Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I am dooooone til after Christmas!

Here in England, we have finals after Christmas, which is very annoying.  The good news, however, is that I only have 3 and I have 3 weeks when I get back to study.  Also, I have finished everything I need to do before leaving except writing out a source page for my Ecology essay, and of course printing the silly thing.  Hoorah.  I thought of something terribly amusing and relevant this morning when we were sitting down in the History auditorium to do some history learning, but I've now forgotten it, of course.  It was something they do differently here that blows my mind, but as I can think of several things off the top of my head (leggings... in freezing weather.  Leggings!) I can't remember what exactly it was.  Never fear!  I shall write it down next time I remember it, as I do remember I've had that thought before.

And now back to our regularly scheduled update programming.  When we last left our heroine, she had celebrated a fantastic birthday with her friends.  Our fearless heroine was then emailed by her even more super-powered mother, who said, "Didn't you do anything /else/ for your birthday?" by which she really meant, "Why didn't you mention London?!"  But fear not, o readers (and mom!), for this is a story told in parts!  Of course I didn't forget London, you silly.

So AFTER that fantastic party with my friends, I had school the rest of the week (boo to that) and then it was time to leave for London!  I was soooo excited!  I took the train down and met my brother at the station, and we walked to mom and dad's hotel (which was a government building, in a previous life).  That room was HUGE.  It had a real bathroom, with a real tub and a real shower.  And a really comfortable bed.  Adam and I walked in, said hi to our parents with hugs all around, and then noticed the bowl of fruit on the coffee table.  I think I said, "Oh, fruit!" while Adam made a beeline over.  Without barely even taking off our bags, we were on that fruit like bees on honey (to continue the analogy).  It was also very tasty.  Then we went to the little bar downstairs and my mom and I shared a drink and my dad and brother had a beer and um... a diet coke? respectively.  We went to dinner later at a REALLY GOOD Thai restaurant where my mother learned what we're speaking of when we say, "British customer service" ie, the waiter never came (although they often do in Sheffield, so it may be a city difference) but the food was fantastic.  Then we went back and hung out in the lounge, not the bar, and got on facebook on their computer and just had a good time, and then went to bed.  First there was an utterly hysterical interlude which I unfortunately failed to capture on camera where my mom and Adam tried valiantly to put together a bed for him out of all the couch cushions which were cut to fit the couch.  It was like watching two people try to put together an oversized tangram, and it was pretty silly.  But they did eventually succeed (although it took like... a half hour.) while I giggled myself to death.

The next day we went to the Tower of London, which was sweet!  It's all old and imposing and there's loads of ancient graffiti carved all over the place, and people LIVE there!  Yeah!  And they have the Tower ravens, of course.  They take good care of those birds, I tell you what.  They've got their own aerie type space and they're fed regularly.  You'd want them to stay too, since legend has it when they leave the Tower will fall down.  There was also a guy doing a Henry the... Ok, I don't even know that it was Henry, but whatever, he was all dressed up and there was another guy dressed as a someone-else.  Anyway, he was in this room they had done up like the King's bedroom.  It was really funny, because he was talking to the audience and being all poncy and then he said something to a guy who was entering and the man answered with a Scottish accent.  So of course then the "King" had to say something about the Scottish and it was really quite amusing if you were there.  I think I have video.  Someday I promise to make a post with just pictures and videos since I haven't put any in the past couple emails.

That night was Lion King!  EEEEE it was amazing and astounding and the opening scene made me cry it was so lovely and EEE!  I almost think that's all that can be said, because words just can't describe the wonderfulness that was Lion King.  And we had EXCELLENT seats.  And afterwards we went to the Texas Cantina, which is just down from the Texan Embassy, or what used to be the Texas Embassy when they were a country.  They had Tex Mex, which was good.  I had a chimichanga.  MMMMM.  I miss my Mexican food!

The next day we went to the London Museum.  It was epic!  I got to geek out about all my favorite history things, all of which seem to be contained in that one museum.  I saw what they have on display of the brand new and shiny Staffordshire Hoard (not new as in... new, but new as in just discovered.  Really it's quite old).  I'd like to take a moment here to say something to Megan, who I'm sure is reading this:  I saw it first!  Neener neener neener!  But we're gonna go see it again, I'm excited!  -End note.  We also saw the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial stuff, which is just incredible.  It amazes me that they made such intricate, beautiful works of functional art with no power tools.  Just amazing.  I'm sure my pictures don't do justice, but I sure did try.

Then we went and had pizza for dinner and the next morning we went to Westminster, where we saw lots of dead buried people (just kidding, most of them are really important dead buried people) and there was a stone for Jane Austen, and one for Shakespeare, and one for Darwin.  I wish we could have taken pictures, but of course it's a church so you can't.  Then it was time to go, and I think that was even harder than leaving Albuquerque, so of course I'm dreading the leaving Albuquerque part the second time around.  It was like I was back at square one with the homesickness.  My flatmate came to check on me because I'd been sniveling in my room for about 30 minutes solid when I got home.  Somehow there's something pitiful about a 22 year old sobbing that she misses her family to a 19 year old who is trying to reassure her it'll all be okay.  And I was miserable for about 2 days and then I got over it and moved on with life and since then have had loads of fun!  Loads and loads and loads!  We've had Thanksgiving (twice!) and I've been hanging out with lots of my friends as all of us realized that we'd not see each other for a whole month.  I'm even mostly okay with coming back, because I'll have friends and everyone has already promised to keep me busy enough that I don't get homesick, and if I do get homesick, my flatmates all care and they make sure I'm okay too.  We all take care of each other really well over here.

But I can't believe this year is technically half done!  Well, I mean, it's actually half done in February (really annoying) and then we've got that silly MONTH of Easter Break (I'd rather have a week and go home sooner) but mostly, it's technically half done.  I have been in England for over 3 months.  I've been homesick, physically sick (not anymore!), and I've probably had to deal with some of the most difficult emotional garbage I've ever had to deal with in my life.  But as they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I like to think I'm somewhat stronger for having dealt with it all even though I really just wanted to give up and go home for the first 3 weeks.  I think it may make the homesickness period during second semester shorter, though I know it'll still be there.  But hey, I have survived, and I've had fun!  And that's what's important.  New experiences don't have to be scary, threatening things.

And now I have to go because I have to start packing some things and I have Pub Caroling at 6:30, and it's already 4:14.  The next update will be about Thanksgiving, but it'll be over Christmas break (yes, time is out of joint.  Thank you, Hamlet.)

This time next week I'll be home!

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