I seriously deserve the bad blogger award...especially since I've completely missed my one year blogaversary (November 19th!!!).  After exams I curled up in the fetal position and watched Mad Men for days -- which is amazing and horrifying all at once.  I finally heard that I passed (HURRAY!!!) So...now onto all that dissertation nonsense. No big deal...just a book of original research. Meh.

After exams then I had friends in town, then Thanksgiving, then a quick trip to Frankfurt to visit the Christmas markets, and then we left for our current trip (Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany)...so, I've just been a crappy blogger.  And I haven't even been reading my friend's blogs!!!  Must fix all of this immediately!!

So, anyhoo, it's kind of time for an 'expat update' don't you think?  Back in February of 2010, I did a "28th Things I want to Do in London", so here's the update on how all of that is going:

Here's the list and my updates (green is what I've done...red, not so much - YET!!):

Part 1:
1) Portobello road --yep!! Wandered it a few weeks ago with the Canadian.
2) The Free Museums --
yes! I've already visited the British Museum, the Tate Modern, the War Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Still have a few more to go, but, I'm making my way through them.
3) Christmas Eve at Westminster Abbey --
no, because we're traveling this year.  I'll be in Berlin!
4) Watch a football (soccer) game --
not yet, but soon!  My local team, the Queen's Park Rangers are REALLY good and I want to go cheer them on!
5) The Parks --
definitely!  I go to my local park, Queen's Park, almost every day.  I've also been to Hyde Park, St. James Park, Highgate Wood, Hampstead Heath, and a few others.  I love the parks!!
6) The Theatre --
ergh.  Not yet.  I need to get on this!
7) Sunday roast --
oh hell yes.  I highly recommend Bachus, I am fairly certain it has the best Sunday Roast in town!

Part 2:
8) Kew Gardens -- yep!  Visited, and it was gorgeous!
9) Tango lessons -- not yet, I had forgotten about this one, so I need to check this out.
10) Kayak/Canoe the River Thames -- this will probably not happen until spring when it's warmer.
11) Eat at Michelin starred restaurants -- we have eaten at 1 so far, but definitely need to get going with more!
12) Dance in fountains --
this will have to happen next summer.
13) Ice Skating --
not yet! but soon!!!
14) Tantric massage -- no, but maybe for our upcoming anniversary ;)

Part 3:
15) Go to an English wedding and wear a fabulous hat-- So far, I haven't been able to meet someone who is getting married...hopefully soon!
16) Visit Highclere Castle -- no but oh my gosh, this season of Downton Abbey was SOOO good.  I want to see the Abbey!!! 
17) Afternoon tea -- Absolutely! I have been eating my weight in finger sandwiches and scones.  My pal Melizza and I are scoping all of them out together to see which ones we like best!!
18) Visit the London Zoo-- not yet, maybe in the spring when it gets a little warmer!
19) Ethnic food -- we have been stuffing our pieholes with Indian food but I want to branch out and eat more...
20) Absolut Ice Bar -- not yet, but now would be a good time to do it.  Summer seems somewhat inappropriate.
21) Join a club -- sadly, no one has invited me yet.  But I will keep at it!

Part 4:
22) Visit a pub with the Rotten One -- Oh yes, the Rotten one gets to go to a LOT of pubs.  Her favorite is The Regent because they have free popcorn...most of which ends up in her mouth.  We are VERY anti-feeding her from the table at home but in pubs we sneak her 'chips' (fries), popcorn, and whatever else she might want.  She is so well-behaved at pubs, never begs and just lays down next to the table unless we offer her food.  People would think she was actually not, in fact, Rotten. 
23) James Bond Thames Boat Ride -- no, but maybe when it's warmer??
24) Visit MI5 and MI6 -- dangit, I need to get on this.  Who wants to go with me?
25) Dinner...with Peter Gabriel -- I'm not sure how to make this come about, but, Peter Gabriel I'd really love to have dinner with you!!!!!  My treat!!!  Anyone know him?  I'm pretty sure he lives in Bath...maybe I'll just write a letter addressed to Peter Gabriel, Bath, United Kingdom -- I'm sure they know where he lives right???
26) See incredible concerts-- ergh. Not yet. But I keep an eye out...I wanted to see Peter Gabriel but he played in March and I wasn't in the UK yet *sob*, but the Canadian went to see him...without me. (traitor)
27) Try some great vegetarian food -- other than the Indian food I stuff in my face once a week? I don't think I have!  Must get on this immediately!
28) Throw a dinner party
-- yep -- Thanksgiving! But I want to do more!

Apparently I need to get my muffin movin' to finish all these cool things!  But I promise there's other stuff I've been doing and seeing -- like, having cocktails in my neighborhood awesome cocktail bar, The Shop! (Love this place!).  And sometimes I sneak over to Minkie's Deli for a chocolate croissant and orange juice and a latte...OH! and I've started training for a 5K.  No shit right?!?  I mean, if you've met me you know I don't run (I mean I do NOT run) but apparently, I do?

I started running because I knew I needed something that would get me outside during the gray winter months.  And I knew that I didn't want to stay indoors and eat all day.  And I needed to get my endorphins going to fight the winter blues.  And I wanted a challenge...so I decided to start the Couch to 5K running program.  Even though I was a bit behind on where they had me start, I've been slowly working my way through the intervals and now I'm on Week 3 Day 2 (even though I've been doing it since November 11...I bloom slowly) 

I've mostly been running in Queen's Park down the road from my house, but I've also run a few times along Grand Union Canal which I really love.

Click for attribution
Grand Union is awesome because A) it's flat and B) there aren't a MLLION mommies out there with their strollers walking 3 across the trail like at Queen's Park...which I then have to dodge.  And as a novice running, dodging obstacles is kind of tricky. 

One time (at QP) all these kids were standing on the trail and there was no way to get around them and I was running straight for them...and they just STOOD there. Watching me. Run straight at them. About 5 feet from them I yelled "Move!" and they jumped out of the way.  WTF?  I have noticed though -- in the UK, you have to ask people to move, usually with a quietly muttered "Sorry" otherwise, it's every man for himself.  If you say "Sorry", though, they will move and then also say "Sorry" back.  But unless you ask, no one will move for you.

Whereas in the States (in general, unless someone is an ass) you are supposed to pick up on the fact that someone is trying to get by and get out of the way.  Like on a sidewalk if you and your friends are blocking the entire sidewalk, one of you moves if someone is heading your direction.  Here, people take up entire sidewalks and don't give a crap if you're walking toward them -- basically, get in the street unless you ask. 

This happened to the Canadian once -- 4 girls were walking and blocking the sidewalk and when the Canadian didn't move, and one of them had to, they gave him a dirty look and made a disgusted noise at him.  I'm certain he didn't say 'Sorry'.

Anyway, long-winded cultural difference tangent interspersed in there...the life of an expat.  So, yep, that's what I've been up to lately!  Hopefully more to come soon...


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