UKROI2014 Highlights and Observations

People have been kind enough to ask for my favorite moment from my time abroad. I never have a ready answer. As with almost any enjoyable experience, for me it is the little heart-catching moments that string together into fabulous memories:

  • My friend’s 2-1/2 year old son asking to go to London with me.
  • Neill striding out of the theatre, calling my name as the sun came out in Dublin.
  • The Edinburgh Botanical Garden
  • Glasgow’s yellow sandstone.
  • Walking into Sloane Square  for Birdland as dusk and a brief rain started to fall.
  • A play, a pie, and a pint at Glasgow’s Oran Mur.
  • Dublin smells like lilacs, and the air turns blue in the gloaming.
  • Horse drawn carriages plus art show along St. Stephen’s Green (Also St. Stephen’s Green)
  • The view from the member’s room terrace at the Tate Modern.
  • My last dinner in Edinburgh, at Indaba.
  • Walking around St. Katherine’s Docks and getting lost in East London.
  • Staying up till 3 AM talking about everything.
  • Walking Long Acre and then the A4, ignoring the tourists, soaking up the dusk light from Covent Garden through Piccadilly to Knightsbridge.
  • Listening to a friend doing the right thing, which is also the hard thing, with self-acceptance, determination, and grace.
  • The walk along the canal in Guildford (or pretty much any canal anywhere).
  • The view of the landscapes from the planes.

As any foreigner would, I made note of some differences between the United States and the cities I visited abroad:

  • Touring the UK and ROI is pretty much a graduate architecture seminar in efficient bathroom design.
  • It is also a graduate design seminar in enviable footwear.
  • I completely get that the roads were originally forged by feet and hooves, and that the path of least resistance may have been more important than the most direct route, but sometimes the windy shit drove me crazy.
  • Would it kill anyone to sign the street name ON THE STREET, instead of on a building halfway down the block?
  • dairy ice cream van
  • If you look at this image closely you will notice the van is called Dairy Ice Cream. While I am sure this is to distinguish from non-dairy frozen treats, it is still redundant, and seemed superfluous because none of those seemed to be on offer. Regardless, I am from one of the US’ most ice cream eating states and I still thought the UK citizens seemed to be eating a lot of ice cream.
  • There is (seemingly) reasonable food almost EVERYWHERE. Only in Dublin did I run into parts of the city that didn’t have an obvious and wide range of food in every neighborhood.
  • Cob-ble-stones.
  • There can never be too many public parks, public walks,  or public artworks.




  1. Pingback: I am not abroad/Mother’s Day | Nuts To Soup
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