Across the pond: finals thoughts from fall term

Melody Moberg

(melody moberg)

Two weeks ago one of my work assignments was to dress as a teapot.
It was morning rush hour at St. James’ Park Tube station. I carried a suitcase of fliers and tea bags, which at the time was surely the heaviest thing I’ve ever tried to carry. No lifts. Oh well. With wobbly knees I stepped into a large felt-and-wire contraption and perched a white beret topped with a fuzzy ball on my up-too-early bed hair.
Afghanaid, the wonderful nonprofit I work for, was in the midst of a fundraising drive. We were advertising our Green Tea Party, scheduled for the following week. This would be a night of awareness raising, music, special green tea cocktails and raffle items. As the event’s raffle coordinator, I got to be Vanna White! My pamphlet also proclaimed that people could hold their own green tea parties as alternatives to traditional donations. Thus, the costume.
Apparently, I have a rarely actualized skill for pamphlet distribution and donation-bucket holding. But it wasn’t all joy and sunshine. I was laughed at. Tourists heading to Buckingham Palace snapped pictures of me. Other people pretended I didn’t exist. I have a deepened appreciation for the Tube’s ubiquitous London Lite distributors. However, teapots cannot take themselves seriously. It was marvelous.
My time in London has been marked by the unexpected. As a clear and not-insignificant example, incredible food materializes everywhere I turn, despite the disbelief of my friends and family. Grocery shopping is a dream. Non-homogenized organic milk! Marmalade! Cider! Curry! French pastry shops on every corner! Well, maybe it’s just South Kensington.
Wandering the city’s cobblestone streets promises a string of quirky delights. Turn right, and you are suddenly in Chinatown, buying rose-colored glasses. Turn left, to the archetypal scone with clotted cream, a homeless man who tells you of his travels and suggests you beg as a team. Look up, to breathtaking architecture and blue plaques memorializing famous residents. Listen for strolling banjo players and multilingual pleasantries. You might even bump into a teapot.

(melody moberg)

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