Archive for August, 2012

First Big Night Out in Bath

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Places we went:

  • Belushi’s trivia night
  • Ponana’s dance club
  • The streets of Bath

Things I drank:

  • Pregamed cider baby
  • JAGERBOMB! x2
  • Mystery free round of red/blue shots
  • Pitcher of tropical illusion
  • And one final Jagerbomb

Memories:

  • Winning the fancy trivia hat for the perfect round!
  • The guy in the bunny suit dancing at the club. Also everyone else was in costumes but we don’t know why… Guess we missed the memo.
  • Meeting two 16 year old British kids who talked to us for two hours about culture. They asked us if DC was close to California and if the girls were prettier. They also asked us if we thought they were “posh.” And they told us we looked “mint” as in rich/well off. Interacting with the locals!

British Coins (There are a Ton of Them)

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

I’ve been so afraid of trying to figure out all these different coins that I just keep using bills but they’re adding up rather quickly…

From left to right we have:

  • Two pound coin. The largest. Two tone.
  • One pound coin.
  • Fifty pence. Weird and angular.
  • Twenty pence.
  • Ten pence.
  • Five pence.
  • Two pence (that seems strange).
  • One pence.

SO MANY PENCES although at Linley we’ve taken to calling them pants because it’s more entertaining.

A Whiff of Fall

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

If you can have a false spring, can you also have a false fall? You know, in February when it suddenly thaws and everyone’s wearing t-shirts and the tulips start to poke out of the ground, and the next day all the tulips are dead, there’s a layer of frost on the ground, and everyone’ s shivering because no one got the “put on your coat” memo. That sort of false spring. We had it every year at UMW, and every year it caught me by surprise. By the time I knew to expect it, I had come to Korea, where we don’t have false springs – we just have very long, uninterrupted winters. I have never heard of a false fall, but that’s the best way I can describe our current weather.

It’s still summer, but the double typhoons (that’s right – instead of a double rainbow I got TWO typhoons, back to back) swept through and seem to have taken most of the summer heat and humidity with them. Looking at my town, we came out of the typhoons okay. There are no broken windows that I can see, though the wind did blow a fair amount of shingles off of the roofs those can be replaced easily, and only one tree fell over. All of the leaves on the ground shaken off the trees prematurely by the storm are starting to decompose, which just adds to the smell and feeling of our false fall.

Yesterday as I walked home, I noted that there were patches of sky uninterrupted by clouds, the first time in a few days, and the sky was so blindingly azure blue that it matched the colors of the roofs of some of the houses around me. Earlier in the day, I had peered out the window of the one of the first grade classrooms and noted that all I could see beyond the field surrounding my school was a gray nothingness, and the comforting familiarity of the mountains surrounding us, encasing our school and town in a valley and protecting it from the elements, had disappeared.

Korean summer has always been alien to me, as being from Virginia, while I’m used to the heat and the oppressive humidity I’m not used to the constant rain, and the winter’s always been too cold and harsh. On the other hand Korean spring and fall,  so similar to the ones I grew up with, just shorter, are pleasantly familiar. Today as I walked to school I wore a sweater, which considering the temperature is just continuing to rise was a ridiculous idea, but I wanted to bask in the snugness of false fall for just a little longer.

British Terminology

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
  • A zucchini is called a courgette.
  • Hex means password.
  • Rubbish = trash
  • Biscuits = cookies
  • Parcel = package
  • Flat = apartment
  • Petrol station instead of gas station
  • Pub for bar
  • Rocket is what they call arugula. So cool!

I’m sure there will be more, but learning is quite entertaining, if not often confusing. Pronunciation is also a hoot to hear here!

Also, in my quest to Sainsbury’s (common supermarket with unmistakable bright orange bags), I discovered that there is no flavored coffee creamer in the UK. I couldn’t even find half and half! It might be time to switch to milk and sugar. Perhaps I’ll even attempt to start drinking black coffee.

EDIT: And an umbrella is called a brolly! Adorable.

Top 5 Things Exciting Thus Far

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
  1. They sell beer, wine, and LIQUOR in the supermarkets.
  2. Everything is gorgeous. Seriously.
  3. All the cars are small and adorable! This is the first “big” car I’ve seen here. Also saw my first pick up truck today. All the cars are mini cooper sized!
  4.  There are bakeries/coffee shops around every nook and cranny!
  5. My program is wonderful. The people are great, the classes sound rigorous (it’s a little intimidating!), and the staff is so clearly invested in our well beings. I can’t wait to see where this semester takes me!
EDIT: According to my housemates, apparently liquor in grocery stores is a things in other US states… but not in Virginia! So… still exciting.

!مرحبا A Note To The Reader:

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Hello! My name is Gorden Struck, and welcome to my blog! Here, I will be documenting the many sights, sounds, tastes, and smells that I will encounter throughout myepic journey in Morocco. I wish, that as the reader, you will be able to experience what I will experience through my words and photos (in which I plan to post as often as I can), and that you will find this blog interesting, thoughtful, and maybe even a little hilarious at times. I do hope you enjoy this adventure as much as I do, and that it will be as eye-opening for you as it will be for me.

-Gorden

A Virtual Tour of Linley House – My New Home!

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012


Welcome to Linley house: a beautiful traditional 18th century Georgian style townhouse that belonged to the Linley family, home to seven ASE study abroad women!

 

Ground Floor

Welcome to my room! Ignore the mess, enjoy the beautiful details on the wall and ceiling! Our neighbors live directly to the left of this room.

Basement Level

Surprise! There’s a classroom in our basement. But, we get to use it as a study space. And what’s that back there? Is that a patio?

Yes! It is a patio! Perhaps one day if it stops raining I will even sit out there. That is if I can figure out that glass door with three keys…

Now, let us move upstairs in the house where await more strange things such as these that are on every floor.

Second Floor

This is our lovely dining room. There is a portrait above the fireplace of Mrs. Robinson. I’m thinking we should hang portraits of Simon & Garfunkel nearby.

To the left of our dining room is our living room featuring housemate Nora (also from Arlington, VA and goes to William & Mary!).

Our view from the living room area.

To the right of the dining room is our teeny tiny one person kitchen! The ASE staff, specificially Peta who handles all the housing issues, was kind enough to stock us up on food for our arrival! There’s a second kitchen in the basement with our laundry machines. This second floor kitchen has the fridges and microwaves. The basement kitchen has the freezer and the oven/grill… Makes cooking quite the juggling act!

Third Floor

Quick shot of the third floor living areas (and fire extinguisher! We have lots of fire safety here).

Also on the third floor is our shower room. You’re probably thinking, She means bathroom, right? WRONG. This is a shower room with a sink and two showers (one electric!) and NO TOILET. Imagine my surprise when on the first day I strip down for a nice shower after a long half day journey across the ocean to pee and shower… I had to hold it… but where was that toilet???

Wait, is that a frighteningly steep set of stairs (this picture doesn’t do them justice) behind this tiny door that looks like a cupboard? I wonder where it leads…

The Top Floor

It leads to my favorite part of the house! A bathtub and a beautiful view of Bath? If only the wine and bubble bath I will be purchasing was included…

Look how lovely this city is! And this is a view from the bathroom.

This is my progression of exploring the other cupboards in the upstairs bathroom. Cool door with a key… grungy room… things on the floor… are those figurines? Indeed… What a mystery. I might have to leave my own behind on departure!

 

Thus concludes a basic tour of Linley house, my residence for the next 15 weeks! Cozy and quirky and I love it. Now it’s past midnight here and I’m still jetlagged, so farewell for the evening!

!مرحبا A Note To The Reader:

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Hello! My name is Gorden Struck, and welcome to my blog! Here, I will be documenting the many sights, sounds, tastes, and smells that I will encounter throughout myepic journey in Morocco. I wish, that as the reader, you will be able to experience what I will experience through my words and photos (in which I plan to post as often as I can), and that you will find this blog interesting, thoughtful, and maybe even a little hilarious at times. I do hope you enjoy this adventure as much as I do, and that it will be as eye-opening for you as it will be for me.

-Gorden

Top 5 Confusing Things Thus Far

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
  1. Coins as important currency. I miss my $1 bills.
  2. The outlets. UK ones are different from general European ones! So the converter my mom gave me doesn’t work after all.
  3. The phone numbers.
  4. The inconsistent weather. One pre-arrival booklet from ASE, my program, joked that you can experience all the seasons in one day! They weren’t lying.
  5. The accents. Mostly they’re entertaining/hilarious/cute/sexy, but sometimes I have to decipher what I’m being told.

The Storm Continues to Rage

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Melodramatic title aside, remember how yesterday I said I was more worried about walking in the rain and less worried about my windows? Well now I’m more worried about my windows.

Last night I spent a good hour stormproofing my apartment. The Korean government suggests spraying newspaper with water, then sticking it to the windows. I did that for a bit, until I ran out of newspaper (I have a lot of gigantic windows… which normally is a good thing) and then I put Xs on the remaining windows with tape. As of 8 this morning, which is when I left for school, everything’s still intact, though some water has gotten in and is now puddling at the base of my windows, but that normally happens when it rains.

[My newspapered windows. Every time I look at this I feel like one of those people in detective movies who put up newspaper clippings and over time it takes over their whole room. I kind of want to start taking string and attaching it to random words in the various articles and stare at it while muttering BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!]

This morning I realized I was woefully unprepared for a jaunt in the rain, so I put on flipflops (no sense in getting good shoes wet) and a skirt (no sense in getting pant cuffs wet), wrapped my teaching bag in a plastic bag, grabbed my umbrella and left. I got halfway to school before another teacher saw me, took pity on me, and picked me up. The wind was blowing so hard that I had to put my umbrella directly in front of me, like a lance, and I couldn’t see a thing, and it still managed to turn my umbrella inside out. One of the trees on our campus fell down and is currently blocking the parking lot. This whole situation is ridiculous. The storm is right on us now, and with any luck in a few hours it’ll start clearing.

[This is the biggest typhoon Korea's seen in over a decade, and we're getting it by way of Japan. It must have hit them much harder than it's currently hitting us. The arrows denote where I am on this map.
http://web.kma.go.kr/eng/index.jsp]

 

[http://web.kma.go.kr/eng/index.jsp]

Well, all we can really do is keep calm and carry on. Hopefully the only typhoon updates I’ll have later in the day will be about how the typhoon  has moved on, and there’s a gorgeous double rainbow.