Anglophilia

Thirty Isn’t So Bad

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I was doing so well sticking to my resolution to post a blog at least once a week, then these last two weeks I’ve completely failed. I’m going to blame it on being back in school (even though classes just started last week).

I should be spending my morning working on my lit review for my thesis, however I’m completely stuck. I have no idea where to even begin writing. I’ve spent most of my summer working on creative writing and blogging that I’m finding it hard to get into the mindset of academic writing. Then I’ve spent the last two weeks doing mainly reading and research for this lit review and very little writing. So I’m hoping this blog post will shake something loose and help me get back in the writing frame of mind (and for that reason I apologize if this post isn’t the extremely fascinating posts you’ve come to expect from my blogs; this is mostly an warm up exercise to get the juices flowing).

Last week I turned 30. On the day I turned 30 I wasn’t actually celebrating my birthday, not because I had anything against entering my thirties (because strangely I don’t) but because I was celebrating another occasion. A friend of mine since I was 6 or 7 years old got married on my birthday. Celebrating her wedding with her and her family was much more fun than celebrating my birthday (plus, there was free food, cake, music, dancing and an open bar – WAY better than any party I could have planned for myself). It was a great way to start a year that so many people dread. I am completely fine with being 30 – especially because so far my 30th year is looking pretty awesome.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances I should have this thesis completed and finish all classes required for my Master’s degree by December, which means I will be able to graduate in May. Since I’ll technically be completed in December I am hoping that means I’ll be able to find an adjunct position (or several) somewhere for next semester. I’ll finally be able to find a job that’s within my chosen field (don’t get me wrong, I love my current job and plan to stay there as long as I can make it work while still teaching part-time).

Last night I received a text from a good friend of mine announcing that she and her boyfriend (whom I also consider a good friend) are now engaged. I am so excited for them. I have no idea whether or not that wedding will happen during my 30th year, but it’s still something to look forward to, and I look forward to hearing all about her wedding planning, etc. in the coming months.

Also coming up during my 30th year is an 18-day trip to Europe and I can’t even describe how excited I am for this trip. We’ll be spending time in Ireland (oh how I’ve missed you!), England, Scotland, Wales and I just learned last night we’ll also be spending two days in Paris. I’ve never had a strong desire to visit Paris, with the exception of the Louvre and Notre Dame, both of which are planned stops for the tour so I’m extremely excited. Traveling is by far one of my favorite things to do (honestly, I wish I could afford to just travel the world without having to work, that would be perfect) and I’m extremely thankful for being given the opportunity to go on this adventure in June.

So, 30 isn’t looking so bad. I have a lot of things to look forward to (and I’m sure there’ll be many more as time goes on) and I’ve decided to embrace this new era of my life. Thirty is going to be a good year, I can feel it.

And now that I’ve rambled on about that, I should probably try writing some of this lit review. Does anyone have a good opening sentence about genre theory and using multi-genre projects in a Freshman Composition classroom?

A Little Love for Shakespeare

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Coriolanus

I love that National Theatre Live broadcasts productions all across the world. It’s a great way to see brilliant British theatre productions when you’re stuck stateside, like me (I’m still lamenting the fact that I can’t be in London in December to see David Tennant as Richard II). Last summer I saw Frankenstein, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller this way. That was an incredible production, and I’m hoping they show that again someday, so I can see the version with Cumberbatch as Frankenstein and Miller as the Creature.

Obviously, January is several months away, but when Tom Hiddleston tweeted about this I got really excited. Not only am I a fan of Hiddleston (if you only know him as Loki, please look up some of his other works, he really is a terrific actor – not that he isn’t terrific as Loki; I’m a huge Marvel fan as well), but I’m also a huge Shakespeare fan, and I love when my favorite actors and my favorite authors combine. I’m currently working towards a goal of reading all of his plays in the next year – I want to have them all read before I visit Stratford next summer. Coriolanus just got bumped up a little higher on the list, so I can have it read before this airs in the United States. Tom Hiddleston and Mark Gatiss doing Shakespeare together? What’s not to love?

Also, if you’re a Tom Hiddleston and Shakespeare fan in the US, keep an eye out for The Hollow Crown which will be airing on PBS in the fall. It’s an adaptation of Richard II, Henry IV 1 & 2 and Henry V that is absolutely brilliant. I’ve only seen the first two, but they were incredible and I can’t wait to see the rest. The entire cast in those productions is amazing – Jeremy Irons, Ben Whishaw, Patrick Stewart, Michelle Dockery, Joe Armstrong … all are amazing.

And finally, if you’re a Shakespeare fan then you will absolutely not want to miss Much Ado About Nothing directed by Joss Whedon which will be released nationally next weekend. Much Ado is my favorite of the comedies and just knowing it’s Joss Whedon and Shakespeare means it’s going to be epic. Also, if you’re a fan of Whedon, then you already know the entire cast.

There’s my little spiel about upcoming Shakespeare adaptations. You are welcome.

When My Inner Nerd and Anglophilia Conflict

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A little less than a year ago I wrote this blog in which I promised myself that I would start saving my money so that in 2014 I would be able to afford a trip to San Diego Comic Con. I know what you’re all probably thinking, I’m not just a nerd, I’m a Nerd with a capital N. … And you’d probably be right. To some spending that much money at a convention that celebrates nerds is probably a giant waste of money, but it sounds like so much fun and just once in my life I wanted to be able to experience the long lines, the crowded rooms, and the feeling of being surrounded by thousands of people who are just like you. For the last couple years I’ve heard reports from friends who have gone (and saw their photos with Joss Whedon while he visited fans in line for the Firefly panel last year) and I really just wanted to have that experience for myself, just once. Sure, I had gone to a Supernatural convention before, but that would be nothing compared to the scale of Comic Con (though VanCon was awesome, and Vancouver is a gorgeous city).

From the moment I posted that blog I kept my promise. Every month I put money into a savings account intended to buy my ticket for the entire weekend, a flight to San Diego and all other expenses while I was in California. I was well on my way too – By January I had already saved enough for the ticket and was busy stockpiling the money for the rest of my expenses. I was definitely keeping up my end of that particular bargain, and I was really excited about the idea of going to Comic Con. Then one day my Aunt called.

Five years ago my mom, brother, two aunts and I took a trip to Ireland. We toured around the country for two whole weeks and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. (You can read a little taste of my trip here: I Remember Ireland.) From the moment I set foot on Irish ground, I felt like I belonged there and ever since I left I’ve dreamed of going back. Along with returning to Ireland I’ve also dreamed of visiting Scotland, England and Wales – particularly London, as I am a huge fan of nearly all things British.

So my aunt calls us back in February and asks if I would like to accompany her on a 16-day trip through Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. I would get the chance return to Killarney and Dublin, plus see some of the sites I’ve dreamed of seeing in the UK – Edinburgh, London, Stonehenge, Shakespeare’s birthplace, etc. (I mean look at this trip! It’s a dream come true!) I’d even get a chance to ride the London Eye! The only downside is I would have to choose between this trip, and Comic Con.

Now, I may be a huge nerd, but I am definitely not a big enough nerd to give up a trip to the UK in favor of a few days at Comic Con (or perhaps I’m just a bigger Anglophile than a nerd). I didn’t even hesitate – of course I wanted to go to Europe, even if that meant giving up my chance to go to Comic Con.

So, I unfortunately won’t be attending Comic Con in 2014. While I’m a little disappointed to be missing my chance, I know my time in Europe will more than make up for it. And I’m not giving up the dream of someday going to SDCC; it’s still on my Bucket List and hopefully someday I’ll make it – just not next year. Instead, I’ll be crossing other items off my Bucket List in 2014 and fulfilling other dreams.

Exactly 53 weeks from today I’ll be on my way back to Ireland, and I cannot wait.