Sunday, October 28, 2012

London, Days 41-43

Friday, I slept in until 10 before going for a run, eating breakfast, and heading downtown to finish off my last paper, meaning all that I have left to do between now and Thursday is edit them so they are ready to present.  I actually just missed the Patriots, in London to play a game, who did their walkthrough practice near my school building in Hyde Park.  After finishing my paper, I took the bus home and ate dinner before going for a nice long walk - despite the cold.  I went to bed around 12.
Saturday dawned ice cold, literally - it was 31 degrees when I woke up at 6:30 in order to go for my run.  The reason that I got up early to run was because we were planning to go to Windsor Castle as a group, which meant catching a 9:20 train out of Paddington station.  Windsor castle is a huge, sprawling medieval fortress outside the city and is nearly 900 years old, which makes it the oldest functional royal residence in the world.  We took the full tour before having lunch at a pub called the Duchess of Cambridge, which of course had a picture of Kate Middleton.  Upon my return to London, I went down to the Marble Arch to do some exploring, and as luck would have it, ran in to three Patriots - defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (and his wife), linebacker Dont'a Hightower (Roll Tide) and defensive end Chandler Jones (no funny line).  I went home after that and had dinner before relaxing and having a nightcap with my friends and then going to bed.
Saturday was equally cold and windy, though I went for a run anyway after getting up at around 11.  After eating breakfast, I edited my papers for a while before going down to Piccadilly Circus and watching Manchester United beat Chelsea 3-2 in a thrill-a-minute, goal-filled, controversial game.  After that was over, I had dinner and watched a little of the Patriots game before heading home, having a drink with some friends, and heading to bed.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

London, Days 36-40

After my trip to Manchester on Saturday, I took Sunday as a rest day.  I slept until noon, before going for a run and watching a movie.  Around 4, I went grocery shopping and had dinner before taking the bus down to Piccadilly Circus to watch football.  At the sports bar, I met up with some friends, and we watched Houston and Baltimore before the Patriots played the Jets.  Around 12, I went home to sleep.
Monday, I got up at 9 and went for my run before eating breakfast, getting some cash from the ATM, and then heading downtown to do some work.  I started my final paper, due November first, and worked until 5, at which point I went for a walk in Hyde Park before going home.  At home, I ate and then hung out with the kids in my flat before doing some reading, writing a column, and heading to bed.
Tuesday, I had to get up extra early in order to fit my run in before class, which was moved up to 9 because the of a scheduling conflict with another teacher.  Class ended at 10, at which point I had almost five hours to kill until my next class.  In order to do that, I went and had some lunch with the kids in my group before watching the full debate and doing a little bit of writing.  After class ended, I headed home and ate before doing some more work and heading to bed.
Wednesday was another class day, although the evening was far more eventful.  Two of my friends from Trinity were in town on their fall break from Rome.  I met them across the River in the Borough area, where we watched some soccer at a pub before having dinner at a restaurant about five minutes away.  After dinner, at around 9:30, we took the tube to Trafalgar Square and walked to the sports bar, where we hung out until around midnight before heading home.
Thursday was great, as I was able to sleep in for the first time all week.  I went for my run before heading down to the school building for my two sessions between 12:30 and 5.  After class, I went home, watched some TV, and cooked dinner before writing this blog.  When I was done, I continued to chip away at my final paper before going to bed.

Monday, October 22, 2012

New RocktheRed Post: 27 Thoughts

Photo from
Check out my lastest for, in which I examine the trending topics in the NHL today with a "30 Thoughts" type article of my own.  You can read the article here.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Manchester: Day 35 - "The Theatre of Dreams"

The view from my seat
Today was the day I crossed the biggest item off of my list of things to do while in England: attend a Manchester United game at Old Trafford.
The day began early, at 6:30, as I had to wake up at that time in order to get my run in before my train up north.  After completing my run, I had breakfast and left to take the tube to Euston station with the friend who I attended the game with.  The train ride took two hours, and upon our arrival in Manchester at 12 noon, we took the tram to the stadium before grabbing a bite to eat and finding our seats, in the Stretford End.  The Stretford End is the most famous stand in the stadium and arguably in the entire country because of the vocal support that rings from it, so sitting there was quite the experience.  During gameplay, everyone stands, chanting and clapping constantly.
United won the game 4:2 against nearby opponents Stoke City, despite another bad start that saw Wayne Rooney head into his own goal just past the ten-minute mark.  But like they always have, United came roaring back.  Rooney headed in to the correct net at 27 minutes off of a perfectly placed cross from Robin van Persie.  Van Persie gave his side the lead just before half time, and Rooney curled a perfect cross into the box which was finished off by Danny Welbeck just after the game re-started.  Stoke got one back 12 minutes later, but Rooney sealed off the match with a fine finish from in close with 65 minutes gone.  It was a truly amazing experience to be in a stadium that I have watched on TV countless times, and seeing my favorite player score twice, as he did for England a week prior, was very special.
After the match, I realized that I had purchased a first-class ticket for the train ride home by accident, but in classic fashion I had sat in standard class on the way up.  So, after dropping the season ticket cards that I had used to get into the game at a hotel in the city center, we grabbed dinner before getting on our train back to London at 8.  Arriving in a rainy London by 11, we took the tube home and went to bed.

Friday, October 19, 2012

London: Days 30-34

Following my day off on Sunday, I slept until 11 on Monday before going for my run and having breakfast.  Because in a change of schedule, I had class on Monday for the first time during my session, which took place at 3.  After class, we went home as a group and all cooked dinner together, eating around 8.  I closed the day by doing some reading for class the next day.
Tuesday, I had to get up at 8 to fit my run in before classes, as they start at 10:30 on Tuesday in order to accommodate the full day of lessons that are planned on that day.  I was in class from 10:30 until 5:30, at which point I went to the grocery store to buy myself some dinner.  After cooking and eating, I worked on one of my papers for a while before watching a movie and heading to bed.
Wednesday was a work day, as I had no classes all day.  After heading down to the school building near Buckingham Palace, I was able to finish more than half of one of the two papers I have due on November 1st, which is the day that my international trips start.  After working until 5, I went home and watched England play their second World Cup qualifier of the week, although this time they drew 1-1 in Warsaw against the Poles.  After eating, I did some more reading before calling it a night.
Thursday, I woke up early in order to go down to the tube station and renew my travelcard, which had expired after a month, as the ticket office would have closed before I would have been able to buy a new one if I waited until after my run. After going running, I ate breakfast and took the bus down to Green Park, where I walked to class in a nice change of pace.  After class, I stayed in the school building and did some more work before heading home and eating dinner.  I went for a walk after dinner before doing some reading and heading to bed.
Friday dawned wet and warm with a forecast for worse rain as the day went on, so I had to go for my run early in order to avoid getting absolutely soaked.  After running and having breakfast, I went to go get a haircut up the street before going downtown to do a little bit of work.  After that, I headed home, ate dinner, and relaxed with friends as I prepared for my trip to Manchester to see United play early on Saturday morning.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

London, Days 27-29

I got up early on Friday morning, going for a run and eating breakfast by 10 AM in order to get some work done before heading to Wembley to watch England later that night.  I finished two of my papers that afternoon, and at 6 myself and four friends got on the tube and went northwest to England's national ground. Wembley is massive, with room for 90,000 people and a giant metal arch spawning across the top from one corner of the oval to another.  The game was excellent, as England trounced San Marino, the worst team in the world, by a 5-0 score.  Even cooler was the fact that my favorite player, Wayne Rooney, captained the squad for the first time in a meaningful game and scored two goals.  It was crossing an item off of the bucket list.
Saturday dawned ice cold, with temperatures in the low 30s but not quite freezing. I waited for it to warm up until around 10 before heading out for my run, which was actually quite nice once I got in the sun. After running and eating breakfast I went to the local pub, where I had a small bite to eat and worked on another paper as I try to get work out of the way with my trips coming up in November.  After working I came home and ate dinner before watching Step Brothers with the kids in my flat.  I closed the night by taking a long walk, going from the Tower Bridge all along the river until I came to Westminster and Big Ben.  From there, I walked up The Mall to Buckingham Palace before getting on a bus and heading home.
I slept late on Sunday, not getting up until around 10:30.  After running, I went back to the pub for my first English Breakfast of the trip, which was well worth the wait.  I did some reading by the fire at the pub until going back to the flat and relaxing.  I closed the day by heading downtown to watch some football with a bunch of friends at 6, and went to bed around midnight.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

London, Days 24-26

Tuesday, I had class from 12-5, as my morning class was cancelled because of a charity meeting.  I took advantage of my longer-than-normal morning to sleep in a bit and go for a longer run, which was very nice.  After getting a bite of breakfast at a local bakery, I finally headed downtown to class and had two sessions.  After class, I went down to the phone store to add some minutes to my pay as you go phone before heading home and cooking dinner.  After eating, I did a little bit of work before watching a movie with some friends and heading to bed.
Wednesday was a work day.  I slept until 8:30 and went for my run before eating breakfast and going down to my school office.  I was able to work until 5, at which point I went for a walk near Green Park before getting on the Tube and going home.  One of my flatmates cooked us a very nice spaghetti dinner, and after eating, we relaxed before going to bed.
Thursday was my other class day, with sessions meeting from 12:30 until 7.  After class, a bunch of friends went down to the Chelsea Ram, a pub in - wait for it - Chelsea - for dinner and some drinks.  Chelsea Ram is a pub that I've been to several times with my family when we visit, so I wanted to take some friends there.  The food was absolutely delicious and very filling, and was reasonably priced.  After dinner we stuck around for a few drinks before going home and heading to bed around 11.

Monday, October 8, 2012

London, Days 21-23

Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day, with temperatures in the mid 50s and not a cloud in the sky (shocking, I know).  After sleeping in and heading for a run, I took the bus to the outskirts of time to pick up a package from the Royal Mail, which turned out to be my tickets to Manchester United on October 20th, when they will play Stoke City at Old Trafford.  With nothing to do, I took my work down to the local pub and sat outside to enjoy the weather while putting the finishing touches on one of my papers.  After dinner, I headed downtown to the International Students House with a bunch of friends for drinks before going to Piccadilly Circus before bed.
On Sunday, a rainy and cold day, I went for a run early before heading downtown to the Sports Cafe, a giant, two-story collection of TV screens showing every sport imaginable, in order to take in a great sports day.  First, Man United hammered Newcastle 3-0, which was fun to watch and encouraging to see United play so well in their first League fixture since a bad loss to Spurs the week prior.  Next up was El Clasico, the thrilling clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona.  The teams drew 2:2 with doubles from - who else - Messi and Ronaldo, who continue to be the two best in the world.  Few things are as spectacular as watching these two play. Finally, at 9 PM local time, I watched my first American football of the trip, catching the Patriots lay in to the Broncos.  I didn't make it home with my friends until 1 AM, but it was well worth it.
Monday was another cold and rainy day.  After sleeping in again, I went for a run in the driving rain, a decision which I regretted immediately.  Still, following my run it was time to go work, which I did until 4.  I went for a short walk around St. James' park because the rain had stopped, but eventually went back to the flat and relaxed before having dinner and going to bed.

Friday, October 5, 2012

London, Days 18-20

Wednesday was a work day, as it will be for most of the semester.  After waking up at 9 and going for a run, I headed down to the school office, where I could work in the quiet and without distractions.  That gave me the chance to do a significant potion of another paper as I tried to chip away at the five papers that I have to do between now and the end of the month.  After working, I went out to the farmers market with some friends to buy some vegetables before having dinner, watching some TV, and calling it a night.
Thursday, I had class from 12 to 5 after my run, closing my week of classes with my two toughest sessions.  After doing a little bit of work when I got home, I had dinner and headed down to Regent's Park to meet up with some friends of one of the kids in my program, which was a great time.  After hanging out at a pub for a while, we all headed home before bed.
Friday was another work day, as without classes for anyone I went down to the school office and prepared my two presentations that I have to do in class next week.  After heading home around six, one of my friends in my flat cooked us all a big dinner and we closed the night watching some movies. I also bought some tickets to say the English National team play San Marino at Wembley Stadium on October 12, which is crossing an item off of my bucket list.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

London, Days 15-17

On Sunday, I slept in late before going for my run and then doing some homework, knocking out about a third of one of the five papers I have due in the next three weeks.  Following work, I headed down along the River Thames to have some drinks with a friend of mine visiting from DC at a pub near St. Paul's Cathedral, which was a great time.  After that, I went back to my flat and ate dinner before watching some football with a bunch of flat mates upstairs.
Monday was a work day.  After sleeping in a little bit and heading for a run, I went downtown to the school office and took advantage of the free internet to knock out half of another paper.  It felt good to get some of these out of the way, even if it was only part of the requirement, if only to say that I had done some tangible work.  Around 5, the parents of one of the kids in my program took a bunch of us out to dinner at an Indian restaurant in Aldgate, which was delicious.  I've never been partial to Indian food, but this was really good and it was nice to spend time with kids in my group.  Following dinner, we went back to the flat and hung out before going to bed.
I had to get up very early on Tuesday in order to fit my run in before class, which runs from 10 AM until 6 PM on the second day of the week for me.  Following class, I rushed home and got a little more work done before heading to the pub for a nightcap prior to bed.