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Archive for February, 2015

A Very Civilized Evening

February 27th, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Thursday is not a teaching day for me here, but I did have a series of meetings, including a meeting to discuss internships with students. About half my students are doing internships while here, working unpaid for under 20 hours a week. They must obtain a Tier 4 visa to do this which sets them back about $500.

As one might expect, it's a mixed bag. Lots of them absolutely love their internships, but I've got two this term who are less than happy. It's difficult to sort out how much of this is their unrealistic expectations of work, trouble balancing travel, classes, and work, or whether the internships are really as bad as they say. After about 90 minutes of headache-inducing complaining, I was happy to hide out in the faculty office.

I'm considering going to Stockholm next weekend, if I can figure out how to do it cheaply. Lots of options, but I have to work it around my already packed schedule.

The best part of the day was the "After Hours" event at the National Portrait Gallery where they're having a special exhibition of John Singer Sargent. It was free! And you could purchase wine, soft drinks, gin and tonics, etc, and stroll some of the galleries with them. Amazing. So with a lovely glass of wine, I enjoyed an exhibit on the photography of Lord Snowden and for the second time, the Grayson Perry pieces, What I came for was a lecture on a group portrait of WWI generals done by Sargent. While I'm not sure I agreed with the lecturer on everything, it was very interesting--and particularly lovely to walk out after the evening into Trafalgar Square.

Total spending was sort of minimal: 4pds for wine, six for groceries on the way home.

Now to go out into the sunshine!

Need Help Uploading Photos

February 25th, 2015 at 06:42 pm

Can someone offer some instruction on how to get photos to upload correctly to the blogs? Mine seem to get stuck and never make it from the bottom of the draft page.

Not spending much

February 25th, 2015 at 12:34 am

I had hours of meetings today, but no classes. Thankfully the last meeting of the day was to tell us about the upcoming trip to ......Iceland! I think it will be spectacular. This is the first time they've organized a trip for students and faculty there, and I'm very excited. It's in two weeks.

A 30-minute break between meetings was the the occasion of my only spending today. I resisted many books, but did duck into my favorite bookshop for a coffee. I've been reading a lot, especially on rainy evenings.

We spent a lot of time today discussing our students' use of the dating app, Tinder. This is where I think I'm showing my age because it scares the heck out of me to think they're meeting strangers, probably very often in bars and well, not being as safety conscious as I'd wish them to be.

UK grocery prices seem to have stabilized. I've been eating very healthily--oatmeal (aka porridge--which always sounds a bit Goldilocksy to me) and fish and vegetables, I can tell I've lost weight as I'm walking all the time. It's just so fun to walk when everything is so interesting to look at.

I have a full day of classes tomorrow, so better head off with my book.

Quick Hi from Belsize Park

February 23rd, 2015 at 11:21 pm

Yep, it's long-lost me checking in from London. I've been super-busy and am already halfway through my twelve weeks here. And it's still glorious. I like the new flat and have been very good about spending, bringing lunches and coffees to school etc.

I've been on some great walks. This neighborhood is between Hampstead and Primrose Hill, making it ten minutes walk from wide-open green space. Several days I've walked into Bloomsbury to campus through Regents Park. If I don't stop to gawp at things, it only takes 40 minutes. But the camels in the London zoo are always staring back at me as are the goats I can see through the fence, so it takes me a long time.

My big thrill--besides all the other daily ones--has been seeing a teeny bit of Sherlock being filmed. One of my students had her photo taken with Martin Freeman, so we're all excited about that.

Friday we were in Cambridge--fabulous. If the weather is good tomorrow, I have a few antique shops and charity shops in Hampstead on my explore list. I can always grade papers on lousy days, right?

Hi to all of you! I've been reading your news and enjoying all your updates.