I covered most of my updates in the video. Yesterday I was in Kingscross ambling along the canal. Most of what I do is just walking around places by myself. While I'm pretty content with that, it doesn't really make for a whole lot of interesting updates.
So the last couple of weeks have been a bit of a ride.
First things first-- If you've been waiting to read my piece on Somalia it's posted on the Orchid Project website and our partner Tostan called it a 'must-read' so that's pretty neat!
Last Saturday I fell in love with the world again. Iconic perfect spring sunshine with a cool breeze accompanied me to the park in Brockwell. I took my camrea with me and just wandered. Then I got on a bus bound for Spitalfields where I got to take a walking tour of East London's street art.
Then I met up with my friend Gayatri and her friend Emma and we went to the most American place we could find. It was called "The Diner" and we ordered burgers and boozy milkshakes.
Sunday I caught up with Gayatri again but this time met her boyfriend Josh, his best friend Danny and a few others (Jade, Emma, and Harry). We mostly just hung out at a pub and got to know eachother. This led to Harry asking me to hang out Wednesday (we're in week 6 now if you're keeping track) and before I met up with him I also got to meet with Emma, Jade, and Gayatri again. It was quite a night on the town.
Weeks 5 and 6 at my internship have involved compiling information and writing briefs. But also starting another graphic design project/furhtering my general design knowledge. I'm still really happy to be at Orchid Project, it's been exactly what I was looking for and I honestly could not have asked for a better placement.
I guess that brings me to the part that some of you know about that isn't so fun-- I was relocated this week. I don't really want to talk about it very publicly, but suffice to say it's handled now and I'm in a good place. Instead of living in South Norwood I'm in Walthamstow which is on the other side of London and 30 minutes closer to where I work. I've got a quieter place and a little more personal freedom which is really lovely. So if you know about all that happened, rest assured I'm okay. If you have no clue--that's perfectly fine and probably better.
Saturday I just needed a day to calm down from all that happened with relocating. Today I went to Kings Head Theater with Gayatri (she's really fun to hang out with that's why we meet up so often). She and I viewed a play that her former roommate Nick was in called Between. It was the final show after 3 years of being put on and I'm glad I got to go. She and I then went for pizza and cake because we're adults and neither of us had really eaten much. Then I came home listened to podcasts, ate pasta, and started watching a modern day Twilight Zone-type show called Black Mirror on netflix.
Black Mirror is excellent and I highly reccommend it--however it's definitely not light hearted or easy to watch. So for those of you at home who like really intense sci-fi distopias this might be for you. Message me about it we'll probably have a lot to say.
So I skipped a week. Many of you who attempted to follow my internship in Washington DC through my blog experiences are probably feeling that this is the beginning of the end. You might worry that I will forget to write things out for you to follow along. I haven't forgotten, I have just been
... e x h a u s t e d ...
So before a larger narrative of what I've been up to and the continuing saga of cellphone problems. Here's a couple silly things.
- The children I live with asked if Oprah was the First Lady
- They were then floored when I said it was Michelle Obama, and that Oprah had more money than the Obama family. (Ages 5-10 are very shocked when the person they percieve to have the most power doesn't have the most wealth-- adults are sometimes that way too.)
- Anytime I'm passing a residential area, I pretty much have to hum the chimney sweep song from Mary Poppins in my head.
- You would too. Sooo catchy
- I am already becoming a regular face at the buger joint near Orchid Project.
- I went in this week and the gentleman behind the counter says, 'You came in around this time a couple weeks ago, didn't you?'.... Yes, yes- I did. I need my burger fix almost as much as I need coffee in the morning. Thank you for noticing.
- That burger place is called 'Dirty Burger' and their signage suggests that you put your lips on their buns.
- And sure to make you chuckle is when talking about the difference between cents and pence I mentioned that Americans carry nickles. Aaliyah was pretty certiain we called them 'nipples'. A funny misunderstanding to say the least.
My internship continues to have me working on a range of projects, including some graphic design work. There's a lot of research involved, but becuase there's a good balance of art and reserach there's never really a dull moment. And it sounds like next week I'll be doing something completely different. The executive director Julia's birthday was this week so we had a potluck lunch. I brought in a salad that was similar to a fattoush and that went rather well. Julia really likes to sing, so she was a little disappointed that it wasn't office karaoke time.
All work and no play...
Just kididng. I got some fun in.
I was able to get out of the house to go on some adventures in the last couple of weeks. For example, last Saturday I took myself out to get a burger at previously mentioned 'Meat Liquor'. I got really lost trying to find the place, but it was a pretty good buger so I was a happy camper in the end. I took all sorts of pictures of random things I found on the way but due to more cellphone troubles I can't even send the pictures over to my computer. So at some point there will just be a hodgepodge gallery of my adventures.
The day after that I took the whole day to walk to the Tate Modern along the south bank of the Thames. I liked being at the Tate becuase I really like thinking about art as artifact and vice-versa. While I was there it began to rain outside but I had brought my rainjacket that day and walked back to my point of origin even though I could have picked up a train. Sometimes you just need to be outside for a while, regardless of the weather. Unless it's snowing. Sorry everyone. It's barely gotten below 40 degreees. I hope it warms up where you are soon.
Wednesday of last week my friend Gayatri (who went to Simon's Rock with me) and I met up in the city. She is here on an internship with a criminal law firm and killin' it. She rocks. She and I had a lot to catch up on because I really hadn't seen her since I left Simon's Rock. But we found a pub and then a Chipotle -- the perfect venues to sit and talk with an old friend.
Friday night my friend Maura (who I met in DC) flew into London from Grenoble, France. She is there doing a study abroad taking several classes including Arabic and French film. When she and I were in DC together we did weekends very well. So in the time that I have been here I have been scoping places that look like anywhere we'd hang out. She and I went to a vegan cafe Friday night by where I work that is BYOWine. and then adjuourned to my home for crosswords and netflix and to plan Saturday. All Saturday plans (save a lovely brunch at the Lido Cafe- Tasty!) were shattered by struggles with international money transfers and trying to pay rent. So I left her in Kings Cross Station (home of Platform 9 3/4) where she would later meet up with a friend of hers who is on a campaign internship in the UK this semester and headed home to deal with things.
Today I'm just doing laundry and tidying up. I find I need to regroup every couple of weeks. Which is a good opportunity for me to sit and share my thoughts with all of you.
I wish I could upload pictures. but that'll probably come later. Gotta leave you wanting more.
Things to look forward to
- I have a break comming up in a month for Easter, so I might look into adventuring over to meet Maura in France, or perhaps some other sort of adventure.
- I am nearly done working on one of the infographics and a blog post for Orchid, so when those are complete I might be able to share those with you.
- I'm booked for an 'Alternative London Tour' for next weekend. I'm not sure what all it entails. Street art I think. I was seeking out free things to do and it came up on my radar. Given my love of tour-guiding. I expect tour-going to be enriching so long as it's not freezing cold outside.
Cell Phone Troubles Continue...
So as you all know, my phone is still not picking up newtork signal. It did for like half a second on my way to work this week and I nearly jumped out of my skin. You get used to your phone being a brick that lights up occasionally, and when it all of a sudden buzzes it's like someone has just pulled the fire alarm... not an exaggeration (well maybe a little one).
I went on an adventure this weekend
Originally, I went out in search of a burger place called Meat Liquor which I was told had excellent burgers. They have a branch near a place called Covent Garden Market, where the underground lets out. However, I got really distracted by all the shops there and ended up in a book store or 4...whoops! I ended up with this really beautiful notebook that I'll include a picture of when I decide I want to start taking pictures of things aaannd a book on this really incredible artist named Robert Rauschenberg. In that link there's a brief biography and pictures of a couple of his works down at the bottom.
At my internship they've given me a couple of project to work on, the one I'm most excited about is creating infographics for Orchid to maybe use later on, based off current data/work our partners have accomplished. The current ones are really wonderful, so if you'd like to go ahead and check that out.
Cell Phone Troubles
I'm sure those of you who grew up without cellphones will chuckle to themselves. But I'm telling you, I feel completely lost without being able to pull up GoogleMaps at my convenience. But it has made this first week very challenging. I am typically not afraid of being in a new city, but knowing that I'd have to ask for help if I got lost or couldn't simply call the family I'm staying with if I got into trouble has me almost confined to home.
In addition to not having a working phone, they have yet to make a copy of their home key for me. So even if I did go out, there's no assurance that I will be able to get back into the house. Luckily, Verizon is working on the issue and they said it should be all set by Monday. But we'll see.
So far, the internship is exactly what I was hoping for. I typically have something to work on right when I come in in the morning, and so far none of that work has been answering angry phone calls. And I don't suspect that will change anytime soon. Orchid Project has about 6 people working in it's London office on any given day. They've all been very welcoming. Additionally, I've been able to help out by editing some photographs for the website. Which is right up my alley. I mostly have been doing a lot of reading, and updating the website. If you've got some questions about what FGC is, there are a lot of resources, but I think an NPR article from Zero Tolerance Day (6 February) might help you understand some of the basics.
So this part is a little hard for me to write about, just because I'm not sure what I want to say. The family I am staying with is full of really loving, kind, helpful, sweet people. I want to lead with that because it is really very true. But I'm having a hard time adjusting. Linda and Alex have 4 girls; Tianna, Aaliya, Alisha, and Ria. Tianna the oldest (10) is from Linda and a gentleman who is not Alex, Aaliya and Alisha (8, 7 respectively) are from Alex's previous relationship, and Ria is both Linda and Alex's. So there's a bit of a weird dynamic between all of them and basically constant noise. I'm adjusting to this as best I can, and they are all very welcoming. But I'm still struggling to find what it is I need to be doing to ensure that I don't feel like I need to stay here during the day on the weekends. I think I'll feel much better with a key and a working phone, but until then I am constantly asked to play, dance, supervise, and interact in a way that children can understand. I'm really struggling with it. I have never really had to spend this much time around kids before and it still really feels like a lot.
I have allowed comments below, so feel free to ask any questions you have about my internship, living situation, London, FGC, etc. I'll be happy to answer them in my next blog post. Until then, I'm going to get some rest, I have a feeling Monday is going to come so quickly it knocks me over.
If you're familiar with how I begin new experiences, you'll know I've been sick all morning long and am not sure where I'll find the strength to eat today. You might also realize that my mom is putting in an effort to help me pack. We'll leave the house in a few hours and then I'll be on my way. I have layovers in Newark and Oslo and will ultimately be arriving sometime around 2:30pm tomorrow in London. Wish Me Luck!