02 October 2010

Psychic ability = confirmed.

True to my word (prediction), I am now posting in considerably more length than yesterday. Why does it take me so long to put out a blog post? Well, when one is expected to be brilliant and witty in everyday life (neither of which are really adjectives ever utilized to describe me), it is awfully hard to be brilliant and witty in writing after hours (said adjectives also can't really be applied to this blog). And since I do actually attempt to make some effort at being coherent in my posts, it takes a while to write each individual entry. That said, I will try to be better at posting more consistently.

Before I begin, I would like to say that today is a very special day in my life. Today marks my 9-month anniversary with Drew. Yes, we count the individual months. And yes, Drew remembers the exact day every single month. This just shows how amazing of a boyfriend he is. I am so lucky.

Ok, now back to London.

First days in London
 My first days in London were spent getting oriented in my new neighborhood and setting up my flat. This meant exploring the surrounding area on foot to find the grocery store(s), quaint cafes, and best routes. I am lucky in that there are several Sainsbury's Locals and Tesco Expresses located quite close to where I live. These are small grocery stores that carry most of the essentials that one might need in daily life, but are more expensive. The big Tesco is located about 20 minutes on foot to the south-east of where I live. It's in the Afro-Caribbean-Turkish neighborhood and my sole trip to the store meant that I was assaulted by loads of delicious smells from the various restaurants. Unfortunately, I can only imagine the gastro-intestinal pain that I would be in if I actually decided to follow the wishes of my stomach and sample these delicious-smelling items.

I've managed to become fairly well acquainted with the Southwark and Southbank areas of London (the areas immediately south of the Thames). My classes will be held on the Strand campus, north of the river, and a 40 minute walk from where I live. I am trying to save as much money as possible for possible unexpected financial requirements/travel so I am walking everywhere instead of taking the insanely expensive Tube (subway). This has, of course, meant a few miserable days when it was raining, but, on the plus side, the walking (usually between 3-5 miles a day) is making me insanely fit. My typical path to get to the Strand/west London where everything (Westminster, Covent Garden, Oxford Street, Victoria, Hyde Park) is located is to walk up the Borough High, through the Clink, along the Thames Path past the Globe Theatre, across the Millennium Bridge leading to St. Paul's Cathedral, and then down Fleet Street to the Strand. (No, Dad, I've not seen Sweeney Todd yet.)

These first two weeks have seen me adopt some of the trappings of adulthood. I am currently in the processing of establishing a UK bank account, a tiresome and lengthy process requiring me to continually prove my identity and that consistently leaves me feeling as if I have committed a horrible crime by being abroad. I joined a gym (located 2 miles away so I get an additional workout each time I go) and bought both a skillet and a plant. I've even found myself wistfully gazing at dinner sets and thinking 'that would look lovely when I have my own apartment...for real.' These are perhaps signs that the end is near, that I am creeping ever steadily towards decrepitude as we speak. This may be an after-shock of the recent realization that I will be 24/25 when my boyfriend graduates from college and *gasp* 28 when he finishes law school. Even if we are not together at that point, there is no avoiding the fact that I will be that age. Of course, being with Drew is what started this downslide into domesticity in the first place. I still remember when I first decided aloud that I wanted to make him dinner. It was an admittance that shocked both myself and my roommates, who were well aware of my: a) lack of culinary ability and b) lack of domestic leanings. Anyways, the point of all of this is that I possibly need to go on an adventure soon, if nothing else to prove that I still have it in me. Oslo is perhaps too tame. Bucharest? Possibly. St. Petersburg? Maybe. Beirut? Oooh! (Just kidding Mum/Dad!!!)

So, I'm now I'm an 'adult' (or just plain old) and also officially a postgraduate student in the Department of War Studies at King's College London. I've been enrolled and inducted, and have had my first class (Theories of International Relations). I will take 2 core modules, both of which will consist of a Friday lecture (12-1) and a seminar (1-2). 'Theories of International Relations' will run from next week (the 8th) to the 10th of December. I will write one essay, present in a seminar, and then sit an exam in May. 'Concepts and Methods of International Relations' will run from January 14th through March 30 with one essay, seminar presentation, and exam in May. I will also take between 2-4 optional modules (either 2 full year courses or 4 half year modules). We had to list 12 preferences of what we wanted to take, which will then be allocated to us via a computer program. So I will find out on Wednesday just exactly what I will be taking and what my schedule will be like for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, I know for a fact that one of the classes I so wanted to take, Complex Political Emergencies, I can't take because it conflicts with one of my core modules. So I've decided that I will do the readings separately since I have the syllabus and get as much as possible as I can out of that.

What else has happened? I witnessed a murder and saw my first dead body (at least the first one to be within a few feet of me...I've seen the results of traffic actions). I won't go into exactly what happened, but suffice it to say that I have been forced to confront the fleeting nature of life and my own impending mortality. It does not make for terribly heartening conversation. I attended the War Studies Society Pub Quiz at the George on The Strand. It was terribly difficult (picture identification of British politicians and dictators...really?) and my team came in somewhere in the middle. It made pub quiz at Far From the Madding Crowd look like a piece of cake and I spent the duration of the event sitting in the corner (literally...I was trapped because it was incredibly crowded) feeling incredibly stupid and muttering bitterly about the weight of the cricket ball (between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces if anyone is interested) whilst drinking my Strongbow. I am continuing to keep it classy in London.

Last Wednesday was my first cross-country practice. Held at Regent's Park in north London, it required me to actually use the Tube since it was too far to walk. We took a running tour of the park, visiting the track (which, oddly enough, is 388m around as opposed to the standard 400m), ran along the canal, and then up to Primrose Hill (where the team does it's hill training). Then we did a relay race and a hard 5k, which I did pretty well in. Afterwards, it was time for the fresher's pub crawl. 6 hours and four pubs later, I made it home. A good day, all in all. Especially considering that, surprise! surprise!, I am injured again. This time it is my achilles tendon. It's nice and swollen, so probably tendonitis. I've been icing, consuming NSID's, and staying off it (as much as my mobile lifestyle will allow), but it has only gotten minimally better. So, I have decided to just go ahead with life as usual and hope that it stops with this nonsense.

Upcoming Dates:
12 October: Piracy Symposium that I am attending
20 October: First XC race at Parliament Hill

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