Tag Archives: London 2005

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.

Post #2 by Another Single, Boring White Girl Named Lauren

10 Oct

This was once the view from my workplace:



This is now the view from my workplace:



Coming back to Baltimore was a sensible choice and editing science could be rewarding. Someday. Today I am editing a grant about the capacity for Env to differentiate naïve CD4 T cells into the T follicular helper phenotype. I must be sort of tired or something because my eyes keep crossing.

I work with an international group of people like I did in London, although I suppose now it’s just mostly old Chinese men and one old Russian guy.

Oh…and I guess there’s this one guy from Wisconsin named Glen who stares at me in the elevator. He has a bowl cut.

They may not give me credit for the things I do here, but it’s only a 12 minute drive from my house. Sometimes 14 minutes. Speaking of, I’m looking forward to getting home tonight because I’m having couscous again for dinner. Neat.

Weirdest Day of My Life

7 Jul

When the bombs went off on July 7th, 2005, I was 20 years old and working at the London Eye as a VIP Hospitality Executive (I provided the “ultimate VIP experience” to famous people, stag parties, marriage proposals etc…).

I remember that we received word of what happened before the public did because we were a possible target. I remember being ready to make a run for it, but we weren’t allowed to leave. I had two jobs that morning–the first was, as instructed by MI5, to tell the people in the area that we were shutting down for the day due to technical difficulties (I didn’t lie to anyone). Then, I was told to search the bathroom for anything suspicious while we waited for the sniffer dogs to arrive. I had no idea what I was doing, but I searched around and tried to look important.

When we were released, I walked out of the building and saw tons of people pouring into the streets. A hot guy I worked with offered to take me home. His car was parked a couple of miles away, so I took off my heels, he took my hand and we walked.

I remember feeling like a little kid that day. I remember feeling confused by the blank look on people’s faces even though they were all probably just as confused and scared as I was. I remember my co-worker having to pull me away when I looked down the street and saw debris from that fucking bus and the blood on the wall.

Days later, I remember seeing posters for missing persons.

On July 9th, we were back at work. I remember reading an interview with a woman who said when she got off the bus, she saw “a pile of bodies in the back.” It made me sick to my stomach.

We all read stories like that in the news and we look it over. We have to, you know? We can’t emotionally connect to every terrible thing that happens. It’s weird. I just think it’s a really weird thing we do as fragile humans.

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