The weekend after break I went to jolly old England’s capitol. The international branch Haverford’s alumni organization hosted a lecture and reception and invited current students who are studying abroad in Europe this semester. I used that as an excuse to go to London, which I wanted to visit anyway. Due to the impending Olympics there is a lot of construction on the public transport in London, so it took me almost three hours to get from Luton airport into London because of delays on the Overground, but eventually I found my way. The Haverford thing was nice- I learned quite a bit about Philip Noel-Baker, a Haverford alumnus who was both a Nobel Peace Prize winner and an Olympian, which I had not known before. After the reception I met up with my friend from home, Chelsea, her boyfriend Mark who was visiting, my friend from Haverford who is studying at Oxford this year, Matt, and his friend Carl. We tried to eat at The Sherlock Holmes, which is a pub themed after, you guessed it, Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately they were full- up so we found another pub, Hung, Drawn and Quartered which is themed after medieval torture methods… despite this gruesome background it was a great evening and I ate and English classic, Steak & ale pie. After dinner Chelsea and Mark showed me some of the popular sights at night so I took some great pictures. Sunday I met up with my friend from home, Mary, who is studying abroad in Dublin this semester but was in London on her spring break. We did touristy things all day- Big Ben, Covent Gardens market (fish & chips for lunch), a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, photo-op at Platform 9 and 3/4, and finally stroll around Soho and Chinatown. I loved the sights I saw in London, and it was great seeing my friends, but I realized that I am incredibly attached to Paris at this point. Getting off the plane and seeing signs in English and being surrounded by English was strange. I was expecting it to feel home-y and comforting, but instead it felt like I was somehow cheating. I think that part of it was that every time I read or hear something in French and understand it, it is a tiny victory for me in my head. Without those tiny victories every few minutes throughout the day, I felt reluctantly complacent. That’s not to say that figuring out London was not difficult. The truth is that even though they speak the same language Britain is still very much a different country, and London is a foreign city. It’s getting to the point that living in Paris is becoming more comfortable, and my French is progressing enough so that I do not fell completely lost all the time. Returning to CDG was vaguely home-coming-ish. However I’m sure that some embarrassing situation will befall me before long, reminding me that I am in fact an American and not to get cocky.
Me in front of Parliament at night
In front of my restaurant, you know
The Globe Theater
Authentic but fire-proofed thatch roof
Platform Nine and three-quarters (from Harry Potter [duh]) The Eye of London at night
Me in front of Westminster Abbey Winston!
Big Ben (which I learned is actually the name of the bell, not the tower)