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.