The sandwich is all cheese and meat and his mouth is all empty space, waiting. This is his daily workout. A building of the mastication musculature. Lips pulled wide in a grotesque gape, he pulls the sandwich in with an undeniable gravitational force.
‘But’, you might say, ‘there are really only eight muscles involved with chewing.’
Upon reaching his thin stretched lips- he’ll note the tongue takes a vigorous part in the chewing process- the teeth, smooth wide and white peel away from the lips to sink into layers of salted and cured, fermented and sliced.
And, you realize, it does look like a vigorous workout.
I developed this roll of black and white film at University of Kent's Photography Society photo lab. Then I had the negatives scanned at Jessops. It's a shame I haven't used more black and white film. It's pretty special. I have two more rolls that have yet to be developed, but I'm eager to see.
With the exception of the last three, these were all taken in London. They're all from around my first few weeks in the UK way back in January and it's sort of bittersweet seeing these for the first time just as my trip is speeding to a palpable end.
A few weekends ago, I got to check out some more seaside towns- Westgate on Sea, Margate, and Herne Bay. Vastly different from Southern California beaches, but equally as gorgeous. One of the many little joys of English beaches are the jaunty beach huts dotting the coast with splashes of vibrant color.
The weather on the drive out with housemate Jack, his parents, and their ridiculously adorable dog Finley, was just a sunny delight. The drive took us through so much greenery- flat fields of various shades of green, vibrant yellow flower patches, and the inevitable endless sky of fluffy clouds that I will forever associate with English springtime.
We indulged in a drink at a random pub, enjoyed fish and chips on the beach, and took in all the glorious sea and seaside tulips in Herne Bay. It was an extra treat to play with Finley the dog and snuggle his soft paws and ears. It made me miss my little nugget buddy, Kingsley. It was genuinely a fantastic day and such a pleasure to meet housemate Jack's fam bam.
I've written briefly about traveling alone- something I can get down with most of the time- letting myself relish in interior monologues no one will ever hear and doing exactly what I want when I want.
But sometimes traveling alone leaves me with a crippling emptiness. Kidding, kidding. Though there is an element of loneliness, of that 'I-just-need-to-talk-to-someone-I-know' feeling. My recent trip to Brussels, Belgium ended up being great fun and a lovely time, but definitely started with a dip into some sad sack feelings. The hostel, which was extremely nice, was also extremely empty the day I arrived. Rather than meeting people, I went to dinner alone, had a (really good) beer alone, wandered the beautiful, but somewhat seedy streets alone. To be quite honest (and redundant), it left me feeling...alone.
I definitely had the thought that perhaps I should just go back to Canterbury, but I'm really glad I didn't. The hostel filled up the second day and I had good convo with good people. There's always room to meet people whether it's through the hostel, a walking tour, or at a bar/pub/club.
I suppose the challenge of traveling alone is to get over traveling alone (big epiphany, I know). After having done the solo traveling, it is definitely something I think is worth doing. Yeah, it can be lonely, but overall it's a beautiful thing to be happy or find happiness alone.
But the absolute best part of traveling alone? Coming home! The day of my return to Canterbury was quite possibly one of the best nights I've had with my housemates. Housemate Jack had food, cider, and hugs ready and waiting for me as soon I opened the front door. Housemate Amelie brought the laughs. It was a glorious return and pretty much exactly what I needed. I couldn't ask for better housemates/friends during my time abroad. Sigh, thinking about it brings a tear to my eye. Jk, I don't cry. But for real real, it was the best.
With that said, I've just booked myself another solo trip, this time to Brighton. It should be good times. Planning on seeing some shows and going to some outdoor performances that are part of the Brighton Festival. I'm also hoping to catch some delicious Indian and Japanese food. Sushi, curry, ramen- gimme all the tasty eats.
Till next time.
Your Broad Abroad,
It's been a busy few weeks, thus the lack of posts. I've been to Portsmouth, Southsea, and Isle of Wight (all in the UK) and to Hannover, Germany as well as Brussels and Bruges, Belgium. It's been a bit wild, especially with final essays and creative writing projects sprinkled in between. Speaking of which, I'll also plan on posting some of my favorite poems from the collection I worked on during my time here. Both classes were extremely beneficial and intellectually expansive for me. It was such a joy (even during the stressful parts) to have the opportunity to experience a different academic culture and environment.
But before I start posting poems, I have pictures I need to catch up on! Film from Hannover and Brussels/Bruges have yet to be developed, but I have images from London, Portsmouth, and Southsea. Oh, even some from Canterbury because a friend from CSULB came to visit and we did a boat tour down the Great Stour. But I think today I shall only do a few photos, so as not to bombard you with a gazillion photos. Let's have a slow trickle rather than a flood of photos. So here are some from Jovanna's visit to Canterbury.
More pictures are imminent.
Your Broad Abroad,
Here are some pictures of real people I know instead of just landscapes and whatnot.
Definitely need to re-focus the camera lens on people rather than things. There's something about capturing a person on film that feels more special.
Your Broad Abroad,
I don't think I ever realized how much I love Korean food as I have since I've been in the UK. I mean, of course, I LOVE Korean food and I know I love it. But being so far from all the tasty joys of my mother's kitchen has really made me miss and yearn for Korean comfort foods.
Since I've been here, I've tried my hand at multiple kinds of Korean food that I've never made before (simply because my mom would always make the food and she truly cannot be beat). I think I've had many successes with simple dishes like a pared down version of bibimbap (rice bowl served with veggies, fried egg, sesame seed oil and spicy chili paste) and Hobak Buchim (a savory zucchini pancake).
Perhaps the most exciting part of making Korean food is sharing the experience with friends. The foods are a reminder of home and family, whereas my friends haven't had the pleasure (and tasty goodness) of eating Korean food before. It's genuinely a wonderful thing for me to share my bit of culture with other people.
It isn't even necessarily just Korean food, but sharing a meal together in general. Cooking for friends is something that perhaps we don't do as often as we should. It's different from going out to eat together. Cooking for people is a way to show you care without actually having to say it. It's sharing, it's caring, it's coming together to not just eat, but enjoy each other. I also like the compliments when I happen to make something delicious. Haha.
It's a shame I didn't think to take more pictures of the food, but you'll just have to trust me that food has been made, shared, and eaten.
Perhaps one of my favorite things to do at (my UK) home is cinch my blinds and look out my window. Compared to my apartment in Long Beach, the view is quite nice. In Long Beach, from my bedroom window, I can see a little alley and into the neighbor's driveway and the outside of their home. Beyond that, more buildings, buildings, buildings. More cement, concrete, asphalt.
In Canterbury, I look out my window every day. There's a little yard. And on each side the neighbor's yards. Both are a bit dilapidated, but they each have their own special charm. One of the fences separating the yards blew over during a night of gusty winds when we first moved in. It's been in a state of disrepair ever since, strewn across our lawn. Beyond the yard, is a small car park. Beyond that some small houses. Surrounding this, decorating this, are trees and bushes, grass. Above all that there is wide sky. On exceptional days, the clouds are out puffing along at the same steady pace as the wind. On gray days, the skies are still beautiful, only in a stark, minimal sort of way.
Even with all this gorgeous landscape right outside my window, there's still something even more satisfying to see: the birds! Especially with Spring blooming, the birds are especially giddy. Flying in flocks or solo, the best is when a bird comes swooping from above my house and I get a quick glimpse of its belly. It's a surprise and a delight. Or there are the birds that like to peck and poke at the dirt in search of food. Or the birds that hop hop hop from one bare branch to the next until it flies off. There's also a local black and white cat that likes to pick its way through the long green grass. I've witnessed it intent on some prey, or slowly licking a paw, or nipping at some spare tendril of leaf.
And now a crap iPhone picture of my home from the backyard (the fence has since been picked up).
I know, it probably definitely seems strange to enjoy such a mundane thing as looking out a window. But I do enjoy it and it will certainly be one of the top things I miss when I leave. On that happy/sad note, I shall bid you adieu.
Your Broad Abroad,
There are lots of birds here. I've always thought I'd like to be a bird watcher. In Canterbury it's possible. I quite enjoy looking out my bedroom window and watching birds swoop and soar. I like to watch them pecking at the ground on my way to campus. I've yet to be irritated by the sounds of birds cooing at one another.
The birds will be one of the things I'll miss when I leave.
From Long Beach, CA to Canterbury, England and back.