Thursday, February 24, 2011

Time is fleeting.

I just realized that in exactly two months time I'll have just woken up from a night's slumber in my own bed (considering I'll probably be sleeping in....killing off jet-lag).


Where does time go? How does it pass SO fast? Do I have grey hair yet?

......but it's then that I'll ask for pork chops and applesauce from my mother and a banana creme pie from my Grammy--for breakfast. And I'll probably eat them in a bubble bath. Because I miss all the above that much.

And then this will be followed by some cuddling and a catch up on the latest chick-flicks AND a ton of text messaging.

Oh, and an Easter hunt...thrown somewhere in the mix.


So then I'll realize going home wont be so bad--at least for like the first four days. Ha.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dear Sisters,

I've finally finished my Sisterhood duty and sent off  the Vest (capitalized for proper noun status). It's about a month and a half over the allotted time, specified in our Traveling Sisterhood rules--and I'm truly sorry.

I must say we had a lovely time together in London.....and it will definitely be different/hard/sad without the shelter of her little corset-like fit around my body in the new places I visit.

But.....she will probably appreciate the warm vacation she's headed for to see Miss Emily Ure.
I made sure my last words to her at the post office were Aloha.


P.S. It's very possible that I found my own Greek-like man--just saying. I was really worried about that when I came up empty-handed last round. Just kidding.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Time for Spring.

I feel rude for not already having made a formal introduction.
This is my best gal pal in London, Spring. Or Springy Springstein, if you'd rather.
She's the greatest and we just have a...what's the word.....connection. Of course, when your friendship started out the way ours did, it would be impossible not to.

To tell this story I probably need to fill you in on some facts. Some quite personal facts. I hope it doesn't turn you off, but they are essential to our story.

1. I've had a very active digestive system my entire life. I'm talking very healthy.
2. It stops being so thriving the minute I leave home, whether it be for school, vacations, study abroad programs--you name it.
3. I once went a few weeks without so much of peep from it. Weeks.
4. Leaving home to live my life has become quite the complicated, uncomfortable problem, as you must now guess.
5. (Totally unrelated..) I didn't know any of the girls in the program. I knew a boy, Brenden, but that largely did not count. They aren't there for you to solve boy drama problems, introduce you to yummy penny candy and minstrels, talk about diets, and aren't nearly as pretty to look at--all of which Spring Springstein is.

So I arrived in London having already been abroad in the Netherlands for a week. My digestive buddy had been hiding even before that week, almost pouting that I was getting ready to leave home again for a place much farther away. I had confided to my mom in an email about my troubles. She was very sympathetic and worried about my dilemma. She didn't want me to look big in my pictures, you see, so she prescribed me a long list of laxatives.

I had told my mom I would skype with her about all my adventures in the Netherlands in detail the minute I landed and settled in London. It was six o'clock at night and I found someone that said she'd accompany me to the McDonalds, as the internet connection in our house wasn't so great. We walked down the street and settled in a booth, admiring the classiness the Europeans add to this American chain with their silk blouses and bow-ties, not to mention the daisy vases at every table. It was impressive.

I signed online and was a little bummed that I didn't think to bring my earphones because I realized it was REALLY loud in there. My mom had to shout so I could hear her. She's such a good communicator. We finish the conversation of my Dutch escapades and then she shouts "Have you been able to P-O-O-P yet?" just as the entire restaurant goes quiet, as if they all secretly had a pact to take a bite of their Big Macs at the same time and embarrass me to the absolute extreme in front of my new, prospective friend. I wanted to die. I looked at Spring to see if by some miracle she hadn't heard. She's looking at her feet trying to stifle laughter.

We've pretty much been the best, most divinely bonded friends ever since.

And I adore her.

Plus she looks like she could be in Twilight.

Bankside & Southward.

Any activity (or in this case, walk) can be a good time with the right attitude. But want to know how to make one that begins with a cold, constant rainfall and a closed tube station that forces you to take an unchartered parallel route the first forty minutes, the best day of your week?

Include the Borough Market.

Really, it's that simple.

This market was on the south bank of the Thames Rover alongside the likes of the Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe, Southwark cathedral, and Hay's Galleria (named in honor of me, of course). It was the most appetizing and attractive display of wholesale fruits, vegetables, artisan breads, pies, jams, desserts, and too-many-to-name dishes these eyes have ever laid sights on. I thought I had drowned in a puddle and come back to life again--it was heaven.

I like to think I made my food connoisseur sister proud. I tasted every sample. I devoured a pork sandwich at eleven o'clock in the morning as an early lunch. I indulged myself in a fresh orange, apple, and banana juice drink and yogurt-covered banana chips (to die for, by the way). I even had a bite of Ramsey's kangaroo burger, which I think isn't even legal. You heard me.

(I don't know why we didn't get pictures of the good stuff...)

We finished the walk with a near full-belly waddle over the Tower Bridge, which wont be stopping me from going back every Saturday morning from here on out. (It's been nine hours and I'm still mad at myself for not getting the Seriously Hot salsa and my own bag of yogurt-covered banana chips. Hmph.)

It's all in the face.

My mother didn't really teach me that--duh.

(Also, credit to Brenden O'Neal for the picture. I wish it was mine.)

Lambeth & South Bank.

It's not very often that Lady Sunshine likes to make an appearance in these parts. In fact, I think it was in the prep class that I was told to only expect twenty-one hours of sun in the whole month of February. Yeah.

Well, She came out on this day. I even got to take my my coat off--yes, outside! It felt like Christmas cheer (in a non-cold/snowy way).

It was GLORIOUS, especially when alongside the river embankment, opposite Big Ben, Somerset House, and Cleopatra's Needle. I'd have to say, it was probably my favorite walk of all time.

Prominent events of the walk:
1. Getting up-close & personal with the London Eye.
2. Spotting the first (and probably only drinking fountain in England--same goes for trash cans, root bear, toilet-seat covers...actually, probably just toilets period, and Crystal Light packets, in case you were wondering.)
3. Finishing the estimated 90-minute walk in only forty-five minutes, all thanks to the best walk leader Kaylee. I may have broken a bit of a sweat at one point.
4. Seeing everything from the opposite side of the river.
5. Feeling like home while passing through a skate park next to the BFI Southbank Theatre. The graffeti in that den was pretty sweet; I would have taken a picture if A. Kaylee wasn't so athletically endured and B. I didn't feel like I'd get beaten up by a skater for doing so.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Central Parks.

Brenden, Spring, and I decided to take this stroll through four of London's royal parks on the quintessential Spring-like morning that was Thursday, before class.  (Spring-like in the sense of both the season AND the person :) We couldn't have planned it better. Everyone was out and mingling for an early lunch hour enjoying the sun-rays reflected on the pond waters, which allowed for some worthwhile people watching. The birds and ducks were plentiful and friendly, enjoying every moment of the wheat attention they were getting. Brenden was encyclopedia-worthy with all the avifauna mating protocol he provided in conversation, which was more than I ever learned in my freshmen biology class. And as if the feathered birds & bees talk wasn't engaging enough, we rounded the area of Buckingham Palace just in time to watch the Changing of the Guard and catch bits of an Iranian protest going on at Hyde Park corner. It was definitely the most interesting walk I've been on. I gained an overdue appreciation for living just across the street from one of these pretty parks, and discovered more of it than I probably would have otherwise (i.e. the Peter Pan statue--a highlight).

Those Romans.

Today I was in the V&A museum looking at an impressive collection of Roman sculptures (this one in my non-art educated particular, was the tender favorite) when I remembered the last time I was looking at similar carvings.

I was in the Ceasar's Palace hotel in Las Vegas with my family. We were waiting in the shopping mall there for our dinner reservation at the Cheesecake Factory. I was about thirteen or fourteen, and was still being closely followed by my sister two years younger. To save you from the math, that would put her at around eleven or twelve--somewhere around 4th or 5th grade.

I was looking at a Roman statuette. I really liked the marble, I guess.

Okay, maybe I'm lying. I had just finished my Sex Education class and didn't know what to make of all the inconceivable facts I had just been told, the ones that very nearly flipped my whole world upside down. To my horror, Mackenzie shows up at my side and catches me in this very deplorable act. I was thirteen/fourteen so I knew by then that when things of that nature showed up, I was to avert eye contact and keep walking. I knew that. I was ashamed and uncomfortable. I didn't know what to do.

She looks at me, and then the statue. She proceeds to look back and forth a few times more. Then she turns to me a final time and says,
                                   "Is that where lettuce comes from, Hay?"

Roman sculptures at Ceasar's Palace are different than the Roman sculptures at the V&A museum...

Fleet Street & St. Paul's.

This walk was a teaser. It started with the striking St. Paul's cathedral and lead us up and away to a plethora of other churches that albeit charming, weren't nearly as comparable. As the old centre of London's printing and publishing industries, this western section of the city was highly commercial, brilliantly incorporating the grizzled buildings responsible for the area's traditional reputation and the new buildings of a more diverse economic sector. I imagine it's quite a fun game for the city planners to find innovative ways to work around such historical construction. Other notable sites were the private, residential neighborhood we stumbled into while lost, Shakespeare's Blackfriars Playhouse (an indoor theatre that was unusual for the time), and the funky Blackfriar Pub (the only one in the city decorated in the art nouveau style)--to name just a few.

Elise, our fearless leader, in front of Dr. Johnson's house--he wrote a dictionary.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

working on my fitness.

It takes 68 steps to get to my very America's Next Top Model-esque room.

68 steps. Sixty-eight!

It doesn't matter that I've already had one month's practice under my belt, I'm still huffing and puffing by the time I make it to my haven of bunk beds. I have re-think every trip to the bathroom (one flight down), or the classroom (three flights down), or the servery (five flights down).

At least I re-think every mid-afternoon or night snack.

And I'm just thankful I don't have to climb the ladder flight of stairs to the top bunk.


Can you imagine having your head lacerated by this face?

Shoot. Can you imagine having your head lacerated at all?

I can't. Bless the souls of all those that fell under that fate. Whether they were truly guilty of treason or just a helpless pawn in the game of politics, like Lady Jane Grey. No one deserves such cruelty.

I mean, this face is cruel and creepy enough.

Like....what is that? An elephant trunk for a nose AND a cleft lip/palate?

Friday, February 4, 2011


If you literally want to LOL/LMAO, you have got to read this.

Her name is Jamie and she's my bunkmate on this here study abroad. The told tale is classic.

you [can't] call me Di.

Have you ever been to afternoon (herbal) tea?

Well I have. It was quite the event. I got all dressed up in my fancies for my inauguration at Kensington Palace (that's Princess Diana's old abode for you non-familiars). I was on my best behavior so I wouldn't disappoint her in the spirit world.

I mean, I really tried to bring on my inner Di. I even did the raised pinky (not shown, obviously), which is kind of a big deal for me since I have a thing about hands. Don't ask. But I totally do.

Anyways, it turns out there is a glitch with the little finger shananigans (I knew I didn't like it) when trying to balance a full cup of defies the laws of gravity. I quite honestly spilled my tea everywhere and had to use the plates from my scone and lovely pastries, the jam dish, and sugar packets to create an artistic pattern of sorts to disguise the wet mess.....then I got out of there real fast. I'm sorry Di, I really am.