Saturday, May 25, 2013

My day today is worth reading about

On the way home tonight, Molly and I were talking about how in the last two days we have experienced so much that the next few weeks will not possibly be this notable. If I were to leave London tomorrow this would still be one of the most significant weeks of my life. While I hope to update you on everything that has happened (getting lost looking for vegan bakeries, freezing/learning at Hampton Court, going to see DeVotchKa at an amazing venue, the friendliness and more than of European men, Portobello market, and more), tonight's events deserve a post of their own, and I must document this now. 

This afternoon when Molly and I were eating at a bakery (I had fresh juice and delicious coconut milk/chia/raspberry pudding), my life changed forever. She was facebook stalking one of her favorite bands (and now one of mine), Local Natives who was believed to be in Barcelona.  Their most recent status read: "LDN FD 19:10!" For those of you that don't know, this is a code. I wouldn't have known. 

So as I eat my pudding, Molly makes an epic discovery:

LDN= London

FD= Field Day
19:10= 7:10

Yes, a surprise show. So. cool. 

Local Natives in London playing Field Day at 7:10. We must go. 

And we did. 

When we arrive, it's about 6:30 and the festival has been going on all day. I am easily the least hip person there, which might have made me the most hip person there. We immediately find the stage where Local Natives are performing and observe the end of the preceding band's show. Since it wasn't the main stage and it was a surprise show there weren't an extreme amount of people there. When the first band finishes (they were okay), everyone leaves the stage. No really, pretty much everyone disperses. Molly and I scurry to the bar that separates the stage from the crowd and set ourselves up in the center. Literally 15 feet away from the stage, not a being in between the band and us. About 10 short minutes later Local Natives start setting up. By 7:15, my life has changed. The show was pretty short, but just incredible. To get more full coverage of the actual performance visit Molly's blog: 

And thus is the very condensed story as to how I ended up at Local Native's surprise show at Field Day (an outdoor music festival) my first week in London. Tonight, I was easily the coolest I have ever been in my life. You should share this story, it is not very artfully written but its content is exceptional enough, I think. 
More later. 
Kisses and Hugs and Love from London

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The coolest tourists use iPhones

You know that girl you see wearing bright pants, running around, taking photos of art, people, pavement? She's everywhere, all the time, standing in the middle of the street, probably has been hit by cars on multiple occasions? Turns out her name is Kara.

It also turns out that most people in London don't carry around cameras to picture (my new verb for take a picture of) literally every aspect of the city/their experiences. If you know me well (yes, I'm pretending that some people I don't know read this blog- throw me a bone here) you will be surprised to hear that since I have been here, I have turned into the biggest picture person. I still don't like pictures of myself, but I do like pictures of almost everything else. In fact, I find myself returning to certain sights only to take pictures of things I feel like I'll forget about or regret if I don't.

Since I have no self control when it comes to photography anymore, I decided to change my methods slightly. I concluded that taking iPhone photos is a lot more socially acceptable than always using my camera. So, when my camera is too far away or when I want to blend in just a little, I use my phone. Here is a stream of only iPhone photos of London.

P.S. I ate an entire loaf of bread in the last two days, completely alone

 Lost on the Tube, just kind of sort of

 Amazingly cool used bookstore

 Crowds of humans commuting effectively

 Bad picture of great bread--see above ps

Friends and cookies, my two favorite things


Weird vintage store where I bought shoes

One of many cool record stores

And another...

The house where Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes spent their wedding night! 

And the church where they were married

This statue of Gandhi: Not actually him. The artist did not have a picture of Gandhi so he sculpted a random Indian man. I kid you not. 

Built in 2008 (I think...) First ever statue of an Asian woman in London. She a spy in WWII

Keynes, Woolf, and other members of the Bloomsbury group lived in these homes. Those little blue plaques indicate that famous people lived there. The Bloomsbury group were said to be couples that lived in squares and loved in triangles. 

From the British Museum- pretty much all museums here are free

The tube. I am literally obsessed. 

Me, lamenting my sore feet on cobblestone streets

The same feet, still sore

A view that some of my programmates have: literally a wall 5 feet from their window 

Super cool thai restaurant 

Super delicious thai food

The nicest view anyone in our program has

My breakfast this morning in a great but too expensive cafĂ©. They gave me mint tea on the form of hot water and mint leaves. Pure delight. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Being A Tourist... not so fun. I understand the inevitability of feeling like a tourist under my current circumstances (which are, ahem, being a tourist). Yesterday we went (as a group) on a bus tour around London. It was pretty incredible to see everything so quickly, but also really confusing and almost surreal. Going on the tour just inspired me to figure out how to participate this city, and motivated me to understand the city enough to not have every monument become the same blurry memory of day one london touring.

One thing that I am loving about London is the architecture. Unlike any other city I've been in, the architecture here, on even the most simple buildings, is notably interesting, beautiful, and almost regal. Every little street is peppered with colors in the form of doors and mailboxes upon brilliant (did I mention I'm British now?), bright, thoughtfully designed buildings.

Today I had class. Then I went to this awesome neighborhood with a few girls and we discovered thrift stores, music shops, and a really cute pub. Basically, I did exactly what all of you are picturing I'm doing over here. Why do I need a blog, again?

What is odd is how quickly time seems to be going. Days fly by in an exhausted haze and before you know it I'm stressing about paying with pounds in a different cafe the next morning. No, it's not because I'm broke (though I am, kind of), it's because transactions that don't involve plastic cards or George Washington frighten me.

I am also starting to come up with a list of things I'd like to do here/goals I have made for this trip:

1. Find a favorite London coffee shop
2. Explore the parks
3. Be able to navigate the Tube by May 31 (the Tube is so great)

Yes, there's only 3. I don't want to overwhelm you, okay?

Remind me later to write about an awkward story about being American in London. For now, pics.

About the Pictures: I apologize seriously for my lack of photography skills. It's almost entertaining the amount of pictures in which the subject is severely obstructed or the subject is another tourist taking photos with her/his iPad. Okay, a few of the latter were intentional. Point is, I do not know how to take a picture and you all/myself in 20 years are the ones to suffer. Misery loves company though, so keep in touch, will you?

P.S. About the Johnny Cash...

Sunday, May 19, 2013


About four and a half hours ago I arrived in London by way of a long, long flight filled with good movies and mediocre vegan food (thanks mom for telling Virgin that I'm a Vegan and also Uncle Tom, I really really really like Pitch Perfect- you win). Anyway, I'm here now: pip pip. In order to get to my adorable new home from the airport, I took the Tube. Jesus. While on the underground train the notable lack of public transportation in my past became obvious, if only to me. My anxiety surrounding public transportation did too. That stress was, however, completely overwhelmed by excitement over the fact that here I was, 20 years old, taking the Tube in London from Heathrow to my little flat in Chelsea (which FYI I could NOT have done alone- the only reason I managed to even find customs was with the help of a fellow programmer). But hey, at least it feels like I'm grown up. Also, Johnny Cash is blaring into my window. Strange, ring of fire is not really a sound that I feel parallels my posh European lifestyle. 

My place, though, is startlingly European seeming. Below is the desk and chair where I'm sitting. I'm wearing a big sweatshirt and my hair is wet. Can't you just picture it? I have my own bathroom which is not pictured because I want no one to envision me there. It's probably about 10-15 square feet, shower included. But do I care? Um, no. I have my own bathroom for the first time in my life. 

 My bed!! The bedding had some hair on it. Questionable, no? I decided to ignore it. Also, that's a TV there.

My kitchen-ish. That's a banana on the counter. Also, there's a fridge there. After I unpacked I walked up and down the SAME street about 47 times (with other literary londoners) looking for a damn grocery store. It was closed. I'm a tourist. 

The view from outside of my window. It's really quite lovely, I have to say. Pleasurable thing to wake up to.

P.S. Sorry I didn't flip the photos. I actually did when I saved them but alas they only appear like this. Rude.