Posts tagged "Charlotte Dunlap"

What was your favorite London 2012 moment?

By Charlotte Dunlap  |  BSU at the Games

Olympic fans waiting in line for the live screening of the Closing Ceremony at Victoria Park, London, share their favorite moments from London 2012.

London through a local’s eyes

By Charlotte Dunlap  |  BSU at the Games

Jolting his hands up in the air simultaneously to the beats of the song, 21-year-old Fred Smiley was noticeably enjoying the concert at Hyde Park.

His trendy mohawk haircut matched the rest of his get-up—light gray straight-leg jeans with a snap-back hat attached to a belt loop, a blue zip-up and a neon-blue Adidas backpack.

In my eyes, Fred seemed to be a typical 21-year-old guy from London taking advantage of what the Olympic Games has brought to his hometown.

As much as Americans are intrigued with the British accent, I have come to find out that our American accent is just as if not more intriguing to people in Europe. Like any tourist would do, I asked the name of the band and after that one question, the routine “Are you from the States?” question started up a conversation that I found myself excited to be in.

Fred was down-to-earth, humble and outgoing. He seemed to be “in the know” about everything going on in London. So I took advantage of making a new friend and invited myself along to see London through his eyes for an afternoon.

12:20 p.m.

Fred rushed from the Oxford tube station to the nearest corner café, weaving his way in and out between the mash-up of people.  Fred had mastered the art of turning the body 90 degrees to slide in between oblivious passers-by on the street. Now living in Essex, Oxford Circus is a place he visits only when need be.

12:35 p.m.

Deciding on where the day’s meal would take place, Caribbean Bay was his decision. One would think the chosen spot would be Café Fred, located nearby, but Caribbean food was on the menu for lunch.

1 p.m.

Silverware = cutlery, Fred said.

1:05 p.m.

Precisely explaining the components of the jerk chicken meal, Fred opened his grape soda and started into his meal. “London is a much more lively place to live,” he said. “I moved to Essex a few years ago and I like being able to come to London whenever I want. It’s a short trip”.

1:20 p.m.

“O.M.G.” Fred said. He paused for what felt like an hour. “I swallowed the bone,” he said. Coughing repeatedly, Fred guzzled his grape soda, anxiously trying to get the chicken bone that he swallowed to slide down his throat.

1:26 p.m.

Fred sighed with relief that the chicken bone finally passed through his throat. “You know, American girls have a glow about them,” Fred said. “You can kind of tell who’s from America and who’s not.”

1:40 p.m.

Strapping on his neon-blue Adidas backpack, Fred made his way to the door and took a left down the street. “See, I only go shopping when I need something. … I am in and I am out,” he said.

2 p.m.

Strutting into Niketown, Fred was shocked at the amount of people shopping. “Honestly I have never seen this place so full … The Olympics have done so much good for all these places. It has brought in so much money,” Fred said.

2:30 p.m.

Fred was patient with the hectic sidewalks slammed with people as he went in and out of different shops, mostly shoe stores. “It is nice to come to this area when I want and not live here. The Tube is only a short distance from Essex,” he said.

2:45 p.m.

Kindly taking a bottle of water that was being passed out on the sidewalks, Fred remembered he had obligations outside of town. “I have to go pick up a car that I am using for a week,” he said. “Most of us don’t have cars around here, its pointless. Insurance is outrageous for us at this age to drive.”

3 p.m.

Sharing a few last words, it was obvious Fred’s personality not only blasted through his style, his gestures and his laugh, but also through his genuine aura. “I am traveling to L.A. for a month here in a few weeks. I know it’s where I have to go to make something of my passion for acting,” Fred said.

3:10 p.m.

Without seconding-guessing himself, Fred smiled and was on his way, blending right in with the rest of the rushing crowd toward the Tube station. “Good luck in London!” he yelled.

Charlotte Dunlap is a senior telecommunications major at Ball State University and features reporter for BSU at the Games. Follow Emily and the BSU team at @charr_mariee@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

From my Grandmother’s backyard … To yours

We seem to think we always have to be on the go—our mindset programmed to fast forward. Living a life set on fast forward may be good for some, but when I remember to take a minute and press the pause button, I am overwhelmed by an indescribable feeling.

Working on stories, my body had been cemented to the kitchen chair for what felt like only five minutes, but in reality was tiptoeing on six hours. The emptiness in my stomach turned into a nauseating feeling taking over my concentration. When I finally succumbed to the growling noises in my stomach at 10 p.m., my flatmate and I went out in search of dinner.

Our decision was easily made for us as we approached the last restaurant on the strip of South Bank, “Giraffe”. The faultless scenery and perfect weather added to our very European dinner of nachos and bruschetta.

It was while we were waiting on our check I had unknowingly pressed my own pause button.  A serene feeling came over my body, and it was then when I finally allowed myself to be in the moment.

Our waiter seemed to enjoy chatting with us and didn’t hesitate to point out that we weren’t from Europe. He began to talk about his childhood of growing up in Peru and the memories he had as a child. For a minute, I thought that I was in the backyard of his grandmother’s house, too.

“Every morning, I would wake up and go sit outside on a swing my grandmother had in her backyard. The sunrises in Peru are unforgettable,” our waiter said. The picture he began to paint felt as if it was just yesterday morning he had been there.

“Sitting on the swing, the sun resting on my face every morning, I will never forget it. I miss it,” he said.

Not only was I living in a “pause” moment, our waiter was too. This moment is a universal place everyone around the world visits—the place we go in our heads that makes us feel at home.

The options of what to do in London at night are endless, and that’s why my flatmate and I decided to do nothing at all after dinner.  As we walked home, our conversations subsided and the serendipitous evening we had just had became one of the best moments I have had in London.

Charlotte Dunlap | Features Reporter

@charr_mariee

Fans share their thoughts on Olympic Games, host city

By Charlotte Dunlap  |  BSU at the Games

Everyone has their favorite sports, their favorite places to dine, to shop, to grab a drink and some sort of bucket list of things to accomplish when we travel.

The streets of London are full of eager bodies attempting to tackle all the hot spots and must-sees in their spare time. Any good traveler knows having some type of game plan is the only way to make the most of a trip. That plan can consist of a to-do list, an itinerary or, as some people call it, “winging it”.

Regardless of their approach, how has London met their expectations?

“I am very surprised with how orderly everything has been arranged,” said second time London-goer Chakri Munipalle from South India, who wanted to show his son “

“There is no traffic jams, no rush anywhere with travel. It’s been very nice,” he said. “We have seen the Opening Ceremonies and it was fantastic. Wasn’t it, son?”

“It was amazing” said Mudrach, Munipalle’s 8-year-old boy.

Embracing her boyfriend as they walked down the windy dock, Georgina Dunn, a London native, was en route to see an art show at the Tate Modern.

“I think it’s been great so far. It has been quite touristy, but that’s not a bad thing,” said Dunn. “But everyone is just so positive, in really nice spirit; we’ve enjoyed it so far.

“And the transports—not too horrendous, which is a good thing.”

Likewise Liverpool resident Alex Turner said he hadn’t had a hard time navigating all the increased pedestrian traffic.

“It seems really really well organized. It seems really friendly. London is always busy, but it has gotten more noticeably busy,” he said.

Turner and his friends were attending multiple events and were very pleased with their trip thus far.

“We went to see the boxing last night and that was really good … and just getting to see the Olympics, that they are actually here ” said Turner.

He went on to share his personal advice to anyone planning on making the excursion.

“Bring your credit card,” he laughed. “It’s expensive!”

Festive and energetic fans lined the wall overlooking the Thames, where the remarkable, not to mention giant Olympic rings were to be found. Decorated in their country-of-choice’s memorabilia, people placed themselves precisely in the right position for their picture to be taken with the rings.

Among them, a British ex-pat named Maryanne, visiting from her home in Canada, was enjoying the general spectacle.

“I think it started off with the Diamond Jubilee earlier on in the year, in June, and now it’s moved over to the Olympics,” she said. “I think people are proud to be part of Britain and enjoying showing the world what Britain’s all about.”

Charlotte Dunlap is a senior telecommunications major at Ball State University and features reporter for BSU at the Games. Follow Emily and the BSU team at@charr_mariee@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Just another normal summer on the streets of London

By Charlotte Dunlap  |  BSU at the Games

Swiftly walking down the strip of South Bank, it didn’t matter if you didn’t have a clue where to go or what to do, because the immense crowds of spirited people were the decision holders. The rush of traffic left people standing in line for the London Eye or down the path of the notorious street entertainers.

The variety of acts seemed to make park goers very intrigued on what was on display. There is someone—or something—to watch for any age. Words of reactions weren’t needed; the facial expressions of people said it all. Some screamed excitement, others content, a few disgust but most were energetic and eager to see more.

The beats from blaring music carried down the path of entertainers until crowds began to deplete from the one-man-band acts. It was the last act on the block, and they call themselves One Motion.

“We’re all from London, been dancing here for a while. But we do have some guys who are from other places … Korea, Japan, some French guys, but basically London is our central place,” Ude said, leader of One Motion Dance Crew.

As the sonorous beats continued, space to spectate became limited. The amorphous break-dance moves fed loose change to the bins imperfectly placed around the checkered dance mat.

“I like the fact that the work that you do here is up to you. Whether you want to work or not, you’re your own boss, you get to work with friends, you get to meet a lot of interesting people, it’s a nice lively place to work, its really good fun,” Ude said.

Children gazed as the team’s routine seemed like nothing they had witnessed before.

“The dream of the crew is to just keep dancing. To get young people to join in, to train other people up to do the things that we do, and to do better … to do more,” Ude said.

The flashing of camera lights, the in-sync clapping and the roaring of the crowds gently faded as the crew called it a day.

Sometimes words aren’t needed to deliver a feeling, and for One Motion Dance Crew, their ineffable dancing does all the talking.

Charlotte Dunlap is a senior telecommunications major at Ball State University and features reporter for BSU at the Games. Follow Emily and the BSU team at@charr_mariee@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.