Yesterday, hands down, was my best day since arriving here. I woke up at 9.30AM when my phone buzzed with a text message from my pen pal, Jeeves. He's been my pen pal since we were twelve years old and a mutual friend introduced us (she had met him on the NeoPets forums) and got us chatting via MSN Messenger. We'd never met before, however, on account of the ocean between us. We were supposed to meet up for the very first time yesterday at about two but the text message was to say his prior commitment had been cancelled, so we could meet even earlier. I had to do a load of laundry (stop snickering - it's true!) and I got a little bit lost on way to meet him at Tottenham Court Road but at exactly twelve o'clock noon (is that redundent?) I finally met my pen pal. I came out of the tube station to the street, turned right and there he was, reading a book.
I was worried that after all our chats and discussions online, in person we'd just be awkward and conversationally dry. Turns out it was a waste of perfectly good worry energy; it was just like one of our online chats but with talking rather than typing. I thought we got along great! We walked from the tube station to the British Museum. It had some wonderful exhibits. I got to see the Rosetta Stone, which is only one of the greatest discoveries in the whole history of archaelogy given how it pretty much singlehandedly allowed the translation of hieroglyphics. Also got to see dozens of statues, carvings and artefacts from all over the world and throughout history. I especially loved seeing the Ancient Egyptian mummies and carvings - they even had the Book of the Dead, including the infamous judgment of the dead scene!
Afterwards, we walked to a nearby bookstore called The Tea and Tattler that had a traditional tea room in the basement. Jeeves had tea and scones and I had a coke. You know, in Canada, scones are basically balls of dough baked with different filling or toppings - like (and usually) fruit or cheese. Here the scone is still a baked ball of dough but the filling is now a spread - usually a thick cream and a jam or marmalade of some kind. It was a bizarre culture clash.
Next, we hopped the tube to South Kensington and checked out the Museum of Natural History. Can I just say that that museum really seemed to have a thing for dead rabbits? There were six or seven displays that featured stuffed bunny corpses for one reason or another and it got to be down right creepy. The dinosaur exhibit was something of a disappointment - they had two or three complete skeletons, a couple of robotic simulations, and a lot of bone fragments, but the bulk of their displays were photograph and graphic driven and didn't seem to have been update in awhile. The mammal exhibits, by comparison, were a lot more varied and informative. I especially like how many extinct animals were displayed either as skeletons or stuffed specimens or even replicas.
Jeeves had his father not long afterwards so I tagged a long with him to get my first glimpse of Covent Garden. It's a combination strip mall and market place that has everything from independent shops, tea and coffee imporiums and arts and crafts vendors to The Build-A-Bear Workshop, The Disney Store and The Apple Store.
We parted ways not too long afterwards and I walked up from Covent Gardens towards the Piccadilly Circus station. I stopped at a Pizza Hut on the way to grabbed a stuffed crust pepperoni and take advantage of their salad bar. Sadly, the salad bar had slim pickings but the pizza was yummy. Of course, when I left the restaurant the Piccadilly Circus entrance was gated and chained so, rather than risk getting lost looking for another entrance, I walked back to Leicester Square and caught the tube back from there.
By 8.30PM I was back at the house and calling my sister for the first time since jumping the pond. Found out my mom had seen my Facebook message about my getting hit by a car and was what you might call "a tad panicked." In my defense, she was at a wedding on Friday and I had been out and about most of the day. I had, however, called my dad on Friday and told him all about it. So, after I hung up with my sister, I called my mom (who is visiting family in Newfoundland - hence why she wasn't aware of what I'd told my dad) and let her know I was whole and happy. I tried calling my dad but got no answer - found out later when I caught my brother on Facebook that they'd gone out for Chinese. Did I get Chinese food when my mom and brother left for a week to go to New Brunswick? Naturally, this required that I call my dad and whine about the unfairness. My brother, however, told me that my mom had called but insisted I keep trying. Finally got through, mind you, and actually got to hear my brother for the two minutes he took to yell at me for not calling more. Never mind that he does so much as e-mail me. Brothers.
Today, I've done nothing - just relaxed, watched YouTube videos, wrote blog posts, and recuperated from all of yesterday's walking. I'm looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow; I love working, especially now that my spunk is back, and I'm excited to see where I'll be going and what I'll be doing.
*sigh* I'm so easy.