Places I Saw (While Studying Abroad) & Suggestions

While studying in England I had the opportunity to visit several other cities abroad:

Edinburgh, Scotland

Dublin & Galway, Ireland

Paris, France

London & Bath, England

I had a fantastic time in all of these cities, but I definitely have some suggestions in terms of things I wish I would have known before traveling to these places. So, to start –

Scotland

I adored Scotland. I actually had very little planned in terms of things to do when I went. In fact, myself and the two friends I traveled with had no plans at all, we were just going to wing it, and it actually worked out surprisingly well.

Things to note when traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland: 

  • Feel free to book a tour in advance, but you don’t necessarily have to. There are free walking tours of the city that meet at various locations around Edinburgh. If you find a local hostel and ask, they should be able to give you information about where one typically meets. Ours was at a Starbucks in the downtown area – super easy to find.
  • Wear walking shoes. This might seem obvious to most people, but apparently some of us aren’t (ahem) that clever. Also, the majority of the city is cobblestone, so if you are not great on unsteady streets, you might want to wear something on your feet that gives you more support.
  • If you are of age, drink a Scottish Red (Ale?). It is still one of my favorite beers of all time. I don’t remember the exact name of the one that I had, but if you ask any bartender, I am sure they can point you in the right direction. It’s fresh and delicious and goes great with pub food.
  • Go find the graveyard where J.K. Rowling found a lot of the names for her Harry Potter characters (e.g. Tom Riddle, Alastor Moody). In that cemetery there is also a giant gravestone marking the mass burial of several hundred prisoners with a warning on it that basically says “beware” in old English; it’s pretty boss.
  • Visit the National Gallery. Of all of the art museums I went to while abroad, this was my favorite. It is also the place where I found a 400 year old portrait of my cousin. I mean not really, but definitely kind of. This kid could have been my cousin’s twin. It was super freaky. Maybe a great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather? (I’m not really sure how many “greats” 400 years would require, but you get what I mean.) Also, do not skip the basement of the gallery – that is where many of the Scottish-born artists are located, and there are some amazing pieces down there.

Ireland:

In terms of natural beauty, Ireland was my personal favorite country to visit. The green, grassy slopes, the rocky cliff edges, and the spray of sea foam… Amazing. I went to two very different cities while there: Dublin (a city much like London in terms of its busy nature) and Galway. Galway is on the west coast; a far more rural city which we happened to visit during the last weekend of the horse races. The entire city was down to party and it was a super fun time:) (Oh, and did I mention that I’ve never seen so many stylish men and women all gathered in the same place at the same time? Super impressive, Ireland. Keep it up!)

Things to note/recommendations when traveling to Ireland: 

  • Go to the Cliffs of Moher. Go. Just go. But don’t cross the rope that says “do not cross” or you will fall off and die. If you think I’m kidding I’m not. It has happened to people before. Actually, the weekend we were there – and this is a real story, I kid you not – a dog fell off one of the smaller cliffs into the water (still around 400 ft. above sea level.) When the rescue team got down to the beach, the dog was just chilling on the sand, waiting for someone to come get him. This dog was lucky as hell. You are not this dog. Do not cross the rope.
  • Be aware of bank holidays. This is something that my traveling buddies and I were not aware existed before we traveled to Ireland because it is something that just doesn’t happen in the USA (or, at least, not where I live). Bank holidays occur relatively frequently and are basically this: the bank is closed for some reason or another and, because of this, businesses are closed too. This means that there is pretty much no shopping done until later in the day, or possibly at all. I honestly can’t say that much about bank holidays since, like I said, we don’t really have them. It might be a good idea to check before you go, though, so you know if this is something you might come across. And don’t be surprised if you do.
  • Try Guinness beef stew. Do it. Just do it. It’s so good! Touring the Guinness factory is also a cool time if beer is something you are interested in. If you are of drinking age, you can purchase tickets that get you a free pint at the end of the tour.
  •  Dublin was a really cool city; if you have the chance to pop in and check it out, I would recommend doing so. My favorite part was the nightlife because performers would come out and play at the local pubs and many of them were SO GOOD. However, this was the third or fourth big city that I visited over the course of a five to six week span. Because of this, I much preferred visiting the west coast of Ireland. This wasn’t because I didn’t like Dublin as much as the other cities, but I was just ready for something different – the west coast was exactly what I had always pictured in my head when anyone spoke of Ireland, and I loved visiting there.

France 

So… my experience in France was quite interesting. If you happened to read my blog post “What To Do When You Are Stranded On an Island with an Idiot” you might have a better idea as to why. Separate from this, my experience in the city of Paris was a lovely one. The beauty and history of the churches is jaw-dropping. Fresh Parisian macaroons = eight thumbs up.

Things to note/recommendations when traveling to France: 

  • Ordering “un café” is the same as ordering an espresso, keep this in mind.  If you are a coffee drinker and do not speak French, I would recommend asking your waiter or waitress (most people can speak at least some English, but you should probably learn a few simple phrases in French before travelling over there) to clarify that the drink you are ordering is, in fact, what you think it is.
  • Drinks are very expensive in France. In fact, you will likely be paying more money for a glass of Coca Cola than a glass of wine. The price of your drink may even near the price of your food. Surprise.
  • Visit the Notre Dame. This is what happened to me in super quick side-story format: myself and two others were visiting the church and accidentally attended Mass. Everything was sung in French and Latin, and the whole ordeal was super fancy. Too bad I quite being a Catholic, like, twelve years ago…Oops.
  • Try to speak French as much as possible. I think the American double standard for this is actually quite funny. On average, when American tourists travel they just sort of assume whoever they meet is going to be able to speak English. However, when in America, people are often angered when approached by someone speaking another language who is trying to communicate with them. I have seen both of these things occur and – I hate to break it to you if you are like this – but it doesn’t work both ways. Try speaking the language of the place you are visiting. Trust me, a little bit goes a long way. People just want to know that you are willing to put in the effort to communicate with them. For some reason the French are given the reputation of “hating Americans,” but I didn’t find this to be true at all. Even a simple greeting of “Bonjour, ça va?” is enough to break the ice. If the person you are trying to communicate with recognizes that you are not a fluent speaker, they will often switch to English. Everyone I met in Paris was very accommodating and sweet.

England

I’ve talked a lot about my adventures in Oxford, but not so much about London and Bath, two of the other cities I visited while studying in England. I was in London relatively frequently, though I only saw Bath once. Still, I would highly recommend both cities.

  • I don’t want to tell too many facts about Bath because I don’t want to ruin the tour for anyone, but you have to take the tour of the Roman baths (where Bath got its name from – whoa, didn’t see that one coming.) Aside from these (which have an awesome history) there are also many interesting things to do in Bath, including a fashion museum that tracks the history of English fashion throughout the centuries, displaying outfits worn by monarchs and British fashion icons. It’s pretty sweet. There is also this thing called the “Royal Crescent” which is basically where a bunch of filthy rich people live. It’s kind of neat to see. I am not rich, so it was something new. *Brief, self-pitying chuckle*
  • In London, I would recommend visiting Piccadilly Circus. This is both a tube stop and a pretty cool shopping district. It is definitely something to experience if you are going to be in town for some time.
  • You might also consider stopping by Camden Market. It is a large open-air market where you can buy different items (a lot of touristy stuff) to bring back home for friends and family. You can also find some really neat, hand-made crafts and merchandise that you can purchase for really reasonable prices. Do not be afraid to haggle with people, they will often come down in price if you make a reasonable offer! It’s definitely a fun experience.
  • If you are going to be in London for a significant amount of time (2+ weeks), then you are definitely going to want to look into purchasing an Oyster card. This is the card that accesses the tube. You can do one of two things with these bad boys: 1) load it with money as you go, or 2) purchase a travel plan, which basically gives you a certain amount of rides on the tube every week/month (depending on the plan you choose). The second option is typically better if you are going to be living in London for quite some time and will be travelling to work or school everyday. The Oyster card also works with the bus system, so you tap your card against a pad near the driver, the light flashes green, and in you go. If you do choose to use the pay as you go format, keep in mind that it can get expensive pretty quickly.

 

Okay, so these are all of the notes and/or suggestions I can think of for the moment. If you have any questions, comments, or further suggestions, feel free to let me know in the comments! Sorry this took me two years to write. I have no excuse.

-KP

Things I Did & Didn’t Miss (From Home)

When studying abroad you discover certain things that you are used to at home no longer exist or apply wherever it is you are studying. I have compiled a “Did & Didn’t” list for those things that I missed and those things that I absolutely didn’t mind living without while abroad.

Did: American Prices. The pound is worth more than the dollar, so everything was really expensive. (F.y.i. I studied in Oxford, England. Okay, moving on…) I felt like crying every time I had to spend money.

Didn’t: American chocolate. English chocolate is made with a higher percentage of cocoa and it is magical:)

Did: Driving and the price of gas. I missed the flexibility of driving where I wanted when I wanted. And gas prices in England are ridiculous. I mean, it makes sense because England is part of a small island, but…yikes.

Didn’t: Traffic. I know this sounds redundant because I just said I missed driving; however, public transportation is awesome and cheap! (Well, cheaper than owning a car, depending on how you use it.)

Did: My dog. Awww, typical. But I missed his turdliness.

Didn’t: Bugs. Aside from strangely over-sized houseflies there were hardly any bugs in England. None. Zero. Zilch. It was amazing. The English leave their windows open and nothing flies inside. Stunning.

Did: My family. Again, this is a pretty predictable one, but it’s no less true. However, what’s nice is that if you do study abroad with other people they can become your family abroad, and you can make some awesome friendships that way!

Didn’t: Invasive sales associates. So, this is an interesting cultural difference I noticed when I was over there – in America, when at a store you are (typically) asked if you need any help; if not once, then several times. I am the type of shopper who is not a huge fan of this because it feels like I am being pressured. Okay, so really it’s because I’m not a huge fan of social interaction. Technicalities. In England, however, they pretty much leave you alone until you approach the register yourself and make your purchase. If you have questions, you approach them. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Did: Normal-sized birds. England’s pigeons are freakishly large. And because there are not screens on any windows, sometimes they try to fly into your bedroom and eat you. It’s a thing, I swear.

Didn’t: America’s short history (as a country). America has some really interesting history, but we don’t go back as far as England. Learning about history and architecture was honestly one of my favorite things about traveling abroad. I’m a huge history buff, so that is partly it, but it is just so fascinating to me how young the country of America is in comparison with so many other countries and regions around the world. And the drama of historical families – historical gossip is very amusing.

—–

Sorry this was so delayed getting to you. (*Cough* two years *Cough*) Hope you enjoyed it anyway!

-KP

 

Flash Fiction: Your Word Is…

I know I keep saying that I’m going to post more and then not doing it. Sorry, I’m a liar. I’m actually finishing up my senior honors thesis right now on children’s fantasy literature and I’m trying not to fall into an academic writing coma. That being said, I am really sorry for consistently breaking my promises. Here is a work of flash fiction, unedited, that I wrote for a class and may be submitting (after further edits, of course) for a competition at my university early next month.

Enjoy:)

-KP

~~~~~

Your Word Is…

“Divorce. D-i-v-o-r-c-e. Divorce.”

Richter Academy’s Annual 3rd Grade Spelling Bee, May 4th, 2003. My dad said that my mother was sowing too many oats. He said the only thing good about her was her fiber intake. My mom said the only thing my father wanted more than money was a perfect score in racquetball. Neither came to see me lose to Maria Pacardi after misspelling the word “separated.” Who knew there was only one p?

“Funeral. F-u-n-e-r-a-l. Funeral.”

Grandma Marge died of a stroke, January 22nd, 2009. Mom made me wear a black jumper and my brother’s hand-me-down loafers. They weren’t meant for girls, but my feet were too big for anything my sister Claire had worn when she was my age. I set my white lily on the coffin with red heat in my cheeks, avoiding glances at my feet, like everyone could tell mom hadn’t earned enough tips from the salon last week to buy me new shoes.

“Graduate.”

“Can I have the definition please?”

“To grant a diploma at the close of a course of study, as in a university, college, or school.”

“Part of speech?”

“Verb.”

“Graduate. G-r-a-d-u-a-t-e. Graduate.”

Solely High School Graduation Ceremony, June 18th, 2011. Both mom and dad managed to show up but they sat at opposite ends of the auditorium, only dad had to leave halfway through the fight song because he got an emergency call from work. Mom said it was a call from the blonde floozy at 231 Maple, the apartment next door to my father’s. I tried to pretend my mother hadn’t said anything. I tried to pretend that I hadn’t known it was probably true.

Walking across the stage to shake hands with Principle Phillis and accept my degree, I remembered my acceptance letter to the University of Maryland with a hefty scholarship attached. The first person in my family to go to college. Work functions and blonde neighbors could not impede me. My bags were packed two weeks ago.

 

Short Fiction: The Record Keepers

The dead man glanced up from the manila folder pressed under his nose to glare at the suited man hovering above him. The man who had addressed himself as “Lucifer, Satan, the Dark One—whatever mind you,” peered down at him from beneath a pair of thin, wire-rimmed glasses.

“I don’t understand,” the dead man said, and Lucifer sighed, arms folding across his crisp lapel; something gray and expensive, with a purple tie and a paisley pocket square to match.

“What do you mean you don’t understand? It’s fairly simple logic. Open the folder, read the name, sort it into Heaven or Hell. Easy.”

“Yeah, easy,” the dead man echoed, staring up at the 10,000-file stack in his inbox, bulge forming in his throat at the realization that this pile was only from the last half hour.

“If you have any concerns, feel free to contact the human resources department,” Lucifer said. “You may also consider speaking with Charon, he is the district manager of the record keepers. He should be more than willing to answer any of your questions as long as you make it worth his while.” Lucifer smirked to himself, his lips thinning as they spread upward until there was almost nothing left of them; nothing to suggest that his mouth was anything more than a black hole in the center of his face. With, of course, the exception of two even rows of perfectly bleached teeth.

“You also might consider directing your questions to your fellow coworkers, though they usually prefer to remain undisturbed,” Lucifer continued, gesturing with a flattened palm at the rows of cubicles that extended beyond the dead man’s view.

The dead man could only make out the tops of most of the workers’ heads, with the exception of the few cubicles nearby. The woman directly behind him was hunched over a stack of papers similar to his own, stapling in a steady rhythm of thump, swish, thump, swish, thump. Every forth staple she missed the corner of the page, puncturing, instead, the skin between her thumb and forefinger, but she didn’t seem to feel it—or if she did, she no longer cared—because she continued the rhythm uninterrupted.

Beside her, a man with a Bluetooth headset strapped to his ear mumbled into the mouthpiece. On the gray carpet wall beside his desk was a pale blue poster of a tiny yellow kitten, its head turned to a rope dangling high above it in the shape of a noose. The words “hang in there” were etched sardonically across the bottom.

The dead man cringed.

Other than the single cat poster, the walls of the cubicles were barren. Even the office walls, a stark eggshell smelling of fresh paint, untainted by scratches or the pinprick holes left behind by thumbtacks, were unusually empty. The only exception was the clock that ticked above the copy machine. It had no numbers, only a second hand that zoomed around in circles, never once hesitating before moving along its predestined path.

The dead man glanced down at the folder that lay in front of him, eyes swerving to the name, Hannah LeMark, in clearly stenciled letters across the top.

He had no interest in the names written in elegant, golden cursive instead of the roughly outlined block letters. He didn’t want to know where they went. Well, he knew where they went, but he didn’t want to know the details. That meant it was real, a place where only the best of the best got to go. A place better than this one. Lucky bastards. So far, there had only been three; three names out of hundreds written in that flowing script.

He should have known from the beginning that getting into Heaven wouldn’t be easy: like receiving a Nobel Peace Prize or curing cancer. Easy for the point one percent, not so much for everyone else.

Standing at the copier, a man in a blood red tie and aged, gray suit jacket pressed the green “copy” button over and over. The machine whirred, shuddered, and choked. An error message popped up on the screen: paper jam in compartment 4a. The man opened the side door that led to the gut of the machine, reaching in and tugging; twisting nobs and adjusting levers until a crumpled piece of toner-streaked paper came out in pieces. He reset the levers, closed the door, and pressed start. The machine whirred, shuddered, and choked. Error.

“What about break times?” the dead man said, drawing a small pile of folders from the much larger stack towering above him. He eyed Lucifer who had pulled out his iPhone—the latest edition, something gold—and seemed to have lost interest in the plight of his newest employee; the jingling theme of Candy Crush chimed out from his small device.

Ignored, the dead man flipped through the files, one after another: Heaven, Hell, Hell, Hell, Hell. He would need a break soon, before all of this really went to his head. “How about lunch?”

Lucifer arched an eyebrow, his expression drawing higher, making his forehead wrinkle. “No such thing, kid,” he said. “No need. You’re dead.”

The dead man placed a hand on his gut, shifting in his seat. The plastic surface squealed in protest and he paused, stomach trembling under his palm. “But I can feel my stomach growling.”

Lucifer frowned, backing away with a sigh. “You’ll get over it. It’s always hard to break mortal habits. You’ll learn to forget eventually. Enjoy your stay in hell.”

“Thanks,” the dead man mumbled. He stared at his inbox: 10,492.

Hello Again & Deathcapades

So it has been a very long time since we’ve chatted – four whole months – I checked. This, of course, is completely my fault. I’d like to blame it on the busyness of my schedule and all of that, but the truth is I didn’t make writing a priority for myself.

A lot can happen in four months. Like, I don’t know, the entire layout of the way WordPress posts are written. You know what that tells me? It’s high time I put more effort into my writing and my blog, and I am sorry about the hiatus.

But…you know…since we’re on speaking terms now… Do you want to hear about how I almost died for the second time in my life? It was definitely death; I could see at it – stared it right in the eye!

This is how it happened:

You would think for someone who will soon be earning a degree in English Literature I would read things (say…instructions?) a bit more closely. Although, in my own defense, I blame it fully on my shoddy memory and not my inability to read. Hell, it’s probably both.

I should have read the email closer, I should have remembered the bold “FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS TO GET TO THE CABIN” glaring at me from the white screen of my email. I should not have listened to my inner voice (something squeaky and thin) that said “Oh, it’s fine. The GPS knows what to do. That’s what it was designed for!” I should not have forgotten that the northern Michigan wilderness is not something one simply wanders into – it’s something that will eat you up, spit you out, and then make fun of your scroungy, damp appearance afterwards.

But did I remember the email’s directions? Nope. Not even a little.

So there we were, myself and three others, turning off I-75 onto a street called Waterby in the middle-of-nowhere Michigan on our way to a cabin we rented, listening to the new One Direction album at a decibel that made my eardrums vibrate. This exit did not lead to a town, not even a village. It was a road with no evidence of life once existing there except for a rundown Ford car sales lot on the right hand side.

“This looks familiar,” said one of my companions. She had been to the cabin before. She knew the way.

Or more correctly, I thought she knew the way.

So we continued to drive.

We made a couple of turns from one dirt road onto another, and soon it became apparently obvious to everyone involved – even those of use who had not been to the cabin previously – that nothing looked familiar. There weren’t houses, there weren’t people, and the only car we passed was an old Dodge Ram, red, dating back to some time before 2005.

Soon enough, just before dead-ending on yet another dirt road, we were instructed to take a left. Onto what? A path. A dirt path that consisted of two tire treads and NOTHING ELSE. Well, you might be thinking: why not turn around? Perhaps we had too much faith in the GPS, or perhaps we thought this  dirt-path-that-couldn’t-possibly-be-a-road was going to be a temporary venture. We shouldn’t have. And it wasn’t.

It was a slow crawl along the path and it didn’t take us long to realize that turning around was not going to be an option as there was hardly room for a single car to pass along the trail, let along to make any sort of movement other than drive straight ahead. Woods began to surround us, and soon we were in the middle of the northern Michigan forest.

Reversing was disqualified as an option when we heard a thunk, thunk, thunk and felt the scrape of logs pass along the undercarriage of the car. Every scrape made us wince.

And then came the sand.

Half a foot of sand was piled in places along the trail, tire tracks from what seemed like years ago had barely passed through it, and much like the logs, we flinched as the sand hissed, passing along the car’s belly. There were puddles too. Questionably deep puddles, for the trail – clearly, at this point, not meant for cars – would dip down into a trough, and we could only guess that they were shallow; hope that they were shallow enough to let the car drive through them.

If that wasn’t bad enough, about halfway through this two mile escapade (the GPS continued to trek along as if this THING that we were driving on was an actual road) no trespassing signs began to appear. At first it was just one or two, and then it quickly became one every one or two yards. “No trespassing,” “private property.”

And the sun was beginning to set.

I know I have admitted in the past to fictionalizing pieces of the stories that I tell, but I give you my word that everything I am telling you in this post is 100% true. This actually happened to me. THIS IS MY REAL LIFE!

It was easy to imagine as we continued along the trail that should another car come up to us, facing the opposite direction, we would be at a complete stand-still, unable to move. And if this person was a serial killer, well…we’d all be dead.

The wolves too. We could easily have been eaten by wolves.

What if the car stalled? What if a tire popped? We would be stranded in the middle of the wilderness where absolutely NO ONE would find us. Not even the police dogs would be able to scent us out; that’s how far into the woods we were. On a trail that our GPS thought was a road.

Every so often as we drove an oil rig would pop up in a clearing a distance from the trail before disappearing one again into the thicket of the woods. At one time there was a maintenance shack that could have been a murder shed for all I know. I am from the city; while I like the idea of a quiet weekend up North by a lake, I have the survival instincts of a goldfish. I would definitely die if left to myself in the woods in the middle of winter: 100%.

At least there were four of us, however (moral support), and between the four of us we decided that our best option would be to venture forward on the road rather than to make an attempt at pulling off and circling back.

And then we went fully off the grid.

The purple line that our little car image had been following on the GPS’ map steered into the gray. No longer was our trail a road. We were in the dead center of the forest. No road. No hope.

So we did what any rational people would have done in that situation: we screamed. Loudly. So loudly that I could only just hear Harry Styles sing his melodic runs behind the ringing of panicked shrieks.

Now, I wish I could tell you that this story has some kind of epic conclusion. I wish I could tell you that we had to get out of the car and trek ten miles to the nearest road, hitchhike to town, and by our dinner with the money we earned from betting on pool in a local bar. Unfortunately, this story’s conclusion isn’t nearly that thrilling.

We continued strait along the trail and eventually our car on the GPS managed to find its way back to purple road. Only a little ways after that did we also find ourselves on an actual road (a dirt one, sure, but it was definitely a road!) We were still lost after that and it probably took us a good solid hour and a half to finally get to the cabin, which we did just prior to it getting dark.

I can honestly tell you it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I honestly thought that was it – the end of my days spent stranded in the middle of the Michigan wilderness. And all because I didn’t read an email closely enough.

As it turns out, we could have easily taken two main roads – two PAVED roads – to get to where we needed to be, it just wasn’t as direct a route (apparently) as the Trail of Doom our GPS recommended instead. I am still not sure how the GPS even knew about that “road,” and I’m really upset that no one thought to take video at the time so I could prove to you that I am absolutely, 100% telling the truth right now. Unfortunately we didn’t. We were far too busy screaming in terror. Ah well, it is what it is.

Mel

Mini Post About Nothing #23: Some Things You Should See

This is going to be a very random post coming to you at a very random time, but there are two videos that I want to share with you. Two videos that I think everyone should see once in their lifetime. The first is amusing. The second is important (but also amusing.)

#1: 

Even if you are not a fan of One Direction, this is funny. If nothing else, it’s self-deprecating as it mocks the sheer commercialism of the band. I think I laughed for a solid ten minutes after watching this. And then I watched it again.

#2: This video I think is extremely important. It’s about sex. But far more importantly, it’s about consent, and putting consent into terms that are both easily understandable and shockingly clear. If you are a teacher, a parent, or (as cases may have it) simply a good friend, you should spread this video like wildfire. So much of today’s problems come from ignorance and/or confusion. This video makes sure that there can be none of that, and that “oh, I didn’t know s/he didn’t want it” can’t be used as an excuse. It’s also funny as hell. I highly recommend taking a look!

What Have I Been Doing With My Life?

Ehem… Nothing.

That’s a lie– it’s been a lot of somethings, thus the not posting.

So, here it is:

I moved back into my on-campus dorm-apartment to begin training for my housing job (I work as a form of night security for the dorms on my campus) and have been spending 12 hours a day listening to people talk about how to do my job, how to be a good listener, etc. All very important things but all taxing when put one after another after another after another— you get it.

In the two weeks prior to me relocating my life back on campus, I was cramming in thesis research (which is really just me analyzing 6-7 novels in the children’s fantasy literature genre and making a shit ton of notes as well as finding scholarly articles and the like.)

I’ve also been pleasure reading various other books. If you like book recommendations, I will tell you that Sarah J. Maas’ book A Court of Thorns and Roses is very good. Fantasy is my favorite genre (if you couldn’t tell by my thesis topic) so I may be a little biased, but I honestly thought it was a very good read. The plot involves faeries but is quite different from any book I’ve ready in the past involving faeries (have to say they are usually not my favorite– like at all) but this one really grabbed my interest. Warning: the sequel doesn’t come out until next May, which is a super bummer because my friend who let me borrow the book didn’t tell me that until I was finished. You shouldn’t lead people on like that. It’s rude.

I actually got a chance to meet Sarah Maas at an author/book tour of Michigan a year or two ago (man, I can’t keep track of time) and she was super sweet. For that reason I emphasize that you should definitely check her and her books out. This is her second series, and I will be honest with you, I wasn’t too crazy about the first book in her first series, but since its publication and the 2-3 books following it in the series, she has been getting a lot of attention, so maybe I should try it again. Anyway, I can definitely see her growth as an author and it is very impressive to me, so if you like YA Fantasy, definitely give this girl a look.

I’m not going to be editing this post because I still have a ton of stuff to do tonight, the first of which is to take a shower because y’all I’m gross. I apologize now for the grammar issues I am sure this post is riddled with. I have had to press the space bar about a thousand times so far in this semi-short post which is typically not a good sign anyway. I’m also not wearing my glasses which is both strange and stupid because it could explain a lot of these errors, but I decided to do this in loo of taking my shower first, so I guess i just left them off and am only realizing it now.

Also sorry that this post is more like a stream of consciousness than a well thought out blog post. In the words of my boss: Awko Taco.

(I’m thinking I might just sign out with “M” from now on instead of saying Mel or Melanie. Just something I’m experimenting with. Will it stay? Who knows. I expect it will come and go with my mood. Might as well just keep with the theme of randomness in this post so far.)