Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 4!

One month down, two to go!

This past month has been incredible, and I can't believe I'm a third of the way done with my program.

This week was filled with even more theatre and site seeing. And it was HOT. Around 80 degrees almost every day.

Monday morning rolled around and I headed into town for Shakespeare class and our weekly meeting. We are reading Macbeth since we will be seeing a performance of it this week in Stratford. We've been delving pretty deep into the script and I'm happy to be studying it again. After the meeting I headed home until it was time to leave for St. Giles Cripplegate church to see a performance of The Tempest. To put it simply, the production was not good. But there was a woman sitting next to us that said Shakespeare may have been in St. Giles Cripplegate at one point because both his nephews were baptized there, so that was once nice thought about the night.

Tuesday was another early morning at the center. After class I had around 5 hours to spare, so I decided to head toward the houses of Parliament so I could attempt my first sketch of Big Ben. The tube stop was a zoo, so I decided to start walking away from the area. Luckily, I found a nice park where I could sit and relax for a while that still had a view of the top of Big Ben. After sketching there for a while, I decided to head over to the South Bank to see what else I could find to inspire me. I ended up with another great view of Big Ben, so I sketched it again from across the river. I'm pretty happy with the way both turned out, but I definitely plan on trying again and again. After that I headed toward the National Theatre where class was being held and where we would be seeing Arnold Wesker's The Kitchen that night. Class consisted of learning about the history of the National Theatre and a backstage tour. We got to see two of the three theatres within the complex and go backstage. My favorite moment: being able to touch one of the horse puppets that was made for War Horse. Everyone ran off to eat a quick dinner, I had my first traditional English pie, and then came back for the show. The production of The Kitchen was incredible, and one of my favorite things I've seen here so far. It is a play that is visually stunning and I would highly recommend it to anyone that has the opportunity to see it.

Caitlin and I outside The National Theatre

Wednesday was an interesting day. I had a walking tour of East London with my Biography of a City class. We were in "Jack the Ripper" territory, and walked through some swanky looking areas. By the end of the tour however, my hands started to swell up and I didn't feel very good. It was a very hot day and I think it had to do with dehydration. But I had more class so I headed back to the center to find someone had been hit by a bus right by school, and the streets were blocked off. So, after walking all the way around a few blocks to get back to school, I finally got inside, chugged some water, and took a nap before my next class. I started to feel better but headed straight home after class to rest some more.

Thursday was long and full of class, as usual. Thursday night was great though, Tara and I met up with Caitlin, Britany, and two others from the program, Ary and Will, and we sat in a park near by stargazing and talking about life. It was a very fun (and inexpensive!!) way to spend the night.

After sleeping in on Friday morning, Tara and I got up and decided to go to Spitalfield Market, an outdoor market/shopping area in East London. We met up with Britany and made our journey into town. We ate at a wonderful restaurant called Giraffe and spent the afternoon shopping. Tara bought some awesome sunglasses that are a recreation of a pair from the 70's. I think she is the only person I know that can pull them off.

Saturday morning we woke up early to head to Notting Hill to go to the Portobello Market. We met up with Julia around 9 and made it to Notting Hill around 10. There were parts about the Market I liked and parts I didn't like.

Things I liked:
- The loads of knick knacks, old books, and old cameras for sale
- Delicious and fresh street food (I ate a nutella and strawberry crepe in the morning and had a pie for lunch)
- Awesome live music by the Ryan O'Reilly Band which we listened to ate lunch time
- Finding the Travel Bookshop where Hugh Grant worked in the film Notting Hill

Things I didn't like:
- The hoards of people, mainly tourists (I've been here a month so I don't have to consider myself one of those anymore, right?)
- The fact that those tourists walked SO SLOW. I really must be getting accustomed to fast paced life here because I've never been more annoyed at slow walkers in my life

The Ryan O'Reilly Band

Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts sightings unfortunately were not made here.

A very cute area of Notting Hill.

And now it is Sunday, where I have locked myself away in my room to work on the five essays I have due in the next two weeks before break. I've completed one and started two, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

As far as my home stay goes it is still going great. Jenny has been fattening me up with huge dinners and delicious desserts almost every night, and I've become addicted to drinking tea. I see their daughter Lizzie and son James, with grandson baby Alex, quite often. And it's always fun when there are a bunch of people over.

Coming up this week: I'm seeing Priscilla: Queen of the Desert tomorrow night at the Palace Theatre and going to Stratford-upon-Avon for an overnight trip with the whole group on Thursday. I can't wait!

Until next time,

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