Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Days I Spent in London (UK Fulbright Orientation, Part 1!)

This past week was a whirlwind. Another one of those weeks where you do so much you begin to say things like "I only arrived yesterday? I swear I've been here a week." Packing so much into so little time leaves no time for processing. Once again, I'm just going to post a pictorial blog because A) I want to get something posted, and B) I'm stealing wifi at Starbucks, so I want to keep this short. So...enjoy the pics and commentary.

ARRIVAL: Took the train from Sheffield to London St. Pancras for £19, and walked from King's Cross down Grey's Street to Wren Street to the Francis Gardener House at University College London. This is a dorm room at UCL. I was connected to the internet by a cable. I showered in the toilet. It was like a nice version of camping.

DAY 1: UK Fulbright Orientation
After coffee and tea, we found our seats and watched this video: The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England. Five minutes and you'll be more enlightened.

We were supposed to introduce ourselves. It took the entire group a little over two hours. We had to 
stand in front and talk about our research, a fun fact, and what we were looking forward to about living in the UK. I was so nervous, so I snapped a picture of everybody when I got on stage. I'm sad that it's blurry. :( I told everyone in the room they were writers, and that's what I was here to study. I also talked about riding on an elevator with Tom Brokaw, and mentioned that so far my favorite part of living in the UK is being called love. Although the other day, I was also called me duck, which is another term of endearment in the north, and I plan to use it quite often to me loves back home. Quack. Quack.

 Becca (Leeds) and Steve (Sheffield) telling stories about moonshine and Oprah. Well, Becca actually talked about singing on her morning walks, but I like her family history with Tennessee Moonshine. Steve challenged his class in Chicago to give up one thing a month, like television, internet, etc. Oprah heard of it, a representative got in touch, and then nothing came of it, except she challenged her viewers to do this as well.

After introductions, lunch was sandwiches ordered in from Pret a Manger. I ate egg salad. This is the FACULTY LOUNGE at University of Notre Dame London where we lounged for lunch. Yes, that's a baby grand piano to the left. Would love to show you my faculty lounge at RHS. We have a handy paper shredder AND a Scantron. The microwaves are cleaned out occasionally, and there are plenty of science experiments in the fridge.

 Me. Outside the door of University of Notre Dame in London.

At lunch I slipped outside for a quick walk around Trafalgar Square, where this street performer was entertaining adults and children with bubbles in front of the National Gallery.

The afternoon was spent at an Opportunities Fair. Here Fulbright Scholars are listening to each booth give a spiel about why we should join their society or why we might be interested in their work in the UK. Once those were finished, we visited individually at each booth. We were given free memberships to various UK organizations, and I joined The Royal Society of the Arts, The Royal Oak Foundation, The English Speaking Union. I got information from The Prince's Trust, specifically about a teaching organization it operates, the US Embassy, who told me NOT to get arrested (such pressure!), Gresham College Public Lectures (officially the oldest society there--and they all bragged on how old they were), and the Institute of Ideas, who works with youth debates and asks for Fulbright Scholars to judge student work. I plan to do this in October. :) 

DAY 2 was spent at Two Temple place...and this was the entrance. 
The morning was spent with Fulbright Alumni and Ambassador Matthew Barzun. He's less than two years older than me. 

Lunch on Day 2 was at Zizzi's on the Strand, made by these happy people below. I had pizza with spinach and egg.

I'm going to end here for this post because I'm tired of being in Starbucks. And I'm tired of being on the computer. The next few days were fascinating...I assure you. And I will try to post again, soon.


Rebecca Leech said...

Oh Casey, thanks so much for the wonderful pictures! It was such a whirlwind and I'm glad you took the great pics so we can all remember our week.

Lavonne said...

G'day, me duck! I love seeing your pictures and hearing about your grand adventure! Love you, love......

Rachel said...
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Rachel said...

Me duck. You know this new nickname will live on, like forever. I am so happy to see these new posts today. What amazing architecture and history where you are. Stay wild and free! The Brits need more like you! xoxo