Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Studying" Abroad?

I use that term very loosely. So it's been a while since I've posted anything... there's just no time to spare! Between school, work, and living in London, I hardly even have time to catch up on 30 Rock. I cannot believe I've been here for over a month! Let me recap some things I've done... 

I went to the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which was wonderful. I'm not gonna lie, I wouldn't voluntarily go to the orchestra without a reason in NY, but NYU was subsidizing the tickets, so a bunch of us went and I'm glad I did. The Orchestra performed all Beethoven, so it was very energetic. Definitely a worthwhile time... especially the bridge we crossed near Embankment to get to the theater. 

The Thames is just so beautiful to walk across (there are a bunch of bridges to do that)... it really breaks up the city in a good way. In my Writing London class we learn a lot about the geography of London, as it relates to the various stories we're reading. In the beginning of the 19th century, before bridges over the Thames, central London was much smaller and the Thames served as the boundary between the country and the city. It's really interesting to learn about that kind of thing as we read... so much of English lit takes place in very specific areas or even streets of London that are referenced so regularly. I hadn't realized that before I came here, but now it is great to be able to picture the road that Dickens's characters walk along or understand why Evelina doesn't like staying with her cousins in Snow Hill. I'd love to take a course about Writing New York... I hope they have that back home!

I also went to an absolutely fabulous tapas place in Islington. That is pretty much the hot spot for restaurants (according to me). Sangria, DELICIOUS food, and the added bonus of watching a salsa dancing class. A seriously wonderful time with good company... And also our waiter had the longest sideburns I've ever seen. I'm already thinking about when I can go back next... Sunday to Wednesday it's unlimited tapas for a tenner (10 pounds)!

This weekend it finally hit me that I am actually going to school here. I wrote my first paper, but for the first time in a while I actually didn't mind writing it... the paper was about van Dyck's English court portraiture, of which I had seen a lot first hand on field trips with my art history class. It really makes a difference when you're completely immersed in the subject and can see how it's applicable, rather than just considering it some history that has no real world implications. I've begun to walk around the city noticing the classical features of all of the buildings that were based on Inigo Jones's style. It's funny how you can learn about something that seems so inconsequential, but it can change the way you see things every single day.

This weekend was a very Spanish weekend... after doing tapas at La Tasca, I did Mexican at Desperados on Saturday, and went to Camino for drinks. Camino was also fabulous... we've concluded that Camino is what would happen if Spain became hipster. Funky, jazzy, and hip. Plus sangria. Basically... everything I look for in a bar. 

Watched a rugby match at a bar... but next weekend I get to go to a match! If you're wondering how rugby really works... don't worry. No one really knows the rules. We talked to some English people also watching the match, and they said it's too complicated to bother trying to figure out. But basically, it's a combination of soccer and American football. It looks like football b/c they don't wear padding and run around with the ball and tackle each other. But it's like soccer because play doesn't actually stop. The only inhibiting rule is that you can't throw the ball ahead of you. You can progress up the field by punting it or running with it, but can only throw it backward. And then people tackle you and steal the ball and run the other way. You have to run into the endzone and slam the ball on the ground to score a "try," then you kick a fieldgoal like in football. It's pretty dangerous / cool.

I'm also taking a day trip to Portsmouth and Wincester on Friday... it's required for my English class, but I'm not sure why. Apparently Jane Austen is buried there, but I'm not sure it will enlighten me to see her grave. I'm just mad that I have to be there at 7:45 a.m. Ew!

That's all for now. Work / class tomorrow. And now... Great Expectations. 


Marcus Grimm said...

Sounds like you're finding around the city really well!

I think technically Di's house is in Kensington Gardens right next to Hyde Park, but for me - yes, it's the same thing.

I'll be going back again in early May -- the toughest part will be that it's 2 weeks before a marathon I'd like to run.. that could get a bit sketchy, but we'll see!

We ate an awesome tapas place, too.. I'll have to dig out the card and see if it's the same one.


mjr said...

Looks like you are making the most of your time there. Good show! Rugby is the craziest, seemingly most dangerous sport I have seen. Watch but don't play!