Week Nine: Sunshine

This week has been really interesting. I didn’t go anywhere and or do anything out of the box, but it was just a fantastic week in general. Not to mention, this weather this weekend was absolutely glorious. The sun was shining and it almost felt like 60 degrees, can you believe it?! I think the highlight of my week was the discussions we had in class. They weren’t long and honestly, not many participated (including myself), but they were incredibly thought-provoking which is probably why I couldn’t comprehend a solid response. We talked about morals, fidelity, and what constitutes a just war. These weren’t all in the same class, but I just thought it was cool to bring these things up because I think that it’s not necessarily taboo to discuss these sorts of topics, but it’s surely not the most common 11:00 a.m. conversation. Anyway, just thought I’d share that.
We had a couple of program excursions this week as well. On Tuesday, we visited the infamous St. Paul’s Cathedral. It wasn’t my favorite tour in terms of history, but I was amazed by the views. So not only is St. Paul’s gigantic, it looks absolutely unreal inside. Unfortunately, as I’ve learned with the most beautiful things in Europe, photography was prohibited. To give you an idea, try picturing your typical cathedral-dark, looming, gothic/baroque architecture, right? Now imagine someone sandblasted everything and that’s what St. Paul’s looks like. It’s so open and clear with [what used to be] white walls stained overtime by the residue of burnt candles, but still very bright. It was so odd to walk in a large cathedral and not be blinded by the one ray of sunshine that managed to make it through. Either way, it was so beautiful, but the English baroque (coined by Christopher Wren) architecture wasn’t even the best part. There were these breathtaking mosaics plastered all over the ceiling in the main congregation/choir area that I’ve tried describing and have failed to use the right words. These mosaics were sparkling like jewels, but not even with the help of the sun! That was when I was angry I couldn’t take pictures; it was like the Crown Jewels all over again. In fact, I would they were the St. Paul’s Crown Jewels.
On Wednesday evening, we went to our first official ‘football’ game! The match was between Tottenham Hotspur F.C. (Spurs) and Swansea City A.F.C. It wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped, but that’s probably because I’d previously been excited at the idea of being able to see Chelsea play. It was a good match though; we were rooting for the Spurs and they won 3-2. I will say football culture here is a lot like football culture in America (no, I don’t mean soccer in America). There’s so much passion with the crowd which is probably what I enjoyed most. I think I would have enjoyed the experience more overall had I been wearing a jersey or at least the team colors and knew the chants. I did learn one though! I’m so glad we went even if it got exponentially colder as the night passed. We also found out they close the street to buses after the game’s over causing us to walk all the way back to the tube station. I lost count of the blocks…that’s how far it was. There’s a reason we took a bus from the tube station in the first place. Why this isn’t common knowledge or a disclaimer, I do not know.
This weekend an old friend, Jane, visited me. Of course we had to be tourists, but while I anticipated one of those stressful “What should we do?” weekends, it was actually quite the opposite. We walked through Westminster on Friday and hit Borough Market and the Natural History Museum on Saturday. Jane did some more things on her own which worked out for me in order to get some work done for this packed week ahead. I met up with her once more after she toured the Tower of London and grabbed an early lunch before her flight and it was then that I realized not only how much I miss home, but how much I miss my friends in Dallas and L.A. I think it’s the ease of conversation. Not to say I don’t have easy conversations with people here, but even living in close quarters for four months is still the beginning stages of building friendships so there’s this unspoken yet recognizable stress about it. I’m loving my experience here, if y’all can’t already tell, and I’ve met amazing people, but I do miss home sometimes.
One last thing that made this weekend so great was this trend that was introduced last week on Tumblr called #Blackout. It happened on Friday, March 6th. It called for all black Tumblr users to post selfies to not only show how many of us are on Tumblr, but to promote loving ourselves in a society that tries to keep us down (and whether or not you want to personally acknowledge that, I do not care). It wasn’t about proving something to other races, but to showing how comfortable we are, or will try to be, in our own skin and how we all need to be on the path toward loving ourselves and each other instead of ripping our own community apart. I was incredibly moved when I logged onto Tumblr the next day and saw my dashboard flooding with beautiful pictures of black people of all different skin tones, sizes, hair textures, disabilities, diseases, and/or disorders, and sexual orientations. There wasn’t a sign of negativity and that was just…such a beautiful moment to experience. 🙂

Tottenham v. Swansea
Park Lane

Natural History MuseumIMG_0260IMG_0263 IMG_0266

Tower of LondonIMG_0278

P.S.: Incase y’all haven’t noticed, I went back and gave my posts some new titles!

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