May 31, 2011

When In Rome...

Well, this post comes better late than never.  We have finally made it back to the USA all in one piece...barely.  There were canceled flights, hired cars, a small fortune spent on bags, and sprints through an airport, but I guess I'll leave that story for another post and start with our vacation that came first.

We planned a last minute vacation in Europe for after Josh's finals.  A European "bucket list" you might call it.  Our first stop was Rome, Italy.  In my opinion, there are a few hotspot destinations in Europe;   London, England (check), Paris, France (check), and Rome, Italy (check).  We only spent two nights in Rome, and of all the places that I've been lucky enough to travel to in Europe, Rome is one of the few that I hope I'll get the chance to go back to someday.  It is everything that you dream Rome might be like and more; romantic, beautiful, old, and has the most delicious Italian food ever.

My college roommate Codi just so happened to be visiting her cousin in London and so we invited her to join us in Rome.  I was so happy to have her travel with us, especially since I hadn't seen her in probably two years. 

Of course our first tourist stop was the Colosseum, which is much grander than you can even imagine.  We've all seen pictures, and watched the movie Gladiator, but let me tell you that in person, there really are no words to accurately describe it.  It just shoots up into the sky and I can't imagine how they could build something so grand without the use of cranes and lifts.

But obviously, it was built extremely well without present day machines because it has withstood the test of time surprisingly well.

The Arch of Constantine stood very near to the Colosseum and reminded me a lot of the Arch de Triomphe in Paris, France.

Next we headed toward the Pantheon which was the Roman temple of all the Gods.
And then to the Trevi Fountain.
We stopped for a quick drink...
And tried on some fun masks...

The nose knows.
Then it was off to Vatican City.  I've seen many cathedrals within Europe.  Notre Dame, St. Patrick's, and Durham Cathedral all rank high on the list of most beautiful, but the Vatican makes them all look like novice work.  It is STUNNING.  Everything on the inside is so ornate.  It really is a spiritual experience.  No matter what your religion might be.
We took a break from site seeing for a minute to enjoy some time by the River Tiber.

And last but not least, there was pizza, wine, and gelato to end the day with.
I used to think there was nothing better than Nutella.  I was wrong.  Nutella Gelato is better. Way better.
We had such a great time in Rome.  And even though it was only a short stay, it was definitely a worth while trip.  Ciao!

May 17, 2011

Packing the Crate

Or, what I like to and complete, somewhat organized chaos.  I have used this word a number of times in the last week or so as it seems to have become the theme surrounding our departure in the UK. 

As I mentioned yesterday, Josh finished his last final of year 1 in medical school.  Yahoooo!  I am so proud of him and his hard work.  Not to mention, he is rocking out some stellar grades this term!  So yesterday, before we could go and celebrate the end of the year, we had to head to Drill Hall one last time to load up the crate with all of our stuff to send to Grenada.  Hopefully, it's all waiting for us when we get there in June and didn't somehow sink to the bottom of the ocean. 

So anyways, the plan was that everyone had a specific time slot to bring their belongings at, the course reps would check that it fit into the appropriate size space, and then you would load your items into the crate.  Sounds simple right? ...WRONG! 

We arrived on time with our 60 cubic feet worth of stuff and it was pure madness.  Boxes scattered EVERYWHERE outside and inside the building, cabs and moving trucks pulling up, people unloading  their things from the cabs while others were loading stuff onto the crate, and basically people who have had very little sleep and way to much caffeine all week everywhere.  To say that it was crazy would be the biggest understatement of the year.

Some of us were working harder than others. :)
Smart Guy!
Julie and Kevin came to help us even though they just finished term one and will not be moving to Grenada until January.  We have such great friends here!
Our babysitter
Kevin was used for his muscles
Finally, all of our stuff made it on to the crate.  It was time to get some food and drink a cocktail or two to celebrate the end of the term. 

All loaded!!!

Josh and I only have a couple of nights left in Newcastle upon Tyne.  We really cannot believe our year here is over already.  We have made such great friends and our memories here will last a lifetime.  It is bittersweet to leave.  We are excited to be moving forward, but we are sad to be leaving the comfort of our life here and the first place that Josh and I lived together.  I'm positive that I will always think fondly of Newcastle upon Tyne, even if I didn't think so when we first arrived in August.  It is the end of our time here in Newcastle, but with that comes the beginning of our journey in Grenada.  Josh and I are both excited for what God has in store for us during this next year.  So stay tuned, this adventure has really only just begun!

May 16, 2011

And Then There Were None

Just got the call. 
Josh is done with his last final of Term 2.
Which means that he is done with Year #1 of Medical School.
1/4 of the way through school.
25% Doctor?!?
Leaving Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
Going to Grenada, West Indies. 
I'm the proud wife of one amazing guy.
Time to celebrate.

May 14, 2011

Finals Frenzy

Even though there are about a million other things I could/should be doing right now...packing crate stuff, cleaning the flat, packing our 6 suitcases bound for CA...  Instead, today I slept in late, went to lunch with the hubby, read an entire book cover to cover (if you haven't read any of the Sookie Stackhouse series, you should, it's amazing.  Book #11 just came out last week), and have now decided that posting on my blog was a necessity.  But it is..isn't it?  I can be the Queen of procrastinating if I really set my mind to it.

We are in the midst of what I am now calling THE FINALS FRENZY!  Josh has been studying away in his mancave all week and we still aren't done with them yet.  Boo. :(  He has a test tomorrow and the last one, Neurology (the hardest one in his opinion) on Monday.  So we he has to endure ANOTHER weekend of torture.   Which just really stinks because all of our term 1 friends are done tomorrow.  Sad day.  On top of that, Josh has this theory that he can't shave his face until after his tests are done.  He started it last term.  I am a fan of a little scruff...but he takes it to a whole new level during finals and midterms.  I think he's very handsome no matter what, but I'm ready for at least a trim.
 Last night, he and our Term 2 friends were able to take a much needed time out from studying to go to our favorite restaurant in Newcastle, Franchesca's after their Immunology final.  From what I'm told, the "Immuno" final was a bit of a it was a necessary break.  I would say that since we are leaving here so soon, that that should have been our last Franchesca's trip, but my guess is we will end up there one last time before we go.  What can I say, when you find a good place to eat in the UK, you stick with it.

Disclaimer:  I know I look a bit tan in these pictures.  I admit...I have been tanning.   But I have to say that I am not as tan as I look.  These people I'm with (sorry guys) are just REALLY white!  If I were in Grenada or Bakersfield, I would look perfectly normal.  Don't judge me, we're going to an island off the coast of Spain next week.  I would have FRIED if I went there as pasty white as I was!

Love this little boy
Love this big boy
Pray that Josh gets through these last couple of tests of medical school year number one successfully and that we both make it through this finals frenzy.

Now that I'm done with this post, I guess I should get back to the other important things that need my attention.  Or maybe...I'll just ignore it and go read another book!

Julie's Birthday

Yesterday was my BFF Julie's 25th Birthday.  And since both Kevin and Josh had finals yesterday, I decided that we needed to make sure we had a fun girl's day in honor of her birthday.  With significant others in medical school, your girlfriend's really have to step up because we all know that the boys have no time to deal with it!

We started out the day with a trip to Eldon Square for a mani/pedi.  It's the only manicure I've gotten in Newcastle and oh how I have missed it!  We had fun chatting with the women who were doing our nails, especially since they were absolutely in love with our American accents.  They wanted to know how many movie stars we've seen since we both live in Southern California.  Haha. 

Next we did a little shopping around the mall and then headed to TGI Fridays for a birthday lunch.  We've both put ourselves on a fairly strict diet since we are going to be in a bikini in Spain next weekend, but yesterday, we indulged ourselves in all things carbs, calories, and fat.  Let's just say I didn't step on the scale this morning because I don't want to know what the damage is and I'm glad I went on a 3.5 mile run yesterday morning.
A birthday martini and margarita

Birthday Brownie. Yum!
After lunch, we both headed back to our flats where I proceeded to spend at least an hour or more on the couch consoling my stomach that was hating me for stuffing it full of sugar and grease.  But after Josh and Kevin got home from their tests (Kevin's done with finals and we are SO jealous!),  as if we hadn't been bad enough with our diets for one day, we headed over to the Chinese takeaway place down the street.  I didn't order anything but a Diet Coke.  I couldn't even think about food, but Josh was in heaven since we haven't had it this whole term.  We took it back to Julie and Kevin's where we they ate and the boys chatted about their tests.

Then it was cake time! Because we all know that birthdays are not complete without a birthday cake and candles. 
The birthday girl made a wish and blew out her birthday candles.
And then we all ate lots of cake.

Julie and Kevin
It was a great day and I hope that the birthday girl had a fabulous UK birthday.  The real celebration begins next weekend when all four of us head to Ibiza, Spain for some fun in the sun.  So Happy Birthday to my friend Julie.  I hope it was extra special.

Josh has one more final on Monday and we are so ready for term 2 to be over.  I'll let you all know how it goes next week!