It’s actually a bit ridiculous. I’m a creature of habit, and I don’t like to confront new people or situations if I can avoid it, so I just go to this same spot every dang day. For hours, because I get to school wicked early. And I know people think it is a bit weird. Even I think it is a bit weird. But it has lovely natural light and is mostly peaceful. Not to mention it’s in my building, so I’m always right where I need to be. Usually.
The only thing that will clean my Macbook screen is the cloth that came with it. So now I have to guard it with my life. Or else live with fingerprints and smudges for eternity. The worst.
Melanie, Annie, and I went to a restaurant called Dans le Noir. It’s from a movie that Annie and Melanie both love, called “About Time.” It’s actually a good movie. Has lots of tears involved when watching it. I do suggest it.
Anyway, it is a blackout restaurant. The waitstaff are all blind, and the room where you dine is pitch black. Whenever you first arrive, you are asked to put all of your belongings (phones, jackets, purses, etc) in a locker. Then, you sit and choose from a set menu. You don’t know what you are actually eating, though. Instead, you choose whether you want two courses or three, and if you want a meal that is vegetarian, fish, meat, or “exotic” meat. I chose a three course vegetarian, Melanie chose a three course meat, and Annie bravely chose a three course exotic meat meal.
I was more than a little nervous. I’m not a particular fan of the dark on a normal day. Certainly not when I am in a restaurant with other people, being served food I’m unfamiliar with. Annie was such a good sport and held my hand really tightly as we were lead into the restaurant’s eating area. When I say it’s dark, I mean a darkness I have never experienced before. There’s no light whatsoever. Having your eyes open is completely pointless as they never adjust. I was sat across the table from Melanie and Annie, so I was even more nervous. It’s hard when you’re not right by someone you know. The place was surprisingly loud, as well. I already don’t have great hearing, so it was just another added obstacle for me. The restaurant is meant to be a social experience as much as it is a senses one, so all of the tables people sit at are shared. To my left, I had a post, so obviously no one was going to end up sitting there. To the right, though, I did have an empty seat. I kept wondering if someone was beside me, and would occasionally reach over to the chair next to me and see if there was anyone there. I thought about it later, and it was a good thing no one was ever next to me. If they had been, I would have been groping them. I didn’t just reach out to touch the chair (I couldn’t see where it was, after all), I slid my hand all over the seat of it. If a person had been there, I would have smacked my hand right in their lap.
Our waiter’s name was Trevor. He had an incredibly pleasant voice, and we were sure to tell him so. He thanked us, and then asked us all where we were from per our accents. He thought America and Australia, but wanted to be sure. Trevor admitted that he has always really enjoyed the Australian accent, so after he walked away, Melanie and I started to tease Annie (she’s Australian). “Ooooh, Annie, you may have a chance with him! You better marry him. But we want to marry him too. So… SISTER WIIIIIIVES!” followed by fits of giggling. This dialogue was also followed by Trevor saying, “You’re welcome, girls. I’ll work on my marriage proposal.” Yep. He had been there the whole time. Or at least nearby within hearing distance. And we had not realized. He was quiet like a cat. Needless to say, we laughed even harder at that point.
When food was served, I quickly learned that I would make a terrible blind person. I was pretty sure of that already, but it confirmed my suspicions. I didn’t even bother with my cutlery. It was pointless, because I didn’t know where anything was. So I full on ate every last one of my three courses with my bare hands. If people had been in the restaurant with night vision goggles, they would have been disgusted. Or perhaps just really entertained. My first course was a salad with a roasted vegetable and some weird sauce I didn’t like. My second course I wasn’t sure on. I decided to really take my time and try to figure it all out. I smelled it, I felt it, I tasted it – tried to use all the senses I could. I determined I was eating gnocchi with mushrooms in a cream sauce. For dessert, I plunged my hand into some kind of chocolatey lava cake with a sauce around it. And you bet I shamelessly licked my fingers/hand and the plate. After the meal, you are lead back into the common room where you pay and learn what it was that you ate. The people have you say what you thought it was, and then they show you what it really was. I had my main course down perfectly *dusts off shoulders*. The weird sauce I didn’t like from my salad was made from goat cheese (blech), and my dessert was essentially a fancy chocolate lava cake with a berry sauce. Annie’s meal was the exotic meat, so it was really interesting to find out what the heck she ate. It consisted of kangaroo AND zebra. I would have been so sad if I had eaten either of those animals. I don’t eat meat anyway, but those would have really upset me.
I am going with Melanie to another band thing this Friday. I’m super excited, because, well… I like the band and hello cute guy. We decided to break from studying to get something to wear for the weekend. We both sort of recycle the same clothes over and over. Annie made a comment the other day on how my flannel must be my favorite shirt since she sees me in it a lot. When I thought about it, she does. Every time I have seen her almost I’m in that dang flannel. Anyway, so we went to Top-Shop. I had high hopes. They were quickly dashed.
I don’t know what it is about me, but whenever I go abroad I gain an insane amount of weight. I guess because I cook less? But I didn’t really cook very much at home, either. The only reason I’m not huge right now is because I walk so much (thank goodness for that). In the dressing room I didn’t cry, but I did get really depressed. I think living with Melanie will help out with this, since she is healthy and cooks a lot. I will also feel more comfortable about cooking at home since it will be more of a home. Or so I am hoping.
I think I mentioned already how I have like thirty million things do at once. I was in the British Library for the majority of yesterday as I tried to work on notes for my meeting with Dr. Shaggy today. I’m feeling…okay about it? I don’t know. Hopefully our talk today will help me figure things out, we will see. I feel guilty that everyone waited until today to talk with him. I know he has to be exhausted from back to back meetings.
I am the queen of awkward small talk. Twice now I have run into people from my Greek class outside of class time. And twice now I have awkwardly tried to communicate about things other than Greek class. One guy I had three run-ins with in the same day. THREE. It started when I was passing him in the hall. Normally if I’m passing by someone, I’ll give a generic “hey,” maybe a “hey how’s it going,” while still walking. These small snippets are not meant to necessarily have a response, they are merely a quick exchange to be polite. He, apparently, was not aware of this unspoken rule. He stopped, in the middle of this super tiny hallway, to talk more in depth with me about what were still generic small talk topics. “Hey, what are you up here for? How was your weekend? Have you done the homework?” Each question I answer and then also ask him back, as the polite rules of conversation say I should. I got increasingly more flustered and awkward, running out of things to say as the conversation went on. I don’t remember how we eventually parted ways. I think he finally said he had to go. He ran into me two other times while I was in my window, though. Each time stopping to talk to me. I DO NOT HAVE THAT MANY SMALL TALK TOPICS SAVED UP! Obviously I need a book on suggested small talk topics. Yet another thing to study.
Our core seminar course is frustrating. There’s a lot I’m supposed to be learning from it; it is meant to be one of the most important courses I take, but so far that has not been the case. It’s not that it is completely pointless. …but almost. Apparently our instructor is sick (which is sad) so we had another professor from RHUL lead the class today. He was good, but none of the KCL students had any idea of the change. I feel like that is something that should be communicated. Maybe I’m wrong in that, I don’t know.
Today was meant to be an important class day, as it was meant specifically for dissertation writing tips. The man who was subbing had a fairly interesting class planned, but I needed more. He had us look through two introductions from papers and discuss what we thought about them. Pretty much everyone hated the intros and thought they were poorly done, which ended up being sort of ironic as they were both done by PhDs and published in famous journals. We walked through why an introduction is so important and broke down how the examples actually did a good job for what they needed to do. Go figure.
Next, he broke us into groups to create our own introduction for a made up archaeological discovery. Each group was assigned a different type of introduction. Radio program, tabloid paper, popular history. We had the radio program. I was voted as the speaker, because of my American accent (or that was the excuse everyone used anyway). I didn’t present exactly as I wanted, but I tried. Here is what it would have read like if I did it perfectly (of course, my voice was soothing and radio ready):
“Radio 4 presents ‘A Bigger, Better Rosetta Stone.’ A recent archaeological excavation in Croydon unearthed what appears to be a large stone tablet containing previously unknown languages. The tablet, being hailed as the ‘Bigger, Better Rosetta Stone,’ dates back to 83 AD and includes Latin inscriptions, making it possible to fully translate the new languages. This exciting discovery opens doors to new cultures and societies. Tune into our podcast Tuesday at 6pm to learn more.”