English Society Valentine’s Social

I originally posted this on the University of Hull English Society blog, but I wanted to share it on my main blog as well so that you all know what I’ve been up to at the university and with the English Society. I recently became their blog manager/graphic designer, in addition to being International Representative. It’s been such a rewarding experience to be a member of the English Society’s executive committee, and being part of a team that’s so passionate about what they do. I’m really going to miss it when I have to return to my home university. Anyway, here’s a post I wrote about the society’s most recent social, Literary Lovers: A Valentine’s Event.

Last Thursday we held our Literary Lovers Valentine’s Event and had such a great time! We rented out the Clubhouse and paired up with the Harry Potter Society for a night of debates, trivia games, laughter and merriment.

The night started out with a vote on which famous literary couple is the most romantic, where we each had the chance to give a short speech in favour of our own favourite couple. We quickly realised that most of the famous literary couples are either dysfunctional, obsessive, or just plain creepy. Think about it. Romeo and Juliet, Catherine and Heathcliff, Gatsby and Daisy… need I list more?

After that we moved on to the big debate of the night: Did J.K. Rowling make a mistake by pairing Hermione with Ron? Should she have ended up with Harry? This was based on, well one, the Harry Potter Society joining us for the event, and two, a recent statement by J.K. Rowling where she confessed doubt in the match. Two members of the Harry Potter Society wanted to argue for the side of Ron and Hermione, which left two volunteers from the English Society to argue the case for Harry and Hermione.

The ‘Team Ron’ arguments were much stronger, as you can tell in this video of Jess struggling with her ‘Team Harry’ debate when her heart truly lies with ‘Team Ron’ (captions available).

The debate got more complicated when Jess accidentally said ‘Ron and Harry,’ which led to a member of the Harry Potter Society getting up to argue that it should have been Ron and Harry all along, which then led to a member of the English Society getting up to argue that it should have actually been Draco and Harry all along (and she actually brought up some pretty good points to support that Draco has been secretly, yet obviously, gay for Harry).

After these silly debates, we played a romance/literary-themed pub quiz (which a team of Harry Potter society members won!) and a couple of ‘drinking’ games (although, of course, nobody was required to drink in order to participate). It was quite an enjoyable night, to say the least, and I can’t wait to see everyone again at our next event!

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Évian-les-Bains, France

Évian-les-Bains was our last stop on our month-long European adventure. It’s a spa town in the French Alps, right along Lake Geneva. We didn’t really go anywhere during our stay in the Alps because by the end of our trip we were burnt out from constantly being on the go for a month. It was really nice to just relax and recover at the hotel—which, luckily, was the nicest hotel of our trip—and just enjoy each other’s company. That was possibly my favorite part of our trip.

We did explore the town a few times, which is where the pictures above were taken. The town is so charming and peaceful, with beautiful views of the lake on one side and the Alps on the other. There’s also an original Evian water source in the town where you can fill your water bottle up with free Evian water! It was a really nice town to explore.

I initially hoped to see some of Switzerland, but transportation was not only expensive but inconvenient with the railway between Geneva and Évian being under construction (and it will continue to be until 2017). I’ll write a post later on how to get from Geneva Airport to Évian-les-Bains with the current transportation situation, since it’s tricky and took us quite a bit of time and research to figure out.

Just Another Night in Nantes

Maybe it was the surprisingly-sunny weather our first day there or my general love for port cities, but I fell in love with Nantes upon arrival! It was also just a breath of fresh air to be able to admire French architecture and heritage without the crowds of Paris. I wanted to learn more about the city so we went to the Nantes History Museum inside the Château des ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany). 

It’s probably one of the best museums I’ve been to, and admission was only 3 euros (for those between the ages 18-26)! It had such extensive information of the city’s history; it takes you through what Nantes was like from medieval times to modern day. There’s even an interactive virtual tour of Nantes in the 18th century where you can tour the streets of Nantes as they looked 300 years ago. I was very impressed by the whole museum!

A famous museum in Nantes is Les Machines de l’île, but unfortunately it was closed while we were there (it closes annually for about a month in winter). That’s definitely something I’d love to see if I were in Nantes again.

I have to admit, our reason for adding Nantes to our itinerary was entirely based on Beirut’s song “Nantes.” The song is special to us and we couldn’t go to France without seeing its namesake city. Nantes ended up being much more than just a city mentioned by my favorite band.