Halloween | UK vs USA

31 October 2013

Happy Halloween everyone! 
Today marks my first major holiday outside the USA!
Halloween and Christmas are my favorite holidays. I can't pick which one I like best. They're both amazing. However, Halloween seemed to sneak up on me this year. 
The reason? 
Halloween traditions in the UK are completely different from US traditions! 
So I decided to sit down and write a post dedicated to the differences between a UK and a USA Halloween. 

USA: Every house is decorated with pumpkins and spider webs. One of the best parts of Halloween is seeing the decorations anywhere and everywhere. It's easy to get into the spirit when you are surrounded by Halloween themes. 

UK: I think one of the major reasons Halloween has snuck up on me is the fact that nobody really decorates. There are no pumpkins, no spider webs, no indication of Halloween at all. In fact, I'm more likely to see Christmas decorations while out and about. Without Thanksgiving to buffer the two holidays, Christmas seems to almost overpower the Halloween spirit. 

Trick or Treating
USA: Trick or Treating is the best part of Halloween. When you are little, your parents drive you to the best neighborhoods so you can get the best candy. However, I have seen a serious decline in Trick or Treating in the US within the past 5 years (sad face).

UK: After talking with some of my new English friends, I have learned Trick or Treating is a hit or miss. Some had Trick or Treated every year, while others had never participated. However, the same idea applies.

USA: Halloween is a night where you can dress up as anyone. This can range from a Disney princess Katniss Everdeen. Costumes aren't usually creepy, it's just a reason to dress up. For example, last year my roommates and I dressed up as the four seasons. That's about the farthest thing from creepy that you can get. In the US, there is also THE girl rule: "Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it". Need I say more?

UK: People tend to stick to a creepy Halloween theme. This means I can't show up to a Halloween party dressed up as Daisy Buchanan. People would stare. Most girls in the UK stick to witches or vampires. Often, you don't even need to be anything in particular. You can wear all black and just accessorize with spiders or other creepy things. The darker, the better. Personally, I think there's something to this. A typical UK Halloween costume captures the true spirit of Halloween better than a US costume.

As much as I miss the overall spirit of a USA Halloween, a UK Halloween can be just as fun!
Now, I'm off to make my costume a little less cute and a little more scary!

Let me know if you see any other differences in Halloween across the world!

Throwback | Italy

29 October 2013

I'm attempting to organize my life.
And when I say life, I mean the 'Travel' page of my blog. 
Most of the countries I have visited were pre-Bristol in my Pocket. I thought long and hard about how I should include some of those travels, and it dawned on me: Throwbacks.
So grab a cup of tea and enjoy the lovely pictures of me in my awkward years. 

Rome, Pompeii, and Sorrento. 
July 2008: Age 17

Italy was my first European experience. I was just discovering my love for history around this time, and there was no better country to see than Italia. To my surprise, Italy turned out to be one of the worst traveling experiences I ever had. 

After just two days in Rome, I came down with the WORST case of food poisoning. Typical Sara move. Leave it to me to get sick in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I spent most of the vacation in hotel rooms, watching Italian MTV and reading Twilight.

We spent a few days in Rome, followed by a day trip to Pompeii before spending the rest of the vacation in Sorrento. My parents took turns staying with me in the hotel and taking my sister out and about.

I hope that one day I'll be able to return to Italy and experience it for real.
But for now, enjoy the pictures of seventeen year old me on the few days I was able to venture outside.

Happy Tuesday!

BBC | Bristol

27 October 2013

Recently I was invited to be interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol.
I know, right?
How the hell did that happen?
Ashlea, one of the lovely assistants, stumbled across my blog. This little tiny blog I run somehow ended up in the hands of BBC!

So on Friday I went into BBC. 
And I was interviewed about life in Bristol.
And it was so much fun.

Lately, this blog has been more than a little piece of me. I can't thank y'all enough for reading and allowing me to have these sorts of opportunities!

BBC Bristol


Thoughts From Abroad | Part 4

25 October 2013

1) I'm doing something really exciting today! Like, REALLY exciting! Expect a post on it within the next few days!

2) I have unintentionally added afternoon tea to my daily routine. Afternoon tea is not just about the tea... It's also about the cakes. It has become an unconscious action where I somehow find myself in a coffee shop ordering a slice of cake almost every afternoon (fatty status here I come!). 

3) Did you happen to see my guest post on Visit Bristol? They put me on their blog, bless them. 

4) Bristol was recently named the best city to live in the UK! I completely agree.

5) I bought a sweater (or a jumper as the Brits say) with a penguin on it. That's right, be jealous.

6) I accidentally crashed boys night out on Tuesday. I am permanently scarred by the thoughts inside an English boy's head.

7) I finally have constant hot water in my shower! For the past month my shower routine has consisted of 2 minutes of hot water, 1 minute of cold water, followed by 2 minutes of hot water again (and repeat). My shower has somehow magically fixed itself, and I now have a solid 6 minutes of constant hot water!

8) I've been hoarding packets of porridge. You know, in case of a zombie apocalypse.

9) I think I have finally gotten the hang of crossing the street. Look right, THEN left.

10) I just wanted so say THANK YOU for reading my blog! Bristol in my Pocket has had some serious growth this past week, and it makes me happy on the inside! I've stumbled across an entire community of expat bloggers, and I can't thank them enough for helping out this little tiny blog of mine.


Medieval Church | Broomfield, Somerset

22 October 2013

On my visit to Somerset, I was lucky enough to be accompanied by one of my history professors and a fellow history MA student. Knowing my speciality is medieval history, my professor made us stop at St. Mary with St. Leonard, a medieval church located in Broomfield, Somerset. 

The church was first built by the Romans. A small portion of the church still stands from the original Roman building. Major additions to the church were made in the 12th, 14th, and 15th century. Unfortunately, due to the uneasy years of the Commonwealth in the 17th century, the church began to crumble and fall. By 1870 however, the church had begun a restoration process, returning to its full glory.

I couldn't get over the tranquility I felt while wandering around the grounds.
Broomfield was the polar opposite of Bristol. There were no cars, no buses, and no kids running around screaming. I'm a city girl, and although I found rural Somerset to be relaxing, I was happy to come back to the hustle and bustle of Bristol.

My trip to Broomfield was the first of a few day trips I have planned out before Christmas. If you have any suggestions of places I just have to visit, let me know!

Happy Tuesday!

Apple Heritage Day | Somerset

20 October 2013

“What can your eye desire to see, your ear to hear, your mouth to take, your nose to smell, that is not to be had in an orchard, with abundance of variety?” 
(William Lawson, 1618, A New Orchard and Garden)
Common Ground, Orchards: A Guide to Local Conservation (Common Ground: London 1989)

This Saturday I sacrificed sleep to spend the day volunteering at the Quantock Apple Heritage Day in Somerset. Seeing as I hadn't been out of Bristol much since arriving, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to see the English countryside. 

Along with a fellow American in the history department, our job was to record local stories of orchards and  apples. These oral histories will be used by the university to discover lost orchards and preserve the few that survive today. Some people were more than willing to tell stories of orchards they grew up near, while others avoided the American girls carrying the iPads like the plague.

Over 600 people stopped by the first ever Quantock Apple Heritage Day, making it a pleasantly surprising success. I even managed to come back with a bottle of Somerset's finest Chaider (chai + apple cider = Chaider).

Enjoy the rest of National Apple Heritage weekend!

Thoughts From Abroad | Part 3

18 October 2013

1) I've decided 'Thoughts From Abroad' needs a regular day. Let's try for every Friday.

2) It's safe to say that I have at least one cup of coffee everyday. To some this may seem like no big deal. Seeing as I hated coffee this time last year, I'd say it is a pretty big deal.

3) It has been over a week since my last trip to Primark. My wallet is happy.

4) Would ordering Velveeta and Ro-tel off eBay be sketchy?

5) I made my first graduate school presentation on Thursday. Whether anyone paid attention is up for discussion. 

6) Interested in Medieval history? I highly recommend reading Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women. It's interesting and kind of bizarre. 

7) I have three day trips planned before Christmas break, and I'm trying to plan one more. Get excited for some great posts coming your way!   

8) I tried to restrain myself from buying tickets to see The Wanted's 2014 tour, but I was unsuccessful. Looks like I'll be making a trip to Cardiff in March for a little boyband fun! 

9) I've added a new section to the blog! Features is a page where you can check out other sites that Bristol in my Pocket has been featured on!

10) Last week I asked y'all for suggestions on where to get some delicious fish & chips. This week, let me know some of your favorite Bristol cafes!

Veggie burger at GBK.
Happy Friday!

1 Month Anniversary

14 October 2013

Today marks my one month anniversary in Bristol. 
Exactly a month ago I took the 9 hour flight from Houston to London, followed by a 2 hour train ride from London to Bristol.
Moving to a different country is scary. Especially when you know absolutely no one. But Bristol has been everything I hoped for and more.
So here's to the next 11 months (possibly more) in this amazing city.

Happy Monday!
I apologize for such a short post. The thing about graduate school is it's actually a lot of work!
Currently listening to R U Crazy

Simple Living

09 October 2013

I have been living in England just shy of one month now. It's been a crazy month full of stress and excitement and I wouldn't trade any of it.
Adjusting to life in Bristol has been easier than expected. Sure, I still don't know which coin is which and which side of the street to look at when crossing, but I'm getting there. 
However, there are two major differences between my life back home and my life here:
TVs and cell phones.
Both of these, I may point out, have nothing to do with the country I am now living in. It's merely a lifestyle modification that I chose for myself. 

I decided against a TV when I moved to Bristol. Back in the US, there's practically a TV in every room. Not having a TV accessible to me has been a major change in my life, as much as I hate to admit it. I had no idea how much of my time was spent watching pointless television. It's been an extremely positive experience. Now when I'm bored, I pick up a book and go outside instead of turning on a TV. 

As for a cell phone, this has been a slightly more difficult decision. The first two and a half weeks in Bristol, I didn't have time to sort out my phone situation. I just hadn't gotten around to it. In those weeks, I realized how I didn't need my iPhone. I used to think of my iPhone as a necessity, but who really needs access to Twitter or Facebook 24/7? So when I finally had time to go get a UK phone, I decided against an iPhone and instead got this beauty. It texts. It calls. And that's all I need.

Happy Wednesday!

Thoughts From Abroad | Primark and Hocus Pocus

05 October 2013

1) I applaud the women who walk up Park Street in heels.

2) The 1975 and a cup of tea is the perfect autumn combination.

3) It's October! Which means  it's perfectly acceptable to watch Hocus Pocus over and over again.

4) Primark will be the death of my bank account. I seem to accidentally stumble in on a weekly basis... Which is strange considering it's on the other side of town.

5) I still have not managed to have fish and chips while in England. Point me in the right direction Bristolians!

6) Classes have started which means I'm finally in a routine again! It's so nice to be busy with school work.

7) My fellow History MA students are awesome. Disco Thursdays are going to become our thing.

8) Have you seen this? A proposal and a wedding all in the same day! It's a really cute video if you have the time to watch it!

9) Seeing as I have no TV, I decided to buy all 6 seasons of Gossip Girl for my laptop. I'm already on Season 2.

10) I've been attempting to wake up and go for morning jogs. This morning I made it up Brandon Hill and to Cassie's Bench. So I love Skins? Judge me. The view is absolutely amazing.

Cassie's Bench