Thursday, December 22

2005 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends!

Happy Holidays

1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate from Harrods (really just melted chocolate in an espresso cup!!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa of course!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I'm a fan of coloured (like my Bristish spelling, LOL)

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No not in my flat but my local has some - of course it was put up on the light just over where we always stand - thanks girls, just remember payback is worse!!

5. When do you put your decorations up? Usually the day after Thanksgiving, but this year I didn't decorate since I'm not staying - Patty's got 1400 lights, I think that's enough for Newington & London - she went a little crazy with Mr. Doty while shopping at Wal-Mart!!!!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Since my favourite meal is Thanksgiving, I look forward to all those sorts of foods - esp my sweet potatoes recipe.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Waking up to see if Santa has eaten the cookies & milk or listening to mom and dad sing at church on Christmas Eve

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What truth . . . that he has more reindeer than we can name to pull his fat butt around the world???

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Normally open 1, but every once in awhile we get carried away and open them all - then we can sleep in the next morning :)

10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? chocolate chip.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? LOVE it! Sure hope to see some while I'm home!!!

12. Can you ice skate? Oh yeah, haven't been in years but sure it's like riding a bike.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Not really - I love them all.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Visiting with family & friends who I don't get to see that often these days!!!

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? candied pecans that Ellen Strong or was it Suzanne Kirkpatrick use to make for us.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I'm not sure we have one unless you can count going to the movies on Christmas evening as one, but that's a more recent tradition

17. What tops your tree? If I had a tree, it'd be an angel.

18. Which do you prefer Giving or Receiving? Giving hands down!! I'm not good at receiving gifts, but I love to buy for others!

19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol? "What Child is This"

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? I'm not a fan, I normally save them up and bring over to Shann's house after she's run out - LOL

Sunday, December 18


Sorry it's been awhile since I gave a proper update. Just been busy touring around with friends before they leave for Christmas break (as we still call it that over here in England).

Let's see where do I start . . . Well you've seen Amanda's birthday party photos from this past Wednesday evening. I'll start from there and work towards today. We had our exam on Wednesday morning - class average was 25/60! This exam doesn't count for anything, just to see where you are as far as studying in concerned, but I was above average :) which made me happy!

That afternoon I went out to lunch with Sasha & Susan - we grabbed a sandwich on Store St, just down the road from school. We returned to school for a 12.45 Immunology seminar - which was very interesting. From there we went to stand in the LONG queue at the post office. There is always a long queue at the post office!! I think it's b/c the post office offers way too many things aside from stamps. You can exchange money, get car insurance, travel insurance, postal orders, bank accounts, phone cards, and top up your mobile pay-as-you-go phone. After that mission was accomplished I jumped on the tube at Russell Sq and headed home to buy 2 plates and a few forks/knives/spoons for dinner!

Around 17.30 Rob & Jim came over so Rob could frost the cake & Jim could play on the internet (some of you probably received emails from "me" - LOL). Around 18.00 Susan arrived, 18.20 Heather & Amanda called to say the surface train was really late and they needed help with food shopping. Dom arrived around 18.30 and we set off with the shopping list in order to find all the items needed for dinner. Might seem like an easy task, but with Rob, Dom, Susan, and me all in the lead it was a mess. We were able to get everything and return to find Jim (still on the computer) with Heather, Amanda, Gareth & Claire. We started to organize the dinner food - dividing up who would cut what & where, since we're limited on space in my little studio!! Rob, Jim, Gareth & Claire buggered off to the pub.

Let me tell you about how hot it can get in my tiny little kitchen with all 4 burners going, oven on, 1 chef with her 3 assistants!! We all had red cheeks like we'd been out sledding or something!

We all sat down for dinner around 18.45 - everyone loved it I could tell b/c it got very quiet all of the sudden! We had 2 choices, spicy chicken or non-spicy chicken with rice and tortillas with avocado & melted cheese. It was PERFECTION!!! Luckily we had just enough for everyone to have seconds who wanted it.

Jim did the washing up, with minimal help from me (again not much room in the kitchen), while Rob put candles in the cake. We sang Happy Birthday to Amanda and all got a piece of cake. From the photos you can tell we had a bit of a frosting fight as well - boys will be boys and why leave the hostess out of all the fun, right?!?!

After the three of us had washed our faces everyone headed down to my local. We stayed till closing, probably only about an hour. From there everyone jumped on the tube or walked home. All in all it was a fantastic & fun night! Will miss these guys during the holidays, they're my school family.

Thursday, I went to Katie's graduation from LSE. Simon and I sat together through one of the shortest graduations I've ever seen - 1 hour 20 minutes!! It was ideal!! Glad I was there to support Katie and see her get her masters - very exciting. Katie had her work Christmas party so that evening I had dinner with Rob at an Indian place near Archway tube stop - we were looking for Chinese but couldn't find a sit down place.

Friday I met everyone at Leicester Sq tube for Dim Sum in China Town - see photos - from the photos you can probably tell that we walked to Covent Garden after lunch for a little window shopping and then on to school for drinks with the MBID and a few IID students. From there I came home to get ready for Bianca's birthday party in Camden Town. (Bianca one of the barmaids at my local). Rob, Louise, Mark & I met at the pub for dinner before heading down to Solo Bar in CT. It was a good night, but Louise and I were tired so we headed home early!

Saturday, Susan, Louise, Rob & I met at Camden Town tube station for a walk to Hampstead Heath. It was a brisk morning, but wonderfully sunny & clear for walking. We found the heath eventually, after a few wrong turns here and there. Lots of kites being flown and dogs running around. It was nice to see forested areas in London. Parks & heaths aren't the same!! A "park" is the same as we think of in the states. A "heath" is more of a wooded area with paths & more overgrown forest like. On our way home we stopped to buy food for dinner. Rob cooked pork with cocannon (potatoes with cooked kale and spring onions) and sued. We had strawberries with creme fresh for dessert. Heather & Lauren showed up around 19.10 so we could head up to Highgate Village to see The Wiz at a pub theater. It was great fun!

Today, Louise came over around 11.00 for breakfast and a trip to Harrods! Not of course the greatest of days to plan a trip to such a tourist trap, but I'd yet to be in all my time here so we fought the crowds. We walked around through the different sections of Harrods before getting in the queue for the Chocolate Bar - we had melted milk chocolate (drinks) with cookies as a little snack - it's absolute heaven!! On our way home we stopped off in Camden to hit Wolly's (Wolworth's) and get some last minute supplies for Christmas - stockings and wrapping paper! From CT we walked back to KT. Stopped over to see Rob & Jim to say Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, since Louise is leaving tomorrow at 07.20. Then back to my flat for left over dinner from last night and to watch Good Will Hunting on the laptop.

Saturday, December 17

Photo Website

So here is my photo website - you can see all my photos from London and Oxford now.

Dim Sum & MBID/IID drinks

me, Louise, Ellie (MBID)

Loh, Maria, Jonathan (MBID)

Max, Luci, Meredith, Anisa, and Sarentha (IID & MBID)

Performer at Covent Garden

Me, Susan & Luci - Covent Garden

Heather, Luci, Amanda, me, Susan & Dom

Friday, December 16


Princess : Hebrew
Peaceful, poised and understanding you do not let anyone or anything disturb your innate calm. You are tolerant of others no matter how their behaviours or beliefs differ from your own. Not attached to material or worldly affairs you are free to express your true self. Displaying great wisdom and serenity people are naturally drawn to you for guidance and counsel. Your courage and presence of mind see you through any adversity.

To do your name click here

Thursday, December 15

LP Lodge

Take a look at this article!!

Amanda's B'day Party

Well last night was the big dinner party - I think the photos speak for themselves!! Here are a few on for this post, I'm going to try to put them all online - will give you the link asap

Dom, Amanda, Susan (in black), Heather (all LSHTM students) - food prep - my kitchen is too small for all this work so we had to use all other surfaces, including the floor, LOL!!

Jim (copper) and Susan (IID classmate)

Amanda's birthday cake (homemade chocolate cake thanks to Rob's cooking abilities)

Jim & me posing for a photo instead of washing dishes :)

Wednesday, December 14

Exam Done

So my exam is done and it's 11.07 GMT, guessing most of you are still in bed!!

Tuesday, December 13

Power point presentation

So my presentation is done :) I was the 3rd person in the class to go this morning so I was able to have a relaxing lunch with Amanda and Heather. We talked about our "party" tomorrow. It's Amanda's birthday on 29 Dec, so we're sort of throwing her a "surprise" party. Slight problem with this idea was that she decided to cook dinner for all of us! Menu thus far is quesadillas with margaritas and dessert is TBA (I've recruited Rob to either bake or buy - depending on his time/work schedule.) She doesn't know that we're having cake for her so that part is still a surprise. Did I tell you already that there are nine (9) people coming? Not sure where we will all sit or what we will all eat off of but it should be good fun (or as they say over here proper fun). I'll be sure to take photos to post!!

Party goers are:
Amanda (Immunology of Infectious Disease student from Wisconson, dating Dom)
Dominic aka Dom (IID student from England, dating Amanda)
Heather (Public Heath student from Maryland)
Susan (IID student from CT & CA)
Jim (copper from England)
me, you all know me already :)
Rob (copper from Ireland)
Gareth (IID student from Scotland, dating Claire)
Claire (PhD student from England, dating Gareth)

Expressions thanks to Patty & life in TN

So here are a few things Patty has learned in her few months in TN. I found them rather amusing, hope you do as well . . .

southern expressions:

compliment: you are as fine as frog hair

if someone is annoyed/angry you can say "I wonder who peed in his/her cheerios " or "I wonder who licked the red off his/her candy"

I'm fixin to get back to work

southern vocabulary:
pare - never underestimate the pare of a woman

taters - potatoes

cheer - have a seat in that there cheer

phraisin - I need a sweater, it's phraisin in here!

Well I'm off to give my presentation today and then finish studying for my exam tomorrow!! I CANNOT believe this term is basically over!!!!
It is exactly 3 months ago today that I left Boston's Logan Int'l airport - Time flies when you're having fun. Still lovin it :) See you in a few!

Sunday, December 11

"Accidental Explosion"

08.00 GMT - So I'm guessing this will make the US news, but what they tell you will be different from what BBC is telling us, so here is the link to get you the "real" news!! Hemel Hempstead, is far enough away from Kentish Town that we didn't feel the explosion, well maybe if I'd been awake I might have noticed something, but I was snoozing away. Updates to come.

12.00 GMT - So from where I live you can see the black cloud and even right above my flat you can see grey in the sky, I'll try to take a photo later, just not sure how clear you will be able to see the darkness - I'm guessing later today will be better. Off to study group now.
Here are a few photos I found online . . .

The first blast happened just after 0600 GMT, at the Buncefield fuel depot, close to junction 8 of the M1.

Three large explosions have taken place at an fuel depot near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, photo by Zoot Steeples.

16.30 GMT - Okay so I took a few photos during the day from my flat - here is what I can see - I think you'll be able to see the difference from around noon when I took the first few to 4pm when I took the next set of photos - will be interested to see what it all looks like tomorrow morning. When riding the bus home today I wished I'd had my camera b/c in the city center you can see a lot further than you can from my 1st floor flat!!

around noon - you can still see bright blue on top but the dark clouds are moving in

Around 4pm, can you see how much darker it is?
Same direction as the above photo just zoomed in b/c the street lights were on and they were screwing up the photo

Friday, December 9

Snow in the US

Well seeing as it is "that time of year" - I am jealous that you in the northeast are getting snow!! Hope it's still there when I get home 2 weeks from today! At this time next week I'll be nearly to North Carolina.

I'm glad that my connection flight is through Charlotte and not Chicago!! Especially after reading this article online a few minutes ago!! Of course there are always the articles like this one as well, which I guess are suppose to make you feel good b/c the air marshals will "save" you, but at the same time make you second guess every passenger who gets onto the plane with you.

Reminds me of the hours that Kathy, Lonnie, Kathy, Roger & I spent on the runway in Burlington on our way to Key West last March. Luckily we made it safely out of Burlington, and thanks to Kathy nicely talking to the airline people at the first of our connections we were able to make it down that day instead of spending the night at some hotel!!

So today was my last lecture for the 2005 year!! I still can't believe my first term is basically over, well after I take my exam, but close enough!!

Thursday, December 8

Relaxing Doggies

Since everyone seems to enjoy photos and I have nothing exciting to report about my day thus far (went to the bank & post office, talked to my friend Bianca, now going to study) here is a photo of Henry's cousins in North Carolina. The breeder and my mom are good friends.

From left to right: Chili, Yahtzee, Bri, Camille and Roxy

Wednesday, December 7


So I didn't post anything yesterday b/c to be completely honest, I didn't even get out of bed till around 14.30!! I woke up at about half 8, went to the toilet, thought about staying awake, turned on the telly, feel right back asleep watching Will & Grace. Woke up again it was noon, made myself a cup of tea, got back into bed and watched BBC news (not much choice b/w the 5 channels!!) This time I woke up it was 14.30, thought at least I should shower. Got up showered, grabbed 2 oranges and back to bed I went, this time I put in a DVD, just in case there wasn't anything good on the telly. Watched a show called, Miss Match felt dumber for having seen it, so I switched to the DVD player. My friend Jim stopped by around 16.15 to see what I was up to and could not stop laughing at me since I had barely moved all day! Popeye and Rob stopped by a few minutes later to see if I was going to the pub, I smiled and said, "I think I'm going to bed soon" To which Jim replied, "BLOODY hell Sara, how can you be so knacked? You've had a proper kip today" To which I said, "You three get your masters in MBID and then we can talk" That was the end of that conversation - watched Jaws and went to bed.

Today I did much better, was up by 09.00, showered, eaten b'fast and on my way to uni by half 10! Handed in my decision for term E1 and E2, handed in another copy of my paper to my tutor (who wasn't around on Monday) and came back to Kentish Town to have lunch with Louise. We had intended on eating salads at home, but I was having a craving for a jacket potato, so we went round the corner and both had one - hit the spot perfectly!!

After we'd filled ourselves to the brim with potatoes, we came back to my place to study - we both did about 2 hours, before Louise decided she was going to head home. Not bad for a Wednesday afternoon, if you ask me. I'm now checking my email - a friend from over here sent me a funny email today - whenever they get a chance to poke fun at the Americans they do!!
Oh nearly forgot to brag about the best part of my day!!! Since I never left my flat yesterday when I went out this morning there was a package for me at my front door. I was so excited I ran inside to open it. Low and behold my "Saranac Lake Boyfriend" had sent me a Christmas present!!! Isn't he just the greatest?

Oh another cool thing I found today while checking my emails was this photo . . .

Patty and her boyfriend Matt - he was making noises like a pirate - hence the laughing.
Matt is a geek just like Patty building jet engines for P&W (but he's a native of TN)

Well I'm off to make some dinner and then I'm thinking I'll pop in a DVD before going to bed.

Monday, December 5

Paper done

Well as you can probably tell from the previous 2 posts today I've handed in my paper and I'm basically done for this fall term. The Immunology of Infectious Disease students are all going to the British Society of Immunologists conference in Harrogate for the rest of the week, but the Molecular Biology of Infectious Disease students aren't, so we basically have the rest of the week off :)

All we have left to do this term is give our 10 minute presentations on our paper and a multiple choice question exam.

Tonight I'm going out to dinner with Amanda, Heather and Dom - we're going to get £3 pizza and wine - sounds high class huh?!?!?!!?

A few good quotes

Love the earth and sun and animals,Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,Stand up for the stupid and crazy,Devote your income and labor to others...And your very flesh shall be a great poem. - Walt Whitman

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Eleanor Roosevelt

When things go wrong as they sometimes will;When the road you're trudging seems all uphill;When the funds are low, and the debts are highAnd you want to smile, but have to sigh;When care is pressing you down a bit-Rest if you must, but do not quit.Success is failure turned inside out;The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;And you can never tell how close you areIt may be near when it seems so far;So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-It's when things go wrong that you must not quit. "Don't Quit," Author Unknown

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. - Mahatma Gandhi

a few British expressions

Here is a list of expressions I've been saving up for all of you to read:

"mingin" - ugly (ie. feet are mingin) and drunk (ie. he was mingin last night)
"piss up" - drinking party
"nutter" - a crazy person
"yob" - uncouth man
"rat-arsed" - drunk
"rucksack" - backpack
"que" - line ie that's a long que for lunch
"take the piss" - making fun of (ie. are you taking a piss at me?)
"nick" - steal, jail, arrest, or catch
"snog" - kiss
"what are you on about now" - what are you complaining about now?
"gaffer" - boss
"off your trolly" - crazy, as in off your rockerd
"bees knees" - somone or something that is great
"leggit" - run fast
"rubish" - garbage
"lorry" - truck
"telly" - television
"bonnet" - hood of a car
"boot" - trunk of a car
"loo" or "toilet" - bathroom
"biscuit" - cookie
"malarkey" - stuff and nonsense ie What a load of malarkey.
"bunny boiler" - your ex who stalks you after you've broken up
"gutted" - choked up
"crisps" - potato chips
"stuck on" - involved
"gutted" - upset
"mate" - friend
"local" - the pub you commonly frequent
"doris" - girl
"bloke" or "geezer"- guy
"tosser" - looser
"kit" - uniform
"knackered" - tired
"kip" - sleep
"bloody" - put in front of any expression you want to make stronger - ie bloody knacked
"lift" - elevator
"flat" - apartment
"kick it off" - start something, a fight
"blimey" - oh my gosh
"gob" - mouth
"done over" - beat up ie He was done over by that bloke.
"brilliant!" - great! awesome!
"cakehole" - mouth ie Shut your cakehole
"dodgy"- shady
"gab" - to talk a lot
"chips" - french fries

Sunday, December 4

Final report for the day

Well the paper is done - just need to print it out tomorrow morning and give it a final read through, before I hand it in. YEAH!!!!

When signing on just now I noticed this article on the Yahoo website - makes you wonder, I must admit that I have not been keeping up on this issue but it was interesting to read.

Okay, off to bed now!! (22.46)

Midday update

So I'm doing very well - at least in my mind at least - nobody else has read it yet - I'm on my 4th cup of tea!!

Early Riser

Who is this cute little rascal ???

So as most of you know I am NOT a morning person!! I'm perfectly happy to stay in bed till noon, if given the chance. Well I must brag today b/c of my own accord (not feeling any pressure from my paper of course) I woke up at 09.07 today - I know to some of you are thinking wow she really slept in, but for me that is darn early on a Sunday morning!!! I think it was last Sunday that I woke up around 11.00, didn't get out of bed till around 14.00, and didn't actually shower to go out into the real world till around 17.00.

Well I'm excited b/c my paper is almost done and since I'm up so early I might actually get free time later on this afternoon, if all goes well!

Will probably take a break later on and give you an update - Happy 4th of December!! (aka 19 days till I fly back onto my native soil).
The cute little rascal is my mom's English Cocker Spaniel, Henry. That was a photo taken while he was at his play group in his new town of Portland, OR. He obviously gets his good looks and talent from his human sisters, right?!?!?!?

Saturday, December 3

Weather update

So now it's hardly even cloudy at all and it's very sunny with a light wind - makes me want to go outside, but I know, I know I have to write this paper!! Of course starting on Tuesday it will be cold, rainy, and miserable until the 14th when I have my final exam!

Crazy British weather

So I was walking home from the store this morning and it was quite warm compared to the last few days. It wasn't that cloudy, you could see the sun and blue sky off and on. When I got home I took a shower and when I got out it was really dark out. Then I heard this funny noise so I went to the window to see it pouring down with rain. Not windy and rainy just plain rain coming down at an impressive rate. Now maybe 13 minutes later, the sun is back out and just over cast to the east.

Well I have to get back to writing my paper - Rob is cooking beef chili with couscous tonight for Susan and me. That means I'll have to tidy up this flat before they arrive!! I've got scientific journal articles everywhere, so much so Jim said last night, "I see the sea . . . . . . of papers that is"

Friday, December 2


Yesterday we got out of class 50 minutes late, I was exhausted and could feel the beginnings of a cold coming on (sore throat), so I jumped on the tube to get home asap. We were all meeting at Jim's before going to dinner so I sat down to watch the news since everyone else was late. Next thing I knew it was 9pm! They decided to get carry-out since I was sleeping. I realized I must need the sleep so I didn't bother to read or write any of my paper just went right back to sleeping!!
Woke up this morning, still had a sore throat, but had a field trip & I really wanted to go! We went to meet Pauline Lukey, who use to work at LSHTM, but now is at GlaxoSmithKline, in Stevenage, about a 40 minute ride express train ride up from Kings Cross on the Wagn Train.
Well gotta go get some more tea & finish writing this paper (1600 words to go)