Posted in 2015 (Europe), Blog

18/07/16: A …Sunny? Day in London Town

So I went to London (again) for a few days and, in fact, I just got back yesterday. I think I get some kudos for posting this relatively quickly….

I booked this trip a few months ago because I had tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and didn’t know I was going to be visiting London twice in March, but that meant I had the chance to book a day trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Although, the booking of that was a DAMN MESS because I am apparently terrible at dates/times. I booked the wrong times TWICE before finally getting it sorted and correct.

Museum of the Year 2016!!

A photo posted by Apers (@apparentlyapril) on

I did luck out and happen to be in London at the same time as the Victoria and Albert Museum was offering a free behind the scenes tour of their Conservation Studios, so I got my ticket for that while I was visiting in March. That was so cool, even though I was the youngest person there by about 40 years (or more…) Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to take photos, but I did get to see the paper, books, painting, textiles, and sculpture conservation studios. The textile studio was my favorite, there was a gorgeous 1950s-esque dress on display in the studio and “The Souper Dress” was just visible if I stood up on my toes and peered around everything.


The Souper Dress

After my tour of the V&A, a couple of artists I follow on Tumblr who happened to be in London at the same time met me there and we went through the V&A and its Undressed exhibit. I had already met up with them the day before for ramen and wandering after I landed in London and we planned to meet up again, but it never worked out. It was fun to hang out with them, though.

The next day, I was looking for weird museums to go to, so I went to the Ragged School Museum, which was really small. It was a school started for orphans and homeless children by a doctor who came to London from Ireland intending to be a doctor missionary in China, but he decided to stay in London and help children there. I was talking to the volunteer and he was super friendly and knew a lot about the museum, so it was nice to chat with him before the school groups descended on the museum. Once the kids got there, it was too loud from them walking around and he was busy so I went on to the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory.

I got a ticket for the Royal Observatory and it included a free ticket to the space-themed exhibit, Above and Beyond, in the National Maritime Museum that I wanted to go to but didn’t want to get a separate ticket for, so that worked out really well! In the Royal Observatory, I got to stand on the Prime Meridian line and go up in the giant dome where the telescope used to be. It was so lovely out in Greenwich, I was amazed at all the greenery and the big boat (the Cutty Sark)!

A photo posted by Apers (@apparentlyapril) on

My last stop of the day was the Harry Potter play, but I won’t say anything about that because #spoilers. Except that my heart was full of feelings for these guys:


So the weirdest thing happened when I was on Facebook, though, because it turns out someone I worked with at Best Buy who had been going to university in Hawai’i since I had left for China was in London at the same time! What a coincidence. So we decided to meet up for tea the next day at 3.

Before meeting my friend, I went to the Wellcome Collection, which wasn’t as weird as I was hoping it was going to be, and I tried to go to the Zoological Museum, which was closed. But I did get to see a trepanned skull, so that was cool.

On my way to meet up with Josh, I went to a vintage shop and flicked through the jean jackets, ultimately finding one that was super cute AND super marked down. The original price in the vintage shop was 50GBP but I got it for 18. Yes, I am bragging about my name-brand jean jacket being HELLA CHEAP cause a brand new jacket from the same company is like 100GBP. DEALS.

So then I went for tea with Josh, who I hadn’t seen in 3 years. We talked about vintage cameras, which was awesome, because he works at a camera shop in Hawai’i and does photography and stuff. We decided there are three kinds of Camera People: Big Tech (like him), Vintage (like me), and Hobbyists (like my dad). He was impressed with my vintage collection and I with the massive expensive cameras that he got to work with, so it was awesome to be able to talk to someone about cameras and them actually understand.

After that was part 2 of the HP play, where I definitely DID NOT CRY ABOUT THE MALFOYS.

The next day was my last in London, so I decided to go to Stratford-Upon-Avon. The adventure was a bit of a mess, from not having the card I used to book the tickets to not finding a place to store my bag (I left it with some theatre staff, not technically a cloakroom at all), but I did get to see Shakespeare’s house and grave and gardens, and the town was super nice even if I was a little ill. (Did I mention I got sick like Day 2 of this trip and felt like I was dying by part 2 of HP?? Cause I was DYING.) On the train back, though, I chatted with these two nice old men because one of them brought out his lil packet of travel tissues because I was very obviously snuffly and miserable. We talked about 60s TV shows and SciFi and traveling, and when I went to leave, he gave me the lil packet of tissues!

Said hello to the Bard today.

A photo posted by Apers (@apparentlyapril) on

So after my train back from Stratford-Upon-Avon, I went to the airport, because that’s where I was sleeping, and I managed to get a two-seat section that I wedged myself into for a nap. Then I caught my flight at 6:30am and went home and slept!

Posted in 2015 (Europe), Blog

26/05/16: A Backlog of Updates

Hello, readers! Thanks so much for reading even though I’m a trash panda (n; raccoon I’m tired of those trash pandas eating my garbage.) and can never stick with an update schedule. Or even remember to update hardly anything.

So let’s work our way backwards.

Today, my friend Lisa (who I met in Shanghai and hung out with many times in Beijing and visited last November in Leeds) went back home after visiting for a few days. We didn’t really get up to much, we spent a day wandering about and then hung out at my house the next day. I made vegetarian sloppy joes and Snickerdoodles, though, for that Ultimate American Experience (obviously).

Two weeks ago, I submitted my final assignment for semester 2. That means I’m now finished with classes for my master’s degree and just have the capstone (like a group thesis project) to focus on over the summer. Looking at my grades, I’m doing pretty well. I haven’t gotten less than a B- and in Ireland, it’s a lot harder to get an A than in the US. At least, according to everyone I talk to and everything I read.

About a month before that, I finished up my crazy-busy travel month. In the month of March, I went to London twice, went on a road trip around Ireland with my family, and visited Milan, so here’s a quick breakdown of those trips:


I spent a few days in Milan, where I saw the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, as well as a museum full of da Vinci sketches. I went to a lot of churches, but the coolest was climbing a million stairs to get to the top of the Duomo cathedral.

251 stairs later…

A video posted by Apers (@apparentlyapril) on

I also went to a really nice Alfons Mucha exhibit that was absolutely gorgeous.

The last thing I did was wait in line for a really long time to get a ticket to an opera at the Teatro alla Scalla, where I paid 13 Euro and ended up sitting in a 200+ seat.

What a great way to end this trip! #IdueFoscari

A photo posted by Apers (@apparentlyapril) on

Mittelstaedt Family Trip 2016

A week after Milan, I met my family in London where we spent 2 days before going on an Irish road trip. We went to Bru na Boinne, Newgrange, Belfast, Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney, the Blarney Castle, and Cork (plus 12 places in London and 5 in Dublin and we spent a day in Maynooth). It was an exhausting trip, but I’m glad I waited to go to most of the places on our trip instead of going without my family. Even though I’m used to traveling by myself, the Mittelstaedt Family Trip is an awesome tradition and it’s nice to spend that time with my family instead of not spending quality time with them now that I’m grown up.

It’s hard to say what was my favorite location on the trip, but I think it was the Tower of London and the little place Danny and I hiked just before we got to the Cliffs of Moher. We got lucky on our trip because it was sunny the days we went to Giant’s Causeway and the Cliffs of Moher, but started raining as we were on our way back.

My brother is soooo attractive and also singlleeeeeee

A photo posted by Apers (@apparentlyapril) on

London with the Hughes Family

I started the month of April with a weekend trip to London where I met up with family friends I’ve known since I was very young. I had a great time showing them all my favorite places of London and going on (yet more) walking tours with them. For whatever reason, I didn’t write down all the places we went and they sort of blur together with visiting London with my family, but I did get the chance to go to the Victoria and Albert Museum (on my own, they were still in Paris when I arrived) and we went to Tower of London (which I still really enjoyed!)

One thing I didn’t even think to do when my family was visiting was go on a Jack the Ripper tour. We went on the one done by the Beefeaters (the guards at the Tower of London) and it was fantastic. I had such a great time showing the Hughes around London, I could honestly be a tour guide (HINT HINT LITERALLY ANYONE NEEDING A TOUR GUIDE IN DUBLIN).

I’m currently sitting in a tea shop (the same one I’ve come to like 5 times in the past week in Dublin) waiting for my friend to meet me, but I hope to write an article-style post about dead things to see in Dublin and maybe another about museums to visit here. I’ve found that my favorite museums in Dublin have dead things as my favorite exhibit, so look out for that.

Anyway, Happy May!

<3 April

Posted in 2012 (Europe), Blog

06/11/12: My last full day :(

Hostel 9:58
I’ve been lollygagging this morning, but I did manage to get up in time to have breakfast in the kitchen. Anyways, after I left the tube station, I walked over to a place called the Natural Kitchen for tea, a croissant, and a raspberry custard pie. Once done, I walked over to the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

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Of course, I had to walk to the gift shop to purchase a ticket, but what else is expected? I went through it, crowded by groups of people while trying to get my own pictures. Apparently, “all you have to do is push the button” isn’t a good enough instruction, since most people try to push the button only halfway. Regardless, I managed to get a shot of me in Sherlock Holmes’ chair.

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Once I left Baker Street, and made my way back towards the London Eye, but decided it was too cold to wait in line. Instead, I walked the suggested route in my guidebook before heading to Buckingham Palace. I snapped a few photos before walking through Hyde Park to get back to the hostel. Halfway through, I was ready to give it up and try to find a bus or something, but I was too far in to find a bus. I made it back and had some tea and Ritz crackers before I went out to see about tickets for Mamma Mia! Luck was in my favor because I got tickets in the front of the dress circle for 35£ instead of 65£.  it was an AWESOME show and I had a blast. Now it’s 10:15, I think my camera’s charged enough. Time to go!

Shaftesbury Theatre 19:17
I really didn’t do much today, there wasn’t much left that I absolutely wanted to see, so I got on the tube and went to the Natural Science Museum.

Fall 2012: London - 0162

I went through the part about the earth and the part about the dinosaurs, but there were a lot of kids groups so I didn’t spend much time. After all, natural history is pretty much the same in museums anywhere. After that, I walked to a café that had Wi-Fi and plans to charge my camera (apparently my spare battery is also dead…) and have some tea. I left the café and went back to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is definitely my favorite. Hopefully, I’ll end up somewhat well-off living in/within two distance of London and I’ll be able to afford a membership. That would be awesome. After I left  V&A, I hopped tubes over to the National Gallery where I wandered around until I deemed it appropriate to walk over to the Shaftesbury Theatre. Unfortunately, portraits of dead Brits didn’t hold my attention long enough and I went to a café to use the toilet and Wi-Fi. I played checkers with my brother over iMessage until the appropriate time to go to the theater for real. I managed to get tickets to Rock of Ages, at Mama’s suggestion, for 25£ in pretty good seats. Show’s starting!

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I usually go to much more… Understated shows than this…

Wahaca 22:29
Dad’s going to be so jealous he finds out where I’ve been. I practically just lived the perfect Daddy-Daughter Date tonight. Rock of Ages followed by Mexican food? I’m living the dream. 🙂

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Suggestion for dad (as I know he reads my blog):
When the summer nights have passed  and the fall parties have to move inside,  wait until the cold settles in and, at the perfect winter party, try some Mexican hot chocolate with a slash of spicy tequila.  I’ll try to make a recipe for you.

Interested in photos? You can see all of them from Fall 2012 and from London at my Flickr page!

Posted in 2012 (Europe), Blog

05/11/12: And the show begins

Novello Theater 19:35
I think this is going to be the best part of my trip. But before I tell you what it is, I should go back to yesterday (was it only yesterday?!) and catch back up. I did leave the Hummingbird Bakery to go back down to Westminster. I got on the bus that took me past the theater, but the theater was closed. So I rode the bus a bit farther and caught the tube to Queensway (or whatever it is). Then, I went to a Starbucks, got some tea, and wrote before heading back to the hostel I sat in the lobby and chatted until I decided to go to bed. There weren’t many people staying in the usually full room, so none of them were in the room and I took the chance to re-organize my things. Hopefully, I’ll have the same chance tonight and tomorrow night so I can have my stuff ready to go on Wednesday. I can’t believe it’s almost time to go. I’m not ready to leave yet!

This morning, I got up a bit later than intended, but it’s not like that makes much difference, since it’s just me and I have no real plans anymore. I hopped on the tube and got off at Baker Street. Exit the station and came face-to-face with Sherlock Holmes, really, a Sherlock Holmes statue.

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Interested in photos? You can see all of them from Fall 2012 and from London at my Flickr page!

Posted in 2012 (Europe), Blog

04/11/12: Oh, my poor feet

The British Museum 12:51
The only exhibition I have paid for in a museum is the one I’m currently sitting in. I haven’t been writing much since I’ve been here since I’ve mostly been walking for three straight days. NaNoWriMo has begun, but I haven’t been writing. I think I’ll pick up a small notebook to try writing in. Then I can write whenever I’m sitting. It’s not like I don’t have a million notebooks or anything. Whatever. Let’s see, back to recounting my trip. On the first day, I walked through Tate Modern and then went on the tour through Shakespeare’s Globe. After the Globe, I ate at some shoddy little café before heading back to my hostel for a nap. Once I woke, I went to Chinatown / West End and wandered around before going to Rocky Horror at the Prince Charles’ Theatre.

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That showing was missing the call-outs, shadow cast, and ACE Films, but at least it had men in drag and prop bags. It wasn’t the Rocky I love, but it was still Rocky Horror Picture Show. After that, I went back to the hostel and went to sleep.

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The host, a lovely Dr. Frankenfurter
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A costume contest!

The next day, I spent most of my time shopping around Regent’s Street and West End. I’m looking for the perfect coat and the perfect bag, though I haven’t found either yet. I had brunch in a Nordic Baker, I had a potato pie and a cinnamon roll; the potato pie had butter and egg on it. Both were delicious. I had dinner / lunch in a dinky little chain restaurant while waiting for my friend to come find me. Once he did, we walked around Regent’s Street some more as he tried (but failed) to get me lost. After all, I had been wandering around that area all day. We finally got tired of walking, so we stopped at a Starbucks and another friend came to meet us. Both guys had studied at UNCW, so it was nice seeing them again before we all three went our separate ways.

Yesterday, I started off by walking through Hyde Park and ended up outside the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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A glimpse of the London Eye from Hyde Park

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I walked around in there before walking (in the wrong direction) to get my lost Irish phone.

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Inside the V&A (my favorite of the museums I visited!)

I finally broke down and caught a bus to where my phone was and then decided to go over to the London Eye are.

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The London Eye at night

In my attempts to find the Eye’s entrance, I found Big Ben and a festival-thing. Unfortunately, the line to get on the London Eye was extremely long, but I caught sight of a Dalek on a poster and decided to go through the London Film Museum instead. Inside, they had props from Harry Potter, Batman’s suit, two Daleks, and a TARDIS, among other things.

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There was only 1 other person inside the museum and he took a blurry photo 🙁
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Harry Potter room!
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I took multiple pictures of Unfogging the Future and ALL of them were blurry!

After the museum, I walked back to the other side of the River Thames because I had seen the Sherlock Holmes Pub and I was going to eat there.

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Since it was too crowded, I got out my trusty tour book and tried to find a new place to eat. Unfortunately, the next place I tried was closed permanently, so I ended up in a place called Princi, where I got a slice of pizza and a delicious dessert that started with “C” and had strawberries on top. After eating, I wandered around a bit more before heading back to the hostel where I read a bit before going to sleep.

This morning, I got up at 10, later than I intended, and missed the free in-house breakfast. Instead, I went to a café called Milkbar where I got French Toast and English Tea. The French Toast was amazing and had a fried banana on top. It was so good, I ate every bite. After eating, I walked over to the British Museum, where I currently sit in the Shakespeare Exhibit.

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I don’t know what else I’ll do today, I might try to go back to the London Eye one more time and maybe get tickets to see a musical (preferably Mamma Mia!).

The Hummingbird Bakery 16:15
I spent almost as much on tea as I have been spending on lunch and dinner, but it’s still been less than 10 pounds. I tried to go through every room in the British Museum (and I did, except those that were closed). I think now I’ll head down to the theatre where Mamma Mia! is and see about getting tickets. I’m worried it might be expensive, but I think it would be worth it. I don’t really know how to get there, so I think I’ll just take a bus to Westminster and then take the bus I was on last night to the theatre.

Interested in photos? You can see all of them from Fall 2012 and from London at my Flickr page!

Posted in 2012 (Europe), Blog

01/11/12: HELLO LONDON!

Tate Modern 11:30
Modern art isn’t really my thing. I like to look at the people more than the art. Art is stagnant; every time you look at it, it is the same. People, especially strangers, can change in a glance. The first time you look, you see one thing: a couple holding hands. The second time, your perception has changed: she’s pulling him through the museum. I guess people and art are the same in that regard. When you look at the same painting a while later, you have changed and so has its meaning. I guess with people, you’re both changing, so it seems like a more drastic change. All the same, I still prefer to look at people. I can see that some of the others do, too. Particularly the children.

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Shakespeare’s Globe 12:45
When I was walking across the Millennium Bridge to get to Tate Modern, I could see the Globe in front of me, the London Bridge off to the side, and the London Eye off to the other. I couldn’t help but think to myself “I made it.” Now I’m at the Globe Theatre, a place I didn’t think I’d be at so soon after my course on Shakespeare. Only a few months! I thought it might take years to get to London and here I am! I made it!

Fall 2012: London - 0011

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Interested in photos? You can see all of them from Fall 2012 and from London at my Flickr page!

Posted in 2012 (Europe), Blog

31/10-01/11/12: A Trip Summary

31/10/12 18:41: On the train to Dublin
As I was walking to the train station, I realized this is going to be the first time I travel by myself. No one is going to drop me off at the airport, no one is going to pick me up when I get there. I have to take a train to the bus to the plane to get there and I have to do it all on my own. So it makes a bit of sense that I’ve given myself about two hours between the bus and the plane in my “schedule”. After all, the bus might have troubles or I might get lost (always a possibility with me). Who knows, there might even be trouble at the airport. (I am now begging every god or deity that there are no troubles at the airport. I’ll even resort to old superstitions.) Quite possibly the dumbest part of my trip being the first I have to do 100% alone is that I have never flown out of the Dublin airport and I have never flown in or out of the London Luton airport. This probably would’ve been easier if I was going from Greensboro or Denver or something because I’ve flown out of them numerous times since I was young, I’m not afraid of those airports. The only time I’ve been in the Dublin airport, it was 6:55am and I was completely jet lagged.
Here’s to my luck holding out.

1/11/12 1:36: I think I lost my Irish phone. Shit.
I’m at the hostel. Where is my phone?

Interested in photos? You can see all of them from Fall 2012 and from London at my Flickr page!