Thursday, October 27, 2011

London Film Festival, Diwali, Globe theatre and Millenium Bridge

Sooo it's been an eventful few days! Yesterday, of course, was Diwali. To all my Indians out there, HAPPY DIWALIIIII. What up. So exciting. London goes CUH-RAZYYY for Diwali. There were fireworks all night that I got to watch from the comfort of my cousin's home. I was supposed to be at the temple with her but was running late (typical). I'm hoping to visit the temple at some point though because it's the largest Hindu temple in the WORLD. Legit.

Anyway, yesterday, we went to go see Hunky Dory at the London Film Festival. It was so good and on a bonus note, the director was there and introduced the film to us. It stars Minnie Driver and if it comes to a theatre in the US, y'all should definitely check it out. This is my third movie at the BFI London Film Festival because as my biffles back home, Jake and Taylor Seale can tell you, I'm kind of a movie buff. The other films I saw were Chicken with Plums (probably the most incredible film I've ever seen) and Martha Marcy May Marlene which I've been dying to see for months so finally watching it was great. It's a very creepy film but impeccably acted. Elizabeth Olsen (MK AND A'S LITTLE SIS-WHAT) plays Martha and does such a heartbreaking job. Another film that I've seen since being in London is Drive with Ryan Gosling. Definitely worth the money as well. All action: guns, cars, and robberies with little to no dialogue. It's "bloody brilliant," as the Brits would say.

After Hunky Dory (sorry got a little off track), we went to dinner at Giraffe near the Waterloo Bridge which was delicious! I had a burrito and we all split the bruschetta and literally were too stuffed to move afterwards. I had to get to my cousin's though, so I paid and left. I had a little time to kill (or so I thought) so I walked the Waterloo Bridge overlooking the Thames River and it was so beautiful, I almost couldn't stand it. Seeing the London skyline at night makes you realize what a huge city it actually is. I did have a tourist moment though and was totally sure I was walking the Millennium Bridge (because the Waterloo Bridge kinnddd of looks like it) and asked someone when they had reconstructed it but turns was the wrong bridge. Oh well, still an amazing time.

Afterwards, I went to my cousin's...was super late so missed an epic fireworks show at the temple but I loved being able to sit in a living room (have I mentioned my apartment doesn't have one?) and just relax for the first time in a while. It was really nice. I also got to spend Diwali with family which is great because being away from my mom, dad, and sister is so hard sometimes.

Today, my theatre class went to the Globe Theatre and I FINALLY WALKED THE MILLENNIUM BRIDGE. So excited to check that one off my list. But the Globe Theatre is in South Bank and surprisingly is not the original Globe where Shakespeare put on plays but a historically-accurate reconstruction of the Globe. There's your Jeopardy trivia for the week. But it was really cool, aside from the fact that there's construction going on and therefore half of the stage was obstructed from view. Whatevs. You win some, you lose some. I spent the rest of the day in class, which was pretty uneventful and I'm about to go to sleep so I can go see Laura Marling tomorrow with Olivia!! Whoohoo! Should be so much fun. Laura Marling is a British singer who is amazing so I'm very excited. It's out in Liverpool though so I have to get up at 4 am to get there. Rough life. But it'll be worth it.

Still looking for people to go to Wiz Khalifa...anyone in London, holla at your girl!

Thinking of everyone while in London!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First London blogpost!

So I realize that this is really belated but I wanted to have a record of my time and London and thought maybe (or maybe not for you betches out there) that you guys would be interested in sharing memories of my trip with me! As I'm writing this, I've spent about a month in London. Time seriously has flown by here. It seems like just yesterday that I was tripping over my suitcase in Heathrow, finding the only person in London who doesn't speak English to ask where baggage claim was. But it really has been a month! Since I haven't been regularly blogging, I thought I would dedicate this blog-post to a few highlights from the past month and then continue with regular (or as regularly as I can keep up with them) blogposts from this point on. So to cover a few things:

1) When I first landed in London, I was really scared. And really hot. I literally dressed for the North Pole and was greeted with 85 degree weather, bright sunshine, and humidity to boot. It didn't even feel like I'd left South Carolina. But once I changed into a short-sleeve tee, I was loving it. My cousin picked me up which was nice because a familiar face in a foreign country always helps makes the transition easier. I stayed with her and her family for the week which gave me a chance to use "the tube," which is the underground transportation system that Londoners use, to walk around the neighborhood (and by walk, i mean WALK...Londoners walk literally everywhere. It's not rare to see a car but they're not EVERYWHERE like in the USA), and to get used to the London atmosphere.

2) I'm LOVING my new apartment. My house-mates are all really nice. Most of us are from America. Katie is from New Jersey and goes to school in New York. Her brother actually goes to USC! Such a small world. Mitch is from New York and goes to school there as well. He's literally the funniest person I have ever met. Soulsies. Tyler is from Chicago and goes to school at DePaul. He is awesome as well and knows a LOT more about the London scene than I do so it's nice to get helpful tips from him. We have one more flatmate whose name is Tyler too and he's from Arkansas. I also have one native British roommate named Bansi (we call her Bambam for short) who's from Oxford (a town about 2 hours outside of London) and she fills us in on the all "do's and don'ts" of living in London. For those of who who love wearing sweatpants and shirts to class (aka:me), that's a big don't. Everyone here is so well-dressed and put together all the time. I love learning about fashion just through observation.

3) I've been traveling so much! I've already done a day trip to Bath and Stonehenge. Bath was was like this idealistic lakeside town where everyone was so friendly and seemed to know each other. Stonehenge was pretty overrated but beautiful, all the same. I'm glad I got to see it. Other then those places, I've also been to Amsterdam which was CRAZY. I was pretty sick during the weekend but that didn't mess up the trip at all. We took a 8 hour bus there which wasn't the best experience but when we got there, we ate Dutch pancakes (which are amazing!!) and walked around the city which was great. We went to the Heineken Experience there which was really cool and interactive and I got to see how one of the world's most famous beers is made. I really wanted to go to the Anne Frank museum but because we were on a tour, we didn't really have a lot of time to do that. We went on a canal cruise which was amazing...some people in Amsterdam live on boats and not little dinky boats but REALLY nice boats. Another great thing about Amsterdam was that I got to see Marjan! It was so nice to be reunited with her. We've also been to Dublin which was incredible! I tried to go the James Joyce museum but it was closed, but we did this really fun bar crawl on the last night which will definitely be one of the things I remember.

4)Oh no big deal...I MET GEORGE CLOONEY. We went to the premiere of Ides of March and stood in the FREEZING cold but we got to meet him and I got his autograph and it was so amazing!

5)I'm loving university. The classes are a lot like they were at my old high school-small and discussion based which a) helps me stay awake and b) are a lot more interesting than sitting and listening to someone lecture for 2 hours. I'm taking Tragedy: Ancient to Modern, Writing London (which is cool because we travel to places in London and write about them), London Theater and Performance (also cool because we get to see theatre shows,) and Democracy in America. To be honest though, class is the furthest thing from my mind. It's hard to remember sometimes that I'm here to go to school and not just to travel, party, and hope to become part of the Royal Family.

6) London itself is so much. There's literally so much to do which sometimes makes me feel like I'm missing out on a lot but I wouldn't trade this opportunity for the world! I've already been to Buckingham Palace, Oxford Street, the London Film Festival, river cruise along the Thames, Brick Lane, St. John's Wood...which are all beautiful. Going out is here is ridiculously fun too. Even the smaller bars are amazing. To those of you who think I was on grandma status back home, you would be so proud of me here. :) I'm DTGO. Down to go out!

Other than that, I've just basically been getting accustomed to living in London! I miss Shawn and of course my besties (you know who you are!) I've been keeping an eye out for awesome souvenirs and can't believe it's already been an ENTIRE month. Can't wait to come back with that British accent and better yet, some AWESOME London clothes. :)