Fifteen Days Left to Pretend I’m European

just for kicks

Nothing groundbreaking has been happening around here lately. However, if you enjoy “right place at the right time” stories, astonishingly talented dancers, and cheeky octopi, stay tuned.

On a recent trip to the Somerset House, a space that has various art exhibits, King’s College facilities, offices, and a lively fountain in the center, I meandered into an exhibit about war. While it wasn’t very moving in my experience, I did wander in just in time to sight the artist! She was ushering around two important-looking men. Unfortunately I didn’t connect with the pieces enough to ask her questions, but it was still a cool happening nonetheless! Maggi Hambling‘s work has been featured at some pretty you-know-you’ve-made-it places like the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, the Tate, and the British Museum!

Next up is a visit to the theatre to see Billy Elliot. I went in with few expectations (little prior knowledge) and was absolutely WOWed. Jaw dropped like a piano on a splintering rope. The boy who portrayed Billy was phenomenal. The musical itself was a joy to watch, even with our necks craning from the cheap seats. We laughed, cried, and couldn’t get enough of the encore (anyone know what I mean?)

On the way there, Erica and I stumbled into a garden near Embankment and found a giant chess set!

DSCN1017 DSCN1018-001Today I took my third trip to the Borough Market in search of some slightly pricier, luxurious groceries to sustain me for my last full week in London. Splurged on some cacao nibs for this recipe and za’atar to liven up hummus and other dishes. To everyone else, a hut full of stacked spices might seem uninteresting, but it thrills me. It’s like a library of often underappreciated special touches that exist in a panoply of colors, smells, and shapes. The origins of each add a narrative aspect, and there are limitless experiments one can undertake in order to understand even one spice!

it's like a cavern of dry potions!

it’s like a cavern of dry potions!

I think I’m so drawn to markets because they seamlessly fuse biology and food, two of my favorite things. They’re an informal type of museum. Case in point: This phenome-mollusk.

DSCN1026

I spy a very photo-ready fish on the left.

Stay with me while I quickly freak out over the magic of octopi. Not only do they torpedo around in the water with eight arms and a pocket full of INK ready to blind predators, but we can eat them. We can actually incorporate them into US! How can you not go bananas when you realize that by heeding the phrase “you are what you eat”, by eating an octopus, you inherit some of its glory? I digress. Nay, as one very funny blogger said the other day, I digest.

Let’s have a jiffy of Octopus Appreciation.

 

 

 

a blanket octopus!

That’s about it for now. More studying (for this test, I’m doing a ton of intense thinking about the Anthropocene and naturecultures and multispecies ethnographies.. I go through cycles of soul-drenching inspiration and stupefying intimidation) and preparing for my trip to Ireland and Spain next Saturday (!) and seeing my aunt and uncle next week and getting excited to go home!

Fast Times in Mammals & Evolution

It’s 12:38. We’re all developing a thin glaze over our eyes from nearly two hours of lecture about marsupials and mammals. But then, out of nowhere, my pony-tailed professor pulls out a

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

HUMAN PLACENTA

caught between shock, disgust and intense curiosity

He’s got the sterile gloves on to prove its authenticity and deep amusement sparkles in his eyes. This guy is almost nuts, but not quite. An immortal soundbite: “Sadly it’s lost a bit of its colour…”

There’s a marked difference in the humor over here. I really like it. It’s cheekier, sassier, and enhanced by the contrasting reservation of stereotypical Brits.

Some of my favorite funnies since I’ve been here:

(On an ad for a humor festival with a picture of supermarket chickens):
Now is the winter of our discount hens.

This ad for Las Vegas: DSC01050

On a greeting card: How do you approach an angry Welsh cheese? Caerphilly.


Darwin Day is a celebration of all things evolution. It’s held on his birthday, February 12th, and places all over the world offer up lectures and activities to spread the joy of this phenomenon. This year, Richard Dawkins is speaking at the London event and I would LOVELOVELOVE to go but have concert tickets for that night. On that note, if you like music characterized by harmonies, folk, Bon Iver prodigies, and sisters (<3 hey Em!), check them out here!)


Also, since it seems that many still aren’t sure how to contact me, here’s a list of HOT OR NOT to let you know how I can be reached. Trust me, you don’t want to land on the latter list.

Hot:

-Wes email

-QM email (ask if you want it but it just forwards to my Wes one anyway)

-this blog

-texting (I have a UK number)

-calling (UK number)

-skype

-letter!

What’s not:

-Texting/calling my US phone

-any app (snapchat included)

Facebook


And finally, yesterday I used some pink water leftover from boiling my beets to make pink pancakes! They didn’t taste like beets but lovely little scarlet cloud puffs. Here there’s a tradition right before Lent (Shrove Tuesday) of using up your sweets or indulgent foods to make pancakes. It’s occurring the day before my birthday this year and there’s all kinds of celebrations. My flatmates are planning on pancaking all day and I might check out a pancake race!

pancakeme

You must check out this blog about foam (and other updates)

Seriously, the coolest thing you’ll look at today.


I also wanna tell you all how I joined London’s Bechdel Test Film Club!! You just can’t find this stuff in small college towns.


The first visit (of at least 3) to the Natural History Museum occurred on the day it was announced that the long-beloved lobby attraction, Dippy the dinosaur, would be replaced by a blue whale skeleton. I’m not bothered by the change, but many people are. But what matters about all this is that, as brilliantly realized in this article, there will be a tribute (albeit probably unintended) to Douglas AdamsHitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (Nerd confession: I actually put SLATFATF (the song in the third link of this passage) on my iPod for a while. I emanate cool, I know, it’s ok.)


And to end this brief post, I’ve booked my first European trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Going with two friends who are lovely people and share the same go-getter, vivacious, don’t mind sleeping in an “eh” hostel for the location mindset as myself.

Also a huge bonus is that we leave the DAY AFTER MY BIRTHDAY so it’s like this vacation is my birthday gift. Awwww yeah.

Even though adrenaline-laced blood is still circulating in my veins from such a fresh booking, I’m going to suppress my excitement to make this into a guessing game 😉

Location 1/2:

City facts:

-Called the “city of a hundred spires”

-The Vltava river runs through it

-It has a very famous Astronomical clock

And the answer is…

PRAGUE!

But wait, that’s only the first part!

After spending a few days there, we’ll be heading over to…

 now we wait -  now we wait  Evil Plotting Raccoon

AMSTERDAM!

And this weekend I’m going to Brighton for a day. Wahooligans!

…and now back to classwork.

Do you have any suggestions to places to go, which beer to drink, etc. for these places or travelling in general? Or even a beloved travel story? Drop it in the comments!