Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Week of Finals

And no, not the exams. The last week of my "Bath time" was spent trying to see everyone, doing our list of "lasts" and maybe cramming in some studying. It me it was crazy to think about never seeing my professors again.  At Saint Mikes, you can usually always drop into their office or run into them in the academic quad. But with my ASE/Oxford professors, this was probably our last meeting, which made me really sad. They were all so wonderful and amazing, and I know I will definitely miss them.

Wednesday night we had an Education Programme pub crawl with Andrew, which was so fun! We went to a few pubs I hadn't been to which was really nice.
The Education girls with Andrew at The Raven 

We also had our last Thursday night at Beau Nash with their delicious burgers, cheap cocktails, and open mic night.  A lot of ASE was there, which was so nice!
Friday was a blur of packing, final tea, and our 'Last Supper' at Salathai. Final tea was held at a hotel right around the corner, and at the end Jonathon showed a slideshow of pictures submitted by us, the students, throughout the semester.  It was great to see pictures from the very beginning up until the very end.  We definitely came full circle. I, personally, hate goodbyes and it didn't hit me that I wouldn't see these people who I shared an unforgettable semester with for a very long time, or maybe never end up seeing them again.  I don't like thinking about it. Later that night we had dinner at Salathai, mirroring our first night in Bath.  We all ordered pretty much the same thing we did then and discussed our life changing semester.
The night ended with cleaning Linley and creating a list for the new Linley girls.
In order to earn the title of "Linley Girl", you must do the following:

  • Go to Salathai.
  • Become best friends with Andrew Butterworth.
  • Go to Po Na Na's EVERY Thursday. Be careful of the sharkbuckets...they'll bite ya!
  • Vodka Rev and 1pound shots.
  • Burger night at Beau Nash
  • Throw an "America" Party
  • Befriend other houses early in the program
  • make a quote wall
  • befriend all of the starbucks baristas, especially Tom, Dan, and Ginger Johnny Depp
  • Spend sunny days in the park
  • Make a pump up pregame CD
  • Listen to "love on top" on repeat
And the list goes on.  It is unimaginable not doing all of these again, but its time for some new girls to have these experiences.

I left Linley at 5:30am on Saturday morning to depart from Bristol to Dublin to Boston. It was a smooth travel and I am so happy to be home.  I definitely missed it and my parents and I am having all of the things I missed, such as my Dunks (which I got in Logan International was fine), my mom's home cooking, MaryLous, goldfish, etc. And I have been going to the gym and beach! It has been a nice homecoming and I will be hopefully be starting work next week.

I know it will hit that Linley is no longer my home and I do not live in Bath anymore, but for now its not reality.

Keep Calm and Drink Dunkin

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stratford: Shakespeare Land

Between the last week of classes and finals week, ASE took us to Stratford upon Avon for 3 days to see 3 different Shakespeare plays, all performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company.  Stratford is about a two hour bus ride from Bath, so we got there around noon on Tuesday.  Two of the Shakespeare professors for ASE came with us, Ruth and Brian Hazel (yes, they are married and adorable) and gave us a briefing before each show and a "talk back" the morning after.  The first show we saw on Tuesday night was "The Comedy of Errors", one of Shakespeare's earliest plays, written in the 1590's.  Now, I am not well versed in Shakespeare (see what I did there?) but I will try and give the best overview of each of the plays.

"The Comedy of Errors" is a comedy about two sets of twins, all separated at birth.  Antipholous of Syracuse and his servent, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus (yes they have the same names, which I was confused about.) So the Dromio's are twins and the Antipholus' are twins. Confusing, I know.  They ended up getting mixed up and mistaken as the other throughout the play, providing comedy because their friends and families think them to be the other one. This was probably the most entertaining of the three plays we saw, and the acting was fabulous.

The second play we saw was "Twelfth Night", again based on twins and supposed to be, in a way, in conjunction with "The Comedy of Errors".  Also, one of my favorite movies, "She's the Man" is a popular, recent adaptation of "Twelfth Night", so I was familiar with the story.  It was performed by the same cast as "Comedy" so we were familiar with the actors, which was nice.  So the story of "Twelfth Night" follows Viola and Sebastian, twins, who were forced from their homeland and separated.  Viola pretends to be a man named Cesario and befriends the Duke Orsino, who she falls in love with, but she is in drag so she is supposed to be a man.  The Duke wants her to befriend Olivia, his love, and try and get her to be with the Duke, so its this big love triangle.  Then Sebastian comes along and things get even more confusing.  I was not as convinced by these actors, and the actress who played Viola was not convincing at all.  I was more interested in the subplot with Toby, Olivia's drunk cousin, Sir Andrew, a silly knight, and Malvolio, who was also trying to woo Olivia. I think this might have been my least favorite play, but just because I wasn't invested in the characters. 

The last play we saw was "Richard III", which was more of a drama and tragedy rather than a comedy like the others were. It was also the longest of the plays, running 3 hours and 15 minutes.  I was very apprehensive when I saw that, thinking to myself "how in the world will I survive a 3 hour Shakespeare play??" I did survive, however, and I loved it.  I liked it the most because it was based on King Richard III who murdered his way to the crown and was eventually defeated by Henry Tudor.  I am a history major and I took a class on the Tudors so I knew the background of the story much better than the other plays. 

 The Stage for Comedy of Errors. There is a fish tank in the center and open water in the left hand corner!
 Outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre 
The Stage for 12th night (its the same as comedy of errors) you can see the open water on the right hand part of the photograph 

Keep Calm and be Cultured 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Barcelona: Viva Espana!

So the next major event in my abroad experience was going to Barcelona, Catalonia! It was one of the best experiences of my life, mostly because it was so different.  England is definitely a foreign country and there are cultural differences, but going to Spain was a major cultural difference and it was so amazing.  I went with 4 other friends and we met up with some other girls from ASE who were also in Barca.
We had to take a taxi from Linley at 430am to Bristol airport, so we were all pretty sleepy.  Our flight was at 645 which was good in a way because we had a full day to explore.  We did not fly into Barcelona, however.  We flew into Girona, which is about an hour bus ride from Barca.  I had no idea Spain was so mountainous! Flying in looked like when I flew into Geneva; there were snow covered mountains surrounding Girona which were beautiful and reminded me of the Alps.  We took a bus from Girona to Barcelona, and then the metro to our hostel, Kabul Backpackers.  

The Plaza! 
We were staying in the Placa Reial (Plaza Royale) right off of Las Ramblas, one of the busiest streets in Barcelona. We could not have asked for a better location.  We were a 5 minute walk from the ocean, and I saw the Mediterranean for the first time! It was very exciting. 
 The best sangria we had all weekend! and we had a lot of sangria...
Patatas Bravas. So. Amazing. 

 Emily, Me, and Cassie sitting on the Mediterranean 
Me and Fiona!
We walked down by the water for a while and then found a cute market! They had a lot of antiques and vintage things which was really cool to look at.  By this time it was around 4 so we were getting tired so we went back to the hostel to Siesta.  After, we met up with Maya and Valerie, 2 girls from ASE that were in Barca for the weekend as well! We got sangria and tapas and just enjoyed the warm Spanish evening. 
The next day, we woke up and went to a huge market right off Las Ramblas. They had everything, and I mean everything: fresh fruit, veggies, meat, fish, baked goods, nuts, the list goes on.  We ended up getting fresh squeezed juice, which this market was famous for. 

 literally so many choices!!
 They even had Sangria and Mojitos! 

After wandering the market, we headed back to the plaza and found another market in the center while we were waiting for Claire, another good friend from ASE.  This market was more of entrepreneurs than antiques or food and it was really cool to see all the different jewelry and clothing.  When we finally met up with Claire, we ate lunch at a restaurant in the Plaza and I got tomato bread and pesto with zucchini for the pasta! It was delicious. 
 Some of the Market
My lunch! So good. 
The afternoon included the Picasso Museum and the Gaudi Cathedral, both were absolutely stunning. The Picasso museum was about a 10 or 15 minute walk from the plaza and we got distracted the entire walk, either looking at the stunning Barcelona architecture, little cafes, or tiendas(shops in spanish). 
 One of the side streets we walked down to get to the Picasso
Fiona and Claire examining the art :) 
 Gaudi Cathedral 
 It was massive!! 
Some of the inside
The Gaudi was so spectacular, grand, and impressive, but I am unsure as to whether or not i could ever attend church there because it is so modern and untraditional. It was definitely something we had to see, though. 
That night, our hostel was doing a reduced ticket deal to the second largest club in Europe, which was definitely an interesting experience. If we go out in Bath, we usually head to the club around 11:30, 12 at the latest.  In Barcelona, we did not leave with our hostel until 2am and didn't get to the club until 2:30. It was a really cool and interesting experience, but I could never live there and do that regularly! The club was called Razzmatazz and had 5 separate floors and rooms and held 5,000 people on a regular basis. It wasn't crowded or claustrophobic, though, because of all of the different rooms you could go into. 
Barcelona was such amazing in so many different ways.  Just wandering down Las Ramblas and seeing all the different artists and markets and culture was spectacular. It was an experience not most can have and I felt so lucky to be there! 
Keep Calm and Drink Sangria

Friday, May 11, 2012

Twin Time in Bath!

So I'm really sorry for the lack of posts these past few weeks, but they have been super busy! I will fill you in through a series of posts relating to each major event rather than one big post, because those can get tedious both reading and writing.

So the title of this post may be confusing, seeing as I do not have a twin (well blood related.) I have a friend from home named Jenna, coincidentally, who I have known forever and when we were younger we were the 'twins' because we had the same name :) Anyways, Jenna (twin..I'm not talking in the 3rd person I promise) is studying in London for the semester, which is only 90 minutes away from Bath so obviously we had to meet up at some point in the semester. She ended up coming to Bath for just a day, but we did a lot of touristy things which were really nice.  We went to lunch at this hole in the wall pub that is really, really good and cheap! It is called the Porter, and really close to the Royal Crescent which was nice because that was one of our stops! After lunch and the Crescent, we went to the Roman Baths, which I had been waiting to do until she came to visit so it was a new experience for both of us! The only problem of the day was that it was raining and pretty cold, so being outside was pretty miserable but there is a museum inside that took up most of the time anyways and gave a really good history of Roman Bath. It was so wonderful having a friendly face from home, especially since the end is drawing near and I think everyone is a little homesick.

 Jenna and I infront of the Bath's with the Abbey in the background! 

 Some of the original steps from Roman Bath
Down by the Baths 

Keep Calm and have Twin Time

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bath vs London Wasps

A few Saturday's ago a few friends and I went to a real, live, professional rugby game! We had awesome seats and it was so much fun! Before hand we met at the Huntsman, the pub next to my house. It was 1 o'clock in the afternoon and it was PACKED. And thats what every pub is like on game day.  Its such a fun culture, and there are people of all ages there. We actually saw Andrew, our internship coordinator/mentor there!
Outside of the Huntsman...the inside was just as packed!

We then went to the game..our seats were 3 rows from the field so we had great seats!! I sat with one of the student helpers from Bath University and he helped me with the rules of the game.  I knew some but not all and it was really interesting how they look at it as American football but for real men. 
The Scrum :) 
Marie, Fiona, and I 
Marie, Charlie, and I 

It was so much fun and definitely a cultural experience in England.  They do love their sports, especially 'football' and rugby! 

Keep Calm and Support Bath!