Yes, tonight I am going back to the Carleton. The Carleton is a nightclub in the town of Lancaster that everyone goes to on Wednesday night. Everyone here says they hate the club but that all go anyway. Why do they hate it? It could be that its main night is Wednesday, It could be the long line at the coat check, but it's probably that The Carleton plays techno re-mixes of Dolly Parton and David Hasselhoff regularly. I think it's brilliant!
Yes, classes are done for the day. I went food shopping and bought a couple of posters for my room finally. It's amazing how a few posters can change a large square box into a lively flat. Yes, Flat!
It's odd how things that are so similar are so different over here. I was talking with one of my friends about things that are annoying. "Annoying like how solicitors always ring during tea!" Solicitors? Ring? Tea? I laughed. Fortunately, my friend thought I was laughing with them. Alright, well I've got to go make myself dinner! Chicken Curry tonight!
Phonetically that title totally works. It also marks the start of the blogs that will describe the places I travel in the United Kingdom/ Europe/ Africa?
Yes, this weekend I went to the incredible Edinburgh.Set in the foothills of Scotland the striking architecture of the buildings and monuments only added to the magical feel of the north country’s landscape.As I stepped onto the street of Edinburgh after an awful bus ride I had to smile as the sound of Bagpipes immediately set the mood of the day.I love bagpipe music and was delighted that throughout the day it could often be heard on the streets.
The castle of Edinburgh was not only an excellent tourist attraction but you could see how strategically useful its placement would be.Next to the Castle is my favourite park in the UK so far.It was simply amazing.After the castle and park my friends and I went to the National Gallery where we spend several hours and I could have spent days.The Impressionist exhibits were interesting along with the Scottish room but my favourites were the beautiful collections of sculpture as well as a small Goya exhibit.
We visited Greyfriar’s Bobby’s statue which was very cool.Greyfriar’s Bobby is a dog who, for fourteen years after his master’s death, would lie beside his grave and leave only for food.The loyalty of the dog became famous in his time and continues to be a point of interest in Scotland and for those who visit.It is impossible to convey the numerous monuments and delightful scenes seen.
One of the most fun moments was making friends with a Scot hanging around the castle adorned in full Braveheart gear down to the painted blue face and battle sword.He actually had helped with the making of Braveheart--largely stunt coordination.We didn’t see any stunts but after he offered to show us the Scottish flag tattooed on his “arse” we decided to explore a different part of the city.
Yep, Edinburgh was a beautiful place with a ton of interesting people (mainly because of their accents, but sometimes because of the wacky manifestation of their love for Scotland)
Ok, so today I went to a talk from a Holocaust survivor about his experiences in a Polish concentration camp. Naturally, it was very intense and quite sad. Still, as has been said a million times (often to deaf ears) remembering what happened is important. Hopefully when I travel I'll be able to go and see some of the museums and memorials of WWII. Having just taken Dr. Bergmann's History of the Modern World (1871-2000), it will be fun to see some of the places I was studying about.
(Sidenote: if you are a student or are going to be a student at RMC take Dr. Bergmann's class! If you don't have time Audit it! DO IT! It will make you a better person/ world citizen.)
Ok, the other sad thing is that someone stole my iPod! Fortunately it wasn't a very expensive one! I'm not too upset about it; because, frankly, compared to Auschwitz, a stolen iPod is nothing. Beyond nothing.
Yes, the worst has happened. The Saints lost. Also, no one here in England seems to care that the "American football club I support" lost. Thankfully, everyone from home I've talked to in the past day has been really depressed which oddly makes me feel better.
Despite such a tragedy life in the UK continues to go on. The initial excitement of orientation and arrival has mellowed into something of a routine. Here's how it goes: On days when I have class (not Fridays!!!) I wake up early to fix coffee and make myself breakfast. Since I share a kitchen with two flatmates I usually run into either Stacey or Debbie in the mornings. As we fix breakfast we argue over who is going to have the most work to do that day. I usually lose. Apparently having a lot of reading to do isn't as impressive as organizing a holocaust remembrance or having to work in a biology lab. Still, I maintain that reading can be just as much work! For example: last week I got to read Lord Jim, The Monk, A number of renaissance poems and essays, and several articles for my sociology course. Still, the books are fun and most of the articles/ essays are interesting so it's all good.
After Waking Up/ Breakfast/ Shower/ etc. I go to class. A lecture or a seminar. Lecture can be challenging especially when the lecturer's accent is so thick you can't understand some of what they say. Also, you could forget your glasses and not be able to read the board (not that I did that). Seminar can be equally tricky. You might not be up on your Nietzschean theory or, you might (hypothetically) confuse Paradise Lost with Lost Horizons. Shangri-La, Hell, what's the difference, eh? Ok, but enough literature to bore everyone who doesn't read.
After class I'll eat lunch. I'll either meet one of my friends and eat at one of the places on campus (Too bad the Indian restaurant on campus is expensive) or I'll just make something for myself, usually the latter. If I've got time before class in the afternoon (if I have class in the afternoon) I'll go online to check my e-mail, check Kaitlin Long's blog to see how she is doing in Spain, and blog about how I'm doing here. Time seems to fly whether I go to the gym or go to town with friends so that dinner comes rather quickly. Then it's either time to read or go hang out with my friends (often both).
Repeat. It's quite nice.
OK, now I think you've got a basic idea of how things are working here. Keep that in mind as you'll be hearing more about the nuances of my days soon.
Well, we last left off with me having arrived in my new room. After my nap I had a dinner to attend at 5. The dinner would mark the start of orientation for new international students. Of course, I had no idea where the dinner was. It wasn't that I didn't know I was supposed to meet in the foyer of the main management school building, It was that I had no idea where that was. As the main student body hadn't arrived yet it was easy enough to find and follow some students who didn't look British.
Once at the dinner the new international students were welcomed and told that the real orientation would start the next day but that the staff had merely wanted to provide us with a good meal before we had to start cooking for ourselves. They didn't. Don't trust British Lasagna! The salad was good though. More importantly this dinner is where I've met the students I've been spending the bulk of my time with. I have new friends mainly from Sweden, Ecuador, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and the USA. There were a number more nationalities at the dinner but I haven't really been hanging out with them. Plus, the kids from Hong Kong were really clicky.
We were all interested in each other's accents. A week later I can distinguish a New Zealand from an Australian accent. I can understand the Swiss and Swedish people's English better than I can understand a lot of the British kids (more on that in another post). The Canadians are great, eh. Even among the few Americans the accents are noticeable. My new friend Robby from Kentucky sounds alarmingly like Paula Rafferty in the Financial Aid office. Oh yeah, accents are fun.
Actual Orientation was slightly dull as orientations tend to be. Highlights included being given a phone number to call in case your phone doesn't work and an e-mail address to find a map of where a computer lab would be on campus. I laughed out loud when they gave us the phone number to call but no one else seemed to get the Catch-22. Also due to some construction on campus the path I take to some of my classes will change in the next couple of weeks. That should be fun. If you don't hear from me that's why.
Alright! I've got to run and eat (I'm making my own food now so it'll be delicious) See Ya'll later.
Hello person reading this blog! First, I'd like to provide you with a little background on me and just what it is that I'll be blogging about:
My name is Cory. I'm from New Orleans and am currently a junior at Randolph-Macon. You may have seen the blogs of students on Randolph-Macon's campus. You may have seen the blogs of those students studying abroad for J-term. You might have even seen both. My blog will be similar to the student's on campus in that I will continue to update for the rest of the semester while resembling the J-term blogs in that my experiences will not be on the R-MC campus. For the next six months I will be studying at Lancaster University in England. Here I'll be taking mainly English courses (appropriately as my major is English) and having tons of exciting adventures. You'll be able to read about some of them here so make sure to keep checking in! Also, I feel it may be important for you to note that the punctuation I use may seem strange at times--even incorrect, however, I've merely adopted the British form of punctuation and I can assure you that I don't make grammatical errors
Enough about me. How are you? And now... how I'm doing:
I left Randolph-Macon on December 15th to go home for Christmas and New Years before heading out to New Years. It was quite strange to think that the next time I would be in Virginia would be around 8 months from that time. Still, it was wonderful to be home for the holidays and I had a great time there before heading out to England.
I flew out of Louis Armstrong International Airport on the 8th set to arrive on the 9th. As they say in England the so-called "war on terrorism" had increased security. (I haven't met anyone yet who doesn't say "so-called" before the war on terrorism bit) Still, the last two weeks before I left more American citizens were killed in New Orleans than in Iraq so the constant threat of terrorism didn't concern me as much as the constant threat of losing my baggage. Read into that what you will. Because of a heavy eastern wind across the Atlantic, my flight landed two hours early at 7 in the morning (2 a.m. central).
I moved on to the train station where, after solidly hitting the wall between platforms 9 and 10, I continued on to platform 2 to catch the train to the provincial town of Lancaster. I finally arrived at Lancaster University where I began to unpack.
Well, that's got you to England. Next time I'll let you know what I did next (after my nap). You'll be caught up in no time! Cheers