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18 March 2008

St. Patrick's Day! And Things Are Getting Busy

Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, when everybody's Irish! I definitely wore plenty of green.

On Sunday, the 16th, London held its St. Patrick's Day parade. Despite the weather being stereotypically drizzly and windy, I enjoyed watching the characters parading by.

There also was a big festival in Trafalgar square, which I checked out for a little bit.

Meanwhile, my life at uni continues, with my exploring someplace or discovering something new everyday. Contrast that with my flatmates, who are drowning in essays and the life of a first year, especially the girls. The other boys in my flat are hardly ever around. In fact, I just saw one of them today for the first time in days.

Since St. Patrick's Day fell on a Monday, I couldn't spend the day celebrating: I had 2 classes, an economics problem set due, and a rehearsal for the German play I'm in (a very small part!). Last night I worked until past 2 AM on my problem set, largely because I chose to review all the background material, basically teaching myself the first half of the course. I'm not complaining too much, because this was the only piece of assigned work I have had in 3 weeks.

But (I keep saying this, but it should be true!), school will soon pick up. After Easter, I have an exam, 2 performances of my German play, a 2000-word paper due and another paper--all in 5 days! And at the same time, Matthew will be coming to visit me, so I will need to find time to take him around London too!

How about a little taste of what I'm studying in my Architecture in London class? Yesterday, the class had our final "on-site visit", which was a tour of the regenerated riverside area around the old docks and a look inside City Hall. London City Hall, as I learned today, is a difficult building to describe. It's new (opened in 2002), and clearly "modern." I think it looks like a glass egg that has been sliced up horizontally. Inside, the building becomes harder to describe. I made the observation that it's very disconcerting to enter the building, as the floors slope up in a spiraling helix around the building. The walls are all glass, with metal supports and beams swooping through at odd angles. There are no traditional "edges" or "corners", because nothing intersects perpendicularly. As one walks up inside, the pathway winds around the inner chambers, and it becomes very easy to see the city's employees in their offices, meeting-rooms, and boardrooms. There is a large chamber, surrounded by glass walls, with bright blue-purple-y carpet, which is used for special events and presentations. People have observed that being in the building feels like being in a fishbowl, with everyone watching you from outside. City Hall is right on the river, looking across toward the Tower of London and all of the modern (and ancient) City of London.

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