Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter in Bath

Wow, it's hard to believe I only have a week and a half left of the first semester. Sorry it's taken me so long to update, but I've been intensely busy with final papers, exams, and last minute trips and Christmas shopping! On Thanksgiving, it was the start of Christmas in Bath and Nicolas Cage came to turn on the city's lights. He owned a house in Bath for over three years, and clearly was excited to be a part of the ceremony, even if he was there for only a few minutes. However, thousands of people showed up to see him.

Afterward, all the ASE students went to Thanksgiving dinner at a local college. It wasn't like it was at home - the stuffing especially, and there was no delicious pumpkin bread - but it was still very good. It was nice to celebrate an American tradition! Of course, with such good, free food around, it was bound to get a bit competetive. My friends Jenna and Ken had an eating contest, and Jenna won. There were also people running for the last piece of pie. As you can see from the pictures, we all enjoyed it and and cleaned off all our plates!

Friday I had my final study trip - a day long Jane Austen excursion! We visited her family home in Chawton first. It was a nice house, which is now a museum, but kind of plain. It certainly wasn't anything special. We then went to Winchester to see her grave. We also saw the house where she died. A bit morbid to think that someone still lives there...

My next big adventure was to see a Bristol City FC match in Bristol, about a 15 minute train ride from Bath. They were playing Ipswich Town, who is managed by Roy Keane, one of Manchester United best players when he was in his prime.

Our seats were only five rows off the pitch, directly behind the goal, which was really cool. Except we had to pay close attention, or else we ran the risk of getting hit! It was cold, rainy, and people were extremely excited to be there. It was a fantastic atmosphere, with lots of singing and chanting in support of Bristol City. The game ended 0-0, but it was still very exciting and a well played match.

Last Sunday, I was invited to my grandparent's good friends' home, just outside of Taunton, about 45 min south of Bath. The Spekes own Rowlands Estate (fancy, I know), with tons of land and beautiful houses. The main house was built, originally, in the Norman period, but has been rebuilt several times since. Elizabeth I once stayed there, and it was there that the Earl of Essex plotted a rebellion against her. Very cool!! I was shown all around the estate, met some family members, and learned all about the fascinating history of the Speke family. One member even discovered the source of the Nile! It was really nice to spend time with a family again, but it made me miss home a lot!

The past two weeks have been very busy with papers, but now that they are over, it's nice to absolutely relax and just enjoy my last week with my friends here. Thursday night, we had a Write Night, where the students in the creative writing class here read their prose and poetry. Most of them were extremely funny, and it was nice to learn a bit more about my classmates and hear some of their work. It was also one of the last events we are all doing as a group, which was bittersweet.

Tonight, I went with some friends up to the university to play some football. Their turf fields aren't what I'm used to, more like a mini golf course than grass, but whatever. It was fun to get out and play again. It was also nice, because we played with a bunch of Brits, so they knew what they were doing!

It's our last weekend of the semester, and now it is really starting to hit me that I've been here a whole semester! My next blog entry won't be until I'm back in the states. I'm heading to Salzburg, Venice, and Brussels with Sarah Kaleko, my good friend from F&M. It's going to be quite an adventure!