Thursday, July 14, 2011

Personal Blog #2

So personal blog post #2; this trip is more than halfway over and this is only my second post about my adventures, personal growth, etc. but you must understand that after Skyping your mother and informing her on every detail of your life almost daily, blogging feels redundant.

I got my tourist on and went to visit Christchurch College last week, so very stunning.

 {The dining hall at Christchurch is the one they used in HP!!!}
{Christchurch cathedral}

And despite having caught the flu whilst in Paris I am recovering! We have moved to our final lodging venue for this trip and we are now in Jesus College Graduate Flats. We each have our own giant single and for every four singles there is a living room and a kitchen so we can cook! Although this area is not in downtown Oxford it is a short bus ride away and really comfortable. Anyway, this is what I’ve been up to the last couple weeks:

I went to London to see Arcade Fire and at first I thought it was just like any other music festival. It was outdoors with tons of overpriced food vendors and too many people. Throughout the opening acts people were chill and we were all having a good time.

Beirut was playing and so was Mumford and Sons. I got to see Owen Pallet for the first time and he was amazing, everything was smooth sailing.  

 {Beirut on his sexy trumpet}

 {The Vaccines played too}

{Mumford and Sons}

{Owen Pallet also plays violin for Arcade Fire!}

After the first three acts, however, it became apparent that this was not going to be a peaceful venue for the entire night. Once Arcade Fire came on stage it was riot time and I thought that perhaps 10-20 bars surrounding the stage in combination with 60,000 people was a bad idea. There was punching and throwing and sloppy uninvited kisses; parents who brought their children into the crowd were quickly backtracking and the 13 year olds who were at their very first concerts were huddled together dodging belligerent fists.


 {Watch out for this idiot}

My main strategy was avoiding what I call the “idiot whirlwinds”. These whirlwinds consisted of open pockets in the crowd where young men (and very drunk women) threw themselves into the circle seeing just who or what their bodies might hit. Being the ring of people surrounding these pockets was not very fun due to the commonly passed out victims that would slam into you, and then crumple to the ground. Idiots. The music was good though and I danced my heart out for six hours until the concert came to an end and we all milled about trying to find an exit and a taxi home.

{It's over!}

 For those of us returning to the EF dorms, we needed to catch a bus back to Oxford an hour away. Of course being me, with limited directional skills, we got lost in London for an hour before finding an alternative route. Walking around London late at night after dancing for six hours begging for directions was creepy and exhausting but I was leaving for Wales the next morning…

 {Train to Cardiff!}

We took a train to the capital of Wales and arrived Friday afternoon. We stayed in Cardiff for the entire weekend and I couldn’t help making comparisons between this place and Oxford. While I love Oxford it does have a bit of a pretentious vibe to it while Cardiff is absolutely humble and accepting. Oxford is a college town, and home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world while Cardiff is home to a working class population. Cardiff also caters towards tourists, with modern buildings and spectacular nightlife. One nightclub had seven bars, each with a different theme, and the shopping district was wonderful too. We went to the Cardiff Castle and viewed some spectacularly magnificent rooms and climbed to the top of an ancient tower.

 {The city center}

 {Rando statue, what is he pointing at??}


 {Another castle!}

Wales is one of those places that I will go back to multiple time in my life just because of the memories I have there.


{Train station!}

I actually just returned from Paris this week with the flu and without any money. While I do not regret going, it was not exactly the romantic and life-changing trip I had imagined. I don’t want to generalize here but most French people are kind of awful. Every local we met barely stopped short of spitting on us. Maybe it was because we were Americans or tourists but I got more eye rolls in Paris than I have anywhere else in my entire life. A malfunctioning ATM ate my debit card and I soon ran out of cash, thankfully walking around Paris and simply seeing some of the beauty was free.

Paris itself was intensely gorgeous and we went to all the sights, I especially enjoyed the Eiffel Tower.

 {The Louvre}

 {Saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre}

 {Got a Nutella crepe}

Cassie and I ventured into a high-class French restaurant late at night and although we could only afford the soup, the atmosphere was utterly Parisian in every way. The nightlife was a bust because everything cost around $40 to get it and $20 for a drink. Shopping was great though and I found some beautiful shoes that Cassie bought for me J And we ate escargot!

{Parisian shoes!}

{Tried Escargot}

What I am looking forward to in and around Ox:

Tonight we are celebrating my friend Gawon’s birthday by seeing Macbeth put on by Oxford U. It should be authentic and inspiring. This Friday I am seeing Harry Potter (!) and on Sunday I might go visit Stonehenge. Next weekend is the last weekend of our trip and I am going to see a rugby match on Friday night in Northhampton, about an hour or two out of Oxford. Then we are staying in London through Sunday. My research project is coming along although I need to get a move on and figure out the presentation part of it. Overall I am having such a magnificent time and love the people in this program!!!

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