Sunday, September 29, 2013

Old People and Teenagers

Friday, Sept 27

The end of the work week...cue the PUB LYFE. I got carded, ok and moving on. 

Me and Chels at The Sussex

I was walking to the tube station from my internship with a foreign man on my left and this lady, as shown riding the cart below, walking on my right. The man with the cart was a little ahead of both of us speaking on his cell ("mobile") phone. She then starts off on a little hop-skip-gallop to the cart, and sits ever so gently on it, and the dude is COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS. I starting laughing so hard with the man on my left, and she turned to both of us and "shh!-ed" us. I don't know when cart man noticed her, I had turned the corner and she was still getting a free ride at that point.  

Saturday, Sept 28

Say WHAT. Cha. 

LIFE CHANGING. The stadium was completely empty but the spirit! The history! The grass! Oh I loved it all. Everyone, including old-lady-Heather-Wimbledon-encyclopedia-best-tour-guide-leader-ever, thought I was crazy as at ever turn I seemed to shriek, and "OH my GOD," and send requests to the other tourers asking, "Please, can you take of picture of me? My mother will kill me if I don't get one, please, thank you; she will appreciate it," throughout the entire thing. 

And CENTRE COURT HELLO. I wanted to run across the grass like Drew Barrymore running towards Jimmy Fallon on the Fenway Park grass in "Fever Pitch." 

"'You gotta tell me wait, the outfield-the grass... is it spongy?'" 

The score board is still up!!! Oh, Andy, the pride of Britain (slight reference to "The Fighter"... the pride of Lowell... Dicky's comeback!)

And the longest match in tennis history occurred right in this little court. American John Isner v. Frenchman Nicolas Mahut. ELEVEN HOURS five minutes, OVER THREE DAYS, with a total of 183 games. Unreal. Props.

The whole place is amazing. In the Wimbledon museum I found that this quote embodied everything that I felt on the grounds I had yet to explore:

"[Wimbledon is] the comfort of a grandparent with the energy of a teenager." -Martina Navratilova 

Later in the day: Home sweet home with NFL Block Party on Regent Street for tonight's Steelers-Vikings game. 

And British Anthropologie, floating feathers, perfect and expensive and excessive and out of my budget. I had my eye on some nice warm winter navy tights with cute little orange foxes on them but I resisted. 

Browncroft shout out to momma Shar-bear on Newcastle keeping Karen on track 24/7/365.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sup, Bruv

Sept 24, 12:29pm
Camden Town Underground Station

A woman asks me for directions on the directions were correct. This is REVOLUTIONARY, people.

Sept 25, 6:18pm
Castlehaven Community Center
The Youth Project

A lovely girl at Castlehaven (year eight or eighth grade) says she's loves my accent...what. 

I don't work Wednesday nights because I thought I could never have the energy to communicate to anyone after a nonstop 9-5 day of classes, but I do tonight, and the Youth Project and I go to the theatre, so I kind of got out of talking in a way. We saw Zoonation, a modern dance performance I know both of my sisters would've loved. And the supervisor of all things ages 12-19 at Castlehaven, Phillippa, makes the world go round and life go on. She is so wonderful and I don't think I could've survived tagging along if it weren't for her unconditional energy and passion for humor and life.

As always, I'm glad I participated and as a result, I've learned new phrase thanks to Jordan, to which I and so many other London visitors, are often subjected to due to our lack of cultural and financial intelligence. "Takin' the mickey" out of someone = making a fool of them for their untintelligent and ignorant spending. So I now pray for intelligence and wits, and please don't take the Mickey out of me (I really don't know what I'm saying), and thank you.

Sept 26
Castlehaven Community Center 
Kids Klothes Shop/haven Youth Center

Kids Klothes with Amy today was such a good break from the busiest study abroad schedule I could've imagined. Baby/toddler clothes are donated and then the shop sells them to get some revenue for cool events (I think). And I want to wear all the clothes- the Finding Nemo baby grow (baby onesie suit) just killed me.

The Youth Project

Tonight's Agenda: Cinema Night!

Except we played pool instead. 

Julian, pictured right, is boss for the night, and I channeled my American Las Vegas baller in me and was a VICTOR over this man (I really won by default...white ball drops in after the black, you know the drill, apparently it really does count).

And this evening, I will tell you that I most likely changed some lives: I introduced Castlehaven's subjects to John Mayer. That's correct. INTRODUCING John Mayer. 

In return I am introduced to Katy B, Magnetic Men, and "bruv," the greeting equivalent to "bro," exchanged between mostly young men in the states. 

I thought about this word in my walk to the underground station and that it must've derived from "brother" aka "brovah" aka "bruvah" and finally to "bruv."

And this makes every second of a wonderful but exhausting day 150% worth it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The End is Near

Documenting some jamming sessions at Castlehaven; Darren's on the left, and Khalil's singing on the right. These dudes kill it. I can't believe how professional the tracks come out.

After my internship I had to make the long/kinda scary journey over to La Catrina. Credit to Mr. Alex Baez for introducing me to the glorious place. It's located right by the Brick Lane market, where we went yesterday, and it's a Mexican burrito restaurant/hole in the wall type place in the Boxpark (a collection of these black storage-looking stores)...and...on Monday nights...THEY SCREEN BREAKING BAD. Second to last episode aired tonight via Netflix (poor UK, getting it a day late- better late than never though). So I had me some burrito in true Los Pollos Breaking Bad spirit, and a pint (didn't get carded, holla). Walt's actually psychotic, Jesse has the worst luck on da planet, and Saul...can't call Saul anymore...the end is near and it is very real. The episode was just insane, not to mention the burrito was probably the best I've ever had......seriously. And I'm sorry about that, Moe's.

Breaking Bad, outside, and in London. And Mexican food, my sincerest gratitude for all the aforementioned. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Men Are Wild

Brick Lane, I love you.

Your fresh food, I love you even more.

My new MJ and Elvis records, you'll fit right in with the rest of my collection at home.

And my new thrift store navy plaid flannel, let's chill tomorrow night, eh?

Today was a dream. Walking through the streets and by the food markets was a dream. There was too much to do, we didn't cover even a fraction of the place. But first I have to get this out here into the internet because I almost died taking this picture. Not died, but I was severely threatened by a foreign man, who I think was in charge of the set-up, don't know. It's weird, and kinda creepy. I kinda like it, and then I kinda don't. I might regret putting this picture in here later on.

And moving on: Thrift Store Heaven. So many thrift and vintage stores, I thought I'd died. There is a large emphasis on American logos, music, and hot spots. See the flashy Palm Springs jean jacket below, prime fashion. I had to snap that pic for dear ol' Grams out in Cali herself.

And again, food is incredible. So vibrant and fresh.

And backtracking to yesterday, Olivia ran a 10k (what, what!!!!!). I had to, it was technically on Wimbledon Grounds, super close to the actual Lawn Club itself, but we actually ran a little bit on a rugby/football pitch and made our way UP into some in woodland-type terrain (did I say UPHILL.....not expecting uphill). 

Three weeks, and I've already won Wimbledon. I have a medal with boys and girls wearing short shorts on it, that legitimizes it.

My first running BIB!!!!! Numba 201 holla

And FINALLY, Downton Abbey, Season 4 Premiere. Mary/dead Matthew drama, baby drama, new staff drama, drunk staff drama, money drama, and obviously estate drama; oh Drama Abbey you can never fail. And I didn't actually catch this when I tuned in, but Twitter helped me out, and found a ridiculous quote from tonight's episode via Edith...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Peanut Butter and FLUFF

Magical Turkish wraps, they are.


These wraps are just the best things EVER. Spinach, chicken, lettuce, feta, and spicy something whatever it is that makes y'all magical, hi I like you. I first experienced this goodness in my earlier days of London when I had ventured over to the Camden Markets, and since Castlehaven is nearly in the Markets themselves I plan on investing some pounds, currency wise and weight wise, in these babies. This pic is really from the first time I tried it, I was too engulfed to take a picture this time around.

Right down the road from the busy food and clothing stalls of Camden is this peaceful gem. 


Next adventure: My second attempt to find TK Maxx, the equivalent of TJ Maxx, and it is a success. Note to self: Look at street numbers and not the GPS, smart stuff.

I walk in to this glorious place and Ain't Too Proud To Beg by the Temptations comes on and I'm immediately soothed by the comforting sound of sixth grade Motown memories, odd as that is. It is overly crowded, but I don't care. And all those stupid products by the register line, yep they're there; their only purpose being for the last minute spenders to pick up and buy, and of course everybody does. And then just there, sitting so slyly and innocently, alongside two of its partners in crime, are these little darlings:


I thought I might've cried when I saw that Fluff right there. Oh, America. Oh, Grandma Betty and your peanut butter and fluff sandwiches at the picnic tables of the Seneca Park Zoo in the midst of a sweaty July afternoon, you are long gone but I am comforted by you in this crazy place.

One thing I didn't see in this TK Maxx was the extensive food section, or as I secretly call it, "Karen's isle," where my mom buys all our olive oil, weird jams, strange healthy snacks that I love, and fruity balsamic dressings. And thank god I didn't see it, or I really would've produced a tear and hidden in Karen's isle for 15 minutes. 

On the way back from that adventure, I stopped at this book store and bought A Farewell of Arms by Ernest Hemingway and Henry the IV by Bill Shakespeare. Shakespeare was on the border for purchase , but had little handwritten notes in it so I had to get it (for my APARTMENT OR HOPE CHEST SOMEDAY RIGHT?!?!, Karen joke). 

Now I'm really on my way back home, and these unknown but beautiful faces come up on a virtual advertisement. How lovely you look, Sunday is the day. 

And finally, a man in the Leicester Square tube station sings What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, ending a long and another whimsical day. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Downton ABBEY?!?!?!

18 Sept, 9:50am British film professor references Breaking Bad for educational purposes. We have a new favorite professor, ladies and gents.

And 9:55am British film professor gets excited at the soundtrack of today's film, "Fish Tank," largely consisting of 90's R&B and rap. Ok, ok.

And side note, my supervisor at Castlehaven is obsessed with Breaking Bad. HOLLA this is wonderful. 

19 Sept, 3:25pm on my Oxford Street Adventure: Wonderful experience at the Asics store with the intention of buying an arm band for my iPhone/music while running. This lovely employee Damien and I spoke about London and studying and what a lovely conversation. It's so simple but I love talking to people and learning and exchanging and moving on. But I've got to do that more often. 

Another side note- Selfridges. This store came to my knowledge via Karen, my mother, via the Masterpiece Classic series "Selfridges," via PBS, which I believe she started watching to ease the pain of Downton Abbey's absence... and a huge p.s. here: wah-lah, season four is airing this Sunday, magical. Anyway, here it is, Kar. 





I found Selfridge's to be a much more manageable deptarment store over Harrod's or Harvey Nichols (the only two other department sores I've been to so far). Don't get me wrong, the place is still bumpin, but there's room to breathe if you feel me. And you should, breathing is good.

Another stop on my Oxford Street venture: Urban Outfitters. But this UO really just looked like an overpriced consignment store. Refer to the following evidence:




Thrilling stuff, people. Side note (the third one on this post if we're keeping track), I get lost uhhhh fairly almost always occasionally every single time I have an irreular destination. That might make my mother nervous, but the tube (subway) just saves my life and also, I run into cute little side streets and take photos like this. British flag in the rain, you kill me, you perfect creation. 


I had my internship scheduled for later in the day, freeing up the mid-day for the aforementioned exploration. And I got to sit in in some recording sessions for the Youth Project and it is just the coolest thing ever. The guy who has every step of the way covered is Darren, and the people (my age and younger) who sign up for a recording session will come in, go over lyrics, record tracks, and edit like crazy- adding beats, effects, etc- Really awesome. 

I'm learning some slang, some different ways of speaking. I'd say to Darren "That's good!"/"I like that!" And he just goes "Cheers." I figured out the meaning and intention of his "cheers" quickly and didn't bother discussing the cultural differences. I've also learned various words for male and female genitalia, but I will refrain.

And return journey...the dude's putting up the new ads for the next day.


Cue end of post, phew. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Grandpa Tommy

Oh Stonehenge, you are a bunch of rocks, but you are a famous bunch of rocks. 

However, these strawberries, cherries, and jams grown by this man's grandfather, Tommy, were way cooler, and not nearly as famous as they should be. They're grown about 10 miles from Stonehenge and if strawberries could talk these guys would be the most vibrant and vivacious beings around. Kudos, Grandpa Tommy. Stonehenge wouldn't have been the same with out you.


And English countryside, you are a dream. Green is everywhere, farms and those cute cows!!!! It's too good of a place. 

And finally our trip to good 'ol Bath, named for the Roman baths said to have magical lepracy healing and impregnating powers, yeah Google that. 

Various singers and performers came onto this main quad in front of this church. This guy's name is Jack Morgan, singing Let It Be. Pretty amazing.


Our lovely tour guide suggested picking up a "pasty," a food specialty in Bath. And oh just how special, I did not realize. It's really a hand-held pot pie and although that sounds so simple, it is the best piece of food I have had here. 


This is the craziest, happiest picture ever and I love it. A guy, Ryan, from our program was a scarecrow in another life. Mutual love, pigeon love, ain't it beautiful?   

The view from the top of the Roman baths. 

And the view from the bottom. Dirty water, don't drink.