26 July 2013

Day 37 - London

Today and tomorrow are completely free days - today was a non-academic day, and tomorrow we are scheduled for our "final exam" which for our class means submitting our research problem statement and research questions, which I spent some time on tonight and emailed them in already so I don't have to think about it anymore! I love researching family history, and that is what led me into the LIS profession, so I decided to combine the two and look into how family historians are perceived and welcomed (or not welcomed) by archivists and librarians over here versus in the US, while also investigating the resources available to genealogists. I found it so interesting that so many little tiny public libraries had family history sections, and how open and welcoming they are to genealogists, because it seems that some archivists in the US almost look down on genealogists, thinking that they are not true researchers. I also discovered that there are so many places that you can use to trace your family history, such as at the British Museum and their records of correspondence or their readers cards.

I set out bright and early this morning with Kamilah, Allison, and Liz to hit up Primark before the hoards of shoppers descended. Primark is my new all-time favourite UK clothing store (sorry Topshop, you've gotten a bit too pricey!) However because it is so inexpensive, it gets insanely busy (like waiting over half an hour to get into the fitting room, which is what I did when I went a few weeks ago). Kamilah had the awesome idea to get there right when they opened, and we did just that and it was perfect! I got four things for 30 pounds (which is $45). Then we stopped at Dorothy Perkins, which offers a 15% discount with a student ID card and I found jeans that actually fit and won't need to be cuffed or hemmed, so I had to buy them. I'm not quite sure how everything will be fitting in the luggage, but we'll get to that tomorrow. 

Then I went out to Hampstead Heath, in the north of London. It is a great big park (or heath), with lots of paths for walking, bicycling, or riding. There was even a bathing pond and lots of athletic fields! I started at one end of the park, and wandered all the way through to the other side, spending a few hours doing so. You'd never know you were in London:
I stopped for awhile at Parliament Hill, which has a lovely view of London (you can see St Paul's and the Shard in the center)
Back at the flat, it was time to work on the problem statement. For dinner I went down to the Thames and got a pizza from a little food truck, and just walked along the river absorbing everything. And I finally crossed the last thing off my London to-do list by walking on the beach of the Thames. There were tons of people around, and I'm sure they all thought I was crazy looking for stuff at the water's edge, but I will fully embrace my dorkiness especially when it means getting not only a seashell but also a clay pipe stem from the 18th century! Back then pipes were disposable, so when you were finished you just threw it in the river. It seems they can be pretty common to find, but I only saw one! 

Nothing is planned yet for tomorrow, except the one must-do is packing (unfortunately). 

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