Sunday, July 8, 2012

First weekend of July


A group of about 6 or 7 us had signed up a while ago to go back to Buckingham Palace for a tour, since the first time we went, we weren't able to get close or really see it due to a big 10K event that was going on. We had to meet there at 9:30, and we had a tour at 9:45. We got audio guides and were on our own to explore the Palace. It was really cool to see the inside of, and I learned a lot more than I was expecting to. It was similar to other palaces and things we have seen, with the style of furniture and decorations and art and such, but it's where the royals live, so it's still pretty dang awesome. We ended up spending a few hours there, ending in the gardens and at a gift shop.

Everyone split off after the gift shop, and Amanda and I ended up stopping at Pret for lunch and then heading home to get things done. My knee was really bothering me still, and even with wearing my brace and taking my meds and everything, I wasn't up for any more walking at all. I'm really hoping it starts to feel better again so it doesn't keep putting a damper on my last few weeks here. 

We stopped at the grocery store on the way home and I got fruit and stuff for salads (NEED MORE VEGGIES). We both just hung out at the house all afternoon and got things done and napped, ate dinner, etc.

We had a film night for a group outing (the film class had to go anyway, but we have two films that are for all of us), and we left early to get snacks on the way and then get there. It was at the Clapham Picture House, and we were seeing Spike Lee's first movie, "Do the Right Thing" that was made in the 80s. I wasn't excited about it at all, as I didn't know anything about it, and would have much rather seen a movie that just came out. (Also, while we were hanging out before going into the theatre, we got word that one of the girls in our group was leaving to go home, so it definitely put a damper on the evening. We miss you, Beth!)

When we got there, it ended up being a cool little venue with a bar and only 4 theatres. I got popcorn and was starting to get more into the whole thing, and when we went into our theatre and they were handing out free pizzas, I knew it was going to be good after all :) Turns out the event was put on by a local film blogger whose blog name is based on a line from the movie, and it was just a unique event to show this film. He explained the context of it all and introduced the film and did a raffle (Griffin won a bottle of champagne or wine or something!). 

The movie ended up being really good. They showed it on 35mm, so it had a totally different feel than movies do these days, which made it seem a lot cooler. It was definitely a powerful film that showed a lot of the anger and confusion of racial identity in the 80s, and it was seriously shocking at some points. Definitely worth seeing. Gets you thinking about a lot of things, for sure. The movie got out around 11 and we all came home right after. I was able to skype Kyle, which was so good and definitely cheered me up despite my knee getting even worse. Good way to end the evening!

Almost everyone left early in the morning to go to Paris for the weekend. I didn't go, as I had done basically everything they would be doing this weekend when I went with my grandparents in 2010! I was really looking forward to a weekend with nobody here (there were only going to be 4 of us in the house). I woke up and found that the lightbulbs in both bathrooms and the hallway that they are on were all burned out, and there's absolutely no natural light in there, so it was totally dark and pretty freaky when it was just me in the flat. I wasn't able to find Charlotte all morning, but I left her a note about it and filled out a maintenance request, and was really hoping they would fix it before the night.

I decided to go to the Museum of London and explore, since it was free and only a few tube stops away and I hadn't been yet. It was basically the history of London from the very beginning, and it ended up being a lot of the same types of exhibits and such that I've seen at other museums. I wandered around the whole place, mostly just browsing and not really reading anything too seriously. It was a pretty confusing layout for a museum, and I just wasn't too interested in anything I saw, but I'm glad I went and saw it! Checked that off my London bucket list. I had read that the museum had a good gift shop and I was hoping to find something interesting for people I still needed gifts for, but I found nothing exciting and decided to head home. My knee was really bugging me still (the rain didn't help at all...), and I just was done for the day.

I came back to the flat, made soup and a salad, and watched Love Actually. I love that Madison House has tons of British movies- it's so fun to watch them and see tons of familiar places in them! Plus, Love Actually was one of the best movies ever, so it was a great thing all around! I was pretty lazy for the rest of the afternoon, until the evening when I met up with Tina. We took the tube to Leicester Square to head to the half price ticket box office and pick up our tickets for Rock of Ages for that night!

We ended up getting dinner at an Italian chain nearby, and I had a really good pizza. The timing worked out perfectly all evening- we weren't ever rushed and everything went smoothly which was awesome. After dinner, we took the tube back to Holborn and walked to the theatre which was only about a ten minute walk or so. We got there right as they opened the doors, and we headed right in to our seats! The theatre was so hilarious and definitely set the stage for the show from the second we walked in. There were bright lights and 80s huge signs everywhere and lots of neon and thongs and bras hanging from the definitely felt like an 80s bar/strip club. Everyone around us was middle-aged women that were WAY too excited to be there...I'm pretty sure we were the youngest people there.

The show was SO good and so much fun! I recognized or knew much more of the music than I was expecting to, and it was just such a fun and energetic show. Definitely different than any other shows I've gone to, so I was really glad we went. I bought the CD after, so I'll be jamming to some classic 80s tunes for a while, and I'm pretty stoked about it.

It was such a fun night overall, and so good to just be on our own without all of the group around! Much needed. Oh, and my lights were all fixed when I got home- yay!

I woke up around 9 or so and despite the rain, decided to head out and finally go to Portobello Rd. Market in Notting Hill! I've been dying to go for a few weeks and decided to just do it. I took the tube there (like 7 stops or so, so further away than most things we do), and then walked to Portobello Road. It was very crowded, which I had been told to expect, but I didn't mind at all. It was so fun to wander in and out of all the shops and stalls of antiques and random knick knacks and art/photography and souvenirs and such...I found so many awesome things for myself and other people! The market as a whole is over 2 miles long, but I didn't get to all of it. I had to leave at one point to go find an atm (turned out to be very far away, and of course that's when it started pouring), but I came back and continued until it turned into the food portion of the market. I picked up the best, biggest strawberries and a grapefruit from a farmer's stand, and then knew I needed to leave before I wanted to buy every fruit and veggie in sight! They all looked SO good and I was getting pretty hungry.

I decided to take a bus home, since there was a bus stop right near me when I decided to head home. I waited at the stop for a good 20 minutes or so, looking at all the signs and figuring out what I needed to do, and I thought I was right...but then the bus came and it was headed the wrong direction. So I went down the street to the other side to try to get the bus heading the right direction, waited 10 more minutes, got on the bus, and was on it for about 45 minutes or so until I got off because I had NO idea where I was or where we were going. I have no idea what the heck I keep doing wrong on these stupid buses, but I get lost every time. Luckily, I got off at Paddington tube station, and was able to take a tube two stops back to Notting Hill Gate which is where I had gotten off in the morning, and then switch lines to head 7 stops back home. I'm just never gonna try to figure these buses out. They win! I give up.

When I finally got home (after an hour and a half to go about 20 minutes away), I made lunch and had my fresh fruit, and watched a movie (the Babies documentary from a few years ago that follows four babies in different countries from birth until they're walking...don't judge. It was adorable.)

Kelly and Kristina came down and hung out for a little bit on their way to go out to dinner (I passed, as I had food here and didn't want to spend any more money). When they got back a few hours later, Tina and I watched Pride and Prejudice (with Keira Knightley) and it was SO GOOD. I'm loving these British movies. Stayed up to text Kyle for a while, and then crashed!

Kelly had invited the four of us in the house to have breakfast up in Flat E, so we met up there at 10 and she made scrambled eggs and pancakes and bacon for the meat eaters and had a bunch of fresh fruit, and it was so delicious! It was nice to just hang out with different people than my flatmates and to just chat and relax and eat yummy food- Kelly is the best! I love that she loves to cook and bake for us :)

I was feeling really crappy (thank you, sinus infection from hell) and took it easy all day (I'm starting to sound like a seriously lazy person, but this summer has been really busy and intense, I promise! We've done a lot and it's draining!).

Watched Bridget Jones's Diary for the first time, and read and journaled and caught up on my blog, wrote a paper for Culture By Design, made myself dinner, and now am just killing time being semi-productive waiting for everyone to get home from Paris! Hoping this sickness goes away soon, or this week is going to be realllyyyy not fun.

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