Hello! Much has happened since I wrote an update! I’m here to tell you all about it!
First of all, I kind of had my first real introduction to Shakespeare. I read him a few times in high school, obviously, but I’d never really felt connected to his work in a way that was meaningful like so many other people-in-theatre I knew. I always thought that, if I’d really given it a try, I would really like him, but who has the time?
We first toured the Globe Theater, which was awesome for me as a theatre student as well as a history student. The Globe (well, not this Globe. This Globe was built in 1997 and is the age that I am, but the general Idea of a Globe) was the first theater that charged an admission fee, so yay for capitalism infiltrating our beloved artform. No, but, being there felt really affirming, like I was really a part of a tradition. I especially felt that way the next night when we stood and watched Much Ado About Nothing.
I cannot EXPRESS to you how much I loved this play and this production. My friend Eileen described Much Ado to me as “a smart, funny play for smart, funny people,” and I felt privileged to be a part of that demographic for three hours on my feet at Shakespeare’s Globe (yeah, we did the Groundling thing). I LOVE snark and quick-witted enemies-turned-lovers. I’ve never had a more magical experience in the theater– being outside, we also let the weather add to the magic when it started RAINING during BOTH OF THE WEDDINGS and we all cried.
I’ve done a lot of exploring London. I ate paella and drank sangria at Borough Market (because I’m not going to Spain, so I might as well pretend), toured the National Portrait Gallery (and was GIDDY over the portraits of all of my historical faves and least faves), got a free ring from a sweet man in Leicester Square, and saw two plays in one night (first one was great, second one was much-less-than).
(Here’s an obligatory picture of the sangria and paella because this is a wine blog, after all):
Then I went to Ireland!!!!! It was my first time out of the country and my second European country visited altogether so I was super excited. I got there alone (after lying to the customs officer accidentally and telling him I was staying with my Irish friend Riley Cassidy (which was only kind of a lie so it’s fine)) and spent the first night in an airbnb (which was super nice, highly recommend airbnbs in general while traveling) before meeting up with Jenn for our first FULL DAY IN DUBLIN!
We ate a full Irish breakfast, visited the Trinity College library (the famous one, with that beautiful ceiling), saw an exhibit about Oscar Wilde that happened to be out (there was no mention of Salome and I wanted my money back), went to this BIZARRE museum called Dublinia (I hate anything that looks life-like and is not actually alive and this museum was ONLY figurines that looked VERY MUCH ALIVE but VERY MUCH WERE NOT), went through Christ Church Cathedral (obviously I had nothing to physically DO there, but it was really beautiful), and ate dinner/had drinks in the Temple Bar district! We were told it was a tourist trap but did it anyway.
Dinner was at this trendy burger place and it was DELICIOUS. I also got my first Dublin Wine there, a pretty good Riesling, which they served to me in this cup:
Here is where I’m going to explain to you how the Irish population is the kindest population I’ve come across so far. We thought we had to drink a beer in the Temple Bar district in Dublin, because that is just what you do. The problem for me? I hate beer. We got to Norseman’s Pub and I asked the bartender to give me a “beer for people who don’t like beer.” I was a little afraid I’d be kicked out of the pub, but everyone around me laughed in a non-condescending way and they served me Orchard Thieves cider, which is the MOST DELICIOUS THING I’VE EVER TASTED and they ONLY HAVE IT IN A FEW PLACES IN LONDON and I’m ALREADY JONESING FOR IT.
We also listened to a local musician play and it was all pretty ideal.
We went back to our hostel, which was a less-than-savory experience on my part (if you wanna know about it, shoot me a message. It’s too much to explain in this positive blog-space). The next morning, we started the day by touring Dublin Castle, which is not so much a castle anymore as it is a place for state dinners and other official government events, but our tour guide was really cool and taught us all about the history of the place. It also occurred to me at this moment that I am, probably, going to hold a job as a historical tour guide at a point in my life.
We went from there to visit Dad (the statue of Oscar Wilde) and went through two beautiful parks (Merrion Square Park and St. Stephen’s Green). We tried to tour St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but it was closed for a graduation ceremony, so we just laid on the grass for a while.
Then we met up with our good pals Riley and Josh and went on the Guinness Storehouse Factory Tour! It was a really cool thing. At the end, we all got a free pint– the first beer I’ve ever had that I’ve ever enjoyed. They say that Guinness tastes best in Dublin because, in all other places, it needs to be coated in preservatives:
We went from there to dinner where I got aNOTHER glass of Dublin Wine, an eh Rose (I say eh because it cost me 7 euros and no sane person should ever spend 7 euros on a glass of wine that has about 2 ounces of wine in it, but I digress):
We went out to a bar after that and hung out and then Jenn and I left and spent the entire, miserable night at the airport before getting back home and PASSING OUT FOR 14 HOURS. Travel is exhausting.
This week was mostly about class and hanging out with our visiting pals from Arezzo, who were spending part of their fall break here.
I did a really cool thing by myself this weekend and it was doing an overnight trip on my own. I went to Liverpool! THE Liverpool, the one where the Beatles happened!
It was honestly one of my favorite experiences of my life! On my first day, I did the Beatles Museum, which was a really emotional experience for me and the 60 year old ladies I was grouped with. It was a seriously cool exhibit and I had a blast.
I went from there to The Cavern Club (a super famous early Beatle venue), where I had a pint of Guinness (to see if it really does taste better in Ireland– it does) and watched a John Lennon dead ringer play Beatles covers for an hour.
I went back to my airbnb after that and spent the evening relaxing. It’s nice to spend the night in a comfortable bed by yourself while you watch TV and plan your next day in a really cool city.
The next morning, I walked down to Penny Lane, which, in truth, is kind of a dump, but it’s SO FUN to know I’ve been there. Like the garbage person I am, I decided to listen to the SONG Penny Lane as I walked through Penny Lane. I stopped to take a picture just as John was singing “All the people who come and go stop and say hello,” and the second I turned around and began to walk again an old man passing me by smiled at me and said hello. DIVINE INTERVENTION! JOHN LENNON WAS THERE WITH ME IN THAT MOMENT!
I spent the rest of the day walking around and enjoying myself. I also got my Liverpool Wine, which was a DELICIOUS Rose (I say DELICIOUS because it did not cost me 7 euros) with my delicious ramen:
Not much has happened since then, but I wanted to conclude by sharing something that happened yesterday. I had just seen a show for class (St. George and the Dragon at the National Theater) and I was walking around feeling kind of #abroadsad. I came upon a Foyles, which is England’s Barnes and Noble equivalent except their student discount doesn’t suck. I ended up in the poetry section and this tiny book of Leonard Cohen poetry jumped out at me. The day before, I’d been listening to a podcast where a rabbi was talking about using Leonard Cohen’s music in her services, which made sense to me because a lot of his work was #Jewish and #Mystical. It just felt right to buy the book.
The second I walked out of the store, I saw a rainbow over the London Eye, so I figured somebody up there didn’t want me to be sad (I think it was Carrie Fisher, because it was her birthday).
I’ve got a lot of exciting things coming up! Nadia, my coolest and most cherished friend, is coming to visit me (!!!!), I’m going to Paris and Frankfurt (!!!!), and living in London is just pretty sweet.