Monday, July 30, 2012

Leicester Square

Today we filmed in Leicester Square (pronounced les-ter) in the heart of London

We spent the afternoon asking Brits to attempt saying American phrases (video to come soon), and the guy on the left has the silliest American impression I've ever heard.

Photo credit: Cameron Hassler

The closest thing I have to compare Leicester to is Times Square in New York City, but the mood of Leicester Square is way different from that of Times Square. The people are calmer, and the storefronts less neon.

When I visited New York, I enjoyed the city, but I didn't feel at ease. Everything seemed so fast-paced and high-pressured, and the beauty was tempered with grime. London's different. Its people are friendly, its subway system is clear, and its streets feel bright.

I'm not sure if I'm tough enough to live in a big city long-term, but if I had to, I'd say my best bet would be London. Maybe I'm romanticizing it, but this city seems incredible. I'm still trying to put my finger on what it is I love so much about this place. I'll get back to you when I have the right words for it.

So I'm gonna go ahead and brag just a little bit.

In the words of Julian Smith, I made this for you.

Check it:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Settling In

Another day in England has passed. I finally got my official Olympics press pass, and I'm proudly wearing it around London. I love feeling official!

I'm losing track of the time and falling more and more in love with this place. It's calm, peaceful, and historic but somehow still modern and metropolitan. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to leave. 

Today Hillary and I went to the Olympic fencing match, where Lexingtonian Lee Kiefer competed. She made it through the first three rounds, but lost in the third. I was excited to see someone from my area go so far! I wore patriotic colors on purpose to support Team U.S.A.

I don't usually think of myself as a particularly patriotic person, but something about the Olympics brings out that national pride. I find myself wanting to wear red, white and blue and chant, "U-S-A! U-S-A!" like these guys:

And I'm not the only one who's feeling patriotic these days:
What is it about the Olympics that brings out this impulse in us? Is it our competitive spirit? Do we want to beat the other nations?

I don't think so.

I think it's that basic human drive to connect, to be a part of something bigger than yourself. The Olympics bring us together. They don't pull us apart. 

Call me sentimental if you like, but I'm drinking it all in. We all make the Olympics, and together we can inspire a generation.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Bit of the Brits

It's our second full day in London, and I'm still getting used to things on the other side of the pond. I hit a new low yesterday when I Google-searched "how to turn on a British shower." Turns out there's an overhead pulley beside the light fixture. Who knew?

We spent yesterday roaming London to gather b-roll footage - that is, all-purpose footage for filler in our news spots. Along the way, we learned that finding black coffee in London is nearly impossible and that personal bubbles are irrelevant in the tubes.

Finally, we wrapped things up with a shoot at King's College, Hampstead Campus. (Get it?) It was a nice change from the congestion of downtown London. I could really get used to life in this country.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

First Day Jitters

We're pumped.

Jet Lag and London Swag

After a harrowing journey from Lexington to O'Hare to Heathrow, I'm finally in the UK! Our group almost didn't make it thanks to some thunderstorms in Chicago, but eventually we got on the plane.

By the time we got off, we were significantly less chipper.

But after a good sleep last night, we're ready to start pounding the pavement. For those of you who don't know, I'm here with a group from Asbury University's journalism department. We'll be reporting on the Olympics for WLEX18 and Kentucky Monthly, and I'll be blogging as I go.

I can't believe this is my home for the next two weeks!

Keep up with my adventures here at Jane Loves Words, on Twitter @janeloveswords, on Asbury's London 2012 blog, or at the WLEX18 and Kentucky Monthly websites.

Monday, July 23, 2012

This is GSP.

For the last several months, any time someone asked me what I was going to be doing this summer, I'd pause for a second, unsure what to say.

"I'm working with GSP," I'd answer. "You know... the Governor's Scholars Program." Then I'd wait for the question: "Uh ... so what's GSP?"

And what is GSP, after all? It's the Governor's Scholars Program. It's five weeks. It's high schoolers from all across Kentucky. But those descriptions don't really explain GSP. It's not a summer camp, but it's not an academic camp. It's not high school, but it's not college. I've done it twice now, once as a scholar and once as an RA, and they were the hardest and best summers of my life.

GSP gives high-achieving high schoolers the opportunity to meet other high-achieving high schoolers and realize that they aren't alone. The scholars discover their passion and potential, and they learn that their talents are also their burdensthat those who can do, must. The confident ones discover that the world doesn't revolve around them, and the shy ones realize that their intellect doesn't have to alienate them. 

All of that might sound a bit dry, but on the individual level, it's life-changing. As a scholar, I discovered people who loved me. I learned that I could make friends and that I wasn't hopelessly awkward in all social settings. As an RA, I learned to love people and invest in them and give back what I'd been given.

So what is GSP? It's five weeks of magic. And somehow in those five weeks across three campuses, a thousand high schoolers form one community. There's nothing else like it. It's the lanyard hanging on my doorknob and the ugly green t-shirt in my closet. It's the bags under my eyes and the dirt on my feet. It's the warmth in my chest and the ache in my heart. It's GSP.

Video by scholar Katie Paxton.

Monday, July 2, 2012

In case you were wondering,

this happened.

BSB has nothing on GSP.