Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Quickie

A quickie post that is.  Sorry to disappoint if you were expecting a good juicy story of a romp in London.  I have approximately two minutes before I have to get back to reading today's 50 remaining pages of The History of Latin America by Marshall Eakin.  The plan, of course, was to read this book throughout the course of our term and finish it a week ago so that I could digest it and focus on my final.  As with all good procrastination, however, I found all kinds of reasons not to read (namely everything).  The book is great, mind you, well written and easy to follow.  The stories are interesting and, after having discussed the events of Latin American history for the past seven weeks, it provides a really good review of the key points, players, and countries involved in the continent's past and present.  I may buy it to read again in the future when I am not working on five million other things.  And by five million I, of course, mean one.  Tomorrow we present our case study on a Latin American country of our choosing.  I picked Costa Rica A) because it is beautiful and I had an amazing trip there in 2006 with my awesome friend during which I may or may not have gone skinny dipping with a beautiful English boy in the incredibly warm ocean under the full moon which, if it happened, would be one of the better stories of my life so far and B) it has a really unique history when it comes to politics compared to many Latin American nations.  I spent nearly seven hours today preparing the slideshow (after about nine hours yesterday reading the material and three or four hours on Sunday doing research).  I think I have it together now but its one of those situations where I could always feel more prepared.  Our class only has four students and three of us have another class together so the public speaking part isn't too bad.  The fear comes from being informed enough to back up my thoughts and also to survive any questions my teacher has about it.  She is incredibly smart, well read and educated about this topic (sounds basic as she is teaching it but I have had many professors who did not meet this expectation) and she is also really kind but discerning, honest, and straightforward.  As a result I am scared of sounding like a complete idiot when she sees something in my presentation that makes my whole argument crumble.  Oh well, can't do much more at this point.

And now for your daily cupcake:
  • More on yesterday's theme of Harry Potter.  My school is Hogwarts.  No, it wasn't filmed there but it has to be based on it.  There are staircases going nowhere; doors that look like they would take you to the right place but somehow open to a completely different wing; buildings that are linked and yet through which you can find no passage (clearly this is hiding a room of requirement), and I am pretty sure these things all move around on a regular basis.  
  • No Jeans October is now completing its fifth day.  So far so good.  I was going to rock a dress today but didn't quite get there.  I think tomorrow might work but we'll see how things feel in the morning.  As I sat in class today I chose to brainstorm about the next monthly challenge instead of taking notes on war, crisis and revolution.  I came to the conclusion that it would have been more fitting, name-wise, to do No Jeans November and maybe something like Yogtober where I do yoga every day in October but I guess it's too late now (this is how boring my class was).  I am enjoying the thought of having a theme from month to month so I made a list of things that I want to change, work on, learn about, etc.  November will be here really soon (especially since I will be on break for almost two weeks of it!!!).   Here are some ideas I had for upcoming months.  If you have any other suggestions or would like to participate with me that would rock!!!  Ok, ideas of things to do every day for a month:
    • No eating out at restaurants
    • Write a letter/postcard 
    • Keep my room completely clean every single day for a whole month (probably the hardest challenge ever)
    • Take and post a new picture
    • Walk 3-5 miles
  • Two cultural notes on London:
    • The word "jaywalking" does not exist here.  I do not say this sarcastically but with true sincerity.  Everyone does it every day at every intersection but there isn't a word to describe it.  It's just crossing the street.  I heard an American try to explain to an English person that there is a word for crossing the street "illegally," but as it's not illegal here there is really no need for the verb.  
    • Also interesting, in the UK there is no law that says you have to be able to furnish identification at any given moment.  It's your right to remain anonymous.  If you are pulled over without a license you have to provide proof to the court within five days but you don't have to have it on you.  These two facts combined are what lead to people having their peppermints confiscated when the visit places like the US.    
  • If you hop on a bus or train here and someone has their bag on empty chair, it is perfectly acceptable to pick it up and hand it to them politely as you take the seat (If they don't move it first that is.  They are really quite aware of these things).  This eliminates the need to stand up for the duration of your journey, angrily sneering at the offender and lusting after the seat while simultaneously texting your friends about how much it pisses you off when people take up a chair with their bag (you know who you are).    
Well, that two minutes turned into about forty (see what I said about the procrastinating?) so I best be off to read now.  Sleep would be my first choice but I suppose it's always beneficial to read a bedtime story about imperialism and cultural destruction to give me lovely dreams.  Night night!