Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Our last few hours in Scotland cease as Kendall and I head to England's Lake District via train.

October 26

We lucked out with our hostel in Edinburgh, especially with everybody we met there: French, Australian, and Californian. We were surprised when our female room turned into a non-female room and we were accomapanied by two very fit and outgoing (and half clothed) members of the Royal Australian Air Force, who contrasted the two timid French students also hosteling with us in Edinburgh. 

The Elephant House

The bathrooms of the Elephant House are shrines to Harry Potter and JK Rowling, who wrote books 1+2 in a corner table of the café. And as a Harry Pothead myself, I had to contribute, and I jotted a small remembrance to Aragog, the largely misunderstood King of the spiders where l could find some space to spare.

Apart from being the most creative place I've ever been to, the food was everything food should be. And I love their bread and hot chocolate and Sister Chloe would've loved it (HEY!). We went there twice for breakfast/lunch it was so good.

The seat in which the magic began overlooks Greyfriars Cemetery, home to the grave of a Thomas Riddel, aka TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE aka VOLDEMORT aka most EVIL LIVING being to exist in our world, yeah in our world. 

It chilled me to stand next to this grave, and I look quite uncomfortable in the picture I have where I stand next to it. The grave of a William McGonagall also rests in this cemetery, and it eased my spirit to discover him.  

Arthur's Seat

Kendall climbed up this in flats ok, the chick just flows. And it was so windy with wet Scottish weather. The view from the top (or almost top in the next picture...no laptop to upload pictures from my camera), overlooked all of Edinburgh and the port. 

The Royal Mile something something Inn/Pub...I can't remember the name of it...with baby Kendall. 

Stirling, Scotland

We only had a few hours in Stirling, so we didn't know what we were doing. We decided to visit the Wallace Monument, and started our detoured and extensively unnecessarily long walk and found a hang out at a farm on the side of the road. Oh did we have a jolly good time playing in the hay. 

And there's little Wallace in the background; it's so tall we could see it from the bus station so we followed it like the North Star to get there.

After the trek, we had another bus to Glasgow and after settling into our new hostel, we turned on New Girl, and turned down with a little R&R............

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sleep Playlist- Live

Sunday October 19
The O2

Oh John and his magic on a Sunday night. Why Georgia, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, Something Like Olivia. Dreams are fulfilled. 

Moving onto Monday night: Crystal Palace v. Fulham @ Selhurst Stadium.

The atmosphere of this match was unreal. However my body caught up with me on this night, and Crystal Palace got crushed, and trains were insanely crowded with mucho profanity attacks targeting those who could not move further down the carriage, to move further down. And so after the most packed and cultural travelling weekend yet, Olivia + many of my peers were a little fussy. 

But now, TODAY the 26th, SCOTLAND, hello and thank you, half term- our free week. Kendall and I got to Edinburgh, Scotland this morning and as we sit in the hostel talking to a girl from California whose stay is for 7 WEEKS (that lucky GURL), I excuse myself to the bathroom. And I'm in this colorful place, glimpsing at the mirror and then back at my soapy hands, and a thought involuntarily surfaces: I want to live here. And how irrational, I've just stepped off the train 25 minutes ago. Where did that come from? 

We've just gotten back from a 3-hour walking tour and are exhausted. One place we visited is the cemetery frequented by J.K. Rowling as a source for character names. Tom Riddle, McGonagall, Moody. Hellooooooooo. 

Disclaimer: I'm going to try to update frequently here but only have my phone, excuse any typos and formatting abnormalities- I'll edit when I have my computer back ;)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Green Flesh

The moss, vibrant green flesh clutching the stone walls, she speaks to me. And I want to cry of exuberance, we've haven't met in so long. But I've found you at Kenilworth. And I am overwhelmed with content and hate that our reconnection was brief.

I sat up in one of the stone windows overlooking pure Earth and lost track of time in my own thoughts of nothing. A new life is within me, a freshly gained new set of eyes; it was a perfect moment for a gasp of pure air.  

But first came Shakespeare. His birthplace and then his burial place, here. We were uprooted by a wedding, and couldn't go in the church as originally planned, but saw some very happy and beautiful faces arrive and walk the path under the trees the of color of crisp golden apples. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Makin' Waves

Thanks for the welcome, zombie life. I have become not only an inhabitant of London, but a zombie. In and out, back and forth, here and there. I'm becoming overwhelmed. And it can'ttttttt stop, it won'tttt stoppppp, do I want it to stop? A little, maybe. But then maybe I don't. Can you tell I'm slightly delusional and am on a watch-any-decently-viewed-motivational-speech-from-2006 to 2009 binge on YouTube kind of mood? One more school/work/zombie week until fall break and mucho gratitude to that idea.

I began to meet with Darran today at Castlehaven, aka the coolest Irish dude I know-and this isn't on purpose that I say this right after, but I do think he might be the only Irish person I know. Nevertheless, he tries to reject the fact the he IS cool, though with one exception: A while back, he caught a glimpse of me eating a banana and gave me a "uh gross" type reaction as he explained that he can't eat bananas and that they make him vomit. I resisted revealing to him that I've eaten 7 bananas in one day, weary that on that uncomfortably warm day one's stomach might be particularly weaker, and fearful that he would vomit in front of me at the thought of experiencing multiple bananas at once. Bananas are a heavenly gift to this Earth.

He's also trying to bring out the business lady in me and I'm not even trying to evoke any of my previous business knowledge, seeing my extensive lack of business experience. But what the hell, I have a brain and ideas, let's see what that'll do.

Oct 18, 7:45
This game was absolutely incredddddible. I know a total of zero rules about rugby, but I learned some tonight and I'm so glad we could go to this game. Wembley Stadium (THIS ONE) was used for the opening ceremony of the Olympics last summer too (!!!!!). Insanely cool. Of course I'm scared of sports venue traffic and after the last second made my peers sprint to the tube station, and successfully avoided the waves of people. Forever a supporter of our London Sarees. 

My favorite picture: We try help a young boys' rugby league start the wave



Friday, October 11, 2013

Dandruff Issues

Tuesday, Oct 8

Day 35, I learn that instant coffee exists and it looks like baby rabbit turds. 

The parents' coffee ran out at Castlehaven today and I, thinking that if I have trouble making coffee and home, I must not even attempt to make it here, in the land where coffee and tea transfusions occur daily.

I then learn that these coffee turds just dissolve in hot water- no filters involved. I brushed off this lapse of knowledge with a shrug and "Psh...American..." And received laughs. When in doubt, throw in a dumb American joke and it will fly sky high.

I also met Tania at Castlehaven today, a 17 year-old former volunteer. She just returned from a two month holiday in Bangladesh where much of her family lives and where she was recently married. Repeat? 17 year-old recently married. 17 GALS!!!!!

I asked her if it's typical to get married so young in Bangladeshian families and she said yes, that it's encouraged so that girls are able to adapt to their husbands' habits over time. I was raised much differently, clearly, and I was almost too appalled to reply but thank god I reserved my liberal mindset for two minutes and was allowed to just listen. I would never meet someone like her back home, and I feel like meeting her is why I'm here. She is the most respectful and creative person; she showed me her stories that she publishes via this app called Wattpad and she is so cool. 

And cool things happen later in the day. Jenny and I venture to the Foundling museum to meet the rest of our Child Psychology class. And our tour guide's name was Linda King- my beautiful aunt?!??!!? No, not the same Linda King, unfortunately. But LK #2 did know her stuff about London's foundlings, abandoned children who were stripped of their original names upon acceptance to the Foundling Hospital, and were given names such as:

William Shakespeare
Robert Lovely
Julius Caesar
many Dickens' characters
A Female Child

That last name is completely serious. Hopefully that female child gained a decent, more humanized and soulful name in short time. 

Billy Elliot tonight!!!! Kendall, Jenny, and I sat in the second row and saw spit, almost died of smoke machine smoke inhalation (during the most beautiful scene where the younger and older Billy perform together), and learned that we have some serious dandruff issues during the 5+ minute Christmas/snowfall scenes. It was amazing.

Thursday, Oct 10
Youth Club

It's cooking night so Jordan pours milk into Coco Pops as I try to apply a classic Schneider card game upon various members. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Slovakians Enjoy White Collar

Oct 5, 2013
Bishop's Park @ 3:30pm

Tennis try-outs, we meet again. And the second round has introduced me to Jana, of Slovakia. When we were informed that we had passed the second round, and the third rounds were to be held that night at 8:30 at the Queen's Club, where we would also have to wear only white...Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. 

So we had some time to kill and some white clothing to find. I went back to her PURPLE dorm housed by Imperial College London and cooked lunch/dinner and she introduced me to White Collar. 

   Shouldn't Stonehill have purple dorms as PURPLE IS OUR COLOUR?!?! 

Queen's Club

Oh, the Queen's Club. Jana and I walk into the Queen's Club feeling so not-posh and scurry like tiny ants to the women's courts to put on our borrowed white T-shirts.  

Countries among our tennis clan include Slovakia, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Trinidad, and hey humble America. Just call me international.

Jana, on the right, finds an eyelash on Raissa's cheek (left) and tells her to make a wish. Countries carry out this ritual differently. Raissa said in Lebanon you take your eyelash and pinch it between your pointer finger and thumb and choose what finger the eyelash will be on when you release. If you guess correctly your wish will come true.

My first pub outing without the usual American clan. PUB LYFE WITH REAL PUB GOERS. I love when they would ask me questions about the US. Of course my vowel pronunciations arise, but then also the Boston Marathon attack and 9/11 and my connection to both of those. I also tell them about the recent transformation of my language. For example, my recent excessive use of the word "quite" and the rearrangement of my words in sentences that Americans would think was so proper. Oh god.

Friday, October 4, 2013

I Shook Up the World!

Oct 1st, 1pm
Imperial College London
Freshers' Fair

KIDS!!!!! Lovely, beautiful, energetic, passionate, wild, Ray-Ban branded faces looking as though half of you could work at Apple, British kids. For the first time I've been in London, I've never seen so many in one place: Welcome to the Freshers' Fair aka HEY WE COOL JOIN OUR CLUB TAKE OUR BROCHURE EAT THESE FREE SWEETS (candy). 

I'm talking about these students like they're animals, but it really was a water hole of kids, and hi, Olivia, nice to meet you. 

Oct 1, 8:30pm
BFI (British Film Institute)

This theatre is inSANE. Because of seating restrictions I sat behind the three flatmates and started a conversation with a guy who was also seated by himself. His name is Steve and he's a PhD student at Imperial College (I was there earlier that day, say what) and he's studying climate change in the rainforest WHAT. Crazy cool stuff. 

We saw a film called "Muhammed Ali's Greatest Fight." It explores Ali's rejection of the Vietnam draft, and four years later his appeal which by then had risen to the Supreme Court's attention. It's a great movie that features archive footage of Ali before, during, and after, his case. When he repeated "I shook up the world!" over and over again I was in awe. And HELLO there was a Q&A session with the main actor, director and screen writer (?) after the film was through. I felt like I was at Comic-Con and it was so cool hearing about the process and glitches and casting and AH I just love it. I can't wait for the British Film Festival starting the 9th of October. 

After-Film Q&A

Oct 2, 6:30pm

Shout out to Papa Gar for the hefty supply of Guido's Dark Chocolate covered Coconut; a pre-birthday wonder. 

Oct 2-3, Midnight

I am so grateful for the wonderful bunch of flatmates I have. I was ready for bed, then they were ready for cake, and then I was ready for cake, so THANK YOU!

I am in bed here ;)

Oct 3, 12pm
Kids Klothes

Amy is just THE BEST. Walk into the shop, say how we are ever so grateful how Jesse HAS LIVED, Walt successfully escaped prison via death and killing everybody but we still like him a little (?), that sly fox, and then she surprises me with this amazing chocolate cake and notes from all the best staff members. She has made me feel so at home so quickly and I wish her all the luck in the world running her half marathon this weekend!!!!

Oct 3, 7pm
Freud Bar

Night out, these chicks are awesome. 


And after a night of such good drinks, we sit in a gelato and eat quickly and silently. There, Kendall aka my soul mate, tells me thrilling stories of her life changing trip to Africa and languages and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and "ra ra shaken aka" is "goodnight" in an African language (I definitely spelled that wrong). It convinced me to go to Africa. The awful saving game will begin again.

As we leave the gelato shop, "Africa" by TOTO comes on guaranteeing a trip to Africa in my future.

That's my gf below. We still made time for oatmeal and pizza and Enya's "Only Time."