Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Same old, same old.
Chores. Bike rides. Swimming. The three components that have made up my entire summer in the United States.
Not much to talk about, except for the fact that I’m going to the AQUARIUM tomorrow! It’s my dad’s birthday, and we’re both geeks, so the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a thrilling place to spend his birthday. I bought a plush jellyfish from a garage sale for 25 cents last summer and named him Rondando, and I’m going to bring him tomorrow to see all his jellyfish pals.
My cat is a freak. There was a bug flitting across the roof of my room just now, and my cat was on top of my bookcase trying to swat it with his paws. I climbed up on there too and held him up so he could reach it, but it flew away, across the room. I jumped onto my bed with the cat still in my arms and lifted him to where the bug had come to rest, but it got away once again. I leapt to the other side of my bed, but the dumb cat couldn’t even see the bug until it took off, even though I was holding him three inches away from it, so I ended up having to clamber up on my desk and hold the cat up so he could swat the troublesome insect. The cat stared at the bug for seventy-six hours, eyes gleaming. I kept waiting for him to lash out a paw and kill the thing for good, but he just kept staring and staring. Then he slumped back against me and started purring loudly. I sighed, plunked the useless feline on my bed, and killed the bug once and for all with a flick of the flyswatter. Then I sank down onto the bed and hugged the wonderful little kitty and nuzzie-nuzzled him for a while before returning back here to type this. I love my cat.
Another day, he committed another great act of stupidity. I have a nylon rope with stuffed animals hanging from it across my room. One of the animals touches a hanging lantern light, and one end of the rope is tied to a hook near a set of shelves with more stuffed animals and a few bottles of lotion and notebooks and things. My cat was sitting on my bookcase, because the limits of his world are pretty much my bed and my bookcase, when suddenly he spotted a bug. (I don’t even know where all these bugs came from.) I guess he was feeling a little more ambitious that days, because the bug was hovering near my lantern in the center of the room, and he decided to go for it anyway. He sprang from my bookcase and expected his momentum to take him all the way to where the bug was, I guess, because he seemed pretty surprised when he dropped and hit the rope of stuffed toys, upsetting the lantern and pulling one end of the rope free, which sent the rope flinging towards the shelves and knocking various items on the floor. Have you ever heard that cats always land on their feet? The kitty landed upright, daintily hopped up onto my bed, and purred. I love my cat.
Actually, I had another huge swerve off the highway of routine today: instead of riding my bike to Pier 1 Imports like I had planned, I rollerskated around the neighborhood. I felt like I was in the 60’s. I used to live on skates from when I was about 8 years old to about 10. Whenever I went outside to mess around in the yard, I would put skates on instead of shoes. I had this thing for hitting wiffle balls against the side of the house with a tennis racket, and I would do that on skates. It must have looked weird to random passerby. Most of the time I would speed-skate in rapid circles around the court. Sometimes I would cradle my kitty in my arms and skate around with him. Neighbors would give me gooey smiles if they say me. In fourth and fifth grades, I would rollerskate to school and back, dropping my skates off in my mom’s classroom. My sister and I would have water-balloon fights on skates. When the family took Wholesome Family Strolls around the neighborhood, I was always on skates. I don’t remember why I stopped. The only thing is that people kinda stare at you when you whiz by: a kid on skates is not as common as a kid on a bike. Plus you can’t get as far: I’ve taken my bike to places far from home. On skates, that would take a while. It was a nice change from pedaling, though, plus it brought back some childhood nostalgia or whatever. Even though I’m still a child anyway. You know what I mean.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Short Little Quickie :)

Wait, there's another Harry Potter movie after this one? I didn't know that! I thought the one I saw the other day was the grand finale, but apparently there's a whole nother book, and therefore a whole nother movie. Does that mean the characters end up being like 18? Remember when Harry was an eleven-year-old, and eleven-year-olds read the books? Now it's all out of whack because Harry and company got old, and their fans stayed young. At least this means the sucky ending of the last movie wasn't the end to the whole big shebang.
In other news, I found a website whilst reading other people's blogs. One blog linked me to this awesome website called MyLifeIsAverage, kind of an equivalent to FML, which I enjoy but also feel a bit uncomfortable reading because of the F part. Click here for laughs.
So, this is why I don't blog as often anymore: there's nothing to talk about. I go for bike rides, go swimming, and do chores. There is really not much to be said about those things. My mom declared yesterday that summer was over, and we had to start getting back into school year gear. (I used the word "gear" instead of "mode" so it would ryhme. MLIA.) That means we can't go to the beach or do any day trips or anything anymore. Which sucks, because I only got to go to the beach once this whole summer. Oh well. Next year, then. We went shopping for school supplies, then decided I could just use whatever was left over from last year. We're drawing close to that depressing last-few-days-of-summer part of the year.
I guess I just keep bike riding and swimming and chores-ing until it's time to enter that intimidating place known as HIGH SCHOOL.

*dun dun dun*

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Three Days in the Life of a Person

I realized something the other day: summer is more than half over. There is less than a month left. With that in mind, I set about collaging a variety of items onto my pencilcase and notebook. (My version of getting ready for the school year.) They came out really cool, and since I already had the craft box out... (a.k.a plastic bin containing candy wrappers, clay, ticket stubs, plastic eyeballs, beads, glitter, fabric scraps, cotton swabs, sequins, markers, ribbon, and also a glue stick) ...I made some erasers from fancy eraser clay shaped like a donut, ice cream cone, pizza slice, mushroom/muffin, and bowl of spaghetti. So now I’m all set. :D (Lots of lists in this post so far. Also a multitude of parentheses.)
Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t really mind going back to school. But I do mind going to HiGH sCHOoL. There’s going to be seventeen-year-olds there! Seniors! People with jobs who get high in the bathrooms and leave trails of cigarette smoke behind them, and talk so dirty that you start itching for a bar of soap to jam in their mouths, and make out in the corners between classes and are so big and tall that dinky freshmen avoid crossing their pathes at all costs so they don’t get dumped in a trash can or have their heads shoved into a toilet bowl. UMYESI’MALITTLESCARED. I’m only thirteen, and untangling middle school took me a little bit more than the three years I was given. High school intimidates me.
On a lighter note, we went to Gilroy the day before yesterday. I got a box fan for my room, because it gets so hot up here that you could fry a rat on the ceiling. I’m not really in my room much during the day, but it’s hard to sleep when you feel like you’re submerged in a pot of boiling water. I’ve been staying up til two or three the past few weeks, mostly reading or drawing or making little erasers/collaging notebooks and pencilcases. Cough. See first paragraph. Sometimes I go downstairs to use the elliptical machine and watch late-night Food Channel on very low volumes. Sometimes my dad is still up, and we play backgammon for about an hour, then we both get tired and go to bed. Actually, that’s only happened twice. He’s usually tending to some Very Important Matters via computer or paperwork.
The day before that, I went to the mall with Sarah and we saw the new Harry Potter movie. We got to see all the characters get drunk. Yay. Also, Dumbledore dies. Darn. The thing that was missing from the movie was the classic dramatic run-in with Voldemort (oh snap I said it) at the end. All the other movies have had that scene where Harry and the Dark Lord battle it out. Every. Other. One. This one ends pretty badly, too: Snape kills Dumbles, the bad guys run away to go tend to some other evil doings, and Harry vows to go destroy them and Voldemort. You’d think there would be more closure, or at least the promise of another movie afterwards, but nope. The credits roll, and that, Potter fans, is that. My friend’s birthday is coming up, so I got her present while I was there. A shirt with a dinosaur on it, purple nail polish, and two erasers: one shaped like a slice of cake and the other a set: three bowling pins and a ball. It’s a bowling party. Pins and ball equals bowling, cake equals party. I hope she gets the gimmick, or else I wasted three bucks on nothing.
Today, my mom visited a friend who lives in Willow Glen. She let me walk into the nearby town to browse antique shops and relax in the bookstore. I thought about buying a book, but decided to just go to the library when I got home. Which I did. Then I walked to Jamba Juice, then to Starbucks, then back to Jamba Juice in a fit of indecision. Deciding to get Jamba Juice was based on the fact that it's healthier, but I ruined it by ordering a parmesan pretzel with my drink. Not so healthy. :\ There were a couple of kitchen stores, too, and after a little walking around I went back to my mom's friend's house and played Monopoly with her kid. He had trouble grasping the concept of bank loans, and also rent. Explaining how to handle finances to a five year old is beyond my abilities. I just sort of let him do his own thing, and he ended up winning. Shucks.
The rest of the afternoon I filled with chores. Walked the dog, washed the windows, scrubbed down the bathroom, vaccummed the carpets, did my laundry. Thrills. I biked to the library to get some books, then to the grocery store for my mom. After dinner, the family went over to -name of my middle school- to play tennis. The past week or two, we've all been engaging in Fun Family Active Sports after dinner: tennis, basketball, or this softball game called Three Flies Up. Ain't we a good family. It's weird to be there now: it's like, this is not my school anymore. I am not part of this place. I should probably walk over to -name of high school I'll be attending- tomorrow and familiarize myself with the campus.
Love from your lazy blogger. Sorry I’m not posting more often.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

100th Post

Okay, this is it. The hundredth post. And I know what you’re thinking: this one better be good. Well, it might be, because I’m about to leave for a county fair. That’s the thing where they show off giant pumpkins, have pie-eating contests, and weigh pigs to see which one is the fattest. Because everybody loves an obese pig. I’ve never been to one of these before, because frankly, I didn’t know they still existed. I’m thrilled to be attending one, because “county fair” seems like a wholesome place to be. (Like the library.) If it’s anything like the one they showed in the cartoon version of “Charlotte’s Web,” I’m gonna pee myself with excitement and overstimulation. Alternatively, it could be a handful of beaten-up rides and games, a crate containing a goat, and a hot dog stand. But we’ll see how it goes.
There were no giant pumpkins. I didn’t see anybody cramming pie down their throats. And while I did see ONE pig and piglet, they were not being weighed. BUT there was a horserace (yee-haw) and I guessed which horse would win and got it right. So if you need somebody to pick yer lottery numbers for ya, just gimme a ring-a-ling. I don’t know why I’m talking like a tobacco-spittin’, spur-jinglin’ cowgirl. Nobody there talked like that. For some reason, I thought they would all have Southern accents and wear flannel shirts, but what I got was a handful of sullen teenagers slumped behind cotton-candy and funnel cake stands, and sweaty middle-aged men working the overpriced rides. It was a little like a watered-down amusement park, for the most part. The standard rate for rides was five dollars per person per ride. Three dollars to try and shoot a basket and win a big stuffed monkey. But there was a whole big thingie of farm animals. It smelled just lovely. Really. Cow poop and goat breath are both such lovely aromas. But with pinched noses, we bravely marched into the pens and petted the smelly things. They were adorable. There was also a whole room of cages of rabbits. Of all the words in the English language, I think the one being used the most in that room at that time was “cute.” Everybody moved from cage to cage, cooing and making comments like, “Oh, my little bunny-boo, you are so cute,” “That one is adorable!” “Oh can we keep this one Daddy? Oh pleasepleaseplease?” “Oh my god you cutesy little thing! I just want to smother you with snuggles and kisses, my love!” And believe me, I chimed right in. These rabbits were for sale, and my sister went nuts. “DADCANWEGETONE?!” Of course I wanted one of those little twitchy-nosed lovebundles. But with our house already overtaken by a big slobbery dog and a rapidly shedding cat, a bunny was out of the question.
That fair was expensive. I already noted how much the games and rides cost (so we had to skip them, D:) but we cheated our way into getting a lower cost. It costs ten dollars for an adult, ages 13 and up, to enter the fair. It costs 6 dollars for a child, 12 and under. My dad asked me how old I was. “I’m twelve, right, Dad?” I replied. He was like, “Twelve? Okay,” not picking up on the sarcasm. Then he strode up to the counter before I could tell him otherwise.
Dad: “Two adults and one child.”
Me: “Wait...”
Cashier: “Okay, that’s going to be $26 dollars.”
Me: “Hey Dad, you know I’m not...”
Dad: -forks out two twenties- “Here’s forty, can I get a couple singles with change?”
Me: “Dad...”
Cashier: “Fourteen dollars change... is four singles enough?”
Dad: “Sure.” -walks away-
Dad: “Now, what was that you were going to say?”
Me: “Never mind.”
Yeah. So we basically cheated the ticket guy out of four bucks. But I think the county fair gods deserve it for not having giant pumpkins or pig-weighing contests. The fair was fun, though. The highlight of the day was when a big guy slurping an Icee was looking at T-shirts with Twilight people on them in the gift shop, and asked his daughter, “Hey, is that the Jonas Brothers?” Another strong point was when a dad holding his son said to the son, “You’re such a stupid kid,” and the son went, “Shut UP, Daddy!”
Afterwards, we had a late lunch in Pleasanton at the High Tech Burrito. I ordered a burrito just to see how high tech it really was. Another disappointment. It was just rice, grilled chicken, salsa, and cheese all wrapped up in a tortilla. No microchips. No SMS N75 calibration units. But it was a good burrito.
On the way home, we stopped at a dollar store. After a year of strict no-spending, it’s tough to ease myself back into my old lifestyle of an occasional purchase. I bought a pair of jeans when I was at the mall with a friend, but returned them awhile later after deciding I didn’t really need them. And at the dollar store, I saw at item that I was absolutely enamored to. I couldn’t pass up this product, no matter how much it cost. And hey, it was only a dollar anyway. My first purchase after a year of spending nothing was A WATER GUN SHAPED LIKE SPIDERMAN’S HEAD. Oh yes yes. I had to have it.
We came home and I went swimming. After dinner, my sister and I took the dog for a run. It started to get all scary and dark, so after a half hour we scrambled for home. Now I’m sitting here with the chlorine and sweat still clinging to me, typing a blog entry that probably won’t get posted till tomorrow, rushing through it because I really need a shower right now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Every time

It used to be like, every time something happened, my first thought would be, "I so have to blog about this when I get home." If I ever had some sort of weird thought/idea, I would make a mental note to record it on this blog. My life, my mind, and my blog were bound to each other and functioned as one.
Now, I'm letting my summer roll by without being documented here. It feels weird, as if I'm going to have to catch up on everything at some unspecified later date. Allowing myself to live my life without blogging about it feels crazy and wrong. I think I had become obsessed.
I have not made ANY progress on the Europe journal thingie, thank you very much. Sitting here at the computer copying from handwritten pages onto the "New Post" screen is not the way I want to spend the precious hours of my summer.What I've been up to:
  • Reading. I bike to the library at least once a week to check out a stack of books and return the ones I had checked out previously. I like the atmosphere there. Everybody is quiet, for the most part, and it's air-conditioned. It feels wholesome or something to be spending time at the library. Instead of, say, the mall.
  • Bike rides, all the time, every day, every trail, every neighborhood. I started with familiar trails and neighborhoods, then started fanning out further in all directions from my house, discovering new places to pedal. I like to alternate between coasting along and rocketing down the trail. Going faster is my preference, though. I feel like a beastly demon of speed. Oh yeah.
  • Chores. Not much to be said about this one.
  • Grocery shopping. It's kind of Zen, or something. I can't wait until I'm out of college and living in a little apartment somewhere, planning my meals and cooking for myself. I want to scan the rows of canned soups and pick out whichever ones I feel like eating, compare prices on bags of shredded cheese, make selections of packages of veggies and boxed dinners in the frozen foods aisles, squish and sniff and inspect the fruits and vegetables in the produce section to test for ripeness and freshness. In the meantime, though, I shop off a set list that my mom has sent me along with. It's still very stimulating, though, at least to an easily amused being like me.
  • Practicing softball with my sister. She's on a superstar summer traveling team, so I pitch balls to her, field the balls she hits, and throw the ball back and forth to build up her Arm Muscles of Solid Steel. And to work on my Arm Muscles of Ligaments and Tendons.
Anyway. I'm having a nice summer. I stay active during the daytime (*cough* bike rides) and relax with a book in the evenings. I devour books from after dinnertime (7:00 or so) till about one or two in the morning. I always switch into nocturnal mode during the summer, except instead of sleeping during the day and staying awake at night, I stay awake all day and night. Not all night. You know what I mean.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Europe, Part 1

I counted the months, the weeks, the days. Countdowns were started on every calendar in my possession. I wrote the counts on the corners of my planner in neat red ink, and in big swirly writing on the whiteboard in my room. It still has the “1 day left!” written in bright green ink across the top. I remember how satisfying it was to mark down a “1” after having started at over a hundred and patiently writing the painfully large triple- and double-digits. I etched the numbers in the margins of papers, memorizing the number of days and weeks left. There were new numbers each day, printed in unused corners and vacancies in homework sheets, glancing out from behind notebook pages. The digits repeated themselves everywhere: I wrote the numbers down again and again to reassure myself that a good thing was coming, something worth waiting for.
The good thing came, and it was absolutely worth waiting for. The Europe trip rocked me to the moon and back. I loved visiting a place with something to see everywhere you turned, history and artwork lacing the cities. Knowing that there was sure to be adventure ahead with every step I took was so, so diatonically different from the long, dull days at home that I associate with summertime. I kept a journal of the whole thing, which I’m going to type out here. Enjoy a nice long post after seventeen days of nothing. (It’s so weird to refer to the last seventeen days of my life as “nothing.” Those days were the furthest from “nothing” that I have ever been in my entire life.) (Oh and uhhh the first one is in Spanish. Use or something if you want, or just skip that entry.)

June 17, 2:54 P.M. (US Time) Estoy en el aeropuerto. Estoy esperando la hora tres y media. Eso es cuando el avion va a Europe. Vamos a ir a London primer. -upside down exclamation point- Tengo que montar el avion por diez horas o mas! Compre una merienda sana y rica, y tengo tres libros buenos para leer. No pienso que lo va a estar muy mal. Pero tal vez lo va a estar pequito aburrido.

June 17, 2:30 P.M. (US Time) I just got on the plane. Right on schedule. I’m sitting next to a nice lady and her mom. There is enough legroom, plus little headsets so you can listen to music. They provide a nice thick magazine to read, and also blankets and pillows and those weird eye cover thingies for when it’s time to sleep. And there are T.V. sets to watch movies on. The flight will be good. 10 hours? Pssh. I can make it. P.S. I have a window seat. That means I get a great view, but have to inch past two people if I need to pee.

June 17, 4:05 (US Time) Wait, how is it already 4:05? We just took off a while ago. My watch must be wrong, or maybe we hit a stitch in the timezones. The takeoff was cool. First we coasted along a concrete path for a solid ten minutes, watching other planes whiz by as they gained enough momentum to veer up, up, and away. I watched a few as they angled upward and lifted off the ground. They looked like little birds or something, not big clankety machines. I watched them soar upward, but then suddenly a cloud would wrap itself around a plane and swallow it in its fluffy white mass. Planes climbed into the sky, then--whoof--disappeared. It was exciting to feel our plane tip upward and wobble in the air. I couldn’t wait to get devoured by a cloud. Watching the earth drop away from underneath me was awesome, but also a little scary, but really interesting. We sliced right through a cloud on the way up. At first my view was shrouded by a puffy white blur, but then we pulled out over atop the cloud. IT WAS WEIRD. It looked like a meadow of marshmallow glop, or cotton, or snow. And clouds, I guess they’re a lot bigger than they appear. The cottony marshmallow snow stretched out forever in every direction. I guess that is what it feels like to be stranded in Antartica.

June 17, 10:30 P.M. A few hours ago, I looked out the window and saw a lovely sunset. An hour or so later, give or take an hour, it was beginning to darken, just slightly. I took a peek out the window just now, and the sun streamed into the dimly lit plane. I’m guessing we’ve crossed over to a different time zone, then. Sunrise doesn’t occur at 10:30 in the night.

June 18th, 10:45 A.M. (Paris time, I finally changed my watch.) Clouds are weird. Sometimes they’re all fluffy and yummy-looking, and sometimes they resemble big old hunkering clods of styrofoam skimming mountaintops. When you’re atop a cloud with early sunlight spilling across it, it’s like a miniature heaven. When you’re soaring through the interior of a cloud, it’s just a flurry of white. Sometimes clods are a semi-transparent sheet suspended above the earth. Sometimes a cloud is just a stray wisp of water vapor hovering in the air. Spend eleven hours on a plane, and you begin to appreciate clouds.

June 18, 1:00 (Paris time) This is so weird. I never slept on the plane, just sat there until the lights came back on and they started serving a breakfast of salty ham and sour yogurt. So now it’s tomorrow even though it feels like yesterday’s today. We have to wait for four hours in the terminal. Everything here is painfully expensive.

June 18, 5:00 (UK time) We’re through with plane flights and passports and such. I bought exotic foreign candy bars at a terminal to bring home so people can ooh and aah over the weird wrappers and then snarf them down and say, “gee, I shoulda savored that, considering I’ll never be able to get ahold of one of those again unless I fly to the UK!” A voice on the intercom announces, “For security reasons, any unattended baggage will be removed and destroyed.” That made me chortle.

June 19, 7:25 A.M. (UK time) SO today we get to do fun stuff, not security checks or bus rides and all. Today we take a walking tour of London. That’s going to be fun. You know what wasn’t fun? My shower earlier this morning. It took me quite a bit of time to figure out how to turn the thing on. When it came on, finally, the pressure was all messed up. So I reached up to fiddle with the showerhead, and had hardly touched it when it fell off and clonked me on the head. The water started shooting a jetstream straight across to the other wall. I cupped my hands around it in a pitiful attempt to somehow shove it all back into the wall. It never occurred to me to just shut the water off. Then I grabbed the showerhead and clamped it over the hole where the water was flooding from, stepping onto the ledge and balancing delicately on the edge of the tub in order to reach the spot where the showerhead needed to be. Gingerly, I adjusted the pressure, stepped down into the tub, and washed my hair at warp speed, bracing myself for another blow by falling showerhead.

June 19, 8:50 A.M. (UK time) The bus chugs along. London has a lot of pretty brick buildings, but we have yet to arrive at famous attractions. After dinner, we can go see a play, which would be very glamorous and fun. But it costs 40 pounds, or 70 dollars, so maybe not.
-London sets apart a bit of land for every living space, where people used to keep cows and goats. The “common grounds” are now used as parks to walk dogs in, have picnics, and stuff. Only people living in the group of houses/apartment building/whatever can use the common ground, but everybody has one near where they live.
-There are about 18,000 taxis in London. Most people don’t own cars because parking is inconvenient and expensive- $6/hour.
-Houses are squished up right next to each other to make room for common grounds. Townhouses don’t appear to exist here, but probably do in less bust parts of the city.
-King Edward made an oath to travel to Rome and help them in their time of need before he was king. Once he became king, he had to stay in England and help his own country. He asked his priest what he could do to compensate for breaking the oath, and was told to build a church dedicated to Saint Paul. The king did so, and built a house next to it to live in. Before the church was finished, he died and was buried in the abbey of the house. <-- Saint Paul’s Cathedral: we’re going there right now. Our tour guide just told us that little story.
We’re in Brixton, in the western part of London. This is where you buy sarongs and samosas: Indian goods. There are Arabic, Russian, and other communities here in London as well.

June 19, 10:00 A.M. (UK time) We saw Big Ben, the London Eye, and the Houses of Parliament. It’s striking to have these iconic things that I’ve only ever seen in movies, on television, or in pictures suddenly come into view. I took a picture of a long skinny thing, which turned out to be a monument dedicated to the Fires of London. The city burned for four days and four nights, and a thousand people died. Depressing.

June 19, 11:05 A.M. (UK time) I have been attempting to take pictures of myself with background through the window. It is not working tremendously well. Oh well. We are off to the Buckingham Palace now.

June 19, 11:45 A.M. (UK time) I’m back! I got lovely pictures of the Changing of the Guards, but none of the interior of the castle. Mrs. Kalman said it was too crowded. You would need to make reservations several months in advance. D:3 <--tilt head to the right.

June 19, 7:50 P.M. (UK time) WHAT A DAY. TOO MUCH TO SAY. AND I’M ABOUT TO GO OUT AGAIN, ANYWAY. Oh wait, I do need to announce that I just took my first subway ride. It was certainly a very pushy-shovy atmosphere. As in, lots of pushes and shoves. And when the bus thing took off, nobody in our group knew to grab ahold of the nearest pole or seat back or subway ridee, so we all lurched backwards and stumbled all over each other while the more experienced subway riders looked on in disdain and smirked.

June 20, 5:35 A.M. (UK time) Done with a country already! We are taking a train to Paris today and kissing Great Britain goodbye. Yesterday was a lot of sightseeing INCLUDING National Gallery-Buckingham Palace-London Eye-Houses of Parliament-Big Ben-St. Paul’s Cathedral-Piccadilly Circus--- and that was all very fun. Between attractions, we were given a lot of free time to shop, visit a marketplace, find a cafe or supermarket, and go to nearby parks. It was a “meet me here in two hours” type of thing. I liked having the freedom. Sarah, Shirley, and I went to a local supermarket and bought little plastic tubs of pasta to share. With the split cost, it was only 50p. While I was there I bought a bunch of those weird candy bars that they sell here but not in the U.S. How mysterious and elusive. I’ll have ten! Yeah. They’re pretty much the entirety of my gift shopping. “Yeah, I’m back from Europe, have a candy bar.”
Anyway, we walked back to the square, where we sat on the curb and watched a streetpreformer whilst shoveling pasta into our mouths. It was delicious. Then we went shopping for a while, which included my purchase of a can of authentic English tea for my momma. After awhile we wandered through a market, and by then it was time to return to the meeting spot. The tour guide led us up through a Chinatown, then down a row of side-by-side theaters, and landed us in Piccadilly Circus to use the restroom and take photos for a few minutes, before heading to the National Gallery. I really liked the Monet paintings. Up close the paint just looked like sloppy strokes and blurs, but the further you backed up, the clearer the image became. The paintings had the most clarity when you stood at the other end of the room. I’m off to breakfast now, more later.

June 20, 10:05 (UK time/11:05 Paris time) I am in a Eurostar train at the moment, headed to Paris. I’m unsure whether to use Uk time or Paris time, so I just put both in the heading. And since I already talked about yesterday, there isn’t much to document except the morning’s commute. But I guess other stuff will come up as I write. OH WAIT first I wanna say that the food here is wonderful. The first night everybody had spaghetti from the hotel restaurant, and last night we had Indian food. In England. But lunch is awesome because we get to go wherever we want to eat: yesterday it was a supermarket. They have entire aisles dedicated to lunch items, a la carte or full meals, ready for you to pick up and eat as soon as you step out of the store. There are sandwiches, wraps, cold pastas, salads, sushi, fruit salad cups, pizzas, stuffed pita, and also THAI SPICED AND COCONUT LEMONGRASS CHICKEN ROLLS!! which is what I got at the train station earlier on today to eat on the train at lunchtime. Why doesn’t Safeway offer such a gargantuan variety? Possibilities of lunchfood here are endless.
I hope everybody enjoys the harried phone message I left last night. It cost a dollar a minute, which included the time it took the phone to ring.

June 21st, 7:10 A.M. (Paris time) Sorry I didn’t write about my day in Paris yesterday. It was all go-go-go for the entire day, and we returned to the hotel at ten til one. In the morning. I would complain more about that, but the Eiffel Tower sure is pretty at night. I wish we could have rode to the top, but the lines were miles long and only one elevator was working. We were given ten minutes to look around a bit and snap pictures. Going to the top would have taken several hours of standing in line.
Now I’m all out of order. We didn’t see the Tower until later on. After the train, we dumped all our stuff in our hotel rooms. Sarah and I are rooming with a 17-year-old from Arizona. Then we took a Metro train to the Louvre, which was FANTASTIC. After edging our way into the crowd circling the Mona Lisa and taking a picture, we stumbled out, relieved to have that over with, and roamed through random rooms for a while. The place is so BIG. It’d have taken forever to see the entire thing, a week at least. Two hours was notably insufficient. But going outside to the gardens and pyramid was nice, too. The air was crisp and the sun was out, and there was plenty to see out there. Our nest stop was the Eiffel Tower, which you heard about, then dinner at a place with the unfortunate name of Flam’s. But the food was GOOOOOODDDD STUFFF. They make pizzas with super-thin crusts, then top it with sauce, cheese, onions, and ham. We sat at a long table, and they set down pizzas randomly. Once a pizza had been finished, they would bring out another. I had to control myself, because I know I could have eaten ten of those things. So I loaded up on salad instead. After that we revisited the Eiffel Tower because it was all lit up and glowy. Then there was an extra excursion for those who’d signed up and paid twelve euros. It was a boat cruise along the Seine. Guess who signed up and paid all by herself. That was really fun; they played music and told us little facts about the bridges we were passing under and some of the buildings we were seeing. It was kinda cold and kinda really late, but at the end when we pulled in near the Eiffel Tower, it was flashing a million tiny lights all over the place. The Eiffel Tower SPAHKULS at night. 11:00 P.M., for just ten or fifteen minutes. We had to take the grimy Metro home. It stopped in the middle of one of the tubes, and everybody lurched backward, and I thought we were going to die, but everybody laughed and made cheerful “what’s-going-on” noises, and after a minute of panic I realized that that just happens sometimes. Today we’re sightseeing again. I need to go to breakfast now. Lots of stories later!

You know what, guys? It is so tedious typing out that whole journal, so that’s all you get for now. I keep wanting to write blog entries, but can’t until I get this monster of a post out of the way. I’m sorry for taking so long to write this thing. I haven’t been on the computer much, so I couldn’t continue chipping away at the journal. At this point, summer is already half over. I’ll try to put up the rest of the journal, in small increments, up before September comes!