Thursday, July 23, 2009

Things I miss about America

Being away from home is hard. There are certain things you get used to that you don't notice until they're gone. Some of these things don't fall into that category (duh, I remember that I have parents.) but others I didn't realize I loved until I was an ocean apart. Here are the obvious, and not-so-obvious things I miss about the U.S. of A. (in no particular order):
  • My lovely, wonderful, brilliant friends: who are also hilarious, superb, and magical.
  • Target and Wal-mart: for when you need to buy shampoo, a cake pan, a basketball, and get photos printed, all in one trip.
  • Driving my car
  • Iced tea: against the Brits' religion.
  • CiCi's Pizza: today I was thinking, "I want pizza. But not, like, a big slice of really awesome pizza, just a million slices of adequate pizza. And cinnamon rolls."
  • My dorky, yet dashing boyfriend: He is like Indiana Jones meets Ken Jennings meets an adorable koala
  • You get 4x the food for the same price: whatup, giant portion sizes!!
  • Flip flops: my feet are dying from the confinement
  • More sunshine: not that the cool weather isn't nice, but I think I am getting seasonal affective disorder.
  • Fast internet: Yesterday I tried about 20 times to upload photos before giving up in anger and sadness.
  • Milkshakes: sure, they have them here, but it's just not the same...
  • The beach: You just can't beat Florida beaches.
  • My mom and dad (and brother, too, I guess...): The longer I'm away, the happier I am when I come home. That's true for college, and it's definitely true for this summer.

P.S. I think it is pretty telling about my priorities when you consider how many items on this list are food-related.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Things I DO love about London

I love a lot of things about London. Probably too many to list. And I've done so many fun, new, interesting, (sometimes odd) things in the two months that I've been here. But there are thing about London in general that I just really love. Here are a few:
  • All the outdoor markets. (With all the wonderful foods!)
  • Traveling by tube.
  • The newspapers.
  • Muesli.
  • Dogs everywhere!
  • The parks
  • There is always something to do.
  • People call me "Dear," "Sweetheart," and "Love," like, all the time.
  • The funny words for things. (The garbage can is the rubbish bin? Alright.)
  • Better food labels for veg-friendly foods. Also, delicious veg food everywhere you turn.
  • Primark
  • There is something historical about, like, everything.
  • I get to send postcards.
  • Traveling about the rest of Europe is a breeze
  • The accents!
  • It is waaaaaaaaaaaay nice to not have 105 degree weather with 99% humidity every day.
  • Meeting people from every corner of the world.
  • The tiny melons in the supermarket that I can eat in one sitting.
  • New foods!
  • Being really far from home for the first time makes me realize how much I love home, but also how much I want to explore other countries, and how I want to explore my own country.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Things I do NOT love about London

London is wonderful. Yes, I know it, and I will readily admit it. But there are some things I simply don't like about living across the pond. Here are the main ones:
  • Almost no crosswalks
  • Everything is so small. It's tough for a giantess such as myself.
  • They haven't invented air conditioning yet.
  • Exchange rate killing me? Um, yes.
  • The assumption by some (NOT all) that all Americans are boorish, loud, obese McDonald's-chomping xenophobes. (And the apparant surprise when you aren't. Though the loud thing is true.)
  • The lowered drinking age makes people get carried away/annoying/broken bones. (At least, that's true for the people I know.)
  • Noise outside my window early in the morning. Why are you jackhammering at 6:30 a.m.? Shouldn't you be sleeping?
  • Celsius? So that means it's... what temperature? Do I need a jacket?
  • The tourists are starting to get on my nerves. Yeah, yeah, I know I'm a tourist, too, but seriously, people, crowding your entire 12-member family and all our luggage around the Tube entrance is just dumb. I am trying to walk, here.
  • Being 5-6 hours ahead of everyone I want to talk to is very hard.
But in spite of all these things it really is a great place to be; I'm really happy that I came, and I'm happy to be here, and I'll be happy when I come back some day.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's all fun and games until someone cuts an ear off.

There is only a month left in London for me! Noooooooooo!

Not that I don't miss home, or that I don't want to come home, but really, real life compared to this? I will take fun fantasy time, thanks.

To be honest, I have been having the most amazing time 50% of the time, and the most boring, study-filled time the other 50%. I had two exams this week, so the last few days have been half touristy stuff, half reading textbooks and taking practice exams.

Tuesday I had my management exam early in the morning, then I walked around Regent Street and Bond Street. I went to Hamley's the giant 5-story toy store. It was a madhouse! I wonder if it's always like that. They had some replicas of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings props that were pretty awesome. I found loads of stuff I wanted to buy for people I know but I a) thought it was over priced, b) wondered if they would actually like it or if I would be the only one playing with the game/toy/arts and crafts. I did, however, buy some pick-n-mix, ALLLL sour gummies thank you very much!

Also checked out Carnaby street, where the mods used to hang out. Not much going on, but pretty cool.

Side of a building off Carnaby Street. Very clever, very clever.

I was really all over town that day. I even ended up in Notting Hill for a bit, where I bought a copy of The World According to Garp by John Irving for just £1. I am very excited by this purchase because it was cheap, is really great so far (Owen Meany, holla!), and is thick enough to last me for a while. I have been reading it at mealtimes and when I'm on the tube.

Wednesday I had to study for my Marketing test, which was today. But I didn't want to do that the entire day, so I went to Islington in the morning, which is a really cute area (kinda suburban...?) and had lunch at a burrito place that is like Chipotle but awesomer. It was called Chilango.

I intended on going to the Victoria and Albert museum for a while in the afternoon, and I did actually end up there, but I was NOT in a museum mood and felt like I was dragging myself all around, so I quit that after about 40 minutes and walked home, where I studied then slept.

Sculpture in the V&A. Most hilarious face I've ever seen on a sculpture.

This morning I had my Marketing exam, which was harder than I expected but I probably got a B. For summer classes I'd say that's completely OK.

I came home, had some lunch, then went to the National Gallery, which is basically a huuuuuge art gallery with paintings from all over the world by all the best painters from like the 12th century onward. They had Van Goghs, Monets, DaVincis, a Picasso, and some Degas (who paints the ballerinas.) All VERY cool. It was a great thing to do today, and it's a great thing to do on your own because you can take as much time as you want, skip what you want, etc.

The National Gallery is in Trafalgar square, which is near Leicester Square, which is near Covent Garden (because everything in London is right next to each other in some respect.) I walked from the gallery northward through Leicester Square to Chinatown, which is only like four blocks, but still fun. Didn't eat Chinese, but did buy a Lotus Moon Cake from a Chinese bakery. Moon Cakes are delicious, dense little cakes that you can make with dried fruit, nuts, beans, loads of different things. Whatever you want, basically. They are extremely awesome. The last time I had one was in 12th grade on the Drama Club fall break trip to New York, where I bought one in the NYC Chinatown.

Yes, that is a full-grown Australian man attempting to pass himself through a tennis racket. Yes, he succeeded.

Then I made it over to Covent Garden Market, which is just shops, but there were tons of street performers so I watched those for a while. I watched an Australian guy fit himself through a tennis racket. It was crazy! I also went to the Jubilee market, which is adjacent to Covent Gardent Market, which was nothing special but they were playing Michael Jackson over the soundsystem so I stuck around.

I just came home for dinner and I'm going to be catching up on homework/blog/RUB stuff tonight. Tomorrow I'm going to Stratford-upon-Avon to see where Shakespeare lived, and Saturday I'm going to Greenwhich on a boat to see the Prime Meridian. Then Sunday my mom gets here! I'm so excited.

I can't believe the summer is coming to a close so fast. Although, I always get excited for a new school year, and this year is going to be crazy, I bet. I can just feel it. But I am just going to enjoy London to the fullest that I can before the summer ends.


Monday, July 13, 2009

When living on the edge isn't enough...

Exhibit A: Me, flying through the air. Europe, what have you done?

Last weekend I did just about the best thing I have done during the entire summer--and probably most of my life. The program I'm with in London organizes optional outings for us that you had to pay and sign up for at the beginning of the term; one of these outings was a 3-day, 2-night trip to Wales, in a place called Pembrokeshire, Britain's only coastal national park.

The trip was called the "Adventure Weekend," and it was with a company called Preseli Venture that owns the lodge and supplies the equipment, instructors, etc.

The train left Friday at about 2pm; we got to Preseli at around 7 (after a bus picked us up from the train station.)

The lodge was AWESOME. It was like 100% eco-friendly, all the meals were home-cooked, the beds were super cozy, the scenery was beautiful... I seriously did not want to leave. They made us veggie lasagne the first night, with salad and apple pie. Yummmm.

So that first night we just played games in the common area (there was a bar there too--that wasn't included in the weekend cost, though, haha.) I took a shower in their sweet bathrooms. The showers had those push-button taps that you see in public restrooms a lot that shut themselves off after 20-30 seconds so you don't waste water. But the nice thing is this saves the hot water (which was heated by solar power) so everyone gets some. Very cool.

Oh, side note, in addition to the group from my program, FIE, that was there, there were about 8 kids from FSU! What a coincidence. I could feel their jealous stares while I was wearing my Gator sweatshirt at breakfast.

Saturday morning we were broken into groups based on which activities we had signed up to do. My first one was hiking. They drove us to the coastal trail, where I and 8 others went on a 7-mile hike. It was really gorgeous, but there was sheep poo everywhere. Luckily, though, this means there were also sheep, and I do love sheep. They are adorable!

My friend the sheep.

After getting covered in dirt my shoes (and the bottoms of the only pair of pants I brought) were disgusting. I tried to rinse them off outside, but it was sort of futile. So I stuck them in an inconspicuous place to dry out a bit.

We had lunch, then put bathing suits on for kayaking, the afternoon activity. Kayaking involves so much gear! Swim suit, rash guard, "long john" wetsuit (which is like wetsuit overalls), cagoule (like a waterproof windbreaker thing), wetsuit boots, "buoyancy aid" (the British term for life jacket), helmet, and this weird plastic-y sleeve thing you fasten around your chest that stretches around the opening to your kayak to keep the water out.

It had started to drizzle by this point, and it was pretty cold rain (Wales was like 65F degrees the whole time we were there ). The two instructors, Dean and Bramble (yes, his real name. Yes, he was a white guy with dreads, and yes, he was hilarious.) taught us how to get in and out of the kayak (on land), what to do if we capsize, how to hold the paddle, etc. Then we loaded the kayaks onto the trailer, hopped in the van and drove to a little fishing inlet.

Kayaking was so fun! It was kind of hard, but I have OK upper body strength so I did fine. I mean, I can't do a pull-up or a push-up, but I am pretty strong. Once we left the different lagoons, though, the wind and surf were really strong so it got tougher to paddle and actually get anywhere. It was raining the whole time, but this wasn't so bad when we were in the water. The wetsuit and kayak keep you pretty well insulated. We explored some of the coast and played kayak-polo with a tennis ball.

Getting out of the kayaks was terrible, as we weren't allowed on the bus until we took all our wet gear off. This means there were eight girls running around trying to take off wetsuits as fast as they could so they could hop in a van to put on dry clothes. Awkward. Luckily I brought my rain jacket and some yoga pants, so I just put those on over my swim suit instead of attempting to change under my towel. Then it was back to the lodge for delicious dinner (chickpea curry and naan! They made vegetarian for me!) and sleeeeeep.

Sunday morning was, by far, the best. It was sunshiny and beautiful, and I was going COASTEERING! Which is basically using the ocean as a playground--swimming in the sea, climbing up the rocks, jumping into the water from high cliffs...

Action shot! I look so graceful, and yet so spastic at the same time.

I don't think many people know this about me, but I love to jump off of things. I don't know what it is, I just always have. Especially diving boards. I can dive OK, but I really just love the jumping part.

Anyway, we got suited up again, this time in regular wetsuits (with sneakers on over the wetsuit socks) with life jackets and helmets. My wetsuit that day fit much better, and it had butterflies on it, so I was happy.

Let me say this: You might think you are a relatively in-shape person. But until you put on a wetsuit you have not really seen your own body. It will make you look all at once muscular, flabby, short-legged and droopy-crotched. And if you are attempting to put on a damp wetsuit, well, good luck. Those things shrink up like nobody's business. It is definitely an experience.

Anyway, coasteering. IT IS AWESOME. I want to go again and again and again, as many times as I possibly can in my life. I jumped off of all the places we could, including one that was over 50 feet high! I was first in line to attempt everything--I was so proud of myself. My swimming skills definitely could be improved, but I did alright in that department. But my height came in handy again when we were climbing up rocks. Long legs for the win.

Ooooh, yeah, makin' the wetsuit look gooooood.

Bramble was one of our instructors again (I think he liked having the all-girl group), along with a very tall, skinny dude named Tommy who did backflips off the cliff. Bramble did belly-flops.

Sadly, after doing that, it was time to go back to the lodge for lunch then catch the train home. I was so sad to leave. I mean, I love London, there is so much to do, but I think I could spend a few weeks in Pembrokeshire trying out more crazy stuff (they also offered surfing and mountain biking.)

Kelsi was the only other person from UF who went on the trip, and I was definitely glad to be there with someone I know. I think we were both relieved to have a weekend away from the dorms. And it was nice to try something different! Kelsi was a great person to go with as she's generally enthusiastic about trying new stuff instead of just asking where the bar is.

So now I am nursing bruises on both my shins; they look extreme, but only hurt a little bit. I just hope they fade soon so I can wear shorts again.

Europe is still great; still miss home.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

This Blog is Property of the Half Blood Prince

Yesterday was so unreal. I was ACTUALLY in the presence of ACTUAL J.K. Rowling, for REAL. I can't still hardly believe it, but there you go.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince had its world premiere yesterday in Leicester Square, which is only like four tube stops over. Apparently there were people already camped out in the queue on Monday evening, ready to get places inside the square for the stars' arrivals at 6pm yesterday.

Well, another girl from UF and I got there really early Tuesday morning (she at 5am, I at 8:30-ish... yeah, lazy.) and had a pretty good place in the line to get in. At around 9:30 they opened the gates to the... well, corrals, basically, that fans could stand in.

Everyone rushed to line the barricades to be "in front." Where we were standing was, apparently, too far down, so we hustled to one end, where there was basically one row of people between us and the barricades. It was awesome!

Although, it was only 9:30. Meaning we still had over eight hours to wait. And it was supposed to rain.

But I was prepared. I had on jeans, my toughest sneakers, hoodie AND rain jacket, plus an umbrella. And sandwiches, apples, a book of puzzles, textbook, and my iPOD. With all that, the time went by pretty quickly.

It didn't rain too bad for most of the day, just drizzled off and on; I didn't really even need the umbrella for most of it, just put my hood up.

Waiting around with all the people was OK, too. Everyone was pretty nice, chatted with a few people around me, but everyone there was pretty much like us, just genuinely excited and happy to be there.

At 4pm they closed the gates and didn't let anyone else into the corrals (I keep calling them that, but it's what they were, haha.) At 5pm, JUST before all the famous people started arriving, London decided it would be OK to hurricane all over everyone, complete with HAIL.

Yes, freaking HAIL.

Granted, it was small hail, but still, seriously? And I was standing behind these people with a statue of Dobby (which was pretty cool) but they were trying to protect him from the rain, but when they put their umbrella up it was poking me in the face so I offered to hold it for them, meaning that only my front half was covered so my butt got drenched from a combination of straight rain and runoff from other peoples' umbrellas.

The only lucky thing was that we were under this giant tree, so it could have been much, much worse.

At this point, the press people were setting up, getting establishing shots. (I'm on TV in pretty much every country going "WOOOOOO!" probably. They had my section do that a lot.)

Then, around 6 (still raining), Daniel Radcliffe arrived! Basically, he rain through the rain with a useless umbrella, up the stairs and into the theatre. Lame.

But then the rain started to slow and he came back out, started in the press section giving interviews. He didn't make it over to my section (right by the theatre entrance) until basically right before the movie started (I assume) because he was there for about 20 seconds. But I got good photos so it was alright.

In the meantime, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) came by. Girls around me swooned; I didn't find him all that attractive, but whatever. He was quite nice and signed basically everything within reach.

Oh, by the way, I did not get any autographs because I did not try. I did not try because a) I wanted to get good photos and I needed control of my camera, and b) what am I going to do with a signed piece of paper? I've never been thrilled by that, I guess.

I saw so many people, I can hardly remember. Alfie Enoch (Dean Thomas; much taller than you would think), Oliver and James Phelps (the Weasley twins; they have dark brown hair!), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood, totally adorable), Devon Murray (Seamus Finnigan), Natalia Tena (Tonks, super friendly and wearing an insane dress.)

Uhhh, who else? Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy, who I don't think is actually in this movie. But still, awesome!), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore, didn't really sign anything, but he can do whatever he wants... he's Dumbledore!), Alan Rickman (Snape, looks sooooooo old in person.)

Just to let you know, I had to look up about half these names because I forgot/didn't know who plays whom, but the cast is huge so sue me.

Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville Longbottom, signed pretty much everything, was really nice and kind of hilarious, much better looking in person.

Dame Maggie Smith just walked by, again, looking much older than you would assume, but she is allowed to do whatever she wants because she's a Dame and she's also an amazing actress.

Gordon Ramsay was there. No, he has nothing to do with the movie, but he brought his kids, and he was looking all angry, just like on TV!

Tim Burton was also there, dressed like Bob Dylan and looking cool/insane (which he is.) Although he wasn't with Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Bellatrix Lestrange. I thought they were married, but IMDB says they're just dating (and they have a son together...?) Still, weird that they weren't together.

Helena looked like a crazy bag lady meets Dolly Parton meets every character HBC has ever played, which is why everyone loves her. She's like this adorable goth sweetheart. So cool.

Rupert Grint (Ron) was there, looking quite sharp and not at all like he just got over the swine flu. When he got to our section he was still really upbeat, though I would be exhausted if I was him. I said "Hi," and he said "Hi" back. Success!

Emma Watson didn't have time to go to our section since she arrived basically last and had to go right into the theatre. But she was looking quite pretty; I loved her dress and her hair. And, actually, I was amazed at just how skinny she was! Her upper arms looked about the size of my wrists (and I have really skinny wrists...)

Actually, I was amazed at how small everyone was. Dan Radcliff is like a toddler, y'allz. He is about 5'5 and doesn't look a day over 15. So much for that "sexy grown-up wizard" all the magazines are trying to push. He is miniature. And Rupert isn't much taller. 5'8, maybe.

This one news crew (made up of two women in identical floral dresses, black leggings, and brown leather calf-high boots) came up to us asking about how "the movies are getting darker, but the wizards are getting hotter" and who we all preferred out of the cast. They put the microphone up to this girl by me and she was all, "Actually, I find Snape rather sexy," and well all just about died laughing.

Anyway, last of all was J.K. Rowling! She didn't come up to us, and from the people near me who had been to several of these things, she rarely signs anything. She did take photos with some people in wheelchairs in a special area by the theatre walkway, and I got some faraway pictures of her, but she never came up to us. I think if she did, though, I might have cried a little. Not to be dramatic, or anything, but I was feeling a little overwhelmed when I saw her to begin with, like, "Oh, my gosh, it's her. She's the one who came up with all this. I should say thank you, or something." But she didn't come over, so I didn't have to worry about making an ass of myself.

So all the stars went in to watch the movie, and all us riff-raff went home. The back of my pants were still drenched, and once the throng of people was gone from around me I realized how cold I actually was (it was kind of painful) so we rushed home as fast as we could on the tube, and when I got back to the dorm I got in the shower faster than I think I ever have.

I survived! (Nice hair... not.)

Today I'm trying to finish up my Media paper, but it's slow coming. It's due tomorrow at 10pm, but I'd like to finish tonight, tomorrow morning at the latest.

I also went to High Street Kensington to Wagamama, which supposedly has delicious noodles for cheap, but it wasn't so cheap so I got some dumplings instead. Then, on the walk home I stopped by Buttercup Bakery (which is legendary and has beautiful cupcakes and is painted all lime green and yellow and it is adorable!) I had a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter icing (my favorite flavor combo) and it was absolutely amazing.

I'd love to finish my work tonight, but I know I won't. Plus, the internet has been sucking so getting all my research has been a pain.

I'm leaving for Wales on Friday! Three days of hiking, swimming, jumping off cliffs, kayaking, etc. I'm so excited!

Lots of love,

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The weekend I (almost) went to Liverpool

Class ended this week! Hooray! I still have two online classes, and I still have two papers to turn in for my UK classes, but I don’t have to go to class for the rest of the summer!

For my last Media in Britain class we had a two-part field trip on Thursday night. In the afternoon we went to the British Film Institute at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank and played in the Mediatheque, which is basically a room with big computer screens and headphones where you can watch tons of archives of British film and television. I watched some of a program called 28 Up, which is a documentary that follows this group of people and revisits them every 7 years to see how their lives have changed. It stated with 7 Up when they were 7 years old, and 49 Up premiered a couple years ago. But it is a cool show. I also watched some Monty Python.

Then, we had some time to take a break and get dinner so I went to Eat and got a delicious bean salad thing (and when I was done I peeled off the ingredients label off so I can make it for myself at home) and some Greek yogurt with fruit and muesli.

We met back at the National Film Theatre for a screening of the newest film by documentarian Kim Longinotto called Rough Aunties about the women in South Africa who run the organization Operation BobbiBear that fights for sexually abused children. There was also a Q&A with Kim after the showing. The film was absolutely amazing, so well-made and very moving, I teared up a few times. And Kim was very cool—friendly and genuine.

Friday after my last British Life & Culture class Allison and I had planned to go to Liverpool, stay Friday night, and come home Saturday evening. We had booked a hostel and everything. But we failed to look up accurate ticket prices and when we found out how expensive the train would be we said, No Thanks, and went to the movies instead. We lost the money for the hostel because we didn’t cancel at least 24 hours before, but it ended up being less than $30 (yes, dollars) per person and considering the huge amount we saved by not going it was OK.

We saw My Sister’s Keeper which was sooooo sad. Really good, but heavy, and I don’t think I could watch it again. But it was very good. That night, Allison, Nancy and I tried to go to this bar/club I read about on Time Out London that was having its “One Year Anniversary Party” with free entry and free drinks and cupcakes! We got alllll the way there (took forever on the Tube) and it turns out you had to be on a list that we didn’t know about and that wasn’t mentioned on their Web site. Lame. So we went to Leicester Square and got McFlurrys.

Funny story about that. Leicester Square is mostly clubs, so there are promoters everywhere trying to reel you in to their particular venue by offering drink specials, etc. They usually come up to you on the street by saying, “You girls going to a club tonight?” Well, plenty came up to us, but to one of them I replied, “No! But where can we get some ice cream?” and he said “I don’t know” in a mean voice and walked off. Jeez. But I couldn’t stop laughing about it; it was just too funny.

Saturday I went to Camden Market again for most of the day; bought a pair of sunglasses for £5, almost bought a fake Chanel bag (reaaaaaally wanted it, but the price was just too high for me so I had to walk away. It was one of those cute little quilty ones with the chain strap, too!) But I did buy some grapes, a cantaloupe and a pineapple for £3 total—what a deal.

Since yesterday was the Fourth of July (happy bday, Amurrka!) there was supposed to be this big thing in one of the parks organized by Americans Abroad, or some organization like that, with a barbecue all day and fireworks at night. Most of the other people wanted to go all day, but Allison and I decided we would go for dinner and fireworks.

Well, the fireworks got canceled for some reason, and the barbecue was full (I don’t know the details.) So the other people in our group bought potato salad, chips, etc. and Whoppers from Burger King to take to a local park and have a picnic. Since that appealed to neither Allison nor me we decided to go out to dinner in the cool area we were in the night before, and would meet the rest of the group at the Rocket (a bar they frequent and that I have been to once before) for dancing. (Free entry always, and a DJ on Saturday nights!)

Dinner was pretty good, nothing special, and we made it to the bar at 9. The rest of the group, however, wasn’t going to be there until 10:30 because Liz had to meet her friend at the train station. The bar was pretty dead, so we went back to the Euston train station and bought a £2 book of puzzles (crosswords, word searches, etc.) to share, got the man at the info desk to give us a free pen, then went back to the bar where we did puzzles for an hour and a half.

When they STILL weren’t there at 10:30—turns out lots of crazy stuff was going on, including someone breaking a bone—we decided to make the best of it, stashed the puzzle book in a corner of the bar, and hit the dance floor. It was tons of fun! I was getting all chatted up, asked to dance, offered drinks—there was even a girl standing next to me at the bar (I was trying to get a glass of water, I promise. It was like 800 degrees on the dance floor and I needed hydration.) who said, “You are SO.SEXY.” Then she told me that she wasn’t a lesbian, and I said, well, thank you and okay.

I don’t know what it is about London, and I know I haven’t gotten any better looking since arriving here, but for some reason I am MUCH prettier in London than back home. Back home I consider myself fairly girl-next-door, probably a 5 or 6 on the looks scale. But here! I get checked out in the tube, in the grocery store, at the pharmacy, in the market, and even when we go out. I don’t know what it is! Either I am much more attractive to Londoners, or I am more attractive than I originally thought and Londoners are just more vocal about telling me. It is nice, I guess, to have people think you are pretty or whatever.

Anyway, three other friends of ours made it, finally, at like 12:45, and we all danced until the bar closed and took the bus home. It was so fun; Allison is definitely a good clubbing mate, and Jessica (who showed up at 12:45 and regaled us with the whole story of the day’s craziness) decided that we all need to go to clubs in Gainesville so we can all dance together. I agreed wholeheartedly.

Today I went to the East End again and walked around, explored all the different markets they have. Found a cool vintage dress from the 70s that had purple clouds all over it and fit great, but it was too expensive, plus it was really long and I’d have to have it made into something knee-length at a tailor if I could ever wear it out. Other than that I just ate an empanada and some ice cream (not together) from the different stalls.

I’m trying to get some work done, but I am just really enjoying relaxing, blogging, and eating cereal out of the box. I am going to get soooooo fat.

Joe is in Mexico and can only use the internetz once in a while, and doesn’t have a phone there, so I can’t really talk to him and it makes me miss him more than usual. Lame.

Tomorrow I am going to finish one of my papers; it is on the BBC. My other paper is pretty much done because the outline itself is 2500 words and the paper only needs to be 2000, so to put it all together should only take maybe an hour at the most.

Tuesday is the Harry Potter London premiere! Another girl here and I are going really early in the morning (everyone else has their internships—she does, too, but she’s taking a sick day, haha.) to camp out so we have a good spot to see all the stars arriving. I am so excited!

Then next weekend I’m going to Wales to kayak and jump off of cliffs into water! Hooray!

The internet in this building needs to stop sucking so I can watch videos online.