Friday, September 23, 2011

Bye Bye London, Helloooo Norwich!

The last few days we had in London were very busy, as we were all preparing, giving, and going on tours of certain areas of London for class. My group decided to do post-World War II reconstruction and brought  our fellow classmates to various areas of reconstruction around the city, including the Royal Festival Hall, the financial and law districts, and to the housing complex named Churchill Gardens. It was very interesting to see how much of London was affected by the war and how much did need to be reconstructed. It was unreal.

The last couple nights of London were packed with fun; we saw the production, Top Girls, and went on a dinner cruise with our program. Top Girls was a weird play, and one does not really understand the feminist points that are trying to be portrayed until the end of the play, as the acts do not follow chronological order. It was still enjoyable, though, but was a bit out there with some of the scenes. The dinner cruise was loads of fun! We went through Regent's Park while eating a delicious three course dinner. It was a great way to end our time in London.

While being in London, I noticed a lot of cultural differences between London and cities, such as New York, in the states. London rarely had any trash cans around, and, if they did, it was normally a clear plastic bag. I found out this was because during past wars, people would hide bombs in trash cans, so the city removed them or made them clear as a precaution. Despite the fact there were no trash cans, the city was remarkably clean, unlike New York which is very dirty and has trash cans on every street corner. There are also a lot more smokers in London, at least from what I saw. The architecture of the city is very unique as well, varying from new, modern designs to designs from the Gothic and Victorian era. Though Prince Charles despises the architecture in London, I happened to like this great variation a lot: it gives the city character. Another interesting fact I learned is that many buildings are built with the people in mind. For example, the BBC Broadcasting Centre was not built symmetrical because, if it was symmetrical, it would have blocked light from reaching certain peoples houses. Also, unlike the States, people cannot make changes to their houses as they choose, for if their neighbors do not want them to make this change (even a change as simple as painting their house), they are not allowed to do so. Additionally, everything in London closes surprisingly early for a city. For example, pubs close at 11 or sometimes 12, and clubs are not open too late either. Unlike New York, the city that never sleeps, Londoners definitely get their eight or nine hours.

Yesterday, after a long three hour bus ride, I arrived in Norwich!!! It is very different from London, being very rural and having more modern architecture. I like it a lot. My room is not as small I was expecting and I am anxious to meet my five flat mates! I did not realize the flats are coed, so it will be interesting to see if any boys are placed in my flat. I guess it would kind of be like living in the Jersey Shore, minus all of the pointless arguments and excessive partying (Mom and Dad, you should be proud). The next couple of days are going to be devoted to settling in and orientation, so I will post again after that!

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