Apologies for the minor delay. Karl Polanyi is a demanding fellow.
In the realm of the practical, beginning with…
I enjoyed a ballet class sponsored by the LSE Student Union’s Dance Club. Until two years ago, dance had been a significant part of my life; however, my once daily commitment to dance wavered in the face of academia’s demands and the stimulation of my new life in New York City. I slowly underwent the transformation from dancer to dance afficionado in two short years. I picked up long-distance running along the way, and with the change in exercise came newly toned muscles and loss of flexibility. While I find running spiritually satisfying and beautifully imaginative, it doesn’t offer me dance’s artistry and freedom to which I had once been intimately connected. Naturally, I decided to take action and prior to my arrival in London, began intermittently attending ballet class with Maman (whom I miss dearly!) on Sunday mornings. Now that I have a regular ballet class to attend on Wednesday evening, I am slowly regaining a grasp on my artistic agency.
I spontaneously decided to attend my first ever aerobics class with my sweet roommate. I arrived home after a long day of classes, only to be greeted by Mayuri’s smiling face and her request that I accompany her to aerobics. Within five minutes we were off! I was pleasantly surprised by the class’ intensity and dance-like quality and will likely attend it regularly. Following aerobics class, I ventured into Camden with Lucy for the Itchy Feet Society’s first pub crawl. Camden (at night) is a hip neighbourhood with elements (namely people and buildings) that remind me of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was a relief to escape Central London, meet people with whom I will be traveling to Madrid, and to experience a jolly British night on the town. That being said, with a 9:00 class on Friday morning, I’m not sure how many more Thursday nights I’ll be spending in pubs…
I attended my Political and Legal Anthropology class and headed to the library for some obligatory reading. That afternoon, Lucy and I headed to the Beetles and Huxley photography gallery to marvel at more than one-hundred vintage and contemporary National Geographic prints. The gallery is small enough so that one can truly appreciate each piece in the collection. If you’re interested in learning more about the “National Geographic: Then and Now” exhibition or the gallery itself, follow this link. Afterwards, we toured St. James’ Park and the plaza surrounding Buckingham Palace.
Filled with laundry, cleaning, cooking and running from Central London through the Royal Boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and looping back to Westminster through Wandsworth via Battersea Park. While on my run I ran by Oscar Wilde’s home.
Though certainly out of my reach as an indebted college student, the boroughs of Kensington/Chelsea are lovely — calm and regal, but not imposingly imperial. My overall impression: historically rich and generally charming. To top off the evening I indulged in an evening of cooking: warm and soothing mushroom, onion, and apple risotto with mixed greens.
The sun was shining! Though, as you might have guessed, this lasted a mere three hours before the sky opened up yet again and the rain fell down from the heavens. After a morning of CV and cover letter crafting, my friend Christian and I made our way to the Courtauld Gallery for a bit more artistic cultivation. If the vast, fountain-laden courtyard, beautiful spiral staircase, free entry for UK university students, and excellent selection of art ranging from Gainsborough to Matisse don’t tickle your fancy, indulge in a comforting latte at the Courtauld Gallery Café, where the ceilings are high, and the windows let in so much light you momentarily imagine away the perpetual greyness of London’s sky.
As for emotional/philosophical/psychological matters…
My dearest 9-year-old sister named Scarlett, who certainly falls into the category of “my favorite people on Earth,” wrote me an e-mail to inform me of the death of our pet fish, Mr. Sunset. For most, the death of a pet fish has little symbolic meaning. For Scarlett and I however, Mr. Sunset’s meant so much more. When I was eight years old, my sister Victoire died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This was an incredibly traumatic experience. It took my family years to regain its balance and Scarlett’s subsequent birth, was key to our recovery. Out of pure grief and tragedy came hope and near-wholesomeness. Today, there is little I find more honourable than being Scarlett’s older sister. She has taught me much about life and given me the gift of perspective. Mr. Sunset’s death and Scarlett’s beautifully worded pseudo-eulogy reminded me of my roots, my back story, of who and why I am. Her three-lined e-mail pulled my soul homewards, eliciting feelings of potent, yet magnificent homesickness, that provided the context to my week’s material happenings. My journey here in London won’t always be chipper. In fact, I would be naïve to think so. Life in London is mundane, magical, quaint, inspiring, sad, marvelous and whatever else it may be.
For now I leave you with this New York Times article as food for thought.