Wednesday, February 4, 2009

10:39 AM: Some random things, and Paris

That's right. Tomorrow, I board a plane (hopefully) to Paris directly after Contemporary British Fiction (which I tend to abbreviate ContBritFict., just so you know). I say "hopefully" because the weather could destroy everything, but I'm trying to think positive. The snow fell so hard on Sunday night and through Monday that many bus services were canceled, the Underground was shut down, and all flights were canceled from Gatwick. Thankfully, I'm flying out of Luton airport, but still... it's supposed to snow again tomorrow, but I'm crossing my fingers that it won't. I don't think I've ever wished for it not to snow. But going to Paris is definitely better than playing in the snow, right? Right. So, help me pray for no snow in London! It actually has warmed up quite a bit since Monday, and the snow has melted considerably, so hopefully... well, que sera, sera.

I love my ContBritFict. class. It's fantastic. I think I like it mostly because of the professor, who is this amazing old British woman who obviously loves literature and discussing it with younger audiences. She has short blondish-brown "old" hair, the curse of bad teeth, and a small inner tube around her hips, and I think she's adorable. She has a fairly good sense of fashion, too, which I thought was interesting considering her age. Way to go, Elizabeth! (That's her name, and that's what I call her when I talk about her. I can't seem to call her "Ms. Allen," even though she's much older than me.) She has a soothing voice and an old-fashioned, proper British accent, but she can be very energetic and flamboyant depending on what topic she's covering. For our class, she chose excellent novels for us to read and analyze: first, Atonement (by Ian McEwan), then, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (by Mark Haddon), then, The Siege (by Helen Dunmore), and last, Never Let Me Go (by Kazuo Ishiguro). We're also reading lots of short stories from The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories, which are very interesting as well. The combination of a great professor and interesting study material makes for a good class.

Something I noticed in my Scriptwriting class began to niggle at the back of my mind recently. There's this girl in the class who I really can't make out. It's not necessarily that's she's weird or anything--she is eccentric, but who isn't, really? It's her accent. She never said where exactly she's from, but from the first day of class I assumed from her accent that she was British. It sounds typical of the other British students in my classes--kind of slang, kind of drawling, not as clipped or proper as those in the older generation. But then she started talking about something in class that she got really excited about. And then I heard it. Her accent, her British accent, had completely disappeared. She sounded... dare I say it... American. I talked about it with my friend Lilly who is also in the class, and she totally agreed. She'd noticed it too. We kind of half smiled at one another and sat wondering. Was she faking it? No, too ridiculous. I began to listen to other accents, particularly that of my professors. I have two American professors, and both are women. One has lived in the UK for over 40 years and barely has any accent. It sounds more Northern American. The other has lived in the UK for only 20 years, and she pronounces many (almost too many) of her words with a thick British accent. It's just strange. Do they think that if they put on an accent they'll be "cooler"? More accepted by the general populace? I haven't come up with an answer yet, and I probably won't. It's just something to mull over.

I made a friend at the Main Entrance desk. Those who work at that desk can be particularly severe and strict, only because they have to. They control who leaves and comes in after the Reid Hall lobby doors are locked at 8 PM. You have to have a student ID to get in, or you have to be a guest of a student. Anyway, the security guards who work the night shift can appear fierce and intimidating. I was walking back from printing something off in the IT print lab around 11 PM. As I walked by the main desk, the guard on duty looked over at me. He was Middle-Eastern, I guessed, and large. I smiled big and said hello. He said hello. I asked him how he was doing. He said he was fine and, to my surprise, asked me how I was. I answered him, said I was fine. Then he asked,

"Would you like a piece of pizza?"

I laughed. He reached under the desk, opened up a cabinet, and pulled out a box of pizza. It was whole, uncut, and still hot. I still have no idea why he had it there. I told him that I'd already eaten, figuring that it could very well be his dinner, but he insisted and was already grabbing a random pizza delivery flyer for me to use as a plate. I took a piece, thanked him, and walked back to my room. It was so random, but, now, when I see him, I always smile and say hello. We're officially friends... through pizza.

The last random thing: since I'm only taking 12 hours and have a lot of free time on my hands (which is wonderful), I decided to volunteer to help with the layout and design of The Regent, the college newspaper. I've never done newspaper before, but I had heard one of my professors mention the need for voluteers to work on the paper, and another friend encouraged me to get involved because of my experience with Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. Apparently, besides Lilly, the friend who encouraged me to join, no one else volunteering or in the newspaper production class has had any experience with InDesign. The two paper advisers were desperate. I talked to Caris as well, who has also had many years experience, and she and I decided to volunteer. Our first meeting with the group is on Monday. You'd think I could let it slide--involvement with yearbook/newspaper--but I just can't. I think it will be good experience for me and definitely not a high-pressure position. We'll see how things go...

Next time, I'll be writing about my adventures in Paris!

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