Sunday, March 30, 2014

Exploring London: week 9

Hello, everyone! 

I've finally had my seventh and final midterm this week! It's been pretty horrible, but I managed to swing five As even with surgery, so it could have gone worse (I'm trying my best to silence my inner Hermione, who strongly disagrees with that statement). This semester is flying by... this weekend I'll be in Brussels with a great group of friends, and the weekend after that, spring break begins! I'm meeting my dad in Amsterdam, then heading to Oberhausen for my Oma's birthday. We'll be taking a few day trips, and then I'll be going to Berlin by myself for the second week of break. I can't wait!

This weekend, I went on the Harry Potter Studio Tour! IT. WAS. INCREDIBLE. I'm going to make a separate post about that soon, because this one would be too damn long if I combined my Harry Potter photos with the ridiculous number of pictures I took at Holland Park! I went to the Park today to visit little Kyoto Garden. Although I fell unexpectedly ill on Friday, I couldn't resist going out today to enjoy the no-jacket weather; despite my efforts to explore at least a few new London places per week, I feel like I have so much left to do. There is just so effing much of London to get to know. Going against my better judgment and leaving the flat today was well worth it - Kyoto Garden is absolutely lovely. I was also shocked by how large and amazing Holland Park itself is; there are a number of different gardens, hiking trails, playgrounds, sports areas, and even an opera house. There are a wealth of parks in London, but Holland is truly exceptional (hence the following sixteen photos, which were narrowed down from over a hundred)...
Everything is blooming!
The Garden is dedicated as an apology for the British role in the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki.
The little ones are admiring the giant Koi carp in the lake...
Apparently the Whomping Willow lives outside the Ukrainian Embassy?

 A few lovely things I witnessed in Holland Park today:

  • A little old dachshund running with the sheer joy of a young pup (doxies run in a particularly amusing way, due to their ridiculous body shape)
  • Outgoing children making friends with nice elderly people
  • An abundance of "nature play areas," pregnant ladies, and picnics
  • The attack and near death of a pigeon, perpetrated by an adorable English bulldog puppy named Boris

I'll be posting a few pictures from week eight with my mom soon! I almost forgot - I went to the John Soane Museum this week (unfortunately, they don't allow photos), and I highly recommend it.

Have a happy Monday (if there is such a thing),

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Around London...

Hello, everyone!

A quick update: surgery went well. Everything about the hospital was absolutely lovely (and free!). Recovery is not so lovely, but much better than expected. I had a great week showing my mom around some of my favorite spots in the city - more on that later. For now, here are some interesting buildings from a recent Seeing London's Architecture session. The buildings are usually quite interesting, but it is often too dark or rainy to take good pictures; luckily, the sun has recently been deciding to come out for longer than a few minutes at a time!
The Lloyd's building, which is essentially a normal giant industrial building, but stripped of it's outer layer (it is often called the "Inside-Out Building"). While I normally find harsh, Cold-War-modern buildings rather bleak, I find this one wonderful and fascinating. Click here for more on the Lloyd's building. 
Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest markets in London, dating back to the 1300s. It's so gorgeous and historic that it was chosen as the site of Diagon Alley in the first Harry Potter films! (Here's a still from the Leadenhall Market Sorcerer's Stone scene).
The Rochelle School, which is the site of England's (and possibly Europe's) first public housing.
The Gherkin, by ever-present architect Norman Foster. 
This building (also known as the Cheese Grater, which it resembles in the London skyline) was designed by Richard Rogers, one of the collaborating architects on the aforementioned Lloyd's building. He also designed the remade Pompidou Centre in Paris.
Thanks for all the lovely messages of support through this week, everyone!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Exploring London: weeks 6 & 7


And they actually went relatively well! I managed a solid four hours of sleep or more each night and no all-nighters, which is far healthier than usual. I've got two proposals for final essays due next week, but it shouldn't be too heavy of a workload. Now that midterms are out of the way, I'll be making up for all the things I didn't do last week! This Thursday, I'll be going on a walking tour of all the Harry Potter filming locations in London (it is one of those fabulous "cultural experience programming" events), I'm finally going to have time to go out with friends on Saturday, and my mom is arriving Sunday!

Here are some pictures from the last two weeks, as I've been a bit behind on both exploring and blogging due to midterms...

Many London lamp posts are works of art

This troupe of Ghanian acrobats is so talented I stayed for three shows!

After a long day of half-hearted project work last Saturday, two friends stopped by my flat and we spontaneously decided to make a night of it. We baked a chocolate cake, had a little wine and watched Mean Girls for the billionth time. It was fantastic!

Shoreditch is filled with excellent street art

A short Instagram video of the gorgeous view from the Bridge

Also, a quick note for people on my email list: unfortunately, it's impossible to make the embedded videos viewable in the email, so you might want to head over to the blog itself if you're interested in watching those (besides, I usually edit and add to posts quite a bit after publishing them, so the site is generally better quality than the emails!).

Coming soon: a post on last week's particularly outstanding Seeing London's Architecture walk.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Malala Yousafzai & WOWLondon

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the Women of the World festival and seeing Malala Yousafzai speak. WOWLondon was a wonderful and empowering way to spend International Women's Day! I made a short compilation of some snippets from Malala's excellent speech, if you feel like being inspired (apologies for the crappy video quality):
A great IWD gift from Andrey, and an appropriate shirt for WOWLondon (and everyday, because equality is always important)
A lazy post-festival cappuccino in Victoria Garden
Balloons of the suffragettes (here)
"I raise up my voice - not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back." - Malala Yousafzai

Happy belated International Women's Day, ladies!