I'm from 'MERICA!

First post back home! I’m excited to be home. My day was pretty long yesterday. If you put it in terms of East Coast time, I was on the go from 3am to 10pm. It took all of my strength to not shout “EEEIHHAHAWOOOHOOOI’MINAMERICA!!!” when we touched down last night. I thought that might make me look a little crazy, and wouldn’t help me get through Immigration/Customs any faster. I managed to contain my excitement until I walked through the herding area known as International Arrivals at Dulles.

I’ve been home for all of 14 hours, and slept for 8 of them. I came home, played with Parker for a while, talked to Frank and Blue, then went to bed. Of course I’m still on London time, so I woke up at 6:40am today. Yeesh. Can’t wait til that gets out of my system.

Little pleasures so far: Sleeping in my own big bed. Being connected to the internet ALL THE TIME – No more Pogolink!!!!!!!!! Using my cell phone. American dial tones. AIR CONDITIONING.

Today, Frank, Blue and I are going to Costco – jeebus, how much more American can you get than that, on my first full day back!? I love it. Then tonight, the one and only Sarah Nicole Lussier is coming over for dinner. We’re grilling out and eating dinner out on the back deck (if it cools down enough) – I am so excited.

Going back a few days: Monday was a pretty low-key day. I spent the morning and afternoon packing and doing laundry. Then I had lunch and watched two weeks worth of Daily Show episodes online. Liz and Laura came back in the late afternoon, so we caught up on their Irish adventures. At 7 we went and got dinner from Wagamama (yes, the third time in a week) and then saw the Dark Knight! It was so good! All kinds of intense, it was. It wasn’t a crazy night but it was fun to spend it with the girls, one last night of it at least for a while. We had fun and didn’t go to bed until at least 1:30am or so.

I’ve had to stop myself from calling London “home” a couple of times already. I think that’s just out of habit though – I obviously know Reston is home. London was just so good to me! I do miss it already. I was just getting to the point where I was comfortable there. I have been entertaining the idea of going back for a few months after I finish at Mason…but that would take a lot of planning and a lot of luck. It’s just something fun to think about, but for right now…I’m going to enjoy buying massively-sized food and household items in a giant warehouse and then eating steak and corn on the cob on a summer night with my family and one of my very best friends.


The weekend, continued

Warning: This post will make you hungry.

First, a couple other food related things I forgot to mention: We went back to Wagamama on Wednesday before we saw Wall-E (Apparently it was a W-theme night) and it was all kinds of delicious once again. I got chicken chili men and gyozo dumplings. On Thursday I got lunch from the little café that is right next door to our office, Café Pomodoro. Chicken pesto salad on toasted ciabatta. So good.


Continuing on the food theme….Portobello Market, part 2! First let me just say how much I love this market. And going on Fridays is the way to go – it is not crowded at all, but all the stands and shops are open and fully stocked. You have time to leisurely stroll and talk to the vendors and take your time deciding between all the jewelry, fresh produce, breads, antiques, and every other wonderful option. The food is so good but it’s also just visually pleasing. All the colors of the produce and the way the breads are laid out, and….agh. This place makes me so happy.

My breakfast and lunch (or lunch 1 and 2, either way) on Friday were, in a word, amazing. Jenna and I went back to the crepe stand. I got ham and cheese, she got nutella, but then we cut them in half and switched. SO GOOD. We walked all the way down the market, making mental notes of the stuff we were going to buy on the walk back. And oh, did we. I bought marinated artichoke hearts and we both got this incredibly good looking (and tasting!) feta salad. Then, we went to a bread/pastry stand and I bought an olive focaccia loaf, and Jenna bought a rosemary, sea salt and olive oil focaccia loaf. We then went to a fruit and vegetable stand – Jenna bought nectarines and sweet corn, and I got more cherries.

After I got home I just kind of laid around for a while, ate my cherries and watched some Family Guy episodes on my computer. I had my focaccia and feta salad for dinner, then I met up with Jenna and her friend at the Arc for a drink.


Went to Borough Market with Jenna and Sharon. Silly little me thought Portobello was good. No, no, no. I mean, it is...but Borough is way better in terms of food selection. And they give samples. It’s like Costco but on crack. We had such an indulgent morning, it was insane. One of the stands was selling glasses of Prosecco, so we each bought a glass and sipped it as we walked around. We wandered around trying different kinds of cheeses, brownies, jams, caramel spreads, mustards, meat, oils, and balsamic syrups (one blended with forest fruits was so incredibly good) and finally we broke down and started buying stuff. I bought a brownie, a roasted garlic and honey focaccia loaf, and some brie. Then came lunch. They had a stand where they made Raclettes and toasted cheese sandwiches. I got a sandwich and Jenna and Sharon shared a Raclette (which I had a little bit of) and they were so rich and amazing and I choose to not think about how unhealthy they were.

Dinner was the roasted garlic and honey focaccia loaf topped with brie and raspberry jam, then toasted. I don’t think I have to tell you that it was delicious. Spent the rest of the evening drinking cider and watching more Family Guy with Sharon. All in all, a lazy but very pleasing day.


I had originally planned to go to a church service at Westminster Abbey this morning, but instead chose to sleep until 10am. I’m not feeling particularly guilty about it, either. After a relaxing morning of drinking tea (with milk and sugar!) and reading, I ventured out with Jenna and Sharon to Brick Lane. We wanted to get Indian food but each ended up getting something completely different but good nonetheless. We walked back home and stopped at the Offside and had a beer outside. It was the perfect combination of a cold drink and warm sunshine.

We bummed around the apartment for an hour and a half, then Jenna and I made our way to the Embankment tube stop in the hopes of doing a Harry Potter walking tour that started at 5…we got there at 5:10. Oops. Determined to enjoy the rest of the day and evening, we walked through the Embankment Gardens, stopped to listen to a Bluepeace concert performance, then walked across the bridge, and down towards the Tate/Globe/Milennium Bridge area. It was a beautiful walk with lots of cute little places to eat, sit, and people watch. We stopped at the Thameside Inn and got a Magners, then hopped on the tube back home. Aaaand that brings us to right now!

Tomorrow is my last full day in London…yeesh. And sadly, I’ll have to spend it packing and doing laundry. WAH WAHHHHHHH. But Billy, Liz, and Laura will return in the afternoon and then I’m sure we’ll get into some last and final shenanigans in the area :-P


Be real.

haha, okay, "be real" is just a saying that I picked up from Billy and Liz, but we say it all the time now. It just kind of says that I need to BE REAL right now - I have to go home and leave the fantasy land of this week. It's just been too good.

The rest of Wednesday and yesterday were both stellar. We did, in fact, enjoy our final Orange Wednesday, and we saw WALL-E!!! It was SO cute…I may or may not have teared up at the end. I mean, no. I didn’t. It was just raining on my face. I had something in both my eyes. Shutup.

Yesterday was great, which was both a good and a bad thing. I finished up my work, I had a good time goofing around with Greg, Shelley and Neena, and I had a really nice little debriefing meeting with Shelley and Louise. They had some really nice things to say about me and my time here. Super emo. Then we had about a 30 minute break where we had some tea and cake and ended up talking about various pet stories (oddly enough, most of them deaths) that had me wanting to cry I was laughing so much. It was ridiculously funny.

Then around 6 Greg, Shelley, Neena, Valerie and I went down the street to have a couple of drinks. I had such a good time – enter the good/bad dilemma. It was a wonderful way to spend my last work day…and an awful way to spend my last day because I’m going to miss it/them so very much. I absolutely adore the people I work with. Everyone always seems to have an endless supply of stories that never fail to make me laugh, to say nothing of how much I love their accents. It was just kind of a bittersweet day – I had so much fun with everyone, which is a perfect way to go out but at the same time…it makes it really hard to leave. I feel like I just started getting to know everyone’s personalities and I wish I had more time with them.

Shelley is a theater/drama person, so she is always animated, and very clever. She is one of those people that can have a very serious conversation about the most absurd topic, which I love to do. For example, our little joke is about creating a web site featuring nothing but dogs in hats. Well, and with larger sections dealing with other accessories. Obviously.

Neena is so unique and has a wide variety of interests and hobbies that I find quite inspiring at times – and she is so generous and caring and intelligent. Sadly she was on holiday for two weeks during my time so I didn’t get to talk to her as much as I would have liked, both in and out of the office. She seems very passionate about what she does (not just at work), and I think she’ll make a pretty big impact in this world.

Valerie only worked Thursdays and Fridays, so I didn’t have a lot of time with her, unfortunately. But she and I got along quite well, when we did have time to talk. Actually, I think she is one of those people that can have a conversation with anyone – she has done so many interesting things in her life (for only being 25), she always has a story or an experience that can relate to everyone else. Plus she’s German so you all know I loved that. She was from Bayern though (Bavaria, for all you non German speaking people), not our home away from home, Bad Oldesloe :-)

Greg is…Greg. I just had the biggest crush on him because he is just adorable in every sense of the word. Also because he was the only guy in the office. But he seems to have that balance of being a kid at heart, but then a very professional, well spoken individual. He also received the majority of my American slang, and I don’t think he quite knew what to do with it. Not that anyone does in America, either. I think he and I had a lot of little, weird things in common (both live with our families about 30 mins outside of the city, we’re both nearsighted) and I would have liked more time to talk to him.

Filiz was the other NCA intern but she left mid-June, so I haven’t talked about her that much because it feels like she’s been gone forever. But she was the first person to befriend me, and tell me all the little things about the NCA. She is such a caring, genuine person and I just adore her. Plus I think she and I had a connection being that we’re both foreigners, and having someone else feeling like “the outside looking in” was kind of comforting. She really was just one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met.

Louise, the director, is also just wonderful. She struck the balance of being fun and cool, but a great boss too. I think it’s rare that you have a boss where you can fully take direction from them, but then want to turn around and ask what they did over the weekend. She was obviously helpful to me and my work experience, but just in general too – as a person that I got to know a little bit. And…wait for it…I wish I could have had more time with her too.

I mean, we have facebook to keep in touch (with all but Greg), and I gave them my gmail address, and told them (in all seriousness) that they better get in touch with me if they ever visit the dc metro area but…I can stay in denial all I want, but I most likely won’t see them again. Which makes me really sad because I want to shrink them and put them in my pocket and take them to DC with me. So I had myself a mini-pity party at the end of the night…which leads us to: going to the Arc for 2-for-1 drinks! Haha. I’m glad I spent my final Thursday in London at our home away from home, the Arc. I maybe had too much fun, but remarkably, I don’t feel that bad right now. **KNOCK ON WOOD**

The only plan for today is Portobello Market – Jenna just got here and we are off! Definitely going to get a crepe (I’m thinking nutella this time….dream big) and maybe some fruit/veggies for dinner tonight. Gah I’m drooling over here.

And, I’ll leave you with that. A sad little girl, missing her dear coworkers already…drooling.


Last week in London

I think I’m going to try and post a little more often this week just so I don’t leave anything out.

Yesterday was my last full Tuesday in London! I walked to AND from work, and the weather was beautiful. Work was fine – just continued plugging away at my last/main assignment. I showed my true colors a little bit yesterday, much to everyone’s amusement. Greg had made coffee/tea for everyone, and as he set mine down, without thinking I said “Thanks, yo” and he kind of laughed and said “thanks, WHAT?!?!?” and then the rest of the office kind of caught on and were quite amused/confused by it as well. That kind of reaction makes me want to say even more ridiculous things. I've also called him "homeslice" a couple of times and I don't think he knows quite how to take it.

Left a little early (ish…5:15) and met up with Sharon at the British Library. Finally! I had been meaning to go for the last 3 weeks and it never worked out, until yesterday. It didn’t disappoint, that’s for sure. The building is just as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside. We only went through the Treasures and Ramayana exhibits; they were both interesting and really cool. The Treasures had the Magna Carta (one of them), music compositions written by Mozart, Handel, Beethoven and even had his tuning fork. They had a ton of religious texts, manuscripts from Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D’Urbervilles…what up Ms. Zylka!?!?!), Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and others. They had Lewis Carroll’s diary, an application letter from Lenin to the British Library, and notebooks and writings from Da Vinci and Galileo. This is only some of the stuff they have there. Anyway, it might be my favorite “museum” here.

Today is my last Wednesday in London! Walked to work again today, but it was really muggy and not as nice as yesterday morning’s walk. Work has been good so far – they’re doing interviews today so I’ve been on my own for the most part. One of the interviewees was American and she had her GPA listed on her resume– before she got there Shelley had to confirm with me what GPA stood for and then asked if her particular GPA was good. I enjoyed that. Finally I can bring some knowledge here! Of course it's on my second to last day.

Don’t know what’s on for tonight – maybe our last Orange Wednesday? (Meghan, Orange Wednesdays is this promotion put on by our mobile phone network – Orange. On Wednesdays you get a text with a voucher number that allows you to get a 2-for-1 price at the movie theatre...plus we get student rates so it’s crazy cheap) There’s talk of using our last OW to see Mamma Mia again and…I don’t think I’m up for that redonkulousness again. I mean, it was humorous the first time, but one viewing is enough. Too bad the Dark Knight preview is all sold out.

Finally, because I seem to be taking a break from working…here is a small sampling of things I am excited for come next Tuesday:

*PARKER!!!!! (look at that face!!!!)
*My room (my bed, having my own space, not living out of a suitcase)
*Seeing the sun more often (though I fully realize I will get sick of the weather in approximately 2.4 days)
*Being back in the land of the Redskins

And let’s not forget…

*The closer I get to Tuesday….THE CLOSER I GET TO BEING IN CALIFORNIA!!!!!!!


French weekend

But first: Edinburgh pictures are finally up - they are buried under the "this weekend" ones. Definitely had a fun Thursday night last week. We went to everyone’s favorite place of tomfoolery and lowered expectations, O’Neill’s! Before we left, Ellen, Laura, Liz, Jenna, Traci and I killed off numerous bottles of wine and had an impromptu dance party. Then we hit up O’Neill’s and had a stereotypical O’Neill’s kind of night…I won’t tell you what that entails.

I had been considering going to Oxford on Friday, but the weather was kind of weird so I stayed in the city. Traci, Ellen and I went to Chinatown for lunch and had some excellent food. Since Chinatown is right next to Leicester Square, we went and bought tickets for Les Mis that night!! Ellen, Billy, Liz, Laura, Traci and I went and it was, of course, really really good.

Saturday we got up and made it to St. Pancras and were off to Paris! Jenna, Laura, Ellen, Traci, Liz and I took the Eurostar/Chunnel, and it took about 2 hours to get there. You’re actually only underwater for 20 minutes. And oddly enough, my ears barely popped…they popped a lot more when we went under regular tunnels. Weird. Any ideas as to why that is? Chunnel experts out there?

So we got into Paris (Gare du Nord) around 11:30 and went across the street to a café for lunch! After some pizza and water and map-studying, we walked to the Sacre Coeur. We were accosted by the dudes trying to sell you friendship bracelets and steal your stuff, as is tradition, then walked up allllllll those stairs and took in our first views of the city. It was really pretty. After we walked down we navigated the metro and found our hotel!

We stayed at the Best Western Etoile Friedland Champs-Elysees, which was the same place that I stayed with my parents when we came for Thanksgiving my senior year of high school! It was a really great little place. We threw our bags down and walked up the road to the Arc De Triumph, took some pictures, then walked the entire length of the Champs Elysees, through the Tuillerie Gardens and spent some time in the Louvre! We saw the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and of course lots of other beautiful pieces of art! After the Louvre, we got back on the metro and went to the Eiffel Tower.

The line took a really long time to get through, but finally we were on our way up. You have to change elevators on the 2nd level, so we got off and took some pictures there. That level is roughly 400 feet up. Then we got in another line to go to the very top, which was about 900 feet up! The elevator ride was the only part that got to me…it’s the same feeling you get when you’re going up those theme park rides…which I suppose isn’t the feeling you want. It was a bit unsettling but exciting at the same time. Once we got up though and walked around I forgot all about how high up we were. The views were absolutely amazing, and I was able to spot all the things I had visited that day, and then all the things we were doing the next day!

After we got back down on the ground we walked to this really nice Italian place for dinner. It was kind of expensive, but it was really nice to sit, order a bottle of wine to share, eat some deliciously decadent pasta and just relax after a long day of traveling and walking. After dinner we walked back to the Eiffel Tower – along the way we passed by the (unofficial) Princess Diana memorial, which is over the tunnel where the accident happened. The flame statue was actually a memorial to symbolize the French-American friendship – it is supposed to be the replica of the flame of the Statue of Liberty. But since the accident happened right underneath it, people started leaving flowers and other things there, so it has become the unofficial memorial for Diana. I remember seeing it last time, and this time was still just as moving. It was just so crazy to think that we were standing in the spot where this insanely awful thing had happened.

We walked back along the Seine towards the Tower and it was dusk by the time we got underneath it again, so we got to see it light up and sparkle. Apparently French people don’t like that, but we being tourists loved it! We got some soft serve and just stood and gazed up at the blue-lit Eiffel Tower for a while. We walked back to our hotel and crashed! It was such a long day filled with excellent tourism, and it definitely wore us out.

Since Ellen and Traci had a different hotel, we met up at a neutral metro stop Sunday morning. We went to a café and had crepes and café au lait. Very French and VERY delicious. After breakfast we rounded the corner…and went to a pastry shop and got more French deliciousness. I got an almond chocolate croissant and it was possibly the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten. After our two breakfasts we hopped in line to go visit the Catacombs! They were pretty cool, and as you can see from the pictures…kind of eerie! (Side note: it was fun to think that in our weekend, we had been to the very top of Paris, and the very bottom!) After the catacombs we took the metro again over to Notre Dame! We walked around inside then did a little touristy shopping, then ate lunch at a little café nearby. We got Croque Monsieurs and frites, it was SO GOOD. After lunch we had to head back to the train station to head home, unfortunately.

It was a really great trip but I was definitely happy to be back in London. I know approximately 5 words and 2 phrases in French, so I felt a little lost – even though we were only there for two days. But Paris is an incredibly beautiful city and I would love to go again. After I learn some French.

As if this blog post isn't long enough...tonight was a lot of fun too. Ellen, Liz, Jenna, Laura, Sharon, Traci and I went out to Wagamama for dinner because Ellen has to leave tomorrow to go home early to be with her dad when he has surgery. So we had dinner, then went to Sainsbury's and got more candy and ice cream than anyone should ever eat. We took it back to the apartment and all hung out in our room and watched Dodgeball and Family Guy. It was a really fun night.

And now, I'm tired as all get out. But I'm trying to not think about it too much because I want to make sure I squeeze the life out of every minute of this week, as it's my last one!


Reston, work, Abba.

So I should probably be doing actual work at work, but…a zebra can’t change his stripes, you know what I’m saying? Leopard/spots, giraffe/gigantic neck (that’s not a saying, YET), you get the idea. See my zoo pictures if you need help.

Dinner on Monday with Mr. Thomas was a lot of fun! We went to a pub around the corner from his hotel (which was only a 10 minute walk from my office, down Oxford Street) and had some drinks and dinner and lovely conversation! It was really great to see a familiar face and talk about familiar people and places. He is one of my favorite people to joke around with so we had lots of fun. Of course we got into everyone’s favorite topic of conversation – our group of friends! Seriously, why are we so lucky?!!? Just when I think I can’t be in love with us any more than I already am…

Tuesday was a really good work day. I was really productive - I got in at 8:50am and didn’t leave until 7pm. I got some excellent feedback on a position paper/response I wrote, and took care of this mailing thing that had me up around the office. I like when I have to move around a little instead of just doing stuff that requires staring at the screen for an endless number of hours.

I also felt like I got along better with the staff. Of course this only comes when I have 4 days of work left. Neena has been out for the past two weeks on holiday so it has just been Shelley, Greg and I (and Louise, the director). ***BACKSTORY: when I went to dinner with Mr. Thomas on Monday, he was surprised to learn that I have been fairly quiet at work. In fact, a lot of times I seem to impose a “don’t speak unless spoken to” rule on myself. It’s just that when on my own, it takes me a little time to feel people out and see if I can be my loud, stupid self around them. This is the case especially at work, when I feel the need to try and be professional. Since it takes every ounce of effort I have in my body to be anything remotely close to professional, it’s easier just to be quiet. END BACKSTORY*** Tuesday felt better in this respect; I think I was a little more talkative, smiled more, and had more interaction with Shelley and Greg. I know it’s kind of sad to be excited over something as simple as talking more, but that’s how it is. I really like Shelley and Greg a lot. I wish I had more time to get to know them and see them outside of the office. They are so funny and I love the little moments when I can get in on it too.

MOVING ON. Yesterday we took advantage of our “Orange Wednesdays” and saw Mamma Mia…the movie, not the stage version. Um, I liked it, but it was kind of absurd. I think it definitely works better on stage because it’s so silly and fun and “jazz hands”, and that kind of theatrics is better reserved for the stage where you expect that level of…whatever. So the beginning of the movie had me wanting to roll my eyes, even though I’ve seen the stage version twice and loved it. I just wasn’t used to having my movies so cheesy. But then I realized that cheesy comes with the territory of Mamma Mia (and Abba, really), and you have to be ready for it no matter what the artistic medium. Then I enjoyed it and laughed a lot. And how can you not get into it when they do Dancing Queen and Waterloo?

The best/weirdest part was Pierce Brosnan singing…he wasn’t….bad….but it was just…odd. Every time he started singing our entire audience burst out laughing. Only at him, too – everyone accepted the premise for Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, even Colin Firth….but not Pierce. Apparently no one could handle 007 singing showtunes.

Fun things ahead for the weekend. You’ll hear about it Sunday or Monday. Can you handle the suspense??????


My 28 hours in Scotland

Ready GO!

We begin our journey on Saturday at 4am. Yes, FOUR am. I got up (miraculously) and took a shower, packed, and managed to make myself look socially acceptable by the time Jenna appeared at my door at 5:15. We walked to Angel tube station…which wasn’t even open yet. Luckily it’s only a mile walk to King’s Cross, which is where our train was going to leaving. London at 5am (at least our area) is quite interesting – lots of people leftover from the night before…and a few more crazies than normal, I think. But we made it to King’s Cross, bought some coffee and breakfast, and got on a train that would last 20 minutes and take us to Stevenage. Then we got on a coach for an hour which took us to Peterborough. THEN we got back on a train for 4 hours which would take us to Edinburgh! All in all it was about a 6 hour journey, but the scenery was beautiful so it wasn’t painful. Also, we got to see snapshots of other cities in England as well, as we had to make stops in other stations along the way. I particularly liked the way Durham and Newcastle looked.

Once we arrived in Edinburgh we met up with Ellen and Laura (who had left Friday morning), dropped off our stuff in our hotel, then hopped on a bus tour that took us around the city. Yay tourism! Ellen and Laura ended up doing their own thing, so Jenna and I stayed on the bus for a while then went and toured the Edinburgh Castle. It was pretty cool, and worth going in for the views alone. SO beautiful. And windy. But still beautiful.

After the castle we met up again with Laura and Ellen for some dinner. Had some food and some drinks, told creepy/scary stories (some real, some fake) then walked to Ellen and Laura’s hotel for a minute of downtime. After about 45 minutes or so we went back out to a tapas/wine bar around the corner (I know, not exactly a native Scottish place) for some drinks and shared a piece of cake. The cake was butterscotch, it was amazing. It put Chockywockydoodah (from our trip to Brighton, for those just tuning in) to shame. After a couple hours we called it quits and made plans to meet up again in the morning. Considering I had gotten up at 4am, I was pretty impressed with myself that it was 11:30 at night and I was still functioning.

Sunday morning Jenna and I had breakfast then went and met up with Ellen and Laura at a Starbucks down the street from us. Before you go all anti-globalization on me, you will have to look at the pictures (once I post them!) of the view from this particular coffee shop. It was on the second level looking straight out at Edinburgh Castle. It was so beautiful. Definitely a place to spend a morning, even if it is Starbucks.

After breakfast we walked down to the Queen’s residence to take some pictures. Scotland’s Parliament is right next door. It’s the weirdest architecture I have EVER seen. Seriously weird. We got back on our touristy bus and took it up the hill to this Whisky Experience thing. You pay for the tour and get some Scotch whisky (and you get to keep the glass, so, bonus) and then they teach you about Scottish whisky, etc, and you go on this super cheesy Disneyland-esque ride that apparently tells you about the history of Scottish whisky. I say apparently because we weren’t listening; instead, taking goofy pictures of each other with the creepy wax figures. I don’t know if the whole Whisky Experience was worth it, but I got a little liquid warmth in the afternoon, hilarious pictures, and a cool glass out of it….so I’d consider it a success.

After our boozetastic tour we got some lunch in the grassmarket area then walked through the park along Princes Street. We got some ice cream and sat in the park for a while until it was time for Jenna and I to get back on the train!

The train ride home was the same, filled with gorgeous scenery (I saw bunnies!) and a relaxing, comfortable seat by the window. We got home at midnight. I’m a little bit tired today, but that was to be expected. Besides, Ellen and Laura took the sleeper train and got in at 6am this morning, so I am definitely not complaining about my lack of sleep!

So we packed in as much as we could for the 28 hours we were in Scotland. I’m happy with the amount of touristy things we did, but for me, just walking around and exploring is a fun part of visiting a new place. We did as much of that as we could given our time constraints, but I do want to go back to see more of the city, and surrounding areas. I definitely want a second visit!

In other news, I forgot my water bottle at home today. I feel so alone.

In other other, happier news, I am going to dinner tonight with Mr. Thomas! Reston goes international...stay tuned to see if the world can handle it.



I can't believe I used that as the title. I really can't.

Normally I’d just do a full weekend post on Sunday, but I think there’s too much going on so I’m going to break it up. Plus I’ve added some pictures in the last 2 days so we can cover those now! Also…I’m not really doing much at the moment – I have an early wake up call tomorrow (more on that later) morning so I’m taking it easy tonight.

SO…the ones after the zoo are various things that entertain me on my walk home. It was a nice day so I thought I’d take the time to photograph some things. The highlights:

(on Oxford Street)

*A little place called Belgian Food Company – they sell ice cream, and (obviously) waffles with various sweet toppings. This place smells like heaven. Depending on which way the breeze is blowing, I can smell this place at least a block away. I’ve never been there, and now I’m afraid it won’t live up to how good it smells. I might just let it stay up on that pedestal.

(Tottenham Court Road)

*This store called Confetti – the entire store is just party decorations and party favors, with what seems like a fairly girly perspective – it’s like a super upscale party store, times a million. I LOVE this place and I think I slow down a little bit as I walk by everyday. Seriously, my love for party decorations is almost as strong as my love for office supplies.

(Euston Street)

*The British Library. It’s a cool structure and it means I’m almost at King’s Cross!

When I walk the whole way home, after King’s Cross I veer onto Pentonville Rd…there’s a pub there called The Long Hope. I really just enjoy the name.

The pictures you see first are from my day today! You can probably guess where I went. First let me say, I walked a bajillion miles today. Actually I think it’s probably closer to 6, but still.

I woke up around 9 after an excellent night’s sleep, and leisurely showered, had a couple cups of coffee, got dressed and figured out my plans for the day. It was very peaceful and quiet and relaxed. Certainly a good start to the day!

So then I walked from my apartment down to the Tate Modern. I enjoyed a lot of the stuff. Obviously it’s super cool to see Picasso, Pollack, Warhol, Matisse, and I was able to familiarize myself more with artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, and many others…those in “the know” of the visual art world already know these people, but I did not. Anyway, I was there for about an hour and a half, then took the tube up to Oxford Circus and walked up to Regent’s Park.

I found a nice bench in the Avenue Gardens section of the park, and ate the lunch I packed…an apple and chicken/naan sandwich, if you were wondering. After that I kept walking north through the park until I got to the London Zoo! I love zoos, so I ponied (ha, ‘cause it’s an animal…but they didn’t have those in the zoo..) up the money to check it out. Glad I did! It was fun and I got some good pictures. I guess animals are animals anywhere, but it was still a fun way to spend an afternoon.

After a few hours at the zoo I walked to the Camden Town tube station – on the way I got to see a little bit more of the Primrose Hill area (hi, you have a lot of money) and of course a little bit more of Camden, but only to the tube b/c it was kind of raining and I was tired after walking 234 miles. Or 5.5, at that point...whatever.

Got home and just sat down for a little while! Called Frank Benson, talked to him for a little while, uploaded my pictures, made some dinner (vegetable stir fry, and had some naan and tzatziki sauce) and tried to watch cricket on TV but that seriously lasted about 4 minutes. It only made me think of that one Sports Night episode…heh.

Now I’m just enjoying the apartment to myself, and getting ready to go to Edinburgh tomorrow! Tomorrow is another 12 on 12 but I can guarantee I’ll have more than 12 pictures to post when I get home Sunday night.

Talk to you in a few!


I will understand if I lose a few friends over this...

If I could please direct your attention to my Flickr for the most recent pictures, aka, the ones that still are making me giggle this morning :-)

PS - Is it just me, or did anyone else have "Mambo Number Five" stuck in their head after looking at the title of my last post? No? Just me? I didn't even make the connection, as it literally was the 5th weekend being here....and now I find myself trying to come up with lyrics to match.

One, two, three four five,
Everybody in the tube so come on let's riiide to the..
off license around the corner
the chap said I want some tea and crumpets but I really don't wanna
Pimmsbust like I had last week
I must have tea 'cause talk is cheap

I like Elizabeth, Victoria, Gordon, and Elizabeth II,
and as I continue you know they're going to be monarchs and PMs (HAHA I CAN'T RHYME AT 7:30AM)

So what can I do I really beg you my Queen
to me punting is just so keeen, anything fly
it's all good let me go out and meet you at Heathrow


Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.


Weekend Number Five

Thursday was kind of a funky day for a variety of reasons, but it definitely ended well. After work I took the tube home because it was pouring down rain; as I was eating dinner, the weather cleared up and symbolically, there was a rainbow right outside our balcony! So after dinner Laura, Liz, Billy, Gareth, Jenna and her boyfriend Alex and I went to the Arc for 2-for-1 drink night! We had a lot of fun and it definitely improved my mood.

Friday morning, Laura and I went to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. It was pretty cool, and it was my second time seeing it! Around noon we walked to Victoria Station to eat some lunch and pick up Liz’s friend Katie. We had pizza and beer at a place at the station, which was really good. I like to think that since I couldn’t be in America for the 4th, that having pizza and beer for lunch was one way of paying tribute. I suppose all that was missing was a football game. And I do mean FOOTBALL, not soccer! Ah, I can’t wait until football season.

Anyway, after lunch we went back to the apartment and hung out for a few hours, then started getting ready for the boat cruise that night. BUNAC, the company that handles our work cards, put together what was essentially a booze cruise on the Thames for the 4th of July. Yes, we used England’s river to celebrate our independence from them. It’s just too good. We should have thrown tea overboard too. Taxation without representation, whaaaaat!? So anyway, we definitely had a lot of fun as you can see from the pictures on Flickr. Also, nobody here had seen me dance yet, and honestly, they were a little taken aback. Haha :-P Anyway, it was a good time, but I was definitely craving bbq, beer, and fireworks!

Saturday morning I took a quick shower and threw on a skirt (because I think sunny days deserve skirts) and went to Knotting Hill/Portobello Road and Market with Traci, Jenna and Laura. We walked around a few stores, and leisurely made our way down the road and ended up at a crepe stand for lunch. Laura and I got ham and cheese, Traci got chocolate and strawberries, and Jenna got nutella and banana. They were quite good. We continued walking, and stumbled upon a few stands full of pastries; needless to say, Jenna and I split a donut. Not as good as the one I had from Camden Market, but that’s alright. The afternoon was really nice and perfect for walking around outdoors, so that’s just what we did! Looking at all the produce, flowers, antiques, clothing, allll that good stuff. On our way back Jenna bought some sweet corn and strawberries, and Laura and I bought some cherries. They are perfect.

We came home to catch the last bit of the Williams/Williams Women’s Wimbledon (ha, alliteration) final, and then I took a nap for about an hour and a half. I was planning to go out to O’Neill’s with Liz, Laura, Jenna and Katie, but I backed out at the last second like the McSketcherton that I am. I think I just needed a break. Two nights in a row of partying is enough for me. I talked to the ‘rents and just had a quiet night.

This morning Liz, Katie and I went on the London Eye, and then walked around Harrod’s. I watched a few episodes of the Office on my computer since our internet wasn't working, and then we've spent pretty much the whole rest of the day watching the men’s final at Wimbledon. Super intense!!!!! By the end of it we had like 10 people in our apartment shouting at the TV, it was fun. I’m glad I’m expanding my horizons in terms of sports that I watch – I have tended to be strictly football – since I’ve been here I’ve been watching the Euro Cup (though watching soccer isn’t that much of a stretch for me) and then tennis, which I don’t think I’ve ever watched before. I’m growing as a person, you guys.


Everyday, etc.

Hello, friends. Yes, in his most recent comment, Josh correctly spotted the status of my neck; sadly the back of my neck and shoulders were worse. At the start of the concert I realized that the front of me was burning, so I put on my hoodie backwards…which obviously left the back of me vulnerable. Didn’t so much think about that. Anyway, I have been applying lotion and aloe constantly since, and I was able to take a real shower today and only grimaced once. I think we’re almost out of the woods. Plus, it should be noted that I’ve been putting on SUNSCREEN before my walk to/from work.

Next comes the peeling though, and that will be unfortunate. Leprosy, anyone?

So now to pick up where we left off – Sunday! It was a chill day. I managed to sleep until 10am, which I was happy about. I was quite lethargic out all day, which I’m sure was leftover from Saturday’s festivities. Anyway, I went grocery shopping Sunday afternoon, and around 6ish Laura, Liz, Billy, Traci and I left to go to meet up with Ellen at her flat. Then we went to Earl’s Court to get dinner and watch the EuroCup final at a pub. We went to the Prince of Teck for dinner and the first half, then over to Earl’s Court Tavern for the second half. I was rooting for Germany, but that didn’t really work out to well for me. I kept it under wraps because almost everyone in both places was very pro-Spain. I didn’t want to get stabbed. Speaking of which, knives are a HUGE problem over here, I had no idea.

*Fun thing about Monday: I saw John Oliver, the British correspondent on the Daily Show! It was right outside of Oxford Circus tube station, by my work. He was just casually walking, wearing a hoodie (and the rest of an outfit, obviously) and carrying a messenger bag. I didn’t say anything; just stared at him, open-mouthed, as we passed each other. I’m pretty smooth. But the sighting was enough; it made me smile for the rest of the day. I heart him.

Not much else to report, so I will go through with you my routine day. See, that way, we can just do this post once so you know what I’m doing (or not doing) between weekends and return to posts with decent content!

*6:30-7am – Wake up, grumble.

*7-7:45am – Check computer, make tea or coffee, make lunch for the day, eat breakfast

*7:45-8am – Realize I goofed off all morning, say “Agh, shit” and jump in the shower and start getting ready.

*8-8:30am – Make my hair/face/outfit look presentable, pack work bag which will inevitably weigh 300 pounds. (This morning, Traci asked me if I was going somewhere after work because it looked like I was packing for an overnight trip. Sigh.)

*8:30am – Put on my tennis shoes and we’re out the door! Walk to Angel station (about .5 mile)

*9-9:30am – Arrive at work after a somewhat hellish and sauna-tastic tube ride!

*9:30am-5:30/6pm – Work! I do the little stuff like getting the mail, occasionally make coffee/tea for everyone (if you get some for yourself the general rule of kindness is to ask everyone else in the office if they want some. You might not think about this, but there is a LOT of pressure for an American to prepare a British person’s tea. Just saying) checking government web sites for news, and I also work on various writing assignments. I get an hour for lunch which I usually try and take later in the day, around 1:30 or so. Sometimes I’ll walk up to Regent’s Park, or just walk a different direction that I haven’t gone yet, or sometimes I’ll just sit on the couch in the back of the office. And you never know how long work will go, it depends on what you get done, or what time I decide to give up.

*5:30/6pm-6:30/7 pm – Walk from work to the King’s Cross stop (it’s about 2 miles), take tube from King’s Cross to Angel. Walk the .5 mile home. Sometimes, like today, I’ll walk the whole way home. That brings the total walk home tally to 3.5 miles.

*6:30/7pm to 10-11pm – Check computer, make dinner, sing 80s and 90s songs with Laura, Ellen, Liz and Traci, maybe write in personal journal, get ready for bed! And PS at 10pm, it’s still somewhat light out.

Shoutout to Ro: if you’ve been keeping count of the miles I walk, it’s roughly 3 (sometimes 4) a day. So I have a constant reminder of you and our Saturday morning walks – 3 miles in London is pretty cool, but it’s no 3 miles butt-early on a Saturday morning with you and Helen :-) Just saying.

Aaaaaand that’s my day! My super thrilling day. Sometimes we’ll do stuff after work, but I’m usually worn out. Though last night I did go over to the Offside (pub across the street from our apt) and met up with Laura and Liz for a bit. Tonight they’re going to a movie, but I don’t think I can justify spending the money, nor does the activity seem London-ish enough for me to really commit to. Though arguably, neither is sitting at your computer. I hate when I call myself out.

After this week, I’ll only have 3 weeks left. Where did the time go!?!!?!!??!?!?!!!?!??!?!