Fall 2012: New People. New Puppies. New Funsies.

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I Want My Apple Juice Back… And other post-Wales rants

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I Want My Apple Juice Back… And other post-Wales rants

Hello, lovely people (from wherever you may be),

It’s been a while since I’ve visited the wordpress community. I thought I would do a quick update of the months since my European adventure concluded (for now). But, first, I have to wonder, in checking out the stats for this site, who all has been reading this small mind-ramble I collected while abroad. There seems to be readers in Russia, Botswana, Guatemala, Canada, Sweden, Bolivia, and a slew of other countries. Whoever you awesome people may be, specific hellos and welcomes to you. I’d be delighted to here from you.
Now for the above-promised update. I arrived back in Texas after another (very, very long) flight from Manchester via Chicago. Having made the (brilliantly sage) choice to stay up the entire last day and night of life in Wales, I’m sure you can imagine the profound wisdom I had to offer to my awesome, sign-waving family (mother, father, brother, nieces, and nephew) and friend (the ever-gorgeous Nicole) that made it to the airport. With linguistic mastery, upon walking out of the airport, I did so note, “Holy crap, it’s hot in Texas,” followed by the loquacious, “no, no, it’s too humid here; I wanna go back to Waaaales.”

Yes, Dad, “wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, YEAH”
Video of his dancing is posted on facebook, go look NOW.

Then came the car… which is driven from the right side, not the left… on the road… which cars travel on the right side, not the left. Then came the, “Oh God, oh God, we’re gonna die,” as six months of getting accustomed to cars coming from the opposite side did make themselves known.

However, after 46 hours of consciousness, my bed was just about the most divine sight I had ever seen (What?? So I was momentarily biased…)

Part of le’new apartment/cottage

Summer passed (all too) quickly, between getting my apartment fixed up, mentally and with many packing of boxes (on the ground, Birdie, on the ground) getting ready to send someone off to the not-so-far-far-away mystic land of Indianapolis. Not to mention the wreck… Remember the aforementioned “Oh God, Oh God, we’re all gonna die” part? Well, Mr. 18 Wheeler did his best to keep me from being a liar. So, Danica, my dear car, met her demise that day. I was on crutches for a few weeks, but seem to be doing fine now. There is now a new baby/vehicle/mode of transportation. She is a 2010 Honda Civic, who (I think) is named Calla (Greek for beautiful). And she has lots and lots of airbags, which, post-wreck, I find nice.

Class has started again at TLU, and my days have quickly turned busy. I’m taking American Fiction, Spanish IV, Advanced Literary Studies, History of Philosophy I, and Leadership for Social Change. This last involves working with rescued dogs, so Spills, Dopple, and Taz, the three dogs here at the cottage, belonging to my land-mistress-lady are aware that I have shared some of my attention with other canines (inconceivable, Spills, I know).  Then, of  course, there are choirs and vocal lessons to fill the days as well.

City of London, on my wall, across from a Guy Fawkes Mask = Irony

I do miss Wales and Europe and my study abroad people though. There are mornings I wake up ready to go to the Tea Room on the pier, times I can’t wait for Tecwyn’s next field trip, times I really, really want that not-from-concentrate apple juice at Morrison’s.
Conclusively, the study abroad experience was one of the best of my life, even though I’m glad to be back home… But I will definitely be going back someday. Wales isn’t through with me yet.

Not quite Venetian, but ta-daaaaah: Cannoli … Which was eaten with “La Traviata” playing in the background

P.S. I didn’t quite leave all my international experience back in Europe, if the pictures weren’t enough to give it away. Between adapting my favorite foods to having my dad dancing in his Scottish kilt to decorating my apartment, I’ve managed to bring bits and bobs of my time back with me.

P.P.S. Featured wine bottles are solely for decorative purposes, and , for consumption purposes, are only for those 21 and up with the inclination to consume them.

Eight Countries Later… Spring Break 2012

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Eight Countries Later… Spring Break 2012

Hello, once again, dear sirs and madames. I’m finally relatively stationery (in between bouts of shivering and dancing and cleaning) so now to relate just a bit of what has transpired since the last installation in the study abroad saga. Spring Break began on Friday, March 23 with a train to Holyhead, a ferry to Dublin, and a taxi ride to the ridiculously gorgeous hotel the Villasusos had arranged for us. We went to the Temple Bar district and found some talented musicians on the stage at the iconic, if long touristic, Temple Bar. Good drinks, good food, good music… interesting inhabitants, to say the least. Then we went up to the mountains for dinner in one of the famous restaurants there.  The next day, we met up with the rest of the study abroad folk, took a quick walk Tecwyn-style back to the Temple Bar district where we watched several more bands play.

In Dublin, I also saw the art gallery and got lost (happily), taking a respite from all the walking in one of the parks. As a group, we visited the Oscar Wilde memorial, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Molly Malone, Trinity College, the Book of Kels(!!!!!), and tons of other places. Come Monday, though, it was time for the four hour bus ride across Ireland over to the charming city of Galway. We made it to the beach quickly, soaking up the sun and delighting in the sensation of barefeet on a few patches of sand. Of course, Snow Patrol lyrics followed me there and I was ceaselessly hearing the line, “I will race you to the waterside and, from the edge of Ireland, shout out loud, so they can hear it in America: It’s all for you.”

That night we checked out the Latin Quarter and discovered Gino’s, an amazing ice cream shop that entertained us more than once during our three day stay. We also went to the Claddagh ring shop and came out with pretties. We spent most of the rest of the evening at the hostel, meeting a couple of interesting gents, Jeff and Jeremy, both from the states. Small world, right?

The next day we went to the Aran Islands, one of the most thoroughly Irish places in the world. A small population maintains the land, refusing to allow tourists to move there to preserve the Irish culture that radiates from the place. Even the grocery store sections were labeled in Irish, and ONLY Irish. But the most  spectacular facet of the place were the cliffs. After standing at the edge of the world, wrapped in the wind racing in from the sea, staring at the impossible blue of the ocean… I’ve found my very favorite place in the world. If the only way to move there is to marry in to the community, I’d best start checking out the eligible bachelors lol. *giggles* Destination wedding tba!!

Other best part: Monroe Tavern. Yes, the food (pizza) was deliriously good. However, the draw to this place was the weekly folk dancing we managed to catch. Unlike most of the places we saw in Dublin, this place was not designed for the tourists, with Galway Girl blaring from the stage as the entertainers ask the audience where they’re from. This was local music for local people who came to dance every week. Not because of who would be watching or how much revenue could be gained. Just because they want to, week in and week out. And they were really good too. Such a good night.

A few days (and the Hunger Games movie) later, it was time to head out for the solo adventure. I left out early on the morning of March 31st for a train to Manchester. A bit of tricky navigation later and I was on a plane bound for Zurich. From Zurich I flew into Marco Polo Venice airport. Have I mentioned I love the Swiss? Or, at least, their airlines. They give you Swiss chocolate on the flight. This is good. *nods*

And finally (finally, finally, finally, finally, at long stinking last, after two decades of waiting and waiting and waiting with ever decreasing patience) I was in Venice!!!! With the uplifted spirit and confidence of a naive tourist, I set out for my hotel, reassured that it was only a 45 minute walk to my destination. Well… 4 1/2 hours later, I and my luggage turned down just another twisty street and found (much to my undignified relief) the Locanda Silva hotel. But, it was totally worth it and I got to really see the city in all the places the masses don’t make it to. The hotel was great and the family that runs it made it feel like home when I needed a quiet retreat from the crashing waves of people that flooded St. Mark’s Square. There, I saw St. Mark’s Cathedral, Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Museo Correr. I also found the edible love of my life. Signor Cannoli and I will be traveling to the aforementioned cliffs soon to make it official. Watch your post for the invitations to come. I traveled to the islands of Murano and Burano, listened to street performers, had amazing food, rode in a gondola, and was quite sad to leave on my last day.

Vicenza was largely uneventful. The hotel was nice, which was good since I spent most of the time in there. Managed to get sick and lived off the McDonalds that was down the street. I did make it to a nice park and climbed a hundred and sixty-four thousand million stairs to what was supposed to be an ancient temple only to come across the private property sign with a menacing black van for emphasis.

Verona, however, was another story entirely. I was all over the city in the days I had there, keeping the Shakespeare nerd inside me in a constate of euphoric squealing. Yes, there’s even a video of me standing at Juliet’s tomb reciting one of her monologues. No, I don’t think I’ll be posting it :P

On the morning of April 9th, it was time to leave Italy. At 4 am (who knew there was a 4 in the morning time too??) I was in a taxi and headed to the airport. I flew into Munich and then Paris Charles De Gaulle. Paris did little to impress me, but I can conceed that there are likely many gorgeous things that I merely didn’t get to see in the span of a day. Notre Dame, however, was exquisite, a beautiful testament to devotion.

Another long train ride (and even longer experience with customs) got me to London. I arrived too late to get to the Globe theatre, but will be going back in a few weeks to remedy that. I found my hotel in the Earl’s Court area, got food, found the place where the Mad Hatter would go to get frozen yogurt, and worked on a paper that refused to not exist (even when I asked in my most polite, half-desperate voice).

The next morning I was at the airport again. That night… wait for it, wait for it… I was in… TEXAS!!!!!!!! My darling state, rarely have you looked so gorgeous. I got to meet my mother, father, and brother at the airport. Yes, I was kind of a zombie at that point, since it was 4 am back in Bangor time, but between epic hugs and Wienerschnitzel chili cheese dogs (don’t look at me like that >.< If my arteries and I were craving it, there will be NO judgment.) I was awake and talking all the way home from Houston. I hadn’t realized just how much I missed home, but it was so good to be back. I got a week and a half of seeing family and friends and helping the lovely Carissa Aramantha Riedesel (a.k.a. -my- Birdie) get ready for the epic wedding of DOOM (inside joke of which there are many) to the also lovely Chip Russell.  It was a perfect day, and there was seeing of the Sia and the D.Bo and the choir peoples to make it even better.

So now I am back in Bangor, having just completed a weekend in Cardiff with my girlies (Kelsey, Nikki, Gina, Sara, and Lindsey), where we saw abbeys and cathedrals and castles and dragons and arcades and kilts and ambulances and trees and Thor and aliens and profiterolles and tiaras and… Many, many, many things.

There are only a few weeks to go for OP and there’s hopefully surfing and sea level traversing to do. Then traveling and the mommy will be arriving on May 11th. Hard to believe the semester will be ending so very soon.

But, for now, I’ll go enjoy the day. Possible picnic in the works :) See you all again soon.

P.S. The Occupy Austin Airport Movement (just kidding, TSA people, just kidding) will be occuring on June 2nd for ALL the collection of hugs. You should be there. Kk. Love you all.

 

- Ken

 

Yes, there are tons of pictures, but the loading is going too slowly, SO… if you’d like to see pictures you can

A) Check facebook. There are tons and tons of them there.

B) If you’re not on facebook (*ahem* Here’s looking at you, Dad <.<), then email me at kdneitch@tlu.edu and I’ll send you pictures to your heart’s content.

 

Chapter Dear-Wales-I-Love-You…

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Chapter Dear-Wales-I-Love-You…

Hello, again, ladies and gents. It’s been a while, and there have been to many days and too many memories to relate them all to you in the confines of this page. So, I’ll give you the best of what’s been in the last 2 or 3 days.

I’m now about to begin my last week of class before spring break. Lots of essays and readings and blogs and such to finish before then and the trip back to the states that will cap of a hopefully fantastic Easter break. OP has been mostly surviveable. We did kayaking a few weeks ago. Amazing. Yes, I was grinning like a fool the whole time. Then there were more high ropes courses and mountain biking.

Yesterday I finally made it down to the pier whilst the Cafe was open. The scones? Superb. The hot chocolate? Even better. After that, I made my way back to High Street and eventually Bar Uno for the rugby Grand Slam Championship match between Wales (EEEEP!!!!) & France. I was still on High Street when the national anthem was played, yet it was a beautiful moment to hear the graceful hymn booming out from all the pubs along the way, followed, of course, by much screaming and cheering at the conclusion. Not sure why, but the fervent way in which their anthem is sung is always nearly enough to put me in tears. Beautiful. And in tune.

Gina & I then went to karaoke that evening and found several other of our study abroad compatriots at the Menai as well. After seeing the girls sing “Say My Name” & the guys make their way through an Enrique Iglesias song, I did “Ballroom Blitz.” As soon as the bar regular, Tony, sang the American Trilogy song he performs -every- week, we headed back to the dorms.

Today, we walked down to the bus station and make our way to Penmon. Or what the sign said was Penmon. This concept of “village towns” needed some clarification, as we discovered that Penmon was several houses, cows, and a farm. After going a mile or so towards the village, we turned around and headed towards the coast and the Penmon lighthouse that was our initial plan. 3 miles (and a pleasant couple that gave us a lift for the last mile down) later, we’d arrived at the nature trail. Unfortunately, the walk to the walk was more pleasant than the mud pit that was the “Coastal Trail.” However, we made it down to the cliffs of a *possibly* private area and had lunch with our feet dangling above the sun washed beach. While we sat (at last), tranquility met passion, just as we watched the waves rise up to meet the shore. It was a breath-taking view that would have been worth an even longer journey to reach it. We then hopped a few fences and made our way back down to the Menai Lighthouse Cafe and, then, back up the long 3 mile trek to the bus stop where we waited for a bus that would take over an hour to cover the 15 mile distance we desired…

Now, I am quite thoroughly exhausted. As such, you’ll have to forgive me for neglecting the picture portion of the presentation. Rest assured, if you check out my facebook, you’ll see tons of pictures of this, as well as the wonderful field trip our class took last weekend. Castles and Buddhas and presidents riding pooches included.

27 days to home and far fewer than that until I will have made friends with Ireland, Italy, andFrance (hopefully).

All my love,

Ken

Chapter 5: Hating Heights & Hanging in Manchester

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Chapter 5: Hating Heights & Hanging in Manchester

Last weekend I went to Manchester with Alex, his flatmate, Dani, and her friend, Hannah. After taking the train, we went to the People’s Museum and wandered around downtown, finding some shop, the Manchester equivalent of the London Eye, and a great place to eat.

The Manchester Cathedral was gorgeous, even if we only had a few minutes inside before the Evensong service began. After dinner it was time to go back to the hotel and then take off for the Tyler Ward concert. Prior to going I wasn’t terribly familiar with this great cover artist, but both he and his opening act, Nick Howard, turned out impressive, engaging performances.The next morning we went back to Bangor to try to find the sleep we’d somehow managed to lose in Manchester.

Manchester Cathedral

Traversing (i.e. going sideways rather than up) at the Indoor Rock Climbing place

This week was my reading week for Media Culture & Eastern Religions, so I only had Tecwyn’s class and Outdoor Pursuits. The week before, thanks to the torrential rain, we did indoor rock climbing. Not completely and overwhelmingly terrifying, but still within the realm of heights of which I am not at all a fan. This week, however, was gorge scrambling. Heights + Freezing, Fast Moving Water + Slippery Stones + Clinging for dear life = Gorge Scrambling. It was not a day for swimming, but swim I did. Multiple times. Please, please, OP Fairy, give me a week without heights soon…

The last 2 days have been devoted -entirely- to booking my spring break. In summary, there will be 5 towns, 3 countries, 2 flights, 5 trains, 11 nights in hotels, layovers in Switzerland and Germany, and multiple modes of water transportation. I is mentally exhausted from looking at (literally) hundreds of hotels, but pleased. It should be an amazing trip. Many pictures to come, I promise.

Once I get back to Bangor on April 11th, I will be leaving again on April 13th to spend the night in Manchester. The following morning I fly out of Manchester to Newark to Austin to be home for Carissa’s wedding.

Chapter 4: No need for a fancy title this time…

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