Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pancake Day

Reason #20843 I am never leaving England: there is a national holiday celebrating pancakes. Since the UK, along with a few other countries in the world, does not celebrate Mardi Gras, instead, the day before Lent is called Pancake Day. I literally thought it was a joke when I heard about it but it is very serious. So for dinner, we had banana chocolate chip pancakes with fruit on top, and it was the most wonderful dinner thus far. I wish it was pancake day every day.

Keep Calm and Eat Pancakes

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It's Game Day: Bath Rugby

Today started like any other...woke up, took my meds (turns out I have a severe case of strep throat but I am on the mend!), ate breakfast, and went to the library with Fiona to get some work done.  We left at 12:30 to meet up with Kate and Emily to grab some lunch at a pub, but every single one was packed with overzealous men drinking quite large pints.  We thought this was quite odd for a rainy Saturday afternoon.  We soon found out there was a Bath rugby game today.  I have been in Bath for almost 4 weeks now, and I have never seen the streets or the pubs so bustling.  The pubs were overflowing and the streets were almost unwalkable.  We ended up going to a cafe for lunch, which seemed like a safer bet than a pub.  We ate along the River Avon, which, coincidently, was 5 minutes from the rugby stadium.  The game wasn't for two hours but it was already in full attendance of viewers, despite the cold, rainy inclimate weather.
It is now my goal to attend a Bath rugby game, and to attain a Bath rugby shirt...that was all I saw today!
I am starting to fit right in.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dying from the Plague

The title of this post may be a bit melodramatic, but let me tell you, being sick abroad is the pits.  It all started last week after my first day at Hayesfield.  I had a sore throat, but thought nothing serious about it and went to the pharmacy to stock up on Vitamin C and thermaflu. The mornings were always the worst, but I thought nothing of it. Tuesday, however, everything became much worse. I can barely swallow or speak without wincing with pain and I also may have an ear infection. We have been going nonstop for 3 weeks and I have not quite let my body rest and recover.
I am going to the doctors this afternoon, so hopefully they will be of some help. Being sick when you are away from home is the worst, but mama and papa McCahtah have been sending remedies and support from across the pond. Also, the girls in my house have been immensely helpful.  They bring me tea at night and Fiona came with me to see one of the administrators this morning to set up a doctors appointment, and Kate is coming with me to my actual appointment. They are a wonderful support system and are my serrogate family away from home!
Send good karma and wishes my way so I can get better soon!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Canterbury Tales

This past weekend, 5 of my housemates and I pilgrimaged to Canterbury for the weekend! Our train departed Bath Spa train station at 6:13....AM. Like in the morning.  Needless to say, we were all a little delirious.  However, we pushed through and arrived in London around 8am, transferred trains, and arrived in Canterbury around 9:45. The first thing we did was go to Canterbury Cathedral.  I can post pictures, but they will not in the least show how grand and magnificent it actually was.

 Me in front of the Cathedral! 

 The stained glass looked like beauty and the beast 
 Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury and was murdered in the cathedral in 
1170 by King Henry II

The Black Prince, who fought in the Hundred Years War

After the Cathedral, we had lunch at a pub in downtown Canterbury and it was so delicious.  British food is a lot better than people make it out to be.  We went shopping around Canterbury for the rest of the day and since we all had a lot of work/reading to do we just sat in a cafe for the afternoon and got work done.  That night, we checked into the hostel, changed, and went out to dinner. 
 Our really creepy hostel room 
Yeah our hostel room was really tiny for 6 girls...

The next day, we went to the Roman museum, which was amazing.  It was underground and built on actual Roman ruins from the 4th and 5th century. 
A mosaic/the sign that goes with it 
Playing dress up in the museum

Finally, we ended the day at Chaucer's museum on a reenactment of the Canterbury Tales.  We got little individual telephones and thats how you listened to the narrator.  It was like a wax museum but also had sounds and smells as well (medieval smells...not too good).  I didn't realize the Canterbury tales were so funny but we had a great time. 
 The beautiful wife of Bath 

We had an awesome time, despite our deliriousness.  The town of Canterbury was adorable and the Cathedral was absolutely stunning, possibly my favorite part of the trip. 

Keep Calm and Follow the Moon 

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Wales Tale

Today I went to Wales for a class trip with my class, professor, and the man, the myth, and the legend himself, Andrew Butterworth. We left Bath at 9am and arrived at our first destination, Chepstow Castle, dating back to 1067 AD. 

After Chepstow Castle, we went to Offa's Dyke, running 177 miles long, up the boarder of Wales.  It was used as a ridge/defense. It was muddy and very, very steep, but we digressed and made it to the top....only a tiny tiny fraction of the entire trail. 

My friend Liz using a walking stick....muddy hikes without hiking boots were not in the itinerary. 

After our laborious hike up  Offa's Dyke, we went to Tintern Abbey, dating back to 1131. It has been unoccupied since the 1500's.  

 Our final destination was Hereford Cathedral, home of the Mappa Mundi, only lasting map of the world from the medieval times.  It was created in 1260, and the original is kept in the Hereford Cathedral. 
Since no cameras were allowed in that section of the cathedral, this is a picture offline but I wish it captured the colors and magnificence of the original copy.

 the outside of the cathedral 
Our day was chilly, snowy, misty, and rainy, but as Andrew said, it set the tone for the times. The mist added an element to the trip that I don't think would have been there if it was sunny and warm.  This trip truly was a history major's dream.  It is so hard to wrap my head around the ages of the places we were actually in. A millenium old. 
Tomorrow: More history with our trip to Canterbury! 

Keep Calm and Follow the Moon 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tea and a Vocab Lesson with Andrew Butterworth

So perhaps my favorite man in England so far is Andrew Butterworth, the coordinator of Education placements and internships.  He is this precious old man that is so wonderful and animated.  I get to spend a lot of time with him since we meet with him for an hour every Thursday to chat about our placements, and this Friday he is leading my trip to Wales.
Today, he took us out for tea and we chatted about our placements, but ended up talking a lot about the different translations in British vocabulary. I thought they were hilarious, so I decided to share some with everyone.
British Words 
Macintosh: Rain Coat
Lollypop Lady: Crossing Guard
Rubber: Eraser
Pants: Underwear
Period (like at the end of a sentence): Dot; Full Stop
Janitor: Caretaker 
Torch: Flashlight
Skittles: Bowling
Jumper: Sweater
Trunk(of a car): Boot
Aeroplane: Airplane
Tube: Subway
Mobile: Cell phone
Head Teacher: Principle 
Zed: Z
Cookie: Biscuit
Pavement: Sidewalk
Trainers: Sneakers
Apples&Pears: Stairs
"Give us a Butchers" : Give us a look 
Oberjean: eggplant
mackard: tired
Jacket: Potato

Needless to say, it was a very entertaining hour filled with lots of laughs on things both ends of the spectrum. For instance, Andrew had never heard anyone call "wellies" rainboots. 

So excited for Wales tomorrow!

Keep Calm and Follow the Moon 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

First Day at Hayesfield!

So as many of you know, part of my study abroad experience is teaching at a school in Bath, along with a class called Education in England. Yesterday (Tuesday) was my first day of placement! The school is located about a mile from my residence, and I have to walk there and back, and the last 5 minutes of the walk there is up a hill, which is pretty awful to climb at 7:45 in the morning.  But once I got there, my first class was with the head of the department in a Sixth Form class.  For those of you who do not know much about English Education system (myself included), Sixth Form is the equivalent of juniors and seniors in a US high school. After year 11, British students must take an exam, generally a GCSE (general certificate of secondary education) if they wish to move on to Sixth form. Compulsory education ends at age 16 (year 11) so students are not required to attend sixth form, but you must if you wish to continue to uni.

Anyways, my first class was a sixth form. They were studying the Civil Rights movement in America, which was really interesting for me to observe as an American myself. What was also interesting was the fact that sixth form students were not required to wear a uniform unlike the other students at Hayesfield. After period one, my cooperating teacher picked me up at the sixth form building (there are three buildings at Hayesfield: Upper, sixth form, and lower schools) and took me to the lower school, a 5 minute walk.  There, I was in a Year 7 history class (the equivalent of 6th grade). They were presenting on medieval castles they had made at home. My cooperating teacher was funny because he is a geography teacher but he is filling in for someone on long-term sick leave.  He told me anytime I wanted to teach a lesson I could, since I "probably know more about history" than he does (direct quote). My third class was a Psychology class with more sixth form girls.  I participated in the lesson by creating a quiz with some of the girls. Next was lunch, then Year 8 history on the Industrial Revolution.  They had the best reaction to my cooperating teacher introducing me as the "American". A few of them asked me questions related to the group work assignment, but I really think they wanted me to speak because after I answered someones question they said "wow I really love your accent" and didn't even listen to my explanation. My last class of the day was a Year 11 history class, preparing them for the GCSE.

I was at Hayesfield from 8am-3:30pm, which makes for an extremely long day, and then count the mile I have to walk both ways. But it was totally worth it.  Just being able to be a part of something so far out of my comfort zone is eyeopening for me and I loved it!

Up for this week: Class tomorrow, Wales on Friday, and Canterbury on Saturday and Sunday!

Keep Calm and Follow the Moon

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Stonehenge, Salisbury, and Lacock!

Orientation week has been a blur. Everything has been so amazing! For the most part, I have just been bonding with my housemates (Linley house is the best house) and we have been making lots of friends, both in the program and out! British people are so friendly! The city is unbelievably beautiful:

This is Bath yesterday (Saturday) when it was snowing! You can't really tell though
The bridge over the River Avon at sunset 

a random (but pretty) street corner! 

On Friday night, we had a cocktail party with our Oxford professors. As our ASE directors kept telling us before hand, dress smartly, but not cleverly. British humor is so punny. 
Today (Sunday) we went to Stonehenge, Salisbury, and Lacock village! All were so beautiful I ended up taking 280 pictures....oops. Here are a few of the winners: 
 Me in front of Stonehenge! 

The Linley Girls infront of stonehenge with one of our favorite men, Andrew Butterworth  

 Salisbury Cathedral
 My team, Team Ball-so-hard in George's Inn for dinner and ASE quiz time 
 Lacock Village at Sunset 
 Obligatory telephone booth picture 
Wading through a river in Lacock Village! Good thing I wore my wellies:) 
Yes, this is me Tebowing in one of the oldest Cathedrals in England.  Notice the statue above me is also Tebowing. 
Tomorrow is the first day of classes, and my first is at 9:30am.  This past week of orientation has been so fun and amazing its hard to believe we start "real life" tomorrow, but I am ready! 

Keep Calm and Follow the Moon