Thursday, March 31, 2011

When Misfortune Turns to Good Fortune

Finally, one of my impulse purchases turns out amazing.

I'm normally not a huge impulse shopper, mainly because for the last 6 months before London I was saving for London and in London I have lots of things I need to pay for that aren't really impulsive, but planned out. No spur of the moment trips to Primark (this awesome cheap clothing store) for me!

But when someone posted on twitter (tweeted, if you will) that was having a sale on Love Never Dies tickets. No, no, rest assured I wasn't going to sit through that torture again, but it was a 48 hour sale, and so I decided to check out what kinds of prices they were asking for Phantom, you know, just to see. Aaaand it just so happened they were selling top price Stalls and Royal Circle for 20 pounds off. Granted, this still didn't make them as cheap as most of the Grand Circle tickets I get, but these are guaranteed to be closer to the actions. I searched for a day that I could reasonably go.

Now, perhaps picking the Wednesday before we leave for Dublin wasn't my best idea, especially since I have a presentation to do today, but that was scheduled after I bought the ticket. So I was all set to go (though I didn't find out my seat till last night, half an hour before the show), but disaster struck as yesterday morning, Sofia Escobar tweeted "Woke up with a scratchy throat :( won't be performing tonight :'("

I was momentarily upset, because I really wanted to see her again, but then my mind clicked. It said, "Hey Tina, weren't you checking the understudy's twitter, seeing if she was ever performing on a day you could go so you could see a different Christine?" And I said, "yeah, mind, you're right!"

So, luckily, I wouldn't have to make another spur of the moment purchase to see Katy Treharne perform.  I had heard good reviews, and really any chance to see John Owen Jones is a win for me.

So I get to the theatre and collect my ticket. D7, stalls. alright, 4th row, not bad, I think. I get into the theatre to discover that Her Majesty's loses the first row for the orchestra. Meaning I was 3rd row, just off center. Which means I was sitting in front of where there is a lot of Phantom action. So. Prime.

Now I'm a bit bizarre. I can see the wheels in people's head's turning as they see that I'm alone. Not a huge deal, but most people don't go to see mega musicals alone. Not a big deal.

I'm sitting next to a couple that is talking about Love Never Dies. I turn and shake my head and say it isn't worth it to go. They say "Les Mis it is!"

I'm sitting in front of and next to 2 other couples who have never seen the show. I know this because the girl next to me keeps gasping, and exclaims "bloody hell!" when the Phantom appears in the mirror in Christine's dressing room. At intermission I ask them as they're getting up to go to the bathroom if it is their first time. The guy goes, "Yeah! What, is this your second??" AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I tell him,  "No, this is a lot of times." They look at me in awe.

The couple behind me seems a bit confused so I turn around and try to explain things to me. See, this is the problem with programmes not being free in the UK. It does have the plot synopsis, which makes operatic songs easier to understand. Oh well. They were in awe of my knowledge and general fan-ness. The guy, who reminded me of Dad, asked me "So, do you like go to class at all?" when I told him this wasn't the first time I'd been in London to see it and while listing all the other shows I have seen or will be seeing.

So it was a fun night. I wasn't going to stage door, because I'm a bit ill again and needed to get home to pack and such, but I was watching Will Barratt perform and made a vow to go to the stage door and say something that wasn't "You were amazing!" before getting all shy and starstruck again. I mean, come on, I've seen it a million times, they shouldn't faze me.

I also decided, very soon in, that I had to at least see Katy Treharne and tell her she was incredible. I can't believe she's an understudy, because her voice is amazing. She's on par with most other Christine's I've seen in terms of talent. Blown. Away. And I got a great view of her triumph as well! It was really cool to see her costumes up close.

Anyway, at first I was the only one at the door. I thought, 'oh, this is awkward. They'll probably just walk right by..." But then another group of kids from Chicago, I later learned, came too. Katy walked out as they happened to be taking pictures in front of the stage door sign, and she was kind of like "Do I say I was Christine? Do they recognize me?" So she was just like, "Uh, do you want me to be in the picture?" So I took one for them. Then as she was maneuvering out of the crowd I was giving the camera back but turned to her with, I can imagine huge eyes, that I thought she was amazing. She was in a bit of a hurry though, so stupid me didn't think to get a picture with her. Maybe next time?

Next was Will Barratt. Remember how I was gonna say something to him? He kind of walked out and didn't really slow down cause I think he thought nobody was there for him, so he smiled at me a bit as I looked at him and kept walking. I turned around and sort of half shouted "You were excellent!" So he turned back and was like, "Oh, thanks! Glad you liked it!" And I was like "Uh, you're a really adorable Raoul..." And he kind of just smiled so I rushed through my little speech and said "Yeah, like when you're in the dressing room, and you tickle her, it's really cute..." And he smiled and was like "I do my best!" Then the stupid kids from earlier rushed over and INTERRUPTED ME and said "OMG CAN WE TAKE A PICTURE YOU ALL WERE GREAT!!!" Pretty sure they didn't know exactly who he was cause they didn't ask him to sign anything till he was like "Do you guys have programmes or anything you want me to sign?" Then he asked where they were from, etc. They were a big group and he takes time to talk to everyone, so I just left and decided I would return and catch John Owen Jones at a different time too. Since he takes forever and I needed to get home. I still consider this a victorious day.

Noelle brought her dog to the shop for the morning! SO CUTE

I was so close I couldn't get all the stage in one shot

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Random Touristy Things

We rode the London Eye, finally! You know what this means? There is finally something I can say I did that my dad can't say "I've been there..." or "I've done that..." HA!

Anyway, it was pleasant. You're in an enclosed capsule thing and the ride is really smooth, so you don't get motion sickness (something I was very concerned about). The city looks amazing from all the way up there. I don't know why, but when you're just walking around it doesn't seem like it's a huge city. But when you're up top and it is all you can see for miles, you remember how huge London is.

The Eye Pod. I am so witty

Big Ben and Parliament view from the Eye

The National Theatre

We took a nice stroll along the Thames and saw Parliament from the other side, which was nice. It looks really pretty at night. Then we headed back to our flat and showed Andrea's parents and their friends our accommodations. They thought it was cute. Yeah, we did too, until you cram 5 girls in for 4 months. It hasn't been easy, but we're managing.

Parliament from across the Thames

That was about it. I had a busy Monday, as always, since I have work then a show for my Drama and the London Theatre class. It was alright, but I'm coming down with a cold or something again (just in time for Dublin, yay! Stupid immume system) so I just wanted to go home.

Tried to figure out my schedule for next semester since the classes are up. I have a non-negotiable schedule of 5 classes in a row on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I could have 6, but I think I'll take an honors seminar on Tuesday/Thursday to make me have something to do that day. Yeah. 18 credits again! Sounds... great...

Today for my Women in Britain class we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum and had a blast. I tried on a corset (though I have one already, haha thanks to Ren Fest) and crinoline, which was super fun. We also wandered around and saw tons of sculptures and artifacts. All in all, a good trip. Especially since it got us out of class. Yay!!!

Albert, you're looking dashing today.

too lazy to do the whole corset up, but did the top and bottom. Plus the skirt yeah. I'm that cool

Again, this corset had a weird hook and eye kind of clasp, when you did the middle it would mess up the top and come undone. Too much work, so Sarah and I just did the top and bottom. You get the point

Balloon display thing?

some cool stuff here

This is a bed cover. The Japan room was my favourite


China was cool too

This poem reminded me of my grandmother

Love you always and miss you xoxo

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Have a Thing for the French...

French musicals, that is. You thought I was talking about something else, didn’t you? Geez.

Anyway, yeah, French musicals. I say this because of my obsession with Phantom, obviously. But this week, we went to see Les Miserables, which is a musical about the French Revolution and some miserable people. As if you couldn’t tell by the title.

So, yes, this was the weekend that Andrea’s parents visited and they’re the ones that took us to Les Mis.  Super nice of them, right? Mom, you should be happy to know I bought and wrote out a nice Thank You card for them.  You’re so proud. I know.

Anyway, the show was wonderful, even though I had to rush to get there because I was working till 6, had to catch the tube home, get some stuff, eat really quick (I ended up eating a wrap on the way home from Burger King. It is so much classier here) and then leave at like 6:30 to get to the Piccadilly Station to meet Andrea’s parents. So it was a bit of a rush, but we made it. Since I work around the area I had scoped out the theatre and led the way. After a short walk that happened to take us near Chinatown, we found it!

It's not too hard to spot

The show was great. Well, as great as a show called ‘The Miserable Ones’ can be. Let’s be real, even if you’ve never seen or heard any of it, you can guess loads of people die.  But the cast was really great. We saw a couple of understudies for a couple main parts but if they hadn’t told us, I wouldn’t have known because they were great!

The good:
The music in Les Mis is really catchy and it has lots of brilliant songs
Our seats were really good- we were in the Upper Circle (3rd tier) so it was a bit high, but we were like centre stage and had a good view of most of the show, except when they were really far downstage
As I said, the understudies were great. There wasn’t anyone I really didn’t like. There weren’t really any characters I didn’t like either (though I wish Cosette would have a bigger part so it was more believable that Marius loves her and not Eponine).

My favourite song, A Little Fall of Rain, was excellent. The Marius was really emotional and caring and Eponine had an amazing voice. Definitely got misty eyed for that one. There was a nice book reference too, he kissed her on the forehead at the end, so sad and sweet.

In general, the whole show was excellent, there were a few gunshot moments were I jumped. Mostly cause you expect gunshots at the barricade, but that would be super loud so they just mimed. So I was like, ok, no shots, then BAM BAM BAM. Scary.

cool moment in the show- after the barricade

The bad
The lady in front of me kept moving her head. A lot. So I would have to shift to be able to see. So ridiculous.
One of the guys in her group (they were a big group of Italian tourists) was like 65 and was texting nonstop for Act I. Seriously? Who are you texting? You’re 65! Casey kicked his chair a couple times, and he was less bothersome in Act II.

As Andrea said on the way back to our flat, she wanted to sing the songs but couldn’t remember the words. Now, if you knew Andrea, this is a common problem (she’ll know a line from a song and that’s about it. We love you for it though, Andrea!), but she was right. If you hadn’t listened to the music before hand and remembered the songs, it would be very difficult to remember the words of certain songs. Why? Because Les Mis is what is called sung-through, meaning, like an opera, there is no dialogue (Phantom is a sung through with scattered lines, technically).  In any scene they would talk, they sing the lines instead. Which is actually really cool, except  that they reuse the melodies all the time to make a rhythm for them to sing to. At least 3 song melodies are used for 3 different songs, making it hard to keep them straight.

3 hours is a long time for a show. Sure, they do a great job of cramming like 20 years into that 3 hours, but if you aren’t expecting it, that would suck. We got back really late, which was fine but if we’d gone on a weekday that would have been bad. I think it was bad for me because I had been at work sitting at a desk for hours on end before sitting and sometimes craning my neck to see around stupid moving head lady. Other than that, it didn’t feel like 3 hours till you get back to your flat and it’s already 11:15.

Anyway, so yes, it was fantastic, and yes, it is French. Obviously musicals about France are the way to go.

In other news, Liz took me to her friend Lee’s house for her birthday party. Liz knows Lee from the camp she worked at over the summer, but she didn’t want to be alone, so she asked me to come. I am glad I did because it was a great time! There was Chinese food and tons of desserts, and Liz’s camp stories are hilarious. Plus, Lee lives outside of London so her house was spacious (huge actually) and beautiful. We also got to take a train there, which I enjoy. I really like trains in Europe. Kind of sad they aren’t that cool or popular in the states.

Anyway, I think we’re adventuring with Andrea’s parent’s tonight, since it is their last day here and they spent yesterday in Bath and the West Country (they probably saw all the things we did in January when we went). Dunno what we will be doing, but I’m sure it will be a good time!

They brought us this peanut butter

size comparison to a Tesco slightly-sparkling water bottle

Side note, this week I also saw a play called In a Forest Dark and Deep. It was pretty good, and I totally met Matthew Fox from Lost cause he was starring in it. Pretty cool.

This is the only picture I got of him though. He was kind of cranky so I didn't ask.

That’s all for now! Busy week ahead so I probably won’t update till next Sunday at least. Ciao!

And since this post was short on pictures, here's some videos of my favourite Les Mis scene, A Little Fall of Rain 

This is my favourite version on Youtube

This is the blocking that was more similar to the show we saw. No videos of the show we saw. There is a video of Samantha Barks as Eponine, but I will not pollute my blog with Nick Jonas as Marius. Fun fact- we saw this girl as Cosette Friday night. I am very observant about musical theatre apparently.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I have more care to stay than will to go

Seeing a play, we thought, ah, finally something that will be more relaxing. No more trying to catch trains and planes and such.


Not that this was exceedingly difficult, but at least on spring break our planes were later in the day and we never had to get up earlier than 8. But noooooooooo. Ithaca College London Centre trips always start out rather early. We had to get to the Centre by 7:15, which meant a lovely 6 o’clock wake up call for me the day after a St. Patty’s Day hangout/birthday party for me. Yeah, it was marvelous. (Don’t fret mother, I wasn’t drinking that night, we were just up late hanging out).

I kind of wish they had pushed it back a week or something, because I have barely recovered from spring break (read: our flat is still chaos from unpacking), but turns out it was a pretty great weekend.

Except for the rain. Yes, England in its exceedingly excellent geographic location seems forever destined to rain on perfectly lovely school trips. So when we stopped in Oxford, none of us wanted to get off the bus because it was pouring.  It was just as bad as in Barcelona. Silly me didn’t pack my rainboots (I’ve been told that people don’t actually wear them much for walking around, unless you’re going to be in the countryside. Who knew?)  so my first pair of shoes got absolutely soaked. Which made my feet numb because it was cold. Which made walking around Oxford pretty miserable, if not for the awesomeness that it was. Seriously. It was really lovely and nice, and I can only imagine that increase with the amount of sunlight that may happen to come through patches in clouds most days. Cause that’s really all you get in London, sunshine through cloud patches.

Anyway, we visited Christ Church but couldn’t go inside cause of a special service, so we wandered around the hall and outside instead. Supposedly some Harry Potter scenes were filmed here, and the inspiration for Alice and Wonderland was here as well. Pretty cool stuff.

Heading up to be sorted. you know.

Apparently they filmed some quidditch scene here. And by that I mean the learning to fly scene

Sarah and I decided to then explore Oxford on our own, so we found some old bookshops (she’s looking for a Lord of the Rings book with character, hence all the bookshop stuff we do). We even looked in Blackwell’s, which was pretty cool. 

Found the UK editions of The Hunger Games. I am such a dork

All in all, despite the rain, Oxford was a great place to visit for a couple hours. We got back on the coach and headed to Stratford.

Or so we thought. Bill had found another place to make a short stop: Winston Churchill’s grave. Now, I don’t know about you, but I never thought I would see something like that in my life, so that was a cool 5 minute stop (literally, the coaches had no place to park so we had 5 minutes to see it and get back). It was a fun time.

There it is

Now we headed to Stratford. We were staying in Bed and Breakfasts this time, not a hostel, which was a great change of pace. Sarah, Liz and I got to share an adorable room, so we hung out there for a bit, changed clothes (as my pants were still soaked from Oxford) and got ready for the night ahead. We decided to wander around Stratford for a while, and it was fun seeing all the modern buildings next to the Tudor style and uh, other earlier styled buildings (I’m not taking British Art and Architecture, so sue me, I don’t know the names). Lots of them were named after characters in Shakespeare’s works or other literary characters, like the Chaucer’s Head bookshop where Sarah found a nice copy of LOTR for 3.50. Not a bad find, my friend!

We then wandered down to the river where we admired the swans and geese, plus a strange looking one that was getting too close for comfort (keep in mind that in Ithaca, the geese are rather vicious. I think Liz and Casey have been chased at least twice by them) so we maintained our distance. Deciding we were hungry, we headed back up to a pub called the Rose and Crown for a delicious, yet again HUGE, helping of fish & chips. Seriously, that’s my go-to going-out meal. We then decided it was time to head over to the theatre to check out the production of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Romeo and Juliet.

So cute!

I needed a break


So many Shakespearean characters have shops here...

This one thought he was the boss. He got really close to us. Kind of adorable, right?

To my surprise, Sarah, Liz and I ended up in the front row, albeit to the right side of the stage. I was worried that this would be an issue, but the stage is a thrust stage, meaning it comes out into the audience and is surrounded by them on 3 sides. I thought the actors might only look forward, but they did a great job of giving all 3 sides attention.

Literally this close. No zoom or anything. I could have reached out and touched the stage

Speaking of attention, I didn’t know the front row would be so interesting, or so dangerous! The fight scenes were intense. Guys were getting set on fire, chains and swords were whipping around, there was fog and smoke and I couldn’t see. Liz and I clutch each other for fear of an actor falling on us or a sword finding its way into our area. Thankfully, none of this happened, but it didn’t stop us from fearing for our lives. Other than that, they interacted with the audience a lot.

There’s a point in the show where Benvolio tells Romeo to look at other maidens. Be Romeo was in modern dress and had a camera (probably to separate him and his more modern ideals from the others who cling to age old ideas of the feud, as well as to represent the timelessness of the story) and Benvolio grabbed it and turned to snap a picture. Of us. I think he was pointing it at Liz and I, because we were in the middle of a section of girls from our school. More Liz, but I think I was in the picture too because Romeo was talking about it and gestured to us. He pointed at me and we made eye contact. My heart stopped. Mostly because Sam Troughton, the actor, played Much in the BBC version of Robin Hood, which Sarah and I love (if you haven’t seen it, it’s great!). So I was super stoked. Then, later, Friar Lawrence was talking about flowers and their deceptiveness, and how some smell sweet but have poison inside. He walked over and held the flower out, right to Liz! He asked her to smell it, she was like ‘uuuuuuhhhhh’ and did, then he asked her “how about a taste” and she shook her head no and he laughed. It was so awesome and she was blushing so furiously. She didn’t expect attention twice in one show!

Later, during Act 3 Scene 1, the scene where it all starts going downhill for Romeo and Juliet, there was a huge sword fight. I have no idea how this happened, but a chain from one of the actor’s costumes or weapons or something was broken during the scene and slid across the stage quite rapidly, hitting Sarah and I and landing on my arm. We are keeping it as a souvenir. Sure, it’s a chain, but it’s a chain from the RSC’s Romeo and Juliet. SO COOL.

The show was excellent and heartbreaking, as intended. Romeo was my favourite of the pair, partially cause I loved the actor and partially because I think he was just better. He had this awkward, light-hearted dorkiness in his Romeo that I haven’t seen before, as it is so often presented as rather serious. It made his despair in the end so much more sad and real, because in the beginning he was so joyous and free. Juliet played very well, but had some moments where I wasn’t impressed. No matter, I wish you all could come to Stratford one day and see the Royal Shakespeare Company, it truly was a treat.

This is the theatre

Afterwards, we headed over to a pub called the Black Swan, more commonly known in Stratford as the Dirty Duck. Again mother, don’t be alarmed. We didn’t go to drink. It is a common hang out place for the actors after the show. We successfully met Mercutio (his name is Jonjo. So cool) and Sam Troughton, who we did get to tell we loved his work as Romeo and in Robin Hood. It was a great night and we were all on top of the world.

No idea how I ended up NOT looking at the camera. Oh well. I met him. That's what counts (this is Sam Troughton- Much from Robin Hood)

Till we got back to our B&B. All was well until Liz was in the middle of a sentence and stopped suddenly. There, above the closet, rested a giant spider. Now, I usually have no problem with spiders. I kill them for Cesca all the time. But this one was in my “too big to kill because it is now in my range of fear” size. We spent a good 20 minutes shrieking, cowering, watching and waiting for the spider to finally get to the floor, where our teamwork combined vanquished the spider (Liz) made sure it was dead (Me), got it into toilet paper and into the bathroom (Sarah) and flushed it (Me). Terror, thy name is B&B Spider.

please note: If I had my camera, there would be photographic proof of the spider. However, mere minutes before I had put my coat (with my camera in the pocket) into the closet. Therefore, it exists only in our memories.

Luckily the B&B redeemed itself the next morning with a shower that wasn’t sketchy like some hostel showers, a lovely hot breakfast and a nice host. First, he put hash browns on our plates because, as he said “Americans. Hash Browns. See, I know!” because apparently all Americans love hash browns. I do. I’m happy! Then as we were leaving he was talking to some of the boys and something he said was really funny so I was laughing, and he looked at me and said “You have a beautiful smile! You are really beautiful. I mean, you are all beautiful. But you should be a model. You have a great smile, it is so cheeky!” I was so flattered!
The next day was also Shakespeare filled, as we visited Holy Trinity Church, were he is buried. It was really kind of amazing to be standing only a few feet away from the poet of England. We then ventured up farther in Stratford to his birthplace, which was cool to see, especially juxtaposed with the touristy area that sprung up around it.

Blessed be the man that spares these stones
And curst be he that moves my bones
Shakespeare= Bad. Ass.

Shakespeare's birthplace

I was craving a milkshake so we stopped by Moo Moo’s, which has like 100 choices for a milkshake. I got Cadbury Dairy Milk cause I am in love with the stuff, and Sarah got chocolate brownie and peanut butter, but wasn’t thrilled with it. Being the selfless, valiant friend I am, I volunteered to drink it as well. The ensuing sugar rush was most entertaining, especially for my friends who know of my eating habits (that I don’t eat much in one sitting) and how my stomach doesn’t like when I overdo it on dairy. I actually didn’t suffer as much as I was expecting. I guess Stratford milkshakes are magic.

These are all the choices. The fact that I got only two is a miracle.

My two milkshakes. Delicious.

Me: Hey let's go get ice cream from that boat!
Liz/Sarah: Christina, you're holding two milkshakes!

What a beautiful day!

To take advantage of the beautiful, gloriously sunny day, we took a boat ride on the river. Liz was a pro and paddled/rowed the whole time while I helped her out by yelling Port and Starboard at mostly appropriate times. We then just basked around a bit before we had to get on the buses and head back to London. Liz, Sarah and I won 5 pounds for answering a bunch of Shakespeare quiz questions right, and Bill gave a bunch of us buttons that had Shakespeare phrases on them. Mine said “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” Bill knows me well.

The boats were all famous females from Shakespeare!

Our boat, Helena from Midsummer Night's Dream- thought Cesca would enjoy that!

Our pro rower, Liz. Isn't she cute!

I loved Stratford. It is one of the first places here that I could actually see myself living in, rather than just visiting. It just had a great atmosphere and was so lovely and peaceful. Plus, I could then catch all of the RSC productions, which would be amazing. I hope Cesca and I can come back together sometime.

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing at home and attempting to still catch up on life and get back to normal. I counted today, and I only have 50 something days left here. My how the time flies. Casey and Andrea return from Greece today, and I am really excited to hear about their trip!
More later, probably next weekend because we are seeing Les Miserables! Can’t wait!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Finally, the last post of my Spring Break shenanigans commences!

We arrived at Paris Beauvais in good time, but our flight from Barcelona was into the evening and there was an hour long bus trip we needed to take (after waiting for like 20 minutes to get tickets). Then we had to figure out the metro to get to our hostel and lug all our stuff there. We succeeded like champs and got to our hostel, though they screwed up our reservation so we had to split up into different rooms. Meh, not too bad. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the beds, but there were always people in the room that were awake and I didn't want to seem like a creeper. But anyway, the beds were like in little cupboards in the wall with a curtain, so it was like having your own private little room to sleep in. So cool.

Some of the Metro signs were a bit, er, Halloweentown-esque? 

We had a limited amount of time in Paris. I mean, less than 24 hours (Paris is expensive so we only did one night there) so we set out right away to see something cool. We chose the Eiffel Tower, because it is outside so it can't be closed. It is lit up for a good part of the night, and it was beautiful. Another lovely surprise was that it sparkles like every half our or something. SO COOL. It was amazing to be standing there under this amazing thing that I've only seen in movies. Loved it. Except the magic was ruined by the stupid salespeople trying to sell me miniature light up towers. GO AWAY.

All lit up!


Across from the Tower there was a crepe vendor. Being in France, we had to have one at least! So I got a nutella one. So. Delicious. I will be making these things at home. Poorly, but I will do so anyway.


We headed back since it was now like 1 in the morning and we needed our rest. We had a packed day ahead of us, what with having about 6 hours to see the stuff we wanted to.

We woke up bright and early and headed to our first destination, Notre Dame. We were allowed to go inside for free and take pictures, which is rare for monuments like that, at least in Britain. I felt bad though, because a mass was starting soon. I also felt weird walking by the gift shop inside the main cathedral. It was sooooo bizarre. We didn't see Quasimodo. I was a bit disappointed haha.

Next we headed attempted to head over to the Louvre, but misread the map and ended up on the wrong side of the river going in the wrong direction. I got cool souvenirs out of it, so I'm not complaining. We begrudgingly took the metro up the river and got off at what Liz thought was the station. It wasn't, but we ended up being right down the street from our other key destination and my personal pick, the Palais Garnier. I really hope you know what that is, but if you don't, it is the Paris Opera House. And by this I mean the Paris Opera House. You know, the one WHERE THE PHANTOM LIVED... Yeah. Super stoked. Unfortunately as my luck would have it, it was closed to visitors that day. Huge bummer, but it gives me incentive to come back next year and see it for real inside. I was still thrilled I just got to be there.

this is where Phantom takes place!

I bought the novel in French. It came in 2 parts! Yes. I do have a problem.  Why do you ask?

Next we headed down to the Louvre just to see the pyramids and stuff outside, but we weren't in the mood to go pushing through people to see the Mona Lisa. I think next year I would like to devote time to it, but I was all museumed and tourist locationed out. We were all exhausted and running out of clean clothes and energy, so we called it a day, having seen all we intended to, and headed to the hostel to get our stuff.

I shall return, Louvre!

Baguette. So authentic.

The hostel people made a mistake. They told us getting to the airport was 'pretty quick.' Now, maybe to the French 55 minutes is pretty quick, but that didn't really fly with us. Meaning once we got to Charles de Gaulle, we were cutting it close. Which would have been fine if our terminal wasn't on the other side of the freaking airport. We raced through the airport, got to baggage check just in time and made it to our gate with a few minutes to spare. After lots of stress, we were finally on the plane and home free.

Or so we thought. Unfortunately, due to a random mistake, Casey's visa had the wrong expiration date so they weren't going to let her in the country. After a while of waiting, Sarah and I took some of the luggage home on another hour long bus ride, as the officer said it could take hours. Lo and behold, they were home like 20 minutes after us. So it was stressful but it all worked out in the end. Especially cause now Casey doesn't have to work until they get it sorted. She really isn't in a hurry haha.

Well, that's my Spring Break for ya! Hope you enjoyed the mass of updates. I will try to update when I can, but this half of the semester seems to promise a lot more of a hectic vibe than the last half. Halfway through already :(