It Was All A Dream

This weekend was amaaaaazing! The weather was gorgeous (I know! bananas, right?) and the BF was here, so of course, I was in a fantastic mood. πŸ˜€

On Friday night he came over and I cooked pasta for dinner and we watched the rest of season 1 of How I Mt Your Mother. It’s his favourite American sitcom, and I like it, but I’m still on team Big Bang Theory. Hardcore.

Saturday we got up and went for a walk. First we went to Greenbank Park, which is across the street from me. I had some bread in the fridge that was about to go bad (it hadn’t yet but I’d had it for awhile and figured I needed to either eat it or toss it, and since I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat it, I needed to get creative) and so the BF and I went to feed the ducks in Greenbank Park!

Alas, the ducks were few and far between and as soon as we threw a few pieces, these guys showed up:

Yeah. Huge, hungry geese. They were sooo close to us and they’d just stand there, beaks open, waiting for food. It was kinda funny. So yeah, we feed the geese and then we went to another park close to my dorm, called Sefton Park.

This is a building in Sefton Park:

This is the Palm House, and it’s a victorian glass house that has tons of flowers and plants inside. As soon as I walked in my glasses steamed up! It was gorgeous inside though.

Outside the Palm House is the reason we went to Sefton Park in the first place: A Peter Pan statue. There are seven statues of Peter Pan in the world: One here in Liverpool, one in London, one in Belgium, one in the US, one in Australia, and two in Canada.

Since I am a major dork and LOVE Peter Pan, I had to go, obviously.

After spending some time there, we walked back to the dorm and got his car to go to St. Helen’s, which is really close to Liverpool. It had been a big mining community until the colliery closed in 1991. The town was chosen as 1 of 7 in the UK to partake in a program called The Big Art Project which was a program which would allow the town to commission a piece of artwork.

They commissioned this sculpture, called “Dream:”

Check out that blue sky!

The area leading up to the statue is really pretty. It was a 10 minute walk:

So we spent a little time there. We’d seen this sculpture from the M62 motorway a billion times but didn’t know what it was until I got a Liverpool guide book and it happened to be in there. So now we know!

And here’s us after our walk:

So, that was our touristy fun for the weekend! It felt really great to get out and walk so much. And as you can see, the weather cooperated, which always helps. πŸ˜€

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I’m definitely not giving up the good fight

So as many of you will have noticed lately, (the last month or so) this blog has been more about travels than food/exercise/fitness. My transatlantic move started out as exciting, then got stressful, then got stressful times a million, then got fun, then got stressful again, and it’s just now leveling out.

I will say this: I haven’t weighed myself since getting here (no scale, but I will remedy that soon enough) BUT I think I am doing a decent job at maintaining my weight (probably within +/- 5 pounds). All of my clothes fit the same, and some jeans even are looser than they were a few months ago when I kind of stopped counting and tracking everything.

For me, that is almost as exciting as losing weight. Generally, if I’m not on Weight Watchers and cooking at home and counting every point, I’m gaining weight. After I stopped WW before, I gained anywhere from 7-12 pounds a MONTH until I reached my highest weight.

Shocking, huh? I definitely do not want to go back to that. I refuse to go back to that. And I am definitely not at goal weight (or anywhere close to it) and so I will be continuing this journey.

It will be different than it was before. Living on campus, in a dorm, with cafeteria food is tough. I can’t really afford to cook for myself every night when 2 meals a day are provided to me as part of my perks package as a hall tutor. And, to be honest, the food isn’t terrible.

I generally have a big breakfast because I don’t buy lunch very often (I should call myself Kristen the Frugalista). So I’ll eat a few eggs on a piece of toast, some jam on another piece of toast and maybe a piece of fruit. I take some more fruit to campus with me for a midday snack.

I eat dinner early, around 4:30, and again, it’s pretty big as I don’t typically eat a proper lunch. Usually some sort of main dish – (chicken normally) and then veggies and salad. I take fruit and yogurt to my room for snacks. πŸ™‚

Of course it’s not always perfect. I am in England, after all – when fish and chips are served, I’m so there.

I do binge occasionally, but it’s few and far between. I’ve been to the counseling center on campus to set up appointments as it was really helpful for me when I was home, so I definitely want to keep on with that.

As for running, I miss it! So much! I want to start again but I’m sort of feeling like I was when I first started – feeling self-conscious and silly. I will have to get over that and I think this will be the first issue I bring up at my appointment next week.

So…that’s where I’m at, weight-loss wise, at the moment.

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Did someone say “Beatles?”

I have a confession: I am not a big Beatles fan.

I know, I know. It’s inhuman or something, and I’m beginning to believe that it’s illegal here in Liverpool, but nonetheless, I am not a fan.

It’s not that I dislike the Beatles. I don’t. I just don’t love them either.

That being said, I now live in the Beatles capital of the world and you can’t help but notice.

Last weekend, the BF and I walked around the city center to just take a walk and take some pictures. We started at the university and walked down to a craft shop and then to the main train station area. There are some really pretty buildings around there:

After that, we found ourselves on Mathew St:

Mathew St. is home to the Cavern Club, which is where the Beatles were discovered.

Across the street is a statue of John Lennon, complete with flowers at it’s feet:

Around the corner, if the Cavern Club and the statue isn’t enough Beatles for you, you can stay at a Beatles-themed hotel! And guess whats outside?

We went to Liverpool One after our impromptu Beatles tour and went to the cinema to see The Other Guys. I though it was really funny and the BF loved it. πŸ˜€ After that, we ate dinner at a place called Barburrito. As you all know, I love me some Mexican food, and so I needed a La Tolteca replacement here. Barburrito is like a subway sandwich shop – you choose your dish (burrito, taco, or nachos) and then pick your toppings.

I had a burrito and while it’s no La Tolteca, it wasn’t bad! I think I’ll try nachos next time :D.

My favourite part of the day however was something I wasn’t even aware of until I got home and put the pictures on my computer.

Yes, ladies and gents: I was photobombed.

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Weekend fun

The BF came to visit this past weekend (as he does every weekend πŸ˜€ ) and we had SO much fun!!! Friday night I cooked pasta and steamed squash and we watched How I Met Your Mother (season 1). I do miss my sitcoms, I must admit.

On Saturday he came back around lunchtime and we had lunch then went off for a fun-filled day! We started by taking the bus to a church I’ve passed a few times (a roof-less church. I know) but never gone to. As it has no roof (??) I was intrigued.

It’s called St. Lukes and it was bombed during the Blitz (May ’41). The city of Liverpool bought it from the Church of England and they’ve landscaped the gardens and they use the church as a sort of gathering place/open air venue, etc.

We hopped back on the bus and continued to the Albert Dock. On the waterfront, it has tons of pubs and restaurants, shops, hotels, and museums.

We went to the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum (which is inside the Maritime Museum).

It was huuuuuuge! There was an exhibit about World War Two and Britain’s role (especially the Navy, obv), one on three sinking ships that had strong ties to Liverpool (The Titanic, The Lusitania, and the Empress). The Titanic was registered in Liverpool and the captain had lived in Merseyside (Liverpool) for 40 years before moving to Southampton. One of the musicians lived on Smithdown Road, which is in my neighborhood.

Something I learned that I hadn’t heard before was that when The Titanic sailed, she was only sailing at HALF capacity, and they STILL only had lifeboats for 50% of those on board. Imagine if it had been sailing at full capacity. :/ We also learned that one of the first lifeboats launched was launched with 12 people in it, and it had been built and approved for 40. Double 😦

Another exhibit was called “Hello Sailor! Gay Life on the Ocean Wave” and it was smaller but really interesting.

There was also an exhibit called “Seized,” which has less to do with Maritime history and more with border patrol overall, but it’s basically about the role of the UK Border Agency and taxation and how goods smuggled in hurt the economy and environment and pose risks to public safety. They had displays of all the stuff that’s been seized either at airports or in the post, some innocent (people buying IvoryΒ  or snakeskin boots on holiday, for example, and not knowing they can’t bring it back) but also things like weapons, drugs, and counterfeit goods.

I don’t have any photos but you’d be amazed at the stuff people attempted to bring or smuggle into the UK. Pickled vipers, for one. I know, right? Apparently they’re used in some kind of Eastern medicine or something. There was also a lot of stuff from protected animals – ivory, skins, furs, butterfly wings, etc. (On a side note, what kind of heinous person could pull the wings off a butterfly? Seriously? Gah.)

Then there were the weapons. Someone apparently tried to bring an Israeli assault rifle in. Needless to say it didn’t make it through. Everything from guns to knives to brass knuckles.

We then went to the International Slavery Museum which is on the top floor and was way bigger than I expected it to be. Apparently it’s moving to another building in the next year or so in order to have more space but it was a great exhibit.

This is a sculpture called “Freedom” and it was made out of recycled materials in Haiti by young Haitians and some famous sculptors.

Another part of the museum was an exhibit about domestic servants and slavery and told the stories of people who had gone to work as domestic servants (either in Britain or other countries) and been forced into slavery, basically, by being forced to work for no money and in being stuck, basically, in countries without legal rights or support. We spent a few hours going through all of the exhibits in the museums, and after, we left to go to dinner.

Jamie’s Italian!

As you all know, I LOVE Jamie Oliver. With a capital “L.” So imagine my excitement when I found out that one of his restaurants had been opened in Liverpool.

The BF suggested we go as a celebration dinner, to celebrate his new job and the beginning of the school year for me. I, of course, agreed.

We got there at 4:45 because I’d been told if you go later there are lines out the door. I figured 4:45 would be a safe time. Guess what? It was PACKED and there was a thirty minute wait. At 4:45.

So we waited by the bar and we were seated around 5:15.

For a starter we got an assortment of breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The BF ordered some pasta with a creamy sauce and ham (I forget the name) and I got Spaghetti Bolognese (which I have absolutely no clue how to spell).

So, the food was awesome and I, obviously, was with the most handsome man in the restaurant :D. So overall, the meal was awesome all around!

So that was my weekend! NEXT weekend should prove to be even more awesome. We’re going to see a sculpture called “Dream,” to Ikea, then to Manchester! We’re going to an Italian restaurant we found a coupon for (BOGO baby!) and then to the movies. I am also trying to find a museum or something to see before dinner. I’m still working on it.

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Separated by WAY more than an Ocean.

When I moved to the UK, I expected some differences, sure, but I also figured there would be a lot less to adjust to than when I moved to Korea. Slowly but surely I’m finding that just isn’t true. So here are some of the things I’m adjusting to (some better than others):

On the language front: A common way to greet someone here (whether this is UK-wide or Liverpool-specific, I don’t know) is to say “You ok?”

Imagine my surprise when EVERYONE I MET in the first two weeks started every interaction with “You OK?”

Me: Um…yeah. I’m fine. Thanks?

I’ve got it now though.

Something else that threw me for a loop is the inversion of names. For example, I am a student at the University of Liverpool. It’s quite common to call it Liverpool University as well. As you all know, we’d never call The University of Maryland, “Maryland University,” so for weeks I walked around thinking there was some other university I’d missed in my research. And hadn’t yet seen. With the same colors as Uni of Liverpool. (I never said I was the sharpest tool in the shed).

Speaking of the university….As you all (probably?) know, I am living in a hall of residence. Said hall of residence has a bar. Students are encouraged to frequent said bar from staff and admin as the bars have to make a certain amount of money or they may be closed down.

Awesome. Can you imagine if US universities had Uni sanctioned bars in halls of residences? It blows my mind!

And speaking of the bar, there’s a party in there tonight. A sex toy party. Sponsored by the bar. In the official University accommodation.

No. I am not even kidding. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard! I saw posters earlier and figured some group on campus was doing it and the bar agreed, but no. Bar sponsored.

I think back on my time at the Uni of Delaware, living on campus, and all I can say is this: I want my money back, Delaware. No bars. No sex toy parties. What the what, Delaware?! I’m drafting a letter to send tonight, darnit.

I miss ice. They don’t give you ice in drinks here. Or if they do, it’s 2 measly cubes that melt in, like, 12 seconds. My poor mother won’t know what to do with herself when she comes to visit, as she’s the queen of extra ice in her drinks.

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Coldy McColderson, Party of One.

I’ve been cold since I stepped off the plane.

Seriously.

I left my coat at home for two reasons:

1. It wouldn’t fit in my bag and I was already wearing layers and a big sweatshirt on the plane.I figured if I added anything else I’d look like the stay-puffed marshmallow man, only in Uggs and a peacoat.

2. I (mistakenly) assumed it wouldn’t get truly cold here until, you know…..Late October, early November.

Yeah. I was wrong.

Luckily though, England seems to be the land of the Charity shops. Seriously, there are about 15 on any given road you might choose to walk down. I have decided that I shall take a day next week and paw through all the ones within walking distance until I find a suitable coat.

Know what else England is the land of?

Cadbury creme eggs.

Apparently they sell them here year-round, though I’ve yet to see one. I am on the prowl though, believe you me. Now, I’m not trying to gain back all the weight I lost by eating Cadbury creme eggs, though one every now and again wouldn’t be bad.

So imagine my sheer joy when I was flipping through a free Asda magazine (Asda is the English version of Walmart. Apparently Walmart owns them) and I saw this:

A tear slid down my cheek and in my head I heard Jeff Buckley singing “Hallelujah.” It’s the most wonderful thing I’ve seen all week.

You might thing I’ve had a fairly uneventful week if a cadbury creme screme egg is the most wonderful thing I’ve seen, but you’d be wrong!

The BF was down all weekend and we spent Saturday morning walking to a museum called Sudley House. It’s about ten minutes from my dorm, on foot, so we figured we should at least check it out. And it’s free admission! Double score!

Sudley Tea House

Apparently they have tea here, but we didn’t go. How quaint and cute is that?!

Sudley HouseThis is the main house, and the exhibit going on now is a wedding exhibit called “Hitched: Wedding Clothes and Customs.” Along with the standard paintings and Victorian furniture and toys, they have two rooms devoted to wedding dresses (present and past), assorted wedding ephemera and knick-knacks, and also placards describing wedding customs in Britain (also present and past). It was really cool, though I didn’t read or see anything that totally blew my mind.

This is the small garden area outside the main house, with 8 gorgeous Oak trees planted to commemorate 800 years of the city of Liverpool. It kind of blows my mind that this city is so old.

Oh, and side note….have I mentioned that I live ACROSS THE STREET from:

Yeah. It’s kinda awesome. As I was leaving to catch the bus to main campus today I saw some people on Penny Lane taking pictures. It hasn’t sunk in that I’m not the tourist here. It kinda makes me feel giddy to think about it. πŸ˜€

So, Beatles fans, come visit me! I live right near Penny Lane!

This coming weekend should be fun as well. As I have the most awesomely awesome BF ever, he said he thought we should go out for dinner to celebrate the start of classes for me and the start of work for him. Where are we going, you might ask?

Jamie’s Italian. Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant in Liverpool. Admittedly, it is a chain (I guess) and there are like, 15 of them scattered around England, but I don’t really care. I ❀ Italian food, and I ❀ Jamie Oliver, and I ❀ my BF, so what could be better for a Saturday night date?? I might try to convince him to go to a movie after as well :D.

We also want to go to the Albert Dock, which is (obviously) on the water and has a ton of (free) museums and other tourist attractions. We’ll probably do that on Saturday morning/afternoon, so stay tuned and I hopefully will have a ton to write about on Sunday!

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I’m too old for this.

As many of you know, I’ve recently relocated to England in order to be closer to my boyfriend (aw). I’m getting a second M.A. and working as a hall tutor. The students moved in a few days ago and let me just tell you….I obviously didn’t do university right the first time around.

Today, I’m walking around campus and waiting patiently for this info session to begin so I can go the heck home, and I run into another tutor who is in my block.Β  I won’t write out the conversation as this took place like 6 hours ago and I can’t remember enough, but basically….students on the floor below me (MY students, to boot) had apparently been out and about in the city and ran into a quasi-famous band here. Somehow, aforementioned students convince aforementioned band to COME BACK TO THE DORM and PERFORM.

Yes. You read that right.

So, at 3 in the morning, another tutor woke up to find this band playing in the hall kitchen. (I’m assuming it was an acoustic set? I’d hope I’d wake up were someone playing drums and an electric guitar at 3 am).

I slept right through it. Apparently I am not a light sleeper. Who knew?

On the health and fitness front, the food here isn’t half bad! On campus, I mean. I get dinner every night in the dining hall (or Canteen, as they call it) and it’s not bad. I am not snacking much and all of my clothes still fit. I’m actually fitting into a size smaller in jeans. So yay me! I need to start running again as the BF wants to run a 5K together soon. πŸ˜€

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