21 December, 2012

Season's Greetings from the London Center

We wish you all a festive holidays and a very happy new year!

The center is winding down for it's own vacation after the departure of our Fall 2012 students who have now all returned safely back to their hometowns and are busy catching up with family and friends. We shall be back in the new year ready to welcome the next group! Until then, be good!!

Ciao for now... :)

30 October, 2012

Jess' adventure in London

So last weekend a scouse (from Liverpool) friend of mine came down to visit me. Being her first experience of the south and in fact, the capital city I relished in the opportunity to take her on a mini “Grand Tour”; first of my hometown – Essex – and then of some of the sights of London.

Now, I’ve only just moved back down myself after having spent four years living in the north, so it was a great chance to rediscover my roots and perhaps discover some forgotten gems from my childhood. As I discussed in the previous blog, I’ve been really lucky to have travelled quite extensively but I didn’t realise until this weekend how much I had neglected my hometown and the very close surrounding areas; London, in particular. Essentially I believe that I became a tourist in my own city.

We had one day to cram as much of London in as we possibly could. Not an easy task when London is huge and every area has its own quirky uniqueness. I decided that the historic and royal landmarks had to go on our list, as did the markets of Spitalfields and Covent Garden; my favourite part of London.  So off we went, looking like keen tourists with our cameras and giant maps…

I introduced my friend to the joys of the London Underground, which as a regular user I have taken advantage of but forget how confusing it can be to the unfamiliar. I have also taken for granted the efficiency of the London transport system, despite the weekend closures due to the seemingly never ending maintenance work. This of course can always be rectified by using the city buses, which are also fairly frequent and have the benefit of giving a view of the attractions outside (and phone signal).

Taking the number 11 bus from Liverpool street – after an hour well spent shopping at Spitalfields - we looked out to the bankers home of Bank, naturally, passed St Pauls Cathedral and watched tourists clamber on top of the lions at Trafalgar Square. We got off the bus at Westminster to see Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament along with Big Ben and the London Eye. It was fascinating to see flocks of people - regardless of the horrendous weather conditions - having their photos taken in front of the buildings. I think it makes you look at them differently. The buildings I mean. Well, at least I did anyway.

It was tea o’clock by this time so refuelling was in order. I had myself a lovely cup of tea and a well needed sit down after the stress of avoiding being in other people’s photos. It was then onto the most anticipated part of the day: Covent Garden!  Less overwhelming than Oxford Street with a lot more character plus the added bonus of street performers make this my number one in London. It’s even more magical at Christmas. Perhaps because of the Disney store. We raided the market stalls, saw a man juggle swords and flirted with a silver-painted man. It was wonderful.

After a hearty pub meal we got back onto the tube home at around 6pm. To be honest I was quite impressed with how much we had fitted into the day. In addition to entertaining my friend I had also managed to reignite my own love for London. I have even started a bucket list of things I want to do here, which mainly consists of places I want to eat at… There is definitely a clear reason as to why all of these “fancy-camera-tourists” come to our capital city; because its eclectic mix of attractions can brighten up even the greyest and wettest of days.


25 October, 2012

12 October, 2012

It's all so quiet...shhh...shhh...

Mid-term break seems to have hit us. It’s like the Apocalypse has fallen upon the London Center. I feel a bit like Will Smith having survived. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be a legend...

Students are flitting in and out, collecting their passports and any forgotten items so that they can flee the country or at least get some respite away from exams and studies. Don’t forget us though! We shall still be here throughout the week. Working…

Since I hear the majority of you are flying to lands far far away (Italy, Spain, Holland etc…) I would like to share some pearls of travel wisdom of my own in an attempt to cheer myself up. I also hope that this serves as inspiration for the current ICLC students to write some pieces about their travels for this blog.

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." 

A quote I recently found and ‘favourited’ on Twitter. Quite frankly I don’t usually like deep and sentimental phrases but something about this one really hit home and made me smile. I’ve been fortunate over the last four years to have travelled quite extensively, telling friends and family it was imperative if I wanted to succeed with my language learning. I have volunteered in Costa Rica, run around a maze dressed as a clown – ‘working’ - on the island of Menorca, studied in Mexico (climbed some volcanoes too…) and I have worked in a rather up market hotel on the Amalfi coast in Italy. Diversity certainly appeals to me. As does a challenge. I liked arriving on foreign lands with a guidebook in hand and a rough idea of what to expect from the next few months. However it’s not until you land safely back in the comfort of your own home and look back on what you have learnt, achieved and more often than not struggled with that you really appreciate the distance you have travelled. Before I left for Costa Rica, a 17 year old angel (…) never would I have imagined that on my 18th birthday I would be teaching kindergarteners the “Happy Birthday” song, slaughtering chickens (for meat purposes) and dancing to Latin beats until the sun came up. What I’ve really learnt from these past few years is that anything really is possible. And probable. So why am I continuing to ramble about this to you? Well. Having been an international student on two different continents and having safely come out the other side of Higher Education, I would say that your University years are a truly educating experience and your time abroad will teach you as much about yourself as it will about others. Grab each and every opportunity, make the most of new experiences, try something new, because before you know it you will be resting your head on that familiar pillow wondering where all of that time went.

Have a fantastic mid-term break. Stay safe. Give your brain a well deserved rest. I've included some favourite photos of mine below...

Yep. That's me beneath the Gandalf costume...

08 October, 2012

the start of something new

I've never written a blog before. I tried once. I was in Italy and thought that instead of continuously repeating myself I would record the ins and outs of my daily life online for my friends and family to read themselves. I wrote one entry. My "friend" kindly pointed out that I had used semi-colons in the wrong places and I must admit that whilst I have been crowned the "grammar queen" of international languages - Spanish and Italian, let's not get too carried away here - I was ashamed to admit that my English perhaps needed a little work. As the Fall 2012 students are all too aware, email is my preferred method of communication as I feel like I can be as formal - "to whom this may concern..." or informal as I deem necessary but a blog proposes the challenge of talking to a very wide audience, some of whom I have never met (hello stranger) and as I think I have demonstrated rather well already, I have a slight, OK, quite a large tendency to ramble...

I've not even properly introduced myself. I am Jessica - or Jess (not Jessie or else I feel like the cowgirl from Toy Story 2) - the new Programme Coordinator at Ithaca College London Center. I recently graduated from University where I studied Spanish and Italian and so I have first-hand experience of what it feels like to study here in the UK and abroad. [Note to current students: (<--correct use of colon?!) come and find me in the Front Office. I'll swap stories about Italy if you tell me about your travels in Europe. I'm already quite envious of your adventures overseas.] It's also worth noting that surprisingly I am the only English member of the admin staff, but contrary to what you may believe after watching all those Hollywood movies, being the token English girl by in no way means that I; 1. talk like Keira Knightly, 2. look like Keira Knightly, 3. live in a palace/castle/stately home and nor am I 4. an evil butler.

I have been told that I have free reign over this blog. Kindly passed on by Claire, ISee Elsie is like my adopted child and I am expected to take care of her in the same way as my predecessor did. I like her so far but then again, so far all I have done is talk about me and I like me so, so far so good right? I should probably talk a bit more about the London Center. I suppose that this space is for people other than me. I did warn you about my ramblings. However if you do want to find out more about the life of Jess then pop into my office, bring a brew (northern slang for a cup of tea. I'm not actually northern.) and pull up a chair. I do love a good gossip. And tea. And perhaps some digestives? Sorry, I'm talking about myself again...

So last weekend I was taken on my first trip away from London. Having prepared the packs, organised the rooming list and got everyone on the coach - after apologising to Colin for spelling his name wrong (it was an accident, I promise!) - we were all set to go. First stop --> Warwick Castle! Now you would think that after flying all that way across the Atlantic the students would be impressed by such a grand and prestigious building, but no, these students were quite entertained by the local wildlife...


After Bill and I enjoyed our champagne lunch (I'm joking.) we got back onto the coach and headed toward Stratford-upon-Avon. Here the students were able to visit the place in which Shakespeare was born and buried and in the evening we watched a "Comedy of Errors" at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Now, I must admit that not having read the play - nor knowing anything about it - I was probably at a slight disadvantage. However everyone else seemed to enjoy it, laughing along at the right times and generally getting the gist of what was going on. It was then onto the infamous Dirty Duck pub for a pint. Bill had bought a number of badges with various Shakespearean quotes on, which he handed to each of the students. I received one with the line, "Though she be but little she be fierce", which I think says more about my height than anything else. I'm not entirely sure what did happen at the pub that evening...I retired to bed early. My student days, though I hate to say it, are far behind me now...

The following morning I enjoyed breakfast with Katy and Molly before we headed to meet the others for a talk and tour on Shakespeare's life. The weather held out beautifully during the day (I now write this beneath a gloomy sky - not literally, I'm still sat in my office). There were blue skies and spots of sunshine and - can you believe it - it did not rain! After some free time filled with retail therapy, it was onto our final stop, Oxford. The London Center students were given a couple of hours to explore the town, take a nosey around the prestigious colleges and buy some merchandise from the shops - Kelly made the mistake of purchasing a college jumper and was told by our coach driver, David to take it off or face walking back to London...which she did. Take it off I mean - she certainly did not walk home.

Overall my first trip was pretty fun. I enjoyed getting to know the students a bit better and I hope that they feel the same way about me. I must admit that I have rather enjoyed my first three weeks at Ithaca College London Center. It has a somewhat family feel to the place that is easy to get swept up in and I feel like I have been taken under its wing. This blog seems to have turned into some sort of sentimental piece. I must quickly rectify this; I am British after all a do not, under any circumstance display my emotions. On that note, I think I shall bring this entry to a close before I get too carried away; however it is practically an essay now. I hope that you have enjoyed reading my second attempt at blogging and that this time I can get past writing just the one entry. Maybe I can get to grips with those semi-colons too...?!

16 August, 2012

The Final Word

Having recently read one of the most well articulated valedictions I've ever come across, I hesitate to say goodbye in Jack's shadow. But needs must, and I am shortly to leave the London Center for a new job!  As semesters go by and students return to Ithaca (or go on to so many other parts of the world), I've taken to saying "Travel safely!" and "Come back soon!".  "Goodbye" is difficult to say and I admit that I avoid it.  Now it's my turn to go.  Though I'm not literally packing my bags and catching a plane, I'll be making a new tube journey each morning where I won't be greeting Bill upon arrival with "Guten Morgen!".  He won't ask me what kind of yogurt I'm eating, and I won't offer to make him tea that he will turn down because it's too early for tea (three years at the ICLC and I'm still not sure I understand what constitutes "too early for tea"). 

I think the laughter had something to do with fostering newborn kittens?
My initial feeling when I knew I would be leaving the ICLC (after the excitement of accepting a new job) was one of reflection.  I'll miss explaining colloquialisms which turn out not to be transatlantic.  While trying to explain what it means "to have kittens" I laughed that hardcore belly laugh which leaves you still aching a day later.  The same goes for the pants v. trousers issue.  Most of us remember the first time it was pointed out that Brits and Americans use the word pants differently.  I'll also miss the day Paul McCartney rocks up to 35 Harrington Gardens.  I've probably been too subtle in trying to engineer this, but I have no doubt I will be the first person Bill phones when Sir Paul does arrive.  And when he does, I can't wait to shake his hand!  

And then there's the overly sentimental issue- I'll miss Steve TenEyck's sabbatical in London in spring 2013.  I was one of Steve's first lighting design students in Ithaca.  We go so far back that I remember the master class he taught when he was invited from the job search to teach lighting design at IC.  Steve helped mentor me through my undergraduate education.  I would so love to audit his class next spring!  What do you think, Steve?  He won't be the first of my own IC professors doing a stint at the ICLC during my front office tenure.  I say in all seriousness that my social life had a hole in it until Greg Robbins took me mudlarking on the banks of the Thames.  Jack Hrkach got to spend a year here living in the roof garret of the ICLC, and I really miss the warmth of hearing his jazz music in the evening come subtly down the stairs of the flat and into the third floor hallway.

Kenneth is no less disapproving in a handmade blanket.

The fact that I keep coming up with more items for this list makes me realize how much I will miss about working at the London Center.  I have deep roots here, even though I'm the shortest serving of the current staff.  I look around the front office at all the knitting needles I need to take home, the post that Murray Woodfield has to collect, the stacks of photos from the 40th anniversary that I still haven't put away and the cardboard cutout of Kenneth Brannagh looking disapprovingly at me from the side of the fireplace.  I was welcomed 3 years ago into Elsie's family and I have made myself at home here.  The last staff member who left the ICLC was Fred, and he stayed for 38 years.  Months in advance of his last day he handed in to Bill his keys to the building, which Bill kindly gave back.  But on Fred's last day Bill reminded him that this was the actual day when he would need to turn in the keys.  Fred refused, and there was little conversation to be had about it.  I understand that Fred was expressing how he felt rather than interested in keeping the keys, and I wonder how I will feel in the same position as my day quickly approaches. 

While here I have loved meeting the visiting faculty who have come over.  I've loved climbing steep and wind-swept hills, doing my best not to speak my broken German in Paris and sneaking up on students to take awkward photos for the end of term slide show.  After all, documenting life around the London Center was part of my job.  And speaking of which, I'll miss this blog massively.  When Skint was turned into I See Elsie, I imagine Bill felt a small pang of loss.  Perhaps he was a little relieved, but he had been a driving force behind Skint for most of his time as Director.  Now I'm handing over the username and password of Elsie.  Aside from a creepy presence in the creaking basement floorboards and in the phone lines, this blog is Elsie's main incarnation.  She also discovered Facebook and Twitter, but this is where she was born.  Sarah and I created a test post one afternoon and we never looked back.  Now Elsie's a few years old and I'm already feeling the pangs of missing her.  Bill has been an unfalteringly good sport about being the subject of one facetious blog post after another.  This blog would be half the size it is without his patience.
The Fantastic Four?  I think so!

And finally, I'd like to thank Evie Blackburn for helping me get a foot in here in the first place.  Without her I might still be selling cake south of the river.  On to new adventures!


10 August, 2012

Bad News

Bill Sheasgreen: Claire, I have bad news.  You won't be able to interview me anymore.
Claire Mokrauer-Madden: What?  Why not?
BS: It has an awful lot to do with Paul McCartney.
CMM: I guess I could see that coming.  In what capacity does it have to do with him this time?
BS: I understand that you have been writing these interviews as a cheap ploy to get him to come to the London Center and make amends with me.  Is that true?
CMM: Yes.  It's completely true.  It's probably the only thing about these interviews that is true.
BS: Well, it leaves me feeling somewhat used.  I don't like that, and I want it to stop.
CMM: And this is the reason that I can't do anymore interviews?
BS: Yes.
CMM: But I'm writing this as an interview right now.
BS: And I want you to stop before this becomes too existential.
CMM: Ok, I'll agree to stop interviewing you, but would you answer a few questions before I sign off?
BS: Only if it will make the interview stop.
CMM: Deal.  Let's start with something general.  What do you like about working at the ICLC?
BS: The archaeology.  Hands down.
CMM: I knew that one would elicit an interesting response!  What do you mean by the archaeology?  The ICLC is a listed building, you shouldn't be digging it up!
BS: No, no, I'm not digging up the building itself!  I mean "archaeology" more metaphorically than that.  I have created one of "England's mountain green" in my office, built out of paper and old sandwiches.
CMM: That sounds pretty unappealing.
BS: To tell you the truth, I took my inspiration from Danny Boyle.  The Olympics have really gone to my head, and it shows in my office.
CMM: I don't see a problem with that, as long as you don't light a massive torch.
BS: Anyway, I've been digging through this mountain in search of pukka pads and memory sticks.  It's beena real adventure!
CMM: Any joy yet?
BS: I came across a bin in the mountain and I did find some memory sticks in it!  It's been a true success.
CMM: Congratulations!  I'm sure when you're in Rio for 2016 fake-mountain-scavenging-for-your-own-things will be an event and you'll be one of Canada's top competitors. 
BS: The real trick is to remember where you put the things you're looking for in the first place.  It really gives you a leg up in the competition. 
CMM: Giving away your strategy is pretty risky!  Good luck in the competition!  My next questions is, what will you do with the time that you used to spend at these interviews?
BS: I'll do what I've always done.  And since I've never actually been present at one of your interviews, it really won't interrupt my normal routine.
CMM: I'm glad to hear it.  One reason I never actually consulted you for these interviews is that you are often busy doing work, and I'm pretty good at guessing what you would say to the questions I ask.
BS: I'd like to point out that that is wildly incorrect.  Many of the answers you claim I give sound nothing like me and much more like you.
CMM: Nonetheless, in spirit I think I've gotten it pretty close.
BS: Are you kidding?  I have no attachment to plaid at all.  If I had really designed ICLC uniforms, they would have been a combination of white suits, black suits and denim.  I did some mock ups once on some penguin figurines.
CMM: In Liverpool?
BS: Why, yes!  How did you know?
CMM: Because the penguin you're standing next to in the is photo looks distinctly like Paul McCartney on the Abbey Road album cover.
BS: Yes!  They based their outfits for that cover on my design!  It was one of my proudest moments with the band!
CMM: Umm, according to Wikipedia their clothes were designed by Tommy Nutter.
BS: Yes, I was his silent partner down on Saville Row.  But tailoring was a crazy business, I had to get out of it.
CMM: So with that, I think I'll wrap this up.  Thank you so much for not taking time to answer my last few questions.  This has been as illuminating as ever.
BS: The pleasure has been mine.

08 August, 2012

Are We There Yet?

We are getting really close to arrival day, so I thought I would give an update on the state of affairs in the London Center.  Despite Elsie getting water in a few places that it shouldn't be, we are steadily getting ready.

Orientation packs are nearly ready.

Cora is cataloging library books.

Sarah is cleaning the carpets.

Bill is very busy and important.

Cora is cataloging more library books.

I'm keeping up with the news.

And Ruby has 90p in her belly.

All in all, I'd say we're pretty ready to start the fall term.


06 August, 2012

One Year Later... (part II)

Here are more thoughts one year down the line. There's continued emphasis on the love affair that students have with London, which so many students are the happiest victims of. 

Melissa Frisco, ICLC alum from Fall 201, says this:
One year ago, I was so incredibly excited to get to London.  I had been there years before for a week and fell in love.  Now, one year later, I'm totally enamored.  I think I changed more in those four months than in the previous twenty-one years of my life.  I found my home - the place where I felt so comfortable and happy.  Now, I am fighting tooth and nail to get back there and settle down.  After my plans to obtain Italian (and therefore EU) citizenship fell through (silly Grandpa getting naturalised before my dad was born), I had to look for different paths.  There is still, of course, the chance to marry a hot Brit (as I was nominated most likely to do by Elsie herself), but now I'm looking into a bit more plausible approach - attending graduate or possibly law school in London.  No one ever said achieving your dreams was easy (or cheap), right?!  I loved everything about living in London - our West Ken neighborhood, the ICLC of course (and all of its amazing staff), my internship, my classes, the wonderful friends I made (British and American), and the opportunity to travel to six other countries.  I learned so much about the city, all sorts of different cultures, and myself.  I love telling people all these facts about London and England that I now know, some more random than others, and most learned from the wonderful Bill Sheasgreen.  I will see you again soon, London; you can count on it.
Melissa Frisco, the photo-bomber herself!

30 July, 2012

One Year Later...

It's nice when blog posts appear in my inbox.  Here is one such occasion.

A while back I asked people to let us know what life was like one year after London.  I went further and posed the questions directly to the students who were preparing to come to London one year ago.  I asked, did coming to London change your view of your education? Of yourself? Of the world? What were you doing a year ago today? How has studying in London impacted what you're currently doing?

River Ferris, ICLC alum from Fall 2011 sent me this:
I thought that for my submission, I'd show you how London has affected me, rather than tell you.  Attached are pictures of the wall in my Brooklyn apartment.  Giant British flag, postcards from all the cities I visited, tickets to all the shows I saw, and of course, my diploma from ICLC.  This is just a portion of my London mementos hanging on my wall, but I think you get the idea.

I can't believe it's been a year!


Please continue letting us know how studying in London impacted you!


25 July, 2012

Nearly There...

The sun shone brightly on Hackney on Saturday July 21st when the Olympic torch – or one of them at least – reached one of the five ‘host boroughs’ of the 2012 summer games [London has 33 boroughs in total]. The Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park [what else could it be called in the summer of the diamond jubilee?]  houses the athletes’ village, the main stadium, the aquatic centre, the velodrome [nicknamed the ‘pringle’ because of its snack like shape], the handball arena, the water polo centre, the temporary basketball venue, the Mittel Tower and more. 

Four of the five Olympic boroughs –south of the river Greenwich is the exception -  share the Olympic park: (i) Newham has the biggest chunk, about 60%; (ii)Hackney, (iii)Waltham Forest [birthplace of David Beckham and Alfred Hitchcock] and (iv) Tower Hamlets have the rest. My borough, Hackney, has the huge media centre:  it is large enough for over 20,000 media personnel, twice the number of participating athletes. Irony of ironies, my home borough will also be hosting the IC students working for NBC.

On Saturday the 21st Hackney celebrated the arrival of the Olympic flame by organising a ‘Rio’ style party-carnival-parade. The parade started in Shoreditch, site of two Elizabethan theatres, the ‘Theatre’ and the ‘Curtain’ [archaeologists are busy on the site], progressed up the old Roman road through trendy Dalston to Stoke Newington. Hackney imported carnival experts from Rio, the site of the 2016 games, and the first Olympiad to be held in Latin America. There certainly was an air of Brazilian authenticity about some of the costumes. Unfortunately, the ‘party in the park’ was cancelled because the venue was waterlogged.

Inexplicably, the torch was not part of the carnival. But it did arrive, preceded by vehicles advertising three of the main sponsors [Samsung, Coca Cola and Lloyds Bank], surrounded by security, about 3 hours later, with jazz bands replacing steel bands.

So let the games of the XXX Olympiad begin. Who are we cheering for? The US women’s rowing 8 and the defending gold medal winning Canadian men’s 8 for starters.


23 July, 2012

Don't Get Caught Out!

It's the summer that Londoners have been talking about since July 6th, 2005.  It's the summer over which the British beat out the French, where Shakespeare came to London speaking so many languages and when the London Center got a new boiler. 

Yes!  The Olympics are here!  As part of my own personal build up to the Olympics, I read The Devil in the White City (by Erik Larsen, I recommend it), which is about the Columbian Exposition (the World's Fair) which Chicago held in 1893.  It shouldn't be much of a surprise, but I find it impressive that 119 years later, there are similar feelings in London as described in the book about what Chicago was going through- anticipation before showing off the city to the world, nerves about living up to expectations, excitement for the big event.  Many of the specific issues don't compare (I'm pleased to say that sewage and garbage in the streets of London are nothing like what Chicago was sorting through), but some do.  Recently the news has reported that the company awarded the security contract didn't hire enough employees for the Olympics- in Chicago there weren't nearly enough grounds keepers to pick up all the rubbish.  Another issue is that the UK has hired extra staff to work at the borders to keep the airport queues down at immigration.  But now they are threatening to strike the day before the opening ceremony, what is expected to be one of the busiest days at Heathrow.  The carpenters who built the Exposition were asked to work longer hours and work faster to get the fair ready in time.  They went on strike, asking for regular working hours and a minimum wage.

As with most large scale urban events, the transport system is one of the most obvious places to see the strains placed on the city.  Chicago extended the routes of the L to better reach Jackson Park.  London is giving free travel from zones 1-9 on the day of the event the spectator is attending.  They've built cable cars (it looks like a ski lift) across the Thames between North Greenwich and the Royal Docks.  And best of all, they've made this series of posters with advice for Londoners themselves.  Here are some of my favorites:

But my favorite bit of commuter advice comes from the Mayor's own voice.  Read the article in the link for the criticism that appeared on Twitter as soon as the message was released.  Each time I hear it, I wonder what the other takes must have sounded like for that to be the one they chose.  But it does what it needs to- it gets your attention.


12 July, 2012

Where's Your Head At?

The title of this post is a song title from the Basement Jaxx (they started out in South London, so they're good in my book).  It has nothing to do with Paul McCartney.  While I'm sad that he hasn't turned up at the front door of the ICLC to reconcile his differences with Bill, I'm glad that he hasn't sent me a cease and desist order.  There's always a silver lining.

Today I'm talking about getting your head into London.  This is most appropriate for the students getting ready to come over to London.  Unfortunately, the students who have recently left London are having the opposite problem.  I just hope everyone remembers which way to look when crossing the roads and that they don't get caught out calling the subway the tube.

Being strapped for cash before fall break isn't a position anyone wants to be in.  If you're interested in traveling, have a look at budget airlines (but remember that they charge for any and all 'extras').  I'm a fan of comparing flights on www.skyscanner.net.  Sign up to voucher websites (Living Social, Groupon, Voucher Cloud to name a few).  You may also have a look at www.moneysavingexpert.com, it's great for restaurant vouchers if you fancy eating out in London.

Pay attention to what's going on in London.  The Olympics will have ended and the Paralympics will be starting to get under way when the fall students arrive.  The House of Lords may be peopled by elected rather than appointed peers.  Bob Diamond and Jeremy Hunt may be in jail (however unlikely).  Sign up with Transport for London (TfL) for their email updates of the weekend tube closures (weekend closures email link on the right).  Look at Europe and the world more widely, too.  London is a heaving multicultural metropolis, so be aware of the issues.  Is Greece leaving the Euro zone?  How will that affect Germany?  Will there be a power change in Syria?

And finally, choose a side.  I mean a football side.  Choose Arsenal if you want to do well in Bill's class.  Choose Chelsea if you don't.
I'm wearing a Charlton Athletic apron, scarf and hair clips.  I have Charlton Athletic pens in my hair, and I'm holding the team mascot, Floyd the dog- all birthday presents from Bill.  Total cost- under a tenner.


26 June, 2012

Let it Be

Dear Claire,

I read your recent blog post, the one in which Bill interviewed you.  In fact, I've read all of the interviews between you and Bill, and I would like to give my side of the story.

Bill and I met in the summer of 1968 when he was a young graduate student.  I was on a break from recording The White Album, so I went to Cambridge for a quiet weekend.  I had broken a string on my guitar while playing it on the banks of the Cam and was gently weeping.  At the same time a rowing team was speeding down the river.  They were going by so quickly, but I could see before it happened, that they were not going to make it smoothly around the bend in the river.  The boat crashed, the rowers were flung into the water and all I could do was watch.  After some twisting and shouting, one of the rowers swam away from the wreckage, and I held out my guitar to him to help him come ashore.

As soon as Bill had recovered and gotten the wind back into his lungs, we met formally.  He was so grateful, and kept saying that I had saved his life.  That afternoon Bill offered to be my lifelong servant.  I couldn't accept the offer, generous as it was, but it quickly became clear that he had an interest in music.  He seemed to be trying to entice me away from the rest of the Beatles, but I said, "That'll be the day!"  At least I did agree to a few impromptu sessions with him.  Nothing like a worldwide tour or anything, just a bit of busking.

I think the real misunderstanding came about a few months later.  We were talking about new places to busk and he suggested we do it in the road.  I said it was unsafe.  He kept saying that we could do it if we got a little help from my friends, but I wouldn't budge.  We never really saw eye to eye after that, and I admit I was hurt by our parting of ways.  That pain inspired some songs that I would come to write, but I couldn't abide by Bill claiming that he wrote my songs.  The restraining orders only came out when he was spotted outside of Abbey Road Studios.  He claimed he was there showing the iconic zebra crossing to a group of students, but the local traffic cameras were spotting him there with too many groups of students for me to believe it was innocent coincidence.

I hope this helps clarify whatever Bill has told you about me.  I miss him as a friend, but am genuinely glad my busking days are over.  However, I have enclosed a photo of our last busking gig together.  We played our final performance outside Tower Hill tube station.  I remember that Saturday afternoon as if it was yesterday.  We ate hummus sandwiches before we performed and, ironically, talked about what we thought our lives would be like by the time we became pensioners.  We argued over whether men officially became pensioners at 64 or 65.  We had no idea that would be our last performance together.

Thanks for listening,

22 June, 2012

The Walls Have Eyes...

How often do you turn around with the feeling that you're being watched?  For anyone who's been in the London Center in the evening when there aren't many other people around, did you find it just a bit eerie?  The ICLC is an old Victorian home, so I suppose haunting goes without question, but you never expect to see a manifestation of of all the creepy ideas swimming through your head as you hesitantly check to see if the London Center really is empty.  So consider my surprise when I stood up from in front of the fireplace in the Common Room to see a pair of eyes trained on me.  Not a pair I was expecting.  This happened in broad daylight, during a moment when I had a confident grasp of how many people were in the building.  Sarah and Bill were working downstairs in their offices.  No students were in.  And yet I was being watched.  Not by one set of eyes, but as I took closer note of my surrounding, I discovered it was by nine sets.

All of a sudden my eyes were opened to all the faces around the London Center!  I don't mean students or Elsie, I mean bizarre, expressive, character faces.  They're all over the place!  Paranoid much, you ask?  These Victorian features, coated in over a century of paint, are nearly hiding in plain sight.  I've compiled what I doubt is an extensive list of the ICLC's hidden faces.  Doubtless they watch the building day and night, noticing comings and goings, weighing in on who their favorite ICLC directors have been.

So, I'm introducing you to the faces of the London Center:
Tilly- Over the fireplace in the Common Room
Benjamin- Mantel in the Common Room

Melbourne- Mantel in the Common Room

Bobby- Mantel in the Common Room

Palmerstone- Mantel in the Common Room

William- Mantel in the Common Room

Derby- Mantel in the Common Room

Cecil- Mantel in the Common Room

Tony- Mantel in the Common Room
Harvey- Front Hall post

Al- Front Hall post

Louise- Front Hall fireplace (probably not Victorian?)

Frank, Lorraine and Suzanne- Exterior Facade above Entryway

Henry- Front Door (almost definitely not Victorian)

Francis- Front Office

Tilly and the boys listen from over the fireplace to Diana Rigg talking to an Interrelationships class in 1982.

20 June, 2012

Bill as Interviewer?

Bill Sheasgreen: It's time to turn things around.
Claire Mokrauer-Madden: Pardon?
BS: Today I interview you.
CMM: No thanks.  I'm not as interesting as you are.  Only people at the ICLC who have bad blood with Sir Paul McCartney are eligible for interviews.
BS: Only people who have bad blood with Sir Paul McCartney are allowed to work at the ICLC.
CMM: Are you suggesting I should pick a fight with a knight to keep my job?  That must be discriminatory in some way.  It's certainly discriminatory against knights of the realm.
BS: Not against knights in the plural.  There's only one knight we are discriminating against.
CMM: Remind me again how many restraining orders he has out against you?
BS: I think we're veering off topic now.  Back to you.  How's your summer going so far?
CMM: Not great.  It's long been one of my life goals to make it into the Olympics, and so far things aren't going so well.  My background in synchronized swimming just isn't strong enough, my 12.5 hour marathon time wasn't good enough to qualify for that team, and I'm not a citizen of a country that it makes no sense to have a bobsled team for.  I'm really beginning to despair here.
BS: I believe the Brazilians are introducing a knitting/unicycling biathlon in 2016.  Fancy trying out for Rio?
CMM: Hmm, sounds like something I might be able to pull off.  What's the competition like?
BS: Canada is the only other competing country right now, but I believe the word on the street is that the Russians and the Yemenis are putting something together, too.
CMM: Ok, well that's one possibility.  Any other ideas?
BS: Swimming?
CMM: Hmm, that's very competitive.  I would have need to start training for that about 25 years ago.  I think I'll give that one a miss.
BS: Even if I told you that a yogurt pool is being introduced into the winter games as a complement to the water pool used in the summer games?
CMM: Eating yogurt for breakfast is a wildly different world away from trying to swim in it.  But it does remind me of the time my friend compared reading the novels of Henry James to trying to run knee deep through mud.  Which further reminds me of more strange comparisons and brings to mind a Michael Jackson documentary that said something was as difficult as trying to drag a wet mattress up a spiral staircase or trying to staple a jam sandwich to the ceiling.  Then they showed what both those activities would look like.  I'm really not sure what they had to do with Michael Jackson.
BS: Yes, I've tried the mattress thing.
CMM: [questioning look, no other response]
BS: You see, it was a dark and stormy night.  My friend Paul and I...
CMM: Stop right there.  This will not become yet another interview all about Paul McCartney.  If he takes out a super injunction disallowing the publication of interviews where you talk about him, these interviews will cease to exist.  Please try to play nicely.
BS: So, back to your Olympic aspirations.  Have you tried out for anything in the 2012 Olympics?
CMM: Not exactly, but I wonder if getting to and from work will turn into an Olympic event.  I can imagine the commentators saying, "Ooooooh!  Another bus on diversion!  It's not as if we didn't see that coming, we just didn't expect it on this road!"
BS: Yes, I heard they were getting Gary Lineker and Alan Hansen to cover the bus games.
CMM:  Hmm, "Bus on diversion" does sound best in a Scottish accent.  Almost makes it all worth while.
BS: And supposedly they will have Boris Johnson himself commentating on the journey's of the Boris Bike cyclists.  Have you heard about the training regimes those cyclists are undergoing?
CMM: No, do they have to do special training?
BS: Yes!  Some of the stands will have decoy bikes parked in them, so if any novice cyclists enter the competition, they might become seriously stumped at being confronted with a rack full of out-of-commission bikes.
CMM: Tricky!
BS: Yes, it should be very good fun.  I think Boris will get a real kick out of it.
CMM: I would have thought at least some aspect of his career would have depended on those bikes being a success rather than a burden.
BS: The best bit is that as well as commentating, he will also be out there in the field, repairing bikes as best he can.  After all, he is a seasoned cyclist.  Probably never leaves the house without his bike pump and some tire patches.
CMM: You certainly don't.
BS: So will you enter the cycling competition?
CMM: Possibly not, but I like the concept.  I may try and get tickets for that one.
BS: Well, this has been fun, but I really should get back to directing the London Center.  Any parting advice?
CMM: I'll have to defer to the wisdom of my favorite elephant jokes.  Who has four feet, none of which fit into glass slippers?  Cinderelephant!  I'm here all week.  Thank you and good night.

11 June, 2012

I Am Such a Muppet!

There was a recent conversation that Heather and I had, and it was totally related to work.  We were talking about our favorite Muppets, because we're all Muppets at one time or another.  For me it's no question- Kermit the Frog.  I had him on the zipper of my jacket when I was little.  When I was three I was convinced that my mother was pregnant with him.  I can't tell you the disappointment I felt when my brother was born looking like a pink person rather than a green frog.  I think I forgave him quickly enough, but my attachment to Kermit has remained.  I think he suited my personality, and according to the article that Heather sent me, I identify with an order Muppet for the most part (my books at home are nearly alphabetized).  My sister identified with Miss Piggy, described as a chaos Muppet.  In this way of sorting Muppets, chaos Muppets and order Muppets pair with one another.  Bert and Ernie are a prime example, as are Kermit and Piggy.

The original article that this conversation stemmed from had to do with the Supreme Court Justices, but the model is applicable to most work situations.  Here in the London Center we are a prime example.  Who is each staff member?  I think Sarah is Scooter.  The gofer on the original Muppet Show, he kept things running, even when it looked like disaster was imminent.  Similarly, we wouldn't be able to put the lights on in the London Center without Sarah making sure we're on the good side of the electric company.  Heather is the Swedish chef.  Experimenting and trying new things as she goes, though definitely less frenetic.  I'd like to think I'm like Rowlf, but I'm probably more like Beaker, without knowing it.  On the upside, I've never been blown up, electrocuted, eaten by a large monster or lost a body part.  And Bill.  He's a tough one to pin down.  Sometimes he's Fozzy Bear, sometimes he's Elmo.  Endeared to the hearts of many, but sometimes people don't get his joke.  No matter which Muppet he is that day, the only thing that's definite is that judging by his office floor, Bill is a Chaos Muppet, without a doubt.  And working as a group, I think Heather, Sarah and I all feel at times that we are the Kermits to Bill's Miss Piggy.
Not out of control, emotional or volatile, but I bet some of the sandwiches in Bill's bag are blue and fuzzy.

Taking this one step further, I also thought about which film we are.  I'm no expert on the cinema of the Muppets, but this past semester I thought we were the reject version of The Muppets Take Manhattan- The Muppets Take on Elsie.  Positive differences- no one got amnesia, no one ran off and joined the circus, and no one went crazy with Joan Rivers in a department store.  That aside, we had a big production to put on (the reception for our 40th anniversary), and I thought it went really well!  We had a pretty packed house, too, just like the Muppets.  Oh yeah, we didn't have a surprise wedding at the end, try as Sarah did.

I imagine you're all wondering, which Muppets are our faculty?  That's easy, they're Cookie Monsters.


07 June, 2012

You Know that Road you Chose, What do you Think of it?

You know how Robert Frost took the road less traveled by?  He had two options in front of him, and he went for the one most other people hadn't.  Most roads people have to choose between aren't usually just two-pronged forks.  As soon as you pick one road another fork shows itself and so on, until rather than a fork your road looks like those old-timey rakes you sometimes see in movies that are made of craggly sticks branching out into tons of fingers.

In a recent conversation with Sarah, she showed me a website of IES students blogging about their study abroad experiences from the perspective of a year later.  A lot of these were touching remembrances of how studying abroad changed their lives and their worlds.  So it got us wondering if we could do something similar with the London Center.  We celebrated our 40th anniversary this year (not sure if we'd mentioned that here before!) and had a lot of positive feedback from students spanning 4 decades, as well as feedback from our current students about what they were learning from London. 

This project of asking students to write from the perspective of a year onward is fascinating because that's possibly one of the hardest times.  One year later the muscle memory of packing luggage and sweating over visa applications is still there.  Perhaps it's something about the weather or a specific smell in the air that makes causes a flash of panic that you don't have the right converter plug, or maybe the smell of something burning is still a fresh reminder of the first few nights you cooked in your flat.  For me, even a decade on, the things that take me back to studying abroad are the smells of particular teas and this one Kylie Minogue song that was really big.  They may not be the classiest memories, and may not be life-changing in themselves, but a theme that I noticed in the IES blogs was that people were talking about the subtle changes in day to day life.  I think those are the differences that we notice most.  When something is taken for granted, the first time it's different sticks with you.  Like the girl who studied in Paris and recalled that she had traded her stale cereal for croissants and pastries in the morning. 
Getting ready to fly out of Newark Airport, August 2002

On the London Center's website we have a section of testimonials that students wrote at the end of their semester in London.  Hoping to expand this, we would love it if our dear readers would contribute their own version of a blog post that we could publish there.  We want to hear how studying abroad has affected your life.  Did it help you to choose a fork in the road that you hadn't known was there?  ICLC students, parents of students and visiting faculty alike, we would love to hear from you all.  The only parameters are that we would like you to try and remember your reflections from one year on.  You're welcome to include your current reflections on studying abroad as well, as long as you're willing to say how long ago it was.  Please email your posts to iclondoncenter@ithaca.edu.  We aren't able to publish everything that is sent to us, but we thank you in advance for all submissions.


04 June, 2012

We Are Not Amused. No, We Are Very Amused.

Today is 4 June, 2012.  It is 2 days after the actual day of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.  On the day itself she went to the derby in Epsom, and yesterday she had a big boat party on the Thames.  How is she celebrating today?  She's only having a concert in front of her house with a special song for her by Gary Barlow and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber!

Yesterday, as a semi-loyal Londoner, I turned out for her pirate party.  I say pirate party because all the boys on her ship had swords.  They didn't have pirate hats or eye patches, but I extrapolated the rest as irreverent foreigners are wont to do.  Which leads me to the real subject of this post- what is the royal family?  I'm not sure how different my perspective  is from the rest of the ICLC staff, but I'm the only one who isn't really her subject.  Yes, I live in London, which is in England, which is one of the four countries that make up her United Kingdom, but I'm American and I'm German.  Sarah was born in Wales, so may not actively swear allegiance to the queen, but was born as her subject.  Bill is a Canadian, and as a member of the Commonwealth he was born her subject.  Technically he was born as the subject of her father, but this post isn't about Bill's age.  Heather chose the queen.  She was born an American and became a Brit, pledging allegiance to the American flag at the same time as singing God Save the Queen.  Some people might say that the queen and I have common ground in our German roots, but mine are more direct.  No, my grandmother was not a German princess (that I know of), but Germany is actually the country she was born and raised in.  Princess Mary of Teck was born and raised in the UK, according to Wikipedia.

So there I was waiting in my friend's flat yesterday for the last possible moment to head out into the rain and join the crowds watching the boats on the river.  As I headed out under her union flag umbrella with my paper mask of the queen, I wondered what I was doing.  I really felt my irreverence for the whole thing as the six of us posed for pictures wearing masks of the queen, Philip, Charles, William, Harry and Kate.  We all had a good laugh and then joked about climbing on each others' shoulders to try and see through the crowd that was at least ten rows deep with people.  Then a man approached us.  He said he couldn't help notice our masks and wondered if we would mind posing for him to take our picture.  As we were removing our masks after his photo a woman appeared and asked the same thing.  And as she was finishing her photo shoot with us a group of Japanese tourists jumped in and took their own photos with us.

I still haven't really attacked my original question- what is the royal family?  It seems that her actual subjects enjoy the irreverence of foreigners, and perhaps foreigners even learned it from locals.  For me the queen is pretty incredible for being an 86 year old woman who is known for being amazingly knowledgeable and for standing for hours yesterday as she waved to the crowds and other boats in some rather British weather.  For me Prince William is the one who is only a couple weeks older than I am, and Prince Harry is the one with dubious political tendencies (not that I think he has the right to vote, does he?  Or is it just the queen who can't vote?  I don't know if Wikipedia can answer that for me).  They seem to be people who are good to have a street party around and who sometimes get military jobs.  Many people argue that they aren't worth the tax payer expense, but looking at all the paper masks around yesterday, I'd say that they're good for this recession economy in other ways.


PS- The atmosphere around here is nothing like last spring when Bill briefly caught wedding fever!

15 May, 2012

In a Relationship

The cat's out of the bag, and the congratulations are in.  I thought I would let the whole event sink in and settle down, and now that it has, it's time to interview Bill.

Claire Mokrauer-Madden: I just heard about you and Elsie!
Bill Sheasgreen: What about us?
CMM: Umm, that you're in a relationship?
BS: We are?
CMM: That's what it says on Facebook.  Doesn't that mean that it's real?
BS: Oh yes, that, of course.  I thought you were talking about something else.
CMM: Have you and Elsie done something else?
BS: No.
CMM: ...ok.  Um, I'm a little confused, so let's draw a veil over that one.  So!  You and Elsie are in a relationship!
BS: A business relationship.
CMM: Is that so?  What kind of business?
BS: Music and fashion mostly. 
CMM: Does she do the music and you do the fashion?
BS: No, I do both.  She keeps the books.
CMM: Oh, right... so what kind of music is it?
BS: For legal reasons I have to call it "Beatles cover" music, even though McCartney and I both know who wrote all those songs.
CMM: Please, let's leave the man out of this.  Tell me about the fashion side of the business.
BS: I'm rewriting what it means to be cool.  I'm turning the conventions that you take for granted each day up on their heads.  I'm putting suits on the rugby pitch, high heels on the beach and making hats at weddings obsolete.
CMM: This sounds uncomfortable, inappropriate and needless.
BS: Yes!  You've hit the concept on the head!  Why be conventional when you can set yourself apart?  I'm doing this on all sides of the business.  Don't you want to hear Hey Jude performed by an oompah band?  Or, one that I wrote for very personal reasons, Can't Buy me Love in its original Russian?
CMM: Please!  I asked you once already to let it go for a moment.  Sir Paul would prefer you not speak about him.  Tell me about Elsie's role in the business.
BS: Yes, Elsie, my business partner.  She manages our bookings and works as the company's agent/marketing department.  I wear my designs when I perform "his" songs, and often she helps coordinate my costumes.  We make a great team!
CMM: It sounds like you're the front-man and she's the power behind the throne.
BS: Oh no!  Elsie's very much in front of the throne.  I travel on a throne upheld by five professional throne-carriers, but she travels by public transportation, which is obviously much more efficient.  So she always arrives in front of the throne.
CMM: Hmm, that's a somewhat more literal interpretation of what I was saying than I expected, though that seems to be par for this interview.
BS: Yes, it is...
CMM: ...and do you have anything coming up, either in music or fashion?
BS: Well, now that you mention it, Elsie is working on her own fashion line at Top Shop.  She's sort of riding on the momentum of Kate Moss's work there, and she's feeling really good about it.  To my taste it's all a bit vanilla, but as she often reminds me, vanilla's a pretty amazing flavour.  I tried recommending she incorporate more plaid into her designs, and when she was finally done laughing, she ignored that suggestion.
CMM: That's great for Elsie!  When will we get to see her designs?  Are you doing her marketing?
BS: We're looking at a date in September, but nothing's quite finalized.  We've had an idea to do pop-up fashion shows in advance of London Fashion Week.  We'll be doing a few around London, so keep your eyes peeled!
CMM: Thanks for the heads up!  I definitely will!  Listen, this has been a great interview, minus the excessive bile towards Sir Paul McCartney.  You really should consider therapy for your issues with him.  Maybe even the two of you going to couples counseling or something.
BS: Couples counseling?  Elsie doesn't have nearly as many issues with him as I have.  I don't really think it would be worth her time.
CMM: Never mind.  Thanks anyway for the interview.  As usual, it would have been great if you had actually participated in it, but you didn't.
BS: I never do.
Elsie likes long walk in the summer and sitting along the Thames Embankment.  Bill likes Arsenal and QPR.

14 May, 2012

In Honour of William Shakespeare

In honor of the World Shakespeare Festival happening in London right now, Elsie has made her own attempt to festivalise Shakespeare.  She's making up words, borrowing other people's stories to make them her own and poaching deer in Warwickshire. Here's a quick sample.

Shall I compare thee to a winter's day?
Thou art more frosty and more cold:
Rough winds do shake the snow drifts away,
And winter's lease is all too short I'm told:
Sometime too chilly the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his icy pavement slippy,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's temperature is nippy:
But thy eternal snowman shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that carrot nose,
Nor shall Spring brag thou melt'st in his shade,
When in eternal top hats and stove pipes thou are froze,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives winter, and winter gives life to thee.

My spud's eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than this pepper's red:
If snow be white, why then this lettuce is dun;
If sprouts be wires, frayed wires stick out from under this bread.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in this radish;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in this salad, for which I'm kind of gladdish.
I love to hear cheese curds squeak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw green goddess since long ago,
But this dressing, when it's poured, spills on the ground:
And yet by heaven, I think my lunch as rare,
As any salad belied with false compare.

Elsie's not setting the world on her fire with her sometimes iambic pentameter, but I'm sure Shakespeare wrote some rocky rhymes in his day.  For the mean time Elsie should hang onto her day job, but as soon as she gets her first play produced Bill, Sarah, Heather and I will be in the front row of the otherwise empty pub theatre.
Standing in front of Shakespeare's tomb I heard, "Richard, what's your Shakespeare face?" This is what I saw.  No joke.

11 May, 2012

Elsie's Exploits on Facebook (or Elsie Exploits Facebook)

What did you learn in school?  Share with others.  Don't run with scissors.  8x5=40.  Don't be accused of being a creepy stalker by Facebook because they won't let you make friends for a week.  Not that the last one is something specifically on the curriculum, at least I don't think it is.

But this is what Elsie learned this week.  Technically not in school since we're in London. She learned it at university.  Here's her side of the story:

I'm a bit new to Facebook, but I thought I would give it a go, since I've made so many friends at Harrington Gardens in the last 40 years.  After my birthday party in April I did some serious soul searching, as one is wont to do when they have a round numbered or milestone birthday.  Over the years so many friends have come and gone, and I would like to reestablish contact.  As I'm in a relationship with Bill (purely professional), I had a peek at his friends and asked the ones I knew from years back if they would like to be my friend, too.  Unfortunately I've been going by my casual name on Facebook, and forgot that many people may not know me as Elsie.  My more formal name, the Ithaca College London Center, or sometimes just the London Center, is how most people were introduced to me.  I understand the confusion that can ensue when you meet a person and are told to call them one thing, only to find out later that they prefer to be called something else.  So when the postman, the gas man or TV Licensing come to the door I go by my full name, but as I get to know the students, they come to use my nickname, ISee Elsie.

Hopefully I have cleared things up with Facebook.  I have my postman name in light grey parenthesis after my nickname in the hope that old friends who didn't recognize my nickname will know who I am.  I'd like to phone up Mark Zuckerberg and just say, "My bad," but instead I've quietly accepted my week-long ban from inviting more people to be my friends.  I promise I'm not a stalker.  Real stalkers get restraining orders taken out against them.  I just want to make friends, something else I should have learned in school in my youth.  Anyway, I mostly just post things on my Facebook page off my Twitter feed, because I think everyone wants to know when I have a new blog post up or what the weather is like in London.  Sunny with a chill in the air right now, as it happens.

I welcome old, new and future London Center students to friend me.  I'm keen on staying in touch and keeping you up to date with what's happening at the Center.  I look forward to telling you what's playing on the Austrian radio station in the front office (It's Raining Men, by The Weather Girls, not Geri Halliwell), or that Bill is nearly done with his marking and more than ready to focus on the Olympics conference, or that Sarah and Claire really liked the apple tea that Jim Swafford gave them from Turkey.  There's less inane information to pass on as well, but these are also the things that give me character.  I'll try and find a balance between relevant info about London and the London Center and the minor aspects of daily life around here.

Thank you for listening,

(P.S.- I also have a fan page!)

09 May, 2012

Photo Competition, Spring 2012

Similar to the Travel Writing Competition in searching out experience and a sense of encounter, the Photo Competition finds the photos which ICLC students deem best express this.  Congratulations to Anne Carlin and Kiersten Swete for their winning photographs in the areas of People, Architecture and Landscape!
People- Istanbul, Turkey, March 2012, photo by Anne Carlin

Architecture- Christ Church Greyfriars, London, UK, April 2012, photo by Kiersten Swete

Landscape- River Liffey, Dublin, Ireland, March 2012, photo by Kiersten Swete