Come quickly now.

The air hangs heavily today.
Oh, la! We’ve got a lot to learn from each other,
we have got to stick together.

All’s well, and here I am, sitting at my desk at home. Just sent a mass text to the Loring Family members and received immediate joyous responses. God, free unlimited texting is great.

The flight was alright. Very quiet; I had a window seat and a nearly-invisible girl sitting next to me. Slightly painful because of my back pains. Curses to wheel-less suitcases! It’s only fitting that my fiery hot sauce– which exploded everywhere, no matter whose fault it was– will cleanse the devil out of it.

Like I’d predicted, I spent 6 hours in the airport, and 8+ on the plane. I was literally a raving maniac alone in a crowd of people… Because of this:
IRONICALLY, the only book I bought for myself in the airport was London Fields. After THREE MONTHS of looking for it in every bookshop I went into– be it in Camden market, Euston Sq., Waterloo Stn., Oxford, Stratford, etc.– I finally find it in the airport. So I bought it, duh. I read it immediately for the following 4 hours and words cannot describe whatever I was feeling with that. I became COMPLETELY manic while reading and I had to move my seat every half an hour because I was freaking people out with my outbursts.

I didn’t finish it yet, but I’ll let you know. It makes me feel a little better about leaving London, but it simultaneously made me wish I’d actually stopped on Portobello Road and took the tube to London Fields.

Everything is much the same, except for me. Daria said she thought maybe things would be new here because we would be new people, viewing things through different eyes. Instead, the suburbs have just made me sad. I haven’t even talked to people yet, but you can tell by the aura of the place: Amis had a point in the beginning of London Fields about the people of London, but it’s too early to bring it up. You’d think me judgemental.
I don’t have a car, but I don’t think I can leave just yet.
It’s like being back in the womb. But with a Kyetty.

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Let me praise you for the good times

I’m sitting here in the warmth, drinking my last cup of tea and listening to The Mountain Goats The Life of the World to Come. I was just locked out of my flat because I let Tori in (keyless again!) and my door slammed behind me. DUH. I’m wearing a cami, a skirt, and tights. It’s 30 degrees out and weather.com says it’s supposed to snow tomorrow. This is my life, I guess. Or as Daria is wont to say in a regrettable maxim, “So is life.” 

But let’s flash back, shall we? There’s a lot of ground to cover, geographically and emotionally. For the most part, the rest of this is chronological, not thematic.

[TO COMPLETE LATER: Andy’s breakfast, blog. Saturday night at the NXI –> police. The rugby team’s mess. News of blood.]

Sunday evening, we all agreed that it wasn’t necessarily morbid if we all wanted to go look at the blood in front of New Cross library. We were going in that direction anyway. So we took the 30-second walk and stared at the amount of blood from what we presumed to be stab wounds. We took pictures of it, and I probably took it a little too far by taking a picture with it.
It was gross, it was funny. Eh, we live here.

The ukelele band at the Amersham Arms on Sunday night is really where it all ended. The first half of the set ended with “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine” but we replaced it with “It’s the end of our trip as we know it, and we might cry.” So we cried a little bit on each other during the break. They, the 8-piece uke/banjo/lapsteel/kazoo band, came back and either played Christmas songs or hipster requests (from me!) I stole their request/set list, but off the top of my head, they played hippy-dippy Hot Chip’s “Over and Over” and Bright Eyes’ “At the Bottom of Everything”. THEY EVEN DID HALF OF THE OPENING MONOLOGUE, despite the fact that I was joking. I mean, it wasn’t well done, but the fact that they did it… Well… I called out for Morrissey and Tom Waits, but they never got to it.
I fell a little bit in love with the youngest ukelele player. He had to be maybe 25, looked a little bit like Colin Meloy, did a wicked job at the Pogues. The second set closed with The Pogues’ “Fairy Tale in New York” and I literally almost sobbed all over Joe. We walked back a very subdued bunch.
I don’t know if people fully understood how important that was to me, but I enjoy sitting around and listening to music with people. It was really weird for Andy not to be there, as he completes the 7 Loring Family members.

Monday, I spent Daria’s last full day with her in Waterloo and South Bank, blowing bubbles. People loved it. I gave the rest of the bottle to these little British kids, which automatically made me look like a sketchy potential paedophile. But the two of us sat together on a bench for a long time, watching the water and making friends with these birds. I had a best friend whom I named Albert, because he kept trying to pop the bubbles with his beak.
We also ‘hit up’ Westminster for a quality last time. Wound up sitting in a pub off Parliament, where all these hilarious civil servants kept running in for a pint and a loud conversation about nothing in particular. Gam and Daria attended Evensong at Westminster Abbey while I went back to my room and discovered that the rugby team took nearly everything I owned in the kitchen and left me with condiments.
Our dinner that night consisted of chicken noodle soup, sweet and sour chicken, rice, garlic chili potatoes, vegetable spring rolls, an Iceland pizza, and George’s last bottle of wine. (Did I forget anything?)
Gonna miss them Iceland pizzas. Karen just informed me that during WWII, the largest bomb dropped in London was actually dropped in New Cross. On a Woolworth’s, which is now present day ICELAND. HILARIOUS. But seriously, why would you aim a V2 rocket at New Cross? What a waste of explosives. Send it to Westminster city or something, not the middle of nowhere so a crapload of civilians get killed by chunks of falling Woolworth’s. (Gopher?)

Today, after seeing Daria off, I took the tube to London Bridge and walked up Tooley Street to the Hays Galleria. It was filled with fancy shops in a rich-looking arcade (Arcade here is not the same as arcade there.) I popped over to Tower Bridge and just stood there for an hour looking at the bridge and the HMS Belfast. I wish we’d all come there as a group because the area around it and on the northern side of the Thames is really impressive. After, I walked back and took the Jubilee to Waterloo, basically repeating the day before that I’d spent with Daria. Walked up to the London Eye and cried in public. Bought stuff at the Cologne Christmas Festival lining South Bank. Then, I sat on a park bench for a couple of hours, listening to Owen and helping tourists take pictures of themselves. (I even thought I saw Albert the Seagull again.) I sat still until I turned blue/purple from the cold. Practically ran across Westminster Bridge during sunset to take pictures of WM Abbey. Parliament lit up and I left, even though I absolutely love that building.
I had my very last pasty for dinner. I shed tears all over it.
Not really.
I took a ridiculously long shower because it’s so freakin’ cold.
Karen came to say her goodbyes, Gam and I went to Chik Chicken (sp?) for a chicken dinner… To remember the place by. (Serious LOL.) Lewis stopped by to take the pots and pans I dumped/hid in the shrubbery outside.
Here I am again. Still stuff left to do, but this is it for now.

SEMI-FINAL CONCLUSIONS
I don’t dare sum the whole trip up yet. I don’t know if it’s because I can’t accept that it’s over even now, or I can’t locate any–uh– visceral concision in order to cover 3 months in a strange place. It was up; it was down; it was the most different things I’ve ever experienced in my small life. And your life is small.
As we all know, courtesy of Shakespeare’s London, the Hubble telescope has proven that our space in the cosmos is worthless. Our world is small, our galaxy is small.
Emily Carroll and I can bring up a stranger in conversation, and it can just happen that we’ve both met this person in completely separate times. I can walk around Amsterdam and see two men who sat next to us the day before. We can see Daria’s flatmate standing on the corner. We can get on a bus with a family in Belgium and then see them again in France. I can walk around Paris and see people we met the night before in a completely different arrondissement. Gam can run into our newly-departed family members on the tube. It really makes me think about Kurt Vonnegut’s idea of the karass— that ” a group of people who, often unknowingly, are working together to do God’s will. The people can be thought of as like the fingers that support a Cat’s Cradle”— and the granfalloona false karass; i.e., a group of people who imagine they have a connection that does not really exist. An example is “Hoosiers”; Hoosiers are people from Indiana, and Hoosiers have no true spiritual destiny in common, so really share little more than a name.” This is crap I think about all the time.

Tomorrow, I’ll spend six hours in the airport and then eight hours on the plane. Longer than the average college student stays awake; a day of waiting . . . I can almost look forward to how Chekovian this is going to be. Ultimately I think it’s funny that something Zade (the captain of the rugby team) said to me that came back right now. “Are you waiting again? Is that all you ever do? Whenever I see you, you’re waiting.” Hey, throwback to Dave Eggers: there is travel and there are babies. Everything else is drudgery and death.

Also ironically, things Darryl has sung are perhaps appropriate, and an acceptable way to end for the day:

Stopping at the flower-lit wash of world color,
suddenly pulled from the lonely cold snowy lawns
but I kinda miss all of the safety I associate
with little things like clothing layers, blankets, fireplaces.
[. . .]
Fear is for the indoors;
you’ll get no roses for your rainstorms.
Emptiness will manifest in those who decide
they’re much too scared to get wet.

I loved the Loring Family.
Even if we talk about farts way too often.

Produce

Woke up 2 hours early for no particular reason. Did laundry, read the newspaper, ate breakfast. I was going to say that “I made myself an English breakfast this morning,” but it’d be sort of untrue. Tea and eggs and toast and mushrooms. Mostly mushrooms.
Another thing to miss: going to market.
Yesterday, Chris and I went to Lewisham Shopping Centre for bric-a-brac and what-have-you, and we stopped to buy some veg. Having been craving mushrooms, I bought a bowl (because these things come in bowls.)
We stood at the table for a long time, deliberating over which bowl to choose while ruddy people shouted Cockney garbage at each other.  The woman poured the bowl of mushrooms into a plastic bag and asked me for 1 pound. ONE QUID for nearly TWO KILOS of Portobello mushrooms. Holy crap. I can’t even cook that much at one time, much less eat all of it.
I should’ve bought tomatoes as well.

 Dylan Thomas sort of said Wales was the chosen land, but England could be included too. Aaand everyone knows it. “New York is great but London is the greatest city in the world” said someone raised in Gloucester.
People are less judgemental than in France, anyway, which is probably more beautiful, if we’re to judge by aesthetics. London is comprised of so many foreignors that no one really knows we’re you’re from until you open your mouth.

I don’t think it’s all that mad that Under Milk Wood just springs up unbidden in my mind. Sitting on the 453 at dawn, the back of my mind said “The principality of the sky lightens now” like he’s narrating my life from the grave. Cool, right?
Hup…
As I sit in my room with my snowglobe and blow bubbles–>
I’ve made my choice and am left to regret my decision.

Last night, I watched 101 Dalmatians. The movie is so much better now that I can recognise places in the movie. I mean, yes it’s Disney and yes it’s animated, but they included famous places and tossed about slang like it’s no big deal/like it wasn’t written for 6-year old kids.
Right off the bat: Regent’s Park, St Paul’s Cathedral, Camden Town, etc.
Between the lines: the 2 criminals are watching a TV show called “What’s My Crime?” It looks A LOT like Question Time, although I doubt Question Time existed in the 60s when the film was animated. That’s something I’ll have to research. [edit: No, Question Time was introduced in 1979.] But when they break into the house, the criminals make up some bull about a new Act issued by Parliament in order to get inside. They yell about how no one cares about Parliament and Scotland Yard is useless. Durf.

There were times when I actually laughed out loud just from watching. I guess this all went over my head when I was still more interested in the daily adventures of Barney.

1) Tonight is the last Taco Tuesday for our group. After Christmas, we’re going to reconvene at Andy’s house (if it’s okay with Marc and Celia) to have a Taco Navidad. Gam will be in Wisconsin or something, so we’re going to set her up a place and Skype her.
2) Tomorrow is the CEA Christmas dinner and then Othello with our Shakes. class. I’m really excited about Othello, because I’ve never seen it, and because Lenny Henry (a British COMEDIAN) is acting Othello. He was half-trained at RADA, I think, so this will either be really interesting or really bad.
3) Thursday is the Christmas dinner, for which I’m either going to make pumpkin spice bread or kiflis/kolaches. Whatever I don’t make for this will be made for the following morning.
4) Friday is the Shakes. class Christmas party and viewing of our films. (Ours is completed, and runs about 16 minutes long. It was supposed to be 3 minutes long, but it’s just SO FUNNY.)
5) The weekend is up for grabs, but people start leaving. Not only am I going to be the last person to leave out of our group, but also out of our flat. I was the first one to arrive back in September. Think about that one.

you lost it

Some jokes fall flat.

I’m getting pretty tired of keeping up in terms of social media,
BUT I shall trudge on.

Saturday, we woke up early, left New Cross around 630ish and took the 453 ALL THE WAY to Marylebone. (Finally! Cross that off the Bucket List!) Oddly, we got to the station about an hour early. Sat in this cafe across the street where a man named Gino had an ENORMOUS moustache.

The whole trip was fine, except someone smelled…

Tidmarsh had us all interested in a competition for the day, where we got a prize if we found the kitschiest bit of Shakespeare merchandise. It had to be less than 5 quid and it had to be kitschy and pointless. And it had to be a secret until we revealed them all on the train. It was awesome, except I’m now the proud owner of a Stratford-Upon-Avon snowglobe fridge magnet. I thought the whole snowglobe/magnet combo would be a winner, but Dyanna clearly had the win with her useless wooden toy.

Throughout the day, I had the equivalent about 10 cups of tea, so I was OUT OF CONTROL. Plus, I had eaten a good portion of my bag of Brazilian Nut Toffee. I had so much caffeine/sugar that I had to drink about 4 cups of coffee the following day just to not feel like crap.
I’m running out of Christmas Blend, too. Wah.

Anyway, I’m not going to Wales. I should’ve planned it earlier when it was cheaper and not cold and raining. (Not that England is particularly cold– it’s far too mild. Just damp.) But I’m going to keep saving up money so I can come back in a year or two for a week or so. It’s not like I have to pay for accommodation, either in London or in Wales.

As Paul McCartney said,
Things can go wrong
Things can go right
Things can go bump in the dead of the night.
There’s still so much for us left to do in London, and now that I’ve finished handing in my papers to the department this morning, I have the time to wrap it all up.

I never expected to come here and make so many new friends. I think that that in and of itself sounds pretty stupid, because it’s a reason a lot of people are here. I figured I’d get my work done and learn new stuff in classes, see a lot of touristy things, discover new music, and maybe fall in love with an un-chavly British  bloke and marry him so I can have European citizenship.
Things don’t always work out.

I think that if we had more time, we’d all become those infamously and completely inseparable group of friends. But that’s what happens when you’re out of the zone– you create a new “family”. (Yes, we talk also about this in Shakespeare’s London, amongst everything else.)
I finally started bonding with my flatmates Casey and Maggie, a little too late, I’d say. Allison is sweet and Dyanna is also a good friend now, after we’ve seen New Moon, had an awkward tapas dinner, and worked on the Shakespeare film together. They’re such nice people and I fervently wish I wasn’t such an awkward human being.

When we were washing dishes back-to-back in my flat, I was thinking about how Chris and I are ridiculously close. When we came here, I’d only met him two or three times before that. I’m confident I could live with this kid and we wouldn’t drive each other crazy.
Everyone else in that group has gotten really tight. We all had breakfast together on Sunday (yesterday) before they went out to this club and I went back to work on papers. I’d never met Andy or Gam before in my life, but we could all just sit in silence like we’ve known each other for years. It’s pretty magical.

Casey just finished editing our video!
Who’s excited to see Chris and me in drag, reciting Shakespeare?!

this side of the blue

Class today shook me to my core after we finished Othello. It was life-changing. Or life-illuminating. I don’t know how it even happens; Shakespeare is supposed to be boring and nearly-incomprehensible, yeah?
We reconvened at 2pm to take another historical walk around London, where we finished at Somerset House to watch the ice skaters.
I’ve barely slept in the past three days. 

I can’t BELIEVE I only have ELEVEN days left. Where the heck did my life go? Anyway, I hope I spend the time wisely by doing things I NEED to do. I know what they are.
-Finish uploading pictures
-Finish (start!) blogging my notes about our Trip Abroad
-Fortnum & Mason
-Pretend to buy something from Harrod’s
-Camden one last time
-NXI one last time
-Snag a copy of our Shakespeare movie, which is in post-production
-Wales to make my Dylan Thomas pilgrimage.

Not so hilarious: There are so many drunks in my flat, who are breaking things. I’m putting my earplugs in; I’m leaving for Stratford in 7 hours. Had I been sleeping already, I would’ve been FURIOUS at Zade and Dyanna for just banging relentlessly on my door (locked out of foresight, thankfully.)
I don’t know how many people are actually going to show up for our trip tomorrow morning, knowing for a FACT that at least four people in the class are hopelessly lashed right now. Stupid. Your last full weekend in London does not mean that you need to act like a moron.

There are so many nearly-uncountable things and unquantifiable in terms of personal value to me that I’m going to miss on this side of the blue, (the list goes on and on and on) BUT I’m trying not to think about them. Instead, it’s what I have to look forward to when I go home:
-a big furry Kyetty
-Kraft mac & cheese
-my real bed
-a bath tub
– . . .
– . . .
– . . .
-THE U.S. DOLLAR

Let’s face it: being able to pee, brush my teeth, and shower SIMULTANEOUSLY in my triangular bathroom is pretty cool. Try and top that, New Jersey.

And the signifieds butt heads with the signifiers
and we all fall down slack-jawed to marvel at words!
When across the sky sheet the impossible birds
in the steady, illiterate movement homewards.