Okay, before I start. I have lots of pictures to show you all. I know. I just keep forgetting to put them on my computer. I will put them up, I promise! But you will just have to deal with my paltry, less-interesting typographical symbols. 😦
Anyway, this belated post will discuss my birthday, for the most part. Everything else is cool (first coursework finished for Introduction to Philosophy of Religion, although I am not sure I did well and I am pretty sure they wanted me to do references in Harvard – but this was never mentioned to me!) and I have been accumulating books. My scholarship money finally transferred into my bank account, so now I have money to do things and live and be happy. Religion: the Social and Political Context is growing to be really interesting, and it along with German Gender Politics and Confucian Ethics are my favourite classes (although Confucian Ethics is somewhat getting lower on this scale; I like the readings more than the actual class).
But yes, to more important things. On February 26th, I turned 21. My day was not with much fanfare, I usually do not like celebrating my birthdays big anyway. My Facebook was lambasted by birthday wishes and everything nice. My parents sent me two cards and the day was rather nice. I decided prior to my birthday that I would participate in a IFSA-Butler sponsored trip to Warwick Castle and Stratford-upon-Avon. I thought it would be really good to get out of London (something which I have been somewhat dying to do and cannot wait to do more of). I had to go to the IFSA-Butler office in Pembridge Gardens (which is pretty far from where I live, by the way) and we took a two hour bus ride to Warwick.
Warwick Castle was really interesting, or at least, the actual castle was. It was a tourist attraction no doubt, and it was pretty commercialised. They had people dressed up in “authentic” century dress and little Sword in the Stone booth. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the show they put on; perhaps it was because I have been to many a Renaissance Fair in my time and that sort of distorted my feelings. I was able to climb the ramparts and the towers and venture into the Great Hall where they displayed some artifacts that were left behind. Warwick Castle grounds consisted of a falconry area and a peacock garden; the falconry part was particularly cool, because they put on a show where they showed off the birds (there was this one bird, a sea eagle, that was incredibly massive and almost tore of people’s heads – it was brilliant). Little did I know, I could have left the Castle and explored Warwick in general. I wish I did, because nearby was St. Mary’s (formally the Collegiate Church of St. Mary), which looked particularly amazing.
After Warwick, we took a 30 minute drive to Stratford-upon-Avon, most popularly known as William Shakespeare’s birthplace. Honestly, Stratford-upon-Avon was the most idyllic, peaceful places I have ever seen. The tourist traffic was limited to largely one area (Shakespeare’s house) and the town was just lovely; it possessed a river cutting it down that had boats to take you back to London (water taxis!), a massive park, statues from the play Hamlet, a lovely church where Shakespeare was buried, and just a bunch of nice, modern things that made the place really shine. I enjoyed myself there, even if I did not do a lot of active things; I more or less just loitered and relaxed at the park. I bought a tiny souvenir for a friend and snapped some pictures of the Shakespeare-y stuff. All and all, it was a good day.
(Title comes from the play entitled “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” credited to William Shakespeare.)