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October 03, 2010

The WHOLE month of September...GONE, with a snap of the finger.. !

Hey Everybody!

It is so hard to believe that it has ALREADY been a little more than a month since I landed here in London, England. I sure have been experiencing quite the experience and can't wait to see what else I can tackle and include in my abroad...resume! Fun stuff!.

I would like to start off by telling you about an exhibit I saw for free at the London Scoop! Its called Tarnished exhibition of devastating power. I guess this is the environmentalist part of myself coming out, as this is quite frankly an exhibit showing mans destruction of the Earth and its resources.
I just thought it would be neat to show you this, because I was quite shocked! and I hope that we all continue to strive to become more sustainable in our daily living!

Taken directly from the website ...check it out! Tarnished Earth is a dramatic street gallery of photographs by Jiri Rezac telling the story of one of the world's biggest ecological disasters.

Chief Al Lameman of Beaver Lake Cree, a First Nations community in northeast Alberta.

Aerial view of the Syncrude upgrader and tailings pond in the boreal forest north of Fort McMurray.

Clumps of trees become isolated amid the destruction of the landscape around them.

Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SagD) tar sands operations in boreal forest, north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Tar sands extraction in northern Alberta disrupts the forest habitat of threatened species and contributes to global climate change.

Canada's boreal forest is one of the world's largest intact forests. In Alberta, this rich wilderness of forest is now under threat from the oil industry.

Emma Michael, of the Athabasca Chipenwyan First Nation, at her home in Fort Chipewyan, northern Alberta. She is witnessing the destruction of her ancestral lands by tar sands companies.

Tailings lakes, north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, are filled with toxic wastewater and oily sludge from tar sands processing.

A 'bituman' scarecrow designed to keep migratory birds from landing in the toxic sludge at the tailings pond of the Syncrude upgrader plant north of Fort McMurray. Behind the haunting figure, smoke plumes rise up out of the plant.

Open cast mining pits lay waste to an area that was once rich boreal forest.

Aerial view of the Syncrude Aurora tar sands mine in the boreal forest north of Fort McMurray.

Tar sands are deposits of sand and clay, saturated with water and a low quality oil known as bitumen.

Toxic waste from the extraction of oil from tar sands devastates boreal forest, northern Alberta.

Already visible from space, mining for the tar sands of Alberta has been called the largest industrial project on earth.

That night, a group of us were able to go to the Ain't Nothin' But the Blues Bar...and I wasn't disappointed AT ALL! In fact, it was pretty incredible. There was free music playing by a band called Jimmy C and the Blues Dragons... Quite the name huh? haha! They were quite the group, and I even got a picture taken with them! ha! It was great, and that blues bar hasn't seen the last of Matthew Semerad!

One of the palaces I recently visited was Hampton Court. It was probably the prettiest palace I have been to yet. Not because of the aesthetics of the building itself, but because of the landscape surrounding it. Some crazy trees were a part of the landscape and I swear... these trees were unreal! They were like giant mushrooms, and I probably looked like a nerd as I stood under them trying to examine the inner parts because I have never ever seen trees like them before. The gardens at this place were quite the treat...take a look!

This next point....was definitely a highlight!! I GOT TO SEE SISTER ACT : The musical!! YAY! It was so wonderful I just couldn't stop movin and a groovin in my seat!! Have you all seen Sister Act?? the movie? cause if you haven't you are missing out! All I have to say is that if the rest of the musicals I see while I am in London are as good as Sister Act was...I will be in HEAVEN! LITERALLY! =D

Last week, the group had an opportunity to go to a Celebration of the St. John's Bible in Words and Music Event in this TERRIFIC building called St. Martin in the Field with the reception taking place in a GREAT place called the Crypt! A picture of the entrance is was pretty cool!. So...I TOOK IT! and it was excellent! Beautiful music, free wine, a chance to meet (and get the autograph) of the Chief Calligrapher Donald Jackson, and a chance to attend a pretty high class event. (although I didn't know it was so prestigious until I got there..) I kinda felt out of place in my flip-flops...ooops, but at least I had on a nice sweater and a collared shirt underneath that sweater! right? =D

For those of you who don't know what the St. John's Bible is...well, here is a brief explanation.

In 1998, Saint John's Abbey and University (in Collegeville, MN - where I go to school) commissioned renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson to produce a hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible. This work of art unites an ancient Benedictine tradition with the technology and vision of today, illuminating the Word of God for a new millennium.

Because I couldn't have said it better myself, those words were taken directly from the website . Check it out!

A few nights later... A group of us guys went out and checked out the greatest street ever! It was a street filled with music shops...of all kinds! I was kinda disappointed though, because there wasn't a piano shop... :( only a keyboard shop. Thats ok though, because it was pretty neat to see! If any of you have been to London before, the street was called Denmark street..Anybody heard of it?

The day ended by eating out at the FIRST Hard Rock Cafe ever built! It was absolutely positively DELICIOUS....but I think that my family would die at how much I paid...but you know what, I needed that steak, I have been incredibly conservative so far, and I will never go there again! (can you tell I am trying to make myself feel better? =D =D) haha!

It was pretty cool though.

A few days ago, a group of us went to a Turkish mosque for one of my classes that deals with Islam. It was pretty neat to see! Never been inside a mosque before. Quite the experience. No chairs, no shoes, etc. Kinda different than what I am used to! A few pictures are posted below.
We ended the night by eating a Turkish meal..I had some chicken and it was pretty tasty. Forgot to take a picture of it, oops! And, we ate in our own little cubby, sitting down. very weird very weird. but relaxing!

Last night, we all watched the Johnnie/Tommie game on our computer...It was a great night..except, we lost. So that is the end of the Johnnie/Tommie game, because I don't feel like talking about it anymore.. :)(:

1 comment:

  1. Wow, it's so cool that you guys could watch the game all the way from London! Too bad we lost oh man it was CRAZY. Insults were thrown before, during, and especially after the game. I felt totally defeated when they missed the extra point. I got flipped off by a Tommie, which was a lovely end to it all. Anyway, enough of that. Sounds like you're having a ridiculous amount of fun in London. Wish I was there, well I wish I was ANYWHERE studying jealous of you all, seeing cool new places all over the globe.