Monday, November 03, 2008


I'm in a foul mood. I don't know if my period is coming early, or if I'm sick, or if I just screwed up my sleep cycle too much, but I'm tired and cranky.

I think I've mentioned before that I find shopping here a little bit hard to figure out. I just tried to do my grocery shopping. I headed to Waitrose (like QFC) at about 10 min before 6pm, worried that they might close at 6pm on Sunday. But the doors were open, and when I entered, the guard at the door didn't say anything like, "Sure, you can come in, but you'll be required to leave again in 7 minutes." So I went around gathering the various items on my list for about 7 minutes, when they turned off half of the lights. Okay, I thought to myself. They aren't letting any more people in. I'll just finish up shopping and go. I had only grabbed about half of the things on my list, so I continued to shop, because where I come from, grocery stores don't just kick you out before you've finished. So I grabbed some cereal and frozen corn, and wandered in the direction of the granola bars, when an older woman said, "You know we're closing?" I nodded. "You need to move to the tills now." No, I think I need to finish my shopping! It had seriously been 60 seconds since they turned off the lights. I curled my lip in a snarl that clearly indicated to her that I did not approve of the British culture in general. I'm sick of this. It's ridiculous here.

Since Waitrose kicked me out, I headed down to the Tesco Express, which should really be called "Tesco Useless." These things are all over the city in place of proper grocery stores. They're halfway between a Safeway and a 7-Eleven, and closer in size to a 7-Eleven. I couldn't find butter. FREAKING BUTTER!!! Okay, partly that was my fault, because there was, in fact, butter there. But there was only one choice for butter, which I didn't notice in the midst of seventeen choices of mysterious, butter-like "spread."

I hate grocery shopping here. Have I mentioned that I can't find distilled white vinegar here? Malt vinegar, distilled malt vinegar, wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar, sure. But plain ol', "can be used for cleaning" vinegar doesn't exist. It's so frustrating when you're accustomed to a certain level of convenience, and then it's gone. Though I do realize that it's completely my fault that it's gone. I didn't have to leave. In fact, the thought of shopping in British grocery stores used to thrill me! I just didn't realize they'd be so darn different.

On the way back, as I was carrying my very heavy bag in my arms and thinking about all the injustices I had suffered this evening, the two people walking in front of me decided to stop and spread out, so they were blocking THE ENTIRE FREAKING SIDEWALK. And THEN, when I finally got home, I started coughing so hard that I was gagging. Can I just crawl back in bed and skip to tomorrow? Oh, no, because I haven't studied at all this weekend.

My plan to relax yesterday backfired, and I just ended up depressed. I should never stay in my room all day without human contact. Bad, bad idea. I tried to make up for it today by going to an outdoor market, but like I said above, I'm tired, and nothing can cheer me up when I'm tired. I saw some beautiful things, though. I went to Spitalfields Market, which was alright, then I followed the crowd to what turned out to be Brick Lane Market, then wandered down Brick Lane for a while, cuz it was really charming in the afternoon sun, then found myself at the Columbia Flower market. I had no idea all these markets were so close to each other. At the flower market, every vendor was shouting the word "fiver" with regularity, to the point that I must have heard it 100 times in a two-minute interval.

I ended up going to London Bridge, then walking all the way back home. Along the way, I passed St. Paul's Cathedral. Normally, it costs an arm and a leg to go inside, but on Sundays, they close most of the church so you can't "sightsee," and they ask you to just use the church for prayer. I decided to see what time they were having mass, and found that they were partway through Evensong. It was nice to rest my weary legs in a beautiful church, and listen to the choir sing. Then there was the shortest sermon I've ever heard (couldn't have been longer than 15 min). Lovely. But obviously not lovely enough to stop me being so cranky.


  1. Here are some highly appropriate lyrics from Belle and Sebastian, about a girl who skips class to wander the city and ends up in a funk and stops by a church to listen to the choir:

    "She asked the man if the service was open
    'Not today, just the choir from the radio'
    'Couldn’t I sit in? I’ve come all this way'
    'Will you bugger off, I’ve got work to do.'

    The city was losing its appeal
    God was asleep
    He was back in her village, in the fields"

  2. I bet you are disillusioned by the grocery stores there because you expected Sean Biggerstaff to be imagining you naked whilst sweeping up a spill on aisle 3. Just like I was disillusioned by the cinemas there because I expected to see Harry Potter and have Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) sitting in the row in front of us. *sigh*