Friday, June 10, 2011

"Oh, You Must Be From Hackney"

As soon as I open my mouth to speak, it's obvious I'm not from around here.

However, that might be the only clue some people have that I'm an American. I've learned to use the buses and tubes pretty seamlessly, know my way around parts of Hackney pretty well, and no longer get completely frustrated when I can't find my way around. I held back a laugh at the noob who kept  pushing the 'door close' button on the train and wondering why it didn't open.  I was almost able to give someone directions over the phone this week, and as I write this I am eating a typical full English breakfast consisting of baked beans, eggs, tomato, bacon, sausage, and toast.

When I was at McDonald's the other day (don't judge, we all have our comfort foods), I waited patiently behind a business man as a less than satisfied local complained that they had put something on his sandwich to which he was allergic. He yelled across the restaurant, threatening to sue the entire corporation for murder and creating quite the scene for the other five people there. The business man in front of me softly spoke, "You must be from Hackney, since you know how to deal with people like him."

I was a little shocked, since I wasn't actually doing anything but looking away and keeping a straight face in the wake of this overreaction. But I politely told him that yes, I did live in Hackney, and this was nothing.  Right then, I realized I could handle things on my own. While the situation did make me a little uncomfortable, I also felt like I could deal with it calmly enough to put other people at ease. Maybe I'm not such a fish out of water anymore, and maybe I can actually live here without feeling flustered all the time!

It was a huge confidence booster, but I don't often pretend to be from Hackney. If anyone asks, I do say I live in Hackney, but when they realize I'm an American, I let myself be from all over the country. Today, I was from Texas when a guy from a store guessed that was my home. Twice I've been Kelly from California, here visiting my boyfriend for the next week (that one was for the creepers). I'm pretty sure that only the people I work with actually know I'm from Oklahoma.

I'm getting much better at dealing with rando's who do things like lick their lips at me while they drive down the street or ask me how I stay so 'fit.' Ignoring them works pretty well, or lying and saying I kickbox competitively works too.

Work is amazing. For any Arts and Sciences majors out there who feel like they may never get an opportunity to do what they love because they picked a major that doesn't actually do anything for the world-don't fret! There is hope out there! I spend my days at the New Diorama Theatre, booking tickets for people over the phone and learning how a theatre space operates on a day-to-day basis, and getting to see the shows that come through. In three weeks, I've seen three shows at the theatre, plus two other shows around London. I also get to spend a fair amount of time in the cafe adjacent to the theatre, and the owners draw little hearts and swans in my cappuccino every day :)

I'm also responsible for executing an arts festival that will take place on the plaza of the business park for 5 weeks starting June 22nd. I've made up contracts, done technical inventory, learned to book talent, and I'm even getting to work on a Flashdance piece for the festival, so I'll get to perform! As with every internship I've ever had, I've cooked up a few databases. But the plus is our theatre is in the middle of a major business park in London, home to the second largest real estate company in the UK. I am always happy to see the many attractive men pass by the cafe in suits. It motivates me to dress up for work, to be honest.

To end this post, I'll share a little list I've been compiling, recording my woes with public transportation-
Today on the train I smelled:
Fish (
Wet dog (even though there weren't any dogs to be seen)
The by-product of flatulence
An odd combination of feet and beans
VERY strong cologne

to be continued...