My first ever Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Long Island

So I thought I should firstly carry on the tradition and begin with what I’m thankful for.

Firstly i’m thankful for my family, for supporting me in everything I do, not just in my crazy want to travel the world, but for everything they’ve done for me, especially my Mom. She is my rock, I miss her so much and I’m so excited to see her in 2 weeks! I’m thankful for all my friends; home, Uni and everywhere in England. I’m especially thankful for those who have stayed in touch, whether it’s just been the odd comment, or saying you’ve read my blog, skype, phone call, or a drunken snapchat on a weekend, every message has meant so much to me, more than any of you know.

I’m thankful for all my new friends here, both American and International, everyone has been so sweet and welcoming, and I have met some incredible people here, and I know that many of you will be friends for life.

I’m thankful for the series of events that have occurred during my life, that have led me to where I am now and made me who I am today. I am thankful for this incredible opportunity i’ve been given to be here and I’m so very thankful that I get to be here for another 6 months next year! (grinny face.)

Long Island
So for Thanksgiving break I stayed with my friend Liz and her family in Long Island along with our Hawaiin friend Keena. It was really awesome to finally see another part of New York state and get out of Poughkeepsie for a short while, and Long Island is beautiful. Liz took us on a tour of the island showing us where she grew up and went to school, the beaches, some famous people’s houses (Natalie Portman house and the Goo Goo dolls lead singers house) and general area, we got coffee, hung out, ate a ton of reeeallllly good food (nice break from the cafeteria and student meals!) and ate our weight in bagels.

So what else did we get up to?

Thanksgiving Eve
Yep, that’s a thing here! Basically as people don’t have work, school or anything the next day, everyone goes out partying and gets crazy drunk with their friends and family. Kinda like Christmas eve back at home for us Brits! Then everyone’s nice and hungover ready to devour turkey the next day. We met up with Avi for dinner at an Italian Restaurant and then Liz’s friends from High school later on at a bar on the island where I ofcourse, had a few Long Island ice teas.

Thanksgiving
So thanksgiving was amazing. We had a huge Turkey, ate a ton of food including pumpkin pie and apple pie (sooo good!) and watched a bit of the game. As a Brit it felt pretty similar to Christmas, it’s winter outside, you sit around eating amazing food all day and just veg around watching TV.

With so much to cook Keena and I offered our helping hands in the kitchen and ended up making some goodies; including ‘Britawaii’ mash potato (get it?), stuffing and shrimp cocktail.

Thanksgivingukkah
This year Hanukkah also fell on the same day as Thanksgiving for the first time since the year 1888 (this won’t happen again for another 70,000 years) And as Liz’s Dad is Jewish we also got to celebrate that. We listened to the girls say the candle blessing in Hebrew and then watched their Dad light the first candle to be placed on the menorah. It was really cool! We’re not exposed to much Judaism in Britain so I felt very honored to be a part of it.

Black Friday
SALE SHOPPING. So we didn’t brave the malls (as people have literally been trampled on to death there before.) So we went to the Americana on Long Island which is a really cute outdoor shopping complex with some amazing stores (mainly stuff that if I sold both kidneys for I still could not afford.) However we went to Urban Outfitters and I ended up spending $100 (woops.) The girls took me for a browse in Tiffany’s too (i’d never been in one before and didn’t really know what it was! *gasp*) We also got lunch at a Japanese restaurant called Benihanas, where they cook the food in front of you and do all sorts of crazy tricks with it (the dude made an onion volcano! – pics below)

So our trip unfortunately has now come to an end, we have finals now and I am literally dying under a pile of homework. Home on the 15th December and i’m mega excited to get back and see everyone. Only home for 2 weeks then i’m back in NYC for New Years Eve eek!

Sam x

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Thanksgiving Eve Italian
Keena, Liz, Avi and I

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Parade!

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Thanksgiving
Menorah, Turkey and me cooking!

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Black Friday: (clockwise) Urban Outfitters, Chef in Benihanas, Tiffany’s, Tiffany Tree, Black Friday sign, my Urban Outfitters purchases and Xmas lights

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More Black Friday: Playing ‘guess the price’ with Keena in J.Crew – Blue sequined skirt was $699 (what?!)
Also a rice heart and Onion volcano at Benihanas

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Saturday: Liz’s friend Maggie’s 21st, free shots with the Bartender and me and my Long Island Ice Tea on Thanksgiving Eve!

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Clockwise: Natalie Portman’s house, a church, Goo Goo doll’s house and Sea Cliffe Beach

New York City, Sisterhood, and the World’s Tallest Rollercoaster

First things first.

Sisterhood
I said in my last Blog post I had been pledging for a sorority. I had been pledging with Ally, for going on almost EIGHT weeks. It had been rough, and we still had no idea when we were getting in..

On Saturday 16th November at 1:30am WE FINALLY GOT IN!!!!!

Literally so relieved and so happy. I obviously cannot reveal what exactly happened in the ridiculous amount of hours in the run up to us getting in, but I can tell you the moment we did was a complete and utter shock and one I will remember for the rest of my life.

So now that we are finally Sisters and have our letters (pictures below) and can go out again without worrying about being caught 😛 we spent the weekend CELEBRATING!!!

Greek Paddles
As part of the tradition of getting into a sisterhood, you make Paddles for your Big. There’s alot of different theories as to why the paddle came about, but its core is to show respect for your sorority, your pride for your letters and a thank you to your Big. But seriously people go to town on making these paddles!(just google greek paddles and you will be blown away.) So Ally and I spent the whole of Sunday making our giant paddles for each of our Bigs, 1 for each of our pledge moms and then I made one for Ally as our Alpha Tau Class President. We got to present them on monday and the girls loved them! 😀 really pleased and had so much fun making them (pictures below.)

So what else?

11th November
Well we had Veterans day (the U.S version of Remembrance Day!) Had no idea the Americans had the same kind of the thing as us on the same day (only difference is they don’t have the whole Poppy theme going on, it’s all about the American flag) but it was really cool to see the amazing amount of patriotism going on over here and nice to see that the 11th November is celebrated on both sides of the world.

6 flags!! and the WORLDS TALLEST ROLLERCOASTER
TOTALLY forgot to mention I went to a theme park in New Jersey a few weeks ago. We went for the Fright Fest just before Halloween. Was a crazy day and night, went on Superman: Ultimate Flight and Kingda Ka – The worlds tallest rollercoaster and literally the scariest thing I have ever been on in my whole life, the thing is huge (for people of the UK, it is over TWICE the height of Stealth at Thorpe Park *gulp.*) Also as it was Fright Fest there were zombies and clowns all over the park ready to jump out at you, (one really tall zombie dude with a pretend chainsaw scared the absolute life out of me.) Really cool day though and totally recommend going.

New York City
So on Saturday I went shopping in Soho with my wonderful Avi and Shanice (my other Brit from Aston Uni.) Shanice and I caught the coach and went to meet Avi whom was already in the city, having seen Macklemore the night before at Madison Square Garden (so jealous.) However we managed to get completely, utterly and hilariously lost, walking around for over an hour and managing to do a complete loop on our mission to meet Avi in the New York TopShop in Soho. We eventually found it and managed to stumble across some cool sites along the way. I’m not reeeeally a huge fan of shopping (umm.. but aren’t you like, a girl?!) I kind have a bit of a man mentality of get in and go, but it was really cool to walk around Soho and see some of the shops/stores that NY had to offer and watch Avi buy out half of H&M*. Did buy a new pashmina though for like $5 in a little store (I love NY!) Ate Quiznos for the first time, saw New York City in the Fall and Shanice got her first ever Starbucks (I know, I couldn’t believe she’d never had one either..)

*Avi has also joined my blogging bandwagon and now has his own fashion Blog! check it out: introtoavi.blogspot.com

Overall
To be honest, life is pretty sweet right now, I mean on Friday I was accepted into a Sorority, I spent the next day casually shopping in New York City, like actual New York! Went out on Saturday night with my new Sisters celebrating, school is going well and we have Thanksgiving next week. My life is so American right now it’s unreal and I absolutely love it.

Sam x

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Paddles
Kenya (My Big) and Ally (Alpha Tau Class President)

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Paddles
B and Majay (Our Pledge Mom’s) and Essence (Ally’s Big)

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Kingda Ka – 6 Flags Theme Park, New Jersey
THE WORD’S TALLEST ROLLERCOASTER

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NYC with Avi and Shanice
New York Supreme Court, World Trade Centre 1 and TopShop

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We got in!
Bellow presenting paddles to our Bigs Essence and Kenya and pledge moms B and Maj
(My Green/White Letters are our official Family letters eek)

The Lion King, Broadway, How To Deal With Being Ill In Another Country and Our First Fire

If there’s one thing you absolutely must do when you’re in NYC, it’s go and see a show on Broadway.

Why? Ok, I’ve been really lucky to have seen a few major shows in London, and they have all been incredible. But seeing a show in New York City? It’s a completely different experience. It’s amazing; the settings, surroundings, atmosphere and just general feeling you get from being there, it completely takes your breath away, I absolutely recommend to anyone who is lucky enough to visit here to do all the major attractions like the Empire State, Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero, and if you can fit in going to see a show too. Do it.

Where to eat: Juniors – Times Square on Broadway
“Where every night is opening night!” (so cheesy, I love it) anyway, so Juniors is this really cool authentic American Diner on Broadway which sometimes has Broadway stars signing autographs on the balcony outside. (We walked past the cast of Matilda the musical as we walked in.) Had the Steak Cheeseburger and Fries, Pineapple Milkshake (try it, seriously) and Chocolate and Vanilla cheesecake (SO GOOD), and a pretty good bill at the end considering we were in the middle of NYC. It’s an awesome little place and really sets the mood for seeing a show and it’s right around the corner from the Minskoff Theatre.

The Lion King
For the 2nd time of seeing it in my lifetime, it was amazing. I’m definatly one of those people who get’s really really into something when i’m watching it, and I absolutely love the theatre. My eyes well up as soon as they start belting out

“IT’S THE CIRCLE OF LIFEEEEEEE!!!!” and don’t even ask me how much I cry when Mufasa dies.. (it’s really sad ok.)

But seriously, if you ever thought about going to see it, Go. I don’t want to give too much away, and i’m sure anyone else who has been lucky enough to see it will agree, it’s an absolute must seeee.

Being Ill
So this year’s fresher’s flu finally caught up with me. Being ill/poorly/under the weather or sick when you’re in another country is nothing short of depressing. (I love the term ‘i’m sick’ in this country, as it seems to encompass every single possible illness ever.) But seriously, the other day I felt so ill all I wanted to do was be at home, in my home bed, with my home TV and be hanging out with my mom. So, I decided to do some research, and I found some great tips online and got some lovely advice from friends who’ve also had experience of living away,

So here is a run down list of the best things to do when you get sick in another country:

– Surround yourself with home comforts (tea, tea and more tea)
– Don’t try and be clever and go out that night (…)
– Stay hydrated, it is ridiculously easy to get out of the habit of drinking enough water when you move away
– Watch all the TV shows/movies you’d watch if you were poorly at home (New Girl, Big Bang and anything Monty Python)
– Avoid dieing in bed all day and if you can venture out into daylight, do
– Use the opportunity to catch up with as many friends/ family as possible to combat homesickness
– Be proactive, take your meds, catch up on work and take your time to rest

I can’t *cough* i’m sick.

FIRE
So I get a call from the lovely Shanice (the other English person from our group of 3 from Aston University) the other night going: “SAM!!!! My house is on FIRE!!! So I ran over like an absolute mad women from the other side of campus, fearing nothing but the worst, I literally had visions of flames coming out of the windows, the fire spreading and the whole Upper West being up in flames when I got there..

On arrival however I was greeted with this image: A huge crowd outside the house (it wasn’t up in flames luckily, it had just been the oven in the kitchen) loads of firemen, security and Shanice standing outside in her bright pink slippers, shaking like a leaf, holding her suitcase and trying to explain to me that she had only been trying to cook Fish and Chips.

I honestly don’t know what was funnier, the fact she had her suitcase or the irony that she had been tryng to cook the most British dish possible.

Luckily after calming her down she also saw the funny side. (If you need someone to be serious in those situations I am not the person to go to) But in the end nobody was hurt, it was only the stove, a kettle and a bit of a the wall that had been damaged and everything else was fine, and to be honest I believe in those situations that’s all that really matters, objects and items can always be replaced, people can’t, so if you’re ok, and everyone else is ok, that’s all that really matters. So whilst we waited outside I did the only thing that every English person in that situation would do, invited her over for a cup of tea and a chat whilst everything finished calming down.

FRISBEE
In other news, I MADE THE TEAM!!!! 😀 The Official Fox Ultimate Team!! Literally so happy and i’m so so psyched to be on it. The whole team are an amazing bunch of people, everyone’s so chill and welcoming and just up for a laugh. 

More on that the next few weeks!

Below, pictures of the week:

Sam x

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The Lion King NYC

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That Suitcase

9/11, Sororities, Frisbee and The Everyday Joe’s.

A couple of weeks ago I looked into some hints & tips into moving abroad. Homework was getting on top of me, I was feeling a bit homesick and worst of all, I STILL couldn’t get my cups of tea right (they have about 50million types of milk over here and I have to use at least 2 tea bags per cup at the moment – #EnglishProblems). Of course on my research into ‘Moving Abroad’ I came across all the usual cliché stuff of.. ‘Try something new every day ‘ ‘Join a club or society’ ‘Give it time – you’re an awesome person eventually new friends will come to you!’ (I literally did read that somewhere)

But there was ONE thing however that did stick out to me:

  • Say Yes To Every Invite

So that’s what I did, and the past 2 weeks have been awesome. I’ve said yes to everything I got invited to, even if I could only stay for an hour! It’s been tough, going on nights out when you only know 1 or 2 people, going to lunch with people you’ve just met, going out somewhere when you’re tired and just want to stay in, especially early morning stuff (I am not nor have ever been a morning person), but I’ve done it. I know it’s a bit of a ‘Yes Man’ cliché but it’s a cliché for a reason, it really works, it helps you to make the most out of stuff and it’s really helped me to meet more people, and I’ve discovered some amazing new friends over the past 2 weeks! (Smiley face)

9/11
This year marked the 12th anniversary of September 11th. As a Brit I guess I’ve never felt really part of the what happened, I don’t feel I’ve ever had a right to be sad about it, I’m very fortunate that I didn’t personally know anyone directly affected by the attack, I’d never been to New York and I could only imagine what it must have been like for those who were affected.

Being present for the anniversary day last Wednesday in New York state and seeing all those people walk into the chapel on campus, hearing it all on the news again, talking about it with people and seeing all those images of the two burning towers again was all very surreal. On the 1st anniversary the college was given a cross that had was made from an I-Beam that had originally been part of the South Tower, and every year on September 11th the cross is displayed in honour of the victims. After the memorial ceremony (I felt a bit intrusive actually going to it) I went inside the chapel to see cross and I ended up writing in the prayer book. From being around so much all that day, visiting New York City and Ground Zero only a couple of weeks before, talking to people who were affected, reading some of the prayers and seeing that cross, I can’t really describe the feeling, but I suddenly felt part of it. I began to comprehend the sheer magnitude and sadness of what happened that day and how much it affected not just the people of New York, but the entire country. What struck me also was that the day was purely about remembrance, there was no mention of Al Qaeda or terrorism or the Middle East, there was no hatred and no resentment. The day was purely about remembering those who were affected, the people that lost their lives and the friends and families who lost their loved ones. It was incredibly humbling and I feel honoured to have experienced being part of that day this year.

So what else have I been up to the past 2 weeks?

Sorority
So I’ve joined a sorority ‘Kappa Lambda Psi,’ they’re one of the oldest at Marist and my whole endeavour of joining them has been a complete and utter wonderful accident. During activity fair I went over to the sorority stalls (I was being nosey) and got chatting to the President. I think in England we have a very stereotypical view of sororities (group of girls, sitting in their pink sweaters and pearls necklaces talking about world peace blar blar..) However that night I was going out with my Hawaiian housemates and their friends, and who should walk through our front door, the President of the KLP sorority Jess! Who is also Hawaiian and great friends with my housemates (I am loving how much of a small world this place is becoming/all the Hawaiians) So in the end, I went along to the sorority info meeting. I loved it and they’ve now asked me to pledge. All of the girls are lovely, they’re really down to earth don’t take themselves too seriously, love going out and do some incredible things for charity. I went over to their house the other night and we ended up going to the Frat party next door (my first real Frat party! – sometimes I literally feel like my life has become an American movie..)

Ultimate Frisbee
So I’ve started to play Ultimate Frisbee again. Yes, it is classed as a real sport (we have End Zones and everything!) and it’s great fun, great fitness, all about good team spirit and having a laugh. My experience in the sport extended to being tricked into playing in Spain for my University team the Aston Hornets last April (they told me I could just chill on the beach being their groupie and 15minutes before the first game told me I had to play!) and I literally fell in love with it. Yesterday I managed to jump and catch my first mid air Frisbee (proud!)

Dodegeball
So a few of us Internationals have put together a Dodgeball Team for the Intramural Dodgeball tournaments (i.e. play other teams within the College). We were trying to think of a name, when last week’s language barrier moment of the week occurred:

“He’s a nice guy y’know? Normal, like everyday person, y’know like everyday Joe?”
“um, you mean ‘Average Joe’ Avi..?”
So in true international spirit we have named our team the ‘Everyday Joes’ in honour of Avi and we had our very first game last night.

Truth be told, We suck. But we’re hoping for a positive outcome next week (either that or we’re joining volleyball..)

Weird things I discovered this week:

  • Butter comes wrapped in long cubed shapes.
  • They don’t have Vimto here
  • Nobody knows what a ‘Brolly’ is
  • I found Moon Pie

Next countdown event:
After queuing up over 3 hours before ticket sales on campus, i’m going to The Lion King on Broadway NYC on the 22nd September for just $25!!! (YAYYYYYYY)

Pictures of said cuboid butter and photos of the week below
(hover the mouse over the images to view the caption)

Sam x

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New York New York

It’s moving day!! After spending 4 amazing days in New York with my family, seeing the sights and being cheesy tourists I am now on my way “Up State” to Poughkeepsie, NY, where I will be studying at Marist College for the year.

I can’t even explain how excited/nervous/butterfliesy I am, or even how quickly this day has come around!! Currently sitting in The Grand Central Station waiting for the train (any major movie fans will know this is a pretty epic station) drinking Coffee or “Corfeee.” *Squals* Honestly at the airport I positioned myself next to a group of American teens at baggage collection like a proper creep just to hear the accents.. “Like OMG you guys!”

So what has NYC city been like? AMAZING. We stayed in the Park Central Hotel and have visited: Central Park, 5th Avenue, The Empire State, Brooklyn Bridge, Broadway, Hudson River, Liberty Island, Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, Manhattan Bridge, Soho, China Town, Ground Zero, NY Apple Store, NY Hard Rock Cafe and of course Times Square**. We have eaten NY cheesecake, cheeseburgers, shrimp, pizza, french toast, cakepops, fries and.. Ok on a serious note having only been here for 4 days you can already see why it is so easy to get fat in America..

**Btw for anyone ever thinking of going to New York I completely recommend the open top CitySights NY Hop on/Hop off bus tour which can include the river tour and the night tours (these are awesome!) to fit so many things in.

Ok, so my train is about to be called! Eeeeek. I can’t believe I’m actually going off to “College.”
I feel like its my first day of school again..

Sam x

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