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Archive for June, 2006

STX Summer Ball

Last Thursday was the STX Ball, which I’ve been looking forward to for a while.  The theme was 1,001 Nights (or Arabian nights), so there was a snake charmer, fortune teller, fire breather, belly dancers, and a drummer for entertainment.  The decorations were also amazing – it was a great success!  Hats off to everyone who worked hard to make it happen, especially Lauren 🙂

As the St. Cross bar manager, Thad also did a lot to make the Ball a success.   Unfortunately things got busy and he ended up working most of the evening, instead of being able to relax and just enjoy the festivities.  I had a wonderful time, the only downer was that I wish Thad and I had had more time to relax and enjoy it together.  Even so, it was a lot of fun for both of us to get dressed up:

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And true to form, the college kitchen staff cooked up an amazing meal:

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The following day was spent relaxing, recovering from a long day and evening, and helping to nurse Thad through a migrane, but there was more fun and excitement in store for the weekend.  On Saturday I was able to go with Thad to see the house where he and some friends will be living next year, which was nice.  That afternoon we walked to South Hinksey, which is a very small, quaint village close to Oxford.  After wandering around and playing with a cat we met along the way, we had some food and drink at a local pub and sat outside enjoying the nice weather.  We passed several houses with thatched roofs, which was interesting:

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And on Sunday I was able to experience punting for the first time!  We had a “double date” with Lauren and Zach, which was a lot of fun.  We all had a go at punting, and it’s not quite as easy as it looks!  Lauren and I both had spells when we made the punt go around in circles….  We also had fun feeding/petting the ducks and ducklings we met along the way!

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To see more photos from the Ball and the rest of the weekend’s events, go here.

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This was a really interesting BBC story this morning – if only I'd been in the right place at the right time!  I wonder what would possess someone to throw 20,000 (or so they guess) pounds in a street for random people to scramble over – a desire to cause chaos?  If you have that much cash burning a hole in your pocket, why not donate it to charity or create some type of scholarship (that's what I would do if money was so plentiful that I could toss it out a window and not know the difference)?  Anyway, I'd love to know what his motivations were!

And check out the real version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears – there have been some interesting news stories on BBC lately!

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Happy Birthday Thad!

Yesterday was Thad's 25th birthday!  He came to Brighton for the weekend so that we could celebrate together, and we had a great time.  It was probably the most relaxing weekend either of us has had for a while.  On Saturday we set off to Hove to find a "charity warehouse" that was actually pretty small and only sold furniture, but it was a nice mini-adventure and I got to see some sections of Brighton and Hove that I haven't visited before.  Afterwards we spent some time on the beach drinking Pimm's, and made a really nice dinner before heading to the Marina to take a look at the sand sculpture festival and see X-Men III.  We didn't want to pay the 5 pound entry fee to get into the tents to see all the sculptures, so we took a few photos outside:

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Thad had said he wanted a relaxing birthday, so we didn't make any plans and just played the day by ear.  After sleeping in a bit, I got up to make him breakfast:

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After lounging around for a while we decided to wander around the Laines and make reservations for dinner.  The only table we could get at Momma Sherris Soul Food Shack was at 5:00pm, so we decided to go for it since Thad and I have both been wanting to eat there. After popping into a few shops we headed for dinner, which was really good.  We had "soul food tapas" – so little bits of typical southern fare – mac and cheese, fried chicken, jerk chicken, jambalaya, sweet potatoes…  it was all very good!  We also drank homemade lemonade and had amazing desserts – pecan pie and peach cobbler – yum!  After dinner we went to the pier to walk around and enjoy the tacky splendor.  While there we gambled with a few 2p coins and had fun playing video games:

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 Then Thad got to open his present from me, which was a nice cutting board that he should be able to use a lot in the house he and his friends will be moving into next month.  That was most of the activity for the day.  Afterwards we just spent some time relaxing together and watching a movie before bed.

I will be in Brighton doing dissertation work for the next couple of days, and then I'll be heading to Oxford for the St. Cross Ball – I'm so excited! 

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http://www.auto-donations.us/

I was directed to this site by Michael Strum, who left a comment on an earlier entry in my blog where I had listed other charity-related links.  This is a really good site for information about giving your car away and being able to get tax benefits from the donation.  If I hadn't been able to sell my car relatively easily before moving to the UK this would have been a possible option. 

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This weekend has been the hottest weekend of the year so far, and Brighton has been completely transformed into a vacation haven (ok, a tacky vacation haven, but still fun!).  I decided to take yesterday off and have a day of fun on the beach to celebrate the amazing weather.

A group of us hit the beach in the afternoon, went for a swim in the very cold sea, and continued to lay in the sun for a while.  Later on we were joined by people in ADST and people living in Kings Road for a dinner on the beach.  Afterwards we sat around, had some wine, and enjoyed the lovely view of the full moon over the pier:

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There was also a lot of goofing off and rolling down hills!  I added some of the photos from yesterday to the album for Susana's party. No more complete days off like that for a while, or at least until Thad gets here to celebrate his birthday 🙂

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Since getting back from Paris, things have been on the hectic side.  I met with my supervisor again and have gotten into high gear as far as dissertation research and reading.  I'm in the process of making a detailed outline (which I'm sure will change), and after that I want to start writing.  

Another noteworthy event: I bought a plane ticket to come home!  I'll be in the US from July 7th until the 16th, and I'll be coming through Chapel Hill/Durham.  For most of that time though, I'll be with my family in Wrightsville Beach – can't wait!  I've really missed everyone.

There have been a few good social events here lately too – the third Kings Road pub crawl and celebrating Melissa's birthday, Santi's party where I got to talk to loads of IDS people who I don't normally see, and Susana's goodbye party.  I can't believe that people are already starting to leave here!  Some are off to do research abroad, some are going home to finish dissertations and look for jobs.  Even though it was sad to part ways, it was a really fun evening and a night to remember!  Plus Kat's food was absolutely wonderful!

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Seeing Susana leave made me really nostalgic!  This year has been wonderful, both in terms of what I've learned and the people I've met.  I am really going to miss everyone once September comes around.  But, the year's not over yet and there's still lots of work to do and fun to be had! 

PS – to see more photos from Susana's party go here. 

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Hmm… things have been busy and I have other things I want to post about (like the weather here FINALLY getting warm!) But, I feel like I need to finish the Paris posts first, so here goes:

On the third day we woke up a bit later than we had wanted, so after rushing to get ready we headed out to grab some breakfast and hit the museums. On the way Thad wanted to stop at a kitchen store we'd passed by previously, and in our search to find it we got a bit disoriented! But, we ended up walking in a really quaint area, filled with patisseries, boulangeries, fromageries, and fruit/veg stands. We found a really nice place to get pastries for breakfast and continued on our way, eventually finding the kitchen store (but it was closed!) C'est la vie – we'll just have to see it next time!

We then walked over to the Cluny museum, which displayed lots of medieval art and artefacts. I think my favorite were the tapestries, particularly the ones with the woman and the unicorn (there's an entire room dedicated to just this one set of tapestries). Afterwards we decided to save a bit of money, enjoy being outside, and have a picnic instead of getting lunch in a cafe. So we grabbed some very, very good cheese and a baguette on the Isle de Saint Louis and walked to the Place des Vosages, a particular square I really wanted to see (near the Hotel de Ville). We had a really nice lunch, enjoyed people-watching, and got to listen to a string quartet playing nearby as we ate:

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That afternoon the lines to get into Saint Chapelle and climb to the top of Notre Dame were too long, so we hopped onto the Batobus, had a quick stop at the Jardin Des Plantes, and then visited the Louvre again. This time it was much more crowded, so we were glad we had already seen the pieces that most tourists go to see! We walked around and looked at some sculpture, and visited Napoleon's apartments, which were super-extravagant:

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After leaving the Louvre we had another picnic near the Champs Elysees and headed to the Arc De Triumph. We arrived when it was still daylight and managed to get some daytime shots before the sun went down and we were able to see the city lit up at night. The Arc de Triumph is a great place to view the Eiffel Tower at night!

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That night we splurged and took the metro back to the hotel (which gave me a whole new appreciation for the London underground!).

The next morning we checked out of the hotel and headed straight for Montmarte.  I highly recommend spending at least a day wandering around Montmarte if you're in Paris – I really enjoyed it, and it's such a wonderful, quaint area.  We started by exploring Sacre Coeur, which I also enjoyed.  I think that I've seen so much gothic architecture that seeing someting completely different was a bit refreshing, and I was really impressed with the large domes.

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Next we wandered around, but I was in search of a couple of landmarks:

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If you've seen the movie Amelie, that market should look really familiar!  We also visited and had coffee and tea in the Two Windmills, where Amelie works in the movie.  Before that, however, we decided to find the Moulin Rouge (and were quite entertained by the price list!)  and had a nice lunch in the Montmarte Cemetary (we weren't the only ones having lunch there), followed by a pastry that rivals any I've ever had before.   Then we made our way to Gare du Nord and headed back to London, and afterwards Oxford.

Like I said, it was a whirlwind of a trip and not nearly enough time to see and do everything that is in Paris, but it was a nice taste that has left me wanting more! 

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