bacon cheesecake?

A ferrace wheel has appeared on the Old Market Square. When? I DON’T KNOW. How? Out of nowhere? Why? I HAVE NO CLUE. It was just there.
Also, the weather is unbelieveably good. It’s taunting me.

Dear pancaketeers,

I spent the last three days hugging everyone goodbye. Which, at some point, kind of took the sadness off of it. At least a bit. But first things first.

Patch came to visit the weekend before last. It was great, he is the first friend I made here in England, he is hilarious, and hopefully we’ll stay in touch. I basically gave him the same tour as Toast – Batman House, Robin Hood statue, Coffee House and improv. It was, for some reason, as strongly Batman and 50 Shades themed session. Odd, but highly amusing. We also wandered a bit around the posher part of Nottingham, marking the houses I one day want to live in (In case you’re wondering: it’s ALL OF THEM), and had a really early morning walk up to the train station, which was freezing but absolutely worth it! I love this city so much…

The rest of the week was, for the most part, very strange for me. Everyone was incredibly busy while I was practically standing still, sleeping too much and not leaving the house. It made me feel truly horrible, as in my frustration I also started getting upset with people who carried no blame whatsoever. I eventually pulled myself together though, started to do exercises for my knee, cleaning out my room and contemplating first aspects of by BA thesis. In the evenings I would go to the improv troupe’s Small World shows, which were fantastic. I laughed so hard! It also made me feel kind of sad I am not staying longer, because I would’ve auditioned for troupe then. I believe with a bit of proper training I can become good.

Then there was Saturday. Valentines Day. If you think about the cliche idea of it, what should a perfect V-day include? Dinner together, some sort of show/entertainment, dessert, some good alone time, presents/cards/chocolate, and wine. And even though it was a crazy busy day and I had well settled to skipping the lovey dovey stuff whatsoever, I somehow got all these things! And in the best (yet arguably very unconventional) way and order possible. Presents consisted of a hastily scribbled punny card for me and a single small roll of love hearts from me and the wine was the 1/4 bottle that had been standing around the room for weeks at mid-afternoon (I drank it straight out of the bottle too, much to the horror of certain Squirrel Minions of Darkness). Dinner was chips and pie from the local fish and chips store, hastily eaten over the kitchen counter due to time pressure. Dessert consisted of 2 for 1 GU cheesecakes that we ate in the theater before the beginning of the last improv show (entertainment – me in the audience, SMoD in the back, doing the lights). It was perfect!
In the evening there was an after party at the improv house, which was quite fun, albeit quite weird also.

And from then on it was goodbyes as far as the eye can see. Last improv session (a bit disappointing for a last one), finals hugs in mooch. I was really touched by people’s sincerity, expressed in the tightness of hugs. And yesterday, a final round of cards against humanity with people who refused to say goodbye on Sunday. It is really nice to feel so appreciated and loved. It also makes leaving that much harder.

=^.^= Koneko.

PS: pictures shall follow. Maybe. At some point.

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seriously good ice cream

So I haven’t blogged in forever. Again. I won’t even promise to change anymore.

Dear pancaketeers,

I could say either ‘you didn’t miss much’ or ‘you missed a lot’, and both would be true. I think I will just start by talking about New Years’ and then just see how it goes from there.

Your last update was, if I’m not mistaken, shortly before my brother and I left for London. Well, we had a really good last day in Nottingham, catching up on everything we had been too lazy for before (so most of stuff, really) – and in the evening it snowed! Oh wait, you know that already. What you don’t know, but can probably guess, is that carrying/pulling/dragging heavy suitcases through dirty, half-melted slush is NOT very fun. Neither are overcrowded trainstations. Or 3 flights of narrow hostel stairs with no lift (seriously, stairs in this country are a nightmare!).
However, the hostel was a good choice, a good place to get back to when cold andexhausted from a long day. In the whole week I stayed in London, I did hardly anything I hadn’t done before – I tell a lie, I did aGrim Reapers Tour and saw Primrose Hill and Hyde Park, and found the best cake shop and vanilla cheesecake in all of London (not in the same place though). But even the places I revisited where (are) never the same. It was the first time I saw all the sites in a guided tour and actually got some information too – plus you meet new fun people. The Queen’s Walk is even more lovely by night, with a mulled cider to keep you warm. And don’t even mention the Camden Markets, early in the morning with nearly no tourists yet, they seems even bigger and even more like a giant, ever-shifting maze. We had a really great time, and I think/hope my brother got a good taste of … well, basically my life.

On New Years’ Eve morning I dropped the little one off at the train station and the truly adventurous part of my London-stay began. I met up with Stu and old school friends of his, to whose party I had sort of gotten myself invited. Turns out this friend has the most amazing apartment and rooftop veranda, complete with barbeque and an amazing view – perfect for the night’s purpose! We dumped our stuff their and did what responsible adults do – we went daydrinking! And then had a barbeque and kept drinking. 

The actual party was also pretty great. You just know it is when there is pirates and rum and suddenly it’s midnight when it was just 9pm half an hour ago. We had an almost great but still pretty good view of the fireworks on Tower Bridge. Shortly after, Stu and I just marched across the street and kind of crashed a party there for a while, which was indeed fun, and as everyone slowly left, we sat around, still drinking, drawing on the drunk and gone’s faces, until I fell asleep sitting upright on the couch. In the morning, like nice and grateful house guests that we are, we cleaned up a great deal of the undescribeable mess that was everywhere and then went for a very late and very tired New Years’ breakfast quest. It was really nice, because even though I spent two days with complete strangers, it didn’t feel like I was imposing, but rather like I was making new friends. After shakily hugging them goodbye on the tube, I headed back up to Primrose Hill, where I spent the night with my Australian friend. He was even more tired and hungover than me, so we didn’t do much except cook dinner, watch some TV and fall asleep. It was great.

Next morning, I stole out of the house like a thief at the break of dawn, to catch a train to my next stop: Somerset! I was very excited and a little nervous. You see, Somerset is where Squirrel Minion of Darkness is from. It was a really beautiful train ride, but my eyes were just too tired to look out the window, they just kept falling shut… Upon arriving in a place where the train station was smaller than Germersheim (Lingenfeld, more like), I realized how good this quiet ruralness felt after a week of noisy, busy London. I love the city, no arguing that, but it’s best enjoyed in small doses. Anyway, Somerset. Tiny, rural, quiet. With a nice, dimmed down room and big comfy bed welcoming still exhausted me to nap away most of the day… There was also a cat – clearly, I was in heaven! Long walks, lots of sleep and reading (with cat in lap and hot chocolate) and good food you didn’t have to cook… I’m getting all nostalgic now.

This is getting quite long so I’ll leave it here. The next chapter is exams anyway, not much to say about that….

=^.^= Koneko.

almost burned bisquits

Dear pancaketeers,

outside, the big, fluffy flakes have given way to a steady downfall of fine snow, and after jumping around the house excitedly I decided this would be a good time for me to give a sign of life.

I am very, very sorry I stopped daily blogging. I don’t even really know why, I guess everything felt so normal and routined that, lulled in my wintery laziness as well, didn’t feel like reporting them. I mostly did what I would’ve done at home, you know? Going for coffee and Christmas shopping with friends, and spening time with Squirrel Minion of Darkness (best decision ever made on this blog, naming him that). I don’t even remember where I left off…. I don’t think I’ve told you about the Christmas dinner at the improv house (great fun, beer bottles with stars on top of christmas trees, mulled wine, Christmas pudding -not my taste – and nerf guns for secret Santa)? Or going to see the Mockingjay (hell, what an intense film, I might just go see it again)? Or about the last week before the Holidays, which was pretty useless from an academic point of view (I did do reasonably well in my Mandarin oral though, hopefully), but brought with them the sudden and rather shocking realization, that the semester is over! After the holidays, nothing will be the same anymore, what with exam stress and all.There is only exams, and once the studying and barely passing is done, my time here is oficially over. And even though I know that I will be staying for few weeks longer than that, the sense of finality is now rooted in my thoughts, whether these concern improv, or uni ife, or Nottingham or my friendships here.

Enough about this! Back to the present, or rather the past.The first week of holidays was spent in blissful laziness, interrupted only by coffee-appointments and Christmas errands here and there – and again, more or less permanent goodbyes on various fronts (I am well aware that amidst studying, exams and Christmas, I won’t really see many of my classmates again). Nottingham has a weird feel to it when you know that close to everyone except you has left…. Eventually, Squirrel Minion of Darkness left for home as well, leaving me two days to myself and to prepare the arrival of my Christmas company, namely my beloved little brother. Between sightseeing and Christmas and successful baking, we somehow managed to get through the whole series of Korra in 4 days. So productive! Tomorrow we’re leaving for London. 

I want to try and blog more frequently again, I actually quite enjoy this form of sharing, but from a hostel common room this should be difficult. So, see you in the new year!!! (I also have lots of pictures I want to edit in at various points)

Oh, and happy belated Christmas everyone! 

=^.^= Koneko.

organic scones and quiches

(last) MONDAY

I feel like this is never going to end…

Dear pancaketeers,

if you knew my dad, you’d know better than to say, “we’ll just go down to Covent Garden and find something to eat along the way” My dad is like some sort of reversed Gremlin: never not feed him in the mornings! (also, don’t get him wet, lol). In my eagerness to be spontaneous and adventurous, I disregarded that rule, which led to mutual exasperation and into an overly organic for our tastes breakfast bar, which in the end turned out to serve really delicous (and healthy naturally grown, organic) food. Once everyone’s hunger and need for caffeine was satisfied, we – uhh, what DID we do? – oh right! We went to everywhere I had already been on Saturday morning, on foot of course! I still absolutely love Trafalgar Square, there just is something about that place…   Buckingham Palace on the other hand, is in my opinion quite unimpressive and overrated as a landmark, even if the Queen lives there. St. James Park is, indeed beautiful (like all parks are, they are truly beautiful, but still, at the end of the day it’s just parksand they all look more or less the same) – but the SQUIRRELS! Aaagh! So cute, so smart, so trusty! I think I chased every single one of them to offer it imaginary treats because unfortunately I didn’t have any real ones.

I don’t regret doing the same walk again. Different lighting can change the world. Big Ben is truly a great view while soaking up the afternoon sun, before it start’s getting dark (at 3pm, whuat) and chilly and, just to top it all off, begins to rain. But who cares, we had to catch our train back to Nottingham anyway. Because, you see, as if I wasn’t exhausted enough already (once again, slept through the train ride), I still had plans for the evening.

After a rollercoster of suspense, I had only on Sunday manage to get hold of a ticket to the Pretty Reckless. I really wanted to go to the gig, not only because I love the band, but also it felt like a huge shame to not attend an event like this happening righ in my backdoor for once (usually I have to travel half the world to get to gigs). However, I am getting ever closer to the conclusion, that concerts of all kinds mainly consist of waiting – for doors to open, for the gig to begin, for the supports to finish, for the main performance, for the encore… I have also concluded that, even though it is a pain during the aforementioned waiting, going to concerts alone provides you with great freedom of movement. Once again, I wiggled my way to the very front, even though a bit later I allowed myself to get pushed back a couple of rows. Third and fourth conclusion of the evening: don’t go on an album tour gig when you are not really familiar with the new songs, it takes out half the fun; also don’t go to a rock, or any concert really, if you’re barely able to walk straight from tiredness. You’ll find you have to strongly will yourself to enjoy, instead of just waiting, hoping, praying for it to be over soon. Still, it certainly was an experience, and I am despite all really glad I didn’t miss it. My only real complaint: they didn’t play my favourite song!

=^.^= Koneko.

spinach and artichoke melt

(last) SUNDAY

Dear pancaketeers,

Sunday I spent with my parents. Queen’s Walk and Camden Markets, what more polarization could you wish for? You know the blog, Humans of New York? I know you do, basically. Anyway, my point is, sometimes I wish I could just walk around taking pictures of people who catch my eye on the street. However, I wouldn’t always want to go up to them and ask for a picture, I’d rather capture them in the moment they are in, because that’s what I noticed and that’s what I want to keep. Most of the time, of course, that puts you in a very awkward position of them catching you invading their privacy….  

As I said, a morning full of bridges (Tower B., Longon B., Millenium M., the full programme) and riverside walking and taking literally a MILLION pictures (mostly of bridges and the riverside), we ventured into Camden, the magical labyrinth that is Camden Lock Market, to be precise. And even though it was really absolutely great, just as I remembered, on the walk back to the tube I regretted staying confined to the market, since there is an abundance of quirky and cool shops and cafes and street art to discover all over the area. Well, a good reason to go back, I suppose!

The evening entertainment/dinner was Hard Rock Cafe, even though we’ve already been to the Amsterdam one. But the one in London is supposed to be the first, and who can say no to fantastic music, food and atmosphere in general? For me, the choice was confirmed once we met out queen waiter, Isaac – LOVED HIM! There is nothing more beautiful than people who obviously really enjoy their jobs. He instantly made me think: ‘hey, he seems cool, I wanna hang out with that guy’. 

As an overall rule, days in London are LONG. It was not even close to midnight when we got back to our hotel, but, just like the night before, we fell dead into our beds and didn’t wake up til morning.

=^.^= Koneko.

Banana mousse in a bubble

(last) SATURDAY

Dear pancaketeers,

Why did I even bother not even turning on the light last night, when my hostel roommates just dump all their stuff on my bed and in the morning talk so loudly and take so long to get ready? I may have wanted to sleep some more…? Anyway, it was checkout at 10 anyway. 

Another thing I didn’t mention about Friday morning is, that I randomly bumped into an Austrian girl I briefly knew from Erasmus meetings. Blabla, how are you, costumary smalltalk, what are you doing this weekend, I’m going to London – no way ME TOO! So we met up on Saturday morning at Covent Garden, which is beautifully decorated for Christmas of course, and set out to explore/find breakfast. I don’t really remember which way we went, I just know it was towards the river. On the way we stopped at the cutest little cafe (it’s a bar at night, I really wanna go back there, maybe over the holidays) and had delicious cakes with our coffees – even though clever me kept putting salt in her coffee instead of sugar, then wondering why it kept tasting more and more horrid instead of better. Good job, me! Anyway, I’m completely in love with the place with its tinyness and cakes and adorable blue china.  Afterwards we went for a stroll on the other side of the Thames, along street perfromers (bubbles!) and the Londong eye, having the most fantastic view of Big Ben and other very photogenic buildings. I am pleased to report that even though I don’t know the girl very well, and probably won’t become bffs with her, she was great company for the day, nice and easy to talk to. After the river bank stroll we wanted to head to one of my favourite places in London, Trafalgar Square, but somehow missed it (HOW?!), ending up in Picadilly Circus, which I still believe is being oversold.

 

 

Our next stop was Harrods, which I’d seen from outside before – no comparison though to how beautiful the shop windows were decorated for Christmas!If you are in London around this time, you simply have to go to Harrods and just walk around it, looking at the displays – but never gone inside. It is quite the experience!
Because, even though the halls are a modern luxury shopping heaven, the way up the escalators resembles a marvellous Egyptian tomb. I was so amazed I couldn’t stop taking bad photos all the way up to the top floor: SHOE HEAVEN. I don’t know what it is, but designer fashion generally very much disagrees with me – except for that one 1000 pound pair of boots I’ll occasionally fall in love with… Wait, did I just say – yes I did! 1190 pounds for a plastiv boot (it wasn’t even made of diamonds or at least some good leather), just because it was designed by someone with a ‘name’. UNbelieveable.

After Harrods we were both pretty tired, so we started walking in the general direction of the hotel where my parents would be checking in soon. It was a really nice walk despite the fatigue, walking by displays of shops and patisseries and street lights coming to life in the falling twilight. I swear I spent 10 minutes in front of the Natural History Museum, trying to capture the fairy lights and berries and ice skaters down in the rink.  Timing however was just right, because just as I arrived at the hotel, I saw my moms blond hair getting out of a taxi. Even though I hadn’t really missed my parents over the last months, it was still really really good to see them! There is so much more to say if skype doesn’t keep giving you technical difficulties…

As you can see, days in London are long, as is this post, and I’m still not finished yet! Bear with me, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

Remeber Flaneur’s London Diaries? Where she mentions that sushi place on the 38th floor? Well, now guess where we went for dinner! It was simply incredible. But between the fantastic view and excellent wine and delicious food and amazing dessert , my favourite part was riding up in the lift, because that is when you really realize how far up you are actually going! On our way out we actually went down and then back up (heehee), before actually leaving, and finally going to sleep.

=^.^= Koneko.

Fortune Cookies

Oh my gosh this was so long ago. A week, basically. The reason for this is that I went to London over the weekend so I obviously didn’t have my laptop nor the time and internet capacity to keep you up to date on the amazing and wonderful things I did there. Yeah, but now is Thursday night, you might say, what have you been doing all this time?! Glad you asked. I shall enlighten you during the course of my catching up posts, which starts now, beginning with:

FRIDAY

Dear pancaketeers,

my morning went as usual, boring seminar, infuriating translation workshop (seriously, these people have NO idea what they’re doing most of the time), quick lunch and 2 hours of Chinese. Nothing special whatsoever.

After that I rushed home, guzzled down a coffee, stuffed the last few unnecessary things into my borrowed suitcase and rushed off to catch my bus, and untlimately my train to take me to London. Despite the coffee I slept through the whole jounrey, and was quite awake when we finally arrived.

My Australian friend picked me up at St. Pancras – even though I find that I have no problems navigating big and unfamiliar cities/ public transport networks, it is still really nice to have someone waiting for you – and after checking into my hostel we set out to be random. And random we were! It was wonderuful. We basically just walked through what feels like half of London, with a wonderful Chinese meal (including fortune cookies, yay) along the way, during which we developed the quest to go catch a late night movie at ODEON. With time passing and us getting more than lost, the quest turned into finding the Cinema and then getting hot chocolate and then going to bed. Post-midnight windowshopping and Christmas-decorations and Paddington Bears everywhere and blurred phone-selfies. The most beautiful walk in the dark Hyde Park (which for inexplicable reasons was wide open where we got in, but locked at the point where we wanted to exit – so we just jumped the fence. Ever heard of breaking OUT of a park?) and the mood-appropriate, semi-deep what-is-life conversation by the lake. 

You’ll be happy to know we found the cinema, which by that time was, obviously, long closed. Finding hot chocolate turned into a quite the challenge as well, seeing as we had found ourselves on a street with nothing but shisha bars and kebap places as far as the eye can see. The atmosphere was really nice, people sitting outside until late, talking, enjoying themselves. In the end we even got our hot choc, so the night was an allround success and the best way to spend a Friday night in London I can think of!

I am generally really happy to have found such a nice friend in Patch, considering how randomly we meta couple of months back. Sometimes, when it’s right, friendship is just so easy…

=^.^= Koneko.

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