Marching Along Through Wales, Lectures, and Pancakes!
I can’t believe it is halfway (more than halfway?) through March already. Time needs to slow down or something. On the bright side, this term is almost over and everything has been going really well. So well that despite the fact that I keep telling myself I need to blog (and write in my journal), something always comes up and neither gets done. A lot has happened since my last post. The “Adventure Weekend” in Wales, organized by the lovely London Butler office, was incredibly fun. While I didn’t participate in any of the more risky or adventurous activities like Abseiling or Mountain Biking, I very much enjoyed my two activities. My first choice had been kayaking, but that filled up pretty quickly and I was placed with the group who went to explore Caernarfon Castle instead. I was not disappointed. Our tour guide was funny and very knowledge about the history of the castle and Wales. I learned a lot about its construction. Apparently there’s an arch used in its design that has come to be called the Caernarfon Arch because it was imitated by many later castles. This is almost two weeks later and I still remember that (among other castle facts, but I don’t want to bore you.). Anyway the castle tour was in the morning and in the afternoon I went on a “Hill Walk”. I use the quotes because to me it seemed much more like a “Mountain Hike” which is very different by my own definitions. Expectations aside, the hike was really very nice, if a bit strenuous and there were beautiful views of mountains and the small town we were staying near. I’m going to try and upload some pictures, but I always seem to have trouble with that. Regardless, Wales exceeded my expectations and I would love to spend more time there, especially at the seaside town of Llandudno (though somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen on this trip.) If you happen to be in Wales definitely visit the town, the pier and the water is beautiful and the most of the buildings were built in the Victorian Period so they’re all very pretty. Plus I had some really great fish and chips there!
Since getting back to Wales, I haven’t done much else except coursework. I haven’t even done laundry, though I’m just about out of clothes so that’ll probably happen tonight or tomorrow. My lectures and seminars have kept me very busy with reading, but the end is in sight! Next week is the last week of the teaching term which means that when all the students come back in May it will be all about revising (studying) for exams. I lucked out a bit because all the English courses are full year courses meaning that I don’t have to take exams. I do however have to write 4 essays that are due right when we get back from Easter break (aka April). Yikes! But I am excited about next week and the upcoming break because
- My aunt is visiting London (and consequently me) for 5 days next week
- One of my roommates from last semester at Ursinus is coming to London next weekend
- My family is visiting towards the middle of April for a little over a week
There was something else too . . . oh yeah, I’m going to ITALY! I’m so excited. The roommate who is visiting me is also traveling with me from London to Rome and then to Venice and Florence. I’ll only be in Italy for about a week, but it’ll be a lot of fun I’m sure (even if my bank account isn’t thrilled.) I don’t speak any Italian so that might be an issue, but I’m probably going to get a guidebook/phrasebook of some sort and then just go from there. At the very least it’ll be an experience, right?
Well I’ve covered the Wales and lectures part of my title, but I really should address the pancakes. The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is known in the UK as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. The idea is that you use up all your eggs and fats before the fast of Lent. While a lot of people don’t fast over Lent anymore, they definitely still make pancakes. A friend from home invited me to make and eat pancakes with some friends she had met here and it was really a delicious and fun experience. I have come to realize that pancakes here are very different than in the States. They’re much thinner and more like crepes than American pancakes and while you can put all the same toppings on them, the more traditional topping is a little bit of lemon juice and some sugar. Though I had mine with strawberries and Nutella (I have eaten sooo much Nutella since coming here. I’m not really sure why. It’s available at home, but somehow I’ve just come to buy it more regularly here.) Long story short—I ate an obscene amount of pancakes and was very full and felt like I should be fasting over Lent.
Well that’s what I have been up to. I will try to write again before I leave for Italy. Hope you enjoy a few of my pictures from Wales!