Saturday, May 31

the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth

Ever really wanted to say something to someone but worry about how they'd react or how it might change your relationship? I've been thinking about this a lot recently! I think I've said this before on my blog, but it's worth repeating.

Not to brag or sound high on myself, but I have lots of friends, around the world! I have never sat down & listed them from top to bottom in order of importance, but I know who the important ones are. But I still wonder where I stand in their eyes. I say this because when I know I'm going to be near them, we start to make plans, then as the time gets closer I get this impending feeling like the meeting we've set up just isn't going to happen, then when the time comes as I worried the meeting falls through. They always apologise for not being able to make it to see me, but what I really want to say is, "I've just flown over 3,000 miles, hired a car, driven another 200 miles, and all you can say is sorry? Really if you were a true friend who really cared, you make more of an effort! I'm okay if you don't want to be friends with me anymore, I've got lots, just don't bother with all the lip service in the first place." This is also true of all those friends who swore up and down that they would come and visit me whilst I've been living over in London - a place to say and a tour guide to help you get around London for FREE, how can you pass that up?

I can list on one hand the number of people (dad, mom, Patty & Matt (they count as one), my cousin Tim, and my "brother" Mike) who have come to visit. This really makes me sad, actually it really pisses me off! To add more salt to this wound, my "brother" Mike introduced me to his best mate's family (Neala & Ben - who I spent Easter with this year) who all live in Germany. Neala in turn introduced me to her best mate Melissa & her family. This August Neala & Melissa are coming to visit me - ya know cause that's what friends do. I understand it's easier for them to fly over from Germany, but hello if you keep an eye on the airlines there are always good deals popping up for direct flights from Montreal, NYC (JFK or Newark), Boston, DC, etc. Corinne (my mate since 5th grade) is coming to visit in August & if she can't get cheap flights here I'm going to meet up with her somewhere else in Europe. Again if you don't want to fly to London let me know - I'm willing to travel to Europe to see you - that's what my sis & I keep talking about. So what is every one's excuse for not coming to visit?

MORE SO, what is their excuse for not seeing me when I'm home? No, wait, I get it, you just don't care enough! Don't give me some half arse reply like, "we didn't have time" YOU MAKE TIME for the things you want to do & the people you want to see! My real friends have done it for the past 3 years I've lived abroad, how come you can't?

"If you could say one thing to me without any consequences what would you say? Think about it . . . and say everything you feel, think and want cause life is short!" - unknown quote I really think fits in with this post!

Feel free to leave an anonymous comment especially if you think you have any insight into what I'm talking about.

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Friday, May 30

Who's ready for June?

I know the weather here is not ready for a calendar date of June first on Sunday! Where did April & May go?!?!? The weather here still feels like March, so it makes it really hard to imagine JUNE will be here on Sunday . . . time flies when you're old - I mean having fun ;-)

In other news I'm starting to plan a trip for my August bank holiday weekend - ya know that's what I do when I'm bored at work - I look up cheap flights (LOL) - looks like Stockholm or Budapest it will be . . . now just need to find inexpensive accommodation & a guide book and I'll be all set - my mate Karen (who I went to Rome with in early May) will most likely be joining me on my adventures - yeah!


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Thursday, May 29

Football American style sucks

so just a quick update for all the Americans out there who didn't even know that the US soccer team was over in London yesterday to play a friendly with the England football team & to no body's surprise USA didn't even score one goal - they luckily were only scored on twice. I went & supported them and of course was one of only 2 people in the whole pub who was supporting the good old USofA. I really feel if America would put even half the money & enthusiasm as they do for American football their soccer team could be top notch!! What is it about soccer that Americans just can't get into? The rest of the world plays rugby & soccer, yet America plays football, basketball & baseball which no other country in the world plays . . . what's up with that, is that so that we're never beaten as a nation?!?!?!

In other notes, I've just finished reading The Call of the Wild by Jack London and now I'm moving on to Vinegar Hill by A. Mannete Ansay.

That's all I've got for today, thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment or two, I'm feeling as nobody is reading my blog anymore - well aside from Ms. CheeseWiz for some reason she likes stopping by and is always fantastic about leaving a comment for me ;-)

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Wednesday, May 28

Only in America . . .

Only in America drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.
Only in America people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.
Only in America banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.
Only in America we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.
Only in America we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.
Only in America we use the word 'politics' to describe the process so well: 'Poli' in Latin meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'blood sucking creatures'.
Only in America they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

EVER WONDER ....Why the sun lightens our hair,but darkens our skin ?
Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Why don't you ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?
Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?
Why is it that doctors call what they do 'practice'?
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dish washing liquid made with real lemons?
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?
Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
Why do they sterilize the needle for LETHAL INJECTIONS?
You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!
Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?
Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
If flying is so safe,why do they call the airport the terminal?

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Sunday, May 25

Bank Holiday Weekend Excitment (lol)

So here in the UK we have a Bank Holiday this coming Monday - which in the US is Memorial Day and more importantly my mum's birthday!! Feel free to leave birthday comments for her - I know she'd be very delighted to open up the comment section & see things for her.

So what have I done so far this holiday weekend? NO, I've not travelled at all - bet you're all surprised (lol). My old flatmate from when I was at LSHTM studying (Louise) and her boyfriend (Jeremy) who both live & work in NYC arrived into Heathrow at 8am on Friday. They arrived at LSHTM around 11am to get my spare keys so they could come take a nap & shower before meeting up again around 6pm. It was a good evening of Thai food & catch up with others we'd studied with (Emma W, Shani J, Andy B, Laura (who was back from Korea for only 3 days), and Maria).

Saturday morning we attempted to get up at 7am so they could hire a car & head up to Wales to visit Jeremy's mum, but I was the only one who actually got up. They finally made it out the door around 11.30am. The Virigin Media man came to fix my telly, but yet again didn't have the correct pieces & when he finally arrived back with them then announced it wasn't the problem he thought it was some other one & he'd have to have another team come out & re-run the lines (I've heard this story 2x before) so I just smiled & let him go - not worth yelling at him, he tried to fix it. The rest of the afternoon was spent food shopping & doing laundry. At 7pm I went over to Andy & Nim's house to watch EuroVision Song Contest 2008 which I think was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Definitely not a real song contest, since Crete gives the most points to Greece & vice vera or when all the former USSR countries give the most points to Russia or how Portugal & Spain give each other the most points, even when their entry is TOTAL crap! Russia won last night & to be fair their song wasn't too bad, but Azerbaijan's was horrific & they got a lot of points (again I think that was more political voting than talent voting, but whatever) Russia's been on a role 1st St Petersburg football team wins the UEFA cup, then they win the world hockey competition & now EuroVision . . . what's next?!?!?!?

Today I woke up at 9am, showered & went shopping, no not fun shopping, just needed milk & potting soil to re-pot my plants. Here is the before photo:
Whilst I was doing that I also put the white lace curtains (which came with the flat) into the washing machine as they were a rather grey colour. I figured if they fell apart in the washing machine it was fine with me as I'm not a huge fan of them to begin with, so I sure as heck wasn't about to hand washing these suckers!! When the re-potting was over I took the curtains out of the washing machine and luckily for me they were sparklingly white & still all in one piece. As much as I don't like them I wasn't so much looking forward to going & buying news ones either! Here is the after photo:
Now that all of that is done I'm at a loss of what to do . . . heavy rain & wind makes me not want to go out so I reckon I'll end up watching a movie since I can't watch the telly!
Okay that's all for now - don't forget to leave a birthday message for me mum :-)

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Saturday, May 24

Check out my Slide Show!

Thursday, May 22

quick update, photos to follow I promise!!!

I got back day before yesterday at 10.55am GMT (left Russia at 10.40 GMT+3hours) It's a beautiful city, clean and colourful! I can't say the people are super friendly but if you can learn the basics of the Cyrillic alphabet then it's pretty easy to get around without being able to speak the language - as I learned the hard way since I knew bugger all upon arrival!!! Luckily my mates took me around most of the time & were able to translate for me, thanks Topher, Marina & Olga :-)

So I think I already told you about how I travelled over to SPB with 149 FC Zenit fans (SPB football team had just won the UEFA cup in Manchester the night before), well on my way back to London I had 3 seats to myself & I'd say the plane was a mix of people who were all sober & quiet - BIG difference from the flight over, but good for those of us who had been up really late chatting with friends & who had to still go into work later that day!

It apparently looks a lot like Venice & Amsterdam - having never been to Venice I can't compare, but I can tell you it's WAY cleaner than Amsterdam & not nearly as many of those crappy bikes around. Plus being that SPB is only 300 years old it's a much "bigger" city as in the roads are wider & not built for horse & buggy like the rest of Europe was set up.

They have the coolest bridges that get drawn at night around 2am & stay open until 5am so if you're on the "wrong" side you can't get where you want till they come down as the metro only runs till midnight.

Because it's so far north latitude wise (59° 56′ 0″ N)the sun doesn't set till near midnight & starts to rise again at 3am, really really cool - wish I could have gone back in June for White Nights when apparently the sun never sets, that would be awesome (sorta like Alaska & northern parts of Canada, but then again who gives a rats arse about Canada since they lost the World Hockey championship - just kidding, it's just that they lost to Russia - LMAO)

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Wednesday, May 21

missing SPB already

я благополучно вернулся в Великобритании и действительно любил мою поездку в Россию, желание, которое я имел больше времени, чтобы провести с Topher и Мариной, но я только должен буду возвратиться!!

Any one know what I said????

Well I was trying to say, I have safely returned to the UK and really loved my trip to Russia, and wish I had more time to spend with Topher and Marina, but I will have to go back!!

Will post photos later after I've uploaded them, as I arrived at 11am, went home, showered & came into work (where I am now) so haven't had much free time for photos or blogging.

(BTW that's my name in Russian)

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Friday, May 16

saint petersburg - I LOVE YOU!!!

WARNING: very slow connection, no time for spell check, just going to type & try to keep the connection - sorry for any issues of horrible spelling!!

In Saint Peterburg & all I can say thus far is WOW, what a beautiful city!!! Arrived after 3 hours on a plane with all the SPB football fans who'd just won the UEFA cup in Manchester - this means I was with 50 odd DRUNK footballers who couldn't understand why I didn't want to drink controu right from the bottle they were passing around. It also meant I was one of 4 females on the flight & I reckon the only non-russian. I made it through passport control without a problem, then thanks to my mate topher's excellent directions was able to navigate public transport all on my own with the 4 russian words I know (yes, no, thank you, one) got the 13 bus to city centre where I got on the metro went 5 stops & swtiched lines, went one more stop up out from metro on the LONGEST wooden escaltor I've ever seen/been on, turned right walked 7 minutes down teh road, turned right, second building on the right, flat 13, press button & Marina answered - YEAH me!!!!

Trust me this was not as easy as I just made it seem, but I did it. I highly advise not to travel at rush hour on your first attempt at the metro - confusing enough trying to sort out the pretty cyrillic words, but I some how managed, after a brief panic at one of the stations where I forced myself to just sit down & figure out where I was on the map - luckily for me I was on the right track, just hadn't gone far enough yet.

Last night Marina, Olga & I went out for sushi & then on a driving tour of the city - how beautiful all the buildings are & all the parks & things. Got to see one of hte bridges draw early just for tourists like me :) too bad I'd forgotten my camera! Also went to this spot with a bird on a small ledge where you try to drop a coin & land it on the ledge then your wish comes true, course I didn't land it there, but will go back & try again - can't recall the name of it now.

okay off to shower, get my visa registered & wonder around SPB!!! In case you can't tell I highly recommend this city to everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, May 13

how could I forget to tell you how I was lucky yesterday!!

Don't worry I'm home now & about to go to bed, but for those of you who read about the murder on Oxford Street yesterday, you can now sleep better knowing I'm okay. I doubt any of you were worried, but 2 of my coworkers were!! They knew I'd gone to Oxford Street looking for dresses for the 2 weddings I'm going to this summer. When they heard on the news that they'd been a person stabbed to death outside the Mc Donald's they both were a bit panicked. Didn't help that my mobile battery died & they couldn't reach me till I appeared at work today 15 minutes late (adding to their worry)

So here's the details of how I avoided getting stabbed on Oxford Street. Apparently here in London some people think if you spill a coke on the floor at McDonald's you have the right to yell at the person behind the counter who sold it to you (cause obviously they made you spill it) to the point where the security guard at the door has to come over & ask you to leave. When this happens said person apparently feels they then have the right to stab the guard in the chest so that he dies.

I was shopping yesterday afternoon from 2-4.30pm and I remember hearing sirens & lots of people being in my way, but knowing the street rather well I ducted into a shop which has a "secret" side exit onto Tottenham Court Road, which was where I was actually trying to get to & in the process missed all above mentioned excitement.

Really sad that this was all over a spilled drink, people really are stupid some times :( What is happening to our society?!?!?! Please explain me (as my lovely Spanish coworker Laura would say)

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Big few days ahead of me

I'm off to give a HUGE presentation to the lovely people who fund me (Ministry of Defense over here in the UK) tomorrow and then I have to rush back here to work with some "stuff" they're giving us on dry ice. From there I'll head home, pack & prepare for my trip to St Peterburg, Russia (not South Africa like some people have asked me).

My mate Topher won't be there when I arrive as he's stuck in the states with VISA issues, but I'll see him on Sunday. Luckily his girlfriend, Marina will be around for me to hang out with. And Marina's mate Olga will be picking me up at the airport - thank goodness for Olga!! Not sure how I would have navigated public transport on my own - well we all know I would have managed, just would have been much more difficult. Then on Friday I have to register my visitors VISA & meet up with my dad for dinner, since he's arriving at 4pm I figure he'll be at the hotel by half 6. Hopefully my aunt won't arrive too late either & I can see her, but if not I'll see them at the weekend.

Okay, really need to head home as it's nearly 10pm & YES, I'm still at work - blood presentation took A LONG time to put together, well that and doing 12 ELISA plates (photo thanks to their website)& running 2 cytometric bead array on the FACS machine all in 1 day!!!!

I'm doubting I'll have Internet connection whilst I'm in Russia, so don't expect anything for another week. I know you're gutted, but you'll have to find something else to pass your time (LOL).

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Monday, May 12

In case you wondering about education systems in the US & UK - watch these videos

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Friday, May 9

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.

Who said that?

They also said, "I could not at any age be content to take my place in a corner by the fireside and simply look on"

And another great one is, "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do"

Well if you haven't guessed it already these are all quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman I have always really admired, ever since my 8th grade trip to Washington DC. I cannot recall what it was way back then that made me so interested in her. I worry it might have just been some thing silly, like I saw a cool statue or photo of her. I like to think it was that I remember some thing famous she said & that's why I admired her, but alas I was only in 8th grade and the reality is that more than likely I saw a statue of her & liked it so that made an impression on me.

On a different note, I had sorta had a crap day today - I went a meeting up in Oxford & presented my data, which not to toot my own horn, but I think it's interesting & good. But at the end when people were allowed to ask questions, a woman (Miss Netherlands as I'll call her) said, "I don't believe your data" . . . now I can't go into the details of it all here, but really who needs to say something like that??? A question of "why didn't you do x, y, or z?" I can answer, but what do you expect me to say to that comment? Miss Netherlands then sorta tried to explain why she doesn't "believe" my data, which really proved more that she doesn't like my protocol, more so that not thinking mine was good - her protocol is just different than mine - again the "why didn't you do it this way" in my mind would have been the way to go. When she was done speaking I said, "thanks that's an interesting point to think about for the future. Any more questions?" . . . long pause . . . nothing, so I walked to the back of the room & slumped down in my chair, feeling rather crappy!!

At the coffee break, my lab members all came over to say I'd done a good job & a woman who we'd all met in Thailand who works in Germany (Katrin B) said, "what did you think of that question?" so I explained myself a bit & Katrin B said, "I think your right, it's more relevant to in vivo that way" which made me feel a lot better, but as you can tell since this all went down at approximately 2.30pm I'm still bothered by the comment.

So I think my other "issue" with what happen today was that my boss wasn't there to back me up and I didn't feel I could really "argue" my point all alone. Ah well - live & learn . . .

It's now nearly 11.30pm & I've got a picnic to prepare for tomorrow (if the weather holds up) so I'm going to go to sleep now and try to forget about Miss Netherlands's comment!

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Monday, May 5

Rome, Italy - photo tour

do I need to explain where I am?
my mate Karen & I pause for a photo op :)
the entry to our hotel - The Pantheon Inn (highly recommended should you ever go!)
inside the Patheon
after throwing the coin over my shoulder so I can return to Rome!
inside the vatican city (we queued for 3 hours to get in here, but it was SOOOOO worth it!)
one of the MANY photos I took inside - I'll spare you the rest
my first of many coconut gelatos in Rome - YUM!
inside St Peter's (arch is over where the Pope hangs out)

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Just for Ms. CheeseWiz (aka BrainCheese)

Okay Ms CheeseWiz, don't want you gettin impotent with me! So here is your explanation of the Latin saying. It's suppose to say something along the lines of: "Nothing is wonderful when you get use to it" A mate of mine currently working in Iraq sent it to me - he says it helps to keep him grounded & reminds him to be thankful for the things he has & not take everything for granted. I'm not sure if it is grammatically correct (nor is he for that matter) hence why I think I had a hard time figuring out the meaning!

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Friday, May 2

Rome Here I come :)

Update on the weather for the weekend in Rome & London (hee hee)

Saturday: SUNNY, 80°F
Sunday: SUNNY, 77°F
Monday: drizzle, 75°F

Saturday: sun, 66°F
Sunday: light rain, 75°F
Monday: rain, 68°F

So I'm now positive we made the right decision leaving the UK for the weekend (our other choice was going up north to the lake district, but the temps up there are even cooler than London with heavier rain & wind . . . I reckon we made an excellent choice for a weekend get away!!!

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Thursday, May 1

"Do you miss the USofA?"

Missing the states is a hard one as life here for me is very different. I've never lived in a BIG city & maybe it would be much the same if I were living in NYC.
I LOVE London!!
Miss having a car to get out of the city, but so blood expensive to own one & hire a parking spot & that's before you even put any petrol in the damn thing (£1.20/L = $7/gallon)
I enjoy being able to go to the theatre, opera (well not really as I'm not keen on it, but like the ability that if I wanted to I could), cinema, etc at the drop of a hat after work.
I love their love of football (soccer) and rugby - I've been to 3 lives matches & it's loads of fun!!
I miss my family & friends back home.
I miss the countryside.
I love the international foods here.
I love the mix of people I work with & interact with (Spanish, German, English, Welsh, Irish, Polish, Russians, French, Italians, Scandinavians, Nigerian, Ozzie's & NZers, South Africans, Turkish, and I'm sure I've forgotten a few nationalities).
I LOVE being paid in £s!!!
I love being able to travel to different countries for a long weekend (the way we would change states).
I miss little things like food shopping in the states (as it's slightly different here - again not a big deal just not the same).

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