Monday, February 7, 2011

I don't think I'm In Vermont Anymore....

It’s time for another update!
So this week has been filled with the classic orientation week must-do’s: academic introductions, cultural integration talks, and guided tours of bath. However, what I did not expect was the discussions with the ASE staff about night clubs, where we should go to “properly go out,” and the opportunity to drink alcohol with my soon to be tutors (professors). Not exactly what freshman orientation was like in the States that’s for sure!
Before I start ranting about every moment of every day this week, I think I will start with a list of things that I have noticed that are different about England and Bath in particular.
1.       The stove is referred to as the hob. Why I don’t know because I can’t even fathom how you derive the word hob from a cooking device.
2.       People are much more put together here regarding their clothes than in the states. I had to travel all the way to the Bath University campus to find a person wearing yoga pants or sweat pants while out and about.
3.       People are really friendly here, surprisingly. I thought that British people on a whole were much more shut up in their own little world, but when the Bus driver wiped out his phone and gps-ed the address of the school I was trying to get to for me I definitely re-evaluated my prior misconceptions.
4.       They drive on the other side of the road, which might not really seem like a big deal until you go to cross the road and you are looking in the wrong direction to search for cars coming down the road. Also, the roads are unbelievably narrow here…even on the sidewalks I need to keep an eye out, especially for all the buses.
So those are the list of things that have stuck out to me so far. Not things I originally thought I was going to watch out for, but they struck me all the same.
So looking back on the week, I think that a lot has happened. I feel like I have been here for a long time, but really it has been no time at all. On Thursday I ventured out to see my school for the first time, and it was really exciting. The head teacher and my cooperating teacher were both in France with the year 6 students on a field trip so I did not get to meet them. However, the assistant head teacher was very friendly and welcoming as was the rest of the staff that I was introduced to. Tomorrow if my first full day, and I am so excited to meet the kids and to determine my role in the classroom!
Thursday night my roommate Sarah and I went out to investigate a pub called the Bell which was recommended by us by one of the staff members at ASE. We had a general idea of where it way, but unfortunately we never found it and this lead to us wondering the city looking for a place to eat. We ended up at the Hobgoblin, which was also recommended to us. Well, after walking in and realizing that it was more of a bar than a pub and it had a basement called the Crypt, we decided to leave—we both agreed that if the people hadn’t been so creepy we would have been classic tourists and taken pictures of the Crypt sign! Anyways, we ended up at a pub finally and I was able to try the infamous fish and chips (which was really good) and a good old pint of cider…it was delish!
Saturday, I went with the program to investigate the Saturday Markets, which, I have decided, are my new favorite place to go. There are all these vendors selling cheese, jams, chocolate, flapjacks, vegetables, meat, clothes, and candy; the best part is that everything is really cheap. I bought an umbrella for 3 pounds! It’s also a really great way to interact with the local community because it is all the locals who are selling the goods. Oh, and I forgot the Tea Man—how could I forget tea, I am in England after all!

Sunday was our day to Stonehenge, Salisbury, and Lacock. We boarded a bus at 9 a.m. and went first to Stonehenge. I would suggest that anyone who visits put bricks, or anything heavy, in their pockets because I was almost blown away. It is so windy there that they have caution signs there warning visitors about the high force winds! Other than the wind it was really a cool place. All along the outskirts of it are borrows, or burial mounds, which is eerie and cool all at the same time. Then of course Stonehenge itself is amazing! It is hard to believe that people were able to build such structure without the help of modern technology. One interesting thing that Andrew Butterworth himself told us was that recently there were archeological digs taking place in the middle of the Stonehenge circle and there were cremated ashes found of several people who are believed to belong to the same family…ponder that for awhile!

After one lap around the circle we were all ready to escape the hurricane force winds so we settled back on the bus for our ride to Salisbury. It was such a great place! Andrew Butterworth gave us a tour of the cathedral there, which is massive! I don’t think that I have seen any building of that magnitude, ever—skyscrapers don’t count because most of those are ugly! Inside it is filled with memorials and tombs, as well as absolutely captivating stained glass windows. The coolest thing that I got to see was one of the original 4 Magna Carta’s! It has its own house in the back of the church, but unfortunately we were unable to photograph the exhibit L
Stained Glass Windows at the front of the church.

For all the fellow SMC-ers out there, this is the Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel.

Elysia, Zoe, Katie, Sarah (taking the pic) and I went to this adorable little pub in Salisbury where the actual building was crooked and the food was delicious!

Outside view of the Cathedral

Following, Salisbury we headed to Lacock, which is a quaint little town where numerous movies have been filmed including parts of Harry Potter. The abbey there was used for part of Hogwarts (I believe Snape’s dungeon area) and Voldomort’s house is there as well. We did not have time to visit Voldomort’s house, but we did see the Abbey, which was unfortunately under renovations so there were scaffolding structures inside the building.

The Abbey in Lacock
So, I think this concludes my novella on orientation week. Thanks for bearing with me as I discussed all the finer details! I head to school tomorrow and I hope I will be able to capture some pictures of the classroom and the building then blog on Wednesday about my first day!
My final thought is that I started with all the new things that I have noticed and learned while here for the past week, so I thought I would end with something I miss. Oddly enough, the one thing that I really miss is the smell of my shampoo! It isn’t sold here and it’s really odd to have such a different smell in my hair. But, I’m sure I can survive without it for 4 months!
Until Next Time,


  1. Looks like you had an awesome time!I can't believe what history is there and those structures are amazing.Hope your first day of classes went well,can't wait to hear about it.
    Love Mom

  2. The Hobgoblin is awesome, and the bell is not difficult to find... there´´s nothing ´creepy´about the metal guys of Bath, stupid yank.