London weather continues to be beautiful and almost too hot. And to think, a few weeks ago, I was thinking that it was a waste that I brought my flip flops here. Unfortunately, with better weather comes final exams and by final, I mean the only exams I will have had all year. My countdown to exams in my planner informs me that I only have 10 days to my first final. Bollocks, as they say. Studying has not been coming along so well, but with a new venue, the King’s College Library, I think I should be making some hefty progress in the next week.
Enough of that “school” business. Let’s get to the real interesting part which is ice climbing. As I’ve mentioned before, I work at a store which has an 8-meter indoor ice wall. Today, I finally got around to climbing it. As a rock climber (or someone that attempts to rock climb), I wondered if I’d have any advantage over a pure climbing novice. The answer is… probably not. Climbing ice like rock is not the best way as I learned in my first ascent of the wall. I chopped away at the ice, used crap footholds, and dangled from the rope while Francy told me to stop climbing it like rock.
The second climb, I redeemed myself somewhat. I made it up while only losing hold of the wall once or twice, and it probably took me half the time as well. My hands were so tired though that I almost dropped one of my axes; luckily, I caught it as it was falling and didn’t kill Francy, my trusty belayer.
Ice climbing in London? Who woulda thunk? My elbow/forearm is a little busted from climbing last week and ice climbing didn’t help it, but carpe diem right? Taking Jared and Stefan climbing with me was really fun, the most fun I’ve had at The Castle in a long time. But the competitive spirit in me, awoken by Jared, pushes me to climb harder and in some cases, past my limits. After not climbing for over 3 weeks, my muscles were a bit weak and so here I am, with a touchy joint but with more 5a’s under my belt. To be old and rickety, ha. Anyways. Social obligations call.
Check out more ice climbing photos here or click on the picture above.
I re-entered the world of human beings today for a whole eight hours and returned to work at the fine establishment Ellis Brigham. I was all smiles because despite the good company of my flatmate Tom, it was sooooooo nice to see friends again. Sure, I have to zip jackets a million times and tag racks of clothing and answer phones. But it was great! I probably won’t be singing this tune all the time, but working at EB has possibly been one of the best decisions I’ve made out here in London. I feel more at home in the store than I do at LSE and for sure, I see a lot more friendly faces. This isn’t to stress that LSE is crap; it isn’t. It’s to stress that EB is great, at least for me (since I only work 3 days a week).
Yesterday I went out and took advantage of some winter sales that made London prices seem almost as cheap as the US. I bought myself a Christmas present or two and it felt damn good. I’m seeing a friend from high school tomorrow, which is yet another crazy example of how I see more friends passing through London than DC. Cheers.
There’s something about London that can make me appreciate it even when I’m walking home in the rain with a heavy backpack and two bags of groceries. I’ve never had this same type of appreciation while walking back to Georgetown’s campus from Safeway, and I can’t quite pinpoint why. Maybe there’s nothing along the way to see? I don’t know.
It’s a rainy, cold day and I’m still in a good mood. I went climbing at the Castle today and met up with a friend from work. His name is Gabor and he’s Hungarian and we both get a kick out of losing things in translation. When he was finished in the changing room, he said, “I’m worse than a bride.” Number one. I couldn’t figure out he said the word “worse” for a while and number two, I had to have him explain the saying. I’m slowly getting better at climbing, but I’m also noticing that the heights make my palms sweat more than when I first started. I wonder why.
I can’t find normal “American” cheese at the grocery store. I went to the cheese aisle and they had blocks. This was my third attempt. Also, in fun news, I’ve discovered an American-ish bar is only 10 minutes from my dorm. I went to the bar (at another location) after work on Saturday night only to see the Michigan vs. Ohio State NCAA game. Pretty unexpected. Then I had to endure taunts of “Rugby is a real man’s sport” by an annoying co-worker. This rugby versus American football debate doesn’t actually exist. Most Americans abroad agree that rugby is cool, but to concede that it is cooler than American football is rare. They are simply different and I will leave it at that. My American pride is strong in London and I’m not about to let some arse tell me repeatedly that football players look gay in tights.
One last thing. Hold two fingers up as to signal “two beers, please.” No, you just said “Piss off” or something. I forget. I hold two fingers up a lot and it’s kind of a problem. Alright. That’s all for now. A full week ahead and Thanksgiving! We will probably go to this pub called The Monument and order the turkey with stuffing and cranberry sandwich, since the bird flu has pushed turkey prices OUT OF CONTROL.
Also, I’m working on getting more postcards out. If your name is Grandma or Grandpa, one is coming as soon as I think of something unique and interesting to write. I’ve gotten no mail from overseas (ahem, parents). When my aunt gave me a some stuff from home, I half expected to see something special in there. Alas. It’s not actually making me sad. That said, I miss everybody and hope Thanksgiving is a much deserved break for everyone working so hard. Talk to you soon.
I’m employed and will be starting work at Ellis Brigham tomorrow. The picture to the left shows the ice climbing wall that is located IN THE STORE. If I’m lucky, I’ll try that sucker out fo’ free. I’ll let you know how it goes. In other news, the social health care system seems to be functioning well. I got my NHS card in the mail already, got a free flu shot, and a 4-month supply of asthma medication for only 6 pounds! I just hope work doesn’t consume my life and ruin my rock climbing schedule. I get the impression that they are pretty flexible for my hours, so I don’t think it will be an issue. Who knew working at Helly Hansen this summer would be such an asset on my resume?
I need to crack down on work. Cheers.