The past two weeks have been really interesting, for various reasons. A lot has happened, and it feels like I haven't written in forever...
After being sick almost continually for two weeks, I headed down south for a 4 day London ROFL-fest with Darleen. I took the bus, which was an overnighter (i don't recommend this form of travel unless you want to inflict some self-punishment). On the way to the bus station I saw this sign:
So who do you follow? the man or the arrow? Without going to philosophically extremist, (which I could do...some sort of nature vs. culture symbolic interpretation a la Victor Turner and the French theories of agency, power, and Marxian praxis?) I just say "Oh, someone is confused in Scotland" and keep walking. HAHA, I mean, really, who approves these sort of signs for public use? There are many less intelligent people running around Edinburgh who probably won't understand that they should follow the arrow (which was the intended message of the sign).
Anyways, this sign made me start thinking of some of the other things here that seem to make no sense, but which amuse me in their quirkyness...such as:
Soooo...if you have reduced the sodium in my salt...my salt, which is a chemical compound of SODIUM and CHLORIDE then what exactly makes it salt? Am I now ingesting an overabundance of chloride ions when I season my food?
And on the website for my local Tesco (grocery store) I was filling out my profile to set up my account and I see this:
so funny...I can't wait until questionnaires in the US start asking people if they are teetotallers!
Those are just a few examples of the funny random things I see here on a regular basis...on to London
I had a lot of fun with Dar...We got to experience the Brit version of Halloween, (much less trick or treating, much more costume-themed party events) the British Museum including the Rosetta Stone (so freakin cool) and an amazing South Asia art collection, which included the Dakinis, which we couldn't get enough of:
Dakinis: fierce minor goddesses, more revered than their male counterparts, the Dakas. Their Tibetan name translates to "walking in the sky" which indicates their sphere of activity. Their fearsome weapons are the skull-cup filled with blood, and the skull necklace. Her hair is usually wild and hanging down her back, and her face often wrathful in expression, as she dances on top of a corpse, which represents her complete mastery over ego and ignorance.
Needless to say, these are the coolest female deities that I have ever seen...and the fact that they are stomping all over male corpses, which as stated above shows mastery over ego and ignorance is a great example of how feminism was alive and well long before it became active in the west. So if anyone is in Tibet anytime soon, feel free to pick up a few Dakinis and send them to Dar and myself, we would greatly appreciate it!
Also at the museum, we came across the term "Wisdom Partner" as a synonym for a sexual partner within Hindu religion...I think that this is a much better term to embody the person one chooses to share their life and body with. In my mind, this connotes an acceptance and celebration of the mind, body, and spirit of a chosen partner, and how this acceptance and celebration can bring wisdom, pleasure, and completion to both halves of the pair. Much more sophisticated than just sleeping with someone for the raw physicality of the act, isn't it?
Seeing as this was the weekend before the US election, everyone in Britain was talking about the upcoming event (which is interesting in itself...when was the last time there was large coverage of an election from Britain in the US?) Some Londoners showed the tone of the election in a demonstration at Trafalgar Square:
I love seeing outsider views on events that I as an American view in a specific culturally constructed way...it gives you perspective that you may not have considered before.
Overall, London was great...and I'm SO glad that Dar is here so close (in relation to everyone else from home) and I have her to understand the crazy, silly, weird, amusing, and annoying aspects of life in Britain with me!
THis last week saw me having my first exam here. Statistics. ew. I got a 76...which apparently here is really good, like an "A"...to me, 76 is average, and I feel like a high school math student again...but all of my Scottish friends assured me that anything above 72 is "first class" so who am I to argue with that? I have also been thinking a lot about the direction I want my thesis to go in, and right now things are very up in the air...the double edged sword of research degrees is that you GET to discover things for yourself and motivate yourself to work towards a goal...but you also HAVE to motivate yourself, and work through discoveries on your own...which can be REALLY annoying when you have no direction and have a very wide interest base...Oh, Anthropology!
Went on a long walk yesterday and happened upon this street:
Fall here is so pretty, and I love finding random streets like this on the edge of random parks!
So life keeps on going, through politics, holidays, trips, and tests...
La vie c'est belle...