24 March 2011

When in Doubt - Take a Vacation

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I know that this may come as something of a surprise, but I still am in graduate school, which means that every so often I do have to attend a class or write a paper or something. (Shocker? I know.) This was one of those weeks, although I probably made the situation a bit worse by taking a vacation on Monday. (Oops...not.) But more on that later.

It is officially the last two weeks of term (last week and a half, to be precise) and I have 2 papers, 2 OSINT classes, 1 Concepts lecture, 1 Concepts presentation, and 2 exams (May 12th and May 16th) separating me from...the real world. Technically real life doesn't actually start until May 17th when I fly back to the US. I wish that I could say that this stay at home will be longer than a few months, but I've recently made a decision that may see me heading off to different parts of the US and the world. I'm not going to say what this decision is here as there is a very good chance that my asthma may disqualify me. And besides, it seems like the news has already made its way round the family, as I've heard reports of various reactions along the theme of: "What?!? Becky?" and "Does she get seasick?" I'll let you figure it out.

Of course, the end of term means that the topic of discussion on everyone's minds is 'what comes next?' Everywhere I go, I am asked what I plan to do after exams. Am I staying in the UK? Am I continuing on to the PhD? (HA!) Where am I going to work? Failure to provide a satisfactory answer to any of these invariably elicits a look somewhere between disgust and pity. And because I have only told a few people about my career plans and do not wish to jinx anything, my answer to my classmates always seems to fall short.

Anyway, Dad came to visit last week. He last visited London in November, but scheduled this recent trip after 'the breakup' in January as he knew that I would be in need of a visitor. It was very good to see him! After spending a good half hour trying to find his hotel in the rain, we finally were reunited after 2 months apart. We ate lunch at a small Italian restaurant down the street before heading to the Euston area to visit the Wellcome Collection (a medical museum!) and the British Library. Since I love me some medical history, I found the Wellcome collection fantastic, but wish that they had placed more objects on display. The British Library had on an interesting exhibit about lingual variations within the English language, but it was very crowded and I did not get a chance to see most of it.

Monday was spent at Hampton Court Palace, one-time home of Henry VIII, just outside of London. I last visited in March 2009 when I was living in Oxford for research purposes. The exhibits within the palace are extremely well done, and it was wonderful to have a chance to see them at my own pace (as opposed to rushing around with the tour group as I did last time). When we came back to London, we visited the Tate Britain Museum.

As I currently lack the time to go through the rest of Dad's visit, this brief summary will have to suffice.

Tuesday: Greenwich: National Maritime Museum, National Observatory, Royal Observatory (i.e. Greenwich Mean Time!)
Wednesday: Cambridge (aka 'the other place')
Thursday: Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, HMS Belfast (:( )
Friday: St. Thomas' Hospital Operating Theatre Museum (located in the attic of the church on the site of the former St. Thomas' Hospital, it was boarded up in the 19th century when the hospital moved to Lambeth and was not re-discovered until 1956!)

As for running: I am injured and fatigued - I've probably burnt myself out, I'm afraid. I did not do my 20-miler last weekend so I am going to have to do it this weekend. My knee may act up...but I'm going to have to shut up and put up with it, because I've got to get the miles in. The marathon is rapidly approaching. (As is the half marathon which is a scant 2 weeks away!) I'm absolutely dreading the long run, especially as I am going to have to find a new route to run since there is another 'anti-fees' demonstration planned in Westminster.

On Monday I traveled to Oxford to visit with my friend Veronica who was up from Wales. I had a lovely time, but it did mean that I have spent the rest of this week rushing about to get my essay on political Islam done. (I finished at 10:30AM today.) And now I'm off to work on my presentation for tomorrow's Concepts and MEthods of International Relations class. At least it is the last one!

In Christ Church Meadows...sometime in the 1800s apparently

Radcliffe Camera at the Bodleian Library. I spent many an hour here in 2008/2009

Aboard the HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

Sometimes the walk home 'south of the river' is lovely

St. Thomas' Hospital Women's Operating Theatre

St. Thomas' Hospital Museum - located in the attic of St. Thomas' Church


The Women's Operating Theatre

1 comment:

  1. 20 years ago I thought I was going into the "real world"

    Over that time, I've finally given up any hope of finding out what distinguishes the "real world" from whatever it was that I was doing at any particular time. Weird. I think the "real world" is a total illusion.