Monday, October 26, 2009

Bubble Wrap and Ocean City Hastings

Another week has passed, equally if not more busy than the last.  Classes were all right, not the highlight of my week for sure. They’re a bit ridiculous, really. In my last 19th Century Fiction class, the instructor yelled at a kid, and asked him if he would like to leave for disrupting the class. Seriously, I hadn’t heard of a teacher asking a student to leave since early high school at the latest. We learned from a pub crawl tour guide that London Met doesn’t have the best reputation; I quote:
“It’s where intellect goes to die.”
Srsly, that’s what he said.
Highlights of the week
1. Cymbeline
My theater class got to see another show this week, Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. The instructor gave us a looooong synopsis (it’s impossible to give a short synopsis of a Shakespeare play) and I looked the play up on line, and it was SO much easier to understand when I knew what to expect. The show was put on by the National Youth Theater, so that was really cool because everyone was under 21.  Only thing I’m confused about was the poster.image I can assure you, there was no girl wrapped in bubble wrap in the production.

2. Hastings
The day before, I was talking to a girl in my theater class, and she told me she had just been to Hastings and it was beautiful. Plus, the train ticket had been £10 return (round trip). Talked it up with everyone, and we decided to go the next day. We even found tickets for £7.50.
And let me tell you.
Hastings is awesome.
DSC02661 It’s right on the British Channel, which was cool to see. It also has the remains of an old castle built in 1066 by William the Conqueror. The town is nestled in between two big hills, one of which has the castle and the other has a 606 acre park.
DSC02678 The weather was beautiful, which made it awesome.  The beach was really stony, and of course we had to take pictures on it.
DSC02615 After walking through the town for awhile and relaxing and reading in the park on the hill, we found a coffee house to take afternoon tea.
DSC02701 I ordered a pot of tea with a tea cake (flaky biscuit thing with nuts—toasted, butter, and jammed). OM NOM NOM so tasty.
3. Jamie & friends visited from Spain
Jamie, a friend from college back home, is studying in Spain right now, and she and her two friends (one LVCer and one not) visited London for the weekend. It was really fun to see her and we all went on a pub crawl the last night she was here.
DSC02753 Pic with the pub crawl guide
And ps, if you’re wondering…
creepers I don’t know these people.
4. Chop Chop Noodle Bar
We found this cheap-o noodle bar near King’s Cross station and tried it one night and it rocked. Sarah and I went back and decided to order something we had never had before: a bowl of Chinese flat noodle soup. Kind of looked like this:
image But without the dumplings. We get served, and we’re kind of staring at it…we don’t really know where to start. Then this little oriental lady beside us asks
“Do you know how to eat those?”
And of course we don’t. She proceeds to explain that you use chopsticks to pick up the long noodles to set in the spoon so that it doesn’t burn your mouth, then eat them from the spoon.
Like we could have figured that out ourselves.
It worked, and the little lady was sweet, telling us to enjoy our meal. And we did. It was sooo filling, neither Sarah nor I could finish our whole bowl of soup, which was only £3.90. Hooray for cheap meals.
5. Rainbows and R. Pattz
On Sunday, we went on a trip to the Cotswolds with ISH.
image Cotswolds is a region known for rolling hills and buildings made out of Cotswold stone.
Got to see a lot of the English countryside on the tour, which was pretty cool.
Also, saw an awesome rainbow.
DSC02786Highlight of the trip was visiting a store and finding this gem. Can you spot it?
DSC02802  Srlsy?
rob sketchSo second-hand embarrassed.
 Another week of classes await, and then on Saturday the ‘rents will be here!! I’m tres excited to show them around and go on trips with them. I have the whole week planned, can’t wait!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tower, Karaoke, Harrods, Hampton Court, Fun-ness.

Another week down in London! Started off on Monday visiting Tower of London with Sarah and Wes.
DSC02351 This was pretty neat, since the first part of the tower was built in 1078.  It continues to amaze me how old  everything is over here.  We went inside and toured around; saw the crown jewels and some armor used by Henry VIII.  All in all though, I was a little disappointed with the trip.  The tour was only about 30 min long and while it was really informative it was way too short.  It was still a neat thing to see since there is so much history there.
Then came classes on Tuesday and Wednesday (booo). Tuesday we visited the National Gallery with my art class, so that was neat. I’d never actually been in a gallery to see original works of art, so that was cool. The journal we have to keep for the class is a little annoying…500-800 words per visit. Wednesday my theater class went to our first show, “Miss Julie,” which was outside of London. You’d think the teacher would MapQuest where the theater was, right? She didn’t. We all ran around this town asking anyone we passed where the theater was. We got there on time, eventually, and the show was interesting.
Thursday night we got to see another show (fo free) called “An Inspector Calls.”  The set was awesome; it included a house that literally turned itself over, making all the dishes and such inside crash on the stage.
And of course, you know what Thursday night means….
DSC02404 The most classy picture of the bunch…
Brought some new (American) friends there which was fun. We sang “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi, and I’m pretty sure we rocked the house. Great times were had.
On Friday, Mark, Rachel, Sarah and I went to Harrods, which is a big Macy’s-like department store in London.  We found a fur jacket worth £17,000, along with some other interesting stuff.
1. Ridiculously overpriced bear
DSC02432 As Mark pointed out, this stuffed bear is worth more than a week’s tube pass on the London Underground in Zones 1 and 2. It was £75.
2. Edward Cullen
DSC02431 I’d like to know when Edward grew out his hair. I’d also like to know when he became creepy as ish.
3. New Moon awesomeness
While in the children’s book section, I found the New Moon movie companion and skimmed through it. And by skimmed through it, I mean I studied every picture on every page. And found this gem.
DSC02434 K. Stew’s cross-eyed!
To round out the week, Sarah, Mark, and I took a day trip to Hampton Court Palace, which was the official residence of King Henry VIII (they are all about him over here) and other royalty. This place was rockin.
DSC02461 From inside Hampton Court Palace
DSC02455We be rockin’ dem audio tours
DSC02522Throne and chandelier
DSC02508 Elaborate paintings in one of the rooms
DSC025141 Ummz, what the eff are these??
DSC02531A toilet!
DSC02548Balanced the camera on a statue for this one.
That rounds up Week 3! I don’t have any big trips planned for this weekend (all my trips are in November), but will definitely take the time to see more of the city. Until next time (which will probably be next Monday, at this rate…), cheers!
For the comments: What are those nymph things in that painting?!? Kthnxbai.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Week Two in London

Sorry for the un-creative title. Another week has passed, and classes have started. The first week of classes were pretty easy (considering I only have class 2 days a week….whaa??).  Classes started on Tuesday with “Social Problems” in Ladbroke house, which was not too easy to get to. For all my other classes, I can take the tube right to the campus. However, Ladbroke House isn’t close to campus. It’s close to nothing.
campus map As you can see, there’s a tube station, Holloway Road, right by all the buildings at North Campus. Except Ladbroke house. There’s only a bus station there. I thought I had it figured out which bus station we needed to get to to catch the right bus, but we ended up running around the rain for 5 min looking for it, only to miss it by a minute. We had to wait for 15 more minutes until the next bus came in time. Somehow, we still made it to class 5 minutes early.
The actual class was really easy and the instructor seems really cool. The only assignment for the entire semester is one 2,000 word essay, due the last day of class. I think I can manage that.
The way the classes are set up is you have a lecture for the first hour, and then the class is divided up into smaller “seminar” classes for the last 2 hours. We didn’t have a seminar in the class the first week, which rocked.
Later that afternoon I had a study-abroad-only program, “Art in London.” Each week, the class visits a different art gallery in London, fo free. The only downside to this class is that it will probably be the most work; we have to keep a journal for each exhibit we visit, and talk about pieces we saw, etc. However it should be really cool to have a non-traditional class like that, and it’ll also be a great opportunity to see art.
My last day of classes for the week (ha!) is Wednesday, which starts off with “19th Century Fiction”…i.e. Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, etc….i.e. right up my alley.  The three novels I’ll be reading this semester are Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, and She by H. Rider Haggard.
Technically, this class will probably have more out-of-class work involved than Art in London, but srsly reading novels is not work to me.  I’ve never read any of these books, so it’s even more enjoyable.
Last class of the week is the one I’d been looking forward to the most, “Theatre in London.” Like in “Art in London,” we’ll be going to a different play/musical each week. Not fo free, but that’s ok. I’m so excited for the class, as I’m a big big theater fan. I’ve never heard of some of the plays we’re going to see, but I love learning about new shows so it’s awesome. Two I had heard of that I’ll be seeing are Annie, Get Your Gun and Inherit the Wind, which is  apparently staring Kevin Spacey.
This week I also got to experience some more quintessential London things, such as seeing a play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.
This was the last weekend of shows at the theater, and as we wouldn’t be going to any with my theatre class we didn’t want to pass up the opportunity. We saw “Love’s Labours Lost,” which was a Shakespeare comedy. The play was great, it really was funny and the actors were awesome. The only thing was I wish I had read a summary of the play beforehand; with the actors’ British accents and on top of that the Shakespearean language, it was a little hard to follow sometimes. It all worked out in the end though, and it was a really fun experience.
On Sunday, while some friends took a trip to Oxford, Rachel and I decided to spend the day in Hyde park. It was a little misty, but it was really nice to walk through the park, which is HUGE by the way. Rachel and I had a cup of tea and enjoyed the scenery. Fun times.
This past weekend we also made a day trip to Bath/Stonehenge/Salisbury, which was great. The weather was beautiful.  Bath and Salisbury were really cool towns. Bath has the Roman Baths there, but it was also cool to just walk around there and see old churches and buildings.  Same with Salisbury, which had a church built in 1200 AD.  Stonehenge was neat to see too, although I wouldn’t go back. I would def go back to Bath.
The Roman baths in Bath 

DSC02211Natural hot spring bath, discovered by the Romans
Bath Abbey 

DSC02281  Stonehenge

Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral
DSC02295 Me at Stonehenge…doing a dance.
On the agenda for this week is classes (obvs), figuring out and booking the rest of the trips for this sem., and then taking a trip to the Lake District and Manchester/Liverpool this weekend.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

My classes start tomorrow, so we’ve all been enjoying the free week, trying to get as much into it as possible. Here are some of the highlights from the weekend.

1. Karaoke night at ISH Bar
The girls who went last year raved about karaoke night and how they would go there every Thursday night, so we decided to check it out. It was free since we’re full-time students in London, which was awesome, since a lot of the cool places have cover charges. Here are my two flat mates and me waiting for the tube.
Rockin the leggings
Let me tell you. Karaoke was a blast. Drinks were really cheap (£1.90 for a pint of Strongbow ale, which would be about $3), karaoke was really bad, and there were lots of international and British students in there to talk to.  Most of the bars we’d been to so far never had many students in them, and if there were, they were usually in groups and not really open to talking to other people. This place was a perfect place to meet new people; since it was student bar, everyone was friendly and were there to talk to people they didn’t know, so it was fun. I didn’t sing this time (although Sarah and Emily did), but next time I will fo sho.

2. Leicester Square
When I pictured London before I got here, I saw it as more of a NYC city than it turned out to be. Leicester Square is more like what I saw London as looking like.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Whilst I have free time…

Phew!! I have been in London for 4 days and have only now had the time to sit down and write a proper blog post. 
I’ve been having a pretty fun time, although I’ve been pretty busy with orientation for the University I’ll be attending, as well as spending a lot of time getting to know as much of the city as we can. I’d like to share with you
Things I’ve learned in London so far.
1. Flats can be kind of small, but are still cute.
I’m sharing my flat with two other girls from my school.  All the kids from LVC are in the same “complex”, although ours is separated from them by a courtyard. Here’s the outside of the flat.

Unlike the other flats, ours is three stories. Bedroom is on the ground floor,

[ We hadn’t unpacked yet at this point. ]
bathroom and living room on first floor,