Waking up more and more tired, I was up at 1 am again, along with the rest of the girls. Standard time, but in England, not here.

As everybody gathered sleepily in the kitchen for some breakfast, with the pan for the day still unclear, I was anticipating the day. the rumour was, that we are going to a local bakery, which if that doesn't excite you, we shouldn't be friends. The smell of freshly baked pastries and bread is one of the reasons I want to visit France, so understandably it got me a bit happy in this sleepless trance.

As we approached the bakery I was more and more undecided as to what I want to have, where all the cakes, pastries and bread looked of decent size, but delicious, which shouldn't really be a problem, but you know how they say, too much choice can be bad (not sure if that;s an actual saying or not, but many authors and thinkers would argue this thought).

Ending up with a Double Baked Almond croissant for me, we were headed for the compulsory Starbucks visit across the street (I swear they are on each corner here!). This hour or so was the perfect time to try to catch up with family, so I managed to get hold of my dad only. Another good point to this time is the ability to people watch. Now, if you know me at all, you would know that I love to do that at any time, sometimes prefer it over conversation, but watching the Americans was slightly different. I observed all the stereotypes - which some of them I do not dare to mention - and also that the general, preferred type of cars is trucks in here. As my dear friend Georgina said: "it's a truck-city" which is very accurate.

Along with this classic
Undecided as to what to do with the time on our hands, we convinced our new friends to take us to the local Target store, to further observe the American life style, only to prove once again, Americans are incredibly lovely and cheery people. The store itself is very similar to the ones we get here, like Poundland or B&M or any equivalent. Trying to not spend any money in this place is therefore an unattainable goal, as even I ended up with several packs of chewing gum and a pack of twizzlers. Matter of fact, it was my first encounter with the cinnamon chewing gum, which I was looking forward to try, and found the experience pleasant. However I had a bit too much of it, and the aromatic part of it ensured that my whole bag smelled of it, resulting in me feeling a bit sick of it by the end of this trip. Oh well :)

After visiting Target it was finally time to go and do some of that volunteering. So we headed to the Hope Line food bank warehouse, where we were warmly welcomed. This seemed like a big place, however as we later found out it was the smallest one we volunteered at. Part of the warehouse designated for the 'customers' was set up like an actual grocery store, with trolleys and isles and everything, while behind the 'staff only' door the warehouse consisted of large to massive boxes and racks of predominantly canned foods. 

Our job: sort everything out. 

We were sorting through boxes that contained mixed food. And by mixed I mean from canned tuna and beans, through peanut butter to rice and pasta and dry, powder mix foods as well as 1 year out of date and 5 years out of date. Such were the kind donations. We sorted out the in-date and out-date foods first, then it was sorted into pasta, cereal, beans etc. baskets. By the end of it I personally took it upon myself to hang out of the box with my legs up in the air, just so I can get to the last bits. Shame they didn't take a photo.

Still feeling very filled, we headed home for some dinner. As my friend and I found out, eating too much food will equal a salad for dinner, with that amazing salad dressing that Ivan introduced us to. It remains unimaginable to me how others managed to get Mac-and-cheese down.

Finishing the day off with our first reflection time, we talked about what we liked that day and how much of an eye-opener this first job was. I believe some of the group squeezed couple card games (UNO and spoons) before sleep, but really, by the time dinner was over I was more than ready for the deserved sleep. 


Walking requires comfortable footwear:)

At this point the days started to merge, like the weekend has been prolonged by 10 hours, which you might think is a good thing, but actually it felt the complete opposite due to the anticipated jet lag, when you go to bed past 9pm in Seattle, but wake up at midnight and then past each hour because that's your body clock laughing at you for having big goals and wanting to travel (midnight there is around 6-7 am in England). The American team generously allowed us to sleep in till 9 am, though we were all up by 1 am, they did enjoy the lay in, too. Waking into the spacious kitchen at past-breakfast time, we were welcomed with a load of food from banana, chocolate, pecan muffins, cereal, sandwiches etc.- but not butter. After eating and pushing through the now crowded kitchen, to make our lunches, stacked up with a ton of snacks, we finally departed for the sightseeing of Seattle. First stop: Space Needle

Actually, to tell a lie, the first stop was a local Starbucks, and no it was not to get coffee. For the WiFi, and ever since then, Starbucks stops happened every day for an hourly WiFi connection since we one of the lovely American team leaders was not able to get the one in the house working.

Though the weather wasn't the warmest nor sunniest, as we got into the central Seattle, we found our way to the scarily tall Space Needle. Once we were up the tower (in just 45 seconds may I add) we were exposed to this amazing, 360° view of Seattle.

184 metres below us is the ground, scattered with different, quite random sculptures and funky buildings. 

Random people in the way of another sculpture. 

Funky playground with spiders on the roof!?!?

To see a bit more of down-town Seattle, the American team decided to show us the local Pike Street market, which was this couple storey building, with all kinds of things from flower bouquets and elephant garlic cloves (literally the hugest garlic I've seen in my life) to Chinese china of all sorts and Seattle merch (hoodies, shirt and hot-red crab hats) to fish-throwing and females with paintbrushes on their faces - getting lost here was quite the experience in itself.

Everything was just so artsy.

I felt it to be necessary to take this picture okay...

The Gum Wall.

We have visited the famous street-art/understandably repulsive gum wall, where each of us contributed to this piece of art.

Also validating my own gender and race...

Strangely I was most worried by the steepness of this city. 

It was enjoyable walking through this place. 

I'm not even sure...

Wrapping it up here before it gets too long! ;)
See you in the next post!


As per usual, the night before you're supposed to take a leap of faith and undergo the longest journey of your life so far, you will be forced into staying up late, factors contributing to this being: STILL PACKING!?!!, your mum giving you life-saving instructions on how to survive without her, stress, excitement, and other mixed emotions.

Oui, c'est moi :)

In the early hours of the day, someone, be it my dad first or my dog, proceeded to wake me up before 5am on multiple occasions, following my alarm at 5.19, then 5.30 for a quick shower and the rest of the morning up until 7am, when I was getting a lift to the train station, was a blur of panic and collecting vital items, literally last minute. By vital items I mean earphones and lip balm. Then there is the grand, heartfelt goodbye from your mum, that breaks your heart as you can feel her tears rolling down her cheeks as she sees her first little traveller with a suitcase half the size of her, walking away from the nest (okay I got really poetic there, basically I was walking away from her). That isn't to say I will not be back in 7 days, but mothers are destined to be 1000x more emotional about this stuff than dads or sisters. So I, the big traveller took off on my very first journey, prolonging my day by 8 hours. First stop: Chichester college, where only 12 people boarded the coach designed for almost,if not more than, triple the amount of people. Oh such luxuries. Spending an hour and half on the coach, we arrived at England's busiest of airports. Enter an embarrassing story here: I'm pretty sure I am known as the cling film girl who wrapped her suitcase in cling film just before the luggage check in. Why did I do that? My mum told me to, OK!? Don't judge. But I was judged then. The piercing eyes of 11 people on me burned through my leather jacket, but honestly, I don't even care that much. So why that I held you up for 5 minutes? Bite me. It was a new suitcase. And not one of the cheapest ones either.
Getting through the security and spending 2 hours in the duty free section was actually pretty easy, though one disappointment- I couldn't find the one and only Prada Candy! But a pleasant surprise on the other hand, they had a charging point! Boarding the Delta Airline craft I didn't even expect much, but instead found myself in one of those typical film type of air crafts, and quite unfortunately my assigned seat had the letter D in it. Only when I found the seat I knew though that it was the crappiest seat of them all. If you've ever flew in a aircraft of this size, you know that it is the seat right in the middle. Middle isle, middle seat for the middle child, eh? 
The first 5 hours of my journey have been wonderful! The cabin crew has been providing an excellent service, while the aspect of this experience that I find to be the most fascinating is their accent. I mean I know my accent is pretty thick and all, but learning this language in England, and then experiencing the American accent is a whole new thing! Well for me at least. They have provided us with free drinks, lunches of quite the size followed by some more drinks! Or what they like to call it: Snack While the journey isn't over yet, the crew keeps offering more and more snacks! I don't think I have ever been this happy during a journey of this length!

Okay, I must have gained half of my weight just in these 10 hours. 

Landing was fun, but what wasn't as much fun, was the anticipation of the American Team at the airport. 

Luckily they found us after 20 minutes or so, and I swear one of the first things I heard from them was Hey y'all!

Off to a great start with this lovely bunch! They transported us into the biggest house ever (not literally but come on, compare that to one of the typically English) where we got to do the meet & greet part, divided 5 rooms between 11 girls and found out we have to share 1 bathroom - this literally equates to a morning disaster, so a mental rota had to be put in place.

The house accompanied by a splendid view.

After all the settling and 'reflection' time on the plane journey I was ready to sleep at 7pm, but really we went to be much later to skip the unavoidable and most dreading jet lag.

That's it for now lovelies!
Keep checking back for more! :)

     Starting college last autumn I was aware that there will be some amazing opportunities for me to travel abroad and to gain many many experiences, and so I went and looked for the most interesting, exciting and beneficial trip that Chichester college was conducting this year. As I never travelled to the states before, I was excited to announce to my parents that in spring I'll be off to the beautiful Seattle.

It's one of those feelings, when you know you've paid for something, to go somewhere but cannot believe that it will actually happen, that you will actually travel there. It just doesn't sink in!
Naturally, I was excited, nervous and surprised (all at the same time) when just 4 days before the big D. And by D. I mean the departure!! I needed to start thinking of all the gear that will be necessary, and more importantly, getting around to actually pack it! Officially now, I have the travel stress. How does one know? Well, you dream how you pack your suitcase… in detail! Seriously, packing an hour before the departure is not a good idea, my dreamy self found out. So I'm guessing it's about time to watch all the endless DIY videos on how to pack to save space. Great. Unbelievable, how quick it came around, and even more unbelievable that I will have to sit in air for 10 hours, just to be welcomed by airport security queues so they can enter my identity into their system along with de-glory-fying mugs of me. Hmm, I guess those are the sacrifices we make to see the world.

At the end of the day, I don't believe there is such thing as complete, 100% ability to be prepared. I mean, you will most likely be still packing 10 minutes before you are to leave your little comfort bubble.

Well that's a wrap for this one, we'll see how I do on the morning of the 19th!

I'm not going to lie here, damn, I told the world about my crushes, so I feel it's safe to confess this here: I like to laugh. A lot.

Yes, 'duh' you might say, but the truth is, I don't always laugh because something genuinely is funny. Laughing when someone is telling a funny story or a joke, is a powerful way to wordlessly tell them you appreciate them. I mean that's the key drive for humans to socialise, according to Carnegie. To be appreciated. So by laughing at someone's joke, you are actually saying 'I'm acknowledging you' (or something along those lines, right).

It's a good way to be seen as a friendly person. However I must disclaim here, before you start thinking that I'm laughing at your jokes purely to hoard friends, no I don't. I only laugh when I think there is the slightest potential that I could connect with you. I hope you value that.

On the other hand, I am kind of a people pleaser too, so that helps. However I only say that, because I know I am a people pleaser with limits - I would never let someone walk over me just because there's a puddle on the sidewalk.
Not my style.

I really think that making people genuinely laugh and enjoy themselves in one's company is an art, so when I do find a person, a friend who I feel comfortable to be around, and who makes me laugh, I instantly will want to be friends with you.

Maybe I should tell a story here, about why I'm friends with certain people, and how we became friends when we, dreadfully shy, started college. Yay? 

It was the first day of college in Chichester. More than one person was nervously hiding in the corner, aware that if they don't make friends today, they will end up being loners, sitting alone at lunch, or worse alone in the library.

That was not me. I can confidently say I have some experience in meeting people. 'Some' being the important word there, but that is another story, about how I came to England, started school and blah blah blah...

The point here is that I know who I want to approach, and don't usually lose time with people who I don't see as potentials. Therefore, when I came to my first ever college lesson, Spanish, and walked into classroom I decided to approach probably the tallest person there. Phoebe. 

Okay, the truth here is I kinda took a guess and hoped she was the person she was, as Adam, her older brother who I used to work with once mentioned that his sister is doing this course, the same year as I am and so I thought that was a good ice breaker, or...?

I am not sure what she thought of me the instant she saw me, but we generally became friends quite fast, I'd say. Phoebe, I know you're reading this, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here :) 

I shall thank her for introducing me to her many funny friends from her school too, as I find these people genuinely fascinating. And so is Phoebe. She is one of those people that there doesn't go a day by that I haven't laughed at least a little, and I am very grateful for that. I swear she can make anything funny or even better, hilarious to a point others around think we belong to a special other place.

She is not the only one though (sorry) that makes me laugh.

Few lessons into college, and few awkward lessons into French, Conner and I shared our opinions on this language at college and bonded quite fast too. 

I remember the first time I spent couple of hours with him, I was waiting for someone else, so he was just an entertainment in the mean time, but man I don't regret it. 

This boy swears a lot, has weird thoughts and stories equally if not weirder! I adore his sense of humour, and put him in a room with Phoebe, or better sit them down at a Costa's table and take them to Domino's and you've got the perfect recipe for a hilarious afternoon. 

So this is how the current trio came around. We went for a pizza during our break. I guess that's a good reason to bond over, right?

We always joke around (aka they bully me for my accent and attempt to make me sound British), but I am pretty sure we equally need each other to make that college life more colourful - by the way guys, you still owe me a pizza trip ;)

If I could give a 'for instance' to kinda show you how hilarious our conversations are, I would, I swear, but I don't think that would be entirely appropriate right here, so that should give you a hint of what sort of things are said.

I think funny people have it. That first impression that is so important, in order to interest people, not necessarily romantically, but to make friends, to get to know someone. Charisma is it? I think that's what they call it. If I had to state what a charismatic person possesses, it would be the 'funny gene', definitely.

True enough, I don't think I have that 'funny gene' as those who know me might have noticed. Normally if you meet me, and in case I am not entirely sure about you I will be slightly awkward (or a lot) and quiet... it does improve though over time, I promise!

Not the point here though.

So is being able to make poeple laugh the ultimate ice breaker? And if so, is it possible to learn to be funny, or are you just born charismatic and funny?

Of course there are people who would disagree. People, like personal coaches, who teach people to be charismatic, and as much as I would love to be charismatic, is it natural? Or is it about tricking people into thinking that it comes to a person naturally?

Is that what we are about? About tricking others? Is it in our genes, or does it ensure diversity, as all of us will have a slightly different attempt at tricking others, and boom, individuality and uniqueness is born.

What do you think?


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