The Theater Department at Skidmore is one of my favorite things about this place so far. Everyone is insanely friendly and the talent here is unbelievable. Every so often you encounter a place where you know you belong, that’s what the theater here is like for me. I have a very good feeling that I’m going to learn such an incredible amount from the faculty, students, and guests that come here. This Sunday is the first senior workshop “Aliens” and I hope any of you that can come will! The show that I’m in, “After” will be going up at the end of March and rehearsals start near the end of this month. Come see every show you can, I can promise they will be incredible!
As the weeks have gone on I’ve found that I’ve become more and more comfortable on campus. Not everyone I see is a stranger, I know my way around campus without looking at a map every five minutes, and I know what booths are best what days in D-Hall. True there are still somethings I have to learn, I only recently found out what “Meet me in the Atrium” means and I have yet to go to a Falstaff’s dance, but I’m no longer worried about when I’m finally going to get it. I feel like I belong here, which is a massive relief. On a side note, those of you who have never been through a Saratoga Winter before, there is something horribly wrong here. I saw people playing frisbee on the Green today, which is by no means an expectable activity in February! I expect an apology for the lack of snow.
A hard thing about going to London first semester is being new twice in one year. Fortunately, coming to a place like Skidmore, it is very easy to make friends. I am, however, constantly feeling the effects of being new, something that I didn’t expect to happen. I have all of the people I know from London to hangout with, but for the new friends I meet as the weeks go on I still feel like somewhat of a oddity in the groups that have formed. Some days I wish I could jump ahead a month or two, to the place where I am completely comfortable around my new friends and they are comfortable around me. I’m still having an amazing time, and Skidmore is proving to be the perfect place to come back to. No pictures as of yet from school, so here is a picture of my littlest sister.
Hey guys! Hope you all had an amazing break! It feels so great to finally be on campus and I cannot think of a better place to come back to. Fair warning to all you from the southern states, which pretty much includes NYC down, Saratoga Springs gets a ton of snow around early February and it doesn’t go away until late March. Also, for those of you who drive, Saratoga is one of the worst places I know when it comes to keeping the roads clear. The main roads will be fine but the side roads will be casually brushed over if even that, so be careful! So yeah here’s a video that a friend of mine asked me to be in, hope you like it! LinkedIn Must Be Stopped
I’ll be leaving London at 8 am tomorrow morning, and i am feeling too many emotions to name. My time here has been amazing, but what I am going to miss most is the sense of home that this city has given me. I have my own routine now; picking up a very cheap VERY good panini from sticklers after class, getting fish and chips every wednesday, taking the route 19 double decker bus to and from school every day. I’ve changed from a person who hatted cities to one that loves them, and i know ill be back! for anyone who is given the option to go on this program, take advantage of it because it will be one of the greatest experiences of your life. For those of you who are considering studying abroad, do it, there is nothing quiet like becoming comfortable living in a place drastically different then your home. I am so excited to see my family and friends and I know Skidmore is going to be amazing in January, but a part of me will stay here in London.
P.S. ANYONE coming to london has to go to Sticklers near Holborn station. The guy there is an Italian immigrant who is the nicest person you will ever meet and he makes the absolute best sandwiches and paninis you will ever have!
The second Celtic place I’ve visited on this trip, it was by far the more settling of the two. I flew to Edinburgh for a quick weekend trip, and it was one of the more relaxing weekends durring my time here. While I was there I went to a few museums, but mostly I contented myself with walking around the city of Cork and visiting with a few of the locals. People there were mostly friendly, especially after around six o’clock when the pubs pick up a little bit. On that Saturday I went to Blarney Castle, and kissed the Blarney Stone, which apparently all good Irishmen must do. Like in London and in Edinburgh, I noticed the general respect for history in the area, if somewhat anti-Anglo-Saxon. I loved the time I spent in Ireland, and though it may seem repetitive, it is a place that everyone should visit if they are able to.
Last weekend, our Skidmore professors planned a trip to Edinburgh for all of us. Let my start off by saying Scotland is just as crazy as you may think. We spent time at Edinburgh Castle, taking a tour of the city, and just walking around the whole place seems drastically different from London. For one, most of the streets are unplanned, rough and at sharp inclines. Over the next few days we visited different castles and monuments, including William Wallaces memorial tower. Food in Edinburgh was cheap but good, and a few of us tasted the local haggis (dont look up what that is if you plan on trying some). If you spend any time at all in the UK I definitely recommend going to Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands.
If you are planning on studying abroad, either through this program or another, good money management is key. My own experience has been mixed when it comes to money. I have eaten at plenty of good places, but I have also lived very cheaply for a few weeks, mostly near the end of the month. If you plan on traveling away from your scheduled place and time it will be expensive, though it may be worth it. I would suggest saving up as much money as you can before hand, there are so many things to do and you don’t want to be left out of a great opportunity simply due to lack of money! Also consider the option of free or subsidized institutions, like museums or theaters, they are fun, you can spend a whole day there, and are many times free! Here are a few pictures from the Museum of London, which was 100% free!
Sometimes it gets lost on me that I’m really here. I’ll be walking around, thinking nothing of where I am or what I’m doing and BAM I stumble upon a castle. This city is truly amazing, the respect that you feel for the history and culture is unlike anywhere else I have ever been. There is a national pride here that exudes from every building and everyone. The other day the queen drove by our class center, the rush to the streets was unbelievable, and I was almost stampeded by my professor. What’s even more impressive is that the national pride is so different from what it was ten or twenty years ago. London has become a cultural buffet, ethnic minorities make up 30% of London’s population and one third of that are immigrants. The change is so drastic that the national dish of England has changed from fish and chips to chicken tikka masala, and Indian dish (and for the record it’s delicious!). For me it shows that London is a city that is adapting to a modern world while respecting and reveling in its history, a perfect mix!
Windsor Castle is definitely a must see if you visit London. The trip to the castle is about an hour from the Waterloo train station in London and the fee is around 18 pounds to get in. Walking around the castle you get a feeling for how the British view themselves. The castle looks over the town and countryside for miles and mile and you feel superior, there’s no other way to put it. When you take the tour on the inside you walk past rooms filled with rare art, massive amounts of weapons and armor, and selections from the British Library including pieces from DaVinci’s journal! It’s hard not to get swept up in all the pageantry, though you may be taken aback by the massive dollhouse, complete with electricity, running pluming, and it’s very own set of crown jewels. There is a sense of melancholy surrounding the place however; seeing all of the artifacts and treasure from around the world you are reminded of the massive amounts of death and hardship that British imperialism brought on the world. These details tend to be brushed over, however, as many of the spoils of war are claimed as ‘Gifts to the Crown’. My favorite part of the grounds is St. George’s Cathedral, situated just below the castle. I was stunned when I looked down and found a plaque informing me that I was directly over the remains of Henry the VIII. The history surrounds this place, and it never ceases to amaze me.