Back in the US of A

I’ve been back in America for almost one month now. Everything is the same but I am different.

I moved directly into a new home upon arriving. I got to spend time with both my mom and dad my first weekend back, before they went to their new homes in other cities.

My life has changed in ways I never imagined. The buildings in Columbia finally look their size.

I have one year of school left at Mizzou. Once I have graduated I don’t know where I will head next.

This post, about being back “home,” is more condensed than my feelings and thoughts are in reality. A blog can’t contain all the things I am thinking and feeling right now.



Lauren Wood



Italy is truly beautiful. Alessandro is also.

I got a sunburn (I wore sunscreen Mom) at Lake Garda today.

Lake Garda

Pictures cannot do this place justice.

Also, I can’t be more proud to have family from this beautiful country.

We leave for the south of Italy on Wednesday.

My trip home gets closer and closer. I must say I am not looking forward to the trip (7 hour lay over in JFK, as well as a 2 hour layover in London the day prior).


it’s 100°F in Paris today

King NatashaI follow the creator of this photo on Flickr. I really like her use of mixed media.

There’s inspiration everywhere. I’ve grown so much in these last 5 1/2 months, and I know with time I can only grow more. I am far from perfect and far from 100% productive (whatever that means, anyway) but I see more light at the end of the tunnel than I may have previously.

I admit that I’m not going to be an expert in French by the end of my stay here in Paris, but I am proud of myself for taking the study of a second language more seriously than I did in high school.

I’m staying with Alessandro and his two other flat-mates here in Paris. Ale and I leave for Morocco this coming Sunday. I need to be sure and dress appropriately there (though, I don’t think I’m one to dress inappropriately anyway) as well as figure out how/where to transfer Euros into Moroccan dirham here in Paris. I also may need to ship my computer home?

Ale at the top of Le Centre Pompidou, in the midst of the PARIS-DELHI -BOMBAY vernissage (p.s. sorry mom, everyone European smokes)

The leather boots I’m wearing will have traversed 9 countries by the time I return back home….I can’t believe it. I can’t believe all that I’ve seen , though I remain humble and realize I still have so much more left. I am becoming an adult and with age comes wisdom. I’m far from full, but have gained so much more than I had.

My mom sent me a book in the mail, and I read it over a few metro rides to and from school. The beginning of the book asks the reader: “How old would you say you were if you didn’t know your age?”

I like that question a lot. I think it’s good for both the young and old to ask themselves.

Growing older should not be feared, it should be embraced.

I miss home, and I miss my family so much! But at the same time I know that all these experiences are of a once-in-a-lifetime variety. I need to soak up these beautiful experiences with no regrets. I’ve got a really good thing going for me here.

I hope to take school more seriously when I get back home, though I don’t expect a complete evolution of myself. Yeah, I’m Dean’s list and I take a full course load, etc. But, I do feel like I’ve been viewing college as a diploma, a necessity, more than an opportunity to better myself mentally.

I want to read not because I have to, but because the book will teach me something….and I should trust in the professor that it will.

I also want to use my fantastic network of creative friends back in Columbia to get something going. Put together a zine? Make some short films? Showcase someone’s work via video? Even mixed media as I’ve posted above would be cool to mess around with.

I love to write, and I’ve neglected my love since taking up psychology. I can do a double major and still focus on my true love though, I know I can. And I will.

Jasey: I’d like to mention that, in retrospect, the journal you got me has been put to good use! 🙂

Wow, someone in the neighborhood is playing trumpet. I think it’s a song from The Godfather.

Maintenant, je vais au supermarché pour faire les courses…..



English to English

I’d been adding to this since I first moved to England. Now I’m publishing it since I’ve left.


These are in fact English words (duh) but Americans don’t use the words below like the Brits do…or as often as they do.

British English–American English

fit–hot, attractive, etc.
taking the piss out of you–joking, teasing, making fun
can’t/couldn’t be bothered–will not
dodgey–bad, untrustworthy
wally–dork (term of endearment, really 😉 )
wanker–total idiot (not so endearing)
ta– a northern thing, equivalant of ‘cheers’, equivilant of ‘thanks’
cheers- general salutation, thanks
scouser–person from Liverpool
quid–Pound Sterling
knackered–messed up, broken
ill–throwing up, specifically….hear this a lot at house parties.
mind the gap–watch your step
way out–exit
bollocks–eh, well…you know….or can just mean “bullsh*t”
pikey–Irish gypsy
feck–alternative for the ‘F’ word
bugger off–go away
f*ck all–nothing
bum bag–fanny pack
fiver/tener–five/ten pound note
paracetamol– i.e. ibuprofen
bobby–police officer
trainers–tennis shoes
bog roll–toilet paper
bap–sandwich made from a bread roll/ the bread roll itself
jacket potato–baked potato
kitchen roll–paper towels
chav–our version of ‘trashy’, idiot blokes
baccy–rolling tobacco
chat-up–try and pick-up a girl
fancy–desire(e.g. We could go there if you fancy it)
proper–real, true (e.g. ‘I haven’t had a proper dinner in months’, or ‘That was a proper gig’)
what are you on about?–what are you talking about?
bell me–call on the telephone
ring me–call on the telephone
sixes and sevens–crazy
hiya–hello from a friend
queen–effeminate man, gay
prat–total idiot, quite insulting
query/enquiry–question (you’ve never heard anyone at Wal-Mart ask you if you have a query)

Zeh-bruh–Zee-bruh (z is ‘zed’)



If you want to know any obscene English hand gestures, I’ll tell you when I come home.

In all of Europe the calendar week begins on Monday, instead of Sunday.

And my friend Jonny would like everyone to know that they are obliged, not obligated.

living in Paris now

My Toro Y Moi vinyl got a bit knackerd on the way here. Going to mail it home once I find proper shipping material.

I dropped some film off, went to the supermarket, and mailed my dad a father’s day card today.

Next week I start an intensive French course.

My prononciation needs a lot of work, and I am so scared to speak French to locals. I’ve been trying my best to face my fears. Today I spoke a mixture of French and English everywhere I went. I need to keep practicing the sounds, and as well continue to learn and re-learn verbs.

I still have lots of photos to post, and I want to put together a video of some kind. All of this may happen once I’m home, who knows. I have so many things I still want to see and do, and so little time. A month in Paris is not enough!

After Paris I’m headed to Morocco and then Italy. I’ll be home mid/late July.

I miss you mom and dad! And I love you friends and family…back in the US…and all over the world.


today is gonna be a good day

Rain Looks Good On You

When the sun is down and the lights reflect off the sopping streets and sidewalks, I finally embrace the rain of England.


Our group arrives at the club around midnight, and we stay until 8:00 AM.

The sun rose 3 hours prior, and at that moment we were sitting on the water. Everyone wore sunglasses. Looking back past the dock, you could see people through the large windows, still dancing.

We somehow surpassed the line upon entrance. Daniel said a few words to the bouncer, of which I couldn’t understand, and the velvet rope was unhooked.

I watched a few people waiting in line get turned away. Too chic. “They keep these clubs urban,” it was explained to me.

Walking home I feel weird: my eyes were heavy but my brain sat on springs. Coffee was a cocktail at the club we’d just left. People were ordering it as we’d made our way to the exit.

I still can’t believe what I’ve seen and felt. Walking and living in Berlin for 6 days.

Many of the shops are open on the way back to the flat. Glancing through one shop window people can be seen reading the newspaper. Glancing through another, hands clutch cocktails, slushing around to a melody.  One spot on the corner has its shutters rolled down. The laughs inside are heard throughout the block.

We stop at a Turkish bakery to pick up a late, early morning meal.
I put the food in a canvas bag and we finish the journey home, where I sleep for two hours before catching my flight back to Manchester.

“Turn Those Fans Away From Me, They Only Dry My Eyes Out”

Before I go on with this post…

On the night that this post takes place a devastating tornado hit Joplin, Missouri. The tornado has taken at least 125 people’s lives, and even more are currently missing. This is a truly horrible catastrophe, and my heart goes out to Missouri.  I can only imagine how scared everyone was, or how it would feel to have lost everything…or even a family member.
The Damage.
Make a donation.

I love you Missouri, every part of you 😦 I’m so sorry.


GMT +6,

I was in the midst of a set by Toro Y Moi at the Deaf Institute (I hope this transition isn’t rude).

They played “Go With You” and “Low Shoulder”, the latter of which was an encore. I was very satisfied with their setlist, but it’s relative….I like most of their songs. Toro Y Moi is groovy. I don’t think you can substitute that word for anything else, they’re groovy.

The venue was pretty small but that was cool. Beat Connection was one of the openers. They’re a couple of young guys from Seattle, and they made me move!

Beat Connection (p.s. the pictures in this post look clear only when maximized for one reason or another)

Toro had an oil and water light show. So, so good. I don’t know why more bands don’t do stuff like this! Old techniques are sometimes the best techniques…




Chaz Bundick

After the show, I bought a vinyl of their first record Causers of This. I had Chaz Bundick, the lead singer, sign it. He quickly realized I wasn’t English and asked where I was from. I told him Columbia NOT South Carolina. Some other people came up to get tickets/vinyl signed and/or shake his hand. He told me to hold on. A handful of fans later, he turned back to me and asked if I liked to drink beer. You can guess my response. He then invited me to come drink with him and the band backstage. They were staying at the venue in an “apartment” upstairs. My jaw droppped, per usual, and I said, “are you kidding?” He said, “no”.

I waited by the merch booth for a bit until he came back up to me and told me to come with him backstage. I followed him through the black door and up the two or so sets of stairs. At the top of the stairs we arrived in a kitchen equipped with a couch, the venue’s past gig posters, a table, the band’s suitcases,
and a fridge full of beer (the last two didn’t come with the place.                           okay, yeah, bad joke).

Chaz and I sat on the couch while Patrick and Jordan, who came in behind us, went to the table and did Macbook stuff. Andy came up shortly after. The entire band was incredibly nice and genuinely good-hearted.

The guys from Beat Connection were upstairs for awhile, and the guy who runs Car Park Records (in Europe) came upstairs to meet the band. He was cool, very sweet. He opened a beer with his teeth! I’d never seen anyone do that before. Kudos to him. The guy with him informed me that Jack White is outrageously tall, and also that he was a furniture maker before he became famous. Apparently there are vinyls hidden in several couches. Who knows which couches or where these couches are…

Myself and the band ended up drinking a lot of Carlsberg and eating Domino’s Pizza. We listened to Dungen and talked about anything. People always say this, but I’m saying it anyway: they’re just normal guys. Normal in the sense that they don’t wipe their blood on the walls after shooting up heroin, and they don’t bath in money (Motely Crüe probably didn’t even do that stuff). Anyway, we had fun, and though, yeah, I was a little on edge because I couldn’t believe the situation, I really did have fun with them.

At one point everyone started blowing into their beer bottles as instruments. For a moment they really had a good mixture of pitches going on. I recorded a bit but missed the best, almost chord like, segment. Chaz kept going for a “jazz flute” (pronounced ‘yazz’) sound.

Jordan seems pretty into film and photography, which is cool. He as well does art and owns his own record label. Even better (ha), he has officially convinced me to get a Yashica- something I’ve been looking into but wanting advice on. The drummer, Andy, is freakin’ cute! He has a good sense of humor. Chaz has great style and great taste in music. He was also very hospitable and really liked the lens on my camera. I told him how cool I thought the “Still Sound” video was. I never foresaw that moment getting the chance to occur…

I listened to a bit of Carole King with the bass player, Patrick, when everyone else had gotten into bed. We talked about how relationships change when you’re gone for long periods of time, and how you miss your family and normal routines. We could understand each other, and it was cool.

It got late, and I had a final the next day down the street (sorry mom, once in a lifetime opportunity). I stayed the night in their room of bunk beds. There was an available bunk. I couldn’t resist.

I woke up early the next morning in order to get to my exam. Everybody got up soon after, and I said goodbye. I received a hug from Jordan which was so cool. He was so sweet. The others were laying in bed, so whether or not they would have done the same, well, whatever.

I didn’t get to say goodbye to Chaz, which still makes me sad. He was in the shower and I had to make it to my final.

And I did: I was right. on. time.

I’m really happy with my experience. They’re cool guys and I’ll never forget that night. Every time I put on their record I’ll think of the oil and light show and the apartment above the Deaf Institute…among other times, places, and people…of which have nothing to do with that night.

Man, I’m listening to Toro now, and I’m thinking about Chaz and his pink Chinos. I hope they know how much I respect them and their music.
I can say that now: their music AND them

hugs and kisses Chaz, Jordan, Andy and Patrick. hugs and kisses.


Deaf Institute upstairsChaz on iTunesChazAndyJordan and one of Beat Connection holding Jordan's artworkChaz's shoesPatrickme, taken by Chaz



Berlin until Saturday.