Author Archives: jamd52

Welcome home

By Jantsen McBride

As I sit writing my last blog post, it is from the comfort of my bedroom in Kansas City. A week ago, I was packing up and getting ready to leave England. What a difference one week makes! I have settled back in to my former American lifestyle which consists of sleeping, eating and repeating. I had a lovely surprise visit from two of my best friends from college, and I have begun working at the salon again. My sleep schedule is completely out of whack and I wake up at 6:30 a.m. with failure to fall back asleep. As I adjust to being back home I have come to notice some of the things I missed while abroad. Poptarts, cookie dough and mac & cheese sit at the top of the list. But seriously, the fact that I can drive anytime and not stand out in the cold waiting for a bus is pretty great. And having a dishwasher and dryer in the house absolutely rocks. However, I truly do miss England. It became a part of who I am and shaped me into a more independent and self-sufficient individual. As I prepare to go back to the Zou, I look forward to incorporating my new found experiences into my American college lifestyle. While England will always hold a very special place in my heart, I am happy to be home. Thank you for letting me share my experiences abroad with you and I am honored to have had the opportunity to blog about my fall semester abroad in Lancaster.

Carly and I at her dance recital back at home in good ol' KCMO.

Carly and I at her dance recital back at home in good ol’ KCMO.

Until we meet again,

Jantsen

With a little help from my friends

By Jantsen McBride

Dear readers,

As my study abroad adventure comes to a close, I feel I must remark on what it feels like to pack up a semester’s worth of living to go home. I was allowed one carry-on suitcase, a backpack and one checked bag to accompany me home to the United States. If anyone knows me well, they know firsthand of my shopping addiction. Hello my name is Jantsen, and I am a shopaholic. There I admit it. So when it came down to packing, deciding what to bring home and what to leave was quite an obstacle. I left all my pots and pans/food/bedding/etc. with Marley and the Albino HQ (his flat), packed all of my family’s Christmas gifts in my carry-on and managed to squeeze every amount of space full with clothing in my other bags. Total packing time: more than four hours. Thank the Lord that Marley’s mom picked me up from the flat with all my cargo because there is no way I would have managed on my own! Also, a quick shout-out to my parents for the luggage scale-it came in handy when weighing my bag that could not be more than fifty pounds. Even bigger shout-out to Marley for lifting and weighing the bags repeatedly!

That Friday, I had the extreme pleasure of having one last night out with my close English friends. After getting spiffy we went to my favorite Italian restaurant in Lancaster, Molinari’s, for one “last supper.” Ella, Ben, Andy, Holly, Toni, Pete, Marley and I had a wonderful evening full of laughter, good food and reminiscing on the semester’s good times. After dinner everyone was acting a little funny and then they turned to me and told me they had all pitched in and gotten me some going away presents. I couldn’t believe it. How in the world did I manage to land such great friends while abroad? The thoughtful gesture was so appreciated and I am incredibly blessed to have met such genuine, caring, beautiful people on my study abroad adventure. The intricate photo album, English socks and “fit American” card will forever be a symbol in my memory of the wonderful times I shared with my adoptive off-campus flat mates (+Pete and Ben). Looking back on that first day in my flat’s kitchen, I could have never guessed the friendships I would make in England would be some of the best of my life. Thank you to everyone who welcomed me with open arms and made England feel like my home away from home. As the Beatles say, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

Albino HQ group pic.  From Left: Ben, Ella, Andy, myself, Marley, Toni, and Holly

Albino HQ group pic (from left): Ben, Ella, Andy, myself, Marley, Toni and Holly

Our end of the table--double dating it!

Our end of the table – double dating it!

Holl-Rob and Andy.  I couldn't be more blessed to be friends with these guys!

Holl-Rob and Andy. I couldn’t be more blessed to be friends with these guys!

Pete and Toni make for the world's cutest couple and nicest people.  Miss yall a ton!

Pete and Toni make for the world’s cutest couple and nicest people. Miss y’all a ton!

196127_1769097349727_456804888_n(1)

Ben and Ella – the blondest couple you will ever know! These art kiddos are more amazing than words can express!

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become and still, gently allows you to grow.”

Missing this boy like crazy! <3

Missing this boy like crazy! But happy all the same that I got to spend the time I had with him.

Xs and Os,

Jantsen

Swan Lake

By Jantsen McBride

Hi hi hi!

This last week has flown by so fast it’s absolutely crazy. Lancaster has been a great place to study abroad. There are so many sights to see and places to go. Yesterday, Marley and I decided to explore some of Lancaster’s hidden treasures. We traveled into town and went for a lovely walk along the canal. The canal in Lancaster runs through the center of town and is quite a peaceful location. There were ducks and swans swimming in the water even though temperatures are below 0 degrees Celsius. At one point we even saw a cat sneaking around, checking up on the swans. It was the sweetest thing ever; although, I am quite partial to anything kitten related! The sun was starting to go down and made for a lovely background setting for our pictures. We walked through town and up to Ashton Memorial — a grand building built for a widower’s deceased wife over a hundred years ago. The memorial sits atop a big hill and the sights you can see of the city are wonderful. We also made a quick stop to the butterfly house. Like the name suggests, it is a house full of butterflies! There were turtles and fish and all sorts of different types of butterflies. Plus, the fact that the structure was kept at a tropical climate meant I could get warm and cozy while pretending I was somewhere with warmer weather. After visiting the butterfly house and the small mammals and birds exhibit, we stopped into a coffee shop for a nice cup of brew. As we strolled back to the city center I was reminded of how much fun I have had since being on my study abroad adventure and how many amazing experiences I’ve been able to be a part of.

Fish at the butterfly house!

Fish at the butterfly house!

Outside Ashton Memorial

Outside Ashton Memorial

Ashton Memorial, Lancaster, UK

Ashton Memorial, Lancaster, UK

Some Lancaster scenery

Some Lancaster scenery

Kitty and swan biffles pic

Kitty and swan biffles pic

The Canal in Lancaster

The canal in Lancaster

A picture at the butterfly house!

A picture at the butterfly house

Chilly weather here in the UK...

Chilly weather here in the UK…

At Williamson Park

At Williamson Park

Williamson Park

Williamson Park

A butterfly at the house

A butterfly at the house

An overview of Lancaster

An overview of Lancaster

393322_1766924015395_2114930759_n

Gotta love the ducks!

Gotta love the ducks!

Canalside

Canalside

Another view of Ashton Memorial

Another view of Ashton Memorial

Williamson Park

Williamson Park

My tropical wonderland at the butterfly house

My tropical wonderland at the butterfly house

Loving life with the songbirds!

Loving life with the songbirds!

Just a quick update from one of my last days in the UK.

Forever and always yours,

Jantsen

Rule of thumb…

By Jantsen McBride

Hello all,

I can finally take a deep breath and relax! Today was the day I’ve been dreading for the last two weeks… finals day. As if last exams aren’t bad enough, try taking them in a different country where the learning and teaching styles differ drastically. Like I mentioned in an earlier entry, exams in England are essay based and are often the majority of your grade for the class. There is no “best guess” when all else fails — you either know your stuff or you don’t. I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach thinking, “Alright, in three hours this will all be over.” Positive thinking, I know. After a few desperate prayers, it was time to head to the building I would be taking my test in. I sat outside frantically looking over my notes until it was time to go in. Each of the 10 American science students was assigned a number and seat in the room. At Lancaster Uni, grading is anonymous. Your name is covered and the essays are graded by student numbers. The entire essay is written in a notebook and sealed upon completion.  After sitting down in my assigned seat, I glanced down to see what I would be tested over… Markovnikov’s Rule! Yes! I knew all about this subject and had studied it extensively throughout the week. After spending 40 minutes on the subject I moved on to my next essay and was also pleasantly surprised with the subject of the question. An hour and a half later and I was handing in my completed testing booklets with a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. Side note: My hand was hurting pretty badly. I had gotten my nails done earlier in the week and the weird way I hold my pencil caused my nails to dig into my palm.  But God is good. Thanks, Mom, for all of the extra prayers. As I walked back to my flat, I thought about all I had learned in both cell biology and organic chemistry, and how different things would have been taking these courses in the United States.

The rest of this week is smooth-coasting as I have one more exam and a lab journal to complete. It is really starting to hit me how little time I have left in England. This time next week I will be at home in Kansas City, Mo., USA.  What a weird thought.

Laters gators,

Jantsey