Haven’t Tumbled in a while. But Birdy’s album is out, and that is reason to celebrate.
Listen to a sample of every song here. Just click on a song name within the video to skip around.
Melodic, sweet, beautiful. Just like a real Birdy.
Jay-Z’s verse on “That’s My Bitch” is reminiscent of his track-saving verse on my favorite guilty pleasure, Robin Thicke’s “Meiplé”.
Watch the Throne is the first album I’ve legally purchased in 2011. To fit the regal theme of the album, I splurged on the fancy schmancy deluxe (deluxurious?) version.
Good thing I’ll be spending my birthday with these two kings. The Watch the Throne Tour comes through Chicago December 1st.
'Ye and Jay on my b-day? Okay.
|Dad:||What if we brought you back a little African boy? He could live in your room, and you two can be friends.|
|Nathan:||No, that's not a good idea.|
|Dad:||Okay, what about a little lion cub? He could live in your room, and you can watch him grow up.|
|Nathan:||No, that's not a good idea either.|
|Dad:||Well what would you like?|
|Nathan:||How about something that doesn't live in my room?|
Foster the People - Waste
Bon Iver makes hauntingly beautiful music, and apparently they can be shown up by a 15 year old. This is Birdy. I’m a little embarrassed to say that Perez Hilton was the little birdy that indirectly introduced me to this insanely talented young girl, the other little Birdy. Her rendition sends chills down my spine. With this song and a cover of The xx’s “Shelter”, I can’t wait to see what else she will come out with. Hopefully some equally good original tracks.
Listen to her cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love" above.
Birdy’s version and Bon Iver’s original have been on repeat for the past 24 hours. I can’t get over it.
Wednesday, May 4th: Bob woke me up at 6am when he was leaving to go back to the States, but I have little to no recollection of it. I won’t get sappy on Tumblr, but for living with Bob for a whole semester, hanging out with him the entire time – and pretty much with only him for the entire last 5 weeks – we really got along great. Most people are ready to rip the head off their friends, but I don’t think either of us felt that way. We balanced each other out well with what we wanted to see and do, and definitely had an awesome time in the process. It was a good run, Bob-o. I know you’re busy being in charge of the Rams, but hopefully you read this post.
After checking out of the hostel and into the hotel my mommy booked for me, I headed to Camden for a final goodbye. I ate my standard £5 Chinese plate and roamed around the entire market looking for the perfect souvenirs for my family and friends. I couldn’t stand to leave, so I chilled by the water for a little bit. Ultimately, I ended up walking along the canal over to King’s Cross. I think this was a close to two-mile walk, but it was cool to see things like houseboats and people fishing in the heart of London.
Tried looking for some Banksy’s (this one was painted over), but it turned out to be a wild goose chase…
I showered in the hostel before heading over to Covent Garden for War Horse. The day before, I was roaming around Leicester Square where I saw a store advertising discount shows. Figuring that I really had nothing better to do, I impulsively bought a cheap ticket to the best show available. War Horse was the winner. It’s set in WWI-era Europe and focuses on a boy’s relationship with his horse, Joey. The horse is sent to fight in the war, and, well… it’s just a really good play. The way they constructed the horse was crazy. Although you could see the 3 people controlling each horse, you still had to do double takes at times because the movements were so real. Steven Spielberg is making a movie based on the play, which I can’t wait to check out.
I got some Chipotle after the show, naturally. As I finished my burrito, the guy who usually serves me behind the counter came over to me. He asked me if my semester was coming to an end, and then handed me a free bag of chips and salsa. This was very generous and much appreciated, but also is a testament to just how much I ate at Chipotle while abroad. Hey, no complaints over here. Thanks for the free food, Chipotes!
With my shoebox-sized hotel room’s Internet not working, I headed over to the Internet café down the street to map out tomorrow’s Banksy extravaganza. More on that tomorrow.
Currently listening to: “Too Much Soul” – Chiddy Bang
I love Chiddy Bang, and Chiddy Bang seems to love me. Every one of their songs catches my attention, and most of them sample some of my favorite songs. This one takes Hockey’s “Too Fake” and puts a new spin on it. Chiddy Bang was already featured on Big Sean’s “Too Fake” remix, and I think I like that one more. Their new EP, Peanut Butter and Swelly is real good. As much as Chiddy Bang and I have a mutual love for one another, somehow we cannot get our shit together. I missed them at Lolla last summer because of Mumford and Sons, and then just a couple weekends ago, I missed them again at Northwestern’s Dillo Day because of the rain. Let’s set up another meeting, guys.
Thursday, May 5th: Today was a Banksy day. Banksy, for those of you that don’t know, is the shit. I’ll let the pictures do the talking in a bit. I had sat at the computer for hours planning out where to go and what to see. It took me a little bit to realize that most of his works were either painted over or messed with, so I picked the eight remaining street art pieces. With no printer access nor phone Internet capabilities, Blackberry camera pictures of the computer’s Google Maps directions were my go-to source for how to find the elusive artists even more elusive works of art. The task proved to be more intense than I envisioned, but I made a day of it.
My first stop was right by my school. I had seen Banksy’s “Cash Machine Grab” behind its plexiglass preservation display before, but never from up close. I got my final lunch from Exmouth Market, which was so good to my friends and I on Tuesdays between classes. Curry was the meal of choice, which I sat on the bench and ate like the lonely Londoner I am. I then Tubed to Old Street where I saw a surprise Banksy… and also forgot to check out the one I actually came there to see.
Banksy’s “Cash Machine Grab” … the white lines are not supposed to be painted there, so the work has been covered by plexiglass to prevent any more damage.
Surprise Banksy… there’s a dog behind that plant, too.
For the record, I’m going to write about these Banksy pieces as if they are all located next to one another. Do not be fooled—they are nowhere near each other. I walked around for so long looking for them, as they do not really have an address, but rather a side of the building or a neighborhood that tells me where they’re generally located. The “No Balls Game” one was relatively easy to find, while the Royal Family caricature literally had me walking in and out of nearby businesses asking if they knew where I could find the Banksy. No one knew. I walked through parts of London I didn’t know existed, and I was only in Zones 2 and 3.
"No Balls Games" also behind plexiglass. This was in a pretty shady part of town.
Royal Family. There was originally much more to this piece, but the city painted over much of it.
I found a couple other pieces, including my favorite one, which is of a flower made out of yellow street lines. Creative idea. Then I went to Covent Garden to meet up with Marissa and a couple of her friends for dinner. She was the last remaining person I knew in London, but her finals schedule prevented us from hanging out aside from this dinner. We ate in the lower level of the Covent Garden market area, which was a goal of mine from the beginning of the semester. We hit up a few pubs in the area before going our separate ways.
Flower made of the yellow street lines you see. The lines used to connect to the flower, but I guess it was worn away.
Graffiti painter, shackled.
While scouring London on my Banksy hunt, I noticed that East Village (the same club as where I found that knife in the bathroom) was hosting a free show for Circus Records. Apparently, the show was actually the official album release party for the label, and featured DJ sets from famous London dubsteppers like Flux Pavillion, Doctor P, and others. I didn’t know much about this stuff, but when I talked to Jake about it, he freaked out. I knew that this was something that I’d definitely have to experience. The show was free, and I went alone but it was such a good time. For being all alone in London the past couple days, I sure found great ways to entertain myself. Jake told me the show was streaming live online, so I made a point to work my way to the front row and go crazy. Jake, Olivia, and Max all watched me make a fool of myself LIVE, and I had an all-around great night.
Circus Records album launch party
Camera for the live web stream… hey Jake, hey Olivia, hey Max.
Currently listening to: “Down With the Trumpets” – Rizzle Kicks
This London rap duo is not popular – yet. They should be. Their videos are all original and creative. Check them out.
Friday, May 6th: For my last day abroad, I made it a point to do the remaining things that I still wanted to see, do, experience. I hadn’t finished the Banksy scavenging, so I headed back to the Old Street location where I realized I missed one that was staring me straight in the face.
Forgotten Banksy on Old Street
Afterwards, I headed over to Borough Market for lunch. I had only heard great things about it, but never ventured in that direction. It’s a giant market full of fresh food. Upon finding the market, I did a lap to see which booth looked the most appetizing, only to end up getting a duck confit sandwich and sangria from the first place I saw. I sat and ate it on the sidewalk with some other solo folks on their lunch breaks. Save for dinner with Marissa the night before, eating alone these past few days was starting to become the norm. Wah wah. Only a day more before I saw my family and friends, but there was still stuff to do in the meantime.
Duck confit sandwich with sangria
I headed out of Borough Market with some snacks for the rest of the day, heading over to the next Banksy stop on the outskirts of the city. After finding it, I realized that I did an entire roundabout path just to get into the heart of Portobello Market. I still had a couple souvenirs to get for people back home, but Portobello wasn’t cutting it. I said goodbye to the fancy suburban Notting Hill area, and took the Tube over to Spitalfields Market. Much better luck in this one. After Camden, Spitalfields might be my second favorite recurring part of London. In the heart of the stunningly modern City of London, amidst dozens of great restaurants, and only a couple blocks from Brick Lane, what’s not to love?
Uncared about Banksy behind plexiglass at Portobello Market
Last Tube stop was to Covent Garden, where I decided to spend a little downtime. I’m not a cupcake fan at all, but I remembered Alexa suggesting this one place called Candy Cakes in the area. I sat eating my candy cake (not a cupcake, from what I learned the hard way in the store), just hanging out. Pigeons were enjoying my crumbs as I sat on a sliver of open railing, bringing me to realize that it was probably time to head home.
I dropped stuff off at my hotel before heading back out for the night. I was told that one of the most underrated things to do in London was to sit along the Thames River and watch the building along it illuminating themselves for the night. So that’s where I went. With some time to kill, I found a random comedy festival called Udderbelly (take a look at the picture below… interesting venue haha) and grabbed a Pimm’s to occupy myself. Pimm’s is another London delicacy that took me too long to try. It’s its own type of alcohol, and most people drink it with lemonade. I bought a glass, which is presented similar to sangria with the bits of fruit and what not. I walked along to the middle of the Millennium Bridge and waited for sunset. Slowly, one by one the buildings all prepared for nighttime. The London Eye came first, with each of its cars lighting up at once as they spun in their familiar circle. The Houses of Parliament were among the last, but once those were on, I did not wait much longer. I stood along the river, knowing that this was probably the last time in a while that I would see it, and most likely the last time I’d be there as a resident. I threw my remaining coins into the Thames and said goodbye to the area.
Udderbelly Laughs Festival Venue — it’s a cow laying on its back
View from the Thames as the lights came on.
From there, I started my walk home through Trafalgar Square and into Picadilly Circus. I treated myself to a fancy dinner-for-one at Toku, the nice Japanese place I ate at when Alan and Mom visited. Per usual, I took the long way home. Except today I definitely took the extra scenic route. I walked past the touristiness of Picadilly and Leicester Square, the mouth-watering similarity of Chinatown’s restaurants, the alternative-yet-fading shock and awe of Soho, the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, the American delicacy that is Chipotle. Wrapping my way around the Centre Point building one last time, I headed down Tottenham Court Road and finally found my way back to the hotel. As I finished repacking my stuff, making sure that no bags were over 50lbs, it hit me that I was leaving London for good. It wasn’t for a 3 week long European vacation, nor was it just packing up my place and coming back a weekend later. This was the real deal. Tomorrow I would be boarding American Airlines flight 91 en route to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. The thought of that alone was exhausting, so I went to bed.
Currently listening to: “Waste My Life For You” – Street to Nowhere
I don’t know more than 3 songs by this band, nor do I remember which concert I was at where they were the opening act, but I know I like the songs I know. I saw Streetcar to Nowhere play sometime during my underclass years of high school, where my small-scale concert venue reputation was at full-steam. This band ranks somewhere at the top of my unknown-opening-acts-whose-songs-I’ll-never-forget list, along with “Statue” by Low Millions and “List” by The Fags.
Saturday, May 7th: The day had come. There was no way to escape this one. I finished packing, checked out, and ordered a car to Heathrow. I had an hour to kill, so I walked over to the Jack Horner for a final pub meal. It was early, so I got the full English breakfast and a spot of Earl Grey tea to wash it down. I can’t think of a better way to conclude my time abroad. I lugged all my stuff in the back of the car, and bid farewell to the greatest city I’d ever lived in. The flight home literally flew by, as I watched some movies, blogged a bit, ate anything put in front of me, and finally read a book (Jay-Z’s Decoded and a Banksy coffee table book).
It didn’t feel weird to be home upon touchdown.
It didn’t feel weird to be home upon stepping outside into summertime Chi.
It didn’t feel weird to be home upon seeing my family for the first time in months.
It didn’t feel weird to be home upon getting sushi from Kegon before even setting foot into my house.
It didn’t feel weird to be home upon getting home, either.
It didn’t feel weird at all, not even once.
I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. I had the most incredible semester of life, traipsing around Europe as if it were no big thing. As if this is commonplace and would not go away. As if I could afford it. As if it mattered that I couldn’t afford it. As if I didn’t know that across the pond, a whole other life was waiting for me. But my semester of summer was over, and I was finally back In Northbrook, Madison, Northbrook, Madison, rinse, repeat. As lucky as I was to have all of that, I not for a minute felt depressed to be home rather than London (which I won’t call home for the sake of avoiding confusion. In truth, it absolutely was my home and in some ways, still is. Sappy…)
Northbrook is great, Madison is great, North America is great. I would never trade this past semester for anything in the world, but it’s also good to be back. And for that, I am grateful.
Currently listening to: “Wait, Wait, Wait” – The Format
After all these years, my music tastes have changed, or at least have relabeled themselves. Emo music has gotten more upbeat and began calling itself “indie”. Rap keeps solidifying it’s legitimacy by expanding its reach to more than just the urban community and it’s suburban opposites. Singer-songwriters have gotten more mainstream. I am currently all about the electronic/house/dubstep trend that will most certainly die out sooner rather than later – leaving pop culture with enough jokes to make disco seem tame. But during all that, The Format has been a constant. Sure, they no longer exist, and will fade into smalltime popularity obscurity in mere seconds. Sure lead-singer Nate Ruess has formed a new band, fun., which continues to churn out Format-esque tunes like “Be Calm”. But to me, it’s all the same. I love The Format. Their album, Dog Problems, was one of the only CDs in my car for a long time, and their song “Give It Up” defined my life for awhile. The title of this blog, “I’m Ready, I Am”, is not only a common phrase for my fashionable lateness, but is also another Format favorite. I just love them.
Tuesday, May 3rd: While I was sticking around Londontown until the 7th, this was Bob’s last day. Thankfully Mother Nature was good to us, allowing for Bob and I to celebrate (and mourn) his final hours abroad in amazing weather. His day started out way earlier than mine, seeing as how he left his passport on the Easybus going home from the airport the night before. He got it back, so all’s well that ends well.
The first stop of the day was the London Eye. The giant Ferris wheel along the bank of the Thames River is a must-see sight for anyone who visits London. For Bob and I (and any abroad student, ideally), this sight was saved for last. The point of the Eye for us was not to go around (it takes 40 minutes to do so, by the way) and cross it off our checklist of things to see, but to see all of the parts of London that make the city as amazing as it is. From the top, we could point out everything from where we lived, went to school, ate, hung out, wish we lived, wish we saw more of, the works. It was 40 minutes well spent.
Basically my daily life in London… from here you can see my flat (between the tall buildings on the left), Covent Garden (colorful buildings on the right), Soho (closer to the bottom of the picture on the right), the Embankment Tube stop (big building in the bottom middle), and more.
Big Ben/Houses of Parliament in the background
Lunch at the Westminster Arms near Westminster Abbey followed, which included my final bangers and mash of the semester. Afterwards, Bob went to go see the Churchill War Rooms while I walked along the Thames to check out the Tate Britain. While I was there, the fire alarm went off, which made for quite an inconvenient 20 minutes of sitting and waiting for the museum to reopen.
I spotted this stunning glass complex further down the Thames and decided to check it out. Turns out it’s called St. George’s Wharf, and is this LEED certified, beautiful housing/shopping complex that has won major design awards. Check out this one picture I took… you’d live there, right? The correct answer is yes and only yes. I got a Pret sandwich to kill time, and then continued walking along the Thames.
St. George’s Wharf all artsy ‘n’ shit
Next stop was Leicester Square to find Goodwin’s Court. This is supposedly the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books, but I didn’t get it. I met Bob on Oxford Street, where we did a little souvenir shopping before ending the night right: Hong Kong Buffet. If you can recall, this is the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet Bob and I discovered in Chinatown at the beginning of the semester. We ate all we could before heading over to Marissa’s flat to pick up the luggage we left at her place before jetting off to Munich. Bob had an early flight the next morning, so we went to sleep early.
Currently listening to: “Super Bass” – Karmin
This Nicki Minaj cover is almost better than the original. Karmin is a guy/girl YouTube duo, neither of whom is named Karmin. They put original spins on a lot of current hits, seemingly specializing in rap. On their cover of Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now”, Amy’s tongue-twisting Busta Rhymes verse is sure to drop jaws. I hope they have great success, they really deserve it.
Saturday, Apr 30th: Our flight was at 6:50am, so Bob and I had to leave to catch the bus that would take us to the bus that would take us to the airport (late night transportation is a mouthful) at 3am. Needless to say, we both were asleep before takeoff. Upon landing in Munich, we met our friend Eddie at the train station. He’s my friend from Madison last semester, a legit Munich resident whom I met through my roommate Max. He made us a breakfast of soft-boiled eggs and bread with an assortment of German deli meats and cheeses. They look very similar to Russian kalbasa, and tasted like it too. I showered and took a nap before we started our day.
German meal #1
Eddie’s birthday had actually been a couple days before, so he planned to have a party in the park all day. We met up with all his friends – a group of about 20 kids – at the English Gardens. Now, “park” doesn’t begin to explain this place. It’s one of the most scenic parks I’ve been too, with wide open spaces and not many people to make it seem less peaceful. We hung out, drinking, relaxing, basically just enjoying ourselves. It was great weather too, which made the day that much better. Completely coincidentally, we spotted our friend Sam Hegge in the park as well. He was headed over to Springfest, Munich’s springtime version of their super popular Oktoberfest.
Bumped into Sam Hegge
This was our next stop. We had drank with breakfast and in the park, but strangely we didn’t drink at Springfest. Instead, we had some brats and went into the beer tent. This is where the massive crowds gather with their liter’s of beer, socializing. We saw our friends Andrew Steckler and Zach Goldberg. Then I went on a dizzying carnival ride. I don’t know if you’ll ever see me happier than when I get off a ride that most people would vomit from. I’m like a little kid on those things. I love it. We only stopped by Springfest for a short amount of time, because we planned to be there for longer the next night.
Augustiner beer tent at Frülingfest, Oktoberfest’s spring cousin.
The ride that made my night.
Pregame before Eddie’s birthday. Eddie’s on the right.
All the people from the park pregamed at Eddie’s before going out for his birthday. This kid sure knows how to throw a good birthday party. Bob had a splitting headache, so he ended up staying in for the night. I, on the other hand, ended up staying out for the night. We went to this electronic club called Harry Klein. It’s supposedly one of the best and least known clubs in Munich. It was an incredible time. Or at least the hours of midnight-4am were incredible… 4-7am, not so much. Yes, 7am. I stayed at a club until 7am. Those that know me know that I’m a fan of club, and I am not opposed to all-nighters, but an all-nighter at a club? How do people manage to stay awake? I was a zombie by the time we made it back to Eddie’s apartment. The Germans, however, were ready to start the after-party. They partied at Eddies until 11am. I simply couldn’t do it. I also couldn’t go to bed, seeing as how they picked Eddie’s room as the place to hang. I managed to pass out by 10am, which earned me some respect from the Germans for being able to fall asleep when it’s so noisy. Uh, thanks guys, but sometimes you just can’t help it.
Currently listening to: “Spaceman” – The Killers
The Killers are one of my favorite bands out there. I first heard this song off their most recent album, Day & Age, when they introduced it during a performance on SNL and was hooked. I still only really listen to the SNL performance version, complete with the part where the mic cuts out for a line of the song. I saw them in Milwaukee a couple years back, and was disappointed when they didn’t play my favorite song, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine”. It’s not one of their popular songs, and after they played two songs during the encore, I was sure I missed my chance. I yelled out “PLAY JENNY WAS A FRIEND OF MINE!” and guess what, they did! I don’t know if it was planned to be played or not, but humor me.
Sunday, May 1st: I only slept until 2:30pm because Bob and I were headed to Dachau. I had never been to a concentration camp before, and this was a very sobering experience. We walked through the museum, which was also the first stop that most of the people went through upon entering the camp via the train that took them directly to the gates. Most of the barracks were destroyed, but you could still see the plots where they were erected (by the campers, nonetheless). Dachau was an intensive labor camp that did not use gas chambers or anything, but that doesn’t make it any less horrific of a place. The prisoners here were literally worked to death. The museum didn’t tell me anything I hadn’t already learned through years of studying the Holocaust, but it was heartbreaking to be in the same spot that such horrendous, inhumane acts took place. Dachau was originally one of the largest camps, and provided a model for all other camps on what should be done. The barracks were built for 200 campers, but held 2000 at its peak. The beds weren’t even beds, but rather massive slabs of wood three levels high. The prisoners were all just sleeping side by side, and the toilets didn’t even have a single ounce of privacy. I cannot imagine a more dehumanizing place than a concentration camp. We walked around the grounds for a couple hours or so. I don’t know if it was even possible to smile while on the property. Sadness was all I felt.
Former sight of the barracks where the prisoners were housed. You can see one of the preserved ones in the background.
We had an hour-long trip back to Eddie’s, which allowed us to get back to reality. We went to Springfest with Eddie’s friends Matt and Yago, where we finally got some liters of beer and enjoyed the music from within the tent. I got another brat, which was a chilibratwurst, aka a Slim Jim in a bun. Delicious. The tent we were in had a live band in it. They only played classic American rock, which was pretty funny. The drum set was on hydraulics and the performance involved pyrotechnics. Needless to say, it was a solid night. I went on a few more rides before the rest of the group got tired of waiting for me.
Me, Eddie’s friend Yago, Bob, and Eddie’s friend Macey (aka Matt… so many Matt’s abroad) at Springfest
This guy looks familiar and out of place…
From there, we met up with Adam George (a UW student we met in Barcelona) and these girls Mila and Amanda, whom we met during our trip to Dachau. We tried to find a place to eat, but being a Sunday night, our options were sparse. We went to a bar Eddie likes, then got kebabs before heading back to Eddie’s to sleep (at a normal hour, finally).
Oh! And at around 3am, I learned that we had finally killed Osama bin Laden. Woo hoo! 10 years and billions (trillions?) of dollars later, we got him. Hours after the announcement, I saw the Facebook status of a kid I graduated with. It was something along the lines of “Osama killed! America=1, Al Qaeda=0… don’t mess with America!” I hate to be ‘that guy’, but if we’re really keeping score, shouldn’t Al Qaeda at least be given a fewwww points? Agh, people.
Monday, May 2nd: To commemorate Bob’s and my last day of Eurotravels, Eddie made another traditional German breakfast for us. This time it was weisswurst (white sausage), pretzels and a German breakfast beer. The sausage casing could be eaten, but the proper way to consume this food is to suck out the meat. Sounds gross, but tastes like any other sausage. That’s what she said. Our friend Adam from the night before joined us for breakfast and the ensuing activities of the day.
Authentic German meal #2
Eddie had planned out this entire bike tour of Munich for us, which was the perfect way to see the city. The weather was great, and the exercise was welcomed. Eddie lived right by the 1976 Olympic Stadium, as well as the BMW headquarters (which he works at). We biked up a hill to get a great view of the two major Munich landmarks, and then cruised on over to see them up close. Both were very impressive.
Bob, me, and Adam starting the bike tour of München
Olympic stadium, next door are the BMW headquarters
Memorial to the Israeli Olympic team
We then biked towards the English Gardens, stopping along a river full of surfers. Yup, you read that correctly. This river has a wave that attracts surfers from all over the world. It’s clearly a manmade wave, but the surfers did a lot with it. Very unique sight. From there, we biked through the English Gardens and stopped for some pretzels and liters of Radler beer at the Chinese Tower. This is a big tower with a lot of food and picnic tables in the middle of the park. Very scenic and a great place for a break.
Man-made surfing wave
Chinese Tower in the English Gardens
We stopped for another break further along the river before biking into the city center for an authentic German dinner at the Augustiner, a giant beer hall. Bob and I split some steak and pork knuckle (we’re adventurous), sauerkraut (really adventurous), and of course some pretzels. Pretzels might be my favorite bread-like substance. And crumpets. Can’t forget about crumpets. But seriously, pretzels.
Authentic German meal #3
The excitement of the day got to us, and we realized we hadn’t given ourselves enough time to pack for the flight home. We raced back to Eddie’s apartment and threw everything in our bags, then headed to the airport.
Once we got back to London, our comfortable 51 Gower digs were gone. We bussed, Tubed, and biked over to a nearby hostel, where we slept on TRIPLE bunk beds. There was a bed above the top bunk. I was a little excited to sleep on the top top bunk… I take it all back. Abroad was a great chance for me to live out my dreams of sleeping on the top bunk, but now all I wanted was to sleep on at least a full-size bed located no more than 3 feet off the ground.
Munich definitely was one of my top trips of the semester. The combination of Springfest, Eddie’s birthday, Dachau, and the peaceful scenery we saw on the bike tour really gave us a well-rounded view of the city. Not to mention the perfect weather and Eddie’s stellar tour guide skills. Bob and I definitely made the right decision to come to Munich. I’d like to travel around more of Germany at one point… it wasn’t really on my radar for trips while abroad, and now I wish I saw more. Pretzels.
Currently listening to: “Helena Beat” – Foster the People
Alexa just introduced me to this band, and all of their stuff is so good. They sound like a combination of anything and everything that I like. Their song “Pumped Up Kicks” is about to get huge… I can feel it.
Friday, Apr 29th: Dun dun da dun, dun dun da dunnn, dun dun da dun dun da dun dun da dunnnn. Did that sound like “Here Comes the Bride?” because it totally was.
Yup, today was the Royal Wedding, the magical day that somehow everyone in London was going crazy about. We started off the day properly, with a full English breakfast prepared by Matt Apel. Where was this kid all semester? Such a good meal. A full English breakfast consists of two fried eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, toast, and grilled mushrooms/tomatoes. Delicious. We gulped it down with mimosas and beer before heading over to Hyde Park to watch the celebration.
For weeks, we were warned about avoiding public transportation, so we walked to the park. From what I saw, though, the city wasn’t too busy. Everyone was definitely in a specific spot, anxious to catch every glimpse possible of the upcoming nuptials. We got to Hyde Park, where enormous screens were set up, giving us full access of what was going on. It was like watching the red carpet of an awards show, but with royals you’ve never heard of, and a generally less attractive crowd dressed rather uniformly. Kate Middleton did look beautiful, though.
We arrived at around 10am, the ceremony had started at 11, and the important stuff was over before 11:30… we hung out at the park for a bit during the church-y part of the wedding, mainly because we still had alcohol left to finish. Then we proceeded to check out the couple’s processional from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, but the crowd trying to do the same was absolutely enormous. We passed.
Our friend Mak whom we met in Lisbon
Balding future king
Is that the real ring?!
The crew: Matt, Bob, me, Becky, Jenny, Mak, Jaci, Kovas
Overall, here are my thoughts on the wedding: I can’t imagine how spectacular this must have been to the family. The Middleton’s were probably over the moon that their daughter was living every girl’s dream come true. The royal family finally had another marriage based on love rather than necessity. Middle-aged housewives had something new to look forward to other than next week’s edition of OK Magazine, although the two do go hand-in-hand. But come on people, it’s a fucking wedding. Let me repeat, it’s a wedding. Are you guys kidding me? How the hell is this so exciting? Who ever is excited to watch a wedding service? You’re not even invited to the party. That’s something that I’d want to see. I do understand that the royal family is a symbol of the UK, and Prince William has grown up before the public’s eyes into a decent, charitable, military pilot with a down-to-earth new bride. I understand the nationalistic pride that swept the country… I actually felt it myself. I have to say that I can’t describe the feeling, but being in Hyde Park to witness history being made did make me very proud to be a Londoner. But then I was snapped back to reality. The wedding cost the UK people £20 million. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Do you know how much can be done with £20 million? This is a country where just a month ago I witnessed massive budget cut protests, when all the while the public is forced to pay for two people’s special day? Isn’t that the bride’s parents’ job? Yikes. Let’s get real, people. It’s just a wedding.
Getting into it, but not getting it.
When we got home, Jenny and I got some £5 pizzas before we all relaxed for a bit. The rest of the night was devoted to packing our entire flat up. We were leaving for Munich super early in the morning, so we had to be completely moved out before our lease expired two days later. Bob’s friends Jakob and Abby stayed with us, along with Mak. We took them all out for Chipotle. Yes, my second time this week. Probably close to my 10th time abroad. Sue me. Bob and I then moved all our stuff out of our flat and into storage at Marissa’s for the weekend. Then we cleaned the whole apartment before leaving it for good.
I have great memories in 51 Gower. From late night study sessions to late night food fights, pre-games to homemade dinners, hangouts and alone time… we really lucked out on our living situation. Twelve people in one house could have easily turned into a season of The Real World, but it worked out great. All of our friends under one roof, not to mention that Duncan, Bob, and I totally were the clear winners of the housing contest. The same size living room, kitchen, and bathroom for 3 people rather than 9? Talk about getting the better end of the deal. Alexa told me that I should expect to love everything about London, except for the tiny housing. Well, I love everything about London, including my spacious housing. It’s been a great semester.
You’ll be missed, 51 Gower St, WC1E 6HJ
Currently listening to: “Your Song” – Ellie Gouldin
Ellie Goulding is one of the best voices out there right now. So good that William and Kate asked her to perform at their wedding reception. When I first heard the news, I thought she was singing at the ceremony. That’s where I got really excited. But I guess she actually had a better gig. Her spectacular cover of wedding guest Elton John’s “Your Song” was the couple’s first dance. Congrats, Ellie. You’re going down in history. Very well-deserved.