Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week 3!

How have I been here for three weeks already? I don't think I'm ever going to get used to time passing by this quickly.

Week three started off great. On Monday morning, instead of having class inside the classroom, my Shakespeare class met at Shakespeare's Globe for a workshop. Of course I was in theatre student heaven as we got a tour of the Globe , analyzed verse and prose, and even did some acting warm up exercises, all led by an actor who has worked in the Globe several times. It felt good to be in the presence of another actor and do some exercises that I know all too well from previous acting classes. After all the theatre I've been watching, I'm anxious to get back on the stage some time in the future.

After a brief meeting back at the center, a couple of the girls and I decided to have tea and cupcakes. Caitlin and Britany had been raving about a place in Covent Garden called Primrose Bakery, so we went there. After looking over all of my options, I chose the Earl Grey cupcake. I am seriously not kidding when I say that that was the best cupcake I've ever eaten in my entire life. Not only was it beautiful looking, but it tasted so good. I matched that with a wonderful pot of Earl Grey tea and was in tea party heaven. We sat and chatted about our families and our lives for over two hours, and it couldn't have been more perfect.

We followed up Primrose with a walk around Covent Garden, ate some Paella made outside on the street, and headed over to Shakespeare's Globe one last time to see The Mysteries. It was a very interesting production to say the least. I found my emotions and my senses being constantly bombarded in this recreation of the York Cycle Plays, small skits that told the stories of the Bible. I still don't think I've really digested everything that was thrown at me in those three hours. But that is the kind of theatre that I love to be a part of, the kind that really makes you think.

Tuesday was a more relaxing day with class in the morning and the afternoon, and homework in between. I decided to come home in my free time to get some more productive things done and rest because on Wednesday we would be going to Scotland!

Now I know I've mentioned my traveling "curse" at least once before in this blog, and the more I travel, the more I believe it really is true. Because, of course, going to Scotland would not be as easy as it should have been. As part of our Britain Today class, we were heading to Edinburgh, Scotland for three days to explore Scottish Nationality in relation to British politics and society. We were to meet at the train station at 9:15 where we would board our train as a group and start the journey North. Well, Tara and I were not at the station by 9:15, and we weren't there when our train took off at 9:30. Instead, due to tube delays on our line, we were there by 9:33, and there was nothing we could do as all of our classmates took off to Scotland without us. After no sympathy from the man at the ticket counter, Tara and I ended up having to pay 113.60 pounds each (around $170) to meet up with our class. Despite the minor hysterics and phone call home around 1:30am west coast time, I was glad I shelled out the money to still go on the trip. We ended up getting there only half an hour after the rest of our group, and we joined them at the Central Youth Hostel. After dropping off our bags, we walked to Edinburgh Castle. The views from the Castle were incredible. We were given time to walk around, explore all the different buildings, and discover all the history that the Castle held.

View from Edinburgh Castle

Stained glass window inside Saint Margaret's Chapel at Edinburgh Castle

We left the Castle and headed back to the hostel for dinner where I tried haggis! It really wasn't bad. I told myself I had to do it and I'm glad I can now say I've tried it. Despite how tired I was from the emotional and stressful day I had, I decided to go out to a pub with a few people from the group. It ended up being a great night because I got to know some more people that I hadn't had much of a chance to talk to.

On Thursday we woke up early and had breakfast at the hostel before walking to Scottish Parliament to watch a live debate. It was actually pretty interesting to listen to because people would argue and interrupt each other regularly. I still don't ever want to go into politics. After Parliament we walked over to the National Museum of Scotland. The museum was set up in a confusing way, but the content was interesting. We spent a few hours there and decided to get some lunch. A couple girls from the group told me about a cafe, called the Elephant House, near the museum that was where JK Rowling began writing Harry Potter, so obviously I wanted to go there. Eight of us girls ended up going and we kept hoping JK would walk through the door. She didn't, but it was a fun experience none the less.

Julia, Tara, Britany, and I at The Elephant House

Afterwards we spent a lot of time walking in and out of shops on the Royal Mile. We even had afternoon tea at an adorable place called Clarinda's Tea Room where we washed down carrot cake and shortbread with Scottish Breakfast tea.

After a wonderful dinner at the Theatre Royal Bar next to our hostel, we spent another night out on the town. It was a smaller group this time, Julia, Tara, Britany, Caitlin and I, the group who will be traveling to Spain in a few weeks. It was amazing to get to know them even better and made me all the more excited to travel to another country with them.

Another early breakfast on Friday morning and we set off for some sightseeing as a class. Our professor Martin walked us up Calton Hill to see some of the monuments that have been in Edinburgh for years. The views from the top of the hill were breathtaking.

Interestingly enough, a lot of the monuments in Edinburgh are very Grecian, so there was an awesome Acropolis-looking monument, as well as another monument that you could climb over 100 stairs to the top for more views.

The whole group! Somehow we got everyone to get on top of the monument... it wasn't as easy as it looks!

The view from the top of the Nelson Monument

After some more free time, it was time to head back to the train station to head home. I made sure to get there with plenty of time. Friday night was spent at home. My host sister Lizzie and her boyfriend were over along with my host brother James, his wife, and their son Alex. My host mum Jenny made the most delicious dessert: Bread and Butter Dark Chocolate Pudding. I'm trying to see if I can get her to make it again soon. I'm already craving to have it again.

Saturday was spent at home as well until around 5pm when Tara and I headed downtown to see Arthur Miller's Broken Glass at the Vaudeville Theatre. The production was incredible. It felt so good to go and see professional theatre for pure enjoyment. There are no assignments or classes connected to seeing Broken Glass, I just wanted to see it. I hope to see many more plays in London this way.

And again that brings us to Sunday. I haven't done much today except for socialize with the family and get started on some essays. I think I'll enjoy a cup of tea before bed tonight.

Until next week,

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