Monday, March 26, 2012

Journal Entry #28 - 3/26/12

So it has been a while since I've written a journal entry here. With that fairly long-winded IRB application turned in, and an even more long-winded research proposal almost finished (I'll cut it down, don't worry), I think I can finally see the light at the end of this tunnel of field study preparation. Class Friday with Margaret was really helpful. The problem is that elements of my project keep adjusting slightly, and while the changes are reflected in some parts of the proposal, other sections are still based on old ideas. This is why you don't sew new cloth into an old garment; it makes for patchwork proposals.

I spent a lot of time on Friday thinking about the London, England experience that I'm going to have. If I do end up living with a host family, I decided it would definitely be my preference. Families are always so interesting, and I would probably gain a lot more useful contacts and learn a lot more about people in London than in a flat with other college-aged youths. Not trying rag too much the college-aged, but a family might also be a little bit of a calmer place to live, and I'm all about having a quiet place to hang out. Otherwise I'll have to find a nearby library.

After spending some time looking at the London underground maps, you really begin wishing you had a photographic memory. I'm used to the Sao Paulo metro map, which is quite a bit simpler. As it was, I only stayed on one side of that city. I may roam a little farther around London. As I was looking up tourist spots of interest in London I was fascinated by everything that goes on at the Convent Garden. Looking through the website I read about around a dozen different shows, museums, and attractions that I would be interested in seeing during my spare time (hopefully I'll have some :), and there are a few nearby churches as well. It's very close to the center of London and other famous locations like Trafalgar Square and Picadilly Circus, so I can't see myself missing it.

I also looked up a website with reviews of the different museums in London. I swear, there must be a hundred of them. Still, even if it's hard to choose, I'm all about free attractions.

So, I've been reading "The Road to Wigan Pier", by George Orwell, for my History of England since 1689 class. It's an incredible example of participant observation. Orwell spent months following around miners and working class people during the depression of the 1930s in northern England, eating their food and living in their lodging houses. (SIdenote here: I'm so pleased with my class choices this semester, because so far there has been so much overlap, including what I learned in this book). As I was reading, I noticed at least half a dozen places that I have heard of because I have seen them on the map of England on Google Maps (I've studied the map at least ten different times now), and on page 15 Orwell actually calls lunch "dinner", exactly as Kate Fox noted that many lower class people still do today. Hehe, that was really cool, as I definitely wouldn't have noticed without her help. I spent a bit of time yesterday talking to a friend from my ward who served a mission in Birmingham. His comments were that many people in the smaller towns don't have much to do during the day, and many of them have become very adept at living off the government. He also told me to never say the word "pants". Just "trousers" will do the job. I guess I pretty much just wear jeans. Hopefully just calling them "jeans" will help me not to slip up.

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