Well I knew the perfect weather in London couldn’t last forever, still a week is pretty good for London standards, no? I woke up on Thursday morning to the inevitable rain I had been warned so many times over about. And this isn’t like rain in Texas. There is no lightning/thunder action before or during, it doesn’t make the air muggy, or really even appear to be heavy rain. It’s more like a light and constant mist that continues for hours and makes everything wet. And it’s cold rain too. None of that rain that just makes the hot, hotter. (And yes, sometimes in the sun, it can get hot in London. Especially if you’re wearing black.) It’s perfect sleeping weather! I feel like it’s kind of a cruel joke between London and I. I want to sleep and yet I need to be out and about doing things. All the while getting misted on. I’m sorry London, but this is some British humor I do not find funny.
Daryia and I decided to make the journey to Ikea during the rain. Oh dear God, I do not want to go back to Ikea ever again. Although it was wonderfully cheap and I got many, many items for under £25, it was not a pleasant enough experience to try again. For starters, there’s getting there, which requires taking a tube, an overground train, 2 buses and a short walk. It took an hour and a half to get there, easy. Once inside it was wonderful! Until you want to check out. Naturally, they only have one area where the checkouts are located and they make you walk through the entire store to get there. I’m sorry Ikea, but I do not want to walk through all the furniture you have to offer me, even if it is affordable, I just want to buy the things I’m already holding.
If you haven’t already noticed, I have a great knack for getting tangled up in problems when I’m short on time (*ahem*, see what happened Tuesday). Thursday was no exception. I had somewhere to be at five and it was already 3:15, who knew how long it was going to take to get back? I still had to go home, change, and take a fifteen minute ride to Tower Hill and the lady at the checkout hadn’t a brain in the world. I swear she had to have the little manager guy come over to her station three times while I was there. Three! That seems a bit much. When she finally finished checking me out, I noticed that the total seemed a bit high. I double checked my receipt, which I’m very glad I had, because the stupid lady charged me for the same item four times! A pack of knives, useful for chopping veggies, was almost £8, but when you ring it up four times, it comes out to about £32. Umm yeah lady, that’s like $50. That’s more than half of my bill! NOT OK. So I had to call the little manager guy over myself and get him to take it off. It was taking him too long to just take off three of the quantities that I just gave up and told him to take it all off. Needless to say, I still need a knife. I did however get six bowls, a plate, glasses, a mug, a wall clock, this blanket that I’m using as an extra mattress cushion thing, scissors, cutlery, two pots, plastic containers, a dish for baking, those plastic flexible spatula/spoon things, and a couple big wooden spoons. The ride home was much easier and faster. We were able to catch the shuttle to station and from there, able to get straight on the underground. I just felt a bit silly with this huge blue Ikea bag taking up all this space.
In yet another one of Westminster’s brilliant social programming schemes, they set up a boat party for all the international students to get to know one another. There is no food on the boat, but there is alcohol! Yup, my school is throwing us a booze cruise, no big deal. As I stated earlier, people working with boats are serious about their schedules here. Jeni, J and Tom did not make it to the boat party, but Laura and I did wave to them at the pier. Sorry loves, but they did warn us about that.
It was a pretty tiny boat for how many people they had packed on it. I was just praying that my claustrophobia wasn’t going to decide to show up again (it did once on the tube and it was an awful and unbearable two stops). When we made our way downstairs, there was a line for the bar extending the entire length of the boat and it stayed that way for the first two hours of the party. The actual ‘boat ride along the Thames’ part was kind of a joke. Yes, we were riding along the Thames and it was very cool, but there’s only so far you can go before we ran out river and the boat turned around again. So for four hours the boat just went up and down the Thames, turning around every 45 minutes or so. It was pretty funny towards the end of the evening when a large portion of the boat had some alcohol in their system.
I kept running into Kelly, a communications major from Philadelphia, at random points in the evening. One of them was when she was talking to a German guy about translation problems. Apparently in Germany, your cell phone is your ‘handy’. Haha. Don’t say that in America, or you might end up for more than you bargained for. That wasn’t the only language mishap that night. Matt learned the hard way that over here in the UK, holding up two fingers for wanting two beers doesn’t mean ‘2’ but means ‘f--- off’. Ooops. The bartender wasn’t amused. When the DJ finally got the whole bottom of the boat on the dance floor (I think the bar had a hand in that though), he played ‘Sweet Caroline’ (Shout out to my own Sweet Caroline!) and all the American’s started (very loudly) singing along. Hahaha, those poor non-American people had no idea what was going on. There was a group of Asian girls in the corner who were looking at us like we were mad. How on earth do you explain that there is no rhyme or reason for everyone in America to know the words to that song except that they do and that it’s expected of you to sing along? You just can’t. So I laughed instead. By nine we were on land again and everyone wanted to go out and party with their new friends. I was tired and had my interview the next day, so sadly I didn’t get to join in on any of the festivities. Instead, I came home and watched- that’s right, you guessed it! Some more IT crowd! (I have to catch up on season 4, which I’m very quickly running out of episodes.)
When I woke up today, it was raining again. I’m starting to notice a pattern here though. It’ll rain for about half the day, so far in the morning, and then it will kind of give up for the second half. I’m ok with deciding to stick to a schedule here London. I woke up feeling sick, probably because I was freaking out about meeting Ben and Matt (I know what you’re thinking, but alcohol wasn’t even a factor here), so I laid in bed and watched some more IT crowd while my Tums kicked in. I then, got dressed all ‘smart’ like Andrea said and went in search of the library to print important papers. Now the library system here is different than at TCU. Here, each school/campus has it’s own library and fortunately for me, Marylebone’s library is the only one that’s open 24 hours. Huzzah for printing papers at 3 am! Once I printed a revised CV (resume) and my timetable (schedule), I got on the tube in search of Eyeworks, Inc.
It’s located in this tiny little place that just looks like a green door between two other buildings that you have to push a button for them to unlock and let you in (like they do in the movies!). I kinda felt like I was in I Heart Huckabees. There were all these doors that kept opening up into more doors and hallways. I just kept following the arrow pointing to reception. The last bit just looked like a bunch of doors. I just kinda stood there, trying to decide which way to go, when one of the doors opens and a “You must be DEVON!” comes busting out. This is the receptionist, Elena, a tiny little woman who must have known I’d get lost. She rushes me inside and tells me that Ben has stepped out for a bit, but asks if I’d like a cup of tea? I like her already.
We walk into the little kitchen in the back of all these little tables full of Macs and papers and she goes to work putting on the kettle. I know this sounds bad, but this was the first cup of proper British tea I’d had since I’ve been in London, and it was quite tasty! She starts asking me all these questions about the states, my trip, where I’m living, etc. The whole time I’m smiling like a loon at the fact that she’s making me tea! At my interview! At work! Heeheeheee, I think I could get used to saying that I’m having a cup of tea at work. She keeps saying that Ben will be back soon, and he’s the fun one, so let’s get the boring paperwork out of the way when this man bursts out of nowhere (what is it with this place and people just randomly showing up? I dunno, but I like it!). Hello Ben Crompton, Head of Development and I'm sure the love of Adriana Casarez's life! My first thought was he has great teeth for a Londoner and my second was how cute I’m sure many girls would find him. (A.) He’s not at all my type and B.)He’s my boss! Let’s not go down that road, shall we?). He sits down next to me at the little table wearing this huge goofy smile, his hair all disheveled. Elena leans over and tells him, ‘your hair is a bit of a mess’ and he runs his fingers through his hair, turning to me and asking, ‘is my hair all out of sorts?’ HAHAHAHA. I wanted to burst out laughing. This is sooo the beginnings to the cliché encounter of those stupid pre-teen love dramas. But instead, I just said ‘a bit, yeah’.
He started talking about all the fun things we’re going to be doing. Shoots for this and that, coming up with ideas for shows, and much more pre and production work. It’s been far too long since I’ve hear the words ‘set’ and ‘shoot’! He was particularly excited about working on the comedy stuff with me since he’s ‘amazed that I like British TV’. When I asked why that was ‘amazing’ he said he’s just surprised that I can understand all the humor and keep up with the pace. Enter another 10 minute conversation about British TV here. He started naming off all these TV shows I need to start watching, promising to lend me his DVD series. I think I might just love this man.
I then got a tour of the office and I’m sorry to say for the first time in my life, I don’t remember anyone’s name. Except for Paul. Paul is the CEO. Ben walks me into the office saying, “This is the Devon, from TEXASSS.” (He did this weird little spirit hand thing whenever he said Texas. It was hilarious). Paul jumps up saying, “So you’re the Texan, eh?” and opens his arms really wide while walking to me. Is this man trying to give me a hug? I start to open my arms and he says, “Oh I was just showing you, Kinky! But I’ll give you one of those too!” and proceeds to give me a big hug and a kiss. He then turns me around to face a huge poster of Kinky Friedman, the man who ran for governor of Texas. Apparently he almost made a documentary on this man and since I’m from Texas, I must a.) know a lot about him and b.) love him. I swear he spent like 5 minutes talking about the wonders of Kinky Friedman, the whole while Ben is looking at me with that goofy smile like, is this correct? I left his office laughing. Ben introduced me to everyone else, doing his whole Spirit Texas Hands each time. This man has a lot of energy, but you need that in production so I applaud him. My favorite thing he told me was whatever I do, don’t be afraid to be loud and opinionated. Oh I don’t think he has to be worried about that- as I’m sure he’ll find out, that IS me! Elena walked me out (‘I know it can be a bit mazy’) and I practically skipped to the Tube Station. Can we say Best. Job. EVER?!
I met up with Matt and Laura on the Southbank straight after. They wanted to see a show at the National Theatre (student tickets are cheap!) but it didn’t start for a while so we explored the co-op of Gabriel’s Wharf, had a bite to eat and even ventured into the Tate for a bit. I was super excited to find chips made in Devon! (hahaha, I don’t think I’ll ever get over that).
The play we saw was called ‘Blood and Gifts’ and was all about America’s involvement in Afghanistan in the 80s. Quite an interesting show to see in London! It was a little too long for my taste, particularly the first half, but I enjoyed it despite all the politics. Laura and I made plans to go to Harrod’s on Sunday so I know what I’m doing the day before school starts! Tomorrow is grocery shopping and my goal is to find Regent’s Park. The boys say they go running there, and you know how I love me a good park, so hopefully it will be a worthy find!