Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Post 200

I think I'm finally an adult.

For the past month or so, I've been waking up between 5 and 530 am and staying up. I honestly am not at all interested in falling back asleep. I make the bed, make my coffee and maybe even do a load of laundry - all before 6 am.

At first, I thought this strange anti-sleeping pattern was due to my upcoming trip. Which has been and is gone. The last two days (minus my first day home where I slept until *gasp* 730) my body has decided that the wee small hours of the morning are awesome and not to be ignored. This may have something to do that if I were still on the other side of the Atlantic, it would be 11 am, but I'm not entirely sure.

My list is long today - and exciting. Ready? Here goes:

1. Fill out application and call for interview. Oh yes - interesting things are a-brewing!

2. Go to the library and Photoshop, Photoshop, Photoshop. I love my MacBook, but for picture editing, I need the biggest screen possible. Two screens? Even better!

3. Finish the final bits of my unpacking like putting the big suitcase back under the stairs, finding homes for the bits and pieces I brought back with me and folding the laundry I have washed and dried from the trip.

4. Walk my dogs and hopefully lose the last of their summer coats on the way. Could have made a fur coat with the fluff I got off Sadie yesterday. If I get really bored, I may just have to wash, dry and brush the beasts again.

5. Really should do some exercising of some sort. Although I did lose 6 lbs while in the UK - all that running to catch the tube!

6. Post some of my great pictures with stories and anecdotes that I didn't have time to post while traveling.

My real life is back and busier than ever. Although I had a great time, it (of course) is fabulous to be back in my own bed (even though I'm to stuffed up in the head to enjoy it), with my free computer (well, at least not 1 BPS for 20 minutes), and with only myself to take care of (I was a little bit of a parent to the kids on the trip).

This is Post 200 of Married with 2 Dogs! Promise of Post 201 coming soon!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Places I Went, The People I Saw

I thought if anyone was really bored, they'd like to check out the places I've visited for academic reasons here. Some of the places gave us great presentations, tours and information. Others were either at the wrong time of day or just slightly boring (they produced lots of yawns). However, I tried really hard to act interested and find some aspect of their business to ask questions about. Sometimes a little tough, but I learned a lot throughout the whole experience!

1. Advertising Standards Authority - saw examples of ads that were complained about in UK
2. Press Complaints Commission - a little dry, but great contrast to freedom of the press in the US
3. Reuters - a lot of walking
4. Schawk - amazing!!!
5. The Islam Channel - had a hard time with, for many reasons. But they did provide a great lunch and were mostly gracious
6. The Telegraph - only publisher with direct info for the top UK story!
7. Weber-Shandwick - fun and interactive PR presentation.
8. McCann - Erickson - look into the advertising world!

Enjoy! I certainly did!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Parts V-VIII: Many Visits

More Paris information and photos to come. This is quick catch-up of the past few days. After arriving back in London around midnight on Sunday, we started bright and early Monday morning heading to the Press Complaints Commission. A regulatory body quite different from anything seen in the U.S. The PCC deals with any legitimate complaints given against printed / online journalism. The Commission looks into each and every complaint and, if necessary, rules on the matter if a consensus cannot be reached by the paper and complainant. No pictures allowed.

Then off to the Advertising Standards Authority, another regulatory body for - you guessed it - advertising in the UK. The closest thing we have in the US is the FCC, which is highly reactive and not so proactive (think "wardrobe malfunction"). Again, no pictures allowed.

Best part of the day? Dinner with a good friend from high school. We went to a great organic cafe - my first green veggies of the trip! - and saw a few sights and areas of the city. I was also introduced to Cider and Black. YUM! It was so great to catch up and see a familiar face in an unfamiliar place! Thanks again for a great evening Dan!Tuesday was the day of Reuters and Schawk. Reuters was interesting, but Schawk? Such an incredible operation! The type of work they do is branding, which means, putting a certain, tailored idea about a company/product in the minds of consumers on sight. SO COOL! The entire process appealed to my sense of analness - and I loved the quality control measure they had in place. Amazing!

The London Eye, Houses of Parliament, and Westminister. Photos below. So fun!

Today we visited the Islam Channel - felt like discussing religion, not communication - and The Telegraph - largest newsroom in the world!

And now, off to tour London at night. Cheerio!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Part Va: Breezing Through Paris

I feel repetitive, but, what a day Friday was! The day began with a 4:30am alarm, a 5:15am lobby-meeting, and a half hour wait for the Tube to open.

Then, passport control, boarding the Eurostar and zooming through England, under the Channel and through France. It was early and I was tired, but couldn't sleep - we were going to Paris! Then, a bus through the city (it was stinky and crowded - no pictures) and luggage into lockers. The rain seemed a good excuse to start our Paris adventure at the Louvre.

It goes without saying that the art was amazing. The size of the place was mind-boggling and after our VERY short tour, we were exhausted. We covered MAYBE about 10 percent of the building! We spent the majority of our time in the Egyptian antiquities (one of our group is also majoring in art and loves Egyptian art - a good thing b/c we would have wandered aimlessly otherwise!) and touched on a few other areas as well.

The glass pyramid in the foyer/courtyard of the building. Quite a juxtaposition to the classical architecture.

An Egyptian antiquity (all descriptions were in French - of course!)

The hall of paintings - this is from the middle looking one direction. It felt like a mile!

More antiquities of Egypt.

The actual, honest-to-goodness Mona Lisa.

A huge statue - my art friend is nowhere near to give me the name. Any guesses?

My contemplation of a rock with inscriptions. Again, all descriptions in French.

A quick nap in the hotel and back out to see the Tour Eiffel at night. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. We got our first taste of the souvenir hawkers that night - I perfected my "non" and stern Parisian look after a few tries and wasn't approached again.

My french was/is of a classroom variety and two years rusty. However, I was the "expert" of the group and the spokesperson for ordering, buying, directions, etc. Fun to try and make myself understood, but a little stressful. You don't realize how difficult the simple act of eating is in a foreign country. Deciphering a menu when your stomach is protesting in hunger is hard! The nice thing is that most shop attendants and restaurant workers know enough English to get tourists through. That was a huge help!

It was surreal and exciting to see such famed landmarks, monuments and museums. Although, the city was dirty, crowded and - due to the language barrier - very tiring; the food was great, the cramming of sightseeing and having a great time with my classmates was worth it! Keep checking back! I have two more days of Paris to post about!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mini Part IV - PARIS!!!

It takes too long to blog with a French keyboard - but it is amazing here!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pt III: Quick blog on French Computer

Many keys are in weird places. Louvre was awesome! Many pictures to come! Used French in real setting for the very first time and did ok. Eiffel, Arc de Triumphe, Seine boat ride to come. Recap of Thursday highlights also coming. Having great time! Can't believe actually international traveler! And was told I looked European after answering with a convincing "oui" to question and then unable to continue conversation in French. Off to cafe for dinner! Vive la France!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Part II - Touristy Stuff

We were loaded up yesterday and set off through the English countryside. Mostly driving - with a little bit of sight-seeing thrown in for good measure. Motoring through quaint, quiet villages on a giant lumbering coach/bus was slightly ironic, but comfy for the jet-lagged among us. (I'm doing surprisingly well - I do not envy myself the trip home, however!)

We began with a trip to Oxford / Oxford University, where the college we were set to visit was closed. We instead walked in the misty, moisty weather for one, long hour looking at various gargoyles, plaques and doors. (Seriously, lots of doors!)

Then back to the coach for a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare. No pictures of his birthplace - not allowed. And not many others, due to the fact that something from my English breakfast didn't agree with me, and set me sick for the lunch hour. (I'll spare the gorey details.)

Then, pile in the coaches and drive to Warwick (pronounced War-ick) Castle. A mideval structure with Tudor and Victorian diplays. (Something I didn't quite understand...) (Also, note the crazy hair! A by-product of incredibly humid English weather!)Then, a 2.5 hour ride back to London - I napped. After which I headed with a classmate to The London Pub and had my first taste of cyder as well as authentic fish and chips. Quite tasty.

The evening ended badly when I thought my credit card had been put on hold due to international charges - however, it turned out that this was the fault of the London Underground System and not Visa's. Sleep came quickly and morning too soon. Stay tuned for Part III!

p.s. I also had a mostly full memory card through most of the day and was very stingy with my pictures. There are more exciting ones coming - I promise!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

London Adventure - Part 1

After a two-hour delay leaving Chicago, our group made it safe and sound to jolly old England. (Yes, the plane ride was long and my back is still slightly sore, but this is price you pay for international travel, right?)

Right away, we queued up for our coach and headed to Windsor, a royal residence that is still in use. After eating amazing ice cream made with Devonshire cream - YUM!

(This is not our coach, but is exactly like the one we took - the other half of our group was in this one!)
Then, after going to bed at what felt like 3 p.m. and finally sleeping like a baby at midnight London time, we left for a day of sightseeing - Part II comes tomorrow!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Filling My Hours

After trying to start this post about 20 times, I've just decided to say:

(And it rhymes - so that's something!)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Thursday...I mean Wednesday!

Today, if all goes according to plan, I will:
  • work for 5 hours
  • meet to go over a design for a welcome brochure
  • go over a presentation with small group
  • present mock magazine to class - the culmination of a sememster of hard work
  • deliver Becca's invitations to her in the parking lot at work
  • walk my dogs if it stops thundering
  • do three loads of laundry
  • throw meatballs in the crockpot for dinner (I'd better get on that!)
  • drink much, much more coffee
  • find some time to eat lunch
  • greet my poor husband in passing
  • collapse into bed sometime around 10, 9 if I'm lucky (5 a.m. comes very early)
Hope your day goes according to plan - not mine, but yours!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Day Approaches

In less than one week, I will be 4300 miles away in jolly, old England! To say that I am excited is a gross understatement! I'm working this week on getting all the last little details like buying travel containers and a battery alarm clock, getting my hair done, readying all my clothes, packing and repacking every item, working copious hours to make up for my time off and readying my little family for my absence.

My plan is to post daily while I'm gone with pictures, anecdotes, etc. We'll see how that goes...

Check back on May 12 for Kate's Adventure in Europe - Part I!