Hello everyone! Sorry for the limited posting in the last few weeks. My computer did indeed bite the dust last week, and I have acquired a new laptop to replace it. (I was worried about the new one having a UK keyboard; the only noticeable difference is that the 4 key has a pound sign on it! I have been very busy preparing for my trip to Europe which kicks off on Thursday. I’ll post an abbreviated itinerary on here before I leave — almost as much for me as it is for all yall out on the internet.
The highlight of the last week was the visit of my friend Shane for Monday and Tuesday. I’ve known Shane since kindergarten (1997, so 16 years?!) and it was neat to get a chance to show him around Europe for the first time. (Though he travels incessantly due to airline connections, Shane is more of a warm-weather guy; I loaned him one of my jackets for the two days he was here). We did most of the stereotypical London things — pub food, English breakfast, picture with Big Ben, taking the tube, and a football match (more on that later).
Proof that Shane was here and was very cold
Yesterday I went out to Sutton to see my Aunt Joan; she was (as always) very hospitable to me. I helped her change the ink cartridges in her printer and we went out to lunch at a pizza-type place. It was the first time in the UK that I have not been perplexed by their interpretation of Italian food. Though the best food I ate this week came courtesy of the Borough Market this afternoon, where I consumed a kangaroo burger — it was delicious.
Surprisingly, this tasted incredible
Soccer Football update: I’ve been to three more games since the last post here on the blag.
Brentford FC 1 Scunthorpe United 0 — Two Saturdays ago, I went out to the west fringes of London to enjoy this League One (third division) match. The area I was in had no seats, but it was a beautiful sunny day; in fact, I was quite overdressed for the occasion!
Yay we scored a goal let’s hug the fans
Dagenham & Redbridge FC 2 Torquay United 2 — I took Shane out to the extreme east of London on Tuesday night to take in a League Two showdown (along with a paid attendance of 1,000 additional spectators). It was bitterly cold and periodically featured a snow shower. The football was equally dreary. Despite a penalty and a red card against Torquay in the third minute, “the Daggers” couldn’t produce much, and settled for a draw when Torquay scored from a PK of their own in the 87th minute.
Skyfall at Dagenham
Leyton Orient 4 Carlisle United 1 — Today I went out to the charming borough of Leyton, which is near the Olympic Park, for this match in League One. Leyton has a relatively modern stadium — they seem to have built apartment buildings in the four corners of their ground to make additional use of their property. Some fans were able to simply sit on their balconies and take in the game! The outcome of this one was never really in doubt, as Leyton scored in the 31st, 45th, and 65th minutes (getting the Carlisle GK sent off on the last one) to keep the game well within their grasp. Fun fact! In the seven matches that I’ve attended, home teams are a sterling 5-0-2. Perhaps they should be paying me to attend.
Sun peeking out in Leyton. Notice the apartments at the corner of the pitch.
I’m down to my last week of school here; two papers and three days of classes before I can head off to France etc. next week. There is no question that I have found studying abroad much more challenging than I expected coming in to it. Though I think I’ve made the most of my time here so far and learned from it, I’m looking forward to the chance to break my non-existent routine a bit and explore lots of new places. But first, I have to come up with some things to say about early medieval Europe. Cheers for now.