Moments in London

mirage pub, kensington, london

This pub is deep within Kensington, and on that day, on the long walk to fetch my bag, winding through neighborhoods and trying to add fun to an unwanted errand, it looked like a mirage, a beautiful invitation to seriously, no, really, just stop and have a beer, nothing else is that important right now. In the middle of all of these stately homes, this perfectly manicured, flower-edged vision sat. Someone lives next door to that. They can saunter a few steps and sink deep into a pint, in this beautiful yard, among those beautiful houses, whenever they like.

That reminds me of one of my other favorite moments in London. We were taking a walking tour of Westminster, hence some of the earlier pictures, and we walked through an area where lots of politicians live, as it is roughly within the shadow of Parliament. We stopped to look at this light and that house and this former home of a major political party, and I lingered for a moment. A woman was walking in and out of her house, loading up the trunk of her expensive but sensible SUV with kid supplies for what I imagined was a few days away at a grandparent’s house. The pricey car, the much-coveted address, and her ensemble of a tastefully transparent white button-down shirt over a tastefully opaque white bra, matched with impeccably fitting jeans… I wondered what she thought of these tromping groups of tourists wandering up and down the street, and how unlikely it was that she and I had shared a block for a moment at all. She was the picture of a certain kind of assured, casual wealth, far removed from any group of tourists who’d saved up for months to take a trip to London, who found nine pounds for a history-based walking tour of British government to be a very fine deal indeed, who would probably commemorate the outing with the most British of Britishy pub experiences they could find within a few minutes’ walk of where we would leave off, Big Ben towering above us, ringed by the iconic and historic.

I loved the buildings and hearing all they’d been through. But really, I travel because of the unlikely crossing of paths. A politician’s wife and a writer from Seattle. Or, later, a Belgian film archivist. Or a Spanish chef in Brussels. A Russian housekeeper, handling the AirBnB her French artist employer rents out. I love art museums and walking along winding rivers, but what I love the most are the moments that could happen nowhere else, that required both the place and the person to be complete. Victoria Station and me, strange and inverted enough to stand among thousands of people but decide to stare up at a pigeon. That sort of thing.

It’s the situations and the curious alchemy that get me. Here are a few of those moments, none quite enough to merit an individual blog post, but something larger on their own, I think.

Magic hour by the houses of Westminster, with a do not enter sign

I am making a habit of taking pictures of do not enter signs at the magic hour. There are worse things.

ghoulies on Westminster Abbey

I enjoyed the waffle-looking trellises at Westminster Abbey, but I preferred these guys.

Tea at the Cellarium at Westminster Abbey

This does not seem like a formidable amount of food until you get to that second scone. Also: did you know that you can have tea at a building connected to Westminster Abbey? It’s true! None of the guides told us such a thing existed. My smart cousin found this, and I’m so glad she did.

Yes, more magic hour.

A view from the building behind Westminster. The legs of Queen Anne’s stool, gone all rosy in the slowly setting sun.

Super cute tea shop near London Bridge tube stationI made more Harry Potter references to Tom while we were in Versailles than I did in London, for unknowable reasons. But every now and, I saw a ludicrously cute (and sadly closed) tea shop…

Westminster building with excellent windows…or this house, which surely is one gateway to Diagon Alley, and it feels like I should be in a long robe, carrying a broom. One of the things I enjoyed most about those books was how comprehensive a feeling they gave. Even though most of the locations were fiction, there was a reality of atmosphere that elevated all of the books.

And I am a trite American who goes to London and thinks on this no small amount.

hump signs, London

And has a sense of humor with good, sophisticated highs… and wonderful, wallowing lows.

Snog frozen yogurt, London

Though sometimes London met me halfway on that. I mean, come on, look at their domain!

Train station pigeon, London

But then there are these fine moments, like this indoor pigeon peering down at me from within Victoria Station. I’m sure this dude will be the main character in a children’s book very soon.

Kensington house with zigzag stairs

And the little girl in that book will live in this house with these wonderful front stairs.

And thus ends my London scrapbook. Next up: tumbling deep into Brussels, with all the good and bad that entails.

P.S. I wrote this post while participating in Hugo House’s 30/30 challenge. I’m writing at least 30 minutes a day all month. I post my favorite sentences of the day on Twitter. Please donate! I’ll keep writing regardless, but you’ll be encouraging me and supporting a great Seattle institution.

The Fear of Opening One’s Mouth and the Difference of a Year

A deviation sign, but in Dutch this time in Bruges

Once upon a time, I felt it necessary to be “correct” all the time. Necessary – and vitally important. To know how to smoothly maneuver any situation, to say some polysyllabic constellation of words to dazzle and open doors. It was my own small way of manipulating the world, a strange skill I learned to rely on early.

I have never considered myself charming, to be clear, but I felt that, through my hyperarticulateness and apologetic tone, I could deal with whatever I had to. I would show people how good I was, and through impressing them or saying the right thing, they would help me solve my problems.

It’s a difficult thing to keep up. Even if you are naturally polysyllabic and hyperarticulate, it takes a lot of energy. It’s not a sustainable tactic.

Mouth and teeth street art in Brussels

I began to walk away from being this way a couple years ago. It changed everything – it lightened my heavy introversion, because being around other people wasn’t such an energy suck. It paved the way to easier and more genuine interactions with everyone from my nearest and dearest to the cashier at QFC. I embraced it, and I opened myself to being awkward (once a life-bending fear) and incomplete. I opened myself to actually being real with people. I congratulated myself on being past this old hindrance. Haven’t I done so well.

In Paris last year, I realized how far that was from the truth. I may not try to dazzle people with my glittering utterances anymore (or not all the time, anyway), but I am made of words, and to have to get by without them left me unprepared for anything – and panicked at times. My first two or three days were spent with at least a mildly elevated heartbeat. What if something happened? What if someone misunderstood me?

Beginner’s mind: it does not come easily to me.

It was easier this year. Because we went to a trilingual country where it’s in everyone’s financial interest to speak at least business English. Because my French is somewhat better than nonexistent now. But mostly, really, because I calmed down. Once upon a time, that the housekeeper who checked us into our Brussels studio didn’t know English would have left me stricken. What if we missed some vital detail? What if we have a question or an emergency later?

What if she doesn’t know how smart I am?


Octopus street art in Brussels

Instead, I was able to admire how she was able to pantomime everything from how to work the complicated locks to where the coffee is (and how good it is) to how to work the TV. Her job is to deal with Frenchless foreigners; she performs it beautifully and with good humor. And instead of feeling mortified at being inadequate, I was able to enjoy the particular skill she’s had to cultivate and to marvel at how much I was able to learn without words – and how happy I was to pick out the French I understood.

It was a great welcome to Brussels.

I think what makes a person able to travel and really enjoy it is the skill to laugh at these shortfalls. To enjoy the gaps that exist between people and cultures, but also to celebrate when they’re bridged (perhaps using a mix of French, English, and Spanish, which happened to us at the kaiten-style Spanish tapas restaurant in central Brussels – a good meal, enjoyably delivered by lovely people).

At the end of a trip, yes, I confess I’m glad to return to where I know when the bars close and what’s sold at a pharmacy vs. the grocery store and how to pay the check in a restaurant. But it’s a flush of gratitude, a fluency returned, and there’s pleasure in that too. I know this. I can do this right.

I hope that, one day, beginner’s mind comes naturally to me. I admire it so in other people.

In the meantime, if I can look past my panic in a moment, I can see a crossroads. And I choose, over and over, the path of laughing and laughing, and trusting that most of us just want everything to turn out ok.

Voyage to the 32nd Floor of the Shard

the two-button elevator panel at The Shard in London

We heard there was a bar at the top of the Shard in London.

As the Shard is 87 floors, and the bar is on floor 32, that is not precisely true. But 32 stories up is enough to give you a view of London Bridge, the Thames, and everything else at enough distance that it all looks a little remote and magical. I think that happens at about 20 stories up. You can’t see the people anymore and, especially at night, you only see this glittering, shadowy shape of humanity. I especially like it in a place like London, where people have lived for so very long. Even viewed from an uber-modern glass skyscraper, the shape of more than a thousand years of people is still plain around you.

Even if you’re in a swanky bar made to house the beautiful people, or those who would like to pretend to be them for a bit.

An aside: here’s a suggestion, from me to you, on your trip from the US to Europe. Even if you don’t think you’ll want to go to the fancy afternoon tea or out dancing or whatever people who are better shod than I usually am like to do, bring one mildly formal outfit. A non-casual dress, or a dress shirt and nice pants. Something like that. And, perhaps most crucially, shoes that cannot be mistaken for sneakers in any light, at any time.

I had reclaimed my bag earlier, and I gleefully changed from my train station-bought clothing into my clothes, from my bag of my favorite stuff that I’d packed specifically to feel a little fabulous in Europe. So, despite it having been a day of wandering dustily through Kensington Garden and Hyde Park and then hunting for Sherlock Holmes, I was wearing ballet flats and a dress with a surprisingly subtle print of cats.* One of the few handy things about being a woman who tends femme is that dresses can be fake fancy very easily, even though a lot of dresses are basically large shirts.

Tom and I looked ourselves over to see if we’d have any concerns with a possible dress code at a possible fancy bar. The sole questionable element was his shoes, which were far from the big white trainers of nightmare Americans, but still had laces. “Just stand behind my bag,” I said. “You’ll look all chivalrous, carrying my bag, and it’ll be FINE.”

After the days of wayward bag, I felt like the universe owed me a break. I wanted to have an elaborate, overpriced cocktail in a bar with a view with someone I loved. That was all.

But the real gravity of all of this was unknown to us at this point. At the entrance to the elevator pictured above, a man and a woman in black suits and Secret Service-style earpieces were standing guard, and their entire purpose seemed to be to conduct a sartorial review of everyone who entered. I, in my girly camouflage, barely merited a glance. But they saw right past my incredibly clever bag ruse and promptly began a surprisingly involved debate about said shoes.

“I don’t know if they’re going to allow it.”

“They’re kind of like trainers.”

“But different.”

“But you know.”


“Well, let’s leave it to them up there then.” And, just like that, we were directed to an unknown higher authority. A tribunal for overly comfy Americans.

That is how we ended up, just the two of us, in the elevator with two stops. We giddily talked about what might await is up there and how we might be judged.

It was, we agreed, a lot of to-do over cocktails.

Another aside, after so many uninterrupted paragraphs: it is both good content design and my own preference to fill posts like this with lots of pictures. This one is an exception (though not the only one) for a few reasons. First, as you might guess by the conversation above, it wasn’t a situation where brandishing a camera felt either smart or natural. I was too busy wondering if we were going to get to do the thing we’d shaped the later part of our night around. Second, once we got into the elevator and emerged into the dramatically lit hallway on floor 32, I just wanted to… be.

When I was in Paris last summer, I deliberately didn’t buy a camera to bring with me. I took occasional pictures with my old iPhone 4, and I very occasionally borrowed Tom’s camera to take a picture of something especially good, but mostly I wanted to be in the moment, and I chose to observe and record only in my journal.** I prefer to take pictures now, because of this blog and because it’s fun, but now and then, such as when Tom and I emerged from the elevator onto a frosted glass balcony that was empty except for a beefy guy in the same doorman drag as his ground floor counterparts, I prefer to just… be.

We began to ask about the shoe matter, knowing that this solo sentinel would also see right past my clever bag ruse. He stopped us.

“Aqua Shard is closed.”

Now that my bag was back and the need for compartmentalizing had passed, I was able to fully feel things like disappointment and frustration again. My stomach twisted; it was our last night in London before going to Brussels, and our second time attempting the bar at the Shard. We’d come by the night before, only to find a series of closed, darkened doors.

He considered this for a long moment. “Oblix is open, though.”

I stared at him, waiting for clarification. Finally, I asked, “What’s Oblix?”

“Bar around the corner.” He pointed past us at a hallway lined in textured cement that gathered the light from the LED “candles” embedded along the floor to create millions of thin, dancing shadows. “You’re good for there.”

And we were. We checked my bag with two extremely dressed-up young women and walked down a long, L-shaped hall, to…

…the bar.

20-plus stories of distance renders most things observed more magical than they are. But that, plus night, plus floor-to-ceiling windows, and suddenly just the act of seeing becomes something special and rare. Even though we were sharing the bar with about 30 of our closest friends and a  jazz band, it felt like secret access, like the perfect, picturesque end to a weird, frantic, fun three days in London.

We settled onto a loveseat, next to one of the overpowering windows, London Bridge and the Thames like miniatures next to us. Finally, suddenly, it seemed like a long, odd, good day was going to have a sweet ending.

Oblix is serious about their cocktails, to the point of being a little fun and easy to tweak. For instance, here is what Tom ordered:

The Betsy Theory

One of the many legends told of the origins of the ‘cocktail’ is
that of Betsy Flanagan: In the 1700s, during the English occupation
of northern Virginia, she had a tavern frequented by French and American
soldiers. Betsy was renowned for her alcoholic concoctions. To show her
support of the rebels, she decorated her drinks using tail feathers from
roosters, stolen from the British Commissary. The name cocktail was
born as a drink for rebels and a cry for freedom by the oppressed.
As the actual ingredients she used are unknown, the
Betsy Theory is inspired by her story.

Bulleit Rye Whisky,
tobacco, cacao liqueur
with mint & peach bitters

Crafted as a julep and served in a silver plated cup over carved ice,
garnished with the feather of a cock’s tail.

I will point out that there was no feather to be seen. Indeed, when I looked up the menu, I wondered if perhaps they’d since removed the feather reference. No; still there. It’s a good drink (though curiously free of tobacco flavor), and worth it just for the spectacle of the cup. I ordered something with egg white. If it’s possible, I always order something with egg white. It’s an approach to life I recommend adopting, if you have the slightest inclination.

And then, we… sat. We canoodled, I suppose, because that’s what you do when you’re on a sofa overlooking one of the most famous cities in the world, when you’re a couple days into a trip you’re thrilled about, and when, once again in possession of your toothbrush and boots, you’re able to think that things might just work out after all.

We stumbled down a while later, caught the last train back to my friends’ flat in Balham, and woke up the next morning to wind our way under the Channel to Belgium.

*That’s right.

**Which I feel was the right decision in the moment, but sometimes I think of the street art I saw in Montmartre and wish so badly I’d recorded it, because I’m sure it’s turned over by now, and what I loved has been replaced. I won’t make the same mistake next month.***

***That’s right. 😀

P.S. I wrote this post while participating in Hugo House’s 30/30 challenge. I’m writing at least 30 minutes a day all month. I post my favorite sentences of the day on Twitter. Please donate! I’ll keep writing regardless, but you’ll be encouraging me and supporting a great Seattle institution.

Baker Street Is Made of Misdirection

Sherlock Holmes tile in the Baker Street Underground station

It starts in the Baker Street Underground station.

221b Baker Street sticker on the back of a street signYou get another quiet little hint once you emerge on the street.

Sherlock Holmes cafe sign on Baker StreetThe surrounding businesses are only too glad to contribute clues.

Sherlock Holmes has an official dry cleaner, it seems.Seems legit. You don’t want to wash your deerstalker on permanent press, after all.

Sherlock Holmes cafe and beveragesBaker Street is basically a celebration of finite copyright.

221b Museum sign on Baker StreetBut could we be getting close?

The Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker StreetSort of. But that isn’t 221b.

There doesn’t seem to be one.

This is the building that stands between 219 and 231.

The possible 221b Baker Street?

Curiously unnumbered.

What must it be like to pay millions of pounds to live at what may be one of the most famous addresses in the world… but to prefer to keep it on the DL? Is it a curious pride, or just irritation that the building in your price range with the amenities you like happens to have literary significance that keeps tourists gawping at your front door all year round?

The woman in this story probably has some idea.

This series of pictures, and this weird, unplanned little investigation, brought to you by fish and chips restaurants with a BYOB policy and a Tesco in easy walking distance.

P.S. I wrote this post while participating in Hugo House’s 30/30 challenge. I’m writing at least 30 minutes a day all month. I post my favorite sentences of the day on Twitter. Please donate! I’ll keep writing regardless, but you’ll be encouraging me and supporting a great Seattle institution.

London’s Albert Memorial: Grief as Religion

A fuller view of the Albert Memorial in London

We approached the Albert Memorial unknowing, towing my recently rescued bag on a scenic walk through Kensington Gardens. I was tired and relieved, and so I didn’t see signs for the memorial before I saw it beginning to tower above the trees before us. I wondered what saint or martyr or other person fallen in defense of the common good it commemorated.

But it wasn’t a glory to god or a representative. Instead, it was an expression of grief.

Part of the Albert Memorial in London

What is it like to have a larger part of the riches of the world available to make your grief solid? How is your grief shaped if your every dictate must be heard and obeyed?

Part of the Albert Memorial in London

Queen Victoria’s legacy suggests it doesn’t help it digest. The memorial was 14 years in the making.

London's Albert Memorial from behindBut if you could write large the greatest hurt of your life, with a dominating part of the earth’s resources behind you, can you say for sure that you wouldn’t? If you could make your love a permanent, towering part of the landscape of one of the most famous parks on earth, would you be able to resist?

I bear my hurts quietly, but I can’t say no.

I Wish I’d Eaten More at London’s Camden Market

Vegetarian Prosciutto sign at Camden Market

In my memory, Tom downplayed it when we were planning what to do with our limited time in London. “Oh, while we’re at Camden Market, there’s a food market we should check out,” he said. “I really liked it. Lots of stuff there.”

Like with theater, live music, and restaurants that aren’t centered around steak, travel is an area where I take very little prodding to be interested. “I heard it was good-” you might start to say to me, only to find yourself interrupted by a quick, “Right, when can you go? Next week? How’s Thursday?” From day to day, I’m discriminating about what I occupy myself with, and I think often of my own mortality when deciding if something is actually worth my time. But by trusting the suggestions of friends and other people I love, I see stuff that my introvert self might otherwise skip, opting instead to read in bed for another couple of hours.

So my response was a quick “sure” with little elaboration. One more entry for the list. Sounds good, let’s do things. Fewer questions mean more surprises later.

I first went to Camden Market with my mom during the very brief time we were there in late June 2000. Our life in Florida had not yet happened, so my mom was still pretty easily freaked out by anything reading as “weird.” These same things were basically my nourishment throughout high school, so it was an interesting time for us to know each other, and an even more interesting time for us to be travel companions in Europe. (A very strange walk through Amsterdam’s red light district came a couple weeks later as the trip was coming to an end. A lot of tense silence and nervous giggling.)

We got there just before the end of the business day, and I remember the closing stalls having an even fuller rainbow of Dr. Marten’s than they do now. I managed to score a £5 green glass necklace that is still among my favorites, now a relic of a kinder exchange rate. We had time for just a few Mohawks and a couple aggressive panhandlers with accents our Midwestern ears could barely understand, and then we were back on the tube, headed back to central London to soak up what we could before getting swept up onto our multicity bus tour.

So I was eager to see it again and more fully, and the promise of FOOD* was just extra enticement.

If I had not spent part of the previous evening frantically looking for ok-enough clothes in a train station-slash-shopping center (the better to dress myself in the absence of my checked bag), I might’ve been more inclined to pick up a cute, cheap dress or dig deeper into the vintagey t-shirts. But that bird had flown, and so I half-assedly windowshopped until we got to the food market.

I think I need to go full-on h1 for this. Stay with me.


Ok, so. Here is a partial list of what we found there, in an almost unbearably quaint, almost unbearably stuffed space full of food stalls.

  • Massive pans of paella
  • Philly cheesesteaks**
  • Falafel with ingredients plucked from a dozen beautifully arrayed wooden bowls
  • Curry***
  • Pierogi
  • Fish sandwiches
  • Everything ever, possibly

I say that because, due to crowds and my own hunger, I had to give up aggressive exploration after a bit and pick… something.

Fish sandwich stand at Camden Market with "shrimp" in many languages

I chose wisely.

Camden Market menu with fish sandwiches listed

I opted for the Trout Pout, and I spent several entranced minutes watching the fellow running the stand meticulously put together my lunch. The fish went on a small stove with raised grill lines, the fries were fried again to be fresh and warm, and a perfect little cucumber salad was nestled next to the sandwich. He was so deliberate and so careful, and the result of his care was one of my best-ever sandwich experiences.

An unremarkable-looking but delicious trout sandwich from Camden Market

I know this image doesn’t represent the depth of sandwich perfection that went on here, but I do not care. There needs to be a public record of it, and so: this picture.

I sat on a wooden trunk to the side, as far away from the thick crowd as I could get, while Tom wandered solo, sifting through dozens of options unavailable to my pescetarian self. I closed my eyes to enjoy the many layers of my sandwich, garnished by the hum of unfamiliar accents and wafts of food smell representing a fairly large part of the planet.

Tom opted for the falafel. He chose wisely, as the stand basically looked like Falafel in Heaven. I mean, come on.

A beautiful falafel stand at Camden Market

To finish, he got coffee made of beans that were ROASTED BEFORE OUR VERY EYES in a tiny, tiny skillet.

Single-serving bean roasting at Camden Market

We got a variety sack of tablet to go. I had heard of tablet, but all I knew was that it was something between fudge and cake. It’s crumbly and sweet and pleasant… and they sell grab bags that are far too large for two humans to finish in any reasonable amount of time. But it was worth it for the experience – and to reward the good souls that put together this freakishly perfect little tablet stand.

A pile of tablet at Camden Market

Here’s what I would do differently on a day like that, knowing what I know now.

  • I would not have eaten breakfast at a coffee shop. I would have had the smallest morning snack possible, just enough to keep myself from getting a headache.
  • I would instead have breakfast at said food stalls, have a good wander and buy something unnecessary, and then come back and have lunch at said food stalls.
  • I might find something else to do in the area, allowing me to return to have a third meal at said food stalls.
  • I would have organized a tag-team style plan, wherein Tom and I could have shared three dishes at each go around and thus tried more things.

However, I did fine. I wouldn’t trade the experience of that perfect, perfect sandwich for anything.

Although I wouldn’t have minded augmenting it with this, had I the belly capacity.

Hola Paella at Camden Market

Adios, three-foot-diameter paella pan. I will see you again someday.


**My companion, naturally, had some dubiousness about this, and so opted to try something he was more likely to enjoy.


P.S. This post is brought to you by Hugo House’s 30/30 challenge. I’m writing at least 30 minutes a day all month. I post my favorite sentences of the day on Twitter. Please donate! I’ll keep writing regardless, but you’ll be encouraging me and supporting a great Seattle institution.

The Tube Speaks to Me: Subway Posters of London

I am not a copywriter, but I am a student of language, particularly the stuff that conducts people through everyday life.* So it is one of my favorite things, when traveling in a country that mostly speaks the same language that I do**, to see how the culture talks to its people. And one of my favorite ways of gauging this is through the way that a country’s ads try to reach and manipulate people.

The London Underground commissioned a cartoonist with an achingly cute style to illustrate some common subway travails and how one might deal with them. (My friend who lives there, however, did not think very highly of being told in doggerel verse how to handle being a person of the most minimal self-responsibility.) I love the art, even if I do think it’s unfortunate that people were getting dehydrated on the tube often enough that a budget was created to be remind them that water is helpful.***

On a hot train, Alice felt so low / Faint and shaky from head to toe / She thought, "Next time I oughta / take along a bottle of water."

I also think that ‘stache here is being extremely brave. I’d like to think I’d be a super helpful person in this situation, but it’s not just a culture of familial ties that cause things like this to happen.

"If you spot someone ill or in pain / please try to help them off the train / we can offer aid much more quickly / on the platform if they 're sickly"

While we were there, there was also a series of posters entreating subway riders to investigate the exotic within the city’s boundaries.

If we hadn’t had such a short stay in London (marred by a wayward bag, courtesy of British Airways), I might’ve been swayed by this one.

Cartoon guy in red, hugging an alpaca for all it's worth

I’ve actually touched an alpaca, and I know it’s not quite like this, but I still want to believe it’s like nestling your eager little face into a nest of clouds.

And then there’s this one, which seems like it may be a trap. I’ve seen Torchwood. I know better than this.

London wants you to board a UFO. Tell London no thanks.

In researching this poster series, I found that you can buy these alongside the many, many other posters sold through the London Transport Museum. Meaning that, if I can free up a tiny bit of wall space, I very well may end up looking at this every day. By the way, if someone can tell me what an iconic Denver dinner would entail, I would be very interested to hear it.

The subways are lined with ads, of course. Posters for music festivals with headliners I’d never heard of, ads featuring celebrities I was only vaguely familiar with due to the lingering aftereffects of being a teenage anglophile, and brands that seem too well represented for them to have stayed so firmly on the other side of the Atlantic. I was content to let them blur into noise, taking them in as I could. I only took a picture of this one.

This freaky ad comparing a bleeding eye to gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. Augh!

And to that copywriter, I just say… point. I have no argument there.

Which is, I suppose, successful advertising wherever you are.


*One title for this: UX writer. Need one? Talk to me!

**And it’s a thing I lose out on when I travel in a country where English isn’t the first or second or third language used in official communications. I have a real love of handwritten signs on store doors and bus stop closure signs. However, it does force me to focus on other things, and I get a different picture of a place because of it.

***Particularly while on a continent that so thoroughly eschews the public water fountain. But that’s a tale for another day.