So… I forgot to take pictures last night. To be fair, besides the fact that it was in an amazing setting (the British Museum has this atrium that used to be an open-air courtyard around the British Library, and now is an exhibit hall enclosed by a giant domed glass ceiling) and the fact they were giving away free Krispy Kreme donuts (how can you get more American than that? Free fried food.) the 4th of July event was a bit underwhelming. Part of the problem was that it was so crowded! The whole area was jam-packed and surprisingly with very few Americans. That was alright, though, because earlier that day I discovered through Facebook that a friend of mine, Kathryn Taussig, with whom I attended middle and high school at Castilleja was also in London that day. I managed to get ahold of her and she met me at the British Museum event. From there, we went with one of her friends (in fact her roommate from school – she’s been at college at St. Andrews in Scotland the last three years) to this incredible Ethiopian restaurant.
I’d never had Ethiopian food before (or if I had, I hadn’t had it like this.) It was served the traditional style – all of the dishes we had ordered were poured on top of this giant piece of doughy bread, which we then used to scoop up the spicy beef and lamb dishes on top. There were no utensils other than the bread itself so things got a little messy. We also got a bottle of the traditional honey wine which was quite tasty. As Kathryn has been living in the UK for the last three years, she knows a lot of people around Europe and was already suggesting friends I might visit when I take time to travel. She’s going to be in London all summer and doesn’t really know anyone in the city either so hopefully I’ll be seeing a lot more of her! She also got excited about DormWise which is always nice and encouraging for me :).
Today I had a long, late breakfast with Mimi (who is so nice to keep taking me out for meals) and then I went home to do (a ton) of laundry and bake cookies for the thing I’m going to tonight.
I found a group of people online (very dodgy, I know, but I wasn’t stupid about this or anything) who have weekly pub meet-ups and they all sounded very friendly and smart. On Thursday, the group was meeting relatively near my work so I figured I’d poke my head in, if they seemed alright stay for a drink and head out or just keep walking if it didn’t seem like my type of group. I ended up staying for over two hours chatting and met some really nice people. I got invited to join some of them this evening for the finale of the Doctor Who series 4 (ahh! it ended on such a cliffhanger last week!) and readily took them up on the offer because it’s not nearly as fun watching the show alone. They’re way on the other side of the city, near Canary Wharf (that’s the Investment banker/MBA area of the city) .
Unfortunately my baking experiment didn’t turn out quite as pretty as I hoped (I made sugar cookies with jam filling) but they taste fine which I guess is most important. In any case, expect a journal update of somewhat overwhelming geekiness next, after I see the Doctor Who finale!
I’ve linked into another Spoonfed article just because they’re awesome (and I can use my blog to promote our website if I want to!).
Tonight I’m going to the British Museum’s American Independence Day Celebration which will have line dancing, lindy hop dancing (live bands for both!) baseball and American football games, arts and crafts and “American-style food and drink for sale,” whatever American-style means. I also connected with a friend from high school who has been living in the UK for the last five years (she went to Saint Andrews for college) and who is in London this summer. I don’t think we can swing a meetup tonight but we’ll definitely do something tomorrow. Saturday will be a bit busy just getting things in order (I still need to get some basic household goods – although getting a paycheck this week should really help as I think I’ve overdrawn my accounts… oops!) and Sunday I’m going to take a day trip to Canterbury or Cambridge (not sure which yet). Alright, enjoy the article attached, it’s quite a good one by our lovely out and about writer Sarah. I’ll have pictures from tonight’s Independence Day event up soon and happy 4th of July to you all!!
Whether you’re a local or a tourist, this article describes the best walking tours around the city – not a bad deal when you consider it’s cheaper to buy a pint of beer than a pint of petrol.
I love my job.
Because I had gone to the line dancing class and mentioned that I enjoyed dance classes in general, Sarah, Spoonfed’s Out and About editor asked me if I wanted to go to the press night at a local salsa club. This meant free drinks, free dance lesson and another chance to write an article for the site (I realize my job is online marketing. That doesn’t mean I don’t love writing the articles).
I had a great time, although it was a bit of a let down as they clearly wanted us all to pay for the intermediate lesson after the beginner lesson (the beginner lesson was very, very basic). It was sort of a cross between a work out video and speed dating (lots of left and right and left! and left and right and left! alternated with switching dance partners along the line every few eight counts) but it got me moving and gave me an excuse to get some free drinks (a good move because everything’s so expensive here!).
“Who goes to the gym these days? Here are ten ways to lose weight, meet the opposite gender and maybe pick up some marketable skills (pole dancing, ladies?)”
This is one of the articles from http://www.spoonfed.co.uk about the top dance classes in London and the other night I went to the line dancing class to write a review. It was so much fun! (extra fun because I got in for free as press – sweet!) I won’t say any more as I’ll post the article I’ve written once it goes live on the site, but this is just a bit of the crazy, fun stuff I can do in London!
Oh, by the way, I realize I had the settings such that people who didn’t have a livejournal couldn’t post comments (I was wondering why so few of you were commenting on my entries!) and I’ve fixed that so you can *all* leave comments now. Hint hint.
Whew, what a weekend! It’s right late and I’ve got to get up early for work so I’m keeping this short(-ish).
Saturday, I headed out early to get to the Tate Modern as it was opening. I allowed myself about 40 min for the journey, way more than was necessary. What I didn’t count on was being stunned speechless by the amazing Millennium Bridge which crosses from St. Pauls on the one side of the Thames to the Tate Modern on the other. It was absolutely gorgeous and I was about halfway across (a process which had already taken me a good ten minute as I was oogling the view) when I realized that sitting right next to the Tate on the opposite side of the river was the Globe Theatre (of Shakespearian fame) and I nearly fell in I was so exited! I had forgotten it was in the area and suddenly there it was in all of its Elizabethan glory.
I spent a lovely morning at the Tate Modern, which had some absolutely stunning Picassos, Matisses, Kalinskys and Pollacks to name just a few. I was there quite a bit longer than I had planned because there was so much to see, and I didn’t even go into the paid exhibits as there were over two floors of free show rooms.
After I had exhausted the Tate, I wandered over to the Globe and was so excited to be there that, on a whim, I bought tickets for a Sunday night performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor, a play of which I knew the basic plot but not the details (it’s one of the relatively few plays I haven’t read by Shakespeare!). I got some poor touring couple to take my picture in front of the iconic building and wandered off towards the Tower of London (where the lines were too long and prices too steep for me to even consider going in) and caught a train up to Camden Town, already excited for my Globe experience the next night.
Camden Market is a huge sprawling outdoor market of stalls that sell everything you could possibly imagine, from clothes to shoes to food to accessories to musical instruments to fob watches (Beth, if you’re reading this, I was *so* close to getting a fob watch, but it had some naff picture of Big Ben on one side!) to toys… it was unbelievable, and I only saw a small part of the market. I bought a pair of trainers which I desperately needed and a backpack, then made my way back home to watch my Saturday night fill of Doctor Who (which didn’t remotely fill. In fact it was a total cliffhanger ending as it was the penultimate episode of the season).
Sunday was an incredibly lazy day – I cleaned house, relaxed, did some writing, and took it easy before heading off in the evening to see my play at the Globe. It was FANTASTIC! I can’t even describe what fun it was. I was there with some of the most brilliant audience members who really knew their Shakespeare, and the actors were wonderful! I was roaring with laughter the entire time, as was the rest of the crowd. The way it works is there are seats (expensive) or you can stand in the ground level, in front of the stage, where you would have stood in the Elizabethan era if you were fairly poor but wanted to see a play (hey! like me!). I was right in the middle of the action as the stage literally wrapped around where I was standing. It was so much fun, and I was grinning all the way home.
Tomorrow starts another busy work week, but hopefully I’ll have time for a few social things! Hope everyone stateside is doing well!