Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Living Life

I apologize for not having posted many pictures yet.  I've been doing nothing particularly exciting so I don't think to take pictures as often as I should. I've been told that errands, even the boring ones, are made interesting by the fact that they are errands in a foreign country.  That being said, I can't promise any of the following to be exciting to you but I'll let you know what I've been up to:

Yesterday my mom arrived around 7am.  As it turns out, Sunday is not the day to go to Heathrow airport.  I left the hostel around 6am after hauling my bags down three flights of stairs to the storage space.  I arrived at the Mornington Crescent tube stop to find it on complete lockdown.  With it being the smaller station in the area, I decided to ask a gentlemen nearby if the other station would be open yet.  He broke the bad news that no underground runs on sunday before about 730am.  I promised my mom I would be there as near to 7 as possible but the realisation of how much time it would take without the underground must have shown on my face. The guy said that he had a car hire business around the corner and could take me for 40 pounds (more than $60) to Heathrow or for 10 pounds to Paddington station where I could catch the express train.  I opted for the second option and he asked me to follow him to his car.  Not a store front, not a taxi stand, just his car.  I was incredibly reluctant to get in until I saw the "licensed private car for hire" sign in the window.  That didn't prevent me from still asking, "How do I know you are real?  Are you going to steal me?  Just so you know, I know Kung Fu!"  He laughed at me and said he was real and I'd be just fine.  We had a fun chat on the way to the station and, with the roads being empty that early on a Sunday, he even raced down the street for me cause I said it would be fun. 

He dropped me off at Paddington station (no I didn't see any bears) and I caught the train to the airport. My mom arrived about 15 minutes before I got there so all in all I wasn't too late.  We made the long train ride back to the hostel and, even more wearing, hauled the many bags she brought full of my stuff and junk.  After dropping those off for storage we walked to Regent's Park so I could show her the greenery and such.  We tried our luck at getting into the school grounds and were lucky enough to have free reign of campus.  We had tea in the refectory and looked around at the grounds, gym, etc. It was really nice to see the place in person :).  Mom was feeling ready to sit so I took her to a little vegetarian/vegan/hippy place on on the Regent's Canal in Camden.  We ate some dairy free, cholesterol free, low GI, superfoods ice cream (sounds potentially gross but is in fact really really tasty) and took in the view of the locks for a while.  She was fading fast from lack of sleep so we headed back to the hostel for her to nap.

Soon enough it was time to move to the flat!  I called a minicab driver we made plans with earlier in the day (I went back to the place where the sketchy guy was in the morning to find him again but came across this other dude who gave us a good deal). Thank god we had a driver.  It cost 25 pounds to move our stuff 5 miles but it saved us hours on the train and many bruises and angry words.  We took some time unpacking and arranging the room before heading out to look at the neighborhood. The main drag is loaded with storefronts of all kinds.  There are several 24 hour shops which is fantastic and tons of places with really good deals on food (11 kiwi for around $1.50??? that's crazy good!).  By then, we were both pretty hungry so we stopped and got veggie burgers at a cafe.  They were quite tasty depite the greasy-spoon-appearance of the place.  After dinner we finally came home for the night to settle in.  Mom fell asleep quite quickly and I finished some organizing and arranging in my room. 

Sad news of the night last night is that my computer is broken. Really broken this time.  I'm quite frustrated with it because it wasn't broken until I upgraded the operating system to what is supposed to be newer and better than the old one.  The result, in fact, is that my speakers aren't working, my itunes won't open, and I can't connect to the internet.  Luckily, my mom brought her tiny little laptop so I can use it to do all the basic stuff.  If I can't figure out how to fix mine before she goes I will have to send it back with her to have it repaired at home and won't have it back until October when she and my dad come back to visit.  Sad day indeed.  :( 

Phew, ok, that was one day.  Perhaps I should give you less detail from now on!  I'll keep that in mind as I move you through today...

Mom and I got up around 8 and had a lovely, leisurely breakfast in the nook overlooking the garden.  I needed a few things to finish organizing my room so we figured out where the nearest IKEA is and planned a walk over there. It turned out to be longer than we thought but it helped me get the lay of the land around the area so that was good.  On the way back, we had a lot to carry (and were tired from all the walking both to the store and around it.  The IKEA here is at the very least half again the size of the Salt Lake store) so we took the bus back to the flat.  I finished tidying the room while Mom did some online tasks then we did some grocery shopping for dinner.  The international market around the corner is loaded with all kinds of crazy pasta and beans so we did some spicy bolognese (don't worry, Andy!! it's only bolognese!!!!) with noodles and green beans.  For dessert we ate some of the delicious kiwi while watching Biggest Loser on the couch. 

Alright, that one wasn't so long. Well, that's all I have for tonight.  Not sure what the plan is for tomorrow but I will be sure to bring a camera so I can give you pictures instead of making you read so much :)