old rome.. more or less
of course we are paying attention the the lesson on old rome...
elise and i in the colosseum
inside the colosseum

giorno quattro: giorno uno in assissi
sadly, we left rome around 8ish tuesday morning and headed for assisi. it was about 3 hours on the coach bus and once we got there it was freezing cold. we went to the chapel of st. francis of assisi and saw where he lived and the city in which he was a huge impact on. it lasted for about a hour and a half and then once we left the chapel we went out to lunch. when we were leaving the chapel it had started raining/snowing. completely not prepared at all for the weather- i had on capris, flip flops, and a t shirt we ran to a place to eat and then just sat inside until the bus was ready to leave. assisi was beautiful but i was in no condition or mood to stop and take pictures of the town. once we got to the bus and finally headed out of assisi, after finding katie who got lost, it was a 2 hour ride to florence!! we got to florence and dropped our stuff off. we all split up went to dinner- we had tortellini and wine and hung out. the big group reunited and met up with mike to walk around florence and he was going to show us the best place, in his opinion, to get gelato (even though i think its overated and all tastes pretty much the same)... so we saw the duomo, and just kinda learned our way around the streets and got familiar with the town a little bit. we headed back to the hotel/convent we were staying at, it had an 11:00 curfew and if your late you basically just have to find another place to stay. so we headed back and just hung out in there and talked for a while, settled in and went to bed around 12:30ish.

giorno cinque: giorno uno in florence!!
day 5 was real laid back.. we didn't have much planned for the morning except we had an appointment at the accademia around 1030. after we finally got in around 11 we saw michaelangelo's david and a lot of cool stuff. i was meeting up with molly for lunch at 1230 and it was so fun to get to see her and eat lunch with her. we ate at a little place right by the accademia and being molly, she forgot about a huge test that afternoon that she had hardly studied for and had a presentation all in that same day. so lunch was cut short but it was good to get to see her for a little bit. then i walked around and just saw stuff went to the market till our appointment at the baptistry of san giovanni. it was beautiful inside and then after that we headed to the uffizi gallery where there were famous works by botticelli, leonardo da vinci, raphael, and caravaggio and many others. it plays a huge role in the film hannibal where hannibal stowed himself after he escaped from prison and where he kills 2 victims. which is not a film i would recommend but i have seen it thanks to justin. so after all that jazz we headed to this little nook that mike knew about that sold really nice jewlery for pretty cheap. it was fun to look and then we headed to the hotel to get ready for our nice dinner that night.

so on the way to dinner elise decides it is a good idea to wear heels, needless to say it was the dumbest idea ever. by the time we left the hotel and are out on the main road by our convent we are already a little behind the group. all in italy there is cobblestone and there are cracks and huge holes all in the roads. so heels are not a good idea but elise was like "the italian women do it!" no. bad idea. we are not italian. so by the time we cross the river we can vaguely see the rest of the group. of course we end up getting lost cause she cant walk faster then .02 mph and her feet are killing her. so we end up taking the wrong way and by the time the rest of the group sits down to dinner they realize we are missing and luckily call elise's cell phone and tell us the address. we had been asking people where this place was but of course either no one knew or they just didn't understand our broken italian. so we finally get a cab and it drops us off at the palace and the rest of the night was fun. it was actually really fun getting lost, more so for me because i wasn't the one in pain in heels but it was definitely a memory. we finally got there and its at a place called the palazzo borghese, a huge 3 course meal that was in this beautiful place right in the middle of florence. so the first course was appetizers: bruchetta, toasted liver on bread, and a salad. it was okay but i just tried it then waited for the next course. the second course was lasagna. the next third course was chicken with tomatoes and mozeralla. it was really good then they brought out dessert that was some kind of cake with fruit all over it. it was a fun meal and it lasted about two and a half hours then we headed back to the convent which took longer then getting there, but at least we didn't get lost. it was such a fun night and then after we were at the convent we just hung out, packed, and talked until late but it was definitely a fun trip.

meiko, melanie and trevor
kate, brian, and colin
@ dinner
it was such a fun night!!
some of the girls!!

giorno sei: giorno due in florence!!
so today, thursday, we were all packing and leaving to go wherever we wanted. the majority of the kids from our program were leaving to head to catch a flight from pisa and fly out to cinque terre. i was splitting off from the group and was staying with molly in her villa. she's studying abroad with the pepperdine program and they have their house in florence. so i was staying with her for a few days which was good to get to see and hang out with her italy for a few days. so i met up with her that morning at the duomo to drop my stuff off at her villa. she had class that afternoon so i just walked around with her boyfriend and we grabbed lunch till she got out of class. that night we went to dinner with her family. each student in the pepperdine program has a host family and they interact with a few of the kids in the program to show them what family life is like and just have them over for dinner every once in a while. so that was at 7:30 and we went over to their house for dinner. it was so much fun. the family is hilarious and the parents speak little english but their son and his girlfriend speak pretty good english. they were so funny and it was just cracking me up to watch them interact and to talk with them. italian meals last so long and each night they have a full family dinner, its an event not just a meal. so we had cooked liver (crustini) and bruchetta for the first course. then we had spaghetti for the next course. after that we had chicken, spinach, and potatoes chunks, similar to french fries. the next course we had cheese with honey. there were about 4 different kinds of cheese and they just dip it in honey. it was surprisingly good. after that we had desserts, little pastries with different fillings and icing on top, really good. during dinner we drank wine and then after we were done with the cheese course, before and during the desserts they gave us a different kind of wine which was like sparking wine. it tasted exactly like wine with carbonation. once we were done with all this i thought the meal was over but then after about sitting for 20 min she made espresso. haha so we had a little shot of espresso and ended up finishing the meal around 11:30. between each course we sit for a little bit and then she just kept bringing food out. it was fun though and completely different then meals in the states. also, it turns out that the marathon that was in rome, the dad of this family ran in!! the were showing me pictures on their camera and i had taken pictures of the runners so it was crazy that he was at it!! we got back to the villa around 11:45 and got in bed around midnight. we stayed up and talked till about 2 in the morning but it was a really fun night.

us and the family!!! (the one sitting in the front in the beanie is also a pepperdine student)

giorno sette: giorno tre in florence!
so friday morning we slept in, which was amazing and much needed after the crazy busy week of constantly waking up early. we got up around noon and then headed out to grab lunch around 1. after lunch we just walked around the different markets and bought lots of random stuff. it was a really chill day and then after we got done shopping we went back to the villa to get ready for dinner. there was about 10 of us that went to dinner at a place that had really good italian food. later that mol and i just hung out in the room and basically just got caught up on each others lives and talked a whole bunch.

giorno otto: giorno uno in lucca!
saturday was quite an eventful day. molly, chris, and i left in the morning to go to lucca. we were planning on going skydiving but in the morning it had started raining so we were just praying the clouds wouldn't come down to low and would stop raining so we would be able to do it. we barely made the train cause we thought we had a little more time so we went to grab food but luckily molly held the train for us and we got on fine. once we got to lucca their we found our hotel and dropped all of our stuff off. our reservation was at 1 to skydive but because of the weather earlier in the morning they were delayed about 30 min but the luckily he said the weather was looking excellent for our jump. we hung out took lots of pictures and then had a little class about how to skydive, signed our lives away, and then got geared up and ready to go. haha no actually they prepared us really well and then we just signed a piece of paper basically saying that if we die they aren't responsible and we cant sue them. so that was a little stressful and pretty funny. we hung out a little more and then they we practiced everything we learned in class. we got geared dressed and ready to go then we got prepared to jump. it was so much fun!!!! when i got in the plane i wasn't really nervous but then once i got inside the tiny plane i started getting nervous. on our outfits is a device that just shows how high you are, and my instructor had said that once it got to 4500 feet we were going to jump. but of course i have no idea how hight 4500 feet is in relation to the air so we start going up and right before the plane goes up into the clouds i look at my little device and it reads 2000 feet. i started freaking out a little and i just sit there glancing out the window and back at the device slowly freaking out more and more. once we hit 4000 feet the instructor started double checking all the equipment and attaching me to him and going over last minute instructions. at 4500 feet he swings open the door and a few other professionals that we with us jump out in their groups and before i knew it, it was our turn to jump and we start slowly moving to the edge of the plane. we are sitting there and then he counts to three and then we just jump out. it was amazing. it was about 6 seconds of free falling before he pulled the drag out to slow us down a little bit.. it was so much fun.. it lasted about a minute and a half and i got to drive the parachute.. we spun in circles and he showed me some highlights of the city cause you have such an amazing view from up there. we had an excellent landing and all went well. i was so excited when i got done i couldn't stop smiling. i was just saying grazie, grazie over and over. it was so much fun and we left after taking more pictures around 430. we got back to the town and walked around the market still in shock that we had just gone skydiving. it was so much fun though i would do it over again in a heartbeat. we ate dinner around 530 starving because we didn't want to eat too much before we did our jump. so we went to this local place and just got pizza and hung out and then went back to the hotel to chill before i had to leave.

chris, molly, and i on the way to the train station!!
eating mcdonalds.. the reason we almost missed the train
the sign!!! SKYDIVING!!!
mol and i taking pictures.. dont you worry there is plenty more where these come from
signing our life's away
yup good thing nothing happened!
goggles have never been my thing
excited and ready to gooooo!!!
heading to the plane!
boarding the plane!
taking off!!!!

so that night we planned on catching the train at 12:46 and taking it to pisa and then from there getting a cab to the airport and just hanging out there till my flight. my flight was at 6:35 and i figured i needed to be there 2 hours early so chilling at the airport for a few hours would be safe and no big deal. but we leave the hotel and get lost in lucca and arrive at the train station a little late. i buy the ticket but miss the train and come to find out that the train station is on strike or something soooo i was like well great. so we decided i should just take a cab all the way to pisa airport. but once i get in the cab i realize the only reason i'm going at such an insane time is to save money on the train (cause it was only 2 euro to catch the train) but now since i have to pay for the cab all the way to pisa i might as well wait in the hotel instead of the train station. my cab driver luckily spoke english and was saying the train station is no place to be in the middle of the night and she cant take me to the airport cause it closes and doesnt open till 5am. so she said she would come back to the hotel and pick me up to take me to the airport at 4:20 so i could get there when it opens at 5 and make my flight fine. but it just so happens that the same night at 2am there was a time change that i completely forgot about until i got in bed. so i set my watch ahead and was just hoping the cab driver would remember and if she didn't i was going to just walk on the street and try to get a cab to the airport. needless to say it was a frantic night and i was somewhat of a nervous wreck but luckily she remembered and she drove me to the airport and stopped by the leaning tower of pisa so i could see it-- it was beautiful in the morning and a good ending to a chaotic and stressful night. anyways i got to the airport fine and made it home around noon on sunday exhausted. God is good though and it all worked out fine. i hope you enjoy the pictures!! love you and miss you all!!
Blogger Template By Designer Blogs