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Sunday, September 28, 2003

PICTURES



Tate Modern
Us
David Blaine
Laughing at him
Lo in the Flat
Trafalgar Square
Vivaldi Concert


British Museum:
Confused
Realization
Great Court
Bizarre Phallus
Celtic Hat
Clock

Friday, September 26, 2003

LONDON BABY



I'm quite excited to have things up and running here, but frankly Fred and I went to town with the Japanese beer at dinner, and I'm a bit too tired to do an interactive post. I'll screw around with the camera tomorrow and try to get some pictures up here (I promise, Mom).


It's been exactly five months since I've been to a class. So I'm a bit nervous heading off to my first meeting of Selected Themes in Baroque Art and Architecture this afternoon. There's that awkward moment at 10 of the hour when three of us are standing outside the door, unsure whether we'll interrupt something if we go in. I suggest we do anyway, and we do, and it's clear that all we're interrupting is the chatter of other students waiting for class to start. Inevitably, I end up sitting next to three other Americans. Great. This is why I crossed the ocean, to learn alongside the people I was with before I came. At least one of them is a boy. But I'm pretty sure he's gay. Regardless, we make disinterested small talk for a while, until we realize just how long it's been. One brilliant student walks to the main Art History office and returns to inform us that "The professor has been in hospital all week; class is cancelled until further notice." Make that five months and one day.


I'm a bit let down after getting myself academically pumped, so I take the opportunity to explore the Philosophy building and check the timetables for my classes there. I had tried to do this previously, but always found the door at 19 Gordon Square inexplicably locked. Today I discover a back alley, navigate it, timidly climb some rusty iron steps, and see a faded sign that points to a solid metal door with broken handle, which is the actual entrance to the Philosophy House. I'm still nonplussed at how everyone else seemed to know this from the start. I suppose they're English, and so assumed that unlocking the front door of a building is far too simple a practice, like driving on the right hand side of the road or using the Euro. I hang out a bit in the common room, curious if there's any other secret info I might pick up, and think about what kind of Philosophy I want to indulge in this term. Philosophy students are often a homely, distracted bunch; I've always imagined us to be only one or two rungs up the social ladder from Physics and Engineering students. I was, however, dead wrong. It would seem every good-looking man on the planet is first a part of the UCL Philosophy department. Seriously, Abercrombie and Fitch models have nothing on these guys - in the 10 minutes I stood in the hallway, I felt like I was watching myself star in my own twisted version of The Bachelorette. This improved my mood considerably, but will likely make concentrating on Hegel all the more difficult. So be it.


Finding myself with yet another beautiful London afternoon and basically no responsibility, I do what I've done with my other beautiful London afternoons, and set out for a walk in Regents Park. I walk past the private gardens into the southeast entrance, up the well-groomed path of flowers and fountains, smiling at the many other people who have escaped their daily grind to sit out in the sun. I head for the Inner Circle, a particularly serene and insulated area of the park, and snuggle into a partly-shaded bench near a fountain, where I've sat several times and so feel attached. I read for a couple hours, looking up occasionally to acknowledge passers-by and to raise an eyebrow at the three shirtless Englishmen on the bench across from me. Around 4:30 I get a text from Fred suggesting we meet up for a pint, which always seems like a good idea, so I vacate the bench and walk toward the tube. Just out of the park, I spot a sweet-looking dog, who I suppose has an owner at the end of its leash; I give it a smile, and he wags accordingly. Owner reveals himself to be one of those guys who uses his dog as an excuse to talk to women. Maybe it's not even his dog. I dunno, all I know is that now he's walking with me, trying to convince both of us that he's half as charming as his canine companion. "What are you studying?" "Art History and Philosophy." "Oh..." [This is the standard reaction. People realize they know nothing about either subject and are frightened at sounding stupid, and so leave it at Oh.] "...How long have you been in the country?" "Two weeks." "Yeah, I can tell." This is a markedly rude comment. For all the flack Americans take for being arrogant, at least we don't use our dogs to talk to people and then insult them. We're reaching a cafe now, and it becomes conversationally evident that he's going to ask me to join him for a drink. As much as I'd like to stay and discover cultural differences with this greaseball, the buzzing phone in my pocket indicates that Fred is already on her way to our meeting place, and so I make up some excuse to walk in the opposite direction. As a goodbye, he hands me a dog treat (which I'm certain he keeps in his pocket for exactly this purpose) and I offer it to the poor beast, while toying with the idea of loosening the leash so that he can run free. About five minutes later, a young English couple stops me to ask for directions to the London Zoo. Apparently my StUpiD AmERicAn sign is only evident to that git with the dog. At least I've got a story to tell when I get to the pub.


Thursday, September 04, 2003

A NEW YEAR, (FINALLY) A NEW POST



Upon occasion of my 21st birthday, I feel I should ease into my new adulthood by reflecting on the childhood I'm leaving behind. So, here are 21 thoughts, roughly from the years in which I had them:



1. Wwglllaaahhhh. Bright Light! Cold Air! This SUCKS!

2. Dude! Feet!

3. Underwear! This just keeps getting better!

4. Eh, the thrill is gone. I want a dog.

5. No fair. Bryan and Emily get to go to school while I sit here in my Big Bird nightgown.

6. Kindergarten! *squirming with excitment*

7, 8, &9. [Incomprehensible screeching, squealing, and giggling]

10. Sweet. Double digits.

11. Fifth Grade: I am hot shit.

12. Sixth grade: Please, please don't shut me in my locker.

13. Braces. Acne. Bangs. Vanity Fair, eat your heart out.

14. OmigodlikewhatareyouwearingtomorrowKristiandIarewearingourpleatedskirtsandblacksweatersWowNickissohotOkcallmelater.

15. One more year 'til I can drive.

16. Holy shit I can drive.

17. Lots of friends, lots of activity, little responsibility, Life is good.

18. Life sucks. SATs, ACTs, APs, applying to college, running school clubs. Get me far away from here.

19. I'm far away from home. Everything is new and different, and scary and overwhelming.

20. In the words of a very wise TV show, "There's a time and a place for everything, and it's called COLLEGE."

21. .... I should write a post about this.

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