Sunday, December 7, 2008

Quick Food Update

Because I know you are all hanging on to the edge of your seats.....

I finally found a bratwurst! In other news, I would promise to stop blogging about food, but as I'm going to be in Italy for two weeks, it's one I doubt I could keep.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Papering and Beedling

I finally finished my papers - both of them - yesterday morning. Gah. If I ever see the library again, I'm going to puke. That part is exciting, but not as exciting as the fact that, immediately upon turning in said papers, I hopped on a bus with Susanne, one of my flatmates, and we went to LONDON for the midnight release of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I had such a great time; for the first time in nearly a month, I was healthy and homework-free. Oh yeah, and in London :) Reading a new Harry Potter book. What could be better?

As per usual, I have some photos:

Piccadilly Circus at night. Always cool.

Real food! Also, my first fish and chips since I arrived in September.

This is probably self-explanatory :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I'm thankful for a) not being a peasant in late Imperial Russia, b) my acceptance letter from Tuebingen which finally came today, and c) the Tales of Beedle the Bard release party that I bought tickets for today. And of course, all of you :)

Here's what my Thanksgiving feast looked like:

Mmm. And to the right, you'll see my dinner guests -- books on Russian peasants for the paper I was working while I ate.

The dessert spread. These cookies were no pumpkin pie, but they were mighty delicious.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reclaim the Night

Well, I'm back in the land of research papers for the next couple of weeks, but before I get too deeply into them, I thought I'd share a couple of thoughts about Reclaim the Night.

Reclaim the Night is an annual march held in London to protest sexual violence against women. These marches are held all over the world -- even in Charleston, I did it last year -- and it's always a great moment of empowerment and collective action. Walking through the main streets of London, past Trafalgar Square, the West End, and thousands of onlookers was such an experience. My voice was completely gone from my lengthy illness, so I couldn't do much more than hold my sign and look determined (and more than a little cold!), but I loved it.

I have a couple of complaints, however. The first is that I honestly thought the march would be much bigger. Granted, our march in Charleston consisted mainly of students from my Gender and Violence class, but even given that relatively humble frame of reference, I was surprised that a march being held in one of the world's major capitals for a cause I consider to be so ubiquitous didn't garner a larger crowd. When we assembled in an auditorium after the march, there were only about as many people as might show up to CofC's production of The Vagina Monologues.

My second beef is not even specifically about the march on Saturday, but is a rather more general observation. Throughout the march our group was at the front of the pack, which meant that I got a great view of the onlookers. This was pretty awesome for the most part; the majority of the people were either cheering us on or taking pictures as though we were a tourist attraction. What pissed me off were the number of men -- and yes, they were all men -- who stood by and heckled us with insults or sexual advances. What these particular men said or did doesn't really matter. I didn't have my feelings hurt, and I'm quite sure not a single woman in the march felt threatened by their displays of pathetic machismo. What is troubling is the general sentiment that their actions represent. Throwing insults at women who are protesting violence against women is a sanction of that violence. It is indicative of the violence that pulses just below the surface, and often in plain view, in our society. I would often like to believe that the reason this violence persists is because of insufficient public education -- that people just don't realize how enormous the problem is. Surely all people, whether men or women, could get behind a cause that seeks to liberate their sisters, mothers, daughters, friends, and selves from the fear and the threat of rape and violence at every turn. I know in that reasonable, realistic part of my brain that this isn't the case. Clearly, my thinking is that of a bleeding-heart liberal who is totally out of touch with just how sick the world really is.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm dreaming of...

FOOD. The past few days I can't think of anything else.

1. It started with bratwurst. I don't know why, but when I was too sick to even eat toast, I just laid in bed day-dreaming of this bratwurst I had at the Robin Hood pagaent a few weeks ago. Sooo good.

2. Pickles. I can't get a decent pickle here, and it's driving me mad.

3. Cake. Well, I'm usually thinking about cake.

4. Yes, it's almost Thanksgiving, and no, I won't be having it here. So my mind keeps venturing back to Thanksgivings past and all the wonderful things I won't be eating this week. Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce in the shape of a can... sigh.

5. Homemade mac and cheese. I've never even really loved this, but all things involving cheese and carbs sound good to me right now.

6. Homemade anything, really.

7. Cheesesteaks.

8. SUSHI. This is probably the longest I've gone without sushi since I first tried it. As soon as I get back to Charleston, I'm going to camp out at Oriental Garden and eat my weight in it.

9. Pasta salad, a la Papa Zuzu's. Mmm.

10. Bagels.

This list could go on and on, but I'm getting ridiculously hungry typing it up. Why oh why can't I have cravings for fish and chips or shepherd's pie or unidentifiable steamed things?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Don't worry, it'll be brief. I'm just pissed off that yesterday I walked all the way to other end of campus to the student health centre (in the rain!), paid 30 P, and waited forever only to be told there is nothing wrong with me. Yes, I explained that my symptoms -- nausea, fever, etc. -- are very unusual for me, and that they usually indicate a bacterial infection for which I need antibiotics, but the nurse who saw me for a record three minutes flat didn't do anything except take my temperature and declare me healthy. "But if you do vomit, you need to come back," she told me. Even after I told her I hadn't been able to eat anything for several days, which might explain the lack of vomitting. And guess what I did in the middle of the night? I puked. But I'm not going back. I get that they see a lot of people with similar symptoms, and I never, ever present in the "normal" way, but the fact of the matter is, any time I see a medical professional, they don't listen to me. It's always been that way, and most recently (before now, I mean) it could have cost me my life. It worries me. Sorry if that's tmi, but I'm angry.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Best Week Ever

So this week has been a good one. Obviously, knowing that our country is safely in the hands of Barack Obama for the next four years is such a huge relief, as I've mentioned before. Bonfire Night was last week, and we had a great night celebrating both a traditional English holiday and this brand new era of American history. And, of course, I spent the weekend in Paris! It was such a wonderful experience, even with the two 13-hour bus rides :) Oh, and I found out that Flight of the Conchords, my FAVORITE show, is doing a second season. If you've never heard of them, you should totally check them out of YouTube. Here are some pictures from the weekend:

Outside the Louvre on the first day.

Sacre Coeur! Yes, we climbed all those stairs, and my ass still hurts.


Centre Pompidou (the modern art museum)

My favorite room in the Centre Pompidou.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama wins!!!!!!!!

It's four o'clock in the morning here, and I have tears running down my face. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'll reiterate how historic an election this has been. We have just elected our first President of Color, and it's difficult to imagine that the candidates in future elections will ever again be four besuited white men. Wow. Maybe now our leadership will actually reflect the American people, not just a select few of them.
This election is historic for the very important fact that it signifies the end of the Bush regime, something I (and so many others) have waited eagerly for since 2000. I know that my generation, those who have come of age post-911 and in the middle of this war, has felt the Bush years keenly. Young voters have been vocal and influential in this election, and for me, it's unbelievably refreshing. And that's to say nothing of other previously-ignored sectors of the electorate. Hopefully in years to come, we'll be saying a lot more than nothing. We have a voice now, and we have spoken.
Congratulations Barack. And congratulations America. We have our hope back; let's use it and work together for the change that we all so long for.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Need I say more?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy November!

November is shaping up to be a month of adventure. I've gotten one of my major assignments out of the way, so hopefully that will make more time for travel. I went to Bath and Stonehenge for the day yesterday, I'm going to Paris next weekend, and I'm planning on going down to London for their annual Reclaim the Night march at the end of the month. Keep checking back for updates! Here are some highlights from the trip yesterday:

This one's pretty obvious. Also, it was freezing cold and raining.

Stonehenge's neighbors.

At the Roman Baths (in Bath). Left to Right: Katie, one of my flatmates; me; Anni, another friend; Susanne, another of my flatmates.

A lovely view of Bath in the rain.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

One month later...

I've been meaning to post for a while now. I had the idea that on the 16th - exactly one month after I arrived in England - I'd do this big elaborate post with lots of great anecdotes and a little bit of "what it all means." Clearly, that did not happen. It seems the homework gods finally got word that I'm back in school, so I've been stuck in the library/my room doing lots of educational reading. The schoolwork is actually a welcome change most of the time; I had forgotten how much I love school.

So anyway, now it's been officially more than a month. I got my first jolt of "time is passing so quickly" when I realized that I'm halfway finished with my classes (I know!), which incidentally means that I'm more than halfway finished with college, but that's a whole different can of worms. All of the other Americans that I know are leaving in the beginning of December to go home for Christmas and start classes at their home universities in the Spring, and they're also freaking me out with their talk of how large that moment is looming. I forget sometimes that I'm here (meaning Europe) until August, but even so, I have the feeling that before I know it, I'll be de-planing back in the US wondering where the year went.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I was doing a lot of thinking last night, but I'll get to that later.

It's officially fall here, something I haven't experienced since elementary school. It's already colder than it ever gets in Charleston, and when I opened my window this morning, I could smell a wood fire burning somewhere. I love that smell.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Things I love about England

1. I can no longer go to, only to

2. Some guy gave me a flyer on the street to day for a place called "Currys R Us."

3. I meet English people who think it's cool that I'm American.

4. This place:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


So, already I've been lax about my blog... But here I am for a long-winded update, going day by day (as best I can remember):

Day 1 -

My flight arrived sometime around midday, right on time, but that was the end of my travel luck. I was supposed to get to Nottingham via a school-provided coach, but when I got there, they didn't have my name. I had to wait in a long queue (a necessary induction into English culture) to buy my own bus ticket, and then I had to wait for approximately three hours for my delayed bus to finally arrived at Heathrow. I should mention that by this point, it was early afternoon and I hadn't slept or eaten since before my flight. The bus ride was also about three hours long, and I was lucky enough to sit in the back by the toilet. Mmm, mmm. Got to Nottingham city at around six pm and took a cab to the university. I was sorely tempted (bad pun intended) to abandon all of my belongings as I dragged them a good half-mile to my temporary lodging, and frankly, I'm still surprised that I didn't. By the time I got to dinner that night, I could hardly lift my fork! Despite all that, I managed to make some friends and eat some notoriously bad English food before turning in, quite happily, for the night.

Day 2

I woke up to a really perfect English morning: cold, misty, and green. This was the first day that I was able to walk around and get a feel for the school, and I did just that. I met a few people, but by and large I kept to myself so that I could see everything that I wanted to see and really get my bearings. I met up with my friends from dinner the night before, and we got a drink in the hall cafe. It wasn't a terribly eventful day, but I really enjoyed it.

Day 3

The third day was pretty similar to the second; I had a lot of informational sessions to attend, and a lot of solo walking. I got bundled up - it was another chilly morning - but by the time I'd gone to the first session, it was downright hot. I took a nap (ahh...) and changed into something cooler. The school was busing the international students into the city for the day, so I headed into Notts again with some friends. It was a fantastic night. We had some great, cheap Indian food and learned our way around.

Day 4

Looking back at my schedule, I don't think I actually did any of the school's activities on day four. I was jet-lagged and sufficiently well-informed by that point, so I just trekked over to Broadgate Park, where I live now, to pick up my key. It was another warm day, and we went back into Nottingham for dinner for another great meal. I felt a little bad about missing my last free meal at school, but the food was so terrible in the halls that the feeling was short-lived.

Day 5

I was finally able to move in on Saturday, which unfortunately meant more lugging of bags, but I was so happy to be in my own room again. I met my flatmates, then spent most of the day napping. Not very exciting for readers, I know. I meant to go grocery shopping, but by the time I was up and about again, it was getting dark and I didn't know where the grocery store was, so I went into Notts again for dinner.

Day 6

Sunday was another slow day, but I did go grocery shopping. I went into City Centre with one of my flatmates, Katie, and her friend, where I discovered Primark, the most wonderful store after Ikea. Susanne, my flatmate from Tuebingen, moved in.

Day 7

I don't remember what I did on this day :\

Day 8

Tuesday was mostly spent waiting in another queue to get into my history modules. I went with Katie to the bar in the student centre and met a lot of cool international students.

Day 9

Another day of waiting in line, this time for German.

Day 10

I can't remember this day either. I think I played poker with some friends.

Day 11

First day of class - From Serf to Proletarian: A history of the Russian peasantry. Went into the city at night.

Day 12

Cadbury factory!

Day 13

Had to go to the grocery store again.

Day 14

German class.

Day 15

Blood and Treasure! My history class on the Vikings. It rained a lot, but then, I am in England. Went into the city centre to see a movie. Oh, and I actually cooked a meal.

Day 16

That's today! Class again, homework, and soon I'll be heading over to the annual Nottingham Goose Fair.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Well, I'm finally here! It's been about a week, but I've only just gotten internet. I've been sorting out classes and schedules and moving from one room to the next, but things are settling down now. Hopefully I can plan my first excursion soon. Anyway, you can find pictures here:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Just a few more weeks

I ended up coming up to Philadelphia earlier than I planned; my grandmother passed away two weeks ago, and I decided to drive up here to be with my family. I'm glad I did, even if it means I'm a a bit bored. I got a job working at my dad's office, though, so at least I'll be getting paid for a month. I miss all my friends already! I can't believe I won't see everyone for a year. That's a bummer. Not much to update on in the study abroad realm; everything has been taken care of for a while. All I have to do now is wait.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Three months!

I have fewer than three months before I leave the States! I bought my place ticket yesterday -- any student travellers out there, check out -- and I applied for housing. If I get my first choice, I'll be living in a place called Broadgate Park, which is actually off-campus, located in the town (?) of Beeston. It's actually closer to the history building than the other dorms!

In other news, the roomies and I are moving out in less than two weeks, and it's bittersweet. All of my stuff is long gone of course, and it now resides in Philly, where it will stay until grad school (scary thought). After our lease is up here, I'm going to stay with Reni, one of my current roommates, in her new place on Sumter St. until I leave Charleston. My flight to London leaves on the night of the 15th of September, so I'm planning leave to Philadelphia sometime around the 15th of August.

Monday, April 7, 2008

It's all coming together...

I turned in my application for Tuebingen a couple of weeks ago, and Nottingham finally posted next semester's courses, so that one should be done within a week or so. Yay! Hopefully my schedule will look like this:

1. Blood and Treasure (it's about Vikings in England)
2. From Serf to Proletariat: the History of the Russian Peasantry
3. Weimar Film
4. West German Writing in the 1960's

Saturday, March 1, 2008

In the beginning...

It's a little early, I know, but I wanted to try out the blogging thing before I actually leave for my year ABROAD! Hopefully this will let me keep in touch with everyone a little better.