Michelle in Manchester: I Went To A Football Museum? And A Cathedral Straight Out of Sleeping Beauty

It’s finally time for another Manchester recap! I’ve been meaning to write this up for ages, but I just couldn’t find the time or energy haha. I’ve written three posts before, but I only count one as an actual recap and the others more like ‘updates’, but if you’ve missed any:

Greetings From Manchester! // Manchester Week 1: A Beautiful Library and Town Hall and RIP My Wallet I Found The Disney Store // A Not So Quick Update From Manchester: I Continue To Be A Cryptid

I just realised that my line break is really appopriate? Like I chose it because bees remind me of Hufflepuff, but it’s also the symbol of Manchester haha

This week classes started. Like I said in my week 1 post, I didn’t have my timetable yet, and I didn’t have it until Thursday I think? I had half my timetable on Wednesday, which wasn’t very helpful. Thankfully all the teachers were super nice and understanding about it.

For anyone who wasn’t following my blog during my very stressful time as I was waiting to find out if I was accepted or just missed those posts, I’m doing my minor in history here. We’re allowed to do something completely different from journalism and as I’ve always loved history, I knew I had to take this chance. Thankfully I got all my four top choices (though all classes were interesting) and I’m following Slavery and Civil War, From Manchuria to Hiroshima (a class about the Pacific War), Women in Power in Early Modern Europe and Vox Pop Every Day Voices From The Ancient World. Women in Power is my favourite, but they’re all incredibly interesting.

me in all my classes

Unfortunately I also got sick this week, but somehow it only lasted a few days? Usually when I catch a cold it lasts longer than that. Despite my cold my friend from the exchange students group and I went out on our free day. We weren’t sure where we were going yet (except that I needed to buy a new hair dryer as there was smoke coming out of the the travel one I had brought from home) so we just looked at the map of the free shuttle busses to see where we could go. She really wanted to go to the National Football Museum and since it’s free I figured why not. Gotta try new things while I’m here right? 😂

My mom put a hand to her chest and was like ‘I’m in shock’ when I told her where I went haha. I only took this picture while there (which she found so typical lol):

I mean,,, this is adorable. I don’t really care for the other stuff, but fish playing football?

okay exaggeration I don’t love fish that much but it’s still cute

After that we walked to the Manchester Cathedral, which looks straight out of a fairy tale

 

Look at that gate?? Straight out of Sleeping Beauty

me with the Cathedral

The inside was magical too, especially the stained glass. Entrance is free and it’s right next to the Arndale Shopping Center so if you’re there to do some shopping you might as well pop in 😜

Right around the corner is Shambles Square, of which I had already shared a picture in my week 1 post, but I couldn’t help take another picture as I’m just in love with it.

At Arndale Shopping Center we tried out Nando’s, which I only knew from the memes haha. I really liked it though and we ate there again a few weeks later for lunch. After that I got THE BEST hair dryer like I’m in love?? It’s so strong and fast* and it dries my hair in such a short time? I HATE drying my hair because it takes forever (I have a lot of hair) but now?? I’m actually okay with it??

* Am I describing my hair dryer or a supernatural being lmao

And that was our day! Since I was also sick, was still getting used to things, finding my routine, starting new classes etc. I didn’t really do much else. Also my best friend from back home was supposed to arrive on Saturday, but due to some trouble at the airport she couldn’t fly until the next day, so I didn’t really have any plans for Saturday and just ended up doing some grocery shopping*

* I feel so accomplished and adult-like every time I go out for groceries haha

Next up: the Town Hall again!

Do you like football? Or would you be like me and only like the fish haha. Any pretty cathedrals you’d recommend to me? Have you been travelling lately? Let me know in the comments!

Manchester Week 1: A Beautiful Library and Town Hall And RIP My Wallet I Found The Disney Store

So in my previous post I said I might talk more about my first few days in Manchester in a weekly wrap up, but I decided a separate post would be better – so here we are!

WEDNESDAY

I had to get up early to catch my flight, but unfortunately it turned out my flight had been delayed. Check-in times and such hadn’t been changed though, so I still had to leave early. I hadn’t brought a book with me, since that would take up extra space and weight, but since I had to wait about three hours I ended up buying It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne at the airport. I’m glad I did, because I was stressed enough and if I had to wait three hours I needed something to keep me distracted.

I was supposed to fly at 10, but in the end I flew at 13:30 and arrived at my room at 15:00 UK time. I had planned to unpack, get some groceries, explore the area and then write the post I now wrote on Friday, but since nothing went according to plan* I didn’t really have the time and energy for that, so I just unpacked, got some groceries, face timed my mom and watched Power Rangers 2017**

* Not just the delayed flight, but a broken handle on a suitcase, apparently I had only paid for one suitcase so I had to pay extra, my dumb ass who had flown I don’t know how many times had put scissors in my carry-on and who knows what else
** Bless UK Netflix

THURSDAY AND FRIDAY

On Thursday and Friday I had my introduction days for international students. I had first gotten an email that said it would start at 10:30, but then another one that that was a mistake and I had to be there at 11:00. Except when I arrived a little before 11 almost everyone was already there?? Thankfully I didn’t miss anything though.

We got some general information and a police officer who talked about safety and traumatised me, but when I told my friend back home she was like ‘you’re from Amsterdam no one needs to tell you to be careful’. She has a point but my anxiety was like ‘ALERT ALERT STAY IN YOUR ROOM AFTER DARK’. We also had a library tour which was of course a lot of fun.

After the introduction I went grocery shopping with my new friend, but we were mesmerised by a pretty building that turned out to be the Manchester Museum. There weren’t any grocery stores that way (maybe if we had walked any further but it was basically our first day there and it would get dark soon, so we didn’t want to get too far away from the campus) so after looking at the courtyard next to the museum (which is part of the other university) we went back to campus and went to a convenience store there.

Friday was a lot more fun, since we got a tour through Manchester. Unfortunately it was only an hour – the guide had so much to tell I just want to kidnap him and bring him with me everywhere*

* If there are any cops reading this I am joking

Seriously everything was so interesting and I’m afraid I’ve have forgotten everything.

After the tour my friend and I went back into the center and did some shopping.

Me: is worried about money
Also me: *buys Hedwig pillow*

In my defense, I’ve wanted this pillow since forever, but they never sold it at the Primark back home? So yeah I caved

We also went to a pound shop where I made some sensible adult purchases*

* And skittles and chocolate

The Town Hall at night

SATURDAY

Since I had the day off I wanted to take this chance to explore the city a bit. I still didn’t have my timetable though, so I went to the students union since nothing else was open. I still don’t have a timetable as I’m writing this, but thankfully the programme leader is super nice and sent me when all the lectures are and seminars that I can join for now until I have my timetable.

I don’t remember what this building is but it’s pretty

Our tour guide from Friday had told us that the Town Hall will be closing in two weeks for six years and that it was worth a visit, so since I didn’t know how busy I’d be once classes start, I decided to go right away.

You can easily walk to the center from the campus* and the weather was nice, so why not?

 

* Though I’m definitely thinking of getting a bus pass because it’s all fun and games now but soon I’m used to my surroundings and I’ll just be suffering in the cold

Before I went to the Town Hall I decided to visit the Central Library* which was absolutely gorgeous. They also had a small exhibition related to Harry Potter so obviously I had to check that out.

  

* Surprise – not lol

I went to every floor to make sure I didn’t miss anything, but of course not everything was super exciting.

Afterwards I finally went to the Town Hall which definitely is worth a visit. It’s such a shame that most of it is closed for the public, because I wanted to see more haha

 

 

I considered doing some more sightseeing, but I didn’t want to do too much in one day and I also wanted to go back to the pound shop since my socially anxious self wanted her own mug and bowl  because I was too scared to ask if I could use any of the mugs and bowls in the cupboards. Besides, when I got here the kitchen was… It wasn’t THAT bad but it was certainly dirty and it made me think twice about using anything there. Thankfully my third roommate arrived Sunday and suddenly things were a lot cleaner and cleared up, but I still don’t want to use the kitchen*

* I also don’t want to ask if I can use anything and if I have to actually cook there I’ll have to spend more time there which will increase the chance of running into someone have I mentioned I’m pretty much Cath from Fangirl right now

The pound shop is inside the Arndale Shopping Center, which I had explored a bit with my new friend on Friday, but today I ended up in a different part where uhhh I discovered the Disney Store

All together it was eight pounds, I doubted the Christmas Tsum Tsums* would be there for much longer and well, I couldn’t resist the other Minnie Mouse (she smells like Apple Blossoms omg). And now I’m going to save my money to hopefully buy an Easter Stitch that will be sold starting this February 🙈

* Which were on sale!

 

After looking around a bit more at the shopping center I started my way back home and once I got there I was really glad I had bought Cup a Soup the other day because I was too tired to go out again. I managed to avoid my housemates yet again and am now convinced that they must think I’m a ghost or something*

* I met two of them on Friday and then awkwardly left to stay in my room all night

Sunday wasn’t too exciting – I cleaned, vacuumed, did some grocery shopping and then stayed in all night, rewatched One Day At A Time and tried to cry silently at the finale. If you haven’t watched ODAAT yet, please do so. It’s such a gem and season 2 will come out later this month so you’ll be right in time

All in all, this has been an eventful, stressful but I guess also fun week. It’s weird to be away from home, especially without any family or friends. By the time this goes up I’ll have had my first classes and I have no idea how busy I’ll be. It does help that I can be home within five minutes haha. Anyway, I hope to at least tell you guys about this coming week next week and read some blogposts, but I can’t promise anything. I’m trying to keep my Instagram updated if you want to check if I’m still alive, but uh I kinda suck at Instagram.

UPDATE: I know updates are usually written after a post has gone up, but I hadn’t gotten around to scheduling this yet before classes started, and just wanted to let you guys know that I met my third housemate and she’s really nice

Have you studied abroad? And/or been to Manchester? Tell me all about it in the comments!

London Day 1 | One Year Later Because PROCRASTINATION

As I’m writing this it’s exactly one year ago since my last day in London

While the previous school year was ridiculously busy, hectic and stressful for me, I could’ve written these posts during the Christmas holidays. I could’ve written these at the end of each term when I had barely anything to do (except sleep. I needed lots of sleep). I could’ve done it over the Summer. So the biggest reason why it took me so long to actually get myself to finally start these posts is

So this is going to be interesting! How much will I remember? Thankfully I have pictures to remind me and help me keep track of what happened each day (sort of). SO LET’S DO THIS


We left on Wednesday, since we had booked tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Thursday and Friday evening. This meant missing school, which I kind of stressed about back when I booked those tickets two years ago but in the end it was fine – I didn’t miss any obligatory classes  🎉

We left Wednesday in the early morning, meeting my aunt and cousin at the airport. I don’t remember much from what we did at the airport, but I don’t think it was anything special? I do vaguely remember getting a sandwich of some sort that at some point made me nauseous #rip

About to border the plane Snapchat #thatdoublechintho

While on the plane I took a few more pictures, but then I laid down my head on my mom’s lap and closed my eyes for a bit. You’re never too big to lie your head in your mom’s lap*

I also remember candy! Yes I ate mentos to fight that Plane Ear Pain™**

* Though physically I unfortunately am
** Look at me!! Remembering stuff!! *wipes away a tear* I’m so proud of me

When we got off the plane we had to take a bus from EasyJet (I think?) which we had already booked. While on that bus I spotted the happiest doggo

LOOK AT THAT DOGGO LOOK AT THAT SMILE DENTISTS HATE THIS DOG

(excuse me while I figure out the order of the day because my pictures are not in the right order because some pictures were taken with my old camera, some with my phone and some with my mom’s phone)

We had to get off the bus nearby a metro station, where we could take a metro to our hotel, which was in the Paddington area. This meant it was my goal to acquire a Paddington plushie and take pictures with him in this neighbourhood*

* Spoiler: I succeeded.** Also yes I’m only an adult ON PAPER
** Don’t be confused by the gif I didn’t actually put my Paddington plushie on any roofs. BUT I WOULD’VE IF I COULD’VE

After getting all our stuff to our rooms, we decided to find the theatre, so that we wouldn’t have any trouble with it the next evening (HAHAHAHA WE HAD TROUBLE ANYWAY LEMME TELL YOU*)

* Actually I won’t tell you because SPOILER. We’ll leave that for the second post which at this rate will probably go up sometime next year

Seriously though that day it was so easy to find??

Oh but I’m getting ahead of myself, because you know what was right in front of our hotel? A courtyard. And you know what was in that courtyard?

THIS CUTIE

I swear I was more excited on the inside

After finding the theatre, we went to Forbidden Planet which I wanted to visit for two reasons. 1) Fandom stuff!* 2) At the moment I was blogging about feminism and comics for school, and I wanted to see how much merch with female superheroes they had

* I don’t even remember buying anything?? I remember WANTING all the things, but actually buying something?? No clue. Still a fun store though!

Then we just walked around a bit, trying to find our way to Regent Street, but not before stopping at Starbucks. Y’all I never thought it would happen, but it did

I AM NOW PART OF THE ‘STARBUCKS MISSPELLED MY NAME’ CLUB

I am way too excited about this

Anyway, so Regent Street! As we tried to get there, my mom constantly played around with her selfie stick* which um kind of got on my nerves at some point? I’m not proud of this photo

LOOK AT THAT FACE THOUGH. Not amused

* And they say WE are the selfie generation smh

When we finally got to Regent Street, I uh, did another thing I’m not really proud of? Namely abandoning my family. I just… started to walk faster and faster until they had no idea where I was (well they did see me fasten my pace even though they had no idea why)

You wanna know why I did that?

Yep I abandoned my family to follow a pug* like the creepy Pug Stalker™ I am. The picture is very blurry because 1) My old camera was at the end of its life and 2) I didn’t want anyone to notice because I felt awkward. Clearly paparazzi is not the career for me

* If you didn’t know yet that I’m obsessed with pugs you definitely know now

Once I got reunited with my family though (my mom was NOT amused) our next stop was Hamleys, which is always so much fun to visit (she says like she’s been there a bunch of times instead of two)

So when I first saw that picture I thought ‘AHA! I DID BUY SOMETHING AT FORBIDDEN PLANET’ but then I remembered that I had to carry my mom’s bag so it’s probably hers

TEDDY BEAR AND PADDINGTON. Okay so I know what you were thinking: this is it. This is when you bought a Paddington plush so you could make the Paddington area unsafe with your shenanigans.

Nope. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t buy one and then run into a cheaper one later, so I waited. Patience my friends, the Paddington shenanigans shall happen soon*

* If I actually post about it soon lmao. If I keep up this pace it will be in a couple of years

Okay so this is were my memory gets fuzzy and where my pictures don’t help. I KNOW that at some point we ate dinner, because duh. We needed food (I think we ate at Subway?). I just don’t know when exactly, and if we went back to the hotel first? I also know we ended the day at Primark*

*  Well technically at the hotel but details  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And that was day one! I hope I’ll be able to write post 2 soon, before I forget even more lmao. But I’m quite proud of myself. I thought this would be really hard (which resulted in more procrastinating) but I remember quite a bit with the help of my pictures!

Have you ever been to London? Have you been to any of the places I mentioned in this post? Do you love Paddington? Have you ever abandoned your family like that, for whatever reason? Let me know in the comments!

One of My Favourite Cities: Rome

A while back Marie suggested I’d do a post about my trip to Rome now almost three years ago, and since my contemporary WIP/Cam NaNo project partly takes place in Rome, I really felt like doing this post now.

So about three years ago we went to Rome with school and I fell in love. This love has never gone away of course, but it burned up again while I was writing the part in Rome (it’s nowhere near perfect yet. I mostly focused on the scenes that had to happen there instead of the descriptions – and I really want to do the beauty of this city a lot more justice). Now I really want to go back (which I already did) and I just relived one of my favourite trips ever taken.

WHY DO I LOVE ROME SO MUCH?

Before we went I was already excited, but when I came back? Oh I wanted to go back immediately. Don’t get me wrong, I love Amsterdam and it’s not like I’d consider moving to Rome (for starters I’d have to learn Italian. And if I were to ever leave Amsterdam it’d be for London), but I just loved being there. One of the reasons why I love Rome is also one of the reasons I love Amsterdam: it’s historical. You can walk around and easily imagine how it was centuries ago (Amsterdam not as far back as Rome. When I’m in the centre of the city I mostly imagine the 17th century), it’s historical and magical. Are all the people friendly? Um no. Mostly the security guards are quite aggressive. They’ll start yelling at you in Italian quickly, but it’s not like everyone in such a big city (or in a small one) can be friendly, so who cares? It definitely didn’t ruin my experience. Part of why I love Rome so much is because I love history, art and architecture, which Rome is full of. There’s also the fact that I love food (which I’m sure most of you already know haha), especially Italian. But why it’s one of my favourite cities in the world is mostly because of the feeling the city gives me just thinking about it. I just love it.

MY TRIP 

I won’t tell you all the details, because it was a week long trip and so much happened, so I decided to just show some pictures (which is going to be hard because there are a lot of pictures) and tell you some of my favourite stories.

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Let’s start at the Colosseum because that’s pretty much where we started our trip. Most people probably think of the Colosseum when they think of Rome. I loved walking there, imagining how it must have looked like roughly 2000 years ago.

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Photoception haha

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And of course it’s just beautiful, especially the way the sun shines through the archways ❤️

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Oh and the view from both sides is gorgeous of course. I mean just look at it.

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I was and still am in love with these trees. This picture is taken around the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. I think they were also at Villa Borghese and possible other places in the city as well, but don’t quote me on this haha. Speaking of the Roman Forum – definitely worth it as well. The entire city is worth it though haha

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These pictures are unlike the others but I still want to share them because of the stories behind them. The Marilyn Monroe mirror was in the room of some friends, one of those friends was really drunk at some point and started talking to Marilyn. At first we thought he was joking around, but turned out he was quite serious haha. He couldn’t remember it the next day either. When I left for Rome I definitely didn’t think I’d come back with an Oshawott plush, but I did! And you know where I found it? At The Vatican. They had a game store there and as we passed I noticed several Pokemon plushes in their display. I wasn’t sure if it fit in my suitcase, but I REALLY wanted it, so one of my friends, who had brought a really large bag because she didn’t have anything smaller, said she’d put it in hers haha. In the end it really didn’t fit in my suitcase lol

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#awkwardpicturewithmathteacher lol. He would have been in the picture anyway, so my friend who was taking the picture told him to stand closer and pose. Look at my awkward face.
Anyway, the first picture was taken inside a quadricycle, which we hired twice and was so much fun. Definitely recommend it, especially at Villa Borghese. Not just is it fun, but it’s great way to go around and take in your surroundings. Sometimes at least one of you needs to to be 18 and have a driver’s license though (I say sometimes because the first time the guy was like ‘none of you are 18 and have a license? Ok here you go’ but the second time the other guy asked. Thankfully we had someone who was 18 and had a license in our group that time haha)

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I’m honestly shocked about the small amount of pictures I’ve taken at Villa Borghese, but one of my favourite places in the park (besides Galleria Borghese) is the Pincian Hill. The view is amazing, especially at sunset. I mean, look at the St. Peter’s Basilica bathed in the sunlight. It’s gorgeous.

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Speaking of the Basilica, be prepared for a really long queue. I don’t remember how long we had to wait outside, but it was long. And cold (we were there in November). It wasn’t without any memorable events though: old classmates that I barely ever talked to fought over my candy with one of my friends and some people in line behind us tried to cut the line – they actually pushed us and at some point a line was formed to make sure they wouldn’t be able to. It was crazy

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I have to admit that the Tiber didn’t make a huge impression on me. In fact, I had kind of forgotten about it. Obviously I know it’s there and that it exists, but it just didn’t make the same impression on me as a lot of other stuff I’ve seen in Rome. Though looking at the picture I took three years ago I am reminded of its beauty. And of course we went to the Trevi fountain. It’s one of those spots you can’t not go to when in Rome. When I was a kid we went to Rome as well (for a day, we went to multiple cities in Rome) and I had thrown a coin into the Trevi fountain. And lo and behold, I came back! So it’s true guys. I read somewhere that if you throw one in the second time, you’ll come back married? So we’ll see since I threw in another one (not that I want to come back married, but when in Rome you know) haha

I have a lot more photos, which made it hard to choose. I’d love to share more, but that would make this post incredibly long and some things are just so much better when you see them for yourself! Like I do have pictures of the Pantheon for example, but they just don’t do it justice. There were also places where you weren’t allowed to take pictures (double check if you’re allowed to; the guards have no chill). I would’ve loved to take pictures at the Sixtine Chapel (which was definitely one of my favourite sights – I loved it so much), but alas. That wasn’t allowed

SOME TIPS

  • If you’re going in November, the weather will be rather strange. It can be warm enough to walk around without a coat, but it can also be freezing and you’ll be glad you brought a scarf and gloves
  • Bring sunglasses! Whether it’s warm or not there’s a high chance the sun will be shining and if you’re like me and can’t stand sunlight (that makes me sound like a vampire woops. I mean I get a headache if the sun is shining really brightly and I’m not wearing my sunglasses
  • Like I said, make sure whether or not you’re allowed to take pictures. You don’t want an angry security guard yelling at you in Italian
  • Speaking of which, don’t stand at the rocks at the Colosseum or you’ll get yelled at too
  • Always get ice cream (unless you don’t like ice cream and you’re lactose intolerant. In that case don’t get ice cream)
  • Eat as much food as you can
  • It might be useful to order tickets for certain sights and museums beforehand
  • LOOK AFTER YOUR STUFF. This is important in every big city, especially when you’re on holiday because you really don’t want to lose your passport, but seriously. Look after your stuff. I remember a classmate telling us that she noticed an old lady zipping her friend’s backpack open. Thankfully she noticed. Also if you have a backpack, keep that in front of you when you’re in busy spots and on the bus/metro
  • If you see a microwave at the restaurant: get out. Get out now. We noticed the microwave after we had already gotten our food, and it was disgusting. My friend’s pizza looked like it moved. Also I got a really small portion of lasagna and I paid like seven euros for it #3yearslaterandstillpissed
  • But don’t worry about the food, because that was my only bad experience. I ate a lot of good food and most of it was reasonably priced (I ate at a restaurant near the Colosseum for ten euros: a pizza, bread and a soda all included in the prize. I really wish I knew the name of the restaurant or where exactly it is, but all I remember is that we had a view of the Colosseum)
  • Get a map. Our teachers had several that they handed out to groups that wanted them and I’m so glad we had one. It really helped finding our way through the city and finding our way back to the hotel in the dark. Honestly I think you should always have a map when you’re in a foreign place, but maybe that’s just the planner inside me haha

I could probably write an entire book about Rome, but I’ll leave it at this. Have you ever been to Rome? Do you love it as much as I do? What is your favourite city you’ve ever been to? Let me know in the comments!

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