Monday, August 31, 2009

Sleep for a week.

I'm a little bit homesick today.

I have most of the rest of my trip planned out (with a little bit of panic about how I am getting to and from the airport as many times as I need to) but the thought of all that traveling, right now, sounds completely tiring and not quite as appealing as it should. I know people are probably thinking I sound ungrateful of my adventure, blah blah, but YOU try being excited about 7 flights in 23 days when you're already physically and emotionally drained from 2 and a half weeks of dealing with what I've been dealing with and then a very intense weekend on top of that. You tell me how excited you are then.

Plans are:
1. Fly to Dublin and back for 3 days. (2 flights)
2. Fly to Rome. (1 flight + connection, ugh)
3. Train to Paris.
4. Flight back to London. (1 flight)
5. Fly to Dublin and back for another 3 days. (2 flights)
6. Fly home. (grand total = 7 flights)

I'm positive this is going to be an adventure that I look back on and am happy I did it, but right now all I want to do is curl up in this purple sleeping bag of Emma's and sleep for a week.

Yesterday was the last day of Summer in the City, and even though I kind of didn't want to go, I'm glad I did. I think it actually ended up being the best day, for me. Emma and Jerry and J0ames and I took the train, but before we got on, this girl ran up to me yelling "Kristina Horner?!"
I assumed she was going to SITC and I said something along the lines of "will you be at the gathering today?" but she was very confused, as she was from Israel and just traveling through London with her friends. So that was weird. Recognized in public in London, completely unrelated to the YouTube gathering.

We got to Leicester square and visited for awhile, watching this sad homeless man dig through the trash cans for food. Anna came over with a huge bag of food which I graciously accepted, making a sandwich with James on ciabatta bread. We then went to Burger King (still hungry, ha) where I had a chicken sandwich that I hated because the mayo in the UK is gross.

Everyone wanted to go to Cybercandy at this point, and I went along purely for the LOL factor. I spent the entire time making fun of people for spending 1.65 pounds on a single can of Rootbeer or 6.50 pounds on a box of Lucky Charms. Outrageous! I delighted in telling them how much such items cost at home. xD

The day is a little blurry now, but I know we headed over to Namco at some point, where we decided to just sit outside for a long time because Johnny and I were both feeling a little woozy from the night before. Emma and J0ames tried their hand at Stacker (they are champions, though luck wasn't with them on this day) and then we sat in the incredibly comfy chairs in Costa for awhile because literally, nobody had a single ounce of energy left.

Sunday was a better day, because it just consisted of a lot of talking, being around people I like a lot, and not exerting too much of myself in any way. I cannot stress how much I like some of these people. The night ended when Emma and I found our way back to the car and drove back to her house listening to good music that neither of us have attached to any stupid boy situation.

We don't have any plans to leave her house today and I am very excited about that. I need some time to recharge my batteries (in life, not my camera. I still don't have a camera charger) and I think a day off might help me to refocus on getting excited to see new parts of the world. I'm just feeling pretty down right now and being so tired isn't helping.

Also, I miss Hayley. So much. I mean, I know she still lives pretty far away even when I'm home, but I feel like I haven't talked to her in ages and I am homesick for her regular text messages.

Days until I leave: 23
Times I've had Indian food: 10

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Utter Exhaustion.

Summer in the City was exhausting.

It was a lot of other things, like exciting and fun and new and busy and kind of hard, but overall the best adjective to use is definitely "exhausting".

Saturday morning I woke up at Emma's with her and Jerry, and was feeling very sort of apathetic about everything. We lazed around, went online, ate some food, took our time getting ready... we finally left to meet up with everyone at Hyde Park and got to the gathering about 2 and a half hours late. Oops.

There were probably double the amount of people there the second day. It was a little overwhelming, actually, seeing SO MANY PEOPLE all connected by the same website, all just milling around in a park. There was about another hour or so of mingling, chatting, signing things, taking pictures, meeting new people, etc. I got to see J0ames (whom I'd met for the first time when I was here back in March) and I got to speak with Anna (Coinkidink) a bit more and my new lovely friend Claire whom I'd only known due to a few exchanged emails in the past weeks, and another James, who apparently was at LeakyCon even though I didn't meet him there.

At one point Emma nudged me because she saw Alex walking off alone, so I followed him because I couldn't handle another whole day of being in the same place and not speaking. I caught up to him finally and we chatted for about 10-15 minutes about surface level things, and that went pretty okay. Then we decided to get food together, grabbed a few of our friends, and headed off in search of pizza. We never found pizza, but instead found a pub that we sat in, eating and drinking and conversing for at least an hour. It was nice, but it felt weird. I wont deny that. The fact is that it felt the same, only that we weren't dating. That's.. I dunno.

At this point we decided to go back to the gathering only to find that everyone was heading off to the place where the gig was going to be that night, so we turned right around and headed to the tube to get to the Luminaire. Turns out we were early, so we sat in ANOTHER pub for awhile, where I got to know the likes of James (both of them), Anna and Claire a lot better (Jerry and Emma were there as well, obviously. We were inseparable all weekend).

When we finally headed over to the gig (which was literally right next door, upstairs), they didn't want to let us in.
Because it was "full".
I pulled the "I came all the way from SEATTLE" card, and the bouncer didn't give a crap, and then a girl came out and saw me and Jerry huddled by the door and was like "Oh these two NEED to get in" and after a few frantic text messages and me getting a bit red in the face, another guy was like "Oh just let them up." Bless him.

The gig was fun, kind of.

I really started to understand the full scope of how powerful music can be though, as two of the songs that were played over the course of the night were songs that had a lot of meaning to me with regard to a certain recent relationship I was in. It kind of made me get a bit messy, though that might have had to do with the shots of tequila Jazza's friends decided it would be a good idea to keep giving me.

I don't want to talk about it anymore, but I hope to never experience another night like that ever again in my life. It was too hard. It was too incredibly hard and I know I am going to need to go into iTunes and delete a lot of my favorite songs for a very long time, at least until they don't mean anything to me anymore. And probably not drink for awhile.

I am just so, so, so, so incredibly thankful I have people in my life like Jerry and J0ames and Jazza and the other James and Liam who are always there for me and would never make me cry or leave me to take care of myself. Claire and Anna and Becky and Emma and Johnny and Tino and Gary and everyone here is so amazing, and I got a bit emotional Saturday night about going home eventually too... because even though there are things in London that I definitely need to get away from, there are also a lot of wonderful people here that I don't know what I am going to do without them.

It sucks, because I came to London wanting to fall in love with it, because I assumed this would eventually be my second home. And now, after being here a month, and realizing I like it a lot more than I ever thought I would... well, it's just not going to be anymore. That idea of spending months here at a time for the rest of my life is still so fresh in my brain that it's hard to shake the notion... but now when I go home at the end of next month... who KNOWS when I'll be back. :/

Okay, but on that note, I met Stephen (3sixty5days) from Red at the gig! And we were super excited to meet each other and super excited about my coming to Dublin next week to film things with him and Adam (whataboutadam) for Red. So that was a good part of the night!

We took a cab home and that was the end of SITC Day #2. x.x

Days until I leave: 24
Times I've had Indian food: 10

Friday, August 28, 2009

SITC trials and errors.

I am sitting on a couch with Emma and Jerry, having a laptop party slash sleepover and pajama party... and I am here blogging. xD

Today was Day One of Summer in the City... I survived it at least. I met a lot of great people (including Becky, GeorgieBOOM, a funny guy from Germany, Saraxxlou, Johnny and a load of other people I can't remember the names of). I think the best/worst part of the day was when we were all standing in the park in Leicester Square and suddenly, out of nowhere it just started POURING on everyone. I was literally pulled under an umbrella and a jacket in a group of people I only had just met and had a very wet, very close bonding experience with said people. Everyone was huddled under various little groups for the 3-5 minutes it poured until it passed. That's what I don't get about London. These weird, short bursts of DOWNPOUR rain. Everyone needs to leave Seattle alone, because our rain is awesome. London's rain sucks.

The events of the day were basically:
1. Stand in a park.
2. Break into groups to go on "tours" of the city.
3. Happen to join the slacker group led by Gary that just sat in one place for an hour because we're apathetic losers.
4. Go to Leicester square to eat.
5. Try to go to Pizza Hut.
6. Fail.
7. Go to McDonalds.
8. Have an elitist picnic lunch with Emma and Jerry on a blanket while everyone else ate their fast food on the grass.
9. Get rained on.
10. Leave with Johnny and various other people to go this scary haunted thing.
11. Find out haunted thing costs money.
12. Not go to haunted thing.
13. Go to Arcade.

I met a lovely girl name Karla (whose accent I loved) and we played 2 rounds of DDR, which was awesome because even though I hadn't played in years, people seemed to be impressed with my SKILLZ so I enjoyed myself.

So the really crappy part of the day was that literally within 30 seconds of being at SITC, my purse just BROKE. Out of NOWHERE. The strap broke off and I had no way to carry it on my shoulder anymore and I was really upset. These two sweet girls came up and gave me a big bulky safety pin, which essentially worked, but kept coming undone and I kept stabbing myself on accident, so I have all these bloody little pinpricks on my left hand from the course of the day that I didnt notice until later. :/
I liked that purse a lot. Now I have the strap tied around in a very unfashionable way, but it's holding, and I can't afford a new one if I want to go to Rome and Paris - I don't need to impress anyone with my fashion! I don't care!

I'm not going to talk about my experience seeing Alex today, but it wasn't easy. Or successful, really.

In other news, I'm tired of laptopping while I am sitting here in London with two of my best friends, so I'm LEAVING. GOODBYE.

Days: Still 27
Indian Food: 9

Part Two of my adventure.

Yesterday I packed up all my stuff and left Eltham... it was a lot sadder than I thought it would be.

I kept thinking about a month ago when Alex and his dad dropped me off there, and I still had bright and shiny ideas about the next 2 months... and about the night Alex stayed there with me on our 6 month anniversary... and about how many days I then spent crying and feeling completely hopeless in that room... and lastly, about how I finally started having fun with my classmates on that campus when there were only 3 days left.. :/
I knew that would happen. YOU all knew that would happen. I don't think I could have avoided the way things worked out though.. I just have to appreciate the one really good week I had.

I know the entire second half of my trip is about to begin, but I just have this overwhelming and strange feeling right now as I know I'm about to leave this experience behind forever and there wont be quite as many good memories linked with it as I'd hoped.

Yesterday, my last day, was a good day. We met for our last "class" at 10 in the morning, and only were there for about 30 minutes while we sang happy birthday to one of the girls on the trip and talked about last minute things. Then a whole bunch of us went out to Nando's in Lewisham, which was a lot of fun. The group kind of split up after this point, and I went with 5 of my friends out to King's Cross station to show them where Platform 9 3/4 was (this was the third time I have been there, xD) and we took pictures and were dorky and it was a nice way to start my last afternoon in London with Seattle people. It worked out well, because I felt like I bonded a lot with the 5 people I spent that last day with, and they were probably some of my favorite people I met on the trip.

After King's Cross we took a train out to Portobello Market, and walked along the seemingly endless road of booths and stands and fun little shops. We'd decided to go there on a complete whim, not even knowing what it was all about, but ended up having a blast. I bought little presents for my mom and my brother and spent a lot of time admiring the quirky, brightly painted buildings along the street. I have pictures but I am saving my camera battery (still no charger) so I wont be uploading them until I get home.

After a few hours at the market our feet were killing us, so we hopped back on a train to Cannon Street to meet our friend Anthony at the London Stone. This was the creepy gothic pub I mentioned the other day that I couldn't remember the name of. They have amazing drinks there named after the 7 deadly sins, and Anthony and our other friend Craig spoiled us all by buying 5-6 pitchers of the very best ones, like Greedy and Sloth (one was a fruity purple drink (water, sugar, purple!) and the other was a mint chocolatey drink... amazing). We sat around just talking and enjoying ourselves and I felt so content, albeit a little saddened that my entire trip wasn't like this.

I truly hope these people all keep in touch when we get back home to Seattle. These last few days have been so good.

We took the train home, where I speed-packed the rest of my belongings while I waited for Emma to come pick me up. Once she got there we loaded my things in her car, I said goodbye to the few people I could find, turned in my keys, and.. left Eltham. :/

We're staying at Emma's dad's girlfriend's apartment, and it is AMAZING. She lives in Canary Wharf and from the window I can see the Thames, the O2 Dome, the DLR rail, and tons of other buildings I can't actually name. Last night we stood on the balcony for awhile, and aside from being dizzying, being so high up, it was simply breathtaking. All the twinkling lights of the city reflected in the river below - I would love to live somewhere like that, at least for a little while. A beautiful city apartment to supplement my reclusive cabin in the woods where I will go to write. :D

Today is Summer in the City.
I am 2 parts terrified, 1 part nervous, 3 parts excited and 4 parts just ready to meet so many people I have only talked to online, finally.
(Apparently this means I am made up of 10 parts. I suppose that makes sense.)

Probably most excited to meet Johnny, since I already met Dave last week and met a lot of people when I was here in March. But I know that LOADS of my subscribers and blog commenters and CD buyers are British and I am excited to meet all of YOU, too. Making new friends is the best part of gatherings, really. Ask Shannancy.

I really, really hope no one chickens out of coming and talking to me, because I cannot even count the amount of times I have gotten emails later from people saying "I saw you today but I didn't say hi." DON'T DO THAT. I am coming to SITC to meet people, to chat, to hang out, and honestly, the more people I talk to the less time I will spend worrying what Alex is doing. Haha.
I am really excited to hang out with the UK crowd, I know a lot of you blog readers are going, and I am going to be very sad if I don't meet EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU. <3

Okay. I need to do my laundry so badly it's not even funny anymore, so this is the end of my blog post.

Days until I leave: 27
Times I've had Indian food: 9

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stuck in a maze.

Okay. Some things to clear up.

I spoke to Alex for the first time today, which went rather badly, because he was upset about the picture I painted of him in my last blog post.

Nothing I said was untrue, but he thought it was unfair that I didn't add the fact that he did offer to let me stay at his house in September despite everything, so he didn't literally kick me to the curb.

There is no way I'm going to stay at his house, and I'm sure he doesn't want that either, so I opted not to. My parents also offered to fly me home, but I needed to stay to finish my course and get college credit for being here, and I'm also not going to give up on my summer trip abroad to go home and cry under my covers, so naturally I opted out of that option too. I've HAVE options, they're just all shitty. So I chose the option that leaves me here in London, trying to have fun, being constantly reminded that he's not in my life anymore, but really trying to make the best of it. I figure it's the lesser of three evils.

The thing we don't agree on is that he feels there were two options:
1. Break up, right then, like it happened.
2. Him be deceitful and lie and pretend everything is normal and string me along and then break up with me in an email the second I get home on Sep 23, because he felt there were things about our personalities that weren't going to work out in the long term.

I feel there was more than than just those two options, including one where we maybe.. I dunno.. discussed things, but it's fundamentally something we won't agree on, and I can't really say more about it than that.

Basically, I'm just here to report how I'm feeling and what I'm doing. I never intended to make this a breeding ground for Alex-hate (even though it really wasn't; you guys are too nice) or make anyone choose sides or anything immature like that. I do still appreciate everything you've all said to me, though, so don't think I don't appreciate your stories of being able to relate, or enjoy your condolences and advice.


Today we went to Leeds castle!

I didn't really know what to expect, never having been to a castle and not knowing a single bit of history about this particular one, but it was BEAUTIFUL. The sprawling grounds, the willow trees, and lakes and the sheer old-ness of the buildings.
Inside was a little more modern than I'd expected, since people were living in it up until 2001 - the drawing rooms were particularly sort of 60's - like.

My favorite part was the library.. all the old books.. I made my friend take a picture of me in front of the book case, which I would show you now but it's still on my camera and I lent my friend Roy my USB cable in exchange for borrowing his battery charger because we have the same camera.

After we were finished exploring the castle we went and got food in the little courtyard, and then we went in the MAZE.

The maze was the best part of the whole day. It looked kind of small from the outside, but I was so wrong. It was huge, and confusing, and I got lost in it for a very long time. It was annoying because there was this sort of stone tower in the middle where the people who's already figured it out could stand and look out over the maze and yell faulty directions at us. Jerks. Haha.

Finally finally finally I made it to the center, and quickly became one of the people shouting out things that sent the rest of our classmates wandering in circles. xD

To get out, there was this creepy grotto beneath the tower that took you through a cavern underneath the maze, and I thought that was the coolest part honestly.

Next we watched a bird show, met an adorable vulture that walked with a swagger named Lurch, and eventually made our way back to the bus where I slept the entire ride home.

I didn't end up going to the Globe tonight, but I'm about to head upstairs to see what everyone else is doing. I leave tomorrow! It's weird! I can't believe I have already been here a month. Can't comprehend that. I'm going to miss this little room.

Oh god. I have to pack.

Days until I leave: 30
Times I've had Indian food: 9

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

DIY Pub crawl.

It is so frustrating.

I had a GREAT day today. I felt good, I had fun, but then I come back to my flat, open my laptop to check email and things, and THE TINIEST LITTLE THING SETS ME OFF, and it all comes rushing back. :/
It's not even important - Alan tweeted a link to a blog Alex wrote for DFTBA on shipping dates and eddplant tweeted something about a show he's playing at on Friday during SITC. These things are completely insignificant. But just being reminded of him off guard like that, knowing I have to see him/listen to his stupid love songs this weekend (I haven't seen him since he broke up with me) just puts me in such a foul mood, and I have no idea how long it's going to take me to not let that happen every time I see his name. I don't want to let him to ruin the Internet for me, of all things. It upsets me actually, that it has that strong of an effect over me when I just want to be okay.

Today I walked by a few places with my friends that I remembered going to with him in central London, and I tried practicing being cold and unfeeling about it. It was hard.

And I have been starting to brace myself for the questions at Summer in the City, though I know that the majority of people will be nice, supportive, or embarrassed they asked, when my reply is thus:
"Where is Alex? I have no idea, as he broke up with me two weeks ago, pretty much abandoning me in a foreign country and leaving me without a place to stay for three weeks. Oh you didn't know? That's okay, it just happened recently, while I've been thousands and thousands of miles from anything familiar to me. How are you?"

T-minus 3 days until the SITC weekend of doom, and I'm crossing my fingers that I can enjoy it.


I promise, the rest of this blog entry is Alex-free.

In other other news, I did have a really good day.
We got up early and took the train into the city, where everyone met up at the Imperial War Museum. I tried my first sausage roll. It was pretty good, actually. I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I meandered around looking at all the war artifacts, wandered through the Trench Experience (pretty cool), learned about the Blitzkrieg, and walked through an incredibly sad exhibit on war through the eyes of children.
I already adore children and in general seeing anything remotely sad involving little kids makes me kind of tear up (Charlotte's Web gets me every time) - but with how emotionally unstable I have been lately mixed with replicas of gravestones from 14 year olds who died in battle and letters to parents informing them that their children who'd been evacuated had been on a ship that got bombed and there was no hope of them coming home- I was BAWLING, right there in the museum. So I opted out of seeing the Holocaust section next and spent the rest of my time in the gift shop.

After the war museum, we weren't exactly sure what to do with our day since it was only about 2 and we were already in central London. We realized it is our last week of class, and many people are going home this weekend, so we decided to wander and find pubs and just have FUN.
...we ended up going to 6 different pubs over the course of about 6-7 hours. :O

1. The first one was called... gah. Something gothic. I can't remember. We were only there for a short while though, because they refused to serve us alcohol without a UK id. Ridiculous. I have never encountered that before, and I have been here for a month already.

2. Annoyed, we moved to a pub right on the Thames and this new place was a bit better, though I did order a tomato and mozerella sandwich thinking it would be grilled and melty and good, but they literally slapped cheese and tomato slices on bread and charged me 6 pounds. Losers.

3. I don't remember the name of this next place either, but there were pillows on the benches in the pub, really great mood lighting, and 2 of the bartenders were American. Everyone was really nice here, and a bunch of us had these epic mojitos and bowl after bowl of salty bar snacks.

4. We went to the ... WHY CANT I REMEMBER ANY OF THE NAMES? Something cute about cheese... anyway I love how there are just so many quirky little pubs in this country. This one had a stairway leading down to a labyrinth of lower level seating in dungeon-looking rooms and it was a blast. We had the most fun at this pub.

5. The last pub we actually went into and ordered things at was called "Ye Old Cock". I'm not going to lie, that's the only reason we wanted to go. Also they had free wifi!

6. On our way back to Charing Cross, we stopped in and had a look around at the Old Bank of England, which was all fancy and classy looking and famous. I geeked out a little because it's on Fleet street, and I was reading this plaque on the wall talking about the Bank's grim history because it was situated between the barber shop and the pie shop, and I wanted to take pictures and find out if there was anything else around to see but it was dark and kind of ambiguous, and no one else I was with appreciated the Sweeney Todd references so begrudgingly, I left.

I ended up eating way too much food, trying a lot of different kinds of cider beers, and getting to know a lot of the people from my course a lot better. Figures, right when it's about to end.

I had a chat with Johnny on skype tonight and remembering how excited I am to meet him renewed my faith in SITC a little bit - if I have half as much fun with him as I did with Liam, the entire weekend will be worth it. :)

Tomorrow is Leed's Castle! Then possibly a show at the Globe theatre, standing like a peasant. We'll see.

Edit: Just told my dad on skype that I tried Guiness today and thought it was nasty.. here is the resulting conversation regarding my upcoming trip to Dublin:

Randy: the irish won't like you if you dont like guiness
Kristina: Hahhaa.
Kristina: The Irish will LOVE me.
Kristina: I'll do a jig.

Days until I leave: 30
Times I've had Indian food: 9 (just pub food today)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chipotle and Sim people.

I wasn't going to blog tonight, because it's late and I'm tired, but then I found this video and I just had to say something about it. I have no idea who any of these girls are, but they made me a video being cute and sending me well wishes when they didn't even know what was wrong with me, and everything about the video is just adorable and cuddly and wonderful.

Sometimes I really love the Internet.

Speaking of loving the Internet... for some reason, out of nowhere, after 3 weeks of battling lack of wifi and having to walk with my computer over to the Dome to check email.... suddenly tonight i turned on my laptop and there it was - a signal.


No, I am definitely glad the school part of this trip is drawing to a close. Even though I did bond with one of my flatmates tonight over how stupid boys can be - turns out she was dating a boy that is here with us on the trip (I had no idea) and he dumped her before the trip even began, so it's been awkward and bad and not what she expected and I am just so sick of boys being so TYPICAL like this.

In other news, Eia and I just power-planned more trip stuff via skype (Dublin Sep 2-4, then ROME! Nothing is set in stone yet after that but we're working on it) and I should probably go to bed soon because we have the war museum tomorrow but I am so excited about this wifi that I can't help but stay online a bit longer. I really like that I talk in complete run-on sentences when I am excited.

I found out today that Jerry is coming to Summer in the City and that made me very happy, 1. because one afternoon was not enough time with my dear friend jerryhcooke and 2. I'm still incredibly nervous to attend and to be in the same place as Alex and to generally not know how I am going to handle that situation. Also, I always seem to forget to give Jerry shoutouts when he deserves them, so there you go, whiner-face.

There were a lot of little anecdotes I wanted to remember to write about today but they've all slipped my mind. I suppose a play-by-play will have to suffice. After class, a bunch of us went to Brick Lane and wandered around, and then (even though I'd seen it before) I went with my friends Rowena, Nikki and Lauren to Big Ben and the London Eye. Then we went to the Tower of London and admired the castle, and took pictures in front of London Bridge. Proper tourists. :) We were going to continue walking toward the bridge but then some police officers ushered us back the way we came because of an "incident", but when we'd made it back to the Tower of London, they'd shut the gate. I remember telling my friends that I felt like a Sim, trapped in an enclosed space and not knowing where to go, because everyone was just kind of wandering aimlessly but not actually saying anything because we were all clearly trapped but no one knew what to do about it and no one wanted to speak up.
Finally they let us out. xD

We took the trains home and now we're right back where we started - in my room with the GLORIOUS WIFI.

Also - I need to look into this, but I heard from someone that they're opening a Chipotle in London -- in SEPTEMBER? That potentially means while I am still here. In fact - two points to the first person to verify or disprove that in the comments. I have a craving.

This whole blog entry was utterly pointless. I'm going to bed.

Days until I leave: 31
Times I've had Indian food: 9 <-- I was at BRICK LANE, come on.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cottage pies, picnics, and free ice cream!

I am on the train again, utilizing the free wifi as I watch Edinburgh get smaller and smaller out the window. I really didn't want to leave today. :/
I love this city a lot, I wish I got to spend more time with Liam, I adore Eia's friends and can't wait to hang out with them again in Seattle, and I just was all around having a really nice time for once, despite their apartment's lack of a shower.

Yesterday we woke up and got ready at our leisure (I had to take a bath in this scary tub upstairs that was all long and narrow and looked like a tub that someone would get murdered in - and because of the UK's weird tendency to have different faucets for hot and cold, I either had to scald my head or freeze it to wash my hair; life is hard) before packing up a picnic lunch and walking over to Arthur's seat.

We were all set to do the climb (we just don't HAVE beautiful cliffs like that in America!) and we met up with Liam at the foot of the hill, walked about a hundred feet before we decided the backpack of food was too heavy to carry up that far, and that we were also too hungry to make the climb on an empty stomach. We spread out the blanket and had our picnic lunch on the grass with the cliffs as the backdrop, and enjoyed pasta, potatoes, pepperoni, apples with nutella, pastries and extremely bitter lemonade in the sun, set to the best playlist of music courtesy of Liam's iPod. It was a really fun afternoon, and I'm glad that everyone liked Liam as much as I do. After lunch we were way, way too stuffed to even consider climbing the hill, so we took a few pictures and called it a failed attempt. xD

We went over to Liam's flat instead, where he and I geeked out on dailybooth for awhile while the rest of them played Catchphrase... we joined in eventually and it was a blast. I am a sucker for fun board games, so this was a perfect afternoon for me.

Then Liam had to dash off to work, and I got to experience my first cottage pie. I'm not going to lie.. it wasn't my favorite thing I've ever tried. It was alright, and I can see why people like them, but I thought it needed cheese or something. Haha. Also it reminded me of the chicken pot pies my mom used to make me eat when I was little, and I hated those things. Bleh.

That night we went to a very crowded smelly bar, and then we moved over to Revolution (the same bar I went to with Rosi and Emma). I can't afford to drink there very often (6 pounds for a cocktail!) but DAMN. Eia ordered a mudslide and I had a few sips and it was amazing. I bought a sour apple shot and it was INCREDIBLY SOUR. I guess I got what I paid for.

The guy from the night before kept texting me, and I had really no interest in seeing him again, but I told him vaguely where we were and he found us somehow. I'm starting to think all that literature and clumsy girl stuff was just an act because he was awful the second night - kept trying to make us dance when we were just happy to sit at our table and take dorky drunk pictures and chat - and then when he saw I wasn't interested, he switched right to Katherine and tried to get her to let him come back with us to our flat - no. So we ditched him eventually. Good riddance, British boys. I don't need you in my life.

This morning I went shopping with Eia and Katherine, and I spent a bit too much money (again) but I literally found the PERFECT jacket and the PERFECT boots. Exactly like the ones I've been looking for, for ages. So now I have extra bags to carry home with me to London and probably no more room in my suitcase but IT'S WORTH IT. This jacket is the best. I love it.


We went to this Indian food lunch buffet where it was 6 pounds for all you can eat. BUT. They gave us a free drink AND free ice cream. FREE ICE CREAM.
It was probably the best lunch I have ever had in my life and I will be eternally jealous that Eia and her friends can go back a few more times before they leave Scotland, whereas I will spend the remaining duration of my trip far away from the location that literally was a little piece of heaven called "Red Fort". Scottish people, if you haven't been there, GO. It's on Drummond Street.
Liam suggested it to us and I am so glad. xD

So, even though there is definitely still a boy-shaped hole in the pit of my stomach that I can't seem to shake off, I am starting to feel a bit more like a human being on vacation instead of just a shell dragging myself from place to place. Actually hinting around about it on my blog and talking about it openly has helped me come to terms with it a bit better, but that's probably because I haven't gotten a single rude or judgmental comment from anyone and I hope to keep it that way a bit longer.

In the last week and a half, I have gotten COUNTLESS amounts of good advice from various people, but here a few things that have stuck out.

Good advice #1:
"Remember that you wanted to do this long before the boy came into your life. ;)"

It's true. I applied to study in London because I knew I had loads of friends here and because I became fascinated with the city after doing YouTube for awhile and talking to so many people who live here. Granted I started talking to "the boy" because I knew I'd be coming for the summer; he's not the REASON I'm here. I had just been so used to the idea of spending my summer with him that's it's hard to regain that original sight of what this summer was going to be. I'm slowly gaining that back.

Good advice #2:
"i really, truly believe that you don't entirely know yourself until you've experienced heartbreak and had to relearn how to be alone and be comfortable with who you are."

This obviously isn't GOOD news, because nobody wants to relearn how to be alone and re-develop the ability to feel complete without that person who made them feel complete. I knew I was in love because I haven't just felt like I was losing a person - I still definitely feel like I lost a bit of myself. But I know I am strong enough to rebuild myself into an even better person. Eventually. And while this thought still sounds repulsive to me, I'm sure someday I'll meet someone who won't make me feel like I need to compromise anything to make things work between us.

And if that takes awhile, well, it's like my good friend Mickeleh said: "Misery is a great prod to creativity." Maybe I'll finish my book. :)

Days until I leave: 32
Times I've had Indian food: 8

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Edinburgh is a good place.

Lots of people have been saying "cheers love" in the comments lately, and I wonder if it's because I said I liked it in the blog entry I wrote on the train? xD
I love you guys.

This blog is so up and down, it's hilarious.

Yesterday was amazing.

I got up and first I went to Eia's class in her living room with her, and it was fun. I gave a good example for one of the things they were talking about from Lord of the Rings and felt smart. xD

Then at 2 I met my friends from my study abroad course at the Waverly bridge and wandered around with them for a bit. We went and got crepes at the Grassmarket and I honestly can't believe that was my first crepe experience. It was alright.. I just had cinnamon and sugar. Next time I'll spring for jam or something a little more exciting.

I'm not proud of the next thing I did, but I don't really care.
I called Liam and had him come meet me at the crepe stand, and instead hanging out with my friends, I just kind of ditched them and spent the afternoon in Edinburgh with him. It was really nice - I needed to talk to him about stuff and he was wonderful at listening and saying all the right things, so I was happy for that. We were going to take cliché dailybooth pictures together but we completely forgot... maybe we'll remember today. :)

I really like Edinburgh. I told Liam that I liked it better than London - and it's true. I wish I could spend more time here, because it's all around prettier, and smaller, and even with the festival going on I felt like it was less crowded and more friendly.
Maybe I also like it because there aren't as many little reminders of everything that went wrong about this trip here as there are in London, but I honestly just think this city is beautiful.

I was meeting Eia and her friends at a theatre at 6 to see the Grind Show, which is the show that the other UW students are doing here, so Liam walked me to the venue and hung out with us right up to when the show started.

The show was the weirdest thing I have ever seen. It was like, 2 parts creepy, 1 part confusing, 1 part offensive, and 3 parts just.... strange. I'm glad I saw it though. I was kind of mad at my other London friends because I invited them and they decided not to go, which was rude I thought - why not support your school in another country? Who cares if the show gets bad reviews, we were going to get free tickets anyway and the point of the Fringe festival is to see weird shows.
Oh well.

After the show Eia and I and her friend Katherine went to get Indian food and all we could find was this ridiculously expensive place, where the service was bad and our tablecloth was dirty - but the food was so good that we honestly didn't really care. I introduced them to the wonder that is tikka masala and Eia tried out phad thai in Scotland - interesting combination.
Oh oh we also went to the Elephant House Cafe, which is the "birthplace of Harry Potter", so that was very exciting. We had these massively marshmallowy hot chocolates and I got to soak in the feel of JK Rowling... all I want to do is take my laptop back there and try to work on my story. :)

The best part of the night was definitely the end, when we all met up at the Three Sisters, which is the bar that Liam works at. It was a lot bigger than I expected, and it was a lot of fun! I kept catching him dancing behind the bar and he would turn red - Min, you're a lucky woman, your boyfriend is adorable.
He was discounting our drinks, which was nice, but eventually it got too hot by the bar so we went around back to find a place to just dance. I haven't danced in a long time and it felt really fun to just get sweaty and yell at each other over the music.
There was this bachelor party going on so lots of guys were dressed in women's clothing, which was cracking us all up.

This other guy starting dancing pretty close to Katherine and I, and taking heed everything I've been warned simultaneously about british boy, and boys in bars in general, I was wary of him, but he stuck around long enough for me to actually chat with him for awhile and he was really nice. He was visiting Edinburgh for the festival for the weekend (just like me!) but he was from... I still don't know what city he was saying.. something small and on the eastern coast of England. Nor-something. He bought me a drink and told me he thought I was cute because I was the only girl dressed in jeans and he saw me knock over a glass (Liam told us sometimes they have to switch from glass to plastic when things get too crazy - he does it because of people like me! I'm so ashamed) and that he thinks clumsy girls are the best kind of girls. Maybe these were all pick up lines, but he seemed genuine enough so I let him buy me that drink, and Katherine and I ended up talking to him for a lot of the night about literature, health reforms, and other incredibly nerdy, not bar-talk things at all.

There was one point in the night where we were dancing and I told him I liked his moves (because he was perhaps nerdier than I am) and he did this sort of awkward pull me close thing while saying "Well I like you" and I kind of panicked, in a "this-is-way-too-soon" sort of way... but that was the only sort of weird part of the night.

I'm assuming that many of you have probably deduced that I am not having a strange time in the UK merely because my program isn't everything I wanted it to be and that my symptoms more resemble that of a broken heart... I guess meeting a random English boy in a bar in Scotland and having him buy me a drink was event enough for me to admit that much. You blog commenters are wonderful, and I can't even begin to explain how thankful I am of all the lovely things you've been saying.. a lot of you always sort of write yourselves off as "complete strangers", and I suppose you are, but if I didn't trust you with my secrets I wouldn't write about them here in the honest way that I do.

So basically, Edinburgh is good medicine for what's been going on in my life, it's felt nice to leave London behind with all the memories I have stored there, and while things definitely aren't amazing yet, it's getting a little easier every day.

I only have 4 days of classes left and then I am staying with Emma for awhile, so there is always something to look forward to. :)

Days until I leave: 32
Times I've had Indian food: 7

Friday, August 21, 2009

Course comparison.

Well, I have spent one night up in Edinburgh and I've already had more fun than I've had on my entire London trip.

On the one hand, it's really nice to have a fun and exciting weekend away in a great city with my best friend.
On the other hand, it's actually depressing me a whole lot how much better Eia's Scotland program is than my London one in every way.

They all live in this big fun flat right in the city with a central living room for everyone to hang out in whereas I live in these stupid little dorms on a campus about an hour out of central London.
Her program is smaller so she's already really close with everyone while mine has so many people who are always off doing different things so I haven't really made too many CLOSE friends yet.
They have class in their living room for two hours every once in awhile where they talk about the shows they're seeing in the Fringe Festival and different themes in storytelling and stuff, we have excruciatingly dull class on public health for 4 hours a day, 4 times a week.
They have seen tons of weird shows and hung out at all the cool pubs and clubs and restaurants... we cant do much in London because we have class until 3 and everything closes at 6, but then we cant do much night-life either because only so many trains go back to Eltham each night.
She's experiencing Scotland... I honestly feel like I am having a UW experience that just happens to be in London.

Gah. I'm just feeling a little bit cheated.

We're trying to work out our plans for September, after the courses end, but it's all really complicated and I'm frustrated because of money and planning and making sure I'm keeping busy so I don't think too much about everything else.

I know everyone was really excited to finally hear from happy-Kristina the last few days but my life is a roller coaster right now - the most un-fun, nauseating roller coaster and pardon me for being cliché but I am so tempted to just jump off it and book a flight home. I'm not going to, because I am a stronger person than that, but I wish being a strong person didn't also mean resigning myself to experiencing some of this stuff by myself, know it's okay to let yourself cry (I'm so SICK of crying) and pushing yourself to get up and do things despite feeling miserable.

Today I am going to spend a day in Edinburgh and I'll deal with everything else later.

My next obstacle is finding a printer and a fax machine or scanner because I have some forms I need to get to people. WHERE am I going to find that here? I barely even get wifi.

I miss Emma and Rosi.

Days until I leave: 33
Times I've had Indian food: 6

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Train riding fun and general geekiness.

I am currently sitting on a train on my way up to Edinburgh.

I am still saying it wrong. I don't think Americans are capable of saying it correctly, to be honest. I used to say the full on Ed-in-bur-oh, but in the last week or so, I've found myself saying it more like a rushed sort of Ed-in-bro. But people commenting on my blog said it was more like Ed-in-bruh. I sound like I am trying to be a gansta when I say it like that. I DON'T CARE. I'LL EAT MY FRIES AND GO TO THE BATHROOM AND TAKE AN ELEVATOR AND GO TO ED-IN-BRO.

There is wifi on this train! It's slowish, and I really, REALLY should be finishing White Teeth (since our class discussion is on Monday) but how can I resist taking dailybooth pictures and blogging while riding on a TRAIN? I also plan to work on my novel a bit, so I can geek out and pretend I am JK Rowling.

Oooh they're coming round to check my ticket, this is exciting.

Fingers crossed...


I didn't know which one to hand the guy (I have FIVE) so I handed him all of them.
"You just find what you need in there," I told him.
He giggled at me (a grown man, giggling) and stamped my ticket and said "cheers love". I really like it when perfect strangers call me "love". That doesn't happen in America.

So here is a dorky picture of me being all dorktastic on the train with Emma's copy of Philosopher's Stone (I can't very well read Sorcerer's Stone here). I almost wish the train ride was LONGER (it's 4 and a half hours) because trains are fun and there are so many things I'd like to have time to do while I'm on here.

I forgot to say this in yesterday's blog -- Rosi is beautiful and amazing, because she read the blog in which I complained about not being able to find a bowl and she GAVE ME ONE. A cute little kiddie cereal bowl and I can't wait to use it when I get back to school next week.

I don't have much to say since all I did today so far was go to class, sit through 3 guest lecturers, pack a suitcase during lunch, reply to a lot of emails, go to King's Cross station and eat some chicken nuggets.

Actually, that's a pretty solid day so far.

Eia is meeting me at the station when I get there, and I'm going to stay with her, even though I came up here with 4 girls I met from my class. I'm sure there will be all sorts of hanging out time, since we're there for 2 and a half days.

Basically I just wanted to preserve this moment forever; my first real UK train excursion, being all cool with my reading and writing while the countryside whizzes by out the window. I looked up just now to see what pretty countryside I was missing out on while typing, but it was in fact an ugly building that said B&Q on it in orange that was passing by. No idea. QUIT RUINING ENGLAND FOR ME, B&Q.

I am THIRSTY. I wonder when they bring by the chocolate frogs and licorice whips.

Days until I leave: 34
Times I've had Indian food: 6

Strawberry Woo Woo

Oh my GOD.

How do I have the best blog commenters in the world? I just read through your comments on my last post and literally teared up because you're so amazing.

I feel like YouTube is this big scary world where anyone can come in and say what they like, mean or nice, but you guys over here are this tiny little microcosm of some of the most amazing people I have ever heard from.

So, thank you. Thank you for being the most wonderful people I've never met, and thanks for CONSTANTLY reminding me not to let little things get me down, because there are so many of you who just - gah - you just make everyone else seem so insignificant.
And thanks for making me cry in a public location, haha.

Friends is playing on the TV here in the Dome. At 9:30 in the morning. I love this country. You guys are OBSESSED with Friends.

Yesterday was probably the first really good day I've had in a week.
Emma came to my campus and picked me up (I know gas - excuse me, petrol - costs a fortune but I love driving around in her little car) and we drove to Rosi's house. Rosi took us to Nando's and gave us a tour of her town (so much history! I'm jealous! Shakespeare! And the set of Finding Neverland! And pretty places to sit by the water where we watched the sun go down!) and in general it felt so, so nice to be around people who know me and I wasn't meeting for the first time and I just felt comfortable.

She took us to this really fun, sort of modern colorful bar (I dont know what to call it. A bar? It wasn't a pub, because pubs in my eye are dark and kind of dingy - whatever, it was called Revolution, and it was essentially a Vodka place) and we had a BLAST. Rosi and I bought drinks with silly names (Strawberry Woo Woo and Pretty Pretty Bang Bang) and we talked and shared brownies that were too expensive and then this guy came up to play live music, and he played the perfect mix of depressing music and feel good music so we laughed and cried and sang along and I wish I could spend the whole rest of my trip with these girls.

They were depressed because they both just got back from a long trip in America, and I have this overwhelming urge to be smothered in the love of my Wizard Rock friends, so when they guy started playing the California-y theme from the OC, we were all a mess. Hahah.

It was so much fun. This is why I came to London. This is the kind of time I am supposed to be having.

Today I leave for Edinburgh and I MISS EIA AHHHHH I GET TO SEE HER TONIGHT.
We don't do well being apart after living together for 10 months or so (how long has it been now? Since last September... oh wow, almost a year.)

Okay, I have a million more emails to write and class in 25 minutes, that is all for nooow.

Edit: Oh yeah oh yeah - I couldn't WAIT to tell you guys this. Yesterday when Emma and I were driving, I saw an old woman (probably about 75) walking her dog... in a stroller. The dog was IN THE STROLLER. I don't see what either party was getting out of this endeavor. London is amazing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

more stuff.

It's laaate and I should be going to bed, but I want to keep up my blog. I don't want to forget parts of this trip, even though it hasn't been the greatest lately. Thus, sleep gets the axe.

Today we had guest lecturers in class (we have them all week actually) and they're all varying degrees of interesting. I haven't really had my mind on class much for the last week or so, but I think I've decided on a topic for my paper anyway, so I don't think it'll affect me much anyway.

After class, Jazza came to my campus. It was really, really nice to see him.
I haven't seen him since I dropped him off at the SeaTac airport after his 12 day stay in Seattle back in November of last year.
We haven't really spoken much this year, which is weird because of how close we used to be. But I needed to talk to him about things and he was wonderful, so I was thankful that he was willing to come all the way to Eltham to see me. :)

A bit later, we hopped back on the train to head into central London, where a sort of spur-of-the-moment gathering was taking place. I only knew I was meeting Jerry, his girlfriend Fawn, and a few other random people. I was not prepared for all the people that I got to meet today, haha.

We got to... I dunno, some station, where Jazza and I met up with Dave (blueskies Dave! I was so excited to meet him!) and SophieBeard and Ian-something and Charlie - no idea I'd be seeing Charlie today. :D We walked around a bit before finding Jerry's group - there were too many people there to name but among them were Tom Milsom and Gary with the Cheeky puppet and a nice boy named Zack (Zach?) and a few other people whose names I knew but had never met or known what they looked like (like Hatti and Tino and ... I'm bad at names, I'll just say other people who were nice).

We hung out in a pub for awhile, and Jazza introduced me to ginger beer.
Then we were all going to go to Wagamama (I don't even know if I remembered the name right) but then we saw the prices -- woah. Jerry, Fawn, Tom, Hatti, Tino and I hightailed it out of there and after a while of being indecisive, were ushered to the upstairs of this Chinese place against our will. The food was - eh. But we had fun anyway. We all got water but Jerry paid a 1.20 for ice and a straw in his. Apparently it was better water or something, but honestly - it's water.

It was actually kind of an uneventful sort of gathering, looking back, but it was nice to get out and do things with people, even if it feels a little strange right now.

I realize I have been kind of vague about a lot of things in this blog lately. I got quite a few comments from people that mentioned my being a bit down lately, and I want to assure you it's not from being away from home or traveling or living out of a suitcase or homesickness or any of that. I love traveling. I love being away from home. I love gathering new experiences.

I'm dealing with some personal issues but I'm not really ready to talk about them yet. It's affecting my ability to be able to have as much fun here in London as I'd earlier anticipated. But I am amazed, yet again, at the number of amazing people I have in my life who are always there for me right when I need them.
Molly, Emma, Jazza.. to just name a few.. have literally saved me this week.

Anyway, next big plans for London is a night out with Rosi and Emma. I feel like I am neglecting my school friends here a little, but I am so happy to be with people I know and love right now. :) I need it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Junk food and a Very Potter Musical.

Okay okay, I am back to write another blog.

Emma picked me up from Molly's house on Saturday and I can't even begin to explain how nice it was to see her. I knew she was jetlagged and only just returning home from a very whirlwind emotional month long trip to America, but we'd been agonizing about being in each other's countries at the opposite times, so this was a very much-needed reunion.

We got a bit turned around on the way home, and I ended up getting to experience central London by car, which is something I have never done before. The GPS kept sending us back and forth over the Thames via bridges and it was cracking me up.

We got to Emma's house finally, and immediately were on a mission for junk food-like substances. We first ordered Indian Food (amazing!) and while we waited for it to be delivered, we ran to a store and bought Oreos, Monster Munch, Galaxy, fizzy cola laces, Starbursts, and ice cream. It was a good combination of American and British comfort foods. xD

The Indian food was the most amazing meal I've had in my life (we both had chicken tikka masala) and we stuffed ourselves to bursting before retiring for the night by watching the first 4 episodes of Friends ever, and starting A Very Potter Musical. I can't believe I hadn't seen it before now. It combines Harry Potter and YouTube -- the two things I DO. Goes to show how insanely busy my life has been.

The next day I went with Emma to a barbeque at some friends of her family, and they had these two adorable little blond-haired boys who were about 2 and 4.. we spent a lot of the afternoon playing with them.
We had a conversation with the older one (named Alex, incidentally) that was so funny that I had to note it down.

He says to us, "My brother Sebastian used to be a little baby. Were you a baby?"
Emma says, "Yes, I was."
He turns to me and I reply, "Of course I was, a long time ago. How about you, were you a baby once?"
Alex looks seriously at us and says, "Nope. I've always been this big."

Also, my manager from my job back at home facebook messaged me and asked what the thing I miss most from America was. I thought long and hard about this, because I didn't want to say the wrong thing. Chipotle and Jamba Juice sprang to mind, as well as reliable weather and Kayley's face and my bed and recycling, but then I knew.
"Electric automatic ice-dispensers in fridges."

But then at the barbeque, I was coming out of the bathroom and Emma was hopping up and down, excited to show me something -- they had an ice dispenser in the fridge. xD It was like being home, a little. Hahaha. They even called it an "American Fridge"; that made me laugh.

So... this trip is a little different than I thought it was going to be. This past week I've needed to re-evaluate the next 5 weeks here, and my life, for that matter. I borrowed Emma's copy of Philosopher's Stone... I think that may help. I've done a lot of soul-searching, and while I haven't found much yet, I think that after I've had a bit more time to breathe, I really can make this trip everything I have ever wanted it to be. There are so many people I need to see, and places Eia and I want to travel to, if I can afford it. I don't feel like I am going to be okay, but deep down I know I will. It cant feel like this forever. I'll come out the other end more than okay, I hope.

Oh and I FINALLY saw Billy Elliot. I really really enjoyed it. I was getting a little sleepy in the middle, but not because of that show - that was because I stayed up a bit too late last night. Oops.

Days until I go home: 37
Times I've had Indian food: 5

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dollars and drachmas.

I cannot even being to explain how weird it is being on my laptop in bed before going to sleep. I haven't really been able to do this for 3 weeks now since we don't have wifi in our flats at school. I am sleeping in a guest room and it's amazing because it has a double bed and it almost feels like home. I miss my bed at home. There's so much roooooom to stretch out. I could never, ever go back to a twin bed, which is what I have at school here.

Basically I haven't been writing much because I have some stuff going on, and so I haven't known what to say.

On Wednesday I was supposed to see Billy Elliot with my school friends but we couldn't get tickets so we bought them for Monday. Thursday we had our last day of class at the Greenwich campus, and while we were trying to take a group picture outside in front of the pretty old building, an emergency medical helicopter landed really close to us and it was really crazy. I've never been that close to a helicopter before, especially not one landing. And then cop cars were zipping about all over the place.
Anyway I don't know what happened, but I'm assuming it was one of the Bollywood actors, and I hope they're okay.

The rest of Thursday was not good, but it became better when Molly (meme) came to stay with me at my stupid little school campus and stayed with me (in my stupid little twin bed - I feel like we got closer that night, regardless of whether or not we wanted to) because the buses and trains don't run late enough. That brings us to today, where we spent the day at Topshop (I bought a jacket that was way too expensive, but whatever, I own something from Topshop now) and then went to her house. I really like Molly's house, because she has a lovely yard and it's not all cramped and small like most places I've seen closer to central London. Like beds, I enjoy houses that give you a bit of room to breathe. It's nice here.

We watched a lot of Friends today. I realized that I started religiously watching Friends somewhere around the last 4 seasons or so, but I haven't actually seen too many of the earlier episodes. I feel like someday when I have a lot of time, I should change that.

Oh and then we played Scattergories. I had never played before and it was a lot of fun. I liked being the only American playing with 3 British people, because I got a lot of extra points for words like Little Rock, Recess, Mt. St. Helens, and Frosties (of the Wendy's variety). Although I embarrased myself greatly when the letter was "D" and the category was "types of currency", and I said "drachma", and they all said "dollar".
...I didn't think of DOLLAR. I have been in England too long. Next thing I know I'll start measuring myself in stones.

Tomorrow Emma gets back to London and I get to see her and I can't WAIT. We have been talking about this summer London girl time for months and now that it's here we need it more than ever.

Next weekend I am seeing Eia in Edinburgh, and I am seriously counting the minutes. She posted a bunch of pictures on facebook of her trip so far, and it's BEAUTIFUL up there. Also I am excited to meet Liam. xD

Days before I go home: 40
Times I've eaten Indian food: 4

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

All I want is a bowl.

I am amazed at the amount of people who must wake up at 7 am (like I do) to come over to the Dome to check email and facebook and things before we all take the bus to Greenwich.

Yesterday was another sort of low-key day for me. We were supposed to go to the Maritime Museum instead of class, but plans got messed up somehow. We ended up having an entire full day of notably boring classtime, and THEN were expected to go have a tour of the museum. Guilted into staying, actually.

It was just annoying because everyone had to cancel their plans, and the tour ended up being pretty irrelevant to what we were learning, even though the guy doing the tour was nice and good at what he did. I spent most of it trying to figure out where he was from though. He sounded vaguely Irish but I wasn't sure.

Anyway, we were going to go see Billy Elliot in central London last night, but that ended up not happening because of the museum. Instead I just took the bus back up to the Eltham high street with my friend Sarah, where we explored the wonders that are the 99p store and Poundland.

This brings me to my next gripe about the UK - WHY DON'T YOU PEOPLE SELL BOWLS? Do you eat cereal off of plates? Straight from the box? Out of a mug?

Maybe this is just a problem within the value shop system, but I went to THREE different pound-or-99p related stores and there were no bowls to be found. None. I have to continue to eat my cereal out of these shallow little annoying styrofoam bowls and I'm aware I sound like a whiner since there are people out there who don't even HAVE food, but all I wanted was a nice, deep bowl, London. It's not so much to ask.

I felt like I had more anecdotes to share today, but nothing else is really coming to mind. Yesterday in class I was bored out of my skull so I was downloading iPod Touch apps.. I got this app called "Virtual Villagers" so I spent a bit of time teaching my villagers to fish, research, and build fires. Good use of my time.

OH ALSO. A few weeks ago I was complaining about the sudoku craze and Alex asked me "have you ever actually played?"

So he taught me, and I saw how fun it actually is (I had never known how to play before - I thought math was involved so I avoided it like the plague). I downloaded the Sudoko app on the iPod as well and I have been playing it nonstop. So hello, my name is Kristina and I am a sudoku-holic.

Time for class again. More later!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I haven't had time to blog at all. xD

Let me see if I can do a quick summary of what I have been up to in the 15 minutes I have before I need to catch a bus over to the Maritime campus in Greenwich. We have to get up 40 minutes earlier which is annoying, but on the plus side there is wifi everywhere over on that campus, so my iPod Touch is connected all day. I am such a nerd. xD Also they're filming some Bollywood movie on campus and apparently some really famous Indian movie stars are walking around. I've never heard of them though.

Okay. Saturday Alex and I woke up early and went to Elephant & Castle to go to Tomorrow's Web, which was a conference about youth in emerging media and young entrepreneurs and stuff. Basically Charlie was doing a talk so we went to support him, and Alex somehow ended up on a panel so he got to discuss things with some other guys regarding Media. Some of it was a little dull, but a lot of it was actually really interesting, and a lot of these people were pretty inspiring. I don't think I could ever run my own intense freelance business like these people, but I did really admire their initiative to be in charge or themselves and work hard to do things they enjoy instead of accepting some crappy job. That's something I can identify with for sure.

The only big anecdote I remember from Saturday was that Alex had to pay 20p to go to the bathroom in a shopping center, and I was outraged. I didn't know there were places that actually made you do that! I refused to go, and waited outside.
Oh and we met Jon from Dailybooth. That was fun. :D

That night Charlie came and spent the night with us; I don't even remember what we did. I video chatted with my parents for awhile, which was nice, and then I watched the boys play video games. Or something.
Sunday was more video games, and I got the boys to take me to Romford to do a bit of shopping, but I kind of felt like I was shopping by myself (boys xD) which wasn't very fun. We watched a bit of the Brewery's Next Top Singer or whatever it was called (it was awful) and wandered around (Alex seems to think Romford is an unremarkable town, but I thought it was cute. Every town in London is exciting to me) and then we went back to Alex's house.

It took awhile for me to get back to my campus that night, as I had my first experience with train closures and wrestling the public transport service to get home (I really missed my Fiesta that night) but eventually I got home around 11.

Monday we had class at the big campus in Greenwich (as I said before) and afterward, went to see Abbey Road. It was literally just a crosswalk on a street, but it was so exciting. We got pictures. I was surprised; there were about 20 other people there taking pictures as well. There must just be a constant stream of tourists. The cars on that street HATE TOURISTS. We didn't care one bit; their fault for living near Abbey Road. xD

We signed the wall outside Abbey Road Studios and I wrote "Wizard Rock!", though someone on twitter told me the police paint over it every 3 years. That's sad.

Phew. Power-blog-catchup.

That is all for now. Bye!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Waistcoats and wife-beaters.

So far, this trip has been a huge success.

I'm having fun, making friends, seeing sights... I don't feel homesick, I haven't spent all my money, I haven't gotten ill, and even my course is interesting sometimes (when I am not just daydreaming about going to Stonehenge or Oxford Street). But I would say that one of my favorite parts so far has been the plethora of emails and comments and youtube messages I have received from British people giving me lists of things to see or places to check out or food to try - especially the ones who leave out the touristy places or the obvious spots and just tell me quirky stuff or their personal favorite things about this city. One person even told me about a giant maze I could check out if I wanted to perhaps pretend I was a Triwizard champion for an afternoon - YES I do.

I had a very lively, busy week, and even though it's been a blast I am very happy to have a nice quiet weeked at Alex's house. He came and stayed with me at my campus last night which as fun - we went out for Indian food with my friends Sarah, Rehka and Brie and then hung out in my little flat (it's a dorm, I can't help it. Sorry England). This morning we got up and booked train tickets to Edinburgh with the same three girls (where I get to see Eia and meet Liam wooo!) and then we left the University of Greenwich for the weekend.

We hopped on a train, and got out at the Victoria station where Alex tried to show me Google headquarters (that was a very short lived adventure when they turned us down at the front reception desk) but unfazed, we got back on the Tube, excited to get to East Ham so Alex could show me "The Who Shop" (a store that sells everything you could ever want that's Doctor Who themed). We got out at the station, walked across the street, and to our horror, the shop had a big metal thing pulled down over the front, a "For Let" sign hanging on it, and the inside was obviously cleared out.

We had a moment of panic, but then we checked on Alex's phone and apparently it had only moved to Upton Park (one station backwards). So that's where we went and I got to see a life-sized tardis and dalek and bought miniature versions of each. :)

Really silly things kept happening all day and I kept making note of them on my iPod so I wouldn't forget to write about them later, but I've forgotten what they all are so I need to look it up.

Right, so Alex and I got into a conversation that went something like this:
Alex: "That design looks like something that might be on a waistcoat."
Me: "What's a waistcoat?"
Alex: "Kind of like this *shows me a picture*"
Me: "Oh, that's a vest."
Alex: "No, this is vest *shows me another picture*"
Me: "Yeah, that would be a wife-beater."
Alex: *horrified* "What kind of name is a wife-beater???"

I thought that was pretty funny.

Also, we got to Barking station and I leaned over to Alex and said "Did you know this station is haunted?"
He just looked at me, unimpressed with my attempt on educating him about his own country.
"No it's not," he said.
"Yes it is!" I argued back. "They wrote a whole book about it."

I'll let you click the link and work that one out on your own.

I also spent part of the day rating Alex's yawns on a scale of 1-10 and I think he's probably ready for me to go back to America already. xD

That's all for today. I found out there was a Doctor Who film released 1996 (I was 8 years old!) and even though Alex absolutely refuses to watch it, I am going to go work on convincing him for awhile now. I'll let you know tomorrow if I was successful or not. Anyone seen it?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Day in Camden and lack of pool skils.

I feel like I am finally living the college life I was supposed to have all this time.
Honestly, I don't understand how people do it for four whole years. I'm going to be exhausted after a month of this.

We were up late last night (me particularly, as I proceeded to film and edit a video after we came back to our flats) and then were up early again for class. Class was a bit dull today, except at the end when we got into a pretty heated debate. The idea is that we're in an exploration seminar, not a lecture hall, so instead of the teacher just talking at us for 4 hours a day, we're hoping to engage in discussions and things.
There were two reasons people signed up for this course. One reason was because they're really into the topic of race or health or are public health majors.
The other reason, the one that I fit into, is because they wanted to study in London. xD

Because of this, I don't often have much to say on the content matter, aside from a (in my opinion) very good point I brought up today using America's Next Top Model as an example. We were talking about diversity and stuff and blah blah I know you're bored, I was too - during class I was dreaming about going to Camden Market, which is where me and about 7 other girls went after class.

I guess this is the equivalent of where the hipsters would go were we in Seattle, and I'm not really the hipster type, but the idea of shopping at an open market where you can haggle with the owners was really exciting. I'm not particularly good at haggling (my mom is amazing at it - why can't things like haggling skills be genetic??) but our roommate Rowena, a tiny little girl who is one of the youngest on the trip, was AMAZING at it. We were having tons of fun just walking around and letting her go at people - she was doing our haggling FOR us.
I bought a green dress and a grey jacket shawl swooshy thing. I bet a million other girls in London have the same green dress, but no one in Seattle will have it. :D

After the market closed up (stupid early closing times ahjshfghjdfg) we walked a little further up the street and checked out a bunch of silly tourist shops where the creepy shop owners tried to not only sell my other roommate Sarah these gaudy silver earrings, but also tried to come home with her.

We ate dinner at this crazy foodcourt area that had literally the same food about 15 times over but labeled "Chinese", "Moroccan", "Indian", etc. I had Chicken Curry and rice and it's so different than getting curry from a Thai place back home but it's sooo good.

Our study abroad group got us Travelcards which has been amazing so far, because if we're bored we can just GO somewhere. I mean, we have to hop on a bus to take us to the station to take us to an above ground train that takes us to the Tube, but still. It's not costing us anything and it makes being in London so much more fun because I am not constantly obsessed with how much money I am losing each time I swipe my Oyster card.

We got back and immediately went back to the Jolly Fenman for night two at our favorite local pub (it's the only local pub we've been to xD). My friend Raika and I saw that some guys left a game of pool with 5 balls still on the table, so we decided to finish it. After 15 minutes, when they were closing up the pub, we'd only managed to get one ball in. Pathetic.

So that's why I am tired.
Alex is coming to my campus tomorrow! I am excited to see him, and show him what my life is here, and introduce him to my new friends. They keep asking me where he is, haha, since I brought him to the meetings in Seattle.

Okay I told myself I would write in my blog until my iPod charged and now it has so I am going to bed. Bye!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Six? SIX!?

I had the most terrible morning!

So I had this system... my iPod Touch was set to London time (because I use it a lot and I need to know what time it is here) but my computer was still on Seattle time because usually when I am using it, I am writing to my parents or Eia or Hayley or someone back in the US and it was convenient to know instantly what time it was at home.
But last night I charged my iPod with my laptop and forgot that it resets automatically. I went to bed with my iPod alarm set to 7:30 AM, and didn't think anything of it.

I awoke naturally this morning, and suddenly felt really uneasy. I checked the iPod and it said 12:30.


Even in my half-asleep state, I knew this meant one of two things. Either I had only slept for one hour (having gone to bed at 11:30) and it was suddenly light in the middle of the night, or I was 2 and a half hours late to class.


I didn't know what to do. Go to class late in my pajamas? Shower and go even later? Just find everyone at lunch and explain to my instructor what happened?

Then I stopped. Something didn't feel right. I opened my laptop and saw that it too said 12:30. I looked at my iPod again. Looked out the window. Looked at my computer.

Seattle time.

It was only 8:30 AM in London.


We had a nice day of class; a man from the US Embassy came and spoke with us and then we had introductions where my instructor embarrassed me by referring to me as "our resident member of the YouTube community".

After class, 5 girls and I hopped on a bus to Bromley where they have a magnificent shopping mall. We forgot how stupid London is about staying open, and took our time eating lunch at a Marks & Spencer, giving ourselves only about 45 minutes in the shops before we were being ushered out rather hastily, mostly empty-handed. Most disappointing day of shopping ever.
We learned that Thursday is "late night shopping day" where the stores stay open until 9. WoooOOoOooo. Otherwise they close at 6.
SIX! That's so early! When do people shop? I don't understand. The stores must be so horribly crowded on Saturdays and Sundays.

We came back home, dejected and not having filled our thirst for British clothes, and all planned on taking naps or doing things in our rooms, but these boys from our group convinced us to head down to the "Jolly Fenman" (the only pub within walking distance) and we ended up staying there for 4 hours or something. We met a bartender named Karley who plans to show us everything London has to offer in our month here if we agree to keep hanging out at the Fenman. She was fun and we'll probably spend a LOT of evenings here at the Fenman, especially since she seems dead set on showing us "her" London.

I just want to find a Primark.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Haunted doors and showers.

Today was my first day of class!

I'll start at the beginning.

My alarm on my iPod Touch went off, which I have set to the xylophone noise (I already hate that noise) and I forgot for a second where I was. When I finally remembered, it took me a good 30 minutes to coax myself out of bed because I hate showering in foreign showers (I don't mean European showers specifically, just any shower that isn't my personal shower). And now that I know what my shower is like, I bet it's going to take even longer tomorrow. xD

The shower is in a tiny little room all on its own that contains only a water heater, a mirror and a mop. I opened the glass sliding door and immediately found that the hot side made the water insanely cold, and if you then turned it to the cold side, it was scalding. Before I could sort this out, though, something else happened.

Then the shower made a clicking noise and something happened so that suddenly a bit of the water was spraying directly out AT me, rather than downwards in a normal shower-style arc. I had to hold my left hand up to block the spray (unsuccessfully, as a puddle was forming on the floor beneath my bare feet - must be what the mop was for xD) while I adjusted the temperature recklessly with my right hand.

Eventually I got it right back toward the middle where I finally found an agreeable, warm temperature I could deal with. I hopped in and closed the door behind me before I could do any more damage to the already soaking floor.

The rest of my morning was pretty uneventful, until we got to class at 10. Our lectures are taking place in a building that is literally a 3 minute walk away, which is amazing. We're also really close to the Dome, which is the general eating area/gym/lounge spot on campus. Also nearby is the laundrette (cute name haha) and a little store with helpful things (albeit being mildly expensive).

Class was fun - our entire group was finally all in one place. We also have 4-5 actual University of Greenwich students joining us for the entire month, which is fun and helpful. I got to know 3 of the girls pretty well on our tour of the campus - they showed us the pub and told us which buses were best and where to go shopping. These are the right kind of friends to have in London.

We had a mild Internet crisis when everyone thought for about 24 hours that we would never have any wifi. We were already mapping out group trips to McDonald's (free wifi! I know, weird right?) and Internet café scavenger hunts (because I am NOT using a crappy slow PC that is only available until 6pm on Mon-Thur for a whole month - I have blogs to write), but finally, and I don't know what the problem ever was, but we all got access codes to the wifi in the lounge. It's still only open until 8pm, but at least I can use my Mac. :)

Anyway, that's where I am sitting right now. I'm about to go find someplace to eat with some of my friends here... I really need to stop spending so much money on food that other people make for me (I bought sandwich stuff and everything but it's just sitting in my minifridge!) but we're using it as an excuse to hang out and explore this town, so I'm okay with that.

There are automatic motion sensor slidey doors at the entrance to the Dome, and they keep opening on their own when no one is nearby and no one is walking in through them. It's freaking me out. That's my cue to leave.

Edit: I've found my new love... Indian food! I'd only had it once before today, but three of us went to this Indian place that is walking distance from our campus and it was amazing. None of us really knew what anything was on the menu, but we all just ordered something random, and it all turned out to be good, and by the end of the month we hope to be pros. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Welcome to Greenwich


Alex and his dad just dropped me off at my flat in Greenwich, and while running the risk of sounding overly melodramatic, I think this is actually the most alone I have ever felt in my entire life.

Every shop in town is closed down because it's a Sunday, which we learned after driving all around looking for places for me to buy a few groceries. I can't find anyone from my course (a bunch of them went up to the gas station while I was saying bye to Alex and I was hoping they'd be back soon but I don't hear anyone). There is no Internet anywhere nearby, I don't have a phone (at least not one I can afford to use freely), and it's fairly early in the evening.

I keep jumping up to look out my window to see if anyone is walking around outside, but there has been nobody the last five times. I'm starting to feel silly.

I know that class begins tomorrow and I'll start to meet the other people who are here, but right now I am starting to wonder why I bothered with school at all and didn't just come to spend 2 months here doing fun things with the friends I already have, like Alex did when he stayed with me in Seattle. I don't want to write a 10 page paper. I don't want to finish these two boring books I've been assigned and discuss themes in class.

I'm feeling down about what could potentially be a really really great experience -


Yeah, so that last really incredibly sad entry was cut off because I heard a noise that sounded more like voices than the past 6 or 7 instances of wind blowing, jumped up to see if it was people outside, and for once it actually was. I managed to catch the gas station group before they went to hang out in a room on the top floor and proceeded to spend the next 5 hours with them. And I really like a handful of them so far. I am such a loser.

I don't know why I worry so much.
I think it's because, while I enjoy my alone time, I don't like BEING ALONE. I don't like doing things or going places alone. Having experiences are about the people you share those experiences with, and walking off into the unknown completely by myself scares me.
So I had a sort of moody 2 hours between when Alex and his dad drove off and when I met the people in my course. That's just how I am. I can make friends easily but I always let myself get over-apprehensive about it. I was so nervous about moving in that I barely ate any of the dinner Alex's dad bought me. I felt bad about that.

Anyway, I already like these girls named Lauren and Sarah a lot, and there is this other guy (whose name I can't remember now which makes me feel horrible) who is just absolutely hilarious. He reminds me of Kenan from Kenan and Kel. We spent a good part of the night debating whether or not this person who allegedly kissed him in on his trip to Amsterdam was a girl or a dude, because in the picture he was was passing around, s/he looked like a sort of feminine transvestite with a painted on goatee.

Now it is just after 1 in the morning, my laptop is still telling me it's 5 pm at home, I unpacked my clothes and things in an attempt to make it feel like I live here (my dorm/flat/whatever is cute xD) and I have just discovered a new secret pocket in my suitcase. On that note, I am going to sleep for my first day of school.

Oh oh oh: someone else said they thought of Harry Potter when they were on the train platform! See!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Update from London.

I realize it's been a week now since my last blog post, and unlike everyone's favorite blogger and my arch nemesis/partner in crime hayleyghoover, I didn't think to hire stand-ins or whatever.

I've been too busy getting used to London time, spending my first week here with Alex, and trying to build Lego houses. Blogging took the backseat.

But as a particularly witty commenter said before I left, "DFTBA: Don't Forget to Blog Abroad!"

So here I am.

Tonight I am moving into the flat I will be staying in at the University that my exploration seminar is having class at. It's been nice staying at Alex's house, but it will be kind of nice knowing I will definitely be there for 4 weeks, so I can unpack a little. :) I find it really annoying living constantly out of a suitcase. I find myself just wearing whatever happens to be on top.

I feel like after being here for 6 days I should have all sorts of funny anecdotes and commentary on English customs and things, but I haven't been writing anything down. I'm sure I'll get better about this when I am with my class, going on field trips and generally being around people I don't know as well. When I'm with Alex we just get caught up with trying to lick each other in public or something and it slips my mind. xD

One thing, though, that I started to pick up on the last time I was here but keep finding it more and more the longer I am in London is that there is a WHOLE BUNCH of stuff that I only knew existed within the confines of Harry Potter, but as it turns out, most of that stuff is just standard London things.
I can't think of many examples right now, but the main one that comes to mind is the Grimmauld Place sign that Eia and I bought from Whimsic Alley at Portus (they sell loads, like Knockturn Alley, Privet Drive, etc.). This is how signs ACTUALLY LOOK here. Who knew!
Also I made a comment to Alex about just generally hearing the word "platform" thrown around at train stations - I am AWARE how sad this probably sounds to British people, but it was funny for me. I half expected to see the Weasleys carting their kids off to school.

Alex just reminded me that we spent my first day here watching British television, and I got to see Deal or No Deal. This is a ridiculously intense, light dimming, edge of your seat, banker in sillhouette and girls in sparkly dresses type gameshow back home, but the British one was much.. cuter. I actually really liked how the other DonD contenstants are the ones holding the red boxes (they're sleek silver money briefcases in the US) which makes the whole experience a bit more personal I think. The people feel really bad when they have a high number in their box, whereas our US girls are probably just happy to have a few seconds on TV.

Anyway, I'm in London. I just hooked up my UK phone so I can recieve calls and texts for free but dialing out will literally destroy my bank account, so that's fun. I was supposed to meet with Molly but it was a "facepalm situation" so that hasn't happened yet. I did an interview with this guy called Colin who is studying at a school in London (I had a nice chat with him about what it's like studying here; he's American too) and I can't wait until Emma and Rosi get back from America because I want to see themmmm.

Okay. I promise it won't be another week until I write next.
Also I'll explain the Lego house soon.