Today was another simple, relaxing day. I slept in again, until 11:00 this time, and after lunch Brianna and I went for a walk into Harlaxton Village. The Village is really cute and the elementary school isn't too far down the road from us. The little school is just adorable. Well, the building doesn't look like much, but they have this totem pole outside by the entrance of their mascot. A squirrel!! And a very cute squirrel at that. Brianna and I got a picture with it, too.
Today was rather boring. There are only a few people left in the Manor because everyone else has gone to Scotland. However, it is nice to be able to sleep in. This morning I slept until 10:00 and it was heavenly. I did a bit of math homework, and after dinner played Apples to Apples down in the Junior Common Room for a little while and then watched random British TV shows until the wee hours of the morning.
Today was the field trip to Lincoln where went on a Roman walk around the town, saw a Norman castle, and a Norman Cathedral. Lincoln started out as a Roman garrison for retired soldiers, so there are ruins all around the city. Then, in 1066 the Normans conquered England and built their mort and bailey castle here, which was updated some time later to become a trial house that is still in session today. The Normans also built most of Lincoln Cathedral, which was later updated with the Gothic style. The field trip was very interesting, but it was freezing cold – never got above maybe 3° C (around 34° F) all day. Plus, it was rainy and windy. I also bought some truffles with Kendra and Carly. Including, chili truffles, and, oh my God, those things are good! In fact, they're a bit addictive.
I went to Mass for the first time since the last Sunday of Advent this past weekend. The church in Grantham is small and there's not as much music as I'm used to back in the States (they don't sing the Responsorial Psalm or the all of the Mass parts), but it was still a nice service. And, I was able to receive the Eucharist. Finally! I plan on going back this weekend.
The biggest thing that happened this week was planning a trip for April with Carly, Abby, and Shannon. The weekend before our last week of classes we will be traveling south for a while--as in south on continental Europe. We're going to Barcelona!! Needless to say, I'm pretty excited. Technically, this trip will be the first one I've planned on my own, the first of many, hopefully. We don't have all of the details worked out yet, but we're doing that Monday after dinner. Everything around here happens after dinner.
This weekend is a little dull since most of the school is on the trip to Edinburgh in Scotland. But, hey, I kind of need the down time.
Next weekend is both Jiffy and Abby's birthdays, so we'll celebrate those somehow. Some of us are thinking about a pub, but I know that that wouldn't work well for all of us, so we'll see what happens.
Well, today marks the end of my third week in England. This means that there are only 11 weekends left. It's too short!! Yet, at the same time, it still seems so far away!
Anyway, here's the happenings of this past week, well, actually it's more like two weeks because I haven't updated since the London trip!
The past two weeks have consisted on many late nights due to both homework and socializing. I've watched several movies with friends because it's one of the few things to do at the Manor besides going down to the Bistro for some drinks, which I haven't really done, unless it's to get something non-alcoholic. Like hot chocolate. Which comes in a really awesome mug.
Since I'm in an English novel class, I've been doing a lot of reading for it, as well as for my British Studies course, which is a 6 credit hour history class. We recently finished Robinson Crusoe, which I didn’t enjoy too much, and started Pamela. Actually, we're supposed to be done with Pamela by Monday, and I'm really far behind on my reading, so this weekend is catch-up time.
The afternoon, for those back in the States, of Obama's Inauguration was actually evening over here, so the TVs in the Junior Common Room and the Bistro were blazing, and our choir teacher told us to come back when it was over, so I got to see him inaugurated. Quite an amazing event. The first black president. That's progress.
As for choir, I absolutely love it. Sally Brown, our director, is a very fun person. She's always full of energy and it always seems as though she's happy. The polka-dot coat she wore to Lincoln totally fits her. On the British Studies field trip to Lincoln, we had some "guerrilla" singing. Meaning we surprised the pastor at the Lincoln Cathedral (Protestant) with three songs that we'd only practiced as a group twice. One was a Viking rowing song called "Vem Kan Seigla," a second was a Middle English/Latin song that I don't think actually has a name, and the third was a Round Dance song in Latin that was actually allowed to be sung in Churches. Now we've moved on to learning a song that Henry VIII wrote. The top part, which I'm in, is a bit complicated and I love the challenge.
In the middle of the week I had the unpleasant wake-up call from a fire alarm. I never want my sleep interrupted by one of those things again. Of course, the students living down in the Carriage House ended up having two drills. One at 1:00 AM and then the one at 7:00. Still, it wasn't a pleasant morning.
Oh, my Gosh! Harlaxton is absolutely gorgeous! Honestly, the photographs that I'd looked at so many time before coming here (and indeed the ones I have taken) cannot do it justice! There are many times when I'm walking from class to class or trekking around the grounds that it suddenly amazes me that I'm actually here. In many ways the semester almost feels surreal. I wonder if it will be like this throughout the whole semester or if at some point things will seem much more concrete.
A lot has been happening these past two weeks. The second evening after we arrived, we had an elegant dinner with all of the faculty in the Long Gallery, which is the largest room in the manor. It's also where we have all of our British Studies lectures. The next event we had was a Ceillidh (pronounced Kay-lee). During the Ceillidh, we learned many traditional dances of the British Isles. We learned a polka, and several Irish and Scottish dances (the one we learned from Scotland was most certainly the most difficult one). The band was live and the dancing was great, which made for a wonderfully fun evening. Then, this past weekend, was the college trip to London.
We left for London at 8:45 on Friday morning and arrived around 12:30 and took a coach (bus) tour around the city. Then, a group of eight of us wandered around for a couple of hours before deciding to split into two smaller groups after dinner to go to a pub. The group I was with decided we would prefer to go to a coffee house, and we were going to try one of the actual British ones, except we weren't exactly sure what we would order and therefore decided to go to Starbucks (which was okay because we were basically the only Americans there). Saturday was spent being a tourist during the day and seeing a comedy/mystery called The 39 Steps in the evening. The show was great and all of us enjoyed it. Sunday, was the college tour of Hampton Court Palace, which would have been great, except that many of us were done with being tourists for the weekend and it was cold and windy. Not exactly the greatest weather conditions for touring an old castle.
Other than those events, I've had plenty of homework and I've started my work study in the library (which is very dull and I use it more for homework time than anything else).
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