Super, Pretty, Funny n°50

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30.1.15

Royal Arcade, London / JessOnThames

N° 50??  When did that happen??

Oh but its been a good week for the internet, my fine friends. I hope you find a moment or two this weekend to sit down and relax with a glass of wine to peruse the below.

I will be wandering around town with my Dad who is over here again because (drumroll please) he has moved to Dublin for work for a few months!! My poor Mom is still back in Washington for the time being taking care of our absolutely adorable but seriously old golden retriever. She’ll still be traveling over every few months and it is so nice to think about having parents in the same time zone. As in, I can talk to a parent in the morning which I have not been able to do in about 10 years. Such are the tough parts about living as an expat. Though I wouldn’t trade that excitement I get before they come into town for much in this world. (Well, they might want to trade it, because my hyperactivity levels are too much to force onto jetlagged people, but they humour me.)

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend xx

Super

A Bitter Sweet Life, a lovely expat podcast from two friends living in Rome

Turning your house into a cat playground

This post from Freya about when blogging isn’t your day job

Big block of cheese day is back!

The exploding kittens card game (thanks Pauline!)

Pretty

This trip to India

This trip to Morocco

The prettiest streets in Britain

Funny

This dog doesn’t understand his squeaky toy

A night out with Martin Short and Matthew Broderik

Bad lip reading in American football

I’m in mourning that Parks & Rec is ending… so here are last season’s bloopers

Picture of London’s Royal Arcade by JessOnThames

Dear New York City, on the eve of the blizzard

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27.1.15

5504975235_11048c5e1d_b

Dear New York City, I have become that person. That person who constantly talks about something she wants despite the fact that she has consciously chosen to move to a place where she has very little chance of finding it.

That something is snow.

Allow me to explain.

I am simultaneously chucking about New York City’s reaction to this blizzard and incredibly jealous about it.

From the ages of about 13 to 18, I lived in Minnesota. Formative years for a girl and, for me, some of the best years of my life. I loved Minnesota. I still say its where I’m from when people prompt me for that embarrassing conversation:

“Where are you from?”

“The States”

“Yes, I know. But where in the States?”

To which I want to respond “How do you know I’m not Canadian?” (while simultaneously apologizing to Canadian friends who I know hate it when we Yanks draw too many similarities).

But then I answer Minnesota. And I can’t help but think about the snow. Minnesota snowfall ranges between 36-70 inches a year. The State is more than prepared for it. I think it defines a good deal of its character.*

At 18, I chose to go to university in upstate New York. For those of you who might not know New York State, it takes up a pretty large proportion of North Eastern US but the population are constantly saying “No, not the City… there are places in New York which are not the City…”

Upstate New York can be seriously beautiful, especially when the leaves change. But my favorite time on campus was when it snowed.

A good 70% of me chose Hamilton College for its campus. (It helped that it offered a seriously good education, but my priorities were screwed up back then. I’ve always been swayed by aesthetics.) Hamilton under snow was the Northeast at its best. Colonial architecture & grey stone dormitories surrounded by giant trees. Floor to ceiling windows several stories high in the Library just waiting for you to park yourself in an arm chair and pretend like you were reading for hours. Even the modern side of campus was made to cater to snow.

My parents inform me that I only love the stuff so much because they never made me shovel the driveway. And to that I say: very good point.

But take a girl away from snow after she’s had serious exposure to it and she’ll only pine for it. Not the ridiculously-long-so-frigidly-cold-she-has-forgotten-how-miserable-it-was bits. Not the blizzard that rolled through at the beginning of May, so close to our graduation that we thought we might be trading in our cute celebratory dresses for snowsuits season.

But those fleeting moments when the flurries give way to serious snow fall. Everything grows quiet except for the crunch under your boots. Time feels like it takes a little break. It gets darker in friendly way. You put your face up to the sky, feel the cold kiss your face and you just stand there and listen to the world close in on you a bit. You trick yourself into thinking, if you throw yourself down, the ground will feel soft like marshmallows. You feel like a little kid, no matter your age. And its magical.

Photo of Albany, New York, 2011 by Sebastien Barre.

*Speaking of Minnesota’s true character, I was reminded of two of my favorite Minnesotan movies – Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men. These outtakes still crack me up. Anyone currently stuck in New York with a snow day should add these to their list. 

“Pinch me” London moments

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26.1.15

Thames view

Do you ever visit a city, find something wonderful and just want to hold onto it? You think “if only I could stay here a little bit longer…” or “if only I could come back in a different season…”

I was back in Brussels last week and found myself telling old friends and colleagues how lucky I still feel to be living in London. I keep waiting to get jaded or for the little thrills to die down… but for the most part, they aren’t. And it freaks me out a little bit because if I’m completely honest: I’ve liked places I’ve lived before, but I’m not sure I ever truly loved them.

OK, yes, I’m starting to get tired of my commute across the city everyday and I don’t get excited about M&S anymore (you laugh, people of England, but M&S is a destination in itself coming from the European continent).  But by and large, I keep feeling like someone might come up to me and tell me I have to give my visa back…

Berry Bros London

I pinch myself when I find myself spontaneously smiling, as a reminder to appreciate it.  I realised it again tonight, coming home from a lovely blogger’s gathering. Bloggers are the worst for this… (and by worst, I really mean the best) They are some of the most optimistic, enthusiastic, up-for-anything people out there and I walked home feeling lucky once again to be able to do the things I do here.

So much so, I wrote a list of a few favorite “pinch me” moments from the past year:

  • Watching The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House
  • Walking through Hyde Park one day and realising I was on the path Maggie Gyllenhaal ran down during the first episode of An Honourable Woman
  • Driving over Westminster Bridge for the first time, gaping through the windshield at The Houses of Parliament
  • Spotting Simon Reeve in the Gap (don’t laugh, I love him)
  • Walking through Kew Gardens just as spring hit
  • Seeing a play at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
  • Taking in the view from the Duck & Waffle
  • Picnicking on Primrose Hill
  • Finding myself on the Tube in the evening, packed full of people, but no one says a word because everyone is reading. (Let’s not kid ourselves, the drunken Tube rides where everyone has had one too many and is speaking 100 decibels above recommended ear strength also happens…)
  • Reading that Kirsten Scott Thomas is living in my neighborhood as she prepares for her role in The Queen
  • Realising I can have a pint at The Holly Bush in Hampstead anytime I like
  • Everyman movie theatres
  • Charity drives (it might like to pretend like it isn’t, but by and large, London is a city that cares)
  • Living near a Whole Foods again for the first time in 10 years
  • Wondering how on earth I can see everything I want to see. This may sound like a negative, but despite a lack of endless resources and time, it is still the best kind of problem a spoiled person can have. If I’m honest, I got bored sometimes in Brussels. I never get bored in London. I may get tired. But not bored.
  • Constant firsts. Like discovering Somerset House, the V&A, Leighton House Museum, Daunt Books, Hatchett’s, Fortnum & Masons’s, Little Venice, Northcote Road, Sager & Wilde, Summer Cinemas, Spitalfields, The Churchill War Rooms, the view from Waterlow Park, Greenwich, Exmouth Market (the list goes on…)

Its big but its small. Its old but its new. Its overwhelming and familar.

And on days like today, I just freaking love it.

Pictures taken by JessOnThames over the last year

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