So it is 11pm here. I am exhausted. But I certainly owe you all a new post!
Sorry for such the long delay between posts. If only you could imagine how busy school has been the past few days. So far this week, and it's only Wed, I have been assigned a 25 page essay, two power point's, two 30 minute presentations, and a 10 minute presentation. All due within the next two weeks! Since I am taking graduate courses here, that is what the expect of us. I am not concerned about it, I know I can handle it. I am just a little shocked by how much work it really is. I am loving every minute of it though. We do most of our work in groups and having so many international students is great. We all have so much experience and talent to bring to the table. Although Wofford is extremely challenging, and the professors and students are on a level I never before had, NEGOCIA is a step above that. These Professors are absolutely amazing and have accomplished so much. They have fantastic teaching styles and the experiences and stories they share fascinate the class and truly keep us engaged. It is great to have the teachers share practical experience with us, instead of teaching out of just a textbook.
England was a blast. The train ride to London was very nice. This is the first time I have taken a train long distance like this. I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth, fast, and comfortable it was. Since we are students, we were able to upgrade our tickets to first class for only $10us each way. It was worth it as you get more leg room, power outlets for the laptop, and a three course meal, including an open bar! For breakfast on the way to London I had a delicious cheese omelet with some nice potatoes, a fantastic vanilla yogurt and a baguette with some of the best apricot jam I think I have ever tasted. I really enjoyed the meal. My buddy Blay ended up taking a later train than I so I arrived a few hours before him. After I departed the station I walked around London a bit to see what I could find. I didn't want to venture too far from the station though, because I didn't want to get lost. Blay has dual citizenship with the UK and has a home in England. His mom was born there. He has been to London a few times and knows the place better than I. I knew once we were reunited I could venture further out.
I just walked a few blocks down and took a bench in a quaint little park. Even though I had only been to one "real" class so far, I already had homework. I had to read a 30 page case study for my Wine Marketing course. It is much easier to do homework sitting on a park bench in London with beautiful flowers and treas all around you. While I was reading my case study, I noted something peculiar. All of the birds (mainly pigeons) in the park all the sudden began to migrate towards one of the entrance gates. It was crazy how all of the sudden they all began to head that way. As I turned to look, I noticed a tall homeless man, mid 40's. The birds knew him. They all went straight to him and circled around him. He stood there, talking to them, informing them he had no food for them. I was really fascinated by the notion that they knew the man the second he placed his first foot inside the park. He walked through the park, right past me, and all the birds followed a long behind him. I wished so badly that I had my video camera on me.
After finishing my work, I went to a pub and had a sandwich. It was great because I was able to hold an intelligent conversation with the bartender able to communicate back. Since I haven't been able to speak English lately, I actually think I forgot how for a little bit. Even when I was on the train and in the station in London, I found myself speaking French, even though everyone spoke English! I even caught myself reading and trying to interpret the french signs, not the English ones! It was crazy, but don't worry, I quickly found the "English in Me".
I met Blay at arrivals in the train station. We then met up with one of his friends from his boarding school. His friend Daniel, took us around London and we saw the major sights. There was a bike race going on through the city so we stopped and saw a little bit of that. It was very hot in London that day and lugging around our luggage made us very thirsty. We stopped at a great venue along the Thames and shared a pitcher, okay two pitchers, of Pimms cup, which is a very popular summer beverage in the UK.
We then headed towards Dan's flat in South London. We dropped of our stuff and relaxed a little bit. One of Dan's flat mates, Collin from Nebraska, was home so he joined us in the kitchen for some afternoon tea. Later we headed out to a pub that Collin works at for Dinner. I had a great cheeseburger to eat and we stayed there for a few rounds of Kronenbourg. The pub is the hangout for the cast of Phantom of the Opera, so we got to meet them when they came in after their show. The pub closes at midnight so we left then with the bartenders and manager (remember Collin works there) and we headed out for some more fun that night. We didn't stay out too late but everyone came back to Dan's flat.
In the morning, Dan cooked Blay and I breakfast and we headed out to see a bit more of London. We went to the Tate museum of modern art. It was an awesome place and I wish I had more time to spend there. I got to see some awesome pieces, including a few Picasso's. They also have a few different exhibits, which were very interesting. Afterward, we headed over to a restaurant along the Thames for a traditional Sunday roast. The meal was fantastic! A perfect end to a great trip. After that we headed back to the flat to get packed up and relax some more before heading to the train station. We had an 830pm train out and with the time change and a delay on the tracks we ended up getting back into Paris about 1210. Metros stop running at 1230am so we opted to take a cab home.
London was a lot cleaner than Paris. Not as much smoking and the tube was very nice compared to the Paris Metro. Overall, I really enjoyed my time in London. I wish I could have spent more time but I intend to go back soon. It was nice speaking English but it also felt great to return to Paris. Like I have said before, it is funny how this place really feels like home. I look forward to sleeping in my bed and just living here. It's great.
Chanelle is coming to visit me in Paris on Friday and will be here for I think 10 days. I am sure we will manage to have some fun times. All of the French students at NEGOCIA have been insisting I go out with them on Friday, so I think Chanelle and I will do that. A good start to her time in Paris, I am sure!
I am going to have to leave you here as I really am exhausted. I will try to upload some pictures of London soon. I spent 10 hours at school today with a one hour lunch break. One class was 6 hours! I just don't have the strength to mess with pictures tonight.
Next post, I will tell you a little bit more about classes and I still haven't told you the best part about having classes at NEGOCIA!
I hope all is well with everyone.