Very Serious Empirical Research

Okay London. I like you; I’m comfortable with you; We’ve been on a few dates. So now I have a some questions.

1. Why is your lemonade always fizzy? I mean. It’s not soda. Doesn’t the word lemonade mean lemon juice? (EDIT: No, it doesn’t. It just means lemon. This doesn’t change my opinion.)

2. Why is there a rogue fox wandering my street? DURING THE DAY? This is not a joke. The fox is large and could probably eat me. In my search for a winter coat, I will not be purchasing a red one.

3. Why do you call the second floor of a building the first floor? The part where you call the first floor the ground floor makes sense, so I’ll give you that. But the second story of a building should be… the second floor.

4. Why do you spell curb ‘kerb’? I’m just confused by this and have no further comments on the matter.

5. Finally, the scooters. Yes, it’s cute that all the kids ride their scooters to school, but should the parents really ride the scooters back home after they drop their kid off? I’ve never been run off the sidewalk by a fourth grader on a scooter, but I’ve had my fair share of scares with grown adults on tiny scooters. (Did I say the word scooters enough?)

Obviously, London, you have quite a few positive attributes: the beer, the fish and chips, the healthcare, the transit system, the cheap flights to any other European city, the beer.

What I’m trying to say is, I’m free Friday night.

On London and Masters Degrees and Making Friends

Hello, hello, hello!

So we’ve been here in London for one month. I have that notion when you simultaneously feel you’ve been in a new place for ages but also feel you’ve only just arrived. Is there a word for that feeling? In English? There should be. Like time has stopped and sped up at the same moment.

Anyway. A lot has happened, as things tend to go in a whole month. And yet, not a lot has happened. Everything moves much slower here – getting a flat took longer than we thought, opening a bank account took longer than we expected, getting wifi… well, that one’s still to sensitive to talk about.

We stayed with parents of a friend for the first week, and they were lovely and generous and had two perfectly British cats, Harry and Boris. We would have been lost without them (the humans, not the cats). And now we have our own flat! It has huge windows and an oven (unexpected) and communal garden (ahem, backyard). Behind the garden is a giant park with tennis courts and a lake and a coffee shop. It’s charming. It’s starting to feel like a home.

My classes are going so well. The tutors (er, professors) are helpful and the other students in my program are great. It’s so difficult to make friends, isn’t it? You look for people you like and then play a balancing act of talking and hanging out and hoping you don’t say something offensive. Am I likable? Are my jokes funny?? I’m tempted to just bring some homemade cookies to class and bribe everyone into being friends.

Oh, look, a segue!: into fun things we’ve done so far in London. Leading off, the Cake and Bake Show with the Great British Bake Off Live. I mean… I don’t even have to explain why I loved this event, do I? Sweets, baking, Bake Off finalists, and so many samples that I didn’t even need lunch! (But I did need a piece of millionaire’s shortbread because that stuff is delicious.)

For Jonathan’s birthday we went to Warner Brothers Studios for the Harry Potter tour. It was no big deal and not interesting at all. KIDDING IT WAS AWESOME. We saw sets and costumes and engineering drawings and a to-scale replica of Hogwarts. There was a Knight Bus and 4 Privet Drive and the Ford Anglia. And we stayed after the studio closed to watch an extended version of Half-Blood Prince on a giant screen. I mean. What more could you ask for? Okay, butterbeer. And that’s about it.

What else have we done, you might ask? We visited the Tate Modern and saw loads of abstract art, ventured into the British Museum and saw the Rosetta Stone (NBD), volunteered at a half marathon in Hyde Park, had afternoon tea complete with scones and clotted cream and smoked salmon sandwiches, explored our local farmer’s market, and tested out the first of many of our local pubs. Don’t worry, if you’re coming to visit us, we’ll have all the good stuff figured out for your trip. 🙂

I suppose I should get back to studying now – books to read and notes to take. Time for another cuppa.