Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The British Experience

Day two of orientation! Today, I was out literally all day, from 9:45 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. Again, I slept all the way through the night, but I decided when I went to bed last night that, instead of feeling springs dig into my legs and hip all night, I would sleep on top of the duvet, while sleeping under my Hollins blanket. I also folded my pillow in half to give it more elevation. Both tactics worked, and I think that's what I'm going to do for now on unless/until I come up with a different solution.

We met back at Connaught Hall and took a tour of the University of London Union (ULU, very funny when saying aloud,) which has a lot of resources which we can use, including a cafe, gym, swimming pool, copier and printer, and a gift shop with different office items. There's also several cash points right outside the building (that's what they're called here in the U.K. instead of ATM's,) so it's really nice that ULU is right by our class building. There's also a big chain bookstore called Waterstone's across from ULU, but I'll get back to that in a minute.

After the ULU tour, we went on a two hour two of the British museum highlights, including the Rosetta Stone, the tomb of Ramses II, and a life sized re-creation of the Parthenon. It was fascinating, even for that quick trip. I definitely want to go back by myself sometime in the future, especially since they're having a temporary exhibit featuring the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Here are some of the pictures I took at the museum:

There was this old man who invited himself to join our group for almost the entire tour, which was weird, especially since he was walking at the back of a group of college girls. He never said anything, he just started following us and listening to our tour guide whenever we stopped somewhere. When we took a five minute break near the end, he left. It was odd.

After the British museum tour, we walked back to Connaught and had a meeting with Sara about our various options when traveling outside of London. There are already tentative plans being made for my group of friends going to Oxford this weekend, but I don't know if that's actually going to happen or not. After that meeting, I went with a nice sized group of my friends back towards the ULU building, where we went to that bookstore across the street I mentioned earlier. It is AMAZING. It's five floors, has a whole section of books on the Tudors, has a whole room of Philosophy books, and has an awesome children's section. Deirdra and Bethany were cooing over the Harry Potter books, while Emily was focused on the Diana Wynne Jones books. I myself wanted to buy the entire Artemis Fowl series- the U.K. covers are amazing. There was also a table in the middle of the children's section that seriously made my night:

I think we need a section like this in the young adult's sections back home, don't you?

I ended up spending 9 pounds on a book about the Cecil's, a father and son pair who were both secretary's to Queen Elizabeth I. The father, William Cecil, is a person I've always been fascinated with. I was thrilled to find the book in question, since I know I'll never be able to find something like that in the U.S. I kept thinking the whole time that my mom would love this bookstore (again, it's called Waterstone's,) and I'm definitely going to take her there when she comes up for spring break in April.

After leaving Waterstone's, we went back to Connaught and had a buffet dinner with the various teachers we're going to have for our classes. I got into a discussion with the theater teacher, Susie Thomas (I know, Hollins people, it threw me off too) about Benedict Cumberbatch, so that was nice. I'm looking forward to starting classes next week so we can find out exactly what we're doing and which places we're going to (this is in regards to my political science and history classes- I already know what plays I'm seeing in Shakespeare and theater.) Wendy and I left around 8:15, and got back around 8:45.

Tomorrow, we're taking a bus (coach, to the British,) tour around London, and then we're free for the rest of the day. I'm planning on going to Baker Street and North Gower Street in the afternoon, so expect tomorrow's post to be Sherlock Holmes heavy. What's hilarious is, I still haven't ridden the Tube yet, though my Oyster Card is all set up. I'm so close to everywhere we've been so far, I've just been walking everywhere. Even tomorrow, I have no reason to take the Tube. Frankly, I've been enjoying just walking around and taking in the city.

So, that was my day today^_^ I had a blast, and am already feeling like the next three months are going to fly by. Until tomorrow, chaps!


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