Saturday, June 30, 2012

Week five of classes

Monday- Media and Politics
Had a 2,000 word paper due! Thankfully I had written mine before the weekend trip so I didn't have to worry about it Sunday night. I think it was the longest paper I've ever had to write, and the most difficult. I don't know much about politics, and it's not something I'm particularly interested in, so it wasn't easy to just sit down and write. Reading scholarly journals to find sources was really intriguing though, and I ended up loving the challenge of writing it and diving into a new topic. I was on such a high after I finished it, and I started following a bunch of new blogs on interesting topics that I want to know more about. This is how college should be. Interesting, challenging, encouraging you to learn more and seek knowledge for yourself outside of your comfort good.

I got to class and realized Kristina and I were supposed to give a little presentation on the media's perception of the Olympics that I had totally forgotten about in the midst of writing my paper...but we got up and went with it and I think it actually went really well! Practicing my B.S. skills. Sweet stuff.

Our outing was to the Old Bailey- we got to sit in on a fraud case that has been going on for a while now! It was one of the coolest outings we've had. It was so much more interesting than sitting in Parliament, because it was younger people and an actual court case and they were questioning the people and all the barristers were wearing wigs and it was just awesome. We sat in for two segments of time of the case, and I did not want to leave! I wanted to hear more and see what the jury decided. So cool. Never have I been interested in law before!

Ian, Tina, Griffin, and I went to Pret for lunch and then came back to the house. Grocery shopped at some point, and I'm pretty sure that's really all I did of importance on Monday...

Tuesday (aka longest day ever)- Media and Society/Culture by Design

In Society, we had 500 words of our essay due to show that we've made progress on it. Essentially, it was an introduction, the outline of body paragraphs with the sources I'm planning on using and quotes from them, and a rough conclusion. Not too bad.

Our outing was to Notting Hill and we took the tube to get there and meet our tour guide. As soon as we met up with him, our professor straight up left. So weird. I really think he should have stayed with us considering he is getting paid to be our teacher, not just drop us off places and leave...but anyway.

Notting Hill was really cool! Definitely a unique area. So much cool culture stuff there, and also so many nice houses where very rich people and celebs live and stay. Our walk gave me a really good sense of the area and I loved it! Lots of sights and references to parts of the movie Notting Hill, which I need to finish watching! Saw the famous Portobello Road market and want to go back one weekend.

Portobello Road

The bookstore from the movie Notting Hill

Presumed to be a real Banksy piece!
After Notting Hill, everyone that had CBD afterward had to rush and take the bus and tube to St. Paul's Cathedral where we were meeting for class. We had time to grab Pret and eat, but no real time to breathe between classes. Tuesdays are very long days.

We took a tour of St. Paul's, and it was incredible! Such a gorgeous church, especially in it's architecture, and I loved seeing it. There is so much detail in every aspect of the design, and I just wanted to stare at all of it all day. Our tour guide was a really sweet and funny old gentleman, and we learned SO much about the cathedral! The group went up 200+ stairs to get to the first tier of the big dome, but knowing my history with heights and small spaces (signs warned that people with claustrophobia not attempt the stairs), I passed.  I enjoyed seeing it all from the ground level, and with my knee and everything, I knew it was best not to attempt it.

We left the cathedral after everyone came back down, and we went to a courtyard outside St. Bride's church to discuss the day with our professor, and then we went back to the Cheshire Cheese pub (where we had gone with Society on a different outing) and discussed more while some people got drinks with the professor. Not me, too weird.

Afterward, we had time for dinner (Tina, Mimi, Ian and I went to Garfunkels where I had disappointing nachos and then a delicious berry cheesecake) and then it was back to St. Paul's for the Berlioz Requiem! SERIOUSLY the longest day ever. Nonstop.

The Requiem was SO good. It was all sung in Latin, but we had programs with the Latin alongside the English and surprisingly I was able to follow along pretty well. Reading the context of the performance was helpful too- it really set the stage for how spiritual it all was. The music and the voices were so beautiful, especially echoing throughout the was such an awesome evening and something I wasn't expecting to love as much as I did. So cool.

Took the tube back home and CRASHED. Over 13 hours going, going, going...Tuesdays are brutal.

Wednesday- Writing in the Public Sphere
I had a 1,500 word paper due for this class (last paper of the week!) and another big reading, but I was in a much better mood this week (and feeling much better health-wise) so our discussion was much more enjoyable! The articles are getting lighter in their content each week, and more recently written as well, so they're easier to digest. My professor gave me another incredible and humbling compliment too, saying that I have an incredible ability to read a piece of work and clearly and concisely identify what is important from it. I can't get over the ways she encourages me! I love it. Serious confidence boost.

Our outing was to Fleet Street and St. Brides Church where we had gone for an outing with Media and Society (where we didn't learn anything and I was very disappointed) so I was excited to go back and see it through a different perspective. We took a bus to get to Fleet Street and then strolled along it, stopping to read signs about the history of different buildings and to explore little alley courtyards and neat places (like the original London Twinings Tea shop in the home of one of London's original coffeehouses! SO cool!) and to learn about the buildings where newspapers used to be housed- the real purpose of the significance behind Fleet Street.

We ended our outing at St. Brides Church! Read more about it here:

Afterward, my professor went her own way and I went off on my own to explore and shop and get souvenirs for people! Spent a lot of time and money in one souvenir shop and got a lot of stuff. Found awesome summer sales at Topshop and ended up finding a dress for only about 14 pounds that I love!

It was so great being on my own in the city, finding my way on my own and taking my time doing whatever I wanted, and even figuring out how to take a bus home by myself (including getting lost and having to walk 30+ minutes to get back).

Went to dinner at Nando's with Amanda, Mimi, Tina, Ian, and Rachel Gill- so good.

week of classes: DONE.

(I'm writing this much later...but just realized there were things I never mentioned)
Mimi and I went shopping on Oxford Street- to H&M (two different locations- one is much bigger), Topshop, New Look, and then ventured a bit further down the street in search of Primark! When we finally got there, we were instantly VERY overwhelmed. It was HUGE. We only ended up browsing around the first floor (there are several) and it was so crowded and chaotic, ridiculously cheap, and all really cute clothes for my age group/style/etc. I spent about 50 pounds and got two sheer blouses, a pair of light purple skinny jeans, green capris, a skirt, and another top. So crazy!

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