07 June 2010

I'm long overdue for a post detailing my activities since graduation. There is such a huge amount to catch up on that part of me is hesitant to even begin. Perhaps I should just say that I've been up to no good (since I break all of the rules, all of the time - :) ), but this would be a cop out and disappointment for those who actually take the time to read this blog. And so, without further procrastination...

Rebecca's Activities since Graduating 

May 16-18: Returning home after graduation was decidedly anti-climatic. After all, a hallmark event of my life had just taken place...so what was next? Well, for me, 'what was next' turned out to be massive amounts of unpacking, both of my belongings from college and the stockpile that had formed in my room. It is absolutely amazing the amount of things that one can accumulate in four years at college (and 21 years of life).As Drew was going to be visiting on Wednesday, it became absolutely imperative that the mountain of stuff that had accumulated around my bed and on the floor find itself a new home elsewhere. The end result of this massive effort was ten trash bags full of things being donated to Goodwill. It was hard to say goodbye to many items that I had possessed since childhood, but as I did not see myself using them within the next two years and don't plan on having children any time in the forseeable future, it was time to say goodbye and let someone else enjoy them.

May 19 (Graduation Celebration Dinner): In my family, it is traditional for major life events such as graduation and procreating (also known as 'having a baby') to be celebrated with parties. From my recollection of such events in the past, it seems that parties always end up bringing much more stress and angst about upon the celebrator than actual fun. Luckily, in the case of my graduation celebration, this did not happen. Perhaps because it was more of a dinner than an actual party, which suits me just fine because I wanted a relaxed evening. The event was held at the Royal Mile Pub in Wheaton, MD, a Scottish pub that I took my boyfriend to for Valentine's Day and that has absolutely excellent food. (PLUG: GO TRY IT!) Drew and I showed up quite early for the event, him in his kilt (his first time wearing it out in public) and me in a tartan dress. We made quite the pair, if I do say so myself. Everyone else (including my parents, brother, Elysa, Brad, Chris, Joanne, Thomas, Karen, and my Nana and Granddad) showed up to the sounds of Scottish music playing since Wednesday is the weekly Scottish music night at the pub. Add a real-life Scottish man (with an impressive mustache) walking round in a kilt and holding a giant sword (literally), and I couldn't have imagined a more perfect scene. Everyone was happy, the food was great, the music was amazing, and it was a wonderful night all around.

May 24-27 (NYC): In MArch, in an unsurpassed act of kindness that I still cannot believe happened, my flatmate Alex announced that he was taking my entire suite to New York City for a few days as a graduation present. I was at a loss for words then, and am still even now that the trip has taken place. I wish that I could fully express my gratitude, but I feel that all words I can muster are inadequate. This trip took place from May 24-27. We left Baltimore early in the morning on the Double Happiness bus and arrived in NYC round 1PM.  It was a relatively painless trip, and I was heartened by the fact that I did not see any cars explode on the Jersey turnpike as I did when I travelled to NYC in 8th grade. My first taste of NYC came in the form of an 'eggplant hero' sandwich, which was absolutely delicious but has probably doomed me to arterial deterioration by the time I am 30. So, naturally, after we arrived at the hotel (I bunked with Chris and shared a junior suite with Alex and Sara) I went running in Central Park. Drew tells me that NYC is one of the top cities for runners and after running in Central Park I believe it. Never have I seen so many people running at one time outside of a race. I suppose it helps that the park is set up to accommodate runners, with wide dirt paths and a well footed track around the reservoir that makes it easy to calculate distance. Afterward, we walked to the Trump Tower and found dinner.

Tuesday saw me up bright and early in order to go running again (as i would do each day) before heading to the Metropolitan Museum of ARt. It had an amazing collection and I would have loved to go see the Cloisters for its more extensive medieval collection, but alas, time was not on our side. After lunch, Chris, Alex, Sara, and I went to the UN, before Chris and I wandered to Times Square and then to NoHo, where we joined the rest of the group for a night at the comedy club. On Wednesday, Karen and I met up with our newly engaged friend BEcky from Oxford, and the three of us traveled around Chinatown and Little Italy together. After leaving Becky, we joined up with everyone else for dinner at Junior's Restaurant (famous for its cheesecake, which I did not eat because I do not like cheesecake) before going to The Majestic Theatre to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. It was beautiful and I had a great time.

Thursday heralded the event that I had been anticipating: lunch at the Maze, Gordon Ramsey's restaurant. It was as fancy as I had imagined (especially the bathrooms) and I felt quite posh whilst sitting in the bar waiting for our table to be ready. I ordered a burger and had no qualms as it was particularly delicious. Others in the group were not quite as pleased with their meals. All in all, I think I will stick with eating at Ruby Tuesday's where I pay regular amounts for my food, and just watch The Gordon on BBC. We then walked something like 30 blocks to the ferry for Ellis Island. i had already been, so I opted for shopping and reading at a cafe. Then it was time to get on the bus and head back home to the MD. NYC was nice, but it was good to go home.

May 30 (Patapsco Trail Run): Under the original schedule, I was supposed to return from NYC at 11PM on the 27th and leave for London at 6PM on the 28th. Unfortunately, due to the British Airways strike and the fact that my diplomatic visa did not permit me to enter the UK until the 31st, our flight out was postponed. (I'm sorry Dad!) ((He's going to be upset that I wrote that, but I still feel badly.)) What this meant was an extra two days at home, the majority of which I spent milling around feeling rather displaced and aimless. I imagine that most of August and early September will be spent in this state: no purpose in staying but not yet able to go onwards. Excitement came on the 30th in the form of the Patapsco Trail Run, which the website had described as being '5-6' miles, but that actually came in at somewhere round 6.5 miles. In a lucky turn of events, Drew was able to enter the race as well, so we were able to see each other one more time before I left for the UK. This race was quite the doozy. There was never really a flat bit in the entire 6.5 miles. The hills were huge (so much so in fact that I had to walk several of them), the downhills were treacherous. We had to ford a river (yes, I waded through up to my waist -- no joke), climb under trees, and cross train tracks where an accident had occurred a few months previously. I dislocated my knee at one point and, like the idiot I am, popped it back into place and kept going. Just another frequent occurrence in the adventure that is being Rebecca.

My final time was something around 1hr 15 min (the best time being 52 min) and I came in 58th out of 127. It was a challenge, but I am glad that I did. Afterward, Drew and I went back to my place, grabbed lunch at the Greene Turtle, and then enjoyed the last few hours that we had together before August. He accompanied me to Dulles where it broke my heart to say goodbye. I cried myself to sleep that night on the plane.

May 31 (Oxford Day 1): Day 1 in the UK was spent in Oxford, where my father would be presenting at a conference. It was a bit surreal showing my father all the places where I had spent my time in fall 2008. I gave him a whirlwind tour of The Ashmoleon museum, the Oxford Museum of NAtural History, Christ Church, the Bodleian, etc. I hoped he enjoyed it. I know I did.

June 1 (Oxford Day 2): I started out day 2 with ambitious plans that quickly deteriorated and became decidedly less ambitious as the hours wore on. After running 2 laps of university parks and 1 lap of Christ Church Meadows, I returned to the ROyal Oxford Hotel and became quite ill. My brief attempt at leaving to grab lunch was met with disaster (or almost) and I was violently sick for the entire afternoon. I literally dragged myself to Said Business School to inform my father that I would not be jjoining him for supper, and spent the rest of the day in bed.

June 2 (London Day 1): My 5 month anniversary with Drew dawned with me in better health than the day before. WE left Oxford for London and took a tour of my future graduate school, King's College London. It is located in an idyllic location and I truly believe that I will be happy there. It will be a change from SMCM, but a welcome one. A stimulating change, to be sure. We walked through Lincoln's Inn (lawyer central so, naturally, Dad's favorite place) ((that was an example of sarcasm)) and visited Temple Church, which boasts the effigies of Knights Templar and was featured in the Da Vinci code. Then it was on to Westminster to see Parliament and the Abbey. Westminster Abbey is one of my favorite places in the world. I wish they had a special 'multiple visits' pass, because if they did I would buy one for when I am in London this fall. Studying in the cloisters would be a truly serene experience.

June 3 (London Day 2): Thursday was another ill-health day, but one jam packed with action. Dad and I walked through Hyde Park to Knightsbridge where we visited the world famous Harrod's department store. Then it was off to the Victoria & Albert museum, the Natural History museum, and the Science museum (where I spent my time in the medical history section and PLAGUE!).

More later.

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