So I suppose it has been quite a while since I have blogged...far far too long in fact. We have been so busy this blog is probably going to be longer than anyone will appreciate so just bear with me.
Right after the last post we went down to the town centre (which is the equivalent of down town in American English) and met the Mayor of Worcester. As it turns out the Mayor is really more of a figure head than what we would think of as a mayor. Mainly what an English Mayor does is to head ceremonies when the queen comes to town or hold feasts to raise money for the town. The Mayor is also supposed to be extremely knowledgeable about the history of the town. We went down to Guild Hall which back in the day, as informed by the mayor, would of been the court where criminals were charged and where the lords and ladies would have conducted lord and lady business. We were given a tour of the absolutely beautiful and very historical building. He led us into the mayors chambers where all of the ceremonial dress and items are kept and he holds "office hours", for lack of better phrase. He was showing and explaining the history of how the Worcester crest came about; the crest originally was a shield with a castle on it but when Queen Anne, I think, came one time she noticed that the black pears had been untouched for her arrival, she was so pleased that she insisted that the pears be put on the crest so the crest has hence been two shields one with a castle and one with 3 black pears on them. The funny thing about that story is that those pears are actually completely inedible because of their horrid taste and very solid fruit. He also had 3 swords in the room one very large one with a bright red sheath was to be held by the Mayor of the time to greet the Queen, the others were for funeral progressions of high ranking people in the community, the Mayor let me hold the funeral sword which was over 800 years old! He then brought us down into the dungeons, and explained what it would of been like for any criminal who had been brought down there. The criminals that were brought down there were executed within the next 24 hours. It was a dark scary place and the last time someone had been brought down there was sometime in the early 1900's! (very creepy)
We also have been on our first field trip since I last posted. We went to the lake district which is north west of here and is known for the large lakes that are there but aren't called lakes, mountains, and sheep farms! There were sheep everywhere, they are so fluffy! We stayed in a large cabin with a ton of rooms for bunks. We were required to do cleaning and serving each other for dinner and all those good things that make groups become tighter knit. Our first event of the weekend was to climb Alt Mean, which is a Swedish name for the highest peak that we were near referred to know and meaning old man. We were warned just before we left that it was a treacherous hike and that it was raining at the moment so we should get hiking boots and water proofs from down stairs in their store rooms. At the time we all thought it wasn't gonna be that bad and our normal trainers and jackets were going to be just fine, boy were we in for a surprise. I luckily was forced into pure leather unbending boots and some rain pants, but I stuck with my jacket that I have for snowboarding. We started on our way and things seemed fine but then we reached the mountain and things began to become very clear why they insisted on such precautions. We spent the next 3 or 4 hours marching up a mountain in pouring rain in which the path was turned into a stream for most of it until we finally stopped for lunch. Everyone was cold, soaking wet all the way through, and very hungry. The guides pulled out what just looked like tarps and told us these were our shelters that we were to eat in. All you had to do was throw it up tuck it beneath your bum and sit on it and it became a little mushroom of the greatest warmth and dryness I think any of us had experienced. After lunch we had the option of pressing on or turning back. Needless to say many many of us turned back, however the few of us the pushed on were in for a nice surprise. It was about another 30 min walk straight up to the lake that was the destinations aim but when we arrived the sun decided to join us! IT WAS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! I unfortunately forgot my camera.....epic fail. The mountain surrounded this lake and there were sheep strewn across the slopes and the green mixed with the rocks slightly peaking out was absolutely breath taking. Pressing on was one of the best choices I have made thus far. Also the hike got much easier from there on out. When we finally reached the bottom of the mountain and home I was already feeling closer to everyone and also very ready for a hot shower.
That night the advisors lead us in a fish bowl. A fish bowl is where a few people sit in the middle and talk about a given topic, if anyone has anything to add or say they come tap someone in the circle and take their spot. We talked about how we felt our cultures differentiated and how we were all coping. It seemed that everyone enjoyed getting to know everyone else a little better and learning that everyone was doing well.
The next day we went on a gorge walk. We took a trip of six and walked up the river that runs down the mountain. It was way more than I was expecting and I was pleasantly surprised. We put on wet suits, helmets, and life jackets and started hiking up this river. along the river there were rocks to climb places to jump off into pools, places to swim under waterfalls and all in a beautiful gorge. It was only two hours which is probably a good thing because the water was so cold my feet had gone numb within the first 15 minutes. We then returned for lunch, and I ate like a pig! I had worked up quite an appetite that weekend. After lunch the head advisor, Judith Kritzmire, and I went across the lake to John Ruskin's house. He lived in this house for the last 28 years he was alive. To be honest I didn't know John Ruskin existed before I went over there but I quickly learned of the beauty of this man. He was a writer and an excellent artist. He also pushed for much social reform in England when Industry was expanding and leaving people in bitter poverty. This man was a genius. When he retired he moved to this house that we visited and built a personal harbor and did much gardening and writing but battled with insanity. His most famous quote was "There is no wealth but life" but my favorite that was written on the wall of his house was "The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion, -- all in one." it was truly a moving and inspiring place.
So today was the first day of class. I went to Film Movements. I was happy to find out that the professors here give us much more time per slide to take notes. I got what was suggested plus more. We also began class since we have a three hour class once a week. We lectured on what film movements are, what is expected of our final project, which is our only grade, we also addressed French New Wave movement and watched shoot the pianist directed by Francois Truffaufe. I am very excited and feel that i will be able to excel in these classes.