Monday, March 30, 2009

Bella Italia

I just finished a week of traveling around Italy. I absolutely loved it. I visited Rome, Florence, and Venice, with a minitrip to Sacile. In addition to visiting these beautiful cities, I was able to see some friends of mine that I hadn't seen in a long time. The weather wasn't perfect but didn't matter. Although I admit that when the weather in England was nicer than the weather when I landed in Rome, I wasn't the happiest camper in the world. That initial hesitation disappeared as soon as I finished the hour journey from the airport to the actual city of Rome. The rest of the week was great, going from one adventure to the next. I'll go into more detail in future posts about each city. I'm already looking forward to going back to Italy and continuing to explore the country.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

One Full term and 100 days

Brighton Pier at the Seafront

Approximately 3 months ago I wrote another post titled "One full term and 100 days" in that post I reflected on the Autumn term and my first 100 days at Uni Sussex. At that point in time I was homesick and jealous of my friends who were going home for the holidays even though I had an epic adventure planned with my friend Leanna. I survived my epic adventure and went back to Michigan for a week before coming back to Uni. Sussex for the spring term and I'm so glad that I came back. I really feel like I came into my own this term. I didn't go very many places but I was able to find a comfortable spot for myself here in Brighton. Now I have one full term and 100 days remaining in my study abroad adventure and, while I am looking forward to seeing familiar faces again, I don't want to leave Brighton behind. I finished all of my work for the spring term today and went into Brighton to walk along the seafront and actually enjoy the beautiful weather we've been having this week. I think that was the first time I had been to the seafront in the daylight while it was nice outside. As a pebble beach it lacks some of the characteristics of sand vacation beaches but it still felt wonderful to be outside, in the sun, by the sea (or the English Channel in this case). Tomorrow I am leaving for a whirlwind tour of Italy. I wish I could take all of my 4-week break to explore the country but I'd also like to see my family again. Therefore I'll be visiting Rome, Florence, and Venice before jetting across the Atlantic (again) to accompany my family for my brothers' spring break. I'm also taking some of my winter clothes back to the USA signifying the official beginning of the end of my time at Uni. Sussex and my return to RPI and the United States.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Red Noses, and Fish and Chips

In the midst of reviewing for my end-of-terms exams this weekend, I also received two lessons in English pop culture. Red Nose Day was Friday, March 13th and is a national fundraising day for charity. It is also called Comic Relief, because many of the larger fundraisers involve people doing something silly. As part of the festivities they sell collectible red noses with different faces on them. I decided to get one even though I didn't take part in any organized fundraisers. What do you think?

My second English culture lesson was my official introduction to fish and chips. It is regarded as almost sinful that I've been here over six months and am only just trying them. Jennie and I got fish and chips for dinner while we were studying. First impression; the portions were huge, and we only got smalls! My piece of fish was probably a foot long and was accompanied by a small mountain of chips (french fries). I am starting to develop a taste for fish but I didn't really need it for this meal because cod doesn't have much of a fishy taste and the breading masked any lingering fishiness. I would have preferred if my chips were a little crisper but they were hot so it was okay. After years of Beaudet/Pinto dinner training I was able to finish my allotment of greasy goodness but my tummy was was very full afterward. Overall impression; pretty tasty but probably gets more hype than it deserves.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Proper Sunday Roast

After my less-than-delicious first encounter with a traditional English Sunday Roast I was very skeptical as to why someone would have such a dry, bland meal every week. My friend Jennie, who is quickly becoming my English culture tutor, thankfully decided to correct my interpretation of the Sunday Roast and asked her boyfriend, Paul, to prepare one for us.

As it turns out, Paul is a fantastic cook and made us an excellent pork Sunday Roast. We had roast pork, sage and onion stuffing, gravy, roasted potatoes, honeyed carrots, broccoli and baby corn, and a strudel for dessert. It was all fantastic. One traditional thing that we didn't have was Yorkshire pudding, a kind of bready box that held the roast chicken in the last roast I ate. I can't really say that I missed it. Jennie said something about having a Sunday Roast for her birthday. With any luck I'll be invited around for that one too.

One thing I don't understand is the use of the word "pudding" is British English. Sometimes it refers to a type of cakey dessert, sometimes it just means dessert, and sometimes, as in the case of Yorkshire pudding, doesn't refer to anything remotely dessert-like. The treats that Americans would refer to as "pudding" are called "custard" or "mousse," but I've never heard it called "pudding" in any context. I'm going to have to put together a vocabulary list of all the British terms I've run into, especially those related to food.