Week 8 – Still Here

In the two weeks since our trip to London, I’ve done more school work than I did the entire first half of the semester. But I’ve also done a lot of fun things like going to Blackpool and experiencing Bonfire Night in Manchester. It’s already the Christmas season here in the UK and has been since November first as there is no Thanksgiving to celebrate. This weekend I was in Primark (a very popular department store here) and everything Christmas was out- the tinsel, the reindeer onsies, the music playing in the store, the hoards of people, even the Costa inside had men dressed as elves handing out fudge. It was a little disarming.

Last week my flatmates and I went out to Bonfire Night at the city park across the street from our complex. On November 5th, celebrations all over the UK commence in remembrance of Guy Fawkes and his failed attempt to blow up parliament with gunpowder. To celebrate, amazing firework displays and bonfires are held all over the country. There were seven or eight bonfires in Manchester alone. There was also a big carnival with rides and food and games. There were thousands and thousands of people there, it was bone-chillingly cold, and I lost my mittens but it was tons of fun.

The weekend before that, I went on the International Society’s trip to Blackpool, which is a large amusement park on a strip of coast called the Golden Mile. The name comes from the town’s tradition of lighting up the whole mile after dark each night with a huge light display of various TV and movie characters. Blackpool has a spectacular beach that goes way out and the day we were there it was impossibly windy but we ventured out onto it anyway. It was so windy, the foam from the water was being pulled off and tossed around like it was snowing. Besides the amusement park and the sheer magnitude of the beach, the rest of the area looked very much like Hampton Beach. The same tourist shops selling the same t-shirts and crap no one needs but is forced to buy to subdue their children who haven’t had naps that day. Beyond that is another huge mall exactly like the one in Manchester (and everywhere else). We also visited Madame Tussauds while we were there to see the wax Queen and various British football players we don’t know.

The last exciting thing I’ve done since my last post was visit the Manchester Museum. The big old building right on campus that I walk by every day is a museum and I didn’t know until our days ago when I was bored waiting for a class and ventured in. Turns out it’s an amazing museum with all kinds of animals, technology, artifacts, ands natural history. I really enjoyed walking around it and seeing what was there.

In my last five weeks here, I plan to see Sweeney Todd at the Royal Exchange, have Thanksgiving at the International Society, travel to the Lincoln Christmas Market, and write 5 lengthy essays as final exams.

Guy Fawkes Night Firewalks Chameleon in the Manchester Museum Blackpool

 

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