Tuesday, May 24, 2011

of crepes with cheese, the giddy thing called man, and seeing wizards on the tube

i am one hundred percent certain that these three people sitting across from me on the tube on monday are adjunct professors at hogwarts.  

monday i taught all of class.  like, all of it.  all 75 minutes.  we talked about merchant of venice...via speed dating.  i make shakespeare relevant.  (smiley face)  

then we congregated at flat one to go to the creperie in hampstead and highgate cemetery (attempt #2).  this time i got the crepe complete (no mushrooms, just ham and cheese and egg and lots of garlic).  i died of crepe-love.

we made it to the cemetery...this time SO MUCH FASTER than last time.  except the western side we learned is only open for a tour at 2:00 every afternoon, so attempt #2 for highgate failed.  so we went instead to the eastern side of the cemetery.  which i guess is a half-win.  (it was actually beautiful.  i am fully satisfied with our cemetery experience.)

the headstones all had the neatest inscriptions on them.  i loved this one, ethel may whiteman's:  "i trace the rainbow through the rain and feel the promise is not vain that morn shall tearless be."  

the cemetery was full of ivy, headstones overgrown in the stuff, trees clothed in it, trails hidden by vines and branches.  i wandered through it to a little secluded area where you could barely tell the headstones from the bushes.  
when i looked up, the treetops, such little flimsy trees it suddenly seemed, were bending back and forth in the wind.  rather violently actually.  it was a blustery day and the tops of the trees showed it.  and then i looked back to where i was, by the trunks, by the grounded roots, and it was still and calm, like you'd never believe there was a wind at all.  
sometimes in those "through the rain" moments, when i can feel the wind blowing right through me, and i feel thin and bare and leaves all aflutter, it helps to remember the roots are stable.  there is peace at the foundation.  there is peace in the rings we've built year by year into strong trunks.  and when it's rough and riotty all up top, it can still be safe and calm and quiet deep down below.

i also found so many names in the cemetery to add to the "names for daughters" list.  and one "name for son".  none of which i am including here, after the lily fiasco of '10.  in which i started sharing the name lily with people and suddenly errbody's naming their daughters that.  (i know, i know, i set the trends of the world.  what can i say.  a girl's gotta be careful with that kind of power.)

walking back from the cemetery we went through the park.  it was too lovely a park to keep walking so we bench-sat and bench-talked.  and i told stories about teaching high school and how going home to my family is one of my favorite parts of life.  

which was followed by (what else) sweet crepes at the cremerie.  (yes, this did require two extra rides on the tube.  we mean business okay.)  here's the thing: the sweet crepes...they're not all that.  the current concensus is that cheese on crepes is greater than or equal to chocolate.  the sweet ones were essentially chocolate chips with crushed hazelnuts and cream.  nothing special.  and certainly nothing picture-worthy.  sorry sweet crepes.  unimpressed.

howEVer, we did learn that there is another of these creperies in south kensington, close to where we live.  this means a new tube stop for going home (despite the fact that walking from south kensington to home may or may not include a walk through a very long and dark and creepy corridor...)  we're willing to sacrifice for crepes.

tuesday (trumpet noise)

two favorite parts: during the wedding scene, an actor threw flower petals from the top balcony of the audience.  they were swirling through and around and inside the globe and the happy (soon to be unhappy) couple paraded through them up to the stage.  it was magical.  really though.  i do not use that word lightly here in london.  too many truly magical things to be throwing it out for things that are only semi-magical or pseudo-magical.

favorite thing number 2: geoffrey from fresh prince of bel-air was leonato.  that's right.  i kept waiting for him to do the carlton.  he never did, but still a special moment for all us americans in the audience.

i'd say this is the best performance we've seen so far.  beatrice and benedick (benedick especially) won us all over.  such great acting, such great humor (thank you, shakespeare, for being a genius).

also, a note to those who may be going to the globe any time in their lives: be a groundling!  i had a 30pound seat for the first half of the show, and here's what happened: you can't see their faces, you can't really hear them, you fall asleep, the people in front of you are too tall, etc.  no bueno.  every other show at the globe i've stood on the ground by the stage.  so back i went.  and suddenly the show came alive for me!  really though.  i became part of the show.  benedick looked at me when making a joke like, "hey listen to this one!"  and i did.  and i laughed.  because, for all the globe, it was suddenly a joke just between him and me.  

plus the groundling tickets are only 5P.  go there.

and one more thing about much ado.  you know the song "sigh no more" by mumford and sons?  yes, the one i am obsessed with.  that one.  well did you know that pretty much the entire song is stolen (or maybe borrowed, from one english heart to another) from much ado about nothing?!  it's true!  
"sigh no more, no more", "one foot in sea and one on shore", "man is a giddy thing", "serve god, love me, and mend", "live unbruised, we are friends".  it's all shakespeare, baby.

AND sigh no more is what old mumford named the entire album.  marcus mumford, i love you.

(*a special shout-out: i have recently converted a fellow-study abroader to mumford and sons.  and when benedick said, "serve god, love me, and mend", me & fellow-study abroader looked at each other with big smiles across the globe.  it was a special moment, brought to us by willie and marcus.)

so then we went and got thai food.

these are the bird of paradise napkins at the restaurant.

worth a picture because 1) they're BIRD OF PARADISE NAPKINS.
and 2) they incited the following conversation:

preston:  what is this even supposed to be?
carolyn:  a bird of paradise.
preston:  it's a bird?  noooo, what is this, the head?  the body?  the tail?
carolyn:  no, it's a flower.
preston:  so it's not a bird?
carolyn:  no, it's a bird of paradise!
preston:  you just said it wasn't a bird, but that it was a flower!!!
carolyn: PRESTON!  a bird of paradise IS a flower!

the thai was good (khobkhun was the name.  gloucester road) but the servings were pretty small.  if i go again, i'll order a dish for each person at least.  

also there was no mango&sticky rice on the menu.  which i'm still puzzling over.

the best part of dinner was staying long after we were done eating to play silly games of stumping each other with movie and actor references.  i never knew how movie-illiterate i am until i'm with all these people who know movies i've never even heard of...and all the actors and actresses in them.

but i did manage to work joseph gordon-levitt (of "angels in the outfield" fame, for those who may be unfamiliar with his work...hehehe) into the mix.  twice.  triumph.

a brief pause for a hipster photo moment:

and now unpause for gelato!  tonight went pretty much like this:  so we're done with the play...let's go get dinner!  so we're done with dinner...let's go get gelato!  so we're done with gelato...let's go find chocolate bars!

here's what we found:  our hampstead creperie, but the south kensington branch!  

and guess what...they have many more crepes than the hampstead one AND gelato.  new favorite.  (i am a little panicked though that even if i got gelato every day here for the rest of the study abroad, i wouldn't get around to every flavor.  ahhh!)


(i opted for peach today.  it was unbelievable.  really though.  i can't explain.)

and then off to home to "do homework" 
(aka: find theme songs for our skit in class tomorrow, including the top gun anthem and careless whisper.  it's gonna be goooood.)

post-scriptus: blogging lately has been essentially travel[b]logs.  i post pictures and thread them together with rather thin esplanations (like inigo montoya).  sorry.  my 2:34am brain can't write poetry or witticisms like it once could.  i will try to be better.  but for now........serve god, love me, and mend.

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