Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ma comes to London!

Ma and I in front of Ben!
Me near my house!
Me being silly at Hairspray the musical!

The week before last my MA came to London! I picked her up on Thursday at the airport. We hugged 87 times and both started crying. We got her a clam chowder card … oops I mean an oyster card, right Pa? Ma couldn’t stop laughing as the train lady announced at every stop that our train was headed towards Cockfosters. Hehe! She stayed in the classy bit of west London near Notting Hill Gate at the Garden Court hotel. First thing I took her to my school (not because it was the best part of the city though). She met the headmaster and all my tutors. Zoe yelled at me for not sketching enough (7 pages in a week isn’t enough?!) and so Ma got on my case and made me sketch every time we sat down for more than 3 minutes. Ma and I rode a double decker bus to Trafalgar square. We walked tourist row through St. James’s Park in front of Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the houses of Parliament. We went to Wagamama’s for dinner and walked the south bank by the London Eye. I went home for the night. I met Ma at her hotel and Friday we went into my work!!! She got a visitor’s pass and we got in free to the Constable and Richter exhibits! We had to hustle to get lunch at my favorite sandwich place and run up to the British Museum to meet Zoe for sketching class. Ma got lost in Egypt for 2 hours and Zoe and I drew Greek sculptures. Zoe was flustered by people getting in her way and because mine was going better than hers! Ma and I got tea and then got tickets to HAIRSPRAY! We walked down to Covent Garden and had dinner at the cheap and delicious Tesco Expresco (it’s actually tesco express, I think it needs the extra sco though, don’t you?). OH and we saw people erging for charity! I was so excited and almost regretted not bringing my uni! We headed to the theater for a little shake and shimmy 60’s music! Ma and I sung and danced along the entire show. We were sad when it ended, so I kept it going and sang and danced all the way home! I slept on the floor in Ma’s room. Saturday morning Ma and her wattage-convert-less curling iron got in a fight and sizzled off a chunk of Ma’s hair. Ha! We tried to go to the Brick Lane, it was kind of lame and in a dodgy bit of town. So we got cream tea and just chilled. We headed to Harrods in the most anti dodgy part of town you can get. It was beautiful! We spent 2.95 on a little card, but wanted to spent thousand of pounds on feather and jewel embedded dresses, pink canopy Chitty beds and mini Hummers. We were both exhausted from walking so much! So we ended up chilling for a while at the hotel before dinner, the hallway smelled only faintly of burnt hair by then. Ma and I followed Rick’s suggestion and went to this amazing little Thai food place in the back of the Churchill Arms Pub. We talked for like 3 hours. On Sunday we found a bus that took us to Hyde Park where we caught the tube to Leicester square for the St. Patrick’s day parade. We went to the National Gallery in the afternoon and then got BLTs and ate them in the park. We went for a walk through Kensington Garden and Hyde Park. We skyped with Pa and went for a late Italian dinner. On Monday I sent Ma to Buckingham palace and I went to class for a few hours. We met up in Trafalgar square at 2. We went to the Modern Art Museum. Ma’s favorite… not. It kind of gave us headaches because it was so weird! In one word: huh? We headed up to Finchley for dinner at Ros’s house! It was so good and I ate more than Ma, Annie and Sara combined! Ha, well at least individually! I went back to Ma’s hotel with her. Ma and I packed up and went to South Kensington where she tried to find a Tesco to buy candy and cheese twists for the boys at home and I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum for class. Ma headed to the airport to go home ☹ She said she didn’t cry until she got on her plane.

We had a great time together and it was cool to be able to be an expert London tour guide! I was so happy to have a little taste of home though. It wasn’t until I saw Ma at the airport that I realized how much I miss home!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Gala

The Portrait Gala was Ponce City! Table setting is an art, apparently!
Nice leaf hanging job!
Nicole Gleadle: Banner Designer Extraordinaire! I did three of these signs: Giving tree, Pen portraits and Mystery postcards.

ME AND MY BANNER DESIGN in the gallery!!!!!!

Two weeks ago there was a poncy posh gala at the gallery. New life goal ... be rich, poncy and posh and get invited to Gallery Galas to dress up fancy and spend my money. Naturally I wasn't invited (yet), but I helped with a lot of the design work and the set up. Maht and I hung the shiny prize leaves on a big wooden tree before the gallery closed. At 5 over 100 set up crew people stormed the gallery and lined the front hall with mirror board transforming it into a bar. The lights when down and there were cool colored mood lighting. (My rule for judging prices at restaurants is all about the lighting... I just know that I cannot afford places with mood lighting). Tall lemon holders and perfectly radial cookie patterns. Maht and I went upstairs and each room was set with a different colored velvet table cloth for a sit down dinner. At each place setting was a name card and individual salt and pepper dishes with mini spoons! Like I said this event was the definition of posh! Ian and Natalia told me to sneak in and claim I was the princess of Bulgaria. I had to go to the theater. I left the gala and walked to KFC in the rain. Then to Kilburn for the oddest middle eastern play (Kilburn is to London as Parkland is to Tacoma, no seriously I thought I was going to be eaten by pit bull walking to the theater). The paradox that is my life... sigh.

The day after the gala was like a huge sigh of relief. Both exhibitions (Constable and Richter) were open and the office was a much happier place! I finished my cpd logo for Llorett and finally got a start on the shop quote project. Jude, my boss, took some time off. Natalia and Ian took me to the best place in the history of food ever! Well anyone who knows me, knows I have an affinity for asain food, I just love it so much! This place beats all (mabye not Uni teriyaki next to the bookstore at home), it is called Wagamamas and it is so freaking delicious! Oh and another exciting thing! My questionnaire-contest A5 fliers were in the Constable exhibit! Right next to the shop "shelf talkers" I made and cut (with Captain Exacto of course). I love seeing my stuff up in the gallery!!!
A shelf talker for the shop, not too exciting, but beautiful none the less!
Richter sign for the National Gallery!

More work to come. Right now I'm working on a thing for the Teen Mums program, BP Travel Award Leaflet, some sort of fancy gallery director's event invitation. Jude also signed me up to do my very own display case exhibition this month! Work has been sllllow this week. Yesterday I did nothing, today I did my paper. Tomorrow I have off in the morning. The weather has been so freaking nice! Today Natalia and Ian and I went to the park to eat our lunch and not do work. Mmm.

Words of the week:
flytipper = litterer
knackered = tired
skive (as in skive off) = ditch or play hooky
mongy = retarded, Ian called me this every time id screwed something up and i finally asked him what it means :[

Next blog I will tell you all about my weekend with my MA!!!! Now it is time for me to ponder the SNP's thoughts on Scottish independence in 1500 words and then PRB and Turner in 1000 more!

Monday, March 16, 2009


First off, I am still alive. The best excuse I have for my leave of absence from blogging is this weird funk I have been in. Let me try to explain… So I took about 7 touristesque pictures total while in France, what then I thought to be a brilliant, revolutionary idea that I should be experiencing now and not documenting later. You know live in the moment and what have you, but more over doing things for myself and not doing them in order to tell someone about it later or show someone a picture later. But I have realised (British spelling, yeah you can bet I’m working on my accent too!) that there are benefits to picture taking, one of which is key in supporting the scrapbook that will inevitably come out of this trip. And I have gotten better at pulling out my camera recently. So I suppose since I have been documenting my time here in that way, I have neglected my written documentationating (not British spelling, just Nicolish) via blog. And yes I will confirm speculation and say that I have been having way too much fun to bother writing about it.

But ok …let’s rewind to about 3 and a half weeks ago. Wednesday February the 25th we (as a Britain Today class that is) hopped on a north bound train from Kings Cross to Edinburgh Scotland! Now that’s Ed-in-burr-uh, none of this edinburG American business. Natalia, from work, was so excited for me to visit her hometown and marked her parents house on my map along with all the best cafes, museums, bars and castles (haha there’s just one, so I suppose it is best by default). We got off the train and were greeted by the marvelous Edinburgh wind. Alice convinced me to not bring my coat as we headed off to the castle. Of course it poured on us and then the wind cut through my shirt and to my organs practically! The castle turned out to be a hypothermic adventure dashing for cover to get out of the wind and the rain. We got stylish and informative audio guides and met the most national pride filled Scotsman in the whole country in the jewels room. I know more about Scottish medical and scientific discoveries than I ever wanted to after spending 10 minutes with this old man. He was indeed wearing plaid pants. We had a pajama party with 12 girls in our hostel room and played Kings with our new “friend” Glens.

The next morning Martin marched us up some sort of hill to the Scottish National Monument. Hurray! We could see the sea from the top of this hill as well as the entire city. We climbed a twisty staircase to the top of this tower thing too, windy, windy. Then we climbed all over the monument. Went to the Scottish Museum, basically we went through and tried on all of the children’s dress up like a Viking, Roman Solider, fill in the blank exhibits. I was doing an Egyptian puzzle in the kids discovery zone when the alarm went off and we were all escorted out of the building. Claire, Alice and I snuck off and found Harry Potter’s birthplace or rather J.K. Rowling’s cafĂ©! After a while we went back, I had 0.5 percent interest in the museum and so I just sat in the train section and sketched. Next as a class we National Galleryed it up. I borrowed a sketching stool and sat in front of a Degas dancer statue and then moved to the basement to sketch a sleepy Martin Luther painting. The class left without me, time kind of stands still when I am sketching. So I went and found the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and zoomed around there. On my way home I passed a wedding store and found that kilts are the equivalent to the tux in the states. I picked up all the brochures with the intent to make cards for my friends featuring sexy Scotland models posing in skirts with their furry pouches saying things like, “Great Scots!” Back at the hostel I reunited with my class. Dannica tried to get to me to go on the underground tour, but I was scared by the flier. Needless to say I didn’t go. We had our own fun though dressing up and going out! We met some Scottish boys who said they were 19 and worked in bars (this concept is so odd to me!) So they took us to their respective bars and got us free drinks! The Scots are so nice! Oh and I met a guy who lives a block away from me in London and his sister went to school in Tacoma, how oddly coincidental is that? Insta-friends!

Friday was class, we went to the Scottish Parliament. I would have rather poked out my eyeballs. No comment, besides the tour guide needed to go through Red Carpet Club training. The rest of the class left for home. We stayed and caught a train to Glasgow that afternoon. There was some wonderful, girl politics (ie drama drama drama) so I peaced out on Saturday for a lovely day of art with Wilbur. The thing about being by yourself is you can go wherever you want and stay as long as you want. I bought 3 new pairs of shoes for 20 pounds! One of which was boots! And hit up all the art galleries in Glasgow. I met the girls for Tesco dinner and then we danceddddd.

SUNDAY WAS NESSIE! The best day trip tour ever! Dannica, Anne and I went on an adventure to find Nessie. We left Glasgow on a bus at 7:45am and went alllll around the country to Loch Lomond and Glenco and Loch Ness. We went on a cruise on Loch Ness to the ruins of a castle. Scottish rock candy is to die for! It was so great to get out of the city and see the country side! It was all so green and the hills were amazing. We drove these winding roads through sheep farms (Scotland has 11 million sheep!) and through heather moors. We saw castle, after castle and even saw the Hogwarts Express and where Harry Potter was filmed in Glenco. We didn’t get back to Glasgow til 8 pm just in time to catch a 12 hour bus ride back to London. I arrived in central London at 6:00 am. I walked home just as the sun was rising and crashed in my bed until 9 when I had to go to work. So worth it though!

More to come about other things happening here!