Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This week: classes, classes, classes

Monday: Media and Politics
We were in lecture a lot, I can't even really remember what we talked about at this point. More updates on the Leveson Inquiry, and then discussion. Our outing was to the Cabinet War Rooms/Churchill Museum over by Trafalgar Square area. We saw the Prime Minister's front door again at 10  Downing Street, and guards rode by on their horses while we were outside talking, which was really cool.

10 Downing Street- the black door at the back
Overall, I didn't really enjoy the Cabinet War Rooms too much. I don't think I fully understood the significance of them, and it was mostly just a lot of stuffy rooms underground with a lot of concrete everywhere and creepy mannequins in the rooms that looked eerily real. The Churchill Museum was connected to the War Rooms and it was VERY overwhelming with too much going on and not a clear organization at all, so I wandered around listened to a little bit of the audio guide, but mostly was just ready to go. I don't think we went about the museum in the right order and I'm not a huge fan of Churchill or really am that interested in him, so it wasn't my favorite outing.

We (Griffin, Ian, Amanda, me) went back to My Old Dutch for pancakes (crepes, really) since they all are 5 pounds on Monday- I got one with rocket (green leaves), courgette (like zucchini), mozzerrella, and sundried tomatoes. It wasn't as good as I was expecting, and I'm kind of over the whole pancake thing now!

We stopped by Sainsburys and Boots to pick up a few things and came home. I started working on my paper for my Writing class- I have that paper due next week, a Media and Politics paper due on Monday, and part of my Media and Society paper due Tuesday as well. It's a crazy week, and when we're leaving on Thursday for a crazy weekend traveling around, there's not much time to do it, so I have been trying to get as much done before then as possible.

Tuesday: Media and Society/Culture By Design

Stopped at Eve's to grab a cappuccino before class and she didn't put any sugar in it like she said she did so it ended up being really gross...oh well.
We spent class talking about each person's thesis statement for the upcoming paper, so it was a pretty long and boring morning when he wasn't talking to me specifically about my topic (differences between faith/religion in here and in the US- as religion is verrrrryyyyy rarely talked about here). We spent a lot more time in lecture than we were supposed to, and we still had a long break to grab food- got a delicious breakfast sandwich back at Eve's- before we left. We had about a 45 minute journey by tube and bus to get out to North London to the London Greek Radio station.

This was a small Greek radio station that has been around for a while. We talked to a lot of the different workers there and it was really welcoming and interesting- two of them talked to us a lot about how they are updating their station to stay modern, etc. We went upstairs to where a DJ was on the air and he talked to us as a group on the air and interviewed a few people with some questions about where we were from and why we were in London which was really cool! It was neat to see how a small station is run and operated like that.

We weren't there very long before it was 1 when our outing is supposed to end. The frustrating part was that we were still far away from our classroom where we had to be at 2 for our next we rushed back, grabbed Pret, had a few minutes to eat, and then went to Culture By Design.

In CBD we watched a documentary from the 80s called "Style Wars" about graffiti, street art, break dancing and rap. We talked briefly about the outing and then we were off to take the tube to the Leake Street graffiti tunnel. This is a place where graffiti is permitted and encouraged and it's really the sole purpose of the whole space. It's constantly changing as people add to it, and it was so cool! We're going to try to go back and add our mark to it too I think, which I'm excited about it. Here are some pictures from it:

found our name!

After exploring this tunnel, we went over near the National Theatre to see another graffiti space where teenagers once hung out against the wishes of the city, and the space was eventually made into a skate/bike area for them and is now a tourist attraction of sorts.

The guy at the right of this picture painted this of him and his girlfriend for her birthday! and he had just finished, so cool.
After talking about the differences/similarities between the two spaces, we were done with class! Our whole group met up again (after Amanda and I got yummy cinnamon roasted nuts from a street seller) and then we were off to sit in on sessions of Parliament! We had to wait a bit to get in, and our politics professor was there and he explained some things to us. We had to go through security and bag scanners and such before we could go in, and then check our bags when we got inside as well. We sat in on the House of Commons first- we basically were just sitting up in a viewing gallery area where anyone can come watch for free.

I was really surprised at the lack of people that were in the session, there were maybe 20 or so and tons of open seats. I couldn't really follow the discussion, but it was cool to experience anyway.

We went to the House of Lords next- in the same building- and it was MUCH more elaborately decorated inside, but again had very few people and a much more complex sounding discussion. I was exhausted and hungry and just ready to leave, but I'm really glad we got the chance to go see it and see what Parliament looks like here.

We got back to the house, and Kelly cooked an AWESOME dinner for six of us girls. It was a delicious creamy caprese pasta and good. It was the best to not have to cook after such a long day- it was the greatest! We hung out for a bit and all talked and did dishes and such, and then I was back down to work on my papers some more. Amanda and I and Ian made a Sainsburys run for dessert too, which made writing more enjoyable!
Skyped Kyle now that he's back in the states and it was a WAAAYYYY better connection and it was the best to finally catch up and really talk for real! Definitely worth staying up later than usual for :)

Wednesday: Writing in the Public Sphere
I woke up feeling like crap- I really hope I'm not getting the cold bug that's been going around the house, but I feel like I've got it. Made tea and had breakfast and went downstairs for my solo class. Discussion was rough today with not feeling well and really just wanting to be asleep and feeling like I didn't understand the reading that had been assigned, but she was pleased with what I contributed so apparently I got more out of it than I thought. We talked a little bit more about Nancy Fraser but mostly about the new, more modern McKee reading. We talked at the beginning of class a lot more than usual, just about life and how I'm feeling about the program and about Kyle and time differences and such...definitely a perk of a one-on-one class! Much more personal. I love it.

Our outing was to the Poetry Library at the Southampton Centre. It was a little library space on the fifth floor of a big building, and it was just full of reference/lending books and magazines full of poetry and about poetry and I had time to just wander around and reflect on some questions that my blog post will be about. (

When we were leaving, we were looking out at the views of the Thames and saw a rooftop garden on the next building over and went to explore it. There's a big Festival of the World thing going on in the whole riverside area and it was part of the movement and it was awesome! Grassy areas and tons of wildflowers and trees as well as vegetables and garden areas. It was really peaceful in the middle of the city skyline, and I loved it. There was tons of public art around the area too that was really neat to see- there are tons of poetry and music and food events coming up and a lot of them are free, so I'm really stoked to check them out.

I came back from class on a bus on my own, heated up leftovers for lunch, napped, woke up still feeling crappy, and have been writing and researching my politics paper basically ALL afternoon/evening. 2,000 words is a lot, let me tell you. It's been challenging to write it, and I have a lot more work to do, but it's hard in a good way. My brain feels awesome. That's weird to say, but true. I'm really enjoying the challenge of it. And I feel good about the progress I've made, so this weekend will be a lot less stressful and more enjoyable!

Tomorrow we're off to Bath for the first part of our little 4 day weekend adventure!

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