my name is gwyzzy, and i ain’t perfect.

After recovering from my 6:20 train on Sunday, I had a busy two days of class including preparing for a debate which I am not a fan of, but it’s over.  I never want to talk about the French banning burkas or hijabs again. Tuesday night, fAnnie, Big D and I went to Street Flava for one last time to celebrate (?) the end of our gym membership.  It was a success complete with four gay guys BUSTING it out all over the place.  We didn’t really know quite what to do with ourselves.

Wednesday we chilled out and did work all day, kind of.  Then we ended up waltzing down to the National Theatre to try to get tickets for a production called Fela!  I couldn’t believe it worked out as well as it did–we went to the box office and got student tickets in the stalls for £10!  We were ecstatic.  The performance was full of amazing singers, musicians, and dancers.  It’s the story of the Nigerian afro-beats creator and political activist, Fela Kuti.  We were all fans especially when we had to stand up in the middle of the performance and start dancing.  Our hips were a clock and Fela yelled out #s, can you do the 4-1-9?  We mastered it.  The 3-6-9-3-9 was a little harder.  But it was definitely the “best 24 hours of our lives.” Teehee.

Thursday Heather and I wandered out to Kew Gardens after getting confused and waiting on the Tube which never came and then getting off at the wrong bus stop so we had to walk in the freezing snow.  We made it to Richmond and ate lunch at this wonderful French restaurant serving traditional Breton fare.  I’ve discovered I really love going out to eat. Eek! We had some buckwheat pancakes–yum-o.

wonderful lunch at chez lindsay

Then we moved onto Kew Gardens and ended up being the only two people on our tour with our sweet guide Sheila.  It was really interesting and beautiful even though it was freezing out.  We spent a lot of time in the tropical rainforests….the grade one Palm House on the grounds was spectacular and full of palms from all over the world.  We also went into the Princess of Wales Conservatory filled with different climate zones separated by glass.  There was an orchid room, a lilypad room, a room full of different cacti, a carnivorous plants room, sting rays in the saline pool, and peacocks running around?!  Then we compared the 18th century vs. the 19th century views from the Palm House.  Then we said bye to Sheila and went over to the Xstrata Treetop Walkway which was about to close.  We made it on the steps before the security guard said “YOU MUST BE DOWN IN 10 MINUTES” three times.  We scrambled up to the top, walked around quickly and scurried back down.  It was freezing, all the leaves were gone, and my IT band was screaming.  All in all though, still a cool experience.  It could’ve been cooler in other weather though–no pun intended.

under the crumbling arch in Kew Gardens

inside Palm House

finding oasis in the tropical rainforest...palm house, again

mm palm house

18th century view

princess of wales conservatory

cool cacti

water lilies!

view of the temperate house from the xstrata walkway

look who was running around in the snow..

We rushed home and Big D and I immediately ran out the door to try to find this Pakistani restaurant in the East End. It was an epic directional fail on my part, but eventually we found it.  I’m really tired of trying to find places.  But it’s okay. The food was out of this world.  I don’t know what we ate, and we probably ate it in the wrong way, but we scarfed it down.  I’m really a rather large fan of ethnic food. We then raced back out in the cold to try to find Dennis Severs’ house in Spitalfields nearby.  Well, another directional error on my part, usually I am good at directions though, okay?  We ended up in the Docklands and were late for our reservation, so I, for the first time in my life, successfully hailed a cab and we made it back over and around to the house.  It’s an incredibly special experience.  It’s a candlelit old house smashed into Spitalfields that’s decorated beautifully for Christmas and literally has the sounds as though people had just left.  The whole idea is to imagine what you just missed.  There’s a set-up in every room.  Real candles are lit, real music is playing, real food is on the tables or in preparation, dishes are in the sink, there’s spilled wine on the floor, 1/2 full cups of tea, etc.  It felt so homey, and the owner knew the author who had just come to speak to our English class on Monday!  Check him out here: spitalfieldslife.com It was a hectic but fabulous day.

the remains of our pakistani dinner at tayyabs

Dennis Severs House

Friday, Annie, Diana and I hit up the shops.  We’ve been shopping too much, but it’s so much better here than in the States.  I found my new favorite pair of jeans.  Then we met our professor in Hammersmith and all enjoyed pizza inside the theater before the pantomime…aka “panto.”  This was our favorite thing we’ve done as a group together.  It’s a Christmas-themed show geared for kids and adults.  There are crude jokes for adults that kids can’t understand as well as popular songs played by a live band with new lyrics.  It was hilarious.  We were on the front row and our professor got called out by the cross-dressing baker multiple times.  I was dying laughing. It’s kind of a dirty version of Sesame Street.  It had dressed up animals and changed scenes a million times and had silly music.  We all loved it. If you’re ever in England, you must go.

annie, big d & i at the lyric hammersmith

Unfortunately, today I spent the day researching the British occupation of Egypt in 1882.  I’ve been sitting here reading and writing all the day long.  The end is in sight. I get home two weeks from today.  As I’ve said before, it’s a very odd combo of being ready and feeling as though I’ll never be ready.  But it’s coming whether I’m ready or not.  Hope you all enjoyed your snow today if you’re in NC with it. 🙂

view from my window

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