Tuesday, 25 May 2010

London Adventures a.k.a. Lisa's Blog Post.

Having completed visa fun Lisa and I spent a day having non-visa-related and much more stress-free fun out and about in London. But only after I had had my second breakfast. I think having got up at 6.15 I deserved a second breakfast at 10. Also I only had one slice of toast at 6.15 since I really wasn’t hugely hungry. And by 10 I was pretty much starving. I think the stress must have used up precious calories.

It was actually somewhat of a food fuelled day. This statement may seem a little perfunctory, but what I mean by it is that rather a great quantity of food was consumed. As in we had the most enormous pizzas for lunch. They were yummy. We got them from this amazing pizza place near Lisa’s university called ICCos where you order your pizza, and then they give you this thingy. Which is like a key fob perhaps, but basically you go sit down and they make your pizza to order, and then when it’s done your machine thingy lights up and buzzes and you can go collect your pizza. It was pretty awesome. And then I had and ice-cream at the interval at the play (more on this later) and I bought tom thumb drops. And then for tea we got this enormous burgers from a fancy burger place at St Pancreas Station, which we’d got £2 off vouchers for. I had a bbq burger and it was the nicest burger in living memory. Although I don’t actually eat burgers often, which might be why...

We went shopping along Oxford street, which I usually find quite stressful since there’s always loads of people and you have to stand in queues all the time. But I actually quite enjoyed it today, probably partially because I was in a rather good mood because of the whole getting visas, and therefore am even more likely to be going to America, and partially because Lisa is a fantastic person to go shopping with, and we had muchos catching up to do. I bought some things for camp at Primark including a mac-in-a-pack and a pair of board shorts, and I also bought a really nice little summer dress. I was a good girl and didn’t buy anything in any of the other shops. Even though there was THE CUTEST summer dress in Gap, and we went into this really lovely shop called Pull & Bear or something like that.

I really enjoyed hanging out with Lisa and her housemates. She’s got this lovely house in London, it’s adorable and it’s just like a real house, it’s got a little sitting room and a little kitchen and even a teeny tiny little garden. Last night we sat around and I got to sit on the sofa and watch TV. Which is still exciting to me. This is what happens to you when you live in student accommodation. We also taught Lisa how to play 21s and Rummy. Because apparently she didn’t know how to play any card games. When I say we taught her, Harvey her housemate taught her, and I was generally helpful by playing along and watching the TV at the same time.

So all round a good time was to be had by all!


I am now the proud holder of 2 visas. Well technically they’re still at the embassy. But the nice man who interviewed me said that I should be posted them within 5 working days. Or at least they’ll be posted to BUNAC within 5 days and then they’re getting sent to Guildford. So most likely I won’t actually have them in my hand until I leave on the 25th of June, which is also therefore when I shall be literally holding them. But you get the overall impression.

I had to get up at the crack of dawn to get to the embassy in time. My appointment was at 8.30 and they like you to get there half an hour early, and then I had to get there half an hour earlier than that in order to meet with the BUNAC people so that they could go over my paperwork and give me some more new paperwork and get more stickers stuck all over my passport and everything. Soon you’re not going to be able to see the original beautiful burgundy of my passport! Anyway. All this mean that I had to leave Lisa’s house at quarter to six. And that I had to get up at quarter past six. Eeew.

Getting to the embassy was pretty smooth actually. The tubes weren’t acting up or anything and I could just get the Piccadilly line to green something or another and I didn’t have to change or anything. They also weren't as devoid of life as I thought they would be, clearly real people (as opposed to students) actually are conscious in the morning... who knew...

Obviously when I got out of the tube station despite having asked a helpful guard person which way I should go, I still managed to come out of the wrong entrance and then turn the wrong way down the road. It was all a little confusing because none of the roads that I was coming past were on my map. So I had to ask someone. The first person I asked didn’t know. The second also didn’t know, but while we were trying to figure out where we were on the map another lady stopped to see if we were ok and together we figured out how I should get there, after which everything went very smoothly indeed.

Once I got to the embassy I checked in with BUNAC, flew through the security bit, and everything was going very very smoothly and then suddenly I came back down to earth with a bump when I realised I had left my purse at home and I still needed to pay for my second SEVIS fee. Luckily the very very nice girl from BUNAC actually in the embassy paid for it on her card. Which was very very lucky. Since otherwise I would have had to go back again. And done the whole thing again. Which would have been nightmarish. I had also filled in the wrong SEVIS number on one of my forms. But the very very nice guy who was processing my papers changed it all and spent ages trying to figure out the big mess I’d made of my paperwork in amongst my SEVIS fee panic.

Then I went for the actual interview portion of the thing and there was a very very nice American man, who kept telling me how amazing I was for having done both Visas at the same time, and how nice my mother’s handwriting was (she wrote a letter of support for me) and how very intelligent I must be since I was going to Mount Holyoke and it’s a really famous school and only super bright kids like me go there! He was very very nice. I also found out that the finger print collector machine thingyjogs are built for freakishly tall people. Now I am not the world’s smallest person, but I had to stand on my tip toes to get my thumbs up and over far enough for them to be in the correct position to register!

Anyway short and long of this blog post is that I have visas, which means that I can go to the land of the free and the home of the brave (home of the brave and land of the free?) for camp and university (school?) next year! Success!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

What I do with my summer.

One of my camp friends just posted this on facebook. If any of you wonder what I do with my summer I think this ought to clear it up.

Somewhere between adolescence and adulthood there occurs in human development an age which is physically and psychologically impossible. It is that unfathomable stage known as the camp counselor: a creature undefined by psychologists, often misunderstood by camp directors, worshiped by campers, either admired or doubted by parents and unheard of by the rest of society.

A camp counselor is a rare combination of doctor, lawyer, Indian and chief. She is a competent child psychologist with sophomore textbook as proof. She is an underpaid babysitter with neither a television nor a refrigerator. She is a strict disciplinarian with a twinkle in her eye; a minister to all faiths with questions about her own. She is a referee, a coach, a teacher, and an advisor. She is the example of womanhood in worn out tennis shoes; a sweatshirt two sizes too large, and a hat two sizes too small. She is a humorist in a crisis, a doctor in an emergency, a song leader, an entertainer, and a play director. She is an idol with her head in a cloud of wood smoke and her feet in the mud. She is a comforter in a leaky tent on a cold night, and a pal who has lent someone her last pair of dry socks. She is a teacher of the out-of-doors, knee-deep in poison ivy.

Counselors dislike flag, polar bears, waiting in line, and rainy days. They are fond of sunbathing, teaching new games, an old car named “Henrietta” and days off. They are handy for patching up broken friendships, bloody noses and torn jeans. They are good at locating lost bathing suits, getting rid of spiders, playing “Ye Haw”, and catching frogs. They are poor at crawling out of bed on rainy mornings, remembering to collect dry wood, and getting to bed early.

A counselor is a friendly guide in the middle of a cold dark rainy night on the long winding trail to the bathroom. She is a dynamo on a day off, exhausted the next day but recuperated in time for the next day off. 

Who but a counselor can cure homesickness, air out wet bedding, play 16 games of “WA” in succession, whistle "The Moose Song" through her fingers, carry two packs, speak Pig Latin in French, stand on her hands, sing 37 verses of "3 Magenta Flamingos" and eat four helpings of dinner?

A counselor is expected to repair 10 years of damage to Julie in 10 days, help Maggie reach her full potential, make Heather a new girl, rehabilitate Susan, allow Pam to be an individual, and help Alice adjust to the group. She is expected to lead them in fun and adventure-- even when her head aches and she is bone tired. She’s expected to each them to live in the out-of-doors even though she spends nine months of the year in New York City, London or Boston, teach them ingenious activities--when she can't even spell it, guide them in social adjustment-- when she hasn't even reached the drinking age, ensure safety and health--with a sunburned nose, a band-aid on her thumb and a blister on her heel.

For all this, she is paid enough to buy the next text in psychology, some aspirin, some new socks, two new tires for Henrietta and some new tennis shoes. You wonder how she can stand the pace and the pressure. You wonder if she really knows how much she is worth and somehow, you realize you can never pay her enough when she leaves in August, and she waves good-by and says "See ya next year!" 

Now just to get the visa so I can "see ya next year!" Please. 

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Letter to America

Dear America,
Please let me come to your country.
I promise I shall not eat your children or otherwise cause trouble.
I also promise to come home,
Yours faithfully,

(I hate visa forms with the burning passion of a thousand burning suns. The website times out at inconvenient times and I have to upload photographs and other such nonsense. I am not impressed)

In other news the cricket season has finished. We were supposed to have our last match today, but we couldn't play because we didn't have a team, so it was a walk over and we lost 3 points. Which mean we finish the season on -3. We are the joke of the cricket world. Literally. In the match the other day, Ellen caught a girl out and she was mortified because she'd gone out against York! Oh dear. It was a rather sad way to end the season actually...

Saturday, 15 May 2010

You are what you eat

If this is true then I am slowly turning into a vegetable. I'm really really trying to cram myself full of vitamin C and healthyness because I'm not really getting enough sleep and I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with a summer cold. And at the moment all I can do to guard against this is excessive vitamin consumption until this essay is done. Luckily I'm 2200 words down, and I've still got one point to make, then some form of conclusion and HEY PRESTO! one completed essay. 

Ironically I am also becoming a vegetable because I've been sat in the library all week / sat in my room writing this darned thing. Luckily I'm fixing this tomorrow and I shall run around and play cricket. I appreciate cricket is not the most cardio-intensive sport, but it's better than nothing. I'm hoping the weather is as nice tomorrow as it has been today because it's been a bit depressing sat inside on such a gloriously sunny day.

In other news I'm going home for the weekend(ish) next weekend, leaving Friday evening and coming back Tuesday night. I've got my visa interview on Tuesday morning, and will be spending the night chez Lisa and then Tuesday afternoon we've got an afternoon of fun and excitement planned. Happy days. I have high hopes of getting lots of sleeping and reading in the nice warm Surrey sun done while I'm back as well.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Exit, persued by a bear.

A week ago realisation suddenly sunk in that I have an essay deadline on Monday, I then sat around for a while thinking about possible essay topics and panicking about the impending work load and playing cricket. This has culminated in my being closeted in the library for the last two days. Literally I have been leaving the house at 9 and not coming back until 6. This has lead to about a million pages of notes on cuckoldry in Early Modern Societ, and exactly 191 words. Which I'm trying to fool myself into thinking is a solid start.

If you're interested my essay is on the imagery and morality associated with cuckoldry (wives cheating on their husbands) as shown in Othello and The Winter's Tale. Which is more interesting than it sounds, I promise. I've quite enjoyed doing the reading for it. There don't appear to be many essays on it, which is quite cool, because I feel all original and such, but on the other hand, it's a pain in the derrier because it means I have to do original type research and read mad books about society and law and such, which are much harder to read than Literature gumph which has been dumbed down for wallies like me. Also I'm slightly kicking myself, because I'm doing all this sodding research for a sodding procedural essay, and it doesn't even count. Bah Humbug! 

And unfortunately I've got to stop reading now and start writing. Which is where the whole thing goes downhill. Because I still have this irrational fear of referencing. And I just can't get going, which is why I've got 191 words and I'm now writing a lengthy blog post. I've probably written more in this blog post thatn I have on the essay itself.Actually writing is the worst bit of this essay malarky. Bit of a pain really. 

Being stuck in the Library does not lend itself to a great number of stories which will fit comfortably under the title of 'Adventures and Misadventures'. Yesterday I found a new favourite seat in the library, it has a window, and is right by the Literature books and has a nice big desk. It is the king of library work spaces. I did get slightly distracted by two of my cricket friends, which led to a rapid descent of productivity and an increase in cricket practice. If you're wondering how we managed to do cricket practice in a Library without annoying everyone around us, the answer would be we didn't. Frankie and I threw things such as bits of paper and sweets at Ellen and giggled raucusly, and Ellen did fielding practice. By the end there was a big empty space round us, and we had to sneak out via the physics books so we didn't have to walk past the people we had been disturbing.

Today was much less excitable. I decided to explore new and exciting areas of the library, and so I sat in the Humanities Reading Room, which is good, because it is sunny and there is lots of space, however there are lots of people and so it's easy to get distracted by people watching. The girl next to me today had a tamagotchi, this was hilarious for about 5 minutes, then it just got annoying, because the damn thing kept pooping or what ever it does to make noises and it was quite distracting. Still can't very well let it die can you?

In other news I'm trying to eat my five-a-day at the moment, get healthy, have nice shiney hair, and clear skin and strong nails and such. It's actually harder than I thought it would be. Because it transpires that vegetables go off REALLY quickly. Who knew? Anyway I have to go to the supermarket tomorrow anyway to get food for teas for cricket on Sunday, so I'll get more healthy vegetables while I'm there. Maybe some dried fruit, since that won't go off quite so quickly.

I'm currently drinking a cup of decafinated green tea with lotus. I have to say I'm not hugely impressed. It doesn't really taste of very much and has a strange old aftertaste. Maybe it needed more honey.

Anyway I should get back to the joys of my essay.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

When cricket ate my life.

So I haven't really posted that much recently. Which is partly because I'm lazy and partly because cricket ate my life (that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it) so I haven't done much other than go to cricket and sleep. (Some of this may, or may not be slight exaggeration).

First of all Mary and I made epic t-shirts (well I think they're epic), which took a great deal of ironing (about 5 hours if you're interested).I did so much ironing that day I thought my hand might drop off. Also I burnt the end of my finger. Because I dropped the iron on the floor, and it got bits of carpet stuck ot it and I tried to get them off, but then I burnt the bits of carpet onto my fingers. We did mine first and we did it on the kitchen table, because it said on the instructions DON'T USE THE IRONING BOARD. And we didn't know what else to use, and then we realised if you did it onto the table to melted the top of the table and it stuck to the t-shirt. So on one side of mine it has burnt on table and on the other side it has tea towel fluff. So after that we used the ironing board and all the others came out really well. Although it turned out that mine's actually fine, once it had been washed and everything.

We've had about three matches as well. Which seem to take up a whole day. The first match because Ellen, Frankie and I did the match teas, which involved making massive amounts of sandwiches. Piles and Piles of sandwiches. We lost that first match, quite impressively, it was something like 258 to 31. We didn't get any wickets at all, and we all got out quite quickly. And it was a little embarrassing. I get to stand square leg, which is an amazing place to stand because the ball doesn't come at you all too often and you get to stand around and talk to the umpires. The only problem is that you can't really see if the ball is going wide, so I never know whether to clap the bowl because it does mean you're not sure whether it's wide or not. Also it clearly has the best name.

We drove all the way to Manchester to play, it was absolutely FREEZING. I can tell you now that those oh-so-warm looking wooly jumpers are not very warm at all. At all. At all, at all. The fielding was a little depressing, particularly since there was this epic moment where I could have caught one of their batters out and instead I just let the ball bounce off of my thumb and I'm never going to live it down. However we did get two wickets which was an improvement on last time, although in fairness one of them really wanted us to get her out, so I'm not sure to what extent that counts. And we got over 100 runs for the first time since 2007. This was mainly due to our captain, who stayed in all 30 overs and got something ridiculous like 43 runs. I got 2 though, which made me the fourth best batter on the team. We all got massive tarmac stains on the seats of our cricket whites, luckily my awesome Sainsbury's Stain remover powder with active oxygen got them out, but it appears that I was the only one with such power at my finger tips so now we all look even sillier than we did before. Success!

The last match we played was in Leeds, where it was slightly less cold, but still not as sunny as it is in York. We were kind of hoping it'd get rained off after the first couple of overs since they're the best team in our league and they made Sheffield (who we played first) cry, and if it gets rained off once you've started you draw, which was about as close to winning as we're likely to get. Sadly there was rain before the match, and there was rain after the match. But no rain during the match. Our fielding got slightly better from the Manchester game, and we even got 4 wickets. Proper ones that we got because we wanted to, not because they wanted them. Sadly my batting went straight back to square one, as I wandered out of my crease on the very first ball I faced and got out straight away. It was mighty sad.

We're now half way through our season, and we don't even have a match tomorrow, (until now we've had a match every Wednesday and Sunday, plus a practice on Tuesday and Friday) so we almost get the day off. Although we do have an extra practice. So we wont get rusty. Or something like that. I think the next couple of matches are at home, so I might not even be needed to play since most likely there'll be more people who can make it if it's here. So I might even make it to some of my regular Wednesday activities this week. Also because there isn't a match tomorrow I can go to the Church BBQ tomorrow which should be good, as long as the weather holds up.

Other than cricket I have been spending my time wisely. And by spending it wisely I mean I have been sleeping. Like a log. For as many hours as I physically can. Last night for example, I had an early night, got into bed at about 10, didn't turn on my alarm because I figured I'd wake up on time because I'd gone to bed so early. I woke up and it was 12. I'd slept through two phone calls. And my phone was right by my head. I don't understand. I guess I really needed the sleep. It did also mean I missed Lacrosse, but I was thinking about not going anyway since I had a lot of reading to do and my ankle is sore from where I decided it would be a really bright idea to stop a cricket ball with my foot, despite Ellen continually shouting at me to use my hands or I'll break my ankle. Figures.

I did stay up to watch the election the other night, because a politically minded student and all. Although I gave up at around 4 when it became clear that the Conservatives were going to do much better than I had hoped and the entire map of England was looking particularly blue. I went over to Frankie's to watch the election coverage on her TV, with what seemed like the entirety of New Vanbrugh, which was good, we watched a healthy mixture of the 'alternative' comedy coverage on Channel 4 and the BBC's sensible coverage with lots of big long words and fancy graffics. I came back at around 1.30 had a light snack of toast, a bowl of sweetcorn and the nicest cup of tea ever. It was one of the Tazo teas that Hollywood sent me for Christmas. I went for Organic Decaf Spiced Chai, and it was LOVELY.

Anyway I think that pretty much covers everything I've done over the past couple of weeks. And this post is getting quite long. I'm going to post this, try and somehow add some pictures to liven it up, make myself some tea and head to bed! Night chaps!