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Category: UK Edition

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! We just got back from a trip to London, England! Well we got back on Tuesday. The trip was great because I was not on any medication and had no dietary restrictions, and the food and drink in London is top notch. But we did hit a snag at the beginning of the trip.

Here’s what happened: there’s a train called the Heathrow Express that takes you from the airport to London. You have to buy tickets for the Heathrow Express. When we were in the tunnel walking toward the Heathrow Express, we bought round trip tickets for a discount price.

We arrived at the entrance to the Heathrow Express, and next to the entrance there is a station to buy Oyster cards. Oyster cards allow you to ride the Tube (London’s subway) and use the bus transportation system. We bought two Oyster cards and put 20 pounds on them, thinking that would get us through the week.

Then we exited to get to the Heathrow Express, but instead of using my Express voucher, I used my Oyster card! Since there were Oyster signs all over the machine, I thought it was an Oyster machine! It deducted 9 pounds and let me through. David said, “No! You were supposed to use the Express ticket!” I was beside myself, because I had just wasted 9 pounds. We found a station attendant who told us this amount would not really be deducted. (He was incorrect.) I felt like I had wasted money the entire ride from the Express to Paddington Station.

At Paddington Station we carted our luggage down to a transfer line on the Tube. Mobile phones don’t work in the tunnel, so I pulled out a Tube map. “Put away that map please,” David said, because he was worried it made us look like tourists. We had luggage with us and David was wearing sweatpants, so I thought we looked like tourists anyway, and we were tourists, so I thought playing the part would be fine. One of the people in the rush hour commute asked where we were looking for, and he told us, so we thanked him and headed in that direction. We boarded our train which was packed to the brim. I had to climb up on a ledge at one point to make space. I couldn’t believe how packed every train car was.

When we exited our Tube train car, David patted his pockets and said, “I don’t have my wallet.” We had been pick-pocketed! The thief made off with 180 pounds, a 20 pound Oyster card, and a lot of credit cards and license information. Unbelievable! We found a station attendant and shared we had been pick pocketed. “Well you’re in a big city, this happens, they work in teams,” he said.
“We’ve never been pick-pocketed in New York,” I replied, to signal we’re not country bumpkins.
“Well you’re not tourists in New York, are you? I bet your tourists get pick-pocketed.”
He had a point I couldn’t refute on the spot. And I couldn’t very well tell him we are tourists in New York too, lest I lose the city credentials I had just established.

Then he told us, “Okay, here is the number for the police department. The chances you get your wallet back are 0.” He made an “O” shape with his fingers for emphasis. “But you can report it for statistics.” We said thank you, and we asked how to exit the station without an Oyster card, and he said to just tell them what happened, and they would let us exit. He was right; people were sympathetic and quick to open the gate.

When we got to the hotel, David cancelled all his cards and got a new license. I learned a valuable lesson about not fretting about small mistakes (the Express/Oyster mishap) because it can decrease your mental acuity and open you up to bigger mistakes! David learned a valuable lesson about not storing his wallet in his sweatpants pocket, which we realized is rife for pick-pocketing.

David was annoyed and very thoughtful about the whole thing. Later in the day he said, “Better us than some kid where 180 pounds would have been their hostel fee or destroyed their month.”

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I Studied at Oxford

I studied at Oxford University for a semester, so I bought a lot of hooded sweatshirts that say Oxford University on it.

The other day, I was wearing one of my Oxford hoodies, and I was worried no one would notice that I was academically accomplished. Luckily, someone did. A group of us were socializing after our team tennis match, and a gentleman with a British accent asked, “Oh! Did you attend Oxford?”

“Yes!” I replied.

“Me too!” he said.

I thought, “Uh oh, I hope he doesn’t start singing some alma mater. I’ll have to hum along giddily and pretend I know what it is.”

Luckily his next question was, “What college?”

“Exeter!” I replied.

“I was at Pembroke,” he said, “For my master’s.”

“Lovely! Me too!” I replied. And then I decided to share some information to demonstrate I had been there.

“I really like the pub in the college basement.”

“Hm.” He replied. And that was the end of our conversation.

I should have said, “I really liked the academic rigor.” Maybe a true Oxford grad would have said that.

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My Emotions are Headed to Upton Abbey

I was a little surprised by how affected I was by the Downton Abbey season 3 finale. I actually called Mummy this morning and shrieked, “Don’t bother watching that series Mummy! It will win your heart and then shatter it into pieces! It can only bring unhappiness!”

Fortunately a little Internet research helped explain why the writers did what they did. The Internet also helped me remember that the characters of Downton Abbey are fictional. So, you can’t control my emotions anymore, Downton Abbey. I’m rebuilding my emotional fortress so that never again will a television show so masterfully manipulate me into loving it. Never. Again.

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Summer Abroad

Remember how I was abroad a few months ago? And remember how I love stop-motion? Well I made a stop-motion commemorating the summer trip! Now, mine isn’t very good, and the words are blurry because I went about creating the text scroll in a rudimentary way, but it still took me forever to make. I realize it’s small, but the file was so big it was the only way I could negotiate maintaining image quality. No more excuses, now you must enjoy!

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Charged Enthusiasm

Blog! Did you know I was in the midst of writing a great novel? No? Well neither did I! Perhaps that’s because I am not in the midst of writing a great novel. No novel, blog, rather I am in the midst of doing my reading for my literature classes.


They are positively wonderful!  Did you know that Shakespeare was an actor as well as a writer? They suspect part of the reason he was able to easily convert prose into script was his familiarity with performing on stage.  And did you know that Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale was perhaps a fresh response to Roberte Greene’s scathing Groats-worth of Wit bought with a Million of Repentance ? In it, Greene rails against actors who write and accuses Shakespeare of plagiarism.  Personally blog, I think Shakespeare was an early (and great) re-mediator. Putting narratives to plays is necessary, for as the Second Gentleman in The Winter’s Tale says, “Such a deal of wonder is broken out within this hour, that ballad-makers cannot be able to express it.”  (5.2.21)  Blog, we can’t always just write about things. Duh.  Sometimes people have to see to understand.

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The Globe

“But cousin, what if we essayed to steal
The clownish fool out of your father’s court.
Would he not be a comfort to our travel?”
As You Like It (2.1.123)


Blog! I visited The Globe Theater yesterday to see As You Like It.   In the lines above, Celia and Rosalind have decided to run away to the forest, and then Rosalind says, “How about we take the clown too?”  So then they go and get the clown as well.

Isn’t that brilliant? Taking a clown! It is. I would insist on taking humor-relief with me if I were going to go live in a forest.  And if I were rich, I would demand a comedian followed me around to make clever quips during all kinds of situations.   So, for example, if an officer pulled me over for speeding in my classy Astin Martin, I would turn to the comedian, sitting by my side, and insist on a joke.  “Go on now! Do something hilarious!” Then I would turn my attention to the law enforcer, “Officer, prepare to laugh.”

Of course, every once in a while, my comedian would fail me, and in those cases, I will stare and blink at the comedian.  This will give the comedian time to recover, or, in extreme cases of comedy block, just turn and run away.

Sorry, that was a long aside blog, it was just important that I share it with you.  In other news, I was surrounded by Americans in Shakespeare’s Globe. Other American tourists are ruining my authentic cultural experiences, blog.  So, naturally, I quietly glare at them in disdain when they talk out loud.  I won’t have it!

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Hullo Blog!

Hullo Blog, I’m in the UK now, reporting to you live from Oxford. I can hear the rivuh Thames breeze gently by as I ponder the works of Shakespeare and Ian McEwan. Ha! Of course that’s bollocks, blog, I can’t hear the river. I’m indoors, on my laptop.

My first great purchase abroad – I’m based in the states you know – has been Cadbury’s dark chocolate! I bought two packs. I love this stuff. I would pump it into my veins if I could. I’ve already made plans for how to bring it back, en masse, to the states.


Also, I bought some Nutella, of course, and some Ben and Jerries ice cream. There’s a heat wave, so I thought the ice cream would be a good idea. It cost 4.65 pounds, which is $7.62, which means I paid almost $8 for a pint of Ben and Jerries Phish Food. * shakes head *

Blog in other news, I am headed to London tomorrow! Have you heard of it? It’s a modest town in the heart of the United Kingdom.

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