Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Entries Tagged as '2010 Jamie'

HELLO?? Don’t You See me? I am right in front of you!!!

September 14th, 2010 · 5 Comments

In my home I was raised to be unafraid to go to new places and try new foods, things, etc. Usually that has included going to places that are not necessarily in accordance with my social-economic class in the states. We just bring out our best clothes, proper manners, and the green and we are welcomed in. So I was completely astonished, and baffled in a sense when I experienced firsthand the clear cut class division in London. I particularly felt it when a couple of us went inside Harrod’s, which is perhaps the most expensive store in England.

Harrod’s, if you don’t know much about it, is currently owned by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) a company whose worth is at $60 Billion. Harrod’s, however, was first founded in 1849 by Charles Henry Harrod making it the oldest and biggest high-end department store still in existence. ( For a more detailed history on Harrod’s visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10103783)

A group of five from my program ventured into Harrod’s after making our way to Hyde Park. The stores geographic location is just a couple blocks away from a little place called Buckingham Palace, perhaps you have heard of it.  The exterior of the Harrod’s building is very palatial, I even wondered if it was a state palace or something of the sort because it flies about 35 flags from around the world on its roof. I was soon corrected by my friend Pat, that the building I was staring at was none other than one of the most exclusive shops in the world. As we walked into this so called Harrod’s it became immediately apparent that this shop was made of money and produces a lot of money. In a sense it reminded me of going into the Belagio and Mandalay Bay hotel’s in Las Vegas, therefore it didn’t impress me so much.  Unlike the Belagio or the Mandalay Bay what became increasingly apparent was the discrimination that occurred by the employees of Harrod’s to people/ customers within the store. I have never before in my life been blatantly ignored like I was last week. The employees literally took one look at me and my clothing and turned away as if I didn’t exist. It felt very odd, horrible, and vicious all rolled into one feeling.  I stopped by the men’s shoes section just to gage the prices within this exclusive store, and to my amazement the simple looking loafer I picked up cost £850, in American terms that’s roughly $1,270 for a pair of shoes. Now if your eyes popped out at that figure do you imagine mine when standing in a room full of those prices? I know I don’t understand the concept of being rich because I have never been rich, but it really sickens me to see such pretentiousness just to show your higher status amongst the community.

So after I had this horrible encounter with wealth I decided to look into just who exactly works in Harrod’s and why do they feel that they have the right to look past me? To my surprise these sales associates win the same exact salary as sales associates in Macy’s or Nordstrom from back home in the states. They win roughly about $24,000 a year.(http://www.harrodscareers.com/page/benefits_and_rewards)  It amazes me that even the people who clearly are not part of that social economic circle feel that they have a granted right to treat others the same way they are treated. If there is one conclusion from this entire experience it is that I will never understand how wealth is equated to respect and the right to abuse people. People who genuinely believe in these two traits have a completely wrong way of looking at life.

Tags: 2010 Jamie · Uncategorized

The Tranistory Nature of Earthly Treasures

September 6th, 2010 · No Comments

As a college student in this day and age, the 21st century, certain aspects or principles of life tend to be on my mind like every other student in America. Specifically I ponder whether my future career will have worldly riches at the forefront or intellect and the communities well being. As my young mind tries to figure this out I was caught off guard in the National Portrait Gallery, in the section of the museum that is labeled “The Tudor Dynasty”. As this title suggests the majority of these portraits were of Kings and Queens and nobility ranging from King Edward II to King Edward VIII. However, among all these nobles and riches sat a man by the name of Sir Thomas Chaloner.

Sir Thomas Chaloner, unlike any of the other Tudors in that room, was not born into greatness but instead earned it, through sheer determination and the use of an insightful mind. He was a statesman, one of the first England ever saw. He served under four different Tudors, was knighted after participating in the war against the Scots in 1547; he is best remembered as the first English translator of Praise of Folly. Besides having such an amazing and extensive resume, what caught my attention was what I saw within his portrait. Just as I ponder about what my life will say about me, so did Sir Thomas Chaloner ponder the same question five centuries ago.  However, he was able to find an answer. His portrait depicts him in a frontal view with a very unwelcoming facial expression. In his hand he has a scale; on one side there is gold and the riches of the world on the other lies a stack of blazing books that outweigh the “transitory nature of earthly treasures.” Above him is a Latin inscription that refers to the Assyrian King Sardanapulus’ realization on material riches, “they fade black and begrimed with soot as though gold were nothing else but smoke…” ( You may find more information on the portrait at http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw01174/Sir-Thomas-Chaloner?search=ss&firstRun=true&sText=Sir+Thomas+Chaloner+&LinkID=mp00823&role=sit&rNo

Although I know Sir Thomas Chaloner, like the majority of humans, had many faults I commend him for devoting the intelligence he did gather for the improvement of society. I only wish to take the privileges I have received so far and will receive in the future to improve our 21st century society in one way or another; whether it be helping a child understand their homework , or having an active part in legislation. Only time will tell if I achieve this, in the meantime I will keep searching for my own answer.

Tags: 2010 Jamie


September 2nd, 2010 · 8 Comments

Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if we didn’t make divisions amongst each other based on race, class, culture, or religion? I have. I have wondered would it ever be possible to achieve this? Growing up in South-Central Los Angeles taught me two things; stick to those like you, and every man for him/herself. These “teachings” however always felt wrong, and they were. My parents ensured that within our household each member is open to different races, class, culture, and religion through the art of inquiry and respect.  But as much as my parents taught me this and as much as I practiced it I have never truly found it reciprocated. That was until August 30, 2010, location-the Notting Hill Carnival.

I had to travel 16 hours away from home, South -Central Los Angeles to find what I believed to be impossible. The Notting Hill Carnival began in 1964, as a way to celebrate the cultures and traditions of the Afro-Carribbean communities that reside in England. Over time it has become the largest street festival in all of Europe. (For further information go to http://www.thenottinghillcarnival.com/history.html) This festival, which celebrates, cultures and traditions of people not native to England itself could only reach its magnitude through support and participation of outsiders. That is precisely what I witnessed and felt this last Monday, August 30. As previously trained by experience, I expected the Carnival to be filled with Afro-Caribbean people and only a trickle of White-British people. To my astonishment the Carnival contained thousands upon thousands of White-British people who were not just there to observe this beautiful festivity but were actively participating through their wear, dancing, and eating of foreign food. It was bliss. It somehow gave me back that sense of hope that I had lost a while back; the hope that we as a people really can accept one another and beyond that celebrate one another’s differences.

Afro-Caribbean cultures were completely new to me. California, really only has cultures from Central and South America, and much of Eastern Asia. Therefore, before last Monday, I had never seen nor tasted Jamaican food. Luckily, I had Melissa Gurdon with me, a Jamaican-American , she quickly gave me the run through of Jamaican cuisine. After a plate of Jerk Chicken and Sweet Corn, I was in heaven. After seven hours of being in Notting Hill, Melissa and I, finally decided to hit the road and return to our home in Bloomsbury with a full stomach and a happy heart; hoping to return in one years time.

Tags: 2010 Jamie

Victoria Offline

August 28th, 2010 · 11 Comments

Our morning started out great: a nice breakfast, an exciting market to explore, and a seemingly easy route to the Walthamstow market. Upon arriving at the Warren St station, we discovered that the Victoria line, crucial to arrive at Walthamstow market, was closed for engineering. We had been warned that we might want to check to see if all of the lines were working as usual over the weekend… However, we all took that as a “make sure you know where you are going” warning rather than a “look up the closed lines online before you leave” instruction. Oops. Once we figured out how to get to Walthamstow (Central line to Liverpool Street Station to catch the National Rail up to Walthamstow Central), it was a breeze. An hour’s worth of breeze, in fact. Once there, we quickly located the market, which was about a block away from the station.

Our destination, Walthamstow market, had a wonderful selection of fruits, vegetables, clothes, pots and pans, handbags, toys, lace, material, and other random items- all very reasonably priced. People arrived with empty bags with wheels to carry their shopping home. (One lady complained to a friend that she had bought too much and her husband was going to fuss at her.)

It was a very demographically diverse area, we saw people from various countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and India. In the couple of hours we were there, we heard at least ten different languages. The vendors themselves were predominantly English or from the Middle East. When walking around the community, we noticed a multicultural center, giving us the impression that the community was aware of its diversity and more than likely sought a way to embrace it. Around the market were more specialized stores, which included fabric stores, grocery stores, candy stores, a Pound Power store (everything was a pound; equivalent to the American 99₵ store), and most importantly, a variety of cultural restaurants.

On our way back to the Arran House, we decided to be just a bit more touristy and take a double-decker bus to see more of the area and London itself. Seemingly great idea, but like this morning, it became a hugely complicated decision by a number of factors. Firstly, we weren’t sure what route to take because we were unsure of where in England they would take us. Secondly, when we did decide what route would be the easiest, we were unaware that the bus station we were at contained two other platforms; therefore we assumed the bus that would be the easiest to get back to the house did not stop where we were. After waiting for an alternate bus, only to watch it get full and drive off, we discovered our original bus did stop there- just further up the street! We ended up taking the 48 bus to Liverpool St station, catching the Central Line to Tottenham Court Rd and transferring to the Northern Line to Goodge St. Can you say HOME SWEET HOME?

For more info: http://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/index/environment/walthamstow-market.htm

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/nvHDEVwQrjY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Video on YouTube

Tags: 2010 Jamie · 2010 MatthewM · 2010 Stephenie

Mikey acts like a Tourist Jamie Saves the Day!!!!!

August 26th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Getting to our stop, once we figured out our route, was a breeze. Jamie and I were eating sandwiches at a local café when we noticed that our stop was mere paces from our eat-bench. We descended into the depths of the tunnel, and Jamie effortlessly passed through the oyster machine. I, however, put my oyster card into the ticket slot and, to the dismay of both the man working the booth and the annoyed Brits behind me, brought the machine to a grinding halt. After being called a foreigner and having my ticket retrieved, we proceeded to our first train, the Northern route. In a paradoxical move, we took the Northern route south to the District route. We had to race up a few flights of stairs and were looking around frantically for the green District route sign when the train dramatically pulled up right in front of us, and took us to our destination.
Our station’s name is Stepney Green, and the reasoning behind the name is rather difficult to decipher. We gathered several bits of information that led us to a couple of theories about why the name is so. The borough name is Stepney, and the station is painted green which would lead to a rather obvious conclusion. We also found out that there is a park called Stepney Green nearby, which could have caused the station to be painted green, providing the station with a fitting and identical name to the park. To determine the true origin of the name will require more research and investigating than our soaking wet, sleep deprived bodies were able to muster.

As we bravely ventured into this so called, Stepney Green, we were bombarded with  a crowd of people  moving toward unknown destinations at an amazing speed. It made us feel like we were late for something; along with being the only two people completely unprepared for the 30 min long rain showers. After orienting ourselves we began to notice the people on the street and the store fronts along the  street. Soon a trend began to form, we had arrived into a town that was predominately  Muslim and Indian. The women pushing the strollers on the street were dressed  in Burkas. Meanwhile, the shops along the street sold every type of spices necessary to create curries. The town was radically different of what Bloomsburry, where our temporary home the Arrand House is located, looks like.

The question remained as to where were we to find a monument in this maze of Indian store fronts. We walked for five blocks, stopping in store entrances  when the rain was unbearable or to seek dosages of caffeine to keep us awake. At the end of five blocks in pouring rain, our stamina was dwindling, we were about to return to the tube when  almost magically a monument appeared on the side of the building to our left hand side. The monument was dedicated to Captain James Cook Rivers, whom in 1759 surveyed the St. Lawrence River along with exploring the coasts  of Australia New Zealand and the South Pacific in 1769. After making this discovery, we swiftly made our way back to the tube, only to have a close encounter with a bus while crossing the street.

Since it was requested to use an alternative route on our way back, we decided to take the  Hammersmith & City( pink) to the Central route (red) getting off on the Tottenham and Court Road exit. After five flights of stairs  we were on the street level only to realize all the buildings and stores were unknown. Some sympathetic UK citizens saw our faces of confusion and tiredness and pointed us to the right direction. Home was just two streets over and five blocks away!

Tags: 2010 Jamie · Uncategorized