Monday, July 29, 2013

Jumping Into Big Smoke

So... ehem... long time no blog.

... but seriously. Sorry about that. Things have been crazy, as usual, but nothing so incredibly pressing that I felt the need to constantly blog about it, like I've been doing in the past. But today I suddenly realised... whoa, shit, I only have a week left in London and then another random week going on a random adventure (completely by myself) to Edinburgh, Scotland, and then I get to spend time with Kib again which is going to be the best time evar, but seriously... only a week left in London with my wonderful women and all of these incredible DreamCareers peoples and... it just hurts my soul. It really does. Physical pain, guys.

Before I go any further, however... Spotify, per usual. Enjoy (60+ songs? Didn't expect that...!).
So, here's a quick post to update you on what my last two weeks in The Big Smoke have been like, as well as segueing into this last week of absolute insanity and fantastic-ness.

Speedy's Cafe

Confession time... you know how I found that place that they use for the exterior for Sherlock? Well, it's really not that much of a secret, apparently, because I constantly see people running up to it in complete fangirl mode screaming their heads off going, "Oh my GAAAWD, it's 221B Baker Streeeet! Like, take a picture with me in front of iiit!" I should've known that Tumblr would've made this location common knowledge by now. Damn you, Tumblr. And while this is amusing to me (remember my freak out post from before? Thank God Speedy's was closed when that happened or they probably would've put a restraining order on me), it's also annoying, because... well, another confession time.

Speedy's Cafe is my not-so-guilty pleasure.

The hospital that I have to go to for this tea burn madness (University College Hospital) is literally right across the street from Speedy's. I feel like a total badass, just casually being one tube stop away from the exterior location to literally one of the best shows on television. But not only that, it's probably my favourite cafe in London, and not because of the obvious. But because of the following reasons:

  1. It's only one tube stop away from my flat at King's Cross.
  2. They have milk for sale there called "Watson's Milk" (#winning).
  3. The staff is super nice and incredibly friendly, even if they don't necessarily speak English fluently (I'm pretty sure that there are Polish immigrants most times I'm there - I like me some Poles).
  4. It's got an incredibly awesome small-business kind of feel to it, the kind that I really enjoy (not the nice shops where you're afraid to sit down for running the fine polish or scuffing the paint, but the kind where everything's a bit worn and cramped, but well taken care of).
  5. It's incredibly cheap.
  6. It's incredibly delicious.
So, every day after I get out of the A&E after four hours of sitting next to coughing elderly people and wailing babies with stomach problems and not-so-slightly insane homeless people ("tramps" here in the UK), I go in one Underground exit (Euston Square), come out the other (Warren Street), walk to Speedy's and get myself some nice take away for the Tube ride east to Liverpool Street Station to begin my working day. And it's absolutely delicious. It's like a little sandwich shop in which you get to choose what kind of sandwich you want / throw your own toppings on top of. Not only that, but they have fruit (dear God, fruit?!), coffee drinks, breakfast things, and some nice sit down food for the person who's in not-so-much-of-a-hurry (that I haven't tried quite yet, but I'm going to, I swear!). Let me give you a breakdown of what I got yesterday after my last burn check up:
  1. 1 chicken sandwich, with lettuce (salad, they call it), cucumbers, tomatoes, mayonnaise and cheese (yummy), done up with some nice wheat bread.
  2. 1 cappuccino, no sugar, extra espresso shot (one of the best cappuccino's I've ever had).
  3. 1 banana (yum).
Another picture of Speedy's - what a great place, seriously.
And this totalled up to be: £3.40. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? In Shoreditch (where I work), I bought a teeny ass mocha from this place called Nude Espresso (apparently a Keira Knightly haunt) and it was £2.50. But I got a sandwich, a banana and a cappuccino for £3.40? In Islington?! Pinch me, somebody, I'm in heaven. This is the cheapest food that I've been able to haggle whilst in London, not even a joke - even the Nido cafe was more expensive than this (I ran out of my £250 last week - time to start starving to save money). I'm very serious, from now on I'm going to be waking up early just to take the extra 20-30 minutes to take a Tube over to Speedy's cafe so that I can get myself a cheap ass lunch and a nice tea or coffee to start the morning. I'm literally obsessed with this place. It's the best possible place to start a morning in London. The one thing is that it's a breakfast-lunch kind of place. It opens incredibly early, but then closes around 14:30 (2:30pm) every day, and it's closed on Sundays (Poles = Catholic), and open for limited hours on Saturday. But, quite honestly, I don't care. Love this place, I go every time that I get the chance.

So, against my better judgement, here's the link to their website, which has their address, hours and also a Twitter page! So, I'm going to start following them on Twitter, casually, because I'm incredibly jealous of the fact that they get to be a location for a BAFTA-award winning television series with two of the best actors in the entire business (I think Benedict Cumberbatch is going to take over the world, and it'll be a better place for it), but also because I definitely want to stalk them and find out when they're filming so I can be a creep and head on over and try and hand off my CV to someone on set. Yup. So, there's that.

And if you're ever in London, please go - not just for the fangirling (I know that you will all do it), but because it's an incredible small business with great food, great service and great prices, and deserves just as much hype for that as anything else.

These Past Two Weeks...

... have been more relaxed than anything, which is odd, considering that we have literally one week left in this incredible city and all are kind of feeling, like, "We need to get everything done now - we need to do everything possible in our power to do everything and see everything in London!" Which is not realistic, but, hey, YOLO - You Only London Once.

But I don't like that - I don't want to YOLO. Again, I'm planning on coming back here. I want to see myself living in this city one day - if not for an extended period of time, at least doing something for a year or two. The ultimate goal would be to study acting here for two years, but... you know how that goes. :) We'll see when it happens.

At any rate, while these past two weeks have been flying by in an utter and complete blur for myself, and I haven't blogged about them at all (which is really unfortunate, but hey, can you blame me when I'm having the time of my life in the best city in Earth)? So, to kind of skim over everything, I'm going to bullet point what I've been up to, in no particular order! :)

Things That I Did During My Random Hiatus From the Rest of the World
( no particular order...)

  • My girls and I went to the London IceBar. We stood inside of a literal igloo in the middle of London, and drank mixed drinks (whiskey, kiwi and strawberry for this girl) out of glasses made literally of ice. It was freezing, but absolutely fantastic.
    • We're total eskimos - that bar was AWESOME.
    • I got hit on by a middle aged ginger man, which was gross but also hilarious in retrospect, especially when I told him that I was "American, 20 and unavailable" and ran away.
  • We started a pub crawl in Shoreditch before becoming so ill from something that I ate earlier that day that I had to cab it back to NIDO where I spent the rest of the night and early morning in complete and total misery.
    • Watching Star Trek was the only reason that I kept myself distracted. Thank you, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto.
  • Finally decided to brave my fears of talking to one of my acting idols, Martin Freeman, when - in the middle of the work day - I threw my hands up in the air in frustration an  shouted, "FUCK IT!" to a startled room of my coworkers, before grabbing a paper and pen and scribbling out a very thoughtful letter to the man.
    • I then proceeded to go and find the nearest post office, before I realised that the address for his fan mail is literally a ten minute walk from work.
    • I didn't eat lunch, but Dr. Watson's got some fan mail waiting for him in Shoreditch.
  • A fellow Dreamer was able to get all of us a free admittance to a hoppin' London club called The Church - which is a church that is now one of the craziest clubs in London. We had no idea what it would be like, so we just showed up. They give you bags of beer. Literally, a plastic bag with three beers. And it's absolutely insane.
    • We had the time of our lives getting drunk in the middle of the day at this club where literally everyone is dressed up like it's Halloween. No one grinds on you (thank God), and they play really good music (The Proclaimers! Coldplay! The Killers!). I danced my face off like a crazy fool (when I dance, I just jump up and down and do random punching motions. It's equally entertaining and dangerous).
    • Some very awkward things also happened. I'll spare you the equally awkward details (no worries, I was unsullied).
    • We pretended that we were Canadian so that we wouldn't be patronised by all of the British people who were there.
      • It worked.
  • Nicole and I went to The National Army Museum, which is strangely kid friendly, but also incredibly fascinating. There, we got to learn about the military history of the United Kingdom in its full - from medieval times to the Boer Wars to the World Wars, to Korea, etc...
    • We did an WWI interactive thingy where we had to be a Medic, a Captain or a Private, and we had to make decisions along the way that may or may not have ensured our survival or demise.
      • We would be awesome medics.
      • We would not be good Captains.
      • I'm pretty sure that we'd be dead if we were Privates.
    • We also walked through the Afghanistan exhibit, where we learned about IEDs, terrorism and their history throughout the United Kingdom (the IRA was incredibly prominent on the timeline, which made me very uncomfortable). After learning about IEDs and how to locate them, we then walked through a section of the exhibit that was a recreation of a section of an Afghani town, where we had to find where IEDs were planted based on certain clues (cigarette buts, moved soil, wires, discolouration in the wall, cell phones, etc...).
      • We would definitely be dead if that exhibit was real life (damn cell phone).
  • We went on an adventure to the South Bank, where - while my girls went on the London Eye - Stevie (Julie's friend from the States who was also randomly in London) and I ran around and explored that awesome part of town (I'm kind of in love with this place).
  • DreamCareers threw us an awesome end-of-your-adventure party this past weekend at the club, Bounce - complete with glow in the dark ping-ponging (at the place where ping pong was invented) and karaoke (we all rock that mic like no one's business).
    History... history everywhere...
    • "I Will Always Love You" DreamCareers people. <3 You guys are always going to be close to my heart, my fellow adventurers!
  • We had a wonderful picnic in Hyde Park that evening - I read The Hobbit while everyone else ate cheese and drank wine, and it was an absolutely pristine way to end the weekend.
  • My Irish cousin-twin-sister, Lakin, went to Speedy's Cafe (I'm tellin' ya, that place is awesome) so we could take pictures for her sister (who is also a huge Sherlock fan), where we met this awesome Italian girl named Ali.
    • We then proceeded to go to St. Bartholemew's Hospital, where we saw an awesome Telephone Box covered in letters to Sherlock and John (Why St. Bart's, you might ask? S02E03. Watch the damn show). I left a little letter there myself. :)
    • Then, we wandered around near Barbican and Farringdon stations for a while before heading back, after which we all had a wonderful evening of ping pong frivolities (see above, please)!
  • I finally went and explored the British Library, and it was absolutely fantastic - or it would have been if I had a reader's card to be able to explore the stacks. Still, it was rather lovely getting about again and seeing so much knowledge packed into one building.
    • I got mugged walking back. Again. Stole my bloody Oyster Card, the wanker...
    • Wait, did you know that I had gotten mugged the first time? Well, I did. Some guy stole my scarf in broad daylight... in the middle of a crowded Tesco's. I have no idea how that happened, but it did.
  • I went to a concert with my roommate, Julie, in East London near my work (not really, but kind of). It was at a random pub in the middle of nowhere called the Sebright Arms. Julie works at a music distribution company, and she got us free tickets! So, #beerandgoodmusic! We saw an American band called He's My Brother, She's My Sister - and they were absolutely fantastic! They stole the show, they were completely fantastic, and they played our favourite song - "How'm I Gonna Get Back Home" (which was really fitting, 'cause at this point we were fairly inebriated after a wonderful night of frivolities and men buying us drinks, and we had to actually figure out how to get back to our flat... which we did, thank you very much).
  • I went to the Cornetto Trilogy (also known as the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy) marathon and midnight premiere of The World's End with my lovely friends Alli and Shannon - and also got to hang out with DJ again (and his fellow actor friend who's also studying at LAMDA with him this summer). It was hilarious and incredible and I've never laughed that much in my entire life. I got free Cornetto ice cream and drank five pints of lager before watching Shaun of the Dead and was laughing so hard by the end of the evening that I was crying and I woke up the next day with an incredible sore stomach.
    • I love the people I got to hang out with.
    • I also love Simon Pegg.
    • Obviously, Martin Freeman is just awesome.
    • British humour makes the world go 'round in a happy, dry, absurd and sarcastic way. :)
  • My stomach is almost completely healed, which is absolutely fantastic - I really was not too keen on having an incredibly epic scar on my stomach for the rest of my life.
    • I'm still drinking my three cups of tea a day. I WILL NOT BE AFRAID OF YOU, DELICIOUS, BRITISH BEVERAGE!
  • I have not only been inspired to pursue this crazy acting career thing, but I also have been inspired to begin writing a script for a play that I've been musing over for the last two or three years. This means that I'm going to be a very busy camper this next year (but, then again, when is that a new development in my life?).

It's Suddenly Dawning...

... that I only have one week left in London, England. And I don't think that you guys fully realise how absolutely... depressing that is. I'm actually physically depressed. I have actually spent an entire day completely moping about the entire thing. Completely inconsolable. I'm torn between my Rocky Mountains and my loving family and my awesome friends and my dogs... and this incredibly city that has now not just become my second home, but a home in it of itself. I don't want to leave, not this soon - not after spending so little time here. Eight weeks has not nearly been enough time. I feel cheated, which is so selfish and whiney, but... I don't know. It's like, when I leave, I'm going to be leaving a part of myself behind, too, and it feels weird having to just... leave it here.

I'm being a very bitter, sad person. Which, again, is selfish and illogical. But I can't help it, I feel like my heart's breaking a little bit every time this August 9th deadline creeps closer and closer...

But, I have two weeks left in the UK, including an incredibly random and last-minute kind of trip by myself to the Scottish capital, which should be nothing but sunshine, rainbows and haggis. :) I'll, of course, keep you updated, 'cause, as always... I'm behind on this blog because I'm too busy trying to catch up with my own life! Everything happens so fast, and it's sure to stay that way until the end of this incredible journey.

So, until the next adventure...


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