30 April, 2010

Two weeks left in London... :(

Well, I accidentally had my last day at Discovered Authors. I was supposed to go in this Monday, but it's a bank holiday, which I didn't know til just the other day. So I've had my last day as an official publishing intern, which is horrendously sad. I'm going to pop in sometime next week to say official goodbyes to everyone, and of course I will still be working for them over the summer via email, which is very exciting, but I'm so sad that I'm done and didn't even know it!

As for right now, I'm waiting for Ranu, one of my friends from Ithaca and one of my future roommates next year at our house, The Bronze. She's flying into London tonight, in fact her flight probably landed about ten minutes ago, and she's staying with me for a few days in London. It will be wonderful to see her again, and I am anxiously awaiting her phone call to tell me she is here.

Final exams are looming above us now, but I don't actually have exams. I have three papers. Meh. So that's on the agenda for the next week...

I think I would like some ice cream.

27 April, 2010

I have officially said the first of my goodbyes

to one of the girls I work with at Discovered Authors who won't be there for my last day next week.

I'm a little bit in denial.

It's kind of how I felt before I left to come to London. A bit like it's not real.

But it is. I've only got two weeks left in this city I've come to love. And I'm still coming to grips with that.

25 April, 2010

Spring has descended upon London

The park is full of flowers and leaves and that wonderful springy smell. I swear it wasn't like that yesterday! And I am stuck in the Centre, writing papers and working on final portfolios. It's not okay.

I wish they would just recognise that we are not here for much longer, and let us slack off for our last few weeks instead of loading us with work. Pfft.

24 April, 2010

Some Amusing Things I Saw Yesterday

Yesterday was St. George's day, which is a national holiday here that means basically, as far as I can tell, that everyone goes out and gets drunk all day. This seems to be a general theme of most national holidays here, I think. Anyway, I took it upon myself to take a walk in the beautiful weather yesterday, and it ended up being a four-hour long extravaganza. Lots of funny sights, and it made for some very interesting people-watching. Later that night, Paloma, Carrie and I went to a pub and the people-watching continued. I thought I'd share with you a short list of some of the more interesting things I saw during my adventures.
  • A group of footballers, faces painted and wearing their Manchester United jerseys, walking about and singing, who stopped in their tracks at the sight of a two-year-old boy wearing a Manchester United shirt. They chanted and cheered at the kid, congratulated the father on bringing up the child correctly, and then promptly resumed singing and disrupting the general public.
  • A man with FANGS. Like, real fangs. They were pointy and extremely prominent. He was standing outside a Starbucks, and he was out of the sun, so he very well could have been a vampire. I didn't ask.
  • The most phallic area in London. I swear, in this one area of London, there were so many suggestive street names and company names, or really interestingly shaped buildings... it made me giggle a little.
  • A guy dressed like a knight. He had a silver, faux chain mail hood, with a cape that had England's flag (the red cross) on it, and carried a sword and a shield. We're assuming he was St. George, since he had a friend dressed as a dragon. Or rather, carried a huge stuffed dragon draped around his neck. Less understandable was the guy at the pub dressed in a full adult Scooby Doo costume, or the guy wearing a deer mask.
  • A group of about twenty people or so dressed in 1920's themed costumes. Apparently there was a party somewhere? Did they forget to invite us?

21 April, 2010

A Scary Thought

I've only got a few weeks left here! In one of my classes today, we were discussing what to prepare for next week, and realized it will be our final class besides exam week. This is not an okay thought.

Airports are up and running here in London again, after almost a week of a flight ban. It's so funny how I never noticed the sounds of airplanes in the sky in this city before, but now, after a week of not hearing it, I am hyper aware of all the planes in the sky. I unintentionally disrupted class today when I looked out the window and thought out loud (emphasis on the loud) to myself, 'Oh hey, there's a plane out there!' It was silly.

I have a show tonight for my Drama class, so I'm just hanging out at ICLC until it's time to leave for the theatre, attempting to watch some of my US shows, like LOST and Glee. Currently attempting Chuck, but the computer is not cooperating, so I thought I would say hello to all you lovely people.

Hello, lovely people!

19 April, 2010

A nice Monday? Is that an oxymoron?

Today was one of those days where I was in the best of moods for no apparent reason. I woke up on time for work, for once, without laying in bed for half an hour gathering the will to actually move. Was obnoxiously smiley on the tube, which likely unnerved people (and made one poor confused French guy think I was flirting with him...) and stopped in at Starbucks on the way to the office. Had a ten minute chat with the barista about how wonderful the weekend weather was, and went off to the office. Found Mitesh, one of my coworkers, waiting there. He'd forgotten his keys, and no one else was coming in to work for another hour. So it was back to Starbucks with us, where we basically hung out for an hour or so until Hannah showed up to unlock the office. Read some really good manuscripts today, which was a splendid breath of fresh air after last week, and spent the time in between chit chatting about life at home, Marea, Hannah's horse, Amazon Kindle, and basically anything that we felt like. My left foot has been aching something awful lately, which makes walking difficult, but it decided to behave today, so I decided I would take the forty minute walk home in the dying sunlight. IPod in hand (or ear, rather) and smile still plastered to my face, I began the trek home.

And now here is a really exciting Google map of my walk home. A is my flat, and B is the office. Pretty easy walk. 2.8 miles according to Google maps. Takes about forty five minutes to an hour. The walk takes me down Oxford St, which is full of really awesome shops and exciting people (currently the road is mostly under construction to prepare for the Olympics, but that's typical of most of Central London right now.) and the second half of the walk takes me along Hyde Park, which is just beautiful this time of year. I spent all weekend there, reading, soaking up the sun, writing in my journal, or just people (and dog!) watching. My  idea of bliss, pretty much. So the walk was lovely. I could smell flowers, watch people, feel the sunshine... it was nothing special, my day, but it was wonderful all the same. So I just wanted to share a bit of it with you. If the weather is nice tomorrow, maybe I'll walk home again and take some photos for you.

Conclusion? Warm, sunny weather = a very happy Emily.

08 April, 2010

Greece Photo Post! (Part One...)

Our hotel in Athens, Hotel Pergamos, was small, but really nice. The guys at the front desk were sweet and very helpful, and the rooms were great. It was in a slightly sketchy part of the city, but we felt very safe in our hotel. It had a huge balcony, and Emily and I spent several hours the first night laying on it and looking up at the regrettably cloudy sky. Our hotel room had an extra bed which we basically used to dump all of our things on, and I slept REALLY well every night we were there. The bathrooms were a little funky though. I think I mentioned it before, but toilets in Greece are pretty weak, plumbing-wise, so you're supposed to throw your toilet paper in the rubbish bin, not flush it. That was interesting to try and get used to. The shower was also very weird. It was open on 3 sides (all except the side where the shower head was) and the shower curtain barely reached the floor of the shower, so water spilled EVERYWHERE when you tried to take a shower. It also was so teeny tiny that it was completely impossible to move while in the shower, and the curtain stuck to you. So it was really uncomfortable and awkward.

Yeah, here's the awkward shower do you can see what I'm talking about. Take my word for it, you don't want to try it.

Our hotel had a really nice feel to it though, as though we weren't really staying in a hotel but more of a bed and breakfast. I really enjoyed it.

This is a really awful picture because it was getting dark out and my camera doesn't like low-light situations, but I had to post this, because it's the only image I have that can even attempt to bring back the feeling I had when I saw this. Imagine walking through a very urban area, and not even a particularly nice one. There's graffiti everywhere, gangs of rowdy people standing on corners, shops closed for the night, their windows barred... very downtown city-like. All you can see is buildings. Big, ugly, modern buildings. Suddenly, you turn a corner. And this is what you see. The feeling was indescribable. We just happened to stumble upon the Acropolis, no big deal or anything, right? Just the fact that this beautifully old piece of architecture overlooks the city like this, that something so massive and unlike anything I've ever known before can be part of someone's daily scenery amazes me. It's the first thing I saw in Athens that I truly loved, and I hope I never forget the way it made me feel.

Here's the Roman Agora. Again, sorry for the low-quality photos, but any I took at night are pretty much going to look like this. This was taken on the walk Emily and I took on our first night in Athens. We were climbing the hill you can see in the previous picture, trying to see if we could get up to the Acropolis. (the gates were shut, we couldn't.) But it was still a really cool walk. Again, just another assertion that Athens is a really really cool city.

For those of you who don't know, Greece is in the midst of some pretty serious labour strikes right now. We happened to stumble upon a protest on our walk, complete with chanting, yelling, air horns, and police standing shoulder to shoulder with their riot shields, forming a wall to keep them out of the street. There were pamphlets strewn all over the ground (I picked up a few, but can't read them!) passerby cheering, shaking their heads or just plain gawking like us, men with megaphones trying to rile up the crowd... It was really exciting. This is not the protest that turned into a window-smashing riot, that was the next day, and we weren't there for that one. But it was really cool to see this happening. I got a video on my FlipCam even, (Because I carry it around with me practically everywhere. Vadim would be proud...) and maybe will post it soon so you can hear the chanting and get a better idea of what it was like.

Our next big find on our walk was The Olympic Stadium. Emphasis on the capitalization of the word "The." I know I've mentioned it before, but being the only two people at that stadium at the time was such a cool feeling. It's pretty massive, and extremely impressive.

Here's just a funny sign we encountered, about what to do with your dog's poop. As you can see, they really didn't want the language barrier to be a problem here, so they were as descriptive as possible with the images. I do wonder, though, how on earth they enforce this in Athens. There are hundreds of stray dogs in the city, and none of those dogs have anyone to walk about with a bag to pick up after them...

Next day. We climbed the hill to the Acropolis again. (only this time it was open!) This is just a photo of one of the adorable little hillside streets we encountered, with a view of Athens behind it. The day this photo was taken was extremely beautiful. The air was a bit smoggy, but the sun was shining (we all got a little sunburned!) and the air was warm. It was great.

Another view of Athens, from further up the hill we were climbing.

Geoff, being a delicate flower and protecting himself from the sun. Or being ironic and protecting himself from the nonexistent rain. I can't remember which.

The Parthenon, which is currently being restored. I gotta say, if there's one thing I dislike about Europe, it's that nearly everything we see is in the midst of being restored. It's all covered in scaffolding and not very photogenic... Oh well, it was still really cool! All the stray dogs kept walking in and out of it, I thought it must be nice to be one of them, they get such intimate tours. They get to do so much more exploring, and they don't have to feel restrained by a tiny rope and a plaque that says "DO NOT TOUCH" in eight different languages...

So my computer won't let me upload any more pictures right now, but considering I took over 800 in Greece, be assured I have more and will upload them when I get the chance. As for what I'm up to now, it's getting frighteningly close to the end of term. We just received an email about the ICLC End of Term Dinner Party, which was terrifying. My mum and Amy will be here in exactly one month, and Julie and I embark on our grand Eurotrip just a week or so afterward. I'll be back in the US in under two months... it's a frightening thought. Before I got to England, I thought I would be here for such a long time! But it's flying by. And yeah, I've been getting a bit homesick lately, but I still can safely say I've been having the time of my life here.

Tomorrow, Emily Marshall and I head out to Oxford for two days -- the city of Tolkien, of snobby rich smart uni students, of Harry Potter's Great Hall, and of Rupert Giles! We went for a few hours or so after our Stratford-upon-Avon trip with school, but we loved it and wanted to go back for a longer period of time. We found dirt cheap train tickets to and from the city (and by dirt cheap I mean DIRT CHEAP. £4.50 round trip!) and equally cheap lodgings for the night. Totally spontaneous, and I'm looking forward to having some adventures. I promise to try and write more often, since apparently the wait between updates is making people antsy? My bad, I'm a busy girl! I'll try and be more regular.

Til then, I love you all.