File #15: Tip of the Hat

Hi-ho readers,

This is REALLY late, and I apologize. I forget what it’s like to be around friends and to actually be involved in other people’s lives.

Monday was my first class meeting of British Cinema and Society, which is interesting but I honestly feel neutral towards it. After such intensive classes it’s weird having the one class once a week. I’m also in work mode just because my hours at my new internship are 9:30-6 Tuesday through Friday, and I spend a little under an hour commuting each way.

So, as that would hint at, on Tuesday I started work. This was less exciting than Grace’s arrival in London on the same day. I finally collected her and we went home and made dinner, which was a lot of what we did this week because I was at work during the day. Grace is a far better cook than I am and her abilities elevated my meals tenfold.

On Wednesday I had a ticket to the London Philharmonic Orchestra. I assumed because I got the ticket through BU, the seats would be mediocre, but I was in the FOURTH ROW. Picture below. Works played were Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Schumann’s Overture, Scherzo & Finale, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto (with violinist Ray Chen), and Beethoven’s Symphony No.5. IT was incredible. I’ve been to the ballet but never the orchestra, but I developed a love for it through tapes played by my parents when I was younger, and specials watched on PBS. This concert was being broadcast on BBC Radio, so my dad listened to it at work while I was in the audience. Ray Chen is a very young Australian guy who was virtually unknown before a couple of years ago, and his performance was stunning. He emoted every note and phrase he played through his face, and was honestly as much of a joy to watch as to hear. He had to come back out on stage SIX times before people started clapping, and then he shouted out the name of a short Paganini piece and just started playing on the spot. I didn’t know in advance which Beethoven piece the orchestra was playing last, but then I heard the opening DUN DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN and it took me a lot not to laugh.

The funniest part of the night happened before the concert; I had changed into my fancy dress as work and had to run to catch the Tube to Westminster. I walked along the Thames, glittering, on my way to the Southbank Center. I had a little time to eat, but very little money. What did I see that I could afford? McDonalds. Behold — the perfect date.

On Friday night I was finally free and could spend some extended time with Grace. At Davis House in sophomore year, the last time we lived together, shisha was one of our main house activities. So we wandered down to Edgware Road and went to Al Arez and had a good time. Some guys next to us pitied our general look of White Foreigner (or as Grace and the Bhutanese would say, “chillip”) and told us to ask for smaller coals so the shisha wouldn’t burn out quickly and we wouldn’t have to buy another one. I’ve found kind strangers in London a lot, which people say doesn’t happen. I doubt I look very threatening; this may prompt it.

Kate (for the uninitiated, from Wheaton, lived together freshman year and junior year, one of my best friends) FINALLY arrived on Saturday morning and is staying in a hostel a 15 minute walk from me in Earl’s Court. Grace and I got very worried about her when we were waiting at the Victoria Coach Station because Kate had no way to get in touch with us and was really late. We ended up paging her over the intercom system and she eventually found us (without having heard the page). We wound our way past Buckingham Palace and through St James Park (yes, we saw the pelicans) and then set off on a tour of Parliament, which was excellent. The audio tour was narrated by a woman with a posh accent and it was super informative and had good regal music. We had Grace (the European History major) as a supplementary source. Then, because Saturday is the best day for it, I took us to Portobello Road Market, which was much sunnier than the last time I went. We stopped in SO many little stalls but did not buy anything, as usual. I want to get some gifts for my parents there before I leave in April, but it’ll happen another time. The District and Circle lines were BOTH shut down this weekend, and those are the lines I use to get everywhere, so we made some creative transporation decisions. We took the bus a lot, which I rarely do when I’m here even though it’s leagues cheaper. It also served as a tour guide for Grace and Kate, and I guess me as well. You certainly see a lot more from the windows of the bus than you do underground. Kate had been awake for about 24 hours at this point, so we went to a pub in my neighborhood, had a pint, and then all went to bed.

Sunday morning was up bright and early (okay, 9:30), to go to the Sung Eucharist service at St Paul’s Cathedral, which was lovely. I’m not sure if I liked this or Westminster Abbey better…I’ve got to get to Westminster Abbey on a Sunday. Kate, Grace, and I were all damaged by Catholicism from a young age (perhaps the two of them moreso, because they went to Catholic schools), so we all went through the motions. While we were sitting around after the organ recessional, pretending to pray but really chatting, we heard a clergywoman start to excitedly clap, and we turned around and a guy had PROPOSED UNDER THE DOME and SHE SAID YES! It was so lovely and we chattered about it for the rest of the day. We walked over the Millenium Bridge and to Borough Market…which was closed. So instead, we took a bus to Shoreditch, because I knew two markets happen on Sundays across the street from where I work. We ate arepas from a food truck where I had gotten lunch earlier in the week, and bellies full, we headed back towards West London. We took a long ride through central London and the West End, before hopping off at Knightsbridge to pick up a present for Grace’s host family at Harrod’s. I hadn’t been on this trip yet, and didn’t realize that it was literally a 15 minute walk from my flat. I found this out because we walked home. We dropped Grace off at her overnight bus back to Paris very late, and Kate and I both miss her (although we have gotten into our own debauchery, which will be detailed next weekend).

I really like having friends around and I feel like it’s going to be a terrible shock back to reality once everyone is gone. I’m seeing tUnE-yArDs with my friend Jillian on Thursday so that should be amazing, and hopefully I can submerge myself in culture before I miss everyone too much.

Things I Saw and Liked This Week:
stupid small dogs wearing jackets (so, all dogs in London)
people by themselves smiling at something they see or read>
riding in the front row of the top deck of the bus

And that’s the week that was!


P.S. word of the week: plummy (as in accent).

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