The Tales of Cameron Kittle's Expedition to Cambridge, England during the Summer of 2008
Questions about the trip?
Feel free to Email me at
August 18th - The final post from Tea and Crumpets! It's sad, I know, but there will always be my other blog over at When Cameron Was In Egypt's Land...! Anyway, the reason for this post is to take a look back on the trip, talk about how I will remember it and finally, to post some pictures of the closing banquet and the last night's events!
As an overall statement, I would say that my six weeks in Cambridge made up most of the best summer of my life. In fact, if it weren't for my spontaneous trip out to Detroit to see my favorite team, the Red Wings, play in the Stanley Cup Finals, I would say it played the only major part in the best summer of my life.
Why was it the best summer ever? Well, for many reasons. The best summer I can remember before this one was in 2005, when I spent five and a half weeks at the St. Paul's Advanced Studies Program in Concord, NH. During that summer, I met lots of new people, stayed in a foreign place, and had many new experiences. So, in a lot of ways, the UNH Cambridge Summer Program included a lot of similar aspects from that special summer three years ago; but it was the difference in those aspects that made Cambridge the best.
I would say the reason I had the most fun over the past six weeks was because of the friendships I made. I don't honestly know if the trip would have been much fun without them. Everyone I met had something new to offer or to show me, and experiencing new things with them really allowed for this program to be as great as it was. Some of the best nights were when we all just sat around laughing and drinking at the Buttery in the college. I can definitely say that if I didn't get along well with the people I met, most of those nights wouldn't have happened. So, first and most importantly I thank my new friends for making this trip so amazing. I look forward to keeping in touch with all of you, whether it's at UNH or elsewhere.
The foreign aspect was great in so many new ways as well. I have been very lucky to have traveled to other various parts of Europe (Spain, France, Ireland, Scotland) with my family but spending a long period of time actually living in a foreign country was a completely new experience. I saw and enjoyed so many new places and remembered those that I had already visited. But even with the incredible areas we visited, Cambridge was definitely the best. The city is amazing. Small but packed with life, Cambridge is the perfect college town. Plenty of pubs, dance clubs, and places to get grub. The architecture is always a sight for sore eyes and the quaint roads and parks make it a great place to relax and study. I look forward to going back someday.
Obviously, as you have read, the drinking age played a major role in my experience as well. However comical or stupid that may sound, it was an extremely positive part of my summer. It wasn't necessarily about getting drunk, it was about sitting around and having a light-hearted conversation with new friends. My experience in the United States with drinking has been secretive, sporadic, and often entirely about getting drunk. During the six weeks that I spent in England, I didn't have a day go by where I didn't have an alcoholic beverage of some kind. That might sound bad, but it was really just because it was part of the social life out there. It wasn't a big deal. You could sit around and have a pint and just enjoy living. I look forward to being 21 in the States just so I can go back to the sense of nonchalance towards drinking.
Even academically, I enjoyed myself (for the most part) in Cambridge. My Shakespeare class more than made up for Race, Realism, and Empire but as I look back, I can take positive learning experiences out of both. I had so much fun seeing performances of Shakespeare and reading his texts; I feel very lucky to have learned from Paul Hartle, who is an incredible instructor and has taught the subject in Cambridge for 25+ years. In my other class, I persevered through boring lectures and learned some new concepts of photography and history. Although some of the topics we covered in that class weren't particularly interesting to me, there are plenty of things I will keep with me as I move on with my studies. So, I want to thank my teachers for everything they did both in and out of class and I look forward to using their many lessons in the future.
Finally, remembrance. I will remember Gonville and Caius. I will remember coffee at eleven and tea at four. I will remember the four mile walk from Harrod's to Shakespeare's Globe with Andy in London. I will remember the Matt Lubicky Tour of Canterbury and napping underneath a tree in Dover. I will remember long bus rides with music transactions and Ferber breaking the no-fec rule and letting it ferber-ment for the rest of our bus trips. I will remember the Edinburgh plague and the bridge on the 18th at St. Andrews. I will remember the 15 minute hike up Arthur's Seat and the rocky trip down across from the recommended stairs. I will remember dinner in the Potter-esque dining hall and nights spent drinking at the Buttery. I will remember white russians, Sauza Tequila hats, and the mysterious time-travel elixir. I will remember the Military Tattoo and the day at the beach in Sheringham. I will remember the first night at Club Fez with Lanaya, Leslie and Andy and the bottles of Corona that cost a ridiculous £3.50 each ($7). I will remember David Tennant and Patrick Stewart in Hamlet in Stratford. I will remember the last night and all the goodbyes. I will remember so many things about Cambridge, I couldn't possibly list them all. It was the best time of my life, there's nothing else to say.
I hope you enjoyed my look back on the trip...here are those pictures from the closing banquet and the final night in Cambridge!
The T-Tower Boys (Matt "Beardo" Lubicky, Me, and Duncan "Slam Duncan/Dunk Tank/Druncan/Dunk-Tiddy" Edgar). You might be able to guess what the T in T-Tower stands for from this picture but however inappropriate and immature, this picture was too funny to pass over in uploading.
Everybody drinking champagne and looking beautiful on the perfect grass in Gonville and Caius!
A nice picture of the Great Hall where we had dinner every night.
A group shot of us all looking good at the Buttery, where we spent many fun nights in Cambridge!
Finally, before I officially retire my writing at the Tea and Crumpets for the memory books, I want to thank all of you who read my blog once, twice, or after every post. I hope you enjoyed it; it was fun to be able to share my experiences with all of you and I'm glad you were able to follow along with what I was doing.
Take care everyone and if you want to keep reading my writing, you should know where to go! (hint hint, go to the first paragraph of this post :P) A final farewell: cheerio mates!
August 14th - Today is my last day in Cambridge, since I leave tomorrow morning at 9:50 am on a bus to Heathrow Airport. This will be my final post overseas, but I've decided to add one last piece when I return home which will look back on the trip and discuss my favorite parts of Cambridge.
There really isn't that much to talk about today...I haven't been up to anything too interesting in my final days. Monday night I went out and played frisbee with a bunch of friends in the park after dinner, which was a fun new way to spend the evening.
Tuesday was another good day, although I broke my strings while playing tennis in the morning with Matt. Unfortunate because we can't play anymore but I was able to unstring the racquet completely, which will make for a bit more room in my suitcase when I start packing. We went out to one of our favorite night spots on Tuesday night and had a few drinks, although they are a little pricey there so we mostly just sat around and talked about the many adventures of the trip.
On Wednesday, I did my final bits of shopping in town and gave my final presentation for my Race, Realism, and Empire class, which apparently went well because most of the group enjoyed it. I thought all of my ideas came out completely disorganized and that my paper was much better but as long as the teacher and my classmates didn't see it that way, I guess that's all that matters. After class, I walked down to the train station to pick up my friend James and we walked around downtown Cambridge for a while before dinner. He came and ate with us in the dining hall (albeit for the outrageous price of £18) and then had some drinks down in the Buttery as we all played drinking games and enjoyed our second-to-last night here.
Today, I walked James back to the train station and then walked around the downtown area as a sort of "last look" at the colleges and places around Gonville and Caius. I have my Shakespeare final exam in an hour but I'm not worried about it at all, seeing as how the exam is only two essays in 90 minutes and we can use any notes or any of our books for ideas or passages. After the exam, I'm going to come back to the computer lab and check in for my flight tomorrow (leaves at 2:40 pm) and then get ready for our closing banquet. I'll be sure to bring my camera and take pictures of everybody all dressed up but those pictures won't be up until I get back to the States.
Tonight, I think we're all going to have our last hurrah in Cambridge and drink in the Buttery whilst enjoying everyone's company for the last time. It will be sad to see everyone go but many of the people here are friends that I'll take with me to UNH. Overall, it should be a fun last day.
I would recollect more on the trip as a whole but I'm saving that for when I return home. I am very excited to come home to my family, my house, my pets, and my bed. Right now, I've got to get out and have some lunch and get my books before my final exam at 2. I hope you have all enjoyed reading the blog as I've been away, take care for the next couple days! Cheerio!
August 11th - I'm done with all my work! The only thing I have left to do academically is sit through my classes and take my Shakespeare final exam on Thursday. Yes, it did take an all nighter last night where I wrote my paper between 2am and 9am but I had a nap before class and I'm feeling fine. My weekend was very fun and included a wonderful performance of Hamlet on Friday and a trip down to southern England to see James on Saturday.
Our second trip to Stratford upon Avon was even better than the first. A group of us wandered around the city for a while, experiencing Shakespeare's supposed birthplace (pictured above), the Harvard House, and a relaxing river tour (below).
We actually had dinner at the Harvard House, which is where John Harvard, the founder of Harvard University, spent his childhood. Overall, it had pretty good food and a quaint venue for a reasonable price. After dinner, we made our way over to the Royal Shakespeare Theater to see Hamlet, starring David Tennant, Patrick Stewart, and other talented actors and actresses. The performance was breathtaking. By far the best play we'd seen so far, I thought David Tennant was beyond incredible. The way he played with Hamlet's character to make it his own while maintaining the timing and greatness of his speeches. His "oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I" soliloquy was my personal favorite and despite the production being a long one, I enjoyed every bit of it. At the end, I even got Peter De Jersey, who played Horatio, to sign my program at the end. I knew him from his role as one of the villians from the movie The Bank Job, so that was very cool. On another note, Horatio is my second favorite Shakespearian name so, that was also another plus of getting his autograph (Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet is #1).
I did my best to take a picture of the cast as they were bowing and everything, but the ushers were pretty strict about it because of the high profile of the actors involved. So, this is the best I got. David Tennant is in the middle in his white fencing coat and Patrick Stewart is just to his left. Patrick Stewart's performance as Claudius was very good as well and he also played the ghost of Old Hamlet, which was an interesting and well-acted role as well.
As for Saturday, I left Cambridge at about 12:30 and took a series of trains and underground routes to finally arrive in Eastbourne at about 5:00. James picked me up after his football match and we went back to his grandmother's house in Bexhill for dinner. It was very nice to have a home cooked meal of sorts for once, since my dining experience abroad has been varied but mostly formal. After dinner, James and I went out to a pub called the Green House in Eastbourne with a couple of his friends. It was a fun night and we had plenty of cider that would have made the walk back more interesting. Luckily, James' dad, Roger, picked us up at the station and James and I just played some video games and went to bed. Sunday involved a nice breakfast and then, before my train left at 1:00, James took me out for a drive along the coast and I took some pictures. There were a ton of wind surfers out in the water and a couple times, I watched some guys leave their feet involuntarily and get dragged back to shore. Certainly doesn't seem like the most safe sport, in that you're allowing a completely inconsistent entity control where you go, but it looked like they were having fun.
When I got back on Sunday, I went straight to dinner and then hung around with some friends at the bar, putting my paper off as long as possible. I did some research a little later in the night but then decided to take a few hours off and watch the exciting finish of the PGA Championship in the lounge. Padraig Harrington is really coming on as a golfer recently, having won 3 of the past 6 majors. I've been so impressed with his clutch putting. Every putt that he needed to make, he made. It was quite the performance. Sergio Garcia, on the other hand, just missed out (yet again) on his first major championship. All I can say is that at least this time, he wasn't dressed like a banana.
Well, after a rough all nighter last night, I did finally finish my paper and I was relatively pleased with it. It certainly isn't all that interesting to the casual observer, but if you enjoy rugby and want to see how it can be applied to analytical texts, you might enjoy it. Tonight, I don't have any plans other than to enjoy the bar and hang out with some people around the college. I'm playing tennis tomorrow morning but other than that, my plans from the previous post are the same. It should be a fun last week though. I'll definitely leave this place with plenty of memories that I'll keep forever. I've got to run off and get changed though, since I have high table duty tonight. As I've mentioned before, that just means I get to sit at a special table with all the faculty and a couple other students while dressing up in a suit. I love wearing suits, so it should be fun. Anyway, gotta go! Only one or two more posts before this blog is officially retired and used solely for memory purposes, can you believe it? Hope you all had a good Monday, take care!
August 7th - One week left. I hate to be counting down the days on what has been such a great trip but I can't help it. I will be glad to go home, even though this summer has been so amazing. I think six weeks is the perfect amount of time because I've been able to see everything I wanted to see and have a ton of fun while knowing that there's a great year at UNH waiting for me when I get back.
With the week left, here are my plans. Tomorrow, we leave after lunch to go to Stratford-upon-Avon to see Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Theater. Apparently, it's the best version of Hamlet in years. People are happily paying $200 or more on eBay to see the show. Even though the show is three and a half hours, I love the play and I'm extremely excited for it. David Tennant (Dr. Who) plays Hamlet and Patrick Stewart (Star Trek) plays Claudius. Ooh boy, should be a good one.
Then, on Saturday, I'm venturing down to Bexhill to visit my good friend James Firman and enjoy a night with him. I will be attending his soccer/football match in the afternoon and he plans to show me the nightlife afterwards. All I can say is that I'm glad I've been drinking all this time because I'm afraid a Saturday night out with a true Brit who drinks heavily might take the livers of some men. I'll be safe though, don't you worry.
Sunday, I will be writing my ten page final paper for my absolutely awful class (Race, Empire, and Photography). My hopes of it getting better were only hopes and instead it has become even more of a nightmare. All I want to do is get a B in the class and move on with my life. It is a complete waste of time and anything interesting about the class, and there are plenty of interesting things about it, is made mind-numbingly boring by our teacher. She is a wonderfully nice person and clearly cares for all of our well-beings but as a professor, she is an absolute chore. Horrendous. I can already tell you my final paper will probably be among the worst things I've ever written and I don't care. This teacher doesn't deserve to read my best writing. She wouldn't want to. All she likes to read is analytical crap that doesn't belong in the English language. The only consolation is that I was able to choose the topic for my paper myself and it is about something I have a mild interest in: rugby.
Moving on to Monday, I will turn the paper in and sit through two more hours of the only unfortunate part of this trip. Other than that, Monday's free. I might play some squash with Luke.
Tuesday, I have my Shakespeare class and we'll discuss the performance of Hamlet that we get to see tomorrow. Should be interesting. Again, evening and other events are to be determined.
Wednesday, James Firman is planning on coming up to Cambridge to celebrate my last two hours of Race, Empire, and Photography! No, that's probably not the reason why he's coming up but he is planning on coming to see the city and have a fun day here. I'm excited as I'm sure it will be a blast.
Thursday, also known as the final day, will include a final exam on Shakespeare and a closing banquet where we get to eat and step on the grass inside the college! Yes, it is a big deal. I'm sure tears will slide down cheeks and arms will wrap around bodies (hugs people, hugs) and then we'll all go out for one last hurrah in Cambridge. It's been one amazing trip, what else can I say?
Well, dinner time is coming up shortly and we've got some asparagus soup and chicken delicousness on the way so I'm going to end this post. I hope you're all having a good week thus far and I'll be sure to fill you in on the weekend's events by Monday evening (it'll be a few days because I'll be writing my paper all day Sunday and Monday morning). Take care everyone, cheerio!
August 4th - It's August already? Wow...I can't believe I only have 10 more days in Cambridge and then I'm back on a plane to the States. Crazy.
Anyway, lots to catch up on from the weekend in Scotland. So, I'll start at the beginning with Thursday's departure.
We left around 8am and drove four hours to Haworth, where we stopped for a couple hours to explore. Mostly, we just went out to eat some lunch and then went through the tour of the Bronte House. The Bronte family did some amazing things, most notably write Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The house was pretty cool, lots of old antiques that were actually used and kept all those years from when the Brontes were growing up. I discovered that my camera had accidentally turned on inside its pouch on the ride there and exhausted the batteries, which is why I don't have any pictures of the Bronte House. If I remember correctly though, photography wasn't allowed inside anyway. So, after our stop in Haworth, we drove the final four hours to Edinburgh. We stayed in Pollock Halls at the University of Edinburgh, which is used for some student residences but mostly for those that come in for conferences and whatnot. The rooms were nice for a weekend but I like the dorms at Gonville and Caius better. After dropping our stuff off, we went out to dinner at a delicious Chinese restaurant and then made our way over to a traditional Scottish pub. We met some cool local guys and talked with them for a while (pictured below) before calling it a night around 11.
Friday was a much more interesting day, though not for about half of our entire group. When I reached our bus, which would take us to Edinburgh Castle, at the scheduled meeting time of 9:30, only about 15 people were there. Apparently, a 24-hour bug latched on to the rest of the group and had made them violently ill for their entire first day in Edinburgh. My friend Matt, who I've mentioned before, didn't even get out of bed, except for sickly reasons, until 8pm. I'm very glad my weekend was as healthy as normal but it really sucked for the kids who were sick since everyone paid an extra $450 to go on the Scotland trip and we only had two actual days to spend in the city. I definitely got my money's worth but most of the group deserves half of their money back.
So, with much of the group on the DL, the rest of us spent the morning exploring Edinburgh Castle, which is the best castle I've ever visited. It sits high above the city and overlooks absolutely everything. I could have spent many more hours there but since I had already been there with my family a few years ago, I broke off from the group and spent my day in St. Andrews. I took the train there and arrived at about 2pm, and I stayed until my return train left at 5:45.
The city is best known for golf, of course, and the seven courses it has near the coast. Being an avid golfer, I spent a couple hours walking down the historic Old Course, which has been used since the 1740's. I wasn't able to play the course because they don't allow singles to enter the lottery for a tee time, but I certainly could have played if I wanted to. The only problem is that I would have needed to show up at 6am on Saturday morning to wait around and hope for an opening and since the train station was a half hour away from Pollock Halls and Edinburgh is an hour away by train, it would have meant an extremely early morning and made for quite the inconvenience. I decided that since the course has been there for the past 250 years, I might as well assume it'll be there for the rest of my lifetime and that I'll get to play it someday.
I used the rest of my day in St. Andrews to explore the town's cathedral, castle, and coastline. The town reminded me so much of Cambridge because it was small, quaint, clean, and everyone I talked to was very nice. So basically, it's just a little town with seven golf courses, a ridiculous amount of history, and lots of sandy beaches. Sounds like perfection to me. I took plenty of pictures of the course and of my walk down the coast, so I'll throw some in down the left hand side for you to look at (you can click them and see them in full size, if you didn't know already).
This is me standing on the famous bridge along the fairway of the 18th hole. Many famous golfers have stepped right where I was standing, which is pretty amazing to think about. Some guys I ran into from Michigan took the picture for me...though they were Ferris State alumni and fans, not Wolverine addicts like me. The Bulldogs are better than Spartans though, so that's good.
I also spent some of my time in the Brisith golf museum, where I got to see the actual Claret Jug (on the right) and the shirt, hat, glove, and scorecard used by my man Tiger in his record-setting victory in the British Open at St. Andrews in 2000. Somehow I managed to get in without paying too...the admission price said £4.50 but I leisurely walked in and nobody stopped me to make me pay. I certainly would have but hey, if they're not paying attention that's not my fault. It wasn't like I was trying to sneak in or trick them in some way, they just never asked for money so I didn't give them any. Seems harmless to me. Anyway, the museum was also full of old clubs, balls, and trophies that were very cool to look at. I hate learning about academic history, but I could read about sports history all day. I had to make my way over to the coast though, so I didn't spend as much time there as I would have liked.
The picture above left is of the back of the castle and if you look close enough, you can see a guy playing his guitar in a little alcove by the castle wall. It certainly looked like the best place in the world to play guitar from where I was standing. Very cool. The picture above right is from Harbour Point, which extends a ways out into the ocean for fisherman but I managed to get the Cathedral (built in the 1300's) in the shot as well. Like I said, this town had everything.
I did have to get back to Edinburgh at some point though, and arrived back around 7pm. I met up with some friends and we went out to a wonderful Indian restaurant where I had the spiciest chicken vindaloo I've ever eaten in my life. I knew it was going to be hot but I probably should have seen trouble coming when the Indian guy taking our order looked at me quite curiously when I made my selection. He was definitely thinking, "Ooh this white boy is in for one hell of a meal." I think he purposely avoided giving our table more water for just that reason. It was absoutely incredible though, so I manned up and enjoyed every bite.
Saturday was also very fun and chock full of activities. I spent some time in the city walking around with a couple friends, then we went for a hike and climbed Arthur's seat in the afternoon, and then I saw the infamous military tattoo at Edinburgh Castle in the evening. Our walk through the city was relatively uneventful, except for our run-in with two drunks at noon. They sat and talked to us for about half an hour, regaling us with tales of how they used to live in Santa Monica, California. One claimed to be an ex-Navy Seal and that he knew Mel Gibson, Kid Rock, and Angus Young from AC/DC. The only thing we decided was true about their stories was that they probably did just get out of prison the previous Wednesday, like they said. I would have been much more on-edge if it had been at night or in a weird part of the city but we were right in the heart of Edinburgh in the middle of the day. Regardless, it was a sticky situation avoided, that's for sure.
Moving on to a better story...the hike later in the day was magnificent, to say the least. It was about as good a hike as it gets: 15 minutes up the "mountain" and when we got there, we could see the entire city from all angles as well as all the way across the ocean to the Scottish highlands. Nicknamed "Arthur's Seat," the hill sits right behind Pollock Halls and is a common place to go every year for the UNH kids when they come to Scotland. Some of my friends went on Sunday morning before we left to watch the sunrise, but I was quite content with the late-afternoon climb.
My two fellow hikers are pictured above left at the bottom of "Arthur's Seat" and a nice view from the top is shown above right.
Here, I'm standing on the stone that is supposedly "Arthur's Seat" even though it is absolutely nothing like a seat and there is no way to actually sit on it. So instead, I stood on top of it. (Side note: the clouds were perfect!).
As you can see, the hike was well worth the effort and a fun way to spend the afternoon. One of my favorite things about Scotland is that there are landscapes like this in the midst of a huge city. You don't find that in too many other places in the world.
The last thing I did on Saturday was enjoy the military tattoo in Edinburgh Castle at night. For those of you who've never heard of it, it is basically an event of marching bands and military regiments held in a huge 8,500 seat arena that is absoutely full, down to the last seat, for every show. The event is only held for three weeks in August every year and the shows usually sell out in January. Luckily, scalpers are everywhere and a friend and I picked up tickets for only £30 (list price is £28). I really wish I could embed videos into this blog but I'll have to settle for some pictures and links once I load the videos up on YouTube in the coming days.
The bands and military squads play bagpipes and horns and all sorts of things. The best group was definitely the Norwegian Royal Guard but all of the marchers were fantastic. The music was great and the impeccable timing of the marches and movements was amazing. Near the end, all of groups came together and played the theme to the "Last of the Mohicans," which was fantastic! My favorite part though, was how the stadium lights were used to light up the castle in all sorts of different colors or used to put photo graphics all over it. The best use of this was when they put the Scottish flag on the Castle while the finale of fireworks was blasting above.
Well that was it for my Saturday, and Sunday was spent doing another eight hours of bus travel back to Cambridge. We did stop in York and the cathedral was nice but I was pretty tired and simply wasn't up for another tour. We got back into Cambridge around 8pm and my night was pretty uneventful. Unfortunately, I'm running out of time and the first class of my fifth week here begins in a half hour. I did cover everything from the long weekend though and I hope you check out those videos on YouTube. I linked the Norwegian Royal Guard one above and here is another. Prepare to be amazed. I hope you enjoyed the latest installment of the T&C. Take care everyone, I'll be back in a couple days! Cheerio!
July 30th - For those that have been missing the blog over the past couple days, I have a legitimate excuse. At least, I assume having to write a six page paper, read Hamlet, read King Solomon's Mines, prepare a class discussion, and read sixty pages of boring history text in the past three days qualifies as a good excuse. If not, lambaste me (bonus for vocab).
Tomorrow, we depart for Edinburgh, Scotland for what should be an amazing four day weekend. Although the bus trip is nine hours there and nine hours back, I'm still very excited to go back to Scotland. My family outing there in 2005 provided plenty of great memories there and I plan to make a few more this weekend.
As for my plans during the trip, there are some possibilities but nothing that's set in stone (other than stopping at the Bronte House in Haworth on the way there tomorrow and stopping at York Cathedral on the way back on Sunday). On Friday and Saturday, we're basically left on our own to explore, travel, sleep, eat, live, etc. Right now, my plan is to go to St. Andrews (one hour by train) with a couple girls from the group who wanted to go on Friday to explore the town and enjoy one of golf's most historic sites. During my time there I plan to enter my name into the lottery for a tee time, and with any luck, I'll be able to pay £150 to rent clubs and play the next day. If that doesn't pan out, my Saturday is completely free and clear. I'll be going wherever the wind takes me.
Well, even though it's been three days since my last post and it will be four more before another, I won't apologize for this one being brief. I've been itching to write about sports for weeks and I must give in and finally update my original blog over at When Cameron Was In Egypt's Land. Michigan football starts in thirty days and sixteen hours, the Red Wings 2008-09 schedule has been released, and the Tigers and Pistons have made some blunderous trades/signings. I know that won't be nearly as interesting as my events in Cambridge to some of you, but all I've been doing for the past few days is schoolwork and drinking with friends so it's nothing you haven't heard before.
I hope you enjoy, or just read, the post on my other site and have a fantastic weekend! I will be sure to have a lengthy post with details and pictures of the trip when I get back. Take care everyone, cheerio!
July 27th - It's been an incredibly fun weekend here in England, as we traveled to Canterbury and Dover yesterday and to Sheringham today. Both days started early in the morning and were chock full of activities. I'll start right off with some details of the Dover and Canterbury journey.
We spent a couple hours in Canterbury to see the Canterbury Cathedral, which is beautiful and massive, although a bit touristy. As grand as it was, the cathedral wasn't the most fun or interesting part of our trip. After touring the church, my tennis partner, Matt, took me and another friend, Josh, on the "Matt Lubicky Tour" of Canterbury. We had less than an hour to get ourselves around the city but in that hour, we certainly had our share of fun. Matt's tour led us to every pub we could find on our way back to the bus, and at each place, we had a pint of traditional English brew. As you can imagine, there are too many pubs in all the cities of England and Canterbury was no exception. Five pints of bitter beer later, we found our way to the bus and had ourselves a cat nap on the way to Dover.
The dizzying feeling of inebriation was still going strong when we arrived in Dover, but that didn't stop the three of us (my two comrades are pictured above) from enjoying our time there. We had about three hours to spend in Dover and although the first couple were spent sleeping peacefully underneath a tree, we did use the last one to explore Dover Castle and get some good views of the White Cliffs.
As fun as the Canterbury and Dover excursion was, the "Matt Lubicky Tour" came with quite the hangover when we returned to Cambridge around 7pm. Needless to say, the rest of my night was rather useless but I did manage to have a delicious dinner at my favorite noodle bar, Wagamama, and watch Saving Private Ryan for the first time. It was pretty good but, after seeing the Band of Brothers series from HBO this summer, I was a little disappointed.
While hoping that you don't think less of me for being drunk in the middle of day (I'm looking at you, family members), I'll move on to Sunday's excursion to Sheringham, which is in the Northeast region of England.
One of the college's cooks, named Stuart, has taken some of the UNH Cambridge students down to the coast for a day in years past because he likes spending time with the kids and wants to show them an area where tourists rarely venture. The trip was quite fun, even though only five students decided to go. We basically just enjoyed a perfect day of weather while relaxing on the beach. I skipped some stones into the ocean, climbed around on big rocks and simply had a good time by the water.
While I do have to get off the computer and go read King Solomon's Mines for my class tomorrow, I want to congratulate my lovely sister, Hannah, for graduating from St. Paul's Advanced Studies Program today! I know it was difficult for her to be away from home for an extended period of time for the first time in her life but I want her to know I'm proud of her for getting through it and actually having some fun in the process!
Before I go, I'll throw up one more picture of my lovely day in Sheringham but after that, I have to crack down and get some reading done. I hope you all had a good weekend and I will be back again soon! Cheerio!
July 25th - Another week has passed by, and somehow, this program is half over. Incredible. It still feels like I haven't spent enough time here. It still amazes me that every day, I still think about how lucky I am to spend my time in Cambridge. Not Oxford, not London, but Cambridge. It's big enough and small enough. It's not too busy but there's always something to do. The architecture is out of this world. Everyone I've met is extremely nice, even though they know I'm an American. I simply love this area and I'm so grateful that I get to spend six weeks of my life here.
As for an update on the past couple days, there isn't much to say. I fared much better in squash on Wednesday after Luke gave me some much needed tips. I even got a couple sets to 9-7, which was quite an improvement from our first match. The biggest reason why he was beating me so badly was that I played squash exactly how I played tennis, from my positioning to my swing. Little did I know that the technique and swing forms are incredibly different from tennis. So, I'm still getting to used to that but I am improving, evidently. Who knows, maybe I'll even be able to take a set off of him this afternoon, when we play again.
Neither of the two books I had to read this week were all that spectacular, as Alice in Wonderland was about the same as I had seen in the Disney film version and Measure for Measure was good but nothing that exceeded Merchant of Venice or King Lear. I have to read a book called King Solomon's Mines by Monday and Hamlet by Wednesday, so we'll see how those go. I am excited to read Hamlet again, seeing as I haven't read it since seventh grade, but I'm even more excited to see the performance of Hamlet, featuring Patrick Stewart as Claudius, at Stratford's Royal Shakespeare theater in a couple weeks. That should be a good one to close the class out with.
The last thing I would like to talk about before I close out another edition of Tea and Crumpets is the movie everyone is talking about, The Dark Knight. It broke records in the States last week and hit the $200 million mark in the box office in only five days. That is three days earlier than any other movie in the history of film. I have been waiting for this movie for six months and I finally was able to go and see it last night, because it came out a week later in the UK.
All I can say is that it is absolutely legendary. Heath Ledger will, without question, win the Best Actor Oscar for his performance. I say that because not only was his acting beyond amazing, but because the entire screen actor's guild will understand and reward his dedication and commitment to the part he played. If you've heard all of this before and still have some doubt in your mind about the movie, get up out of your chair right now and go watch it. The plot, the writing, the acting, and the visual effects are all so flawlessly done that I know that this movie will be remembered for a long time. The tragic news of Ledger's death obviously contributes to the movie's legacy, but it is not the only reason why this is such a fantastic film. If he were still alive, people would still be raving about this movie, especially me. I feel very strongly that The Dark Knight exceeded all of my expectations, and there were a lot of them, especially after hearing for a week from my friends in the States about how good it was. I won't say anymore about it, but I think that if you haven't seen it, you need to join the other millions of people out there who have.
My next post should detail the events of my weekend, as tomorrow I will be traveling to the white cliffs of Dover and on Sunday a small group of us will be going on a trip with the college's cook, who wants to show us some of the less touristy things in the area as well as go to the beach. It should certainly be interesting, if nothing else. I hope you all enjoy your Friday and I will be back in a couple days!
July 23rd - Sorry about the short delay between posts, but I've had a paper and a few books to read this week. Not that all of the work has stopped me from having fun, but it has stopped me from being able to complete all of my daily activities, like updating my blog.
The week thus far hasn't been incredibly interesting, though it has provided plenty of fun. I have enjoyed playing tennis with my new friend Matt Lubicky, which we have done a few times in the past week. He hasn't played in many years but he's improving and I'm giving him some tips and it's become an every-other-day activity. It's also nice to see the variety of tennis courts that they have around here. Yesterday we played at Trinity College's courts, which were locked and called for some fence climbing. No wonder they're not big fans of Americans here...any rule we see, we break. (Now, that's not entirely true but I'm sure from reading my blog, that might be the impression you're getting). We had good reason though, since from the outside, it looked like they were Wimbledon-like grass courts and there was no one playing on them, so, naturally, we had to try them out. Upon reaching the other side though, we found the surface to be something like astroturf. It was still an overall good experience though, since it was a very interesting surface to play on...and quite fun too.
I've also started playing squash with a guy named Luke, who is a true Brit and attends Gonville and Caius during the year but is staying here for a summer research program. Luckily for me, Luke's only been playing since he was about ten years old and I've played about ten times. Three word summary of Monday's match: a sound beating. There were some sets where I didn't even win a point. It's fun though, and a good workout. It is for me anyway; I'm not sure if Luke even had to break a sweat. I do enjoy hearing "Oh, bollocks" or something equivalently English when he screws up on rare occasions though, so that provides another aspect of amusement.
So, other than the tennis-squash-tennis-squash schedule I've got going, I've had some classes and I've done a bit of light drinking. Last night we all had a couple pints and then went back to watch Hot Fuzz, a fantastic movie. We did venture out to a pub called the Regal a couple nights ago though, which was the most popular place for locals. I liked it more than most of the pubs we've been to thus far so I'm sure we'll be back there again at some point this week.
Well, I've got to go finish reading Alice in Wonderland for my Race, Empire and Photography class...though I'm not at all sure why we're reading it in the first place. Nonetheless, it's a fun, classic story to read and certainly isn't hard to get through. Also, before tomorrow's Shakespeare class I'll be reading Measure for Measure, which I know nothing about. Should be good though...I hear this Shakespeare guy can write. Take care everyone, I'm off to read. Cheerio!
July 20th - Another week has passed by here in Cambridge and it feels like the trip just began. Crazy to think I'll be on a plane back home in less than four weeks. There's plenty to see and do in the meantime though...like this terribly boring paper I have to write for my Race, Empire, and Photography class. Ugh...it's an abstract view on a photograph while analyzing it and comparing it to some essay we read. Yuck...especially with the amazing weather outside. I did take advantage of it already though, as I went and played tennis with a friend here for a few hours.
The grass courts aren't nearly as exciting as I thought they would be. They aren't very well kept and it's basically like hitting a tennis ball back in forth in a park. I had Wimbledon in mind but instead I got a healthy dose of hit and chase. Some of the hard courts over here are entirely asphalt too...which ruins the balls and gives us some crazy bounces at times. It's still fun to get some exercise though. Tomorrow will be even better, as one of the British students I met, who is doing research over the summer at Caius, is going to meet me to play some squash before dinner. He plays a lot though, so I expect to get my butt kicked. That's the best way to learn and get better though, so it should be fun.
Yesterday, we took the bus out to Broughton Castle and Oxford, though we might as well have just stayed in Cambridge. The castle was pretty cool, but whoever planned the trip didn't do a very good job of timing the whole thing. We left at 9am and it took us nearly three hours to get to the castle. So, it was noon and I expected that they'd have some way to get lunch. They didn't. Instead, we all took a tour around the castle for an hour or so, which was pretty cool even on a growling stomach, and then we got back on the bus for another hour and a half of driving.
When we arrived in Oxford, they told us that we had two hours before we had to meet and head back. Since food was the first destination for most of us, Oxford turned out to be a hectic race for food and then an hour of exploring. It was extremely busy and hard to move around the shopping areas. Mainly though, I was somewhat bitter about the trip because I wanted to actually spend a day in Oxford and see what it was like, not spend a couple hours looking for food and then moving through crowds of other tourists. As unfortunate as it was though, the castle was probably worth the trip and I was still hanging out with people I enjoy spending time with.
As for last night, it was pretty low key for me. I was pretty tired and just started some homework before hitting the hay. A bunch of people went dancing but since that's also the plan for tonight, I figured I'd wait and get some work done first.
Hope the weekend went well for all of you...I've got to get back to writing this cursed paper instead of watching the final round of the British Open. Until next time, Cheerio!
July 18th - This post will be another short one, as I will soon be off to play tennis for the first time on grass courts. I'm excited! Even though I haven't played in a while, the new experience of grass courts should provide plenty of fun.
Back to where I left off yesterday, I had a successful Shakespeare class and then we made our way out to Stratford for dinner and The Merchant of Venice at the Royal Shakespeare Theater. What a night. The bus rides was enjoyable/tolerable, the dinner was excellent, and the play was purely magnificent.
A small group of us had dinner at a local place in Stratford where I had a delicious dish of chicken and spinach curry and a pint of Strongbow. The pint came in this amazingly cool glass, which I took along with me at the end of the meal as a souvenir. We tipped her very well and I really wanted the glass so, I'm calling it even.
After my petty theft, we ventured off to the theater (above), where we saw a grand performance of The Merchant of Venice. I liked King Lear at the Globe a lot, but both the venue and the presentation of this play were much improved. Not only is The Merchant of Venice a much happier and delightful play in writing, it is a more exciting play to see in person. With this performance being as good as it was, I simply cannot wait for the end of August when we come back and see Hamlet in the same theater. Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard from "Star Trek") will be playing Claudius, I've heard, which should make it an even more enticing event.
I'm enjoying my Shakespeare class so much that I'm actually contemplating reading more of his work when I get back to the States. The stories are just fun to read, as long as you can understand the language and everything...a skill at which I'm slowly improving.
We arrived back in Cambridge at about 12:30am and everyone was a bit too exhausted to go out anywhere. Tonight looks like a bleak possibility as well, with another early departure tomorrow morning, but with the drinking age what it is and the lack of much else to do at night, I won't count it out. At the very least, I'm sure my streak of at-least-one-alcoholic-beverage-every-night-that-I've-been-here will continue. Interestingly enough, it seems to be a streak that most people here are keeping up with...hmm. Well, off to tennis! Let's hope the overcast clouds don't shed any rain on us. I hope you all have a good weekend and as always, until next time, cheerio!
July 17th - The days are going by faster than I want them to, which is probably why I can never find time to get into the computer lab and keep this blog updated. I'm here now though, and I have some stories to tell you all.
In the past couple days, I have spent some time outside in the sun while reading The Merchant of Venice, which I liked a lot. It was much more positive and much easier to read than King Lear, so I enjoyed it. We're traveling to Stratford-upon-Avon tonight as a group to see the play at the Royal Shakespeare Theater, so that should be a lot of fun as well.
The nights have been pretty fun, as we've begun to realize that the cheapest and easiest way to drink is at the Buttery. So, the past few nights have involved long hours of drinking, laughing, and enjoying each other's company in the local pub. We aren't doing anything too crazy but it has become pretty clear to everyone here that we are the loud, obnoxious Americans who sit in the bar all night. I'm sure we'll venture back out to the clubs some night this weekend but with the charge at the door being £7 each, it's not worth it to go all the time.
The most fun that I've had in the past few days was yesterday afternoon when a small group of us went punting along the River Cam, which flows all through Cambridge. It is not only a very scenic ride (in a small boat called a punt), but it was a lot of fun trying it out on our own, without a guide. Seeing as there were seven girls and two guys on this trip, we got two boats and the two guys were designated as the main punters. It was very fun trying it out but I was definitely zig-zagging from one wall to another at the beginning. I got the hang of it eventually and we all had a blast. Bringing the pole up out of the water continually got me wet throughout the ride though, so a change of clothes was quite necessary afterwards. I did get a short break when one of the girls wanted to try it, and I got a decent picture of her in action.
Although I wouldn't say it was as relaxing as the trip I took down the river last summer with my family and a guide, it was a lot more fun to try and navigate around all the other boats in the water. Needless to say, we crashed into a few others along the way.
Pictures of the struggling punter were a must on this crazy adventure...I'm sure I was in plenty of their camera shots but this was right before we were pushed right into a lovely overhanging tree. I guess it's not such a good idea to laugh, take embarassing pictures, and complain about hitting a bunch of walls when you're not in control of the boat. I'm sure they learned their lesson while picking leaves out of their hair.
The other group had just about as much trouble as we did but by the end, both Duncan (seen punting the boat above) and I can now say we are both experienced punters.
This shows our group on the walk back to the college. Overall, it was a fun experience and we might have to try it again before we leave...as Duncan has challenged me to a race. So, stay tuned for that whenever it happens.
Alright, I know it wasn't a long post but I have to try and get my laundry out of the dryer (hopefully it's dry) before my Shakespeare class in a half hour and then at 3:15 we take off for Stratford to see The Merchant of Venice tonight. Friday, I'll be working on a paper that's due Monday and Saturday we're all headed to Oxford, Banbury, and we're stopping to see Broughton Castle. Should be another great weekend! I can't believe we're already almost done with two weeks here! Crazy how time flies when the drinking age is 18. I mean...when you're having fun. Yeah, sooo, I'll be back sometime tomorrow I expect, but until then, cheerio!
July 14th - The start of another week was a fairly relaxing day in Cambridge. I woke up at about 10, went down to the meeting room for some tea, and read over my homework with some of my classmates for Race, Empire, and Photography. For our class today, we walked down a couple blocks to visit the Archaeology and Anthropology Museum. It was pretty amazing, with lots of artifacts from a multitude of nations dating back to the early 1800s. My favorite piece was a small Mongolian drum made from two "upper sections of human skulls." Very creepy, but also quite interesting. The Mexican exhibit displaying many hand crafted items for El Día de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead, which is a popular celebration in Mexico) was also fun to look at.
I also wandered around town today and did a little shopping. There's a popular market in the middle of the city that has tons of cheap things and I bought two new guitar books, both of which came with audio CDs to help me learn to play the different songs. One was a collection of Jimi Hendrix hits and the other was full of classic blues tunes from icons like B.B. King and Buddy Guy. Each was only £5 and well worth the price...but it is a somewhat torturous gift to buy myself because I can't practice any of the songs.
I also went down and bought a new tie, which I'll wear at the High Table for dinner tomorrow night. I only brought one tie to wear and it doesn't go well with a plain white shirt so I felt obligated to buy a new one. Sitting at High Table is something everyone gets to do on a couple of occasions during the program, and can be explained as having to dress up a bit and enjoy dinner with the faculty at a table that is normally reserved for the professors and Fellows of the college. It's a fun way for the faculty and staff to get to know the students and since a few students do it each night, the situation isn't too uncomfortable.
My final purchase was the most expensive, at £35, but since it was going on my Mom's tab, I didn't feel too bad :-) As she told me, I was to buy one pair of new Converse shoes that I couldn't find in the States and then I could put it on the credit card and she would pay for them. So, I did just that and here they are:
As you might be able to see, these are grey colored with some red striping along the sides. The material feels like a pair of sweatpants, so they are immensely comfortable, and the hand painted crest you see on the side has an old English "C" in the middle, which, I was told, stands for Cambridge. The skull at the top represents the skull that can be found in the Caius chapel, which is rumored to be the skull of John Caius, one of the famous founders of the school I'm staying at (Gonville and Caius). Of course, it could all be a load of bull and the "C" could just stand for Converse but I prefer to believe the story I was fed and leave it at that. On the tour of the college on the first day, I did see the skull in the chapel that he talked about so at least he wasn't lying about that part. Anyway, it's a pretty cool souvenir and I'm excited about having them, so...thanks Mom!
The only other thing on the agenda before I head off to dinner would be to recap last night's events, which were actually pretty interesting. We all had a drink or two at the Buttery, which is becoming somewhat of a habit now, and then moved on to another pub in town. It is called "The Anchor" and is actually the place where Roger "Syd" Barrett began his music career. For those of you who aren't familiar with Mr. Barrett, as I wasn't, he is one of the founding members of Pink Floyd and played guitar and sang lead vocals for the famous band. So, that was also a pretty cool place to visit.
Finally, at about midnight, my friend Andy and I decided, on a whim, to take a run and get some exercise. I hadn't run in quite a while but we ran far. Probably further than I have ever run in my life, which isn't really saying that much but still, it was a ways. We jogged all the way to the next town over, Grantchester, and continued on for a while past that. When we finally turned around to head back, it was 12:50. We did walk some of the way, but I would guess we went at least 4-5 miles. We walked and ran a little slower for the return trip and got back at about 1:45. It was incredible. The stars were out and it looked like someone had dumped glitter all over the sky. Andy had run down the same path a few days before in the morning, so we weren't really in any danger and I would never have done it by myself so don't get too worried about the decision. Overall, it was a pretty cool way to end the night. We'll probably do it again from time to time, but not quite that late. Although, the timing worked out so that we came back just in time to see the wave of drunk people making their way to "The Trailer of Life," which sits right outside our college and is where a bunch of guys in a trailer sell hamburgers and french fries from 10pm to 5am.
Well, it's just past six so I must get ready for dinner but I hope you all have a good Monday. Hope you enjoyed the latest enstallment of the T and C. Cheerio!
July 13th - After another couple of exciting days across the Atlantic, it's amazing to say that my first week abroad is over! Time is flying by, even though many times I wish it would stand still.
So, to catch you all up on this weekend's events, Friday night was our opening banquet. We all dressed up and drank champagne in the Fellow's living room before spending two hours in the Fellow's dining hall for dinner. (The Fellow's are famous alumni or graduates of the college and apparently have special precedent over everyone. They even get to walk on the grass! which is forbidden to anyone else). Eating at the Fellow's dining hall was a treat, as the room is rumoured to have cost upwards of £5,000,000, but I must say I'm getting quite tired of this whole "dining" thing. If you've ever eaten a meal with me, you might have noticed that when you look up from your second bite, I'm already done with my meal, regardless of what we're eating. So, the whole charade of eating only one meal in a span of ninety minutes or more is becoming difficult for me. I shouldn't complain though, the food is delicious and deserves to be savored rather than wolfed down. Anyway, here are a couple of pictures I managed to take of the living room and then the dining area.
Clearly the pictures don't do the rooms justice but with a dim setting inside and a camera that doesn't always cooperate without proper lighting, bear with me.
Friday night was a low-key affair, as a bunch of us walked around after having a drink or two at the Buttery. Since all of us had to be up and on the bus by 7:45 the next morning, everyone wanted to be a little rested.
The reason that we had to be on the bus at such an early time the following day was, of course, because we took our first excursion to London for an all day event on Saturday! It was nothing short of amazing, though my feet would disagree, as my friend Andy and I walked throughout the city, seeing Harrod's, Big Ben, Westminster, Piccidilly Circus, Leicester Square and Covent Garden. We even made it through the entire day without rain!
I had my dinner at Wagamama, which was delicious as usual, but cost me £16! I mean, yes, I did have two appetizers and a meal but still...$32 american? Needless to say, London was quite expensive. I also took a quick trip down Pall Mall to snap a photo of the flat we rented for our family trip last summer. Now, if only I could have remembered the door combination...
Now, even though I enjoyed my time heartily, all of the places I mentioned above are not new to me. They are some of my favorite places in the world, but I knew exactly what to expect. On the other hand, seeing King Lear in Shakespeare's Globe Theatre was an entirely new experience.
The venue was absolutely incredible and the play was extremely well done. I did have to take notes, which I'll have to use for my two page paper on "The Fool" and his performance in the play, but other than that, the night at the Globe was very fun.
The play began at 7:30 and lasted until 10:45 with a short intermission so it didn't leave much time for going out upon returning to Cambridge, which is about a two hour bus ride. So, we all took it easy again and simply went to bed. Tonight might be different, as I know that some people are planning to go out, but I have a load of homework to get finished before Tuesday so we'll see what happens. You'll be sure to find out about it tomorrow though, as I will be back on the computer again after waking in the morning.
I hope you are all enjoying the blog and the pictures; I love writing about my exploits because someday in the future I will be able to look back on all of it and feel the excitement of the experience once more. Have a nice Sunday everyone! Cheerio!
July 11th - Hello again! Sorry about the short delay but I hope you weren't expecting a post every single day...there's too much to do here! I should be writing at least once every few days though, so don't fret.
Anyway, the past couple days have been a bit bogged down in loads of homework. I had to finish King Lear and read a bunch of short stories for my other class, Race, Empire, and Photography (I guess our teacher changed the name of the course?).
Despite the amount of work, my classes have been quite interesting so far. The professor from Cambridge, who teaches my Shakespeare class, knows everything there is to know about Shakespeare and he's rather fun to listen to. The other class, which focuses on photography and writing and how those two elements have shaped our history, has been fun as well. It provides an interesting look at the many ways an image can be viewed, which was something I hadn't really thought about before.
Along with my classes, yesterday I took a walk down the other side of Cambridge and came across Trinity College and St. John's College. They were both sights to behold and I'm glad I have a student's pass that gets me inside the walls of all of these colleges. We couldn't go in when I came with my family last year so it's very nice to be able to see all of that now.
The last thing on the agenda for today's post is last night's expedition to three different bars and a club. A large group of the program met in the Buttery, which is the bar located inside our college and serves the cheapest drinks. Most of the group stayed there for a while but I went off with a group of four guys to a place called the B-Bar, where we saw a live band play. They were a soul/jazz group and played a set made up entirely of improv. It was pretty cool and they were very good. The best part of the night happened at this bar, when the lead singer was trying to goad people onto the small dance floor in front of the band. One of the members of our group decided he'd do it when an English girl with stereotypically bad teeth offered to dance with him. So, he laid out this goofy, all-over-the-place dance that reminded me of Elaine's whole-body dry heave on Seinfeld. Now, I definitely won't claim to be any sort of expert dancer but I at least know not to move too far away from my comfort zone. In his defense however, I suppose that is what two pints, a double shot of whiskey, and a gin and tonic will do to you. Anyway, as the rest of us tried to suppress our laughter in the corner, he managed to talk to the girl and before we knew it, the girl picked up her bag and they went off together. The story would be better if it ended there but they came back and danced some more about a half hour later and went their separate ways when we went across the street to another bar. He did manage to pull a number though, so I guess the whole thing worked out for him.
So, to continue, across the street at the other bar we met a group of girls from Florida who were also studying in Cambridge. We didn't stay too long, regrettably, but they are studying art history over here for three weeks, so perhaps we'll get to see them again.
After that, we made our way over to the Fez Club, which is where we spent our first night in Cambridge, and met up with the rest of the group we started the night with. We danced for a while and had a blast. Overall, it was a great night and probably the best I've had since I've been here.
Well, I have to get back to my room to finish up some work before my last class of the week in a couple hours, but I'll be back with another post in the coming days. Cheerio!
July 9th - My second day in Cambridge included a trip to one of Cambridge's most famous pubs, my first Shakespeare class, and a night walk around the backs of all the colleges. Oh, and a terrible shaving experience.
I know that as interested as you may be in the first few things I mentioned, you're all waiting for the shaving story. So, I'll feed you baby birds, to quote comedian Daniel Tosh.
The story begins with facial hair. I had too much of it. I wanted it gone. That's how most uneventful shaving stories begin. I looked through my luggage for my wonderful electric razor, only to find that I had forgotten it back at home. Wonderful, now I need to go out and spend money on a razor and shaving cream. £7.95 later, I had the appropriate materials to banish said hair from my face.
Unfortunately, I am not accustomed to using a razor and therefore struggled through the half hour event that was painful, bloody in some areas, and rather awful. I might as well have taken a gas powered lawnmower to my face, because I can't imagine it being much worse. I will certainly appreciate being able to shave quickly and painlessly when I return to the US.
Anyway, you didn't come here to read horror stories about shaving, you came to read about my happenings in England! So, the famous pub, "The Eagle." It was the place where World War II American pilots would come to drink while in Cambridge and as the story goes, they once got really drunk and stood up on the tables to write various things in the ceiling by using the candles to burn letters into the wall. It was pretty cool, and the picture of the writing is below.
So that pub was great, and it had Strongbow's hard cider on draught, which it the best cider I've had. I wish they had cider back in the States, it's much smoother and tastier than beer while still being a "man's" drink. (I am of course referencing the many alcoholic concoctions that are said to be "girly," like the Mike's Hard Lemonades or other fruity mixtures).
Moving on to my academic experience, I had my first Shakespeare class yesterday from 2-4pm. It was difficult to get back in the swing of things and be prepared to do schoolwork but I assume it will become normal after the first week here. It had better anyway, since I have to read King Lear in it's entirety before tomorrow's class. I'm still excited for the class though, as our teacher is very knowledgeable and has been teaching the subject for more than 25 years.
Well, I'm off to get some lunch and read some more Lear before my first Race, Realism, and Empire class at 2:00. I should be back with another update tomorrow but I can't make any promises with the amount of reading I must do. Take care everyone and until next time, cheerio!
July 8th - The arrival in Cambridge went smoothly for the most part, as my flight got in right on time although the bus from Heathrow to Cambridge was delayed two hours. All in all, the traveling wasn't too bad. I was rather tired from the long trip but able to make it to the college through the pouring rain.
This is the front of Gonville and Caius College, where I will be staying for the entirety of my six weeks here. The inside is beautiful and when I get time, I'll post some more pictures down the left hand side of this page. I'm just getting a couple up now because I'm only able to use my laptop for typing papers and such. These ancient computers I have to use in the lab probably couldn't handle more than a couple pictures at a time so I'm playing it safe for now.
Anyway, here's my dorm room, which is surprisingly large and includes a desk, shelves, closet, a sink and mirror, and a small table with chairs for visitors. This is just the view from the doorway, but you can tell that I have plenty of room to do whatever I need.
The first day was very fun and full of plenty of activities. The first was tea with the rest of the group, which we have every day at 4:00. It was a nice, casual way for everyone to get to know the other people staying at the college. We also went for a short tour of the school and the places we'll need to know about (the library, computer lab, etc). After that, I walked around the area to get acclimated and I went inside King's College, which was beautiful. The grounds were pristine and the buildings were breathtaking. The architechture here is simply amazing. After that, I met up with most of the group for a drink in the Buttery, which is the bar adjacent to the dining hall inside the college. From there we all moved into the hall for dinner, which was butternut squash soup, roasted chicken and herbs, and our choice of buttered corn or a mixed salad. It was all a bit fancy but still very good. The butternut squash soup was especially interesting. It tasted almost like risotto, which was good.
The final event of my first day in Cambridge was the Fez Club. I went out with a few new friends (a guy from UMass Lowell, a girl from U of Nebraska, and a girl from Keene State College in NH) and we danced our tired shoes off at one of the town's hot nightspots. It was pretty fun for a while, although we got separated from the girls at one point and couldn't find them again before the night was over. I managed to get a full night's sleep after that though, and I'll be having my first Shakespeare class in a couple hours, which I'm legitimately excited for. This whole trip is going to be so much fun, although I can already tell it is going to fly right by. Until next time, cheerio mates!
May 31st - Today, I decided to create the T and C so that when I leave for Cambridge in 37 days time, everything will be set up so I can begin writing without any delay. I hope you all enjoy reading the latest installment of my online writing adventures and before I leave, I will lay out a tentative schedule of the events to come so that you can have some idea of what I will be doing with my time overseas.
This wonderful trip is provided by the University of New Hampshire, where I attend school, and gives an opportunity to students to study abroad during the summer. Students take two classes, each of which has two two-hour meeting periods per week, during the six-week stay at Gonville and Cauis (pronounced "Gonville and Keys") College in downtown Cambridge.
I will be taking a class called "Race, Realism, and Empire" on Monday's and Wednesday's from 2:00-4:00 in the afternoon. The class focuses on how the camera and the pen changed and shaped England in the 20th century. The second class I will take is titled "Shakespeare" and covers the famous playwright's many masterpieces. That class will happen every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-4:00pm and includes three field trips to other English cities to see performances of Shakespeare's work.
Each day we are responsible for getting our own lunches but the college provides both breakfast and dinner, as well as 15 minutes for coffee at 11:00 and an afternoon tea time at 4:00. Here are the events scheduled for the weekends between our arrival on July 7th and departure on August 15th.
July 12 - Excursion to London. We visit the city and spend time on our own all day before we meet up again and watch the evening performance of King Lear at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
July 17 - Excursion to Stratford-upon-Avon. We do our own exploring again before meeting up and seeing Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
July 19 - Excursion to Oxford, Banbury, and Broughton Castle.
July 25 - Tour around the surrounding Cambridge area with a prominent Cambridge professor.
July 26 - Excursion to Canterbury and Dover.
July 31 - Leave for bonus four-day weekend in Edinburgh, Scotland and stop at the Bronte House in Haworth.
August 1 - Visit Edinburgh and enjoy its night life.
August 2 - We can explore Inverness, Loch Ness, or spend more time in Edinburgh.
August 3 - Return from Edinburgh, stop at York Cathedral on the way back.
August 8 - Excursion to Stratford-upon-Avon. We can, once again, explore Stratford on our own before meeting up for the evening performance of Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
There you have it. That's what I will be doing all summer. It should be an unforgettable experience and I cannot wait for it to begin. I hope the start of summer is going well for all of you out there and I will be back with the first post from England upon my arrival. Take care!
This page has been provided by the number 19 and the letter C