Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Holy Crap. I'm still awesome.

Hey Everyone! I know it's been so long since I've really written anything. I've been so consumed by my new project, Nomad's Playlist. (If you haven't already gone over to my new blog and followed, prepare to feel my wrath!)


Don't worry. I'm still around and will still try to update this blog. I know you might of cried a little when you thought I was gone. But I'm here for you.

My first post back: More proof of my awesomeness. In the spirit of the World Cup, I thought I'd share with everyone the fact that I too am a footballer. Yes that's right. I know. I am awesome.

I'm the cute one just to the left of the ball. I win....or rather, I won. That year my team one the Championship. Woot.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

These things all tend to happen at once, don't they?

As you begin to learn is the pattern the longer you live, everything in my life is changing at the same time.

Exams and courses are over and so are the much appreciated, forced interaction with the wonderful people from my courses.
My relationship has ended and I once again find myself single and in a desperate search for myself.
I am moving again for what will be my third home since I moved to London 8 months ago.

However, don't get me wrong. I'm not lamenting these changes necessarily. I have always been addicted to change. I've dyed my hair every color under the sun and I've moved every chance I get-- just confirming how much I need change.

Regardless, I do find myself anxious and with far more time on my hands without a boyfriend and without classes. I've decided that I'm going to get back into dancing. I still have all my costume stuff in my closest that hasn't been touched since I unpacked it in Sept. But looking back on all the fun I had, I think last year, I think its about time I pick it back up. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

No, I have no shame...Now go visit already! :)

To my wonderful readers:
I do hope you get the chance to hop on over to my new project, Nomad's Playlist. Today you can read the second installment of "This Week's Picks," find out how to submit your own guest review, and view a calendar of world music events happening in London.

Nomad's Playlist is my new baby, and I'm afraid it's not getting the attention it needs, so I am not ashamed to push it. :) I am not only looking for a fan base, but healthy critics. I want to know what you think, what could be better, what you like to see, what should be changed, etc.

Thanks and I hope to see you over on the new blog!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Nomad's Playlist- because I don't have enough to do

Because I have no life, I've started a new blog project. It's called Nomad's Playlist and I would love it if you could take a few moments to check it out.

It's a world music blog, where I and hopefully other writers review world music tracks, post upcoming concerts in the London area and post world music news.

Please check it out and tell me what you think. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thank you "R." I cannot get that 20 minutes of my life back.

I got a wonderful comment on my last post this afternoon:

Anonymous said... 
I just wanted to say how much I loved your blog? Are you still writing the blog or have you finished?
Also, I love SJF! SJF is awesome. Are you going to write more about him?

Funnily enough, SJF has recently discovered my blog. Rather than be upset, the fact that he has an internet presence has only fueled his already gigantic ego, claiming that I should in fact write more about him.

So this afternoon, when I saw this comment, I naturally assumed it was him being funny. I called him up and said, "Funny blog comment. You're so ridiculously vain." He claimed to have no idea what I was talking about, or rather what I was talking about after mentioning the blog comment (he knows he's vain).  Assuming he was just playing dumb, I wasn't having any of it. Finally, I read the comment to him and he said "NO WAY! Let me see!"

It then took roughly ten minutes to explain what it means to type a website address into a URL bar. (I forgot how pathetically computer illiterate he is and realized he was not capable of leaving a comment)
"Who wrote that?"
"I don't know, 'R'?"
"There's got to be some way to find out! I want to meet this brilliant person!"

So, thank you "R" for your wonderful comment, but know that I then had to spend 20 minutes listening to SJF tell me what a legend he is, that there should really be more stories about him and my "fans were calling." Thank you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Field Notes: Kibuki Ceremony April 7th, 2010

The building looming in front of me is intimidating. It is a long and skinny seven storey block of cement. I looks identical to the seven or so other buildings that surround the roundabout. I stare at the building for an indeterminate time, trying to figure out how to find the woman I had been sent to see. I do not know her name and only know that she lives on the third floor. Secretly wishing that she would magically step outside her flat and call me up to her, I wait. It does not take long for a man to notice my look of distress and asks me if I need help.
“Well, I need to find a woman who lives on the third floor of this building,” I say as I squint up at the building once again.
“What is her name?” I laugh and tell him I do not know. He laughs back and we both sit there perplexed.
I decide to trying calling Farid, the man who sent me in search of the woman, once again, in hopes of receiving more detailed instructions. Farid answers and once again tells me that she lives on the third floor. The man next to me asks for the phone and after speaking in Swahili to Farid, instructs me to follow him. We surprisingly enough walk up to the third floor and knock on a door. Two young boys answer and their mother, whose name turns out to be Fatma, was not home. We finally track her down and the young boys drag me along to another of the large concrete buildings.
The flat is that of Rahma and another Fatma, the boys’ mother’s friends. These are the women who have been kind enough to take me along to the kibuki ceremony this evening. Kibuki is a ceremony mainly for women and gays, in which they become possessed by kibuki (Comorian) spirits. I am asked to sit down and watch Swahili soap operas while Rahma and Fatma get ready for the ceremony. I watch as they get dressed in fancy satin dresses, called dera, and put on makeup.
Soon, we piled into Fatma’s car and drove to a part of town that lives in the shadow of the gigantic cement buildings. We are dropped off and as we walk towards the building, I can already hear the music. As we enter the building, Rahma and Fatma put on their kangas (brightly patterned cloth)—one around their waist and one folded neatly lengthwise and thrown over the shoulder. We are greeted by a woman, and I am introduced in Swahili. The woman laughs and invites us in. Rahma and Fatma do not speak much English, and have to gesture to tell me to remove my shoes before entering.
The room is already full of twenty or so people, some sitting in a circle of chairs and the rest on the floor behind the chairs. The air is already thick with incense and a CD player blasts accordion music from the far corner. A small woman sees me as I enter and enthusiastically gestures for me to sit on the floor next to her. I take my place on the floor and watch Rahma and Fatma pick chairs. Even though the music is recorded, there are three shakers migrating around the room and various individuals clapping along. The atmosphere is already overwhelming and people are still arriving.
I notice that people are getting up from their chairs one by one and greeting a large woman in a chair on the other side of the room.
“What are they doing?” I ask the woman next to me. She giggles and says something in Swahili that I cannot understand, but I do hear the word shitani, or spirit. The large woman had already become possessed by her shitani and all the other members were taking time to greet it and pay their respect. I cannot see the shitani well from where I sit, but I do not have to wait long before I see another woman overcome by her shitani. The woman is sitting in a chair on the other side of the room and another woman approaches her with an earthenware brazier billowing incense. The seated woman removes the kanga hung over her shoulder and unfolding it places it over her head. The attendant then places the incense under the kanga and I can she her saying something. Soon the woman under the kanga begins shaking and shouting. Two other women rush over and remove the kanga from the shitani’s head as it stands, still shaking. They then tie the kanga over one shoulder while another woman brings a spear. The shitani stands shaking for a few minutes before dancing in the middle of the circle of chairs.
By now, the woman carrying the brazier of incense has moved on to the next woman in the circle. The same process is followed and soon this new woman is shouting and shaking. This time, the shitani simply slouches in its chair and its attendants instead tie the kanga around its head and provide a foot rest and staff. The shitani stays in its seat, slouched and shaking like an old man rather than dancing in the center of the room.
Methodically, the woman with the incense visits each member in the circle of chairs and a new shitani enters the room. The kangas are placed in various positions – around the head, over the shoulder, draped over the head, tied under the armpits, etc – which makes it easy to spot who is a shitani and who is not. If a woman still has the kanga draped neatly over one shoulder, she is not a shitani.
I enthusiastically watch the events and the small woman next to me spends most of her time encouraging me to clap along and explaining everything to me in Swahili. I unfortunately do not understand anything she says, but don’t have the heart to tell her so. Every now and then I nod my head as if I understand and she lets out a good-hearted laugh and slaps me gently on the knee or back.
Soon the room is full of shitani and I enjoy watching the different personalities. Some shitani are warriors, dancing fiercely with spears, others are female and graceful. One shitani, who is warrior-like, spends half the time dancing fiercely and the other half walking around the room, shouting in Swahili and making the room burst out in laughter. Again, I unfortunately do not understand what the shitani is saying, but I get the impression it is being a bit of a joker and trying to make people laugh. Some shitani sit on other women’s laps, sometimes still dancing and bouncing, which makes it easy to understand where the rumors I had heard earlier about kibuki being full of lesbians come from. More and more people have arrived and by now there are at least 50 people in the room and it is slowly entering chaos.
I gradually become aware of the attention I am receiving from the shitani. I appear to be quite the novelty, with most shitani staring at me interestedly. A few even approach me and rub my head, shouting, “Meva,” the shitani greeting. Before I realize what is going on, one shitani grabs my hand and forcefully encourages me to follow it. I am led over to a chair and to forced to kneel in front of it. The shitani grabs someone’s kanga, and throws it over my head while grabbing a brazier of smoking incense. It then places the incense under the kanga and when nothing happens after a minute or so, it becomes frustrated and removes the kanga, paints my palms and face white, places two coins in each hand, and then tosses water from a bowl full of coins on my face. From what I could tell, this is the process undergone when a shitani is leaving a person.
I am also given a shot of cognac before I am led back to my original seat. I do not sit long before another shitani approaches me and urges me to follow. I am taken to another shitani, and this one asks me if I speak English in Swahili.
Naam, pole. (Yes, sorry.) I only speak English.”
“I like English. I try to speak, but I am no good.”
“Your English is better than my Swahili!” The shitani then lets out a loud laugh, slaps me on the shoulder and shouts, “Meva!”Before I make it back to my seat, Rahma intercepts me and informs me that we are going to leave. We collect our shoes and bags and before completely leaving the building, another shitani stops us and shouts, “Meva!”

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Back from paradise

Well I'm finally back from Zanzibar. I had a great time and believe I got some decent fieldwork and some stupid tan lines. :) I will write a few of my field notes as posts soon, but for now here are some pictures:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

خَمْسة أيّامٍ

5 days before I leave for Zanzibar
1 gigantic Arabic Exam on Monday
3,000 word essay due before I leave
3 books to read before I return from Zanzibar
200+ Arabic vocab learned today
100+ Arabic vocab yet to learn
2-3 hours of Eritrean music to enjoy tomorrow
30 minutes of official interview with Eritrean restaurant owner to conduct tomorrow
4 cups of coffee today
2 hours of hair pulling
1 Swahili phrasebook bought
6 emails sent in hopes of finding spirit possession contacts in Zanzibar
57 blue-green Doxycycline pills to start on Wednesday
90 day Tanzanian visa acquired
17 night stay arranged in Zanzibar

1 excited, but stressed, chica!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What is that strange glowing orb in the sky and why does it burn?!

My room's curtains are quite heavy and keep any daylight out of my room. So, this morning, after I woke up and went to open my curtains, I was suddenly hit with a brilliant beam of light that sent me hissing and screaming into a corner of my room.
It took me several minutes before snapping out of this confusion and figuring out what caused this violent phenomenon. However, I apparently didn't remember what you're supposed to do with sunny days and spent a good chunk of my day doing work on the computer. I finally realized my mistake, and still not quite getting it, I laid in the sum beam shining on my floor for about an hour.

It was then that I remembered you're supposed to go outside when it's sunny and like 12C (53F). Needless to say, by the time I made it outside, the sun had dipped below the skyline.

I now have a reminder next to my window for the next sunny day:


Aren't weekends supposed to be fun?!

When I sat down to contemplate all the things I needed to work on this weekend, this was my reaction:

But I think my fuzzy face-of-horror, was premature. It looks like maybe I'll get everything done and still have some time to goof off on my blog!
I've rocked out on my fieldwork report on Ethiopian music in London. I had an interview with a restaurant owner down in Elephant and Castle. For those of you unfamiliar with Elephant and Castle, let me try to recreate the scene for you. Just imagine how much you'd want to run into this character:

Yeah. That's how much you want to go to Elephant and Castle. At any rate, there was this great hidden Ethiopian restaurant, whose owner was very helpful and gave me some good material for my research.

I also finished one of three books that I need to finish in the next week and a half before I leave for Zanzibar.

Sweet. I rock.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Aichmophobe's Worst Nightmare

I caved and had my first acupuncture session ever today. I feel great! I haven't been this relaxed in who knows how long and there's no better time to feel so relaxed than right now, when I've been on the verge of mental breakdown for a good two or so weeks.

I know, you're probably thinking, "You're going to friggin Zanzibar. How are you stressed out?!"

The answer: because I'm the biggest ball of of stress you'll ever meet.

I get stressed out about anything and everything. Just ask anyone who knows me. A big essay due, an exam, a trip, relationship troubles, a bad cup of coffee, the use of a wrong color in my calendar for an event (yes, I color-code the entries in my calendar according to type of event), a bill to be paid, a call I have to make, a hair in my water, and pretty much anything else you can think of sets me off. I hyperventilate, most likely cry, and mentally shut down for a period of time (and some of those times are longer than others).

Now, however, I feel great. Let's see how long this lasts...

(By the way, if you didn't know or haven't figured out yet, aichmophobia is the fear of needles and sharp objects. You learn something new every day!)

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I now have in my possession round trip tickets to Zanzibar! I leave in less than three weeks and I'll be there for two and a half weeks. I'm heading out to Zanzibar to hopefully do some fieldwork on spirit possession cults for my dissertation, which is due later this year. I'm only there for just over two weeks and therefore may not get much field work out of the deal. However, I'm not going to be too disappointed if I end up just getting to spend several weeks on the beach. What a shame that will be!

Although, it does appear that I've picked Zanzibar's rainiest month to visit. Here's hoping the rain holds off as much as possible while I'm there!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Worst Mood EVAH!

I am, for only god knows why, in the worst mood ever! This morning I got tons of work done, I treated myself to lunch, and then I met up with SJF for a lovely evening. Well, a lovely evening until he accidentally stumbled across the journal I keep. Yes, I'm a 13 year old girl and keep a journal sometimes when I'm too pathetic to publicly write my inane thoughts on the blog. Well, he stumbled across it and read enough to last him a life time of ridicule before I could snatch it away again.

Of course, it's funny. I'm so pathetic, I can laugh at myself. But there is a clear difference between laughing at yourself and having someone else laugh at you! I've never been so embarrassed in my life! Oh woe is me! I had such a lovely day and now I feel like hurting someone... and badly. Luckily for SJF, he realized the danger of the situation and quickly made himself scarce before I could headbutt him in the face. Which is a shame really, it would have released my frustration and possibly caused enough brain damage for him to forget everything he read.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stratford and Oxford, a crazy King, and some rain...just a typical weekend in England

This weekend SJF (yes, I think I've forgotten to tell you that we are back together...maybe a story for another time) and I went with my students to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the Cotswolds and Oxford. Despite the fact that we found ourselves caught in a bit of rain (mostly in the Cotswolds), these were such idyllic and beautiful places. We stayed in the evening and saw the Royal Shakespeare Company perform King Lear in an absolutely amazing production. It was a great weekend and I am really looking forward to the next time I get to visit.


Friday, February 26, 2010

I may not be full of the brightest ideas

My trip back home last week was successful, and by successful I mean relaxing. I didn't do any work-- period. That means I'm now back in London and staring at a To-Do pile so large that I'm starting to worry that it will soon grow a mouth and quickly begin devouring Tokyo.

While on the plane ride back to London, I figured why not get some work done. I read a few articles and quickly lost my concentration. That was mainly due to the two women behind me. One was older, and the other roughly my age. They were obviously on some business trip and the younger girl was going on and on about how important her project and team were, and how she wishes she could just pass off the smaller projects to another woman, but that other woman "wouldn't be able to put together as good a report." I'm not exaggerating when I say that these two were putting on a haughty accent, as if they were really the hottest shit to walk the earth.

Might I remind you that they sat behind coach!

Anywho, tiring quickly of eavesdropping on that conversation, I decided to pull out some of my Arabic and put in a little time studying that instead. I sat there writing and rewriting some vocab in an attempt to force it into my brain. After a few minutes, I looked at the page, then looked around me. Noticing the looks I was getting from my neighbors, I realized I was on a plane. Maybe working on Arabic was not my best course of action. Quietly tucking the paper back in to my bag, I pulled out my computer, mumbled a few words to myself and then clicked on this website.

Shame. Nobody on that plane has a sense of humor.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

So what if I'm old? I get CAKE!

It's my birthday! Happy Birthday to me!
Yes, I may have turned a quarter century old and yes, I may have a breakdown about it; however, I am not one of those people who has stopped looking forward to birthdays. I mean come on! Regardless of how old you are, it's still your day. You still get cake and presents! Why would you want to skip that?!

It's true, I certainly thought about "accidentally forgetting" that my birthday happened. Or hiding in a hole until it all passed. But then I remembered that this is why you date someone older than you. No matter how old you get, they're always older and you can always make fun of them for it.

So, I'm still going to celebrate! I suggest everyone learn to do the same. If anything else, just start lying about your age on your birthday. Start counting backwards. But, for god sake, don't give up the cake!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's good to be home.

Home! I've made it back to my parent's abode in bum-fuck New Hampshire, and I'm LOVING IT! Never before has the expanse of nothingness and forest been so pleasant. The woods do not contain thousands upon thousands of people pushing and shoving trying to get their way to work.

On top of all that, there is a fresh blanket of snow, roughly 4" or 5" deep, from yesterday's snow storm. Can you believe that I'm actually glad to see it?! In the 10 years I've lived in New England, I've learned to despise snow. It only meant shoveling, cold hands, and terrible drivers. Now, having not seen any snow that has stuck for more than  a day this winter, I'm glad to see some snow. It's comforting to see fresh snow outside while I curl up inside with my coffee and a good book.

That's another thing, I've already read two books since I've been home. And get this, they weren't academic books! BLASPHEMY! But I loved every minute of it. So much so, that I'm not put off by the fact that I should probably start doing some real work for the rest of the week.

It's good to be home.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Keep your hands off my momma

I am currently sitting at my desk distraught and considering quitting my current degree and joining the circus, because my life is such a joke that I'd make a great clown. So, I figure what better to cheer me up but to write a post instead of actually trying to do the work that might pull me out of my rut.

Superbowl 44 baby! I love American football and actually stayed up on Sunday night to watch it here live on BBC. Well, ok, that might be an exaggeration. I stayed up until 2:30am, at which point the Colts (my team) lost their lead and I gave up and went to bed. Granted, I don't hate the Saints, and I've got to give it to Drew Brees who played a great game. But the most depressing part of the whole shebang is that BBC doesn't play commercials! I missed out on the commercials! WTF?!

So what did I do? I actually looked them up. What has the world come to? I actively searched YouTube to watch not one, but several commercials. All for crap I'm not going to buy!

At any rate, I've decided that this Doritos commercial was my favorite.

Amazing. I like that little boy already.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Catching Up

Yikes! I've done it again. I've disappeared from the blogosphere. It's because I'm trying my best to get caught up so that I can enjoy my week back home in the States next week.

Things I've recently done/need to catch up on before I leave:

*Submit a dissertation title. I've got something in the works, but have to meet with my supervisor tomorrow to work out the logistics. Either that, or she's going to tell me it's impossible and I fail at life.
*Pick Essay #2 Topic for Middle East Class. Yeah. Not really sure where to start here, but I'm hoping to do something along the lines of protest music used in the Iran elections, or otherwise politically charged music.
*Organize my Fieldwork Project. I've decided on a topic -- Soundscapes of the Coffee Houses on Edgware Road, London -- but now I need to figure out how to conduct research and gather some resources.
*Catch up on Arabic studying. My Arabic class is now up to Lesson 11, and I only know up to about Lesson 6. I have Lesson 7-11's vocab to learn, and need to revise and put together something so that I can effectively get some study done while I'm home.
*Catch up on reading. I have about 30 articles and at least two books that I would like to have read by the time Reading Week is over and I know I will get so little reading actually done when home, so I guess I've got the next few days to get that done.

I am trying really hard to breathe deep and refuse to be overwhelmed. Emphasis on the"trying."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm in denial

So I think I've developed an allergy to red wine, and I died a little inside by saying that. I love red wine.
Let me rephrase.

However, every time I've had it recently, I get major headaches and pretty much pass out before the night is through. This is not cool when you're on the dance floor of a kick-ass club.

So I've decided to give myself some time away from it.

The thing making this the hardest? I had a full bottle of wine sitting right in front of me that I haven't broken into yet. It's just staring at me....begging to be had.

So, I've had a long day-- spent all day in Lincoln (which was great, but I forgot my camera, so I'm waiting for everyone else to post pictures so I can steal them before posting about it) and am absolutely exhausted. Meaning...I can go ahead and indulge myself on at least half this bottle and pass out, which I probably would have done without the help of wine. Plus, the plan is to pass out before the migraine kicks in. Foolproof.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm still alive, I promise!

So, I've found myself with shoddy internet the past few days and haven't been able to find enough time to write. The internet at my dorm is non-existant it seems and on campus I get kicked offline everything 2 minutes or so.

I didn't think much about it until I realized my last post was pretty pathetic. So, I mainly just wanted to let everyone know that no, I did not go become a hermit living in the woods with 23 cats (all named Kitty I, Kitty II, and so on) and a shot-gun in an attempt to get over men.

I'm still around, just can't get on the interwebs.

However, I will take this time to tell you a story I had meant tell you before my love life drama:

Friday night, I was scheduled to help out with a concert SOAS was putting hosting of the group El-Andaluz. The group was an Arabic and Andalusian fusion. I had heard they were really good, and we were expecting a decent crowd for the concert. The concerts are free, so it's a first-come-first-serve basis. We hand out tickets so that we can count how many people go in and once it's full, we can't let anyone else in.

This particular group took their sweet time with the sound check, and even though the concert was scheduled to start at 7:00pm, we couldn't open the doors until about quarter to 7:00. Once we opened the doors, we were greeted by a lobby FULL of people. We started handing out the tickets and letting people in one-by-one. Of course, we got complaints from those who were some of the first to be let in: "You should have let us in earlier," "We were waiting forever," etc etc.

Generally at these concerts, there's a surge of people at the beginning which quickly thins out. This time-- not so. We had a constant stream of people until we ran out of room in the concert hall. At this point, we still had any where between 100 to 200 people still queuing (this concert hall only holds 275 or so to begin with).

This is when the fun started. It's amazing how carnal people become in this situations. Shortly, I had to shut the door for the concert to start and hold people off. I physically had to play bouncer at points during the night and deal with stupid requests:
-"Just open the door so we can listen."
-"My friend's in there, she saved me a seat."  "No, ma'am, I'm sorry no one was allowed to save seats." "But she's in there." "Too bad."
-"I was waiting longer than that lady you just let in"

For normal people, this would be hell. For me, my opportunity to shine! I love being a bitch and there's no quicker way to make me bitchier than to try and bully me. And, these people actually thought that bullying me would work. Little did they know.

I throughly enjoyed myself shouting at the crowd:

I might as well have played The Incredible Hulk.

The whining and nastiness did not end. In fact, my boss gave up and decided that we would leave the doors open so everyone could listen from the hallway. After shouting for awhile, we had a peaceful moment while people in the lobby listened.

...That lasted a whole two minutes before the fire alarm went off.

I almost peed myself I was laughing so hard. Of course, the fire alarm would go off. Best part? Nobody moved. All the people in the audience turned to the two of us working and starting shouting "SHUT  THE DOORS!" The other girl and I were completely taken aback and I was afriad we were getting close to mob mentality. I mean the ENTIRE audience was yelling at us. All we could do is shrug because it wasn't the doors causing the alarms to go off.

Well, it so happens that the brand new director of SOAS was at this concert and he soon was on his feet saying "We have to evacuate the building. People, please evacuate the building."

It probably took us 30 minutes to get everyone out. And of course, I had people yelling at me for that too.
"Please, ma'am, this is not a drill. I have to ask you to get up out of the seat and evacuate the building."
"Don't bully me. Why are you picking on me?"
"I'm not picking on you, I'm asking everyone to leave the building."
"You didn't ask that man over there. Don't think I didn't see that!"
"Ma'am, I haven't made my way over there yet. I'm trying to get everyone out of the building!"

So another 15 or so minutes were spent outside while the firemen showed up. Turns out nothign was wrong, and we had to bolt back down to the auditorium before the mod rushed in.

We didn't make it.

There were already people in seats and we once again had to go through the trouble of getting everyone in. After another 10-15 minutes of seating people, the musicians were back on stage ready to play. Just before they started, a large man blocked the door and started yelling about us not letting him in. This of course caused the entire audience and musicians to stop and stare while we had to eventually call the police to help remove this large man.

All in all, I'm not sure anything else could have possibly gone wrong. It goes without saying that the few of us working that night went out directly afterwards for a few stiff drinks.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I didn't think it was THAT bad.

Anxiously awaiting the return of the essays that almost killed me the past few weeks, I can't help but laugh.

If only I had a cat that was so concerned with my academic endeavors. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Probably the best, but you might find better elsewhere.

I couldn't help but laugh and snap a photo as I passed this kebab place on my way home from Archway the other day.

If you can't read it, it says: "Archway Kebab House: Probably the Best Kebab in the UK." No need to commit, because you never know-- it might not actually be the best.

I came across this sign the other day after an day trip to Greenwich with my exchange students. It unfortunately wasn't the prettiest day for a trip to Greenwich, but we still enjoyed ourselves with the Painted Hall and of course a visit to the Greenwich market. You may be surprised to learn that I did not buy anything. Yay me!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Long Weekends and Imagination

I have successfully made it through my two long weekends. Busy with essays, school, and work, and fraught with sickness for most of the holiday season I can't even remember the last day a lie in (Sorry, I couldn't help trying to sound like a proper Brit).

This is all about to change. I recently (indulgently) bought a a novel, which is the first since the summer. I don't manage well when I'm denied my escapism. I need the chance to allow my mind to wander, to live lives I'll never experience, in order to keep my sanity.

The book I stumbled across in the store is called The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. It is the story of the Mahabharata from the point of view of Draupadi, wife of the five Pandava brothers. Having studied the Mahabharata in my last undergraduate class, I love this retelling of the story with such vividness, but without the overwhelming thickness of most myths.

Insatiably drawn to stories of strong women, I find myself soaking up this story of one of the Mahabharata's strongest and bravest characters. This retelling makes her appear more human, who has desires like all the rest, and yet she is a character to respect-- willful, strong, and capable of wielding the power and authority only women may possess.

I find myself longing for this strength and will. To endure hardships and be free from the yearning to be needed. To survive and successfully change the course of history through pure resolve. This is my escapism.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Some dead guy built this. He's probably buried around here somewhere, everyone else is.

My essays are finally done! Woot! I can't remember the last time I've ever felt so relieved.

However, that relief didn't last too long as I've jumped right back into another busy work weekend. More students arriving to London and more exploring and sight seeing. (I love my job!) Today, we were scheduled to go visit Westminster Abbey. I went for the first time only last week with the first group that arrived and loved it. Beautiful stonework and more history than you can shake a stick at.

Having been only last week, I figure with today's group I'd just point out some of the really cool things and chill out and relax after letting the students loose. Wrong. Apparently, a guard overheard me pointing out things and approached us saying: "As a large group, you all have to stay together. You can't split up and you are in charge of them" all the while staring me down.

 Um, yikes! This meant that I got thrown into being a tour guide for Westminster Abbey after only being there once before! Now, I do love learning random bits of information and therefore had that going for me. I was able to point out some of the really cool stuff, but I'm afraid most of my tour-guiding sounded much like the following:

"This is a pretty cool room. There are some dead guys in there."
"This part of the Abbey was commissioned by some king and he died before it was completed." (Generally, a safe bet to say.)
"More dead dudes."
"This room is important for some reason or another. Can't you just feel the history!?"
"Oh, here are some more famous dead dudes." "Like who?" "Um, like that guy and you know that other famous guy. I think he was a king or something"

Classic. Just classic.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Updates coming soon, so just relax

Wheeee! Essay number one due for Monday is DONE! Well...rather, on paper. Gots to be edited (and as you can tell, my sense of the English language will make that really easi won't it?)
Sweet. With that down, I've got one to go and all weekend. Correction: some of the weekend.

At any rate, these are the reasons that I have not been good about posting. Will be back on top of my game soon, because I know you're all dying to know what I'm up to.


Monday, January 4, 2010

You'd think I was a hermit if you didn't know me better....or maybe you still do.

Instead of doing the brazillion (yes that's a word. It's a quantifier related to "brazilian". Basically it as many of something that equates to how much brazilian hurts. Following? Good.) things I need to do, I decided to get my daily dose of Facebook stalking.

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook may have noticed that I do not have very many recent photos. In fact, there are two photos of me while I was in the hostel back in September and that's it for recent photos. That might lead you to believe that I have no social life. You may be correct in your assumption, but I think I'm in denial. I swear I've had more fun than that! I just don't take photos, and if I do, they're not of me. Any scientific hypothesis would leave you to the conclusion that I either:
A.) hang out with others who also do not take photos
B.) do not hang out with anyone period
C.) have not yet sufficiently figured out Photoshop like the rest of the Facebook world so that I can make all my 3,495,239 friends think I actually have a social life, when really all I do is play videogames and eat ice cream in the confines of my house.

....I'm not bitter. Jeez.

To top it all off, the only photos I've posted on my blog have been ones of me, sitting in my room, making stupid faces. That's not helping the situation either, is it? Hmm. What a predicament.

Update: The sad thing about this post is that I thought it would be funny to do a very badly photoshopped photo of me and a celebrity, but I couldn't even figure out how to do a bad one. Shut up! Sometimes it's ok for awesome people to fail! SOMETIMES!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Official New Years Post

I know this is two days late, but you know what? Shut up!
I bet you want to know what a crazy London New Years Eve I had? I am happy to report that this NYE was closer to the "Crazy Cool" side of the spectrum, rather than the "Sadly Pathetic" side that my holidays tend to hover.

This might go without saying, but bars in London band together on NYE and decide to charge an arm and a leg just for entry because they know they can. SJF and I researched trying to find a bar that wasn't too expensive that still sounded like fun. Finally, we agreed that Camden Town would be our best bet. We could probably find lots of free bars there, and then could just spend our money on drinks. Brilliant!

We got to Camden Town fairly early and made our first stop at a dive bar. The bar was full of what Americans tend to think of when you say "Punk London." Crazy hair, outfits straight out of the 80s, women who dressed like men and men who dressed like women. It was pretty rocking. We mingled there for a bit and then we made our way down the line of bars to find "the one."

By about 9:30 or 10:00, you should probably find a good pub and stick with it if you haven't bought tickets. It gets crowded fast and you need to stake good territory. We played Goldilocks walking up and down the line of pubs: "This one is too crowded." "This one is too empty." "This one has too many sketchy people in it." "This one looks too posh."

Finally we found the perfect place and nestled up to the bar. We soon found a good chillin corner and enjoyed our drinks. After the first round, SJF went back to the bar to get the second and apparently the bar got full quick or SJF has no bar skills because it took him forever to get another drink. In the meantime, I'm chilling by myself in a corner, trying not to be stepped on by this giant man that had taken a place near me. I look across a table to my right and there is a woman all dressed up sitting by herself. She seemed to be entertained, but I kept thinking, "why would a woman come to a bar by herself. That's lame." Then I realized that I too was standing there alone, so I figured she probably had some guy buying a drink for her too. I would have started a conversation with her, but I would have had to move around the table and lose my prime corner spot. So I stayed put. Soon enough, a man showed up with a couple drinks for him and her and I still waited.

SJF finally showed up and on his way back to me, he saw the guy who had brought the woman a drink and chatted him up like they were old buddies. He convinced both of them to come over and join us in the corner. It turns out SJF had been stuck at the bar next to this same guy and they had chatted.

These two turned out to be really fun and we spent the rest of the night drinking, chatting and dancing with this other couple. Soon enough we found ourselves counting down.

2010, baby!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I think I'm allergic to 2010

I've been sick with a really sore throat for about two weeks, and this morning I woke up and my sore throat is almost gone. Sweeet! I'm finally getting better.

That was until I looked in the mirror. For some reason I had completely broken out in hives. Everywhere. I have no idea why either. I've had hives once before, popped some Benadryl pills and was fine within a half an hour. Today, I've taken just about every antihistamine possible, and it's only gotten worse.

I can't figure out what the hell could have caused this, so I'm certain that the year 2010 has caused this. 2010 and I are now SO fighting.

P.S. I promise to write a real New Years post tomorrow, when I don't look I've got deadly skin disease.