Last Friday, after driving down to Southern California for the weekend, Gordon and I decided to do some long exposure photography. We found an overpass just outside of downtown with Highway 110 gunning beneath it, took out our tripods, and started shooting. Here’s my best shot.
Climbing the Hollyridge trail to the Hollywood Sign was one of those things I’d wanted to do for a really long time, didn’t even know for sure was possible, and ended up being a lot harder than I expected. After leaving Santa Clara at 5:30am, Jamie and I arrived at the base of the Hollyridge trail just after 11:00am. We made pretty good time! It was already 90 degrees and the hike was a few miles more than we expected, but it was worth it when we got to the top.
You probably think I’m crazy. The brand new east span of the Bay Bridge just opened up the week before and what do I do? I go and photograph the side that didn’t change one bit. This was my third time going to this spot and the first time I tried doing a video. I decided to try some new things time time. I shot black and white for the few photos I took, and I did my best to get some really good time lapse video. Let me know how I did.
This is my bed.
My bed might seem like an odd thing to write about. It’s just where I sleep, right? It’s just MY bed.
I was told time and time again in our pre-departure meetings how small our living accommodations would be in London. Fr. Soukup would say “You’ll be living in the same neighborhood as some of the royalty, you just won’t have nearly as much space as them.” He was right.
I live in a flat (apartment) with 11 people in total, and I share a bedroom with two others. 5 guys, 6 girls, 6 bedrooms (3 of which are singles, all occupied by girls, 3 bathrooms, 1 kitchen/living room, 1 couch, 6 chairs, and a long narrow hallway connecting it all. If we all want to watch TV at the same time, we can’t. If we all want to do homework at the same time (which we do get every once in a while), we can’t. Really, the only thing we can all do at the same time is sleep.
This is a huge contrast from the past two years of my life at Santa Clara. I’ve been lucky enough to have my own room with my own desk, chair, even a couch for part of the time, and also two of my very own offices (one at Santa Clara in the yearbook office and one at Adobe) with more chairs and desk space (2 desks actually) than I knew what to do with. Having my own room actually allowed me to work more often and more effectively and, ironically, to sleep less.
Now that I am in London, my single bedroom and two offices have been replaced solely by my bed actually just the top half of my bunk bed.
Since, I’m on the top and can’t reach my nightstand, I sleep with my computer and phone right next to me with their charging cords stretched over to the wall. Thankfully I haven’t knocked either of them off yet.
Though I’m making this out to be sort of an extreme, I think all of the students that are here from SCU are realizing this cultural difference of using shared space much more than personal space. I’ve done homework outside in the park, in the stairwell, at a pub, at the Imperial College Library (when I can talk the guard into a one time guest pass), and in the basement of my building. I do all of my yearbook meetings with Nellie, Samantha, and Robert via Skype either on my bedroom floor or in the stairwell. My video meetings for Adobe usually happen on my bedroom floor or in the kitchen with both computers in front of me (I’m sure the ergonomics specialists would not approve).
A photo of a mosaic in one of the underground train stations in Paris.
So, a couple of weekends ago I took a quick trip by train through a tunnel that went through a small body of water known at the English Channel. Yes, 5 of my flat-mates and I decided to go to Paris for the weekend. It was our first weekend adventure. We left on Friday night after class, and made it back Monday morning just in time for my 9am class.
The train ride was fast, but not as fast as it would have been if I were smart enough to bring a book or iPod or anything to entertain me. But, I didn’t, so I did my best to peek past the guy next to me and through the little crack between the seat in front of him and the wall to watch the sunset. When the train ride started, the train announcers spoke English first, then French, but when we crossed the channel and were official in France, that changed and even the English sounded like French, they talked so fast. I knew I better learn some French…and fast. I took out my phone and typed a few essential words into Google Translator like please, thank you, hello, one, two three, etc. After my ten minute crash course, I was ready to take on Paris…hopefully.
Chipotle in London looks basically the same…except for a few minor differences.
So, many of you will roll your eyes and think “Wow, Ryan, really?!” when I tell you what I am about to tell you. But I promise, it was very educational and culturally enlightening. I had Chipotle for dinner tonight…and it was amazing. The store looked just like the stores in the US, the food tasted just as good, but there were some interesting differences.
Here’s the big clock tower at the Parliament building, where the famous bell, Big Ben, hangs.
They told us everything would be smaller here. The flats actually aren’t as small as I expected, even though I am sharing a room with two other Santa Clara students. But, the showers are very small, and I’ve already learned how easy it is to bump into the temperature knob and make the water freezing cold by accident. The grocery stores are smaller too. There are a lot of Tesco express stores around, which sells a lot of basics like cereal, pre-made sandwiches, soda, eggs, milk, beer, etc. They don’t smell very good, though, and the food isn’t even very good so we usually take the slightly longer walk to Sainsburry’s which is like a small version of Target. And they have a Starbucks inside. I went with a group from my flat because we all learned that towels are not provided and we needed to buy them. Unfortunately they were sold out of bath towels, so I ended up having to use a hand towel after showering for a couple days. Luckily my room is right across from the bathroom.
Just a few minutes after taking off over the San Francisco Bay. Oakland is towards the bottom of the photo.
At about 2:00 on Wednesday, September 5, I arrived at SFO and started running into other Santa Clara students also going to London right away. It was nice to find out my family wasn’t the only family that insisted on parking in an outrageously priced lot to walk me all the way to security to see me off (which was very nice). I had just enough time to grab a pizza for a late lunch, which would be my last real mean until dinner on Thursday.
After Robert and I set my camera up in the back of my car, we thought we would test it as we waved goodbye to Maples.
Well, no more Santa Clara until 2013! I packed up my entire room and I did it in record time! Thanks to Robert for coming down Friday for the photoshoot, then staying to help me pack. We both had a common goal in mind; we had to get to Sacramento in time to see Flip The Switch, The Secretions, and Chixdiggit play at the Boardwalk!
If you’ve seen Old Blue (my car), you have probably seen my Flip The Switch sticker on the back. They haven’t played in a really long time so it was great to finally see them again. They even snuck a chorus of “Call Me Maybe” into one of their songs. The venue wasn’t very full, but KJ from Chixdiggit described it well as feeling like a house party. The entire Chixdiggit set was made up of requests yelled out from the crowd. Not even a setlist.
Anyway, before we hit the road, Robert and I went to Chipotle (no surprise there), took a quick trip to the Sky Lounge in Swig, and I said goodbye to the yearbook office one more time. Finally, the bro’s down the street moved their beer pong table out of my car’s way one last time, and I said goodbye to Maples. Continue reading