Sunday, March 28, 2010

Life in My London Flat work has finally caught up to me :( Because I only have 2 essays for two of my classes and 1 essay & 1 exam for the other two, I've been taking it easy peezy for the past two months. Now, all the deadlines are coming up and I'm trying to remember how to write an essay :(

Chinese New Year Celebration in Trafalgar Square

My month long (hehe) Easter break started this week, and I shall be traveling to Paris and Italy! I really wanted to go to Prague, but
unfortunately it didn't work out. I'm actually only going to Paris and Italy cuz I know people there...otherwise I don't know if I'd really want to go. I think the rest of my time here is going to go by really fast...

Anyway, this entry is going to be about my flatmates because I think they're very interesting haha. It's probably because I'm interested in race & ethnicity, ethnic identity formation, globalization, cultural studies, etc. Since I live in the international student dorm, there's actually very few British students. There's a mix of people from all over the place doing undergrad, master's programs, and English preparation courses for MAs.

Random dried roses in my friend's kitchen
Eating cake on ripped up pieces of the box it came the student life :)

Flatmate in B1: She's my only British flatmate, and she's an "authentic" English person (most Londoners are very different from the rest of the people in the UK). Her family has a farm in the countryside. She's only 19, but she's traveled all over the world (multiple countries in Africa, South America...basically everywhere but Asia). The rest of my flatmates and I have never actually seen her cook, but she drinks looots of tea and eats biscuits or crackers with some sort of spread or topping. She actually moved out last week to go live a house with no electricity or running water. She comes back to shower randomly haha.

Celebrating my cell (small group) leader's bday at church

Flatmate in B2: She is half Belgium and half Maltese (from the island Malta near Italy), but grew up in Paris. I shall be staying with her during break! :) She is verrry interested in Asian culture and is a Chinese major. She's currently learning Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, and thinks Chinese is the easiest and Korean is the hardest! :O People say Korean grammar is difficult to learn...

The only thing I took a picture of at the British Museum during my first & only visit there (even though its literally right next to my campus and free -_-)
Tea! You dunk the top dish w/ the loose tea into the water.

Flatmate in B3: He's half Japanese and half Chinese, and went to high school in Beijing and is attending college in Japan. He loves meat (esp. lamb) and beer. We like to exchange cooking & grocery shopping tips with each other. His girlfriend is from Luxembourg (I definitely didn't know where that was at first) and they speak English and Japanese to each other.

A path that I use along one of the routes to school. Its my favorite way to go but sketchy at night :/

Flatmate in B4: She's Swedish and naturally blond & blue eyed but dyes her hair dark brown (I didn't realize this until a few weeks ago). She's engaged to a refugee...from Tibet...who she met on a India. I'm always in the kitchen at the same time as her and flatemate B3, we all like to cook a lot haha :) Thankfully they're both very chill so its good having random convos with them.

The soccer field next to the path above. I love passing by on sunny days and seeing people running around playing sports :) There's also a day care on the other side, so sometimes there's toddlers playing on the playground :D (I sound creepy)

Flatmate B6*: He's doing an English preparatory course thing and is always hanging out with his Chinese girlfriend and friends. Sometimes we have very short awkward conversations in English, although once I attempted to share my limited Chinese with him (name and age). Apparently he never cooks in the kitchen anymore because his cupboard is basically empty and the only thing he keeps in the fridge is ketchup and gochujang.

*I'm flatmate I skipped myself.

Typical street around the area I live

So...that was a long entry. And I hope my flatmates don't think its creepy that I wrote about them haha. I've met a lot of interesting people in my classes, but I don't really have time to get to know them since I'll be leaving after this term, and classes are already over :( I think I would've approached this experience differently if I was here for all of undergrad instead of just visiting for a semester...

Okay, now I must go work on the two essays that were due last Friday. Until next time...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Some Belated February Stuff

Liberty department store

I know Valentine's day was a while ago, but I was thinking about it last week. Well, not Valentine's day specifically, but the sisters appreciation events that a lot of guys in Christian groups put together during the Valentine's season. Usually, the evening consists of the boys providing the girls with some sort of food and entertainment. Everyone dresses up and the girls relax while being catered to by the guys.

English Breakfast tea & a salmon sandwich

Btw, the pictures from this entry don't really relate to the text. The photos are from an afternoon tea at the Liberty department store hosted by the Seven College Conference of London for jya students (junior year abroad) from the Seven Sisters schools. There was also one boy there because Radcliff, a former all women's and Seven Sisters college, merged w/ Harvard, so Harvard was also invited.
The tea was nice, but honestly, I think we all expected more haha the scones were good though!

scone w/ clotted cream & jam; pouring the tea

Anyway, I've been to a sisters appreciation event before, and I've seen lots of pictures and heard stories about them. Although I enjoyed the event and can appreciate the effort put into them, did you ever think about how this reinforces gender roles? (I know, I know, I'm a sociology major that analyzes everything blah blah)
  • Why is it usually the boys doing stuff for the girls? Because girls are more into all that lovey dovey stuff and guys aren't? (related - VDay: An Opportunity to Remind Us That We Are Opposite Sexes)
  • If we are going to adhere to socialized gender roles & behavior, why would fellow brothers in Christ be fulfilling the desire of females for romantic stuff?
  • If you think about it, its kind of a like a mass date...the boys are showing the girls their potential as future boyfriends --> *cough*senior scramble*cough*
  • Why doesn't everyone do an activity together instead of the guys just putting on a show and serving the girls all night? Aren't there activities that involve everyone? Or, is there a need for a special event to show appreciation, or can it simply be shown through how we treat each other everyday?

a lot of stuff was already gone by the time I took a picture of the tower

Most importantly, what does this have to do with faith? Isn't Valentine's day a secular, constructed holiday? It doesn't celebrate the love of God, which is not about feelings and hearts. What's the need for these events? Because we might feel too lonely on Valentines day otherwise? God is good all the time, including Valentines day. By clinging to God and living by faith, we can truly know what value is and show appreciation for our fellow brothers and sisters.

Bryn Mawr representin'; shot of the tea room

Perhaps I am over analyzing this. I'm not saying the guys are secretly trying to seduce the girls or have a hidden agenda. I just felt like something was weird about these sisters appreciation events and was thinking about what their purpose is (or the social function they perform a la Gans & poverty). Honestly, I think for most girls, they use events like this as an excuse to get dressed up haha ;)