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How Burnt Toast Almost Ruined an Otherwise Perfectly Lovely Morning

Once upon a time in Edinburgh somebody burned their toast. That wouldn’t seem like a very exciting story, except that it had some interesting implications.

It’s a pretty well known fact that I don’t wake up well under the best of circumstances. I’m always disoriented and usually somewhat blind for the first half hour or so. But this morning was a new step even for me.

To begin with, I wasn’t in my normal bed. I was in Edinburgh. And I had pushed two beds together to share with three other girls. And we were up into the wee hours of the night having pillow talk and freaking out over ghost tales. But that was all fine because we were going to be able to sleep in.

And then some dingo brain burned their toast. Which set off the fire alarm. Which woke us all up.

That’s a lie. I was only kinda woken up by the alarm. I was woken up for real by my roommate who had just gotten out of the shower running through the hall screaming, “I’m naked!” Basically it was that nightmare where the fire alarm goes off and you’re in the shower and you have to run outside all exposed.

The girl next to me in bed (not to be confused with the one practically on top of me) happened to be having a birthday today. In my just-woken-up delirium I assumed the alarm was going off because we burnt the cake batter pancakes we were making her. So of course the first words out of my mouth in the midst of panic were, “Happy birthday, Nicole!” Which I yelled quite loudly so as to be heard over the alarm.

The mornings in Edinburgh tend to be sort of brisk. Especially if you are wet and semi naked. Or if you are still in your duck pajamas. Or if you didn’t have time to grab your shoes. I played human blanket for the birthday girl. And then the fire brigade came.

We had intended to go back to sleep for a bit. Naturally in the course of our escape we managed to set off a security alarm.

Yay mornings!

Bonnie and her bowl of cereal. Priorities.

Bonnie and her bowl of cereal. Priorities.

 

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Dear Miranda: You’re never too old to play dress up

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In response to http://dearkyra.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/regency-rage/

Dear Miranda,

Cravats are probably in my top three when it comes to men’s neckwear. I was actually thinking about that recently whilst wandering the Victorian and Albert Museum. They had dress up clothes there. I was able to try on a hoop skirt while my friend tried (unsuccessfully) to tie a cravat.

This is the set of instructions they had at the museum. It's not too bad until you hit step five.

This is the set of instructions they had at the museum. It’s not too bad until you hit step five.

I would include a picture of me with panniers on, but I don’t have one. Mostly because once I had the skirt on I couldn’t actually reach my camera in my pocket. But I do have a picture with this crinoline, also found in the V&A museum.

It's not entirely unpleasant, assuming you don't have to walk through any narrow passages or sit down.

It’s not entirely unpleasant, assuming you don’t have to walk through any narrow passages or sit down.

It turns out that it’s just a thing for museums here to have dress up options available. Like the various hats you can try on at the Museum of London:

This old-timey fire fighter hat.

This old-timey fire fighter hat.

Or this serf thing

Or this serf thing

cap

Or this not-so-attractive cap thing.

We were also invited to try on Tudor colors when we went to Hampton Court.

tudor

Even Samuel Johnson’s house had options for dress up.

Don't mind Matthew. He just has his coat on backwards and is showing of his aviators. And he may or may not be wearing a woman's wig.

Don’t mind Matthew. He just has his coat on backwards and is showing off his aviators. And he may or may not be wearing a woman’s wig.

But of course my very favorite dress up was at Jane Austen’s house.

I personally don't see why we discontinued wearing bonnets.

I personally don’t see why we discontinued wearing bonnets.

austen2So… yeah. I guess dress up is just a thing here. I knew I liked England. I mean, dressing up is pretty much the best. We should dress up when I get home. We could wear pirate stuff, because I know we have pirate stuff.

Cheers,

Kyra

P.S. They still have this thing called blood pudding. As in, I totally could have ordered it for dinner last night at the pub we went to.

Dear Miranda: Matt Smith is cool

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In response to http://dearkyra.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/following-in-your-footsteps-fantastically-feminine/

Dear Miranda:

Thanks for reminding me that I haven’t posted a Fantastically Feminine Friday for like a year. I’m sure my followers (both of them) are disappointed.

I think if I were to do a Fantastically Feminine Friday today (since it is indeed Friday) I would choose one of the Doctor’s companions. Except that there are so many to choose from, and so many are fantastic. I haven’t even seen an episode with Clara, yet. But I already like her.

Why the Doctor Who mania? Well drum roll…

I was in the same room as Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman!!!

Ok, so I was actually still really far away from him. Like he was on stage and I was about six stories above him. Nonetheless… how cool is that?

Matt Smith

Matt Smith

Jenna Coleman

Jenna Coleman

 

So every summer the BBC puts on a series of concerts called Proms. The idea is to provide the public with low-priced, high-quality music. One of the Proms concerts was Doctor Who themed. The orchestra played music featured in the show and the MC’s were Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman. The guy who played the fifth doctor was also there. They even had a joke about how Matt Smith’s hair was shorter than it is in the show.

They have these huge screens everywhere where they’d show clips from the show while the orchestra was playing and a lot of the time they’d have people dressed as monsters from the show running around the stage or in the audience.

Royal Albert Hall with one of the big screens

Royal Albert Hall with one of the big screens

Daleks invade the concert

Daleks invade the concert

So the less glamorous part is that we waited in line for like two hours before the show even started. And our tickets were standing, so my feet were pretty dead by the time it was over. Also, it was way crowded which made the concert hall like a bajillion degrees. Still… it was way cool. Wish you could have been there.

Me and Sarah (the only other person in our group willing to put up with the waiting and the crowds and the heat). Do we look drenched in sweat, cus we are.

Me and Sarah (the only other person in our group willing to put up with the waiting and the crowds and the heat). Do we look drenched in sweat, cus we are.

Now I just need to run into Benedict Cumberbatch somewhere, right?

Loves,

Kyra

P.S. You’re a slacker for not putting pictures of Grandma’s birthday party.

 

 

Dear Miranda: Greetings from London

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In response to http://dearkyra.wordpress.com/

Dear Miranda,

Happy Fourth of July. Or as they say here in the UK, have a nice Thursday.  Which isn’t to say we didn’t celebrate. Yes indeed, we all got together and had a party. We played Smurf and feasted upon miniature marshmallows, hotdogs, and Digestives.

You’re not jealous that you didn’t eat Digestives, but you should be. The name is misleading, and they are delicious.

However you may have clawed your eyes out at the party because those of us in the group have taken to speaking in abbrevs.  Phrases such as “totes presh” and “it makes me nerves” often adorn our lips. We also have taken to imitating our TA who uses words like “abzurd” and stresses his auxiliary verbs. “I must resssst.”

Be careful. Being friends with James is all fun and games until he decides he doesn’t want to share you and tells you you’re not allowed to get married. One time Andrew was talking to me and James ran up to him and said “No, that’s my, Kinzie.”

Weather in London is surprisingly hot. As in hotter than it’s supposed to be. And it hasn’t rained once. It’s just like that time we visited Seattle and they had record highs and no rain. How abzurd.

There may not be pictures for awhile on account of limited data usage available to me in the flats here. Sorry… Miss you lots though!

Love,

Kyra

P.S. I’m glad you made Grandma cry.

Proud to be an American

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Happy Fourth of July everyone. I’ve celebrated 21 Independence Days, but this is the first time I’ve celebrated outside of the US. I’ve spent the past week and a half travelling Ireland and the UK as part of a study abroad program.

For one of our courses we were assigned to interview native Irish about their attitudes regarding Gaelic. The Irish government has been working to revitalize the Gaelic language, and part of that includes requiring Gaelic to be taught in the schools.

Most of the younger Irish we interviewed were unable to actually speak Gaelic despite having taken it in school. In fact, most of them disliked their Gaelic classes. What was interesting, though, was that they all felt that future generations should take Gaelic classes. They see it as part of their heritage and something they want preserved.

All the Irish we met were proud to be Irish. As much as they acknowledged past national follies and as much as they railed on their current government, they were genuinely proud to call themselves Irish. When we moved on to Wales we noticed much the same. The Welsh were proud to be Welsh.

Perhaps I’ve missed it, but I fail to notice that much patriotism from my fellow Americans. Our Americanness isn’t as much a part of our identity. Sure, we have moments of grand national pride. Our patriotism swells as we sing the national anthem or watch fireworks light up the sky on July 4th. But where is our American pride the rest of the time?

To be fair, certain groups of people (military or people from certain geographic regions) display a fair amount of patriotism. But the average citizen? I’m inclined to think that as a whole we could be doing better.

Many people take pride in their mixed heritage but forget that being American is an important part of that heritage. They forget that whatever else they are, they are American. They can be proud of their ancestors’ nationalities while still being proud of their American identity.

Or maybe the problem is that America’s history doesn’t stretch back as far as the history of other countries. But that’s no less reason to be proud of it. In our brief time as a country we’ve accomplished some impressive things. We won our independence from the great British Empire with a ragtag army that had never fought together. We established a government that, in many ways, was as revolutionary as the war preceding it.

We have our great novelists, artists, athletes, scientists, poets, musicians, philosophers, and political thinkers.  America has produced people like John Steinbeck, Thomas Edison, Norman Rockwell, Henry David Thoreau, Louis Armstrong, Jesse Owens, Emily Dickinson, Martin Luther King Jr., and Arthur Miller. And that’s only to name a few.

While there are certainly reasons to be discontent with America and the direction it’s going, we don’t have to let our national pride suffer. In fact, I’m inclined to think that if we were a little more proud of our heritage, we’d work a little harder to secure America’s future.

I’m proud to be an American. I don’t always show it like I ought to. But the people of America have accomplished great things, and I believe that we can continue to accomplish great things, despite our faults.

May the star spangled banner long wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Misadventures in a Canadian Elevator

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Back in the day (as in my sophomore year of high school) I went on tour with my high school orchestra. Our destination for this trip was the beautiful city of Edmonton, Canada. Since we were travelling  with the band and choir students as well, there were five full busloads of students all invading the same hotel in Edmonton. Which on the surface isn’t terribly inconvenient. Except for the elevators.

When we arrived, it took at least an hour for me to get onto one of the elevators and make it up to my room. During this time I almost died in the hotel lobby because I was in the process of hacking up my lungs. In retrospect I should have taken the stairs. After all, what are ten flights of steps with a violin, suitcase, and respiratory illness?

See the root of the problem was that there were only three elevators for the whole building, which was twenty-something stories high. And each of these elevators had a capacity for fifteen people. I guess this was not a problem for the normal goings on at the hotel, but with over a hundred high school students trying to get to the same place at the same time, it became rather in convenient.

So of course we tried to cram a few too many of us onto the elevator.

And of course it got stuck.

For 45 minutes.

We had to call the fire department to get us out. And also it was really hot. Also, also three of the girls were claustrophobic and one had a panic attack. And in case you were wondering, that thing in the movies where you pop out a ceiling tile and escape the elevator? Doesn’t work.

11_elevator_inv