Letters from London, part 1

Hi everyone! I’m not sure who everyone is, but if you’re reading this, consider yourself among the cool people. I’m currently in London, and while I would love to blog about everything I’m doing here, I just don’t have time. Between sight-seeing, being with my relatives (Uncle and Aunty who are visiting their daughter here, plus Mum and I who are visiting Eugene) and sending the occasional email to Bethwyn, I just don’t have the time. So I figured I’d knock two heads with one blow (or something) and just copy and paste fragments of emails here. This is the first installment, and I fear it might be rather lengthy. Enjoy!

 

***

 

Yes! I did indeed get to watch movies on the flight. I watched Rurouni Kenshin, which was fantastic, and The Dark Knight Rises, which was pretty good. I also played Insaniquarium, a game by the makers of Plants vs Zombies, for several hours. I nearly completed the campaign mode in one sitting, but without a mouse, I wasn’t able to beat the final boss because the cursor moved so slowly. I’d chase one enemy across the screen only to let one or two others demolish my fish, so despite the hours of effort and some serious RSI I had to let that one go. It was a really pleasant flight though, and while I felt a little ill and stomach upset, I wasn’t too uncomfortable. To my surprise, I didn’t sleep during the flight, either, except for the last ten minutes or so. That means that I’ve been awake for nearly 25 hours (excluding a nap on the way to the airport and the nap on the plane).

I think of you all the time as well. This evening, as we went into Europe’s biggest shopping complex (called Westfield), we walked past a Disney store. I ran around looking at all the Princess merchandise and Winnie the Pooh stuff. I missed you a lot. \as for England itself, I let out the occasional squee. I was so excited when we touched down that I high fived the wall because I didn’t think Mum or Aunty Wendy would have wanted to high five me. It’s going to be an interesting couple of days trying to help everyone get along.

 

***

 

England is delightful. I’ve missed certain pieces of architecture, like a paved brick alleyway between two buildings, or a silver doorknocker. Christmas decorations are springing up everywhere, which is lovely but not quite enchanting. Perhaps I haven’t spent enough time in the city, just that brief trip to Westfield to buy new SIM cards. Hopefully today I’ll be less tired as I’m exposed to the city.

I’m pretty tired right now baby. I woke up around 4, 4:30 quite fully awake. I managed to doze for another three hours or so, but I’m not sure I can go back to sleep. It’s about 7am, so I guess I had a disturbed eight hours sleep. I’m feeling a little achey and cranky, but maybe a good cuppa tea will help me relax and enjoy myself! I keep having to remind myself, no matter how I’m feeling, I can at every moment choose to enjoy it and be happy anyway. It’s a lovely and inspiring lesson.

Tea and toast would be lovely. I haven’t been very good with my veganism though- on the plane to Malaysia, I had a cheesy vegetarian lasagna for want of food. On the plane to England I had a chicken meal minus the chicken, a cheesy salad, a milky cracker, a chocolate bar and an ice cream. But I refused a followup milky cracker/chocolate bar/cheese snack pack, which I’m proud of! Then I promptly went to a convenience store with Eugene and tried one of his chocolates, which are kind of like M&M’s without the shell. But I refused to buy the unique-looking Jaffa bars/caramel cakes! Even though they’re unique and probably amazing taste experiences… Although I’m tempted to use the excuse of just enjoying myself on holiday, in a different country/culture, there are still plenty of delicious foods that I can enjoy which aren’t animal-product-based. But if it’s way inconvenient, a bit of cheeky cheese or chocolate here or there won’t hurt too much.

Eugene proposed we go running this morning. While I would appreciate the exercise (I’ve already put on a kilo or two), my limbs are exhausted and my mind is drained. I think I’d better save what little energy I have for the day’s enjoyment. I’d still like to find a local kung fu school though!

It’s 7:35 now and it’s almost pitch black outside. Apparently the sun sets at 4pm as well. That’s just silly. Silly England, get your daylight right. While Eugene snoozes, I guess I’ll stay on his laptop and google kung fu and read emails and stuff. Love you babe.
Oh, and I have a new number! Try not to use it too much though (or at all) if possible- it’s not got much credit, and I’d prefer it lasts until the end of the year. I’ll message you later. I love you so much.

 

***

 

It’s about 6am. Yesterday we went to Sainsbury first thing in the morning to buy ingredients for breakfast. Then after taking some time to sort out what everyone wanted to do, we walked for a late breakfast/brunch. We rested at home, had a late lunch, then went to Caysin’s dorm at her college were Uncle and Aunty will be staying for the rest of the week. I think, while more comfortable, I prefer RCM because Eugene has made it his home.
After that we all went to Trafalgar Square where the RCM was holding one of its many concerts. Most of it was atonal and sounded pretty awful to me. One piece was just a minute of the same electronic note sustained for a full minute to describe the monotony of staying in a tiny jail. One guy smashed a wine glass on stage, no doubt to represent something profound. Eugene’s piece was tonal at least, and mimicked a train to represent the rise of industry. All in all, none of us really enjoyed it, just like Eugene warned us and we insisted on supporting him anyway.
We met Ah Ee kokor (Big Brother Ah Ee), an architect who lives here, for dinner at a fancy Chinese restaurant. In truth, I was a bit miffed throughout the night because I could only eat one vegetable dish which was essentially 99% fried leaves. Despite looking at a menu and deciding between a number if tasty looking dishes, and despite them knowing I was vegan, no one asked me what I wanted and just ordered food for the table. Then they teased me just a little for not being able to eat anything. I tried to practice my Mandarin, but Eugene felt humiliated at my poor accent. I think I’m getting much better (I now understand a little better how to differentiate between for four pronounciations of the same word), but Eugene has essentially forbidden me from practicing within his earshot under penalty of punishment.
We left dinner around ten and I fell asleep on the bus. I haven’t been sleeping well lately, and it’s starting to become a problem. Case in point, I spent the night in a spare dormroom and woke up quite vividly at 2, 3, 5 and 6 o clock or so. And then, not being able to tolerate lying in bed exhausted but unable to sleep, I just got up to message you. It’s been quite a long night. I think it’s due to the time-difference – by Australian time I slept at 7am last night. Eugene says the body adjusts within 12 hours of arriving at a new country, and while all my previous experiences would support that claim, this time I seem to be taking a little longer. Maybe I’ll try sleeping super early tonight, or napping during the day. I’m pretty tired of being tired *weary smile*
Today Eugene and I are watching The Hobbit at 9am. If I weren’t exhausted I’d be stoked. I’m hoping I feel better when I get up and moving. I also found a local kung fu school that teaches Tiger Crane style, but it’s £12.50 for a trial lesson so I’ll probably give it a miss. My search for a class continues (though I can’t imagine having the energy to go).
***
Now, onto London… so yestermorn, Eugene and I went for a 9am, 3D, High Frame Rate screening of The Hobbit. It is actually the greatest movie ever made, on par with The Fellowship of the Ring. I’ve had the Misty Mountain theme stuck in my head ever since we saw it. I’m so glad I got to see a movie overseas (one of my favourite pastimes), and that it happened to be that particular movie.
We went to Caysin’s place where everyone was cooking a huge Chinese meal. It took several hours, so I elected to nap while waiting. It was a satisfying hour or so, but I woke up still quite exhausted. I got pretty frustrated because everyone kept ignoring me and talking in Mandarin, making decisions without me and not telling me about new plans. We ended up going to Coventry Square markets, and I did my best to stop feeling grumpy and just enjoy the amazing experiences of being in England.
Lamb (Caysin’s flatmate) and I went to Somerset House to ice skate, but the huge rink there is so popular that they had sold out of sessions for the rest of the day. I’d love to go, because outdoor ice skating is the dream man, so we’ll book it online for another time. Lamb is a graphic design student so she was very enthusiastic about showing me the Tim Walker exhibit (Google his stuff!), but unfortunately it was closed. Hopefully we’ll check it out another time!
Coventry Square was so good. I can’t wait to go back actually! The Lush there was so popular, but I bought a facial moisturiser with SPF 30 in it for you. It’s only available in the UK, so I thought you might appreciate it, especially in Singapore!
Right! So I was telling you about my day.

After the shopping, we went back to Caysin’s for leftovers. I was very tired and quite unhelpful I daresay, not having the energy to serve myself let alone clean up. I felt quite ungrateful but I was too tired to be apologetic. Mum and I set out for home around 8:15, and the whole way there I was super tired. Like, too tired to smile. Too tired to avoid people, preferring to just crash into them. And then being too tired to apologise, just hoping they’d understand and forgive me. I actually fell asleep several times while I was on the train, mid-step in Pokemon. I snapped at Mum a lot on that trip home, because we only vaguely knew where we were going and she was quite stressed and unhelpful. I was largely overreacting, but it made me aware of just how important sleep is to me. If I want to be kind, happy, able to defend myself, serve others or have a conversation, I can’t do it then I’m tired. It really does affect every part of my life.
When I got home, I slept around 10pm. The previous night I hadn’t slept very well and had gotten up to put on a jacket. Yesternight I put the extra layer on before I went to bed, and I think it made a big difference. I slept until about 9, waking up only once or twice. It was so, so satisfying, though I was still a little sleepy throughout the day. I’m pretty tired again now actually XD I started getting ridiculously sleepy around 8pm. Maybe I’m sick, or using more energy walking around, or still adjusting to jetlag.
The weather today was beautiful. As clear as a standard day in Perth (though colder), it’s beauty was enhanced because of how bleak weather normally is. After all the cloud and rain, it was such a pleasurable exception. I enjoyed a slow start, sitting on the windowsill to write lines, before we through to Ravenscourt Park to see the Royal College of Music and the Royal Albert Hall (where the premier of Skyfall was and where Daniel Craig waved to Eugene twice). Mum wanted a new handbag and to see Hyde Park, so we walked through Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park to catch the bus to Portobello Road.
Hyde Park was so beautiful on a clear day. We saw a few squirrels, and I even managed to coax one into sniffing but not taking some bread on my hand. There was also a beagle who noticed the squirrels, and I have a video of it doing a very Dug-like pose.
Portabello Road was great! What an incredible place that is. Bedknobs and Broomsticks had it right- you can buy just about anything there. I bought an awesome furry, ear-flappy hat which I might never be able to wear in Australia, and a Christmas present for your father (I’ll show you in Singapore!). Mum on the other hand bought a bag, a scarf and a hat, all at bargained-down prices, which positively elated her. For lunch, we sat down and listened to buskers as we ate sandwiches, samosa, raspberries and pears, followed by some coal-roasted chestnuts.
We dropped into the shopping centre on the way home, which was ridiculously crowded. In fact, London is ridiculously crowded in general. I kind of like it due to the feeling of anonymity and all the potential 3DS streetpass hits (though I’ve received only three so far), but I can see why Eugene hates it so much. There’s a lot of bumping into people, long queues, crowded spaces… I could imagine how frustrating I might find it if I was tired and just wanted to get home.
Something I’ve noticed about the English people is that not many of them smile. The older they are, the more often they walk with their heads down, their mouths set and their brows furrowed. The kids are still full of life and delight, but their parents seem to have no energy to spare on being joyful. Eugene says it’s because of London; the weather, the crowds – it just gets people down over time. In contrast, I walk around often grinning like an idiot for the pleasure of being in London. I want to hug, kiss, help and compliment almost everyone I meet. Yet hardly anyone returns my smiles, and those that return my greetings do so begrudgingly. I hope my love and enthusiasm for London doesn’t wear away over time.
After shopping, we made a stirfry to go with rice and some dishes from that Nepalese place across the road. They’re so nice there! They asked me to sit and brought me a fresh papadam to snack on while I waited. The restaurant is called Kathmandu – let’s go there some time!
All right baby, that’s about it from me. It’s 9:45 now and I’m still pretty tired! Bedtime I think. Tomorrow we have a leisurely start before heading to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guards. I also found a really cool-looking Tiger-Crane kung fu school which I’m going to in the evening. It’s pretty pricey for a lesson (£12.50), but that’s about the same as the casual rate for the Academy of Traditional Fighting Arts in Bayswater so I’m going to go ahead and make the assumption it’s just as good. I’m really looking forward to it!
Oh and also, I heard back from the human resource company who advertised the job at Petbarn! They said they loved me and want to sort out a contract. Unfortunately it took five days for me to remember to check my other email and they were having trouble reaching me, but I sent them an email affirming I was still interested and hoping to organise the contract over the internet first. Fingers crossed everything goes well!
All right, that’s enough for now. I love you so much, and I can’t wait to hear back from you. Ily!!
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2 thoughts on “Letters from London, part 1

  1. I miss and love you too <3 <3

  2. […] forgive my taciturnity. Here are the belated holiday photos I promised from my recent adventures in London, York, Yorkshire, the Peak District, Singapore (parts 1 and 2), Penang and Ipoh. The formatting […]

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