Friday, November 30, 2012

A Good Morning in London

This weekend finds me once again in London, but this time with significantly fewer responsibilities and more informal fun.
I have been invited to a lecture given by Albie Sachs, an epic judge from South Africa who has worked for human rights all his life and has been in exile repeatedly, given the apartheid regime in South Africa when his work began.  Judge Sachs is hosted by CARA, the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics.  Tonight's the lecture, and I'm really looking forward to that.
On the docket for tomorrow is lunch with a good friend, meetings with other Marshall Scholars about our class service project, and dinner with a fellow Michigan State University alum at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Bar.
This morning, I met a fantastic social geographer currently teaching at King's College London.  We had a great chat about various geographers and departments in the UK for me to begin my PhD search (yes, even as I'm looking at LLMs for next year).  The current plan is an LLM 2013-2014, and a start to my PhD in fall 2014.  Though it's tempting, after my talk with Alex, to just start with him right away...

Beyond Alex, KCL's Geography Department also boasts a wonderful location.  It's very close to Trafalgar Square.  We also walked by the Somerset Ice Skating Rink, featured in so many movies!
A trip back to London just for ice-skating may be necessary...

Just to cap off a delightful morning, I made my way back to Goodenough College (where many of our London-based Marshalls live) without consulting a map or using the Tube (Underground)!  London and I are getting along famously.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

ELSA Meeting

Yesterday afternoon, the Earth & Life Systems Alliance Group held a meeting at Norwich’s Institute of Food Research on “Agricultural Transitions: Enhancing scientific impact on a global scale.”  One of my course conveners, Bruce Lankford, spoke at the event.
It was a good afternoon for feeding my inner science geek.  Heard about genetic research on crop breeds, modeling where certain crops will be able to thrive when the Earth warms, etc.  Pretty technical and lots of fun.
By far the most entertaining part of the meeting was Bruce’s lecture, during which he asked me to Vanna White for him.  When discussing irrigation and questioning concepts of “efficiency,” “waste,” and “savings,” Bruce pours marbles in a “field” (i.e., plastic tub) over a large basket.  The “wasted” water really just returns to the basket, or “watershed,” and isn’t necessarily wasted.  But if there’s another “field” nearby who is waiting for their water to be given, the “wasted” water does become an issue, just a temporal one rather than a concern of “water lost.”  I got to hold the tubs.  Definitely the crowning moment of my masters thus far…  ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More options for next year...

I had a great chat with the coordinator for the Marshall Scholarship administration yesterday. I have been encouraged to consider LLMs at Aberdeen and Edinburgh as well, and development studies programmes at the University of Sussex.
I really must narrow this down eventually.
The good news: I don't need to get applications in until late January. The great news: there is finding available for my traveling to all those universities to explore them and chat with course directors. One major tour of Scotland coming up!

Friday, November 23, 2012


Flat 21 of Mary Chapman Court did not mess around with Thanksgiving this year! We had a wonderful dinner with 11 people last night. Nationalities included American, British, Kazakhstani, Thai, and Bangladeshi. Food included a whole turkey (which was cooked brilliantly by the lovely Audrey), mashed potatoes, au gratin potatoes, mac and cheese, asparagus, rolls, turkey gravy, "cranberry sauce" (Norwich ran out of cranberries. Sowe hadcraiisins with apples and blackberries. But it tasted quite similar and went over very well!), pumpkin pie, stuffing, and chocolate caramel bars, almost all of which were homemade.
We had a ton of fun. A group of people from very different cultures who don't really know each other is always a bit nerve-wracking, but it went over brilliantly. All was fun and laughter, and it was really fun to introduce our foreign friends to the insanity of Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Next year...

Where and what should Becca study next year? Votes, comments, and suggestions are now invited!

I am planning to do another one-year programme, followed by a three-year DPhil or PhD in geography. So I am leaning toward a non-explicitly environmental programme next year, just to dive into a different way of thinking. The current top two programmes are:

  1. LLM at the University of Glasgow in International Law and Security.
  2. LLM at Queen's University Belfast in Human Rights.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Venturing to class...

I left my flat today for the first time since Friday night. I'm still feeling rather shaky, but wanted to attempt at least a half day. I warned my social analysis professor at the beginning of the class: "This is the first time I've left my flat since Friday night, so I'm sorry if I have to leave early. But I love Harri Englund [the author we're discussing today], so I had to come." Social analysis instructor: "Alright, well, I'm sure it's reciprocal." Hahaha. Yes, I'm sure a distinguished professor of anthropology at Cambridge knows of and greatly appreciates my respect for his work. Thanks, Ben.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Uh oh

Becca is experimenting about whether or not being sick in the UK is more enjoyable than it is in the US. So far, result are inconclusive. She'll get back to you on that.

Friday, November 9, 2012


As a fellow Marshall Scholar pitot: "It's cute watching you kids back in America get so excited about "Skyfall." Advantage to living in the UK not often thought much about: certain movies premiere here earlier. Such as the British ones.
I haven't actually SEEN the new James Bond yet. I am not really that big a fan - too much violence. But it's fun being able to hold the possibility over my US friends who are fanatics.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I got to play with the two-year-old today. It had been far tool long since I'd seen him, so that was delightful.
The morning included a dance party session, during which two stuffed rats were made to sing and act such childhood favourites as "Somebody to Love" and Barry Manilow's "It's a Miracle." I take no responsibility for the rats' actions, nor will I confess or deny having played "Le Jazz Hot." The kid's dad is a jazz pianist, and it definitely shows. Played some jazz and he ran spastically and ecstatically around the room, repeatedly jumping onto his "stage."
When I left, he cried. Must be doing something right!

Sunday, November 4, 2012



I owe you all a blog post!  London was fantastic; the Development Studies Association Conference was delightful; "Matilda the Musical" was fabulous.

I need to write an essay, you might have to just sit in suspense.  And then I promise a vlog!