Monday, August 22, 2011

Last Word: Home

Interestingly, the place where I usually get my etymologies only offers this sense of home: O.E. ham "dwelling, house, estate, village." In that sense, anywhere I have a roof over my head is home. The OED (the word-lover's bible) captures exactly the sense I was looking for: 


"The place of one's dwelling or nurturing, with the conditions, circumstances, and feelings which naturally and properly attach to it, and are associated with it."


The part I like is "feelings which naturally and properly attach to it." You don't force your feelings on a place and you can't create feelings about somewhere. They naturally form, and it's only after you've been somewhere a while or when can pull yourself outside of your surroundings that you realize certain feelings have formed. It's strange that the writer of the definition would include the word "proper." They felt it important to emphasize that no matter what the feelings are, they are not wrong. They are right and proper feelings.

Getting attached to Edinburgh and Scotland does have a lot to do with the city-scape and countryside and looking out my window at castle everyday. But, really, I didn't realize how much home was attached to the people I've gotten to know until two of my best friends moved 2 1/2 hours up north. It really signified the beginning of the end. Sharing experiences is part of what makes a life. I've been so fortunate to have friends and family visit so at least when Alex and I reminisce, some of them will know what we are talking about.

It's really strange assessing the length of a year at this point (*starts singing "525,600 minutes....."* not really though). I remember when we had such an ordeal getting our internet and banking set up last September. We didn't even have a phone yet. Oddly, those things do make you feel like you belong once you have them. It's weird to think there was a point when we didn't have them. Things have also changed around town. Scaffolding goes up. Scaffolding comes down. Buildings get finished. Mosque Kitchen is now a legitimate restaurant protected from the elements!

But there's so much we've missed in GR too: a new nephew, Sarah and Mike's and Dylan and Hannah's engagements, many weddings, friends moving away... When I talk about GR and when I talk about Edinburgh, I refer to both of them as "home." And they are both home in the OED's sense of the word too. Unless you've lived in another place, you don't understand how two places can be home. It's especially strange here because it's even two different cultures. I like it though. I like having home here and home back in GR.

It's easy to think this is the end, but things have a way of coming back to you. In 2008 when I visited Edinburgh, I loved this city and always wanted to come back. Three years later and here we are. Ben and Rachel left three weeks ago and we didn't think we'd see them for a few years, but we had the chance to visit them spontaneously this weekend. You never know if it's the end or not. That's really encouraging.

I really didn't know what this blog post was going to be when I started but I'd like to share with you some of the lists I've compiled of the new things we've experienced or gotten into since we've been here. They can't really capture our time here but they have added to my life and I am taking these experiences with me. I'm sure the lists are not entirely comprehensive as I've only thought to write them in the past month or so...

New games we've learned:
Up and Down
Risk
Carcassonne
Mapominoes
Pass the Pigs
Angry Birds
and a card game with a bad name that Rachel taught us that's really fun :)

New foods we tried:
Venison (I'd never had it but Al had)
Haggis
Mutton
Ostrich
Mackerel
Gooseberries
and several delicious cheeses from the cheesemonger

Some fun events we've taken part in:
Christmas at the Forsyths'
Scottish Beer Festival
Fire Festival on Calton Hill
Hogmanay-New Year's torch walk
Being Mary and Joseph in the Christmas pageant at church
urban foraging at Greyfriar's Kirkyard
Farmer's market on Saturday mornings
Christmas Market
I guess there's quite a lot to list!


Places we've been while here:
Stirling, Fort William, Dunfermline, Linlithgow, Glasgow, Isle of Skye, North Berwick, Inverness, Melrose, Cramond Island, London, Bamburgh (England), York, Bruges (Belgium), Brussels, Tallinn (Estonia)

I want to thank you readers for encouraging and supporting Alex and I while we've been here. Thank you for being interested in us and what we are doing. We appreciate it so much.

Well, I've got to finish cleaning and packing before we sit down to our last mutton meal. It's strange to be leaving home and yet going home too. I know though, a new home will be somewhere around the corner again and I can't wait for it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Twenty-Second Word: Excursion

excursion- from Latin, noun of action from pp. stem of excurrere "run out, run forth, hasten," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + currere "to run". Sense of "journey" recorded in English by 1660s.


This week Jordan, Alex and I took a "last hurrah" trip to Estonia's capital, Tallinn. After working long and hard to get 13,000 words on my dissertation before our travels, I almost felt as if this excursion was my act of "running out" of Edinburgh to get as far away from my laptop as possible. While we were planning this trip, friends and family kept asking, "Why Tallinn?". Here's why:



I forgot what it was like to be hot. 

When you are used to 50-60F weather ALL. YEAR. ROUND. in Edinburgh, 80F and humid is pretty shocking. In Michigan, you build up a desire for heat and humidity during the long, cold winter months. I secretly enjoyed sweating for once and I already miss my shorts and flip-flops now that we're home.

Anyway, here's a brief synopsis of our three days in Estonia:

The night we arrived:
-we ate dinner at an underground German pub/restaurant, more of an experience than we thought. It was completely empty except for us. We had great and inexpensive food. The appetizer we ordered was brought to us without the accompanying small plates so we opened our napkins and ate off of those. Some translator for the menu decided that "Additives" would be the heading for the list of side dishes. And instead of playing typical pub music what was playing? yes, it was polka. oddly, this was not our only encounter with polka on this trip...
-we meandered through Old Town after dinner and found a pub called Hell Hunt ("affectionate wolf" or basically "good doggie"). This became our staple pub while we were in Tallinn.

Day 1
-Food is always a cultural experience wherever you go. The night before we bought decent looking cereal and some milk for the next morning. Well, we bought tasteless Cardboard Crunchies or something because it was terrible. And the milk actually had yogurt cultures in it so it was soured and thick. eeewww
-We headed up Toompea Hill where the Russian orthodox cathedral and the parliament buildings are located. It was full of tourists but sickeningly cute. Great views out over the city.
-On our way to lunch in a neighborhood of Tallinn we walked through Balti Jaar market, which was a cultural experience to say the least. This open-air market was selling anything from bras to russian baked goods and rotting produce.
-The 3.50 Euro lunch we had was fabulous though. That translates to about $5 (drinks included) so we wound up paying about 12 euro for the three of us.
-We walked through a shady area (which means awesome pictures of rust and erosion) on our way to a former Soviet prison on the coast. We walked along the Baltic Sea a bit until we got to a behemoth concert hall/part-time Soviet fortress that we wandered around.
-We had amazing crepes at Kompressor restaurant and then went to Krug Inn for beer. Krug Inn is a medieval pub selling "Worthy elk soup full of taste" and 6 kinds of pies, all for 1 euro each. "Every drink calls for 2 euro money" so it was really cheap! You could also "catch your own pickles" out of a barrel :) Awesome, we stopped by every day for a pie, they were so good!

Day 2
-Being so hot and so near water we had to head to the beach. We, of course, got off at the wrong bus stop but got to walk down a woodland trail to find our way back. The boys swam and I sun-bathed. The water was a bit too cold for my taste. There were jellyfish everywhere! I love the ocean :)
-After a hot afternoon we went back for showers and went to dinner at yet another underground pub and guess what they were playing? polka! Halfway through our meals, what should come on the radio but, oh my gosh, Old MacDonald Had a Farm. yes, in German. All I understood was the E-I-E-I-O. I don't know which was worse though, that that song was playing in a pub or that neither Jordan nor Alex could remember how the song goes in English!
-We walked around parts of Old Town we hadn't been to after dinner and got some drinks to bring up to the hill in Vabaduse (Freedom) Square where we wound up most evenings for sunset.

Day 3
-We took a tram to Kadriorg Gardens where the Kadriorg Palace and the President's Palace are. We saw both. At the President's Palace we got to see the changing of the guard. It's weird how we could just walk down the driveway and stand in front of the Palace (house) because you certainly can't in Washington, DC or even here in Edinburgh.
-We thrift-shopped our way back into Old Town and headed to a neighborhood south of where we were staying to get lunch at a cool cafe. The area of town we were in left something to be desired though so after about an hour of meandering we made it back to Hell Hunt for final beers. We went to a really fancy dinner of duck, rabbit, and mutton only to top it off with (of course) soup and pies from Krug Inn :)

Tallinn is a must for anyone travelling to eastern Europe. It was as charming, if not more so, than Bruges, and bigger. It was cleaner and more "western" than Budapest, but it was quite touristy in Old Town. Also, for being on the Euro it was really inexpensive!  I wouldn't recommend Estonia for their beer culture (or lack there of) though.There are quick hops to Helsinki and Stockholm by ferry. We had such a good time and it was great going with one of our best friends, Jordan. If this is the last excursion we take before we come home in less than a month then it was a really great one.

Say What?
As three linguists, we really enjoyed trying to figure out Estonian as best we could with what little we knew ahead of time. You can figure out a surprising amount if you try. Like laim is...lime. Easy, right? Ok, now you try:
apelsini is....orange.
รตnu is...apple. 
yea, ok.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Twenty-First Word: Appetite

appetite: c.1300, "craving for food," from Anglo-Fr. appetit, O.Fr. apetit (13c.) "appetite, desire, eagerness," from L. appetitus "appetite," lit. "desire toward," from appetitus, pp. of appetere"to long for, desire; strive for, grasp at,"




This blog is dedicated to my culinary lifestyle guru Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef and host of the inspiring show River Cottage. Haha, this picture captures Hugh in more ways than you could know :)


Lunch today was a tribute to Hugh:

pan fried mackerel (a sustainable species) stuffed with bread crumbs, parmesan, and chopped wet garlic stalks (wet garlic is what it is when you pull it out of the ground before you dry it). We pan fried the left-over stuffing so it got crispy and sprinkled it on the fish.

pasta salad with rocket (arugula), crumbled feta, broad beans (same as fava, I think), and the chopped bulb of the wet garlic, drizzled with olive oil and a dash of cracked black pepper.



oh my goodness. Talk about summer in your mouth. And for dessert I made gooseberry cheesecake in a glass with strawberries and raspberries on top (here, lots of people make cheesecake that sets in the fridge which you don't have to bake because there are no eggs in it).



All of the produce and the fish were from our farmer's market. Everyone should try mackerel. It was amazing. I don't know if you can get it fresh in the US, though. It's one of the most sustainable fish you can eat. I wish I could make this meal for all my loved ones.

****
That was last Saturday's lunch. This Saturday (yesterday) was rosemary-stuffed mackerel with asparagus. It's not only local seafood we've been trying. We also really like mutton after having made delicious mutton kebabs for our cookout in the meadows a few weeks ago. I actually like it better than lamb!

As another tribute to Hugh, Alex and I have become urban foragers. Don't worry, there's no illegal trespassing involved. Greyfriar's Church near us has planted several community herb gardens and we visited today. They were madly overflowing with fresh herbs that begged to be picked. We nibbled on their delicious wild strawberries while we sniffed out the different herbs. Here is our yield from today's forage:


These pix are also on facebook but I'll label them again anyways. From top to bottom, left to right: chamomile, tri-colored sage, spearmint, lemon verbena, oregano, thyme, variegated thyme, peppermint, and ginger mint. I think I'm gonna make some great tea :)

I hope we can find delicious things like mackerel and mutton back home or some new interesting thing we haven't tried before. Honestly though, if you want to enhance your culinary repertoire, you must travel to another country. I didn't think any of my tastes would change or any culinary adventures would come my way (besides haggis) in Scotland, the land of meat and potatoes. I was so wrong. When you have an amazing farmer's market, half of which is devoted to consciously raised and caught meat it's easy. You just have to be daring enough to try!

Hugh has taught us that you don't have to be a vegetarian to be serious about animal welfare. His holistic approach to meat (breeding, raising, butchering, and using the whole animal: a process from start to finish) gives animals the respect they deserve for providing us with their meat. I haven't tried brains or headcheese, but haggis is made of some offal things (teehee) that don't actually taste too bad. I enjoy supporting the local farmers who come to Edinburgh every Saturday with their goods. The meat is so much better than the stuff in the grocery store and I know I am supporting their efforts to produce humanely-raised and eco-friendly food. I'm really going to miss all the meats and fish local to Scotland so with my four farmer's markets left until I leave, I'll be eating as much mackerel, mutton, turkey mince, and venison as I can!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Matching Game!

Here's a vocabulary matching game. Some are easy and I've mentioned them before. Match the British word on the left with the correct definition on the right:


ice lolly                                    tired
bin                                           pacifier
neep                                        eraser
tattie                                        eggplant
banger                                     underwear
chips                                        Sprite
crisps                                       sidewalk
pudding                                    undershirt                               
biscuit                                      popsicle
crackers                                  flashlight
boot                                         amazed
knackered                                french fries
courgette                                  potato
aubergine                                 diaper
lemonade                                 procrastinate
lorry                                        sausage
dummy                                    trashcan
jumper                                     dessert
pants                                        rutabaga
pavement                                 cookie
vest                                         zucchini
torch                                        trunk
rubber                                      sweater
nappy                                       potato chips
faff                                          Christmas party favor
gobsmacked                              truck



Saturday, June 11, 2011

Twentieth Word: halcyon

halcyon- 1540s,  in halcyon dayes (L. alcyonei dies, Gk. alkyonides hemerai)14 days of calm weather at the winter solstice, when a mythical bird (identified with the kingfisher) was said to breed in a nest floating on calm seas. From halcyon (n.), late 14c., from L. halcyon, from Gk. halkyon, variant (perhaps a misspelling) of alkyon "kingfisher"


This word is fitting for two reasons. One, the album by Deerhunter that we listened to a lot on our trip is called Halcyon Digest. Two, halcyon means happy, joyful, carefree. Welcome to Skye.


The Isle of Skye was beautiful. My impressions of it from GoogleMaps street view were that it was mildly hilly but this couldn't be further from reality. From Glen Coe through Glen Shiel and up to Kyle of Lochalsh the highlands kept growing and Skye burst up from the waters to tower over the horizon. The first thing that greeted us was the Cuillin range. Beautiful, red-tipped cones that wind around the southern portion of the island. We had beautiful weather for the drive up but rain welcomed us onto Skye. We took a one lane road from Broadford along the southern fringe of the Cuillins to Elgol, hardly a town, to view the craggy mountains beyond the bay. See facebook for pix.

The first day consisted of our drive up, the drive to Elgol and back, and winding our way through the rain to our wonderful hostel on the western coast. After dinner the weather cleared up and we drove to Talisker Bay. Gorgeous cliffs, lots of sheep, and salty sea air. and a waterfall :)

We expected rain the entire time we were on Skye but Wednesday morning I woke up early to glorious sun and warm weather. While the others slept in, I took a walk down the lane our hostel was on just to catch views of the peninsula we were on. Living in the city, with the constant din of traffic, sea gulls and drunks shouting,makes me appreciate walks like this. Stillness, the glassy waters of the bay, sheep munching on grass, walking down the middle of the road the only person awake.

Excited by the prospect of sunny weather, the four of us packed into our tiny 2-door and we drove off to Portree, the largest, um, village in Skye. We took in the scenery while listening to great music like Beirut, Fleet Foxes, and Mumford & Sons. Portree is a charming harbor town with great views of the Isle of Raasay. We got coffees and delicious and cheap baked goods and strolled around town. Tummies satisfied, we headed to the Old Man of Storr. I expected this rock formation to be one of those where you pull off the road into a car park and you lean against the railing to take pictures of the monolith beyond. Nope. We parked on the side of the road and took the 2 mile trail up and up and up through the woods until we came out at the base of the Storr. As Sarah's blog will attest, we said "only a little further" about five different times and wound up spending a good two hours pretending to be mountain goats. The views were beyond words. They were beyond my picture-taking abilities too. I kept being struck by how mountainous everything I could see was. I don't know why I expected the mountains to flatten out as you get further from Fort William.

We drove up to Kilt Rock and the Quirraing which is stunning in it's own right but we were all needing bathrooms and were tired out from our previous hike. We continued our drive around the northern tip of the Totternish peninsula and decided on heading back to the hostel for dinner and resting. We spent our evening playing cards and listening to the live folk music provided by our hostel owners and some guests. It made me miss Scotland already.

Thursday morning we headed through a dreary Skye to Dunvegan castle. We didn't go in- it was so cold and wet outside and at that point we were so sick of driving. We took a beautiful drive on our way back to the bridge to Skye and headed home. Alex managed driving a stick shift with his left hand and driving on the left side of the road very well. Don't tell the rental company but I tried my hand at it too and it wasn't too bad.

Scotland is plain gorgeous. That's it. I feel so blessed to have been to places like Hungary, Romania, and Scotland- places that people often overlook. As any of our guests can tell you, Scotland is wonderful. It's hard not to think about our time winding down here but I am so glad we went to Skye. I am trying to make this place as much my own as I can before we go. It's gotten under my skin and I don't think it will let me go without a fight (heck, I'll be fighting too!). So that's all for now. Enjoy the facebook pictures.

Say What?
So far as I've heard, "Gaelic" is pronounced ga-lik (a as in apple) when it's referring to Scottish Gaelic and it's pronounced gay-lik when it's referring to Irish Gaelic.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Nineteenth Word: Dissertation

dissertation: 1610s "discussion, debate," from L. dissertationem, from dis- "apart"  + serere "to arrange words"

I suppose it's time to introduce you to my new on-again-off-again friend Dissertation. We met a while back, mid-April I believe. My professor introduced us. She's obsessed with compound words. Not any old compound words, mind you, but the kind you find in newspaper headlines. Things like 'Greek Debt Talks Widen Euro-Zone Divisions'. I think she's collecting them. You know, when I met her I thought we had a lot in common: a shared interest in words, linguistic persuasions of the lexicalist kind - I mean, I had just finished up a course on English Word Formation. Loved it! So I thought, sure, I'll give her a chance. Well, she dropped a bomb on me a few days later. I thought she was a Lexicalist but I come to find out over a nice cup of tea that she is kind of against that. She said she has onomasiological tendencies. Tendencies, ha! That's like the president of the NRA saying he has "conservative tendencies"! I was really mad that she had been lying to me this whole time. In hindsight though, there were signs. She kept hinting at it, giving me new "reading material". 


You should be glad to know she hasn't converted me. But I'm giving her side a chance. Truly, I like wrestling with her assertions and coming up with counter examples. But really, that's not my tendency as a linguist. I tend to hear a new theory and try and work with it (although this one's a toughie). We've been working through our differences for over a month now and while her theory is pretty progressive, it's still relatively new and there are definitely some holes. What's interesting to me though is she still hasn't given me any good reasons to think her collection of newspaper headline compounds actually work within the framework of her theory. So I've decided to take that task on and run a study, with the help of all of you, to see if we can make some headway. 


Let me explain a few terms you came across in the above paragraphs (if you're still reading, that is). Lexicalism is a theory of word formation (you know...forming words...) in which there are distinct processes like compounding (sailboat), attaching suffixes and prefixes (industrialize, restart), and several others. Lexicalism, the name, comes from the idea of the mental lexicon, which is just the dictionary we have in our heads of all the words we know. My word formation class focused on this school of thought. 


Onomasiologists, however, don't believe that compounding and suffixation etc are separate processes. Semantically (semantic has to do with meaning), all these processes have the same relationships. In other words, the words are related in the same way whether or not you compound or attach a suffix. For example, driver is "someone (the -er suffix) who drives" while a chairman is "someone (man) who chairs". both man and -er mean "someone who does something (a verb usually)". driver is formed adding a suffix while chairman is a compound. It seems the processes aren't different semantically. 


It seems that onomasiology makes sense from this standpoint and it would be pretty complicated to explain why I still hold the Lexicalist view. But I am trying to see how far Onomasiology can stretch as a theory to account for data that hasn't been studied - compounds that consist of 3 or more words (one of my favorites comes from The Atlantic: 'Russian Robot Collie Patent Sketches'. yes, Russian patent sketches for a robot dog. or is it patent sketches for a Russian robot dog? or is it sketches for a Russian patent of a robot dog?) See, the semantics -relationship between words- gets a little weird when you have so many parts.... So that's where you come in. I'm going to test your instincts as to what compounds like 'Russian Robot Collie Patent Sketches' mean. And then I'm going to see how well this Onomasiology Theory stands up to my data. 


Bless you for sticking with this til the end. I promise I won't make you read my dissertation ;)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eighteenth Word: London

London - 
Chief city and capital of England, L. Londinium (c.115), often explained as "place belonging to a man named Londinos," a supposed Celtic personal name meaning "the wild one" (www.etymonline.com)

So, like a guest ale on at the local pub that you've never tried, here am I, Alex, to treat you to tales of shenanigans and misadventures of the trip that Adam, Mike and I had in Longdong. Adam and I traveled all day by plane, train and automobile to get to London where we met Mike. It was like we had the band the back together again. We looked it too, what with our stylish facial hair and their hip black glasses. We said our yo mans, hugged, did our secret handshakes etc. and started walking to the hostel. Thus commenced the walking of the trip. We did a lot of walking.

We got to the hostel and napped a bit before heading out and exploring our area. We were in the Southwark borough, pretty close to London Bridge. We found a pub with a good happy hour special and drank some real ales (slightly chilled, lightly carbonated English brews, cask conditioned and served. Oh, okay, I won't steer off course yet.), had some dinner and ended our Thursday night at a place called the Trinity, an empty-ish pub next to our hostel. It was there that we ran into Dana, a "short-blonde-druggie-hipster-chick" as Adam described her. She was an American that had studied there a couple of years and so knew the city, and was returning to visit some friends. She was super talkative and excited to give us a local's guide to the city. She gave us her map and circled a bunch of places that we should go, for example: Holland Park, an adult playground, with a zipline and a huge tire swing where peacocks run free; Primrose Hill, where we can see great views of the city; Fabric, a pub/club six stories underground with an amazing laser light show. Okay, I guess I don't remember any other place she told us to go, because those were the only places we were really interested in. 

Friday was our big day. We wanted to hit Holland Park for the zipline and peacocks, and since it was past Hyde Park we'd go through that too. After that would be Primrose Hill, and after that we'd grab a drink with Audrey and her boyfriend Lee at near Victoria Station, where they were coming in to London to visit with Lee's aunt for a few days. So. We started walking from our hostel to Westminster Bridge to see that and Parliament Square and Big Ben. Beautiful. Tons of people. From there we walked through St. James's Park and Green Park, then into Hyde Park. On the way we got a frisbee and played next to a lake. It was a beautiful day. We found this tree that was like a house, and we hung out in it for a while before we kept going. So many monuments to writers, important philosophers, Albert, King whats-his-name, the war, yer mom, you name it. We finally got to Holland Park, after going through I don't know how many neighborhoods and parks and stuff, and it seemed like basically a normal park. We found a map of it on a sign and found where the "adventure playground" was, and headed that way. On the way there was an orangery, which I'm still not sure what that is, but it looked cool - old buildings, modern sculptures, giant chess board, you know, normal orangery stuff,  I'm sure. 

Finally, after walking for probably 4 hours,  we arrived at the playground. It was a bit of - okay, a big - letdown. Tons of toddlers with their late 20s early 30somethings mums. Yeah, there was a zipline. Yeah, a big tire swing. But we were hoping to bring beers here and laugh at peacocks fighting while playing on giant adult-sized seesaws. Me and Mike made the best of the tarzan swing while trying to glance away from all of the moms' stares before we said bye-bye. Looking back, we maybe shouldn't have trusted Dana so much. What with all the talk of acid and ecstasy, I'm pretty sure the peacocks must've been a hallucination. Oh well. We saw a lot of London we'd probably never see otherwise. We made it to Primrose Hill (by bus) and that was pretty. At least that wasn't a hallucination. 

Friday night (ha! and you thought our day was over! shhyeah, right!) we wanted to visit the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Pub of the Year 2010-11, The Harp. It was near Covent Gardens, and we couldn't really find it. We had gone to another pub before that and we were kind of lost as to which direction the pub was in. I was on the phone with Julia and she was on the computer figuring out where we were in relation to the pub ("wait, so you're still on Long Acre?!") and so eventually we just gave up. Continuing down the wrong street, we found this little tiny alley (only about two feet wide) and walked down that, just because. It opened up eventually and there were people drinking in the alley and a door that was propped open. We went in and found the coolest little pub, with 10 or so real ales on and sweet decor. We went out front to see what pub we were in, and of course, you guessed it. The Harp. *Brrrriiinggg!* We stayed there for some nice Sambrooks ales, but because we couldn't find it, it was almost closing time, and couldn't stay long. We left to have a beer on a footbridge over the Thames. "Epic," as one passerby commented.  On the way back, we were taking photos of Mike doing embarrassing things like jumping off of things and stuff, and Adam took the camera and ran off down some stairs. He said he thought we were following him, but we went around to meet him at the bottom. When we got there, he wasn't. We called, and waited, and got mad, and worried, and eventually after an hour or so, took a bus back to our hostel. When we got back to the hostel around 2:30, he wasn't there. We started really worrying then, like what if he got mugged, etc? There were some bikes you could rent by the hostel, and we jumped on them and headed down the route we thought he probably took, maybe down London Bridge, and around that vicinity. No luck. After an hour or so we decided Mike would head back to the hostel and text me if Adam was there. He was. Asleep. Awesome. What a sweet Friday, huh? 

Saturday. Since I've already written an entire book and you stopped reading up before the Harp, I'll put this in nice easy bullets.
-Westminster Abbey costs £16 per person to get into. Plus a really long line, not worth it, for us.
- I saw a zombie dwarf running down London Bridge. Freaky.
- We walked a ton again, this time down Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, and Oxford Circus, just kind of shopping and seeing things. Got some cheap stuff at Primark. Busiest, scariest Primark ever. 
-We went back to the Harp Saturday night and saw Matthew Fox (from LOST) there. Cool.
- I guess that's it.

Overall, London was awesome. By Sunday we were limping like senior citizens from all the walking, but I think for the most part, that was okay. We saw a lot of London for how short a time we were there, and we had a lot of fun. London's got so many different parts to it - an old, majestic part, a cool hipster part (though we never did make it to Fabric), a modern business-y part, a super commercial part with tons of street performers swallowing balloon animals and stuff. And there's tons of cool parks. But you know, any city remotely like that I think is gonna be cool when you're with guys like Adam and Mike. You can't help but have fun, even when your feet feel like they're gonna fall off. 

Say What?
London : Longdong, Fundon... anyone got any other good ones?