a word to my concerned readers
I've received many emails asking if I'm sleeping ok. Yes, the trains surprisingly, have droned into oblivion at night. I appreciate you looking out for me. :)
a word for the faint-hearted
There’s so much that I’m going to write and I’m sorry that I haven’t posted for a week. This is going to be a monstrous entry. So here’s my disclaimer: I could post every day and the info would be about as long. So, if you are short of time and can only take a little London at once, then take a section or so a day while I’m gone for the next week and it’ll be just like I’m posting every day.

my major realisation
I’m only in Europe at age 20 once. This is my one opportunity to be able to travel freely in Europe and do and see all I want to. I was thinking about it, and I realized that most students leave college with a debt of some kind and right now I don’t really owe very much at all. And I started thinking, from this summer on, I’m working. I’m not going to have long vacations because I’m going to try to be gaining respect and working over-time. This is my chance to (putting it cheesily but truly) see the world. I don’t want to leave this semester thinking, I could have gone to the Riviera, but instead I saved up enough money to go to New York this summer with my family. I can see New York any time I want, pretty much. I can’t very easily hop on a plane to Dublin or Barcelona. So, I’ve decided that I don’t mind accruing a bit of a dept in Europe. Don’t worry parents, that doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and buy a complete Burberry outfit, I am still eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch nearly every day. I’ll just be eating those pb&js in Prague or Salzburg.

the photoshoot
…was somewhat boring. But it got me out of the office and into Soho for four hours…to watch them set up two, repeat that, two still life, yes still life, shots. Who knew that arranging six calla lilies to look like they’d been casually set on the table would take so much careful precision.

Ellen, Megan and I went to the sea-side town for a day trip Saturday. We walked along the pebbly beach, through the carnival on the pier, visited the street markets and just had fun being someplace other than the big city. While I was in line for fish and chips, I struck up a conversation with four (quite good-looking) British chaps. One of them gave me the stuffed monkey he had won at a carnival game. I shall treasure it for always.

puttin’ on the fritz
Fritz Cropp, the journalism study abroad advisor from Mizzou, came Tuesday and treated all the interns to a free pizza dinner. I think I have eaten more pizza here in London than I did all last semester at MU. It’s really different pizza….knife and fork pizza, not hands and grease pizza.

rose-to-the-etta stone and a brief preview of next week
For our excursion this week, we visited the British museum. Some pretty cool stuff there. For one, we saw the Rosetta Stone (the stone that historians found and used to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics). We also saw pieces of the Parthenon. That was really cool for me because tomorrow (!) we leave for Italy and Greece for our mid term break and will see the structure. It was cool to hear some history behind it before going to see it. We also got to go inside the remains of an Iraqi palace in one exhibit and got to see real live (or not so live) mummies in another. Sweet stuff.

on the wrong side of the road!!!
I went to Harrow Wednesday to visit Sarah for dinner. We went to dinner with two guys from her school, one from Barbados, one from Greece. To get there, we caught a ride with a Londoner, Irfan (I now know two Irfans). I’ve been in a bus, but this was my first ride in a British car. It was an odd feeling, to keep expecting to see a car coming straight at us.

all work and all play
I got to design my first page today! It’s a page advertising a CD put out by the magazine that appears in every issue. The June/July issue is a redesign so the art director, Sally, wanted a new page with the new fonts and colours, etc. Plus, the old one was really boring. I gave her four different layouts from which to choose and the one she liked the most was the same one that I like the most. Made me feel like maybe I know a bit about what I’m doing. :) Sally said that she’s still waiting on some pieces for a job bag (a zip-lock-type bag that holds all the physical pieces of a spread) for me but hopes to have them when I return from break. I can’t believe my luck with this internship. Erin Patterson, if you do this program next year, insist that you are assigned to Wedding and Home.

many thanks
…to Pat for sending course catalogues for the summer and fall semesters. They were put to good use by many an MU student in this building of flats.
…to Luke for registering me for classes. I know I’ve sent you chasing consent cards all over. Thanks dood.
…to Margaret for sending all the mail at AX to my family.
…to everyone who’s emailed me in the past week. I got a huge influx of email. Sorry I can’t respond to everyone right away!

weddings weddings everywhere
Maybe it’s because I’m working at a bridal magazine but I really don’t think I’ve ever experienced so much wedding talk. Congratulations to one of my best friends since first grade, Jennifer, in her engagement to Kyle! Congratulations to my dear cousin Delaney in her engagement! Congratulations to Andrea in her recent marriage and to Brent in his as well! And then there’s Leigh Ann’s wedding this summer, and Amy’s engagement and Natalie’s engagement. And friends’ families’ weddings too: Emily’s brother, Sarah Hood’s brother, Sarah McCann’s brother. Elisha and Tim were married over Christmas break. This is crazy, people!

the itinerary
We leave tomorrow morning at 10:15 London time. From Sat to Tues morning we will be in Rome. We’ll see the Vatican and Sistine Chapel while there. Then, Tuesday and Wednesday we’ll spend in Florence. Wed. we travel to Venice for a day and take a gondola through the city. Then we go to Athens where we’ll stay two nights. I’m super excited and everyone at work is really jealous. I’m lucky that the honeymoon/travel editor has a ton of phrasebooks of all sorts. I’m bringing the pocket European phrasebook with me. I’m prepared! To my parents and anyone who doesn’t think they can wait a week until I post again, Megan will have her European mobile on her. The number is 44 0 0774 3756 159.

* 'skint' = 'broke' as in, 'After this semester and all my trips, I will be skint.'
* the Brits really do have bad teeth!


on the job
Tomorrow I get to go on a photoshoot. Nothing too glamorous, just table settings. :) But it’ll be neat to see a project go from scene, to film, to page. Next week, Sally said that she hopes to have put together a job bag of all the pieces of a spread for me to layout. For real. Stoked, that’s me.

do you wanna dance?
Protz and I went to see Contact last night. We got £50 seats on the orchestra level, row H for only £22.50! Again, another amazing show. This was the best dancing of all the shows we've seen. It’s so neat how you can watch the dancers and know what’s going on in the characters’ minds. I want the soundtrack. Ally, you would have loved it.

oops…forgot to mention…
I went to the peace rally in Hyde Park last weekend. I wasn’t going to because I figured there would be a lot of anti-American sentiment and a huge mob and the mob mentality can be rather scary. But then I figured 1) there was going to be so much security there that nothing of significance was going to happen, 2) this was going to be a major world event and to have it be just a twenty minute walk from my flat, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, and 3) it would make for good pictures. Don't worry. I'm safe. And I'm really glad I got to see it, even for just a half an hour.

a couple of requests
1) I'd love to send you a postcard...but the address book I brought with me is definitely not updated...I still have Josh Patterson living in the dorms at KSU, and he's been at James Madison for two years now! So, if you want a postcard (and you will get one if you ask), please post a shout out with your address, or send me an email at eleighb_2k@yahoo.com or elb13d@mizzou.edu.
2) My phone bill from last semester seems to have gotten lost in the mail somewhere between CenturyTel, the AX house and Manhattan even though I gave the Columbia Post Office my forwarding address. Anyone living at the AX house, could you please check my mail and see if there's a phone bill for me? I thought I'd taken care of it with CenturyTel last week, but apparently not...If you could pop it in the post to my parents, I'll reimburse you. Cheers!

To my sister Allison for receiving special recognition at the KSU Jazz Festival! She had a solo in the performance, jazz improvisation and everything and has only been doing jazz for a year! So here's a bit of special recognition from your sis, Ally! Go you.

good luck!
To AX in RAMS next week! Dance it great and win it again!

Commercials here are a little (ha!) less modest than in the States. There’s one that shows a whole bunch of different bare bums…it’s an ad for toilet paper…hehehe.
I find it interesting that there is a ton of anti-war action here, and yet camouflage patterns are in every fashion store.


i'm one of the girls!
So, I haven't stopped smiling since Friday when Helen the deputy editor and Sally the art director told me that not only will I get a byline in the cakes and flowers supplement, but I will also get a live page to design for the June/July issue! From job bag to computer, to print out with crop marks, to actual publication! And, they invited to to join them at nearby pub to have some wine with them on Valentine's Day afternoon. And to top it off, they complimented me on my outfit Friday. It was a most fabulous day; best Valentine's Day ever.

brief synopsis
Sorry I haven't posted for a week. Things have really picked up, from having more to do at work and trying to figure out my class schedule from afar, to simply trying to spend some quality 'London time.' So, here's a quick run-down of what I've been up to since France:
-Went to the Victoria and Albert Museum for our programme excursion. The cast room was amasing. They have casts of some of the most famous sculptures (like David and the Dying Slave by Michaelangelo) as well as a cast of Trajan's column, which is in Rome. Worth the visit, for sure!
-Megs and I tried (and failed) to see Chicago the movie three times. Instead, we have seen Two Weeks Notice, Punch Drunk Love, and The Hours. The Hours is absolutely amazing. Go see it. Nicole Kidman is so talented; you simply forget any other character she's ever played when you see her as Virginia Woolfe. It's one of those movies where you should go see it before reading the book, read the book, then see the movie again. You walk out of the theatre and can't not discuss it. Again, go see it.
-Went to see Chicago, the musical with Ell and Megs. It was good. Wonderful dancing, especially by the men. I'm always impressed by the way guys can jump and turn.
-Went to Camden Market. Open air markets are a fun way to shop.
Tonight, the plan is to go to the Texas Embassy for dinner after class. It's the building where Texas had their own embassy but is now a restaurant and bar. Tomorrow, Protz and I hope to go see Mamma Mia...if we can get cheap, day of tickets.

-Those little scooters that were really popular for about a minute my freshman year of college are all the rage with kids in Britain.
-I'm backpeddling on my pronunciation and reverting to pre-speech therapy by falling into the British pronunciation of 'r.' My work extension is 'seven foh six foh.'


j’aime paris
Now, I could go on and on about what we did, where we went, the wonderful experiences we had, but this post would simply be extensively long. So, I’m going to list what we did in what order and maybe add some comments next to the sites. It will still be monstrous, sorry.

Two hour bus tour of Paris. Saw just about everything from the bus windows. Nothing I didn’t see when I went with my mom after my eighth grade year. We got out and walked through Notre Dame.
Dropped our stuff off at the hotel and split up. Ellen, Meg, Elizabeth (from SMS), Dave, Russ, and I started our whirlwind tour of Paris.
Louvre - two hours, an hour longer than I spent there 6 years ago. I saw The Gericault painting, Raft of the Medusa, to which I feel a certain attachment. For my very first paper in college in my English 20 class, I wrote about the composition and colour, etc of that painting. So I got a picture of me in front of it, as if I were meeting a celebrity. (Speaking of celebrities, Ellen saw Rob Thomas by the Mona Lisa.)
Walked through the Tuilleries.
Walked through the Place de Concorde.
Down the Champs Elysees, past the residence of Jacques Chirac, toward the Arc de Triumph.
We climbed the bazillion of stairs to the top of the Arc.
Ate a crepe. : )
Walked to the Eiffel Tower and went up it.
Went to dinner at a really good restaurant. Got hit on by a waiter.
Got back to the hotel at 12:30, got to bed by 1:45.

We were a little late leaving and didn’t get out of the hotel until 11 a.m.
Went to the Musee d’Orsay. It. Was. Wonderful. We saw Monet, van Gough, Degas, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Whistler, and tons others. I was really hoping to see Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party so I asked one of the museum workers in French where to find it. Unfortunately, it’s in Washington DC. But he completely understood me and I completely understood him! I was quite impressed with myself, considering I haven’t spoken French in two years.
Went to Montmartre. On the way there we stumbled upon the Tim Hotel, where my mom and I stayed the first night we were in Paris.
Walked around Painter’s Square and found a café for lunch.
Went through Sacre Coeur. Had an Amelie moment going down the stairs by Sacre Coeur and the carousel.
Went to Marais, which we were told is the Jewish/gay district of Paris and has many shops.
Saw a protest against the war and had to pass through riot police to get to the Metro stop. We think one of the policemen hit on us, but we couldn’t really understand them. We were glad to have guys with us.
Saw the Bastille. (Or the monument where the Bastille was.)
Went on a dinner cruise along the Seine. Wonderful.
Walked through the red light district to see Moulin Rouge.
Dropped my camera, spilling out my film. Fortunately I had only taken 6 pictures on that roll and was able to salvage the remaining film.

Went to Versailles. They were doing restoration on the Hall of Mirrors and another room, so that was a little disappointing.
I had another French moment. Meg, Ellen, Laine and I went out into the gardens and tried to find Marie Antoinette’s ‘cottage.’ We had no clue where to find it, so I went up to one of the many people who looked like they were locals out for a jog or stroll in the park. I asked them, ‘Ou se trouve Marie Antoinette?’ cleverly forgetting to insert the important phrase, ‘le chateau de Marie Antoinett.’ The lady replied, ‘Oh! Elle est morte!’ (‘She is dead!’) Oops! It ended up being to far away for our time allotment.
Before leaving le Gard du Norde to return to London’s Waterloo train station, I bought the French magazine, Paris Match. I’m such a good journalist to expand my knowledge of foreign media. (And yet I have not read my assigned newspaper in a week.)

The Paris Metro is better than the London tube by far.
Kids speaking French will always be adorable.
Megan and I make a good team in translating descriptions of pieces of art.
Americans are almost pitied by people in Paris because we can’t speak any language but our own. I would have to share their pity, to tell you the truth. It’s sad that as a country, we are unwilling to make the effort to be multi-lingual.
We walked into the first random café near the Louvre on our first day, asked if they had any sandwiches that we could take and eat as we walk and got an amazing ham and cheese on baguette in five minutes. In Bath last week, we ate at a highly recommended restaurant, Sally Lunn, waited an hour and a half for our turkey and cheese sandwich and was sorely disappointed. The French have better food. Case closed.


PS Happy birthday to flatmate Careth! She's the big 2-1 today. We haven't been able to properly wish her a happy birthday as a flat, so we're going to extend the joy next week after Paris and take her out.

PPS I'm enlisting your help in making my decision as to where to go for my Easter break. I'll have four to five days to go wherever I want. The roommates want to go to Spain, which would be fabulous and I'd love to get there. However, I also really, really want to get to southern France, like Nice or Cannes. But, I'm going to France this weekend, so that would be two France trips. Now, I could go to Spain a different weekend and stay with Holly, but the weekends are starting to become very few and I'm limitted to the number of Fridays I can take off. If I go to France, I could go with Emily. Spain would be with my flatmates. So, do I go to the Riviera or Barcelona for Easter? (life is tough)
splish splash i was takin' a baaath
Our excursion yesterday was fabulous. We were priviledged enough to be one of the last groups to see Stonehange. Trudy, our wonderful tour guide informed us that at the end of the month they're closing the site down to visitors for seven years! They're going to build an underground walkway from four miles away to keep so many cars from getting so close. Once again we had simply gorgeous weather. Trudy says that she's never seen the weather be so good our all our trips; she's not going to let us leave in April, she said. Fine with me!
After Stonehenge we went to the city of Bath (pronounced Baaath, as in baa baa black sheep) to see the Roman baths (pronounced bath, as in bath.) Bath would have to be my favorite place so far. The baths were interesting. Meg took a picture of me pretending to stick my feet in the water. You can't really touch it because the pool is lead-lined and is radio-active. I accidently dropped my shoe in the pool. Shh. Don't tell anyone. And if I come back to the States with an extra ear atop my head, please don't laugh too hard. The city was wonderful. Love it. Want to go back. Better than Canterbury.

john, may-er i kiss you?
We got back to London just in time to go to the John Mayer concert. He was absolutely fabulous. What a songwriter! (not to mention, what a hottie!) He sang three new songs; the best went something like this: "On behalf of all the boys / looking out for all the girls / Fathers be good to your daughters / because they grow up to love like you / Daughters grow up to be lovers / who turn into mothers / so mothers be good to your daughters too." Isn't that great?! Thanks, Mom and Dad for teaching me how to love.

only getting better
Tuesday, after I posted during my lunch break, Caroline set me up a folder of my own on one of the design computers. She gave me access to all the completed layouts for the upcoming and most recent issues. She said I could just play around when I don't have anything specific to do. It's great because it means that for part of the day, I'll be with the designers, absorbing all they're doing and able to ask them questions about why they design a certain way. I learned something very interesting Tuesday. They had never heard of a 'pica' over here. It made sense once we talked about it; a pica is a fraction of an inch and they use the metric system in Britain. I found it interesting, because everything in the States is predominantly measured 1 pica equidistant from everything else. Instead of picas, they use millimetres. I think I like picas better. :) I'm still a little doubtful that I'll actually get a substantial clip, but at least I can play designer, even if I'm not really.

*Short skirts and pointy-toed shoes are comming back in style, much to my displeasure.
*Following with the freshman year syndrome, our group continues to go through the phases of being in a new place on our own for the 'first' time. A week and a half ago, one of the girls completely bleached her hair and pierced her eyebrow. (Thought of you, Tuttle.) This weekend, another girl dyed her hair bright blue/green. A couple of people who left a boyfriend of girlfriend in the States have broken up with their other halves.


observation update
It is now 1:50 and I can see blue sky pushing away the clouds. Crazy, mixed-up weather!
i'm gonna live forever
The Sarahs and I went to see Fame Saturday night. It was fabulous and made me really miss dancing! I got chills from the routines. McCann and I have been singing the songs around our flat all week. Before the show, a most horrible thing happened. Sarah, Sarah and I crossed the street at the last minute in Picadilly Circus and the girl on her bike right behind us was hit by a double decker red bus. Thank God she wasn't hurt; I don't think she had a scratch on her. But the bike was pinned beneath the bus's front wheels and was completely crushed. I told you navigating the street crossings of London was impossible.

it's a hard-knock life
Tomorrw, our programme excursion is to Bath and Stonehenge. The best thing about this programme is that these excursions are all places that we would visit on our own, but now we get the history before and it's already planned, scheduled and paid for. Wednesday night is the John Mayer concert. Nobody over here has a clue who he is, so the tickets were pretty cheap. Friday I leave for Paris with a group trip planned by the programme. We leave early Friday morning and take the Eurostar under the channel. I can't wait!!!!!

internship update
It's deffinitely getting better, although my work is still pretty menial. Last week was deadline, so I think everyone was really stressed and didn't want to bother with me, the new girl. Yesterday I talked with the Sally, the art director and Caroline, the designer about possibly getting some design experience here. At first they looked at me like, 'What the hell do you think you're doing, asking to touch our precious pages?' Sally asked me how many more days I was here and when I told her until Easter, she said, 'Oh! Then we have plenty of time. We'll deffinitely give you a project.' This whole time they thought I was just here for a week or two! So I'm excited. The project will be really small and most likely won't be printed, but at least now they know what I'm interested in and hopefully they'll be more willing to give me jobs working with Quark.
I'd have to say that my favourite person to work with here is Jenny; she's the Sub-editor, so she works with all the copy. It's easy to talk with her. She is always willing to answer my questions and will explain what's going on around the office. Today she showed me how they mark up the pages before they are sent for the final time to the presses.

meg's internship
Megan's working at CBS's bureau in London. She told us how yesterday, they desperately needed her because they had footage of American soldiers in Afghanistan. Some of the soldiers were from Alabama and the Londoners couldn't understand their foreign tongue. They recruited Meg to interpret. Thought of you, Jason. :)

signs adulthood is coming too fast
*I found out yesterday that Natalie Nester, one of my roommates for this coming summer, is engaged! Congrats, Natalie!
*At the beginning of January, Calvin, one of my friends from high school, shipped out to Afghanistan.
*I am living on my own in Euroupe.

signs that i'm still a kid
*I am neither getting married nor fighting for my country.
*I think I forgot to pay my phone bill at the end of last semester.
*The boys in the basement are building a teepee beneath our window on the back porch, using giant wood stakes that they found and plastic bags from the grocery store. It's just like playing Cowboys and Indians.

*A baked potato is called a 'jacket potato'
*Quotes are done in single quotation marks, like I did above
*80% of the cars in our neighbourhood are BMWs, VWs, Audis, or Mercedes
*'That's alright' means 'you're welcome'
*London weather is about as predictable as Missouri and Kansas weather. I left for work this morning at 9 a.m. without an umbrella, wishing I had worn my sunglasses because it was bright and sunny. It is now 1:30 p.m. and it has been snowing since 11 a.m.

blog envy
Scott has posted comments on Julie and Anne's Ireland blog twice. I've been away two weeks longer and he has yet to give me a simple 'hello.'