Glad-I’m-not-an-English-major week

Extremely concise revelation from studying abroad for just over 2 months:

I’ve learned more about myself in those two months than I did one year at Wes. At the very least.


This week I’ve written two essays and have one more due next week, totalling about 6500 words. That’s about 26 pages of double-spaced, 12-font words. As a science major, that’s way out of the ordinary and has been a big challenge. In case anyone cares, I wrote one essay about Perissodactyla, an order of ungulates whose members include tapirs, rhinos, horses, and the largest mammal to ever live; my second essay is about how museums appeal to emotion in order to educate visitors, using three examples of London museums; the last has an undecided thesis, but may be about colonialism and Jose Saramago’s “The Tale of the Unknown Island”. One more 4000 word beast due in April too. So yeah, words don’t come cheap this week!

Instead, I’ll share some pictures. Below are some pics of street art around Brick Lane, very unusual stores at a krazy-kool pop-up mall in Shoreditch, a lovely event celebrating International Happiness Day where I received free hand and back massages, candy, and a daffodil (and a pic with a bellboy host with whom I unintentionally cuddled up to because I had endorphins falling out of my ears, I was so happy), and a crazy haircut to top it all off. Long story short, I was a hair model for an academy and got a free haircut (would’ve cost about 60 pounds normally at this place!) that in the end turned out quite nice after I washed out all the mousse but for the rest of the day left me looking like orphan Annie’s stunt double. It’s straight now, but I have about half the hair I did before!

And one last thing- spontaneously bought tickets to see VAN MORRISON at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday! I’m so freaking excited!!!!

I met Darwin’s pet octopus

Yesterday, my Geographies of Nature class went on a field trip to the Natural History museum. I cannot say enough about the experience- I was overwhelmed with adoration and sheer joviality for everything natural history. I wore my Darwin earrings. I geeked out at EVERYTHING IN SIGHT. I sort of had the time of my life.

This is a good time to note that this post will contain some pictures of animals in jars and giant squids and all that good stuff. I’m sure if it’s too weird you can just look away and forget about it after a few seconds but, like my peer said after looking at a preserved animal in a jar, you may have thoughts similar to “Thank god I’m vegan” or “I’m now officially vegan”.

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Highlights:

-Meeting some of Darwin’s pets and original type specimens. These are the animals that are sometimes the first of a species that are found, or are the prototypical specimens against which organisms that are proposed species members are compared for identification. Could be wrong about some of that but I think that’s the gist of it.

-Surviving a close encounter with a GIANT SQUID

Length: about 17 feet long. Keep in mind that this was only a teenager giant squid!

Their eyes are as large as dinner plates and their brains are doughnut shaped. So when they eat, it first TRAVELS THROUGH THEIR BRAIN before getting to their stomach!! #Thisiswhy I love science.

Here’s a striking illustration that really shows off that eye:

-Meeting a new friend, Mo, who was a very fun museum companion for the day. I could tell we’d be friends after, looking at a crack on a big glass case containing a giant moa, he asked, “Do you think it tried to escape?”

the comedian himself

the comedian himself

Darwin fangirl pics:

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And just because you’ve made it this far, have a look at this. Just for laughs.


I also found a wonderland of maps and globes: Stanfords. My jaw dropped when I stepped in. It felt like a sanctuary. I suppose that my inability to buy everything I liked added to this magical effect because I appreciated just looking at it all and not feeling an urge to own it. Just being inside this sort of cartographic museum made me glow with happiness.

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I added a pigeon on the steps of the British Museum for fun. Went there with a class and it was cool. Didn’t see much because I focused on one room for a synopsis of curatorial techniques and the like. Saw the controversial Elgin/Parthenon Marbles.


Talking with my flatmate Joey last night, he saw my slim slice of Neal’s Yard Dairy stilton cheese on the counter and we got talking about (how we can never stop talking/thinking about) food. He told me his story of how after high school, he didn’t know what he wanted to do so he came to London and worked at the deli area of Selfridges. He was quickly promoted to work at the luxury foods counter (!) He said that for most of the day he’d be standing around but one customer might come and spend an hour with him, necessitating a near-encyclopedic knowledge of caviar, alcohol, and cheese. Then they’d drop a few thousand pounds on something they’d consume in a tenth of that time. What a story.


That’s a lot for now. Am going back to the Natural History Museum next week for my museums class and then again for my mammals and evolution class later this term! SCORE!

Also, when I was looking for pictures of the NHM, I stumbled upon the image below and then the link to Zarek’s dad’s webpage. Hi Zarek!

darwinning. Not for darwimps!