This morning was pretty uneventful. We had class at CAPA (which has changed a lot since I was there during the summer of 2013). The building is much more modern and they have much nicer facilities. After class, I stayed at CAPA to talk to one of the employees named Meghan. I recognized her from when I had previously studied abroad. I remember seeing her at the front desk every morning and going on walking tours with her. She has since moved on from being a receptionist and she is now a program coordinator. She was the CAPA representative who worked on our Spring Break program. I asked her how she got involved in working in higher education and how she moved to London and started her career (she is originally from Connecticut). I am interested in working in higher education and I would absolutely love to live in London, so I wanted to hear about her experiences. She told me that she thought it was best to get an entry-level job to get some experience and then to return to school for my Masters. She also told me that she had been grandfathered into her Visa because she went to graduate school in London, which made it much easier for her to work over here. Unfortunately for me, she said that Visa’s are incredibly hard to come by for Americans and that I would need to find an employer to sponsor me, which is pretty much impossible at this time. While this made me kind of sad, because I would absolutely love to live and work in London for a year or two, I’m glad she was honest and straight-forward with me and didn’t try to sugarcoat anything. After speaking with Meghan, I went to the Sainsbury’s grocery store right next to CAPA and got the 3 pound meal deal for lunch. The 3 pound meal deal let’s you pick a ready made sandwich, a bag of chips (or crisps as they are called in England), and a drink. I chose the chicken and sweetcorn sandwich, regular chips, and a diet coke. It is a great way to save money on food because 3 pounds is not very much, and some of the sandwiches cost 2.50 pounds if you don’t do the meal deal. After I had lunch, the group and I headed off to Liverpool Street for our walking tour of the East End. The theme of the tour was street art.
The street art was really cool! I was expecting mostly graffiti and gang signs, but there were a lot of actual pieces of art! I particularly liked this one spot where we saw graffiti on the left that progressed into fine art as you moved to the right. Our tour guide Ben was very knowledgeable. He knew every artist’s work that we passed by and he even knew some of the artist’s that were working. At one point, he told us to look at some of the small pieces of artwork in the area while he went over to talk to one of the artist’s that was currently working on a project. Ben is also an artist and he showed us a painting that he had done of Charlie Burns. Charlie Burns was apparently a very prominent artist in this area of London (referred to as Brick Lane) and Ben wanted to commemorate him.
All in all, I really enjoyed the street art tour. I had never been to the Brick Lane area of London before, so it was exciting to experience a new part of London! After the tour, we had dinner at a curry restaurant on Brick Lane. Shockingly, curry is the national dish of London, not fish and chips. The dinner was ok, but it was not my favorite. I had some type of chicken dish with rice and vegetables. When I ordered the chicken, it said that it had bones, so I was expecting it to be either a wing or a drumstick. When I bit into the chicken, there were tons of small bones and I had to be careful while I was eating it. One of the appetizers was falafel. Falafel is a deep-fried ball of chickpeas. I had never had falafel before, but it was delicious! That was my favorite part of the entire meal. After dinner, Alekya, Tyler, and I decided to go see Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theater in Piccadilly Circus! We rushed right over after dinner. We made it to the ticket booth by 7:00 pm and were able to get tickets for only 35 pounds! The show started at 7:30 pm, so we had just enough time to take our seats and relax before it started. Les Miserables was absolutely fantastic! I had never seen the musical, watched the movie, or read the book, so I was very excited to experience it for the first time. I had heard tons of great things about it. I really want to watch the movie when I get back to the States!