Saturday, April 30, 2011

the flat

this makes it look a little wobbly.  don't worry.  i'm not living in the tower of pisa.  

love, prospero-ity, and lots and lots of fleet foxes.

portobello road forthcoming.

fire alarm: 4am

what do you do when the fire alarm in your building goes off at 4 am because someone burnt toast in the flat beneath you?

well the first thing you do is wakeup.
then you grab your camera and your laptop (good thing i had the thought the night before, "what are you going to grab if the fire alarm goes off tonight?" and had laid out the necessaries just in case.)
with valuables in arms, you leave the building and start walking to the street corner until the building RA yells after you in her british accent that its okay to come back.

and then you make yourself some toast, because let's face it:  nothing says "time for toast" like a burnt-toast fire alarm.  mm-mmm.

Friday, April 29, 2011

the royal wedding: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

last night at midnight, we decided the best idea for how to spend the next 14 hours would be to sleep on the lawn of buckingham palace.  (a note: i almost didn't go, but carly said, "carolyn.  this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!" apparently those are the magic words to get me to do anything.  advice for adventurers: NEVER miss once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.)  

so we 14 bundled up & took the tube to st. james park.

as it happened, 1.2 million other people had the same idea!


there were thousands and thousands of people all around the palace, and all down the mall.  (not only here, but thousands went to trafalgar square and hyde park to watch the ceremony on jumbo screens!)  we got a lucky spot behind a berm of yellow flowers in front of buckingham (which flowers were trampled by the crowds throughout the night).  people were dressed as brides and princes and everyone had union jack flags.  a group of roustabout boys went dancing through the street singing "she's getting married in the morning!" (from "my fair lady").  tents everywhere.  really happy people everywhere (and some really drunk people too). 

i wore my tennis shoes for my mother because they have arch support.  i almost didn't bring them know, london = fashion and all that, and i've never really been one for wearing tennis shoes around.  but mom said i should bring them just in case, and take care of my feet.  and you know what?  moms give really good advice.  when we left our flat, we hadn't really thought through the thing: we each brought a couple of granola bars and thought it'd be a little overnighter, see the wedding in the morning, no big.  instead, we spent 6 hours waiting for the sun to come up, then 5 more standing on the berm waiting for the wedding to start (at 11am), and then another 3 for the procession to return and the balcony kiss at 1:25!  in short, 14 hours (without much food) standing, walking and adventuring.  in other words, tennis shoes were the greatest thing i did.  so this one's for you mom:

we passed all this time talking about our hometowns and eating clif bars and practicing our english accents with new friends...

{the greatest teenagers ever: rosie, oliver, will, maddy, and toby}

{the band and crowd}

{kate on the way to the wedding. isn't this the most beautiful car?}

{the carriage with prince william and princess catherine coming back to buckingham}

{the balcony}

then i came home and slept for five hours.

we finished tonight off with a little gelato from fouberts.  hazelnut & chocolate.  mm-mm-mmmm.

(i've put more wedding pictures here.  enjoy!)

talbot: a letter of admiration

last semester, i took british poetry from mr. john talbot.  words cannot adequately describe the experience.  once i went to speak to him during office hours.  i found him leaning back with his feet on his desk, watching an italian game show.  he invited me in to have a seat...and then we watched through the end of the game show together.

this is his face (via the english department's website):

he wears a collared shirt, tie, sweater vest, and blazer every day (which he "doffs" or "dons", depending on the temperature of the classroom) and pronounces cafe "cuh-FAY", email "e-MAIL", issue "ISS-you", leisure "LEH-zhur", and my favorite: for instance as "frINstance".

and now, the highlights reel i've been compiling all semester.  the best of talbot's quotes, ponderings, and other such amusing anecdotes:

"he had very good scarves, you know."
"i was sitting in my accustomed cafe this morning, you know, reading the Times---not the New York Times, a contemptible newspaper--no, the London Times of course."
"if you wanted a kind of brisk vertiginous thill (pronounced with a rolling "rrr", you may want to find the book."
"you have to just believe the original Latin is this shimmering piece of brilliance, a robe you put on in the evening to dazzle people, while the translated prose socks."
"i was sashaying my way through the library........"
"it could be a large mechanical fly...and for about 7 seconds, i thought it was the most interesting the world."
"I'm sorry, I need the consolation of wearing the same clothes day after day."
"do you mind if i doff my jacket?  it's a bit stuffy in here, no?  or maybe i'm feeling my own stuffiness."

for all the truly inspiring hours, from me and my colleagues, thank you.

oh hey i live here

i pass this every day.  no big.

london, i love you.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

took my feet to oxford street

today i took my feet to oxford street,
and bought them some pretty oxford shoes.

and in my head, i've been singing coldplay's "christmas lights" all day long.

as for the day's itinerary, we had our first day of class!  i taught about old willy and his tempest, and then we went shopping all over town, shopping mostly for london i think.  of all my favorite things about traveling, wandering is what i love best.  wandering and picture taking.  the girls who came last year suggested that we decide what thing we love the most, and do as much of it as we can: if theatre's your thing, go to the theatre.  if shopping's your thing, shop.  if art's your thing, there's the victoria and albert museum.  and the tate modern.  (i want to go there.)  so i puzzled over what my "thing" is.  and then duh.  realized.  wandering it is.  wandering and picture taking.  that's how i find london.  

so there's been lots of walking today.  i've found too girls who love wandering and picture taking as much as i do and we've had just the loveliest of times.  


{amber with her baguette,waiting for the "special" train at the marble arch station}
{man in suit at notting hill--beautiful architecture at this stop}
{slick london style in front of beautiful portobello road house}
{amber and lauren (not) finding all's well at a little bookstore on portobello road.}

me being happy to be in london

and then there was the evening stroll through hyde park.  the place is magical.  and a tinge sacred.  the trees i think feel sacred.  

well, it's off to the royal wedding!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

the second star to the right and straight on till morning!

advice to those who find themselves in exciting locations:

the first night, go to the heart of the city.  in d.c., that means the national mall to see the monuments.  in london, that means a tube ride to westminster (on the circle line, thank you).  nothing will get you feeling you're in london faster.

[big ben.  in front of the london eye.  a bagpiper on the westminster bridge over the thames.  st. margaret's westminster.]

you may be wondering why there are no pictures of westminster abbey.  well, you see, will and kate are being wed there on friday.  there were crowds of people in tents outside hoping to reserve their spot in the royal wedding.  we're chatting and walking and taking pictures, and suddenly we find ourselves in a crowd of people pressed against a fence with police prohibiting us from getting nearer to the abbey!  as it turns out, ... well, i'll let my london-mates tell the story.

when the police finally let us through (or were they guards?  i'm not sure), the six of us stood (in true study-abroad-student fashion--oblivious to the world around them) on the street corner wondering what just happened and where we should go now that we've seen the abbey.  that's when the camera crews approached us.  "what did you see?!  what were you hoping to see?!"  the lady from the bbc asked what we were in london for.  i froze--they told us to be careful how we answer that question when going through customs.  we're to say "student visitor."  bbc lady (conversational tone): "so what are you all doing here in london?"  carolyn (defensive, cautious): "we're....student visitors."

the chocolate: {double decker}

so everyone raves about how good london's chocolate is.  as you and i well know, chocolate is something i have a particular affection for.  and by particular i mean rather enormous.  thus, i embark on a tasty sojourn through the bars, fudges, and other such treats of london.  sheer revelry.

scoring of the chocolates will be based entirely on subjective and whimsical criteria.

tonight's tasty treat (wouldn't it be more fun if it was spelled "treet"?) is cadbury's double decker.

THE CUTLINE: soft on top with a crispy bottom.  intriiiiiguing.
THE DESCRIPTION: Cadbury milk chocolate with a soft, chewy nougat top & crunchy cereal bottom.
PRICE:  £ 0.55


THE REVIEW:  the nougaty top was indeed soft and chewy.  the cereal bottom was indeed crunchy.  think rice krispies, only krispier.  the most enjoyable part of the bar is the texture--the crunchy cereal bottom is held together by soft chocolate, which makes for a delightful textile experience.  the nougat was a little much i felt.  how bout peanut butter?  i guess the brits aren't really as into the ole P.B. as we are.

SCORE:  texture: 7/10
taste: 6/10
ease in eating: 4/20 (the nougat.  difficult.)
culturally-clever title: 11/10 
overall: 28/50

the shining city of london

dear royal borough of kensington,

first, thanks for being royal.
second, thanks for being the place where i get to call home for the next two months!  i love your quiet streets.  i love your pigeons bobbing along the sidewalks.  i love that your marbled windows reflect a marbly sun.

i love your cheese and bagels, and that the flatmates before me left black velvet pumps and a monet-blue scarf and a gray peacoat that's softsoftsoft, all because they couldn't fit them in their suitcases home.  we new flatmates felt the heavens were smiling upon us with such nice things.  not to mention when the nice man at the tube station gave me his daypass tube card because he'd finished using it for the day.

in short, dear kensington, i am in love with you.

one jet-lagged though very starry-eyed girl

see the grey peacoat and monet-blue scarf?  i feel very british in them.  (while retaining my america-lovin heart: see rainbow slippers on feet.)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

to fall historically in love

teenage love.  those are some days i wouldn't mind having back.

the days when it was acceptable to say things like i will die without you.  or we were meant for each other, and to actually believe that there really was no other person you could ever be happy with.  the days when you completely believed that at some moment in your life, a boy would show up at your window screaming he was in love with you and you couldn't break up because he loved you too much.

the days when you believed someone would do something as crazy as fly across the country or heck the world for you.  the days before people did things like "giving you your space" and "being okay with whatever decision you make" and being so horribly rational about something as wonderfully irrational as love.

i knew a guy who bought his girlfriend a star.

and on that, i have one song to remind you how that used to feel:

(a hammock because that is what i'm installing the second i move into my apartment in the fall...because it has a balcony, and i am in love with it.  in love the way teenagers are in love.)
(and thanks to amigo for reminding me that this song exists.  and for being amigo.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

the victory lap & an unlocking of summer

the last lines in "re:stacks" by bon iver are (ahem): this is not the sound of a new man, or a crispy realization.  it's the sound of the unlocking and lift away.  your love will be safe with me.

first, i love those words.

second, that's kinda how it feels when you've been in the library every night for a week, plus all day on friday finishing a paper on british poetry, and suddenly it's four fifty-two and you're done.  for those for whom paper-writing isn't a major part of their college experience, here's a little taste of what this moment feels like:

embarrassing (and kinda awesome) that this video gives me goosebumps.

and as i'm walking up those stairs to leave the library, it suddenly hits me: summer has staaaarted!!!!!  and i'm leaving for london!  kind of a crispy realization, but more so the unlocking and lift away, like a huddle of helium balloons floating up to the sun.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

oh my oh my

The Lumineers' lead singer Wesley Keith has a voice that sounds like it's trickling down the stairs of an old wooden house. Part of that is definitely the way it's recorded, but it's also the fact that his voice simply sounds that way: every word uttered is distant, aching, blurry around the edges...let these Denver kids climb up the creaky boards to your heart.
— Vincent Geels

canker my soul/r

canker sores.  
something i know about.

remember thismy first month in d.c.?  remember how i also had a new canker sore every week my first two months in samoa?

my body's pretty good to me.  really.

but something about traveling large distances gives me cankersores.  maybe it's stress i'm unknowingly suppressing.  maybe it's that i've just been eating too much chocolate.  but really, i think the truth is my body is somehow very aware of upcoming events.  on a cellular level.  any major sicknesses (etc.) hold off until after i'm done camping, or presenting at a conference, or meeting boy's parents.  whatever the "thing" might be, it's like all my little carolyn-cells are individually and collectively aware that they can't be flopping.  and so they wait.  which is wonderful for things like colds and so on.  but for cankersores, those little dudes know they're flying across the ocean, or driving across the country, and so they come at me with ferocious abandon.  what is to be done.  

well, one idea is to tell a funny story about another who has frequent sores of the cankerous kind:

sister rosie brings us this story, about (who else) the legendary melissa.  (have i mentioned before that all this girl melissa eats is sugar?  no but really.  my mom raised us all to be really healthy eaters.  and then there's melissa.  red hair, talks a million miles a minute, and then the sugar thing.  no one knows where she came from.)  here's rosie:

Melissa has some bad cankersores and so we told her NO SUGAR for two weeks.  So she is dying and today is day 1.  She was lamenting this to me and she’s like “Mom said no sugar.  That means no granola bars, no frosting, (then her voice gets quiet and she looks at her toes) and no more otter pops.”  Haha  Later I made chocolate pudding and she was drawn in by the scent and sat across from me as I ate it delectably and she actually started crying she wanted it so bad!  “Melissa, you’ll survive!”  “I know I’ll survive it’s just going to be really HARD!” (as she seriously breaks into sobs). She cheered back up and was her spunky self again so I decided to try a little experiment and left the room with my bowl of pudding right in front of her.  I waited around the corner and counted to 30 then popped out and sure enough she was leaning over the bowl and had a big glob of pudding on her finger and was about to eat it when she saw me and just went into a FIT of giggling.

thank you melissa, for making this world a happy place.  

may your mouth be canker-free, your days full of pineapple and tomatoes and other acidic foods, and all your dreams be of traveling to europe for the summer.

p.s. anyone know of a good carousel?  i'm currently in the market.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

why i love studying english

because i come across lines like this:

"there comes besmeared with blood about the chops a lioness, all foaming!"


this has been a rather helter-skelter semester.  it wasn't supposed to be.  (sidenote: i almost wrote "wuddint" instead of wasn't.  like i'm gangster.  why do i have this irrepressible urge to talk like that ALL THE TIME lately.)  anyways, back to me and my semester.  (laughing to myself)

it was supposed to be a smooth sailing one.  only taking one class, only teaching one class.  i was going to prepare my thesis and otherwise conquer the world.

then i got the photography job.  and then i got the TA job in london.  and then i decided to backpack europe in june.  and suddenly my life got crazzy!  (two z's intended.  repressed the desire to write "currrrrazy.")  often i wondered if i was just faking being busy, and often i felt that really i prolly (not even gonna try to repress that one) could have accomplished a lot more.  it's all resulted in me feeling pretty inadequate all semester.  i mean, what have i even been accomplishing?  what is my purpose?  i'm getting nowhere!

today i had to write the email to my professor--the one i want to work with on my thesis.  the one who i want to be when i grow up.  you know.  i had to sheepishly admit that i've not gotten anywhere on said thesis, and that i'm being whisked away to london (fistpump) and can't talk to her about the project till fall.

here's what she replied:

That’s fine, Carolyn – you’ve been involved in a variety of good things that will pay off in the long run, so I’m not worried about your thesis just yet.  Let’s plan to meet in late August and set up some timelines.

Have a great time in London!


(sigh) and suddenly my semester feels a whole lot less meaningless.  i've sure been trying to be involved in a variety of good things!  my fingers are crossed that somehow they will pay off in the long run!  sometimes my blinders get a lil crooked though and all i want is immediate rewards and all i fear is that i'm wasting my days.  patience, little girl, patience.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

of heavenly filing cabinets. what else!

i used to think what a wonderful thing it would be to have a record of your whole life.  every conversation, every action, every silent prayer recorded somewhere, some heavenly file cabinet of me.  so nothing is lost.  so if ever i wanted to fact-check or remember or return, it'd all be there.

it'd mostly be nice for all the things i should have written about in my journal but never did.  like the days spent so in love that i couldn't take 5 minutes to record the comings and goings of "us".  and transcriptions of the beautiful conversations: spencer the nights before he left on his mission, nathan the sundays before he got married, the goodbyes, the hellos, the first-meetings of people who changed my life, though in the moment i had no idea they would.  a neat notebook of all the advice my mother has given me.  another notebook of all the advice my father has.  it'd be nice to reread those things.

there'd be a drawer full of all the letters i've written and all the ones i've received, organized neatly to form entire epistolary conversations.  (and there'd be a box or two of all the notes i wrote/received in middle school and high school...complete with a glossary of all the nicknames we gave boys so in case the note was intercepted, nary a soul would know who our crushes were.)

there'd be several rows of shoeboxes full of snapshots of the moments of my life that i was too involved in living to get a snapshot of.  
4 yrs old: going to the corner candy store for lemonheads and sixlets with mom and nate.  
7 yrs old: throwing up at the dentist after he ripped my front tooth out.  
11 yrs old: riding bikes to king's for penny candy.  
14 yrs old: first church dance (holy awkward)  
16 yrs old: matthew and i in art class, whispering.  
21 yrs old: hugging jimmy goodbye before pyper and i got back on the ferry.

there would probably be a yearbook of every person i've ever known, with a brief bio next to their picture of their involvement in my life (and i in theirs).  

and best of all, there would be shelves and shelves of the things that were too ephemeral for my seive-y brain to capture:  the songs my brain invents when i am coming out of dreams but that evaporate as soon as i open my eyes.  the paintings i would have painted if i had the time&talent.  the emotions i could never quite figure out how to express in words.

needless to say, sometimes i become obsessive about documenting everything.

today, over a little death cab at our weekly music at 10, i had the very odd thought "what if gmail collapsed".  you know, one day it just doesn't work, and all your emails are gone.  all those chats, all those contacts, all those witty dialogues between you and x.  in a way, email and texting have become that heavenly file cabinet.  and our conversations are shifting from being mostly the face-to-face, unrecorded sort to email's long reply-reply-reply email chains.  which is great.  there's nothing quite like being able to search your entire web interactions for the past five years and bring up a conversation in a matter of seconds.  if only my brain worked that way, what a different world.

but for what good?   to have a handy search engine of my contacts so at the snap of a finger i can email anyone i'd like?  to actually have the transcription of every conversation?  so i can relive the reasons why x relationship didn't work out?  or all the reasons why i wished that it had?  to spend precious Present hours looking back to photos and conversations and memories of a Past i loved, but that is still a Past? 

perhaps it's a grace to only have snippets.  to not be able to record everything.  to remember just wisps, just the very fuzzy edge of the feelings of moments rather than silver gelatin prints in all their crisp clarity.  perhaps it's good to let some things be said just between you and me, and then to let them float off, unrecorded, into the ether.

perhaps sometimes, it's good to know how to let go.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

overheard: on judging

OVERHEARD: at the drinking fountain outside of the honors reading room in the maeser building.  a mother and daughter.

MOTHER: can you explain to me that jerk in the honors reading room?  why he had a beard and was as grungy as all get out?
DAUGHTER: he was probably a grad student.
MOTHER: so that means he doesn't have to follow the rules?  that he doesn't have to live the honor code?
DAUGHTER: well he probably just thinks he's above it.  and he's probably older so no one bothers him about it.

first of all, excuse me?  he was probably a grad student?  so you're saying that grad students are all
a) grungy,
b) jerks,
c) above the rules, and
d) "older", which means WHAT exactly?!  oh please.

and to the mother:
1) it's finals week, lady.  if there is a time when grunginess is acceptable, this week would probably be it.
and 2) ever heard of a beard card?  maybe he has a skin problem.  maybe he isn't LDS and a beard is part of his religion.  or best yet, maybe he's acting as one of the apostles in an upcoming film about Joseph Smith or Jerusalem or something.  now wouldn't that be ironic.

the thing is, i know who they're talking about.  not "know" in the sense that i know him, but "know" in the sense that i've sat across from him for the last two hours.  he has a stormy face.  tousled hair.  and a very very serious expression.  i've seen him a lot, actually...around.  and only today, sitting across from him, when i've seen him smile, when i've gotten a good look at him (and his beard, which, might i add, is very cleanly trimmed.  and nothing about his dress or demeanor says "grungy" in any sense of the word), do i feel like maybe i see a little bit of who he is.  a very little bit, granted, but not so small that i'd push him off as a grungy grad student in between sips at the drinking fountain.

my brother spencer, who i love with all my heart, always had beef with people who'd judge others solely on appearance.  spencer, the one who had me cornrow his hair and wore tie-dyed tee-shirts every other day one summer.  (i don't know if these were personal statements against appearance-based-judgments...more likely it was just that thing that some boys do when they're seniors in high school.  yes, it about killed my mother.)  and yes, appearance says something.  but often we're so quick to stamp labels (maybe it's a defense mechanism, maybe it's just human nature), that we don't get to love what there is to love in other people.  and we don't consider that maybe what we see is exactly opposite of what's there.

that's all.  (a sprightly hop off my soapbox)

so go find someone you'd like to stamp and sit across from them for two hours and maybe you'll see something different.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

the elegance of T9

i find it incredibly endearing that T9 puts "atop" before "bump", that "Jimmer" is a recognized name, and that it doesn't acknowledge the words "fart" and "crap".  thanks for keepin it classy, T9.

speaking of Jimmer, today I called him "Basketball hero Jimmer Fredette" in a cutline for a photo for tomorrow's paper.  cross your fingers it makes it in.

Monday, April 11, 2011

flamingo wars

this is camille.  usually i call her camilleee.  she is my sister, and yes i am lucky.  in my family, we like to make up games.  we've invented such gems as mission impossible and rolf in the graveyard.  last weekend, in a moment of post-conference exuberance, we invented FLAMINGO WARS. and it goes a little something like this: 

two people, facing each other.
each person holding one of their ankles up to their bellybutton-ish (or as close as they can get) so that their knee is pointing out to the side.

rule 1: you have to hold onto your ankle with both hands.
rule 2: you cannot let go of your ankle.

objective: knock the other person over.

so we got really good at it.  camille is a vicious contender, and her ballerina balance gives her an added edge.  but i have a game face like nobody's bidnis.

yesterday i was teaching the roommates how to play, and when i texted camille to tell her i was spreading the message of flamingo love throughout provo, here was her response:

CAMILLE:  oh my word!!  we were just playing that and i almost poked Lissy's eye out.  whoops
ME: hahaha i laughed for ten minutes when i got your text
CAMILLE:  good.  i love to make people laugh.  well i am about to enter the enchanting world of dream, where the beautiful colors of my subconscious mind come forth and paint the infinite canvas of my imagination.  love, peace, Justin Bieber.

"the colors of my subconscious mind come forth and paint the infinite canvas of my imagination"?!!  seriously?  what fifteen year old writes like that on the fly?  all i have to say is Justin should be honored his name traveled airwaves with hers.

Friday, April 8, 2011

a sleepover

tonight my little sister melissa (aka: one of the coolest kids ever born) is coming to sleepover.  when i asked her what she wanted to do at the sleepover, this is what she said:

well, i want to make muddy buddies, and then put on makeup, and then watch a barbie movie!  or.....maybe not a barbie movie but one of my favorite movies i'll bring it.  and then i want to sleep on the couch--the little one--and you can sleep on the big one!  and then in the morning we can eat breakfast, just like.....cereal or somethin....and then let's do a puzzle i'll bring it.  

meliss, that sounds like so much fun!  is there anything else you want to do?

weeeelllllll, you are going to think this is a silly thing, but i really like it when big kids give me hard math problems to solve, and then i solve them.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

overheard: smith's grocery store, deodorant aisle

overheard: boy on cell phone, standing in front of the women's deodorant:

yeah i'm sure, i've looked through all of them--they don't have it.
walmart?  no, i don't want to drive all the way there.  are you sure you have to have that one?
well, i mean....are you sure coco butter kiss won't do just fine?