My University week has been rather uneventful. I’m working on some silkscreen designs and my teacher is quite into my “wobbly designs”. The thought process these students take to get to their final product is very inefficient. It makes me miss the strict and more rigorous coursework of State. I stayed home on Thursday. Luckily skipping class is normal here so I’m partaking. It’s really completely unlike me, but I know what I need to get done and I could do it more comfortably in the flat. I did do something quite educational though instead–I went to Fuller’s Brewery and took a tour. Having worked in the good ol’ food and microbrewery industry, I’m quite familiar with the process, but seeing it up close made sense. I tasted some roasted barley, saw the wort, the hops, the yeast barrels and the conditioning vaults where their beer spends seven days to several months shaping up. It was quite interesting. Of course, the tasting wasn’t bad either. Fuller’s Organic Honeydew was my first pint in London, but I think I prefer the darker Black Cab. So school or not, I learned something, albeit my taste buds preferences or the complete brewing process. I also took it upon myself to make some more travel plans this week. It’s absolutely terrifying that February is halfway over. I’m now booked for a long weekend in Barcelona, a day trip to Oxford and my mom just settled on some dates to come tour Europe with me!
I went to the Royal Academy of Arts Sensing Spaces Architectural Exhibit this week with my Art & Society class. It was great, but analyzing architecture was more difficult than I remember. This straw exhibit was quite interactive and a neat evolving project.
One of my very very best friends came into town this weekend. We grew up on the pitch together in Chicago and stayed closed friends even after I moved all over the country. She’s studying in Rome this semester so getting to explore this continent with her marks the most thrilling part of our friendship. You know those people that you run in to the street to see? The ones that you hug and jump and squeal a bit and then don’t stop word vomiting under five thousand words a minute for a few days? That’s Stephanie and I. I’ve been in London and I’ve been in love with the city, but on our night walk to all the major attractions, I was bubbling over. Showing her this new home of mine felt reasonably incredible. I live here! And it’s exquisite. I think we sprinted to each landmark out of excitement. Her father also popped in during a work trip so we spent Friday wandering The City of London and ended with fish, chips and a pint of Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Bitters Real Cask Ale (cask now makes sense after that brewery tour, I’m just putting this new found knowledge to good use at this point). This was the first drink Steph and I had together, a vital part of our fifteen-year friendship. That’s what long distance does to ya I suppose. We couldn’t just stop there either. We went to a Valentine’s gathering, to put it easily. Or a club. Let’s call it a club. It was surprisingly great considering the holiday. We spent the next day playing tourist at Westminster Abbey, which was stunning. This is the church where thirty-eight coronations have taken place and William and Kate were wed. Of course there’s no photography, but I was then able to spend over an hour taking it all in. The fan vaulting in the ambulatory was one of the most incredible architectural features I’ve seen. Who in their right mind carved that? Do they still have fingers? It’s so detailed. We moved on to Buckingham Palace, perfectly timed with the parting of the skies. The sun changes everything. We walked to Harrods. I made it through a few rooms, cringing over designers I’ll never know and a Rolex worth $371,000. A salesman told us some tales of the riches who come to spend millions of pounds in under thirty minutes and by the time I left, my jaw was on the floor and I was certain I am a peasant. We indulged in the most flavorful meal I’ve had yet from a restaurant near the Thames, Troia, before our flight on the London Eye! My avocado and chicken salad tops most of my meals thus far. However, such a good meal could only be followed by a decision to pick a restaurant in Chinatown for dinner. I won’t go into details, but my chili, cashew chicken came out as skewered prawns with eye balls. We ditched our entrees, only applauding the fried rice and moved on to dessert as far from Chinatown as possible. We came upon Kahve Dünyası and knew that we immediately nailed this decision. We hit the jackpot. I’ll be back for my birthday cake in a few quick days. I hate saying bye to such dear friends and this wasn’t easy, I’m fairly certain I choked up the whole way home. You really need people like them around. They are essential to a happy life.