Hello lovely readers! I’m so sorry that I haven’t blogged in what has felt like forever. I’ve been adjusting to my new routine, working out how much work I have to do each day and if I’m quite honest, just very tired. Plus, nothing much has REALLY happened recently. Flagstaff had so much snow recently which meant that classes were cancelled. While this was good for my sleep schedule, it meant that I wasn’t doing that much apart from going to the gym and getting work done. Although, the snow on campus was beautiful. Thankfully, it’s melting at a good pace now. For the first time in a fortnight, I can begin to see the ground outside my apartment. Flagstaff had over 3 feet in 5 days and the ski resort had 90 inches. I’ve never seen as much snow in my life and I’m very thankful that I had my Timberland boots with me. I’ve only fallen over twice in the snow, both times very embarassing…
It’s good now that the snow is melting a lot, as it means I don’t have to wrap up in allllll my layers that felt as though they were glued to me during the snowy season. I don’t think my dungarees have ever got so much wear out of them, but they came in very handy indeed!
A couple of weeks ago, we had so much snow that a few students actually went out and made a giant snowman around one of our statues. It became a campus phenomenon and I had to have a picture with it as I’d never seen anything quite like it. It stood at over 12 feet high and I can’t believe how small I look up against it. This was the closest I’d come to an American boy… can we say the same now?
I’ve also gone to a couple of places in Flagstaff recently that I hadn’t gone to in first semestser. As well as going to the FAB Beaver Street Brewery which felt just like an English pub (being taken closer to home helps me feel closer to my roots every day), I’ve been to the cutest tea shop ever. It’s called Steep and it does the most delicious flavours of tea that I’ve ever tasted. I can’t wait to go back and try out even more flavours as soon as possible. Pretty soon, you’ll catch me in Steep getting some work done in the cool vibes of Downtown x
HOWEVER, the main reason for this blog post is to update you all on one of the best weekends I’ve had in the States so far. One of the things on my unofficial bucket list for my year abroad was to go to a concert abroad and I can finally say that I’ve done it! I went down to Phoenix to see Ariana Grande and Little Mix perform at the Dangerous Woman Tour at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. Ariana and Little Mix are some of my favourite vocalists around, so knowing that they’d be so ‘close’ to me on this tour, I had to get tickets. Katrina purchased the tickets as soon as they came out and I had the countdown on my phone. After the concert being pushed a day back, we could finally go to Enterprise and rent our car and drive down to the state capital!
Having a car in America is the ultimate symbol of teenage/young-adult freedom. It means that you can just go anywhere and not be restricted to the confines (albeit they are beautiful) of Flagstaff, AZ. The drive down from Flagstaff to Phoenix takes us through a great portion of the state. We left the snowy mountains behind for desert and warmer temperatures. We stopped off in Camp Verde* for a Taco Bell and Dairy Queen before carrying on our journey. However, we found the world’s largest Kokopelli. According to Wikipedia, the Kokopelli is the world’s largest fertility deity. Great.
*the weirdest place ever, it is literally just a few chain shops.
I’d always wanted to try Dairy Queen after the song from ’13’ the Musical. Down the road there was a Dairy Queen, up the road there was a Walmart. I bought an infamous Blizzard which was delicious. Even though I only purchased a ‘mini’, it was still massive and I struggled to finish it all. I can’t wait to try even more flavours.
The rest of our journey down to Phoenix was full of fun and laughter. I’m genuinely so glad that I have such wonderful British friends out here. Don’t get me wrong, my year abroad’s about experiencing the new but being surrounded by people who get all your cultural references and hearing UK accents is just as refreshing when you’re done with the crazy, constant chirpiness of Americans. Anyway, we’d got down to Phoenix with plenty of time, checked into our hotel and began to get ready for the evening! Olivia did my hair in a bun but backcombed it so much I looked like a troll*. We then went to Whattaburger for dinner which was okay? I don’t know if it was the fact I’d eaten so much fast food already that day, or that my stomach couldn’t stomach food as I was so excited for the concert! The Texas Toast wasn’t the same as Cane’s and the ‘medium’ drink was bigger than my head, but it was cool to try out another chain.
*I feel this nickname may stick.
Once we’d had our dinner, we drove back to the hotel and then got an Uber from there to the concert. Taking in the sights of the city, we finally made it to the arena which was HUGE. It seats around 15,000 people but it feels so much bigger than similar sized concerts. America really does everything super-sized. People were glammed up to the nines in heels and Ariana bunny ears were everywhere. Once inside, we took our seats and we were pleasantly surprised with how close we were! Although we were high up, we had few people in front of us which gave us an excellent view.
As soon as we walked into the concert, we were treated to Victoria Monet (I’d never heard of her previously, but she put on a good show!). We then had a few minutes to wait before one of my fave girl bands came out and put on a show for the audience.
I bloody love Little Mix. They make me feel sassy and wonderful and their songs are great. They performed the classics such as Salute, Hair, Wings, Touch and the infamous Shout to My Ex. They really set the right tone for the concert, that of female empowerment and being your own boss. Seeing them perform for 30 minutes makes me want to go and see them on tour and perform their whole set as I REALLY want to see Power performed live. Nonetheless, seeing them perform a snippet of their repertoire was just as wonderful and I was boogieing.
I took MANY films of this concert to send to my sister back home.
Ariana Grande was insane. I’d heard that her vocals live were just as good as her recording voice, if not better. This is not wrong. I couldn’t believe some of the notes that Ariana was hitting, especially in ‘Everyday’, ‘One Last Time’ and ‘Into You’. She performed the entirety of the Dangerous Woman album, my favourites being Be Alright, Touch It and Greedy. She also did some old classics, such as Bang Bang and Problem.
Even though there were rumours, Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea did not come out and perform with her. Nonetheless, Side to Side felt anthemic as thousands of people chanted out the song. It was super cool to see the gym set come to life. Dangerous Woman was the final song of the show and it was the perfect way to close. I filmed the entirety of that song and now I wish I was as sassy as Ari forever. The songs are just in my head now and I feel in holiday mode. I don’t want to do any more work, I want to experience even more concerts.
The next day, we went to Scottsdale Fashion Square and I bought a few cute things from Forever 21, H&M, Bath and Body Works and I FINALLY own Urban Decay setting spray, courtesy of Sephora. The energy in Lush is even more dynamic than back home, people were cheering when they did a demonstration of a bath bomb. It was the real life ‘Hi, my name’s Catrina’ video. I wish that the mall was closer to Flagstaff, but I’d probably spend all my money in there immediately so maybe it’s good for the bank balance.
We came back to Flagstaff and enjoyed a delicious Olive Garden, then this morning we had a meal from the Wildflower Bread Company before we had to hand the car back and end our little tour. It was short, but very sweet and I’m so glad that this weekend has been full of fun! I’m going to be constantly singing this song for the rest of my semester, so I apologise in advance.