Wednesday, September 29, 2010
So much has happened lately I don’t even know where to begin!
1. I finished my two week class on British Politics and Culture (Post WW2) on Thursday so I am trying to write a 2,500 word essay for that. The good thing is we had the option of choosing one of six questions to answer and one of them is about literature. I am not too concerned. The writing style and formatting are going to be a little different but what I am the most nervous about is the British spelling. Honestly I’m not that great with American spelling so this could be a disaster.
2. The other day I went to Bath. It was so amazing! I walked through the Roman Baths and even got to visit the Jane Austen Center. I read Persuasion over the summer in preparation for this trip and it was wonderful. I think I gave myself away as a nerd by the excitement I showed about going.
3. I moved into my house in the student village on Wednesday. Each house has three floors and holds ten people. Six other people moved in yesterday. Five are from England and one is from Northern Ireland. I like everybody so far. We all hung out in the kitchen yesterday and talked. I was informed by one person that if I had not been there they probably would have all sat around in silence because British people are “reserved”. Oops. Well I’m American and I can’t survive an awkward silence.
4. I booked my trip to Paris! It’s the first weekend of December so I hope it is decorated for Christmas at least a little. Christmas is my favorite!
I know I forgot something but for now that is all.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
So today the weather decided that it would not rain but it was completely necessary for it to be cold. There is no use arguing with it so I bundled up and I am glad I did because I went to Big Pit and St. Fagan’s.
Big Pit is an old coal mine that has been transformed into a museum. We took a tour that was guided by a former miner through the actual mine. So we went down the mine shaft and walked all through the tunnels. At one point the tunnel kept getting smaller and I felt like I was in a really dirty version of Willy Wonka. The farther down we went the colder it got. It was really creepy but also very interesting. Mining was huge in Wales and is still to this day a pretty big deal.
After that we went to St. Fagan’s which is this area where they have taken old buildings from all over Wales and reassembled them. It represents a wide span of time. My favorite part was the castle. It was so pretty. I also really enjoyed the chapel. It was really cute. We only had two hours there which is not enough time to see even half of the buildings so I definitely plan to return. It really did feel like a place right out of a movie. There were tall hedges on both sides of the path for quite a bit of it so I felt like I had entered the Triwizard Tournament.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Today was a great day! I went with a few friends to church. Afterwards they invited us to stay and have coffee and tea. I had tea and they put milk in it. I thought that was odd but it turned out to be pretty good. A guy named Owen said “Okie” sounds like some sort of dog biscuit. It was really funny.
After church a couple of friends and I went out to the Gower Peninsula. It was quite the challenge to make it to the bus on time. We walked from campus to the bus stop that would take us out there. We had to power walk to make it and as we came around the corner the bus was about to leave. We thought twenty-five minutes would be enough but for future excursions I’m going to say it isn’t because we were booking it and barely made it in time.
It was so pretty where we went. I can understand a lot better now the joys of taking a drive in the countryside because it is gorgeous! The thing about driving is the roads are tiny and the busses are huge. At one point we were six inches from a stone wall on one side and six inches from another bus on the other. That was after reversing until we found a place in the road both busses could fit. The good news is we made it. The place we went had these tall cliffs with a beach below. We didn’t have enough time to go down to the water because we had to make it back to the bus in time but we climbed all over the top. It might just be the prettiest place I have ever been. I just wanted to lay in the grass and listen to the ocean all day.
When we got back to town we grabbed food from “Yummy Yummy Chinese Takeaway” for dinner. I love the food over here because they have everything. Chinese, Dutch, Indonesian, Indian, Thai, Italian, and just about anything else you can think of except Mexican. This is sad but I get a kitchen in a couple of weeks and will probably try to make something mexi-ish then. Tomorrow I start my two week class about British culture. I’m pretty excited for the class but I’m not looking forward to being stuck inside instead of out exploring. The weather has just been so amazing I feel like I’m wasting it every time I set foot indoors.
Friday, September 10, 2010
I have made it safe to Swansea and the weather has been amazing so far! I was expecting it to be horrible, cold, and rainy from the moment I got off the plane but that has definitely not been the case. I have done so much already that I don’t even know where to begin. For the past couple of days we have been exploring Swansea, a few wrong turns can go a long way. We got lost a couple of times but I think it was all part of the experience and now we know our way around a lot better.
Today we went to Mumbles. It is a cute little part of Swansea right along the rock beach. It was a really low tide but it was still really pretty. We walked along the rock beach and ate ice cream on the pier. I guess there is a really big Italian influence here so the ice cream was amazing! Then we had to go back to get ready because today the rest of the American students arrived and we were all supposed to meet for our welcome dinner. We went to a place called Pub on the Pond. It was pretty good and most importantly right by campus.
For the first two weeks I will be taking a class that is for American students studying in Swansea and we are all living on campus. The class is about British politics and culture. At the end of the two weeks I will be moving into my real housing and will be living with anywhere from eight to twelve people. That is when the real term will start. I’m a little nervous but mostly excited to get started.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
In the past few months I have tried to prepare myself for my fast approaching stint in Europe. A couple of months ago I decided I would try to like seltzer water. I don’t know if this is because I wanted to be able to say “I’d like a bubbly water” and feel really cultured or if it was so I could go ahead and kill all of the taste buds in my mouth. Needless to say this failed and I returned to my good friend sweet tea. After the epic failure of my first attempt, on the fourth of July I watched a rugby game which consisted of a group of giant hairy men in really short shorts colliding in attempts to retrieve an incredibly awkward shaped ball. This is beyond my grasp but fairly entertaining. I have listened to Beatles music, read Jane Austen, and reread the Harry Potter series. I would have done all three of these anyway but they seem related. Perhaps the most successful of my attempts has been to go to my first full soccer game. After much confusion and explanation from my friend I still did not understand the game at all but it was an enjoyable experience all the same. I get the basic idea and now know some of the sacred terms like corner kick and free kick. So at this point I have given up fitting in and am just hoping to get a Welsh Corgi out of the deal. I’m an Oklahoma gal who likes football, sweet tea, and is not afraid to say it. I have already determined what I will do at the first sign of trouble. I will simply say “Well gollygee. Sure am sorry about that.” or “Dog gonnit. Could you gimme a hand here?” I’m just joking. I’m really excited to go. I’m crazy busy with last minute preparations but soon it will all be over. Tomorrow I board the plane and by this time Tuesday I will be in Wales!