April 2005

What a busy month it’s been. As this is the first monthly, I’ll include some of March too. I apologise if I’ve missed anything/anyone, I’m writing this one at the end of the month, rather than writing it throughout the month.

Kirsten and Nottingham Easter 2005

I met Kirsten for the first time this Easter. I still remember vividly (although that won’t last) when I saw her at the train station. I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t recognise her, but I got down to the platform, and saw this clearly American girl standing on the platform, with two huge bags on her back and those distinctive emo style glasses. With hindsight, I should’ve got rid of my coffee before I gave her a hug, as I spilled it all over her bags. But she didn’t seem to care, infact, she was incredibly quiet and shy (I later found out that she was just really nervous). That night we went to Santa Fe, where she had lamb for the first time ever!

She was staying for eleven days, from March 11th to March 21st, and I have to say whatever plans we had to visit sights in Nottingham were scampered by insurmountable laziness. Which left only two things to do, one of them being shopping! Oh, I was so close to buying the Paul Smith trademark pattern shirt. At £125, it is an incredible amount of money to spend on a shirt, and, to be honest, I can’t afford it. But it’s so lovely and stylish, it nearly tempted me. Kirsten got into an buying orgy at Muji, a rather quaint and fashionable Japanese store. Anyway, we shopped, ate, watched movies and basically hung out around Nottingham.

Kirsten did get drunk one night, and when I say drunk… Let’s just say I had to clean up the mess. On the Saturday before we had to leave for Florida, we went down to Karan’s flat to hang around with him, Sharlene and a couple of their friends. After we got back, I unlocked my door with me key, and that was the last I saw of it. Even until now, I’ve not been able to find it, and believe me, I’ve looked everywhere. Had to pay £45 for another set! Unite really do rip students off, but I’m tired of complaining about them anymore. This meant that, most of Sunday, we had to search for my key (unsuccessfully). I think Kirsten got really tired of searching towards the evening, so we went out for a meal, and then watched Constantine at the cinema, and then went home. Kirsten went to bed early, and I stayed up cleaning around and tidying up. I finally got to bed at around 12 PM, for a 4AM wake-up, and got a taxi at 6AM to the train station. Not only did the train ticket cost £55 each, all the seats we’re reserved on the train from Nottingham to St Pancreas, and when I say all, I mean all. We sat down for half the journey, where we had to get up for the last half as there wasn’t any seats left.

After getting to Gatwick, we had breakfast, and started our uneventful flight to Houston, then Jacksonville. On the flight to Houston, we saw Napoleon Dynamite, which I loved and she hated. Our stop-over at Houston was very uneventful, apart from rushing from Taco-Bell to the gate thinking that we were late while actually, I was thinking in the wrong time zone. Once we were on the flight, we had to wait a whole hour for for flight to leave, as they were looking for the last twelve bags (this will come into significance later). A very tiring ninety minutes later, we arrived in Jacksonville. This was around 10PM now, and after checking out, we waited for our bags. And waited. After about thirty minutes, Kirsten got hers. However, at 11PM, I knew that they had lost my bag. Guess what? They had put the wrong twelve bags they took ninety minutes to find on the plane. After queueing for another thirty minutes to report it, and realising that my suitcase looked almost exactly like every other, we finally began the journey (to Kirsten’s) home. We arrived at 12 AM, and I collasped.

Florida 2005

So I technically over-ran my previous subject into this one, but who cares. The next day I had to spend wearing the same clothes I flew in, but they successfully found my luggage, and delivered it later that day. Kirsten had to goto college today (Tuesday), so I went with her and practiced in the practice room (what else would I do?) until she finished. We had lunch at Sonny’s (something I was soon to find would be a common occurance), and we later went shopping. I don’t remember the names of the malls we went to, but there was quite a few, and they all catered to a different customer base. We went to the new mall too, which is absolutely massive. I got a pair of jeans in Old Navy for $32.50, an absolute steal. There was also a mini Apple shop there, they ofcouse had the georgous 30″ Cinema Display, and the 20″ iMac G5. I also wouldn’t mind a new 15″ or 12″ PowerBook. Getting the 12″ would mean I would be able to buy this fantasticly cute Crumpler bag for it, alas my 15″ PowerBook won’t fit in it. I was promptly removed by Kirsten from the store before I did something I regretted. However, this was only after she finished playing on the Sponge Bob Square Pants games on the kids iMacs.

We didn’t do that much in the first week, she had to goto school, and we just went around Jacksonville, or hung around her house. I think we met up with Christa and her boyfriend Chris (yeah, I know) that week to go to the beach. I think it was a Thursday, and that was a very long day. I had pratically every kind of (American) shrimp in Joe’s Crab Shack, and then we drove in Chris’ convertable pratically all around Jacksonville. After dinner at Krystals, we retired home. That Friday, we went Disney World Orlando! Driving down to Orlando was much longer than I expected, although fairly pleasent. The first park we went to was Epcot, I bought a three day park hopper ticket for a ludicrous $235. Of course, we went on the usual huge globe ride in Epcot, however, it was a thunder-storm, and they’d shut down test track. We ate at the Chinese resturant in “China land”. Everyone working there was an authentic chinese person. I spoke Mandarin to the Chinese waitresses, and had steamed fish (which was too spicy), I think Kirsten had sweet and sour pork, which I though was too sweet, but then again, I am very critical about food, especially Chinese food. Afterwards, we were so tired that we retired to going back to our hotel. Unfortunatly, we couldn’t find it. The directions supplied by MapPoint were very sketchy, and got us horribly confused (because of a U-turn that was marked as a normal turning on the directions). We eventually found a Police station where we got directions to the hotel (was actually next door to the Police station). We were glad to be alone by then.

The next day, we spent at least thirty minutes waiting in traffic to goto Disney World. First stop, Magic Kingdom. Kirsten said that she wanted to eat at the Liberty Tree (I think) resturant, so we went there and tried to book for a table. I asked this Chinese girl at the door, and she referred me to someone else, who said that they were all booked up, and to check back at 16:15 to see if there had been any cancellations. So off we went around the Magic Kingdom. Of course, we went on the only ride there, Space Mountain. To be honest, we hung around Tomorrow Land quite a bit, going on the monorail ride quite a few times just so sit down. We also went around to some other areas for some other rides which haven’t really stuck in my memory, and I remember going back to Tomorrow Land to go on the Lilo and Stitch “ride”, if you can call it that. They’d converted the old Alien ride to Lilo and Stitch, and in my opinion, destroyed the atmostphere of it. After that, we went back to Liberty Tree resturant to see if there were any cancellations. I saw the Chinese girl there again, standing outside, and surprisingly she recognised me. I told her that we were back to see if there had been a cancellation made, and she seemed shocked that we didn’t have a table. Actually, I think she was more shocked that I didn’t have a table. She got us a table within five minutes. My looks aren’t worthless after all eh? The food was okay, traditional American cooking (not that different to traditional English cooking, mind you), but extremely well made. The beef was georgous. After we stuffed our faces at Liberty Tree, I was going to ask for that Chinese girl’s phone number, but I only managed to glimpse her on the way out and she looked really busy, so I left it. After that, we went on some mild rides so our stomach’s could settle.

At around 8PM, we left for MGM. There are really only two big rides in MGM, The Twilight Zone, and Rockin’ Roller Coaster. We went on The Twilight Zone first, its the one with the haunted hotel and dodgy elevator. After some drops in that, we went for some serious G-force in the Rockin’ Roller Coaster. After the coaster, we walked past The Twlight Zone, and saw that the queue time was pratically non-existant as they were about to close, so we went on that again! We retired to the hotel exhausted, but satisfied.

The next day, we left early to get back to an Easter lunch at her grandparents house. This was the second time I met her grandparents, the first time being when we went to pick up Chris and Micheal, who I have to say are very kind and generous people. It was simple, but delicious at the same time. That night at dinner, Kirsten’s mum made a remark that I found very hard not to laugh at:

Grandma doesn’t usually bring out the good china for burgers.

Apparently, she had also asked Kirsten:

Grandma: Thats a very nice young man you have there, so do you like him?
Kirsten: Yes
Grandma: Do you like him a lot?
Kirsten: Yes

And that rounded off a very enjoyable and plesant first week.

The Remainder

I’ll be honest with you, not much was done for the rest of the time I was in Florida. We hung around with some of Kirsten’s friends, shopped, chilled out, ate and watched movies. Not much noteworthy content, so I won’t write about it. Leaving was fairly difficult, although, as it would turn out, far less difficult that it could’ve been.

The Week Home

I got back on Saturday morning after a long and laborious flight. I only had a week at home, and boy did I make the most of it (not). The biggest thing I did was buy a new bed, and completely reorganise my room in liu of Kirsten’s visit in May during the Summer. You can see some on My Room set in Flickr. I also setup my new hi-fi system, with my swanking Mission 764 speakers and Sony amplifier. Hopefully, I’ll be getting our old 21″ Sony TV when my dad gets a new Plasma TV for downstairs, and moves the old Sony 29″ TV to their bedroom, then I can have the 21″-er in my room! I know, I already have a 21″ Amstrad in my room, but that TV is… strange. For example, if you have something plugged into the SCART, it will always use the SCART signal and not anything from the ariel. Also, you can definatly hear and see a shadow of the ariel signal when using the SCART connection. Just having one SCART connection also annoys me, and no audio output from the TV. To be honest, I’ll probably end up getting a Freeview set-top box, budget depending.

Back on track, I went to my friends birthday barbeque on Saturday, and left for Nottingham on Sunday. Pretty uneventful really.

Nottingham

Not much to say here, The Works has died out, theres no-where to go now apart from Oceana. And I have a lot of work to do. Finding out on the first Thursday I got back, that I had coursework due in on Friday was not pleasant. Five hours of solid work later, I had it done. Then on Wendesday, I had another three hours of solid work to get another coursework in. Apart from that, now, its very laid back, but from May Day onwards, it’s going to be a mad rush to get everything finished for the exam. However, thats for another month.

Thanks for reading.

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