A Different Kind of Swan

30 Jan

When I was 20, I kept a handwritten journal while studying abroad at the University of London, Birkbeck. I found the journal a couple of weeks ago and have enjoyed reading it and remembering the fun we had.

There are a few entries worth sharing, but the one below from January 30, 2005 is a favorite.



Jan 30.

It’s the end of January and we’ve been here for almost a month. London is absolutely different–guys actually like me and talk to me here. At home I’m kind of like the ugly duckling, but here I feel more like a swan. First of all, a Saudi prince kissed me at the pub. I know there are a lot of them, but still. I never thought I’d be saying I was kissed by a prince. That sounds like a lie, but I swear it happened.

Then, the other day, some hot guy in a business suit said I’m the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. What the hell?

Also, I never thought I’d be saying a naked British man farted on me, but here I am. That happened. I guess that isn’t really a “swan” thing, but it’s funny. A British woman named Dawn kissed me, too, and it made me laugh. She’s from Gateshead. I can’t even understand her half the time.

Basically, I’ve been kissed more in the last month than I have so far in my whole life. It’s weird. Things are really funny and odd here, and it just keeps happening. I embarrass myself a lot,  too. Kelli and I look at each other every time like “what is going ON?”

So maybe I’m a different kind of swan since these aren’t normal swan things? Or maybe all these people are on drugs? All I know is that when the time comes, I don’t think I will want to go home.

Time for bed, we have a test tomorrow.



I like that entry because I had no idea that all the odd, funny, and embarrassing moments would continue to happen.

Just this morning I was hung over and walking into work when I noticed a big lump trying to escape out the bottom of my pant leg, which soon I discovered was a pair of underpants that needed to be pulled out in broad daylight. Yikes.

And so I stick by that “different kind of swan” explanation. It would be boring to be normal, anyway.


56 Responses to “A Different Kind of Swan”

  1. Twindaddy January 30, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    La, you are absolute class.


  2. ridicuryder January 30, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    La Swan La,
    It doesn’t sound weird to me at all. 🙂


    • La La January 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

      Haha, maybe a little. And that’s okay! 😀


  3. Carrie Rubin January 30, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    And you’ve stayed true to your “different kind of swan” nature. Your blog posts today have the same voice as your London journal entry, which is wonderful and fun for your readers.

    I’m planning to talk about my experiences as an Au Pair in Paris in an upcoming blog post, but I guarantee you, I did not get bathed in kisses like you!


    • La La January 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

      Aw thanks! You were an Au Pair!!! That’s awesome. I can’t wait to read it.


  4. El Guapo January 30, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    Unique swan is definitely better than normal.
    And more appropriate for you, I’d guess.


    • La La January 30, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

      I like it! You come up with the best ideas.


  5. meticulousmick January 30, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    It just sounds like fun to me and you are being able to express yourself and enjoy life being YOU. MM 😃


  6. The Waiting January 30, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    Your journals from when you were 20 were a lot more interesting than mine, which mostly detailed how I wanted to get more sleep.


    • La La January 30, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

      Well, there was a lot of that in there, too, but travel did manage to change everything.


  7. Sean Smithson January 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    No way? Last week I found out that Weebs had studied in London (actually at the same university) and now you too.

    I hate to break it you by the way La La, but that Saudi Prince was probably me! That was one of my go-to lines when I met pretty girls. I’m sorry for lying to you but the alternative would have been me stuttering a great deal and possibly wetting myself…


    • La La January 30, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

      How dare you trick naive, 20-year old me (also, you probably don’t need to pay so much for VIP tables just to talk to girls)!

      Weebs and I discuss this all the time, by the way. We both miss London more than we probably should. Sigh.


  8. Kathleen January 30, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    I think that they just appreciate women more. ALL women. I had the same kind of expereince when visiting London. I was 12. (I was tall for my age) 😀


    • La La January 30, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      Haha, yes! You’re not the first to say that to me and have it be at a young age when it happened. I love London and I think you’re right!


      • Kathleen January 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

        But now that I think about it, didn’t you still have all that BOOBAGE then? Couldn’t that explain at least some of the attention. Hmm?


        • La La January 30, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

          That’s fair. Now I guess I have to go back and find out. 😀


          • Kathleen January 30, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

            Not quite a fair test now. The swan thing is over and you came out a raging beauty (you’re welcome). And you still dont have small breasts by any measure, so it’s pretty much a slam dunk that you will go over well with men in Europe (or any continent).

            — Actually, this is really just a ploy to help you punch up your 2014 stats 😀 —



            • La La January 30, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

              Haha, I can always count on you, Kathleen!!


  9. Maggie O'C January 30, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    Don’t those usually get left down at the end of the bed?

    When I went to school in France, our motto was “I feel more like I do now, than when I came in.” Because life was so odd.



    • La La January 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

      Aw hi! Miss you. That’s a perfect motto. Everyone should study abroad and have the experience. We wouldn’t be ourselves without it. 🙂


  10. theclocktowersunset January 30, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Sheesh, I wanna be a swan. Somehow I don’t think London would be so accepting of me though. I think I’ll just stay here and pretend I was a baller.


    • La La January 30, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

      Dude, if you’re getting away with it you might as well go with the baller thing.


  11. Lori D January 30, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    Lauren, I agree with Carrie, your journal entry reflects the same tone as your blog. However, I did notice the growth in who you are today … a more confident, different-type of swan. 🙂 It’s so odd how other people’s blog posts always show up with something similar as I’m working on. I’m considering posting a creative nonfiction memoir story about the time I met my rock star idol. I decided to check back (to 100 years ago) in my diary to see what I wrote about it. Well, it was written in quite a bit of detail that I had forgotten about. Funny thing I noticed, I had a very low opinion of myself in those days. But boy, it was super exciting to relive meeting him all over again when I read it.


    • La La January 31, 2014 at 7:59 am #

      Can’t wait to read it. It’s a great idea. I like seeing the differences in character, too. I’m so glad I kept a journal, as I’m sure you are!


  12. Frivolous Monsters January 30, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    Hey, we tell all the foreign girls that we’re princes!


  13. talesfromthemotherland January 30, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    There’s nothing like a trip abroad, to allow a shift in thinking and perspective… to see yourself as the swan you actually are, when swimming in a new pond. After my daughter came back from a 1/2 year in Africa, so many things at her high school weren’t “as bad” as she’d thought they were. So and so had changed, this and that was a lot nicer than it had been… “No darling,” I told her, “it’s you who’s changed, nothing more.” What a wonderful thing to read these posts and be reminded, right?


    • La La January 31, 2014 at 8:06 am #

      That’s a great story. I honestly think everyone should go somewhere. What a amazing experience for your daughter!


  14. Trent Lewin January 30, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    Y’re fun to read. And so bloody honest. Here’s to London… me home, from long ago.


    • La La January 31, 2014 at 7:57 am #

      😀 honesty is best policy!


  15. calahan January 30, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    Your 20-year old life was already more interesting than my contemporary life. Honestly, the closest I ever got to education abroad was taking an online course.


    • La La January 31, 2014 at 7:53 am #

      You didn’t miss much, just some skinny dipping in Loch Ness. Did you like taking an online course? Sometimes I think about trying it out.


      • calahan January 31, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

        I’m actually still in the midst of it, but I am enjoying the process. It’s easy to put homework off, though.


        • La La January 31, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

          I think I wouldn’t be structured enough, but I’d try it. Good luck!!


          • calahan January 31, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

            It’s going to be a good majority of my life, until around May/June. Weird.


  16. David Stewart January 31, 2014 at 12:23 am #

    Those all sound like experiences you can cross off a bucket list: kissed by a prince, kissed by a woman, farted on by a naked British guy… Keep being that different kind of swan. 🙂


    • La La January 31, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      Someone with that exact bucket list is so jealous right now.


  17. herdthinner January 31, 2014 at 1:16 am #

    Good heavens, I’ve visited England twice now and didn’t realize that sudden random kissing was even a possibility. I wonder if I should give it another go someday. I kept a journal of my stays, too. I’ve been debating if any of them could (or should, consider some of the language) be typed out.

    If “Dawn” was Dawn French, then you could say you were kissed by a goddess, as well as a prince.


    • La La January 31, 2014 at 7:47 am #

      All you have to do is ask someone what time it is. I’m not sure why that is, but you should go and get random kisses! 🙂


  18. gingerfightback January 31, 2014 at 2:07 am #

    Was in Gateshead this week. Could not understand a word


  19. The Bumble Files January 31, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    A Different Kind of Swan. I love that! It sounds kind of like a cool title…hmm….Yes!


  20. Sandee January 31, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    Wow. That London trip sounds magical. Also, that underwear thing happened to me on the subway. And yeah I pulled them out right there, my friend beside me. Sounds like London’s calling — hey!


    • La La January 31, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

      Yeah you did! I love it.


  21. Viciously Sweet January 31, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    What a beautiful journal entry.
    So much kissing!
    And I have had the underpants in my pants thing happen to me too. It must be because we are so classy!


  22. westwickletimes February 5, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    You should be ashamed of your 20 year old self La La. Didn’t you know that there is a UN sanction on kissing Saudi Royals due to their human rights record. tsk tsk.


    • La La February 5, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

      Oh I knew. WINK.


    • La La February 8, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

      Not in America. ‘Merica


    • La La February 15, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

      I know, that’s why I’m not allowed back. 😦


      • westwickletimes February 15, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

        Just don’t let me catch you snogging any North Korean diplomats or we’ll fall out.


        • La La February 17, 2014 at 10:23 am #

          I’ll do my best, but no promises! I can’t help myself sometimes.


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