Since we last spoke the rest of my classes have started and Jess has gone back to the States. Both of these events were quite sad. At least my classes are somewhat interesting. My first class of the day is European Union Law. While I've learned a lot about the functioning of the Union, the thing I've come to understand the most is that the whole system is a mess. Basically, it seems like the member countries are going through puberty and have not yet figured out what they want to be when they grow up. They seem shocked that, while they get to reap the benefits of membership, they also have to deal with the consequences. For instance, the UK is currently a little bitter about the situation in Greece. As members of the EU, they are partially responsible for assisting in the bailout. This is true even though they are not members of the Eurozone. It seems the Union was formed in a very optimistic haze that shrouded the consequences of such a commitment. Regardless, the project is a very admirable and I wish them the best of luck.
I am also taking Resolving Disputes Across Cultures, which has been very interesting. We have been learning about the art of negotiation in the context of different cultures. Anyway, enough about my courses. I can barely stay awake in them so I doubt very much that you care to read about it.
One of my favorite evenings thus far happened before Jess left. Jess, Daisy, Britni, Josh, myself and our two new friends Emily and Katy, went and found a spot near the river. We enjoyed some drinks. The setting in which we found ourselves was surreal. This is what we had the pleasure of staring at the whole time:
A good view of King's College
We ended the night at the Eagle Pub. The pub was founded in 1667. Seeing as Darwin, Newton, and other notable scholars went to Cambridge, I'm sure it has seen the likes of many famous academics. I'm sure it was honored by the presence of the students from Chapman Law.
On Monday we went to the river with Lydia and fed the ducks and swans. Lydia is the granddaughter of one of the coordinators of the program and she was lucky enough to travel to Europe with her grandparents. She showed us where to find the ducks and we fed them around two and half loaves of bread.
I walked Jess to the bus station at 2:30 am Tuesday morning. I was sad to see her go, but she had to get back a do some wedding planning. When I walked back from the station, I came across a rather interesting fellow. He was dressed in leather and was staring across the street at something I apparently could not see. He started yelling, "You're all mad as hatters. You're all mad as hatters. I am finished with the human race." Overall, he seemed like he was in a great mood. I decided not to stop for conversation and kept walking home. After all, I am a part of the human race, and it sounded like he was finished with us.
The rest of the school week was pretty uneventful. My days consist of massive amounts of tea in the morning followed by class followed by massive amounts of tea in the evening.
Yesterday we went to London for the day. We started off at Westminster Abbey. I didn't realize how many important people were buried there. Many kings, earls, esquires (of course, because we are the key holders to society), queens, etc. can be found in the Abbey. Many important non-royals/nobles are also buried there as well, including Chaucer, Handel, Newton, Darwin, etc. After grabbing lunch at what I am pretty sure was an American expat barbecue hangout, we went to the Tower of London. The tower was awesome. We had a tour with a Yeoman Warder, a member of a group better known by their nickname: beef eaters. We saw the place where Anne Boleyn lost her head along with countless other royals and nobles. We saw where Thomas Moore was imprisoned and where Henry VIII greeted his second wife when she arrived to the tower. Sadly, she didn't realize she would return later to lose her head.
The palace at the Tower, first occupied by William the Conqueror
Our beef eater. The circular monument behind him marks the spot where Anne Boleyn and others were killed
The traitor's gate. This is where the prisoners (including Boleyn) would have entered
When we were finished here, I insisted on finding the first Twining's store. If anyone knows me and my affinity for warm beverages, you know that I was very excited when we found it. This is where the company was founded and where it has stood for more than 300 years. Of course, I bought some tea, which I am drinking right now.
We decided to head towards Trafalgar Square. Emily, Katie, and Josh found a pub while Britni, Daisy and I enjoyed a quick Diet Coke by the fountain. We sat their an enjoyed a great view of the National Gallery, Nelson's Column, and Parliament.
We then took a walk through St. James Park and eventually found ourselves outside of Buckingham Palace. None of us started the walk knowing that's where we would end up, so it was a pleasant surprise.