1. Up In the Air

    As I wait at the Dublin airport to make my first journey home since moving to London, I believe this is a fitting time as ever to actually log my adventures over the last 80 days.

    My journey began in mid-June, the beginning of a heat-wave in America AND 30 days of rain in London. Coming from winter and spring in Chicago (very grey and bleak) to 30 days of straight rain tested my sanity to its limits. Add on top of that the stress of a newly budding live-in relationship, a practical quarantine from the general public as I am bound to my computer and new home for 9 hours a day at my current position, and EXTREME culture shock. But what is a girl to do when she has fallen in-love with a Brit and is basically living out a fairy tale?

    Some great things happened in those first 30 days, adjustments were made, comedy shows were seen, fights were had, life goals were discussed, more arguments ensued, and I truly became uncertain off my ability to fit in with the London way of life. And then, just as I began to really doubt this dark and gloomy place that some people deem the greatest city in the world, the clouds broke.

    I remember it well, this first time I saw the sun truly shine in England. I was at the Secret Garden Party music festival, which had become a sea of mud as the first 2 days were rained out (just like the previous 28 days). The first night my Wellies were stolen from a Shisha place that we took solace from the rain in; it was required that you take your boots off and, because everyone’s boots basically look the same under 2inches of drying mud, mine were (presumably) taken by accident. I stood in the Shisha place, confused as what to do, with my new friend Katy acting as the devil on my shoulder, urging me to take another pair. Obviously this would just cause a chain of missing boots for the remaining girls at the Shisha place, so I stood there, feeling helpless, unsure of what my next step should be (literally).

    And then, like a British Knight in a shining raincoat, my Dudu appears, new Wellies in hand! We had a great time the rest of that weekend, the mud building our thighs and testing the entire groups ability to work as a team. I was especially helpless as the new boots were slightly big and left me nearly incapable of traveling in the ever-thickening mud. But, with two men on either side hoisting me up, we were all able to maneuver around the festival at slightly faster than a snail’s pace, enjoy some tunes, and even get some dancing in!

    It was Saturday, the third day into the festival that the clouds finally broke. The festival was still covered in mud, but we were able to actually sit in the sun and dance without the fear of falling over (your feet still stuck in the mud) at the venues that had the sense to put down straw. That night I enjoyed the most amazing fireworks display, synchronized with a mash-up that ended with “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, and accompanied by a line of fire-lit baton twirlers surrounding the lake in which the show was held. At the end, the structure in the middle of the lake was set ablaze. Truly, the most visually stimulating night I’ve had as of yet.

    The next 50 days were mostly blissful. David and I continued to learn to be adults in a romantic relationship cohabiting the same space, which is a difficult task, but with every passing day our relationship grew stronger and harmonious coexistence began to emerge. I think David and I became more active during this time, at least it felt like it. We went to see the AMAZING Derren Brown (I love you, Derren!) perform in downtown London in his new show, Svengali. I have promised not to share any of the details from the show (or was I hypnotized not to?) but I guarantee, worth it! It’s just a great show – interactive, engaging, and humorous. David and I attended 1 fencing course, which burned our thighs enough to keep us away from the art of sword fighting for a while, dined at delicious eateries such as Gaucho’s Steak House, checked out the Inside-Out exhibit at the amazing London Natural History Museum and enjoyed some beautiful afternoons at the Hampstead Heath.

    But definitely one of the most memorable experiences was at the Standon Calling music festival. Just a week after Secret Garden Party we were informed that one of David’s friends, Beardy Man, who turns out to be an international superstar for his live beat boxing performances, was headlining at a music festival and he wanted as many friends to come and dance on stage for him. David’s friends had danced on stage previously with Beardy Man and had made Muppet costumes of Beaker and Bunsen for the performance. The Muppet presence grew, as David and I scrambled to make paper mache masks of Animal and Kermit in just 5 days.

    Making the masks (a truly attractive activity)

    With the masks completed, we headed to the festival and experienced VIP treatment (for a festival, which basically means there was TP in the bathroom). Beardy Man’s performance was about an hour and a half in front of approximately 3,000 people. It was amazingly fun, though there are some definite improvements that need to be made to the mask (like being able to breath and see). After the show, we had a great night of shenanigans, lasting us till the break of dawn.

    That brings us about up to speed. I am happy to be seeing everyone, but will miss the new friends and life I have begun to build, and especially my love J. But in three weeks I will get to return to a new home in London (we’re moving flats) and, as I learned from Hannah Montana years ago, get the best of both worlds! Yeehaw!

    PS. 4 hours and counting on my delayed flight. Thanks, Aer Lingus!

  2. Hamstead, London

    Hamstead, London

  3. Beautiful flower on one of my walks in East Finchley, London, UK

    Beautiful flower on one of my walks in East Finchley, London, UK

  4. Chapter 23: Life In London

    I have packed up! I have moved out! I have left the country, folks!

    This is true. After being an “Account Executive” (aka sleazy sales rep) at a direct marketing company, I am now doing social media monitoring for a new company based out of Chicago. The amazing thing? I do my job from London, England, where I am currently residing with my sexy British man, Mr. David The Brit himself.

    There’s my cuuuuutttttiiiieeee!!!

    Since I got here, it has been mostly settling down, I also came down with a lovely cold (which, after 17 hours of travel is to be expected). Last week, we saw a great little amateur comedy show at a bar in Camden, then went to Little Bay Restaurant in Hampstead on Saturday night (below). I also have been taking some nice walks; the flowers and the plants here are so lush and vibrant, it’s very beautiful. Since I sit inside all day and need to start forming a social life of my own here, I am vowing to keep this blog up to date with original material (because then I’ll actually have to force myself to go do things in order to generate that material :D). So, in a sense, this is becoming a traveling/learning to live abroad/London blog. Hope you all enjoy :)

  5. Life Goal #93.19: Visit every capitol city in Europe (London, United Kingdom)

    There are positives and negatives to any relationship. I wouldn’t exactly put spending most nights alone, missing my boyfriend as a positive, but the fact that I got to visit London because of our long-distance romance was a-okay with me.

    The trip started after David spent a week in Chicago on business (and so kitty and I were upgraded to the Ivory Tower for a short period as well).

    Then David and I set off for London on the same night, but different flights. When we landed, there was a driver waiting for us who taxied us home. And then we slept…

    The next 10 days were spent enjoying each others company, meeting the Levy family, seeing Big Ben, the House of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. James’ Park, Hyde Park, and Marble Arch, shopping in Camden, drinking in local Pubs, getting fat off of Shepherd’s Pie and Mash, and deciding to take the plunge and live there for a substantial amount of time starting in June.

  6. Life Goal #93.1: Visit every capitol city in Europe (Amsterdam, Holland)

    It was a short but amazing journey. It all started around 3am in London, David and I scrambled out of bed and into his eco-friendly Citron and headed for the Chunnel. Six hours later, we had arrived in Amsterdam! Hungry and dirty from travel, we went to check into our room…

    But no, we’ve arrived too early for check-in.

    So, Dudu and I take suspiciously long times in the public restroom of the hotel, leave our things at the front desk, and journey to downtown. On the way, we found some street art by “Space Invader”. Then, we entered the city, checked out the Red Light district, went to a cafe and had some “Cheese” and some grilled cheese while playing shit head until it was time to check in. On the way back we caught a street performer (this guy was a terrible excuse for a fire breather, but I liked the picture).

    The rest of the time was spent in more cafes, then back on the road early the next morning heading to the Chunnel (by the way, the highways in Brussels can become amazingly confusing, and thank you iPhone technology for helping some lost souls that don’t speak French!).

  7. Since we last spoke…

    since my last post I have

    • fallen in love
    • been attacked by bed bugs
    • gotten the bed bugs exterminated from the walls of my apartment (thank GOD you little mother fuckers will no longer be sucking my blood in the night)
    • Visited London, England (Life list post to follow)
    • Visited Amsterdam, Holland (Life list post to follow)
    • And have made the decision to follow my love to London and live in his amazing flat…

    And so the story begins, of Juju and the Dudu

    I met Dudu (English nickname for David) while I was working as a street canvasser for a non-profit organization on a beautiful Saturday in Chicago. I was worried about not making quota, but it was a nice day out, so I busted out my high wasted short-shorts, some lacy black tights, knee high black boots, and my mock turtle neck (to keep it classy) and made my quota for the week in just one day.

    In the last quarter of my shift I was stationed in front of the Walgreens on the corner of Fullerton and Broadway. I was facing toward the intersection…no hippies this way. Then I look over my shoulder quickly…wait! I saw two! AND one of them is tall and cute! Perrrfect! :)

    So, I turned to face the opposite direction.

    Hello there fellow environmentalists! How are you today?

    Dudu: In an alluring British accent. Greenpeace?! Beautiful! What are you guys working on?

    Me: Ohhh…so you know about us? Well, I’m Liz and I’m raising money for our quit coal campaign. And who are you guys?

    But, let’s not go into all those fine details, so here are the memorable parts of the story:

    • David was already a Greenpeace member so I could focus on just the flirting (this turned out to be a lie intending to impress me, which is fine, because he is a hefty donor now :D  )
    • I accidentally placed his accent as Australian, which he found (jokingly) insulting
    • He placed me at 26, I was actually 22! (He claims I seemed 26 because of my mature demeanor)
    • I place him at 27, he’s actually 30. (Yup, practically in the grave)
    • We flirt an insane amount while his coworker, Raymond, who was with him gets to sit back and watch
    • Sparks fly, yadda yadda, I am thinking Hell yeah I’m getting myself a British man tonight!
    • I tell the boys that I need to get back to work; we’ve already been speaking for 10 minutes and, if I don’t get a sign up, it’s going to look bad
    • David kisses my hand goodbye; I feel electricity originate from the kiss before it takes over my entire body with some of the most intense feelings I have experienced
    • I wait for him to ask for my number
    • He walks away…

    And so, I stand there, thinking Dang, I really must have misjudged that. I thought that we had a connection but…

    "Liz!"

    I quickly turn around to see the Brit’s coworker running back to me. I feel disappointment, as I had no connection with this guy and now I’m going to have to awkwardly say no to giving my number to him…

    Raymond: So…you really liked that British accent, huh?

    Me: Smiling all too broadly.    Yes.

    Dudu: From a distance of about 20ft away. Dude! She’s too young! She’s only 22!

    Me: Yelling back at that old British fool. Dude! I’ll be 23 in 2 weeks!

    Raymond: So, do you want his number?

    Me: No. You can give him mine if he wants it though.

    And with in 2 minutes, I had a text waiting for me from David The Brit, asking me out on a date :)

  8. One Cool Little Reptile

    Sea Turtl           

     With large corporations like Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee using unsustainable fishing practices all over the world, it is unfortunate that such a magnificent creature like the sea turtle is getting caught up in all this chaos. Currently, every species of sea turtle is either on the threatened or endangered list. With a 30% rate of bycatch for Albacore tuna, it’s not surprising that this is the leading source of sea turtle population decimation. When long lines are used and turtles are caught, these reptiles are unable to surface and thus drown. In addition to the sea turtles being vulnerable to current fishing practices, they are also being threatened by habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change. The public must start demanding sustainable fishing practices and intelligent management of earth’s precious resources if we are going to protect this great reptile and many other important plant and animal species.

                While some may feel apathetic towards the protection of sea turtle species, these people must realize the importance of these great animals upon our ecosystems. Sea turtles are some of the few sea grass grazers, an essential job in order to maintain sea grass health. Since fish that breed in this grass are consumed by humans’ fish of choice, the loss of the sea turtle would actually result in a plummet of popular fish stock. These are just a few facts that prove the value of sea turtles upon this planet and reiterate our obligations to save these creatures from extinction.

                Luckily for the sea turtles, and all those other enchanting ocean critters, things don’t need to remain so bleak.  Large fish providers can, and need to, abandon destructive fishing practices and have a major reduction in bycatch. Eliminating the use of the outdated and unsustainable long lines can easily make these goals a reality. On top of these actions, we all also must come together to address our ever changing climate and the need to develop coastal areas in an intelligent way and with the consideration for ecosystems and species native to these areas.

  9. suicideblonde:

Hunter S Thompson and Bill Murray

    suicideblonde:

    Hunter S Thompson and Bill Murray

  10. thedailywhat:

Lost Boy of the Day: Police in Berlin are asking for help in identifying a mysterious English-speaking 17-year-old who suddenly showed up at City Hall claiming he had been living in the woods for the past five years.
The teenager, who gave authorities his date of birth and a name — Ray — says he and his father entered the forest after his mother died, and have been living in tents and huts ever since.
He told police he began his trek back to civilization after his father passed away two weeks ago.
“Ray” says he doesn’t know his parents names, nor can recall anything about his life before the forest. “He can speak English very well, fluently in fact, but only speaks basic German,” said Berlin police spokesman Klaus Schubert. “It might be possible that he comes from Britain because he’s speaking English very fluently.”
A continent-wide appeal for assistance has been issued through Interpol after his description failed to match any missing persons report dating back to the late 1990s.
He is said to be physically fit, but may have experienced psychological trauma resulting in memory loss.
[bbcnews / telegraph / photo: flickr.]

    thedailywhat:

    Lost Boy of the Day: Police in Berlin are asking for help in identifying a mysterious English-speaking 17-year-old who suddenly showed up at City Hall claiming he had been living in the woods for the past five years.

    The teenager, who gave authorities his date of birth and a name — Ray — says he and his father entered the forest after his mother died, and have been living in tents and huts ever since.

    He told police he began his trek back to civilization after his father passed away two weeks ago.

    “Ray” says he doesn’t know his parents names, nor can recall anything about his life before the forest. “He can speak English very well, fluently in fact, but only speaks basic German,” said Berlin police spokesman Klaus Schubert. “It might be possible that he comes from Britain because he’s speaking English very fluently.”

    A continent-wide appeal for assistance has been issued through Interpol after his description failed to match any missing persons report dating back to the late 1990s.

    He is said to be physically fit, but may have experienced psychological trauma resulting in memory loss.

    [bbcnews / telegraph / photo: flickr.]