Saturday, 27 September 2008

The Yurt and the Great Lakes

Who knows what a yurt is? If you don't I strongly suggest you find out right away. I may soon post a photo of our own, private MHC Yurt. As it is very special.

Today it rained. When I woke up, it was raining. When I got up, it was raining. When I had breakfast, it was raining. It rained ALL day. In a thoroughly un-English kind of way. I.e. very enthusiastically. No cynical rain falls in Massachusetts. It has been exiled.

As I still do not own an umbrella, exciting though this is, it means I need to don my very fetching 'rain pants' as the Americans call them, a.k.a. waterproof trousers. (Rain pants mean something very different to me, and I can't help giggling whenever 'pants' are mentioned. No, I never grew up.) So I put on my rain pants, and my non-waterproof shoes as I left my wellinga boots/wellygogs in Ye Olde Englande. And I went on an adventure to my classes.

When I got out of my classes, it was raining. Still.

Rugby training this afternoon was INDOORS!!! It seems that the folk on the other side of the pond don't approve of our signature British weather, which, if I'm honest, I am really enjoying because it makes me feel all at home. Fun and larks were had playing with 'El Beardo's' balls, and we ventured forth into the unknown. Dinner and then...


So we were told to 'dress to impress', but having just come straight from running around, dinner and adventures in rain pants I didn't have a chance to change. Which didn't actually matter in the least as it was dark. Like seventeen dark things. From dark land. At a dark festival.

To get to the yurt we had to cross the perillous 'West Lake', otherwise known as the new pond which has formed in the middle of Skinner Green due to all the water falling from the sky. In ropes. And all the cats. But not the dogs, we don't like those. On arriving in the Yurt, we were all delighted to discover that there were several more Great Lakes inside. Sitting on top of the carpets. So we huddled in the Yurt, and dwelt on our rugby love, and our rugby strengths and weaknesses. And I got the name of my new 'Big Sister'! Who is like my rugby mummy who will love and care for all my rugby needs. And I also have three rugby sisters who are her other babies from previous years. There was discussion of unicorns and paralysis, we did shouting and then we left.

And I did laundry.

And in 27 minutes my clothes will be clean and dry and then I can re-make my bed with clean sheets and sleep in it.

So that I can get up at 7:30am to check my emails to see whether the rugby match is here or in Vermont. And then hopefully go back to sleep.

But right now I have to go have stretchy time in the corridor. Or 'hallway'.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The girl who went up a hill and came down a mountain. And played rugby. And what not.

Today is MOUNTAIN DAY!! And for those not well aquainted with the bizarre traditions of Mount Holyoke, that means NO CLASSES! Woop! And we climbed the 'mountain'. A.k.a. a very small hill. Mountain day is not a fixed date, and no one knows for certain until the morning when it will fall. The bells ring at 8am, and everyone is sent an email. I did much enthusiastic sleeping (apart from Christina and Moni bashing on my door at some outrageous hour of the morning to inform me that today was mountain day) and finally got up at about 10am. We crawled to the bus stop at 11am, and then didn't all fit on the bus, so some of us had to wait for the next one. On arrival the entire hike took 25mins ish, and we were definitely NOT walking quickly.

At the top we ate ice cream with bean gum in it (and I told the bean story much to people's disgust). Then we took lots of photos and came back down again. Another escapade was almost over. We did extreme pushing and shoving to get on the bus, didn't fit and crammed lots of extra people onto seats without the driver noticing (I sat on the floor), and made our way home, sweet home.

We were naive enough to believe that purchasing food in Blanchard would be simple. But no. The world and his auntie, and his second cousin twice removed, and her sister's best friends' dog were all there. We ordered food and half an hour passed and still no munchies. So I cancelled my order and re-queued for a sandwich which the lady didn't know how to make. So I ended up eating something which was considering resembling a turkey club sandwich, but could have been anything really.

Drama over. It tasted good.

The second part of this entry should come first as it happened first, but I thought that I would mix things up a bit. It is all about the wonders of the best sport in the world, rugby. Which everyone should play. And when I launch my military coup to take over the world I shall make it the law that everyone must play rugby. And you are all welcome to join me in my political venture and may each carry a pointed stick. Or a bunch of loganberries.

But alas, forsooth and fulsaw... the rugby is fantastic, I am still not any good at it but am enjoying the stunning bruises and 'cleat' marks. That is what the crazy Americans call rugby boots. I am still trying to convince them that it is in fact our language and therefore I am infallible in all matters language-related. They are not buying it.

But anyway, I have been training and am having fun and larks with the shin splints and am being very wussy over the hard ground etc etc... We played Smith College on Saturday, and lost. But the 'B' side were amazing and put us to shame. And we buried our heads in the sand because we had got all the nature off and were almost as shocked as Melman.

BUT!!! I am super big and butch and scary because I did weight training with some of the crew team who are insane and train at 5:30am 6 days a week plus cardio and weights. But I managed to keep up, and only hurt a teeny bit today! Yesss! And now I have to go and do more rugby. Oh thrills and larks and all that fandango.

Oh, and most importantly our coach is called Eliza, and therefore I am questioning whether it is necessary to always speak to her in a cockney accent remnicent of 'Pygmalion'/'My Fair Lady'. And/or sing all the songs to her. And regularly ask: 'Eliza, where the devil are my slippers?'
And that is me making the tackle in the picture. As I am awesome. Or some such nonsense.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

R.I.P. Chlodwig von Hohenlohe-Schillingsfurst

There are stringent rules here about pets: aquatic pets are allowed but nothing else. So, when there was a man on the green outside the campus centre selling fish I leapt for joy and wiggled my nose. I purchased one of said fish, carefully selected for the beige gravel in the bowl. Those who know me well will be aware of my extreme fondness of all things beige. After having a discussion with the vendor about how I was a 'natural' girl and that is why I had not selected a bowl with flourescent pink gravel in, I set off back to my room.

The fish (male Siamese Fighting Fish) was named Prince Chlodwig von Hohenlohe-Schillingsfurst after the German chancellor 1894-1900. He was known by friends as Chloddy, and we were all very fond of him.

Chloddy's life was a short but precious one; he was loved by all, and spend three carefree days swimming about in his bowl before his own stupidity lead to his demise.

Fish are not known for their brains or their intelligence, and such was the case with dearest Chloddy: he was not blessed with powers of the mind.

I had every intention of buying a larger bowl or a tank for my new pet, but such an opportunity never arose. Poor Chlodwig's life was brought to a bitter end.

I arrived back in my room on Friday night after a very energetic rugby training session and was looking forward to some quality time with my newest friend and dependent. However, it was not to be. On arriving in my room I sought Chloddy's company, but he was nowhere to be found! I searched high and low within the bowl (this did not take an especially long time as the bowl is 6" in diameter). Chlodwig was found lying still on the work surface a mere 4 inches from his home. However, a small amount of poking revealed that he was, miraculously, still alive! And so I returned him to his bowl in the hope that the water would revive him.

Sadly, Chloddy lived only 24 hours more; he was limp and unhappy looking for the last part of his short life, floating around at an odd angle, not eating, and only showing signs of life when poked with a spoon.

When I arrived home on Saturday afternoon, Chlodvig was no more. He was an ex-parrot, he had passed on after pining for the fjords for a day.

His funeral was this evening, and a very sombre procession marched from Buckland to Mary Lyon's grave, and Chloddy was buried. Moving words were spoken, songs were sung, and we left our dear fish to rest in peace.

We will miss you, Chlodvig; good friend, dearest fish.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

And we've never been to Boston in the Fall...lalalalalalalalalalalala...

Ok, so two posts so close together is a little unnecessary, but here I am anyway as I don't know when I will next remember to write anything...

I HAVE been to Boston in the Fall! And it was INCREDIBLY humid and I pratically stuck to the pavement a.k.a. the 'sidewalk' in Hamburgese.

I knew all about the building with the gold dome by the time we arrived as the bus driver reminded us about it every 16 seconds from about 10mins outside of Boston. However I have no idea what it is called or what it is for. But that is where we had to meet, and I could find it again with no trouble!
We spent the day practising our Bostonian accents (yes, all us Brits were awful), in particular the word 'chowda' which the majority of us then ate for lunch.

We didn't visit the most eclectic locations in the city (actually just wandered aimlessly whilst trying to unstick ourselves from random objects such as benches, lampposts, each other...), but had a good time and in particular I enjoyed trying on 37 different hats, all of which looked 172% hideous on me. Except perhaps the gangsta one (I would like to think that I am gangsta, but in reality I am as far from it as possible. Except for possibly the Queen. But I think that she would probably still beat me in a rap-off).

Ok, onwards and upwards...

I have a massive bruise the size of my lower leg from falling over, and this is quite a novelty as I very rarely bruise and so I am taking every spare moment to poke it to see whether it still hurts. It does by the way. Just in case you were wondering. I have tried relaxing my kneecaps but it doesn't seem to make a huge amount of difference. The rugby is tres fab and marv etc etc... they are all lovely and not nearly as terrifying as they look from a distance! Although I may die from the extreme amounts of exercise: whoever decided that two hours of insane running around every day was a good idea is in fact a psycho. And I am going to hunt them down and have them for breakfast.

Singing today was great larks and I have learnt about some crazy flap of skin near my nose which apparently I can open and close as I choose and have been doing so unknowingly for years; who knew? Sounds slightly disgusting though. Anyway, it is all good until they ask me to wear one of these strange black dresses. With dress shoes. What in the name of Hitler's gigantic matching bra and panties are dress shoes? I realise that I am limited in the realms of appropriate attire, but I suspect that trainers (or sneakers as I am learning, although that sounds rather sinister and espionage-like) may not quite fit the bill. Shame.

After spending outrageous amounts of money on two books ($181 total) I feel the need to lie down and rest for a while, but not until I have had my free ice cream! They are sending us on a treasure hunt around the building to locate different bits of sundaes. Why they can't have it all in one room I don't know, but that is the crazy Americany-type folks for you.

Adieu and what not xx

Monday, 8 September 2008

Escapades with the Hamburgese...

Ok, so I haven't written anything since leaving the country. For a year. Crazy. So anyway, I left Billy Shakespeare-land for the Hills of the North a.k.a. Hamburger-a-gogo-land (for the uneducated amongst you, that is the USA). Opposite is a pic of where I live by the way, it is unreal. Soooooooo pretty.

Fun and larks were had along the way, including my eating an entire pig--albeit in two halves--in a single day. What can I say, these foreign loons, along with their obsession with undergarments, like to eat. A lot. No really, it is ridiculous and I may have gained three stone since being here. I feel like a whale already. It is FANTASTIC.

I am certainly enjoying my newfound status as a 'Senior', i.e. a fourth year student, which is somewhat comical to inform people of, as they look at me closely, and say: 'really?' It is always encouraging when people think you look about four years younger than you are. I am sure I will appreciate it more when I am fourty. Lets hope.

I have not as yet picked up any of these ridiculous words that the Hamburgese persist in using, but am greatly enjoying the many comments about the hills being alive with the sound of PANTS etc etc. I am sure you have no idea what I am talking about, but lets just say that it still takes me a minute to realise that the loons are in fact speaking about TROUSERS. Yes, those things that you wear to maintain dignity in public. Such exhibitionists.

I am taking a while to adjust to the feminist attitudes, and the male students who are allowed to graduate from an all-women's college as they were female when they enrolled. Moreover it is interesting to see photographs of girls wearing only their underwear displayed with great pride on their bedroom doors. It seems I have many things to get used to. I am understanding the need to exclaim about O'Reilly's pantyhose once in a while, but don't think I shall ever get used to the word 'panties'. There is something indescribably vulgar about it. I shan't do it.

I realise that my nonsensical ramblings are going on and on, and I apologise to anyone who is reading this expecting to come across:

a) something that makes sense

b) something of actual value/substance.

Just for the record, you won't find it here.

It is pretty, pretty, pretty, and I am dreadfully excited about 'Boston in the Fall' and all those malarkies, some of the leaves have abandoned their environmentally-conscious brothers and turned their backs on the valleys of the green etc, and are blushing profusely in the insane heat and humidity. And I still don't have a fan and thus may die from all this heat. If that is the case, I apologise to anyone who may be inconvenienced, and I hasten to add that it will, sadly, mean the end of my bizarre and nonsensical ramblings here.

My achievements thus can be listed in importance from one to ten (ok, so they're not all achievements, but I didn't know what else to call them):

1.) I have a fridge in my bedroom. It is super-cool (apologies for the awful pun) and I have put my 6 remaining bars of real chocolate in it.

2.) I have a bruise on my leg the size of my face from simply falling over. This is particularly exciting as I never bruise, and although the majority of this bruise is invisible there is a lump and it hurts when I stamp my foot. Cool, huh?

3.) I am no longer qualified to sing the refrain 'I've never been to Boston in the Fall' from the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (Vegetales). I have, in fact, been to Boston in the Fall. What larks.

4.) I have played rugby. With a ball. And it was amazing.

5.) I managed to break my bed (deliberately) and re-attach the legs so that it now stands at about 4 feet tall and I have to jump to get into it.

6.) I auditioned my way into a choir with a song I have sung probably not more than three times before. Blagging is always the way forward.

7.) I wore a bib in a restaurant for most of the meal (I turned it into a wimple and then a do-rag for the remainder of the meal).

8.) The showers here ressemble something out of a space station. They are little moulded plastic pods inserted into the wall. With strange hand-rails.

9.) I went to Church and we held hands in a circle and sang. Bizarre, but strangely nice.

10.) I climbed half a 'mountain' in under half an hour. It turns out that the term 'mountain' is applied much more loosely here. It was, in fact, a small hill, but I still would like to claim the achievement of climbing a mountain up the 'difficult trail'.

And now I shall leave and simultaneously remove my foot from the drawer which it has managed to wedge itself in without my noticing.

Au revoir loons, until next time.