Saturday, April 18, 2015

Photos from Northern Ireland

I gave you an overview of the itinerary in my last's some proof that it happened!

Scholars' overlooking the Bogside area of Londonderry/Derry where Bloody Sunday took place

 Michigan State University Marshall Scholars meet PR2 at the University of Ulster

 Scholars walk the Peace Bridge

A light-hearted symbolic moment as the Protestant 2012 Marshall Class Secretary carries the Catholic 2013 Class Secretary

 Scholars on a tour hearing local perspectives

 The beauty of Londonderry/Derry

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

To Belfast!

On the road again! This time to Northern Ireland. Each spring, the Marshall Commission takes us on a trip to one of the devolved British governments (Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland on a rotating basis). 
We flew from Gatwick last night and stayed in the lovely Europa Hotel - rich in history and one of the most frequently bombed hotels in the world, as it was popular amongst journalists during periods of more active conflict. 
Our itinerary includes an overview of the Northern Ireland Assembly and tour of Parliament, a wander through the Modern History Gallery at the Ulster Museum, a day trip to Londonderry/Derry, and a reception at the US Consulate. Also happening is another of the Marshall 60th Anniversary Celebratory Lectures, this one given by 1986 Scholar Anne Applebaum. 
The trip is serving as a lovely catch-up with several Scholars I haven't seen properly in far too long as well as a happy return to the beautiful hills of Northern Ireland - I haven't been since spring 2013!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Madalyn rocks the London Philharmonic

So, today was rather cool. Marshall Scholars are really quite epic.
Madalyn Parnas, one of my favourite 2012 Scholars (not that I have favourites, of course), just soloed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Philharmonic has a residency with Eastbourne Theatres, so a group of Marshalls and I travelled to the southeastern coastal town for a lovely daytrip. We frolicked a bit on the rocky beach amidst the white chalk cliffs and had a lovely lunch on the deck of a beach café.
Then we went into the Congress Theatre to be wowed by the amazing musicianship of the London Philharmonic, who played some Elgar and Beethoven on their own, and for the main event, Mendelssohn’s violin concerto…with Maddy making glorious, lyrical…I don’t even have a word. It was amazing. I honestly cried five separate times.
Joseph Joachim (19th century violinist) said of this concerto: “The Germans have four violin concertos. The greatest, most uncompromising is Beethoven’s. The one by Brahms vies with it in seriousness. The richest, the most seductive, was written by Max Bruch. But the most inward, the heart’s jewel, is Mendelssohn’s.” And Mad’s performance certainly lived up to that.
Check out Maddy and her sister on YouTube:
And learn more about her music online at 
I’m a very proud Marshall Mama today.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Holt Hall Retreat

I do things other than stay at Holt Hall in north Norfolk, honestly I do. But there have been a lot of trips of late...

This is the last weekend of the Easter holidays for schools, which means that the Hall is quite quiet, without many bookings from students and teaching happening. Enter Becca, the cohort of MSc Water Security students from UEA, and one or two Low Carbon Mentors, for a few days of crashing. There's been a lot of table tennis, a good deal of Bop-It (I feel like I'm back in the 1990s), and plenty of food.

Last night, Japanese and Ethiopian students tried their first s'mores. It was rather entertaining to explain to a group of people without sweet tooths why this was such a big deal...but they were grand sports about the whole thing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happy Easter!

It's not Sunday, but it's still Easter season!

After moving, I'm celebrating spring with some spring cleaning...made rather necessary by the utter delight that filled the flat Sunday night with a family dinner.

My cousin Effy and her flatmate Hantz came over, as did Alex's girlfriend Allie - and her visiting mum, aunt, and little cousin. They brought with them a family tradition of confetti-filled eggshells. A great deal of giggling commenced.


After the confetti toss, a bit of hoovering seemed in order...and I've still been working on getting properly moved in and whatnot. So here we are, some photos of my bits of the new flat:

Friday, April 3, 2015

Update from Becca

I've compiled the last few months of insanity into a newsletter that goes out to family, friends, and faculty. It's available on my website as well:
Check it out for more detail on recent happenings in the life of Becca, and comment below or email me if you'd like to be included on the newsletter's mailing list. I generally make one two or three times a year.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Mo

This week has seen me once again in Norwich and Norfolk, this time to pilot a programme of educational activities at the Sheringham Museum, lovingly called "The Mo" after a girl named Morag who used to live in Sheringham. The Museum includes a great collection of lifeboats that used to service the fishing industry on Norfolk's coast, as well as a lookout tower and telescopes highlighting the Sheringham Wind Farm. We had a great time with a small but fab group of students on their Easter holidays and a lovely frolic about the coastal rocks. Jake (another Marshall Scholar) came back to Holt Hall again to reprise his role as Low Carbon Mentor.

I am heading back to London tonight to actually and properly move into the new flat - and perhaps even have an honest-to-goodness sit-down meal with the new flatmate for Easter.

I have no comment on whether or not the buoy makes Jake look like a Teletubby...