Sunday, December 21, 2014

End of the year update

So, I've been a bit absent from this blog since the summer. And I didn't get around to posting all the photos from my time in the UK either. I've included some of those "lost" photos below. But first a short update on what I've been up to since getting home.

I pretty much hit the ground running, I landed on a Sunday evening and Monday morning it was straight into a faculty meeting for the new semester. I was there. I was awake. Barely. And clutching my Starbucks. The semester was pretty much a blur of teaching two sections of ENG101, taking two graduate seminars, long days of office hours, and all the other various and miscellaneous things that pop up along the way. I seriously don't know where the last 4 months have gone! I also managed to narrow down a dissertation topic and start to put together a committee. Hooray for feeling slightly ahead of the game! But only slightly. I got some awesome news/update about a project I've been working on, more news on that later next year as it gets closer (for now I don't want to jinx myself). I got a post uploaded yesterday about one of the projects I was working on this semester, so if you missed it you can check it out here.

There's also some fun things to share coming up right after Christmas but I'm keeping that secret for now. Stay tuned, all will be revealed the day or two after Christmas, but let's just say it's going to be an amazing New Year. :)

The second half of Winter Break is going to be exciting and I have a lot to look forward to in the spring semester. I'm teaching a new class and have some exciting research projects that I'll be working on, I'll try to share some of that here on the blog throughout the spring.

For now, I hope you enjoy these pictures from the last several weeks of my summer in the UK. I had a blast and most of it still feels like a glorious dream. I'm happy to look back at these photos and know that it was real.


English countryside (photo credit:
Countryside on the way to Stonehenge

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Coffee and camera...I'm all set.

Stonehenge  (photo credit:
Stonehenge was awesome.

Glastonbury Abbey (photo credit:
Glastonbury Abbey. The ruins were spectacular.

Royal Crescent Bath (photo credit:
The Royale Crescent. We stopped in Bath on our way back to Oxford.

English Afternoon Tea (photo credit:
Took a day to go in to London and met Alicia for tea at Bea's of Bloomsbury in the One New Change Centre. Yum!

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Had leftovers from tea and may have also done a sneaky bit of shopping. #noregrets 

Shakespeare's Grave (photo credit:
Went to Stratford-upon-Avon and (among many other things) saw Shakespeare's grave.

Gherkin London (photo credit:
Hannah of Heroine Chic came to visit me from Prague and we took a day to visit London. Needless to say, the two of us in London turned out to be pretty epic. 

Leadenhall Market London (photo credit:
We walked through Leadenhall Market.

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And then down by the river we ran across Hannah's wedding reception. Just kidding.

Trafalgar Square London (photo credit:
View over the top of Trafalgar Square with Nelson's Column and Big Ben in the distance, from the top of the National Portrait Gallery in the Portrait Restaurant.

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Champagne and afternoon tea. Hannah and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. And after sprinting across London (almost literally, told you it was an epic day) we definitely earned our treats.

Big Ben London (photo credit:
The iconic Big Ben.

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Hannah was very excited to visit the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and their friends met to discuss writing and philosophy. 

The Globe Theatre (photo credit:
My classmates and I got to visit and tour the Globe Theatre. We came back that night to see Antony & Cleopatra, which we had read for class.

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In between the tour and the performance it was time to sit in my favorite Starbucks (in Paternoster Square) to do some "light" reading for Arthurian Legends.

St. Paul's Cathedral (photo credit:
St. Paul's Cathedral peaking through the buildings.

Southwark Bridge and the City of London (photo credit:
Southwark Bridge lit up at night with the City of London lit up behind it.

River Cherwell Oxford (photo credit:
Back in Oxford, in University Parks, along the River Cherwell, one of my favorite places to walk to and sit for a while.

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Paper writing time!

Rainy window (photo credit:
Rainy day in Oxford.

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Really loved this cute Oxford teddy bear.

Poppies at the Tower of London (photo credit:
Saw the poppies at the Tower of London.

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Daisy, my next door neighbor in the hall had fun one night making paper airplanes and trying to get them into my open window. She succeeded a few times. :)

Latte (photo credit:
Drank lots of lattes at Caffe Nero.

Afternoon tea (photo credit:
More afternoon tea!

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Made friends in the park. :)

Sheldonian Oxford (photo credit:
Got to enjoy some cloudy/rainy days. Made this desert girl very happy.

Oxford rainbow (photo credit:
But also got to see some rainbows as well.

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Tea and scones and syllabus writing.

Oxford walk (photo credit:
Took a long walk one day along the Cherwell.

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Imperial War Museum (photo credit:
Visited the newly reopened Imperial War Museum.

Bomb shelter (photo credit:
So, interesting story about this. This is a WWII bomb shelter that people had in their homes, typically in the kitchen. During the day, it could be used as a kitchen table but at night they could sleep inside and be protected in the event of a roof collapse. My first time visiting the museum this shelter was in a different part of the museum called the 1940s house (they changed things after the renovation). As I came down to the kitchen of the replica house I saw this shelter and heard a voice over my shoulder say, "I used to sleep in one of those." I turned around and saw an elderly gentleman, who was a volunteer for the museum, and he told me stories of what it was like living in London during WWII and the Blitz. Seeing historical things is always interesting, but talking to people who bring that history back to life is amazing. I'll never forget that conversation. 

Enigma Machine Imperial War Museum (photo credit:
Enigma machine. (With sneak appearance at the bottom by my Converse. Oops.)

Street art in Islington (photo credit:
Street art in Islington.

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More lattes and writing.

Radcliffe Camera Oxford (photo credit:
Radcliffe Camera, part of the Bodleian Library in Oxford. I went in there. It was amazing! :)

Harrods (photo credit:
Harrods was already decorating for Christmas and had their Christmas bears out. :)

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Another friend I made in the park. :)

Oxford (photo credit:
Bridge of Sighs

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Little collection of nature things Daisy left behind. I spent a week and a half in the hall after my classmates left. Every time I walked down the hall to the common room I could see these reminders of my friend who'd gone home. :)

Pub (photo credit:
Last days in the pub.

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Last English breakfast at Giraffe in Heathrow.

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I would have bought one but I didn't want to get arrested when I landed back in the US.

Phoenix from the air (photo credit:
Hello Phoenix. England I miss you already.

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Phoenix welcomed me home with hight temps and monsoon storms.

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But also a pretty rainbow.

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Exhausted but wearing my new cardi from Joy, necklace from River Island, and ring from Swarovski in Prague. Time for the first day of the fall semester.

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