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Reading Week

I realize that if I am overly enthusiastic in all of my posts, the validity of my statements will become questionable but I kid you not when I say November has been one of the most incredible months of my life… Aside from the fact that my computer crashed when I had two papers and a research topic due (Each about 40% of my grade)… but that’s unimportant in comparison to the rest of the month.

Like back home, Queen Mary has a reading week in which you are supposed to, you know, read. Well I decided to spend the first few days of that week visiting friends in Madrid, Spain where they just so happened to have the EMA/MTV awards concert. We got to see 30 Seconds to Mars, Katy Perry, Linkin Park, and a surprise performance by Kanye West… for free (Everyone knows free shows are the best shows) Afterwards, we went to dinner where we were reminded that SOME countries do eat vegetables that aren’t potatoes. During the day we visited Picasso at the Reina Sofia art museum, traipsed through Retiro park, and toured the Palacio de Oriente (Where the most incredible chandeliers of your life reside). At night we went to 6 story night clubs that had women wearing nothing but gold paint as if it were adequate clothing…. cute, Madrid.

From Spain we flew to Geneva, Switzerland–home of the 12 dollar McDonald’s chicken sandwich. (I swear I really don’t eat at McDonald’s as much as it sounds like) the first morning we were there we woke up about 4:30 AM to catch a train to catch another train to catch a bus to catch a Gondola up to Glacier 3000…. Despite the workers frequent cautionings and advisings not to go, we proceeded to snowboard/ski in 40 kph winds, below zero temperatures, low visibility, and inadequate clothing. It. Was. AMAZING. The number one thing on my bucket list, snowboarding in the Alps, can now be checked off 🙂

Due to exhaustion, we waited until the following day to explore Geneva itself. After a good night’s sleep, we toured the UN headquarters which was really incredible. Future job possibility perhaps? For lunch, we ended up splitting chocolate bars since we had very little money left over from ski rentals… I suppose if there’s any place to live off of chocolate it’s Switzerland. While Geneva is a really interesting place, it’s a little difficult to explore on such a low budget so we ended up heading to the airport a bit early. Reading week = Successful on all fronts except reading.

Post traveling work was a little stressful. I had a lot due including a group presentation on a visit to an art exhibit called Move: Choreographing You. After reading a bit about the exhibit, I was a little tentative to go. It supposedly included performers pulling you into dance pieces and other awkward and uncomfortable things that you generally wouldn’t want to do in front of your cool, new, British friends. However, when we got there, it was much more like an adult playground with various things to climb and gorilla suits to wear. What started out as an obligation turned into a really great afternoon with my classmates.

Following the exhibition, I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Barclays ATP Tour Finals for tennis where I saw Federer, Nadal, Ferrer, and Roddick all play… The fact that they’re all really good looking was coincidence.

Lastly, due to the graces of a wonderful woman back home, I was able to have tea at the Ritz. The tea was delicious, the sandwiches were cute, tiny and endless, the music was live, and the service was amazing. At first, I felt like a complete phony in a room full of clearly-much-more-deserving people but after a while I realized everyone was pulling out their cameras with the same expression of awe on their faces that I had… So obviously I relaxed and pulled mine out too.

In an effort to not seem long winded (If I haven’t already accomplished that) I obviously can’t talk about EVERY awesome moment I’ve had here. I have three weeks left on this incredible continent and I’m really not ready to go home yet. Hopefully by December 19th I will have had enough but I have a strong feeling that won’t be the case. For every homesick moment I have, there are three moments that make me love studying abroad even more. If it was possible to extend my stay AND graduate on time I wouldn’t think twice.

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