Saturday, July 23, 2005

So I haven't updated in a lot longer than I meant to... oops. That's because I've been in Chicago (yay!) but staying at Rob's parent's swanky condo (or flat, to the ordinary folks) in "downtown" Chicago, which doesn't have internet access.

Getting over here was a lot easier than I expected. Since I now have a Russian visa in my passport, I was expecting a lot of hassle from the border people (or "Department of Homeland Security", as they're rather pompously known). However, it was really easy - the guy didn't seem to want to talk, so I got through with no problems. Yay me.

So I've spent a few days in sunny Chicago. It's been ridiculously hot, with lots and lots of humidity. Is it really a normal thing to have temperatures of 77 degrees Farenheit (dunno what that is Celsius, I'm not good at converting) at 7 am? Cos I don't like it and think it should be banned. At least when the humidity is 80% (uuurgh sticky!)

But apart from the stickiness, I like Chicago. I spent most of my time there sunbathing in Millennium Park (, where I got horrifically sunburnt. And then spent a lot of time hiding from the sun in the shade and listening to the orchestra practising for one of their shows (hehehe free live classical music! Very classy).

Now I'm in a hotel in Duluth, Minnesota on the way up to Canada. We could probably have been chilling out at the Lake of the Woods by now, except that Rob cleverly left his passport in Chicago... we only realised when we were about 5 hours away from Chicago, having driven till 2.30am and slept for a few hours before getting back on the road. This was not fun! After a few frantic phone calls, Rob's mum agrees to drive up and meet us halfway with the passport and all-important Green Card... because Mums are amazing. So we met, 2 1/2 hours later, in a place called Madison which didn't seem to be very exciting except that we had lunch. Then it was back on the road, and by 5.30 pm we managed to pass the place where we had turned around seven hours earlier... and people call me dopey at times! Hah!

We've just been out for possibly the best Thai food ever, so now I'm very very full and ready for bed. Ooooh and the exciting thing was that Rob had his ID checked, but I'd left mine in the car (because it was my turn to forget something) and the waiter guy wasn't bothered! This is a rare thing and I was quite impressed.

Well it was exciting for me anyway. I might be 21, but I don't seem to look it. I can deal with that.

This is a long long post eh?

Just a couple more things, and then I'll go to bed. One is Harry Potter - if you haven't read it, do so RIGHT NOW! And if you have, can I just say "Oh my God!" quite a lot? I'm not going to spoil it for anyone, from fear of severe pain and/or death, but seriously - why?

And the other is that I'm going to be out at camp ( next week, so no more from me. Ok, no real surprise there, but at least this time you know, right? This camp is where I worked in my gap year, and it has this amazing hold on people... they just keep going back! I love it. Hopefully (and don't tell anyone) I'll be there for the full 4 month period next year, as part of my year abroad... well, lots of the Canadians speak French, I can practice with them!

That's quite enough from me for now. Hope everyone is well etc etc etc, leave me comments!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Not a particularly recent picture... this was taken at Easter, on a climbing holiday in Fontainebleau, just south of Paris. It's a massive forest, with crazy amazing boulders everywhere, and it's a climber's paradise!

(Photo taken by Mindy Jhittay - thanks)
Hey look I'm updating!

So I spent last Thursday in Edinburgh, which was good. I was up there to get a Russian visa, because Marianna (my Russian tutor at Durham) said that it was easier to get to and more relaxed than the one in London. I'm glad, because we know what happened in London on Thursday. To all those affected, I'm thinking of you. Stay brave.

What else? Erm... I was working at the NorthWest Face Indoor Climbing Centre over the weekend, which was fun. I've worked there for far longer than I care to admit now, I think it's almost six years. Considering I'm only 21, I think that's good going!

And exciting events of the week include getting the deposit back from the house I was living in last year, so that's gone straight in the bank to try and reduce my (scarily large) overdraft. I like getting money back. It's a good feeling. There's also a wedding reception on Saturday (not me... my Mum's cousin and his fiancee), and then I'm off to Chicago on Sunday to see my boy again! Yay!

Ok that's enough for now. I might update again before I leave to see Rob, or I might just leave it till I'm there and bored while he's at work. wait and see!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Hey look, it's me! My hair isn't like this any more though... at the moment it's partly this colour, but with turquoise (Special Effects Fishbowl, for those who care) strips. Nice.

This was taken at Navy Pier in Chicago, when I was visiting Rob, my boy ( That was a good day.
Wow my second post... yeah I'm not good at this diary type stuff.

I've spent the past 3 days in Manchester hunting for the Chinese embassy... it's in the middle of Rusholme, in case you need to know. Not in Chinatown, but Rusholme (the Curry Capital of the North-West). So having found it, I still can't get a visa cos that has to be done within three months of the date of travel. Since I aim to be travelling through in December, now is not the time to get a visa. Bah.

I suppose I should explain myself. I'm a languages student at the University of Durham, studying French and Russian. I've just finished my second year, and next year is the fabled year abroad... so I'm off to Russia (Krasnoyarsk in Siberia) in September, with the aim of getting the Trans-Siberian train across Russia, through Mongolia and into China at the end of the placement. Hence my need for visas.

So far the organisation for this is not going well. I never claimed to be organised, but it seems to be expected...