Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday May 29

Today was day two of classes! I had Media & Society at 9 am with everyone in our group but one girl. Our teacher was a sort of older guy with less of a British accent who ended up being very interesting and entertaining and SUPER knowledgeable.  These classes all seem so awesome and interesting and just totally worth taking and I'm really excited for them all. He lectured for quite a long time, but gave us a break to go to a nearby cafe for coffee (I got a cappuccino that was delicious but super strong- it made me so so shaky and dizzy afterwards). We talked a lot about what media is defined as and what society is here, which was really cool.

Our outing was to the West End and we walked the whole time and stopped at different places along the way. I keep being amazed by how much there is to see and learn about just in our area of London- it's seriously awesome. Every tour is so distinctly different and I love it. We found awesome areas of Covent Garden that were all colorful and where hippies originally were...it was really cool.

A group of us had lunch at the last remaining Jewish deli in the West End- Gaby's Deli, and it was delicious. I got a falafel, hummus, salad pita wrap that was SO good. It was really neat to have lunch with our professor with just the six of us and to get to talk to him on a more personal level. I already love that about this program- we are getting to know our professors really well and I think that adds so much to the experience overall.

We had to hurry back to the classroom from lunch to get to the next class- Culture By Design. Our professor was younger and American and instantly really fun and cool- we all love him already. It was a super easy going and light hearted class and I think I'm the most excited about the subject matter for this one, even though I'm really excited about them all. This one seems so intriguing already- studying culture much more hands-on and seeing how things such as branded spaces affect people, etc. He kept saying we are going to "look closely at stuff." Can't wait.

Our outing was to Camden Town- SO COOL. Right when we got off the tube, we were in a totally new world it seemed. It was the original place of punks and you could totally tell. Everything had a punk rock trendy vibe and it was overwhelming and overly stimulating but really exciting at the same time.

entering Camden Market

leaving Camden Market

Our assignment was to either go off by ourselves or in pairs and get lost in Camden Market while making a list of 10 things that told us we were in London, 10 things we could see anywhere, and 10 things we had never seen before. Easy enough right? Yeah, not so much. I knew we were going to be doing a media analysis later on based on our observations, so I kept trying to find so many deeper meanings to everything I was seeing, and it was a lot to take in and process.

Some examples of what we experienced: tons of American pop music playing in all the stalls, every kind of person/race/ethnicity/fashion styles/languages/hair colors, etc., lots of the same things being sold at different places, no price tags on clothes, distinctly London things like a Dr. Marten's store, the tube map on shirts, oyster card holders, etc.

It started getting really chilly and windy as we were finishing up- it was the first time I've seen a cloud in the sky the whole time we've been here. Maybe we'll actually get the rain and cold weather I packed for?! Thankfully Mom sent me some more summer clothes- I definitely didn't pack for the weather here at all. Oops.

Hopefully we'll do something else tonight once the interns are out of their meeting- it's hard coming back after a long day and being so exhausted, but at the same time, I don't want to waste a whole evening just laying around the flat when there's so much to see here. Maybe we'll do some shopping...who knows.

My last class is tomorrow- I'm the only student in it! It's going to be an interesting experience but I'm really looking forward to it.

Life in London is awesome. I honestly could see myself living here and never coming back to the states. Learning about society and politics and government and education and everything as well as actually living the life, with shopping and cooking and getting groceries and getting around transportation and everything is showing me so much of real life as it would be if I lived here, and I haven't found a single thing not to like about it yet. Maybe I'll come back here after I graduate....

Until tomorrow!

It's a few hours later now and Amanda and I just got back from an around town adventure! We were heading out to try to find a stationary and journal shop we had heard about, but turns out everything closes at 8pm during the week so everything was closed that we were trying to find. We ended up just walking all around town and figuring out where we were all on our own and seeing so many awesome things in the process. We ended up back by the British Library where I went for class yesterday which was really cool, and I was able to get us back home with no problems! Making my way around this city on my own is the most satisfying and empowering experience.

We stopped at the grocery store to get ice cream- side note...ice cream is not a thing here at ALL. We've been craving it all day and couldn't find any ice cream places! Even at the stores, it's all completely frozen over and there's hardly any of it. It's really weird. We found some little containers of yummy ice cream and sat outside to eat it and then finished our walk home. It was about 2.5 miles total- we tracked it when we got back!

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Such a good day. I'm going to sleep well tonight.

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