Fish&Chips and Steak&Ale

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.

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Me in front of Parliament at night

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In front of my restaurant, you know

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The Globe Theater

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Authentic but fire-proofed thatch roof

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Platform Nine and three-quarters (from Harry Potter [duh])                    The Eye of London at night

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Me in front of Westminster Abbey                              Winston!

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Big Ben (which I learned is actually the name of the bell, not the tower)

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Vienna waits

At the end of my visit to Austria I toured around Vienna for the day.  What a beautiful city! And quite different from Paris.  I came across a sort of winter-time festival in front of the city hall- there was a giant ice skating rink, with paths of ice leading off from it like an ice maze.  Beats Rockefeller Center! I was lucky because it was the last day it was going to be there.  Being in Vinna and just getting a taste of the city made me realize how much I have left to do and see in Paris. I managed to make it through the day on my meager German, which is quite an accomplishment, I think.  Here’s some pictures!

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Fields and Frauleins

Wow it has been quite a while since my last entry! So sorry to anyone who’s been checking back. Last time I updated, I was about to leave for a week in Austria visiting my cousins.  Well, I did just that and had a lovely time of it.  My cousin Anna just had a baby a month and a half ago, named Benjamin Michael.  He makes the cutest sounds, and I can tell already that he is a music-lover – he fell asleep to me playing the piano more than once.  It was strange hearing German spoken everyday- at first it was ridiculously foreign-sounding, but by the end of the week I was understanding more, just in time to leave.  Anna’s grandmother came to visit for her birthday luncheon, and asked “Does this fraulein speak German?” (in German) which was pretty much the only thing I understood in the whole conversation we had (more or less) and it struck me that the English equivalent of fraulein (mademoiselle in French), ‘miss’, is underutilized.  Ma’am is awkward, especially when addressing a 20-year-old, and I’ve never understood why some people think that it is patronizing.  Any form of address can be patronizing or not, it just depends on the tone of the speaker.  Anyway, I had plenty of rambling walks in the fields around Kleedorf, the tiny village that my cousins live in.  Although less than an hour away from Vienna, it is a completely different world. Here are some highlights of the many pictures I took:

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Me with baby Benjamin                                                                 Anna and the baby carriage

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Landscapes have a language of their own, expressing the soul of the things, lofty or humble, which constitute them, from the mighty peaks to the smallest of the tiny flowers hidden in the meadow’s grass.

-Unknown