Steph's Suitcase

What's going on in Steph's life and her random musings... for anyone who gives a monkey.

Monday, July 15, 2002

I'm back from Europe! WOO!!! Neal's not online right now like he usually is! :( I'm so sad!!! Anyway, I was telling my parents about my 2 week trip and it took 2 hours so this will be VERY long.

"Is there anyone who needs to be aroused?" ~Mrs. Warrenburg trying to indicate sleeping students needed to be awoken.

"I have to pee like the monkeys in my pocket." ~Me

"I'm a big fan of sitting." ~Me
"I'm a big fan of shi- sitting too." ~Melissa
"That's appropriate considering the smell of the sewer." ~Me
"And the fact that I had to pee twice already." ~Melissa

"We're stopping for a bathroom only if it's an emergency. Unless you might have already... done it." ~Antonio

"I've never seen a palm tree before!" ~Becky, a Canadian
"We've been passing them for the past hour!" ~Sean, an American
"Why doesn't Canada have palm trees?" ~Becky
"It's too warm." ~Sean
"What kind of palm trees do you have?" ~Becky
"Illinois doesn't have palm trees." ~Sean
"Are they the same as these?" ~Becky
"No, the palm trees in California and Florida are different than these." ~Sean

"You're Spongebob-crappypants." ~Erin

"You're a mo." ~Erin

"Lauren's a po." ~Erin

"Me llamo espanol." ~Melissa I call myself Spanish

"Me llamo el pollo diablo." ~Me I call myself the demon chicken

"I'm laughing so hard my thumbs are weak." ~Melissa

I got into Michigan Tech and I'm definitely going there! I'm visiting on Tuesday. I have to send in a deposit and fill out a housing form.

7-1-02 Chicago/Detroit/overseas
Mrs. Warrenburg's neighbor Helen (who will forever be called The Neighbor) was half an hour late to the limo because at 1:00 (we were supposed to meet at 1:30) she decided to go to the cleaners and to go to the bank. Right from the start I wasn't a big fan of her. Then she left her ticket where she bought water and refused to check there when she realized it was gone. She claimed that the airline people had taken it and someone else had to go look. I realized then that she was just like my grandma, who I'm not a big fan of (Chicagoan sentence!).

7-2-02 London
I had absolutely no sleep on the 8 hour plane ride to London (after transferring to Detroit (or as Mrs. Warrenburg says it DE-troit, not de-TROIT)). I listened to Neal's CD 3 times. There was a flight attendant named B'Nard, not Barnard. I thought that was teh ghettoest spelling I've ever seen. The towels in London are cloth and reusable... very strange. And they have automatic toilets that actually work! At Burger King there were 2 levels, and a very flaming gay man (wearing a tight baby blue turtleneck and tight pants) came down the stairs and left the building. Then 5 minutes later he did it again, and I hadn't seen him come back up the stairs that I was watching like a hawk! Melissa pointed out that the English were staring at us like we were buffalo. Haven't they seen a human before? Erin declared that I laugh like a guinea pig. I've never heard one laugh, but I won't bother to question it because that's just too weird. Melissa swears to whatever monkey is in her head that she saw Neal. Of course there's no way that Neal would be in London. At dinner we had fish and chips (I hate fish... icky) and the bathroom was like a maze. It like at least 4 doors you have to go through, including stairs and hallways. Then the toilets had to be pumped. Melissa was defective at flushing. She'd pump for 5 minutes and nothing would happen, then I'd pump once and it'd flush. It'd take me less time to pump mine. I bought an Aphex Twin cd from Virgin Megastore. The weather was frickin cold and all I had were shorts, so I bought a pair of jeans on sale for approximately $40 US but it was the cheapest I could find. London is crazy expensive. It's funny how the sizes went. I tried on a small and it would almost be able to button, but a medium was so big that I can get it off without unbuttoning them. A belt is a must. The brand is O'Neill, which I find highly ironic and completely unintentional. Later that night I was rooming with Prinke and we turned on the heat and it smelled like burning dust. We joked about how it was a new perfume and succeeded in getting me giggleitis. We're not a good combination together because we talk too much. It took us way too long to get to bad, sometime after 1. The bedroom was so small- only 1 room and there were 2 narrow beds pushed together. My suitcase didn't fit between the bed and the wall it was so small. I took a picture of the room and the bathroom which had a peanut shaped tub and a curtain with the roman emperors on it. There were 2 incidents of guys checking me out. I've noticed that I have "It" now. Oh, and teh dude working at the hotel didn't speak English well, which is odd for being in London. We asked for toilet paper and got kleenex, and Sean asked for a gym and was told about the phones. We saw Trafalgar Square, Picadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Leicester Square. Our tour guide was Antonio, who was WAY cool. He liked singing random songs. We were joined by about 20 Canadians from Winnepeg. They were very disrespectful of the tours and were very stupid. They give my friend Jen from Winnepeg a bad name.

7-3-02 London
We saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, saw where Princess Di was killed, drove by Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, stood outside the Tower of London, passed by Hyde Park, and visited St. Paul's Cathedral and Windsor Castle. That night we saw Fame and afterward walked through Soho (where all the prostitution is and where a guy tried to pick up Erin). I found out that London doesn't accept America travelers cheques, which was quite annoying since I had several. I learned several new words: whiffy=fishy, bad slumicking=slouching, lazing queues=lines. I saw an add for American English and thought of Liz. It rained again, and Melissa gave Neal the nickname Nealio. At dinner we had chicken and fries and I laughed so hard that water was dripping from my nose. Several toilets had no seats. At Fame they sold Ben and Jerry's, which I was surprised at. No one does that at American theaters. Lots of people talked through it and applauded, and at the end they made us dance... it was very strange. I had a candybar that was chocolate covered honeycomb and it was yummy. Some of the Canadians were insulting Americans and one was being very rude to me. I bought a game called Outrage! Steal the Crown Jewels! from the Tower of London. It's supposed to be magnetic but it's not. I'm really bad at it, and I don't like it but Erin and Prinke really do. There was 1 incident of a guy checking me out. I thought I heard Prinke talking in the shower, saying "Carmen," but she denies it. She did tell me she hears voices and that her mother lectures her often in her head. I decided that she talks to ghosts and they are the ones who lecture her. It was a very giggly time.

7-4-02 London/Paris
We took the chunnel to Paris and played Outrage the whole time. The game took 3 hours to play, which was really frustrating. Then we played Egyptian War. After we arrived in Paris we saw the Louvre and I was able to take a picture of the Mona Lisa and several other cool things, like Hermaphrodite (a statue that's half Hermes and half Aphrodite). I got very little sleep again, so I was running on about 8 hours of sleep. Eminem was in my head all day, which was frustrating. I'm actually starting to like him. We discussed French words and decided we were going to respond to anything asked of us with the characteristic French laugh because we don't know French. Mrs. Warrenburg was pickpocketed on the underground and lost over $200 since a group of 4 surrounded her. Then a child tried to pickpocket her at the hotel but there was nothing left to get. The Neighbor was an hour late at the Louvre because she decided that our meeting time was at 6:30, not 5:30 even though her group told her it was 5:30. We decided to leave her behind and Dr. Sienkewicz stayed behind to take her to the restaurant when she finally emerged. We had chicken and fries again. After dinner we went to the Eiffel Tower. There were phones there and I was tempted to call Neal from there and sayd "I'm on the Eiffel Tower on the 4th!" but I was too tired to move. Later I tried to call him at the hotel but I couldn't get connected. I took a picture of the hotel room again and the miniscule shower.

7-5-02 Paris/Versailles
We saw the Arc de Triumphe, Champs Elysees (don't ask me what it was), Champ de Mars (ditto), les Invalides (ditto twice), Ecole Militaire (ditto thrice), Conciergerie (ditto a fourth time), Ile de la Cite (ditto a fifth), and Notre Dame Cathedral. After all that we went to Versailles where I saw a room that was devoted only to pictures of Napoleon (my hero!!) and Erin fell down the stairs. She and Melissa bought me a Napoleon keychain and when I saw it I giggled and everyone laughed at me. Later that night we had a cruise on the Seine in a very nasty boat. It rained all day again and I got about 5 hours of sleep the previous night. Our hotel was in a very bad area that was really dirty. For dinner we had chicken and fries again, this time at the Hippopotamus Grill. The best part was when I bought my swatch and when we ate at a chocolaterie. I got a hot chocolate that was divine, and it was a nice place that was out of the rain.

7-6-02 Paris/Avignon/Nimes
We visited the palace of the popes at Avignon after riding the TGV, Europe's fastest train. Then we saw the amphitheater and an ancient Roman temple and well. I got about 5 hours of sleep the pervious night again, so I was running on really low sleep. The bread for breakfast was moldy, which was really nasty. I had French onion soup, only in France it's just called onion soup. France just calls French fries, fries, and French toast doesn't exist. Melissa kept cracking up at nothing, which was really funny to watch because she was laughing like a donkey crossed with a hyena. At the Roman Temple Erin, Tracy, and Melissa picked up a guy named Charlie who took a bike trek across France and comes from Virginia (the very town where Mark the train guy comes from!!!!). Prinke picked up a gypsy boy. I had gone to the room to sleep. The Neighbor was being really stupid. She wore really thin heels so she was complaining about her feet and how she had to pee. We stopped to let her go to the bathroom, and she decided to rest her feet first, even though she said she had to go really bad. The streets were really nasty with dog poo everywhere, but the town was much safer than Paris. I saw one guy taking his garbage out wearing nothing but a shirt... no boxers or anything... it was really disturbing because he was in his 40s.

7-7-02 Nimes/Uzes
We visited Pont du Gard, which is an ancient Roman aquaduct. The Neighbor was wearing a shirt that had a v-neck down to her chest Janet style, which is disturbing on a 61-year-old. I wouldn't even wear that, and I wear some kinky things sometimes! During lunch a moth kept flying around Melissa which was really funny because she's really ticklish and she kept laughing. For some reason moths are attracted to her, because she couldn't get rid of them and several other days she had the same problem. Once it was so bad that the moth was in her hair and another time it was on her shoe and wouldn't leave. I thought it was pretty funny, especially considering how I was a moth in another life. Dogs were everywhere. Apparently dogs don't need leashes in France, and they're allowed into buildings. At the aquaduct we wading in the river for a shortcut and it was so painful because the rocks kept moving under my bare feet. I hate wading because of the swimming fish, so I wasn't happy at all. There were several topless women there, and 1 naked boy. Frenchies have no modesty. Anyway, we climbed up a clif after the wading to reach the path but a French guard stopped us and started talking to us in French. I had to tell him we didn't speak French, and he told us it was too dangerous so we had to go back the way we came and we had only 15 minutes to do it. It had taken us 10 minutes to wade the river and about 10 more from the meeting spot, so we were very pressed for time. I waded with my shoes on this time to make it quicker, and then I practically ran to the meeting spot since I'm a freak about being on time. That's why I own so many watches (5 to be exact). At Uzes Antonio did a puppet show with Mrs. Warrenburg's puppets, and it was really funny. Later that night I went to an internet cafe and emailed Neal with some stuff. French keyboards are crazy because the keys are moved around and you have to push shift to get the numbers and there are more keys. After my half hour was up (only 1.5 euros!) I called Janet and talked to her, Sarah, and Jessa. Then I tried calling Neal but he wasn't home.

7-8-02 Nimes/Monte Carlo/Nice
We went to the Monaco casino and saw Prince Rainier's palace. Then we saw the promenade in Nice. I got to see the Mediterranean sea and the Alps and we went through lots of tunnels (WOO! I love tunnels!). Some of them even had phone booths! We discussed getting married in France, and we decided Neal was going to move there to get a French accent, then we'd get married (so we get lots of gifts according to tradition) amd then move back to the states. There are lots of stucco builldings, which I find awesome since I adore stucco and that's what I want my house to be made of. When we were in Monte Carlo we kept singing the Indiana Jones theme song since he went there in one of the computer games. Melissa took a picture of me and my head is pear shaped in it, so Erin, Prinke, and Melissa kept making fun of me about it.

7-9-02 Nice
We visited St Paul de Vence and then spent the whole afternoon sleeping since I got sick. Briana was sick with strept throat first, and then it was passed on to me and Erin. It was raining, too, which didn't help at all. The Neighbor had Antonio carry her bags, which she has done several times. It's so rude! She also stole Erin's umbrella without asking AND she keeps grabbing us and shoving us out of her way. I have no respect for her at all, and people are really starting to dislike her. I ordered a banana and nutella crepe, but was gyped out of the banana. THat made me mad. Antonio pronounces crepe like crap, which is very funny. Several of the Canadian girls have crushes on Antonio, and so does The Neighbor. She keeps flirting with him and it's so nasty! She also keeps disappearing and it's become a running joke. When Antonio comes to meet us we always have to say, "Guess who's missing." and he immediately knows it's The Neighbor and he groans. Before dinner I went into a department store that had a supermarket... that was so weird.

7-10-02 Nice/Pisa/Florence
We saw the Baptistry and the Leaning Tower at Pisa, and then saw the Gates of Paradise and Giotto's Bell in Florence. I was sick again. Today The Neighbor was wearing a shirt with a lower neckline than before! It was so incredibly nasty! We visited a perfumerie and we were stuck there for an extra hour because a girl had forgotten her passport at the last hotel and we had to wait for a taxi to bring it. I forgot to mention that the whole trip Erin was going on about how Ewan McGregor was going to meet her during the trip, and Melissa said the same for Tony Blair. They both are obsessed with those guys. Apparently Tony Blair has a villa in Tuscany, as does Elton John. In Florence we were riding the public buses and it was pretty crowded. It jerked and Melissa accidentely hit a man in the butt. She was going to apologize but he turned around and smiled at her. It was so funny! I kept bumping into a different guy in the butt, and he and his buddies kept talking and looking at me, as if I knew what they were saying. I noticed that France is not very wheelchair accessable, and that French babies cry differently than American ones. When we were walking around that night we saw a cool street performer who was painted silver and pretending to be a statue. We wanted to give him money but we were all nervous, so we were shoving the money at each other and trying to get someone to go up. We were afraid he was going to jump at us. Tracy asked The Neighbor if she'd do it, and she got all defensive and yelled at Tracy for disrespecting her and for being shy (she thinks people our age shouldn't be shy and that you can just magic away shyness, which isn't true since it's genetic) and she said we were lucky to have chaperones and that she had heard us talking about her (which is impossible since we never did it in her presence). At one of the Italian bathrooms the toilet flushed when I got in, when I sat, and when I got up, and it just kept flushing! It was the funniest thing! Also, Italians have a few vehicles that are 3 wheeled and are cleanup things. And all over Europe are tiny cars called Minis. They're so cute! One was painted with Blues Clues, and another had green 2s all over it. They're custom painted and they're so awesome!

7-11-02 Florence
We saw several Italian things that I don't recall. We did go to a leather workshop and I bought a keychain there for Neal and had his initials put on it. Later we went to Siena, where there were way too many hills. I'm still sick, and we decided that I suck souls since I suck the heat out of people like a lizard. The Neighbor told the tour guide in Siena that we were uneducated and that we didn't know what we were looking at and that we don't learn anything in school about history. We were so insulted because she had no right to say that, especially since she was the one who didn't know what all this stuff was that we were seeing. She had no reason to tell the tour guide lies like that. Then after the tour she ran into a shop without letting anyone know and we couldn't find her. We were already late, but we searched for her for an hour and then decided to go to the coach without her. When we got there we found her. She refused to apologize for leaving the group and blamed us for leaving her. We didn't have any free time to shop, she had just decided that she was going to shop on her own! She never listens to anything anyone says, and she's always running off. We were really mad at her. We called her Helen of Troy, who caused 1000 search parties (instead of causing the launching of 1000 ships and the Trojan war) and 1000 people running her clothing. It was pretty funny. At dinner we stole Sean's shoes (since he was always taking them off) and he didn't notice until we had to leave. It was really funny. On the bus ride to the hotel, 2 guys came up to the bus and were going to wash the windows when one of them saw me and stopped to lick his lips and make kissy faces and stuff. It was so disturbing! Erin said that he was professing love to me, and it was funny and scary at the same time. Oh, and I tried veal for the first time and didn't like it.

7-12-02 Florence/Rome
I'm still sick. We visited Assisi, which has several hills. Too many by my opinion. There were lots of teeny lizards and they were so adorable! I wanted to catch them! I found several bites from Florence and they itch and are hard bumps that look like pimples. Several of us have them, and we don't know if they're spider bites, bed bug bites (since the hotel wasn't great), Italian mosquitoes, or fly bites.

7-13-02 Rome
Sick again! We visited the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Trevi Fountain. A girl got groped on the bus, and she was very scared. As warned, Italians are very touchy. That's why we didn't go to the club. We were going to go in London, but Antonio said those were shady. We decided to go in Florence instead, but I was sick and I didn't want to be grabbed. I figure I'd be more comfortable doing it in a country where I speak the language, and where I'd be with people I know. 1 room on the ground floor had their window open during the night and 2 girls had their purses stolen, including credit cards, passports, and drivers licenses. I guess someone had come into their room while they were sleeping, which is really scary. They had to call the police and were almost unable to go home but luckily they had made copies of their passports. That night we went to a restaurant which served an authentic Roman banquet. It was awesome! I wanted to have the Roman wine but Mrs. Warrenburg wouldn't let me because it was a school trip (even though I was allowed to drink in Italy). I was really mad because it's not often that you get to have authentic Roman wine! The appetizer was melon with garum (fish sauce) and it was good. There was also octopus roasted with garum (yucky) and fig flavored ham on must bread (yummy). THe next course was mushroom and lentil soup (I don't like mushrooms so it was yucky), peas and leek soup (that was a bright green and pretty good), and rice and pork soup (I don't like pork, so it was ok.) All the soups were really thick. Next was Horace's grandma's lasagna (he's a poet). It was made with farina, ricotta cheese (icky poo), and several veggies I don't like. I wasn't a big fan of that. THen came beef with apple sauce (yum), pork with citron sauce (ick), fish with onion suace (I don't like fish so it was bad), fish with wine sauce (ick), goat with fig sauce (first time having goat, and it was ok), and squid balls (ick). Melissa adored the squid balls and she ate them so fast she didn't even remember eating them. There was also carrots and pickles and olive bread, both yucky. Desert was cake of the pharoah, which was really really good. It was the onyl thing I really liked. It was a cake with honey and poppy seeds and really awesome. I took pictures of all the foods, except the desert because I had forgotten. I also got pictures of all the hotels except the last one because I also forgot it. The water we drank came from a real working Roman aquaduct. I never drank so much water in my life as on this trip, because pop was 3.50 for a can! It was so darn expensive! Erin called my camera ghetto because I had it duct taped together and it sounded like it ate my film when you took a picture. We got pictures of the servers (dressed in Roman clothing) and and the napkins were attached to the tables and the spook had a point at the other end, which was the fork. On the way back to the hotel a really creepy guy walked with us who kept laughing and smiling back at us. He was eyeing our purses and stuff, so we tried to get away from him ASAP.

7-14-02 Rome/Detroit/Chicago
It was a 10 hour flight to Detroit, and very tiring. I started and finished one of my books, then had a 2 hour nap. At Detroit we went to the gate on our tickets (after customs and everything) and found that it was no longer 78, but 27 so we had 5 minutes to run 50 gates before they started boarding. Most of our group took the tram, but Melissa, Prinke and I ran because we wanted to stretch our legs after sitting for 10 hours. I was so tired because my carryon didn't have a strap and I had to carry it with both hands. We made it about 10-15 minutes later at the same time as everyone else, so it wasn't any slower. I had to pee like the dickens though, and I had a terrible crampy in my right leg where I had the wires inserted for my surgery. Technically I'm still not supposed to be doing strenuous activity, so that 50 gate run was a really bad idea. On the 22nd I have my appointment with the doctor to make sure I'm fine, and then I'm cool! Dr. Sienkewicz had his luggage stolen or something between Rome and Detroit, so now he's luggageless. The Canadians were joking about The Neighbor and they said we should have a shirt with a pun on her name, saying "I survived Hell-en." That was the cleverest thing I've ever heard, and so hilarious! Mrs. Warrenburg believes that The Neighbor has alzheimers, which would be why she was acting the way she did. It makes sense. Earlier The Neighbor had asked me what gate we had to go to and I told her 22 and that she needed her boarding pass and that it said it on there. Then she gave me a lecture about how she had asked a simple question and that the elderly need to be respected and blah blah blah. I told her that I had answered her, so it didn't matter. I don't care what she thinks, but she didn't deserve any respect from me when she was acting so childish. Mrs. Warrenburg said that she was never taking The Neighbor on another trip again. Most of the Canadians were continuing on for a 3rd week, but 6 of them returned with us. Apparently I look like I'm over 21 because the stewardess asked me if I wanted wine.

If you want to see group pictures, go to explorica and login under with the password as explorica. There you can see the pictures of our trip. It's about 10:35 in Italy, so I'm not tired and I've been up for 28 hours now.


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