BREAKING NEWS: TEA EDITION

This night marks the first time I’ve ever made myself a real cup of tea with a real tea infuser and loose tea leaves!

IT WAS AMAZING.

TEA BAGS, PACK YOUR BAGS.

And now, let’s celebrate this MOMENTOUS moment with a photo montage! (Only half-joking though…)

HOLD UP, TEA. WHAT’S GOING ON

 

Flatmates Katie and Nicole sponsor this picture.

I’M HOME

spot-on

And finally, the crew who witnessed it all:

❤ Nicole and Katie

 

 

 

Smidgen Stories

On Tuesday I won the BBC ticket lottery and saw a live recording of a BBC Channel 4 radio show! In addition to seeing the mostly invisible aspect of radio broadcasting, I saw some fantastic views of the rooms featured in the BBC news including the main desk where the anchors sit and the background loaded with workers collecting information about UK and world current events. Couldn’t take pictures of those areas, but luckily this experience didn’t end without a few greatly appreciated Doctor Who decorations.

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Yesterday, I got another haircut as a hair model for an academy. I’m telling ya, this is a great gig if you want to save money in exchange for a few hours of your time. My first experience took three hours for a high-fashion hairstyle that was priced around $100 but, for a hair model, was free. This experience was $25, took 2 hours, and will land me a spot on the academy’s website! I am such a fan of well-timed haircuts. It’s such a permissible way to feel pampered and like a million bucks!

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Foodie adventure time: BAO! Upon hearing heaps of great reviews coupled with a resilient craving for pork buns, I braved the queue and received this fella:

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the classic pork bun

I’m sad to admit it but it didn’t live up to my expectations. However, it was still lovely to nosh on and a great reminder that “top 10” lists aren’t sacredly true for everyone’s taste. That applies to destinations, music, food, and whatever else you can rate.


Next comes some snapshots of the gorgeous Green Park followed by pictures inside the imaginarium that is Fortnum and Mason.


Here is a glimpse into the London area of Brixton. The market there is teeming with life and spirit, as are the people who are currently fighting to prevent their market’s heart from being ripped out by the man. Really sad stuff. There’s a petition to sign if you like it when towns have souls.

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Finally, I’d like to end with some pictures of QM’s somewhat oddly-located cemetery. It’s smack in the middle of campus and it’s there because they didn’t want to disturb ages-old graves, which is a great call on their part even if it does make the campus a touch strange. But anyway, this cemetery is a wonderful way to include death in daily life, so to speak, in contrast to how we usually hide it away until we must deal with it when something dies. From a philosophical biologist’s perspective, it’s also wonderful to see a symbolic coexistence of life and death in the form of graves and flowers. It reminds me of a poem we used to read on Rosh Hashana about how life is intimately entwined with death. I don’t remember it exactly, but it depicts how a tree lives on eternally after it dies. Some of it returns to soil, ready to nurture new seeds. Its fallen trunk acts as a shelter for rabbits, and so on. The cemetery can also be construed as a way to refocus on the greater themes of life after stressing over finals for weeks.

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Happy Spring and Finals season!

After seeing an IMAX about space and nearly crying during its trailer because space is so beautiful (that’s another story), let me just remind you all that you are made of stardust and your last inhale probably contained an atom that also passed through the lungs of Cleopatra and that we are the universe attempting to understand itself.

Happy Thursday! 🙂

 

 

Crafting cameras out of toast and other tales

When I heard about an event where the participants build sculptures out of bread, I found myself torn between feeling unbelievably excited and pondering my sanity. I mean, which 21-year-old would choose to make a glorified gingerbread house in the middle of March when they could be giving their livers a fine reason to fail? This girl.

Erica, Holly (another Venice trip friend) and I courageously entered the competition and ended up creating a glutinous replica of my camera. It was very detailed, with “Sony” written on an upper panel, a cord, a picture-taking-button (what’s it actually called?) that ROTATED, a lens, and a screen on the back with a (what else) cat on it. Erica was responsible for that masterpiece.

But seriously, this was no less than a full-blown competition. I can’t speak for my teammates, but I know that I felt more mature than half the adults clobbering each other in the dance off (can you guess who our team nominated?) and racing to their toasters for optimally burnt construction materials. We nabbed the Diva toaster, and ze did us proud. ❤

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the front

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the back (see the cat?!)

our workhorse

our workhorse

All in all, a terrifically random and fun experience. Here are more pictures of others’ artworks including Jesus on the cross, the Colosseum, Kevin Spacey on his house of cards, and the Titanic. This is why I love London! People actually FLOCK to crazy events like this!


The next day was the Chocolate and Wine & Cheese festival!! Main takeaways:

  1. When offered “water ganache”, ALWAYS SAY YES
  2. Sample until you drop (or, your ego does.) Then regroup and scope out overlooked venues for more delicious bits (after all, we did pay an entry fee.)
  3. End it with a trip past Ottolenghi (the restaurant whose master chef creator put out a cookbook which you literally read cover-to-cover) to window-shop and gaze at lustfully, then plant yourself at the world’s most wonder-ful reading room on earth and feel like a desert dweller because cheese is saltier than ocean water and you didn’t think to bring water. Then hydrate with a full pot of tea at home and find Community to be one of your favorite shows in a long time. (This one might be hard to orchestrate but I believe in you all!)

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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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