So I realize that I never did resolve those cliff hangers and also I realize that there are all *sorts* of things that I have been forgetting to tell you about; so here is an attempt to remedy that:
Dinner in Highgate-
Sarah is a very nice girl from Oberlin who plays the violin. She and my flat mate Meredith met at the international students meeting and Sarah invited us to dinner. (Very nice of her to include me even though I wasn't there.) So Meredith and I hopped on the tube and trekked out to Highgate where we promptly got lost. Fortunately for us mobile phones exist and A-Z's are sold in convenience stores. About an hour after we were supposed to be there we finally arrived at Sarah's flat which is the top floor of a house belonging to a violin teacher and a bassoonist. She lives up there with four other violinists, which sounds crowded- but Sarah's room at least was very spacious and open. She had made vegetarian sushi which we gobbled down and then followed with oranges and tea. The group ended up being Sarah, Me, Meredith, Rita (Violin, Italy), and Dave (Composition, Nottingham) we ended up talking about politics which was fascinating with that particular mix of people and nationalities.
We've ended up forming a bit of a dinner club which has so far also included curry and has expanded to include Latana and Ed (Composition, Cambridge) and maybe Cat (Recorder, Oxford). We'll see how long it lasts.
Oh, speaking of food: I've volunteered to make something for International students/food day in November. So no rush, but can you think of any particularly American, vegetarian finger food type of thing?
On to the next- Silent Disco:
Silent disco was one of the Freshers week activites that I was planning on skipping. Fortunately Latana convinced me that I really should go, so I did. A silent disco involves wireless headphones and at least two DJ's and whole bunch of people bopping around silently (or, alternatively, singing along to a song that only they can hear.)It was a lot of fun and being the music dorks we are; we started playing a game wherein you try to guess which channel the other person was listening to based on what beat they were bopping along to. It was totally goofy and great- but hope they find a good way of cleaning the headphones because they got very sweaty and gross.
Have I mentioned that Latana is a truely amazing dancer? Because she really is- and she really loves it which is great because that means that she drags me along, but it is a little intimidating to dance near her because she is so, so very good. We went to the final night of the freshers week activites too which was great because there was a live band: Pandora's Jukebox (great name, huh?) made up of Guildhall students. They were awsome and were doing lots of jazzed up energetic versions of things like N*Sync and Destiny's Child and other poppy dance tunes.
This is the most substantial thing I have done so far. Each post-graduate department had a 10 minute slot to fill at the concert. The composition students were paired with the pianists and they had 24hours to write a new piece and then perform it. The strings did a movement from a Beethoven quartet, the brass dept. had a quintet playing Holborn consort pieces (I started hiccuping during this and didn't stop until halfway through the winds when the singer seated next to me gave me a sip of water. It was horribly embarrassing), the winds did a Strauss chamber piece with an overly enthusiastic conductor, the voice department sang a vocal version of Bolero (which was hilarious) and had a sing along for the Hallelujah chorus, and the Opera department did a scene from Die Fledermaus which was also hilarious.
For the part that I participated in they combined the Jazz, Music Therapy, and Leadership departments all together for a pair of West African tunes that we learned by ear and then arranged ourselves (sort of, there was a lot of assistance, but still) It was very confidence building in terms of my estimation of whether or not I can learn by ear- so for that reason alone I'm grateful. It was also fantastic to be grouped together with the other departments because now we have a larger group of people that we know we can work with.
When we performed we also sang another song with various harmonies. It had been taught to all the postgrads and since we all learned it by ear (and because it is very catchy) we have all been singing it ever since. Irritating? Yes! (And also a little bit great because after our group was done playing we segued directly into the song and the whole auditoreum burst into song. Burt in to harmony. It was a bit like living in a musical which is kind of what I have always wanted to do.)
So there you go. That is what I have been doing and I *think* now you are all caught up. Or at least, close enough.