My dear friend and former roomie (roommate for three full years! top that.) is celebrating her birthday today all the way across the ocean from me. I really miss you, Brenna Joy.
In other news, I’m not generally an observer of Halloween, but exactly one year ago today, I was navigating four little Saudi kids through a neighborhood to ring doorbells and earn candy for their costumes. Half of the time, we were trying to curtail the youngest’s attempts to run out into the street, and it was a really hot evening to chase kids. But it was such a good time.
And still yet, I have had a really good week here. It’s probably the best week I’ve had in London thus far. Several days, I’ve just found myself musing about how this is so unreal and how grateful I am that I am here. Oh, and I ran five miles today. First time ever.
On Saturday, my flatmate and I went to Epping Forest. The map says that it’s still in London, but it was definitely out of the city. I forget all the stats we read about it, but it may be the largest forest in England, and it is something like 6,000 acres.
We saw Queen Elizabeth’s hunting lodge -which was sweet. We took our time and Stephanie showed me all the cool thing I’ve never known about my camera. We only got turned around once. We walked for hours.
For while it was kind of rainy, and dude it’s muddy. I see the wisdom of those rubber boots I see people running around in now.
As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said through his fictional character, Sherlock Holmes, the small things often are the significant things. Take toast, for example. It’s so simple to make that no one bothers to do it well, so it usually turns out badly. And it’s small so it’s excused. Breakfast usually has tea or orange juice that you can use to cough the stuff down.
Toast is rough, though. Even the most sublime piece has to be consumed within 60 seconds of its creation or it’s just not worth the calories (the same is true of waffles). So don’t bother ordering this at a restaurant, unless the cook is willing to let you dash in and rescue the slices as soon as they pop up from the metal slats.
Besides, you can make it at home. Even common sandwich bread can be respectable. Of course, if you’ve got any snazzy bread, your chances of good toast go up ten-fold.
My toast has two non-negotiables.
One, it must have real butter on it. I’m kind of a snob about this. You can’t cheat with butter and not be found out.
Two, the butter must melt; i.e. it has to be hot bread. The toaster where I’m living now has this uncanny ability to produce browned bread that is room temperature. Now I nuke the bread before I toast it, and that usually works.
That’s it. After that, do what you will – jam, jelly, eggs, cut diagonally- whatever. Just be sure to get in a few bites within the critical period of 60 seconds.
It’s called depature. And yes, it’s cool like that and the “d” is not capitalized.
departure is a cafe, second-hand bookstore, community and arts center (or centre if you’re British).
It’s in the east end of London, Limehouse specifically. There is a facebook group if you’d like to see pictures -you can find it through my page probably- or their website is www.depart.in.
It’s funny frequently thinking about your nationality. You (or at least I don’t) don’t think about the country you are from until you are outside of it. Over here, I’m like, “Yes! I’m an American!” But, I may add, the Scotsman in our group is just as passionate about his country.
So here, we are, just over a month living in the illustrious city of London.
I’m sharing a flat with two girls, living with 10 people over all. I have a 40 hour work week, a small collection of clothes to keep me warm in this increasing cold. It doesn’t feel like home yet.
I love the river Thames and the Queen’s Walk, which goes along it on the south bank. I have picked up knitting as a caveat to my job, a way to befriend some of the locals. I am reading recreationally again, after four years of university. Right now, I am reading Vanity Fair (all my lit friends would be so proud).
My appreciation and knowledge of coffee has broadened as I have been educated on our espresso machine at work. My career as a barista is burgeoning. So yeah, what I miss of American cuisine is being compensated for over good coffee.
I am working on my goals for the year. I like it here most days.
. morning coffee, hazelnut creamer, pastry, and fruit with MB.
. hummus and carrots with katie. (this was usually me consuming massive amounts of hummus on scant carrots while Katie consumed half of a bag of carrots plain)
. panera bread.
. guacamole, and really any mexican.