Archive for September, 2008

Reading Texts and the stereotypes therein.

I have been in England for two weeks last Saturday, and still find myself incredibly amused by my English stereotypes.

Enter ridiculously English reading texts professor.

If John Hannah had a better dressed, lankier younger brother, he would be my reading texts professor. Tall, skinny, wearing a white and yellow pinstriped shirt, teal thick-framed reading glasses, and a brown corduroy blazer – he walks in, sets down his leather-bound daytimer and introduces himself. He says that he lives primarily in the 16th and 17th centuries, though he is sadly sometimes dragged into the 21st.

Needless to say, he’s already on my favorite people list.

That’s all I’ve got for the moment – oh, that and the fact that you should have seen the look on my flatmate’s face when I suggested he put some goldfish in his tomato soup. Apparently goldfish aren’t snacks here so much as they’re solely scaley pets.

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Disoriented- or shall I say, disorientated?

On one of my first days of class, my seminar had just come to a close when the advisor commented on the lack of questions. He said he was surprised at the lack of questions, but then again, we were all probably very disorientated. At that point, my West Coast self did in fact have a question to ask.

What the hell is disorientated? Honestly, I must have heard it used about fifty times in my welcome lectures. Disorientated this, disorientated that. Is that a word that we just don’t use in America? So I asked. There were about twenty of us in the room, all seated in such a fashion that we could all see each other, and after this “disorientated” question, I said, “Well, actually, I have a question.”

Cue all eyes on Kathy. “So, I know I’m the only American in the room, so most likely everyone else in the room already knows the answer to this question, but…disorientated? …do we just not use that word in America? Or when we say ‘disoriented’ are we really just pronouncing ‘disorientated’ incorrectly?”

Of course, that set the whole room laughing at me. I figure that I’m a foreigner either way, so might as well get some comedic use out of it. Anyway, my advisor (who is awesome, by the way) informed me that in fact disoriented and disorientated are both real words, and that each country has simply chosen a preferencial word to use to describe the same feeling. Learn something new every day!

Then he asked me a question about the way Americans speak, and I really want to share this one because it baffled me. He said that an author he reads uses a certain phrasing style whenever his American characters speak, and that he only ever uses it for the American characters, thus implying that it’s a pretty American way to speak. Apparently, when someone is going somewhere and we want to state that we will be going as well, we would say it thus:

“Too, I am going to the store.”

Yeah. Um. I was like, “Er….yeah, pretty sure nobody anywhere talks like that. Does that even make sense?” So if anyone reading this has heard anyone at all ever say, “Too, I am going to the store” or some such gibberish, let me know, so I can correct myself. I’m pretty sure though that Americans speaking that way is someone’s imagination.

I’m still sick as a dog, as it were, but certainly am feeling better than I was last night. Or, I guess, this morning, when I woke up at 5:30 AM and due to all of the California-time clocks surrounding me, thought it was 9:30 PM and that I’d slept through an entire day. Then I due to my poor-sleep induced red eyes thought I had pink eye, and stumbled down the hall to my flatmate Prue’s room and started crying cause I was just so done with being sick. It was, I assure you, ten kinds of fantastic.

Worry not though – between Prue and another flatmate, Zach, I am medicated like clockwork and not allowed to lack sleep nor fluid. If all goes well, and may it please, please, please go well, I’ll be fantastic by the time classes start on Monday.

Regardless of the country…

being sick sucks. Especially if it’s a few days before class starts and it feels impossible that you’ll be feeling 100% by the time everything gets going. It also slightly sucks because I have most definitely run out of tissues, and most definitely do not yet feel like leaving the building.

Sickness aside, life is awesome. Er. Minus still having a bit to do on the student loan side of things. Oh, how I hate technicalities and the real world.

Californian culture shock! Most of my flatmates had NEVER had guacamole before! That said, it would only do for me to whip up some guacamole of awesomeness.

Thank goodness, all involved have been converted and we’re already stoked for round two.

On the academic side of life, all is swell. I can’t wait for things to get going – provided I cease to feel like shit – and for this creative writing business to take off! I’ve been meeting professors and such left and right and pretty much I have never been this excited about my education.

So…wish me luck come Monday, and hopefully I can kick this damn cold!

AHH! Return from the abyss!

And for those of you that don’t know, the abyss would be what life is when you don’t have any internet.

Which is what my life has been for the past five days.

Which, for the record, is twenty times more frustrating than usual when you’re in another country and have absolute loads of things to do, all of which include use of the internet.

Thus, I have been in England for nearly a week and have yet to post anything at all on this page.

To catch up:

England is AMAZING. Absolutely, incredibly beautiful. I have family friends here and the 16 year-old guy that I know keeps making fun of me for calling everything beautiful, but I swear. I can’t help it. Everything, from the cathedral dating back to 1060 to the little brick houses with green sheep-spotted fields, EVERYTHING is incredibly beautiful. Everything has character and a history. I can’t even absorb it all; I love it, endlessly.

I have pictures on my facebook, (http://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=158295&id=754635334), all of which don’t even begin to show how amazing Norwich is. It’s ridiculous! =]

I’ve already been sort-of offered a job. I was at the mall with my mom and we got to talking with the owner of this pasty shop (could it be any more English?), and then after we sat down and started eating she came over and said if I was interested I could look into working there while I was at uni. So if that’s not a sign that I was meant to come here, I don’t know what is.

My first comment as an American foreigner is this: has anyone seen The Holiday? Because if you have, and you remember the part where Cameron Diaz tries to drive in England and looks like an absolute fool when she thinks the truck is going to hit her, you should give her some credit. I used to think she looked like a fool too, but dude. If you were driving on these pinky-width roads, you’d be freaked out too. It’s terrifying how small they are!

Oh, and also. A British word has already infiltrated my vocabulary! I say loads now. I say loads all the time. Loads of this, loads of that. I’m telling you, it’s borderline ridiculous. Then again, everything in life is right now. I’m kind of in England. Didn’t you know?

=]

That’s all I have for the moment. I love you all, and will try and write again soon!

Um. Ridiculous.

It’s been Wednesday for nine minutes, which means that for nine minutes I’ve been able to say that only two days –

TWO DAYS

– stand between me and leaving.

Not gonna lie. That is ridiculous.

That’s all I have to say.

Death by stress

I am ten kinds of ready to leave now. I fear that if one more stressful thing happens (like, I don’t know, thinking that $2,000 suddenly disappeared from my student loan – or maybe, hmm, my student visa getting delayed) I might explode.

Exploding, for the record, is not a good thing. Especially when you’ve made it this far in one piece.

All I need to do is say goodbye to a handful of incredibly important people that I will miss and then I will be ready to go. Off to school, for the first time in nearly a year! Geez.

Oh, and, for the record, I’m going to see The Duchess next week. Which doesn’t come out in the US for another two weeks. =]

FOUR DAYS. STOKAGE.


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photo cred to myself and Maggie J. Moxie