Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bye Barcelona

Last night was my last in Barcelona*. I'd already said goodbye to some friends the night before, but Sandy, Kiah and I decided to hang out at her apartment one last time. As we talked and reminisced I realized that the fact that I was leaving Barcelona in a few hours still hadn't really hit me. Though I knew that my time was running out, I still couldn't comprehend the fact that I wouldn't be waking up in Barcelona any more. Suddenly, every little thing I did in the city was more precious. I'd started refer to everything I did as "my last time in Barcelona". Like, "this is my last time walking down La Rambla. My last time taking the metro. My last time eating Chocky Chocs (my favorite cereal)". It may seem stupid and maybe it is a bit ridiculous, but I loved my time here... There. It's already a memory, no longer my reality.

After I finally finished packing at 4 in the morning, I decided to take a quick 2 1/2 hour nap before making the trek to the airport. I knew I had 21 hours of buses, airports, and planes ahead of me, but I couldn't sleep. I laid in my bed, tossing and turning, and periodically looking at the clock. My body was shaking with nervousness, my heart was pounding, and I had a huge lump in my throat. I felt like crying, but I couldn't. I was a big mess of emotion - something extremely unusual for me. Sure I missed home and friends and family, but I didn't want to say goodbye to Barcelona. It was finally happening. I was leaving the beautiful city I'd called home for 3 1/2 months, uncertain of when I'd ever return.

I know everyone says it, but studying abroad truly changed my life. I've become more independent and have learned how to adapt to different situations. I had an incredible time, met wonderful people, and made some amazing friendships that I hope to keep. I remember asking in my first blog if this trip was worth all the trouble. It was. And I don't regret going for a second.

*I wrote most of this post in the airport in Munich on my way back to the States.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Snow -__-

So most of the BGA girls are back safely at home, chillin,enjoying our holidays with family and reminiscing about their study abroad experiences....
however, due to bad weather conditions, me and Nimo (the Londoners) are stuck here!

so happy and so damn naive!

It's quite disappointing and I can't tell you how many emotions I went through when I found out I wouldn't be able to leave until the 25th (yes...CHRISTMAS). It wouldn't be as bad if I was just going back to California, but I was supposed to continue my abroad journey and head to Nigeria with my family for the break. They're already there but since December 18th, I've been here.
If you don't know what's happening (I have no idea what sort of news coverage this is getting back in the states) but here are some news articles about how Heathrow airport cancelled all flights leaving Dec 18, 19, 20th (AKA our departure dates):

I went to the airport a few times during this time and it was almost as if I had stepped into a refugee camp. There are people EVERYWHERE and NO ONE there to help. I saw people with tents, blow up mattresses and sleeping bags preparing for the long nights and days ahead waiting to get their flights rebooked. It's the biggest mess I've ever seen!
Over some snow?
Look, I'm from California and I've seen snow all of ONE time in my life so yes, I was in "AAHHH, SNOW!" mode but it was NOT THAT SERIOUS. There was less than an inch of snow on the ground in London and the snow stopped after a few hours. So what's the hold up? It's so frustrating that every single time there is a slight hint of snow, everything in this country shuts down.  They act like snow isn't apart of their normal weather scheme, so why aren't the airlines ever prepared?? You're only costing yourselves millions and billions of dollars cancelling and rescheduling flights. Just foolish!

Anyway, I'm currently sitting in my flat pretty much just waiting to leave and obsessively checking my flight details every few minutes. I'm going to try and get on the standby list to fly out to Nigeria tomorrow and if not, well, christmas at the airport? Cheers.


Monday, November 29, 2010

A Whirlwind of Travelling - Condensed Campbell Soup Edition

so i'm embarrassed at my lack of posting but believe it or not I actually have to STUDY while abroad!
so because of that it's been hard to actually fit in the blog in between our internships that we now have, class, class WORK, extra curriculars, travelling and of course taking in the lovely city that i'm in.
i'm currently on a study break from this annoying thing called a research paper that's due tomorrow and decided why not use this time to update BGA with what i've been doing.

I've hit three countries and 6 cities in a matter of a few weeks so let's hash it all out right here, right now:

First stop: ITALY <3
Most that know me know that I've been obsessed with Italy for as long as I can remember. It's the land of sun, food, the style, the art, and a few other things ;] I've always wanted to visit this lovely country and I finally did during my midterm break (and was happy to finally be able to put my semesters in Italian to good use!). I was supposed to visit Milan and Rome but due to some passport/visa difficulties I was only in Milan for a few hours but it was still amazing to be there. We ended up going out to see how the locals hang and there is a square called Piazza Socialare meaning exactly that - a social square! It's huge and it's just a bunch of young people drinking and socializing, there are a ton of bars around the area that are very cheap and I love nothing more than to people watch so it was a chill way to start off my Italian adventures.

Then we headed to Rome for 3 days and all I can say is, if someone told you to choose a place to teleport to for the afternoon CHOOSE ROME! The weather is beautiful and the skies are something out of a picture book. Everyday we ate pizza, pasta, and gelato and trust me, I was never tired of it. Yes there was a bit of suspect in people did look at us funny, I mean we were the only consistent group of minorities strolling around town (2 blacks and one asian) and I got "Obama!" shouted at me a few times oh and let's not forget the jerks at one of the gelato shops who wouldn't let us exit through one door but for some reason everyone else could...smh. However, the sights, the weather and just the vibe easily made Rome my favorite place so far. p.s. THE VATICAN MUSEUM IS AMAZING! i'm not even into museums like that and i easily would pay 35 euros all over again to see it


Oh Barcelona, how relaxing and carefree you were. I felt Spain was very much like Italy in the sense that the weather was BEAUTIFUL, yes, even in late October and the food was so culturally distinct and the people just had their own sense of style. There were also a lot more black people in Spain! Like, in Italy most of the black people were there from Africa to sell things and caught  a lot of flack from the local police but in Spain they were treated more like citizens than nuisances. And the Spanish men are down, let's not forget that! LOL Anyway while in Spain, I met up with two of my good friends from school and stayed with them which gave me a much more cozy view of Spain. Partying doesn't start til like 1 in the morning and the party don't stop (trust me)! Definitely check out this small club called Otto Zutz or Opium if you ever make it out there! And did I mention the beach? I'm from California so I was missing the beach and Spain's was beautiful.Also, another CAN'T MISS landmark is the La Sagrada Familia. It's the most unique building in terms of architecture I've ever seen and they've been building it for over 100 years. IT'S AMAZING! Google it (and check some of my of my pics below).

My sophomore year of high school I hosted a student in Germany for two weeks, her name is Kathrin. It's been practically 5 years but we've always kept in touch online and I consider her a good friend of mine. Anyway, so since I'm in Europe I was like "I have to visit Kathrin!" We planned it out and two weekends ago I went. When I told people I was going to Germany, a lot of my friends were skeptical about the "diversity" or "race relations" in the country. I had my reservations as well but I'm open minded so I wasn't going to let anything I had heard about Germany stop me from going and having a good time. I landed in Frankfurt and OMG the diversity is crazy! So many different people from Africans to Indians to Italians to Americans to Spanish people it was dope and I was happy that the ignorance about Germany I had in my head had been proven wrong. We went to Brilon which is a small town in Germany and also Kathrin's hometown (a lot less diverse) and I got to meet her beautiful family and stayed with them for 3 days so I got a nice local view of the area. All I can say is the Germans have been the nicest people I've met during my entire abroad experience, hands down. I felt less novelty here than I did in Italy and boy do they know how to party (I honestly don't remember Saturday night, smh)! It was such a gorgeous country (but let's not get it twisted it was freezing!) and Kathrin's hometown was a nice rural break from the city life. Everyone was so excited to use English again and Kathrin was such a good host for helping translate everything for me and showing me her hometown. Also, her mom is a maven in the kitchen and I got to eat traditional homecooked German food which was sooooo good! Schnitzel, anyone?  I can't wait to go back!

Anyway, wow that was super long lol. Me and London will be leaving each other in a little over 2 weeks so I'm trying to make the most of my 2nd home while I'm here.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

stay tuned

cuz we're back! least i am. i know it's been a minute, but things have been hectic over here. school is getting real. i don't know about the other girls, but i've had to work my ass off - a couple of my classes have been completely ridiculous. but, i'm not here to complain because i'm in fucking barcelona!

it still hasn't really sunk in that i'm here and that i've been here for over two months! there are only 5 1/2 weeks left before i go back home. i'm still not quite sure how i feel about that. i miss my family and friends (and most food back home), but i love barcelona and there's so much i'm going to miss when i go back.

anyways, this isn't the farewell blog cuz i'm still heeeerrrrreee! i guess this is the what-i've-been-up-to blog. well, aside from the hum-drum of school, i've just been living life. nothing too exciting. the highlight of the past month or so was halloween weekend. not because of the holiday, itself (i didn't dress up), but because anayo and nimo came to visit! i don't think they realize how excited i was for them to come. i'd missed them (and black people in general) so much!

i grew up in a predominately asian neighborhood, went to schools that were predominately asian (or PI), and currently go to a predominately white school. however, in all of those areas I either had my family or a group of friends to add a splash of black in my life. in barca, there is a good number of black people - at least more than i expected before coming here. most immigrated here from various countries in africa, like nigeria or senegal, others are french. nonetheless, i don't know any. so, with the exception of my new friend, kiah, i don't hang out with any black people. there are only 6, including myself, in my program of 200 or so (reminds me of high school).

the girls were here from wednesday night through monday morning. they ended up ditching their hostel and stayed in my homestay for most of the trip. we tried to do most of the touristy stuff. we went to la rambla, the harbor, placa espanya, parc guell, sagrada familia, parc de la cuitadella, and arc de triomf. we also explored the night life and hit up el gato negro, one of the infamous chupito bars; my favorite discoteca, otto zutz, and a couple of the clubs on the beach - shoko and opium. i'll let one of them blog about the details...

btw ladies, i only have two regrets. 1) that we never got sangria! unacceptable. i can't even describe how lame it is that you came to spain and never drank sangria. smh. 2) that we couldn't find a legit paella place. tell me why, as soon as you left, i found 2 restaurants that sell big paellas for two for 12 euros! on top of that, imma's making paella again this sunday.

i had so much fun and it was cool showing them around and revisiting places like parc guell which i hadn't gone to since i first got here. it also gave me a greater appreciation for the city and made me realize that though there's a lot that i know about barcelona, there's still a lot for me to discover. so, home, i miss you, but i'll be back soon enough. i only have a little time left in barcelona and who knows if and when i'll be able to come back. so, i've got to make the most of these last 5 1/2 weeks.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Hey guys, sorry about the slow in updates, we're still here!
Some of us are on our midterm break (or have midterms, final projects, essays, scary things to do!) so we're flying around the world on short flights with long, prosperous days. 
Don't worry we'll be back soon to update everyone, I'm sure you guys would love to hear about how Rome, Milan, and Barcelona went! (This is Anayo from London btw)
Stay tuned!!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Cheap flights, how I love thee

So I don’t know what it is but traveling in Europe is about a million times easier and more affordable than traveling in the United States. Okay maybe not easier but the costs sure do make it seem that way. So far I have booked flights going to 4 different cities and all together I think that it has come out to the same cost as a round trip ticket going to New York. And that would be if you bought your ticket to New York a year in advance, with a discount and your departure isn’t during a popular traveling time.

It’s sad that I have lived in California for the majority of my life and I only fly every 2 years but while here in London I will being going to 7 different locations ( which are all super cheap). I think it is time that we start lobbying for these discount airlines to come to the states so that maybe we won’t have to save up for an entire year just to go somewhere out of state for our spring break.

But one thing that I am worried about is all the regulations that I have to follow with these airlines. From the strict check in time, to the out of the way airports they fly in and out of, even down to the VERY minimal luggage allowance they give us makes me feel like this flight will not be as enjoyable as I thought. But in the end if I have to deal with all of that to get a round trip ticket to Milan for under 70 dollars then I will gladly follow their rules.

Even with my many flights booked I still have yet to hop on any of these flights. I hope that a miracle occurs and I somehow have the best flight of my life but I know that asking for that might be pushing it. Still if my flight ends up with me sitting next to a crying baby and a grumpy old man it will still be worth it in the end once I land in my destination and get to enjoy all these amazing cities.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

la mercé

this past weekend was la mercé. it's the biggest holiday in barcelona. la mercé is on september 24th and celebrates the catholic feast day of our lady of mercy. unlike back home, where people just go to mass for a day, the spanish do it big! even though the holiday technically only lasts one day, they stretch the celebrations into four nights- thursday through sunday. on monday or tuesday they started setting up different tents and blocking off certain streets. school and work are canceled on friday. hardly any stores or restaurants are open. everyone roams the streets and the metros are even more crowded and sweaty than usual.

on thursday night, my friends and i went were on our way to a fireworks show on the beach when we stumbled onto a carnival. it reminded me of the state fair back home minus the stinky animals. one of my roommates, her friend, and i got on one of the rides. sooo much fun.

then on to the fireworks... beautiful as usual. my camera failed at capturing the moment.

("fireworks setting" my ass)

later that night, we hit up ovella negra ("black sheep" in catalan), one of our favorite bars, and then sashayed on down to otto zutz - a kyke event. it was hip hop night, so you know i was happy... fyi kyke is this infamous club promoter who used to be a RA for my program. if you work it right, you'll never have to pay to get into a club here.

(kyke, kiah & me).............................................. (jennie-roommate, jeannette & me)

on friday, some friends and i met up and explored plaza catalunya before going to the parade. we saw some wannabe circ de soleil act. and there was music, charities, and political groups out promoting their agendas.

the "circus" act................................ some giants at the parade

this band was GETTIN it!................................. and so were the dancers on stilts

saturday was unbelievable! i had been really looking forward to correfoc since my RA told me about it the week before. we went to the one at plaza sant jaume. looking out into the crowd you'd think people were going to rob a bank. everyone was covered from head to toe to avoid getting burnt. some even went as far as wearing goggles and gloves. there was this archway that looked like the gates of hell at one end of the plaza. and there were dragons and demons that would spray fire onto you. it's tradition to run under the fire and do a little dance where you hop around like a rabbit... and the drums! i felt like i was in a medieval spanish version of "drumline". the music that filled the air pounded inside your body. that combined with the exploding fireworks and the scary demons really got your blood pumping! i'm a jumpy person, so i was legit scared at some points. but i sucked it up and danced under the fire with the locals!

the gates of hell................................................. getting ready (courtesy of sandy)

afterwards, my friends and i hurried across town to catch the last half of ok go's performance. sandy and i found out about the outdoor concert 5 minutes before correfoc. we didn't really know exactly where to go or what to expect, but the end result was nice. i'd never been a huge fan, but i was excited to go to a concert mainly because i was missing scu's fall concert. the guys were funny and the atmosphere was nice. some people were talking, drinking beer, and enjoying conversation. others were jumping up and down and singing the lyrics. when i got home, i immediately downloaded "skyscrapers".

sunday we went to the biggest castell competition of the year with the best teams from barcelona and surrounding towns. castell means "castle" and are these big towers and pyramids that are stories high. people form by standing on top of one another. at first the smaller groups performed on a big stage. then, the big shots came out and had to perform on the ground in order to have enough space to build their castells. at first, people cheer and make noise, but when the castell is at a certain point, "shhhh"s will ripple through the crowd, signaling quiet. once the group is nearly done, music will play and everyone will yell and clap. then, children aged 4 or 5 will climb to the top of the castell and when they wave their hands, it means the tower is complete. watching the groups gave me chills - especially when one really tall castell collapsed. my heart froze and i was so scared for the children who fell (at least 3 1/2 stories!) from the top. of course they were wearing helmets and someone caught them, but was so striking to me was the fact that i couldn't hear them scream. i was standing 10 feet away from the base and all i could hear was the gasps and clapping of the crowd.

sunday night was chill. homework had piled up... i was once again faced with the fact that i have to actually study abroad. so, i missed the fireworks & fountain show that was choreographed to music. i regret not going now, because everyone that went said it was the best fireworks show they've ever seen in their life. but, i did get to eat a paella to top off a very eventful and unforgettable mercé.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

fashion week hoopla

so for those who don't know, this past few days was London Fashion Week, and now you know :]

most those who know me personally know that i'm lightweight obsessed with all things fashion and style. and someday i want to put two of my loves together (fashion x writing) and become the editor-in-chief of some top name fashion magazine.
a girl can dream right?
well, every once in awhile, for us ambitious girls, we get to do things that others who aren't as ambitious or daring or inventive (yes, i am all that AND more lol) don't get to do.
don't ask me how it came about, but on wednesday i was able to attend the KTZ show for LDN fashion week. my first fashion show ever and my first step into the wonderful world that i dream of being apart of.

one word: AMAZING.

when i got in line waiting for my turn to enter the room where many have showcased the fruits of blood, sweat and tears, i was in awe of who i was standing in line with. natural haired fashionistas who spray painted their locks with gold and wore funky tights, the interns and assistants just praying that they don't screw anything up with their high profile fashion tyrannical bosses, flamboyant brits who when they happen to graze your elbow apologize by saying "sorry babe! i adore your shoes love!", and of course the celebrities from other countries who i have never heard of but were getting oogles and snapped by cameras as they walked in the door. 

and then there was me. essentially a nobody, but a nobody who was at the same place as these somebodies.

when i walked in, the place was packed but i luckily managed to snag a spot in the 3rd row. 
i was also really excited because admittedly, i had never heard of KTZ (Kokon to Zai) before but after doing some research the night before, I saw how much of his brand was related to everything I love.

it's retro, eclectic, totally '90's inspired but at the same time futuristic. AWESOME.
 so the next few days was fashion weekend which is a completely different scene. whereas fashion week is an invite only type of thing, anyone can attend LDN fashion weekend as long as they buy a ticket. it's more of a shopping day where they have rooms and rooms and multiple levels of discounted designer pieces. pretty much heaven except for the fact that i still couldn't afford anything, even with the discounts! beautiful pieces though. they also had a sharpie bar where i got to decorate a sharpie bag and get free sharpies! makeovers and makeup classes, and of course the catwalk!
me at the show (front row!)

my goodie bag stuffed to the brim