My time in London is officially over. I leave tomorrow morning for Heathrow airport. The experience has been more than I could have ever asked for. Everyday has been such a new and different experience. I didn’t get to do a lot of the things I would have liked over here, shame on me for missing some of those (Tate Galleries, Tower of London, etc.) You just can’t do it all. Some people who live here have never even been on the London Eye. I’ll be back some day. This last week has maybe been one of the most fun for me. Just a lot of wandering about and hanging out with friends here.
Thursday was my last day with the museum. Wow…Just wow, that is about all that I can say. It could not have gone any better. Everybody was very pleased with my research and they are going to keep me updated on how the exhibit does while traveling. Thursday night David and Rebecca took me out and about the town as a fairwell. Went out to the pubs because that is what they do here. It was fun though they took me to what seemed to be every little subculture you could possibly find in London. A gothic pub, a historical pub, a cocktail bar, the player’s lounge, it was a lot of fun and we had DELICIOUS pizza at Rosso Pomodoro. I’m a bit sad I don’t have any pictures from that night but I had fun just enjoying it and not worrying about being a tourist. This will be a smattering of my wonky week of end of London fun. Here are a couple of pictures of me at the British Museum. Friday afternoon we had our sort of CAPA farewell reception at Doggett’s Coat and Badge. We had a British BBQ and it was quite tasty, minus the stupid pigeons. It is supposed to be one of London’s oldest pubs. Here’s Ben and me standing in front of it on Blackfriar’s Bridge.This will be a very small portion of the pictures taken on Friday. After the BBQ Ben, Casey, Laura, and I went down to Canary Wharf and walked around. It turned in to sort of a photo shoot and it was a very nice afternoon. This is a little something we would like to call our Christian rock band album cover taken on Canary Wharf by the Thames.
Here I am just looking out over the Thames, the waves kept getting me all soggy.Friday was a day of being youthful and rambunctious. Instead of walking around this fence we decided to climb it. I was very successful as I’ve climbed many a fence in my life…city boys not as much. I went fine, Ben got on top but is scared of heights so turned around and walked instead. After climbing the fence on to the ledge you had to jump down about seven feet to get to the sidewalk below. Casey tried hard but ended up sitting on the pointy bars. This was originally a picture Laura took of us but then Ben did some altering to make us silhouettes. He does nice work.Later, we strolled down the waterfront and came upon a little park. Casey and I found some sort of a spikey nut thing on a tree and decided to dissect it to see what was inside. Ben was not interested. The insides were kind of like a purplish colored hard boiled egg, weird.At the park there were all sorts of fun things to run, jump and climb on. Here we are on a bouncy teeter-totter sort of thing. It felt like a rollercoaster because of the spring action.I took this picture on our way home from exploring. The Camberwell Kebab and the Co-operative food store have been my main sources of sustenance since coming to London, they are just a short walk from my flat. The guy at Camberwell Kebab knows my order and makes it when he sees me coming. Yes, I would like extra burger sauce on those chips!
The girls wanted to be hennaed so I designed Laura’s (on the right) tattoo and then put it on her and used a design Alisa found and elaborated on it for hers. Good fun, getting henna done really excites people which seems funny to me as my friend Alice and I have been doing it forever. I’m just glad I can do it for people for almost free instead of having them pay the $20-25 they would have had to pay to have them done at a festival.
Today Laura and I ran around and finished a few last errands then came home to pack. This evening we decided to take out London the same way we came in, so we went down to the local and had a drink and sat around chatting a bit. We’ll miss you BarBarBlacksheep, we’ve seen you a lot.We all sat around on the couches and had a good time, a lot of recalled memories from the trip and saying our favorite quotes from each other. I would love to come back to London some day, maybe the British Museum will have me back. I can’t wait to see my family tomorrow! They are picking me up from the airport. I’m ready for home and not wearing the same few shirts over and over again. I’ll be spending my first week in the sun trying to get my usual tan for them summer and some much needed sun. Can’t wait to see you all and tell you the stories that couldn’t fit here. Thanks for reading!
The rest of this weekend consisted of a ton of work! But today Laura and I decided to take a little bit of time off to hit up another attraction in London we’ve been wanting to see. We spent the entire afternoon at the Kew Botanical Gardens. I could have stayed there all day long, everything was so beautiful. I took 54 pictures and can’t hardly post them all here, these are just a few of my favorites. Here I am hugging a redwood tree, I’ve just always wanted to do that. One of the winding stairwells in the temperate house. All the flowers and vegetation here were beautiful. A whole pond with lilly pads and The picture below is me standing on the Rhizotron, a big platform up above the trees so you can see out over the entire botanical gardens.This picture looks sort of funny as I altered it with my camera. There is a function where I can just choose to accent some colors, I think it is probably my favorite picture I took all day.The Bird of Paradise. Here I am being trapped by a dragon…even better than this picture are the pictures of me trying to get back out from under the dragon. It was more difficult than getting in by far. This picture is from Saturday. For a class project in Editing and Design last semester I had to design a feature newspaper layout. The feature I choose was on a graffiti artist in London named Banksy. He does some very neat and controversial work, I made a trek to find some of his artwork and so far I’ve found this one. Hopefully more later this work. (CCTV is the surveillance they have here all over the city, they say my picture is taken more than 600 time per day here. Yikes!)
London keeps getting busier, and going by faster and faster. We only have 20 more days here. Wow. So much has been going on in the last week. Monday night Ben and I went to the Erykah Badu concert which was really really good, she puts on an amazing show. I don’t have any pictures from it because Ben told me I wasn’t allowed to bring my camera, but everybody there had one. So I’ve been talking to people online to try and get their videos and photos. You can click this link and watch her last number from the show.
If you look closely at the end of the video when Badu is lying out over the crowd you can see the hands that are holding her up in the air, yeah those are Ben and I’s hands. We actually got to hold her up in the crowd, absolutely brilliant.
This week at work was really busy; I’m working on getting surveys from 100 people who come through American Scene. I obviously get turned down a lot more than I get people to do it. Slowly but surely I’m getting there I have 46 finished. I only have 11 more days of work to finish them all done, analyze the data, write my report, and then present my data. It has been such a good internship.
This weekend was 4th of July weekend of course. Ben and I tried to make the most of it, He had his friend James over and we had big huge burgers, chips (American chips), watermelon, and they had Budweiser, and naturally we had to finish the night off with s’mores. They were makeshift and made in the microwave but it gave James the point on his first American 4th of July. Everything was super tasty; we even watched fireworks online to make ourselves feel better, though it wasn’t the same. Then later we went out to an American sports bar and danced all night. Finished our night off with some Mcdonald’s on the way home, how much more American could we have done it here.
Ben and James enjoying watermelon, maybe a little too much.Here is the s’more I made for James. With digestives cookies (which sounds weird but are actually a lot like a graham cracker), chocolate, and pink and white seductively soft marshmallows…really nice advertising.These two pictures are at the American sports cafe. It was a lot of fun, happy 4th of July. I don’t know who the people in the pic are below but I enjoyed their American spirit.Yesterday we went to the London Pride festival. We watched the parade, then watched all of the talking and concerts afterwards. We saw Sir Ian McKellen and heard a lot of good music including Basshunter. I was really surprised, maybe we were in the wrong part of town, but London Pride was way tamer than Chicago pride was. The parade was mostly just people walking with banners and whatnot, none of the huge floats like in Chicago, but we had a lot of fun. Sir Ian McKellen, who is Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. He is a big gay rights activist.The main stage in Trafalgar Square and below are some people dressed up in the parade.
It has been a busy weekend. Friday we went and knocked a few more of the touristy things off of our lists. We did the London Eye and the accompanying river cruise. The London Eye is 450 ft tall. So here’s looking out over London.
The next few are all pictures from the London Eye. There is Big Ben, County Hall (which houses little exhibits and an arcade and things) and part of one of the ferris wheel pods, a nice aerial view of London if you see the blueish dome sort of thing in the right hand side of the picture, that is the top of the British Museum’s grand court! The river cruise was relaxing. It’s nice to get a slow different view of the Thames. Here is the London Bridge and all of us on the cruise. After all of that we just wandered the Thames area. Watched some street theatre which is always intriguing. This guy looked exactly like a real statue, he even had a pigeon on his shoulder at one point. These people literally paint their whole bodies and just stand in the street all day long. There were about 6 people or so doing it, this man, a silver wizard, a golden slinky man, a golden cowboy, a fish on a bicycle, and blue guitar man and I think that was it.This next guy was nuts. He pretended to be Indian and I don’t really know why. He was actually Australian and he did all sorts of crazy juggling. For his final act he climbed a maybe 10 foot pool and laid on a bed of nails while juggling, ouch but he was entertaining.
This picture doesn’t really have a purpose, we don’t really know what the sculpture is but Casey and I thought it would be a good idea to stick our heads through it and have our picture taken. However, when we started to get our heads stuck we decided it wasn’t our best idea so just posed like this instead.
Today Mai, Leslie and I went to the Carnival De Cuba, which is the world’s largest Cuban festival outside of Cuba. It was a lot of fun though my knees hurt from salsaing too much. Here we are sporting our fancy custom cut Cuba t-shirts. Why do people really go to Carnivals? Not because I’m Cuban but because jerk chicken is tasty and I enjoyed a lot of it…and three strawberry smoothies. Here is part of the festival set-up. There was live music all day long, which made for a lot of dancing. I’ve come to the conclusion the dancing makes my right knee hurt, I don’t think that this will stop me however. Below for example is Mai trying to take a cute picture when I’m too busy rocking out. The carnival was fun and made for a lazy day with great atmosphere.
Not too much happens during the week besides work. I go to work, come home, hang out for a bit and then sleep. Work is very intense. We’ve finally decided my title is Interpretation and Visitor Research Intern. David is working on putting together my next project. They want me to do the work of what they usually hire professional consultants for because they had a budget cut. What an opportunity…and a lot off work and a standard to live up to. Things are going to get a little stressful come time for that project I think. I officially present my exhibition analysis to the Interp. Board next Wednesday…lots of practicing for that this weekend. Here is my office, there are eight of us who work in here. I work just to the right over there and that is the lovely Susan who is very sweet.
This is my desk where I sit and the floorplan for the next exhibit that I was creating at the time and my cup of tea! I love London, frequent breaks are taken out of the workday for tea and it tastes so good.This is the view out of the office window. That is the front of the British Museum and the little courtyard where I eat lunch everyday. Isn’t it crazy!? I eat lunch there!Yesterday I went to the London Grad Fair. It was interesting but I didn’t know what half of the companies were that were there so I just got a bunch of cool free stuff. The winner for the oddest thing to hand out at a grad fair was the Kent Grad Program who gave me a can that looked like it was going to have moist cat food in it. It’s a grass growing kit, how bizarre. Other things included a nice planner, pens, and highlighters the norm.
No really big plans for the weekend yet. On to more exciting matters! Tonight I went to a lecture given by Terry Jones!!! I was so excited and nobody else even knew who he was. He co-directed and acted in a lot of Monty Python stuff, MP and the Holy Grail, The Meaning of Life. He’s written many articles, is an author and excellent historian. Needless to say I was SOOO excited. He hugged me and I got my picture taken with him. The lecture was about Richard the II on whether he was mad or not, it was sort of in defense of his honour versus Henry IV. I got his autograph too…that is getting framed when I get home!
The girls and I on the way home from the lecture, me, Laura, Leslie, and Vanessa. Riding on one of the numerous huge escalators in London down to the tube. That is all the new business. Below are some other pictures from the last week or so that I have gotten from friends or finally put on my computer. Sunbathing in Hyde Park again, I think at the time I was laughing really hard because Casey was so excited to eat his sandwich. Some more pictures from inside of Salisbury Cathedral. Isn’t is absolutely beautiful and the size was amazing. Lastly another picture from King Lear of the cast doing a call at the end. It was so good. Ben and I might try to get tickets to go see A Midsummer Night’s Dream there.
Two hours to the horse races did not sound like a good idea at 7 this morning…so instead we slept in. When we started off this morning we saw a little farmer’s market with all sorts of samples, a good free way to get breakfast. We had marinated garlic, cheese sticks, some amazing cheesey bread dough ball things, apples, bread, and then we came to the goat cheese stand. What happened next made my entire day and possibly my entire weekend. To make a long story short there were something like 15 different types of goat cheese to try and Casey is popping them in his mouth faster than I can figure out what they are. When suddenly Casey looks like he may either throwup or start crying. For about two minutes he just stood there with this awful look on his face not wanting to be rude and spit it out but also not being able to swallow it. The man at the booth laughed and then told Casey it was his best seller but that he could spit it out because the birds like it. I wish I would have gotten a picture of his actual face eating the “well-aged” awful awful cheese. We had many kinds but the goat cheese covered in ashes from burnt coconuts was my favorite, kind of different. If we had ovens we would have gotten some of the bread dough ball things to make, but we don’t
Casey and I went to the Red Bull Flugtag competition which is basically where Red Bull (the energy drink) has a big ramp built out over some water. People from all over build what are supposed to be clever gliding/flying machines. They run them off the end of the ramp and whoever makes it the farthest without crashing wins I guess. We didn’t stay for the entire thing but it was quite amusing. Most aircrafts only made it to the end of the ramp and took a quick dive along with their drivers into the lake. Below the picture of somebody falling off the end is what the fliers look like after they stop flying.
Walking around Hyde Park they have some really crazy trees. This tree made it look like the Earth was wearing a big wig and you could walk under it and climb up in it’s branches. Casey and I also had fun feeding the squirrels who are quite friendly. A little old lady informed me that the squirrels would not eat bread however, they only liked peanuts. She also said we had better not feed them salted peanuts because it was bad for them. Thus Casey and I’s plans for next weekend were born. Feeding peanuts to the squirrels at the park.
I had to travel to Carnaby Street for my good old friend Alice. We used to watch an obnoxious movie about two girls going to London called Smashing Time. I took this picture in remembrance of all the amazing smashing times we’ve had. It was a fun little shopping street as well. The walk include cheap chinese noodles and amazing tea samples.This afternoon we got lost on the bus system, we blame Leslie and Laura who thing that Camberwell Grove is where we need to go to. It’s not however but it was like another fun sight-seeing tour. Tomorrow, a day of rest and relaxing….and homework.
This will be a blog full of wildlife and fun. Casey and I both had the day off today so we decided to stroll the parks. We were to begin with St. James Park which is said to have a nice view of Buckingham Palace. We happened upon the changing of the guard and so stayed to watch. The band played and all was merry.Then we took a stroll through St. James park which is really beautiful. However, we felt that at any given time we may be attacked by creatures. In fact, Casey was about to be attacked by the little squirrel below. All he (the squirrel, not Casey) really wanted was the girl next to us’ peanuts. This pelican was huge. There were a nice variety of geese, ducks, and other random birds. Some I had never seen before.Look this is a whole gaggle of geese! This was just a neat fountain that was at the end of Hyde Park which we went to after St. James. This is of course an extremely large park and we traversed the whole thing, we definitely got our exercise in for the day.This is Princess Diana’s memorial fountain. It is a simply lovely little fountain. Just a simple circle with a few hills and dips in it with a flowing fountain running through. You are encouraged to stick your feet in, so I did and it was very cold.At some point in the day we all went the Harrod’s, you know the huge store everybody says you have to go to in London. We’ll I wasn’t super excited about it but my own sister said it was a much so I went. This photo shows just how mature Casey and I can be as we are having a dog fight with puppets. I’m not sure the staff thought we were genuinely interested in buying their 80 pound umbrellas and 130 pounds ties.Tonight Casey and I went to see the musical Avenue Q it was hilarious. It was a musical with puppets and it was quite obscene but funny non-the-less. As it is described in the bill, naughty puppets bring to life stories that are dangerously true to life. … The stories were also things everybody is thinking but not really willing to say. The tickets were more than half off so we decided it would be a good time to go. This evening a coupla the girls and I went to Gloucester Arms and had a Strongbow, came home and now I am going to bed. I’m sure tomorrow will be another eventful afternoon out and about.
We haven’t had water for a day or so now, which didn’t make me very happy considering I couldn’t even shower for my first day of work today. Thank goodness I had a couple of bottles of water in the fridge..it was a cold wash-up this morning. Anyways went to work this morning and I got my official British Museum security card. I am now an official employee and when I flash my card I get into any national UK museum free and free tours and usually discounts at gift shops, sweet. Family, you can all be expecting some nice souvenir from the British Museum.
My office is just an open area with about 7-10 other people working in it though I do get my own desk and computer. Everybody seems very pleasant and I even have my own British Museum e-mail. So for the first part of my internship it looks like I will be engaged in audience observation and surveying for the exhibit “American Scenes: Prints from Pollock to Hopper.” How fitting right? I know who all the artists are. Today I began by creating a blueprint of the exhibit so that on Monday I can begin visitor observation. This includes my lurking about the exhibit and choosing random people who come into the exhibit to observe. I time them as they walk in and observe and draw on my little map where they go and how long they stand in each place. Creepy? A little bit, but it should also be quite interesting. I will also be conducting some other types of research as if the way the exhibit is set-up is the most effective way it could be. This exhibit will be traveling around the UK when it finishes at the BM so my research will actually me influencing other UK museums and the way they install the exhibit!
I’ll be working four days a week for about 6-7 hours a day. They figure this whole process won’t take me the full time I am here so they are going to find me something interesting things to do later on. I tried to pay attention today so I hope I don’t get lost trying to find my office on Monday. The whole set up is kind of like a labyrinth. Fortunately for my weight-loss program the exhibit I am surveying is on the exact opposite side of a HUGE museum and there are lots of stairs. Hopefully I will lose some weight between this and the fact that my meals consist of a couple of pb&j sandwiches a day along with the occasional bowl of rice or spaghetti.
So all is well and exciting. We’re going out to the pub this evening for a celebratory drink for completing our first week and tomorrow Casey and I are going to go wandering about and on Saturday we are going to the horse races. Fun. Love you all and hope you are having an enjoyable summer!
Stick with me mates, it has been a few days and I have done a lot. This may be a long one. The flight from D.C. was fairly pleasant. I sat next to a grad student who was on her way to do some fellowship in a country that starts with an A that I can pronounce and she was very nice. We received free socks, eye masks, toothbrush and paste, and we started out with a snack. I had pretzels and a class of Chardonnay, my first legal glass of wine. I felt very cosmopolitan. For dinner we had a feast, salad, a wheat roll, a small block of cheese, chicken breast with a mushroom gravy, rice, sauteed spinach with a pepper medley, a slice of double chocolate swirl cheesecake, and a glass of Merlot. It was quite a meal. I slept most of the way in order to try and prevent jet lag. Night flying has to be one of the most amazing things in the world. Looking out the window was beautiful. Between the stars in the sky and the lights on the ground it was just a big blanket of sparkle. Here we are after our six and a half hour or so flight.Our first views of London, nice crowded little streets.
Here is what the outside of our accommodations at Liberty Fields look like, not too shabby right?
The view from my window, charming isn’t it. Though without screens on the windows I’m a bit scared I’ll have pigeons as pets before long.Here is my flat, a nice little closet in the wall that I share with one other girl.
We took a three hour bus tour today. The London Eye and Big Ben.The London Bridge
The Tower of London, I can’t wait to actually go here.
Here is a picture Dad might enjoy a little bit more, MI6 their spy headquarters. Recognize it from any of the James Bond flicks?
Last but not least, Casey, Ben and I wandered London this evening whilst looking for our internships places. Ben walks out of the tube right up to Big Ben what an unfortunate site to have to see every morning, it is truly amazing. Here you can see the London Eye in the background as well. Even though Casey is afraid of heights I think we’ve talked him into going up in it with us. We also went and saw the British Museum, HUGE! I can’t wait. I find out more about my internship tomorrow. I know I originally wanted to travel the whole island and maybe go to Amsterdam…but there is more than enough to keep me busy here for two months…and might save me some money! We’ll see.
Yesterday I arrived in Virginia. My aunt and uncle picked me up at the airport. We stayed at my aunt’s sister’s farm, Silverbrook Farm. It is an absolutely gorgeous place, an 18th century farm house, with a meat house and outdoor bath house too. Decorated with antiques and the gorgeous view of the mountains it was exactly like staying at a bed and breakfast, embroidered robe and all. In the gardens there is a HUGE chess set with stone pieces (when I say huge I mean the playing pieces are waist high), there is painted silhouette of a man carrying a candlestick at the bottom of the stairs that led up to my personal little living quarters, and fireplaces in every room. We had dinner at a restaurant called Magnolias in Purcellville. It is in an old mill with many of the furnishings still intact. We took the scenic drive home and I got to see a lot of historical buildings and some really large homes. I think Virginia might be a place that is after my heart.
The flights were all right, though I practically ran from one end of O’Hare to the other for my connecting flight. Today Uncle Joe and Aunt Diana brought me up to The Grand in North Bethesda, which is where I’ll be staying for the ten day duration of our Washington D.C activities.
Another girl who is living in my apartment I went to get some healthy snacks for our place here for in between meals and breakfasts at the Giant Mart down the way. We pretty much have the day to ourselves aside from our short orientation type meeting tonight. So I’ll be reading more of my assigned articles and unpacking some. It’s official I have an interview with The British Museum, can’t wait for London!