Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ice Skating (read: Watching) at the Natural History Museum

Last night our small group from church went to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington for ice skating! It was finally a cold enough night to wear a hat and gloves and I was soaking it up. I love the cold weather and it really hasn't gotten below 45 degrees here yet. I'm hoping that is going to change because I really love the feeling of frozen hands, wind-blown cheeks, and numb toes. Okay, so not ALL the time..but hey, can't a girl get a least two weeks of freezing-ness? It is London after all, c'mon Mother Nature.
So the ice skating was fun to watch and no one took any big spills (although not for lack of trying). The lights were beautiful and it was a perfect way to end the day. I'm so glad we've met such great people at church and that we're finally having a bit of real winter weather!

We turn in our second of three papers in our last class tomorrow and I'm going to be so very happy to be done with class. Only 17 days 'til home and I've got so much to do before then! Christmas shopping, more sightseeing, final paper writing, etc.. I wish I had a little elf to help me do it all!
(Ahem, Carly? Kate?? Anyone??)

Cheers y'all, Lisa

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanks Given

So it was not my typical Thanksgiving this year, but it sure was a good one. As I mentioned before, the work has been piled on these past couple weeks and this coming week is our last week of class. Yahoo! Then I'll have two weeks for my final paper, two unreal concerts, and just celebrating London in December!

I spent Thanksgiving in class, at a guest lecture and then in the library. The girls and I then decided that a night on the town was needed and suddenly, a spur of the moment decision turned into an awesome night. For the first time a while, we were able to relax and go out with our friends. This wasn't just about being with friends or being able to dance to some great American music. It was about the fact that we hadn't been experiencing London lately. It has been class, library, home, repeat for a while now and I was really taking the city for granted. When things get busy, we tend to hone in on the tasks at hand and do not let ourselves see the periphery of our lives. There are so many wonderful and beautiful things about London and my life here but due to the stress, I realized I have only been focusing on getting home...getting back to my family, friends and Winston.

Thinking about going home has been an awesome 'light at the end of the tunnel' and inspiration for me while I'm powering through these essays but I have got to keep things in perspective! I'm only going to be in London for a short amount of time (in the grand scheme of things) and if I'm always looking forward to the next thing, I'm not going to see what is right in front of my face... all the amazing things that I love to much about this city.

So to help remind me, I thought I'd write what I'm thankful for about my life in London. London has been so great for me in learning more about myself and what I want in life and I feel like I've got so much more to experience and learn here. Good thing I've got nine months left!

So cheers to..
- Friends! The wonderful friends I've made here who have laughed and cried with me the whole way through
- Public transportation! Sounds a bit ridiculous but the Tube is one of the best parts about the city and without it I'd be lost (it is going to be hard to have to drive everywhere over Christmas..)
- Academics and amazing professors! Everything I've learned in class has challenged me and pushed my own thoughts about art, education and the way the world works.. plus, my professors are so encouraging and knowledgeable
- Church! HTB has been one of the biggest blessings here. I've grown with God, learned to appreciate the little things He does for me and I've got a community of people who have supported me throughout
- Food, Music, and Fun! London's showed me how great being in a large city can be.. so many options for food, unbelievable concerts, and the night life is not lacking either!
- Me, or at least future me! Okay, so not really that conceited but I have learned so much about who I am and who I want to be that I'm in an amazing place. Post graduate life is so full of challenges and new experiences and I'm not saying it hasn't been hard but I will say I'm grateful for each challenge, obstacle, and hard day because I've grown into my own person. I'm standing on my own two feet for the first time in my life and it has given me a (semi) clear vision of what I want for the future. I say this now.. but hey, a year from now I'll be out of school and searching for a job.. let's hope I'm still as steady as I am now!

So I've got three weeks left until my winter break at home and I plan on soaking every day and night in. I hope everyone had great time with family and friends this past week. I miss mine greatly but I know it will be Christmas before I know it. But until then, watch out London.. here I come!!

Cheers y'all, Lis

Saturday, November 17, 2012

End of the Semester Fun!

Two weeks left of class!
Four weeks until I'm back in the Dash!
But until then....

I will be crushed underneath these presentations and papers!

I've never killed so many trees with copies, scans, and print outs...

And I've never been more frustrated with a paper in my life... Art Theory is just as exciting as it sounds!

I know you are so curious about what I'm working on.. so here is the breakdown in three pictures:

First, write a literary review on three methodologies in analyzing John Everett Millais and his paintings of women!

Second, compare and contrast of the US indirect and UK direct funding systems of the arts!

Lastly, how do we portray non-western cultures to children? Sacrifice, slavery, colonialism, war, and all the other heavy stuff that comes along with Western world perceptions of the Non-Western world..
Can a 7 year old really handle this stuff?

Three presentations and 9,000 words later.. I will be the smartest I've ever been in my life. (I hope?)
Learning is fun! But researching theories, museum practices, funding methods, and writing papers??
Not so much.
Sooooo instead of doing my work, reading my books, and writing my abstracts.. I've been writing this blog post and looking for funny pictures online. Procrastination at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.

Cheers y'all, Lisa

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's Been a While

Well hey there! It's been a while since my last post about Fall and pretty leaves but really not a lot has happened..

We took a class trip to Liverpool last weekend. It was a quick one night trip but it was pretty cool to see a city that I otherwise probably would not have visited. We were up early with a two hour train ride (naptime!) and once we got to Liverpool I was so surprised! Liverpool is a bigger city than I expected and had an awesome city center that was full of shopping, bars, restaurants, etc. It is also a massive shipping/port city so being next to the water was nice. The Titanic left from Liverpool!

The massive Art Biennial (a giant art fair) was in Liverpool so that was our main reason for heading there. We spent the day Tate Liverpool and a few other places with Biennial exhibitions. It was a lot of modern art but I really liked seeing the big "up and coming" artists.

That night, the girls (our class is all girls, 14 of us!) and our awesome professor headed to the pub that The Beatle's used to play before they got famous. The Cavern is an underground pub that had live music and an incredibly rowdy Stag Party (aka a Bachelor Party). We had a drink then headed to a delicious dinner at the Pump House on the water. Our professor headed back to the hostel then we hit the town. Dancing, singing and making friends.. I'd say this was the most fun class field trip I've ever had! A late night ended with this epic picture...

I know it is upside down.. I'm not sure how to flip it, not to mention maybe the up-side-down-ness shows the night for what it really was! Hilarious and weird.

The next day was quite an early morning and we saw a few more galleries. My favorite was the Walker Museum because of the juxtaposition between contemporary and Old Masters paintings. It was also exciting because I got to see my main main, Henry VIII... 

These were a few of my favorite pieces from the weekend!

The week has been busy, busy! We've got presentations, interviews, and papers due over the next few weeks so it will be the library non-stop for me. I head home a month from today so that is very much the light at the end of the tunnel! As well, I've got two unbelievable concerts to go to before I head home so I've got a LOT to look forward to...after all this research is done, of course!

Cheers y'all, Lis

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Finally Fall, Y'all

It is Fall in London! The leaves have turned beautiful colors, Hyde Park has a sharp wind running through it, I'm drinking mulled cider at the markets, and cuddling up in blankets is a must. Life is good. Hope your transition into Autumn has been just as lovely! Cheers y'all, Lisa

Friday, November 2, 2012

Spice Ghouls


Halloween is one of the best holidays (behind my birthday and Thanksgiving, of course)! I've always loved dressing up and being a weirdo for a night. Some of my favorite costumes have been a cowgirl, Sandy from Grease, Miss Piggy,
and a princess...though I didn't really
need to dress up for that one.

How can you not love Halloween? Candy, costumes, parties, and dancing to MJ's 'Thriller' on repeat.. Sounds like a perfect night to me.

Unlike in America, where 'sexy cheerleader', 'foxy nurse', and 'hot Harry Potter' (is that even possible?) are the typical Halloween attire... London does Halloween like real Halloween. Halloween costumes are terrifying. Makeup is necessary - and the goal is not to look good but to be able to scare the pants off a little kid. Going out on Halloween night as a zombie was an awesome experience and I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to "sexy Halloween". Scary is sooo much better! 

Unfortunately, Sporty Spice got food poisoning..
so we are four, not five!
The girls and I began our costumes as the Spice Girls (cliche, I know) and then as the night progressed we transformed into the Spice Girls: Resurrected. It was a great game-time decision because we would have been the only people without a scary mask or scary makeup on at the bar! Carly (la artiste) was able to make us look as if we had been beaten up, killed and come back to life. Amazing talent she's got there!
So as a final mental image, I'll leave you with the thought of the four of us Zombies getting on the Tube fully decked out with scary, 'bleeding and bruised' faces while the rest of London made their daily commute home. To say we got a lot of weird looks (and a few compliments!) would be an understatement.

Scary Spice.. literally!
Moral of the story: You're never too old to dress up like a zombie. Maturity is overrated!

Cheers y'all, Lisa