Thursday, 16 October 2008

101 Dalmatian posts

Popp!! Fssschssshhhhh...

That was the merry uncorking of a king-sized bottle of Champagne, celebrating Island Hopping's 100th post.

Long and short, dense and watered-down, of all shapes and sizes, locations and subjects, pure texts or images, these one hundred (and one) posts give this blog a nice, uniquely spotted Dalmatian coat.

Disclaimer: no dogs were harmed during the making of this blog.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Who's afraid of the big bad essay?

You might be wondering what the hell it is I'm actually studying here in London. I have 4 subjects/modules this year:

1. Shakespeare. A full year of Shakespeare. Just Shakespeare. That should be time enough for studying in minute detail every single last napkin he ever cared to scribble on, every single one of his shopping lists and love letters. But here there is just a one-hour lecture per week, so we're concentrating on a few plays. It's potentially both interesting and boring. Yet, as of now, it's just plain scary.

Essays. The very word makes me want to do the Homer: yell, throw my hands in the air, run, slam the door, start the engine & vanish with a screech of burning tyres.

2. Modern American Fiction. Got it just in time, exchanging it for a much nastier and boring subject (Approaches to Text, shudder). Looks awfully promising. When I saw, at last, Science Fiction treated as literature, I knew I had to get this one. On the downside, assessment is also by scary essays (shudder, shudder)

3. Translation for Professional Purposes. Two way translation between English and Spanish, with specialized topics (legal, environmental, IT, etc). Very, very interesting, and quite easy for me on the Eng-Sp front. Sp-Eng might prove trickier. Still a walk in the park in comparison to the above.

4. Writing Fiction - Advanced. Creative Writing, that is. Yes. Ohh yes. Yes, yes, yes. I can't believe it's a subject as such, one that I can even get credits for. It's such a pleasure that it's difficult to believe, it feels quite out of place.

And as of now, apart from these courses, I'm attending tutorials and a course on essay writing. The big bad essay is coming. He'll huff, and he'll puff and he'll want to blow my house in. I'm gathering bricks as fast as I can.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Sordid details

At Dover Castle Hostel, mice ate my cheese. I left my food in a plastic bag under the bed. During the night, I heard noises and cursed my room-mates for it. In the morning, I ate my food and was surprised that I had eaten so much of the cheese already. Then I realized the whole wrapper was gnawed through and the plastic bag had huge holes in it. Then I saw the mouse in the kitchen. It stopped, looked at me and went as close to laughing his contempt at me as a mouse can ever do: he wrinkled his nose, moved his whiskers twice, then scurried away.

On my first night in London, and during my first party, my much-loved black jumper burned to ashes. Bloody decorative candles on tables. I suddenly saw it on the floor while a girl was energetically stamping on it as if on a very stoic cockroach. This isn't funny at all, I thought. Turns out it was in flames and she was trying to save it from complete combustion. Too late.

I found a room in a shared flat I really liked. I loved the area, the room and the views. The two girls seemed good company, and the price was affordable. Everything seemed quite perfect. But they decided to "go with someone else". Take that, ego.

London weather got me. I caught a nasty cold on the 4th day. Living in hostels is definitely tough on my health. In summer, they'll have the air conditioning on and I'll freeze while some guys sleep naked. In winter, some guys will continue to sleep naked and keep the window open, while I shiver inside my cocoon of thick fabric. In the morning, I will emerge from my cocoon, not as a butterfly, but still as a coughing pneumoniac caterpillar.