28 October 2008
Eastbourne With The Rotary Gang
First, let me apologize for the lack of postings. As you might imagine, re-learning how to go to school has been more difficult than originally anticipated. Couple that with tow weekends away in a row and a hotly contested election back in the USA (I am in desperate need of reading every headline from every news source EVERY DAY) and it starts to make a little more sense.
The real sad part is that when my mind is so busy reading and scheduling and "keeping up," I forget to think critically about my surroundings, what they mean, how they're different, etc. Of course the financial crisis has been felt in the UK more than anywhere else, I believe, but the long-term impact hasn't quite trickled out just yet (though stores are slowly becoming more and more empty, despite absurd sales). Naturally, as a student, you don't feel it quite as much. I was on a fixed budget before the crisis and I'm on a fixed budget now. So basically, I'm still broke (but I do live in Central London!).
So I promise to try and "think" more in my day-to-day! In the meantime, I'll just share about my happenings (there aren't nearly as many when you live in the same place and come back to the same room and go to the same classes day after endless day). My first great escape came last weekend when the London Rotary District held their annual conference in Eastbourne, which is along the Southeast Coast of the country. John and Lois (the Rotary parents), crazy Lou (more on that later) and I all hunkered down in the family truckster and headed South. The three-hour drive was reminiscent of the annual trek to Las Vegas - music, pictures out the window, witty banter and bagels and lox (ok, maybe not the lox).
Our "pad" was nudged gently up against the sea, which meant i actually got to watch both sunrise and sunset from my room! Spoiled? I think yes. The event itself ended up having a fairly pleasant routine of its own. It opened with a plenary session about Rotary's work locally, nationally and globally, including a fantastic guest speaker. That was followed by a pub lunch and another plenary session (or an amazing walk along the coast when John, Lois and I skipped out on Saturday afternoon).
The evenings began with cocktail hour in John and Lois' room, followed by a 4-course dinner in the hotel restaurant (we were staying a Best Western and I explained that eating in the hotel restaurant at a US Best Western probably wouldn't be the best idea). Still, the food was divine. The whole gang would then retreat to the front lounge, where we'd end the night with tea, coffee and mockery (they love to take the Mick out of everyone!).
This, of course, was a bit altered on Saturday night when we all went to see an Abba cover band (which was borderline amazing).
So yes, aside from school this is what I'm up to - seaside resorts, guest speakers, happy hours, pubs and five-course meals at a Best Western. Rockin'!