Monday, September 24, 2012

First Day of Class

Today was the first day of classes for me in England. or, well, one class. I just got done with the Art of Poetry class that I have on Monday's. From 1:00-2:00 is my Lecture, with 162 other students in a huge lecture hall and then from 2:00-3:00 is my Seminar class with about 20 others. This class should be really interesting and were having some important people come to give us lectures. The lecture class is just what it sounds like, a lecture. you sit there and take notes. which is fine for me however the lecture hall we are in, makes you sit up straight and proper and the desks are tiny. So I can't slouch and it's hard to take decent notes. The seminar class is almost exactly like classes at High Point University, small, and interactive. There was a worksheet we had to do looking at different quotations and determining whether they were prose or poetry. For those of you that don't know me, I love poetry and I write a lot of my own, however I have never taken a formal poetry class in my life. When asked which was prose, and which was poetry I got all of mine right while most people put either prose for something that was poetry or vice versus. The teacher asked me after class why I made those decisions and I said, "Honestly, I couldn't tell you. It was a gut feeling." She looked at me and said, "Hmm, well it will be interesting watching you develop. I am glad you are in my class."

Also in the class we had to write down what we thought was an adequate definition of poetry and I wrote, " There is no definition of poetry, because to define is to limit." I kind of incorporated a self-motto in there, the whole "To define is to limit." bit. But I liked it, and thought it was a spark of somewhat genius for my hungry, coffee deprived self.

Speaking of, as I sit here writing this I am on my 2nd cup of the day. I really am turning into my dad. But honestly, these classes should not be that hard to go through and do well in, and over the years in think I have become very self-disciplined, so I won't be too distracted in class and I shan't procrastinate.
Before class I met this cute Asian girl whose English was not very good. I asked her where she was from and she said Japan. Now I spent three years in an all girls school where more thatn half of the population of Asian, so I have picked up a few things. I said welcome and introduced myself in Japanese, to which she beamed up at me, presented (they don't 'call' themselves, they 'present') herself as Chihiro, and we both gave each other small nods of our heads, that indicates respect according to our status. For instance, if she had been a teacher, or someone older than I, I would have honored her with a full bow from the waist, however a small dip in the head is all that is really needed form someone of our age; plus we are not in Japan.

I digress, my apologizes, the coffee has caught up to me and now I am running away with my thoughts, but I do wish to tell you, my esteemed reader everything, so bare with me.  Chihiro sat next to me in my seminar and I made a few other acquaintances, so that is one class down, three more to go! I have my Travel blogging class tomorrow, my British Heritage class Wednesday, and my Fundamentals of Business class on Thursday. Now I just need to get my school books, and I will be ready to roll!

Fresher's Week

Okay, so catching up everyone on what I have been doing since my last post. Sorry about that everyone, normally I am quite good at keeping things up. Anyway, this past week was Fresher's Week; A.K.A. parties all night, all week. I only went to a few of them, I don't have stamina that Brit's do...

There was the Traffic light party which was insane. For those of you who do not know what that is, you where traffic light colored clothes based on if you are single or not. it is as follows:

RED- Try my friend instead
YELLOW- Try me and see
GREEN - Sex machine

That is literally what the posters said, and don't worry I wore yellow. Although some guys thought it was green. Thank goodness I had all of my friends there with me, a big group means more protection from the creepers. Also met a few guys that night. Dan and Simon whom I think will be some of my best British bud's over here, and George (who plays rugby). Also met a few girls: Georgie, Lottie, Libby, and Jess. All of them go to Oxford Brookes and all are extremely nice!

There is me in the Yellow looking up at the lights...Terrible shot but oh well

The DJ's were absolutely fantastic! seeing this set up and listening to them, I really want to learn how to do that!

Next night, I stayed in and went to the White Horse pub with Raquel ( one of my flat mates) Dan, Simon, and George and a few of his friends. I now know the main bartender guy there very well, and he knows the regular table where I tend to sit. Yup, my kind of pub. Dr. Schweitzer then showed up and ended up sitting and eating with us. Which I thought was great! But the Brits found it really odd. They don't normally sit down and talk or even share a coffee or a mean with their teachers... I personally love it. I do it all the time! Plus, she knows her football (NFL) so it's great to talk to someone else that knows it. Speaking of football, the place got really busy and then before I know it, there is a giant screen coming down in front of the main window and the Chelsea game is on that screen and the Manchester United game is on the other TV's around the Pub. There was even a little boy there around 10 years old that came to watch with his dad that had his little Chelsea jersey on. It was a lot of fun, although I still don't fully understand the off-sides rule and I think it's stupid. But everyone was cheering and it was a great party. Finally, after the game and most people had left Sky Sports showed NFL. Not Monday night NFL, Tuesday night NFL! And only the highlights, but still, it was something.

Thursday night went out again to a club called Lava Ignite, and tried a Stella for the first time. I liked it. But I still have to sip on it. For those of you that don't know me, I don't like carbonation at all. So it took me a good two hours to get through half of it. I texted my dad that I had tried a Stella and the conversation went like this:
Me: Dad, Just tried a Stella...I kind of like it
Dad: That's my girl! That's my beer. But be careful, it's strong
Me: I'm just sipping, and it just proves we are related.
Dad: Indeed. Have fun!
(P.S. Mom, don't worry. I'm not going crazy over here, I promise).
            However the DJ was really good and there were a lot of Hispanic looking people around (nice looking mind you, not creepy) and when they started playing Latin music for all of them, one guy asked me dance  and we did a bachata, which had me swinging around and pulling a Shakira in the middle of the dance floor. By the time we were done, most people had stopped and were looking at us. Oops. For me, I just like dancing, so if I find a good partner and the music is right, then I kind of let loose; which apparently is not the norm in England, or so I'm told. Oh well.  
So there is the highlights of my week. During the day I have been working and exploring Oxford and finding interesting things such as this:


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Heritage Visits Commence

So no big deal but I went to Downton Abbey today. Yeah that's right. Downton Abbey. And Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral. It was a long day.
               Downton Abbey is not the actual name of the place. The real name is Highclere Castle and it is the ancestral home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Beautiful and full of tourists it was a great way to start the day. I even had a couple ask me if I was an Olympian because I was wearing a coat that said World Dressage Masters on it. Wonder what would have happened had I said yes? I have been in houses like Highclere before but it was still a neat experience. I wish my mom and grandmother had been there to see it with me. I undoubtedly would have gotten a mini antique lesson in each of the rooms.
               After that we traveled to the mighty Stonehenge. It took my breath away and to be honest I had tears in my eyes when I got closer to it. Currently I am working on a new poem about it which I will put up shortly. There were way too many tourists for my taste and I think I bugged the warden a bit much because I asked way to many questions. oh well. I want to do some research on it  now and I cannot wait to get my little hands on a few Stonehenge books.  This might sound cheesy but I felt really connected to it. I am planning on going there on September 22nd for the Autumn Equinox. If you get there early in the morning (five a.m. wake up call, joy) the wardens will let you into the circle and let you stay there to watch the sun rise. So excited about it. It's hard to express it here but the closest I can come to it that I think it will be one of the most magical and profound experiences in my life. An early wakeup call will be well worth it.
               We then went to Salisbury and had a tour of Salisbury Cathedral. It is one of England's most spectacular Cathedrals built in a single phase in the 1200's. Its spire is 404ft tall and it houses the world's best preserved copy of the Magna Carta. Did you know that of the original 13, there are only 4 left? The carbon dating on some of the stain glass windows date it back to 1180 A.D. which puts them at some of the oldest in England and possibly the world, not quite sure about that though. The church itself is long enough to park two jumbo jets (without wings mind you), and it is the only cathedral where you can see directly from one end to the other. The huge spire itself was added after the church had finished and it too has an interesting story. When they were building the spire it became too heavy and the support columns became crooked (which you can actually see. Quite scary really). The church had two options: take it down or pray. They took the latter and prayed. A lot. When they finished building and it didn't fall down, they discovered that the farthest side of the church had been elevated about seven inches, the spire was leaning in the opposite direction that much. It now pitches and sways and has a distinct lean of 33 inches. And once a year some crazy Englishman scales the spire to do what? change a light bulb. It is so large that they had to put anti-aircraft lights at the top of the tower that need changing every year. And apparently these  lights have been the cause of some UFO sightings.
We ate a scrumptious dinner in Salisbury and headed up to my warm bed. More like a pallet really but oh well. By the time 10 P.M. rolled around it was lights out.

Amazing hot chocolate and chocolate brownie! Perfect for warming up!


Four Miles of books and Einstein

We finally had a free day to ourselves and so my flat mates and I went into the city for the day. Well more like afternoon since we all slept in. When we got there they wanted to go to Christ church before it closed and I was dead set on going to see this Astronomy in Renaissance exhibit at the Museum of Science because it was the last day of the exhibit. Well I ended up going on my own. But I texted Hal and asked if he would meet me there. He did and we went around and saw the coolest things ( I have pictures below). One of the most fascinating things was a blackboard used by Einstein. It had his writing on it and everything. Fantastic! Hal and I then went to grab a snack and after about an hour of chatting at a local Cafe he had to leave and I went to Blackwell's bookstore. It is now my favorite place. You go downstairs and there is four miles of books approximately. FOUR MILES! I cannot wait to get started. I then met my friends at Turf's for dinner and we then went back where I promptly fell asleep.

One would not think this bookstore has four miles of books in it. Oh yes, England is very deceiving. 

Astronomy in Renaissance: 

Einstein's blackboard!