Tuesday, August 23, 2011


This is my best friend, Elena, and our moms enjoying drinks at the bar.

This is me having the best twenty-first birthday I could have asked for.

These are the folks that made it happen!

Thanks, mom and dad, for giving me an awesome, surprise 21st! I'm one lucky (21-year-old) girl.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bits and Pieces

This was leftover from the trip, and I just saw it posted to my facebook wall today. Cheers to any Harry Potter fans who may be watching.

Photo c/o Justin LaCoursiere

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Still Missing London

Photo c/o Naima Coster

Well to all my friends
That I’ve loved the most
You know I’m headed out
To that other coast
Gonna wash my soul
Gonna get it clean
Headed down the border road called the El Camino
Headed down the border road called the El Camino.

-El Camino, Amos Lee

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Kid on Campus

Well, I'm not exactly new. But this is my first time on campus in two years, and it's also my first time in a dorm since I was a freshman. And now I'm an RA, and I have my own room, and I'm faced with a totally new set of responsibilities, and I'm a senior instead of a freshman.
In many ways, I feel new.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Missing You Already

Photo c/o Kim Naples

'Cause I'll be laughing at all your silly little jokes
And we'll be laughing about how we used to smoke
All those stupid little cigarettes, and drink stupid wine
'Cause it's what we needed to have a good time

And there'll be love, love, love
Wherever you go.

- Noah and the Whale (again)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sailin' Away

Oh I'm sailin' away my own true love
I'm sailin' away in the morning
Is there something I can send you from across the sea
From the place that I'll be landing ?

No, there's nothin' you can send me, my own true love
There's nothin' I wish to be ownin'
Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled
From across that lonesome ocean.
-Bob Dylan, Boots of Spanish Leather

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fun, Fun, Fun

I am going to miss these folks terribly in t-minus 24 hours.

Photo c/o Naima Coster
Over the past six weeks, they have blessed my life with laughter, understanding, and goofiness that is hard to come by. London itself has been a great experience, but they made it so memorable, and fun! Here's hoping that we put aside at least a few nights to spend together once we return to the Bronx.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A City of Death

I landed in London on July 6 with one stuffed suitcase, two extra heavy carry-on bags, and a scapular around my neck. “Wear a scapular,” said Joe, my ex-housemate who plans to enter the seminary post graduation. Anxious about lofting 30,000 miles over the Atlantic for six hours in a narrow, plastic tube, I went home and ruffled through the collection of scapulars I had accumulated from both of my Italian grandmothers that had remained untouched, and unwanted, until now. I picked a red scapular out from the tangle of brown strands; the Passion scapular, as it is known, had more intricate images on its panels and also had scripted on it a brief plea for protection. I’m not sure if I believe that scapulars will save their wearers from purgatory as does my housemate Joe, but I was certainly willing to subscribe to a divine protection plan and hope for the best.

Monday, August 8, 2011

London Pride

As I boarded my flight to London with fourth-of-July fireworks still ringing in my ears, it occurred to me that England does not have an independence day. “No,” said the woman next to me on the plane, who was, by chance, a Londoner, “we’re the ones who gave everyone else their independence.”

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Paris, Je T'adore

I instantly fell in love with this city. Like I-want-to-go-back-this-minute-and-never-leave love. I don't know if it's the old-school Europe feel, the people lining the sidewalks sipping cafe on iron chairs, or if it's the on-the-water feel, the many veins of rivers winding through the heart of the city, or if it's just the many walks of life that buzz through the streets, a welcome change after London's young sleekness. Indeed, Paris is anything but sleek: the streets are dirty in some places and gaudy in others, with darkened statues on the tops of buildings, intersecting roads, and everywhere in between. All in all, the city has an element of realness that I've missed whilst in London. I've missed old ladies shuffling down the sidewalks half hunched over. I've missed graffitied subways that smell like an odd mixture of urine and death. And I've missed being stared at, laughed with, and all around consumed by a city, though this time it happened in French.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The King of Syon Park

In the eyes of my American classmates, Christopher King, our tour guide at Syon Park, was just a cranky, American-hating man. “He was just rude,” remarked one student during our post-tour lunch conversation, which revolved entirely around him rather than the actual attraction. “The more I tried to seem engaged, the more he was disgusted by me,” added Brian Rose, a professor on the trip.

Sitting amidst a sea of complaints from my New-World peers, I couldn’t help but wonder about Mr. King’s side of the story. Why was it that he came off as cranky? Did he really hate Americans? And what was a seemingly unfriendly man doing giving tours of Syon Park, the London mansion of the Duke of Northumberland? With the help of my professor, I left our luncheon and wandered back into Syon House to interview him and get some answers.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sweet Irish Air

"In London you live; in the country you breathe…" -Eliza Lynn Linton, writer, 1893

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Magnificent Museum of London

The Museum of London offers a multi-dimensional mosaic of London’s history. It presents a narrative of London from as early as 300 BC, chronicling both the city’s feats and great misfortunes. It is also extraordinarily interactive (even for a museum) allowing visitors to take a stroll through a life-sized Pleasure Garden, watch a film of the London fire blazing complete with eyewitness accounts, touch a prison door, and listen to a narrative of communication in London through the receiver of an antique telephone. Peering through the window of an antique glass shop on one of the museum’s many true-to-life streets, I felt just plain overwhelmed. Standing amid centuries of London’s artifacts, I recalled Henry James’ take on the city: “It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable or cheerful or easy or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent.”