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

 

 

 

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God, how I miss couches

London has some great cafes, museums, places to walk around, but for the student, there are few places that offer supreme unwinding resources. My optimal version equates to

  • A couch with fuzzy pillows
    • blankets are bonuses
  • Soft lighting. Great ambiance is hard to find
  • Serene music or gentle silence
  • Pets are a plus

It may be April, but I feel my cosiness meter hasn’t yet met its quota for the past winter. Heck, we barely had any rain in London this spring! So with the lack of snow and bitter cold (utterly grateful, though) and even rain, I think I have some cosiness catching up to do. If you can’t find me this summer, check under blanket forts and quilts. And if that fails, seek out the knitting section of AC Moore. And whatever happens, you can certainly come over for teatime because heaven knows that habit won’t be ending anytime soon! Even bought my own teapot, cup, and saucer here!


If you couldn’t tell from my last post, April’s been sort of a lonely month for me. I have no classes, just tons of time to work on a paper and study for exams. Whereas I only have two, which are spaced out pretty well, my flatmates average something like six each (there’s no first semester exam period here) so they spend ALL DAY in the library. Seriously. Their friends are there to socialise, there’s a cafe for food (or they come back to the flat for an hour to eat or nap.) On the other hand, some of my American friends are using this time to jet-set because they only have papers due or exams late in the testing period. So, I’m more lonely than I’d like to be right now. But fear not- I found some lovely (but temporary) companionship in the fellas at the Spitalfields Farm! It was set up almost like a zoo in that people could walk amongst the animals. But it was a zoo with substantial meaning- not just a simple source of public education/amusement (I don’t believe in zoos.)

Most of my newfound besties are easy to see but some- let’s say the rather sheepish ones- fancied themselves some hide-and-go-seek.

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Watson or Holmes, a New Zealander

Watson or Holmes, a New Zealander!

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Hope ze wasn't embaaaarressed :/

Hope ze wasn’t embaaaaaaarressed :/

Was this sheep celebrating 4/20 a little early? Or just a baller? That face is difficult to translate

Was this sheep celebrating 4/20 a little early? Or just a baller? That face is difficult to translate

So, besides all that, not much else has been going on with the exception of writing a humongous paper for Geographies of Nature. It’s almost done: Fifteen double-spaced pages! The topic has been really cool to explore, though, and I’m more than happy to discuss it with anyone who’s interested. Basically, I begin by talking about a tool called a species meeting, where at least two organisms “meet”. This might occur when an ant nibbles off part of a leaf, someone goes bird-watching, or you eat a hamburger. Next, the paper goes into what species meetings can and can’t tell us about the nature of the human-animal boundary. An example of an advantage of a SM is that by thinking about the bacteria that live all over our bodies and are necessary for our survival, we can question whether humans should consider those other organisms as part of our identities. A disadvantage of a SM could be that they’re often difficult to arrange: there is an untold number of unidentified animals left to be discovered, or that many people mislabel species (how many times have you called an alligator a crocodile, or vice versa?) The paper wraps up with a discussion of what supposedly distinguishes humans from all other animals and then seeks to reconcile that boundary, concluding that human exceptionalism is a pretty dumb concept. Looks like I won’t be attending a Humanism festival anytime soon. But here are some festivities to come: an Edible Cake Garden, a Summer Craftacular, and a World Book Night giveaway!

TODAY WAS AWESOME. And Tips for Not Getting Run Over by London Pedestrians!

It’s eleven o’clock, your half-interesting biology lecture about rodents has just let out, and you’re on your way across campus to a comfy study area. A novice would break out the internal sunshine, but a seasoned walker would know to resist giving in to so soon. Indeed, that stroll will be no walk in the park: it will demand agility, instantaneous decision-making, and something between assertion and aggression. What am I talking about? What it takes to simply walk somewhere in London!

It’s strange, for sure, but the thing is, here, nobody respects any logical rule of staying to one side of the sidewalk. Oddly, they do hug escalator flanks like magnets, but that’s the one exception. So, what you see when walking pretty much anywhere is a horde of people coming at you from every longitude of pavement. But fear not: from a little over two months’ practice, I’ve figured out how to survive unscathed and now you can too!

Behold: the Boston driver trick. If you don’t make eye contact, keep your eyes on a focal point, and bluff as to discourage anyone from trying to alter your pathway, you can silently command the walkway! This doesn’t always work, especially when there are big, lumbering man personalities involved, but it is pretty effective. So there you have it: act as if you refuse to change your walking path and others will accommodate you. Sweet.

It sounds sort of arrogant. But to live in a city, sometimes you have to be ruthless. Especially if you don’t want to expend half your latte’s energy before you even get to work simply by dodging people!


That was this morning. What happened in the hours afterwards was just… a combination of serendipity and good fortune and London magic, I think.

First was lunch: a shockingly delicious chicken and rice soup that I’d made, frozen, and forgotten about. I was rushing to explore London before class, but this soup stopped me in my tracks! It forcefully proved how integral is genuine chicken stock in a soup. The rice, chopped leeks, and a little roasted chicken commanded me to sit down and enjoy. I may have found my go-to recipe! How exciting!

But the fun didn’t stop there. I’d heard rave reviews about this gelato place called Gelupo, so I sought it out and let me tell you– no wait, I sort of can’t, because it transcended language- how delicious this gelato was. I started conversing with the gelatoista (?) about the five-star reviews that had brought me there, and she, in her thick cat-eye makeup and blooming flower balanced above her ear, warmly offered me rapid-fire samples of every single flavor before I could even finish a mind-sentence about how incredible the last flavor was. It’s a pretty nice position to be in, should you ever find yourself practically being force-fed otherworldly desserts on tiny shovel-shaped spoons.

In this instance, I was sold from the first sample: Ricotta and Sour Cherry. I paid four pounds for my treat- a princely sum for a rather petite scoop. But never did I doubt its worth, for soon after I dove into my dairy dream, my mind unconsciously raced through its thesaurus of tasting superlatives until it settled upon the thought of praying to the cherry swirl. I kid you not. I may have had an out-of-body experience today. There were no witnesses, so we’ll never be sure!

I might name my first child "Gelupo"

I might name my first child “Gelupo”

Also around this area of Piccadilly Circus was a fantastically cheeky clothing shop called Lazy Oaf. I’d found it online a while ago, but being in the physical store was a million times more fun! In true Sophie fashion, I tried on the most garish thing there and took a series of embarrassing/YOLO-y pictures. Here’s the least nutty one:

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I felt like a kid in wearing a candy store.

Next was my Museums of London class’ trip to the Saatchi Gallery. I went previously with my mamacita a few weeks ago, but since then they’d changed up their art and displayed some exceptionally exciting art:

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And one last fun day stop:

A tea shop! Ironically, I’d just purchased two cartons of tea at a shop a few minutes before, so upon the sighting of this much cooler shop, I was disappointed. However, after elevating my mood by sampling a trio of cocoa-tinged teas, I told my saga to the sales associate (after asking her what it was like to work at a tea shop; she replied that she is never stressed, gets to give people relief after a long day’s work in (healthy) liquid form, and hears loads of great stories) and she generously gave me a lightning tea lesson and three loose-leaf samples along with a make-your-own-teabag teabag! All for free!

London, you’re the best.


On Monday, Matthew and his friend Forest visited after their trip to Scotland. We had a great time catching up and walking around the city! I was proud to show them Queen Mary, my beloved hot salt beef bagel shop and Brick Lane, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, St. Martin in the Fields and its Crypt Cafe, and they explored Buckingham Palace and St. James’ Park on their own. As with Michelle, it was deeply enjoyable to spend time with another Wes pal and reflect on our adventures together. And exchanging severe dad jokes and puns that make every other person cringe (but not us!) 🙂

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