The Final Week of Term Re-Cap Edition

So yeah, I’ve been catching quite a bit of flak for my sporadic posting lately.  My apologies, but brilliance like this can’t be rushed.

The last week of term has been a good one.  My classes are all done (as of Thursday), so we’re just wrapping things up (and partying) and getting ready to head home for the extended holidays.  Some notes from the week that was…

-  First off, as you might have heard in the news…England’s been under a big freeze for the past week or so.  Precipitation wise it hasn’t been too bad here, but the temperatures have been cold and we have had at least some snow.  These pictures represent pretty much the worst of it…

-  Sunday (aka the day after the infamous ‘Bond Night’) I was feeling a bit antsy as my PhD applications were coming due on Tuesday and there really wasn’t much more I could do with them.  Plus, it seems like I’m much less eager to sit around the house over here (generally my favorite pastime at home).  Michelle attributes this change, rather cynically in my opinion, to our not having a tv…might be true.  Anyway, we braved the cold weather and took a nice stroll through a walking/biking park I discovered a few days before.  Then we warmed up with a nice coffee (imitating Mikael Blomqvist…if you’re familiar with the Millennium trilogy you’ll find this reference hilarious…otherwise just move on) before heading over to check out The Girl that Kicked the Hornet’s Nest at the local cinema. Pretty solid movie…plus it’s in Swedish, so we felt highly cultured after watching it.  Some observations about the movie experience in the UK.  In addition to previews, the theatres here like to show a lengthy series of often awkward and confusing advertisements before the movie starts.  Plus, they sometimes slip in an “animated short” film. I can’t think of an artistic genre that is any more pointless and useless than animated short films.  There…I know we all think it, but I was bold enough to say it.  All in all, it was a good day.

-  Monday was pretty boring.  I had class most of the day and after introducing Michelle to some more of my classmates at a local pub (aka my second home) we went home and I cooked a brilliant dinner.  Par for the course.

-  Tuesday was all about submitting my PhD proposals.  It went off pretty much without a hitch.  Then it was all about the celebration…because submitting an application that may or may not be accepted is ample cause for celebration!  Michelle, my best development studies bud (and mortal enemy in the PhD competition), and I hit up the outdoor ice rink for a little skating action.  To be perfectly honest, considering this was literally my first time on ice skates…I was pretty darn brilliant.  After taking a few minutes to get my legs under me, I was gliding around the ice with ferocious speed and agility.  I’m not entirely sure, but I think I heard several people comment…as I whisked past them…something like, “is that guy a combination of Apollo Anton Ohno, Shani Davis, and Brian Boitano or what?”  Not to say that there weren’t other more polished skaters on the ice, but I think most of the good ones were Russian…which doesn’t really count as they are pretty much born with skates on (or something).  Oh yeah, and Michelle and our friend were quite awesome as well.  Elegant is how I would describe them.  However, by far the best part of the evening was the one man…probably in his mid-20’s, that was literally the worst ice skater in the history of ice skating.  I can say without exaggeration that he fell at least every 2 or 3 steps.  In fact, I was pretty baffled at his performance…as I didn’t think anyone could possibly fall down that much without trying.  After we finished, he and his group were exiting the facility right in front of us.  There was a small metal ramp leading down from the building onto the sidewalk…I was almost certain he was going to wipe out on the ramp.   Alas, he managed to negotiate it without event.  We all gave him a nice round of applause. 

Of course, the night wasn’t done there as there was much celebration yet to be had.  Next we headed to The Bath House (just to clarify…that’s the name of a pub, not the San Francisco variety).  We all enjoyed our drinks of choice (tap water for me…hard liquor for the ladies) and scarfed down some greasy bar food.  It was actually quite good…I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality of veggie burgers served in Cambridge pubs…who would’ve thought?

-  The highlight of Wednesday was the Development Studies International Food Party and some serious after party pub action.  The idea behind the party was that everyone was to bring some type of food or drink from their native land.  Michelle made brownies for us to bring (obviously).  I really can’t rave about the food, but it was a nice time overall.  If you want to get an idea of what my class looks like, the picture below is probably about 2/3 of the students.  I’m right behind the pole.  Afterwards, we headed out to The Anchor pub…where I sat by myself a lot and everyone else socialized (which actually suited me just fine).  Then we shifted over to the bar at Darwin College.  The best part about this facility was the ping-pong table.  I got to dominate…which is always nice.  Otherwise, I wasn’t too impressed.  I’m glad we’re at Churchill, much more chill and uncrowded. 

-  Thursday turned out to be pretty darn boring.  It was my last day of classes.  First lecture of the day was solid, but the nightcap was a bit sleep-inducing.  The guest lecturer maintained a solid 12 word per minute speaking pace and dropped in some solid anti-Turkey jokes that went over big with the crowd. On the plus side, I managed to exchange about 6 emails with Michelle during the class.  In one of them I learned that Billie Joe was coming back to Broadway to reprise his role in American Idiot…yes, my heart did flutter just a bit.

-  Friday was just insane…no other way to put it.  In honor of my new found freedom on the first day of term break, we maneuvered down to the Cambridge equivalent of Qdoba (Nanna Mexico) and slaughtered some burritos.  Later on we served as guests at the beautiful Hughes Hall end of term party and slaughtered some mulled wine.  Then it was ice skating again…where Michelle and I dominated until Michelle got taken out from behind by another skater on the very last lap, of course I had to take out the little girl that did it, there was no other choice…and a nightcap at Bangkok Thai with our quirky, OCD waitress.  That’s how you do Cambridge!

-  Today we slept till noon, which isn’t great because it means there’s only about 3.5 hours of daylight left when you get up.  I’m planning to watch UCF dominate the CUSA championship game later…to get me ready to slide back into my regular life when we get home.  Cheers!