Thursday, May 7, 2009

Curtain Call

Well, I'm back home now. Got into MSP last night at about six, and proceeded to have a nice dinner with the parents before meeting up with Ian for Izzy's; I love my family. Also, big love goes out to my brother who vacuumed my room so that it is spider free and carried my suitcases upstairs when I wasn't looking. Those things were heavy, too... but not overweight!
HAH!

The flight home was decent. Watched Slumdog Millionaire and Hairspray, listened to music, read a magazine and chatted with my seatmate, a nice guy from California who'd recently retired. Food was pretty good too- pasta and ice cream. Not as good as what was waiting for me at home, but okay for plane food. And my last few days in London were a blast, too. Danaya and I tore the town apart, running all over, sightseeing, playing dress up, and hanging with Yoni. Finally got to the V and A museum, even though I needed like another three days to soak up all that was inside of it. Ah, well, next time.

But now the trip is over. I mean, BADA's been over, but now London's over. When I woke up this morning, it took me a minute to remember where I was. My room seems so big now... and there are no more accents. Even the buses looked weird to me. Am a disappointed to be back? No. There's too much good stuff here in the Twin Cities for me to be sad. But at the same time, this last semester has been an amazing experience, I'm not even sure I've realized the full scope of its impact. I have some new monologues under my belt, some new tricks for my bag. I've learned how to get around in an unfamiliar country, even ones where I don't speak the language. I survived walking home late at night by myself- I'm not saying that's something I want to do regularly, but back in freshman year I didn't like walking back from the theater building after dark, a whole block and a half... And yeah, there were bad times and sad times. Disappointments, stress, and what we'll call "learning experiences." But while it's true that sometimes actors are horrible flakes, they're a good group to have around anyways. There were definitely an abundance of good times, too. And I've collected a whole bunch of new stories, too. Which is always exciting for me.

Earlier this fall, I was talking to BenCorner who said of the aftermath of his Grand Adventure, his younger brother was a little taller, his hair a little shorter, and there was different food in the refrigerator, but other than that nothing much had changed. This is true now for me. Though I think I've changed. Couldn't tell you how. Certainly, not on the outside. This "back to school picture" lined up next to the others won't look any different. But then they never have. The experience is what I have I guess. That and the stories. Thanks then to the teachers who pushed me everyday, Group E and Midsummer cast for camaraderie and good times, friends and family who supported me. Thanks especially to David and Danaya, for the great last week in London. Along with Tamera, Greta and Anna who convinced me not to hop on the first flight home when things got rough.

And thanks to you, readers, for sticking with me. 64 posts, that's not bad for a semester. Hope you enjoyed reading them. It's been fun. Consider this the season finale, I suppose.
Over and Out.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

24!!!

It's my last day in London, yo!

It's been a really great weekend here. At first, when I got back from Dublin, I was just ready to go home. I was tired out, overwhelmed and everyone was leaving me. Plus it didn't help that every newspaper that greeted me on the tube either had pictures of broken bodies after the had been stuck by a car in the Netherlands, or the caption 94k will die from swine flu. No joke. But that's how the free papers work- they're really no better than the tabloids you read in the super market, (to refresh your memory, they're the people who called Michelle Obama "beefy"....)

But then I saw waiting for Godot, and saw Covent Gardens and heard the bells at St. Paul's, and revisited my lovely Borough Market. And then the past couple days I've been hanging out with the lovely lovely Danaya, one of my friends at BADA. She and I have been having a blast, going to pubs, watching movies, and yesterday we spent four hours in a bookstore. I was in heaven. And David's boyfriend Yoni has been taking good care of us, feeding us and letting us use his computer. So it's been good. Today I have about a million things to do; still trying to visit the Victoria and Albert museum, need to run a few errands, use up a gift card, and gonna try to go back to Leaden Hall market (aka Diagon Alley!) phew! well, better get started...

I leave London tomorrow at ten am, so this will most likely be my last post in England. We shall see.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Crazy Eights

Back in London, y'all! Dublin was a blast, but it's nice to be in a city I actually know again. My hostel I'm staying at sucks, but I'm only there three days before I caravan to the next one.

Anyways, short little story: I am seeing Waiting for Godot tonight with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. Just a little excited for that. As I was in it last year, it'll be cool to see a professional take on it. But in order to get cheap (and therefore viable) tickets, my friend David and I sat outside the theater starting at about seven this morning. We then proceeded to sit there until about 10, when the box office opened. Crazy? yes. But we ended up playing cards with these hilarious guys from Montreal and a really nice lady from CA, which made the time go faster. There were that's what she said jokes, insults and entertainment references flying all over the place. Plus a truck (lorry, if you will), drove by blasting "Sweet Child of Mine" so that was stuck in our heads as well.

This is my last Friday in London. I'm mixed about it. Sad that I'm leaving, but also can't wait to get home to the things I know and love best. And the people!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

...and david took a nap!

Greetings from Dublin!

I have resurfaced briefly courtesy of Scott a guy in my hostel. But yes, I am in Dublin with my buddy David. We jokingly called this our "honeymoon" because the plane tickets were addressed to Mr and Mrs. Lerner.

Dublin's lovely. Actually, the majority of Ireland is. And in the rain, it gives you a whole new definition of the word green. It's very pretty. Yesterday we checked out the Cliffs of Moher, along with a large stretch of Irish countryside. It's all hilly and covered with sheep, I was very satisfy ed. David found a bunch of four leaf covers, too- that was very exciting. Today we went on a three hour (free!) walking tour that was quite excellent. Learned a bunch about Irish History, which is really interesting especially when I put it next to all the Scottish and British history I've picked up over the past four months. Our evenings have been spent in pubs with Guinness and good music. Tonight I even danced a bit which made me very happy. David's very good at humoring me like that.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

you take the high road...

An update on my Scotland trip. Mom leaves tomorrow morning, and I get a weekend to hang out with Sarah Hicks. I'm really excited, but sad to say goodbye to mom. Even though I know it's only two weeks basically until I see her again. It's been a lot of fun, we've had a lot of good mother-daughter bonding. And she's very humoring of my Jamie-Babble, which is nice. (She better be, after twenty-one years. Yes, that's right, I was babbling in the womb. :P)

We toured a castle, hiked up to Arthur's Seat, ate really good food, explored botanic gardens (botanic, mind you, not botanical...), and museumed a ton. Actually, the museums all had great set ups, a lot of them were in really cool buildings that made the whole experience infinitely better. I especially liked the National Gallery- it's in basically an old house, with lots of cool old furniture and nice wallpaper. Actually, for BADA people, (and anyone else reading this who might be familiar with "The Beaux Stratagem" ...anyone?), it reminded me of the picture seduction scene. I could totally picture Greta and David playing it out in there.

Other cool things: Ate nachos in the same cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. It's a really sweet place, it reminded me of Coffee News so much it hurt a little. Plus, they have bins on the wall with blank paper in them- I guess in case you're suddenly inspired- thought that was cool.

Also- Mom and I were hiking around on this hill top where all these monuments are. Well, some are half completed, because see, Scotland had this funny idea that it should copy the greco-roman style after the Napoleonic Era, only they ran out of money, so some things never got completed. I believe they call it Scotland's Disgrace... may be wrong on the wording, but you get the picture. Anyways, so up on this hilltop, these drunk guys are sitting on the pantheon steps and singing at the top of their lungs. And they're good, only it's clear they're drunk so I want to stay away from them. And all the other people around are all shaking their heads. We go to see a musical the next night ("Take That" an amusing little campy story about boy band in the mid-90's, gotta love it), and all the "drunks" are up onstage. Turns out they were actors blowing off steam before opening night. Just goes to show you, I guess.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Scotland the Brave

Greetings from Scotland!

Mom and I got here yesterday afternoon, via train (from King's Cross, I showed her platform 9 3/4). It's been lovely so far, sunny and sixty. We've done a lot of just wandering around the city, taking silly pictures and admiring old buildings. The whole city of Edinburgh is now a historic heritage site, so there's really no shortage of cool looking places.

This morning we got up and hiked up to Arthur's Seat, an ex-volcano site which has about 2.5 km worth of stairs. Fun times. But the view was definitely worth it. As the owner of our B and B described it, it's like the center hole of a doughnut, you can see all around you for miles. We then freshened up into fancier ladies and went and had high tea at the Belmoral Hotel, the same bar that JK Rowling holed up in to write the last chapter of Harry Potter- with the helping hand of half a bottle of champagne, she told reporters. High Tea was amazing- lots of little sandwiches, delicious scones and yummy little cream filled cakes. Oh yes, and tea. Reminded me of a birthday party I went to when I was little and we had a tea party with fancy dresses and cucumber sandwiches. Afterwards, Mom and I decided we needed to hike off some of the food, (so sleepy afterwards...) so we went up to Callton's Peak, which had a bunch of monuments of the ancient Greek style, for reasons I'm not entirely sure. Made better by the fact that Scotland ran out of money for such monuments, and so some aren't finished. Still nice though.

On a side note, our B and B, the Strathallan, is really really great. It's a cute little building with nice beds (amazing after the Lnadward), and nice water shower (again), and nice breakfast in the morning. It's owned by this nice former soccer player and his tiny sweet little purse-toting wife. He asked us where we were from this morning, and when we said MN, he goes "right, I'm going to go look at my map..." and walks out of the room.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to post about Edinburgh some more later.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Don't have to go home, but you gotta get out of here!

Have gotten tired of packing...

So, morning after, of sorts. Everyone is running around packing, cursing that they need an additional suitcase, or trying to give stuff that won't fit away. There's French music playing in my flat right now, and every so often someone stops by to say goodbye, and we stop and throw our arms around them. I definitely have not had enough sleep to properly deal with this. Last night was a mess but it was in the moment. Now, in daylight it's a lot more stark.


From here on out, my postings will get more sporadic. Mom and I are going up to Edinburgh tomorrow morning, and she will take my computer home with her at the end of the week. I'm excited because Edinburgh also means seeing Sarah Hicks! Then David and I meet up in Dublin, and explore there a few days until my return to spend a week saying goodbye to London. I'm gonna miss this place. I will try to update via Internet cafes and hostels and such when I can, we shall see. Over and out.

Friday, April 17, 2009

If we shadows have offended

After ten or so hours of rehearsal, we put on the show tonight. And now it's over. Now BADA is over. Now my junior year is over. I'm in a very weird jumbled up comglomeration of moods kind of mood right now. On the one hand I'm happy. I just put on a show that I had been working for five weeks straight on, and I did pretty well too. I'm also super happy that my mom is here. But I'm also sad, lonely, cynical, stressed, and worn out.

Basically I wake up tomorrow and pack- I have to be out of the Landward by 11, and take my suitcases over to school, (they said they would hang on to them for me). Mom and I are going to Scotland on Sunday, and then I'm meeting up with David in Dublin for a few days, and I spend my last week in London. But standing between me and all that are two suitcases, laundry and a pile of dirty dishes. This could get rough.

It's just weird to think, I've spent four months now with the same people, living, working, hanging out of the weekends, and I'll probably never see them again. Don't know how I feel just yet.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

No more yielding than a Dream

My mom's heeeerrreeee!!! Wheee!!
I'm super excited. It's been four months and a week since I've seen my mom. This is the longest I've gone without seeing my parents, so this is big. Plus, there's something about getting to hang out with my mom that's pretty cool. We shared a bottle of wine over dinner, that was a bit surreal.

That means though that tomorrow is our show. I can't believe the day's actually come. I'm super excited. We've worked really hard, and I've had a good time. I just need to get the names right, my lines said at the correct time and my blocking solid by 7:30 tomorrow. Then we're golden.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Garden Party

Just came back from seeing the other group's performance, a play called "The Visit." A creepy little tragicomedy about a woman out for revenge and a town too poor to say no. Really cool design, too. Very Gothic, lots of blacks and white and dark eye makeup, but in a non-emo way. Congrats to all the actors- you guys really did great work, it was fun to watch.

It makes me excited to do our show, now that I've seen the space. I can't believe I perform in two days...

We had an amazing rehearsal yesterday. Our director let us do it out in BADA's garden, which was perfect for Midsummer. Such a good time, rolling around in the grass (okay, it was wet, but still, I really missed the feel of grass on my bare feet.), and picking flowers and such. The lover's fight was hilarious as usual, involving leap frog and amusing wrestling and shoe fetishizing. Somehow being out in the garden just made it more magical, more real in a way. I really enjoyed it. Pictures to come on facebook, so heads up.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In her Shoes

...which are a British size four, by the way.

As it was a lovely morning that dawned today, I was hit with sudden inspiration. Having complained a lot about my walk to school everyday, I have decided to show it to you, in pictures! Then you can say you've walked two miles in London. Cool, right?

So. I come out of the Landward, and turn down this little backstreet.


And then cross the street. I now have trained myself to look right
instead of left, but just in case, the City of London's got my back every time I look down.



After walking five or six blocks, I turn down Baker Street, which has many a coffee shop, a Boot (like Walllgreens) and a lovely little sushi place that I get dinner at some times. It's also where the post office is.








At the corner, I have to cross Marley Bone Road (not to be confused with Marley Bone High St.), and proceed to wait at the world's longest light. It's made more difficult by being a fancy median walkway, so you cross halfway, and walk along before being able to cross the rest of the street. That it's right next to a tube station makes this a highly populated walkway. So sometimes I dodge it all and go underground. This is especially useful in the rain.


And, in case you haven't figured it out yet; yes, this is the famous Baker Street that Sherlock H0lmes lived on, (sort of, as he was fictional), and also where Basil lived, if you're a Disney fan... But this only increases tourist crowding (plus, it's the stop for Madame Tussuad's), which makes it a daily battle to get to school on time. Everyone stops to take a picture with this guy, (I find it amusing that I have now joined them...) and my friend rubs his foot every day for good luck.

BUT! There is a side street, which enables me to sneak around some of the traffic. We turn down a little street and walk past the lovely little traffic gate, which is probably a sign that we shouldn't be there, but oh well, can't be late for class. The flats here are all very lovely, and overlook the park. They also have constant maintenance being done on them.


Then, as you can see a tiny hint of in the next picture, we turn the corner, and cross into the park. This is about five minutes in, I've nicknamed this street Cherry Tree Lane, like in Mary Poppins, it leads to the "Inner Circle" of Regent's park.


Look familiar to anyone? It's the Broadwalk again! Only this time it's all green, no longer covered in snow. I think this is so pretty, with all of its trees lining the path. Plus, you always see all these incredibly well behaved dogs trotting along off leash, and a bazillion prams (strollers) as well.



Having reached the little white fountain at the top, I turn and walk down the hill, passing the playground I'm not allowed into (note the fence), and this incredible wooden structure, (which more than makes up for the lack of playground, minus swings, we totally should play sandmonster here!)







Then, I cross the street, leaving the park, and bam! iiiiit's BADA! Punch in the code, and we're in!
You've now walked to school with me.It's about a thirty -five minute walk, baring rain and snow. But some days I cheat and take the bus... :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

an earful

Yup, it's an ear post. But I haven't really written about it here, and it's been interesting. First of all, BADA is an old building with really high ceilings, which makes for terrible accoustics, so that's always fun when we're all talking at the same time.

But also, this is the first time people have commented on effects my ear have in my life. My voice teacher thinks that my voice has the nasal quality that it does because I'm off in my vocal direction. My director actually asked today if I would be able to hear if people were laughing at the play, which I found really humorous. And it's funny, because only my friend David has figured out about which side to sit on, makes me realize how hard you guys all work with me, lol.

On a different note, these chocolate Easter eggs- they're the size of my head, come in huge boxes and are now half off. It's amazing how seriously Brits take Easter candy. I actually saw someone rejecting a three pound Easter egg the size of a football because it didn't have any candy in it. It baffles me. I bought myself a nicely sized rabbit, am quite pleased.

Also to add to my list: I will miss black current juice, i will not miss pogolink, our Internet provider.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

...and it's Thanksgiving.

Title may be the quote of the day.

mmm, Easter Weekend. If you're British, it means a four day weekend: Good Friday, Saturday, Easter, Bank Holiday! If you go to BADA, though, it means it your last weekend together. We're all pretty much in denial about this fact, except for people like Lana and Katie and Group J who have been abroad for a whole year now. They can't wait to get home. But no one is wuite ready to say goodbye to eachother yet.

But what a lovely last weekend it's been. Friday evening was Judi Dench and Mc Flurries and a wonderful nightbus ride home. Then yesterday I went to a delicious restraunt, Wagamama (amazing.), and then walked around Brick Lane. This is a fun quirky little area, may try to revisit. Had a yummy little faerie cake and did some shopping. It was also fun because I got to catch with a friend of mine that is now in the other play so I don't see as much of her.

Today started off weird, and ended up visiting Leaden Market by myself (where Diagon Alley is filmed). On the way, walked past a little shrine (not sure that's the right word) commemorating those who had died from police brutality. I actually got a little teary. I wandered around down across the London Bridge and miracle of miracles found this little bakery that my brother and dad ate at when they visited here. They had no idea what it was called, but Ian recommended the rose meringues. So, armed with only the general location of Borough Market, and across the street from blue window sills (from the picture they took there), and a prayer that there would be meringues in the window sill I walked down the street. And lo and behold, there it was. A plate of rose meringues in the window sill and all. A little Easter miracle.

I was also spoilt because tonight Gage decided to cook an Easter ham for us all. It turned into a little potluck (I made cooked carrots- too bad I burned my arm in the process), and blew through several bottles of wine. Then, because we have just as many Jews in the program, we watched The Prince of Egypt. The fact that we were able to rent a copy on Edgeware Road, commonly known as Little Arabia kind of amuses me. But it was a great evening, and made me forget how Easter would be at home. Or usually is, this year Mom and Dad are in California, leaving Ian and Maggie to watch the house... just skyped with them, sounds like the house is still standing.

Tomorrow I plan to go to the grocery store and take full advantage of half price Easter candy. Let me tell you- Brits are serious about Easter candy. They might not have peeps or the Peep competitions, but they do sell chocolate eggs the size of my head for a mere eight pounds. A very nice trade off, I believe. Happy Easter and Passover, people. I'm off to bed.

Pros and Cons

It's a bit early for this, but I figure if I start now, I will have time to appreciate, versus just getting sad.
Things I will miss about London:
  • Taking the Night Bus, and watching the sidewalk disappear as we turn a corner
  • That lovely automated woman's voice telling us not to stand on the stairs on a one story bus
  • Old British people- Sheila, Norman, that sweet guys reading the paper at MacDonald's
  • Hyde Park and Regents Park
  • Piccadilly Circus
  • The Duke of York, Earl of Camden (London's finest royalty)
  • The student discount. Really gonna miss that.
  • Our washing machine that sounds like a plane taking off whenever its running
  • The adorable well behaved puppies in the park
  • Cadbury mini-eggs. Like year round as opposed to just as Easter.
  • Galaxy Bars. 79 pence for a kingsized bar. It's amazing.
  • Strongbow. nuff said.
  • Romel and the adorable woman in our canteen.
  • The Lovestruck section of The London Paper. Such a good indulgence
  • Waitrose. I love grocery stores. Who knew?
  • Seeing plays on a regular basis
  • The walk to school.
  • The Sign Language interpreter who occasionally appears at the bottom of the screen.
Things I will not
  • The walk to school.
  • The lack of Mexican food.
  • Trying to fit four people's worth of groceries into a mini fridge
  • Taxis who don't care about pedestrians
  • Dirty Dishes
  • The tiles on the street that aren't secured down and trip you up on your walk
  • Not being aloud into playgrounds. I need a swing set very badly.
  • The infuriating British stubbornness when it comes to rules. Even ones that make no sense
  • Only having four channels on the TV, tho it's funny when the German one comes in.
  • Topping up my Oyster Card- just drains money
  • No iced tea!!!!
  • British nutrition facts. I have no idea how they work!
  • My angry, angry neighborhood.
  • Knowing exactly where each and every spring is in my mattress.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Odious Flowers Savored Sweet

Want to know what makes up for leaving your keys at school when it's raining and the building's already been locked because it's a holiday weekend? Getting Judi Dench's autograph. My friend Lauren and I went got to see her in a weird little play called "Madame de Sade" this evening. We had to stand for most of it, but the tickets were ten pounds, so there you go. She's my height, it's pretty sweet.

Midsummer Night's Dream goes up a week from today. Oh man, it's really hard to believe. Messed up a key line today- whoops. But in general, it was a really good run through. Our director realized she had blocked the lovers' fight scene badly, so she said "okay, let's improv it today and see what you come up with today." Hilarious chaos ensued. Originally, there's a lot of choreographed gimmicks with umbrellas that I'm amused by, but this morning was something else. Punching and purse hitting and the guys crawling over each other, and the phrases "whore" and "man stuff" worked their way in somehow. Excellent.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Petty List

Things that make my night:
  • sunny spots on the couch
  • Across the Universe
  • Getting not one chocolate sample (which would've been enough) but four from the lovely newspaper man. Props to him, they were much appreciated.
  • Tube workers who help you out when you've mis-swiped
  • Internet that works for more than fifteen minutes
  • Laughing at my friend's stand-up routine
Things that don't:
  • Dirty dishes (should be used to it by now)
  • Helpless drunks
  • Flatmates who are arguing with their boyfriends over the phone. again.
  • Being overcharged at a show
The show was well worth it though, so no worries. Tomorrow is good Friday, and even though I have rehearsal, we do get out early... wonder what I should do.

Monday, April 6, 2009

bad form

Forgot something.

To Michael of the London Lite (tabloid-ish free evening paper) who called Michelle Obama "Beefy"– not cool. not even in a catty british paper.

April 6th

I have one month left in England. Dunno how I feel about this fact yet.

Also, it's my little brother's birthday tomorrow. Hard to think fifteen years ago I was a sickly little sickling who rolled over in the middle of the night and said "name him Ian." Hard to think that my five..nine maybe? shaved head brother was the little thing with huge blue eyes that fit in my arms. A little sappy, I apologize. Anyways, props to him, he just lettered in swimming and got most improved on the year. Not bad for having never done the sport.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Morning Sunny Side Up

What's the best way to start your Sunday? To answer the door in your towel and have your neighbor inform you breakfast is ready upstairs. Last night, (apparently while I was around, never heard any of this) it was decided David would be making french toast for all. Result? being force-fed three slices of french toast with syrup, cinnamon, strawberries (after throwing on clothes, don't worry). Yum!, thanks David!

Then this afternoon went to a chocolate festival (again, yum! Had chocolate chili and a frappe and delicious wine and... more chocolate), had a spontaneous religious conversation next to the recycling bins, and then caught a free organ concert at Westminster Abbey. In all, a good day.

And tonight Ben and Barbara were over while I was skyping with the family- it was really nice, if I closed my eyes I could pretend I was there with all of them.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

dancing in the street

Went to Portabello Road today with BADA people. Yknow, the place with the song in "Bedknobs and Broomsticks?" Good time all around. We were a bit worried since the circle line tub was closed, but it meant a free bus ride there, hacha!

Potabello Road is awesome. It's a huge outdoor market that sells just about everything from coffee and crepes to cleaning solution, (I bought iced tea for the first time in London, that's saying something, since they don't believe in it here!), but mostly it specializes in antiques and clothes, so we did a lot of weaving around china tea cups, military gear, and leather coats. There are real stores, and then there are all these stalls that squeeze themselves in wherever there's room. So after getting separated from people (very crowded), I wander down the street, hoping to find them. Then my ears prick up, hearing the familiar sound of an accordion and guitar. These two guys are just whipping out one Irish tune after another. And they're pretty good. So I figure I'll sit and listen to them, and hopefully catch my friends as they walk back towards the bus. I'm dying to dance along, but these guys are trying to earn money, I don't want to intrude.

Then, at a break, the accordionist turns to me and says, "Come and dance, I know you know how, I can see you counting the music." So I set down my bag, ask for a reel and go to town, right in the middle of the street. My sweater's falling down, I'm stumbling in my trainers, and I'm out of shape, but it's a blast. And not gonna lie, it felt cool to have people watching. The accordionist (Kevin, by the way, the guitarist is named Peter), buys my a bottle of water, and we sit and chat for a while. They compliment my dancing, and there's the oh-so-subtle jokes about how high I can kick my leg and how lucky my boyfriend is because of it (... hah.), but in the end Kevin hands me his card and says, "We're playing the 16th, if you want, come and dance. I just might... anyways, yeah, that's my Portabello Road story. It was fun to dance again.

Then I came home, (bus driver was a jerk who refused to let us off "I just opened the door..." but then didn't move away from the pavement for 5 minutes because of traffic...), and we watched LOTR, The Two Towers. I ended up being one of the experts, that should tell you something...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The start of a beautiful friendship

Papers are finí. ha CHA. Thank goodness, I have never stared at a blank screen for so long before.

In other news, I should probably put an update on my post on the protest the night before, lest I, too, be accused of media skewing. Things did get a little violent last night, nothing horrendous, but at least one person died, which is never good. The Bank of Scotland got a window smashed in the city, this I'm less sympathetic about as it was the Bank of Scotland where the official took the extremely large bonus while the workers were losing money, (this Scot does not approve). Still, I should remember that other innocent people worked there, too, who do not deserve to be attacked. I am sorry for them.

On a more cheery topic: the nineteen forties was probably the best decade of the twentieth century. With the exception of WWII, and the Japanese interment camps, the quality of life actually improved for many. Though I spose it doesn't take much to improve from the 1930's... Still everyone was beautiful then- no one was badly dressed. And the dialogue. Beautiful. Perhaps some who know me well can guess how I have spent my evening celebrating wrapping up my papers.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fossil Fools Day

Some of you may remember when Ben Corner wrote about the Fossil Fools guys...

I went to the G-20 protests today in the city center today. I figured since I'm technically "living" here this semester, I should at least have some idea of what was going on. Plus, I wanted to be part of the anti-war protest, and can definitely sympathize with the people mad at bankers- England's banks are pretty corrupt in terms of buy-outs and upper-cut benefits.

The protest was different that I expected. Granted, my first real protest (that I remember, my dad tells me I went along to some labor disputes in my babybag) was the RNC, so that may have skewed things a little. It was funny to hear people complaining about the metal cages, since I definitely remember them from the Excel Center in September, and how much they scared me then. What London police did that was different than marches at home was they divided up the crowd into little groups. Therefore, with the exception of the climate camp, I was probably surrounded by no more than a couple hundred people at a time. Less of a mob mentality I suppose. It didn't stop protesters from throwing things, though. It was interesting, too, a lot of the shops had closed, and barricaded their windows in the event a fight broke out, all these boarded up windows really changed the feel of walking down the streets.

Climate camp was pretty interesting. It's a stretch of about three two blocks in the center of town (right off of Liverpool St. Station, for those that know) where people have set up tents. They've chalked the streets, hung posters, and have even created a human sized (though not to scale) monopoly game that they're playing as a demonstration event. As this one guy said, "we've got hippies, we've got faries, we've got hoodies, we've got just about everyone."

And from where I was, the protest wasn't violent at all- loud, demonstrative, but peaceful. The police were friendlier than the ones I remember from the RNC at home, more ready to joke and smile at protesters. I was surprised when I walked to the tube that afternoon and all the newstands where hawking headlines of violence ruining Obama's first day here. I know at least one person was injured, but still, I think the media is skewing things.

On a more cheery note, "The Boat That Rocked" is a hilarious and very sweet movie. See it if you get the chance.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Really? huh, damn.

Walking home from rehearsal today, I saw a man carrying a slaughtered pig over his shoulder (sans head- the pig, not him.) It wasn't bloody or anything, but it was definitely raw. Made me almost wish I had my camera- something about how casually he was carrying it. My friend Paige goes, "Well, that's going in the diary." I think she was kidding, but i decided to write about it here anyways.

Couldn't sleep last night. Just lay there, trying to figure out what was going on in my head that was keeping me up. Finally got up around six when the sun was coming through my window at me, and decided to go for a run, since sometimes when I do that I stop thinking. I did, but I still have no idea what was stressing me out so much.

I end with a funny little story: Here I am, on my side of the pond, trying to grasp all new and unfamiliar things to me. So when stuff starts coming up for Mother's Day, like an obedient child, I make my mom a card, and post-haste it to her, without questioning. Now, you Americans who are on top of things, (or are mothers yourselves...) might be thinking "wait a minute, Mother's Day is in May...." Or maybe, you're just going, "Crap, I missed it!" Well, as my mom pointed out for me in her thank you email, "you wrote that you were sad to have missed it, but you didn't. Mother's Day isn't until the middle of May." Turns out this is something else the UK does different. Mother's Day, or Mothering Day, as it's called here, is on the 22nd of March, somehow fitting in with Lent, though I'm not clear why. Now you know.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Being at BADA

As today was a particularly slow day— though it did hail— I thought I’d dedicate this post to a comparison of what it’s like being at a theater conservatory, acting 24/7 versus being at Mac. “Being at BADA”-isms, if you will. I’ll probably revisit this, but for now, here goes:

1) Don’t be late. No joke. Back home, I used to fall prey to the “Macalester Gray Area:” show up in the first five minutes of class and your good to go. (Not every teacher follows this, to be sure. Hell- if you’re Marlon, that means you’re early!) But at BADA, if you’re on time, you’re late.

2) Focus. There’s a lot more of it happening here. Back home, there was always a to-do list in The Notebook. Write a paper, go to work, read these by next class. Here, it’s more straightforward: show up, have your lines memorized. That isn’t to say it’s easy, there’s a lot that goes into each class, but somehow it doesn’t seem as all over the place.

3) Sharing means caring. Food, clothes, gossip, it all seems to get passed around. (Which helps so much when people get sick…) And as for emotional drama, well there are only 31 of us. Between Hig-land and Mac, I’m used to it being a small world, but here it’s even more so. I know who fought with their boyfriend, who just had sex with their boyfriend, who’s on their period, who’s missed it, who got drunk last night, and who burned dinner last night.

4) Personal Space: to put it bluntly, I’ve seen everyone here in their underwear. Changing at your locker is a usual occurrence, though not everyone does it. It does get tricky if David, Noel, Angeline, or I try changing at the same time, though. At Mac, the most physical contact I get is in the lunchroom at rush hour, waiting for tatter tots or curly fries. Here, you’re jumping on people’s backs, rolling around on the floor with them, smacking butts, kissing, or getting kicked by them. My only regret is I’ve missed most of the backrub swapping.
5) At Mac, there’s this thing where we’re all different, but we’re all the same. By which I mean we all have different lives, but we’re all students. BADA makes you very aware of your physical persona. Like, I know that I am the shortest in the program, have the fifth darkest eyes in my play (and interestingly enough I’m the darkest eyed of the white kids– the four in front of me are all African American). I’m aware of how I walk, that I jiggle my knees a lot, and have crappy posture sitting in a chair.

6) Copying is encouraged. Okay, not really, but in the past two months I have copied how classmates walked, talked, even breathed. It’s actually really interesting, and very insightful into both of your personalities.

7) Memorization and rehearsal. At Mac, it’s pretty obvious when you’ve walked in on a study group or a ‘study group”. At BADA, you’re never quite sure. Empty rooms are always in high demand, and people switch from conversation to recitation of lines at the drop of a hat.

So that’s a good beginning. I’ll add more as I discover them. Is there anything you’re curious about?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Birthday Friday

Although I overslept today and had to get ready for class in fifteen minutes, I had a fairly good Friday.

Jessica our wonderful, wonderful voice teacher made a visit to rehearsal today, to work with the mechanicals on finding male voices. I suppose I should take a moment, and fill you in: I got Peter Quince in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream for our final production. I'm pretty happy with the part; it's a comedic role, and he's the director of the play within a play, which is cool. Anyways, I spent the morning emasculine-ing my walk and voice. We talked about how generally men are more direct and economical in their words and actions. Whereas women's speech generally flies up and takes a somewhat curvy path, a man is very direct in how he speaks, there's an assumed authority. It's pretty interesting. I apparently was one of the best at being a man. When I friend complimented me, I took out my "manly enough" card as a response; she was pretty amused. I have also taken to observing men on my way to school (not to be confused with boywatching, this gets done too, but never while I'm working... my friend David and I have devised our own version of me first. :P). I also got to have a little one-on-one chat with the director, which was much needed, and I feel better now.

This afternoon was pretty chill, though I did go running (don't say anything- you'll jinx it), and worked out for an hour. Didn't work on my paper as planned, though I emailed the teacher, which I think should count for something.

But tonight was great. In celebration of two of my friends at BADA's birthday, we went to this Mexican restaurant, Mestizo. Let me explain something: England does not really believe in Mexican food. Halal meat stands and Subways (with Halal meat) pretty much have replaced Taco Bell and Chipotle here. So basically, I had the most amazing chicken enchilada I have had in a long time. And a mojito. I even spoke Spanish to the waiters... The evening was dampened slightly by one of the BADA boys getting very drunk and having a couple of breakdowns, until he had to be taken home because he was walking around the restaurant in his socks and lifting up the furniture. But we hailed him a taxi and all was well. Then we went to a club called Cargo and danced to a group called "Pack Rat." Minus being trampled at the coat check, it was a nice place. The night bus home (tubes stop running by midnight) was the perfect quiet windown to a busy busy day. And now I am here, writing to you...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

tongue talk

Something I forgot to post before:

I was waiting in the lobby of my building for a friend so we could go to quiz night at the local pub, (it's a British thing- they're really big on it here...), and there was a man, woman, and three little kids sitting on the sofa there, too. When the kids, who are probably around three and four) see me, they instantly call out, "Hello! How are you? Goodbye!" The woman (their aunt) explains to me they're from Kuwait, and this is pretty much the only English they know. (She also says with a smile they are "trouble.") The kids proceed to greet every other person who comes in or out of the building with at least one of the phrases, in no particular order. (Goodbye! How are you!) One of the little girls has also picked up her own version of "twinkle, twinkle" composed almost completely of that one word.
The man invites me to sit on the sofa with them, and he begins saying words in Arabic to the kids to practice in English, like car, or dog. He them repeats them so I can learn them in Arabic. (He said I was really good at it, but of course they're all gone now.)
I realize this must have been how I seemed to the Czech, with my proud little "Prozims" and "Dekujis", or in France, when we were teaching David to count to ten on the train. It's both amusing and a little mortifying. But that's how you learn, I suppose.

J.J. is Amazing

Just came from watching the season finale of Skins- the British equivalent to Degrassi, only debatably more nudity and alcohol. Anyways, a group of us have gotten hooked on it, and while watching today, this commercial came up that even though I've seen before depresses the hell out of me.

Scene opens on a man brushing his teeth in the bathroom. Camera shot over his shoulder shows him turn and see something. Focusing in, we see it's small child, bent up in a funny way. This child appears while he's at work, in the kitchen, and his desk at home, and even when he turns over in bed that night. You're just about to wonder if this is a sequel to "The Sixth Sense" when words come up across the scene: "Control your speed or live with the consequences. Drive 30."

This commercial would probably never fly in the US, (which I'm not entirely unhappy about). It's funny then that they are just now beginning to consider airing condom commercials on main channels, due to a push by the sex education foundation. They are also considering running commercials on abortions to combat the increase in teen moms. I'm curious what effect it will have. Actually, just in general, the commercials are different, here. Sometimes they're funnier, or cheesier, and others they're more bizarre, more abstract, leaving you wondering how they made it off the drawing boards. I wish I could conclude with some deep realization about British vs. American culture via these commercials, but I'm not there yet.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pasta and Politics

To those who responded to my domestic dilemma post, thank you. The outcome of my cooking experience was: pasta with chicken in alfredo/pesto sauce. That's right, I am an amazing chef. David and I were quite pleased. Only it was made much more complicated by the lack on dishes in my flat (why, you may ask? because thanks to flatmates everything in our kitchen is in the sink- no joke.), also the pot I put the pasta in was smaller than it should have been.

I remembered something I meant to talk about a few days ago:
Sunday night, a friend of mine was performing in a comedy group in a hotel on the West End, (London's Broadway), so we trouped out to see it. Because he gave us the wrong time, we ended up being "the Americans who were late." The Emcee had a teased us mercilessly all night. "We're gonna talk about vegetables now, for you Americans, that's the thing in your hamburger when you take out the meat and the bread..." and so forth.

Then World War II comes up. Someone calls out, "You Americans, always late for your wars!" And my friend Ian banters back, "Well, we saved your asses." ... There is a slight pause in the conversation, long enough though that I take that moment flight attendants refer to for checking for the nearest exit. Then an old man in back pipes up, "Yes, but now you're the first ones to start them, and you're always fucking them up." True enough. We all laugh, and the show goes on. Still, it's always interesting discussing politics.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Three Little Stories

Looking at myself in the mirror this evening, as I am wont to do (wont is our word of the week, heavy British pronunciation), I realized my shirt was on backwards. This means I have worn my shirt backwards all day and never realized it. huh.

Also, our stove top was being weird, I put water on and went to the bathroom, when I came out it smelled like gas, so I went to investigate. The flame had somehow blown out (just one burner, not the other...), while it continued to merrily pump in gas. My roommate has decided this is a ruse for me to kill her. I figure, there are worse people to go down with.

While stealing internets at McDonalds (the combination of a looming paper and the Cadbury creme McFlurry are just too good to pass up), I put my feet up on the chair across from me at the little two person table. Later, I was asked to remove my feet, as they might offend someone. I understand what they meant, I just found it amusing. Also, we have a rosary group that meets there regularly; a group of twelve or so old men who sit there chatting as they work through their beaded rosaries. I amused by this as well.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Escape

Mmm, so I finally saw "Australia" today, due to a mistake on my part last week (bought ticket to a show I couldn't go to, so this was my money back). It was awesome, really loved it. (And not just Hugh Jackman either... or the free wine). I felt like it touched on a lot of different class, race, and political issues that make up what Australia is (or at least what I know about it). And then there was also the whole reinforcement of the romantic sap that I am, (lest it be forgotten...)

Yesterday was also a majorly productive day in terns of crossing things off The List; went to Borough Market (picture day to follow soon!), the Tower of London (with her head tucked... maybe only Ben C will get that), and finally Fabric, this infamous London club. Jenny had told me about it last summer, and while it wasn't officially on The List, it was a must, so now it can be crossed off. Wasn't that great of a time. Had fun dancing though, although flat techno is not worth it (nothing against techno, the DJ was uninspired). I had more fun then my friend though, which means I now owe him (I made him come because I needed BADA support to balance out all of my other friend's friends). So now I have to cook him dinner. ...This could get interesting. Thoughts on simple meals?

Friday, March 20, 2009

lovestruck and chocolate

Two random stories, not really related.

After a particularly long week and difficult day, I decided I needed chocolate. So I put on my coat and shoes, grabbed some change and walked to the store. Picked out a new candy and brought it up to cashier, who promptly pointed out i was a pound short. ( I thought the 10p piece was a pound). I apologize and go to try to find a different candy bar. I find a large Galaxy bar for 1.26. I present the new candy bar to the same cashier, half sheepishly, but also proud that I have found a candy bar suitable for my price range. He points out that one pound and to 10 p coins are not sufficient. I now feel incredibly stupid. I think he realizes though that it's been one of those days, and I desperately need chocolate. He tells me just to pay with what I have. An hour later, I am eating said bar, watching Mamma Mia (don't judge!) and feeling better. Points for him.

******
I have taken lately to reading the "Lovestruck" section of the London Paper, a free semi professional daily paper. "Lovestruck" is a section where people can text mini messages to random people they have seen and have been smitten by. Example, "To the shy blond guy on Wednesday, do we both board the 7.54 from Shepard's Bush? I'm the middle carriage girl, even more shy than you!" Sappy? Yes. Sweet? Most definitely. And some of them have great story potential, like this one: "To the lovely girl on the DLR... You thought I was disabled and helped me with my fold-up wheelchair, which was actually a bike. Trust me, I've got full feeling in both legs." It appeals to the sappy romantic in me, I'd like to think that some of these work out in the end.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Target

Ever have one of those dreams that is so nice that you're a little sad when you wake up? Only you're still in the dream a little bit, so you're happy. I'm sure you have, because I think it's human nature, "a dream is a wish" buisness. But yeah; had one of those, and it made my morning better. I finally bought bread. That's a good start to the day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

drunken lullabies

These past three days I have been on a quest to go buy bread from the store. I am failing miserably at it. Meant to go today but, well... festivities came first.

I love St. Patrick's Day. On Sunday, Trafalgar's Square had a big party (the same place Chinese New Years was), so I slapped on my new sunglasses (yes I'm still immensely proud of them), and went down to party. It was pretty intense, I thought there had been a large crowd at Chinese New Years, I was mistaken. There were a ton of people, most of them genuinely Irish, too. They do that bit differently in England, very little emphasis on heritage since either you're a foreigner or you're a Brit (this is a simplification and generalization, but still you get the point). I can't tell people I'm Czech or Scottish, they just tell me I'm American. Anyways, the street in the square was soaked in beer (non I'm proud to saw was mine), and there was good music. Actually I looked down at one point, and saw a pineapple on the ground. I was still contemplating its existence, when a man ran up and snatched going, (in an Irish accent) "ooh my pineapple!" Still not fully sure what that was about. Anyways, it was interesting being in England, what with all the cultural/historical tensions between the England and Ireland; especially recently with a reprise of violence in Northern Ireland.

We got let out of rehearsal early today, and took full advantage of it. The Earl of Camden, a little pub a few blocks away from school was doing two for one pints of Guinness, so we thought that'd be a good time. We ended up staying until about eight thirty, and had a blast eating and drinking and carrying on. (And in some cases oggling the very lovely looking men). At one point I found myself polkaing with this girl Deniyah (sp?), and in general we were just killing ourselves laughing. My friend David tried to steal a pint glass (klepto...), but he dropped it on the way out, and it shattered. I call that karma. Anyways, a very lovely St. Patrick's Day. Hope yours was the same.

edit: I think my neighborhood may be feeling slightly threatened by all this Irish Pride going on. There has been blasting Indian music and numerous car horns going off.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Break Part II: Prague

...Or, Would You Like Beer With That? (lol, kidding, but still...)

Prague was amazing, but a very surreal experience. To start with, when my plane touched down in Ruzyne Airport, the entire flight started applauding. Not really sure why, though I suppose it was fairly foggy. A smooth landing is always appreciated. I then hopped into a shuttle (tried to take the bus like a real person, but had no coins to do so) and drove into the heart of the city.

Prague is beautiful. Like Rome, (and the majority of the large cities worldwide like our own near and dear M/SP), it's built on the banks of a river. But unlike Rome, it's has a different...flavor to it I suppose. Whereas Rome seems very warm and done up in burnt reds, dusty whites, and fiery oranges, Prague is more woodsy, a deep brown feel. Which is funny, because I'm pretty sure the majority of the buildings were pastel... But it's more a feeling I got from walking around. The buildings are gorgeous, with very elaborate rooftops.

The hostel I stayed at, Hostel Emma, was great. I really liked it. My room was very cheery (a nice contrast to the sky outside), almost comically so; the walls were yellow, orange and white, my bed was orange with a yellow bedspread. When I come in, there's a lady lying on the bed across from me who tells me she's from "Aus." Only, I hear "Oz" and stare at her for a good couple of seconds before I figured it out. Anyway, she was very nice, and she and two other Australian guys went out for drinks later that night. Rani (the girl), was quite the chatterbox. Apparently, she had been traveling for almost eight years straight. We had a really good time talking, comparing the US and Australia, and our experiences in the UK. When I lost my camera briefly (it was in the restaurant that didn't open until 11 am...), she recommended I handle the situation the "Aussie Way": remain calm and trust that it will work itself out somehow. Ended up working I spose, since I found the camera again.

The rest of Thursday, after that little adventure was mostly spent in the Prague Castle, Hrad Praha, that overlooks the rest of the city up on a hill. It's a really beautiful bunch of buildings, only my being gunho about learning about Czech culture tried to read every plaque placed before my nose... my brain is still spinning ever so slightly. There are a lot of Patron Saints to keep track of. That night I went to the Old Town to see the Astronomical Clock- this huge clock that tracks the sun, moon, and stars, and at the hour does a little song and saint parade performance. Even though it was cold, I opted to eat outside, and long with the huge portion of meat and dumplings and cabbage I was given, I tried some warm wine, which was a pretty interesting and fairly tasty experience. Steam was just pouring out of my mouth as breath mixed with the cold from outside. Got pretty lost trying to find my way home– the streets of Prague make little to no sense. They twist a bunch, and will just stop abruptly where a different one cuts through it. This makes the majority of shortcuts become loops. The little narrow streets make for fun wandering though.

Friday was an exceedingly busy day, I walked from about nine am to eight that night. I will give you the basic highlights. This Japanese girl named Nami and I checked out the Jewish Museum, which was pretty cool- they have a cemetery that dates back to medieval times. On our way there, we discovered the Pissing Statue. Keep an eye out on facebook, I will try to post it soon, all I can say is it's exactly what it sounds like, and is hilarious. That afternoon I visited the Wallenstien Gardens. I was just sort of wandering through, when suddenly three peacocks came running. Peacocks run funny, incidentally. I had just gotten over my shock when I came face to face with a huge white male peacock in full plume. It was pretty surreal. And to top it off, upon leaving, I met mormons! Two guys from the States, we had a nice long chat. I later took a tram up to Zizkov and Vinohrady, more working class residential neighborhoods, just to see what the non touristy world looks like. I then walked home and basically rolled into bed.

I did a lot of walking on my trip, which I really enjoyed. It was nice to just wander around and take in a new city, making little discoveries. I now know six phrases in Czech, too, I'm quite proud of myself.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Break Part I: Roma

Alright. I believe the best way to write about my European adventures is to break it up into parts, otherwise I think your eyes would be melting out of your sockets and there would be a nice dent in your mousepad/touchpad from scrolling. That's assuming you'd read it all. In any case, my fingers would fall off. So to save us all...

Part One: Roma!
So in true Jamie fashion, even though I did use my time wisely on Saturday to prepare for the weeklong voyage, I still found myself rushing to Paddington Station to catch the train to the airport. And then almost missing it because the very-helpful-but-not-really- janitor or security officer (they both wear vests...) sold me the wrong ticket. I asked him if he was sure it was the right one three times and he keeps saying yes, "But you can ask the ticket counter if you're not sure." Naturally, I did. And naturally, it was the wrong one. But I got to the airport fine, only the flight was delayed. Shocker.

Ayanthi met me and the airport (yay!), which was nice not only to have someone to catch with on the shuttle train to Rome, but also because my hostel was exceedingly difficult to find. Let's just say numbers increasing in order on a street is not necessary in Rome. We saw the Pantheon that night and did a little window shopping before dinner. We ate at a little restaurant where we were the only people there, so we had a little impromptu photoshoot while we waited for our lasagna. Good times. Finished off the evening with Gelato by the Tervi fountain, which was gorgeous. Would've been nicer though if the sketchy Sri Lankan/Indian vendors would've left us alone. They all wanted to hot on Ayanthi, it got old fast. She snapped at one, "Don't disturb." It was pretty great.

The next day we checked out the Jewish Ghetto and the Synagogue/Museum. It was really cool. I would’ve taken more pictures, but because there was an attack that happened in it recently (sorta I guess... ten years ago now), they have more security measures in place. But it was interesting to learn about how the Jews had to deal with having so many different cultural backgrounds and religious sects all smashed together. Seriously smashed too, the streets we walked down were seriously narrow. Actually, to avoid the obnoxious school groups who went in before us, Ayanthi and I just sat outside for a while on a potted flower trench thing catching up. This may have been the best part of Rome, just sitting with an old friend, swapping stories. She also cooked me dinner that night- another best part of the trip!

I met up with BADA friends David and Anna Tuesday morning because Yanthi had class. We checked out the Vatican. The Vatican is pretty cool, it's a nice and open square with beautiful columns and many statues. St. Peter's Basilica (the huge church in the center), is well, huge. Being in it made me feel very small. The artwork in there is pretty unbelievable. I saw the Pieta statue, which after having seen it in so many history books, was pretty exciting to meet in person. On a sidenote: a large part of the Vatican is made up of red marble, which is now extinct. My guide told me about how there used to be a lot of red marble in the Forum (Ancient Bev. Hills of Rome), but not after the Vatican was built. The Vatican calls this "recycling"...

After seeing the BADA guys off on their way to Florence, I went to the Coliseum. That's pretty incredible. You walk out of the metro station and it's literally right in front of you. Kinda surreal. It's connected to the Forum that I mentioned before, which is a really cool place to explore. It's all these ruins on a beautiful grassy hill. It's like one minute you're admiring the scenery, the next the guide is saying "oh, and here's the oldest temple in Rome..." (incidentally, the original key still works in the lock). And then there's another layer because Mussolini decided he wanted to live there too. Further proof that he was absolutely off his rocker.

I got horribly lost that afternoon trying to find the Piazza de Navarro, but I wound up on the Spanish Steps at sunset, so I must've done something right. That was one gorgeous view. Also, because of my new contacts, I was able to purchase my first pair of sunglasses since I was about five years old. I don't think you understand how cool that was. The shopkeeper definitely didn't. Eating alone that night was a little tricky (something I never like unless I'm reading a good book.) The waiter was like "Why are you all alone?" It was like the relatives asking "but why are you still single?" bah. He got extra points though when I told him I was from Minnesota. He scrunches up his face, and I start trying to explain that it's in the Midwest and then he goes, "...The Vikings!" hah, yes.

I got to see the Vatican Museum before I left on Wednesday morning. No line again, score! Only I totally made up for it in karma points because I got lost again and wandered down some street that everyone and their dog it seemed had used as their bathroom. No joke. But the museum was lovely. I wish they hadn't prohibited people lying on their backs looking up at the Sistine Chapel... I think that would be the best way to experience it. After that, Yanthi and I said our goodbyes over some final gelato (yum- my goodness will I miss that) before I hopped on the train to board the train too... Prague (to be continued...)

To sum up though- Rome was great. It was sunny and lovely and sixty degree weather. It was great seeing all this old history stuff and catching up with Yanthi at the same time. Rome has a quality about it, too, the colors and the...flavor I guess. That's the best way to describe it. It grew on me.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spoons

I'm baaaaaackk!!! What a dizzingly amazing week. Updates to come- I'm still processing it all in my mind, trying to decide whether or not the week actually happened. In the meantime, a little silliness:

My roomate, Lena, often brings her lunch to school and eats it up in the greenroom. One day last week, she felt lazy and didn't want to walk her spoon three floors down to the kitchen when she had finished eating, so she drops it in David's lap, saying "no give backs!" or something to that effect. And so David (a guy in my group, btw), was left with a spoon. Later during a break in Theater History, another girl in my group, Anna comes up looking confused and hands Lena a spoon saying, "David wanted you to have this..."

So that night I go to see a play with David and Noel, called "Fucking Men" (more on this another time...) and we've ordered drinks at the pub beforehand. David reaches into his pocket to pay and pulls out... that's right, a spoon.

So now it's officially on, the spoon war. Only, then we all leave for break. A week in various countries all over Europe. Naturally I forget about it all. Then tonight, there's a knock at the door, and when I answer it, the front desk guy, Tibi (i think??) is there holding a spoon. Only David's in Liverpool, so lord knows how it ended up in our hall. So Lena has decided it's clearly my fault, and now I'm "my own team" in the spoon war. Oh, and she and Anna have started calling me Jaimiqua. It's a new one to say the least...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cadbury eggs ... because it's almost easter, riiiight?

Whoo! I'm officially on spring break! (As we say at BADA, "Spring Break '09, Whoo!" followed by miming flashing someone. Not sure how that got started...)

But yes. My classes are done, which I can't really believe yet. I still expect to have another play to read for Theater History, another monologue for Shakespeare. I still think I'm gonna have to get suited up in my corset for High Comedy, and sweat under a mask in Modern Physical. Not to mention the new moves I would be practicing for Stage Combat.

Finals went mostly well. A little stressful on Tuesday, but it all came together. Botched my Shakespeare scene a bit, and fell apart in Stage Combat, but we all did- our brains are so full we actually cannot function anymore. Apparently this is normal, Natalie just laughed at all of us. She said Noel (my partner) and I really had improved, and that she was proud of us, so yay!

Auditions went pretty well, too. I got cast in A Midsummer Night's Dream for workshop. I should say I was put into- there's no casting yet. Hopefully, I find out who I am by next week. All I know is I need to read the play (again...) over break, and that the director hates the word "faeries." They are henceforth to be known as "Supernatural Beings" which I shortened down mentally into S.B.s (not to be confused with B.S. ...)

And now? Break! In 12 hours I will be on my way to Rome to see the lovely Ayanthi! (and the lovely Italy). I stay for three days and then go to Prague. I'm super excited. Though flying alone really stresses me out. This means though I will not have internet mostly likely for a whole week (I know, right?) So enjoy yourselves without me, I look forward to catching up on your blogs upon my return.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Next Stop is... Waterloo

This is "That Post." The one I write when I'm stressed out about what needs to get done. This is my last week of classes, finals time. I know that seems quick to all of you, but consider it's been eight weeks of class 9-5 daily, with very few breaks. I am wiped out. The second half of the semester is a full-out production performed in a professional venue. So this could be considered my Midterms, too, I suppose. Either way I am running out of time.

Tomorrow I perform my Twelfth Night scene for my Shakespeare class, and then present four monologues in my one-on-one tutorial. I also have my last rehearsal for my scene in High Comedy which gets presented on Thursday. At some point, I also need to work on imitating one of my classmates which I present to the rest of the class on Thursday as well. I just got back from seeing a play for my Criticism class (Dancing at Lugnasa, very enjoyable), and then went straight to a group meeting to write our paper for Stage Combat. Group projects are very difficult when people are too tired to work on them. Or when you're the only one who remembers the blocking for the fight. I'm terrified I remembered wrong, and so I'll have single-handedly have fucked up my group.

Everyone's a bit on edge right now, I'm doing a lot of tip-toeing around. I got in the middle of a semi awkward outburst, where one girl was confronting another about how rude she had been to us, "You were really rude to Jamie and to me," while I just sort of stood there looking at my feet because really it hadn't bothered me all that much... and on top of everything I burned my arm while turning off the stove. Ouch.

Ideally I will also have spent some time working on my audition and learning useful phrases in both Czech and Italian, (since I'm going for spring break), but at this point it's a one step at a time. I have some chocolate in the cupboard, I think I'll make it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

oui, merci!

Just got home from the airport- Paris was amazing. I can't believe I was only there 36 hours, it felt like so much longer. In fairness, I think some of the surrealness comes from leaving at the crack of dawn to get there, but still, a wonderful whirlwind of a weekend.

After checking in to our hostel, David and Sarah and I separate from Alex, who's off to see a friend of hers for the day. I should mention that Alex is the only one of us who actually speaks French. I've got a handful of phrases, and David learned how to count to ten on the train, so the fact that we got anywhere at all is truly a feat of its own. That said, the majority of the French speak English (if you're nice to them), and are very helpful. Saturday we saw Notre Dame, the Seine, Luxembourg Gardens, and the Eiffel Tower (we walked up 800+stairs to get up there... dios mio!). The night was filled with good food, a dash of alcohol and dancing. Walking out of the club these guys were complimenting me, but I hadn't a clue what they were saying... I also met up with Ben's (one of my oldest friends, basically a brother) dad who I hadn't seen since I was eight. Also very surreal.

This morning was lots of walking around, hot cocoa and croissants, rude waiters (ah well), and the Louvre! (with no line to speak of!). We then wandered down the Champs de Elyseé and saw the Arc du Triumph, which is much bigger in person, (so to speak...). Ended the trip with gelato. On our flight home we remet this nice guy from Arizona (I had taken his picture earlier today at the Mona Lisa). Turns out he's been scattering his mom's ashes around Europe. What a son... the five of us were really amused by a sign in the airport that said "no firearms. no weapons. no endangered species." One feels like there's got to be a story there.

And now I'm home. With only my pictures, beginnings of blisters, and a souvenir to prove this weekend actually happened. Bit of a fairy tale, really. As much as I love London with all its edginess and history, France has its own history, in a more whimsical way. It brings out the dreamer in me. And possibly the fairy princess in me a bit, too. :P

pictures to follow... somehow.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cadbury for all

Because I got out of class early today, and it was lovely lovely weather, I decided to go on an exploring adventure. Hopping on the tube, I headed over to Liverpool Station (which is very nice by the way), to check out two markets Jenny had recommended to me: Spitalfields and Petticoat Lane.
Petticoat lane is pretty straightforward in terms of what you'd expect from a street clothes market: lots of little stalls, clothes on wheely racks, a variety of nice stuff and brand knock-off with suspiciously removed tags. And of course, the vocal vendors, reminding you that everything is "very nice! very cheap!" One guy just kept yelling "Fiver, fiver!" (as in five pounds).

I liked Spitalfields a little more. It has more the feel of an open artfair, with brightly colored stalls packed together in a lovely sheltered but open market area. While some of the vendors were typically aggressive, many were friendly and charismatic. Like my buddy Ric, the print maker/stenciler (I mentioned my friends made stencil shirts to him, he thought that was cool...) Also met a guy who had been to Iowa of all places. I bought a shirt (black...) and a skirt. I also had my first patsy (yum!), AND on the way home Cadbury was giving out free samples of a new dessert, so I grabbed that, and am eating it right now. Hurray.

In five hours my roommate will be waking me up (as she will just be getting home from partying), and I will drag myself on to a train, and then a plane and fly to Paris for the weekend. I'm super excited. Won't be able to check email until Monday, but I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

respirar!

I may be temporarily allergic to my room.

See, my roomate burned something eariler this week (she was cooking and fell asleep while home alone and forgot about the stove...), and now our flat smells faintly burnt all over. Since then, I have been short of breath. Except in the shower- i love it there.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

wasted cucumbers and tempting icecream

I just got back from seeing a production of King Lear. Probably one of the goriest I ever hope to see. To give you a hint, the bit where Regan plucks out Gloucester's eye? She does it with her teeth. ...I'll just give you a moment with sit with that. She's struggling with it and then she leans her face in, and there's a popping noise and a blood splatter. I still get the shudders. Apparently one guy opening night passed out in the audience.

Past the shock-factor, though, it was a pretty good show. It was actually the play I wrote my IB paper on, almost four years ago now. It seems like longer. I could hear bits I'd used in my argument, and new piece of diologue stood out to me that should've been in there too, but I didn't understand fully.

In other news, got the much longed for nod of approval from Natalie today in stage fighting. I apparently excell and the volte. Am still floating.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"please come back with a british accent"

I realized over the weekend, I have started to adopt a British accent. But only in one word, "sorry." I now say "soh-ree" instead of "SAR-ree". This isn't a noticable accent, the way a fake Beatles or Cockney accent might sound, but there's a softer quality to it. I also think it's very telling that my first word is sorry. Though really, it's somewhat of a defense mechanism; so that when I elbow someone on the Tube, or pass them on the wrong side (left! it's always left now!), they don't shoot "stupid American" glares over their shoulder. Actually, I get mistaken for French more often. (Which is usually followed by "Good, I hate the French!" when I say no. I think they're kidding...)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday late start!

Derek Jacobi came and talked to us today, that was pretty cool. It made me laugh, because among other things, he was Claudius in the Keneth Branagh Hamlet we all saw senior year, and now here he is, Mr. Pouring Poison in the Ear himself sitting four feet away from me. Naturally I did not address him as thus. But he told us a really wonderful story of how he figured out he liked acting as a six year old, playing dress up in the streets, and how this one time he stole his mother's wedding veil for some game of pretend and ended up ripping it. He said a good play should have the audience come out thinking "what a wonderful journey we were just taken on!", and I really agree with that.

I'm starting to lose my voice a little, it's dropped down an octave to what I usually refer to as my "sexy husky voice", which actually ends up workign great for my Shakespeare class where I'm playing Viola in Twelfth Night (a girl who is pretending to be a guy). Anyways, it really pleased my teacher, which is always handy since she's a little fussy. My roomate says she likes this voice better than my normal voice, which worries me ever so slightly. But on a high note, I got one of the four A's in my theater crtiticism class, wheee!!

Tonight as a treat, two of my friends and I went out to a little funky Italian place for dinner, which was delicous. For dessert we got a treat called The Godfather; basically a massive chocolate brownie sundae with generous portions of everything on top. I felt like I was gonna burst at the seams, but it was so worth it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Metal overload, a taste test

This is a bit of what's going through my mind right now:

Why should I love this gentleman, tis odds
He never will affect me. I am base,
My father the mean keeper of his prison,
And he a prince. To marry him is hopeless.
And I'll lay my life, he deserves your love more than he wants it. Did I not tell you my lord would find a way to come at you? Love's his distemper and you must be the phsyician. Put on all your charms, summon all fire into your eyes, plant the whole artillery of your looks against his breast and down with him!
A thousand knees,
Ten thousand years together, naked, fasting
Upon a baren moutain, and winter still
In storm perpetual could not move the gods to look
That way thou wert.
Once he kissed me,
I loved him the better ten days after!
Would that he do so everyday! He grives much.
He oughta ask that cop who put Eathan in jail if I'm tough. "I'm just trying to teach him a lesson." Well, I let him know what I thought about lessons like that at a hundred and sixty decibels and he goes "stop, stop, you got a voice like an ax, and my head is splitting!"
I suppose, madam, you made him drink plenty of asses milk!
I have made fault, I am sorry for it.
All faults I make when I do come to know them,
I do repent.

...So yeah. When you go to a liberal arts school, you get things like cross disciplinary skills and lots of stress during midterms when you write multiple papers simultaneously. Here at BADA, you just have a million different lines running through your head. As well as a different style of acting for each.

Also, a word on corsets: put on your heels before hand. Putting them on after is nigh-impossible. To clairfy, this is not the satiny numbers you buy at Vistoria's Secret. This is the bonning sticking you in the back, tightly laced up by hand by someone else canvass corsets. We wear them in my High Comedy class. Plus side, I get great cleavage, downside, breathing and memorization are not as enhanced.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

fairy cakes, or, it's a little cold in here...

Valentines Day. It happened.

Actually, it made for a pretty fun couple of days. I went to the National Gallery Friday afternoon to look at artwork, and then went over to Victoria Station to meet up with Tasha Rivera. Victoria Station, by the way, is huge. Four floors huge. It's both a tube station and a train station, so there's lots of commings and going and therefore lots of little shops. It was crazy.

Anyways, the two of us decided to have a very American night, so we went out to a Pizza Hut, (excuse me, Pasta Hut), and later a Baskin Robbins. Fabulous times. Then Saturday morning, we got up and headed over to King's Cross/St. Pancras Station to explore, upon the recomendation of my dad and brother. Saw the little tribute they did to Harry Potter, (yes I took a picture...), as well as (more seriously) the plaque to the bombing victims of 2005 7/7 incident. We ate at a little place called YO! Sushi, which had little plates going back and forth on a track, and you just grabbed the dishes you wanted. Then, because it was Valentine's Day, we went and grabbed these amazing fairy cakes, (known in the US as cupcakes...), that seriously had about four inches of frosting on them. Anyone who knows me knows this is a good thing. I also convinced a mom to buy one for her son who was all but drooling over mine. Then, as we finished up, a man came over and gave us free roses, coupled with these 100 page romance novels. Not sure which I liked better. The books are fabulously awful, by the way.

Then in the evening, the girls in the flat across the hall had a party (this is what happens when you have 30+ girls living together who are either single or away from their boyfriends, tho the BADA boys were also in attendance). Hilarity ensued in the forms of wine, chocolate cake, whipped cream, Shakira, and black lace underwear. Finished off the evening by watching the first half of Stardust with a flatmate. Wonderful evening.

And today was back to normal. There was laundry to get done, groceries to buy, and a paper to write. I hauled up in Starbucks and wrote 1400 words all in a go. Yup, I'm pretty proud.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

blondies with blades

Stage fighting went well today, there is hope! Natalie did not rip us to shreds! Huzzah! We have now graduated to Phase II of the fight, which unfortunately goes against all previous training. Oh well, my opposite thigh is pleased to be larger part of the workout, (though we'll see if I'm saying that tomorrow...).

This is the fight so far:
Phase I: thrust, thrust, lift and kick. Over the head, armpit, cross. Scratizone (or something equally as complicated sounding...it means to scratch), thrust, hit, leap.
-------- broken up with walking, stalking, talking, insulting ...y'know, acting)--------------
Phase II: Traverse, switch... (to be continued next week).

The switch, (which may come to have another name, I've forgotten if it does), is a bitch to learn. It involves switching your weight whilst in a lunge, leaping backward and to the left, swiviling your hips to go with your feet, but keeping your face towards your opponent. This is coupled with a blade parry, (as opposed to one with a dagger), and flipping your dagger around in your left hand. This is all done in one move, by the way. simultaneous like.

In other news, I got cast in a scene in Shakespeare as Viola from Twelfth Night. The casting is unsurprising (the crossdressing tomboy as opposed to the lovely lady), but as it is one of my favorite plays, I'm okay with that. Viola's pretty cool.

Monday, February 9, 2009

performace revue- the musical

I've now been here a month, funny how time flies. A month ago I was tossing and turning on an airplane, with one earbud playing Atmosphere's "Music Box", pretending that I'd get some sleep before I landed, and becoming more and more distracted by the rising sun. Inspired by this post, I thought I'd do a little one month review.

Things I now know:
-- Where my flat is. This is crucial information when you go out on a walk your first day.
-- How to successfully flush our toilet. (It hums angrily at you when done improperly).
-- The useful acronym "blood" in stage fighting (balance, leading with the weapon, eye contact, distance)
-- How to use a fan in the Restoration style
-- The nearest tub stops
-- Never to leave without an umbrella
-- To always tell the people you meet you voted for Obama (big points, no joke).
-- What way to look when crossing the street. (mostly- turns still mess me up).

Things I'm proud of/Accomplishments:
-- A sonnet in Sheila's class rated "simply marvelous"
-- Getting advice/critique from Fiona Shaw
-- My navagational skills
-- Salsa dancing
-- Snow! (okay, not my doing, btu certainly my supporting)
-- Grocery shopping on a budget
--Taking on the Tub in heels

Things to work on/Goals:
-- PR, must smile more, they take me seriously here.
-- Stage fighting. Natalie will kill me someday otherwise...
-- Finding somethig good for auditions (three weeks, eeeeeee)
-- More adventures! I've been exploring, but I need to do more outside my norm.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

weekend adventures

fun weekend!

Last night, we went on a historic pub crawl, which was a blast. It was apparently also New Zealand Independance Day, so the first pub we went to was full of people celebrating it. Made my day. I met this cute guy who drew an N.Z. on my cheek, so I got to be an honorary New Zealander. I also talked to a guy from Scotland named Charlie. It was interesting, because he couldn't figure out why we would say that we were Scottish or Irish or what have you when we were clearly American. A bit of culture shock, I guess.

Today my shakespeare teacher had us over for lunch. She made us delicious roasted vegtables and chicken, and then we sat around listening to her tell us stories about her acting days. She knows Judi Dench!, which is incredible but when we gasped about it, she was like "it's not a big deal, we were just growing up at the same time. It's like you guys right now." Which is weird to think about, being the next generation, and how we're all working a this thing we want to do with our lives. The question then is, which one of us is Judi Dench?