30 September, 2008

Of Course

What do you do when your flatmate genuinely enjoys doing ironic calisthenics to 80's videos in the morning?

You do them with her, of course.

And you wear sweatbands.

Enrolled (and stuff)

I enrolled today. Which is apparently not the same thing is registering for classes. In fact, no classes were involved. I simply handed them a few sheets of paper and they said, "ok, you're enrolled, now scram!"

I had to ask around a couple of times, but it seems I am supposed to show up again next Monday to find out what my classes are. Which means I don't start classes until Tuesday at the earliest. It also means I really need to get my ass in gear and work on this summer homework assignment they gave us.

I'm having a tough time sketching in my room. But then I've always found that my bedroom is a void of productivity. One of the major downsides to this dorm is that there is no common room to hang out besides the kitchen, and the kitchen isn't the greatest place to do anything, much less be creative. And just to worsen the artistic black hole that is my bedroom, I've also found that the eight hour difference between all my friends and I makes my evenings my only time to catch up with people. Thus making it very hard for me to pull away from Skype to go draw sometimes. But perhaps I'm just making excuses for being lazy...

Anyhow, the highlight of my day was reading in a warm cafe while it rained and blustered outside. Curled up in a worn brown leather armchair I cracked the cover of Tropic of Cancer while I sipped scalding hot coffee. It was perfect.

Around 11pm this evening I messaged my room mate, "I want a cookie so badly it's ridiculous." She replied, "want to go on a walk with a mission?" So we headed out into the evening in search of late night sweets and returned home with two large bottles of cider and a delicious in-no-way-a-compromise cookie dough ice cream. Now, sugar high and slightly tipsy, I suppose I should settle in, shut off the computer, and get my homework done.

G'nite intarweb.

29 September, 2008


Tomorrow at noon I enroll for classes and meet the other students in my program. I am ridiculously excited! Let's hope there are some like-minded people in my classes. Weeeee! School has never been a source of excitement like this before, so this is a new one for me. I think it's a good sign. :)

I had a really shitty day today full of problems coming up, things going wrong, and me losing something I really liked. And somehow the day just got progressively worse. But one of my room mates and I made dinner together, and once the other room mates joined us in the kitchen, I found that the social time made everything seem less terrible.

My flat mates are an interesting crew. We are such an odd mix of different people. Dinners could be potentially awkward if we don't find a good balance.

And now, it is midnight. I'm going to head to bed and try to get some beauty rest. Gotta look pretty for the enrollment people tomorrow, right?

G'nite world.

Imperial Fleet Week

San Francisco + nerdiness = happy redhead


Today has been a shitty day. So I have come home and will stay here until the bad day goes away.

However, in my doomed travels today, I did snap this photo:

"Um, no you're not......"

28 September, 2008

Redhead Walking

My awesome room mate gave me some mp3s this evening, one of which was the song I am sharing with you. I think it's very appropriate.

"Redhead Walking" by Beat Happening

Random Photo

Something about this sad, worn building off of Brick Lane caught my eye.

Pink Pound

I love the term "The Pink Pound".

27 September, 2008

Dorm Progression, week 1

As of tonight, I have been here for one week exactly.
Here is my dorm room the day I arrived:

And here is my dorm room this evening:

I admit it looks kinda cluttered right now, but that's because I have three drawers and two shelves and nowhere to put some things. But that will change. It still needs a lot of work to make it cozy (and I'm not allowed to put up curtains or hang things on the walls), but it's a LOT better with some sheets, a little color, and my art books up on the shelves. A nice comfy area rug will add a little something too.

I LOVE interior decorating, and I am usually very good at it. But this room and the school's rules are really not giving me much to work with. However, regardless of how boring this might be for other people to look at, I will keep you all updated on the room's progress as I make it into the best possible living space a dorm room can be. By the time I leave in a year, it will be the room everyone wishes they'd had!


It's Saturday. I really didn't want to spend the day alone, but my one cool room mate was stuck at a friend's place and had to cancel our plans. I couldn't waste a sunny day inside (especially since everyone I would want to talk to online is asleep during most of my daytime hours), so I begrudgingly dragged myself out of the house and over to Portobello Market.

It was overwhelmingly busy for someone perusing on her own. The crowds were slow, the stalls packed. I wanted to stop in a cafe or somewhere quiet, but sitting alone in such a busy social area would have really highlighted the fact that I was by myself today, like yesterday, and the day before... so I didn't stop to eat.

I think the novelty of all this time alone is beginning to wear off. I miss having friends to text when I'm waiting for a train, or a boyfriend to look forward to seeing each evening. I miss being able to call people to find a last-minute partner in crime for an event. Alone-time recharges my batteries, but they deplete much faster when I'm forced to do social things alone all the time.

The ride home on the underground seemed to take forever today. And when I finally got home, I realized that being "home" just means I'm alone some more.

I cannot wait for classes to begin. One more week, and then maybe I will finally have some focus, and the opportunity to meet like-minded people.


Let's say you're at work and you cross paths with someone you know, but neither of you wants to stop and chat. You might ask, "how's it going?" or "how're you?" and they will most likely say, "fine!" and keep walking.

In England, it seems that if I pass someone and ask, "how're you?" they will stop and answer honestly, starting a conversation. It seems to me that the British equivalent of "how's it going?" is "alright?"

I walked into a store I've been in before and the cashier smiled and said, "alright, then?" I nodded and smiled. And I've heard it on the street many times when I've bumped into someone vaguely familiar from the dorm I'm in. "Alright?" they ask, and keep walking.

I am so used to saying hello and "how's it going?" when I meet people that this is going to take some getting used to. Until I feel comfortable saying "alright" I will just have to accept that I'll be the cause of some confusion, as I ask how people are and then walk away without stopping to listen to their answers.

26 September, 2008

On Living Elsewhere

"Ohmigod, I HATE how I don't know any of the brands here. Everything is different. It's SO annoying," someone said to me.

And this illustrates why some people will not make the most of this experience studying abroad. If small differences frustrate you, perhaps you shouldn't put yourself in the midst of a different culture for a number of years.

At first glance, living in English culture doesn't seem like that much of a stretch for an American. We speak the "same" language, and live in what appears to be very similar ways. But I have found that our two cultures are unexpectedly different. Being a fashion designer I think of it like shopping for fabric. From a distance, satin is satin is satin. But touch the satin, and you'll find the fibers in the fabrics are completely different.

In the week that I've lived here, I have already found that the differences between our cultures are many, and often subtle. But the words and lifestyle often seem deceptively similar, and it is easy to forget that I am living in an entirely different culture over here.

So I suppose there is a tiny bit of culture shock happening for my room mates and I. But unlike my room mate who likes to complain about it, I am having the best time with it! I am really enjoying this opportunity to observe Brits in their natural habitat and learn from these creatures that are so similar to my own species.

Before I left the states I was terribly nervous that I would appear to be one of those stupid, ignorant American tourists. But luckily I haven't found that to be much of a problem. In fact today I even gave directions to two English women. Go me!

When I woke up this morning it was beautiful and sunny. Inspired by this rare California-style heat, I decided to expand my knowledge of the local-ish neighborhood. I wandered down to Brick Lane and walked all the way up to Commercial Street where I meandered up and down the various streets and alleys in the area until I noticed shops were closing up. My afternoon revealed two local fabric stores (yeay!), a number of restaurants I absolutely must try, two of the most incredible vintage shops I've ever been to (and I have been to many), three contenders for the "Local Comfy Coffee Shop" title, and most importantly that I don't come across as an American who doesn't want to be here.

24 September, 2008

Listening to the Dock of the Bay

The song of the day is Otis Redding's "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay". I happened to overhear someone playing it out of an open window as I walked home this afternoon. Smiling, I paused to listen. The afternoon rain had just stopped, the soft wind was blowing my hair into my face, and I was perfectly warmed in my wool jacket as I listened to a song about my other city, San Francisco.

Filthy MacNasty

I haven't posted pictures in a long time, and I happened to snap this on Sunday, my first day of wandering around aimlessly. It made me giggle.

23 September, 2008


Apparently I live mere streets away from several of the sites where Jack the Ripper disemboweled his feminine victims. My afternoon discovery came by accident when my flatmate and I ducked into an alleyway so she could adjust her skirt, and I noticed a little placket on a brick wall that detailed the grisly death of a prostitute at the hands of Jack.

I love my neighborhood all of a sudden.

22 September, 2008

Arrived and Settling In

To think that three days ago I was sitting on a plane, sure that my life was over...

And now I reside in a little town called London. You might have heard of it.

It's only been two days since I arrived and already I feel comfortable in this city. Lost, but comfortable. But when I arrived at Heathrow on Saturday morning I was MISERABLE. If I could add more emphasis to that word I would. I was beyond exhausted but knew I needed to stay up until 9pm to help adjust to the time zone difference. I was so depressed and terrified that the space in my stomach where food would normally go was filled with a giant knot, and more than anything I wanted to turn around and go home once I saw the hole of a room that would be my home for the next year.

But sleep solves most problems. And I woke up to a sunny Sunday morning feeling alive and ready to take on the city around me. I dressed (which was surprisingly saddening since so much of my clothing reminds me of my boyfriend), grabbed a tube map I'd gotten the day previous, and set out to meet my aunt at Kings Cross.

I navigated the usual weekend fiasco on the underground (every weekend some part of several different lines shut down for electrical work, making travel a bit more exciting on your days off), and found myself sitting on an empty train car smiling to myself. "Holy shit," I thought, "I LIVE in London now." Then the doors clunked closed and the metallic ca-chunk of the trains moving distracted me from my thoughts, but didn't wipe the smile from my face.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived at Kings Cross was that I felt a comforting familiarity flow through me. When I was in Cambridge last year I took the train into Kings Cross every day I came to London, and it's one of the few places in this city that I know my way around very well. And when I saw my aunt, I felt like I had a little pocket of family and safety only an hour away.

She and I had breakfast (soft boiled egg and toast for me) before wandering through housewares stores with beautiful over-designed items that I very much want. Looking at all the pretties around me, I realized that making my dorm room feel like a home was going to be a slow, fun process. And in realizing that, the room quite suddenly became more livable. The horrible ill-fitting sheets that came with my bed, the horrible yellow lighting, the nasty blue carpet, the discomfort of the tiny bathroom..... these were no longer problems I couldn't solve. In fact I look forward to solving them.

I spent the evening in our ill-equipped kitchen, chatting it up with my new international flatmates (one of whom is incredibly cool) while sharing a bottle of cheap red wine.

Today was equally exciting because it was Monday! YEAY! Monday meant that I could finally go about getting all those basic things done, like finding a top-up mobile phone to get me around while I price-shop for a good contract phone. And going to my school to finalize my paperwork. And opening up my first London bank account. And buying a SUPER comfy robe to keep me warm in the mornings. And to stare at all the incredible boots in the window of Office on Oxford street. Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod. Hold. Me. Back..... No wait, don't.

I ate lunch in a cafe this afternoon so I could write down some thoughts to share here. I recalled having a dream about shopping for clothes with Dustin Hoffman, and trying to find a good belt and tie for him. Which has nothing to do with anything, but I thought it was funny and wanted to remember it. I also wrote that I wish I could have trusted that I would feel this way when I arrived in London. Upon departure, I was so sure my life was ending; so sure that I would suffer horribly and live a lonely life of sadness for the next three years. Part of me knew that wasn't true, but I was so sad in those last days in SF that it was hard to see beyond that.

I guess I've been writing a lot to sort out my thoughts in these past two days. And looking over the writing now, it seems I end each entry by saying "I am okay," when I feel alright, or brave. Today I ended my last entry by saying, "I am okay. And soon, I will be better than okay- soon I will be good."

16 September, 2008


Not much to report.

Stressed today. Very busy, too much to do, too many people that I won't get to see before I leave, too much last-minute shit to deal with.

Feeling scattered and manic.

That is all.

15 September, 2008


All my boxed possessions are being mailed to England tomorrow morning. I will then pack my suitcases (sans stripper heels and fetish boots, which I'm putting into a box for my mom to mail to me later..... which makes me giggle) and I will be mostly ready to board the plane on Friday morning.

Due to Customs procedures I needed to make a list of the contents of each box. My favorite box lists something like this: 2 over-sized art books, 1 wooden foot, 1 wooden hand, 1 wooden moustache, 1 pair sequined hotpants, 2 latex dresses, and 3 corsets. I can't wait for the Customs agents to read it and worry about this girl that they are allowing into their country....

14 September, 2008


"The uncertainty of your life could overtake your confidence, but you are able to cover any anxiety you may be feeling because your key planet Mercury conjuncts friendly Venus. Fortunately what you lose to fuzzy thinking, you gain in charm, creativity and social grace."

Heh, I hope so.

Five and Four

This was an excellent weekend.

For starters, I had The Boy to myself all weekend long (this doesn't happen often, by the way). Saturday's highlights include the purchasing of FANTABULOUS new boots, followed by a cozy nap, which preceded a small goodbye party for me at which I got incredibly drunk. You know I'm drunk when I start saying, "I'm SO drunk" a lot. I'm pretty direct about it, you never have to wonder. And in case you were wondering, I'm a very friendly drunk. VERY friendly.

The Boy got me home safe and sound, and when I drunkenly mentioned that I was starved, he made me pot stickers. Awwwwww! NOM. *zzzzz

Sunday began with sleeping in and lounging, and tasty brunch outside in the sun in Hayes Valley. We headed over to a slick travel store called Flight 001 to grab a few things I needed for my trip, and then hung out at Isotope (the coolest comic store you will ever go to) to say goodbye to our friends that own the store. We then lounged in the sun eating fancy ice cream in Dolores Park with some friends of ours.... the kind of friends that bring an acoustic guitar along in the interest of some half-ironic singing in the park.

The sun was lovely, but we had to cut our park time short because we had been given dual massages as a birthday gift! Yeay! I've never been to a real day spa before, and so it was quite a treat. I am still spacey from the massage. *sigh

Then, post-massage we had nummy foods and finally got to go see Tropic Thunder!

Now, at home. Tired. Feel oily from massage. Hungry for chocolate.

It was a good weekend.

12 September, 2008


It's my last full Friday stateside.

Today was an okay day, actually. I spent the morning lounging around my boyfriend's house watching Battlestar Galactica (I'm only up to season 2.5) and doing laundry. I had a brief moment of panic when my mother informed me of a snafu in shipping my boxes o' stuff to London, but that was later cleared up.

My ex-room mate took me to see Spring Awakening tonight as a belated birthday and early going-away present. And it was AMAZING. Now, home with The Boy futzing around the house and playing stuff on xbox live.

11 September, 2008


Today I worked on repacking the couple of boxes that will be mailed to London in a few days. My mother was there to help me pack- an action that resulted in a series of arguments and general fighting.

Much fun was had by all.

I could use a drink and a good night's sleep.

10 September, 2008


I am stressed.

I feel manic. During good moments, I feel excited about the fact that next Sunday I will wake up in a new bed in a new city and will start a new life. But those moments are few today. I would be lying if I said that I was anything but stressed out right now.

09 September, 2008


Nine more days left.

It's so strange to think that in less than two weeks my entire life will be utterly changed.

For the most part I am okay about moving. I really am. I have my moments though, and they come quickly, without warning, hitting me hard in the chest at unexpected moments. But I'm learning to let them pass, and trying to focus on the good things.

There are so many good things. The next three years will be amazing and life-changing. I know that. I do.

And as long as I keep my focus where it should be- on making sure I take every opportunity to make these next three years as fabulous as possible- I will have a great time and learn a lot. About a lot of things.

08 September, 2008

Ten Hours of Staring

I wonder what my flight will be like on the 19th. I remember my red eye flight over there last fall and how I sat next to a balding, chubby man that I suspected of being very high at the time of takeoff.

The flight was almost ten hours long, over night (which in coach means you spend the nighttime hours making desperate promises to some deity that you will forever be a good person if he/she will only allow you a few hours of comfortable rest), and the plane was particularly loud. I brought my DSlite, a book my boyfriend got me, a mini-pillow, and a sketchbook. This man next to me brought absolutely nothing. Not a magazine, not a book, not a piece of paper, nothing...

He spent the entire ten hour flight staring at his hands with a look of utter amazement. First he'd examine the back of his hands, no doubt counting lines and following their paths around to the front of his hands, which he'd then stare at until he flipped them back again. His childlike fascination led me to believe that he was in fact watching the rise and fall of vast empires of little hand-dwelling germs. The pretty lights and goings-on of this tiny civilization must have kept his attention rapt for the entire ten hours that I was fussing in my seat trying to find a position that would lend itself to sleep, and still allow my subversive glances at my seat-mate to see if he was still in fact counting his pores.

06 September, 2008

Red for Red

Today my mother bought me my first set of luggage as a belated birthday present. It is red.