Monday, September 30, 2002

1 pound does NOT equal 1 dollar. this is important to remember when you buy a sandwhich for 3£, and it means that you just paid about $4.50.
i'm not sure if i mentioned that edinburgh's registration (or matriculation, as they call it here) needs some work. i stood in a queue for about 2.5 hrs today. i cant tell you how many times i've filled out the same information; they really need to have better interdepartmental information sharing. also, its going to be at least 2 more days until i can have my laptop hooked up in my room. they require you to register your NIC identifier before they activate the port in your room. which also probably means i can't use my laptop anywhere else but in my room. super. nevertheless, that should mean that i have pictures up in a week or two.
i missed the second house party at the pink palace in daly city. but thats ok, b/c i was in paris.
my dad now works on this kind of stuff. he actually started working on it before 9.11, but it really picked up afterwards.
i arrived to a beautiful day in both london and edinburgh. i should probably savor this mild, and dry, weather.
there is a service that cleans my room for me once a week, including changing my linens. how cool is that?
and i can't wait to show you the view from my window.
so much to tell...
paris was a good time. went out one night with a aussie (john) and a kiwi (tim). we went to "the outback" which was supposed to be an australian pub. it wasn't really, but we met to german girls who were playing music for gas money so that they could travel europe.

the next night i went to dinner with tim, lindsay (nebraska/DC), and a different aussie whose name now slips my mind. earlier that day i was at the louvre, where i saw the mona lisa as well as venus di milo among about 20,000 other masterpieces.

i took the eurostar chunnel from paris to london yesterday. i got into london around 3:30 local time. then i had to go to another train station to hop a train to edinburgh. as it turned out, the ride was only 4.5 hrs, and i was able to get to edinburgh by 8:40pm last night (earlier than expected). i finally found my place and was able to have the porter let me into my room. it was nice to unpack and know that i won't have to repack in another 2 days or so.

the porter knows my advisor.
i am in my new home.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

again, thanks for all your emails, friends. i had 44 email messages waiting for me when i logged in. i will get back to you...eventually.
obviously i havent been around a computer for several days. but things have been pretty good. Venice was an interesting town. altho i was only there for about a day and a half. i met another californian on the overnight train to paris from venice. she is super cool, and more about her later.

i stayed at the renaissance hotel in la defence paris the first two night here in paris for free. it was nice to have a full sized room to myself. last night and tonight i am at the Young and Happy Youth hostel (by recommendation from jen). met a kiwi and a cool aussie here who i hung out with last night. first time i went out drinking since i've been travelling. good times tho.

paris has WAY too much to try to process in so short a time. but next time i'm sure that i'll be able to take things slower.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

it was a rainy day in florence today. normally it might not be so bad, but since i saw most of what i planned to already (planning to only spend 3 days, not 4), i wanted to just sit around in piazzas people watching and journaling. overall it was still a pretty laid back day. i just met 2 more aussies that i'll probably grab dinner with later this evening.

this morning i did go to Mass. it was in italian, so it was somewhat difficult to follow along. still, it was a rather moving experience, being in a huge cathedral and all.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

thanks to those that have been emailing me from back home. i am reading them, i just tend not to have the time to respond while travelling. i am writing postcards and letters, but may not get around to mailing them all until i get to the UK. stay tuned...

tonight i had a relaxing dinner in a piazza alone and wrote in my journal and people watched. i think i'm starting to relax more and not worry about trying to do and see everything.
i'll be spending an extra day in florence--the rail employees are striking tomorrow, so i cant take my train to venice as i planned. i think that may remove verona from my itinerary. worse things could happen.

Friday, September 20, 2002

i met a couple canadians yesterday and had dinner with them. and today, the new girl in my room is from Palo Alto; she didnt live far from where elan and i lived in Menlo Park. such a small world.
another full day in in florence. i went to the Uffuzzi Gallery and saw lots of renaissance and some gothic paintings and scuptures. after that i went to the Boboli Gardens, which was a nice break from the urban setting i've been in since i arrived in Rome. then i went to Michaelangelo's Piazza which has a great view of the city. and in between some of those things i picked a small bites to eat in the different shops along the way. more gelato of course.

tomorrow i think i'll see the real David (not the replica that is outside). and i think i've decided to do a day trip to Verona while in Venice. i heard its a cool place to hang for a day.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

made it to florence today. it is way more crowded than rome was. i got the last bed at hostel archirossi. it's pretty nice. i'm in a room of only four, they have internet access, a restaurant, bar, and small terrace. time for some dinner...

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

the driving in italia are just as crazy as everyone says. its great fun trying to cross the street. they have crosswalks but rarely any signals. i found the key is to get critical mass (approx 4-5 ppl) and then just step out when there is a lull in the traffic. then hope they all see you.
last night i went to dinner w/ an aussie that is staying in the same room as me. we just went to a pizzaria a block away b/c she had just flown for 22 hours and was a bit tired. today we checked out the trevi fountain--i threw some money in for both me and jen (see, i've been checking things off the list). we also went to the spanish steps, then took a tour of the coloseo (i went in this time). finally i wanted to get to the pantheon. granted, it wasn't the most well planned route, but good to see what i wanted. we took a bus back from the pantheon.

tomorrow my train leaves for florence at 8:30am. just have to make sure i get up in time.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

wow, St. Peter's is huge. i didn't go to the top of the dome today, but i might tomorrow. i did get a tour of the church from Fr. Baker, and an excellent pranzo. i'm tired, i'm scared to think about how many miles i've walked in the past 2 days. perhaps tonight will be a evening stroll by trevi fountain and some dinner...all this after a shower.
i'm off to the vatican this morning. first i'll go thru the museum, then i'm meeting up w/ Fr. Baker for a personal tour of St. Peter's.

Monday, September 16, 2002

today i walked around in "old" section of rome. saw the Coloseo and a bunch of things around there. this evening i think i'm headed to the Panhteon and Piazza Navona. while i'm there i plan to grab some dinner and maybe a gelato. pictures later, just no time to worry about downloading and all that.
my flight went without a hitch. altho i'm certainly not a fan of the 9 hr flights. i had an aisle seat, and was seated near the wing, so i didn't get any pictures flying into rome. no major problems finding the hostel, which is where i am now. its 9:30ish local time. i'm exhausted, not used to european keyboards, and unable to get my settings to change for the blog posting times, so just add 6 hours. ppl are waiting, so i'm going to let them use the net. more later.
buon giorno bella roma

Sunday, September 15, 2002

my old employer still has me listed as an employee. ha.
just about one hour until i leave for the airport. this time tomorrow, i should be writing to you from Roma. on tues, i meet up w/ Fr. Baker, the Catholic chaplain at lehigh when i was an undergrad, who is now at the Vatican. he's going to give me a personal tour of st. peters. this is going to be amazing.


Saturday, September 14, 2002

when i get to edinburgh, here is where i'll be living.
yikes, i get on a plane in approximately 24 hours. i still have to pack the boxes of clothes that i'm shipping directly to scotland. my bag for travelling in europe is packed; i've got my euros, i've got my pounds, i've got my travellers' cheques, i've got my passport and plane and train tickets. i've got my my lets go and other travelling books. i paid my bills, i cancelled my phone, i sold my car. am i forgetting anything?

Thursday, September 12, 2002

i just chatted online with an ex-coworker of mine, ryan. he is in alaska, travelling and enjoying life. you should read about his adventures if you like nature or strange characters.
less than three days until i leave for europe. about the only thing left to do is pack and ship the clothes that i'm going to have with me in scotland.
i came across this picture while seeing what was on my memory cards for my camera. i'm glad i didn't just delete everything before looking. this picture was taken the saturday before i left CA. i went hiking w/ my friend mel in the stanford foothills. i'll miss the foothills and mel.
i had lunch with lois today. lois works at penn equipment; i met her there when i had a summer job there while in high school. lots of people have told me throughout my life that i am more mature than others my age, but for some reason, lois telling me that i'm an old soul has special meaning. on the surface we might not seem like we have that much in common, but we always have stories to trade and jokes to tell. whenever everyone else doesn't know what to say or what advice to give, lois always has something say. sometimes, i even agree ;-)
it's the little things moms do that show you they love you, but are easy to not notice if you're not careful. for instance, buying whole milk even though you are the only one that drinks it and are only home for 3 or 4 days.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

so i didn't get a chance to mention my last day of travel. after staying at dave's for a night, and having my last real philly cheese steak for a while, i went to see megan. i had lunch w/ megan, then i invited myself over for dinner at andrew's. andrew made dinner for liz (his wife) and i. it was good to catch up w/ them. they also have a 5 month old yellow lab that wanted to play when we brought him down stairs.

megan missed her train to Temple for class, so i drover her down. definitely not the nicest neighborhood to drive through. we met back at her place after her class and after i had dinner w/ andrew. then we stayed up chatting for another several hours. i miss being able to hang out w/ my good friends.
a lot of people are remember what happened and what they were doing last year. i'll always remember the phone call that got me out of bed. it was my sister frantically trying to find out where exactly my cousin worked. when i said, "the world trade center," she got pretty hysterical. she tried explaining to me what was going on, but i didn't have a tv (well, not one that received any channels). the internet was way overloaded, so i couldn't get any information save what came out of my clock radio. later my roommate, elan, bought an antenna. we spent the whole day in shocked disbelief and trying to get thru to the people that we knew in the area. luckily enough, my cousin and anyone i knew that might have been in the area had all made it to safety.
back home in pittsburgh. more pictures and things soon, but right now its time for a nap.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

i REALLY need to trim my goatee.
i hung out w/ dave today. dave is the older brother i never had. it was fun, we played some basketball, which we are both really good at. then we ate ice cream and played video games. maybe it sounds corny, but we have fun no matter what we do. this past spring we went backpacking in yosemite. we're hoping to do the scottish highlands this coming year.
here we are in our finest evening wear. dave and i after a long day of basketball and video games
here is a picture of emily and i. i finally got around to downloading the pictures to my laptop.
emily and jason sitting at emily

Monday, September 09, 2002

i spent last night, today and tonight in NJ visiting my friend jen. we had a good time. i wasn't feeling all that well on saturday, so i got here later than i planned, but it all worked out fine. an hour car ride seems like walk to the corner now; that's all the time it took to get here from lehigh. jen was nice enough to give me some left over euros she had to do things she says i shouldn't miss out on. she made a list for me so i don't forget...
1. eat a pizza in italy
2. get a gelatto
3. buy her a cheezy magnet
4. write her a postcard
5. throw some money in a famous fountain (i won't butcher the name)

tomorrow i'm saying goodbye to another friend i'll miss, but one that's guaranteed to come visit me next year.

next stop: philly. i'm hanging out with dave tomorrow and megan and andrew on tues.

Friday, September 06, 2002

here is katie, jane and me in jane's new office. i have no idea why it is blurry, i checked my camera...i think it was user error. katie jason and jane
wow, i just had lunch with jane and katie. it was really great to see them. as it turns out, katie was driving here from colorado the same time i was driving here from vegas. she had a more eventful trip. she was pulled over b/c her car (ironically, a white honda accord, just like mine) matched the description of car in a reported bicycle theft. the cop gave her a hard time--made her pull all her luggage from her car. its one of those funny stories to tell afterwards, but she wasn't too thrilled at the time.

the three of us shared stories like we used to "in the old days" when we were all in the office together. katie and jane, i'll miss you two. come visit in scotland.
finding old friends is good. converstaion is good. closure is good.
the future is unknown, promising, and it will be good.
i'm currently in bethlehem, PA. a funny thing happened on my way here. i called my old boss, jane, at lehigh to see if she could have lunch tomorrow, she had just sent me an email seeing if i could have lunch on friday. so, we're having lunch on friday, along w/ katie, one of the others students that worked in the office there with me. it'll be just like our old "drama" times. i can't wait.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

one cannot make deposits at ATMs outside your home state. this sucks.
i travelled over 2200 miles in the last 36 hours. drove from las vegas, NV to pittsburgh, PA. my honda accord ran like i champ; i treat her right, she never lets me down. my journey started in Daly City, CA, just south of san francisco on friday, august 30th. i spent the weekend in vegas with justin, jennifer, shawn and tiffany, who were all there from pittsburgh on holiday. from vegas i travelled to grand junction, CO, then to topeka, KS, then to columbus, OH, and today the last 3 hrs to pittsburgh.

driving cross country makes you realize what a big and diverse country we live in. i saw lots of corn. the mountains of utah and colorado are breathtaking, even from the car. the mojave desert's deceptive beauty almost makes you forget what a hostile place the desert can be, until you stand outside in the blazing heat and sandy winds. i saw lots of corn.

i just had dinner with my parents. it was good, altho i'm tired of eating out, and there's not any home cooked food in the near future either--bummer.
destination: pittsburgh
status: arrived.
after 3 days of driving, i made it from las vegas back to my parents house in pittsburgh. i'll give some more detail on the last three days of my trip soon. but i just woke up from an hour nap and wanted to start my first BLOG.
mission: create blog entry 1
status: complete