2 Mar 2014: Birthday, Rachel!

Tea and Selma Bun from Nordic Bakery

Tea and Semla Bun from Nordic Bakery

Kaleo's cappuccino from Nordic Bakery

Kaleo’s cappuccino from Nordic Bakery

Birthday doodles

Café doodles

Herman ze German birthday dinner of ze Wilde Bock Bockwurst with hot curry sauce, crispy onions and sauerkraut with pommes

Herman ze German birthday dinner of ze Wilde Bock Bockwurst with hot curry sauce, crispy onions and sauerkraut with pommes

21st birthday celebration with Kaleo and Kelle

21st birthday celebration with Kaleo and Kelle

Rachel's here!

Rachel’s here!

Authentic pub fish and chips in Covent Garden

Authentic pub fish and chips in Covent Garden

Rainy London

Rainy London

Ben's Cookies

Ben’s Cookies

Ben's Cookies Cookie Monster: Dark Chocolate & Nuts with Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ben’s Cookies Cookie Monster: Dark Chocolate & Nuts Cookie with Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 3.21.09 PM

Headed to Hogwarts to be with Draco, see ya.

Headed to Hogwarts to be with Draco, see ya.

Friends! Mary, Emily, Kelly, Kaleo, Alanna

Friends! Mary, Emilee, Kelle, Kaleo, Alanna

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Tiger Tiger’s giant martini, yikes!

Rachel with her Bea's Red Velvet cupcake

Rachel with her Bea’s Red Velvet cupcake

Bea's Bakery

Bea’s Bakery

Bea's Bakery

Bea’s Bakery

Oh, man. Thank you all for making my birthday such a treat. My mom sent goodies, my flatmates made cupcakes and plans, and my best friend flew in from Prague for the weekend. I spent Thursday doing everything I would want to do in an ideal day. Luckily my seven hour class wasn’t convening, so I woke up to watch an episode of New Girl, while painting my nails and catching up in my written journal. Kaleo and Kelle accompanied me to Nordic Bakery in the afternoon, a little café I had found via Instagram oddly enough and had been wanting to try. The bakery is featuring Semla Buns currently as it is a Swedish tradition for the Fat Tuesday before Lent. Their cardamom and cinnamon bun is split by some cream and house blueberry jam. I had a cup of tea with milk and chatted with the girls while sketching and painting in my journal. Afternoon’s in the sunlight of a local café is near the top of my favorite things list.

Birthday dinner has always been a tradition in our house (no surprise there as food seems to be my favorite priority in life), so Kaleo, Kelle and Jordan went to Herman ze German in Soho to get Bockwursts with me. The food seems authentically German (looks like I will have to go to Germany to compare, bummer…) and I was a happy camper. I had been wanting to try this place out and I was not disappointed. I really want to try a wiener schnitzel next time because I have a vague childhood memory of making specific pit stops for those in Springfield, Illinois before continuing home from Great Grandma’s. The girls I live with and a few other friends got together in the evening for some dancing at a local club. I technically didn’t turn 21 until 1:59am on the 28th with the timezones and all, so technically, I had to celebrate both days.

Last Tuesday, one of my dearest friends from my years in Chicago decided to fly to London for my birthday weekend. I’ve grown up with Rachel since kindergarten and to explore Europe with her is a treat. She has followed me from state and state and now it’s only fitting for her to visit my newest home! She flew in from Prague on Friday, to which I need to thank Mrs. Zacchea because her spontaneous hotel booking is precisely why I had such a fantastic weekend! We started by shopping for dresses and candy, eating a pathetic three-course meal created by yours truly and going out with my flatmates for the real birthday celebration at Tiger, Tiger. I guess the important thing to comment here is that I did indeed turn twenty-one gracefully (that was a very real short-term goal) and I won’t listen to those who tell me tequila is for the twenty-first birthday. It’s not.

Saturday’s weather was ideal for walking all over London so I took Rachel to all the usual suspects and then some. We did a little shopping, ate fish and chips at a cosy pub in Covent Garden, devoured cookie monsters from Ben’s Cookies on Oxford, wandered Jubilee Market, crossed a few bridges, photographed Platform 9-3/4, ate sushi, sought out street art and walked around Tower Bridge at night because that’s when it’s the prettiest. Some girls were setting off Chinese lanterns on the bank and if you haven’t been told of my accidental, near-arson experience with Chinese lanterns on a previous birthday, then you should ask sometime. I have such a love for night walks and especially night walks with Rachel, even if I broke my brand new jelly sandals in the process. Shoes and I have a troubled relationship.

The weather said rain and thirty mph winds for Sunday, but when we woke up to sunshine, we knew we needed to take advantage of the day. We walked through Regent’s Park, explored Camden Market by taste-testing each food vendor, practiced bargaining (not too successfully), and ended our first European adventure with afternoon tea and sweets at Bea’s Bakery. Our second adventure in Barcelona starts in five days so the farewell’s were not laced with too much sadness this time around. After this previous fourteen-month absence, this is nothing. Though she’s between Boston and Chicago and I in Austin, we still manage to have one of my very favorite friendships. She’s great.

I came down with a sickness on Wednesday so I’m hoping this passes quickly. It was only a matter of time. This week starts the madness that is university and travel so let the real games begin. I did manage to write an entire paper Wednesday night that is not due for another fifteen days. I’m the complete opposite of a procrastinator. It’s a talent. Earlier this week I got to explore Tate Modern and see the Richard Hamilton exhibit. The exhibit detailed his entire creative career, spanning many decades and it was so neat to see an artist use so many mediums and explore so many topics. I need to make it back to the Paul Klee exhibit now. It seems as though each time I attempt to check off an item on my todo list, I find five more. I’m off to recoup with tea, naps and some reading on this now rainy Sunday.

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