Tuesday, 31 January 2006


Wow, just realized that it's 4pm and still sunny out. I know it's been a month since the solstice, but it seems as though it was dark by this time just the other day. I will be paying close attention to when the sun sets tonight.

Monday, 30 January 2006

Fire alarms and greetings

Oy vey, I was woken up at 8am by a fire alarm today. This being one of my days to sleep in as well, as I have no classes, grrrrrrr. And...since many of my housemates did not bother going out, we will have to do it all over again. Guess who will not be making the effort next time? What did I learn from this: how to get out the front door, which I have been doing daily for the last three months. So glad someone showed me how to do it properly. Isn't it the legal obligation in this country as well that every building over a certain size have two exits/entrances? If one of these dorms caught fire, I fear the casualties would be very high, considering that and the fact that our windows only open a couple of inches (guess they suicide proofed them not too long ago).

Interesting how every English speaking country/region seems to sign letters slightly different. Americans of course sign off with Sincerely, English with Regards, Australians with Best Regards and Irish with Kind Regards. I'm favourable to the Irish sign off myself.

modified to add: My god have I had another gorgeous breakfast. Made a 3 egg omelette with feta cheese and spinach, and toast with butter and marmalade. There was a tragedy though...I used up all the milk last night and could not make any tea:(

Things I miss

  • A big, comfy bed with soft, expensive sheets
  • Pete
  • Quiet
  • Baths
  • TV (sometimes)
  • Financial Independence
  • My own kitchen with my own kitchen things

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Now let's hope I have that spelling right and I'm not saying something to embarress myself. Happy Chinese New Year! One of my roommates, and her boyfriend, invited me to eat dinner with them last night. He had cooked a traditional Korean New Year dish. It was a spicy pork stew with carrots and potatoes, served with rice. Really excellent. They told me this is the most important holiday of the year in many Asian nations, and families gather together on New Year's Eve for a big meal. This is the year of the Dog, and I'm not sure exactly the meaning of that. All I know was that I was born in the year of the Dragon. That combined with being a Leo should explain quite a bit;)

Mmmm, Breakfast

Just another post on food. I just ate a marvelous breakfast, er....at 4pm. Went to the grocery store (correct me if I am wrong, my English friends, but you do call it the grocery store here right? someone looked at me funny yesterday when I said that), where I got a big gammon steak, eggs, some wholegrain bread, cottage cheese, chocolate ecclairs (oops, yeah they were an appetizer...I have mentioned I can't resist the desserts here...which they call puddings, btw). Fried up the gammon steak and eggs, toasted the bread and slathered it with butter, and placed some cottage cheese on the side. It was glorious! God I love having my own fridge and space to buy things that I can cook properly. Ooh, even bought my own non-stick frying pan today for 3 quid. The state of the ones here should be punishable by flogging.

A new home

As you can see...you must be able to if you found your way here...I have a new home for my blog. Am hoping I can find a way to change the dates of posts, so I can copy the posts from my old site, www.suzerblog.com to this one. If not, that site should be active for a while and you can always have a look back. Hopefully will make his blog a bit more aesthetically pleasing soon!

Friday, 27 January 2006

Second semester at big school

Well, I’ve got 7 new assignments to work on, three due week 6 and 7, and the rest due mid-May, then it is straight into the dissertation. This is what I’ve got ahead of me.

International Strategic Human Resource Management
Assignment 1:
In contrast to other major airlines, Southwest Airlines uses the soft HRM approach to managing employees based on “shared goals, and … mutual respect”. How can differences in the HR approaches of these airlines be explained?

Assignment 2:
Critically discuss the key factors to successful implementation, from the perspectives of both employers and employees, of one of the following in the tourism industry:
•Emotional labour
•Flexible labour
•Organisational culture

Strategic Management
Assignment 1:
Present an analysis of the current corporate strategy adopted by the given case organization as directed by the tutor (actually, class is deciding together on an organization and so far, we have narrowed it down to a tourist board or other travel destination company). 15 minute formal presentation supported by a 1,000 word summary report.

Assignment 2:
Develop a strategic plan for a chosen organization, to be presented in a formal report no longer than 4,000 words. The plan is to recommend future directions for the company and the methods by which these are to be achieved.

Research Methods:
Haven’t gotten the scheme of work yet, but I know we have to write a 1,000 word proposal for our dissertation by the 6th week and have 4,000 words of the dissertation done by May 15th.

Using a location of your choice, design a destination development (such as an eco-lodge or national park which fulfills the aims and principles of ecotourism. (More details, but they’d prob bore you and/or I don’t feel like typing any more.)

Thursday, 26 January 2006

Grocery Store Moments

I love grocery shopping in other countries. Normally, I detest food shopping…it always makes me far too aware of being single. I can cook, but I’m lazy, and there’s nothing worse than unloading the basket at the check out with tv dinners and pizzas…evidence of my bachelorette status. Every couple of weeks (or more realistically once a month), I actually buy things I can put together to make a decent meal with. Today I make chicken and brown rice baked in cream of mushroom soup. The soup was too watery, I cooked it too long, and it turned out awful. But, the veg on the side (you can buy these lovely little bags of stuff like broccoli, carrots and brussels sprouts…enough for 2 servings) and a spinach salad with pine nuts, sesame sead oil and rice vinegar….yum. Embarressed to admit it, but as I totally dig the desserts they sell in the bakery here (to die for!), I came home with 2 choc eclairs (filled with fresh cream), a cadbury dairy milk bar (the cadbury at home is shite compared to what they have here) and this little rocky road confection…I have eaten them all in the last 3 hours or so! Perhaps it is getting over this cold, or eating nothing but soup the last few days, but my appetite has gone off the charts the past day or so. I am a horrendous grocery shopper, financially, but I’m getting better. Ooh, you know what else they sell here…pieces of meat for one (hmmm, that doesn’t sound appetizing…could even sound rude haha!)…like one chicken breast, etc, which you can even get seasoned. Also, picked up a couple of cans of tuna. This should be interesting…one was tuna in mayonnaise with peppers and sweetcorn and the other, tuna with mayonnaise and sun dried tomatoes. And….that is to-may-toes, not to-mah-toes. Crazy Brits…bastardizing the American language;)

Monday, 23 January 2006

Kitchen stuff

Well, one of my roommates is moving out tomorrow and gave me a fridge she had in her room. Rather than crowd up my room, I put it in the kitchen, with a note inside that clearly indicates it is for my use only. I am fed up to here (picture the line folks) with the messiness of the kitchen, and need some things of my own which no one else will be touching, so I ordered a cheap kettle for my room, some (again cheap) utensils and 16-piece place setting (plates, bowls, cups, lil plates) that I will keep in my cabinet in the kitchen. No more sharing stuff that isn’t properly washed. Someone took the rubbish out of the bin and has left the bag sitting in the kitchen (still there) for days, and I took the broiler/grill thingie out of the oven the other day, as it never gets washed (only one person uses it) and the kitchen gets stunk up with stale grease every time the oven goes on. Left that in the sink and it is now on the counter (hey, whatever—dude won’t get to use it again until it gets washed, and he uses it often). We range from 25-45 here, so cleaning up after oneself should not be so difficult. Granted, there are only one or two culprits (mostly one) who are piggish, but it’s enough to make me want to scream (er, which I can’t do with the lost voice).

modified to add: ooh, speak of the devil…someone just took out the trash. grody looking stain of something on the floor beneath it…think i may mop and disinfect the kitchen counters tomorrrow. yuck!


Well, York was fantastic, but walking around in the cold and talking all day has led to a worse cough and I literally can’t raise my voice above a whisper without serious effort. I’m a big baby when sick. Can someone please send me some virtual soup, jello and kleenex:(

Sunday, 22 January 2006

Done, done, done!!!

Finished my marketing report at about 1am last night. Thank god that is over; it was like pulling teeth. So, first semester is officially over for me now, with classes to begin again on Monday. I am determined to take advantage of some of the budget airline fares and do a bit more travelling this semester. At no other point in my life will I be so close to so many places. Top on my list are Prague and Brussels, followed by Paris and Northern Ireland. I’d like to do even more than that, but don’t know that I will have the time or money. If I can find some good fares, I’m going to start leaving out of here Friday and coming back Mondays at least once a month. Am going to London in two weeks for the weekend—seems strange to be going to visit someone in London, as opposed to the norm of going on a holiday/doing touristy stuff. Not that I’m complaining by any means;) Slept most of the day away due to a cold and am off to York tomorrow with classmates. We’ve been talking about going since the beginning of last semester. Looking forward to a pub lunch and a beer, perhaps, then a wander around.

Wednesday, 18 January 2006

Last assignments, racism and dating

I am working on my last assignment for first semester…Marketing. It’s honestly the least enjoyable, as I have to analyze theories and determine the benefits and limitations to my company, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. I’m at 1,000 of 5,000 words and really hoping to finish by this weekend, although it is not due until the 30th. Classes start again on the 23rd, with all new material to delve into.

I have to say, I’m really finding myself quite disappointed in some people’s reaction to Mayor Ray Nagin’s comments on the rebuilding of New Orleans and efforts to maintain a black population. I don’t see why people are so quick to label him a racist. If you look at his record, he’s done many good things for New Oreans, which benefit all of the people there, and his comments, to me anyway, simply acknowledged that in light of the fact that so many minorities were displaced, it is important to make sure New Orleans maintains its strong cultural traditions and that black residents are able to come home, despite being the hardest hit by the hurricane.

So, no one asked about my date…man! Well, ya’ll did via email, so I’m just joking. Had a great weekend. The ice skating was fun, finally checked out the ruined monastery I can see from my window, and had some good chill out time at the pub. Types of things I should/would like to be doing every weekend. And, I’m afraid I will now be breaking my resolution not to visit London while here;)

Thursday, 12 January 2006

Ice skating and other costly ventures

Millenium Square is the big thing in Leeds…always something going on there, from an exhibit of photos from the air, the german market, to now, ice-skating. But, get this…it costs 7 quid and you only get an hour for that!!! One of my roommates did point out that they have to keep the ice frozen, which I didn’t think about when I complained that in Chicago it’s free. (Check out the webcam of Millenium Square…maybe ya’ll see me there Saturday night.)

I’m not sure why I titled this other costly ventures…guess it seemed catchy. Maybe it’s because it is now time to pay the second semester’s tuition, groan. I did my presentation yesterday on Tourism Ireland. I was so excited about the information, but too nervous, honestly, to convey that. I tried telling my classmates about it while having coffee and they were just not interested. Does this make me a nerd?? I now have one more assignment to complete, which honestly, I’m not too keen on. I didn’t really learn what I expected to or wanted to in the class:( Anyhoo, I got an extention and will be working on that next week.

Today feels like a proper Sunday. The sun was shining, I found a good radio station…and, well, intended to go for a walk but got waylaid with other things. (Did I mention I have a date this weekend?)

P.S. Forgot….dude!!! (this does call for a dude, sorry)…three of my friends emailed over New Year to announce their engagements. As Kila stated…”it’s happening…” Soooo, congratulations to Genea, Kathy K, and Angie;) I’m still a bit weirded out by my friends becoming someone’s wife (don’t forget to keep in touch girls!), but all the best to you guys.

Tuesday, 3 January 2006

Instead of New Year's resolutions

I’ve never been one to get into New Year’s resolutions…how much easier is it going to be to accomplish a goal at New Year’s that at any other time of year, I say;) So, in regards to that (and to cheer me up as I’m back to the books today and in full realization of the holiday being over!), thought it might be better to take a look back at the past year and list accomplishments. I know I’ve certainly had some that I’m proud of, and although I might feel a bit vulnerable sharing, I’d like to hear my friends’ and family’s as well. Here goes:

- recovered from a break-up, which made me work through and get to the other side of some personal issues, making me a stronger person, and brought me to a point where i have more to offer in the future, to myself and others.

- made a positive life decision to go back to university for my MA, in England, satisfying my need to live abroad at least once in my life, and increasing my confidence through the challenges that brings about…oh, and hopefully providing me the qualifications necessary for a career ripe with opportunity for growth and movement.

- have had to participate in some aspects of group work while on the course, if even just in regards to sharing ideas and workin with others on what the meaning of our assignments are;) i’ve never been a ‘group’ person, usually prefering one-to-one interaction, especially on a friendship level, so this has been a new and enjoyable experience.

- volunteered to be course rep for my program, which is probably one of the first times i’ve taken a volunteer position, as well as put myself in a place where i would have to speak in front of large groups of people.

- met some really impressive people on my christmas holiday to ireland, and have fingers crossed i’ll be able to get to know them better;)


“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” -Kierkegaard