Sunday, December 4, 2011

Last weeks in England :(

     So I last left you at the Globe.  We moved on to Surrey, England for our home stays.  Home stays were probably everyone's favorite time in relation to bed and bathroom accommodations as well as food... most of us had not had a home-cooked meal for over a month.We moved to house stays, since there were a limited amount of families, the range of students with one family went from 1 student to 4 students. 
Kristina our house 'mum'
(I was chewing my bagel in this pic...)
I shared a house mum, Kristina, with Rachel.  Kristina had a cat named Pansy who was the most adorable calico >^_^<.  She bought bagels for Rachel and I to eat for breakfast, but it was really adorable because she had never eaten a bagel before.  Rachel and I got to breakfast and she was all excited to show us that she bought bagels, but had never 'made a bagel before' so she asked us how to 'make' a bagel.  She popped them in the oven and toasted them for us and we had toasted bagels with peanut butter and honey :) while she stuck with her usual toast and tea in the morning.  I miss toast and tea :(

The Group in Surrey
While we were at house stays, during the day we were at Claremont, the English version of Principia lower to upper school.  Here we taught Shakespeare ( A Mid Summer Nights Dream) to 5th and 6th years.... which is the equivalent to I think 4th and 5th graders.  They were ADORABLE!!!  One girl told me that she loved my accent... I was taken aback and told her that I loved hers.  We were also asked multiple times if we would come back next week. :)

Working with Claremont Kids
Once we left house stays, we made our way to Stratford upon Avon and Shakespeare's birthplace.  Along with doing some more character research at the BT (Birthplace Trust) we had lectures and workshops about the seven different shows we would be seeing at the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Swan theatres.  We even had talk backs with an actor from each play... Scott Handy, by far the coolest because he's been in movies like A Knights Tale and The Patrick Stewart version of Macbeth.  All of the shows we got to see there were pretty fantastic.  

We remained in Stratford, in the same place for 2 weeks!  YAY for getting to unpack a bit and not live out of a suitcase!  Since the group was so big, we were spread out in 3 different B and B's.  Stratford is an adorable small town, but definitely a tourist town; our B and B's were located among several other B and B's all on either side of one long street.  Mos having names like "Twelfth Night" "Cymbeline" and other Shakespearean topics.  I stayed in Anne Hathaway's B and B rooming with Lila, and sharing the rest of the B and B with 4 other abroad girls and Chrissy, our theatre teacher... we had the entire B and B to ourselves!!  We even could use the kitchen and laundry facilities!  

It became so natural to just walk around Stratford, finding really awesome places to eat and shop.  They had the best places to get cream tea, (a scone with clotted cream and jam, with a pot of tea) and Chinese food.  I miss cream tea :(  the scones in America suck compared to the ones you could get at the cheapest places in England. 

Hampton Court
Anyway, going to so many productions in the 2 week period, and having Sunday and Wednesday night church, we were wearing fancy clothes a lot... I bought the most awesome dress, skirt, and red wedges while staying in Stratford. 

Warwick Castle
While in Stratford and making our way to Stratford, we stopped at some really awesome and famous places, like Hampton Court, and Warwick Castle etc...  

We made our way back to London, staying very close to The British Library, and Kings Cross Station, which is where platform 9 and 3/4 from Harry Potter is!! It was nice to go back to a familiar place right before we left.  Since I had finished all of my play reports in Stratford, the only thing I had to do the last 3 days was relax and get packed.  I watched a lot of tv... The Big Bang Theory is very popular over there, it made me REALLY happy!  
We were excited!

On that last Saturday in London, 3 of my friends surprised me with an early graduation present... tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera!!!!!!!!!  I died and Shakespearean died!!!  It was one of THE BEST SHOWS I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!!!!!!!!  SO much better live!  :D

I was freaking out!

That Sunday I returned to the Globe with Dalton and Piper to take one more combat workshop before we left... I got a pretty awesome battle wound from being stabbed in the thigh by Dalton, complete accident of course; It left a gnarly bruise.  We learned a very awesome fight sequence where we disarmed each other then moved onto fist fighting.  I got kicked in the stomach and choked, while I got to kick someone in the stomach and smash his head in the ground, then finish him off with a dagger to the jugular and wiping the bloody blade on my victims back.  Don't mess with me, I'm awesome!  

On Monday we all departed London in the early morning and got back to St. Louis that evening.  It was almost a 24 hour day for most of us, with the time difference.  I crashed around 10:30pm/11pm which would have been about 5:30 or 6am in England and I was up at 7 am.... WOHOO!!!  

I stayed at my friend Rachel's house with Cam, our other friend. :)  It was SO NICE to sleep in a big bed and have home cooked meals again before returning to Prin campus on Tuesday evening and having classes on Wednesday.  

When we landed in D.C to get a connecting flight to St. Louis, I cried a bit.  It was an overwhelming feeling of joy to be home, but sad that I was no longer in England.  

Leaving England :(
We got right back into classes here at Prin, and had our first real work on Pericles, the play we are putting on in about 3 more weeks.  Most of us were anxious to finally get working on this play that we've been cast in since before the summer.  

Sorry this is long, but a lot has happened.  I'll update once more and let you know how Pericles went!  CANNOT wait for it.... I'm quadruple cast as a daughter to an incestuous father, a fisherman, a lady at Diana's temple, and a pitifully sodden  prostitute.... Haha!  Thank goodness I'm very comfortable with this group of people! 

<3 always, 


England weeks 2ish-4ish

GAHH!!!  SO many cool and wonderfully exciting things have been happening!  We've been doing so much everyday I barely have time to breath... except in voice class where we spend about an hour doing breathing warm-ups :)  But still.  We're going practically all day long going from this activity to that.  I love it!  We've accomplished, what would normally take a few weeks time, so much in so little time; though I am getting ahead of myself a bit. Let's see, where did I leave you off at... Oh yes, Oxford.

Kings Cross Station
Well after we completed a week of classes at Oxford, we took a bus to London and settled down at a dorm near the Kings Cross Station (Where platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter is).  This was where we spent most of week 3.  We had from Monday to Thursday to complete all the research we could getting primary sources from the British Library.  This place has a massive amount of knowledge stored underneath it.  It takes about 70 minutes to get your books once you've ordered them.  

You may only bring pencils into the library with you, no pens or highlighters.  Paper, laptops are acceptable, but no camera's, jackets, sharp objects... because we all want to cut up pieces of history.  Sadly some people did hence the no sharp object rule.  
In case you didn't catch it, The British Library
So yeah, we sat in a big room with these books from the 14th to 17th centuries... some of them were falling apart and a lot were written in old English where V's read as U's and certain letters like an s look like an f, so lesson would look like 'leffon'.  But being able to hold books like that was slightly exciting and intimidating all at once.  Anyway, that week was pretty boring because lots of sitting and researching was involved.  I loved all of the knowledge that I soaked up, and I felt really smart, but I'm an actor... I need to be moving, thus I take you to where we next set up; Bankside right near Shakespeare's GLOBE!!!!!

So this past week we have been taking classes at The Globe Theatre where Shakespeare would have put on his plays... however the original globe was burnt down in the late 1500's when a cannon went off during a production of Henry VIII and set fire to the stage.  It was re-built soon after, then torn down again by the church in around the 1640's.  The Globe that we are at now is a replica of the original and was built sometime in the last century.  Okay, now that you know your history, lol, we have had movement classes, scene classes, text classes, voice classes, and one of my favorites, combat classes!!!!  Movement has been really awesome and fun, it's been getting me back into stretching and dancing; which I have missed with a passion.  For scene class, we are doing an abbreviated version of Winter's Tale, by Shakespeare.  We are sharing and swapping roles throughout, so it's a bit confusing and weird, but if you saw it, it would make sense.  It's about 40 minutes long and we will be performing it after having the script less then a week on Wednesday.  For text class we have been learning a lot about how to interpret how to say lines and going over iambs and stuff; basically it's a crash course in Shakespeare's text.  Voice class is a MAJOR work out!  Seriously!  We are doing a lot of stretches and movements that restrict the space available in our chests so that the breath is forced to expand in our backs and other places.  This will be great for dancing and projecting on stage.  
Rehearsing A Winter's Tale

Combat class, well there were two REALLY good looking guys that were there for teaching and demonstrating purposes.  The fight choreographer, Phil, was so knowledgeable about Shakespeare and all kinds of different types of stage combat; well he should be after being in the business for 50 years or so.  Anyway, we took class for 2 hours on rapier and dagger fighting!!!  It was SO AWESOME!!!  I also got some help from one of the cute younger guys who looks like a musketeer; that will go in the memory bank FOREVER! I went back that same weekend on our free day to work again on stage combat, this time it was just working with a rapier and not a dagger, but still LOTS of fun!!!  I would love to do this as a job, seriously, it's SO COOL!  

On the Globe Stage!!!

We've seen a lot of really awesome productions while here and I cannot even begin to tell you about all the awesomeness that has happened since we've been at the Globe.  We leave tomorrow for house stays, then we'll be heading to Stratford. :D

<3 always,



Okay, so I realize it's been FOREVER since I've blogged.  However, I feel like being in England is justification enough to begin again.  In order to catch everyone up on what has happened over the past several months, the next few blogs were email updates I sent out to family and friends.

From an Email I wrote while in Oxford 2 September, 2011

So, in case you didn't know... I'm in England! :)

I'm having so much fun and doing SO many cool things!  With everything we've been doing it feels as if I've been here for months instead of weeks.  The abroad group is already getting along great.  I pretty much am in love with all of them :)

Entrance to our Hostel in Keswick
 I really should be packing right now because it is our last day at Wadham College in Oxford, but instead I'm procrastinating as usual.  I have become attached to my little single here.  All the colleges in the Oxford system are single dorms, no doubles, triples, or quad's like at most other North American colleges.
     Each dorm room has their own sink!  And a maid that comes by each morning to tuck the sheets in your bed and vacuum, tidy up a bit and re-fill your tea, sugar and creams that are a staple in every dorm.  Each room also has its own fridge and boiling water pot.  I feel like I'm in a hotel!... with a few minor differences. 
Catlerigg Stone Circle
While in Keswick we hiked the lake district, and it was BEAUTIFUL! I actually enjoyed hiking for once, since it was at a nice pace, and was a gorgeous day.  Plus I was in England, so that might have effected my attitude, a little...  We went to Castlerigg stone circle, which is older then Stonehenge.  On the way there were sheep, and blackberries that we could pick and eat.  Keswick is such a cute and tiny little town.  On the way to our next destination we stopped at Vindolanda, the sight of Hadrian's wall.  

From my blog entry:
It feels like we have accomplished bucket loads after being in England only four days!  The abroad group left the little town of Keswick today to move to York.  But before we settled in York, we stopped at the historic archeological sight of Vindolanda, which is at Hadrian’s Wall.  Vindolanda, by the way, is the coolest, most magical and fairytale-esque name ever!
We arrived in Vindolanda at Hadrian’s Wall with just enough time to cram in some lunch before our 2pm tour.  This was where the Roman general Hadrian had built a wall to keep the Scots out.  You can kind of think of it as England’s version of The Great Wall of China, only nowhere near as magnanimous.

This sight was GORGEOUS, and especially exciting to lay our eyes upon.  The old stone buildings of a Roman Town have been gone for centuries and buried under the dirt and soil.  What remained of the structures, and some artifacts, including writing tablets, had been nicely preserved from water damage because of the way the Romans built their walls.  The first writing from a woman in the western world was documented here at the sight of Hadrian’s Wall!
A fun little fact we learned was that the headquarters of the Roman camp were in a building called the Principia (in Latin pronounced either “prin-kip-ia” or “prin-chip-ia”). It was cool to find that it had the same spelling as our darling college!  As we learned about how the city would have run when it was thriving, we also found out that it would take an estimated one to two hundred years to completely uncover a sight such as this.  Sheesh, can you imagine?!  We are all having a jolly good time, loving England and our abroad group.  We cannot wait for what adventures will come next!  As they say in York, Cheers!
York Minster
Our York adventure began with a few days of on and off rain.  We were finally experiencing typical English weather, and I was not all too thrilled about it.  Luckily that was the most rain we ever had to deal with.  I guess the American weather followed us for the majority of our adventures.  York was a very cute town, bigger then Keswick, with a bustle of city life, but small enough that I never really felt lost.  One of the days we got a tour of York Minster.  That same day my Cameron and Rachel along with talking Dalton and Dana into it went along with our professor to 'Appy Feey' where we got fish pedicures... that's right, little fishies were eating off the dead skin.  It was the weirdest and best experience I had involving my feet.  

Fish Pedicures
After spending the first week in hostels living in a dorm with bunk beds and 4-8 girls per room, we were all super happy to be at Wadham this week.  We did enjoy our adventures in Keswick and York, they were both beautiful and quaint little towns, but some of us had already begun to get under each other skin a little bit... especially when there are 8 women sharing 1 bathroom.... yeah, the boys had it a little better off then we did because there are only 6 out of the 22 students on the abroad. 
Tomorrow will be a long day because we are off to LONDON!!!  WOHOO!!!  So many people are really excited to go there, but I've been happy living in the moments and enjoying each little town and place we stay at :).  

There have been LOTS of pictures posted on facebook if you want to take a look.  There are going to be SO many England albums I'm kind of scared that fb just might blow up with Englishness (yes that's a word).  I'm about to die of Englishness, and not in the Shakespearean way of dying, but the real way.  I have been drinking SO much tea that I might burst and die a very happy person.  

Having High Tea
We all went to Isis Ceramics yesterday to have "High Tea".  High tea, as opposed to light tea, has tea and scones just like light tea but also adds the little finger sandwiches, cakes, biscuits (what we call cookies), fresh fruit, and lots of other goodies.  I stuffed myself with cucumber, egg salad, and smoked salmon sandwiches while drinking about 5 cups of tea, 2 scones with clotted cream and jam, fresh strawberries, and cupcakes.  All of the china we were being served from and drinking from was hand made and painted there.  It was the most beautiful and truly English experience I have had thus far.  
We've also visited palaces, museums, ancient archaeological sights and today one of the libraries used in the filming of Harry Potter, that's right, you can all die of jealousy because my life is complete :P

Once I've settled in London for a bit I'll shoot another emial update.  I should probably get back to packing.... I'd like to get some sleep before I have to be up and at breakfast by 8 tomorrow... up at 8 am... everyday of the abroad.... EVERYDAY, no weekends... everyday.... 8 am... Are you getting the feeling I might be a little bit annoyed?!  Well as much as not having a day in to sleep sucks, I'm still in England!!  All of the sleep deprivation can prove diverting because I tend to be my loopiest when tired.  And when I'm loopy, funny things happen :D Either that or normal things happen, I'm just WAY more entertained by them!

Lots of love to you all and I hope you are enjoying your time doing what you are doing wherever you are!

<3 always,