All 4 entries tagged My Life In The United Kingdom

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November 22, 2004

Royal Leamington Spa

Yesterday I created a new gallery of images on this blog of Royal Leamington Spa, the town in England where I'm living now. I've only posted a few and will be adding to this gallery.

November 11, 2004

Oxford University

Yesterday I traveled to Oxford for my first visit there. What a fantastic city. It's beautiful and has a cosmopolitan feeling that I've only encountered in London till now. I spent several hours looking around at the colleges and taking pictures, especially visiting Exeter College (William Morris) and Balliol College (Vincent Massey). I can imagine the effect that the place would have on an undergraduate. From a visitor's perspective, what a romantic place.

I also heard more American accents than I have anywhere outside London. Met an American woman working in Starbucks who has just moved to Oxford with her husband who is doing a PhD.

I spent a couple of hours in the Ashmolean Museum, where I saw a collection of Italian Renaissance ceramics that was simply amazing. I don't think I've ever seen any ceramics like that before — I can't think of any similar collections that would be in the US. It was intricate, colorful, and beautifully rendered. I also saw early pre-Raphaelite paintings and some Walter Sickerts that were revealing.

A fantastic day, and I plan to return.

November 01, 2004

The British and the US presidential election

US friends sometimes ask me if the British care at all about the US presidential elections. Well, our election has led their television news programs every day for the past week! The BBC, Channel 4, the Guardian, and no doubt others, have their own news crews following the candidates. Last Thursday night, a popular TV show called "Question Time" which covers news and current events in the UK, was broadcast from Florida about the US election! There have been hour-long documentaries about the election, our voting psychology, the Christian neo-conservative influence, and tonight, a documentary that argues that our electioin is a "sham" of democracy, decided by a small group of people who feel threatened and badgered and vote with their fear.

Most Brits are terribly worried about a second Bush term, because they feel he's a destabilizing influence. Michael Moore is practically a British national hero. I voted by absentee ballot about a month ago, and the two friends whom I asked to witness it for me were thrilled to participate in OUR process in even a small way. It's not uncommon to hear that this is such an important election, that the rest of the world, or at least the Brits, feel they deserve to vote in it, too. There is no question that the world is watching, and they're pretty anxious.

October 30, 2004

Food in UK: Potato chips

Food in the UK is more interesting than you probably think. The different flavors in potato chips, or "crisps" as they're called here, are seemingly endless and not remotely like anything we have in the US. In addition to the typical varieties like sour cream and chive or cheese and onion (like we have), there are exotic flavors like chicken-flavored, beef-flavored, even lamb and mint-flavored. Thai sweet chili-flavored was really popular in the dorm. Today I bought goat's cheese and olive-flavored (made with olive oil, so they're healthy), and they're pretty good. A "seasonal" item now in the market is cranberry, thyme and sage-flavored potato chips (all three in one chip), and I HAD to try those. Very sagey. Easy to resist at home, I find these exotic varieties hard to resist, only because I'm so curious about them.

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