I’ve been a bit M.I.A. recently, and by recently I mean the past two months. I assure you this is simply due to the fact that I have been fully engaged in the trials of being a twenty-year-old LSE exchange student.
Once upon a time in…
Let’s Dance: After months of meetings, rehearsals, e-mail/Facebook exchanges and other logistical shenanigans, my astounding co-director Alice Baudry (LSE ’15), LSE Dance Club president Lucy Jiang (LSE ’14), and myself put on the LSE Dance Club’s annual show, “Through the Ages.” It was a riveting evening of performances ranging from Irish Dance to Wracking and Romantic Ballet. I was fortunate enough to perform in and direct the show, giving me great insight into the versatile and sometimes hidden talents of the LSE community. It was an overwhelming privilege to witness the power of dance forge new friendships and collaborations.
Please be alright: That was the phrase running through my head when I heard that my friend from Columbia on a year-long exchange at Oxford had suffered a terrible accident. She fell from a roof and hit her head, leaving her unconscious and with several internal injuries. Thanks to a mix of modern medicine and miracle, she is well on her way to a full recovery. However, as someone who has dealt with a lot of trauma in her own life, this was nothing short of a harsh reminder. You Only Live Once, so please everyone — take care.
Late March/Early April:
Provence, je t’aime: With the a five-week long pause from classes, I set off to Marseille and Martigues, where half of my genes originate. No seriously, the Baret side of my family has been in Marseille for generations, with Place Felix Baret named for my not-sure-how-many-greats-grandfather, the city’s former mayor. The sunshine was such a relief from London’s eternally grey skies. It was remarkable to reconnect with family I hadn’t seen in far too long, to be in such close proximity to my favourite body of water in the world, the Mediterranean Sea…luckily I’m returning in June.
Paris, encore une fois: and of course after a week in the south of France, the city of my birth summoned me to its quarters. I stayed in Versailles with my aunt, and embarked on the 20-minute train journey to Paris every day to meet one of my nearest and dearest friends, Samantha. While in Versailles, I paid tribute to Le Roi Soleil at his dazzling palace, which by the way, worked out quite well since he is one of the revision topics for my European history course. During some solo-time in Paris, I ventured to Musée D’Orsay to satisfy my craving for impressionist paintings and went to see the film “Her,” just because.
The Rest of April
Welcome to Londontown: I returned to London for a week of revising followed by a visit from Sam, which largely consisted of frolicking in the Royal Parks and admiring the blooming flowers.
“Buona Pasqua a tutti!”: Samantha and I left London for Verona, to reunite with our dear friend Patrizia for the Easter holiday. We spent nearly a week in the north of Italy, on the Lago di Garda meeting some of Patrizia’s closest friends and family. We attended a graduation ceremony in Padova, punctuated by unique rituals — for example, the cracking of eggs on the head of the new graduate while she reads an embarrassing manifesto and takes swigs of bubbly every time she fumbles. Sam and I spent a day in Venice indulging in gelato and avoiding tourists at all costs, mesmerized by the picturesque canals and pastel coloured buildings. This trip was memorable for many reasons, perhaps because it was my first time in this region of Italy, but more likely because I was in good company.
Revision, Revision, Revision: That’s what I’ve been up to lately. At LSE you have nine weeks to revise for all of your exams, each of which count for most, if not all, of your mark. Of course nine weeks seems like a lot of time, especially for an exchange student like myself who is used to having exams all year round and a three-day reading period to revise for finals. Aside from the occasional revision lecture, there is no more classroom time. Instead you can expect to find any LSE student in the beloved/not-so-beloved library. Everyone has their own routines and exam-coping mechanisms. I’ve developed my habits over three years now, though this year I must admit, is slightly different. I’ve found the most important things for me are maintaining excellent eating habits, sleep patterns, exercise routines, and have a laugh now and again to fuel the soul.
Preemptive Nostalgia is the syndrome I’m currently suffering from. Transitions are daunting, and with less than a month left in London, I am doing all that I can to appreciate the wonders of this fine city I will soon no longer call home. I’ll save the goodbyes and eternal gratitude for my final post, but it must be said that I have met some damn good people here who I am sad to leave behind. For now, it’s back to revising…