Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Vamos A La Playa

"No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever."

What happens in Amsterdam...

...stays in Amsterdam.

Wow, my weekend was surreal! I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to go to another country while studying for the short amount of time I am in England. A weekend trip to Amsterdam was the perfect way to celebrate being half way finished! I know the next two weeks are seriously going to fly by, and while I am sad because I will miss all the great friends I made at Cambridge, I will be excited to start my junior year of college.

We hopped on a plane to Amsterdam (only took 40 minutes) Thursday afternoon and flew back Sunday night. It was the perfect amount of time to spend there. Celina Taryn and I went to places like: The Anne Frank House, The Heineken Factory, The Van Gogh Museum, a Canal Tour, an Amsterdam Festival, the Red Light District, and plenty and plenty of bars and clubs.

If you want to see pictures, since my wi-fi still won't allow me to upload media onto my blog posts, I am going to redirect you to my facebook album HERE

For all of you receiving my postcards I am so happy to write to you! If you want more just let me know!!! Missing all of you very much <3 xoxo

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday News Update

Hello all!

Sorry it has been such a long time since I have blogged, I am definitely not doing it every day any more and I really need to figure out a way to build it back into my routine. Unfortunately I have been having a lot of trouble uploading any media onto my blog with the wifi that I have in my room. That means that there won't be as many posted, but hopefully I can add them on facebook.

So here is an update of the happenings from this week:

- I was invited to attend the 90th annual Cambridge Garden Party Celebration! It was held Wednesday night, and as soon as we stepped off the coaches champagne was served and we had dinner in the salon of an old tudor mansion. Afterwards we went outside where there was a jazz band playing and we entertained ourselves with croquet on the lawn. Later we had some scrumptious dessert (chocolate moose cheese cake with home made cream and strawberries) and walked around the gardens of the hall, which were beautiful! The days here have been roughly in the mid 70's but at night it gets quite cool, so around 8pm I was freezing my butt and went home. I had a fantastic time though!

- I went PUNTING! Punting is a traditional leisure activity for students/tourists in the area of Cambridge and Oxford. Since the beautiful River Cam runs throughout the campus, it is a great way to see the other colleges within Cambridge, and the famous architectural bridges. Punting is similar, in my mind, to steering a gondola however there are no paddles just a large spear that sticks into the gravel of the river bed which you then use to thrust the boat forward. Once you do that you quickly gather up your spear and stick it in the ground over and over again. The spear is pretty heavy, and the boat can become quite unmanageable if your punter isn't very experienced. Because of this reason, for 16 pounds, we hired a punter :) (We'll see if we get brave enough to rent our own punt later in the month)

- I went to my first English Club (recommended by the aforementioned punter). That was quite an experience. There were four floors to the building and at the top was a open-roofed hawaii-themed bar and deck. We met some very interesting people there and danced a lot. The style of dancing in the UK is quite different from that you encounter in US college parties. No one is "grinding" or Skanking as my old high school called it... rather just having a good time dancing on your own or in close circles. It was actually really fun! We stayed out until 2:45am and that made waking up for Friday classes a little difficult. 

- I stayed in Cambridge this weekend. I have been thoroughly exhausted these past 3 weeks from traveling every couple of days, and so this was a great way for me to recharge. I slept in for the first time in what felt like forever, and it was glorious! The rest of the weekend was dedicated to exploring museums, shopping in the city centre and market place, eating at cute cafes, writing post cards, and reading for my classes.

- I started running again. I am addicted to that post-workout feeling and so I have started my running regiment again. There are beautiful paths all throughout the University, and because it doesn't get dark until 11pm I am able to do this fairly later in the day. It gives me a boost and allows me to get other work that I need to get done, completed. 

- Also, every day or night we have been sitting in on fantastic and inspiring lectures. The one tonight was on Cloning, stem cells, and cell replacement by Sir John Gurdon FRS FMedSci. The lecture went a bit over my head but it was still interesting none the less. At the end Sir John presented us with an ethical question and wanted to here the consensus of the students:
Question: Only child of parents is killed by accident six months after birth. Parents cannot have more children. Skin from deceased child is saved. Mother offers eggs for nuclear transfer from a cell of the dead child, and so could have a genetically identical twin of the dead child. Are you in favour, or against this procedure?
I won't tell you my answer, but 60% of the audience was against this procedure. How do you feel?

Sorry this post got a bit lengthy, I guess that is what happens when one attempts to cram a week's worth of activities into one post. I have been having a lot of fun though and am very excited about my next trip coming up... Amsterdam! I will be there Thursday-Sunday so let me know if you have any advice or comments about the city. We are going to tour where Anne Frank was in hiding, attend a free tour of the Heineken factory, travel the canals through Amsterdam, and visit the Vangoh museum. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Photos | Newnham College {Cambridge University}

Video tour of my room at Cambridge!

Hi everyone!

So I am sorry that this post has taken so long for me to finally wrap up. I was trying for a couple of hours yesterday to upload the video tour I did for my room here at Cambridge. For reasons unknown to me my camera (and my iphone) were not uploading onto my computer and Blogger was being unsupportive of my video when I finally did get it to upload. The wifi here is super spotty so that could be one of the issues that I am experiencing, but I honestly have no idea.

In addition to my room I thought I would share a little update about what I am doing at Cambridge right now. There are 153 people in the program I am in, and we all come from 32 different countries. I have made many friends already and they come from places like Hong Kong, Australia, Romania, Italy, Mexico, Honduras, and some people from the United States. I am very appreciative of how diverse the program is because at JMU we are not as lucky, so I am taking this opportunity to learn about everyone else's culture.

The courses that I am taking on the Tudors are fantastic. My professor is a brilliant historian with a British accent (duh) and so I find myself constantly leaning in because everything she has to say is so fascinating and it constantly feels like I am in the presence of someone who is being filmed for a documentary. I don't know any other way to describe it. She is so intelligent and knowledgable about the subjects that it is very inspiring just to hear her lecture. There are about 8 students in my Tudor Kings course and 15 girls (no boys!) in my Tudor Queens course. Also, in addition to those, we have a Plenary lecture course every single day either at 10:30am or 8:00pm where a different guest lectures us in a large hall. Lectures range from past prime ministers to mathematicians to heart surgeons to nobel prize winners. Today's lecture was on the future of education and I found it very appropriate for my own personal disciplinary study.

The weather here has continued to be in the mid 70's and sunny so this weekend I think I am going to try and go punting on the River Cam which runs through campus. It is a very popular activity among local students and tourists and I just have to check it off my list before I go home.
It is crazy to think that I am 1/3rd way through my time here in the UK. A couple of friends are trying to get together a trip to Paris on our 4 day weekend but Florence and Barcelona are also on the table.

I am having a great time here but I will be happy to come home too and start up with my practicum classes. I miss you all and hope that everyone is having a great summer!


PS: If you do wish to receive a post card like I mentioned just facebook message me your address and I will try and send one out to you within the week.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hampton Court Palace

Day 11


...unfortunately that would probably be annoying to read so I'll attempt to be normal. (Just know that this day was the bomb dot com and made the entire trip for me!!!)

Hampton Court Palace is exquisit, enormous, and so astonishingly beautiful. It took four hours to just tour a fraction of the chambers, but I was like a kid in a candy shop.

In the castle I was able to step back in time and relive some of the extraordinary moments in the life of Henry VIII. I was able to walk through an exhibit dedicated to Young Henry, marvel at the grandeur of the rooms such as the Great Hall and the Great Watching Chamber, explore the fascinating and practical side of royal life in Henry's enormous kitchens (even SMELL the boiling beef from centuries ago), and relax in the 60 acres of beautiful gardens that rivaled those of Versailles. 

If you don't already know, the classes I am taking at Cambridge are entirely on the Tudor dynasty and I have been reading about and watching shows on King Henry VIII since I was in middle school. He is by far my favorite monarch ever, his life was SO interesting (and scandalous) and after reading books and books and studying about him, bringing the past back to life and walking in his own home made this palace better than Disney World. Somebody pinch me!

Oh my goodness... I was giddy when I saw a live actor playing King Henry VIII that I chased him down the hall and asked to take a picture with him. I am unsure who his council is (I honestly didn't ask I was so awestruck)

I think the actor did a pretty good job looking the part. Here is a salvaged picture of the real King Henry. 


look how old this tree is!! just look!!!

Happy Happy Happy

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I was without wifi for the last 48 hours but now I will definitely have it back during the nights at least. I miss everyone so much!!!

MEOW (That is for you Danielle)