Dublin + Barcelona: Cuid/Parte 2

There’s no way I would say this unless I truly felt it: upon sighting four redheads simply on my way from departing the plane to passport control in the Dublin airport, I felt like I belonged in Ireland. No, I’m not Irish, even as the hair would suggest.

It didn’t hurt that the national color scheme is that which best matches my skin tone, too.

One of the coolest parts of being in Dublin was that I was present on the day that the groundbreaking same-sex marriage referendum passed. I heard the cheers and dove into the rampant rejoicing that was apparent among the people and many Dublin shops, who hosted creative decorations in their windows.

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After arriving around 4, I explored St Stephen’s Green, a centrally located park, and was surprised to find a garden tailored especially for the blind. There were plaques with braille and the plants were exceptionally textured, like bunnies’ ears. So cool and inclusive.

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Explored Trinity College, snacked on some mighty fine ice cream, and mostly walked around all evening. I’ve never seen so much drinking on the streets and general bacchanalia in my life. Combine the Irish affinity for drink and a huge political victory for a subjugated group and it’s hard to imagine any other celebration tactic, I suppose.

The next day at breakfast, I met a girl from Arizona named Cynthia who had been travelling around Europe for a couple months after attaining her GED. When she told me about her time in Cardiff, I seized the opportunity to bring up Doctor Who (many scenes were filmed there plus there’s a grand tour) and she delightedly pointed out that her shirt was all about! (Didn’t notice.) So after that great start, she decided to accompany me on a short stroll around Temple Bar before our walking tour. She escorted me to a rad alleyway with tons of art commemorating famous Irish stars and culture.

She was a superb friend for the day. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had such a wonderful yet extremely short-term friend before. Owing to the circumstances of “I’ll probably never see you again” and “I have no reason to be reserved”, we opened up to each other quite a bit, without much hesitation about divulging tender details about life. I can’t speak for her, but I didn’t feel any pressure to add the usual conversation helpers and other niceties that function to ensure a smooth, long-term friendship. I was completely myself and honest and it was amazing. She’s really different from me as well, saying that she didn’t have any friends and didn’t consider herself as “nice”. However, that’s not to say she didn’t have positive personality traits: we got along very easily, exchanged mutual respect, and simply had fun with one another. Travel is so great for super short-term bursts of honesty and fun.

Our walking tour was informative and hilarious. Then we dove into lunch at O’Neil’s Pub and chatted with a restaurant manager from Barcelona, a bubbly Russian named Xenia, and a chipper Niagara Falls-native. Beef and Guinness pie = YUM! Cynthia did that thing where she noticed I was zoning out (mental siesta after eating plus the conversation was waning) so she swooped in and facilitated the move to continue our day. A small gesture but to me it was a sign that she didn’t feel the need to be overly nice and accommodating to others, which I appreciated, and I felt a little taken care of. Maybe it’s hard to understand this via blog.

Lemme say this loud and clear: I LOVE IRISH STYLE.

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Super edited because this shows the lines of the dress more. Not a big fan of the necklace, although it is without a doubt fantastic, but the denim dress was just the coolest ever.

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Found a store with Irish designer clothes and vintage finds. Heaven!

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The vintage part of the shop!

Ended up with a new sweater! Next day I wore it and realized it had dried snot on the arm. Fantastic.

Short ode to the Irish breakfast: Oi. That’s all I can say. Imagine me gazing wistfully into space with the sweet thought of lovable toast greeting the luscious sausage in an embrace, the grilled tomato smiling approvingly and reaching out for its eggy neighbor. Irish Breakfast tea supervises dutifully and excels in creating a cohesively flavor-melding symphony.

breakfast for dinner is never a bad idea.

breakfast for dinner is never a bad idea.

Heard some soul-quenching folk music before joining a Literary Pub Crawl. The organizers reenacted various pieces of Irish literature at each stop, impersonating characters like Oscar Wilde and the players of Waiting for Godot. We were the youngest on this pub crawl and so were talked to by many older patrons like parents and young professionals. Everyone thought Cynthia and I were longtime friends! Altogether it was very fun, would definitely recommend. This is where I tried a half pint of Guinness and unfortunately loathed it. Also unfortunate was my pre-purchased ticket to the Guinness factory, which I didn’t feel like going to anymore. So, if you’ll be in Dublin anytime within the next year and want a free ticket, let me know!! It’s a student pass though.

I had until noon the next day to explore until I left to go to the airport. So I walked around from about 8-9:30 and popped into the Little Museum of Dublin. Was very sad to leave Dublin and plan on making a journey back to tour Ireland. I don’t know if I’ve connected with a destination as much as I did on the emerald isle. Everyone extended amazing warmth and friendliness. Makes me seriously wonder if I’m part Irish (any input, my so-called “family”???) 😉

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Love you, Dublin!

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Be true to your eyes, or they’ll be false to you!

The title is a takeoff on a golden saying of my grandma: Be true to your teeth, or they’ll be false to you!

Memorizing the natural history of mammals, going to 1940s-themed clubs, and exploring London in scavenger-hunt fashion has been what’s up lately. I’ll explain.

I’m no wikipedia, but I do feel like a walking tome of mammalian evolution knowledge. My 3 essay, 3 hour exam for Mammals and Evolution, a 3rd year module, accounted for 75% of my final grade. Crazy, right?! In the US, a 40% final exam feels like a lot, but the UK system takes finals pressure to a new level. I think I did pretty well. One more exam for Geographies of Nature (50% of my grade) and then I’m DONE with junior year! I’m beyond ready to give my eyes a rest from hours and hours of staring at the computer, reading lengthy papers and revising powerpoints. I actually bought eyedrops yesterday.

dedicated to my TravelMate TM8471.


I recently visited Greenwich, the famous home of the Prime Meridian, as well as a bounty of cream-colored edifices strewn amongst emerald green lawns that reminded me of Saratoga’s Hall of Springs. It was very pretty and preppy and clean. I wasn’t bowled over but it made for a nice day trip. Anyway, while I was walking there, I saw this amusingly named restaurant and took a picture:

How nice to know I have friends stationed all over the city!

As I was about to continue on my journey down Salmon Lane, a nearby construction worker amiably hollered and asked what I was photographing. I replied that my focus was on the restaurant sign. He had thought I liked his yellow car.  And then he asked me to take a picture of himself, and how could I refuse? I really like how proud he looks. That smile can’t lie.

Just a minute before, upon seeing me look at a map, another person helped me figure out my directions. The people here are special.


On Wednesday, I went out with Erica, Beth, and her sister to a new 1940s-themed club called Cahoots in Soho. It was SO COOL! The menus looked like newspapers, the music was on point (albeit a bit loud), the servers were dressed in their best wartime threads, and the decorations were fascinating! My pictures turned out poor but my memories are vibrant (read more about that in my upcoming guest post for an online women’s magazine!) But I did get some good pics of the 1940s hairstyle I managed to finagle out of my unruly red locks. I’m too proud to not post a few:

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The doorman also kindly obliged to a photo:

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And finally, the scavenger hunt story:

Equipped with my handwritten directions taking us from Yelp’s favorite fish and chips shop to an art gallery to a photo developing store, Erica and I embarked on a long and winding day trip around West London. What made this day so different from many others was the level of interaction with locals. As the English are known for being particularly reserved, we Americans have felt this difference acutely. So when we went into three shops and each of the workers happily jumped into conversation with us, we were shocked! Phrase of the day: “Where are we?!

At the World’s End clothing shop, we were educated on a tidbit of Sex Pistols history and given a tip of where to find hidden troves of American foodstuffs right by the Saatchi Gallery. At this innovative gallery which contained art paired with poetry, the sales assistant pointed us in the direction of a hidden cemetery she had only just discovered after forty years of living around the corner. We chatted with another artist for a good fifteen minutes about this Russian magnate who spent half a billion dollars on art only to sequester it away as an investment. Again, this is one of the best things I’ve learned abroad: being social doesn’t always have to revolve around a friend group or romantic relationship. One can have many conversations with strangers that oftentimes end up being surprisingly thoughtful and engrossing. And you might end up learning something very unexpected!

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Three weeks until America. No sleep til Brooklyn!

heres and theres

I think I’m graduating to a higher level of cook. As last semester’s half share in the veggie co-op was good preparation, this semester I’ve been faced with the task of cooking food that is:

  1. Healthy
  2. Tasty
  3. Inexpensive
  4. Easy to reheat & freezable or speedy to make.

I’m also tasked with using up my weekly delivered box of veggies (online deal for half price!) before they wilt or go bad. It’s definitely a lot of work but for anyone who wants a challenge that will no doubt prepare them for adulthood, it’s worth it. I haven’t taken pictures, but I just wanna brag a little about what I’ve made recently. Ten seconds of humblebrag time starts NOW

  • Two roasted chickens
  • Shakshuka
  • Chard frittata
  • Squash bread
  • Swede and carrot soup (with homemade stock!)

Humblebrag rant end.

Last night I found a few webpages that tell you how to cook something without a recipe. It’s just like how school is supposed to ultimately teach you how to think versus memorize facts. Recipes are great sometimes but understanding the basics of cooking should come first, in my view. It reminds me of the wisdom that, in order to be successful, you must first learn the rules, then duly break them. Totally applies for ordinary college cooks.

Here are three pages that tell you how to make dishes without recipes:

Frittata

Pea/Lentil Soup <– this guy has a lot of good info

Chili

Also, surprisingly (but also completely understandably), vegetables and comparatively unprocessed foods are pretty cheap sustenance. Last week I made 5 meals out of one roast chicken and lasted over a week on about $12 worth of veggies. It’s not hard to roast a chicken, I swear!

What is your favorite thing to cook? Or something you’re proud of having made? Or want to make?


Yesterday I went rambling around town, pretty lost and in the rain. I was unusually happy, though, and I think it might’ve been because of how friendly the people are. At least in the East End. I was traipsing around a random residential area trying to find the “community cabin” where a swishing event was occurring. Swishing is what they call a clothing swap. It was great- brought some clothes I intended to leave here and got a few staples to keep me going, for free! But back to the kind people: One man, speaking some broken English, walked me closer to the general vicinity on his way to the market. A few minutes later, he saw me again and pointed me even closer. A guy on the street looked up directions on his phone for me (this happened a couple weeks ago too.) And the people who are clueless are warmly apologetic.

A supermarket security guard cracked a joke, a wrap place gave me a free wrap even though my coupon was messed up, and my friend told me a story where after accidentally bumping into them at a bar, an older man apologized and then bought her and her pal drinks (then left.) East London may be lacking glitz but it’s certainly full of good people.


The chocolate here is a million times better than anything you can munch on that’s inside of an American Hershey’s wrapper. Heck, compared to British chocolate, you might as well just eat the wrapper.


Just watched a movie called “Ask Me Anything” that was pretty lame but had some ear-widening quotes at the end. Six second back story so you can contextualize: this girl blogs for a year while she figures out her life before college.

Can I do it? Just live without describing everything I do? Can I cancel my reality show and become a better person? -Katie, describing her intent to end her blog

Katie: “I’m not even proud that I have a blog.”
Bookstore guy: “I like that it’s creative, and that it’s verbal. What I don’t like is that it’s public. Your generation is addicted to attention.”
Katie: “I know. it’s like we all wanna be famous even though we’re not good at anything.”

Now I’m even more self-aware about the narcissism of blogging. Gah, not gonna dwell on it. I’ve swum too many mental miles of self-doubt and the meaning of it all to quit now.


And now for a most random finish, here are some pictures of pictures from an exhibit at the British Museum. It was called “Cradle to Grave” by Pharmacopoeia and was a centerpiece of the Living and Dying room. Very interesting. Pretty much, the middle was a big quilt of pills stitched together to represent the average Western way of medical treatment and on the borders of the glass case were pictures that displayed a man and woman’s life from birth to death. Like the exhibit in general, this installment did a great job at retaining an optimistic view on life and acceptance of death as a part of it. Here is the big pill quilt and some pictures I particularly enjoyed.

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The average Brit is prescribed 14,000 drugs in their lifetime

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