It’s the end of Week 2, and I feel good. The courses in which I’m enrolled are highly interesting and my extracurricular activities are proceeding well. I am looking forward to a wonderful Lent term!
I headed back to the United States for the four week winter break. It had been a couple of years since I was able to celebrate the holiday season with my family, so it was good to be home and partake in some of the winter traditions with which I’m so familiar. We went out into the woods and cut down a tree, exhausted ourselves by skiing, hung ornaments and lights, baked cookies, and ice skated around the lake.
My break was spent between Minnesota, Washington, D.C., and New York. Minnesota is the location in which my family is primarily located, and I was on the East Coast participating in assessment centres and interview processes for
post-MSc employment opportunities. Yes, I am, and have been since before the beginning of this academic year, critically engaging in preparatory work for the “next step.” The Career Services Centre here at LSE is quite marvellous, and this is a topic about which I’ll write a separate blog post at a later point in time.
Upon return to the United States I brought one suitcase almost full of Christmas pudding and mince pies. These were the foods about which I traditionally thought when considering celebrations of the winter holiday season in England. I’d had the chance to sample these treats at different LSE-related events in December and wanted to share some aspect of British culture with my friends and family back in Minnesota. A tradition in the community in which I was raised is to exchange plates of holiday cookies and treats, and I was glad to have single-serving containers of Christmas pudding and mince pies to include as a contribution from my current life in London. I became quite “the pro” at belting out “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” which includes the memorable line, “Now bring us some figgy pudding.” The dessert is something about which we’ve all heard through this song, and my family and friends were happy for the opportunity to try these traditional British holiday treats.
My favourite seasonal activity in London was the Holiday Lights Cycle Ride. It was fantastic and definitely an evening I will never forget. The City of Westminster is committed to making cycling a safe, enjoyable, and practical method of transport in the borough and works with an organisation called Cycle Confident to offer a variety of trainings and activities. I participated in the first night of the Holidays Lights Cycle Ride on Wed., 9 Dec. and ended up being the only attendee. The two instructors though, still, proceeded with the evening and provided me an unforgettable tour of bright and beautiful lights and history. We stopped to look at the window displays at Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, and Selfridges, and it was all such fun. My last note about this activity is that it was free; that’s a good reminder to all of us that there is plenty to do in London without spending a bundle of money.
I arrived back to the United Kingdom on the Monday commencing Week 1 of Lent Term. It wasn’t a lengthy period of time before I needed to be productive with coursework and extracurricular activities. My preparation, though, definitely helped, and I settled back into life as a graduate student quite easily.
Lent term will be a “bear” of a semester. If this is a foray into American colloquial English potentially only of the Midwest, I do apologize, but also believe that the use of the term “bear” in the sentence context is quite intuitive. A high level of coursework and engagement in additional activities awaits me, but everything is something about which I’m excited. It’s definitely (usually) not difficult for me to get out of bed in the morning.
Here’s to a successful Lent term! Now that I’ve lived in the UK for over four months, maybe I should add in a “Cheers” to the end of this post too!