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I See Elsie

The Ithaca College London Centre

Posted by Jessica Watson at 7:15AM   |  Add a comment

You say "chips", we say "crisps" but are there other differences that distinguish this popular snack found in both English-speaking countries? Monica Lum investigates...

BBQ, Salt and Vinegar, French Onion, Cheddar, Cool Ranch, and the Classic Potato are standard flavors for American potato chips.  Those versatile flavors are always delicious and enjoyable to munch on but why stop chip flavors there?  The United Kingdom has clearly thought about that and offers a wide variety of tasty and quite fun ‘flavour crisps’.  Brits would most likely find American ‘Harvest Cheddar’ flavored chips to be cute—their ‘Smoked Monterrey Chilli with Goats Cheese’ crisps may have the power to outdo and impress consumers a bit more.  A person who has only been exposed to American ‘Salt and Vinegar’ flavored chips would easily assume a typical hint of salt and vinegar taste when opening a bag of ‘Carmelised Onion & Balsamic Vinegar’ flavoured crisps.  Wrong.  The $3.32 (£2.19) you dish out is well worth the money because the title, ‘Carmelised Onion & Balsamic Vinegar’ is no lie.  You just paid for freshly caramelised, sizzling hot onions straight from the frying pan mixed with tangy balsamic vinegar to quickly envelop your taste buds within the first crunch.

Perhaps the UK thought it’d be helpful to encourage people who have budgets (study abroad students) to skip expensive meals and alternatively purchase a hearty snack by selling hearty flavoured crisps like, ‘Roasted Chicken and Thyme’.  Mom just took out the marinated chicken that’s been roasting in the oven for two hours—oh wait no, that was just a bag of ‘Roasted Chicken and Thyme’ crisps being opened.  Smells just like the real thing and tastes just like it too. It is safe to say a bag of ‘Roasted Chicken and Thyme’ is dinner in a bag.  Well, not really a chicken person?  No problem.  Maybe some, ‘Flame Grilled Steak’, ‘Smoky Bacon’ or ‘Chilli Beef’ flavoured crisps will suit your preference more.  The crisp options are endless, ‘Spanish Chicken Paella’, ‘Italian Spaghetti Bolognese’, ‘Japanese Teriyaki’, ‘Oriental Red Curry’… and the more commonly flavoured crisps that are typically featured in aisles of British grocery stores: ‘Prawn Cocktail’, ‘Thai Sweet Chilli’, ‘Southern Style Barbeque’, ‘BBQ Beef’, ‘Mexican Fiery Sweet Chipotle’, ‘Chargrilled Chicken’, ‘Chicken Winger’, ‘Mature Cheddar and Onion’, ‘Vintage Cheddar & Onion Chutney’— we get it, Brits don’t like leaving any crisp flavour to the imagination.  It’s quite evident that the UK got bored with producing typical crisps and felt the need to be more creative with their flavours.  It would take a lifetime to try every single one but I do believe that it’s time for Britain to no longer be notorious for selling inedible, gross, and tasteless food.  Food snobs who stand behind this stereotype will quickly change their minds the second they indulge in one of the many flavoured crisps offered in the UK. 


Posted by Jessica Watson at 7:17AM   |  Add a comment
Students enjoying London

Kristen Mansfield, a Journalism major has written a post for us about how she felt on arriving to the ICLC in London. From moving in with strangers to exploring the city, Kristen assures us that being an international student is an experience worth embracing...

 

 

 

It’s a magical place, ya know-- for all the reasons you think, and a lot more I bet you haven’t even thought of yet.


I've had an amazing semester here so far. It’s been about a month and a week and I could not be happier with ICLC and my life here! When we first got to London, it was like a mad dash for necessities to help us get settled- cheap European phone, underground pass, a place to live! And that brought on its own set of things we needed to buy- kitchenware, groceries, towels, soaps, blankets... so many things to think about! And the exchange rate wasn't very pleasant when we were buying things to move in. “I’m sorry money-guy, did you just say my $60 would only give me £30?” Cue the quiet sobs.


But after a month, my flatmates (whom I didn't even know prior to coming here!) and I feel truly settled and basically alleviated of any survival concerns. Oh you need a packet of sugar? We got you. Point you to the nearest ATM? It’s just around the corner. Aw you forgot how to get home on the bus? Let me tell you the way... (And yes having sugar is a survival concern and should be taken very seriously)





My internship keeps me busy pretty much all of Monday and Tuesday, while school takes up Wednesday and part of Thursday. The cool thing about school here is that we get to go on field trips all the time! I always wish we went on more trips outside the classroom in Ithaca but there are just so many obstacles with that it would be impossible to do. Here, our classes are designed around all of our senses- to fully emerge ourselves in the culture and feel like we’re getting the most out of our experience here. On the first day, our Art in London teacher, Lisa, said, “You can look at boring projector slides at home. Here, I have the opportunity to let the course basically teach itself. Here, when we visit the art, you get to feel it. You get to become a part of it.”





Before coming to London, I was questioning if there would be a big enough cultural difference for me to really feel like I’m in a different country. Let me say this- not only are there tons of differences between life here and life at home, but even if our cultures were the same, it’s still such a shock living in the city as opposed to little ol' Honeoye Falls, New York! I love going to NYC and traveling as much as I can, but nothing can really prepare you for living in a city like London. My favorite part about it? There is ALWAYS something to do. I've never once asked myself what I wanted to do in a day and not been able to do it (unless it was wildly expensive...), and I think that’s the very best part about being abroad, particularly in a city like this.




 


I’ll try to write more blog posts for ICLC soon! Hmmm, is it possible to capture the essence of British-English in blog form? ….Probably not. But that won’t stop me from trying!


Cheers! :)

 

 

Posted by Jessica Watson at 11:31AM   |  Add a comment
Lights: Art from Hayward Gallery

 Meg sheds some light (pun intended) on our visiting sabbatical's course: London's Light...

 

I am in an honors course called London’s Light: A History and Exploration of London’s Changing Light. We have had the opportunity to explore a few museums with a perspective on light which is something that our society is lucky enough to encounter in a wide variety everyday. Everything from sunlight, moonlight, fluorescent light, LED lights, strobe lights, and much more. One of our recent field trips was to the Light show at Hayward Gallery. It was a remarkable experience. It is on display from January 30th to April 28th. It cost approximately 11 pounds to attend and takes around an hour if you are taking your time and reading each synopsis and truly immersing yourself in the art. The gallery makes life easy by having a cloak check and graciously taking bags as well.

 

Once the adventure begins you are immersed immediately in two large pieces of art and you get a sense of what you are about to observe. I would take you through the entire exhibit but photography isn’t allowed. So make the most of the money spent and indulge. There are a lot of children so it makes it a little distracting or adorable depending on your view on little ones. But word the wise some of the pieces are a little disorienting and I did get dizzy a few times. Overall it was a sensation and very aesthetically pleasing. Highly recommend this futuristic light show and art with a new twist.


Posted by Jessica Watson at 11:28AM   |  Add a comment
Students walking on Abbey Road

Another entry from another Student blogger. This one is from Sarah Grant who talks about a trip to Abbey Road as part of the British Youth Culture course...
 

The Beatles sing some of my favorite songs in the entire world. Hey Jude, Here Comes the Sun, Let It Be, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Yesterday, Come Together, seriously the list goes on and on. 

And today, I got to see Abbey Road Studios (as a field trip for my British Youth Culture class), where the Beatles recorded the majority of their music. It is still functioning as a recording studio, which I think is awesome. I can’t imagine getting to record in the same space as the Beatles did. 
One of the coolest things about our visit was seeing all the signatures on the walls. People from all over the world left names, notes, and lyrics on the bricks and wall out front. There were so many on the white wall you could barely read them. Our professor explained how the wall is painted over every few years to make room for more signatures… proving just how many people come to visit this site. 
Check out my Abbey Road album recreation above… I almost got ran over like four times, but it was so worth it!

Posted by Jessica Watson at 8:30AM   |  Add a comment
student jumping in front of Eiffel Tower

 I introduce a post by Mia O'Brien, a journalism major who has utilised one of her weekends to venture over to the continent...



(First off, disclaimer: I am attempting to do this post from my mobile app to preserve that still teetering-on-the-brink-of-life laptop. Let’s see how this goes).

After a fun week filled with Mardi Gras/Pancake Day celebrations, discovering burritos in London, and, of course, a beeping laptop, it was time to begin what I’m thinking might be the best part of my trip to London: the traveling part. First up was the city of love itself, Paris.

I rushed home from work Thursday night (attempted to do a blog post but, of course, computer started beeping), only to remember that my night bus wasn’t leaving until 11… Classic. But when I finally did board said bus, the journey began—and not in the way any of us expected. As opposed to driving through the Chunnel, we had to take a ferry to France because of Chunnel construction… And by ferry I mean cruise ship. The “Spirit of Britain” had a food court, mall, and three bars just to cover the main attractions, and we got to sit on the rooftop deck and watch the lights on the beaches of Normandy slowly come into view (albeit at 3 am). It would take another 3.5 hours to get to Paris now, and, fortunately I slept through it.

And as soon as we got to Paris it was time for the whirlwind adventure to begin. After some skilful navigating on the Metro (props to Taylor on that one, as my memory of the Metro didn’t really come back to me until later—and if you ask Em, even that is questionable!), we got to our really cute hotel, just a 10 minute walk from the Louvre. We grabbed a nice, French breakfast and then headed out to see the sights. When I say we probably walked 4 miles that one day I’m not kidding: we walked to the Louvre, followed by Musee d’Orsay, then Champs-Elysse, then Arc de Triumphe, then Trocaderk Square overlooking the Eiffel Tower… Then we finally took a subway. Hey, it was a beautiful day out so why not take advantage? I will say this: I definitely feel like I appreciated Paris more so this time around. Perhaps because we were on our own, perhaps because I am just older now, but I really felt the full awe of the sights this time around. Sounds cheesy, but hey, like I said, city of love, right?

After a quick nap and shower at the hotel, we ended our day with a nice French dinner (sadly, there was not a single vegetarian option on the menu, the fish was wrapped in bacon… So forgive me God but I caved in and had meat on a Friday in Lent). Delicious beef rotisserie though—and they didn’t even charge Em and I for our chocolate mousse cake! We then went to the tallest hotel in Paris to go to its skyline bar to see the Eiffel Tower light up at midnight. Although I missed being underneath the Eiffel Tower lit up, my fav part of my trip last time, it was an awesome view.

The next morning (amidst intentions to wake up early and go to Notre Dame for mass—a decision I may or may not regret now…) we slept until 8 and then headed to Versailles. After having to take like 4 different trains because the main one wasn’t working, we finally arrived at THE REAL Golden Arches. Just like the main sights, I felt like I really appreciated seeing everything here the second time around—although this may have been due to the fact it ACTUALLY wasn’t raining. I will definitely be back at some point when the flowers are in bloom, though!

We then headed all the way back to the bus depot for our late night bus home. And of course, as no trip with Mobrien can be ordinary (or go without bodily harm), we stopped at a rest stop, raced off the bus, and, of course, in my mad dash for food I wiped out and sprained my ankle. Typical. Fortunately, this was just before the Chunnel so we were really only an hour and forty-five minutes from London so I was soon lying on my bed, on a Saturday night, icing my ankle after spending a day in Paris. Only me, people.

Thanks to the ankle (and the need to sleep), we decided to wait to head to Windsor Castle until next week, instead opting for a day of errands and laundry followed by an outing to high tea at Harrods! The sunsets here have been spectacular lately (shocking I know) and we sat at the Terrace Room. Oh and of course there were scones involved. When is there not?

Looking ahead to this week, the traveling continues with Stratford-on-Avon, Oxford and Warwick Castle this weekend, plus the Chelsea-Sparta Prague game on Thursday! Hopefully, this post goes through… And this way I’ll be able to blog wherever, whenever, from now on!


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