Archive for the ‘Dear Diary’ Category

The obligatory foreign food post.

Yes this makes me an ugly American, but you know, some things must be noted to give a proper impression of my trip.

First up, there’s just the unusual language usage. Just little things that catch me off guard, like:

And, you know, is it just me or do the English use a lot of precious language for things, especially food.

When we first arrived at the housesit, Klara asked if we’d, “like some squash.”

Now, to me “squash” means the single nastiest vegetable on the planet, but in England it’s this sort of Kool-Aid stuff you splash in water to “make it taste better.”

Speaking of taste, we couldn’t help but try DANDELION AND BURDOCK SODA, which was unfortunate, because it tastes like where cough syrup goes to die.

And finally are the foods that i can’t even get my head around, like maybe there’s just a gross misunderstanding of how certain foods work.

Like, say, PUTTING PASTRAMI AND PICKLES ON %$#@!* PIZZA!!

Eugene to Seattle to Reykjavik to London to Edinburgh to Whitwell

Flying across the world takes a long time. I figured out that by the time i stepped off the plane in Edinburgh, nearly 30 hours had passed. Whew! One of the weirder bits was flying through Reykjavik.

My plane from Seattle landed at about 3:30 in the morning and i had a two hour layover. Everything was closed and i had to go through FOUR security checkpoints to get to my plane (the last two i had to wait and hour for because they wouldn’t let us near the plane till a half hour before the flight.) I’m sure Reykjavik is lovely, but at 3:30 am and without anyone else to talk to, it was pretty freaky.

By the time i got to Heathrow in London, i was starting to go off from sleep deprivation. Heathrow is kind of like Los Vegas, flashing lights and ads everywhere. While i tried to stay awake i sat between two men arguing vehemently in Italian and some kids fighting over whether Spiderman was a mutant or not. (Yes, girl in the grey jumper, you were right, he’s not.) People there were really nice and a cute guy said he liked my purple hair. I was almost disappointed when i didn’t have to do the “naked scanner” thing.

I didn’t think i’d like Edinburgh as much as i did. I mean, sure, i thought it’d be nice, but, God, i love it there! I miss it already. I’d originally planned to land in London and bop around by train, but my good friends Heather and Gethin live there.

Heather and Gethin went above and beyond. Housing me, feeding me, showing me around. They were perfect hosts.

I could have spent another week in Edinburgh. The city has a lovely old and modern feel to it and a good chunk of my memories were wandering the streets, looking at amazing old architecture and listening to people.

About that: Did i hear someone use the word “fooking” within five minutes of landing? Yes, yes i did.

Actually, most people had pretty understandable accents. Edinburgh is diverse. I heard Italian accents, German accents and 300 dialects of Scottish. The Scottish accent spans from “oh that’s adorable, say something else” to “wha?”

One night, we were coming back from a party and had just missed our train. With an hour to kill, Heather Gethin and i started playing hacky-sack on the platform. Because i suck, i inevitably kicked the thing down into the tracks. And because i’m an idiot i decided to climb down and get the damn thing. The second i hooked a leg into the rail-pit, a woman in uniform appeared like magic, yelling at me. So you see, some Scottish accents might as well be Tagalog for all i could understand. She was very upset, i got that, but i couldn’t translate a single word. Seriously, not even “is” or “you.” We got into a sort of rhythm where she’d yell at me, i’d smile and nod and then look to Gethin, who’d shrug. Then she’d yell more and we’d start over.

When not attempting to get myself arrested, i went to concerts. Most notably Balkanarama, which was a mad mash-up of video, costume and gypsy klezmer party music. The concert was my first night in Edinburgh, so i attended on a 48 hour sleep deficiency. It was awesome, but i made it till 2am and then started to go seriously fuzzy around the edges.

It took me about three days to get a hang of my sleep cycle. Well, i actually still need regular afternoon naps, but i seem to be mostly synced up.

I got a mandolin for my birthday! I was sad about leaving all my instruments packed away in Eugene, so i got something i can travel around with. I’m slowly learning chords and scales and my guitar/bass/viola background is helping. That day i also had veggie haggis at Urban Angel. That night the three of us went out for a pint (my God, i’d forgotten how much better beer is without pasteurization) grabbed some Indian take-out and watched Kiss Me Deadly with our newly acquired friend, Richard. Kiss Me Deadly is … well, it’s a pretty tight and clever noir until the end. After the TALKING BOX OF PURE SCIENCE, it gets pretty cracktastic.

Anyway, in Whitwell now, somewhere in the center of England, where it’s raining!

Much more to report. More to come.

Hugs all around,

Grá

Birthday! Kinda sorta!

Posted by ON in Dear Diary

Best birthday-party-not-actually-on-my-birthday evar!

Nina brought a sticker for my computer and a card that made me cry. Holly made tex-mex tacos. Loreen made the best cupcakes ever and mine had a candle in it.

They sang three different happy birthday songs to me, including (most appropriately):

May the candles on your cake
Burn like cities in your wake.

Dancing didn’t quite manifest, but we had music and food & wine and five conversations spread through three rooms. The kids played upstairs and occasionally came tearing through the house. We played games and talked and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Going to bed tired and happy.

Tab close

Posted by ON in Dear Diary

Holy crap, i have less than six days till i fly to Europe!

Don’t want to carry any extra weight, so i’d better get rid of all these tabs.

Art

I love this Marco Fusinato project called, “Music Is What Numbers Feel Like.”

I’ve been researching logo trends for my day job. Some fun stuff here.

I’m also lately fascinated by Smashing Magazine, which is full of cool design tips.

Travel

Since i’m bouncing around the world, and have no money, i’ve been spending a lot of time on the Couchsurfer’s Site. Particularly making sure i do it in a safe fashion.

While i’m in London, i’m really hoping to visit the T-Party writing group.

World

I keep forgetting that i plan to read this article on How To Make America More Innovative.

I want to read this economics book, “Whoops!: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay.”

Personal

Just in case folks who knew danele are reading this. My old friend Devon posted videos of danele’s memorial service.

Writing

I’m curious about developing a few television shows. These two articles cover one’s way too formulaic for my taste, but still have interesting information.

My writing has been on hiatus while J and i work through our separation stuff and i get ready for Europe, but i plan to get back on track querying agents and submitting stories in a week or so.

Ok, going to bed …