I never thought the day would come when I'd go to McDonald's on a regular basis to meet my nutritional needs. But here it is. I've gone more times than I can count this study abroad. I can't help it. It's cheap. It's delicious. It tastes like America. Most importantly, it is satisfying. I go there not because I am hungry, but seems to be the only meal these days that leaves me feeling satisfied. Does my body really just need a good 99 pence cheeseburger in its system? Maybe. All I know is that those golden arches bring me happiness.
Luckily, I only have 2 more weeks in London (which is sad) but it means not much time left to gain huge amounts of weight. So... I may not do anything to kick this McDonald's habit.
One random tid bit conclusion I have come to: I don't like the crust on my sandwiches. I love cheeseburgers because they don't have a crust.
I also want to give a shout out to BK for a delicious chicken sandwich I had today. I judged you too soon.
Out of all the things I loved about Rome, the food I think wins. I guess this isn't too surprising, good food holds an important place in my life. But nonetheless, I am now a thin crust pizza fan. I am also, like many others before me, a Gelato Convert.
Don't get me wrong, I will always be a loyal UDF and Graeter's customer. But I mean come on, how do you compete with real gelato?
We got gelato at least twice a day, sometimes three times. The best place we found was Giolitti. I find it hard to believe you could beat my combination: Strawberry, Chocolate, and Hazelnut. I don't even usually pick fruity flavors, but this strawberry tasted like you were eating strawberries. I don't know how else to describe it. The cream on top makes it.
I asked for a medium, I promise. The first time I went in I got a small in a cup. This was to be my last gelato in Rome so I had to go all out. The guy at the counter, who had served me the day before, had told me a cone was better when I got a cup. So I went with the chocolate dipped cone the second time around. He was right. It was better.
Hm. I knew I couldn't keep the frequent blogging up for long. Oh well.
The last few weeks have been great, as expected.
I loved the trip to scotland and northern england! Both
places were beautiful. I have never enjoyed hiking so much. With all the moving from hostel to hostel, it felt like camping. None of us seemed to bring enough clothes, so after the first 3 days we were all wearing dirty clothes that still smelled like the first hostel. But it was great. I kind of like getting to just go grunge because that is your only
option. Kind of like when I rocked the off-the-plane look my first few days in london. It's like most days you have the responsibility to actually "get ready" because you can, so it felt freeing to not feel that pressure.
One of my happiest moments from the trip was driving through the english countryside after visiting Chatsworth
(also known as pemberley) while watching Pride and Prejudice on the bus. It was pure bliss.
As fun as that trip was, it was nice to get back home to the London centre. Every day here is a new adventure, but not stressful. We have classes in the morning then usually the rest of the day to explore. Sometimes homework is thrown in there. Sometimes.
We've gone paddle boating,
been to Cambridge (and went punting on the river!)
visited more museums,
toured St. Paul's cathedral (the stairs from Harry Potter!),
Hung out with Taylor Lautner at the abduction premiere,
walked through Kew Gardens,
had some church activities,
seen "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Globe theatre,
toured Buckingham Palace (and seen Kate's dress!),
and have had delicious mexican food (where we were also brought 6 glasses of tequila, even after explaining that we don't drink,
and a free dessert platter for Fran's birthday (which is in october, but close enough...) even though we had already downed one. When we ordered the first platter, we asked the waiter if it would be enough for all of us and he replied, "I hope so." Well it wasn't.
It took us 3 minutes to eat the first platter, and 3 minutes to sing happy birthday and eat the second one. It was a great night.
I've become even more obsessed with food than I was before. This isn't good. Something is going to need to change. I don't really know how to explain it, because it isn't like the food here is really better than America. I think that is the problem. It is harder to find good food that doesn't cost too much, so we have become obsessed with finding it. Sadly McDonalds has become something close to a staple in our diets.
I need to exercise more. I wish zumba wasn't so expensive.
Arianna is getting bangs tomorrow. We are pumped for her.
This past week or so has been a lot of settling in, even moments of missing America, but it has been great. I mean how could life not be great when you are living and learning in London with a great group of people? I was going to say great group of girls, but my two directors, John and Peter, are great as well.
Our assignments have been walking around London and going to museums, with a little bit of sketching and writing thrown in there. I am sure the balance will switch more to the sketching and writing sooner or later, but for now I am enjoying the way it is.
We shop on Oxford Street (mainly at Primark, we're already needing a break from that store).
We take the tube.
We ride the bus.
We go to Portabello Market.
We tour the Tour of London We see Musicals (Legally Blonde!)
We visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery, the British Museum, and the Tate Museum of Modern Art.
We eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday, with a mystery meal for dinner.
We go out at night, laugh, get yelled at, and fulfill our role as loud americans most of the time.
What I am most amazed about is how much I have enjoyed the museums. My whole life before this I'd do just about anything before I spend hours in a museum. I am shocked a the speed and extent that this has changed.
My first day here, I got to the centre, dropped off my bags, changed my shirt, then headed out with Peter to go to the Victoria and Albert museum. We walked through Hyde Park to get there, so it was fun having my own personal little tour, even if I was only half awake. He dropped me off at the museum and told me to meet back in the front at 3:30, the other girls should be there then too. So after getting myself a chocolate croissant at the cafe, I wandered. And I loved it. True, I couldn't let myself sit for too long or else I'd fall asleep, but that wasn't the museum's fault. I love walking through a museum by myself, getting to spend as much or as little time on something as I want.
The National Gallery was next on the list. We had to pick a painting to sit in front of for 30 minutes then write a paper on it. I chose "Dido Rebuilding Carthage," probably because I kind
of knew what it was actually about, but also because I thought it was beautiful. So many of the paintings I found myself wanting to sit in front of. The biggest realization I had here was how much better these paintings are in real life. I had seen some in my humanities class before on a powerpoint, but real life is a different ball game.
The Tate was fantastic. This is again coming from someone who thinks most modern art is ridiculous because it looks like a child could do it. But, this is where my great professors come in. Peter walked through one of the exhibits with us, and I experienced something with modern art I still can't explain. All I know is, there is more to it than I thought. I actually really like some of it. One thing I still struggle with though is who decides what is art? It bothers me that someone with a big name could paint a line on a page and put it in a museum, and that is fine, I can come to see how it could be art. The problem is what if I drew a line on a piece of paper? Would they put it in a museum? No. I'm sure i'll come to terms with this eventually.
We went to the British Museum yesterday. The highlights were the Rosetta Stone and a private viewing of sketches from a ton of famous artists. Incredible, like early sketches of Adam in the Sistine Chapel, and Van Gogh and Rembrandt and other people . What amazed me the most about them is the time and patience they would take, and how different a sketch looks from 4 inches away vs. 4 feet away. When you get up close you realize they really are just a bunch of lines. It is so cool.
I am trying to tame the shopping impulse, I am trying to just take it one item at a time and so far I think I am doing alright (considering there have been some essentials that I just have to get, and that list isn't quite finished. I'm still holding out for the right slippers).
The girls here are great. I feel lucky to be here the same time as them! We even celebrated Arianna's 21st birthday! It was a party. Life is good.