Monday, June 6, 2011

much more to discover

"We reached what I now know was Victoria Park.  Far enough.  Far enough away from territory I knew, that northern spine: Stockwell, Kennington, Waterloo, Charing Cross, Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road, Camden Town, Chalk Farm, Belsize Park...the uncharted territory of this East London park, without tourists or celebrated views, was mysterious and alluring.  Anna and I came away delirious, appreciating that there was much more to discover.  About London.  And about ourselves."

-Iain Sinclair, Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

a good book

I started reading this novel on the tube, and between Mile End and Tottenham Court Road I only made it four-and-a-half pages in--because I had to read them twice.  They were that good.  And the rest of the book was just as satisfying.  I love Helen Garner's writing style.  She is a master at saying a lot with a little, leaving just the right amount of open space for readers to fill in themselves.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I went to Edinburgh a couple weekends ago with Rachel and her friend Carolyn. They both go to Brandeis College, and we stayed with another Brandeis girl, Becca, who is studying in Edinburgh for the semester. It was a successful trip. We walked all over the city, went to a couple museums, had a couple fun nights out, ate some good food (deep-fried Mars bar, anyone?) and scaled a volcano!

We liked the section of the museum designed for young children the best.  You are never too old to play dress up:

On our way to the volcano.  Beautiful day.

But very windy!

At the top!

We rewarded ourselves after our volcano adventure with hot chocolate from a place called Chocolate Soup.  So good!

I was enthusiastic about jumping for the camera on this trip.  Behind us is a national monument, never completed.

I liked Edinburgh a lot!  The weather was totally sporadic.  The sky alternated between pouring down sunshine and pouring down rain.  But mostly sunshine.  Apparently, fried Mars bars are a "thing" in Edinburgh.  So delicious, in a slightly disgusting kind of way.  We cooked dinner for ourselves two nights we were there--stir fry.  It ended up costing 2 or 3 pounds a person.  We also ate at a mosque kitchen twice.  The food was delicious, and we got huge platefuls for under five pounds.  My favorite part of the trip was definitely the volcano--so exhilarating!  The wind at the top was so strong I could hardly stand up, or breathe.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

well hello, Gerard Manley Hopkins

On the tube the other day, I saw one of my favorite poems! It is part of a program called Poems On the Underground. I think it's a great idea: so much better to look up and see a poem instead of an advertisement for Easyjet.

The Windhover

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Sunday, May 29, 2011

heartfelt junkmail

This was in a spam email I received today--I only opened it because it was in my Westminster inbox, which, like, NEVER gets spammed. The message made me smile:

I wish I sent your blessings that strikes you the most fresh and worth reading a hundred times, and wish you a happy happy happy birthday!.

Aww, thanks! Five months too early, though.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

paparazzi, ping pong

Yesterday was a tribute to the East End.  Rachel and I went to the Whitechapel Art Gallery, then to Brick Lane for beigels (that's the local spelling).  We played paparazzi to the hipsters.

I like the above image because it presents two prevalent demographics of the area.

Beigel in a brown bag = the must-have accessory of Brick Lane.  That, and oversized glasses, skinny jeans, and a single-gear bicycle.  Extra points if you are carting around a large piece of artwork.

Later that evening, we went to the Book Club in Shoreditch.  Dj's downstairs, a ping pong table upstairs.  I left my friends to go to the toilet, and ended up getting sucked into the ping pong crowd.  I teamed up with a sweetheart named Yaz and impressed everyone with my American ping pong skills.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

still getting the hang of this British thing...

Erling: I'm going to go make a cuppa.

Anne: A cuppa noodles?

Erling: No, a cuppa tea.

Monday, May 23, 2011

food & fashion

The other day, Esther and I went to one of the most delicious places in London: Borough Market.  I've been there a couple times before, but Esther had never been.  Considering one of her goals is to have an "eating day" before she leaves London, she was a GREAT food-market buddy.  The sun was out and the food was tasty.  We got baguette sandwiches: mine had wild boar and venison, and Esther's had lamb in it.  We ate in the courtyard of Southwark Cathedral, where lots of people and pigeons were enjoying the food and the sun.

Berry cheesecake for dessert!

Afterward, we decided to follow some signs we'd seen for a fashion and textile museum.  They led us down a street right by the Shard, which will be the tallest building in London once it's completed.  It was a part of London I'd never been in before, and it was really nice!  It was a more residential area: I felt like we were in a separate, small town.  We happened upon a glassblowing demonstration--random, but fascinating!  That's the thing about this city: you never know what you're going to find down all these streets. 

We found the fashion and textile museum after backtracking--we'd walked right past it.  It was a little disappointing, because the only exhibit was one about men's clothing.  Let's face it, men's clothing is just not as interesting as women's.  It featured this guy named Tommy Nutter who designed suits on Savile Row in London.  There were suits worn by Mick Jagger, Elton John, and the Bee Gees.  Based on the suits, those guys were all pretty petite!  One thing I found interesting was this concept of "bespoke tailoring."  It refers to custom, handmade tailoring, and the term comes from the verb "bespeak," to speak for something.  Basically, your suit gets made the way you say you want it. 

We saw three brides on our way to the tube station!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011


I've been going to a church called Hillsong: it meets in a theatre which shows the "We Will Rock You" musical six days a week, right outside of Tottenham Court Road tube station.  I could attempt at this point to make some witty comment about how, on Sundays, people still get rocked in that building, even though it's a church service and not a Queen-based musical, but I have a feeling I'd just botch it.  (Well.  Too late.)

Anyway, I enjoy the services, and the worship team is incredible.  Apparently they write all their own music, and it gets used by churches all over the world.  Not last week, but the week before, they had a guest speaker named Lisa Bevere--from Colorado!  I'd never heard of her, but apparently she's a Big Deal: she's written numerous books and travels all over giving her sermons and talks.  And I realized that I'd never heard a woman pastor before!  Her sermon was very motivating.  It made me want to go out and accomplish all my goals and dreams and get my voice heard etc. etc. etc.  I realize those things may sound cliched and cheesy, but I think that to a certain extent it's important to buy in to them (well, of course it is!  Otherwise, how would anything ever get done?).  It made me realize how important the books you read and the music you listen to and the people you talk with are in terms of your personal development and outlook on life in general.  One cannot live on Sylvia Plath alone.

Anyway, I'm glad I found Hillsong.  I go there with one of my flatmates, Esther, who is from Minnesota.  Afterward we usually go to Chinatown for dumplings and boba tea or to Chipotle for overpriced burritos.  It's great!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

at the British Museum

I enjoy looking at the people visiting museums as much as I enjoy looking at the artifacts and artworks; sometimes they complement each other.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I climbed to the top of the Monument today.  It was designed by Christopher Wren to commemorate the Great Fire of London "and to celebrate the rebuilding of the City," according to the official-looking certificate I was handed on my way out.  Three hundred and eleven steps up a narrow, spiral staircase.  The view is worth it, even though you are surrounded by chain-link fence.  It offered a different perspective of the city, since it's placed more toward the financial district, all those tall shiny buildings glinting in the sun, and hurried business people darting around. 

St. Paul's Cathedral

Tower Bridge

The Shard

The Gherkin

The Monument

  Afterward, I sat on a stone step thing surrounding a tree outside Monument station.  I saw a young woman leaning against a closed store front, having a cigarette.  She was wearing a leather jacket.  Her hair was dyed black, and she was slightly overweight, shifting herself from foot to foot.  As I watched her, she was approached twice by two different men, each asking her for a lighter.  Each time, she smiled and was polite, handing her lighter over.  The first guy was elderly; the second guy was young and handsome: grey trousers, shiny black shoes, a businessman on his lunch break.  She smiled at him differently than she had at the older man, and the smile remained as she watched him look down to use the lighter.  I was hoping he'd stay and chat with her, but he only thanked her and strolled away, leaving her with the remnants of a smile on her face, a cigarette in her hand. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Congratulations, Jason Cody!

Today my boyfriend is graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in Mechanical Engineering!  He has put in so much hard work and I'm proud of him.  I'm missing lots of  important events while I'm away, and this graduation is definitely one of the big ones...wish I could be there. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

the poetry cafe

Just got back from a poetry reading in Covent Garden, put on by a small London-based publishing company called the tall-lighthouse.  It was in a small cafe, aptly named The Poetry Cafe.  Went in and sat down at a table; the room was full of grey-haired, balding men drinking bottles of beer and glasses of wine and popping outside for smokes.  Eventually everyone filed downstairs and the reading began.  There was a university student, a girl, who had a sultry voice.  She read a poem in an American accent about a porn star.  All her poems were super sensual, and it made me laugh a little to realize the predominate age-range and gender of her audience in relation to her subject matter.  There was a man with wild curly hair from Wales who read a poem involving a bicycle in a narrow hallway, and a man in a cheesy checkered shirt who was over-the-top theatrical, not very poetical, who read a poem which was a riddle and the answer was The Oldest Man in the World.  My favorite was the man who went last.  He seemed so young, maybe a couple years older than me, and he had a distinctive accent--I'm going to try to replicate it for my flatmates so they can tell me where it's from.  His poems were very personal.  One of his poems, I think he said, was "written" by his young son: he simply shaped his son's words into a poem.  I liked it--the words were full of the unintentional wisdom of a young child. 

I ended up buying a poetry chapbook instead of a glass of wine, and striking up a conversation with someone on the tube ride back, which is a rare occurrence, in London.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

muffins, English ones

Scene:  Anne, Michael, and James are chilling in the kitchen.  Anne has just finished devouring scrambled eggs with cheese and red and green peppers and green onion, left over from her Chinese chicken salad.  Basically, she has become quite the cook.  James begins slicing an English muffin.

Anne:  Hey, do you call those "English muffins" here?

James:  No, we call them "muffins."

Anne's cooking skills become overshadowed by her inability to think before speaking.

Monday, May 2, 2011

all's well

The Globe Theatre

Saturday, April 30, 2011

british english: I still need a translator.

Lucy (looking up recipes online):  This one uses bazzle.

Me: What's bazzle?

Michael: Basil.

It's like when Anthony kept talking about an "eye-on" and it took me forever to realize he was talking about an iron.

the wedding

Yesterday I woke up and randomly decided to go to Hyde Park to watch the Royal Wedding on the big screens.  Honestly, I hadn't been in to all the hype over this wedding, but I figured I should take advantage of being in London during such a grand occasion!  I feel like there's two distinct outlooks on this wedding: there's the people who scoff and roll their eyes and say How Boring and What a Waste of Money, and there's the people who are so in to it, who waited with bated breath to see The Dress, who kissed their significant other as they listened to William and Kate's marriage vows.  The hopeless romantics.  Then there was me, probably more on the hopeless romantic side than anything else (The Dress was stunning!), but I'd like to think I was more of a neutral observer.  The park was so full of good vibes.  Everyone was waving British flags, and cheering and singing and showing their support to the so-symbolic couple.  Yes, they are symbolic, but when it all comes down to it, they are two young people who decided to get married because they want to spend their lives together.  (Um, yuck...maybe I should just swear my allegiance to the Hopeless Romantics?)

Anyway, the ceremony was beautiful, the choir boys were diverse, there were TREES in Westminster Abbey, and some of the most fantastic hats I've ever seen.  Behold.

(Photos from