Shopping!

If you were to look at all the money I’ve spent since I’ve been to London it’s clear I’ve been shopping.  It just happens to be that a lot of what I’ve been buying for myself has been less of a want and more of a need )or semi-need).  For example, I’ve had to buy things for rugby (cleats, mouthguard, other atheltic-like clothing).

But, now I’ve done some good and proper shopping just because I want stuff for myself.  Oh, wait, I remember I did buy something for myself.  I bought a tote bag from Liberty.  Just pretend that didn’t happen.

I went to Camden Market and walked around a little bit.  Camden Market isn’t one market, but a series of markets and shops and narrow passages full of ethnic food stalls.  Anyways, I  bought a sweater (but not after debating which one to get).

I got the one on the right.


Also, today I went to Brick Lane (curry capital of London) to go to a “flea market.”  It was basically an American Apparel sample sale.  Oh my goodness.  It was like a hipster fashion parade.  But, luckily I totally fit in with my newly purchased skull sweater and not so newly purchased suede boots.  I ended up buying a chiffon tank top and some other little accessories.  Funny how I’ve never owned anything from American Apparel until now… when I’m not in America.

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Final score: 37-14

I went to support my team (my team! I’ve never had a team before) yesterday in our game against Brunel University.  As you can tell from the title, we won 37 to 14.  Brunel is in Uxbridge, which is in west London, pretty suburban.  The day started nicely, if a bit cold, when a small group of us took the Tube to Uxbridge and then a bus (“Are you girls going to watch your boyfriends?”  “Um, NO!”) to the University sports center (or rather, centre).  The game was nearly half over by the time we found the right field and then 20 minutes in it started to drizzle freezing cold rain.  Not fun.  But, fun to watch the team play a real game against an opponent, and fun to cheer everyone on.

Looks like rain

And for those concerned about me playing rugby, I could tell you that an ambulance had to be called for a girl, but then I would tell you that she was on the opposing team.  Maybe that’s not so comforting, but it really wasn’t too rough.

Here’s some pictures and a video (we’re purple).

Art, churches, and a surprise

My history class took us to Smithfield to visit the Priory Church of St. Bartholomew the Great.  According to our teacher it’s the oldest surviving church in London, founded in 1123 by Rahere, a courtier of Henry I and according to a poster inside the church cafe, a scene from Shakespeare in Love was filmed here.  The first thing that greeted us was a Tudor style front that led to a courtyard.  Finally, the church.  It was pretty stark, grey stone walls, plain glass windows, no gold or colors, but there was a nice wooden choir screen, and rust and white checkered pavement.  As it turns out the church is missing a lot of parts, including the nave, the transepts, and 3/4 of its cloisters.  I guess you can’t really expect the oldest surviving church in London not to be crippled.  And now queue intelligent conversation about the distance between the nave and the altar that physically represents the spiritual distance laypeople felt from their religion.  Or something like that.

Yesterday my art history class was at the Courtauld Institute.  I’ve been there before with Emily when my uncle took us, but I still had a hard time finding it.  Standing for 2 hours when your body is incredibly sore (see next paragraph) is not a fun time, but I enjoyed the art (and seeing all the works I’ve learned about in previous classes).  Usually there’s an admission fee to get into the gallery, but since we were there for a class it was free, so I made sure to walk around after our lecture and take advantage of the whole not paying to get in thing.

Inner courtyard of the Somerset House (where the Courtauld Insititue is located)

On a non academic note, I’ve been trying out some of the clubs and societies, including rugby.  What?!?!!  Yeah.  I am so not prepared for this, I mean, I didn’t even bring running shoes, so I came to training in canvas Vans.  I missed the first week of practices, so never mind learning to pass and other basic stuff, I got to start my experience by learning to tackle.  Ha!  Yup, I tackled people (successfully) and got tackled (a couple of scrapes, no bruises).  Most surprising bit, I’ll be continuing with it, which means going out later today to buy proper shoes and a mouth guard.  Oh good grief, what am I getting myself into?  Now to figure out how to deal with the soreness (two days later and my neck is still sore… looking up and to the left is painful).

Les Misérables and Pho

There has been a distinct lack of photos in my last few posts, which I must admit, makes them look really, really boring.  Now that I’ve been away from home for over a month, dare I say it… the novelty of being abroad has begun to wear off.  Plus, classes have started, which is a downer in its own way.  I swear, I bring my camera with me sometimes, but it never seems to occur to me to take pictures.  Being a photo taking fiend is tiring, and my purse is small, and I don’t want to be a perpetual tourist.

I did manage to take one photo since my outing with Jinri.  It’s of Joseph at the Queen’s Theatre, and if you know anything about London, then you know we were there to see Les Misérables.  Les Misérables has been showing at the Queen’s Theatre since 2004, and it’s been playing in London for the past 25 years (that’s older than me!).  I’ve actually seen it before when I was in London with my family a couple of years ago.

This time around Joe and I managed to get £10 tickets in the upper circle.  Three reasons to justify getting the cheap seats (with a terrible view).  1) We’re poor college students. 2) I’ve seen the show before (in much better seats).  3) Joe claims he doesn’t like musicals, so I wasn’t going to invest too much in case he hated it.  As it turned out Joe liked it fine enough.  The fact that it’s not over the top singing and dancing and happy happy yay!, is probably why Joe didn’t totally hate it.  Meanwhile, I was sitting there grinning like a little kid because Les Mis is one of my favorite musicals (thanks to my mother’s love for it).  I especially enjoyed Alexia Khadime as Eponine.  She’s black for one thing which was kind of refreshing, but she also had that sort of rich voice I associate with the role, not as breathy and airy as Cosette’s.

Saturday afternoon my uncle took me out to a Vietnamese restaurant in the East of London.  The reason?  To try me a big bowl of phở. It was delicious, and not at all what I expected it to be.  I think, if I hadn’t known what it was I wouldn’t have pinned it down as an Asian dish (well, except for the fact that there are beansprouts and rice noodles in it).  The soup is deceptively watery looking, but it’s full of spices like cinnamon and cloves.  (By the way, this was totally a missed photo-op.)

We also stopped by the White Cube galley (contemporary art) and the Geffrye Museum (furniture/living spaces from the 15th century to the present).  Lastly, a shop selling “pretentious men’s clothing” (Urban Outfitters meets Shoreditch).  But we weren’t there to buy £350 sweaters, we were there for the espresso (because, yeah, all pretentious men’s clothing stores have working espresso machines).

Fooood

Joe calls me a hungry hippo, and I am known for demanding he feed me whenever I’m at his place.  I like to eat, a lot.  If I wasn’t so lazy I would try my hand at cooking and baking properly.  Like fancy things.  Tasty things.  Oh so delicious foody things.

Lately I’ve been drooling over these chocolate meringues on Bakerella.com.  But first I have to admit that I had no idea what a meringue was until recently (really recently).  All I knew about meringues was that there was such a thing as lime meringue pie flavored Yoplait yogurt.  Extensive, I know.  Then, at the Freshers Fayre there was a bakery stand selling these weird white blobs that I can only describe as looking like the poop of a giant marshmallow man (oops, I just laughed at my own joke).  When I asked the man what they were (meringues, duh) I felt stupid for asking, but also very enlightened.

Anyways, Bakerella.  These chocolate meringues look effing fabulous and I want to eat 20 of them now.  They only require 4 ingredients, but I have a feeling they’re one of those more difficult things to make.  Something about double boilers and whipping egg whites.  Sounds fancy.  But, I have so much free time on my hands, and if I don’t ingest one of these beautiful chocolate creations I just might die.  Or something.

Midterms! Just kidding, it’s only the first week of school.

My first week of classes is over, and it’s not even Friday! I seriously have the most awesome schedule, well, maybe not THE most awesome, but it’s pretty great. I have 2 hours of classes a day Monday to Thursday, and that’s it.

Monday was the Pragmatic Theory class. It’s an intermediate class, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be too hard even if I haven’t taken the prerequisite class. The class is a mixture of undergraduate and Masters students, and the lecture hall was too small for the amount of people there. People had to sit on the floor and bring in extra chairs from another room. I sat with some students from Hong Kong I met earlier, TinMing, Psyche, and Wanda. Surprisingly, the professor supplied us with lecture notes. The only other class I’ve had where I could have the notes beforehand was my Intro to Psychology class, and that was only a skeleton of the notes. The same thing happened Tuesday, in the Logic and Meaning class. We can print the slide show beforehand. The Linguistic students here have it easy.

The history and art history classes are a different story. Call me crazy, but I like taking my own notes (if there’s a good lecturer). Both those classes are museum classes, which means most of the times the class meets it will be at various museums. Nifty, yeah?

Some bad bits of my week…. Working in 45 minutes to travel to campus is a pain in the butt, since everything at Colgate is a 10 minute walk away from your room at most. And super bad news, the internet sucks, and even though I registered for all my classes, I’ve suddenly been unregistered for all of them. I’m trying to get it sorted out, but it has me pretty stressed out.