holy moly… my very own home!!!

The title says it all… my bid got accepted without any counteroffers!!!! I’m in disbelief at the moment… my mind does not fully ‘grok’ this simple fact; I am a homeowner. Holy moly!

I really got a great deal on the property… in fact, I’m paying roughly what the previous homeowner paid for the place. Its in a great location, I can afford it, and it will be my new home. Now I’ve just got to get things squared away with the bank… find the best mortgage interest rate, get inspections/appraisals done, and all other closing things as well. It really pays to be a buyer in a buyers market. I still can’t believe it. I still can’t believe it. Have I said I can’t believe it yet?

The terms of the contract state that closing will happen on or before 8/14/09 (a couple of weeks before the start of the school semester), so everything is great.

I’m one very lucky one.

Guess that is all for now… I’ll update you on how things close with the house

-P

Who Knew?

I promise, I have a good reason for not posting as of late. Today I put in an offer to purchase a home… crazy I know. I feel a bit too grown up for my own good. In any case, the town home is in a great neighborhood just 3 miles away from the IU campus. It will require minimal work (just minor painting and changing of light fixtures) but other than that, its in great shape.

I feel like I’m finally ‘growing up’

-P

Starting to feel welcome.

The initial days of shock have subsided, and now I’m starting to feel like part of the lab group and I’m getting used to the apartment. I’ve finally gotten added to payroll, and I have access to the building I work in… They put me on as an ‘hourly staff employee’ to get around the red tape, but in actuality, I’m a salaried student for the summer… now I’ve got to go through more red tape come the fall semester to get an actual student I.D…. ugh!


That’s right folks; my very own, brand spanking new, ID card! Who knew one card could make me feel so at home?

As far as the apartment… well, I’ve managed to at least spruce up my room somewhat… though I can’t say that for the common rooms. Here’s what I’ve managed to do. Note: the comforter/pillow/pots/pans/books/clothes/shoes/etc. all had to fit in 2 suitcases. You can call me an excellent packer. 😉

Other than all of this, there’s not too much to report. The boss should be back from his conference on Monday, and hopefully I now know enough to not sound like an idiot in front of him. I’m going to be going condo hunting this weekend so wish me luck; because I’ll need it!

-Puja

Overwhelmed?

Yes, that is how I feel. I’ve finally made my way to Indiana and spent my first day in lab yesterday. It is funny to think that only about a week ago, I was summering in Europe.

So far, the lab is the best part about Bloomington… my lab mates are cordial and I’ve even got a nice desk in the corner that has yet to become my second home. I’m really looking forward to getting a project underway, and hopefully on Monday, when the boss comes back from a conference, I can get cracking on things. Thus far, I’ve been talking to group members about their projects, reading papers to get a feel for projects I may want to do, dealing with the administrative red tape stuff, and finally, I have painstakingly been setting up IU internet accounts.

As for the actual place I’m subletting for the summer… it is a bit of a dump; the only redeeming quality is that the roommates are friendly and that it is only a bus ride away from campus. I’m meeting with a realtor in the evening to see some properties so I can move into a nicer place. So far, I don’t feel lonely. I thought I would, but the lab is great, and I’ve got so much red tape to go through, that I have no time to stress about trivial things.

Why do I feel overwhelmed? It’s a bit funny you see… I think it is because I feel like a tourist in my ‘new’ hometown. Asking for simple directions someplace is impossible because I have no concept of where anything is, or how far things are. I need a map in hand where ever I go and everything is new. Coming from Europe, you’d think I’d be used to this, but I think that not having a home is finally getting to me. I think I’ll finally feel happy when I am not living out of a suitcase and when I finally know the meanderings of the town like the back of my hand. Until then, I’ll just have to suck it up and deal with feeling overwhelmed.

When I get time later, I’ll upload the last few pictures of my European trip.

-P

Merde

I’ve managed to make it back to the States, and I assure you, my mother is sleeping better than ever now that I’m back in a place she knows. Thoughts of Europe still linger in my mind; the food, the sights, the history, the clothes,  I love it all.

It is so nice to be back in Texas. I am still living out of a suitcase here in my parents house, but I have my own bed, and I can shower without having to figure out how to use the shower or get burned by scalding hot water. I have not been out to eat as of yet, but maybe tonight, I will get some Tex-Mex in my system and truly feel as if I am back home.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July (Independence day here in the U.S). Normally, I’m either not in Texas for the event, and when I am, I go to the Seales to celebrate (pop crackers). Sadly, since they’ve moved, and my parents no longer get U.S. T.V, I’m stuck at home; most likely re-packing for my flight that leaves on Tuesday for Indiana.

Merde. Indiana, I had almost forgotten about that.

And it is back to reality…hopefully I can get back to regularly posting.

La Vie en Rose

Today is going to be my last full day in Europe and I’m glad that I will be spending it somewhere I know decently well… Bruxelles!

I apologize for not writing about my trip here, but I promise, I’ve written about it elsewhere, and if you care to hear/read about it, I have a book and can print one out for you upon request. I’ve decided that there are certain cities that I like (Paris, Rome, Firenze, Brugge) and others that are so-so (Amsterdam, Venice, London). Some that are great for only visiting (Italian cities), and others that are impossibly romantic and make me want to live there (Paris, Brugge).

Despite the wonderful time I’ve had here, thoughts of what lie ahead still come by me. In about a week, I’m moving to Indiana, and have to root myself there and find a new niche for myself. The only thing for certain is that now, more than ever, do I want to move to Paris. I don’t know how, when (hopefully before I’m 30 and after my French has improved, and I’ve gotten an PhD), or what I will be doing, but I will do it.

Today, I will live it to the max; eating Belgian waffles, dousing myself in espressos and cafes, indulging in chocolates, shopping the sales (the economic crisis has caused the sales period to start early), and breathing deeply my last day here in Europe.

A bientot tout le monde!

Last day in London and Chaos in Paris

My final day in London was abbreviated as I had a train to catch in the late afternoon to Paris. By this time, I had done quite a bit of walking about the city/sightseeing, and had seen a few plays. I decided to spend the day visiting museums. After breakfast, I checked out of the B&B and headed to the British Museum.

There was so much to see in the museum, I could have easily spent weeks in there. I instead took a cursory glance at everything and left after 3 hours. By then, it was early after noon and I decided to spend the rest of the day visiting specialty shops on Picadilly. I enjoyed another meal of tea, scones, and muffins, and soaked in the bustle of the streets. After a couple of hours, it was time for me to head to the station to catch my Thalys train to Paris.

In the end, I felt as though London is like another city in the States with people speaking in a different accent. There are McDonalds and Starbucks on every street corner, the people always seem occupied, and I felt that an overall sense of character was lacking.

Here are some photos of London.

The ride from Paris to London was not long, but the hour time change made me feel as if I had traveled long. It was late when I arrived in Paris, and I wanted to make sure I arrived to the B&B in Paris while it was still light out. I had booked a B&B called Hotel de Lille in Paris and printed out directions to the B&B. Unfortunately, there were 2 Hotel de Lilles in Paris, and I had printed out directions for the one I wasn’t staying at. After arriving at the wrong hotel, I got directions on how to go to the other hotel and walked to the other hotel.

In the U.S, dates are written Month/Day/Year. In Europe, dates are written Day/Month/Year. After arriving at the correct B&B, I was informed there was not a room for me; I had booked my room for April 6, 2009 instead of June, 4, 2009. I just about peed in my pants… what was I to do? It was already 22:00 and finding a decently priced hotel in the area so late was surely going to be difficult and tiring. The Madame in charge of the Hotel was kind and made me feel safe. Her son offered to give me a ride to an apartment that was being rented out for the same price. She told me to grab dinner, and that everything would be taken care of.

I walked around the block and found Cafe Louise (now my cafe in Paris) and enjoyed a pasta primavera dish. After a full meal, I headed back to the B&B and waited for MMe Drey’s son to pick me up and drop me off at the apartment. He came soon enough and took me to the Gare de Lyon area where my apartment was. The apartment was nice; clean bed/sheets, warm heating, and hot showers. I had the best sleep that night.

-P

London Day 2

When I woke up on my second day in London, I knew I had to see another play. I rode the Underground to Southwark and rushed into the Shakespeare globe. I bought tickets to see 2 plays; a Romeo and Juliet matinee performance and a ticket to see As you like it in the evening. The tickets were only 5 pounds per play, but the catch was that you had to stand through the entire play. I settled bought the standing tickets and then set off to do more exploring. I took the tube to the National Gallery and tried to soak in the artwork surrounding me.

After this, I walked to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards at 11:30. After being unimpressed yet again by Buckingham Palace, I left in search of a traditional English Tea service. Alas, Fortnum and Mason (a famous tea parlor) came across my path and I realized I was too early for high tea, instead I settled for merely a cup of tea and headed by foot to the Shakespeare globe. By the time I arrived to the globe, I was thoroughly hungry and I stopped at a Turkish restaurant across the street. The restaurant (TAS) had the BEST food ever.

After my meal, I went to the Globe and watched Romeo and Juliet… I must say that ‘watched’ is certainly an understatement; I felt as if I were in the play, living the story. By the end of the play, everything about me felt wonderful… except my feet, standing still for 3 hours is no joke! It was nice to finally walk around, and I took full advantage of the opportunity to walk around and warm up before the next play (As you like it). I walked from the Globe to St. Paul’s Church and was fortunate enough to walk in during a choral rehearsal. The church is truly grand; the ceilings high, the walls barren and ambiance somber. The sounds of the choir reverberating and echoing through the halls added to the experience and a took a moment to sit and soak it all in. I realized that the next Shakespeare play would start soon, and I wanted to grab a coffee to warm up. I remembered seeing a Starbucks across the street from the theater so I headed back up to the Globe area, bought a coffee, and made my way back to the standing pit.

As you Like it was even better than Romeo and Juliet. The play was lighthearted and that may have been why I liked it so much. By the end of the play, my feet were killing me, I took the tube from Southwark back to Victoria, found my way back to the B&B and crashed.

London- Day 1

I tend to forget how big London really is; 12 million people live in London and the sprawl of London has now gotten its own sprawl. I took the Eurostar train from Brussels in the morning, and once my train arrived in London, I set off to find my B&B. After some trouble finding the place, I left my luggage at the B&B and set off to explore.

I was fortunate to have found living quarters close to the centre of it all and after some short while of walking, I ran into Westminster Abbey. Despite the high tariffs for entry, I went inside and I was amazed by the grandeur of the abbey. It was a bit surreal to be standing near the tombs of Shakespeare, Newton, Darwin, and several others. I felt at peace in the abbey and felt that the money spent to see the inside was well spent.

After leaving, I walked to the Thames (where the main attractions are) and saw the Parliament buildings and the London Eye. I knew that the London Eye would provide a good view of the city, and allow my feet to rest, so I walked to the queue to buy tickets. I entered the queue and realized there was a 2 hour wait to get tickets. Fortunately, a man standing in line wanting a refund for a ticket asked me if I wanted to go on the Eye and buy the ticket from him. I was a bit skeptical buying the ticket initially, but he explained that he purchased the tickets online and that his wife was afraid of heights and didn’t fancy going to the top. I saw the online confirmation, and the distressed look on the mans face, so I decided to take him up on the offer… with the condition that he sell me the ticket for 10 pounds instead of the original price of 17 pounds. He agreed, and I got my ticket with little hassle.

It was high noon by that time and the sun was in full force. I decided riding on the Eye at the time was not a good idea, I instead walked to Leicester square and bought 1/2 price tickets for the evening showing of Les Miserables. After buying my ticket, and enjoying Leicester sqauare, I took the Tube to walked to Piccadilly Circus and enjoyed perusing the shops.

While I find the Brussels Metro system to be difficult to understand, the Tube in London is the easiest and most efficient way of getting around. I took the tube often in London as I had bought an unlimited 3 day pass and I wanted to get the most of it. London is also very big and walking from place to place is difficult.

It was still quite sunny outside, so I decided that I would walk by Buckingham Palace before riding on the London Eye. My favorite things in London are the parks. I walked through Green Park and arrived at the Palace and was a bit underwhelmed by the dullness of the palace. I spent all of about 10 minutes there to take a few photos and left. Not too much excitement or fuss to be made.

I then ventured off to the London eye and enjoyed the opportunity to give my tired feet a rest and see a great panoramic view of the city. After the ride, I walked along the Thames and got a feel for the city. The path along the Thames is full of interesting places; modern art museums, fish and chip pubs, cute shops, churches, numerous bridges, and a theater… the Shakespeare globe.

I was in awe and loved walking through the city and nearly lost track of the time. I hopped on the Tube from the London Bridge station and rode to Picadilly Circus to watch the play: Les Miserables.

The play was absolutely wonderful. I liked it so much, that I decided that I would see another the following day. After the play let out, I wandered a bit in the Soho district and when I was sufficiently tired, I took the Tube back to the Victoria station, walked back to the B&B and fell fast asleep. A great first day in London!

-P