Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Dearest Everyone.

Miss Caryn has, as you have sure noticed, neglected her blog. I think that when anyone sets out to do something consistently, that constant task is destined to fall to the wayside eventually. It's a miracle we all breathe and blink enough. I would like to say, on her behalf, that things are going well for her. She's gotten into a groove with her daily walks to the city centre, with the fridgid weather, with her 2000+ words papers due multiple times during the week, with her general lack of Mexican food, and with her lack of boyfriend.
The last lacking is not because she ditched her american boyfriend for some tastier British fair, no! She misses not her boyfriend because currently he is with her in Oxford. Yes, I came over the pond last Thursday, and we spent two days in London, then three in Oxford, and we're currently preparing for our three day trip to Paris! It has been wonderful to spend time with her, and to see what life is like here in England. When I leave on the 29th, it'll only be around 18 days until Caryn is back in the states. It's coming up fast! On the seventh she'll be wrapping up her last task in Oxford, and the eighth will be her last day in Oxford! That leaves around 10 days for traveling, which I do hope she'll be able to detail for you all later, as the details are a bit muddled in my (and her) mind.
So that's about all I have to say. Wish us luck with our travels, both because we don't know a lick of French and because it looks to be cold and rainy throughout, and have a Happy Thanksgiving! Christmas is coming, and with it, much reunion and retelling of all our adventures, domestic and international.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

walkin on sunshine

so i know its been a while. ive been remiss and there's not much of an excuse.
except for the 2000 pages of reading assigned
and the swine flu.

but other than that, you know, ive just been kickin it.

so i know i still owe you a blog about italy. and i want to tell you about my life since. so i suppose thats going to make this the most epic blog of your life.
hold onto your hats and glasses,
this here's the wildest ride in the wilderness.


our italian adventure was made possible by the glorious weeklong break after the end of our british history and culture survey class and before the start of michaelmas term, the real start of crazy oxford work. i planned my trip along with katie scroggs, bethany gibson, and ariel bartlett, three beautiful, hysterical, kindred souls ive gotten to know well since our arrival in oxford. after a smooth few evenings of planning, we'd booked our flights, our hostels, and decided on venice-florence-rome as our itinerary. we were ready to go!

oh yeah. except for that giant, nervewrecking, 80% of your final grade paper/presentation for which we were unprepared, misinformed, and scared out of our brains.
i stayed up all night writing it, gave my presentation to our incredibly brilliant, know it all of a sexy-voiced oxford invigilator, and sat through the rest of the day waiting waiting waiting to get back to my flat, rush to pack, and trek to the bus stop at 1 in the am to catch our bus to the airport.

one sleep-filled 3 hour bus ride and 2.5 hour plane ride later, we found ourselves blinkingly stepping off the easyjet plane in MILAN, dahling!
i double-cheek-kissed the air, proclaiming ridiculous, sleep-deprived stereotypical phrases like 'ciao, italia' and 'ciao, bella'
before we were finally able to make it through milan-malpensa with our passports stamped, our currency in euros, and our hopes to make it to venezia high.

we nervously used our slight knowledge of spanish to decipher our way onto the train, eurail passes in hand, with expectations of arriving in venezia within 4 hours.
our mistake.
by not taking the stupid fast eurostar train, it took us 6 sleepy, nervous hours to make it to venezia, only to find ourselves confused about the location of our hotel, NICE HOTEL. seriously. it was called Nice Hotel. how funny is that?
anyways, once we finally arrived at nice hotel, and discovered that it actually was really nice, we jumped on the N2 bus to take us into the actual venezia. you know, the one they show in the italian job with canals and gondolas and all that.
so we anxiously board the bus and find ourselves crowded in among the 'european' smelling regulars, ready to pay our fare and begin the adventure. except that the driver isnt collecting money. and theres no little automated ticket machine. so we bobbed along laughing ridiculously loud on our free bus ride into venezia.


okay. can i just tell you how amazing it is to step off the bus and walk on down to one of the most beautiful waterways youve ever seen?
we ended up arriving after dark, which wasnt what we had anticipated, but it actually ended up making the arrival so much more romantic, spectacular, and breathtaking.
golden lights danced on the dark water.
guitars played in the distance.
the white stone of bridges and churches shining in the dark
the tinkling of wine glasses
the smell of tomato sauce
the glimmer of candles
the lapping of waves on cool concrete.

we excitedly skipped around the canal, hugging one another in excitement and disbelief. and whether you can believe it or not, it was at that moment that i realized what a great gift i had been given. my parents' work, mine, providential blessing, they all culminated here at the canal in a heavenly experience. this is what it means to be a child of privilege. to work hard and enjoy the blessings. here i am, barely 20 years old, seeing the world. there are people who will go their entire lives without that kind of joy, and i hurt for them. there are people who will never see these wonders, and i wish i could be their eyes. it gave my trip a fresh wind, it gave me a fresh start. venezia is a place of wonder.

our first night in venezia was fantastic. full of music and laughter and a super giant bill for our sit down meal, in which we ended up paying 8 euro for a bottle of water. the equivalent of which, if you are global-currency challenged, as i was before europe, is $11.99.
yeah, italy rips you off.
BUT i had AMAZING gnocchi, so thick with cream and cheese that it was sinfully decadent. really. it was so good i felt like i needed to repent afterwards.
we topped it off with gelato, and an obsession quickly formed. i first had cioccolato.
rich and creamy and a definite religious experience.
theres something about licking up dripping chocolate heaven while youre strolling down cobblestoned streets, listening to robust italian men sing to you while they play the accordian or guitar that makes you feel like a goddess.
well, it was that or the cat calls. :]
we browsed around looking at masquerade masks and other ornate and silly souvenirs before heading back to nice hotel for a nice night of nice sleep.
we were comin back in the morning. and i was excited!

we walked to the bus, still unsure of how to pay, and i managed to convince my lovely girls to let me grab a cafe (espresso in english) at the local patisserie. pure magic medicine molto bene in a demitasse. the owners were super sweet, and they even teased me about how americans always expect gigantic cups. they were concerned that i had ordered the wrong thing. and i basically mimed to them how freaking much i loved my drink. they seemed happy. we took the bus back across the mediterranean into venezia just in time to watch the beautiful place wake up.
we ambled happily along the azure canal, dazzled by sparkling waves and the warm quiet of the early morning. we ended up picking our destination, and charting the course of our day in venezia, based on our wish to check out the bridge of sighs, where italian prisoners headed for execution would sigh their last whims away as they headed for the pillars. seemed tragically beautiful enough, so off we went down a little side alley, unsure but willing to be daring.

i couldnt be more thankful for the adventure that day. we weaved in and out of alleyways, searching for the vague signs that pointed us in the direction of piazza san marco. we saw the beautiful, hodgepodge heart of venezia- clotheslines hung with everything from boxing gloves to negligees, my favorite line in particular containing both. we found shops stuffed with slices of pizza cooling in the window, fresh baked loaves of bread, meringues, biscotti, masks, murano glass, feather quills, and every sort of delight imaginable. we heard italians calling out to one another, window to window. bouquets of chili peppers and garlic. and the best was the aroma. sea air and basily, garlicky tomato sauce mingled together in a fragrant intoxication. pure bliss.
when we finally made it out of the labyrinth of venezia and into piazza san marco, we were greeted with a vast expanse of tourists, pigeons, and vendors set against a brilliant turquoise mediterranean. slather on the sunshine. it was exquisite.
arriving at the bridge of sighs elicited some sighs all on its own.
here we were, expecting to see a beautiful monument to death, justice, and history, and what we got was a face full of chopard advertising. i couldnt stop laughing. it was definitely a highlight.
we walked back towards the bus and grabbed some lunch.
and even though i ate some amazing things in italy, the panini i had in venezia was the top of the heap. for sure.
big chunks of fat olives baked into the ciabatta gave my caprese regular a veggie-meaty, complex and divine kick that had me literally saying things like "YUM" and "ohmygodicoulddierightnow" with every bite. yes, i was animated. and yes, this sandwich deserved it. plump, crisp tomatoes still cool coupled with fat slices of fresh mozarella, melted to perfection. god i wish i had another.
limon sorbetto for dessert, and a bottle full of venezian fountain water got me and my friends back to the train station, where we wisely chose the fast train to firenze. a nice nap and a bit of journaling, sightseeing, and music-listening on the train got us to firenze in the best of spirits.

we got a little lost looking for our hostel, mostly because it was a slightly sketch operation in a fabulous location that made all of the panic (over being killed in a dark, unmarked apartment building in a strange city) worth it. we were directly above a fantastic open-air leather and souvenir market, two seconds from the uffizzi gallery, and a short stroll from the breathtaking, ritzy old piazza complete with merry-go-round and fancy restaurants. and of course, the north star of firenze, il duomo, was calling out to us.

we had two days in firenza, so we spent our first night exploring for food and soaking up the atmosphere of the vastly different venezia. we ended up dining at a little pizza place near the duomo, my linguisa and black olive pizza cruncy and saucy and smothered in cheese, then cut up into little manageable bite sized triangles by our overly-hospitable host. bethany hated hers, which is understandable because it was covered in bleu cheese, blech, and katie is gluten intolerant so we all headed out to find them some more appetizing food. unfortunately, in the land of flour and pasta, this is easier said than done. we landed ourselves at our first international mcdonalds, where fries and hamburger patties abounded. but we laughed at our american tendencies and katie and ariel enjoyed their mcflurries.
our stroll around firenze resulted in delightfully cool and fruity 'fruite de bosci' sorbetto, simply stuffed with berries of every single kind. delightful! more water from a fountain that had like 6 faces spitting it and we gravitated, almost magnetically, to the steps of the duomo.

let me just say this: italians love steps.
they congregate in piazzas and sip wine, tell stories, and socialize. they stare and interrupt and laugh deep, guttural laughs. and they make me so happy.
the steps of the duomo quickly became home. the ornate stripes of emerald and creme stone that cover the facade contribute to the magnificence of such a beautiful cathedral and bascilica, the one which actually inspired the design for st peters in roma.
but what was so special for me, was the way in which the four of us really became friends on those steps. we shared life experiences, ambitions, fears, relationships. we laughed and nearly cried and bared our souls. we avoided the attentions of adoring italian men and talked about the kinds we wanted in our lives. we were vulnerable, content, and adventurous. and in that way, i got to feel truly italian. in that way, i will always have italia in my heart. mi cuore. mi anima.

the next day, a bright sunday morning, we woke up early to the sounds of the opening market. we intended to spend the day at the uffizzi, browsing and admiring for 12 worthwhile euros. but when we got out onto the street we found it packed, the stirrings of a marathon getting ready to begin clogging the piazzas and the avenidas. on the bright side, we found out that the uffizzi was free because of all the festivities for european heritage weekend, so we walked around enjoying the excitement. i made a beeline for a cafe on the corner, ordered a cappuccino and an apricot brioche, and found myself in heaven. it was perfect. sweet and light, perfect milk, plenty strong, and made by a single barista handling at least 8 shots pulling at a time. i feel newly inspired to make the barista thing work after watching her. yummmmmmcafe.

so, after a long debate over spending our entire day waiting in line, we instead decided to pay for a reservation and come back after meeting up with katie's friend. we got kebab (in italy, i know!) and melon gelato (so sweet and unexpectedly creamy and only 1 euro!) and then headed to see how long the line was to see the david. too long! so it was back to the uffizzi.
the gallery was a vast expanse of art housed in a spacious palace.
we saw the birth of venus, la primavera, the seven virtues and countless genres of italian artistry. it was moving.
unfortunately i deleted all of my pictures of venezia and our first night/morning in firenza on the roof of the uffizi, nearly ruining the experience for me. but i quickly remembered, with the help of my friends, that pictures are easily restored and replaced (with theirs). what ill never lose are the memories, as cliche as that sounds. but theyre dear girls, and i wouldve been miserable at that point without them.

our long sojourn in the uffizi tired us out, but instead of sleeping the day away we weaved around firenze, destined for the boboli gardens. instead we found DE-licious pistacchio and cioccolato gelato and a smaller, more intimate garden to play in. we had a photo shoot, pretending to be statues, fairies, and wood nymphs. we laughed contagious laughter and felt five again. oh the simple delights of a garden!
we found the boboli gardens unfortunately closed, so we headed back across the ponte vecchio and sat down, crispy toscani pizza in hand. MOLTO BUONO! artichoke hearts and black olives, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and still warm from the ovens. i wanted it to last FOREVER. as i kept eating, each bite was filled with exaltation of praise to the baker and disappointment that it was one less bite i had left. my god it was good.
we met katie's friend jessie at the duomo and headed with her to get some more gelato. i know, more gelato. we thought we were being ridiculous too. gelato three times in one day?! just wait till i get to rome, itll get better.
but anyways, i had pera gelato from this really gourmet gelatteri. it was pretty fun, actually. it was seriously like eating a creamy, icy pear on a cone. delish.
another stroll around firenze and a stop in at jessies flat and we were down for the count.

i had really wanted to go inside the duomo, so we left super early before check out to try and squeeze it in. unfortunately, it didnt open until the time we had to be back to hostel veronique for check out. so itll stay on my list of things to do on my next trip to italia. ;]
instead, and a glorious trade off it was, i indulged in a buttery and rustic leather bag from the open market outside our hostel. i was so nervous that i would buy a fake that i made the girls touch it and compare it to katies legit leather bag before i began my haggling. marked for 150 euros, i only even had 100 because i borrowed some from bethany. but, being the bargain shopper that i am, i chalked the purchase up to investment and posterity (it could be an heirloom one day!) and got the vendor down to 100 euros. $150 US. but you should see the purse. it even smells fabulous. i love it dearly. and i still need to name it
we had lunch with jessie at her favorite deli, and the toscani meatball panini i had truly gave me a taste for the difference in cooking style. it was peppery and cheesy and spicy but wonderful. one more gelato stop in firenze for plum sorbetto and we were off on the fast train, headed for roma.

we got off the train in roma, followed our map, and miraculously made it directly to our hostel without getting lost. what we did get, though, was a whole lot of attention.

now, i need to explain italian men. yeah, yeah. i know you think you know. theyre flirtacious and they like to have fun, right? right. but they also like to look at you. stare at you. and if they like what they see, they let you know. whistles, attempts to get you to stop and talk, adjectives, qualitative adjectives, even the cliche 'ciao, bella'. italian men used them all with us. they loved us. in fact, it became quite the joke, each of us competing to shrug off the advances of the lusty italians. but it was such fun!

we got all checked in at our hostel and decided to jump right into roma. our first stop, the colosseo!
we took the steamy metro, and while we exited we were trying to figure out which way we needed to walk to get there. we pretty much stopped midsentence. there it was, looming before us basking in afternoon sunlight. you dont realize how truly great the romans were until you see their accomplishments up close. i mean, you look at maps in which they pretty much owned that half of the world, but it doesnt really do it for you. youve gotta see the structural genius of the colosseum. you have to marvel at the roman forum (which we did next). and you have to pay your tribute to italia at the fontana de trevi.
two coins flew from my right hand over my left shoulder, eyes closed and wishing. the first, a eurocent, to come back to italia quickly. the second, a us penny. now, the superstition is that you toss a second coin to fall in love in italia. and while i want to fall in love with chris all over again in italian sunshine, i wasnt about to take any chances that the fountain would think i wanted to fall in love brand new with an italian. so instead i tossed an american coin, to ensure that the fountain knew i meant chris. im sure it did.
we got some inconsequential fuel-food, and then spent the rest of the night trudging around our area looking for gelato. we ended up the first place we started and got gelato from a rude, rude man with an offensively large mustache. tiramisu and zambione, a cup full of liquored-up sweet cream. yummmmmy.
we had decided to do the vatican and the bascilica the next morning, early, so a good nights rest was essential for our beauty sleep. we made it back to the hostel and in the middle of our shower, a guest happened to fill our fifth bed. foti, a greek-american grad student travelling europe on his own. his appearance in our room ended up being awkward and cute and funny. he primped and preened while we journaled, and when he headed out to the clubs we hit the sack.

which brings me to st peters. but there's no way that i could encompass this accurately in such a long blog already.
so i start fresh tomorrow.

kudos to you if you made it this far. and i love you for it.
snogs and snuggles,
carina serena
(my name in italian. or so the proprietor in venezia told me it was.)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

pictures of italia

i know i owe you a blog.

but pictures and recounting take so much time.

so for tonight, you get pictures.

just follow my link!

ciao, bella!


Saturday, October 3, 2009


how do you condense such an incredible experience into words? or pictures? a song? a mood?

i cant. couldnt. wouldnt.
but here i go, trying.

italy was everything and nothing that i expected for it to be. rustic and old and new. historic. slow. fast. accordion music and olive ciabatta. bustling piazzas and artichoke pizzas. art and wine and heartwarming conversation. getting lost and being found. trekking on foot, bus, train, plane. gelato and gut-busting laughter.

i know that i keep promising to blog. and im so sorry that i havent. the two weeks before travel week became an absolute disaster- with lectures and responses and lack of sleep piling up on one another to create what felt like an insurmountable task. eventually, and to the detriment of my sleep cycle, i came out victorious. i made my presentation, and hopefully earned myself some accelerated credits, and spent only one entire evening preparing myself for arguably the most exciting trip of my very young life.

so i feel that to fully capture my experience in italy, ive to take it one part at a time. but since its now 1am and ive to make it to church with the grays in the morning, i need some rest. so how about this- i'll blog in three parts tomorrow if you promise to leave one question youd like answered tonight. or one picture you'd like to see. deal?

sounds good to me

carina serena
((my name pronounced by every single italian who read it.))

Monday, September 14, 2009

so sorry!

i promise to blog tomorrow.
for reals.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

its business time

Oxford is everything and nothing that i expected for it to be.

with a security blanket

with a shallow end

and rustic and metropolitan and different

and enterprising and reinventing

and still quite large when on foot

and still with that endearing english charm

yet a widespread cotswolds

of collegiate and working-class endeavors.

slow, and paved-motorway fast

here, there, and everywhere.

pay as you go
phones, transportation, food credits, life-credits, even.

on every stationary surface

for the cheap digs

for pints, politics, and pollock

to save the queen

its like an assault on the senses in a slow way here. it doesnt feel overwhelming at first. its gradual. it almost feels welcoming. and this isnt to say its threatening or dangerous in any way because i truly am loving it here. but the differences between this college town and the one the oxonians have so-far semi-jestingly referred to as "azoozoo" are quite stark.

this place impresses upon the individual the weight of the scholar, which is a gown of which i am finding myself to be quite fond. the curiosity is piqued in oxford- each corner contains a treasure to be unearthed. literally anything could be found down a corridor- a pub infamous for bill clinton's having smoked pot in the corner, a small chapel perfect for the attitude of hushed and quiet prayer, a courtyard filled with squeals and giggles of schoolgirls fresh from afternoon studies, the neighborhood grocer with an italian nectarine as the perfect snack for 30p, or even a centuries old bridge, courtyard, building. no matter where you turn, you cant get lost. youre always found, as youve always found something worth finding. knowledge, familiarity, a little piece of your new home- thats always worth finding.

you can climb a street youve gone up twenty times and then catch a glimpse of lights youve never seen before, as happened a few nights ago to me when we were at eagle and child (the former happy haunt of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien and our new favorite and oft-frequented pub). we headed for ice cream at g&d's (which was lovely, strawberry and clotted cream) when i finally discovered the area of oxford known as old jericho. its absolutely breathtaking. unique and strange with character and kitsch unlike any other in the 'shire'. i plan on getting lost there again this weekend.

and the canal! oh the canal.

near dr donovan gray and his wife lana's home in north jericho is this lovely expanse of green bluff dubbed port meadow. miles and miles, or, kilometers, of little hills and grazing lands for cows, sheep, shetland ponies, clydesdales- all existing in quiet and happy peace with a few rough and graveled paths running through. its spiritual release. bluffs of clouds above and grass below, each mirroring the soft, elemental basics of nature. it makes you want to melt. to just sink in there. to waste away into thought. into lack of thought. nothing and everything. the stark bare beauty of nature is such a trip when youve just trekked out of the ornate, decorated, manmade elegance of the city of spires.

but just beyond port meadow is a small streamlet from the river thames. barge boats and buddy boats and small punting boats are all docked along the shore. its a beautiful sight to be seen. as you can see. :D but in our desperate attempt to hurry back alllll the way home to my faraway home at 123 Botley Road, we discovered, with the help of some freshwater plimpy fishermen, a walkway along the canal that seems something of storybook legend. branches adorned with leaves seem to curve over, giving passage to the adventurer. tree trunks and tall stalks of flowers salute the sojourner. its truly something from a children's book. especially in the sunset.

and as we crossed the footbridge, we came upon a parade a ducks and swans. graceful, beautiful creatures in everyday tom's backyard. so close as to bite our shoes. and they did. they sat with us for a half of an hour until we unwillingly bid them goodbye as the golden sun slid into the purple sky.
but i'll be back to see them again tomorrow.
you can see them now, though.

ive oh so much more to tell and not the time in which to tell it.
but this is an update, a tidbit.
enough to leave you thirsting for knowledge
to pass to you the desire for lifelong scholarship
a spirit of inquiry
an explorative mind
the probing tongue
and questions to ask galore.

go on. ask them!

kisses and squeezes from oxford


Saturday, August 29, 2009

whirlwind westminster

the past three days have been a whirlwind of activity, culture, food, and excitement. its been rough trying to translate it into words. this is truly a place that everyone should travel to at least once. the history alone is enough to make the pilgrimage.

i wish i had been able to blog daily about the adventures im getting ready to share. however the internet's been spotty and we've been getting in and feeling rather tired anyways. now, however, instead of minute daily accounts you'll get more impressions. which are sometimes better than simple recounting of the day's activities.

wednesday & thursday

i believe that the last time i updated was tuesday night, because when i fell asleep in front of the computer it was the last time i had solid internet connection. i blame the pictures i was trying to upload- blogger has a really crappy photo uploader. i may just create an online web album and link you all to it.

anyways! i am supposed to be telling you about thursday!
i'll do it through an excerpt of an email to christopher:

yesterday (my wednesday) was the british museum and wicked. youre going to absolutely LOVELOVE the british museum (as will all of you!). i can already tell! its gigantic- over 6 million artifacts. and the cool thing is that its not just little insignificant stuff. im talking about history-altering pieces. the rosetta stone, pieces of the parthenon, ancient mummies, runes, chariots, vases, buddhas. they have pieces from every corner of the globe- even a big old head from easter island. pieces from stonehenge. EVERYTHING. i think the coolest part while youre walking around is realizing that once upon a time, not so long ago, the british ruled effing everything. they owned everyone! and when they took over, they took the best stuff for themselves and hoarded it all under one roof. now thats not to say that it isnt a brilliant idea or collection- because it truly is, but i guess i just question how much of their ambition was truly better understanding humanity as a whole, and how much of it was just licking things to claim them. :D
so then WICKED! not only did my mum buy my tickets and snacks and most meals, but she also bought me the best umbrella i have ever seen! i love it so so much! it looks like im a witch! and its gimongous. the top curves up so that it looks like elphaba's hat, and its printed with WICKED and i'll never ever forget the british showing now! as for the show- the comedic timing was a little off from the american version, and even the costuming was a little different. our view was great though. and so were the vibes from people there to see it. i got the british program too, its got all the info on the british cast. elphaba's face was very round and cheeky like the brits. a different take on it... most of them in the states have very pointy faces... but it was definitely a novelty seeing it here- i mean, theyve thick accents and they actually go to "UNI"! i definitely noticed that they do not have the same vocal powers as the girls back home, but still- it was so good and a great experience. it was hard not to compare it. but when youve seen meghan hilty and eden espinoza- well you just cant help it. still, mom saw it and loved it so i suppose i did good suggesting tickets.
then today (my thursday) was a really nice day as well. we slept right through breakfast but then managed to get up and make it over to buckingham palace to watch the changing of the guards. well, actually, we made it to the palace and then stood around TRYING to watch the changing. ultimately unsuccessful. im just too short and not aggressive enough. i can always try again. or i can just watch a video on youtube. :D dont care either way! funny thing about mom here in england though is how obsessed she is with the royal family. shes been chattering away about the queen and how special she is and how she cant believe diana died and asking about the princes and wanting to see the palace. like- its seriously cute how starstruck she is by the whole concept of the monarchy. when we saw the crown jewels at the tower of london she nearly wet herself (although after seeing the three largest diamonds in the world, which are roughly the size of a tennis ball, raquet ball, and ping pong ball, i wanted to as well). angela and i were ready to head to the british library after the changing of the guards, but mom insisted that instead we head inside to see the queen's staterooms. so once again she shelled out the cash and took us into the palace. OHMYGOD the grandeur. everything was gilt in gold, draped in silk, and adorned with the finest wood, marble, fabrics, and art the royal family has been able to find. i learned a whole lot about the place, the life of the royal family, and the history of the art there. i ended up really glad that she dragged us in there though, since we ended up finding out later that since you can only tour the palace when the queen is not in residence, it only ends up open to the public for about 2 months out of the year. luckily i made it inside. we saw incredible collections of fine japanese porcelain, italian marble sculptures, artisan-crafted ornamentation, and even ridiculous rooms full of gifts given to the queen accompanied by dresses she wore when visiting her commonwealth nations. and although im a little embarrased to admit it- i had no idea what or how extensive the british commonwealth system is until the exhibition in the palace. it was flooring, and then at the same time it ruffled my feathers a little bit to think about exactly what that system stands for. all in all, i've got a really great look at the plunders of the monarchy. thank god for the new world.
not too much else after that. grabbed sandwiches (mine mozarella, basil, and tomatoes(said in the british fashion) on a fresh roll) and headed down to the palace park. nommed my sarnie (equivalent of sammie) on the palace park lawn with my pellegrino limonata and watched clouds, children, and let the wind kiss my cheeks. john, paul, george, and ringo playing beautifully in my ears as children chased thrown walnuts and i enjoyed my afternoon being a daughter and sister and bird.
(end of the email. thanks for sharing, love)

shopping for nothing in particular at harrods downtown. THEY HAD EVERYTHING from designer handbags and $50,000 diamond rings to a fish market, fresh deli, french macaroon shop, and drug store. it was insane. like a target on super expensive crack. i couldnt even wrap my mind around it!

bangers and mash for dinner at st. george's pub. mom had prawns. angela duck. i won. pork and leek sausage with perfect mashed potatoes smothered in a sweet gravy. deee lish ussss. although we are noticing that the brits dont much like it when you invade their regular pubs. they tease. we dont care!


friday we slept right on through breakfast and ended up instead heading out to the british library once we all finally made it conscious.
the special collections room was stunning.
i made a point to write down all of the originals we saw so that i will always remember every lovely book, piece of parchment, and manuscript i laid eyes on.
including but not limited to:
Romeo and Juliet
Venus and Adonis
Twelfth Night
Richard III

Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus

John Donne's collection of poetry

The Beatle's handwritten song lyrics for
Hard Day's Night
Ticket to Ride

Sylvia Plath's Insomnia

Charles Ludwig Dodgson
"Lewis Carrol's"
Alice's Adventures Under Ground

Darwin's The Origin of Species

Freud's The Power of Dreams

The Lindisfarne Gospels

The Codex Sinaiticus

Leonardo Di Vinci's notebook pages



an original indulgence

and Aesop's Fables.

i feel so fortunate to have been able to just see them
i would kill to read through one. just one.
(even if it was in latin)

after the library we headed to the blackfriar's pub.
it was so beautiful
over 200 years old with copper and mother-of-pearl inlay on the walls, archways, and windowframes.
centuries-old stained glass
treated leather ceilings
home-style english pies
english ale
and all the attitude.
but we met angie's friends and had a wonderful, wonderful time.
despite the contrary drunkenness and all-around annoyance on the walk home.
youve gotta love having a sister.

so now that you're caught up, i will promise to post again later tonight about my saturday, and i will promise to include pictures as soon as my internet isnt in such a precarious state. since i know that pictures are all you're here for anyways.

and love!