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London, Baby!

15 Sep

Suitcase is ready, shoes had to be left behind (:-( ), said goodbye to my friends… I think I’m ready for take-off!

RSC, Here I Come!

10 Sep

My theatre challenge demands going to the theatre a lot and when better to start than with the Royal Shakespeare Company, which will be coming to London for a period of about 10 weeks between November and early February. For the last weeks I was a bit worried whether it would be very difficult to get tickets because the company is rather famous.

This morning, finally, it was possible to buy tickets and so I used my brandnew credit card for the very first time to order a bunch of them. I couldn’t really bring myself to buying tickets for all 9 Shakespeare plays because I am still not sure about my timetable and the exact dates of a holiday in Barcelona and a holiday at home for christmas which makes it rather hard to coordinate everything. BUT I have got 5 tickets for the following plays:

  • King Lear
  • Romeo & Juliet
  • Hamlet
  • The Winter’s Tale
  • Julius Caesar

There would still be The Comedy of Errors (but only for two daytime performances), Anthony & Cleopatra and As you like it.

I’m really looking forward to all of the performances and hope that I will not have to cancel one because of unforeseen appointments. For those of you who are interested in theatrical performances, I recommend the RSC’s promotional trailors on youtube.

Here are two examples:

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

7 Sep

Having finished my flathunt earlier than anticipated I had the day off and could use it to explore London again. And, as is the case with nearly everything in life, London doesn’t only have all good parts but also some disadvantages and ugly sides to it. Therefore, I chose the title to this post in homage to an old Clint Eastwood western movie: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.

my university

My day started off great! The sun was shining and I was in a good mood to discover my new home. So I chose to walk to the next bus stop just around the corner and go to my new university again where I wanted to have breakfast on the terrasse. However, I got into rush hour and today’s tube strike lead to the unfortunate consequence that most buses were so crowded that the drivers wouldn’t let anyone get on. So I had to walk for an hour to find a good spot to go on a bus which would take me to my university… not directly to the university, however, which wouldn’t have bothered me if it hadn’t started raining cats and dogs. I had no umbrella with me (stupid… really stupid) and had to spend another half an hour waiting (coincidentally in a book store 😉 ).

Musicians on Stage

So, my breakfast became a lunch and I was quite wet but it didn’t really matter because the next part of the day was just great. I went to the Globe Theatre were I had a guided tour (and spotted a mistake!), then I heard a talk about early modern stage costumes (and also started a discussion about a female casting of Richard III with an employee 🙂 ) and then I went to see The Merry Wives of Windsor! (Which is then play nr. 1 on my Theatre Challenge) It was really great and I enjoyed it a lot. Normally I’m not a huge fan of Shakespeare’s comedies but the performance was incredibly funny and witty. 

Afterwards I made a huge step towards becoming a real Londoner: I bought me an Oyster Card. This is a prepaid

The world's mine oyster!

 card which can be used for the public transport in London and everyone here has one. But as I like to be a bit individual, I also bought me a wallet for me Oyster Card at the Globe Souvenir Shop, saying “The world’s mine oyster”.

So, these were all good and bad things about London. Now you might wonder, what I meant by “ugly”. Easy! I will never get used to seeing girls wearing plain black tights (which are never 100 % opaque anyway) and normal shirts. Why can’t they wear normal pants here?

Am I a Fortune’s Fool?

5 Sep

Tomorrow is the big day: I’m finally flying to London! (Not for good though, but only to find a flat and maybe to move in already) However, Fortuna is not really happy about me going to the island and seems to send me signs and to put obstacles in my way.

This already started in April, when actually I wanted to fly to London for an interview with two professors of my university regarding my application. Unfortunately, an otherwise quiet vulcano in Island called Eyjafjallajökull decided to erupt and both flight and interview were cancelled… Yeah, great… (luckily for me, the university decided to take me although never having met me in person) 

Then last week, the topic of the autumn season of the Globe Theatre’s Education centre was announced and guess what it is: Shakespeare is German. Is this a sign again? Should I rather look for Shakespeare in Germany? What’s the point in going abroad for Shakespeare when actually he’s German? 😉

And, three’s a charm: Starting tomorrow there will be a 3-day underground strike in London. This is really an unexpected difficulty as – if I do not take the room in the suburban house – I will have to do more flathunting and I will have to travel back and forth, looking at flatshares in all parts of London.

So, keep your finger’s crossed for me that mistress fortune doesn’t keep making this harder for me. I guess sometimes you simply have to  move the Wheel of Fortune yourself and take risks and chances… even if it’s against Fortuna’s will. 😉

Identity Crisis

1 Sep

In yesterday’s post I have mentioned a house in a more suburban area of London which has got a room to offer. This morning I called the owner of the house, who is living there with her husband and one other tenant and what can I say… the telephone call was just really great! We got along immediately and talked for half an hour about London, life and so much more… I absolutely liked her and in the course of the day we exchanged several mails continuing our conversation.

Some hours ago she told me that I’d be the flatmate of her dreams and that she will not arrange any other viewings so that I will be the first to have a look at the room. She will also pick me up from the train station on Monday and make me real British Breakfast. Furthermore, I promised to get her a little gift from Germany and in exchange she will get me something typically English.

Now, I am really entering something like an identity crisis: When I pictured my future life in London I was always dreaming about a student flatshare in a central location where we’d go out every weekend. Now I have got this offer from a really nice person, whom I could picture living with so easily. The house is not in a central location and I would have to commute to university, which would take me about 30 minutes (Although she said she’d ask her husband who works at my future university whether he would take me on his motorbike 🙂 ). Also, as it is located in travel zone 3, the tube ticket would be more expensive but on the other hand, however, the rent for the room is actually rather cheap which would leave me some money for cinema, pubs and my theatre challenge, of course.

So, I’m facing the question of which kind of life I want to lead in London: Do I want to be a cool student but notoriously be lacking money? Is the location more important than my flatmates? Do I mind taking the tube to central London every day? Will my “London experience” be somehow less “adventurous” if I’m not living in central London?

Pre-Flight Activities

27 Aug

London Calling! I’ve got less than three weeks left now and there are still so many things to do and to organize.

The most important and simultaneously most exciting one is probably finding a flat. Last weekend I found the perfect flatshare online: extremely good location (Aldgate, which is zone 1; close to Brick Lane and Liverpool Street Station; busride to my university would only take about 15 – 20 minutes), sharing with two students who actually go to my future university. The only disadvantage was the prize which was slightly over budget. I dropped the flatshare a line immediately and also had a viewing of the flat via Skype (yes! That’s flathunting 2.0!).

Unfortunately, they didn’t get back to me although they wanted to tell me their decision by Thursday… which is yesterday… So, I guess I didn’t get the room. But I’ll keep on looking for the perfect flat. On 6. September I’ll fly to London for a few days to really start my search and to have a look at a few flatshares.

Apart from this, there is another problem that troubles me a bit right now. My German university introduced the bachelor system in 2007 (which is exactly when I started university) and somehow they couldn’t manage to decide on a layout for the official certificates which leads to major delays. As a consequence, I won’t be able to provide a certificate at enrolment in London. I have already contacted several different people at the UK university but up to now nobody could tell me what to do or what to provide instead. Well, we’ll see!

But right now, I’m actually concentrating on something more entertaining: my farewell party! It’s going to take place tomorrow evening and I expect it to be one final big party with family and friends. The clue at the party will be that everyone will have to recite a Shakespeare quote in order to get in. I’m really excited which quotes are chosen and who learned the quote by heart or who reads it from a slip of paper. I’m also curious at how many quotes I will recognize and be able to attribute to the right play.

Here’s a question for all my readers who won’t come to my party: Which quote would you choose? Do you have a favourite Shakespeare quotation?

Theatre Challenge

19 Aug

London has many things to offer: pubs, sights, museums and.. theatres!

For a few days now, I am constantly bragging about how many theatre performances I want to watch when I am in London and today an interesting thought came to my mind: Would it be possible to watch a performance of every single Shakespeare play (38, not including plays like Double Falsehood which are problematic in terms of authorship) in London in one year?

From late November to early February the Royal Shakespeare Company will be performing 9 Shakespeare plays in London’s Roundhouse Theatre and I would be able to watch 3 plays of this year’s Globe Theatre season in September and early October. This would add up to 12 plays…

I am not sure whether this challenge is possible because I am aware of the problem that some plays are not performed very frequently compared to others. It would probably more likely be possible to watch 15 different Hamlets. Nevertheless, I decided that I am going to try it! I will try to get tickets to each of the 9 RSC performances (which will be difficult anyway) and I will watch the 3 Globe performances. And of course I will keep you updated about my progress in this challenge! Keep your fingers crossed!

P.S.: Whoever comes to London to visit me, is likely to be forced to accompany me to a performance… or alternatively you can wait in the next pub and already pre-order a glass of whiskey for me! Cheers

Plays Seen:

1. The Merry Wives of Windsor – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – 7.9.2010