Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Cultural Experimentation

Thought I'd add a brief interlude amidst the superb philosophical discourse that's happening on this blog to note a few of the ways I've been seizing my newfound freedom from obligation to experience the many opportunities available to me through my presence here--on campus, in England, away from my usual routines. For instance:

  • I've taken several fantastic if rather bracing walks in the area surrounding campus. Last Friday I took a picnic lunch across the road to the village of Falmer and ate on a park bench by a duck pond and quaint old stone church, and then ended up continuing my walk for four hours, past the village farmer's market and through the valley of Stanmer Park to the village of Stanmer, where I found a darling tea room and enjoyed a hot chocolate and British pastry, and then headed back to campus, stopping on the way back to mount a hillside for a bout of frolicking and singing praise to God. On Saturday I took another walk through Stanmer Park with Sara and Savannah, and on Sunday after church we went into Falmer to visit the duckpond, and ended up tramping home through falling snow as the sunny skies suddenly vanished behind ominous dark clouds. (See My Photos for images from the various walks described above.)
  • Friday night I baked a spinach and onion quiche from scratch, crust included, which I considered quite an accomplishment despite the simplicity of the process.
  • I finally had a chance to walk around The Lanes, one of the central shopping spots in the nearby city of Brighton. Basically a British Telegraph, for those Bay Area folk among us, or a downtown PB for the San Diegans. Lots of cute crazy shops and stalls all crammed together with masses of people wandering about browsing. This was while meeting my group for the Creative Drama long-term project we're working on. We mostly spent the time in two cafes discussing our plan of attack (the first one having closed while we were still working away, forcing us to move on), but we did peruse one antique shop in search of inspiration in old photographs (quite in vain, unfortunately).
  • Experienced the film 28 Days Later, a British zombie cult classic which was actually not bad.
  • Tasted Marmite, a distinctly British spread apparently placed on toast as a ritual of self-immolation, although apparently there are those who have been brought up on the stuff and absolutely love it. Apparently their advertising is based on the slogan "You love it or you hate it," and unfortunately, I found myself decidedly in the latter camp.
  • Was subjected to the inescapable evening pastime of British youth, namely clubbing, and found myself enjoying the experience far more than I had expected. In some ways it resembled the dark rooms, colored lights, and huge crunching masses of people dancing in clusters of your typical high school dance, but without all the fear of judgment and desperate need to be accepted, which made all the difference in the world, and then some. It gained the crucial Liz Seal of Approval as an Activity That Is Enjoyable Without Requiring The Aid Of Alcoholic Influence, although I wish for their sakes that more of those participating were aware of that fact. Nonetheless, I had fun, and may in fact voluntarily repeat the experience at a later date.

That's all I can think of at the moment. I hope you have enjoyed this brief descriptive interlude. And now, back to our regularly scheduled philosophical ponderings.


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