Defying Gravity

Breaking news: I am officially a London local.

"What makes you say that?" you ask? Blackfriars station is open. When we arrived, it was closed, and there were signs saying it would reopen in "early 2012." I have now been here long enough to witness change.

More breaking news: Amanda, Liz, and I have fled the country.

We weren't actually "fleeing" anything, and it was only for a day, but that just doesn't sound as dramatic! On Friday, we hopped on a bus and, three and a half hours of beautiful countryside later, we were in Cardiff, Wales.

Wales wasn't super high on my list of places to visit. Actually, I really only went because it wasn't too expensive, it's close, and... well, why not? Amanda and Liz were super excited and planning on doing some serious fangirling at Doctor Who things; I was just along for the ride. Thankfully, Wales surpassed all of my non-existent expectations and gave me quite a fabulous day!

We walked around a little bit after we got off the bus and got some great views of Millennium Stadium before heading to Cardiff Castle. It was really great! We got to go up and walk along the battlements, before Amanda found a secret-looking door that led us down into the walls of the castle into what was a WWII air raid shelter.

I find WWII absolutely fascinating, and being in these tunnels was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced, ever. There were speakers playing air raid sirens and some speech and a song, so it was like the ghosts of the hundreds of people that had crammed in there during the war were down there with us. There were no other (living) people, though, so it was just us. It was dark and eerie and so unbelievably awesome. There were benches and bunk beds and wartime propaganda posters, and even a bar where they served food. Seriously, so cool. I'm such a nerd. But it was unbelievable.

We eventually resurfaced, and got to climb up to the actual castle, in the middle of the moat. It's pretty small, and is kind of just a fortress. But we got to overlook the city from the top, and all of us conquered a fear on the treacherously steep and slippery steps up and down. I wish I was kidding. My camera died when got safely back to the ground, so I guess there was one casualty :(. Our tour next took us to the castle apartments, which is where the royalty actually lived. They were absolutely gorgeous! I was DYING without my camera! Before we left, we climbed back up to the top of the wall and reenacted some Harry Potter things on what looked like the wooden bridge (because why not?).

Liz wanted to get some food after that, so we walked down towards the center of the city and found a little shop selling pies and pasties and such. Whoever tells you that the UK doesn't have any good food is lying through their teeth, because the cheese and onion pasty I had was one of the most perfect foods I've ever eaten. Deeeeeeeeelish. We meandered a bit after that before catching a bus to Millennium Park, near Cardiff Bay. Apparently it's very significant in the Doctor Who-verse, but it was a really nice area even to those of us oblivious to the Tardis. (Wait, I think that's supposed to be in all caps. But typing TARDIS makes me feel like I'm screaming it. TARDIS. See?)

(Photo courtesy of Liz -- my camera died at the castle.)

But anyway. I looked on in amusement as they took their nerdy pictures, and then we spent some time in the Millennium Center before attempting to take a bus to BBC Studios. We ended up not doing so because of bad timing, and instead tried to find what we thought was a restaurant that we found in Liz's guidebook, called Gdwidh (because Welsh is the greatest language ever). It took AGES to find, and we got there only to realize it's a bar, not a restaurant. At that point it was getting close to when our bus was going to leave, so we got takeout from Wok to Walk (so punny) to bring with us. Somehow we all forgot where we were supposed to catch the bus, which led to an interesting 15 or so minutes of race walking around the station on the brink of panic. But we found it in time, and the driver told us we couldn't bring hot food on board.

Needless to say, our food tasted that much better because it was eaten illegitimately after being snuck on in our bags. We're just ninjas like that.

On Saturday, I was planning on going to The British Museum to see an exhibit for my Text, Art, and Performance class, but I got the worst night of sleep, so it was all I could do to shut off my alarms and go back to sleep. Good decision making on my part! I got some work done, and at night we got to see a play that Amanda had written! Queen Mary has a new writer's workshop, which is a few nights of student-written shows. The price of admission included another show, and they were both really good! I already knew Amanda's was, since I'd read it weeks ago, but the other one was set during a war and it was really intense. There were two characters, a dying soldier and the guy who finds him, and it was set in a hole that the audience stood around. I happened to be facing the dying soldier, and I swear we made eye contact during the show several times. Which was weird, since he was dying really convincingly. Amanda's show was called Writer's Block, and was the perfect counterbalance to death. It was hilarious, and I even called the musical number the director added! Hah.

Later that night, after the shows, Amanda, Jen and I started booking things for our EuroTrip in April! So far we have train tickets to Paris, and our hostel there. So exciting! :) I can't wait!

On Sunday, I actually did drag myself out of bed to go to the museum. It was the last day of the exhibit, and tickets went on sale at 9 am, so I didn't really have a choice but to get there early. I actually got there closer to 10 ('cause the Central Line was closed. Freaking tube!), but I got a ticket for 11:30. My professor had said when she'd gone to get a ticket, they were already sold out for the day, which begs the question -- what time was she getting there? I know I have mild anxiety about getting to things first, but still.

I wandered around the museum until I could go into the exhibit. Let me tell you, this guy is WEIRD. The concept was cool; he displayed some of his own stuff along with things made in the past -- it was called "The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman." But the artist, Grayson Perry, is a transvestite who makes shrines to his 50-year-old teddy bear. I mean, to each his own, and kudos to him for embracing his true self so fully, but after seeing Alan Measles (the teddy bear) drawn and painted into nearly every piece of his artwork, I had to wonder a little bit. It wasn't exactly my cup of tea. That's not to take away from his talent, though. People in the exhibit were talking about how he's a genius, and I can definitely see how one might think so.

Reading week is, alas, over, so yesterday I had to go to class and got to experience the stress of handing in my first assignments. Class was at 1, but I actually got up in a timely fashion to do laundry and get everything printed. I'm truly, truly confused as to why assignments have to be handed in to the department offices rather than the professors that assign them. The British school system is bizarre.

My reward was going to see Wicked, though. :) We'd bought tickets ages ago, and I'd almost forgotten it was yesterday. It was really good! Our seats were in the last row, but they still weren't bad. I'd seen Wicked when I was younger, and the only thing I remembered about it was that my expectations for it were so high that it disappointed me. This time around, I was really impressed by the performance, but got the same feeling of, "Okay, this did not change my life." I think it's because I love The Wizard of Oz so much as it is that anything else feels lesser. I mean, it all happened in Dorothy's mind, so the entire premise of Wicked is an alternate universe. It just feels like fanfiction. Really well written fanfiction, but I just can't make myself believe it. Doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, though! And we stage doored after it, because Celeste is a Wicked fangirl.

Now it's Tuesday, and the first one in a while in which I have nowhere to be... but I do have a paper to finish. Le sigh. It's due tomorrow, so I really need to stop procrastinating and edit it already. I'd much rather watch the new episode of Castle again, but hey. Wish me luck remembering to stick "U"s where they don't really belong!

...My last Olympics shift is on Thursday. I'm depressed in advance.

OH! I almost forgot! I applied for a volunteer job with the International Quidditch Association, and I got it! I'm the new assistant to the PR coordinator for the London Olympics Quidditch match! More info as it comes. :)

"The World's Mine Oyster"

Wotcher! (I can officially start saying that, because I was greeted with it by a man at one of my shifts this week. It's not just Tonks! IT'S REAL LIFE!)

I feel like so much of my last week and a half is confidential, and so much more of it has been spent writing a paper. It's reading week now, which means the first wave of big assignments are due next week, so it was time I buckled down and finally started being a student. I had to forgo some adventures with my friends to stay in my room and read about how gender roles in Britain changed after 1945, which was really not fun. And a part of that is definitely because I've been spending so many hours volunteering. But it's absolutely worth it! More on the good Olympic-y stuff in a moment. :)

I had three shifts back-to-back-to-back last week -- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It was AWESOME. I missed my daily nap on Wednesday, but ya know, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! Hah. Some people were just doing their first shift on Thursday, so I got to be the knowledgeable one and help them out. That was a nice little feather in my cap! So volunteering was pretty much my day those days, though on Thursday I did come back to campus and Amanda had dinner waiting for me, which was exciting! Burritos, no matter how MacGyver-ed, are delicious.

Friday was spent being studious (coughprocrastinatingcough), and at night there was a candy/donut party at Draper's where we waited endlessly and fought for our lives for a single Krispy Kreme donut each.

On Saturday, Jen, Amanda and I went to Oxford! We took a bus and got there around noon. It's funny how unprepared we were, and how okay that ended up being. We had no idea where to get off the bus, and then we had no idea where to go when we did get off. But we ended up picking the right stop and being mere blocks from Christ Church College, our destination. We got to tour the chapel, which was very impressive, and climb the marble staircase used in Harry Potter, which was awesome, and walk through the Great Hall that was the inspiration for the one in Harry Potter. Quite excellent. A small part of me still wishes I could've studied abroad at Oxford -- it's just so beautiful!

That was all we'd planned in advance, so we meandered around town for a few hours. I loved not having to rush to be anywhere or worry about getting lost, and it's such a gorgeous place! We stopped in the Alice in Wonderland store, a candy shop, a games store, and a couple of bookstores, and wandered through the market. A delicious savory pie was split as a pre-dinner snack, and whoever says there's no good food in England is LYING! We ended up getting dinner in The Eagle and Child pub, where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien used to hang out. I finally got my fish and chips! It was expensive, but excellent!

Sunday was some more homework, plus a mall trip with Amanda. She needed to top up her phone, I needed face wash, and we wanted to find a crafts store, because we're making T-shirts for The Hunger Games premiere next month :). But apparently Brits don't do arts and crafts, because there was not a single Sharpie to be found in the largest mall in the country. I miss Michael's! But then we walked to Olympic Park, just because it was sunny and beautiful and we could. (The fact that we're close enough to walk there makes me love my life.)

Monday was spent with my paper. And that's really it.

But Tuesday was my birthday, and it was wonderful! I woke up to a new episode of Castle, picked up a volunteering shift, my friends made me pancakes for dinner, and it was an absolutely gorgeous day outside. I know people at home were expecting some crazy drunken stories and were disappointed by the lack of them, but I couldn't care less. I had a fantastic day. :)

It's funny -- I spent my 19th birthday watching the Vancouver Olympics, my 20th birthday preparing for my interview with Coach Amy Deem, and my 21st birthday volunteering for LOCOG. EVERYTHING IS OLYMPICS AND NOTHING HURTS!

Yesterday, the study abroad office took a bunch of us to Shakespeare's Globe Theater (Theatre?) for a tour and such. We walked around the exhibits, which would've been a ton more exciting if I was madly in love with Shakespeare like Amanda and Liz are. But then we got to go into the theatre itself, which was awesome. It's an almost exact replica of the original, and the cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream was onstage rehearsing while we were there. That's undeniably cool no matter what you think of ol' Billy Shakes! There was also a sword fighting demonstration, which made me very glad that never in my life will I have to duel. I would die in half a second. The actors doing the fighting were seriously talented!

Afterwards? More work. Noticing a pattern?

I'd volunteered to help out in the Ceremonies offices today, so I woke up early and headed back out to 3 Mills. You know you're an over achiever when the security guards stationed on the route from the tube station to the studio recognize you. Hah, it's fantastic!

I think I can actually talk about what I did today, though! OMG! I mean, they didn't tell me I couldn't...

I made photocopies. I filed things. And I Google mapped things.

Funnily enough, I think I learned more sensitive material today than I have during all of my actual shifts. So I won't tell you what I read, but I will say that it wasn't a terrible job. The thing is, I don't care how mundane a task is when I'm volunteering. As long as I'm being kept busy, I'm pretty happy. And everyone in this office was so nice, and so thankful that I was there to help. My final job was (and I can say it, 'cause it's been released to the press!) Google mapping routes from the studio to various schools in the area and back. Each route had three schools to go to, and there are two teams traveling on each day, and there were four days to route. I had to leave, though, so I was told to do as much as I could. I routed two days for each team, thinking it was super easy. When I gave the print-outs to the lady I was doing them for, she was SHOCKED and said that someone who worked in the office took half a day to do what I'd done in half an hour.

Don't worry, I didn't strain my shoulder patting myself on the back. ;)

I think my favorite part was when I was leaving; I passed one of the security guards that I see every time I'm there, and he looked at his watch and said "You're leaving already?!" Hahaha, I love being a familiar face!

Afterwards, I headed to Covent Garden to do an assignment for my Text, Art, and Performance class. I walked around the markets a bit -- DEFINITELY have to go back there! -- and went into the Royal Opera House. They actually have exhibits in there, which is pretty cool. The weather was absolutely perfect, so on my way to the Soane Museum, I stopped to eat my sandwich in Lincoln's Inn Fields. I love all the parks in London, and sitting in one on what felt like a beautiful spring day was complete perfection. The museum was pretty cool too. The guy was an artist and an architect, and the museum is his house, left almost exactly the way it was when he died. This is the second house/museum type thing we've been to for this class, and they're really neat. I love that whole stepping-back-into-history thing. And this one was free, so hey! Though the first one was better, but I'll take what I can get.

And that's pretty much where I'm at right now. Tomorrow, Liz, Amanda and I are going to Cardiff, Wales for the day, so that should be fun!

Before I go, though, I witnessed two awesome acts of humanity today and I thought I would share.

As I was heading to the LOCOG office, I was about to go up the stairs at the Bromley-by-Bow tube station. There was a woman there with a tote bag in one hand, and she was supporting herself with a cane in the other hand. A man, not young by any stretch of the imagination, offered to help her up the stairs. She thanked him but said she could manage, but he insisted on at least carrying her bag for her.

Later on in the day, I was walking down Mile End Road to Sainsbury's when I witnessed a minor accident involving a car and a biker. I'm not really sure what happened, but the car was turning into a parking lot, and it ended with the biker falling over. It wasn't serious, and he was up and walking by himself, but the reaction of everyone in the vicinity was amazing. Another biker leapt off his bike and abandoned it in the middle of the sidewalk to help the guy up; the car screeched to a halt and both people inside jumped out to help him; and even pedestrians rushed over to make sure he was okay.

Maybe it was something in the air, but everyone was sure feeling the love today. And it made me happy! :)

My Hot Valentine's Day Date With the Olympics, and Other Updates

...Okay, so I lied about writing an actual update yesterday. But that's only because I realized USOC summer internship openings were posted on the website and I got distracted! (And because the single library book I've found for my architecture paper is due tomorrow and I can't renew it, thus a mad dash to write said paper ensued. But I digress.) I am procrastinating like I promised, though. Sitting in the library and everything. If my kitchen light was on, I'd be able to see into it from where I'm sitting. But again, I digress.

Let's see, where did I leave off? Last Thursday... I don't think anything exciting happened. But on Friday, Jen, Lorraine, Amanda and I went to Leeds Castle! Fun fact: Leeds Castle isn't in Leeds. It's in Kent. Go figure. Another fun fact: the place is swarming with peacocks and black swans.


It was about an hour's train ride away (our first trip out of the city!), and then a ten minute shuttle ride. It was pretty cold that day so we had the place more or less to ourselves. The grounds are absolutely gorgeous, and the castle is all picturesque and castle-y. It's really neat to be able to walk around inside! I really wanted to just pop a squat in the library and read for awhile.

After checking out the inside, we went back outside and found the aviary. There were some birds that spoke in British accents, which may have been the coolest thing ever. It made me miss my own little ball of feathers back at home! But then I think about how annoying he is, and how my shirts are poop stain-free...

From the aviary we attacked the hedge maze! I was wearing my Hufflepuff scarf that day by complete coincidence -- us 'Puffs, though we are particularly good finders, don't have great track record with hedge mazes. We tend to die when we get to the center. However, self-Sorted Hufflepuff Amanda and I split off from Jen and Lorraine, and we finished first! And there was no Voldemort waiting to kill us!

Cedric Diggory, this one's for you!

The "prize" for finishing was getting to explore this faux grotto thing, which was actually really cool. But even cooler was the PLAYGROUND we went to afterwards! We're all five years old inside, no lie. It was fantastic. But alas, our shuttle time pick-up was fast approaching, so we made some too-long photo stops and a gift shop run before sprinting to the meet-up point. Overall, quite an excellent day!

On Saturday night/Sunday, it snowed. :) Enough said.

Actually, "enough said" is a total lie. Amanda got me into The Hunger Games, and I spent the weekend demolishing the series. I don't remember the last time I read like this; I finished a book a day from Saturday through Monday. They're EXCELLENT. I mean, as if I needed another fandom to get into, but I don't even care. Ugh, they're so good. Violent and psychologically terrifying and bloody and rather disturbing, but if Flowers in the Attic taught me anything, it's that apparently I like this kind of stuff. At least there's no incest in The Hunger Games! Everyone may die, but the underlying love story is perfectly legitimate! (And I may or may not want to marry Peeta.)

Sunday night was also the SuperBowl, and a bunch of us went to a watch party at Draper's Bar. The price of admission got you some gross nachos and a beer. Between that, the complete lack of commercials (really, BBC?), and the fact that I didn't have a rooting interest, I left after the third quarter... to read. (Go ahead, judge away! But why don't you read Catching Fire and then come talk to me about priorities, 'kay? Damn cliffhanger.) It was really fun, though! The halftime show was epic -- the entire room sang along to Like A Prayer, Americans and Brits alike. :)

So yeah, Monday was devoted to reading Mockingjay, and on Tuesday I went to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel premiere. Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy were in it -- needless to say, I was more hoping for Maggie than anything. I got there fairly early in the afternoon and there were only like ten other people, so I made a friend in Giulia (she's from Rome!) and we went and got hot chocolate. We still ended up with prime barrier spots though, and, after nearly getting frostbite on every single one of my extremities, I got Bill Nighy's autograph! Maggie was the only cast member that wasn't there. Le sigh. The red carpet was pink, though. I'll take it.

I was a bum again on Wednesday (I really, REALLY need to stop doing that...). But on Thursday I finally got my act together and went to the Natural History Museum for my architecture assignment. This might be the coolest building I've ever laid eyes on. Not only is it gorgeous from afar, but when you get closer you realize that there are plants and animals carved into it. I was seriously geeking out, and spent just as much time looking at the building as I spent looking at the things on display. Except in the mineral room, because I'm a girl and like shiny things. There was also a really cool memory display, where you could listen to sound bytes from different decades to see what memories they triggered. Getting back here at some point is an absolute must!

On Friday, a few of us attempted to see Emma Watson at Selfridge's, which was kind of a fail. We ended up spending most of the day wandering around Oxford Street. Can't really complain, though; I had a delicious chicken, curry, and grape (I know) sandwich for lunch, and I got a beautiful bright orangey cardigan (shout out to Professor Abbott! :P) from Primark for super cheap. Some people went clubbing that night, but Amanda and I stayed in and invented the Pygmy Puff (aka pink lemonade mixed with peach schnapps). Delicious!

Saturday was a big day, as we laid out the framework for our big Eurotrip in April! Paris to Torino to Venice to Lausanne to Geneva to Munich to Berlin to Krakow to Copenhagen in two and a half weeks. I love not having class for a month! :D

Sunday, of course, I had my super secret Olympics volunteer orientation, after which I went with Amanda, Jen, and Lorraine to go see Alfie Enoch's play. Orientation let out late so I missed the first half, but I was in the pub below the theater when Alfie came offstage to go to the bathroom, and I saw him. So that was fun! Heh. The show was really good, kind of disturbing, but in a dark humor-ish sort of way. Alfie was amazing, and we met him afterwards! And he signed my book! And he was so wonderful and nice and we chatted with him! 'Twas truly epic. :) And we finished the night with awesome burritos and cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery. Seriously, that day couldn't have gotten any more awesome.

There's not much to write home about on Monday. It was gray and drizzly and my architecture class had a site visit, which was really inconvenient. We met up in Trafalgar Square and walked down to Buckingham Palace. I absolutely LOVE that this is my classroom! But after that I came back to campus and wrote my paper, like a good student. Basically finished it, actually. Don't you just love going over the word limit while only using one source? ...That's sarcasm, folks. That's what has me in the library right now, desperately trying to find other books I can feasibly use. Alas.

But today! OH MY GOSH. It was my first shift as a volunteer, and I can't think of a better way to spend my Valentine's Day. It was absolutely the best volunteering experience I've ever had, hands down. Everyone was so happy and friendly and nice and AAAHHHHHHH. WHY CAN'T I TALK ABOUT IT?! I need to go write it down so I can post it when the Games are over, because seriously, I cannot comprehend the amount of awesome I was a part of today.

But I will say this. Remember that montage I mentioned in my post about orientation? It was on a loop all day, and there were parts of it I hadn't seen on Sunday... set to Heather Small's "Proud," aka the former theme song of The Biggest Loser and one of my favorite songs on the planet. Honest to god, I wanted to cry. It was such a good omen for things to come!


How did I not realize this song was connected with these Olympics until today?!

I'm jumping-out-of-my-skin excited for my shift tomorrow. :D

Everything is Olympics and Nothing Hurts!

Ack, I know, I haven't written a proper post in a week and a half. And I know, I have two papers due in two weeks that I really need to stop procrastinating on. But dammit, today is the two year anniversary of the Vancouver opening ceremony, and I will blog about the Olympics if it kills me!

Also, I had my volunteer training/orientation today. I don't know whose idea it was to make it on the anniversary of Vancouver, but whoever you are, I like you. Thanks for the extra layer of goosebumps!

Basically, this is the blog post I've been waiting my entire life to write... and I can't say anything. Confidentiality agreements have tied my hands. I'm not allowed to say anything more than "had a great time!" and "I did so many cool things!" and "I learned so much!"

So. Frustrating.

This is like Endurance. But worse. Ugh.

I mean, obviously, I know that the ceremonies are kept hush-hush until they're actually going on, and it's really cool that now I'm considered knowledgable enough to not be allowed to say anything. But I took mental note of some non-sensitive things I can safely talk about.

1. In the room we were led into first -- our future break area -- they were silently airing a clip from Beijing's opening ceremony on a TV as we were all milling around. They briefly showed a little girl singing, and I thought to myself, "oh, that's the girl that wasn't actually singing." Not two seconds later, a girl nearby turns to her friend and says, "That girl isn't actually singing." I have found my people.

2. As they were leading us into one of the sound stages where we'll be working, there was another TV playing a montage of ceremony clips from the past 15 or so years. Montages get me weepy at the best of times. Connect the dots.

3. In one of our sessions, the guy leading us went year by year through the Summer Olympics and asked us our memories. When he got to 2004 (Athens), I raised my hand and said, "A lot of swimming, a lot of beautiful scenery, and in the closing ceremony, the giant torch was put out by a little girl like she was blowing a candle." He thought it was interesting, since they put on these massive performances, to see what people actually remember of them. :)

And my favorite quotes of the day:

"You are now a part of the center of the universe. As we like to say here, 'no pressure! There are only four billion people watching!'"

"The Olympics is the most complex peacetime venture. The only thing more complex than the Olympics is a war."

The only thing beyond this that I will say is that it's looking like I'm actually going to have things to do during my shifts! My first shift is on Tuesday at noon -- the first one for the new casting volunteers! -- and I cannot WAIT!

And now, back to my regularly scheduled homework. (Real post tomorrow, when I'm back to procrastinating.)

Keep Calm and OMG OLYMPICS!!!1!!1

It's so weird to be blogging two days in a row! But I guess that's what happens when I write a post consisting only of an amusing anecdote.

On Thursday, we decided to postpone family dinner in lieu of a comedy show at Draper's, the on-campus bar. Amanda, Jen and I met up with Dave and Shaun (completely by accident), and it was a pretty good time. I ordered my first legal drink (which also happened to be the first drink I've ever ordered, period), so that's a nice milestone to have out of the way. The comedy was pretty good too, though the subdued British crowd did not understand what was funny about the American comedian describing the different types of Jesus. The five of us, though, were a different story. The rest of them went out afterwards, but I decided to be a responsible sick person and stay in.

I had a lazy Friday for the first time since I got here, but the weekend made up for it. On Saturday, Jen and I went to the Imperial War Museum in the morning. The museum itself was neat, but they had a really cool "Secret Soldier" (aka spy) exhibit, and another one on the Holocaust. We actually spent a ton of time there. In the afternoon, we met up with Amanda and Lorraine in Greenwich.

Did YOU know that Greenwich is IN London? Because I sure didn't. But no, you can just hop on a (double decker) bus and get off at the Prime Meridian of the world.

We wandered around the village a little bit, basically because we didn't know where we were going, but we found the Royal Observatory fairly easily. We climbed the hill and were treated to an AMAZING view... and a 7-pound fee if we wanted to get into the Observatory and stand on the Prime Meridian. So we said no thanks, and instead took pictures on the other side of the building.

See! I'm approximately in two different hemispheres! (Maybe. I think.)

Then we walked around town a bit more. The market was just about closing down but, oh my god, it smelled delicious and I wanted to buy everything. Definitely need to go back for that! We stopped in a little candy shop (or would it be shoppe?) where I bought Coke-flavored chocolate, and then in a bookstore where Amanda and I salivated over Harry Potter editions we'd never seen before.

It's so beautiful. <3 data-blogger-escaped-br="">
On Sunday, Jen, Lorraine, Celeste and I went into central London for the Chinese New Year celebrations. Apparently the one in London is the biggest in the world outside of Asia. Who knew? We got there in time for the parade, wandered around the insanity that was Trafalgar Square, and stopped in a little restaurant for a yummy lunch. One of Jen's friends from home met up with us in the afternoon, and we hung around the stage and watched some of the dance groups and singers perform. And of course, before the day was over I had to get myself a bubble tea. Come on! It's Chinese New Year, how could I not?!

OH, and on Sunday night I did my laundry successfully for the first time! BIG MOMENT, guys!

My Monday class was a site visit instead of a lecture, so I got to walk around an upper-class neighborhood and look at the houses of some early 20th century artists. That's where the story from my previous entry came from. I love that I get to go explore the city a little bit under the guise of "class." When it was finished, I ducked into a bookstore on my way back to the tube and got utterly distracted. I wasn't planning on buying anything (I wanted to browse and see if they had anything by Richard Castle...), but I stumbled across the shelf dedicated to Kathy Reichs. For those of you who are unfamiliar, her books inspired Bones. So of course, I had to read the summaries on the backs of all of them. And then I bought one. It's pretty good! I like Bones better, and I'm also partial to Richard Castle's writing, but hey. I'm enjoying it.

On Tuesday, Celeste and I spent the late morning/early afternoon finishing up our rounds at the Museum of Childhood -- I actually needed to go back, as it was an assignment for my Text, Art, and Performance class. Class on Thursday is cancelled so we could visit the site of our choice, so it was killing several birds with one enjoyable stone. Celeste had a coupon for Pizza Hut, so we wandered around Bethnal Green for ages trying to find it. No regurgitating toilets, though.

I spent the rest of yesterday and today (it IS Wednesday, after all) alternating between being a good student and a complete bum. I beat my previous nap record today, too. So that was fun.

Anddddd I'm volunteering with the Olympics. No biggie.

Actually, no, it's a huge-y. I'm so freaking excited, I can't even tell you! There's orientation/training on Feb. 12th, and after that I have to commit to three shifts between Valentine's Day and the first week in March. I'm not sure when my shifts are yet, nor what I'll be doing, but I cannot wait! The lady at my interview said there might not be a lot to do, but I don't think she understands that I paid over $400 for a visa so I could do this. That means that each shift is costing me well over $100, so you can bet your life that I'm going to find things to do.

Also, it's the Olympics. I don't need a monetary incentive to want to do things.

I'm a nerd. And conveniently wearing my NBC Olympics shirt as pajamas. :)