Winter in York

 

It’s been consistently snowing in York for the past few days. There’s something absolutely pure, silent, and magical about having familiar buildings covered with a fresh and fluffy layer of snow. York, as always, is gorgeous in any season. It’s been so great to walk to seminars and make my way through a winter wonderland.

Here are some snaps I’ve captured on my afternoon walks!
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Business As Usual

Apologies for a less than stellar record of blogging this past month. I’ve been really digging my heels into my MA program, trying to get involved with my department as much as possible and, of course, balancing all the reading and writing that is a part of my degree. I’m working on a few final papers and planning to go back to the States for two weeks over the Christmas holiday. When I return, the papers are due almost immediately after New Years, which is a major bummer.

Since there’s nothing really “interesting” to tell you guys, (I mean, my days are spent reading and writing for the most part…) I thought I’d share some pics taken in the last few weeks. York is gorgeous. You all need to visit at some point, trust me. Life here is wonderful and I’m so happy to be living in this amazing place!

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Remembrance Day

For the past week or so, I’ve been seeing just about everybody sporting a poppy on their lapel or outfit. I asked my British friends what all the fuss was about with these red flowers and learned something very significant about UK culture. On November 11th is called Remembrance Day, a day much like Veterans Day in the US. A way that many UK citizens show support and solidarity with their troops is to wear paper or fabric poppy. Many people buy them at shops or street corners for a small donation, the proceeds go to wounded vets and their families.

Remembrance Day is also marked by two minutes of silence at 11:00am. It happened to fall during our church service on Sunday, so the entire congregation stood and soberly paid their respects. In the UK, Remembrance Day is celebrated with sobriety, not outright celebration. While I think it’s important to honor the members of the armed forces with food, drink, and gratitude, a level of seriousness for those that have given their lives and livelihoods for our freedoms is also extremely appropriate. And during WWII, England suffered in ways that the US will never really be able to understand. I mean, entire cities and historical buildings were bombed relentlessly. Many people lived in fear every time they heard planes flying overhead. Fortunately, that’s not the case today. But the memory of what happened is not out of the public’s consciousness.

As an American participating in Remembrance Day, I found myself thankful for our allies. I’m grateful for these men and women that fought alongside us and continue to do so. In the spirit of the day and in honor of the troops that protect the UK and her interests, I bought myself a poppy and proudly wore it on my lapel.

Happy Remembrance Day!
If you want to know more about this day, please check out info here and here.

Nerd Stuff

Get ready, I’m about to unleash a whole lot of nerdy on y’all.
I know, I said “y’all”. Yikes. 

Anyway, I have friends and family asking me what I’m doing over here in the UK, what I’m learning, what my life as a grad student is like. So, I’ve decided to write a post and tell you about my seminars, my weekly schedule, and fun things I’m doing within my department.

First of all, I only have three classes a week, for a total of six hours with an actual professor and other students. Two of these classes are related to my MA program. The other class is a French language class, just to keep up with what I’ve learned and improve my writing skills. (Trust me, I’m really rusty with writing. It’s pretty bad.) Of my two MA seminars each week, one is a “core” course. It is convened by the head of my department, which I think is wonderful. It’s a thorough introduction to the department and a helpful way to transition into postgraduate writing/academic rhetoric. The other MA seminar is an optional module. I’ve chosen a class on Romanticism and Sentimentalism because I like the time period and it gives a nice overview of the period. All of my classes require a fair amount of reading and my two MA courses are each assessed by an essay (20+ pages) at the end of the term. Even though I’m not “in class” for very long, I make up for it in the library!

While I enjoy my seminars, it’s all of the postgraduate research forum and research seminar events that I have really started to appreciate. Each Tuesday, Ph.D. students (and some MA’s) from York and other universities come and present their research and papers. It’s completely student run and it’s a great time to learn from each other, make friends, and ask questions. I love hearing what other people are interested in researching and it’s helped me to get ideas for my own studies. Later on in the evening, CECS (Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies) hosts a research seminar, where academics (from York and beyond) come and share their research/books/papers/etc. I’ve heard a few thought-provoking talks and it’s another important time to learn from the people around me. I love the fact that I’m able to have regular access to people within my department and from other universities. It makes me feel like I’m part of a “family”, even though I arrived only a month ago.

At the moment, I’m working on formulating my essay topics for the end of term, as well as thinking about my MA dissertation. Additionally  I’m in the beginning stages of writing a research proposal for the Ph.D. program at York. If possible, I’d really like to stay and continue my education with CECS. It’s an extremely liberating feeling to be able to do the research that you really want to do. It’s such a privilege to study here and to learn from them. I couldn’t have picked a better program. And everything I’ve said is not all hyperbole, it really is that good.

So, that’s how I’ve been spending the last month of my life in the UK! Now you have a better idea of what I’m doing and how I’m spending my time. If you have any more specific questions, please feel free to drop me some questions in the comments!

Autumn in York

Well, fall has officially fallen in York. The trees are all various shades of red, yellow, and orange. This city is so beautiful, no matter what time of year. The temperatures have dropped a little bit, so I’m wearing a heavier coat and scarf these days. Classes are going well and I’m already thinking of what to write my dissertation on. But I have to say, the transition into graduate school in a different country definitely requires a learning curve. I’m still learning my place in the department, what’s what, who’s who, where I need to be.

I’m still in the search for a church, I’ve been visiting a few and hopefully will decide on one soon. I’m just hoping to meet other Christians and learn some great stuff here in York. Please pray for me as I navigate my “new” life!

And don’t worry, here are some photos! Enjoy!

Fall view outside of my window

King’s Manor

Self-Portrait

More King’s Manor