Sunday, September 13, 2009
Hello long lost loved ones!
Apologies for the lack of blogging. Surprisingly, I am finding being stationary to be much more jam packed than traveling every few days. I don't know why, but most likely it is attributed to the hordes of field trips, new people, and social events associated with familiarizing yourself with a new lifestyle.
And let me say: it is a lifestyle I ADORE! England is amazing. Finding myself totally enthralled by a place and culture I was (to put it mildly) not as excited about as other more stereotypically exotic endeavors, is a welcomed surprise. I love when life throws you off your feet a bit. And that is definitely what has happened. I am absurdly pleased with the quaint Englishness that inundates daily life, and most that is associated with it.
I guess I should start off with the basics, and move on, with far less detail or poetry than I'd like, to some of the things that have taken place. I arrived in Brighton on the 4th, after taking one of the most anxiety filled train rides possible (due to the nerves of being thrown into an uncontrollable circumstance). Brighton itself is far from any place I've lived before. A beach town, speckled with unique characters, tourists, business people, and students, all sandwiched between the South Downs. The South Downs are basically a series of rolling, verdant hills that stretch across the south of England. My first impression was: wait...am I am Ireland? Because that is exactly how they appeared to my foreigner eye. The University is situated outside of Brighton, teetering elegantly along the edges of the Downs. In my opinion, it has it all: hike-able nature(a serious requirement for my general happiness), the ocean, and a cultural mecca for nightlife and art.
Currently I am part of the Sussex in September program, which is comprised of about 70 international students from all over the world (unfortunately a few more Americans than is personally palatable). I am enrolled in an Introduction to Archaeology course for this month, and then will begin a slew of brain related courses come October. It is nice to be able to 1. totally immerse myself in one subject area and 2. unveil a new passion. I LOVE OLD THINGS and the people who made them. Hahaha.
This course in particular has been fantastically helpful in allowing me to get familiar with the surrounding Sussex area,in terms of learning about its ancient people, its geology, and (most importantly) getting out and actually seeing them. A major component of the class is to visit archeological digs/ruins and learn about their history. We most recently went to Lewes Castle (where I got to dress up like a princess and sashay around the castle) and a Roman Villa. The Roman Villa was BY FAR the neatest thing that has happened yet in my educational career. It was hands on learning to an extreme! Since the Roman Villa was currently under excavation and not open to the general public, we got an up close and personal tour of how things actually work. We got to step right down into the ancient roman baths, where you could still see black soot from the fires that heated the water and walk around, poking and prodding at 3,000 year old items. It blew my mind. I think I was squealing with joy for about an hour straight. Being given an ancient red tile, where I could still see the finger prints and where someone has dragged a bone across the wet mortar to make lines, pushed me from glee to totally geeky ecstasy.
We then walked, tile in hand and smile still obnoxiously large, to a Roman road that was also under excavation and then the camp site where the archeologist live. Inside a burlap tent were all of the findings that the crew had unearthed, of which we had full freedom to peruse. The table included bins and bins of old pottery, tiles, and stones, as well as a human body and hand made coins. It was like a childish desire of being able to sneak into a museum at night and examine up close the details of the things, fulfilled.
Okay. Now on to an even more (at least in my literary geekhood) exciting trip: There is another group of international students studying in the adjacent house to where all of the Sussex in September program students are, who are taking an English language course right now. Annnnd....being a typically Kelly move, I somehow found myself being (the only one from the Sussex in September group) invited to come along to a fully paid tour around Sussex, including bohemian churches, massive mountain side fertility gods, the Cliffs of Dover, a traditional pub meal and most importantly VIRGINIA WOOLF'S HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!! I know, I know. I am totally a typically irritating fan. But Virginia Woolf is by far (along side Kahlil Gibran) my favorite author in the entire world. Sitting in her rose garden, petting a kitten, I found myself beyond ecstatic. We got to walk around her house, bedroom, and her summer writing room where she wrote many a' famous books. The energy there made me inspired.
Yesterday we went to Stonehenge and Bath. Both of which were jaw dropping. Although I enjoyed the mystic of Stonehenge, I was surprised to find out that Bath was the highlight of the day. The concept of being able to sit aside healing thermal waters worshiped for thousands of years, was magnetic.
Okay...there about nine thousand (to be exact) things I would love to write, but I am afraid it is near impossible to do so. Time is of the essence, and trying to capture it all here would take me years. But just about every minute is soaked with castles, night clubs, dancing, new people, and unique experiences. I certainly will treasure these times.
Also, I am planning on getting up some pictures on facebook from the past few weeks, so please check those out.
LOVE to all and hopefully more updates soon. If I tackles these in smaller chunks of times, it is much easier to encompass everything I want to. :)