Sunday, 24 July 2011

How many guys can you make wince with a fake penis?

Gotta love Rolf!
Firstly for those of you that don’t understand the title I am not going to explain it, those of you that do understand the title then I hope you giggled/felt the pain again, especially Rachy.

Ok so Friday was my leaving party organised by the lovely James and Dani though they had help from Rachy and Dave. I think everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong! But somehow it was still an amazing night. There were cards and banners and presents and a song that I never heard and a private booth and free drinks and a lot of time and effort was spent making me feel special and loved. What they didn’t take into consideration was wardrobe malfunctions, my shoes killing me, having to get up early and a lot of rain!!! Needless to say my brand new outfit was changed within hours and my newly cut and dyed (nearly 3 hours in the hairdressers earlier that day) hair went from stylishly curled and full of volume to soaked and looking like a drowned rat before I even got into the club!

Be that as it may, I only bought one drink the whole night and managed to get really rather drunk on my brilliant line of “You haven’t bought me a drink yet!” and I had a good night dancing away with my friends and chilling in my private booth that I still have the sign from.

Australia Cake
The point is that just because the little details didn’t go according to plan it doesn’t mean that it’s a disaster. I think sometimes I forget that. Yes I did get upset when not all the people that said they would come came, but the people I needed there were. I know I didn’t look how I wanted to but the people I was with have seen me a lot worse and besides they were there because they loved me so it didn’t matter how I looked. And as for the lost sleep, there will be plenty of time to sleep later. Just got to go with the flow and enjoy it!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Popping Peas

Ok I have said “popping peas” to three people now and none of them knew what I meant so if you know what I mean then skip to the second paragraph.  For about a fortnight every summer they sell peas in the pod. They are much fresher and taste really good. But to get the peas out you have to squeeze the end of the pod till it pops open and then you can split the pod and ping out the peas inside.

So mum and I always pop peas. I’m not sure why but we do and its really fun. It might not sound it but it is and the peas taste yummy raw so you eat one pea per pod you pop. Anyway it made me realise how the simple things really are the best things to make you feel better. This Friday my friends are throwing me a leaving party and I am really looking forwards to it, hopefully it will be full of more simple yet amazing things. I know James and Dave have written me a song and I know there are more surprises on the way. We are all on student budgets so there will be no surprise diamonds but I think that what does happen will be better as people have taken the time and energy to make a night purely about me.

So I am feeling the love from my friends and this is a public thanks to everyone that has gone out of their way to make me feel special and loved in my last few weeks in the country, especially to Dani and James for organising my party. See you all soon!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Half Price Coffee

Why do these mugs remind me of my brother?
So today I went for an impromptu coffee with Steph. Costa is doing half price coffee between 4pm and 6pm so we went on the dot of 4 and I stood in the queue while she hunted for a free table. We make quite a team and shortly we were drinking from those huge double handed coffee mugs. I remember the last time I had a drink in one of these was February 2009 when I had a spectacularly bad day and just wandered into the nearest coffee shop and ordered “hot chocolate please, the biggest size you do” and was presented with this huge bowl of what was apparently hot chocolate though I don’t remember tasting it. But never mind, this was a much happier giant soy caramel latte and nothing at all like a commiserating hot chocolate. Steph and I can always chat and it was nice to have the time to spend with her as she is away a lot. Recently her laptop has been away being fixed so we have had to actually phone each other. I forgot how much better it is to talk to someone on the phone than text or msn etc. She is going away again maybe as soon as tomorrow so we wanted to meet up one last time before I go. So that’s her gone for a year.

Also, last night I had a few of my “Grown Up” friends over for dinner. I don’t mean grown up as in they are older than me but I mean they enjoy fine food and wine rather than a kebab and value vodka. So myself, Fliss, Dom and Phil sat about my kitchen table into the small hours of the morning discussing everything pretty much. By 2am it had degenerated into fairly hard core theoretical philosophy that mostly I just listened to as I had little to contribute to the topic but found it interesting none the less. In bed by four but the following morning I was rather aware that I was now another 3 friends closer to having said goodbye to everyone and leaving for Oz.

I am 4 friends closer now including Steph. It’s kinda scary. It almost makes me not want to see my friends as I know it will be goodbye. I know that’s backwards logic because time will carry on regardless and the time for me to leave will come if I am ready or not. Eeeep.

Friday, 15 July 2011


“A dream is something that fills up the emptiness inside. The one thing that, you know if it came true, all of the hurt would go away.”

If you know where that came from then shame on you! I include myself in that category but it really did make me think about dreams and what I want out of life. I know what my dream is, the thing that if it came true then all the hurt would go away, but that’s not what I want to talk about. It’s a personal thing and I think most people would be private about theirs. And to be honest I don’t think even then that all the hurt would go away but it would stop the hurt and make it a memory rather than a reality. 
Not all things we want are like that though. There are the dreams of our childhood, the small dreams of the next year or so and then there are the big dreams that are your lives work. When I was a little kid I wanted to be a teacher. I toyed with the idea of being a vet but decided I couldn’t stand to be around the sick animals (yes, I was one of those kids that took everything way too seriously) but having seen how much work teaching is and the toll it has taken on my mother I know I will never touch teaching with a barge pole. Well at least not school teaching. I have small dreams, like passing my exams (I did!) and I still have big dreams, of being happy in the future: financially stable, having my own home, having a family. I know those all sound mundane and unexciting. My updated dream job is to be researching new plants and animals in the unexplored regions of the Amazon and maybe discovering some amazing new drugs. However that doesn’t work well with my little family dream. I suspect that would be an either or situation and the family would probably win. Well that’s assuming I find someone that fits my personality enough to want to spend their life with me. Maybe he will want to come with me and we could raise our children while working and be like the wild Thornberry’s!!!  (Smashing) But I doubt it. With the jobs and property markets being what they are I think I will be lucky if I have a job that pays more than 15k and can afford the deposit to buy a small 2 bedroom semi-detached I will count myself lucky. That sounds rather sad doesn’t it? I don’t mean to say that I am resigned to a boring suburban fate. I just mean that I am realistic about what I am likely to get.

However having said that if you had told me 10 years ago that I was going to be moving to Australia to study brains then I would have told you to jog on and seek some help. So I know that life surprises me a lot and doesn’t always do what I want. Sometimes life does the exact opposite of what I want and it causes me a lot of pain, but sometimes when life does the opposite of what I was expecting it works out better than what I wanted! Like me going to University; I wanted to go to somewhere else but fate intervened and here it was, and I feel more at home here than I do anywhere else. It’s just about perspective and hindsight. My favourite song at the moment is bowling for soup – turbulence. Even though the lyrics are a little “yea don’t worry it will be ok” it helps when I feel trapped.  But what if the company I am working with next year really like me and offer me a proper job for after I have graduated? Would I move permanently to Oz? What if I can’t find a job? I fully intend to do a PhD before I die but the current plan was to have a few years in industry behind me before I did. I could go straight to studying for that. I try to have made my mind up on the issue I’m talking about in each post and this one I guess is that some dreams will never come true and some will change but that’s not always a bad thing. And sometimes having a dream will drive you to greater things that you never even thought of.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Today I want to talk about something that’s been on my heart a lot today. The inspiration for this post is that I have had a moderately large argument with one of my close friends. No one has done anything wrong so there is no blame game to be played. We had argued about a characteristic that has always been a flaw of my friend. She is aware of this characteristic and will (on a good day) even admit to it, however this flaw is quintessential to my friends character and therefore without it she wouldn’t be her. So is it still a bad thing?

Well it managed to royally upset me and therefore I was less than diplomatic in explaining why I was upset and that just made her worse and it degenerated into a vicious upsetting circle resulting in me storming off in anger which wasn’t my most mature action ever. But if we were all without flaws then we would all be the same so is it our flaws that make us who we are? However, using that logic should we all embrace our flaws? I like to think that I am aware of my flaws and therefore make an effort to avoid them. But is that removing the things that define me as me? I hope not, and anyway I sometimes fail at avoiding my flaws so they are never gone for very long. Plus think what would happen to society if we all embraced our flaws? Nothing would get done, order would crumble, governments would cease to exist and international relations would explode into chaos. So therefore we should work to avoid our flaws and conform to the standards of behaviour and manners that society dictates. 

So where does this leave me with my friend? On first thought I concluded that either I would have to change my character to allow for hers OR she would have to change her character to allow for mine. This made me angry because, as previously stated, this characteristic is fairly fundamental to her and therefore the likelihood of her changing for me were about as likely as my bum fitting into size 6 jeans…. It just aint gunna happen. Therefore, as usual, it would be me that would have to change to accommodate her, and why should it always be me that has to change?! Then this made me sad as I realised that my self-riotousness (yes that is, in this case, one of my flaws) wouldn’t allow me to apologise for being upset by her flaw. So therefore it was the battle of the unaccommodating situational flaws. I say situational as being self-riotous isn’t always a flaw and, as stated at the beginning of this post, without her flaw my friend wouldn’t be the same girl therefore it isn’t bad all the time. So now I’m at an impasse. Marilyn Monroe once said “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it is better to absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” 

So now I think there are a different set of options; Either we stay stuck in our flaws and admit that we aren’t compatible and maybe have changed in opposite directions since first becoming close (which would be a terrible shame after all the two of us have been through) or the other option is to accept each other as we are complete with our flaws and try to avoid setting them off. I wonder if she will come to the same conclusion. 

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Why I am actually very lucky

Marinading my brain in wine
My last post was a bit complaining and today I have had a brilliant day with Kat but that’s not what I want to write about. Well I do a bit: this morning I got up at 7am. Yes you read that right. My mother needed her fashion advisor and as the car was going in the garage I needed to go with her when she was going out at 7.30 because my brother needed to be dropped off at work for an 8am start. So therefore being the amazing daughter I am I sacrificed my sleep and got up really early. She did take me for a coffee so fair’s fair. Anyway I talked her into getting 3 lovely new tops and a surprisingly nice pair of leather sling-backs. In the afternoon mum took me over to meet Kat coming off the bus so we could have a catch up. We met at 2.45 and we parted at 5.45 and I don’t think we stopped talking the whole time! It was so nice to see her again since we haven’t had a proper catch up since Easter! And I wasn’t up to much at Easter as I had just made a rather important decision that had left me rather sad so I wasn’t my usual cheerful self. Be that as it may Kat found a lovely pair of suede courts and skinny jeans in the sale, but the real find of the day was an ice cube tray that made ice cubes in the shapes of brains!!!! Proper big brains too, well like a cat size brain with squiggles and everything. Decided as I am off to do neurology research that it was entirely appropriate!

Anyway that brings me back to the point of why I am lucky; this placement. I am on a four year course that includes a year in industry where the faculty helps us to find jobs for a year to help us get experience and contact to help us get better jobs when we graduate. It really works since the uni has one of the best postgrad employment rates in the country! But this year the jobs have been really sparse. With Pfizer going bust a lot of placement opportunities were lost and the market just can’t afford to take students on. A lot of my friends resorted to looking at international placements or unpaid placements just to find something. Even some the placements that you thought were safe weren’t as proved when Harvard retracted their offers for placements as they didn’t get the funding they needed. So everyone started applying for everything which just increased competition! About  a month ago a placement came out working for McDonalds and everyone laughed but then about a week later people realised that they really needed a placement and the pay wasn’t bad so lots of people applied. It’s a sign of how desperate people are now. I think nearly all of my friends are placed now and we are being sneezed across a map with people in NY, France, Ireland, UK, Spain and more! But these placements were gained through a lot of hard work, willing to work for free and being awesome. The Sydney placement was emailed round early this year and I thought it looked really interesting but with all other placements that I had applied to I was expecting to hear a big fat nothing back. But to my surprise, out of the 30+ of us that applied, I was shortlisted as one of the 8 they wanted to interview. Because of the time difference and my surname I was the first to be interviewed at 7.30AM!!!! But thankfully it was only a phone interview but because the phone in my house was an old cord phone and the phone line was at the foot of the stairs, I was sitting at the bottom of the stairs in my pjs and dressing gown with a cup of tea for my interview! At the end of the interview I mentioned that I was sitting there with a cup of tea and the reply I got was: “Well so you should be; you’re British!” I thought it went fairly well but I felt I came off slightly unprofessionally from giggling too much. They didn’t think so as later that day at about 3PM I got an email offering me one of their placements!!!! It was so sudden and such a surprise. I called my parents and when they sarcastically answered the phone with “So, you going to Oz then?” I replied with “Well I can if I want!” I was sooo excited just to be offered it. I thought about it overnight and confirmed in the morning. I could tell that  my friends were happy for me but I could tell that some were already feeling the pressure to get a placement and some just plain didn’t want me to go that far away so I tried not to talk about it too much. As the months went on, myself and the two other girls offered a placement in Sydney (Eloise and Georgina) plodded along with signing paper work, getting visa applications going etc. The rest of my friends got more and more worried about placements and gradually they were placed.

But the point of this post is that although I am finding it very stressful preparing, I am thoroughly excited and looking forwards to my year in Oz.

G’day mate!  

Monday, 11 July 2011

Goodbyes are hard.


I decided to write this blog about my life in the next year so that I can keep my friends up to date and I can look back over my time here.

For those of you not connected to the planet I am leaving and moving to the other side of the earth to work in Sydney for a year on placement as part of my degree. I’m going to be a brain researcher! What do we want? Braaaaaaains. When do we want it? Braaaaaaaaains. (Still makes me lol) but yea I’m working with the brain and mind research center in Sydney on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It all sounds rather interesting and I’m looking forwards to the professional environment and the new city (and it not always being so flipping cold!) but what it means is I have to say goodbye to everyone for a year. I’ve already done uni people and moved out of my little house. My room looked so empty and sad, I love that room! I’ve had some good times in that room (no not like that… ok well some of them like that) but I’m going to miss my little house with all its little quirks. Also I had to say goodbye to people like Pete and Sam that are leaving the uni at the end of next year I may never see again!! They were people I would see at least once a week and now I may not see them for years if at all. Pete did a good job of getting me drunk on banana beer as a farewell and Sam and I went for lunch a bit back which was nice. Saying goodbye to my housemates was a bit surreal. I’ve seen them pretty much every day for the last year so it’s going to be odd without them. Other coursemates I had to say goodbye to and I’ve been for many goodbye coffees and meals and things, it’s costing me a fortune to say goodbye to people! Some goodbyes were rather emotional like saying goodbye to Nathan. That was really sad. I don’t cry very often but all these goodbyes are making me shed a few tears. It’s all a bit stressful and I don’t deal with emotions well so it’s all a bit overwhelming. And it’s not like its over yet either! I’ve got less than 4 weeks left to say bye to everyone. It’s just…. Mad.

 I’m trying to make sure I see everyone one last time and yesterday I was going to see Becca as she failed at coming to mine on Friday, but Dani texted me at the last minute saying she wanted to come to so I changed the plan to come see her first and then we would both go to see Becca. Then just as I was driving off Becca texted saying wanna go swimming? So I had to run back inside and pick up a swimsuit aaaaaaaah stress stress stress, and I remembered I said I’d take some bras to Becca as her boobs are smaller now and my old C and B cups will fit her. I found them in my “clothes that I don’t wear anymore bin” I can’t believe I used to fill those. But anyway, so I picked up Dani who was less than impressed with the swimming idea. So Dani was a stick in the mud and sat on the side. Becca swam up and down a few times but then I convinced her that it was boring and pissing about with floats was a lot more fun; tired myself out nicely. Then after a stressful (for Dani) drive back we went to see Naomi and just chilled there. It was really nice to see both Becca and Naomi. I went back to Dani's and made the most bizarre pasta dinner! It involved frying blitzed sausages with veg and it was all a bit weird but tasty none the less. I was meant to go home about 11 but while we were chilling on Facebook Dani discovered some bad news and was rather shaken so I stayed overnight with her and she seemed a lot better in the morning. She was better than I thought she would be overall to be honest, I was rather proud of my dandan. So anyway she had work this morning so that’s why I’ve been up since 8.30 this morning. I haven’t seen 8.30 in a very long while.
Running out of time

But it will be things like this that I will miss when I’m away. The silly things like mucking about in a swimming pool and cooking weird food. And what happens when I have bad news and Dani isn’t there to keep me company overnight? Even more so, how is Dani going to cope without me being there for her?!  There are lots more goodbyes to go, and I am not looking forward to them at all.