Sunday, 27 April 2008

Strawberry Fields Forever

Katherine, a graphic design student at RISD invited me to go to the Duchamp, Man Ray and Picabia exhibition that was taking place at Tate Modern in London. I of course obliged, considering that I missed my chance to go for free; but that is another story of its own. On the way, we walked across the Millennium Bridge, and it was a beautiful, sunny day. This was a welcome change from the rainy, windy, cloudy, cold weather we have had for the last few weeks. Just walking outside in London made me feel alive and content. The exhibition was interesting, and I saw some fairly famous pieces by Duchamp like Fountain, The Large Glass, and the bicycle wheel on a stool, which I cannot remember the name of. Many of the works were replicas, though, which was a little disappointing.

Afterwards, we met up with Joel and Michael and took the train to Greenwich. We first stopped at a little antique and vintage market, which I wanted to stay at for much longer but the others seemed to be done. I really want to go back because I was enthralled with the hats, lacy gloves, and pumps. There was even a little instrument booth where I got to try out a ukulele.

We left and went to the Prime Meridian of the World, which is 0° longitude. The National Maritime museum was also up there, along with the Royal Observatory. I stood over the official line, which means I was standing in the Western and Eastern Hemispheres at the same time! It was an exciting experience, considering I just finished a physical geography course in the winter. I spoke with a few people from here, though, and nobody seems to know about it! I was really surprised.

When I got home I had dinner with Debs, her friend and Immie and then I went to a pub called The Ram with Immie, her boyfriend and a few of her friends. I have been feeling kind of down lately, but I think the change in weather (because it is finally warm and sunny here) and the activities lifted my spirits.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008


this is me having fun.

hope has a way of turning its face to you just when you least expect it.

this is not my photograph.

the study abroad group plus a couple of English girls.

yes, the fried Mars bar.

This past Thursday night at 11:00 p.m., a friend and I boarded a National Express bus headed to Edinburgh, Scotland. It was a long and tiring ride, and it was difficult to sleep. We were surrounded by cuddling couples and snorers, but we managed to get there eventually, sleep or not. The weekend was filled with fried Mars bars, ukulele playing, and haggis-eating. On a side note, haggis is the belly of a lamb with oats and spices. My friend, Graham, from Connecticut lives and goes to the University there.

On the way to his flat, we got somewhat lost, but it was worth it. We were on Princes Street and although it was in the middle of a shopping area, over to our left was a huge green mountain of a hill with Edinburgh Castle standing atop it. While of course visiting museums, galleries, the writer's museum, and a monument to Sir Walter Scott, it was not the most exciting of places. For its beauty, though, I was left in awe.

The first evening, Graham took us to a crepe party, where I met his friends from the United States, France, Denmark, Lithuania and England. It was explained to me several times that there weren't many Scots at the University. I had a crepe with Nutella and bananas, as well as one with cheese and a martini. I thoroughly enjoy meeting people from all over the world. It seems that it's easy to find many international students congregated in the largest cities. These people also tend to be more exciting, adventurous, and open than the locals (but I don't take this as a rule).

There is a story of a dog who stayed by his master's grave until his own death, and there was a statue made of him there. I was also able to see the cafe in which J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. The last night, Graham took us to Arthur's Seat, which is the main peak of a group of hills in Edinburgh. It was nighttime, and it was a serious hike, but at the summit, it was worth it. We could see out to the North Sea and to the highlands. On the way down, we saw the heather on the hill, which I have heard much about.
I have recently made friends with the daughters of the lady I am lodging with and it's been refreshing to get to know some real English people. For a while, I was spending most of my time with Americans and I strongly desired to acquaint myself with some people from other countries. I was able to bring one of the daughters, Charlotte and her friend to a friend's birthday celebration, which ended up being fantastic!

I have traveled to several places, which has been quite a blessing. A lot of the American students here did an entire tour of about 7-10 European countries, but I am content with my travels. I would rather not rush around to every country and spend money I don't have because I know that I will come back to Europe someday. Besides, I found a friend to travel with me to Paris and I have bought the tickets, so we are officially going to Paris in early May as my last traveling adventure outside of the United Kingdom. I have always wanted to go to France, and there is much anticipation to see the artwork and countryside, as well as the city. As an artist and a French speaker myself, I know that I am realizing a dream. I am going to try to go to Bath and Stonehenge, as well as Greenwich, where the Prime Meridian is, before I return to the United States. I am going home in about five weeks, which I am overjoyed about.

Au revoir.