Well, things are actually beginning to happen now!
First of all, there was loan paperwork to finish. This included some excitement, both in rounding up whatever was required for the paperwork I was supposed to do, and when I accidentaly signed up for another loan in the fall via VIP (due to a misread), and had to do a bit extra paperwork to fix my mistake. The entrance counseling was a hundred different ways of saying that I understood that a loan is not free money and I did know I'd have to pay it all back. I am very grateful to the wonderful people of the USC Financial Aid office for guiding me through it all.
Enough with money matters, it's time to talk about the fun stuff.
My study abroad travel group has its own FaceBook group now (kids these days and their computers, lol), and we've been having fun introducing ourselves and learning about each other. Unsurprsingly, we all like books. Everyone ready to go and happy to be traveling with one another, and some discussion has already started about where to go while we're abroad. Abbey Road, 221B Baker's Street, a few extra museums...We're going to be pretty busy!
Those of you who have known me for quite a while probably know that my favorite animal is the elephant. I've loved elephants since before I can remember, and I can't tell you how many photographs my mom has stashed away of me in various ages and stages by the elephant exhibits of whatever zoo we visited. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out about the Elephant Parade London 2010! Sponsored by Elephant Family, a "small but hugely ambitious charity, working to save the Asian elephant from exctinction and abuse." This Summer, a total of 260 (artificial) decorated elephants will be scattered all over London. They will then be auctioned off to benefit the efforts of the Elephant Family. I don't know for sure if they'll still be there in July when I arrive (the reports I found were somewhat vague), I'm hoping to catch at least a glimpse of the elephants. Meanwhile, here's a closer look at a couple of the elephants now being put on display throughout London, and a map of the Elephant Parade "Route," where each elephant is stationed. If you want to find out more about Elephant Family, here's their FaceBook page, and the link to the parade route is a map which is on their official site.
Other exciting news: I have successfully applied for my first ever passport. Did you know that there are two different kinds of passports? There's the old-fashioned passport book, and a newer passport card. The difference is that you can't fly with the card, only go by land or sea, and you can only go to certain countries using the card. The application, either way, is as big as a large-print travel guide, only it is of course still filled with small print. Besides the passport there are a number of various documents you must have with you when you apply, and thankfully I had remembered them all, unlike a few unfortunate others in line. My passport photos aren't too bad, except that since they had to enhance the color a bit so that my pale skin and light hair would show up more, my hair looks like it was an interesting shade of light orange. My consolation is that I will of course look worse when I am actually traveling.
Also, I have recieved my Student Handbook from the sponsor university. I admittedly not read all the way through it yet, but I have at least skimmed through most of it. It's nice to have details.
Well, I must be going. Thanks for reading!
TTFN! (Ta Ta For Now!)