So, I have arrived and am more or less settled. This took forever to post, and I apologize. At first I had no internet, and now I have gotten busy. To begin with, here is a link to a few pictures (have to copy/paste it):
EDIT 2016-04-09: changing to link.
I don't have time for a full update post at the moment, so I'm just going to copy/paste some stories I've been typing up for people about my first month here. Tonight I am catching a train to London for the weekend. An Argentinean friend I met in Peru is living there now, and she is going to take me around the city. It should be a lot of fun.
So, here begin a few copy/pasted stories:
Several weeks ago the Gates people gathered for drinks at a pub called the Anchor. It was founded in 1736. I got there, and somebody told me "hey! put your coat on the table." There was a table full of coats. I threw my coat down on the others and went about my business. Apparently, there were candles on that table somewhere, and my coat caught on fire. I didn't realize it until four days later when I was like "what the!? why is my coat melted and covered in wax!?" and somebody said "oh! it must have been your coat that caught on fire!" Ridiculous. How, out of a table already full of coats, is my coat the coat that caught on fire? So now I have a big melted spot on the back of my hood. Still functional and wearable, however. But the Anchor is made of wood, and has been for a very long time, so at least I didn't burn down a Cambridge landmark.
The Gates people also did a trip to the Lakes district where we had a few excursions. I went to Beatrix Potter's cottage and Wordsworth's cottage, both of which were sweet. Wordsworth lived in this tiny little place with like two or three other poets, his wife, his sister, his sister in law, and kids. And the other poets, especially one named DeQuincy, was a huge opium addict the entire time he was there. I don't know why they let him hang out around the kids. Later he wrote a book called Confessions of an Opium Eater.
England is eight hours ahead of the west coast, and right when I got in my sleep cycle was all messed up. Often I wasn't really tired, just awake and out of it. A prime example of this was the first full day, when I woke up at 7am, decided to snooze for 10 minutes, and woke up at 2pm. The lock in my room turns and turns and you have to wiggle the key to get it to work. When I pulled myself out of bed at the crack of 2, I tried to unlock it, didn't hear anthing, and pulled the door to open it. It was still locked. I had known immediately that lock was going to be trouble, and sure enough, here I was trapped in the room. I kept turning it and pulling harder and harder and hearing the door hit the lock and not open and I wasn't thinking clearly and I was starting to freak out a teensy bit, so I looked at the window and considered how far it would be to climb down from the second story. Turned out I was forgetting to turn the knob. Disaster averted.
There are some pictures of me in my formal gowns at the picture link above, as well as some of me punting. A "punt" is a flat-bottomed boat. You stand on the back of it and use a monstrously long stick to push yourself along the river. It is really hard. If the pole gets stuck in the mud you are supposed to let go, because the punt keeps on going and you find yourself clinging to the pole and then slowly tipping into the water. My pole got stuck once, and I didn't go in, but it was close. I was punting along, rather poorly, trying to navigate under the arch of a bridge. Coming up on the bridge, "a little close to the side but not too shabby," I was smugly thinking to myself. Pole is stuck, leaning towards the water--thinkthinkthink--let go! The pole snapped up and I snapped up, dry and in the clear. The punt really does keep moving, though, and it moved me right into the bridge. My back hit the arch and the punt was turning towards the base, the arch coming down, me crouching low and the arch crouching lower. I had to fall to my knees as the arch scraped my shoulders, but I stayed on the punt. A little oar is stashed under the seats to paddle back for lost poles, so we paddled back and grabbed it.
Alright, I've got to run.