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Yes, I Do Like Cheese. But My Favorite Might Not Necessarily Be Gouda.

She’s the Man reference? Sorry, par for the course here after having such delicious gouda cheese in Amsterdam this past weekend, although at first I simply thought it was just an awesome cross between cheddar and Parmesan. Oh well! The more cheese the better!

Anyhow, it’s Wednesday.


At least Gail’s knows what season it is!

Just turned in 2 essays due tomorrow. Woo! And nicely enough, I’m still sitting here with my chamomile tea, tissues by my side as I describe my past week’s events to you. Yay sickness! Yay autumn which feels more like the chilly winter season already!

So let’s see. Last Thursday we talked in class of issues that “bug us” in order to muster inspiration to launch a social movement–that was a no-brainer. The necessity of spreading special needs awareness and curbing the lack thereof in American society today. It is so simple–if people are educated about so-called “disabilities” in school, at least


You might see a familiar name in the upper left-hand corner

in an introductory manner, then there will be no cause for ignorance or wondering at kids who are indeed “just like you” but who may flick their hands when they are unhappy about something since they can’t vocalize their emotions.

The fact that a 10-year-old boy was set on fire by 3 9-11-year-old school bullies last week is the most frightening story that shook me to my core as I was posting Edinburgh photos and jamming to The Beatles. HOW is that even possible? HOW could kids at such a young age show such cruelty to another human being who only wanted to make friends? That hurts my heart, and made me want to write my paper on this subject even more. I can’t wait

to see my squishie when she comes with my parents next week! Literally a week from today!!!!!

Anyhow, post-morning class and social activism revitalization, I went to 26 Grains in Neal’s Yard (thanks for the rec, Lizzy!) and had such yummy “Nordic Pear” porridge while reading Pride & Prejudice. FINALLY finished it this weekend, by the way! Just in time to go to Bath and Stonehenge on Friday!!!!! May have taken the top spot in my fave Jane Austen novels, unsurprisingly. I urgently need to watch

the BBC special….

We then went to the V&A to meet up for class with Justin, who I would so want to be a surrogate uncle–we email about the Rolling Stones, ok?–to go to an exhibit about the 60’s. It was AWESOME. Lyrics from The Beatles, features on international politics, fashion, a recreation of Woodstock. Did you know there was a message tree where people would leave notes at Woodstock if they lost someone in their party, or hopefully wanted to meet up with a “cool cat” they might have met and were looking to see again? An early Craigslist

Missed Connections? My dad was actually at Woodstock when he was 6-years-old. Crazy or what? After the museum, Justin took us out for some drinks and Lady Gaga-chat around the corner in South Ken. Learning here in England is really all-encompassing and not just all about regurgitation. It’s so freeing and fun!

Had to buy winter gear Thursday night–you name it, gloves, beanies, a new backpack since my zipper broke at the V&A. Another typical mishap of my life that simply

made me laugh. I will say that Topshop’s student discounts are a boon, though. Thank YOU.

Friday, as a form of mental-physical-spiritual recuperation, Claud and I headed to Borough to “regain our strength,” as my girl Cher would say. Tried a cheese toastie from Kappacasein–hate to say it, but not the greatest. I did return to the Boston Sausage station to get a s

ausage on a stick, and that did not disappoint whatsoever!

On my way home from my paradise, I stumbled upon a film set along the South Bank. I then took a brief moment to admire my fave bench from the ultimate Christmas film Love Actually. I dare you to debate me. Any correlation that these two locations were so near each other? Is Love Actually 2 in our midst? Probably not, and no film could replace the original, but of course Carter and I would still sprint to the nearest theatre to see another lobster

take the stage for a Christmas play.

SO Saturday morning took us on our journey to The Netherlands. And man, it was COLD. But thankfully, I was properly dressed in a nearly all-black aesthetic that I’m sure made my mom proud. The flight was easy, transport was no problem. EXCEPT Easyjet only lets you bring ONE bag on the flight, not even a separate “personal item,” so had to stow my new mochila away inside my carry-on, but everything fit so life was wonderful.

Our airbnb was RIDICULOUS. Right next to the “Olympisch Stadion” and a slig

htly smaller “Iamsterdam” sign than the one at the Rijksmuseum. The tram and bus stations were right there too, so we got the hook-up. AND the flat was just so perfect!! Towels, shampoo, toothpaste, and even fresh fruit! OMG and the most perfect heated-seat nook for reading and writing–an essential for my future home.

The first night we were there, we went on a sojourn to visit the Anne Frank House. We had tried to book a reservation online, but they were all sold out! We’d been told to go super early in the morning or at night before they close. We strolled along the canals in the Jordaan area first, and my goodness, they are so beautiful. It’s perfectly apt that Amsterdam is called the “Venice of the North.” Well, I’ll be able to say so firsthand after this weekend’s adventures! 🙂


The line was not happening when we first arrived at the house, so we went down the street to THE PANCAKE BAKERY. Everyone who desires to go to Amsterdam at all in the near


I was unaware the Dutch were known for their pancakes (although not in the fluffy, cakey variety that Sweet Butter so expertly dishes out), BUT my nutella and banana crepes were amazing. Thank goodness they took my nutella bowl away from me, other

wise I would’ve consumed the whole thing (and I nearly did, obviously).

The line was still too long, so we stopped by the Tulip Museum’s gift shop. Got a cute snap of our mainline accessory this past weekend as we were all sickies together–tissues!

At 8ish we finally braced ourselves for

the Anne Frank House line, but it took us LESS THAN AN HOUR to get inside. Also a recommendation: PLEASE go at this time. We went on a SATURDAY and got in after waiting such a short while. 8ish, you won’t be sorry. Although our home girl Nicole was not vibing well with the European continent’s cold weather (unlike our counterparts who were in the South of France this past weekend).

The house/museum itself was incredible. I am so grateful to

have visited this historic site, let alone on our first night. I really value being able to connect with my Jewish heritage, especially in such an instance where you are walking the halls of the Secret Annexe where these people who were murdered solely for their faith lived in hiding for years, never seeing the light of day for fear of being discovered. The importance of writing your experience cannot be under-expressed, as Anne even said herself that her diary was an outlet for her emotions, for if she couldn’t let them out she would “suffocate,” to paraphrase.

I do need to read her diary–I’ll have to ask my mother to bring it when she comes next week! 🙂

Unlike most museums in London, you have to pay for tickets to museums in Amsterdam–and a good portion of them do NOT have student discounts, unfortunately. So although we would have liked to go further inside the Rijksmuseum, we had to settle for having brunch there only–which wasn’t so bad! There’s lots of sausage in Nederland. Oh AND I discovered that I actually don’t mind mustard. What a revelation from my prior detestation of the condiment!!! We did sit next to the

most adorable father and son while we ate though, as the former read the story of Rembrandt to the latter in Dutch while they shared a milkshake. It was precious. If I ever marry a man that kind and who loves doting on our child that much, I would be so thrilled.

After we took some shots on the original “Iamsterdam” sign! And then Claud and I chowed DOWN on some street food, but not any ordinary street food. STROOPWAFEL. The Dutch know how to do pastries, pancakes, c

heese, and pea soup, I have discovered. It was so delicious, and I happily kept licking the caramel syrup from my fingers!

More museums! We next went to the VAN GOGH MUSEUM. No Starry Night, but we saw The Bedroom, Sunflowers, and The Potato Eaters amongst so many of his paintings and self-portraits, etchings, letters to his brother, and quotes detailing the tragic nature of his life but how he so longed to express realism through his artwork. Another example of the necessity for self-expression. Two amazing museums in two days. How lucky I am, truly! So grateful to be able to see such work and learn more about these innovators who also found the arts and humanities cathartic.

We cruised by Vondelpark (not on bikes though) on our way to dinner, where we had quite large calzones. Later we made our way round to some coffee shops and the Red Light District, although I believe it is now tamer than the original intent of the zoning area.

The night ended in some “vlaamse frites”–aka fries “drowning in mayo” from the vending machine/fast-food vendor Febo, which is perfect for our girl Nicole’s affinities.

Monday was our last day in the “dam,” and we had SUCH a great brunch at the Brazilian-New Zealand brunch spot “Bakers & Roasters.” The poached eggs on toast yeah yeah, cool. But THE CAKE.


If I could ever get this masterpiece imported to the US for my birthday celebratory confectioneries I WOULD. This cake was essentially banana bread with peanut butter and dark chocolate chips with a peanut butter frosting that wasn’t too sweet but was just enough and had banana chips, dark chocolate chips, and peanuts to top it all off. The cake was UNREAL. Claud and I couldn’t stop talking about it. It is now my phone background. Let’s not talk about it. Well, no actually let’s just rave all abou

t it for as long as anyone will let me.

We then walked along the canals through some flea markets till we made our way to the Rembrandt House, which didn’t feature much of his art but showed where he lived and the studio in which he created his exquisite portraits.

The Flower Market was our next stop. We unfortunately did not make it out to see the gorgeous Holland tulip fields and

windmills my father has told me so much about, but the bountiful flowers Amsterdam has to offer are beautiful to behold. I feel like no home in Amsterdam would be complete without at least one vase of flowers.

We walked through a free cheese museum and then went on a canal tour!! You might not realize, but Amsterdam has a plethora of house-boats like Crosby on Parenthood. It’s a lifestyle I might not pursue myself, but I would love to

come hang on a house-boat for a nice dinner on the water or as our tour guide suggested, to celebrate Pride!

For our final evening, we stopped in a sweet café where I tried some traditional Dutch pea soup–quite hearty!–and had some of those lovely cubes of cheese displayed at the top.

On our journey home, we took some final photos at the Olympic “Iamsterdam” sign and then took our journey back

to lovely London!!!

Tuesday morning we were TIR-ED after getting in pretty late, but Claud and I got some rather healthy salad for lunch at where else but this place in Neal’s Yard called “Saladpride” (haha)!

I’ve mainly been recuperating these past few days trying to make myself healthy again before our trip to Italy this weekend–Milan, Verona, and Venice! AND Bath and Stonehenge on Friday!! Ugh I CAN’T wait!!! But I am surprised by just how much I fell in love with Amsterdam, and would assuredly go back. I kept thinking of my uncle Jeff the whole time I was there, as he is enamored with the city and has always told me how fond he is of it. His talents as a renaissance man make it perfectly easy for me to see why he’d be intrigued by such a city that would so embrace his skills. Maybe we can return one day together!


I also finished My Mad Fat Diary yesterday. WHAT an impeccable show relaying the realities of LIVING with a mental illness but not making that the sole difficulty in the life of a

teenage girl. I love Rae. I love her personality, her style, her boldness, her strength. E4, you killed it with this scriptwriting.

Hopefully I’ll be semi-recovered by this weekend, but certainly by next week as it will be jam-packed. I can’t believe my family is finally coming already. Although I am loving living here in London, especially being sick this past week, I have longed for the comforts of my sister’s snuggles and her singing “Part of Your World” while holding my hand. It’ll be so nice to have a piece of home for a while and to share my experience here with them. The fun and craziness never stop–but isn’t that how life is, anyway?


Oh, I also watched Hocus Pocus today for a pick-me-up. Just because London might not be as enthused about Halloween doesn’t mean my holiday spirits will be diminished. Um, hello, I’m still waiting on my magical powers to kick in. Arrivederci!

Cheers, Tara xx
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