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Friday, July 22, 2016



I've been busy having lots of adventures in England (but also class), but I haven't felt like anything has been worth writing about. That's clearly very silly of me... and since my time in England is quickly coming to a close, I figured it would be best to write something before I'm headed off to the Continent on family holiday. My parents are flying in next week and we're headed to Eastern Europe... more on that as it happens.




I've been up to quite a bit since coming to London. I was taking aerial classes at Flying Fantastic  which was really a lot of fun. Highly recommended... in particular if you are new! They give an incredible amount of personal attention and their equipment is quite good. I was really impressed with the warm ups as well- quite a lot of work. Though I haven't been dancing since coming here, I had to take a picture dancing outside a phone booth as well. There has been a fair amount of site-seeing as well! There's lots to do here in London, and it's been a great experience.

Now it's really time for me to write the term paper so I can relax and enjoy the weekend!
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Saturday, July 9, 2016



Today when wandering around the Victoria and Albert Museum (which is where the title images come from), it occurred to me that blending in as a Londoner would be a nice skill to have. So far, I've noted five major things that one can do in order to pretend to be a British person/Londoner.


1) Queue for everything and make a distressed sighing sound if someone tries to cut it.

Queuing appears to be the British national pastime, and nice orderly queues are everywhere. This isn't dissimilar to the United States or Singapore, but some people still seem to have a problem with it.

2) Complain about the weather.

Another British national pastime is complaining/commenting on the weather. People frequently compare the weather to days past. Others hope for a "proper summertime" starting soon. Some people even compare the weather to years past. There are a lot of ways to describe the weather here in London, lately it's been rather overcast and cloudy.

3) Drink copious amounts of tea.

The British drink a LOT of tea. This is a habit I've picked up, and since black tea around here is just so dark, I've also started drinking it with milk and sugar. I'm not entirely certain why I picked up a 160-bag box of tea, but it's given me motivation to start drinking something like 3-5 cups a day.

4) Say "sorry" constantly.

I've definitely picked this habit up in the time I've been here so far. Londoners say "sorry" when they are trying to squeeze past you on the Underground and basically a million other situations as well. If in doubt, apologise even if you have no idea what you are apologising for.

5)  Be silent and grumpy looking on the Underground.

One can always spot an American on the Underground because s/he's the one talking very loudly, and giggling every time the station "Cockfosters" is mentioned. Most Londoners sit on the Underground looking very quietly, and avoid eye contact if all possible.


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Friday, July 8, 2016



 Life has been absolutely insane since coming to London. It feels like we've been here forever, even though it really hasn't been very long at all. Though during the week we're mostly in class, thanks to a long weekend most of my class has been able to do some site-seeing. I've realised that while I've been to London, before, I haven't actually seen that many of the sites. Either that, or I simply didn't remember seeing them. For the past two days, I've been walking around with my friend Lea exploring this glorious city. 



Some how, I've never seen the horse guards or Westminster before... but I have seen the Globe Theatre thanks to my school trip back in high school. It's a funny feeling, being familiar with a place but not entirely certain where things are. At least London is a very walkable city. 



I saw the Book of Mormon with some classmates for Lea's 21st birthday, which was extremely funny. The only things I knew going into the show was that it was about Mormons and Africa and contained a lot of swearing, which was completely accurate. If you're ever in London or New York, it's definitely a show worth seeing. I'm thinking about seeing Matilda while I'm here because apparently it's a great show as well... and there are ads everywhere reminding me that I haven't seen it yet.



I think that's all for now. I'll try to be a bit better about posting to keep everyone updated about what I'm up to. London is a really fun city and there's lots to do... which means its really tiring me out!




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Wednesday, June 29, 2016




Per usual, I've been extremely busy! I took a final exam in Geneva which wasn't too bad, though studying for it took up a little more time then I would have liked. It's too bad really, since the weather in Geneva finally got decent right when we left. The day after my final, my friend Joey and I flew to Budapest. Well, first we had mini heart attacks because our original flight got cancelled. Eventually though, we made it to what is easily one of the most beautiful cities on the planet.



Some of the highlights of Budapest include the Parliament building (it's totally worth taking a tour of the inside, look at all the gold!), walking around Buda castle, and the bathhouse. I didn't know that Budapest was known for their thermal baths... or that the city used to be two different cities, Buda and Pest. Also, the "pest" part of "Budapest" is pronounced as "Pescht". Hungarian sounds like nothing I've ever heard before, which turns out to be because it's part of fairly rare language group.

I'm in London settling into the second half of my study abroad, but I desperately wish I was still in pretty Budapest eating goulash instead!
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016



My class visited the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today and it was really informative! I had no idea international humanitarian law was so complex and interesting. We watched a short video, had two speakers, an amazing lunch in the Red Cross cafeteria, and a tour of their museum.

Did you know that there are actually three symbols used by the organization? The two pictured that hang over the building (Red Cross and Red Crescent), and the Red Crystal are all official symbols. Apparently Israel couldn't be part of the Red Cross/Crescent because it thought the symbols were too religious and they didn't like that, so it asked if they could use a Red Crystal. It's the only country to use it, which is apparently why the organization doesn't have it flying with the other two symbols. The Red Cross is actually just a flipping of colours of the Swiss Flag, and is not meant to have religious connotations. The Ottoman Empire thought Red Cross workers looked like crusaders, so they inverted their flag colours to create the Red Crescent in the mid 1800s.

I think it's really interesting that people are highly critical of the Red Cross, but often don't know a lot about it. First of all, it's a private Swiss-based organization. It also was created to treat fallen soldiers on the battlefield regardless of side. It prefers to operate largely confidentially (which is often deemed controversial) and the ICRC has special rights in international humanitarian law. It does a lot more than I initially thought-- and the visit changed my opinion in a positive way. I'm really interested in the rules of warfare and what is acceptable in different circumstances, so it was a neat visit.



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