Halloweekend and Other Things

One of the things that I heard before coming to London was “Halloween is not a thing.” This is a lie. There were people dressed up on Halloween, and the days before and after it, of all ages. Huge groups of kids, teens, and adults. Just EVERYWHERE.

But I’m getting ahead of myself!

In the week leading up to Halloween, me and a few of 1899991_10205404887186237_5032713882415195870_nmy flatmates had a great experience seeing a live taping of an episode of the X Factor. Thankfully for us, we got into a performance night, not a voting night, so we got to see live performances of Fleur doing Lady Marmalade and the like, since the theme of that episode was Night at the Movies. We also just got to stare at Simon Cowell and also see the shenanigans that everyone gets up to in the commercial breaks (there are many). We were told that we were the loudest crowd to date in the studio – go us!

My flat had been discussing Halloween for months leading up to it, when we decided that we were going to be the Guardians of the Galaxy. I got the part of Gamora, since … uh … there was enough leather in my closet to make a costume without having to supply much. This was a very low budget, Guardian-inspired move, and I think it came out beautifully.

Our actual Halloween weekend included two 10352735_10205439899301518_2435541998945746223_nseparate parties that were really awesome. The first was a party in the Vaults under Waterloo Station, which our art professor actually got us into. Features included a mist room with “zombies” coming at you, a movie room for relaxing and watching movies like Beetlejuice, a bar/lounge and a dance floor with music by a full brass band. It was crazy!

10301598_10204472764252598_9049521662569891830_nThe second was a party with just friends at a flat, which was awesome as well. I’ve been very lucky with the people that I either came over here with or met/gotten to know better while I’ve been here.

The most recent random thing that’s happened IMG_1640since I last posted about London was our attendance of another football game, this one Charlton Athletic vs. Sheffield Wednesday. It ended in a tie, but it was a really good game all around. We also had these seats RIGHT at the grass line in the middle of the field, so half the time it was like the players were RIGHT next to us. We went in rooting for Charlton (the home team) of course, and totally got lost in the chanting and the noise and the raucous fun of the game. I’m going to miss being able to just pop by a sports game at home.

Coming next time: Me being all sorts of artsy fartsy in London!

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The UK: An Only Slightly Different Alternate Reality

I’m sure this is a typical thing, but when I was accepted into my study abroad program I got a lot of pamphlets about culture shock. You know, it’s going to be different, it’s going to be weird, what have you.

Honestly, I wish that was true.

See, I was expecting this massively different culture and was all prepped and ready, but instead … it’s worse. There are all these minor little details that are just twisted a tiny bit and it’s SO WEIRD.

Like potato chips. Those would be crisps here. And the ones I always get in my meal deal at Tesco? They look JUST LIKE LAYS, but with a different name. TJ Maxx becomes TK Maxx.

The real culture shock comes when you’re standing in the grocery store and it looks like the world is just a tad bit out of focus, instead of something completely new.

At least we speak the same language. Sort of. MUST. REMEMBER. TROUSERS.

10522454_10204950962118394_8835607800532274012_nOn a better note, I’ve been absorbing the culture at other places than the grocery store. Part of my school went to a football (soccer for those still in America) game, and that was one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever seen. The small boys (9-12 years old max) were just cheering right along with chants such as “YOU F***ED UP” and “YOU FAT C**T.” And it wasn’t even premier league.

We also went and saw Antony and Cleopatra at the Globe, which was an amazing experience. I’m not one of Shakespeare’s16713_10204950962038392_6756811290056636776_n biggest fans, but even my cold heart has to feel something standing in the pleb courtyard at the actor’s feet, watching Antony die beside me. I’m going back soon to see The Comedy of Errors and Julius Caesar later on for class, and I’m thoroughly excited.

I’d write more, but I have to run! More culture is calling; I’m seeing Medea tonight!