Sometimes, you meet people that you know you will share your whole life with, no matter where you are. My friend E is one of those people. (You can expand the photo above!)
We studied together in our undergrad, she majored in political science and minored in international development. We met at the club meetings of Students for International Development, where people drink rooibos and plan an annual Hunger Banquet.
(Haha this is not rooibos, it's white hot chocolate at a very British place to buy tea, called Fortnum & Mason's. E needed to go there and get her mom lemon curd!)
According to E, she thought I was too cool to be her friend! Little did she know, I felt the same way!
Good thing we started hanging out. In what E has dubbed our "hippie" years, we went to indie concerts, ran barefoot, ate healthy (we still do) and talked about what to many sounds cliché, but to us, was and is real - working to help the downtrodden. I share this at the risk of fitting the well-intentioned Western save-the-world stereotype, but believe me, we have our struggles, doubts, and disillusionment too. (Here we are at Piccadilly Market, Boricua is so good at making us laugh and snapping a shot at the same time!)
Back then, we only dreamed of working in institutions and studying Master's that would allow us to do so. Now, E visited because she had a layover on her way back from Thailand and Vietnam where she was inspecting schools. Our undergrad selves would be freaking out - me studying in London, and E visiting me on a layover on her way back to D.C. as part of her development job! Sometimes dreams do come true, and sooner than you expect!
When she came, E knew more about London than Boricua and I do (she's kind of an anglophile), so we met her at an American Target-lover's dream on steroids - Primark, which is cooler than Target b/c it's European, of course... And then wandered around. This gorgeous disco ball is part of the Carnaby Christmas Party, I'm not sure what it is except lots of beautiful decorations and stores on a quintessentially British street, which is of course awesome in and of itself_
Anyway, since our young undergrad years, a lot has happened. She went on an LDS mission to Chile, in Antofagasta, right across the Andes from the Salta Argentina Misison, which is where I served!
Isn't she lovely?
I love this photo of us with Boricua.
When we got back, we had enough overlap to share another semester together after her internship with Congress and mine in Puerto Rico, and get ready for graduation and "real adulthood!" (The photo above is Oxford Street, which I, to my fear and excitement, rode down while biking to school one day, weaving in and out of those double decker buses! Here you can find Primark, H&M, TopShop, Zara = :D)
Next, we wanted to visit LSE, St. Paul's Cathedral, and eat at a British pub before our show at the West End - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! So we hopped on the very crowded Central Line. Here, it is very obvious why they call it "the tube."
Boricua on his last free Friday before starting work full-time at his new job!
I finally fulfilled my wish of taking a photo of the crowded tube. Sadly, it is so crowded that the only place you can get a clear view is over everyone's heads!
This is the Old Curiosity Shop, LSE Campus is kind of intermingled with different buildings and shops and universities here.
The LSE Library is at the end there.
More of campus. :)
I can't remember the name of this market, but it is so close to LSE and we had never been!
I don't know if I can express how much I love the oldness of London.
Merry Christmas from us :) Boricua wants to put up a tree already, and I can see that according to the rest of the city, I am in a losing battle haha. I guess we can be grateful for Christmas trees at Thanksgiving, can't we?
Merry Christmas from E and I!
This is inside the same market.
The Royal Courts of Justice are literally right next to LSE, but I only noticed a week ago, because I have been so busy and one-track minded getting to and from campus! Time only seems to grow more scarce!
This is somewhere near the Royal Courts of Justice.
The incredible St. Paul's Cathedral. We arrived to hear a beautiful men's choir singing in Latin. I guess the word that comes to mind is ethereal, it is so incredibly gorgeous. You aren't allowed to take photographs inside the Cathedral, but the detail is exquisite.
Here we are outside.
And handsome Boricua, an island boy now suffering the cold wind! It gets dark so early here, too!
Here is E at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane. The musical was absolutely incredible, and we also loved how inexpensive it is compared to Broadway. :D I was so impressed with all of the children, and especially with the set designers and costume makers - they made real people look like small Oompa Loompas! At the end, Charlie and Willy Wonka literally floated about the stage, and close to the audience in his glass elevator.
E was only here for a day-and-a-half, and we made the most of the next morning by going to Portobello Market, which is only a 15 minute walk from our flat!
The walk takes longer when you are in love with everything British and stop to admire it on your way, such as these adorable plants.
This is a church close to where we live. We pass by it when we are walking home from getting groceries, and no matter how many times, I never stop marvelling.
I couldn't help taking lots of photos of E, gorgeous ginger that she is.
And Boricua certainly wasn't complaining, since I am usually begging him to let me take HIS photo!
A rainy day at the market.
This man saw me taking photos of his cider and was kind enough to make E pose haha.
I wonder what criteria this artist used to qualify cool enough people to be part of his/her street art? I am loving that Harry Potter made it on the list.
The walk home.
And these beautiful blue flats. I would say the one on top is sun-washed aqua. ;)
It is so amazing to me that a person can meet up with old friends and it is as if they had never been apart. I will forever cherish E's ability to help me understand injustice and inspire me with hope, her laugh, her sense of style, quirky personality, and her running-loving self.