Minor Setbacks & Winter Wonderland

I’ve fallen behind on my blogs and it’s not because of midterms or essays or presentations.  Media Communication majors didn’t have midterm exams this time around, which was a relief.  I submitted my first essay of 1000 words and my presentation about the history and process of dubbing and subtitling was not only done with two other people who shared the workload but it was a blast.  So it wasn’t school that kept me from sticking to my weekly schedule.  It was me.

I had a troublesome couple of weeks and I let that get in the way of my experiencing London.  It started when I opened a bank account at Barclays.  My debit card was immediately stolen and funds were stolen from my brand new account.  Instead of handling the situation like professionals the people at Barclays lost their minds.  They kept transferring me to different departments and each person that I spoke too was ruder than the last.  At least by the end of it, after I wrote a letter of complaint to the CEO of Barclays of course, I was able to get my stolen money back PLUS an additional £100 for the drama these ridiculous customer service reps caused me.  So that felt like a small victory.

Where school is concerned, I just have to remember that every institution has its good and bad parts.  My campus is gorgeous.  Every time I get to school I have a breathtaking view of the building and the surrounding property and it’s just awesome.  Unfortunately, some of the people who work at my school don’t have the best attitudes.  They pass the buck a lot.  They say inappropriate things like, “that’s above my pay grade” when asked questions they really should be able to answer.  

But again these are small, insignificant moments.  They don’t really matter and I shouldn’t have let them get in the way of enjoying my first six weeks in London.  Setbacks happen.  People will make life difficult either intentionally or simply because they don’t know any better.  I can’t let that stop me from doing what I need to do.  It’s my job to deal with these setbacks and shove on.

So I’m back.  Here are some bright spots I’ve had over the past couple of weeks.

While looking for the Student Union office, I got lost and somehow wound up in the Film/TV department.  I met some of the teachers and actually got to spend some time with the undergrads as they rehearsed their TV studio project.  It was just like old times – I was even put to work and got to be the floor manager for a bit – except these undergrads were so serious.  I was so impressed with how focused everyone was.  When I was a freshman at NYU I was laughing and goofing off and flirting with my classmates so much it’s a wonder I managed to learn anything.  Ah well, we all have our paths.

Andrea had his birthday party at the Blue’s Kitchen.  We ate a ton of BBQ and drank Prosecco while a live band played some of my favorite blues music.  It was loud and super crowded and I’d made the mistake of wearing heels but boy did I love my dress.

Black Dress

It’s a Mia Plunge Neck Bodycon Midi from Boohoo.com and I’m officially addicted to shopping that site.  Up until now I never thought I could wear bodycon but that’s all changed now.  In fact, I’ve already put three more bodycon dresses on my wishlist.

I also went to Winter Wonderland.  The beer was nice as were the giant Bratwursts.  Actually, the bratwurst was my favorite part of the whole day.  Yum!

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tree clock

Hopefully it’ll be a little colder next time I go so that I can enjoy my first mulled wine experience.  But for a first time around, Winter Wonderland was pretty magical.  It definitely helped me get into the Holiday spirit.

After our visit to Winter Wonderland we stopped by Harrods to check out their Christmas window displays.

Harrodsstrings Santa rocking horse merrygoroundPrincess

Which brings us to Thanksgiving.  My first Thanksgiving in another country was interesting.  First of all, as I am not particularly homesick, I didn’t feel the need to actually celebrate Thanksgiving.  But Andrea wanted to celebrate as he’s never participated in Thanksgiving festivities so I finally agreed.

We made baked macaroni, fried chicken, cornbread from scratch and some other delicious fixings and invited a few friends over for dinner.  It was nice.  Even though I got a migraine, argued with Andrea about how to fry the chicken and discovered that the stuffing in the UK is VERY different from the stuffing I’m used to eating – I don’t regret hosting the meal.  I did, however, miss having a turkey and apple pie though.  Ah well.  Maybe next year.

One really cool thing that came out of the event was this gravy boat which, for some reason, Andrea insisted on buying.

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I’ve never had a gravy boat before.  At home, whenever we made gravy for the mashed potatoes we just left it in the pot and spooned it directly onto the mashed potatoes.  This was a new experience for me and I rather enjoyed it.  It made celebrating Thanksgiving in another country that much more special.  I also really liked how seriously Andrea took the tradition despite it not being part of his culture.

Next up is a Christmas dinner, which will feature a turkey plus Secret Santa so I’m really looking forward to that.  Today I’m going to go buy what I think will be the perfect gift for the person to whom I will be Secret Santa.  Then it’s off to the museum for the rest of the day.

Hope everyone’s having a great weekend so far!

I’m Cool – I Promise!

I was invited to a new friend’s birthday party and upon arriving found myself surrounded by 18-21 year olds.  I realized it was my new friend’s 21st birthday.  Exciting time for her!  I still remember my 21st birthday (not really).

Normally, I don’t pay attention to age differences.  Once someone is 21 I consider them adults and actual human beings.  And normally, whenever there’s a party (and booze) and a fire pit, I can manage to have a good time.

But something was off tonight.

As I approached the group of people huddled by the fire pit I distinctly saw a few people exchange uncomfortable looks, stuff their hands in their pockets and politely edge away from the fire pit (i.e. Me!).  I tried to make a joke to break the ice and show that I was “cool” but it didn’t go over well.  In fact, I think it made a few more people leave the fire pit area.

It was like everyone knew I wasn’t a fresh 21 year old.  Maybe they figured I was too young to be called “old” but they definitely knew I wasn’t 21.  I was probably giving off a big sister chaperone vibe.  They probably thought I was an undercover chaperone there  to make sure no one got too out of hand.  I was Jonah Hill and Channing Tatem in 21 Jump  Street at a party but it totally wasn’t cool.  I totally wasn’t cool.

But then again I’ve never been cool.

I asked a friend about it later and he told me that with the younger kids you just have to play it cool.  Be aloof.  Act like you don’t want to be their friends and then they’ll respect you.  WTF?!  But maybe that’s how it was when I was 21- I just didn’t know it.  Hence the reason why I was never cool.

I stayed at the party for about 2 hours.  Long enough to watch the fire die out and drink three beers.  It was a nice, chill night – nothing like the wild 21-year-old parties I had imagined or seen in movies like Project X.  I did chat with some people.  They were pretty cautious but polite.

As I left, (after an awkward goodbye to everyone who, let’s face it, looked relieved to see me go) I wondered if the early 20s / late 20s gap was wider than I thought.  When I was 21 I wanted loud music and dancing at parties.  Now I prefer pretty fire pits, booze and conversation.

None of those kids were conversing with each other – they were mostly on their phones probably Tweeting and Instagramming.  There was definitely a difference in party behavior.  But if wanting to laugh and joke and actually get to know someone new at a party as opposed to going deaf or being glued to my phone all night is UNCOOL then I’m good with that.

But I worry that as I get older if 21-year-olds might not see me as fun.  Because if so I’m going to have a tough time nabbing one when I hit my cougar years.