Archive | November, 2012

Montmarte

30 Nov

About a week ago, I went over to Montmarte for the first time. Montmarte is a neighborhood in the north of Paris, historically known as an artist’s hangout and where all the cool clubs are located. The who’s who list of famous residents includes such luminaries as Vincent van Gogh, Edward Degas, Pablo Picasso, Langston Hughes, and Claude Monet.

abbessesThe art nouveau metro station entrance at Abbesses.

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Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan

28 Nov

“In rural Kyrgyzstan men still marry their women the old-fashioned way: by abducting them off the street and forcing them to be their wife. Bride kidnapping is a supposedly ancient custom that’s made a major comeback since the fall of Communism and now accounts for nearly half of all marriages in some parts. We traveled to the Kyrgyz countryside to follow/aid and abet a young groom named Kubanti as he surprised his teenage girlfriend Nazgul with the gift of marriage/kidnapping.”

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Thanksgiving Abroad

26 Nov

This year, I was fortunate enough to celebrate a proper American Thanksgiving with my host family. I like cooking, so spending a day in the kitchen making a Thanksgiving feast was fun rather than sheer drudgery. I’m pleased to report that dinner was a resounding success.

My friend Gabriella came over on Friday for some baking fun: we made a pumpkin pie, an apple pie, and biscuits to freeze. It was yummy and fun.

Gabs putting the finishing touches on the apple pie.

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Happy Turkey Day!

23 Nov

I hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving holiday.  I managed to call home yesterday, which was nice since I managed to talk to everyone in one phone call.  Thanksgiving is a very American holiday, but that doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate it abroad.  In fact, I’m holding a feast here tomorrow for my host family and some friends. I’ll let you guys know how it goes, but I did all my baking today: one pumpkin pie and one apple pie!

I’m so thankful that I have an oven this year you don’t even know.

Have a great weekend!

Newcastle

21 Nov

While in the UK, I managed to head up north for a few days to see some friends of mine from China. You might remember Kate from that trip to the Leshan Buddha? University of Newcastle had sent three students to Sichuan University at the same time I was studying there, and I figured that I should go say hi, seeing as we were in the same country and all. Besides, I thought it would be nice to see more of England than just London.

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The Tower of London

19 Nov

I’m not going to lie, I was really looking forward to visiting the Tower of London. I just finished reading The White Queen, by Phillipa Gregory (you know, the lady who wrote The Other Boleyn Girl?), which is all about Elizabeth Woodville,  a queen of England and the mother to the Princes in the Tower. Besides, the Tower of London has a long history with the royals of England, so it featured pretty heavily in all the books I read back when I was going through my Tudor phase. Speaking of, I get super history nerdy in this one. You’ve been warned.

The infamous Tower of London. This is the gate they led prisoners out of… to the hangman’s block just up the hill.

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Old London

16 Nov

Part of London’s charm is that it’s just such an old place, lived in place. People have been bouncing around there for over two thousand years. Amazingly, some stuff is still standing. Well, sort of, anyways. No trip to London is complete without visiting the monarchical historical mainstays: the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey.

The best photo of Buckingham Palace. You really don’t want to see the others. Continue reading