Hello, all! So, a good bit has happened between my last post and this one, so I'll try to remember all of it.
I officially started the semester yesterday, with my England Through the Middle Ages class. I'm really looking forward to this class, since I haven't had the chance to have a history class since I graduated from high school. Plus, I have a lot of knowledge and interest in British history, particularly the Tudor period, so I'm looking forward to finally putting that knowledge to good use.
Our teacher's name is Keith, and he is everything I like about the British: witty, dry, and sarcastic. He made me laugh at least five times during class. He also has the perfect Sherlock Holmes nose: long and straight. We're going to have one 2,000 word paper on whatever topic we choose (hello, Thomas Cromwell!) along with a presentation, a midterm test, and a final exam. Admittedly, my very first reaction to reading through the syllabus was: "Only one paper? That's it?" Yes, I am a battle-hardened English major. I've had to produce three to four 1,700-2,000 word papers for one class alone in the past. Throughout the semester, we'll be going to the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, the Museum of London, St. Bart's Church, the Guildhall, and Hampton Court. Sooo excited, for all of it^_^ There will be reports on all visitations, I promise!
After the introduction and run-through of the syllabus, Keith took us to the British Museum, now my second trip there. We only stayed for about an hour, looking through various Anglo-Saxon items on display, then told us we were free to look through the museum at our own pace, or leave if we wanted to. I wanted to stay, but I had to run back to ISH to eat dinner and get ready for the first play I had to see for my theatre class, so I left.
I ended up eating at Pret A Manger again, only this time I decided to extend my boundaries a little bit and bought a toasted ham, cheese, and mustard sandwich, only it wasn't mustard as Americans know it. I can't remember exactly what it was called, but it was some kind of mustard/mayonnaise hybrid. Surprisingly, I ended up really liking it, and would definitely get it again. Be proud of me, Mom, I had a sandwich with mustard in it.
Wendy made fun of me for it, but I was raised to dress nicely when going to the theatre, even if it were in a little, intimate one as the Tricycle Theatre was. I put on a knit dress with black tights, a denim jacket, and Ugg boots. Wendy and I took the Tube to Kilburn, where the theatre was (about a 20-25 minute trip,) and easily found the theatre down the street, which is both a cinema and a theatre. The play we saw, which was a fringe play (a performance with a lot of improv and hardly any props) was called "Water," written in the 1980's. Here's a link to a trailer and synopsis of the play:
I really enjoyed it- it was all done by three actors, who all had an impressive range of accents. It was both a social and political commentary on numerous subjects, including global warming and our growing inability to connect to other human beings on a basic level while becoming more isolated due to technology. I'm making it sound like it was one long lecture, but artistically, it was beautifully done with many levels of emotion involved. For my first play while in London, it was a huge success. I'm looking forward to talking about it in class on Thursday.
I have no classes on Tuesday, so I had today off. I decided I wanted to go see the Waterstone's bookstore (I'm a bibliophile as well as an Anglophile,) on Piccadilly. It really is gigantic, with just as many floors as the one near Connaught Hall, only with a lot more space. I found a book that may or may not be my life saver in regards to the current problems I'm having with my latest creative writing project: The Woman in the Story, by screenwriter Helen Jacey. It helps the writer sort out exactly what kind of female character they want in their piece, as well as why and what you may or may not want to avoid in characterizing said female according to the type of plot you want to tackle. It might also be a good reference for when I (hopefully) do my thesis next year on the evolution and hindrances of the fictional female character of the recent past as well as the present.
But anyway, I'm rambling. Moving on.
After I left Waterstone's (which I was in for close to three hours,) I walked further down Piccadilly to find the famous, elegant department store Fortnum & Mason's. It definitely lived up to its reputation: my parents would have loved to shop there, but my frugal self wanted to cower in a corner when I spied some of the prices. They sell very nice products in many categories, with the whole first floor selling nothing but tea, biscuits, chocolates, and various desserts. I really wanted to buy a tin of chocolate biscuits (cookies, as us Americans would call them,) but of course I didn't. After I left Fortnum & Mason's, I started to make my way back to the Tube station, since it was starting to rain. On the way, however, I ran into Starbucks (le gasp!) and bought a skinny blueberry muffin, which I ate later back in the room. Very good, by the way.
Wendy and I met back in the room, and went out to dinner right next door to a chain restaurant called Pizza Express, an fancier place to get pizza. I had a light margherita pizza, and shared an interesting dessert that I've seen in numerous restaurants around London: banoffee pie. It was delicious, a combination of banana, toffee, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce, with a cookie crumble crust. I only had three bites of it (I wanted a lot more,) but it was wonderful. I would definitely recommend it. The pizza, mineral water, and dessert only cost me around twelve pounds.
Tomorrow, I have my first Shakespeare class. I won't be seeing plays for that until March, when my class goes to Stratford-upon-Avon for a weekend. There, we'll be seeing Anthony and Cleopatra and Romeo and Juliet. Very exciting^_^
Until then, mates!