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Archive for December, 2009

So the end of my last week in London of 2009 comes a bit later than expected.  😛  It was only a matter of time though right before it all came together and I finally allocate some time to really trying to sum up my 12 weeks in London while in California.  Well,  I guess let’s start with a quick recap

-The week was obnoxiously busier than normal.  Classes rescheduled their seminars last-minute (or sometimes with a little more than a week in advance), making normally chill and fun days into nightmares of moving back and forth either around campus or between the campus and the dorm.  That was not much fun at all for obvious reasons.  Also, the weather just kept spiraling downwards into what (I can now say in hindsight) was preparing for the winter snowfall.  Lovely.  However, in the end, even with all he shifts and run-arounds and daunting experiences just being around campus for the first term, I definitely learned quite a lot and felt very enlightened when I could actually recite a random fact about the public sphere and brotherly disagreement…which may sound completely idiotic here but in class, it was a glimpse of a beaming moment.  Haha.  What it now comes down to over the break is starting to nail down my dissertation topic and writing up the proposal along with finishing a term paper for my other class…bleh.  Not-so-fun indeed right?

-The week was also filled with much more drinking than normal.  I probably had at least two pints every day of the week until my departure on Friday.  Monday was the Department free drinks day where literally, the department had an open bar in a tiny room above the main pub with one bartender.  Bad idea.  In the US, we would call that a fire hazard as moving was a pain.  Luckily, I had a seminar right before so was early.  Tuesday, a couple people from the program went to get drinks as well along with Wednesday which was more like a last hurrah kind of deal since most of the people in the program were forced to go to a late seminar/panel and so we had drinks together.  Thursday was a smaller, dorm outing with a couple drinks…and then I whisked away in the wee early hours of the morning to the airport with my four pieces of luggage (backpack/guitar case/suitcase/laptop) in what seemed like a neverending trip.

-I also did my last minute souvenir shopping which was a bit more eventful than even I realized.  I hovered around Covent Garden, looking for a truffle store and some sweet ‘London-esque’ gifts to little to no avail.  Instead, I got to explore more random outdoor markets and  run into random mega-stores (at least mega for London) to try and get those last-minute gifts which I indeed did for some people.  I also saw random drunkards looking like Santa along with giant Christmas trees and reindeers.  Its always a treat to see.

I’m definitely glad to be back home in the end.  It’s only been a couple weeks since I last arrived in Thanksgiving but just to see people running about and relaxing in a car can make all the difference in the world (along with the FOOD, my god).  Will I update during the Cali Winter Break?  I’m unsure to be honest…but we’ll see…maybe it’ll be a good time to finally put those reflective thoughts down or at least for my own private eyes.  😉

Also, although this isn’t a Week 12 thing, I think I almost nailed down my first song on my guitar with lyrics.  So so-weet.  🙂  Looking forward to performing it soon….

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Update to Header

I seem to forget to mention this whenever I do it but whenever I see a fairly decent/good pic that I took in London, I usually apply it to the above header and surprisingly, it doesn’t come out too shabby, right?  This one is from Week 5.  While I was walking in the Brompton area (I think), I passed by a really picturesque area with a line of trees and a church at the end.  It was beautiful, being the right point in Autumn and wish I took a pic in the middle of it.  Since I was by myself, though, this was the best I could do.  But yea…I’ll try to keep updating it and put some quips about it as well. 🙂 (The previous one was Rihanna’s concert in Brixton and the one before that was walking to Windsor Castle!)

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It’s been a while hasn’t it?  A lot’s happened in Week 11 in terms of running around and unfortunately, that equates to lack of time to blogging.  😦  For better or worse though, I’m nearing the end the first leg of my journey in London as the term comes to an end Week 12 (aka Week 10 in school terms).  Pretty crazy right?  I can’t believe its December and I can’t believe its time to really take that long-awaited break that I’ve been needing.

Admittedly, week 11 was fairly light mostly because I ran back across the pond from the US to the UK, stopping by home for a wedding over the Thanksgiving holiday. I had a pretty awesome Thanksgiving holiday and it definitely made me crave coming back home all the sooner after I arrived back in the UK.  Additionally, the UK got hecka decka cold while I was gone.  The average 40-50 degree F weather went down to 30-40 degrees without factoring in wind chill and huge rain storms.  Because of this, my body went into kind of a state of both laziness and tiredness from the weather change and the jetlag.  Right when I got off the plane from the states, I had to dash from my dorm to my class.

Interesting thing here, though, is that compared to when I first arrived, I zipped all across London quite easily.  It was…a bit of a weird experience when I stopped and thought about how fast I accomplished everything from customs to the subway to class.  Does that make me an official Londoner?  Probably not.  But at least I can live life as somewhat of a tour guide or a deliveryman in London if need be (which isn’t going to happen).

Most of Week 11 was spent catching up on readings and studying indoors.  Not very fun sounding, I know, but it was nice to live life a bit more calmer and although it made me a bit of a recluse…I felt it was ok.  The calm before the storm of Week 12 I guess.  And a lot has been going through my mind…reflecting on the past year a bit and looking towards the future.  Even being at 23…I’m always a bit surprised at how fast life moves and all the events that kind of swirled together to where I am now.  But yea…even now as I type this, I’m in my reflective mood.  Maybe someday…I’ll share some of those thoughts.  But anyways, back to London…

My big day of activities was on Saturday.  I first decided to head to Piccadilly Circus to shop and eat.  And of course, it was raining wonderfully right as I got out of the subway station.  I hit up TGIF.  Why?  To simply a.) get some US food and b.) compare and contrast.  TGIF was pretty big and a bit fancier than the US design with birthday people getting balloon hats from the staff and a pretty extensive bar and drink selection.  I got a Jack Daniel Burger (filling) and a New Orleans Iced Tea (not very good).  Overall, its over-priced touristy stuff that I recommend people not to try unless they really are craving that US burger taste or TGIF longing.  😛 I also stopped by Leicester Square transformed into Winter Wonderland (scary carnival rides), got my Snog (not-so-good frozen yogurt), and ended up walking through the ‘Red Light District’ near Soho with sex shops, clubs, etc.  Fascinating stuff.  Believe me.

Saturday was also when London’s West End shut some of its streets down so people can shop until they drop.  It was pretty crazy.  Massive crowds shopping around.  Promotions going on everywhere from free bags to coupons.  Alvin and the Chipmunks were dancing on the big screen (in the middle of Oxford St. to be precise) to promote the sequel coming soon.  Free hot chocolate was being poured out for those willing to wait in a long queue.  And yea…it was a bit intimidating with green costumed men, Sonic the Hedgehog, and other costumed wacky things going on.  My main goal was to finish souvenir shopping which I pretty much more or less finished except for a few exact things I couldn’t find.  Another aspect to note about London…most of the stores have the same stuff, all from the Crest of London.  They really aren’t the best souvenirs compared to my experience at Cambridge but until then…they’ll suffice.  Hope the people actually like them.  ><

The night ended with two parties, which were cut short for me since I wasn’t feeling too hot after being out in the cold for so long and the weather change still getting to me…a nice apartment party from some of the Globals in the program and a dorm party which people were supposed to get free drinks but in the end…I guess I came too late and there really wasn’t much of a party going on.

But yea, that’s kind of the gist of it all I guess.  Cold, lazy, and reflective are the themes of the week and I’m really looking forward to heading back home.  Missing a lot of things…food…and people…

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