there can never be too many santas….

The past 10 days have been filled with studying for the 4 exams I just took in 2 days.  I’ve been thinking for 72 hours straight.  But of course we managed to have some fun in there as well.  Last Tuesday, one week ago today, was our last official art class.  I was so sad.  I haven’t enjoyed a class that much since high school.  We spent it at the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery at Trafalgar Square.  The view is breathtaking straight down to the Thames and Parliament.

view from National Gallery down Southhall

We wandered through Monets, van Goghs, Renoirs, and Seurats before we had a tour given by the Director of Education and curator of the Bridget Riley exhibition we were seeing.  I know this doesn’t really make sense to you, but I want to have this info for myself later :). The director was insanely amazing.  I seriously as clicheed as this sounds, will never look at art the same way.  We walked through some of the oldies but goodies and he pointed out that visual art is a composition just as music is one.  Since I know a lot more about musical composition than visual art composition, this made so much sense to me. I could SEE the rhythms, themes, tone colors, repetition, voices, counterpoint, etc.  He then brought us around to the Bridget Riley exhibition.  Riley is a contemporary British artist in her 80s now whose drawings we saw at the National Portrait gallery.  This was an exhibition of her optical paintings, and she requested each one to be placed in proximity to a painting the National Gallery owned, for example, one by Raphael.  And thus we could see clearly how contemporary art reflects art of the past.  It’s not just a bunch of circles or lines.  I’ve really learned to appreciate contemporary art this semester, and I seriously can’t wait to go to art museums in NC when I get back.  We had our final though this morning, and I’m burnt out about talking about it all, so I’ll end there.  I love art.

Wednesday we had a behind the scenes tour with Sam Moorhead of the British Museum who was a Morehead scholar at UNC many moons ago.  It was straight out of Night at the Museum as we went after hours and were the only people there.  Eerie and awesome.  We saw the rosetta stone and the elgin marbles of course, and George III’s library among other things.  It was incredible to walk around with Sam who was a storyteller of history at its finest.  He pointed out the “humanity” in the artifacts that I never would have seen otherwise.  I of course thought of my best gal Erin, the classics major, the ENTIRE time we were wandering around there. It was beautiful.  It’s literally a 5 minute walk from our apartment and I still hadn’t been there until last week.  I’ve found I’m not really a museum girl, besides art at least.

British Museum after hours

British Museum

Wednesday was a work/chill day.  But we ended up going to get Turkish food for dinner over near our school building.  It was delicious, but way too much meat. I’m back on my full-time veg kick after that.

Thursday we hung out with Alice, our awesome Winston House manager.  We went up to her house in Kensal Green/Rise on the Overground, and then cooked a really yummy dinner, and then walked into Kilburn in North London to see a play at the tricycle theater that was my favorite I’ve seen this semester.  It was about a summer weekend when a not so traditional couple meet, and the story is told/sung/acted by the two of them.  It was hilarious, beautiful, and thought-provoking, the perfect romantic comedy. We love Alice. She’s coming to Chapel Hill in the spring!

Friday, H-Nugget and I went to the chocolate festival down at the Southbank Centre on the river, and then to a Christmas market down there as well.  After we decided to stop by the National Theatre and happened to be able to get seats for a play called “Men Should Weep” about the tenement house life in the 1820s in Glasgow.  Beyond the fact that we couldn’t understand a lot of the Scottish accent, at all, it was very well done!  I love theater..  On the way back we walked across Waterloo Bridge–my favorite night time view in London, and then happened to wander down to Somerset House where the most beautiful ice skating rink on Earth is. We spent a good 30 minutes listening to the DJ and people watching.  The “ahh-I’m-almost-falling-please help-me-I-don’t-care-if you’re-random” was a particularly amusing facial expression…

Somerset House

This weekend was unfortunately spent studying.  I did find an awesome cafe called Foyle’s which reminded me of a hybrid between Foster’s and Open Eye in Chapel Hill/Carrboro. We sat next to a guy who was doing job interviews all afternoon.  I never guessed correctly at the type of person who’d be rolling into the cafe next.  Luckily for us, there were 1500 Santas to keep us company in central London on Sunday.  It was hilarious.  They were all drunk, making up stories about why they were dressed up, and each, of course, introduced themselves as Santa. (see: http://santacon.co.uk)

Last night we had a “holiday cheer” party at our Program Director’s flat with him and his partner, Carolyn.  It was a festive, fun evening filled with mulled wine (the night before his exam??!), mince pies, laughs about British quirks, and awkward but hilarious stories from our sweet professor.

I’m just about ready then, to head home I mean.  Things have come to a close.  I’m ready for Christmastime at home. I have 3 more days here to relax and see a few more things, but I’ve been done being a tourist for a long while now.  I just want to BE in London, not be doing things in London, so that’s what I’ll be doing.  I cannot wait to see my fam at the airport on Saturday! But for now, I’m pretty sure I’m going to head to bed even though it’s only 7pm. Cheers.

Hope this finds you all well.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. ladyleeds
    Dec 14, 2010 @ 19:08:11

    what an adorable blog. felt like i was there with you and so nice to see photographs too. i am new to wordpress and am finding my way around. tiffany

    Reply

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