It was not me just taking myself to the movies. It was like a for real date and everything. Started off a bit rough, because I got lost going to meet him. He purposely picked an area close to where I was done with class, but I tried to be extra smart and put directions into my phone (JUST TO BE SAFE) and didn’t question it when they looked off. I essentially walked 25 minutes in a circle and he had to find me. Stellar impression on my part.
There was a full schedule of activities planned for the evening (by him, naturally. I don’t know what is going on ever). First, we went to the National Gallery and looked at some 19th century art. I had been before but only to meet up with someone and had glanced through sections of the 14th century paintings without really getting to SEE them. This was nice because I was able to look in detail at appreciate things more. I was able to see Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, as well as his Chair painting. Also Cezanne’s AND Seurat’s Bathers. Many other pieces by all three artists as well as Degas. For some reason, though, this one painting just really caught me. It’s by Theo van Rysselberghe whom I know nothing about. It is pointillism, which I love… so maybe that’s why it caught my eye. I just stared at it for the longest time. The National Gallery is so good to have an image download full with details included, so I can share it AND the facts with you all. So here, have a looksee…
After the National Gallery, we went on to have a pint (as the locals say) at a nearby bar. It was really amazing inside, but full of twists/turns/side rooms/stairs. It is a nightmare for someone with no sense of direction (aka ME). I managed to not move around and get lost. I was worried when I finally had to get up and pee, but luckily the bathrooms were nearby and I didn’t spend another 30 minutes trying to find my way back to my seat. It was easy and direct. We talked a lot and I realized it was my one month British-versary, so we cheers’ed to that. I made it a solid month and I have yet to die or permanently maim myself, so that’s promising. More on that later.
After the bar we went to have a quick dinner (where I beautifully spit food on myself and also ate a piece of my hair on accident – all things he noticed) another drink, and then headed to the train station. As he was walking me to my side (I was on the underground, he was riding the national rail back) we passed a guy peeing on the staircase. Quite romantic. Also, this was a Tuesday. Who gets so shnockered they’re pissing on the street on a Tuesday? Not trying to judge, but I did think it was a bit strange.
Anyway, it was a pretty good time. I was nervous as hell, but I kept telling myself, “Meg, this isn’t like Monroe. This is a huge city. If you make an ass of yourself, you will never have to see him again. Seriously. You’ll probably never run into this man again. So it doesn’t matter.” And you know what? IT DIDN’T! So what, I ate my hair? Never gotta see this guy again. Could have peed on the streets myself and it wouldn’t have mattered because I NEVER GOTTA SEE HIM IF I DON’T WANNA!
So that was Tuesday. Wednesday I went and tried to use my day off to study. It didn’t work so well because I slept most of the day and when I finally got up, showered, and partook in the outside world it was late. I’ve come up with this thing where I’ll go to the British Library and work a bit, they’ll eventually close and kick me out, so then I go to the Maughan Library. This way I am forced to move and it will help me not be antsy (in theory). Wednesday it didn’t work because my mind was just not doing it. I was trying so hard to think on work and do work, but my brain said, “Naaaahhh. Looks like you’re trying to learn Greek. Mmmmm, I’m not going to take this in. Nice try.”
In my break from the British Library to the Maughan, I decided to grab some food. When I came off the tube it was raining (naturally, I’m not carrying my new umbrella with me because that would be smart), so I darted over to hide under an awning and saw it was a Korean restaurant. I thought to myself – why the heck not?
So this Korean restaurant might have been typically a date area, but that’s okay. Eating alone is not something I’m unused to (thanks, traveling as a recruiter!). I was asked if I would mind sharing a table (no, of course not), then escorted to sit down. Can I just say how much I’ve missed rice? I know that sounds absurd. But I love rice. I just do. And I don’t have a rice cooker here and I’ve been too lazy to cook in our home kitchen (I think the slugs forever ruined it for me, too), so I’ve been without. I ordered tofu bibimbap and it was probably the best dang thing I’ve eaten since I’ve been in England.
After a bit this couple came and sat next to me, and I overheard them talking to the waiter. They had a lot of questions, so I figured out they probably never had Korean food before. I talked to them some and gave them suggestions on what I’ve had before, and they thanked me. Later on they asked the waiter if they could have some water, and the waiter asked “still, or sparkling? tap or bottle?” to which the couple next to me was confused. They asked, “Is the tap water drinkable?” I had noticed a slightly Hispanic/Latin American accent, so this question made sense to me. It did not make sense to the waiter. I jumped in, held up my glass of tap water and said, “Yes, yes it is drinkable.” We ended up chatting some and I learned they are Colombian and studying in London, as well. I think they said at UCL.
Gabby drew to my attention that we’ve been grouped together on several projects lately. I don’t know if it is a happy accident, if it’s because we have similar non-Classics backgrounds, or if the teachers have just noticed that we are always together and have taken pity on us. Either way, I don’t hate it. I’m so grateful that she’s in this with me. Also drowning and confused. Although she’s getting Greek better than me (dangit). As soon as I think I have something in Greek, I realize I have no idea what is happening. Does anyone happen to know simple ways to learn grammar? I’m going to ask my professor, too. I know it seems so easy, but it is not for me. I cannot grasp direct objects, nominative/vocative/dative/genitive/imperative clauses, or feminine/masculine/neuter declensions. Despite Gabby trying to explain them to me. To make matters worse, the professor presented to us this huge new list of word endings we need to memorize in order to understand whether or not the words involved are feminine. And of course, it’s much harder than masculine form words. Many of them are irregular. They all depend on whether or not there is a long A or a short A involved. JUST STOP IT, GREEK. WHY CAN’T YOU BE EASIER? Needless to say I’m not doing well and am not prepared for Monday’s test. At all.
I went to study for Greek and read earlier this week and stopped off for a snack at Pret. I didn’t want any more coffee, so I just asked for one mini Victoria sponge cake. The guy working looked at me and said, “that’s all?” Yep. That’s all. Instead, he gave me two mini Victoria sponge cakes saying, “One on the house. Just don’t blame me for the extra calories. Ha ha ha!” Dear sir, I am going to blame you for the extra calories. Because I do not have self control and now I will eat both of those little cakes. Probably within seconds of each other. Inhaling them at once.
All I can guess is that I must have looked extra hungry. Or like I really wanted calories. Gimme all de calories, brah.
So, like I said. One month in London. Finally happened. *sings* Looks like we made it, look how far we’ve come my baybaaaay!
Unlike my one week in London, I actually have learned a few things. Like, there is drip coffee (sometimes). But it is called filter coffee. And most of the time people think it’s weird if you want it. I’ve learned that Amazon Prime is magical here and has one day (and sometimes even SAME day) shipping. I’ve learned that UK Netflix sucks and you need to have a VPN and pretend you’re still in America if you want to actually enjoy Netflix. I’ve learned what trains I need to be on to get to school and back home. I’ve learned that I have the pre-recorded speech for each stop on my trains memorised. I’ve gotten comfortable with riding the bus and can get it to stop so I can get off without losing my mind. I’ve learned that people are mostly nice, but generally keep to themselves. Ive learned I can sleep through almost anything. I’ve learned to get over using public bathrooms because there’s only one at home and when you gotta go – you gotta go. I’ve learned that I trip a lot and need to just laugh about it. Obviously I’ve learned all the important things.
Mainly, I’ve learned that I can make it a full month in a big city, but I still have seen only 1% of it. So, I guess I’ve got a lot more to learn.