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

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Clockwork Orange

Now that classes are over, I finally get to read books which aren't on a reading list.  I finished the cult classic by Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange, the other day. The narrator and many of the characters use a different kind of language peppered with strange words, which takes some getting used to.  Once I stopped trying to inwardly translate each unfamiliar word I came across, reading became much more enjoyable; their language took on a rhythm of its own, and the words, though all directly translatable to some extent, took on meaning beyond their English counterparts. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011


This past Wednesday, Rachel and I rode all the way to the end of the District Line to Richmond, which is in southwest London.  I'd been there before to meet up with friends at a pub, but that had been later in the evening, and I didn't get to see much of the area.  I'd heard it has amazing parks, so when we got off the train, we headed toward Richmond Park.  On the way, we passed some beautiful views of the Thames--we were tempted to veer off our course and just hang out by the river, but we decided to press on toward the park.  Once we got there, though, we were  unimpressed.  It looked so barren compared to what we'd seen on the way.  We turned around and went to the river.

We found a dirt path which wound along the river.  I felt like I was on a nature hike: London seemed ages away. We passed cows, and bikers, and families out enjoying the day.  There were benches all along the path, and ducks and geese and kayakers on the water.  There were houses along the other side with their own little docks and decks and gardens right along the river. I love Richmond! I wouldn't mind having a house along the Thames one day.  It all looked like something out of a painting.  Once we finally decided to turn around, the water level had risen; at one point, the path was completely flooded.  We took off our shoes and socks and waded across.  We found some stone steps to sit on and wait for our feet to dry before going back to the station, and watched three friends and three dogs splash around in the river.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I volunteered at the London Marathon on Sunday

We were stationed at Mile 19: it was amazing to see people's faces after they'd ran 18 miles! (I wish you could see faces in the photos I took...)

Canary Wharf

Fiona, Me, Vathany

Here are the questions I got asked the most:

Can I cross the street here?
Where is the tube station? 
What mile is this? 
Where am I?

And the number one question....
Where is the pub?

Friday, April 15, 2011


This past Tuesday I went to Dover with Michael, Anthony, Erling, Tharald, and Rachel.  We left Mile End at 9:30 and took the District Line to Victoria Station.  We were all a little worried we'd miss our bus, which was scheduled to leave at 10:30, but we made it with plenty of time.  The bus ride took about two and a half hours, and went by quickly.

Once in Dover, we looked around for a place to eat.  The town center was really small, with cobblestones and, oddly, a large t.v. screen which was just emitting static.  It was so random--it seemed like a UFO or something, or some Big Brother implement.  Anyway, we went into a small pub called Ellie's and got lunch; I got a ham and tomato toastie.  Then we climbed up to the castle, on top of the white cliffs.  It reminded me of being in Garmisch, Germany and trekking up to King Ludwig's castle--very steep!  But this trek wasn't as long.  It cost 11.50 to get in with our student discounts.  There were lots of school groups there that day, and I enjoyed watching all the kids!  I loved it up there--the sun was bright, and the grass was so green.  And yeah, the castle was cool, too.  King Henry II started building the castle in the mid-twelfth century.  There was also a Roman lighthouse, from when the Romans had a fort up there, way back when. The castle's defenses were constantly updated from the 1700's til WWII in response to every European war involving Britain.

When I told my mom I was going to Dover, she mentioned the Dunkirk Evacuation (though neither of us could think of the proper name for it at the time) and Operation Dynamo, when the British army was stranded at Dunkirk in France.  Thousands of men were evacuated and taken back to Dover, many of them in local fishing boats.  This took place in May and June of 1940.

After walking through the castle, we went outside and lounged around on the lawn by the castle for awhile.  Michael had brought a football to kick around.  It was nice to just relax and talk and laugh in the sun.  We checked out the church, and found what we thought were pieces of sidewalk chalk on the ground.  Then we realized they were part of the white cliffs!  I took a piece back with me.

We walked to the pebbly beach and got ice cream cones.  It was a clear day, so we could see the shore of France.  We skipped rocks and ate ice cream and buried Erling in pebbles.  I rolled up my jeans and walked into the water, which was icy cold.  Then we walked to one of the lighthouses (Virginia Woolf, anyone?).

Back at the town center, we got Subway for dinner, then got back on the bus.  We made it back to Mile End by 11:30.

I liked Dover a lot!  I kind of want to go back there, because I read that there's a really nice hike along the cliffs, which we didn't have time to do (too busy lounging around I guess).  Hey Mom and Dad, want to go to Dover with me...?


Monday, April 11, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

school's out, so is the sun

Classes ended on 1 April, and I have been devoting plenty of time to soaking up the sun.  Yeah, that's right Salt Lake City...London's been in the 60-70 degree range. My days lack structure (as will this blog post), especially since I still can't go running.  At first this really bothered me, but now I don't mind so much.  I have four research papers due one after the other in May, starting on the 6th.  I've finished my Shakespeare paper, and begun one for my World Travellers class, so I feel alright about getting them all done on time.  Most of my flatmates have gone home for Easter break, and will come back for the exam period in May--the flat's been really empty. 

I am pretty much broke these days, and so will not be going on any major trips.  That's what I get for deciding to live in London for nine months without employment, I guess.  I'm preparing to step onto American soil with not a penny to my name.  I have a few things I still want to do and see while I am here, but to be honest, I'm really ready to come home.  I wouldn't say I'm homesick: just ready to come home.

If there is one thing I've learned from moving around so much, it's that location doesn't really matter.  What matters is doing what you love (if that is not possible unless you live in a certain place, then this philosophy doesn't apply to you very well), and being with people you love.  I love to travel and I love to see different places, and I'm lucky I've gotten to go to school in so many different locations.  But people are important, family is important, and sometimes it's not enough--for me, at least--to "be there" for people when you're not really there, you're across an ocean or a country.

That said, I've been really enjoying spending time with the people I've met here.  Yesterday, I went with Michael to a farm (yes, a farm!) just down the road.  It was kind of like a petting zoo, open to the public.  Michael's been working on getting a cafe built there, and I helped them clear out the kitchen so they could knock down a wall.  I loved the whole concept of the place--it was so unique and family-friendly, and I hope the cafe happens.  That night, we made a chicken dinner at the flat.  Today I went to the south bank with Rachel, for a chocolate festival.  There were a bunch of tents set up from different chocolate and confectioner companies, many of which were offering free samples.  Afterward, we went to Covent Garden and window-shopped and watched a street performer, then to Chinatown (got my soba noodles) and Trafalgar Square.

Here are a few pictures taken in front of Pooley House from before everyone went their separate ways for the Easter holiday:

And here's some of us before going to the end of term party at Drapers:

This is Rachel being excited about the sun on the way back from Victoria Park the other day: