Time seems to be flying by at this point with half m time abroad vein over and only a few weeks left in school here and yet it still feels like i just got here. Many exciting things continue to happen on a nearly daily basis, I saw that excuse i have been locked away for the past few days either in my room or the British Library writing a paper on why states seek containment of forced migrants or other displaced people. I’m sure you can imagine how cherry of a topic that is. But I am getting ahead of myself, that’s not all I have been up to lately. It has been a beautiful few weeks so the opportunities to see London at its best have been superb! Since there is no one perfect place to start I will start with church. As you may know Lent is upon us, I kicked it off at the Westminsiter Cathedral (no not Westminister Abbey, you’ve never heard of this one because its the catholic church here) for Ash Wednesday. It was really amazing to see hundreds of people gathered together on their wednesday evening in a church that is hundreds of years old.
The church was pretty casual for catholic cathedral standards and I really appreciated it because it didn’t draw the attention that most churches do. Speaking of other churches I have also gone to service at Westminister Abbey. Yes, I walked down the aisle that the Duchess of Cambridge did to her married, it was a proud moment in my life. The inside of Westminister is really beautiful, and very dark which puts it in contrast with St. Paul’s Cathedral which I have also experience service in. St. Paul’s was by far my favourite. This is partly because its within walking distance from my house and I went on a sunny day which lit up the inside and also because the choir of 12 year olds was phenomenal and the pipe organ reminded me of that scene from Gatsby. Then on top of that the homily was about our duty to vote and to also fight ISIS, I was really impressed because it was very bold of the priest.
I have adventured out of London again to visit the mysterious pile of rocks that are Stonehenge. They were interesting… well at least as interesting as a thousand year pile of rocks can be. What i found to be most interesting was that in World War one British troops trained at this site. Regardless the area was beautiful with green rolling hills in every direction and sheep just hanging out! I wanted a picture with a British sheep but I had a feeling they frown upon that here and by frown upon I mean i probably would have been arrested or something. Maybe next time? I also have visited Bath, the city so creatively named after a roman bath. I saw this famous Bath and was most impressed by the temperature of the naturally heated water given the outside temperature of rain that consistently would contaminate the warm water with cool rain water. The site was very beautiful and reminded me of the very similar bath’s in Xi’an, China at the Huanyuan Gardens (the exact site where the Xi’an incident took place) which had a similar feeling only the water there supposedly had magical properties.
In addition to seeing the bath and the Abbey behind it (which one was from the roman period so had that architectural influence and the other is medieval so the contrast in design is beautiful) I also saw the whole city! There was a river going through, and rugby game being played, but my favorite was finding the places called the circus and the crescent. They may sound interesting to you as they did to us, but they were actually just houses in a circle or a crescent. Fortunately i knew this as we looked for them, but my friend who thought there was an actually circus in the American understanding was really upset to discover the truth. Back in London I visited the Victoria Albert museum and learned about British fashion throughout history and checked off one of my last tourist spots. Last week after I had a presentation on transnational social movements i celebrated by starting a new book! It was about WW2 and it was incredible and erie to be reading about the events of that time in a city that they occurred in. I sat along the Themes to read because it was a really nice day and at another point read in the Tate modern. They were such special places to be able to read, although the beach back at home can definitely compete and probably beat a cold bench. In case you need to be convinced here is the view that Grace Shu and i usually have while reading, I’m very spoiled.
On a really fun day of exploration last week some friends and I went to the bar on the 32rd floor of the Shard. The view up there was stunning and it was really fun to try to act wealthy enough to purchase something up there. (if you ever want to spend $1,152 on a bottle of wine I would suggest this place). Below is apparently is what we think rich people look like because this is how we posed… it could use a little work haha
We talked around the city along the Themes enjoying the clear and warm day to the Tower Bridge which never fails to make me smile.
We walked all the way to the Gherkin, you know that building named after a pickle? Well look what we found! We found a mini Gherkin made our of legos at the actual Gherkin. It was really exciting and I now have a standard for all building to have lego edition sized ones right next to it just for the photo opp. This day might sound tiring to you and it was for us too, so we took the opportunity at a random park across from the tower of London to play on the swings! I didn’t appreciate going to the park enough as a child because its one of the most fun activities I know.
I love the movie Invictus, its about Nelson Mandela and South African Rugby following the conclusion of apartheid (just go watch it) so that’s where I got all my information about the game of rugby. Knowing that Matt Damon had a bad South African accent didn’t help much when I went to a rugby match this past weekend but It was still a really fun experience!
Remember that paper i mentioned a little while back? Well I’m going to go finish that 🙂