24.2.10

Lost in Translation

Picture via HERE

Have you ever seen the movie Lost in Translation? Although my life may not be exactly like Bob and Charlotte's, I can relate to the whole culture shock thing and the lovely awkward feelings that generally come with it.

I honestly was very VERY naive when I moved here thinking 'How different can going to an ENGLISH speaking country be?' Boy was I wrong. Next year (March 2011) I will have been here 10 years if you can believe and I'm STILL trying to adjust to some of the British/American differences:

- Its hard to explain exactly in what exact ways but the English are VERY reserved with their emotions/body language/lives. Americans generally like to tell everyone they meet their life story/honest feelings/etc. The English don't like this and will tell you so. Show too many emotions and you're seen as weak. With me trying to be 'American friendly' has not been taken well at times.

- Spellings/Pronunciation: Lots of differences but they add u's to everything, z's are replaced by s's. Z in the American alphabet is pronounced ZEE whilst in England its ZED. Add the obvious English accent in there too. James got me an American/British dictionary once as a laugh...but its no joke. The Brits pride themselves on having their pure English way of speaking.

-Americans are very loud (like the volume of their voice) and the English and most of the rest of the world aren't (in public they just try to keep things reserved). For any of you Americans that visit England or abroad keep this in mind because its one of the biggest inside jokes (not kidding) about how to spot an American tourist.

-Clothes and Body Type: I'm still struggling with this. Most of European women are so teeny and they dress so well. Its getting better but generally if you are overweight like me people treat you much differently here than in the states. Many automatically think you are lazy or 'have issues' which is so far from the truth half the time. The clothes are expensive here and are cut very very differently. What's considered smart casual in the USA is not smart casual here. For a broke girl struggling with her weight, this has been really tough adjustment for me. I honestly believe this is a huge reason why employment has not come easily for so long.

-Food: I gained nearly 70 lbs when I first moved here...no joke. The food (and different germs) made me sick for the first 6-8 weeks. Combined with the stress no wonder why I had a tough time in the weight arena. I've since lost 50 lbs but the food still is very different--less processed I would say. There's a lot more access to fresh food and open markets. Things are packaged differently. The food standards (like pesticides, hormones) are different and things taste different.

-Television: Thank goodness for Satellite TV as its the only way to get more than 4 really boring channels. I've never liked British TV (except for the Vicar of Dibley---very funny) and I think I would have left England after a month if I didn't have US TV that Satellite brings.

-Humor: I still don't get James' jokes. British humor is very cynical, dark and you have to think about it. American humor is quite obvious.

So there you go there's a few things you have to adjust to when you move to London like I did. The funny thing is is that even though I've been here for so long whenever I open my mouth here its obvious I'm different and will never fully fit in. What's even funnier is that when I go and visit the states now, people ask if I'm Canadian cause my American accent is so softened now. So some can say I'm currently without country. I say home is wherever your actual 'heart' is currently located.

22.2.10

Irving Penn at the NPG

Oh how I loved this exhibition at the NPG this weekend. I think every beginning photographer (like me) should study Penn---his simplicity, his ability to capture the essence of his subjects without the use of cheezy props. I already love black and white but what he did with it seemed like poetry. Here are a few of my favorites:


Duchess of Windsor and Alfred Hitchcock via HERE



Truman Copote via HERE, Picasso via HERE

18.2.10

House Tour

When you're watching your pennies and the weather is rubbish its hard to get out of the house sometimes during the week. So, I'm a weekday home-body a lot right now but I'm ok with it under the circumstances. James and I have made quite a cosy sanctuary for ourselves in our little London flat. I don't think I've shown in great detail my 'flat' except for this post a while back so here's a bit of where I've been spending most my days. I may post more in the near future if the mood so takes me:




two bedrooms--afghans, 4 poster beds and original art collected from our travels.



hooks on the left- pier 1 imports, the one on the right from Paris- La Comptoir de Famille



clock from ebay, letters from London (inspiration via Anthropologie), picture of James and I- Morocco, vase Pier 1 imports (USA), heart plant- Vday gift

Buddha statue and Batik ball- Thailand, Picture and frame from Venice, red blanket-from a freezing Diana Krall concert, striped blanket- homemade by me.





yes we have hung art next to our shower. You cant see it but its a print of Venice. Very fitting with the water theme, eh? The light is in our living room (by laura ashley)

14.2.10

Cupid, Keats House and Chinese Lanterns

Happy Valentines Day. Single/Married/Divorced/Dating or whatever I hope that you enjoyed the weekend with the people you love.

I spent this weekend with James admiring the cupid statue in Piccadilly Circus:





Visiting John (the hopelessly romanic poet) Keats' house in Hampstead. Saw film props and costumes for the movie 'Bright Star' and the real life engagement ring he gave his 'love' Fanny Brawne.



Wandered through China Town admiring the Lanterns. Its Chinese New Years soon...the year of the Tiger I hear:



And lazily watching movies with chocolate on the side. Nothing says romance like a bit of dark chocolate with the Disney Classic 'Lady and the Tramp' and 'An Affair to Remember' when its raining and cold outside.

8.2.10

Invictus


Invictus (picture)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley. 1849–1903

7.2.10

Art and birthday weekend

picture from here

Celebrated with James for a long birthday weekend. On Thursday evening we went to Jamie Olivers Italian in Canary Wharf and had a wonderful meal. Friday we went to the Van Gogh exbibit which ROCKED. I had no idea Van Gogh was friends with Paul Gaugin, did chalk drawings (see above picture) and was so influenced by literature and Japanese art. He was self taught which gives me hope in my own beginning efforts w/art (photography). He also sadly killed himself only after about 10 years of painting...talk about a God given talent gone too soon. After the exhibition at the Royal Academy we walked through Covent Garden (which I love):







street performer (he's on a unicycle)--double click and you'll see!

Friday evening we had a fondue whilst watching the season premiere of Lost (we're a few days off the US) and then yesterday and today we have been pretty darn lazy. I went to the market in Blackheath to pick up turnips for a black bean stew and had a very cold walk through Greenwich park. Tomorrow, back to the grindstone although I may treat myself to the movie 'Invictus' in the afternoon. Loving going to the cinema at the moment as its a cheap way to get out and enjoy myself.

Next weekend possibly a trip to whole foods, Richmond Park and the British Library.

4.2.10

Happy Birthday James

in Belize

Happy 35th Birthday James. Thank You for nearly 9 years of wonderful memories:

- The broom closet in Prague
- The train journey across Eastern Europe


Morocco

- The first time we went first class on the Eurostar to Paris and never looking back since
- Being really sick in Egypt
- The look on your face when you met Drew Barrymore for real--your secret crush
- Meeting other celebrities with you such as Gillian Anderson (X files), Anna Paquin, Jake Gyllenhall, Michael Richards (Kramer), Matthew Perry, Richard Branson, Kirsten Dunst, chatting with Aaron Eckhart extensively about the endings to David Mamet's plays, seeing Madonna once about two feet away, Richard E Grant sitting in a cafe in Soho, the cast of Lord of the Rings, Judi Dench waving hello to us, Patrick Stewart (Star Trek) and his weird fear of pictures, seeing Cameron Diaz in a horrible hat--the list goes on.
- Snooker, Dr Who and Time Team...you really know how to torture a girl
- Blackheath Common at night and having to pee really bad
- Afternoon Tea at Cafe Florian in St Marks Square, Venice
- Queen's Day in Amsterdam and getting peed on by a drag queen
- Austria and climbing mountains and seeing my first glacier up close and then Sarah and Charles ruining it
- Paris New Years Eve getting squished in the Metro station
- Your parents....nuff said
- Wales, tea lights, fondue and BBQ's
- Nice, France...the beach
- Meeting my parents by yourself in Seattle
- Shooting stars on the felucca boat on the Nile
- You telling me to calm down in the middle of Cairo, Egypt because I was having an anxiety attack
- Bankrolling me A LOT more than I had wished over the years
- Snoring on the couch and then you waking up to say you're not snoring
- Teaching me how to make an omelette and me still freaking out when I have to flip it
- Introducing me to Leeks, Swede, Duck, Pheasant...the list goes on
- Meat and cheese boards
- Girly nights doing our hair and nails
-Your obsession with chocolate
- Socks, Dressing Gowns and Slippers



India


- Job searching, spending hours together re-vamping our supporting statements and CV's.
- Dharma and Greg
- Seeing art exhibits like Modigliani, Matisse, Frida Kahlo, Monet, Van Gogh and never getting tired of it.
- Theatre trips and me having to poke you to wake you up
- You being a member of the Conservative Party and me trying to be OK with that. (JK)
- You spouting off weird and random bits of history and information
- Hearing you laugh at the comedy store
- Your weird obsession with Monty Python
- Not getting your jokes ever, even after 9 years
- The Vicar of Dibley
- After like 5 years in between visits for Rome you knowing the directions to exactly the same ice-cream parlour we went to last time but you forgetting what I said 5 minutes ago
- Tag team dish washing
- Your hugs
- Hiking in the jungle in Thailand
- Carluccio's and Wagamama
- You picking out all the colors of our flat but you're color blind
- Your weird reading list of Russian classics
- Managing to be the only one on the face of the planet who can annoy you as much as I do
- Sunday morning walks through Blackheath and Greenwich
- Watching 'Bring it on' for the first time and the ethnic minorities winning
- Picnics in Greenwich
- Full English breakfasts with you at the Organic Shop in Blackheath
- Massages in Thailand, Morocco, England, USA and hopefully France
- Being my best friend through some pretty difficult times

....the List goes on


England

Thank You for all you do/have done. Have a great day and weekend.
Love ya always.



Christine xoxoxo

3.2.10

The Black Hole called Lewisham

Once upon a time, when God was creating the universe he decided to make a big black hole.


picture from here

On the other end of that black hole was a little town in the south east of London called Lewisham. Forever and ever stuck in 1960's (not the groovy version but a very depressing version) :




God decided to play a joke on James and Christine when they moved to London by putting this little town on their 'actual' postal address instead of the much cooler/hipper Greenwich or Blackheath Village only 10 minutes away by train.

No matter how hard God tried to fool us by putting in a church:




Nifty shopping



or pubs and open markets



It was still too depressing to go to besides the gym or occasional errand.

So, we beat God at this game and decided to lie through our teeth and say we live in Greenwich instead whenever everyone asked where we live.

I'm hoping in the afterlife God understands these teeny white lies. I'm sure he'd do the same if he ever spent an hour in Lewisham.