One Month Down and #firstworldproblems

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Can you believe it– I’ve already been here a month! On one hand, it feels like it has been forever since I set foot in London. But on the other hand, it’s really only been four weeks. I’ve done so much in the last 28 days that it all seems to blur together and render time completely irrelevant. When I’m doing things, I don’t really think of how much time has passed. But when I’m sitting here with my thoughts, the brevity of this trip becomes completely apparent. And even though this is a bit sad, how quickly things are flying by, I’m also really happy that I’m one month closer to being home. There are just some things about this place that can’t compare to home… and I’m going to tell you what they are.

1. Macaroni & Cheese IN A CAN

Yep, I’ve seen it! No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to find Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. The only stuff I’ve been able to find is stupid canned mac & cheese by Heinz. Yeah, the ketchup brand! The first time I saw it I definitely felt like I had been dropped in a netherworld of opposites and complete chaos. That feeling still hasn’t disappeared completely… though I did cave and buy some canned mac & cheese today. Wish me luck.

2. The Extreme Lack of Sliced Cheese

Sure, sure, I can go to a deli (though I have yet to find one, at least within walking distance) and ask for sliced cheese. But why do that when I can buy Kraft Singles or its equivalent? Oh, wait! I know! Because they practically don’t exist! I have gone through some rather impressive sleuthing to even find the darned things and, even then, they come in packs of 10. A girl needs more than 10 pieces of cheese for a week’s worth of use!

3. British Starbucks & the Price of Coffee

Envision this for me, if you would: you go to Starbucks. You want a coffee, so you ask for a tall something-or-other. The price? $3.25. Sure, that’s a bit pricey, but hey. It’s Starbucks! Well, come over to the Greatest of Britains and Starbucks is the same price! Oh, yes, that’s right… inĀ pounds! So, Americans, coffee is actually like $5 for the smallest of sizes! HOW IS THAT FAIR IN ANY WORLD? Then, can we talk about the fact that iced coffee isn’t even a thing here? Jen, on multiple occasions, has asked for an iced Pumpkin Spice Latte and received a blank stare. On many of these occasions, the barrista was able to tell the cashier that, yes, they could make iced coffee (pouring coffee over ice is a good method), but there was one time where that didn’t even happen. The cashier/barrista just put a bunch of pumpkin spice mix into a cup of ice, added about three sips of coffee, and put whipped cream on it. Needless to say, the drink was sugary and full of nasty. What the crap, Starbucks?

4. Coffee in GENERAL

I have an undying love for coffee that will never die. Can you believe I haven’t made one cup of coffee on my own? I practically refuse considering 1.) I don’t have a coffee maker to filter my coffee for me and 2.) any other option is instant coffee. I just can’t wrap my head around those little pebble-like objects disintegrating into my hot water and creating a great drink. Plus, I’ve been too afraid to see the price of creamer considering the price of everything else… and sugar? Oh, forget it! It’s just too much of a hassle to even think about making coffee, never mind actually carrying out the action.

5. Every Meal

Whenever I have to cook for myself, which is quite often as eating out is expensive, I feel like a total and absolute failure at life. Until a couple days ago, I couldn’t even make grilled cheese. Canned foods and quick-heat items are my best friends, but they don’t keep me full. Jen and I have collaborated on quite a few successful meals, but they’re annoying to execute! I give all of the props in the world to my parents and anyone who has ever made me a home-cooked meal. And let me tell you… I’ll be sorely missing food (and family) on Thanksgiving.

Trust me, there are many more things I need to add to this list but they will have their day. If nothing else, this trip has taught me to be grateful for everything I have at home. I give so much credit to my parents for buying groceries every week, cooking meals everyday, and justĀ doing things everyday that keep me comfortable and happy. Though I do love it here as much as a person can love London, I happily await the day when I can come home and eat tacos or pork chops or Kraft Mac & Cheese. Only a couple more months!

Day 11 – Wicked Homework!

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Tuesday was certainly a great day. I woke up with no worries (hakuna matata, am I right?) because BAM I had no classes. It felt so luxuriously easy and natural to just wake up at 9 without worrying about finding the right building or room; I was completely calm and at ease. I made myself a bowl of cereal, sat down with some Youtube videos, and began enjoying my morning.

Then I remembered I had homework to do. Siiiiiiigh.

I have a short essay due Sunday (and every Sunday until I leave QMUL) that I had to work on, so I whipped out the poem I had to write it on. After a couple minutes of barely glazing the page with my eyes, I returned to Youtube. The poem would have to be done later. In case you’re asking, I have half the essay written (don’t judge).

Jen came back from class and we were off to Westfield Stratford Mall to hit up Primark; I needed some new pillows desperately. The one provided by the college is so thin and grossly uncomfortable that to even feign comfort I had to fold the pillow in half, a feat that was surprisingly easy. So, we set out for Primark with pillows in mind. I also figured I’d look for a slightly bigger purse as well seeing as the purse I am currently using doesn’t hold most items larger than four inches. Once we entered the mall, we actually took a turn into Marks & Spencer, a department store that reminded me a lot of a Macy’s / Nordstrom type deal. It was gorgeous inside with higher-end groceries and teas, multiple cafes, and multiple floors to house the cafes. Finding a random obsession with interior design, we ran up to the homegoods floor.

While everything is quite expensive in Marks & Spencer, it does seem like good quality. You’d have to go and check it out yourself, but I would say that if you have the money to spend, go for it. It seems like it would be worth your while.

We entered Primark, bought pillows and a purse, and set back out into the mall. I had a hankering for some Starbucks, so Starbucks we bought. I purchased some weird mango tea drink that tasted like heaven, so I made a mental note for future reference. Although I do appreciate the frequent Starbucks littering every corner of London, they are ungodly expensive. If you think the States are bad, just take a gander at British prices. If my memory serves correctly, a small frappacino was 3.25 pounds (roughly 5 USD), which is insane for such a small and sugary drink. I’d pay $3.25 for it, but not in pounds.

After Starbucks, there really wasn’t anything else we wanted to see in the mall, so we headed back to campus. After all, we had to get ready for the biggest part of the day: WICKED! Jen and I bought tickets to see Wicked for about 17 pounds for pretty decent seats. They were up on the next level, but they were aisle seats with a pretty clear view of the stage below. I was so excited, but first I had to worry about travelling the Tube during rush hour and then finding a place to eat. Then, of course, we had to worry about getting to the theater in time. PHEW.

The Tube was surprisingly not busy, but finding a place to eat was still difficult. We wandered around the London Chinatown and took a gander at each menu to find decent prices, but it still took a while to assess each place and look at the food options. We finally decided on the Golden Dragon (or something like that; they all sound the same) and I was unimpressed. I ordered a standard chicken fried rice, and the chicken kind of seemed undercooked. I only ate a couple pieces that looked normal enough and I didn’t get sick, but the taste in my mouth afterwards was pretty revolting. The rice itself was fine, but I did have to add a bunch of soy sauce to taste. Jen’s food looked good, or at least the dim sum did. I’ll let you figure out what that is for yourself; it’s heavenly.

We departed from the restaurant and instantly began looking for a map to start out trek to the theater. After about forty-five minutes of walking around at lightning speeds, we finally reached the correct theater to see Wicked. I was really excited! All in all, the show was fantastic and everyone involved did an amazing job. I was blown away by Defying Gravity almost to the point of tears, but my feelings weren’t really any less for the rest of the songs. It was enjoyable, hilarious, depressing, intriguing, and so many other descriptive words. I would most definitely recommend it to anyone, even if you’re not the biggest theater-goer. The seats were cheap enough, the view was decent, and the vocals were fantastic. I couldn’t ask for too much more!

All in all it was a good day, even though I did want to flop and sleep at the end of it. Unfortunately, I ended up staying up quite late to read for my class for this morning… again, don’t judge. I only have one class left this week, so I am looking forward to that. And although I still have to finish my essay for Sunday, I am certain it will get finished. You know, eventually.