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8 things i've learned from 8 days in england



1. There are no insects in England. It's true; you won't find a screen on English windows, because after the Churffey-Rawlins Act of 1709, insects were formally abolished from the country in perpetuity. Many have tried to get past the vigorous English immigration laws, but they are inevitably discovered and deported to their country of origin.

All right, that's not true. The reason English windows don't have screens is because they are all protected by an invisible force field that keeps bugs out.


2. Buses can, in fact, run often enough to be useful. It's amazing what you can go and do when you have buses that run outside of bankers' hours-- and buses that actually go a variety of places! You would think that America, land of innovation, would have discovered this concept by now.


3. There are few things creepier than walking around the Brighton Pier and feeling that at any moment, you may find yourself in a re-enactment of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. If seagulls ever evolve opposable thumbs, this city is fucked.


4. If you cook well, you will eat like a king here. For someone who hails from the land of McDonald's and high-fructose corn syrup, finding supermarkets full of real, inexpensive food is like reaching some kind of gastronomical nirvana.


5. The restaurants, however, leave something to be desired. There seems to be some kind of insidious disease that infects restauranteurs in the UK-- even the foreign ones-- and works its way into their food to suck out all the flavour.  Perhaps someday scientists will discover the organism responsible, and then the good people of England will once again enjoy a meal out that tastes of something besides flour and vague vegetable matter.

On a related note, don't ever buy a sandwich from a newsagent's. Just don't.


6. No matter what you wear, it is wrong for the weather. In the shade, you will shiver. In the sun, you will sweat. If you bring a jacket, you will not need it. If you do not, the temperature will plummet just after you leave the house, and you will develop hypothermia. I recommend keeping clothes stashed in secret places all over the city so that no matter what, you will be dressed appropriately.


7. Some things are universal. Whether it's the untrustworthiness of lawyers and landlords or the tendency of young people to dress like fools, every culture has something in common. The English like to deride Americans for being fat, lazy, and loud, and Americans like to deride the English for being pasty, ugly, and ineffectual. What neither culture seems to realise is just how many unfortunate things they have in common.


8. No, seriously, it really doesn't rain that much. Shut up, America.

time to get back to the grind-- also, stop the cuts



I haven't written here in more than a month. I spent most of December being a lazy bastard and consequently a good portion of January flailing about and panicking about my term papers. They turned out pretty well I think-- at least, I thought so until it came time to turn them in. But I can't worry about them now. They're out of the way, out of my hands, and I can commence shitting myself once again when evaluations come in. Now I've got to focus on my current seminars.

Which brings me to my next point. One of my tutors this term is going to be made redundant. If the cuts that management is proposing go through, this woman will lose her job. I've already slagged off uni management and their plans that are clearly based on information from an imaginary Sussex full of business students, but it bears repeating: this is ridiculous. Higher education funding is being cut across the board-- because apparently the UK government want their population to be as uneducated as possible. I find it ironic that a country with such a long history of xenophobia seems obsessed now with bringing in international students (like me!). Why the hell would you deny your own people the right to an education? It just doesn't make sense. Not that that's ever stopped any corporate toad before.

So there's another demonstration. This Thursday morning at 11.30. Be there or watch your education be pillaged by people who can't answer a simple question and instead of listening, just wait for their turn to speak.

Speaking of questions. I will be at Postgraduate Open Day. And I will have many questions. I'm not just showing up to start trouble either; I genuinely want to know how Sussex thinks it will bring in the best and brightest if it sacks so many of its staff and cuts courses. Michael Farthing claims that Sussex needs to have courses students "really want." So is that why Chinese was cancelled? You know, the language that over a BILLION people speak? One of the languages that's going to be hugely important in the coming years? As usual, management's rhetoric proves to be at odds with their behaviour.

Lots of things going on. School of English Society needs setting up. Stop the Cuts campaign continues in all its myriad forms. Full-time officer elections are next month. I've got to do some reading. More rabble-rousing to come.

My Summer Abroad: A mostly-photo blog.



Well, I made it to Brighton, England! It's still so surreal that I'm here. I honestly feel so lucky. If anyone told 5-years ago Ashley that I was now studying abroad in Europe, she never would have believed them. I feel as though I have something to prove to myself, though. By being here and by studying abroad I'm proving what I'm capable of. This is an opportunity that I never would have imagined to be possible. The most fulfilling part is that I've gotten here on my own. Lesson of the summer: If you want your dreams to come true all you have to do is set goals for yourself and have the will to achieve. I must say, working and saving my money since High School really has paid off. I couldn't possibly think of a better way to spend my savings. The couple weeks before I came were se hectic at home and there were multiple times I almost backed out of coming here. I would have absolutely regretted that one. I'm thrilled that I'm here though, and now that I am I've just been thinking "What do I have to do to stay here for the rest of my life?". Honestly, I have fallen in love with this country. I always knew I was meant to be British.

Brighton beach on a hot summer day!

Brighton Beach on a Hot Summer's Day

University of Sussex Poppeys!

Studying English Folklore while here has been absolutely inspiring! I wasn't quite sure what to expect at first but the module is so interesting. My teacher is so passionate about what he's teaching and he really makes us think critically about folklore and the history behind it. We've gone on so many interesting field trips around Sussex and also to Stonehenge and King Arthur's Round Table! At first, during the first week I heard stories from friends who were going on field trips to London and such, and I was kind of bummed that we weren't. But I do NOT regret it! If anything traveling around Sussex has made me realize how much more I love the countryside over London (not that I don't love the city but the countryside landscapes offer no comparison). The places we've visited have been so beautiful. It's crazy to think that to the people who live here this is something so ordinary. If I lived here I don't think I'd ever get sick of the landscape. There's just something about looking out into a field and seeing 4 different shades of green, a field full of poppeys, scattered sheep, and the rolling hills in the background all at once. It's simply breathtaking every single time.

Stonehenge with English Folklore

English Folklore at Stonehenge!

Hiking the countryside

A hike along the countryside! It doesn't get better than this!