It’s been a while! Here’s a note on music…

While working at Black Diesel as a barista, I came to know a patron known as Tim the Lawyer (as we affectionately called him from behind the bar). He really was this successful lawyer that, when talking to him, you wouldn’t know that he was so successful. Tim was also peculiarly interested in the music that I chose to play at the shop, especially when I decided to play jazz. In fact, the first album that he commented on was one by Kat Edmonson, Take To The Sky.

In talking about my move to London and taking my alto or soprano over, this is what Tim said:

“Well it sounds like you’re going to have to bring both saxes over, then.”

I didn’t bring both, but luckily, I took to the trouble of ample negotiations and chance-taking with the airline to get my saxophone onto the plane, free of charge. I undoubtedly was going to bring my saxophone over, or at least find one when I was there (I’m still in the market for that perfect, old tenor in a whole-in-the-wall antique shop, perhaps something that the owner thinks is a throw away but becomes such an endearing tenor in my musical life). However, I figured I would play in a band or find some sort of gig to play at, but I wasn’t aware of how deeply, emotionally-involved I would become with music. I didn’t know how much priority music would start to take in my life, or realise the sheer amount of joy I got from playing music.

After deciding to drop out from the school of music at U-M, I was decently embarrassed to play the saxophone. Every time I met another student who was playing music at the SMTD, I got a pang of nervousness, of being so unqualified to play music because I had made the active choice to leave the music industry (in more of a formal way) earlier on. I still think that I feel this sort of (unfounded) pressure today — every time I start to try and learn some sort of theory, or start to study music, the pressure starts to weigh on my shoulders and makes me nervous to learn more, only to discover how little I know, and how much time I’ve already lost in learning music.

However, as I was walking to the Shaw Theatre to play in a show that we just had this week, a big one, called “Birdland”, I was reminded (perhaps by my subconscious) of how deeply lost I get when I’m playing any sort of piece. I lose myself when playing certain pieces – it’s almost as if, when I finish playing, I wake up from a quasi-dream state having forgotten what I was meant to do the next day, where I came from to get to the venue where I was playing, what I was worried about while I was walking up the stairs. I feel as if whatever meta-feelings I’m having (e.g. those that aren’t certainly concrete, or are situationally-dependent… ‘shallow’ as some might say) are whisked away and I am able to channel only my inner, purer feelings into the music that I’m playing at the time.

Something then should be said for this feeling — with very few things do I lose myself this deeply, so much that I lose the concept of time passing by. I hadn’t really recognised this until I was able to truly lose myself in the music. I have some ideas as to what may explain this, but they really aren’t fully developed — what I do want to exclaim, to iterate incessantly, is this previously untouched feeling of being happily directionless and satisfied in the environment in which I find myself. Another post may be devoted to where this feeling will take me.

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(A bit) on the justification of jazz

Life here at UCL is a bit tricky, as a necessary part of graduate studies is figuring out the proper work-life balance (cliché, I know). I believe the double-edged sword of grad school to be the newly-, socially-acceptable idea that graduates can make more excuses to stay in and study, because they have “so much work.” I can’t possibly go out because, well, I have so much reading to do. I have a paper to work on. I’m a studious, *keen* grad student so I shouldn’t spend much time socializing. And people would believe me if I make these sorts of excuses.

I guess this reasoning isn’t false. I do have a lot of reading (and soon to be) writing to do, but that work tends to fill whatever time span I give to myself, be it two hours, an entire evening, or the expansive weekend. I have trapped myself in a corner, believing that I simply have no time to do anything else but read and worry about my classwork. The walls behind me fell apart, though, when I started getting involved in UCL’s jazz society. This society offers not just opportunities to play with each other, but time to laugh, talk about jazz, or just express our feelings about things not necessarily jazz-related. There’s this sense of inclusion and mutual benefaction that we all get from indulging in such a type of music together, and I think the Jazz Society speaks volumes to how London is in general. London welcomes all, no matter their origin, and allows one to find their niche in such a vibrantly huge place in this world.

Every Tuesday the jazz society holds a jam session at a campus bar, Phineas. From 8 PM to 9 PM the house band plays, and from 9 – 11 PM they open up the band to anyone who would like to join in and play a tune. If this kind of thing happened in the States, I’m not sure how many people would come. I think I’m safe saying that, if put in front of a band playing live, upbeat jazz music, someone my age would have a great experience. However, if presented with the idea of going to a jazz show, some friends might hesitate because jazz doesn’t carry the same idea of “fun” that the genre did 40 years ago. However, these Tuesday nights are some of the liveliest I’ve seen this campus bar, where patrons are packed shoulder-to-shoulder, to the point that I feel getting out of the establishment with ease would be pretty difficult. In other words, (I can safely assume that) people like jazz here! Friends dance, sing, and sway to the music that we make on these nights and experiencing others enjoying jazz is truly beautiful, especially from the viewpoint of a performer.

Keeping in mind, however, that this happens in the middle of the week: How in the world do I justify treating a Tuesday night as I would a Friday night back in Ann Arbor?? Well, sometimes I’m not able to properly justify this decision in a “classwork first” sort of mindset. A few nights I’ve had to sacrifice the couple extra hours of sleep to finish some work that I hadn’t finished Tuesday afternoon. I might have to sacrifice a few extra pounds (analogous to dollars, surely) to spend on an extra Wednesday pick-me-up (in the form of coffee). However, if four weeks of philosophy has taught me anything so far, it’s that we can view problems and situations in multiple different frameworks. What if I process this situation in a framework that we might call, say… “Jeffrey’s soul is not fully whole unless he gets to play music for others” framework? Okay, I’m lacking a bit of originality in naming, but I’m learning an important lesson here. Classwork and reading do not hold the entire answer to having a truly beneficial experience here in London, which is something I’m sure Roger M. Jones would have agreed with.

Having internally resolved that conflict, I wanted to bring up another topic, that of which revolves around family: Parents.

I particularly loved being in Ann Arbor because I was approximately two hours away from home. To me this was the perfect amount of separation: healthy enough distance so I could make my own life without having to consult my parents about decisions that I made, but close enough that I could go home for the weekend without spending too much time in transit. Additionally, my parents could come to events that were important to me in my time at U-M, be it graduation, a music show, a birthday, or a presentation.

Don’t get me wrong – I truly, deeply love my parents, but something is to be said for parents who raise children who are able to be independent when they need to be, but at the same time vulnerable enough to ask for help in a time of need.

Last Tuesday, one of the singers in JazzSoc had her birthday on the same night as jazz night, and her dad and his friend accompanied her to the bar to watch her sing and enjoy her birthday in good company. What surprised me, though, was when the dad got up and asked for a guitar, because he was ready to play and sing a blues. This woman’s father, getting up to perform in front of a crowd with an average age about one or two sigmas’ worth below his, was what I thought an act of true love for his daughter. And his daughter got to observe him partaking in music, on her birthday, in the company of her friends.

The sheer distance between my family and myself started to become so real at that moment. I was really happy for this experience, yet I realized the sacrifices that my parents make for my own independence. Something can be said for letting a child be independent and make their own decisions, but even more is the idea of accepting the idea that their child is going to move to the opposite side of the world. As much as they would want to (and I would, too), my parents cannot physically come to my shows, to a presentation I might have, or to celebrate most special events with me. I’m starting to realize how difficult this might be for a parent, especially when “letting go” is carried out to the extreme in my sense.

There’s something to be said about this lack of physical connection and space. In the absence of physical presence, I can start to feel the intense intangible connection that a child (and brother – shoutout to my sisters!) feels with his parents (and sisters). It’s this connection that will never leave me, that is inherent in having been born of my parents and them having raised me in their unique style and means. As much as some might not like to hear, our parents will never leave us, even when they’re across the world.

So, shouting out to mom and dad, you might not be able to physically share in my time here, but you are emotionally and spiritually taking part in every waking moment of my time. Despite my inability to send a message every day (sorry mom), I do always think about you – know that the senses of security, safety, and confidence that I feel in my own capacity to adjust and live in a new world do not come from my own inherent abilities but largely from who you are.

~~~

More to come on studies – reading week is approaching, and I have a pretty difficult paper due after this week, so stay tuned for the inevitable “I’m going to practice my ideas on my readers” post!

 

What’s to say I’m a Londoner?

 

Dear friends,

I am long over due for a blog post! It’s funny how the time goes by so quickly when learning how to become a true Londoner… The question I keep asking myself, though, is how do I actually find myself becoming a Londoner? In what way am I integrating into British culture? Can someone tell merely by looking at me that I am from the United States? (As an aside, I specifically try to tell people that I am from the United States when prompted, and to not say that I am American. It’s not a lie that I am American, however we commonly (and innocently, I might argue) that those from the United States are not the only Americans in the world. Mexicans, Salvadorans, Chileans, Argentinians, Brazilians, etc. are all Americans, too. All too often the word “American” is associated with the United States, so I’m trying to change that in my own subtle way.) (Another aside (here’s when I wish that WordPress had the footnote function, or that I will someday discover how to use said function), is that there doesn’t exist a word for “from the United States” in the English language (or one that I know of). In Spanish, I could tell someone “Soy estadounidense”, or “of the United States”, if I wanted to explain my nationality.)

Extremely long double side note aside, we (being U.S. citizens) have some work to do in describing ourselves as American without (again, I emphasize, oftentimes innocently) including the power that the United States tends to exert over other areas of the world. Footnote capabilities aside, I guess I would insert one here that says this claim should be backed by ample historical research that justifies my imperialist claims. And I shed my wonderful birth country in bad light with these thoughts. I would still consider myself patriotic, however I tend to express this patriotism in alternative ways.

Regarding my initial questions, though, I think I’ve been integrating myself pretty well here. Multiple times I’ve been asked for directions by tourists, and I’ve also been asked “and how are you” in German by a (new) friend who initially thought I was German. I try to follow two basic rules when trying to look like a local:

  1. Try to be quiet and speak less often than you would be inclined to do so.
  2. Look straight ahead and not up at the buildings when walking in the city

From what I’ve noticed of the English that I’ve met is that most like to listen instead of speak in a conversation. I’ve caught myself a few times talking more than I probably should have, and have tried to make a constant effort to listen more during conversations. Sometimes I have to resist the antsy feeling of “Gosh, I *really* want to offer my point of view in this conversation,” which sometimes makes me squirm in my seat. However uncomfortable at times, I was surprised at how wonderful it is to listen more than speak in a conversation. (Footnote, which is a disclaimer this time: I have been described by my friends as quiet and soft-spoken, so I think I do have an advantage for assimilation when coming to the UK with my personality.)

Looking straightforward and directed as I walk will usually give the illusion that I know where I’m going, despite whether or not I actually have real knowledge of the area of town I’m in. I can’t remember if I’ve written this already, but at one point I was walking around Oxford with Google Maps open on my phone, and someone stopped me for directions to some unknown street in Oxford. I glanced down at my phone, and the name of the street was peering right back at me, and I pointed her in the right direction. I subsequently checked the “Be mistaken as an Oxford student” box in my mental bucket list. (Wishful thinking, surely).

Concluding this little bit, I surely have a lot of room to go if I want to call myself a local of London, or a Londoner. I’ve been taking the necessary steps to do so, including listening to the BBC more often than NPR, taking a cup of tea in the afternoon, and making those ever-so-subtle changes in vocabulary that don’t seem natural quite yet.

Shifting gears a bit, I wanted to talk about my last week, which was the first week of “real” classes. I’ll start with the fun bit. (This is a joke; it’s all fun!)

I started out the week with an intriguing “Philosophy of Mind” course, which talked much about introspection and the feasibility of the perceptual model when it pertains to perceiving the mind. This might be a topic for another time but, as interesting as this class seemed, I managed to switch out of it and enrol (yes, again, they use one “l”) in a class called “Public Ethics,” which is *far* more intellectually stimulating while (in my mind) being more readily applicable to what I perceive to be the problems that involve the human condition. (Maybe I should devote a post on what I believe to be the human condition.)

My classes then moved on to my Contemporary Political Philosophy module. I am rightfully terrified by my professor, Dr. Avia Pasternak. To give some context, I was equally terrified with the director of the U-M School of Music Jazz Lab Band, Dennis Wilson. This didn’t deter me from doing well in the class, however my fear really allowed me to improve more than I would have had I been studying under a passive, unconvincing professor. I can say the same about this political philosophy class. The readings are dense and nearly indecipherable at this point, and Dr. Pasternak expects a lot from us, but I’ll be putting in the necessary work to rise above and beyond her expectations for us as students. Last week we explored the differences between “justification” and “legitimacy” when it comes to powers of the state and how they might involve themselves in citizens’ lives. Equally, when is coercion ever justified? What is the difference between coercion and persuasion? Does the state ever have a right to coerce someone into an action? Much of this comes down to, for me, the question of how “paternalistic” we should make health, and whether health of the polity should be a public concern, or dealt with by non-governmental matters.

The following day I had my Philosophy, Politics and Economics of Health lecture (with equal nomenclature to my course title). We had an overview of topics, but then discussed the ideas behind when something becomes an epidemic, and more specifically what really constitutes an “epidemic,” setting it apart from being a mere sickness that is affecting a lot of people. What I’m learning quickly is that much of these arguments depend on how one defines the term (s)he is using, and how they justify that definition. Knowing this, would you define obesity as an epidemic? How far can the state go into preventing obesity? Should they target only children or adults? What’s the difference from the government taking action against the marketing of smoking ads but not the marketing of fast food ads?

On Thursday, I attended my “Illness” module, which discussed more the “lived experience of illness” and how we might come to understand an illness. We discussed specifically the topic of grief. Is grief seen as an illness? Or is it seen as normal behavior? When does grief become abnormal? When can it be used as justification to take paid time off of work? How can we trust someone who has to take 40 days off of work due to grief? What if we could take a pill that allowed us to relieve us of all symptoms of grief? More generally regarding the idea of illness: how can we truly come to understand an illness of someone else? (Hint, look into the field of phenomenology in philosophy.) Furthermore, how does the body play a role in the perceived experience of (generally) the world and (specifically) when the body is ill? Why is it, that one is ill, they have such a hard time remembering or feeling how it is to be healthy?

Some of these questions will lead to coherent thoughts eventually. I promise that tomorrow I will write you with an incredibly (albeit often discussed) thought experiment that our Public Ethics teacher started us out with in class yesterday, since I didn’t give you an explanation of the class here.

It’s about 12:30 AM here, so I’m going to sign off. On schedule for tomorrow: the second Philosophy, Politics and Economics of Health module, a couple meetings with a couple anthropologists, some reading, some pizza with my classmates, and a Spanish evening course. Much to do, so little time! Although, while I write this, I forgot to mention that I have been playing JAZZ this past week, with some really cool cats. (Cats is commonly used in the jazz world to describe feelings of affirmation towards other jazz artists.) I went to a jam session, called “Jam at Phineas”, where the house band lets anyone come play any tunes from 9-11 PM. Phineas is one of UCL’s student bars, and students here love jazz, so the house was incredibly full and bouncing to the music we were making. I had a blast. I also went to the “jazz singers” and “big band” taster sessions, to see how these arms of the Jazz Society are. Naturally, I loved both sessions, so we’ll see what I can do as far as participation goes. Nonetheless, I have chosen to join the Jazz Society here. More to come on that front!

Tales of a Fresher

As my week has come to an end, and the weekend opened up, the list of what I want to report back on keeps growing. I could only wish that I had attached a semi-permanent go-pro camera onto my chest, in hopes that this would give you all a better picture of my London life outside of what I can share in writing. Alas, you’re going to get to see my life through the (hopefully clean) window I can create with words.

This past week has been filled with welcome events, induction classes, and a fresher’s fair. Yes, I do consider myself a fresher, although a post-grad. It’s an odd feeling, calling myself what we might consider the equivalent of a “freshman”. However, I’m not sure these two terms are the most synonymous, as post-grads aren’t as hesitant to call themselves freshers, where the meaning of this word does not carry the meaning of (as “freshman” does”), “Innocently naïve young but eager and energy-filled first-year student”. I believe “fresher” to mean, quite simply, “new”.

To start the tale of my life as a fresher I was able to attend the post-graduate (and fresher) boat party this past Tuesday. The name pretty much describes what the event was: a party, but on a boat. We didn’t have the most luxurious of boats, but what I would call fabulously functional. The boat was two floors, where the upper floor was half-covered, half-open to the elements. Earlier in the night, we all congregated towards the back of the boat, where we could watch the sun set on some of London’s most iconic buildings. As the night went on, we migrated to the dance floor and danced to some of the most cliché (but fun) music from my middle school years (e.g. Apple Bottom Jeans (mom you would have loved this one), the Back Street Boys, songs from Grease, Hall and Oates, and others). The bottom of the boat was carpeted and left some more silence for conversation and relaxation, something postgrads seem to enjoy more than crazily dancing on a rocking dance floor. (Dancing to “La Macarena” is significantly harder when mid-way through the sequence, one has to throw his arms out to balance himself.)

One glorious thing about being a fresher at a largely international institution such as UCL is the eagerness people have for initiating conversation and friendship. At events like these, it’s considered socially acceptable (and welcomed) to butt into conversations at will, introduce yourself, and keep on with the conversation. This method of making friends has led me to meet a ton of new people, those from the UK, Mexico, Switzerland, France, Greece, Italy, Canada, Spain, Venezuela, Jordan, and Brazil. UCL houses so many graduate students from around the world, and I think I’ve met more students from countries around the world and less the UK, which I believe is truly amazing.

On Wednesday, I was able to meet all the people in my course (the word “course” is synonymous with “program” or “degree” in the U.S.). As I was already told by my director, we are a small (but mighty, I might argue) number of people in my course (around 25, I think). Among us are students coming from pure philosophy backgrounds, medical students (having finished their degrees or taking a gap year mid-degree), professionals who have already worked in the policy realm, and a couple physicians who wish to take a little more of a philosophical or critical view to their work and profession. We started the day with the course around 2 PM with a short explanation of the “who, what, where, when, why” of the program and followed up with more logistical questions of the day.

After this, we went out to some coffee for a little while, which opened up the initial “first meeting” tensions over coffee and tea. I started talking to a friend named Oli, who comes from a background in medicine. Someone had gotten a matcha latte, and I turned to Oli to talk about tea, especially matcha. My comments were somewhat like this, “Right, so matcha’s a pretty cool thing. Most of what we drink is commercial matcha, not really the best quality but priced well so we don’t have to pay much for it. The ceremonial matcha can go for about US$80 per gram, which is crazy.” Oli went on to ask how I got to know much about matcha tea, and from there my passion about coffee (and *I guess* tea) was discovered. Perhaps I use coffee and tea as a fallback when I’m nervous about meeting people. Alternatively, I’m just super passionate about coffee. I’m for the latter.

We then went on to an introduction and walk-through of the Wellcome Library. I think my initial experience and time with the Wellcome Library merits a separate blog post, so I’ll leave you with a simple request to google the Wellcome Trust and the Wellcome Library, knowing that being on this course at UCL gives me full access to the library’s resources.

True to English fashion, we all went out to the pub for conversation and getting to know each other in the course after the library tour. I wasn’t expecting this to be officially listed in the induction program, but it was, which was a bit surprising to me. However I’ve come to quickly learn that the English follow up so many events (professional or not) with the pub. The pub isn’t seen as a place to go blow off steam or sulk away with a beer in hand, rather it’s a place for lively and intelligible conversation following what was just learned after an intense seminar or talk.

Skipping over a few days, I just finished with a full morning of attending the fresher’s fair, very similar to the event we call “Festifall” at U-M. The UCL campus was stuffed full of students, booths, and (extremely) enthusiastic members of the various societies (in lieu of our word “club”) at UCL. Despite what I believed my actions would be, I ended up succumbing to the welcoming words of way too many societies and signed up for about 12 too many society’ email lists. I guess this is a way to truly figure out if I’m interested in a society – if I can truly withstand the barrage of emails in the coming week from any one society, that’ll be the society for me.

Here’s a (tentative) list of what I want to do outside of classes. I only say tentative because I’m unsure of what my class schedule will allow. I keep hearing this ominous rumor that one-year master’s students are usually locked away in the library all day, inundated with reading and writing that keeps them from doing much outside of work. I’m choosing to selectively filter out these messages and planning on letting myself have a little fun while I’m here.

For extra-curricular societies, I plan to participate in…

  • Jazz Society and big band
  • Writing for Pi Magazine or the Cheese Grater magazine (both are student publications). This may or may not be influenced by my recent viewing of the life of Rory Gilmore.
  • Running with UCL RAX (standing for Running, Athletics and Cross Country)
  • Dancing with the UCL Salsa Society

This might be a bit ambitious, especially because I also volunteered as a representative for my course to the university in all items “bureaucratic”. I’ve also signed up for Spanish evening classes, but all of the club events that I plan on doing miraculously don’t conflict with my Spanish class. Just keep in mind, friends, that I will be putting school first, of course, and extra-curricular activities at a (very close) second while I’m here.

I’m going to leave you with a list of the courses that I’ve decided to take, sans descriptions. Another post (that’s two I’ve told you to wait for), will describe my rationale behind each course decision!

Term 1:

  • Advanced Graduate Studies in the Philosophy of Mind
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy: Authority, Obligation and Democracy
  • Illness: An Introduction to Health Humanities
  • The Philosophy, Politics and Economics of Health

Term 2:

  • Politics and Ethics
  • Global Justice and Health
  • Key Principles of Health Economics
  • Health Policy and Reform
  • Planning to audit the course called: Madness: An Introduction to Health Humanities

All, of course, following with a dissertation!

Thanks for reading, friends. Formal classes start this coming week, so wish me luck!

 

A tourist in London, until the 16th of September

Dear friends,

Currently I am writing from an incredibly hip coffee shop in Bath, England, called Society Café. It’s so hip, there’s a bike hanging on the wall in front of me! I was served my coffee in a milk steaming pitcher, and I’ve already made friends with the baristas working today. What great fun coffee people are!

This post can hopefully serve as a little update to my life after Iceland, especially in my endeavors to become any bit of a local in London.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Tube has been incredibly good to me. The fact that I was able to locate and use the tube right after flying into London speaks volumes to its ease of use. I would say that the signage and directions are pretty forgiving to newcomers, as they prevent one from looking around aimlessly, going back and forth from the same spot to another, and blatantly looking like a tourist. Although my mannerisms might be moving towards “local”, my two pieces of luggage with a saxophone strapped over one of them did a pretty good job of pegging me as a foreigner, I’d say.

Upon leaving the tube, I had a decently long walk ahead of me to the hostel. One problem, though, was that I hadn’t taken a look at where my hostel was in the station from which I would be exiting, and I hadn’t the time to get a new SIM card for my phone. I started walking in a direction that I thought would get me to the right place, but ended up in an area that looked like this: London, preview to Bath - 3.jpg

“This is not my hostel…” I thought. Although the Porsche and beautiful houses led me to believe that I was in a very nice neighborhood. I promptly exited where I ended up, and found a wonderful couple that led me in the right direction.

The only problem with this long journey from the tube was the toll this path took on my luggage wheels. Alas, I believe that I’m due to destroy the large bags that I use for the “50-pound checked bag” each time I make a big journey somewhere. The right wheel to my large black luggage bag has promptly been ripped apart by the countless steps up and down to sidewalk and periodic cobbles. This reminds me of the time when my large bag ended up with a gaping hole in its side after five weeks in the Dominican Republic. Perhaps this is telling me that I should pack a little lighter.

After finally making it to my hostel, I was happy surprised to know that I was staying in an old historical house that was literally in Holland Park. The hostel scene is quite interesting (at least this one), where it’s slightly reminiscent of the co-op culture on campus at U-M. It seems that many people travel in groups to hostels, or some people are quite good at making friends in hostels, too. I, on the other hand, tend to keep a little more to myself if I’m in an unfamiliar situation, as was the case earlier this week.

London, preview to Bath - 1.jpg

The view from my room. The park is just behind the building you can see in this photo!

London, preview to Bath - 2.jpg

A view of the building where my bed was housed!

Despite keeping to myself, I did happen to meet two memorable people. Firstly, was a man from the west coast, who decided that life was too short to not celebrate his birthday in a memorable way, so he decided to travel to Europe for his past two birthdays. His name was Glen, and he had an MBA from Harvard and managed to land a job doing housing allocation and consulting for the State of California in Silicon Valley. I also met a woman named Lucy. Oddly, I thought she was someone who worked at the hostel and I tried to hand my breakfast token (what I pre-paid for to get breakfast the next two mornings) but she was basically saying hi to me instead. She used to be an accountant, but had a large realization that her job and her life vision did not line up. She’s now on her way to tracking a new philosophy, on her life and certain ideas that apply to what she believes the future of this world.

I would say that I’m two for two with meeting truly inspiring people who want to change the world in their own way. This could be, hopefully, the proper precursor to London, as I’ve been told that it’s a global hub that attracts many different but all bright minds that help me discover new and different ways of thinking.

~~

Upon leaving my tourist days in London, I’m now on to Bath, Oxford, and Bournemouth to fulfill some time as a tourist in England. I wasn’t really sure of where I should go in England, but my reasoning is as follows:

  1. I want to make it up to Scotland, however I’m waiting until I have a long weekend *and* when I get my 16-25 railcard, which will give me a 1/3 discount on a (much more) expensive train ticket than what I paid to get to these three places.
  2. My parents are spending time in Italy as I write this, and I figured that I could get a little piece of Rome by going to the Roman Baths and structures in the first town, Bath (quite obviously named for what I just mentioned).
  3. I’ve been told that Oxford is beautiful, and I want to feel the history and aura of academia that (should) exist at Oxford. I will keep you all updated on what I do feel there 🙂
  4. Many who asked about where I wanted to go were told “I’d love to spend some time on a coastal town, to wake up by the sea…” So, I am fulfilling that statement by hopping down to Bournemouth for a day before I head back up to London.

~~

In ending, I’ll leave you with a picture of what I had for dinner last night. I tried to find an Italian place to eat, and I stumbled upon this place called Sotto Sotto, renowned as the best place to eat Italian food in Bath (as according to Yelp (Fr. Joe, you would be proud!)). However, due to their great popularity, they were booked solid – not even for a table for one! Luckily right next door was a Spanish tapas restaurant, called La Perla. As odd as it was to eat dinner in a slightly nicer restaurant by myself, my Kindle (and the wonderful story of Harry Potter) kept me company.

La Perla - 1.jpg

~~

Now it’s on to Oxford in a few hours!