Sunday, 23 January 2011

First Week at Uni!

Outside St. Pauls
Some of my wall decorations-  my animals in suits collection takes on a british twist- animals in vests!

My first week of classes is now complete! I'll give you all a full review-

Monday: Was super nervous about finding the classroom so I left at noon for my two o'clock class. I arrived with about an hour and a half to spare- luckily, the Westminster campus is located on Regent Street one of the busiest shopping streets in all of London. My class is called "Race in America 1920-1970" and sounds as if it will be really interesting and challenging. I'm one of two Americans in the class and the professor called us out pretty early on (we also were both drinking Starbucks...). He apologized to us in advance for all the bad things he would be saying about America. He did give quite the angry rant about Sarah Palin at one point so I think we will get along just fine. Its a level 6 course meaning its designed for final year Histroy students and all my British classmates were talking about their dissertations they are writing. AH- thank god I don't have to worry about that (yet..). All of my classes only meet once a week for three hours and I don't know if this is the best setup for "hyper piper-" I already got a nasty glare from a guy in front of me for taping my leg too much on his desk and maybe I'll cut back on the Starbucks.

Tuesday: No class! Wahoooo- slept late and went and explored my neighborhood some more. Not too far there is the Spitalfields Market that sells a lot jewelry, clothes and art- not to mention a vast collection of erotic art! I purchased some really old photographs for wall decorations and my room is starting to look less and less like a prison cell. In the evening I went and met up with some visiting Skidmore friends for dinner in Covent Garden and discovered a dessert called "Nutella Balls" yum  yum yum.

Wednesday: I had my creative writing class, this is a special class designed for international students to explore London thru writing. Therefore our assignments are to explore to the city and to read works set in London. This week its Tale of Two Cities and we are also supposed to get on a bus and ride it to the very last stop, journaling the sights we see. Eavesdropping for homework? a-okay by me! One of our in-class writing assignments was to write about something precious to us without explicitly writing what the object was. I naturally wrote about Morrie, however when I read it aloud to the class it sounded as if I were writing about some sort of lover with "dark eyes that always understand." what a way to make a first impression, token dog freak? present.

After class I met Christina and Jack to go explore St. Pauls Cathedral. We didn't want to pay the steep entrance fee but we took plenty of pictures of the beautiful outside. We then walked across the Millennium Bridge a walking bridge that was shut down shortly after it was built because of the wind induced swaying. Don't worry Mom, its all fixed! Right over the bridge is the Tate Modern and we did a short exploration around the museum.  

We then went back to Jacks and watched the latest episode of the  BBC sitcom he's gotten us hooked on, "Hustle" Its really good- and I've caught myself scheming ways to hustle people all week...
I also watched my first football match! Jack likes the team Aresenal, so I've decided I like them too, and they won! I actually really enjoyed watching the game- and hope to make it to one live sometime in the future. 

100 Million Porcelain Sunflower Seeds 
Thursday- I had a 9 am class. ugh. and unlike Skidmore I can't get up 5 minutes before and still make it on time. In fact, because of the rush hour tube traffic I have to leave even earlier than usual. The tube gets really crazy in the morning- personal space is non existent as people squeeze the cars to full capacity- there are literally people that fall out when the doors open (making it hard i'm sure to mind the gap) Luckily, the class seems really cool so it might be worth the rough commute. It is called "Art and Society" and again is just for international students. Every week we go to a different museum or site! Finally a class more designed for my restless legs. This week we went to the Tate Modern (if i had only known that the day before..) There is an awesome exhibit at the Tate currently by chinese artist Ai Wi Wi, he commissioned members of a small chinese village to individually sculpt and paint over a hundred million porcelain sunflower seeds- which now fill a massive space on the floor of the Tate. Its crazy. My professor for the class is really great and smart and he took us around some of the permeant collection rooms. We saw works by Monet, Pollock, Mattise and all those cool cats. 

Thursday night was our first Skidmore pub night- we met at an 18th century pub called "the lamb" It was fun to see a group of familiar faces (there are about 23 other skidmore kids in london at 6 different universities) and share stories of our first week. We also met the on-site Skidmore coordinator Maureen and her husband Gunther, they are a super cute older couple that will make great quasi british grandparents while we are here. They also bought us dinner and drinks, wahoo for free food! Something, i've noticed here is that Brits are obsessed with chicken tikka masala and its served everywhere, even along side more traditional pubs foods. Totally fine with me seeing as "mushy peas" and "black pudding" don't really appeal to me. 

Friday I had my final class. Its called the Psychology of Education and as far as I can tell I'm the only American in the class. It also is a final year course so will be very challenging, especially considering I didn't know my british schooling terms and couldn't keep up in the first lecture if they were talking about middle school or elementary school... wikipedia here i come. There was also much discussion about the fee increase at Universities- something the students (understandably so) are pretty fired up about. After that class I tried to go print something in the student computer lab. I stood over the printer at the digital screen feeding me directions trying to push the buttons like a touch screen probably for a good ten minutes and was getting quite frustrated that nothing was happening. It was only until the girl behind me pointed to the mouse attached to the screen that i got it to work. I wish i could blame these mistake on language or cultural barriers- but nope, just dumb american syndrome. After class I met some friends on the london bridge and had tea and toast in a tiny hole in the wall shop. That night I went to a bar close by with Jack and Francie a girl from St. Paul who I met here. 

Saturday and Today have been a lot of relaxing and a bit of school work. I've also done some domestic things like laundry, grocery shopping and even some cooking. Last night I met my former housemate Nico who is studying at the London School of Economics at a pub near me. Great to see him and catch up. 

Again, thought I would avoid language barriers studying here but tonight jack sent me a text that read "wagwan jessie?" assuming it was the name of a restaurant i replied that sorry i couldn't and already had plans to cook in my flat, turns out "wagwan" is in fact not a restaurant (expect there is a chain here called wagamamma) but rather slang for "what's going on" 

on that note- cheers! 

*note to readers: i know my grammar and sentence structure is not perfect in these entries and i know this is a pet peeve for many of you, and for that I apologize. However, i think we can all agree that my time here would be better spent exploring london or doing homework rather than scrolling these pages for misplaced commas :) 

*p.s.- if you know anyone at all in london (or anyone that might know anyone) that could set me up with some babysitting gigs please let me know! yes, im willing to take the risk of being deported.

My attempt to capture three london icons- black cab, double decker bus, telephone booth

1 comment:

  1. I love that picture jess, since when do you own a camera?! hahaah and princess di next to your lovely addition to the animals in suits is pricelss you need to be an interior decorator