Hello I’m back again!! I apologize for my blogging absence (I know it has been killing you all). It has been busy busy around here!!!
My first official work week was kicked off by joining Shannon at a funky coffee shop for a meeting with the two men organizing and facilitating a weekend gathering for the Matryoshka Haus initiative entitled The Transformational Index. I suggest exploring the link – finding out more about the ‘TI’ is certainly something of which is worth your time! The gathering for the ‘TI’ is being held at a retreat venue in the beautiful English countryside and I am very much looking forward to it! I’ve been given the task of organizing transportation for all of the guests who are coming to the gathering – 24 people to date! This task has involved loads of emailing and coordinating – especially the last couple of days with the event growing nearer – but it is all coming together quite smoothly.
One of the first things I did that produced very exciting results was contact the University of Texas Panhellenic organization as well as Kendra Scott Jewelry about carrying out collections for Sweet Notions. UT panhellenic responded very enthusiastically and are very willing to get involved, and some pieces from Kendra Scott in Austin, TX are about to be making their way across the pond!! Conversations about holding collections for Sweet Notions have continued into this week with more people in the states as well as the UK, so I will keep you all posted! Also in the realm of Sweet Notions, I was lucky enough to help seal the deal at a fantastic venue called Drink Shop & Do at which we will hold our September 30th Sweet Notions ‘Pop Up Shop’ event!! Even more great news – we have a confirmed venue for an October 7th ‘Pop Up Shop’ event and another one in the works for an event at the end of October.
It’s encouraging to sit here and write in reflection about the things that were only just beginning 2 weeks ago that have either been successfully completed at this point , or are on their way now!
Saweet happenings with Sweet Notions and Matryoshka Haus!!
Early Sunday afternoon, August the 28th, Shannon took me to the Columbia Road Flower Market. Flower vendors come and set up shop in the middle of the street, lining the entire width and length. Behind the flower vendors on both sides of the street are countless adorable shops filled with fantastic furniture and art. Occasionally there are coffee or food shops – my favorite being the restaurant that puts fried calamari and shrimp in small paper cups that are grab-and-go. Delicious and convenient. After the market we had a picnic in a park called ‘Jesus Green’ with one of Shannon’s friends, Rachel. I’m not sure why or how the park was named ‘Jesus Green’ but He was right there with us I have no doubt. After a few minutes of beaming sunshine – in typical London form – it began to rain on our picnic, but not on our parade! We just continued our conversation at a cafe down the street, and the Jesus from the green went with us. I loved having the opportunity to get to know Rachel and to see a little more of my new neighborhood!
The next day was a ‘Bank Holiday’ – no one seemed to entirely know why, but it was nice to have my first Monday available to play! I saw some things I believe to be worth sharing (especially if you’re a girl). I met my friend Caroline in South Kensington and we had a delightful picnic in Kensington Gardens, where we could see Kensington Palace – the humble abode ‘Will’ and Kate inhabit when they are in London!!! I was really thrilled about that, naturally:) We walked from there to the famous Notting Hill – yet another girly thrill due to the reason for its fame; it was the setting and title of the feel good chick flick that made most women want to move to the UK in search of Hugh Grant…..or their own version of someone like him.
These were just a few more fun things I was lucky enough to get to do and see my first week in Londontown! Great way to start out this 10-week adventure. Next blog post you’ll read – it’s work time!!
I could not have asked for a more welcoming and comfortable experience my first week in London. Shannon and my new roommates graciously made me feel right at home, and we got along ‘splendidly’ (thought I would throw in a little British lingo for you) from day one.
I did, however, make an enemy as quickly as I made friends with my new house mates and colleagues; the lock on the front door of 54 Hereford street. When I arrived, the lock was broken and was on the landlord’s fix-it list, yet it had not been fixed when my first Saturday in this great city arrived. Due to several different circumstances, I spent the day wandering around and exploring London alone. Initially I was a little disappointed that no one would be joining me in this venture, but I quickly got over it and had a wonderful day – one of my favorite days that I’ve had here to date. I went to Covent Garden and looked around the Covent Garden Market, strolled along the Victoria Embankment, and did some serious people-watching at a corner cafe. Once evening rolled around I decided to hop on ‘the tube’ and head back toward my flat for some dinner. By the time I made it back, it was dark and I was truly about to use the bathroom in my pants – perhaps this is too much information, but it is an important detail of the story. So I’m doing the ‘pee-pee’ dance outside of our door and I truly cannot get it unlocked – an event that had already happened on NUMEROUS occasions prior to this particular instance. So I can’t stand there any longer without going to the bathroom and I remember that Cathers had said that the pub around the corner – The Carpenter’s Arms – was a nice one that they enjoyed, so I decided I could go there and use their bathroom and grab a beer. Well, Cathers was right and it was an enjoyable place so I ended up staying and chatting with the bartenders and other Saturday night pub-goers, and I eventually made some buddies (it did however, take me much longer to do so than it would have in TX). I then decided it was time to head home and confront the evil lock, but lo and behold I lost that battle once again. I’m sure by now you’re thinking I must be somewhat of a challenged individual, but I promise you the lock was the one who was challenged. So, it’s cold and I don’t want to stand outside any longer so I go BACK to the Carpenter’s Arms. My new found friends welcomed me with open arms (no pun intended) and I finally called the newly departed roommate Hannah. She was busy moving out during all of this and I did not know her very well at all at this point so I was hesitant to bother her but I had no choice. She was, of course, happy to help and came to the Carpenter’s Arms and met me for a beer. We then got to chat and learned more about each other, so maybe that was the intended purpose in this small disaster! Hannah unlocked the door that night and my enemy was laid to rest soon after. While the evil lock caused me much distress, it also led to some new friendships and a funny story. As a result, I am thankful for that stupid lock ‘opening some new doors’ for me even though it wouldn’t open the door to my own flat.
My first week in London was truly a wonderful time spent getting to know Shannon (I have known her for a long time, but had not been around her for about 10 years prior to August 23rd), some of her colleagues, some of her friends, my new roommates Helen, Catherine, and since-moved out Hannah, as well as hanging out with a great friend of mine from my alma mater The University of Texas:)
Shannon and Cathers were kind enough to ‘show me the ropes’ of getting around in London – a skill I am slowly but surely mastering – and an adventure by which I got to see some fabulous sites! These include, but are not limited to, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Trafalgar Square, The Tower Bridge, and the London home of ‘Queen’ Helen Mirren. In addition to all of this fun stuff, over many cups of coffee and a couple glasses of wine, Shannon, Cathers and Andy began to explain to me how they found themselves involved with Matryoshka Haus, what it does, who it is, and what they want it to be, and do, in the future. I have so much left to learn (which is a vital part of my reason for being here), but already in my first couple of days I began to have a much clearer view of the transformational vision of ‘MH’ and the heart of what drives that view.
Side note > from here on out I will be using ‘MH’ as a nickname for Matryoshka Haus. I think it is evident why!
Hello! Welcome to ‘In Da Haus’ – a first-hand account of the journey of the first ever Matryoshka Haus intern! ‘Matryoshka What?’, you might ask. I invite you to join me as I attempt to answer the question of who Matryoshka Haus is and what it is doing through the perspective of my experience working with its core team, in addition to many others from many walks of life in the awe-inspiring city of London.
I’ve already been here for 10 days so we’ve got some catching up to do! I will at least ATTEMPT to be concise – it is generally a challenge for me, and is even more so with this particular experience. It has already given me an excess of material with which to work!