October 19, 2008

October 19, 2008

Just sending you another update about London adventures. I realized it's generally a bad idea for me to try to write email updates on weeks when I have columns due because that's just a lot of work on top of my school work to knock off my list.

This past week has been pretty fun, followed by pretty dull. On Monday, I went to see Wicked in the West End. I know I've already seen it in Cleveland, but it was so good! It was also rather strange to hear it in a British accent. It really was a very different show with a British cast than with an American cast, and I definitely had an amazing time. We went out for drinks afterwards and got to know the bus routes in our area a little better. Apparently bus drivers here are a little insane--they'll just stop in the middle of their route and force everyone off the bus for no discernible reason. I was a little peeved because then that's an extra 90p you have to pay for the next bus. So obnoxious! However, I finally got my monthly bus pass so I felt a little invincible after that.

I also learned how to use the interlibrary system here. The way the classes work here, they usually assign you a reading list that can have close to a hundred books (or more than a hundred books, in one of my classes) on it and sometimes they tell you which ones they need per week. Therefore, no one can really afford to buy books, so you have to get them from the library. Still, 6 copies of a book for a course with 60ish people (one of my smaller classes) is hardly enough. I had a presentation on Agricultural Exports in Russia and had to go all the way to the UCL library to find a copy of it, an hour long journey by the time I figured it out (30 minutes bus, plus 30 minutes walking.)

Other events this week included discovering a club right by my dorm! We live off the South Bank and most of the nightlife is north of the river, so it was really exciting. It's insane how much British girls dress up here. Most of my classmates carry their books in designer bags (or really good knock offs) and walk around in heels. It makes me miss the American culture, where hoodies and sweatpants are most acceptable.

We also stayed up late to watch the last Presidential debates, which were highly entertaining. I think it's a lot of fun to watch them with British students because their opinions on the debates are really fascinating. They became righteously indignant when McCain ragged on the NHS, and in some cases, they cannot even comprehend the concepts that both candidates harp upon. For example, I'm sure we all thought the "Joe the Plumber" comments were rather absurd, but the Brits couldn't understand why McCain cared so much about this dude named Joe, or why they kept talking about the "common people."

Anyways, my adventures for this week were sadly cut short by a terrible case of "Fresher's Flu." Therefore, this weekend's plans fell through and instead of going out, we stayed in and watched The X Factor, our new favorite British reality show. It's kind of like American Idol but sooo much better. This week, GirlBand got kicked off, thank goodness. It's sad how invested we are in this quite terrible television shows!

Tomorrow I have my first radio show! Please, please PLEASE listen at www.pulse.dj, 12:30pm-2pm EDT, 5:30-7...whatever time zone London is on, which is GMT I think. If you have any music requests, please email me! We're starting off with Dvorak's New World Symphony, since my co-host and I are both Americans. I'm really excited, but also really nervous seeing as I sound like a man at the moment, so don't be too worried if you only hear male voices. That might just be me!

Hope all you Case-ers are having a fantastic Fall Break, and non-Casers having a fabulous Fall! Keep in touch, yo!

Love, kisses, so many misses,
Ruchi

October 13, 2008

Oct 13, 2008

Hi all!

So here's a [hopefully] quick little update on what I've been up to so far during my London adventures! Some of it may be repetitive, so for that, I do apologize.

In the last two weeks, we've mostly been getting to know the area and exploring a little bit. For example, there's a youth hostel down the road, right in front of the General Practitioner, etc. We're also quite close to the Borough Market, which is the oldest market in London and has only sells food. They have some really great fruits and vegetables and it's really neat to look around there. My walk to school is also absolutely beautiful! However, seeing as it's about 40 minutes long, generally we take the bus. Still, it's really nice, at the end of the a long day, to cross the Waterloo bridge and get a fantastic view of the Houses of Parliament on one side, and St. Paul's Cathedral on the other.

Classes have also started as well. Three of my four classes are really interesting and I really like them. So far, Finance, History of Economics: How theories change, and Modernity and the State: Comparative History of China, Japan and Korea have proved to be fantastic. Unfortunately, the third course, Comparative Late Industrialization in Russia, India, and Japan, not as much. Still, even the lecturers and the professors have admitted that this class can be a little dry and boring, so I'm going to keep going with this one and see how it turns out. Hopefully it'll start to pick up once I can actually get a hold of the reading materials!

This past weekend, we took our first trip out of the London borders to Woking. Actually, I stayed in a small village outside of Woking called Chertsey. It was a tiny little town, its only claim to fame is being the setting for the book and original movie War of the Worlds, indicated by an alien statue in the town's center. To entertain us, our host families took us to Windsor Castle and let us spend the day exploring Windsor and Eton. Unfortunately, we did not run into any Princes or any such notorious pupils at the Eton College, but the town was beautiful and really nice to see.

Also, British reality television is much better than American reality. Hands down!

My other exciting news is that I'm going to be a DJ for a show on LSE radio! I'm in charge of classical music hour, with a co-host (who I have yet to meet) and should be on Mondays, from 5:30-7 London time, so that's 12:30-2 EDT. If you want to hear me play classical music and make an absolute idiot of myself, listen online at www.pulse.dj starting next Monday! I do also take requests, so PLEASE send me something you want to hear or I'll feel totally silly and un-listened to :D.

My schedule is a little weekend heavy, but it's nice because that way I have Mondays off! Unfortunately, tomorrow starts my long days of studying and thus I should probably be going to be soon. As always, pictures are on Facebook, and I'm always on Skype!

Hope all is well in the states (minus the financial world, of course)! Everyone's really excited about the election here, I can't imagine how exciting it must be back home!

Cheers,
Ruchi