Posts Tagged ‘ Writing

New Year’s Eve 2006

Happy New Year +1 day!

This New Year’s eve I went out to dinner with friends at May Restaurant in Wallingford. The service was a bit slow, but otherwise the food and drinks were all pretty good and I really dig the ambiance of the place. It was also just nice being out on New Year’s Eve with friends, without the manic crowds or traffic.

Afterward everyone came back to my place for drinks, games, the countdown, and more games. The countdown was a minor part of the night and the fireworks show was a bit disappointing. In fact, was more enthused over the pop-sparkler things that Bree brought for us to pop at midnight. Also, I finally got to try hot buttered rum for the first time and unlike the fireworks, it lived up to its reputation (its warm, yummy reputation).

Afterward, we played everything from Taboo to Sequence to my new electronic Catch Phrase. We also played probably the best game of Cranium I’ve taken part of in ages (all-star team with Justin and Ly FTW!). Ultimately, we ending up playing poker ’til 4AM (even Ryan!) and it was a really good time.

New Year's /></a><br /><em>Trevor and Ly with their drinks</em></p>
<p><a href=New Year's Eve '06
The gang at May Restaurant

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Seattle Windstorm

I can’t sleep…because of the wind? The windstorm outside is pretty out of control. It seriously sounds like someone is having a field day with some sheet metal outside my window. Listening to the newscasts now and they’re reporting gusts as high as 63mph on the 520 bridge. Crazy.

Maybe it’s because I’m older, but can’t help but note how different this feels from the windstorm memories I had growing up. Granted, living in a wooded area there was always a huge concern for falling trees (in fact I remember my neighbor’s van was completely smashed by a fallen tree one year, but luckily not on the house). But for me, windstorms generally entailed the fun and adventure of power outages, school closures, being stranded with friends, and drinking hot cocoa. Those were good times. Now? Not so good times. Some sleep would be nice.

[ Pauses ]

I can’t even convey how loud it outside.

Monday at the UK Office

On Monday morning I to find my company’s UK office. The streets were filled with quick walking suits. I made my way to the station to find it packed sardine-style, remembering that it was now a weekday during prime commuting hours. I found my way back to Oxford Circus and first looked for a bit to eat. I soon found a cafe where I had tea, yogurt and the quite possibly the best croissant ever. It was filled with thinly sliced ham, cheese, and a tomato paste with cooked onions, zucchini, and of course chunks of tomato. Anyway, exciting stuff for a Monday morning. Read more

Dinner in Soho

Last night I was able to meet up with Jake for dinner, a friend from high school who’s studying at the LSE. It was really great to catch up, eat, drink, and see a familiar face. Plus we had never hung out one-on-one before, having seen each other mostly through mutual friends. Hard to believe that I met him in my sophomore English class at South Kitsap and now here we were, seven years later, eating Thai food in London’s Soho district.

London: Sightseeing via Tube

After I mass I set out to explore what was near the cathedral. Victoria Street had boutique shops so I putzed around there for a while ’til I grew tired of the price tags. Calling this area done, I proceeded back to the station (after grabbing some tea at a Starbucks–couldn’t help it!). After consulting my maps, I decided to go check out those Parliament Buildings and took the Tube from Victoria to Westminster.

When I arrived at this station I got out and gasped. The Thames were in my view and to my right was none other than Big Ben. The place was packed with tourists but I didn’t mind, being one of them, and it felt like I really had arrived. I text Ryan forgetting the time zone difference and wandered around taking photos of the big clock and the Parliament Buildings. I then noticed a sign to Westminster Abbey and walked in that direction until I got to the place, recognizing it from the Da Vinci Code :P. The place (like the others around it) was beautiful but closed inside due to it being Sunday. Regardless it was pretty exciting to walk around and see the sights.

After some time here I headed back to the station. It was getting cold outside and I needed an indoor excursion, so after consulting my book, I opted for the National Gallery. I took the Tube to Charring Cross, by now getting around was easy. (I really do <3 the Tube.) There I spent part of the time checking out stationary stores looking for a Moleskine London City Notebook only to be told that I could find it at Borders, hah. Eventually I found my way towards the National Gallery.

When I reached it, it definitely was a sight to see, its building overlooking Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column, another postcard sight. I realized I was hungry again and looked around for a place to eat. I ended up finding a Cafe which was held in an old crypt. It was very busy inside and food was served in line cafeteria-style. I got the special: chicken, potatoes, and vegetables. It was mushy and bland, as I told the food would be, so I checked that off my list.

I then proceeded up the steps to the National Gallery and was delighted to find that the admission was suggested donation. I looked around. It really was what all the books said it would be like. It was quite surreal to stand in front of my favorite pieces by Monet and realize I was staring at an original or searching out the Van Gogh sunflowers to see the paint’s texture. I even did the audio tour and the detail it provided was very engaging and gave me a chance to sit and rest as the narrator explained the peculiarities of each painting. Later after I had passed through many galleries, I started to feel the effects of jet lag and needed to lie down.

I set off to find my hotel and found that I would need to transfer at Oxford Circus. However, this was actually convenient as that’s where the nearest Borders was. So yes, I took a separate trip just to locate that notebook I wanted. Oxford Circus was lively and full of shops and I think it’s my favorite area of London thus far. Finding the notebook was easy, I looked around at stores there for a while, going some shopping before finally heading back.

Feeling exhausted, I looked at the clock. It was a little past 5PM.

London: Westminster Cathedral

It was Sunday morning and after a failed attempt at a nap I jolted up in bed and picked up the phone. I had intended to meet up with a friend from high school who was studying in London. Had some phone trouble which was frustrating but ultimately was able to leave him a voicemail to ring me.

Now what to do. It was to be my one and only full day in the city and I thought it necessary that I take advantage of it. Furthermore I was alone, and wanted to do things conducive to that. It was the first Sunday of Advent and reasoning that I wanted to go to church and had an interest in seeing an old Cathedral, decided to kill two birds with one stone. I looked up the nearest Catholic Cathedral’s mass times, glanced at my Tube map and hurriedly rushed out of the hotel.

I walked quickly towards the Tube station, a block from my hotel. I think I walked so quickly because I was nervous at what I was about to do and wanted to get myself familiarized as quickly as possible, trying to ignore the sinking feeling of potentially getting lost in the streets of London.

I bought a day pass, picked what line I’d ride and headed to the platforms. The ticket stations reminded me of the NYC subway. I took the line to the Victoria station, which was only a stop away. When I exited I looked around for a way out of the tunnel. Bright yellow “WAY OUT” signs guided me and I popped out of the station on the ground street.

“Westmintser Cathedral is just down that road,” I overheard a guide say to a group of tourists. Without stopping I headed in that direction, glad to hear what direction I should be heading. I looked back at the station, trying to remember its location so I’d know where to head back to.

Four blocks down there it was: big and red. I ran up to the mass schedule at its entrance and found I was 20 minutes early for their “solemn mass”, which meant it was the more traditional mass–typically completely sung. I was a little hesitant, I was never huge on the formality of a Cathedral mass, but figuring I was here and solemnity might do me some good, I decided it’s what I would do.

However, I was hungry and had about 15 minutes to find myself something to eat. I looked around and no cafes were to be seen, but right next to the Cathedral was–a McDonald’s. Yes, my first meal in the UK was at a McD’s. Eh well. I went inside and ordered a McMuffin meal and found myself surrounded by–Filipinos. A little random. Nearly half the staff and the finely dressed couple beside me were Filipino. I sat there eating my sandwich thinking of the irony that here I was in London, sitting in a McDonald’s surrounded by Filipinos speaking Tagalog, on my way to mass.

Anyway, that aside I proceeded into the cathedral and as expected, it was quite impressive inside. It was weird having tourists mill about (myself included) but soon the place was settled for the mass to begin. During the service, I sat near an Italian family. At the “Peace be with You” time of the mass where you turn and shake hands with those around you, they all smiled after I spoke and mumbled “American,” to each other. It made me laugh remembering that I was the one with the accent now.

It ended up being a beautiful mass. The sun was beginning to come out and it had a great effect through the stained glass. Most notably, the Westminster choir was amazing to listen to. They sung entirely in Latin and it really was quite an experience. Even the priest’s sermon was good. It was a definite nice way to start the day.