Published: July 9th 2012July 8th 2012
It's been a while since I last wrote and I have a million things to talk about! Well, what else is knew.
This week at work was a great one. During my lunch breaks, I've been reading Steve Jobs' autobiography, which is over 900 pages (thank goodness I have an iPad). I'm about halfway done, and I've come to the conclusion that Steve Jobs got a lot of the things he did by asking for them. Seems simple enough. I tried it this week when we started wrapping up what we were working on in our internship by emailing a marketing manager and asking her if she would meet me for coffee and if she had any small tasks she needed an interns help with. Well, she liked my initiative so much that before long, I had a meeting set up with the marketing director at Openreach! He is a really nice guy who had a project he was getting ready to pass off to someone else, but he decided to give me a shot at it instead. So, for the next two weeks, I will be preparing a social media marketing campaign. I'm really excited and so glad I
sent that email.
Another highlight of the week was July 4th. I had no idea what to expect as Independence Day celebrates our independence from...well...England. When I walked into the office on Wednesday, the security guard (my best friend these days) immediately asked me how he should greet me. Forgetting what day it was, I gave him a blank stare back, until he said "Isn't today your day? The day that you guys said enough's enough to the British?" The rest of the day went by similarly. I find it funny that I was wished "Happy Independence Day!" all day long by the people who held our independence from us. But that was also over 200 years ago. I also think it's funny that I've been to a million museums since arriving in London, all with timelines of very important historic world dates, and not one timeline has had anything about the American Revolution.
The Babson group all met up Wednesday night to go to a pub that had live music, and if you had an American passport, gave you a free beer. Well, we Babson honors kids didn't realize that it was a 2 pound tube ride
one way (4 pounds total), and a pint of beer is usually 3.50 pounds, but the experience was pretty cool. This pub had a million American flags everywhere, and everyone there was wearing these crazy American pants, with stars and stripes all over them. Overall, I just found the whole day very ironic.
Friday night I met up with Ainscow, who is also studying abroad in London for the summer, but not in central London. She's close to Chelsea, so obviously we'll be going over there and taking some pictures on the Chelsea Bridge and stuff like that. She also promised to take me to a great Indian restaurant, which I'm very excited about. I've actually had a lot of really great food here--even better than back home in the Bay Area. Anyways, I was really excited about Chelsea's visit because she brought me some Skippy peanut butter from home. London has some questionable peanut butter that is pretty much not edible, so I'm looking forward to all the PB&J's in my future.
Saturday I woke up at the crack of dawn to get ready to go to Stonehenge and then Bath. There were six Babson kids, including
myself, who booked this trip with BUNAC, the company sponsoring our work visas when we first got to London. It was somewhat unfortunate that we planned this trip so far in advance because we probably could have planned it better ourselvses now that we know how to get around England. But oh well.
We met up with the BUNAC people at 8 am, before getting on a Mercedes charter bus. This bus was the craziest thing I've ever seen. First of all, each seat had legitament seatbelts, and if that wasn't weird enough, you entered from the middle of the bus on the right hand side. The bathroom was also in the middle of the bus. On top of that, because it was pouring rain, the bus driver had the heat cranked up to full blast the entire trip, so by the time we got there we were all dripping with sweat. Fantastic.
I'm not quite sure what I was thinking, but I guess I was expecting a little more from Stonehenge. It's literally just a pile of rocks. Small rocks. From pictures, these rocks look really big and impressive, but I think that if I went to
the gym a little more and recruited a couple of friends, we could probably move those things around. There were also so many tourists that you kind of felt rushed and crowded. I guess after you do a tour of rocks in the ground like when my family went to see the Grand Canyon (also just a bunch of rocks), all rocks start to look the same.
After Stonehenge, we continued on to Bath. Again, not impressed. The baths were pretty cool I guess, but not 10.75 pounds cool. The water was actually really warm and I was impressed that they managed to construct something like that around the warm water, but that water was so disgusting that when I touched it to feel how hot it was, I'm sure I contracted about 50 million diseases. Don't worry, as soon as we got into the restaurant to eat lunch, I ran into the bathroom and scrubbed my hands for three "Happy Birthday" songs.
When we got off the bus in Bath, the woman who was leading our group told us we had to be back at the buses at exactly 4:30 or else they would leave people, which
The view of the city from my room.
they've done before. She also gave us a sheet that had a bunch of neat things to do while in Bath. Will and I found one that said "for the adventerous only" so obviously, being as competitive as we are, we decided we had to do it. Let me just tell you, that one should not have been on the list for the amount of time we had. It took us an hour (at a very brisk pace mind you) to reach the top. Looking at our watches, we panicked a little and sprinted up the 198 stairs to the top of the tower. The view was breathtaking, but we unfortunately had five minutes at the top of the tower, before leaving to sprint the 2.5 miles down to the buses. Let me just tell you how I'm never running anywhere with a cross country runner who's over six feet tall ever again. The roads were wet because it had just stopped raining and I literally thought I was going to fall on my face and roll the whole way down the mountain...thank goodness I managed to keep my footing. It was a close call, but we made it to
the bus in time. Whew.
Exhausted after our trip, Sunday we decided to take it easy. Will and I wandered over to Spitalfields market, a huge tourist market near a lot of people's work. We had been to two other similar markets--Covent Garden and Greenwich--but this was by far the biggest and the best. There was everything from coasters to glass vodka clocks to clothes to food to things I wouldn't even know how to name. Up to this point I've actually been pretty good and haven't bought any souvenirs yet. I bought a small sticker that reads "mind the gap" which is what the tube lady says at every single stop. Will bought some cool London coasters but my family isn't fancy enough to use coasters (although maybe if I did I'd stop getting in so much trouble for eating in the family room). The problem with staying in a place for so long is you get over all of the tourist stuff and then you have no idea what to buy for your family members back home. The only one that's making it easy on me is my dad, who has said from day one he wants an LSE sweatshirt.
After leaving the market, we walked over to the London museum. There was actually a lot of things I didn't know about London, like the fact that evey couple hundred years their population gets cut in half. First it was the plague, then 300 years later the plague came back, and a year later the Great Fire of London burnt down 80% of the city. About 300 years later, the two world wars rolled around and their population was again severly hurt. So, in about 200 years, you can bet that I won't be anywhere close to London! For now though, I'm quite content with being in the thick of things in London.