“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – William Shakespeare
Good day everyone and greetings from London. This week marks the official beginning of my studies here in London after a weekend full of activities. As I mentioned in my previous blog, as part of the Drexel in Paris + London Program, I am taking two courses to delve deeper into the culture in England: Foods, Society, and Culture in Britain and the History of Modern Design. To kick off the week FIE treated us to lunch at Pizza Express, I treated myself to a meal at The Churchill Arms, saw Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare’s Globe and attended one of my two classes.
Fun fact about me (and probably millions of other people): I love pizza so when FIE treated us to Pizza Express I was a very happy camper. I ordered a relatively simple meal of lemonade, garlic bread with mozzarella, and a Romana American (which is basically just a pepperoni pizza but with special dough that is stretched, making it thinner and crisper taking its cue from Rome). As my first food outing in London, I was very satisfied, same goes for the Churchill Arms. The Churchill Arms was built in 1750 and was named after the second world war, making it one of the oldest and more historic pubs in London. The pub/restaurant is known for its lively floral exterior display and its memorabilia of Winston Churchill hanging from the interior walls. In case you didn’t know, Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The thing that made this restaurant interesting to me was that is a mix of a London Pub and a Thai restaurant. I didn’t get anything from the pub but I did get noodles from the Thai menu, ordering the Rad Nah (stir-fried noodles topped with home-made corn starch gravy, mixed vegetables, peas, mushrooms, red and green peppers). I’ve never had Thai food before so it was an experience.
To continue the week, my friends and I went to Shakespeare’s Globe to see Much Ado About Nothing. Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy by William Shakespeare and long story short, it is about two lovers, Hero and Claudio, who are to be married. To pass some time before their wedding, they come up with a plan with Don Pedro to set a “lover’s trap” for Benedick and Beatrice. Meanwhile, Don Jon (Don Pedro’s evil brother) conspires to break up the wedding by accusing Hero of infidelity. In the end, though, it all turns out to be “much ado about nothing” aka a lot of commotion about nothing. Shakespeare’s Globe is an open-air theatre which is really cool, except when it’s raining. Good thing for me and my friends it rained the day we went to see the play #thanksmothernature and even better we had standing seats (in the yard) because we wanted to experience the play they way people did in Shakespeare time (and because they were cheaper). All in all, it was an experience and I really enjoyed the play, mostly because I related to the Beatrice and Benedick characters and loved their interactions. I thank Shakespeare for finding his gift and giving it away for others to enjoy.
So far, the only class listed on my schedule to attend has been the Food, Society and Culture class and though we’ve only had two class sessions I can tell that this too will be an experience. From the sessions, I have learned that food studies go beyond the production, chemical, physical, and biological properties of food. It is the study of our daily interaction with food and using food as a ‘lens’. There’s so much more to learn but we’re going to have to wait until next time.