Yeah, so I’m the worst blogger ever.
In any case, there is good news that bodes well for you blogreaders, which is that N James and I are signing a lease today! And tomorrow we should be moving in to our new flat, at 52/3 Craigmillar Park, Edinburgh.
Tonight should hopefully be our last night in a hostel. Ironically, we finally found one that is decent (Royal Mile Hostel) - friendly people, small rooms, cheap, and adequately clean (as clean as hostels get). The best part: there are separate bathrooms for girls and guys. Truly the height of luxury.
We’ve just come back from James’ Fulbright orientation in London, which he will have to write about himself. We were hosted by a Rochester alum that is also on Fulbright (based in London at Imperial College). She let us take over her tiny little dorm room and stayed at the UCL dorms the Fulbright Commission had for them (they only had a room for James and not me, so otherwise we would have been paying loads of money for a hostel like usual). She was SUCH a great host - picked us up from the train station and left us chocolates next to our bed. It was like a B&B compared to hostel life.
During the week while James was at Orientation I walked around the city and by the time I got to where I was going I had to sit down and take a break (it’s huge. Also, I had a cold the entire time I was there). I managed to get to the Victoria and Albert Museum (completely impossible to get around in, even after paying a pound for a map which turned out to be even more confusing), relaxed in two great parks (Hyde and Green), visited the memorial to Princess Diana, visited the Seurats at the National Gallery (and equally important, visited the National Gallery Cafe…) and sat in Trafalgar Square to people watch - and be watched… met a fellow wedding photog who also works for Amnesty International as a photojournalist (jealousss), who proceeded to seriously talk my ear off for about an hour. I caught myself backing away a little when he was talking to me. He would come a little closer, I would back off… which I wasn’t conscious of until halfway through the conversation (the first time so far that I have felt the difference in proxemics). He also managed to insult me about three times in the conversation, as well as ignore anything I said. REGARDLESS of all of that, it was a pleasant conversation.
It was fun to meet Hannah (our Rochester pal) and we got to spend some time with her on the weekend, too. She lives off of Edgware Rd which had a ton of Mid East style restaurants and veg and shisha shops. We got there at night and it was literally like being in Cairo again - everyone was out and about just like during Ramadan or the summer months when it’s too hot to be out during the day. One night we got Lebanese food at al-Balad (including very small pickled eggplant filled with walnuts) and on Saturday we took a (long) walk to the Twinings store and the Portrait Gallery. James and I also got to met up with friends from our Highlands tour in London’s Chinatown for dinner that day, too.
The highlight of N James’ trip to London was petting David Cameron’s cat, whose name is Larry. He went on a tour of 10 Downing Street and of course pet the cat that was hanging around, which happened to belong to Dave. Also, there is no doorknob or bell or catdoor to the house - there is a guard who sits inside the door and opens it when someone comes up on the TV monitor (including Larry).
The warm sunny weather in London was a kind of a tease, since we came back to usual Edinburgh dreariness. The weather reports look at life with an optimism that borders on delusional - e.g., please take the phrase “sunny intervals”, which is usually indicated as “scattered showers” by the more cynical. There is also “white cloud” which I would be more likely to call “full cloud cover that indicates scattered showers although not pouring rain”. Even so, it is nice to be back in Edinburgh, which is more like a triple-sized Rochester - city bits but town-like feel.
Now I am feeling less impatient about moving in to a flat, I am thinking about how in a month’s time, I will be romping with Harriet in the park…