Okay, so this is going to be how I am doing things from now on. I am going to quickly talk about everything, and if I have pictures, I will post them at the end. Because it was far too difficult to deal with putting photos and writing around them and stuck. So let’s go day-by-day!
Friday: I travelled down to the British Museum to purchase a ticket for a lecture on Kafka and Israel by THE JUDITH BUTLER! I have been fanboy-ing about this for the last month, and even though I haven’t read anything by Butler (I hope to do so soon!), I have decided that she is pretty cool since she deals with feminism, gender/sexuality/queer theory and stuff. Essentially, she is badass and I get to listen to her talk. I then spent the rest of the day just going through the British Museum some more (I took some photos, see next blog!). I don’t remember doing much else this day – it was another event of just being a lazy arse.
Saturday and Sunday: I can’t really remember much of what I did these days. We will be moving on.
Monday: Okay, so this is how things went. At 9:30, I planned to do an assessment to see how good I am in Mandarin (and to see if I could get into Mandarin II). As it turned out, Mandarin II is too difficult, but Mandarin I was far too easy. Essentially, it was a lame event. I ultimately decided to drop my language altogether and take a new class: Introduction to Philosophy of Religion. It was actually later that day, so that is where I went. The class was actually hard to find – I was adamant it didn’t exist for a while, but I eventually located it. People were murmuring about the reading and the questions. Yes folks, British people supposedly have assignments before the first day of class. Thankfully, the teacher, Christopher Hamilton, was like “Oh, you are international – you didn’t get my e-mail – you will be okay – I’ll e-mail you stuff” and I was like “Okay.” As it turns out, British people are also incredibly smart. Philosophy of Religion was incredibly intense and I tried to make a comment that my professor ripped to shreds (I secretly loved this; it was a challenge). That was the end of my day. I bumbled about a bit after that, but nothing else really happened. Oh, I also forgot to mention: my teacher looks like Simon Cowell. I think I win?
Tuesday (Today): I had another class today – Religion: Social and Political Contexts. It is a Sociology of Religion class and again, the British students were incredibly smart and again, my comment was defeated by my professor. I think this will be a recurring event. Alas. After that, I decided to do a bit of pilgrimaging. Erin Totten asked me to take some pictures of Methodist-y sites (there are two in London) and I was like “Sure.” The problem was finding them. The first, the one I went to today, was the Aldergate Flame – which is the symbol of Methodism. It was at the Museum of London which was near St. Paul. I went to St. Paul first, because I wanted to see it. 13 pounds out of my wallet, but it was pretty awesome. Not only was it incredibly elaborate, had a crypt, and I listened to a media tour, I also climbed to the tallest part of the gallery (sorry, no pictures of inside the chapel – they don’t allow it). Okay, so St. Paul has three galleries: the Whispering Gallery, which is set in the perimeter of the inner dome; the Stone Gallery, which takes you outside the dome; and the Golden Gallery, which takes you to a small ring at a higher point outside. It gives you some incredible pictures (which were allowed – I also took pictures of the outside of the building, see next blog!).
I then found the Museum of London (it wasn’t very far), took pictures of the Flame, and toured the Museum. It was interesting, but not that astounding, to be honest. I then decided to go to the Tate Modern Art Museum. Modern art is confusing to me, and I couldn’t take a lot of pictures there, but I did find two really cool pieces that I loved. The first is one of their most recent, promoted exhibits: Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds. As you will see in my next entry, it is massive. Not only that, but supposedly, each seed was individually made. There was some comment about how it isn’t supposed to have meaning, but the meaning you want to give it. I guess that is what art is all about (sort of lame, but whatever). Also there was some by Barnett Newman called “Adam” and “Eve.” I made videos of them so you can look at them.
Then I went back to school to listen to a seminar on political theology. Let me just tell you, I did not understand a single thing. Alas – I think I am doubting my intelligence.
Also included is a 30 second clip of the chapel choir singing. It is pretty awesome.
And that’s it. I have a meeting tomorrow with my study abroad adviser, and then Thursday, I have my last two classes. I’ll hopefully have more interesting things to say later and I will put up all the pictures tomorrow (I took a lot and it is getting really late, so I am going to sleep instead of try to fit them all on here; I promise, the next entry will just be pictures instead of my boring pseud0-drama!).
(Title comes from the 2001 musical “The Last Five Years.”)