24 April 2011

"Don't think that I'm pushing you away, when you're the one that I've kept closest"

This came in the post a few days ago. I stared at it for a good two minutes before I was able to continue on with my normal activities. With just two weeks to go, it is finally starting to sink in that this is actually going to happen. I am going to run a marathon. Me, the girl who used to dread the warm-up lap we had to run for crew each morning in freshman and sophomore years. Me, who refused to run during our timed mile tests in high school.

I'm going to die.

Ok, I'm being a bit dramatic, but it is still terrifying. 26.2 miles is a long way to go, especially sine my feet were killing me after running only 15 today. (That said, it was a terrible run overall so I shouldn't use that as a standard. I forgot to eat carbs yesterday, got less than my usual four hours of sleep last night, wore the wrong running shoes, and forgot to bring water. I seriously have no idea where my common sense was this morning when I kitted up.) I guess the only thing left to do at this point is to pray that I make it through in more or less one piece.

Well, readers, I am officially done with my last graduate school essay and am heading off on to the second half of my vacation. I'm glad that I have limited aptitude for mathematics and physics (despite my father's best attempts) because it rules out any potential career in nuclear physics. This last essay was on the application of open source information in assessing the nuclear intentions of states (which I expanded to include a case study on a non-state actor, Al-Qaeda). In order to understand the information that I was discovering, I needed to become familiar with the basics of the nuclear process. Reading countless academic articles on how to enrich uranium and the various quantities needed for weapons of different types gave me a migraine. I suppose it would be more interesting if I knew that I was going to use such information later in life, but I doubt that I will. It seems unlikely anyone is going to call me up for advice on nuclear physics. And so such information will ultimately have to go to the 'pointless knowledge' section of mine.

Now that my educational obligations for this week are over, I am (Easy)jetting off to Seville for 5 days. I've been trying to visit Seville since 2008. Luckily for me, EasyJet began operating a route from London Gatwick to Seville on April 16th and so I've managed to fit this trip into my schedule. I've been brushing up (admittedly unsuccessfully) on my Spanish and am ready to enjoy the warmth! More importantly, I am ready to enjoy the sangria. (After whiskey, sangria is my 'go-to' drink). The best part of this vacation? I am going to miss 'the wedding'.

While some of you back home may be dying to hear about what Kate is going to be wearing, or who is on the guest list, most Londoners just find 'the wedding' to be an inconvenience. Thousands of tourists have already started to descend on the city, and it is making transportation almost impossible. Just yesterday, it took me an hour and a half to make a journey that normally takes half an hour simply because I had to navigate around a gigantic herd of tourists on Waterloo bridge. (Admittedly, I don't do well with crowds. During Fringe in Edinburgh, I arrived home from work every day seriously pissed off simply because it took forever to walk through the crowds.) I think adding to my general apathy towards 'Will and Kate's big day' is the fact that I just don't get hyped up about weddings. I may get excited about my own wedding if such an event ever takes place (looks unlikely at this point). Maybe. Anyway, preparations for 'the day' are already underway. The streets from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey already have railings in place in anticipation for the crowds that are bound to amass. British flags are everywhere. Almost every store front in Oxford Street and Regent Street boast displays with William and Kate's faces on them and fly banners reading 'Congratulations!'. If you head to Cards Galore, you can buy teddy bears, mugs, pez dispensers, calendars, t-shirts, aprons, cards, flags, and masks (weird) with the couples faces on them. ("Hey Mom! Look I've brought you home a commemorative mask with Kate Middleton, sorry, Windsor's, face on it. This here is love.")
British-themed cakes

Royal Wedding window displays

Note the railings edging the pavement

The British public declares their love
This vacation is the 'calm before the storm' since in the following 2 1/2 weeks I will be studying for exams, running a marathon, and then taking said exams. And less than 24 hours after sitting my Concepts exam, I'll be heading back to good ol' Maryland. At which point I am going to have to seriously re-think the purpose of this blog as: a) I will no longer be technically providing the 'view from abroad'; b) I'll be residing with the primary readers of this blog (i.e. my parents); and c) my life in Maryland isn't all that interesting. Still, I am reluctant to shut it down entirely since I like blogging and this is the primary way that people find out what is going on in my life (I'm not all that forthcoming with information in real life. Mostly because I feel that people aren't going to be interested.)

Still, this summer promises to hold some events of note. I'll be turning 23, applying for jobs, joining the Howard County Striders, starting my parents on the Couch-to-5k plan (Surprise Mum and Dad!), running in the Rebel Race with Alex (who is not going to die, despite his assertions to the contrary), writing my master's dissertation (er...), and traveling around the East Coast with my father for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. (The point of all of this is that I am providing plenty of advanced warning for when this blog becomes significantly less interesting - if it ever could be classified as 'interesting').

Ok...off to Seville! Adios!

By the Numbers:
0 -- Essays that I have left to write
2 -- Exams I still have to take
26.2 -- miles that I am going to run on May 8th
14 -- days left until aforementioned marathon
23 -- days until I return to Maryland

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