Friday, 28 December 2012


I have recently been pondering on to what extent friendship will make allowances and how far you should forgive someone. It is no secret to those close to me that some of my interactions have been tempestuous at best but recently I was accused of something so false that it doesn’t even warrant explaining. I was upset and hurting from something previous and someone I was talking to chose to take my pain and turn the knife by getting angry at me and never giving me a chance to explain. They just assumed I was cold, hard and unfeeling and that I had done them a terrible wrong by showing a weakness.

I mustered what little self-worth I had left from their attacks and told them if they didn’t want to be in my life then they shouldn’t but once gone, they can’t come back. I have since been thinking about if this was the right thing to do. Was I too harsh or potentially was this too lenient?

I know this person is a little strange and prone to overreaction. So maybe I should give them some time to cool off and calm down. Then I might be given the opportunity to explain and they would see how irrational they were being. I have known them for a number of years so if I can’t be their friend then what hope do they have?

But on the other hand, this isn’t the first time they have done something like this. They favour being dramatic and have sworn me out of their life a few times before only to return a couple of months later. Knowing them is such an emotional rollercoaster and I have stuck with them through hurt and anger. Bust surely there is a limit? Enough is enough! There must be a time where too much pain has been caused by someone and its better for you to just be rid of them for good regardless. I was upset and in need of some comfort when I reached out to them and they selfishly put their little issues above my upset.

But Matthew 6:14-15 says: For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

So I will forgive them. I think I will stand firm with my statement that if they don’t want to be in my life then I won’t chase them to be. Im through chasing people to be in my life, it just ends in hurt. I realise how destructive and bad for me their impact so I won’t seek them out. However I will not keep a grudge. It’s not healthy for me or for them and to forgive is the Christian thing to do.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas “break”

So I have been on Christmas holiday for over a week now and it doesn’t feel like it at all! The first few days were spent in bed with a very nasty cold that seems to have been going round the university just in time for the holidays. Maybe that shows evolution of viruses so much that they have now realised that for maximum infection you should infect a university just before they all go home for the holidays and can infect regions across the UK and beyond!

Then the next 3 days were spent furiously working on a lab report that was due in the holidays. Im not complaining that the due date was in the holidays at all as our due dates are always a Tuesday and if the lab report wasn’t due in the holidays it would have meant one less week to work on it. Me being me I had left it till the last minute thinking I could spend all of that week on it. I hadn’t anticipated the cold though…. That was a surprise! So with only 3 days to complete it I set to work. Now 3 days for a lab report sounds alright but this one was a lab experiment the whole class had been working on for over 2 months and we were just given the data and told to go away and analyse it. This meant that everyone had compiled different analysies and no ones was comparable. I wasn’t the only one working late into the night the day before it was due. In fact I like to think, of those panicking at 3am, I was one of the calmest and most prepared! The hand in office was a photo finish with myself and a few others only just making it. I was going to tell everyone I was there with hours to spend but that lasted about 5 mins as too many people has seen me run past. I don’t care, I got it done.

That night didn’t let up either. I have registered to an online training programme that gives me a qualification that will help me with job applcations. But the deadline for completing this was only announced a few days before! So on 4 hours sleep from the night before and having run a couple of miles to campus to hand my report in, I started this course of 3 modules and one exam. I had to cancel plans to go to the pub for the quiz which was disappointing. I passed though.

The next day I was meant to get up early and start revision but my 4 hours the last night meant that my body had other ideas. My 7.30 alarm was turned off and I went straight back to sleep…. For 5 more hours! I got a very little bit of work done on a research proposal I needed to have done but as my body was all confused it didn’t work well.

We have now reached Thursday and day 6 of the “holiday”. It was spent still working on this research proposal but that evening was fun though. My flat made a fort in the kitchen and we had wine, cake and a film. So I guess that was holiday-ish.

Friday morning was spent with a sugar hangover from the night before. When did I get old enough to start having sugar hangovers?! I wasn’t sure what to do for a sugar headache so treated it like a normal hangover: lots of water, some rest and being quiet. More work on this research proposal and I was meant to clean the bathroom but that didn’t happen at all! I did put my floordrobe away though.

Saturday I was up early as my father was coming to get me to spend Christmas at my parents. I needed to pack work, clothes, wrap Christmas presents and I still needed to clean the bathroom! Somehow I managed to be ready to go at the right time. The heavens had opened and it was a slow journey home. The flooding around my parent’s house was worse than expected. So much so that the village may as well be renamed to be an island! We had to take the long way round to make it in and then got soggy brining my stuff in as it was still raining! Noah? Are you out there? Do you need a girlfriend? Ha. Eventually back at my parent’s house I wasted no time and set to work on an application that was due. Honestly who sets an application deadline for a Sunday?! Only took me an hour or so though which was nice. I was meant to be having a night out with some of my mates from 6th form but as none of them had a boat to rescue me from my moat guarded castle, I couldn’t make it.

Sunday I did do something Christmasy! I went to tesco with my father as I didn’t trust him to go by himself. The supermarket was not impossible but deffo very busy! 2 hours and -£££ later I felt we were now stocked for Christmas. Plus I got to pick out some of my favourite Christmas treats like chocolate brazil nuts, expensive chutney and Christmas crackers with the good toys in. However I realised how many Christmas foods are dairy! My lactose intolerance doesn’t usually get in the way but when you can’t eat a mince pie with boozy cream, eat all the yummy cheese or even have an egg nog latte in starbucks it gets a little disheartening. I recently discovered that quality street are laden with lactose! That’s just not fair. The ingredients say: Sweetened Condensed Skimmed Milk, Dried Whole Milk, Lactose and Proteins from Whey, Whey Powder, Butter and Dried Skimmed Milk. Ok I can understand the milk stuff as nearly all of them are covered in chocolate but adding more lactose and whey is unnecessary surely?! Grumble grumble grumble. My mother is making me a lemon meringue pie to compensate though.

Anyway I finished the research proposal on Sunday and got that sent off. Monday I had to alter a manuscript I want to have published. There’s nothing like casually having to remove a fifth of the words from an already condensed script. So Christmas Eve has been spent working as well!

I’m determined not to work tomorrow (Christmas day) but given that I’ve had over a week off and I haven’t actually done any revision or dissertation work yet, I have to make up for lost time and work like stink boxing day onwards! Oh goodie!

Happy Christmas everyone!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Life is too short to live without poetry, If you've got soul, darling, now come on and show it to me

Colors of Poetry abstract, 
by artist Kit Hevron Mahoney
Those are lyrics from a Frank Turner song but they got me thinking. When was the last time I stopped to find the poetry in something or show my soul?

I got instagram a couple of months ago and thought it was going to revolutionise my life as I would constantly be looking for things that I found interesting and beautiful to post. It worked for a few days but now I just instagram cute cupcakes and my fingernails like every other sod on there. At least I don’t have pictures of me on there, that’s what facebook is for, people! But the point is; I took what was meant to be an opportunity for beauty and turned it into something bland and mundane. Damn.

So how are we to put poetry into our lives? I like to think that I have soul and that I am not merely the sum of all my biological components, so how do I show it? Well if your biological side is only concerned with self-preservation then I guess soul is taking risks in spite that they could damage you. So having soul is having the courage to do things. Nelson Mandela has said “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”. Wise man.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we should all go about doing dangerous things just for the sake of it; that’s foolish not courageous. But having courage to do things is a lot easier said than done. In some respects I am courageous. Moving to Australia was courageous, going to uni was courageous, applying for post grad jobs regardless of location is courageous but in some respects I am a total coward. There are a lot of things I hold back from because I am scared.

I think that to show soul and poetry in my life I need to come out of my comfort zone a little more and take some of those illogical risks that I’ve stopped myself from taking before and I would urge you to do the same! All the opportunities are out there waiting for you to embrace them. Take that job in another country! Forgive that person! Keep that baby! Travel the world! Tell that person you love them! Whatever it is that you are too scared to do but want to.

Good luck to us all.

Friday, 7 December 2012

It’s my body (and ill cry if I want to)

So recently I have been thinking about what is acceptable and what is not with regards to medical care. Not about the treatment given but the level of acceptance that a thorough job has been done. What if you and your family were content that your Dr had sorted a problem but your boyfriends family were not and insisted on you seeing their Dr instead. The more I thought about this, the more it got me really, very angry! How dare they tell you what you should do with your body and who you should see for medical advice?!  They are hardly connected to you at all It’s insulting to the core.

Either they think that you aren’t capable of looking after yourself, which as a 22 year old, you are and has been for many years! Or the other option is that they have an ulterior motive and just want to have a check up on you for as the potential mother to their grandchildren. Either way this is unacceptable and disgusting.

Possibly what makes me angrier is that you might be thinking of doing it just to keep them happy! No, you never let someone manipulate you to doing something you don’t want to do with your body. And last time I checked, making someone put something in their body that they didn’t want to, was rape. Ok, so maybe that’s a bit of an overreaction but it’s the same principle; it’s your body and you should decide what happens to it.

Also where did they get this information and idea from? What if it was your boyfriend that suggested this hideous plan to begin with? This shows the most patronising and domineering behaviour that I would class as a deal breaker. Don’t confuse “controlling” with “caring” or “possessive” with “protective” it puts a massive dent into gender equality and is NOT the sort of person I would encourage anyone to be in a relationship with.

I have decided that if anyone asked me to do I would tell them to shove their gynaecologist somewhere you’d need a proctologist to get them out!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas shopping

So I’ve been getting requests for more posts again which is always nice.

Yesterday, I spent the whole afternoon in town trying to Christmas shop. I spent 5 hours in town and I bought: lunch. That was it!! I found lots of things that I wanted, but nothing that I felt would be good for any of my family or friends. Then this morning I spent two hours online and managed to order presents for my whole family! And I was much warmer in my pjs inside and I had a free lunch! I can totally see why people prefer to shop online, which I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

My primary concern is obviously shoe shopping. You can’t try on shoes online and whereas clothes they can put the measurements online and an inch is an inch where ever you are, but a size 5 shoe is not the same size everywhere by any stretch of the imagination. Last week I bought 2 pairs of shoes in the same day, I bought a 4 in one shop and a 6 in another!

But seriously, it may also be to do with the economy at the moment. Things online are usually cheaper because you don’t have to pay for staff or the physical shop hire. This may keep things more competitive. But if wholesalers are now online they will be able to offer the same products cheaper which might mean the independent shops get a raw deal? No idea, talk to an economist.

I don’t like not being able to physically see what I’m buying before paying for it but so far most things I have got online have been up to standard. There is the occasional throw ball like things that say they are a size 8 but are actually an 18 or things that take friggin forever to come!

But I am impressed at how easy it has been to get everything ordered and coming to me with lots of time before Christmas. Takes the stress out of Christmas shopping nicely as I hate going and fighting with the hordes of people that get in the way, walk to slowly, barge past you, suddenly stop in the middle of a street, stand in doorways, and prams! Don’t get me started on prams! Your baby does not have an opinion on that ugly jumper, leave it at home! There should be pram free days of shopping. Or an age limit; over 18s shopping - Oooh sounds kinky.

I do enjoy the Christmas food that has appeared in the shops though. I know it’s been there since October but I’ve stopped ignoring it now its December and there’s mince pies aplenty, mulled wine to sip and the big tubes of twiglets are back! Why don’t they sell twiglets in that quantity normally?!

It’s going to be a little odd given that I was on the beach last Christmas, but there are some people I know from Australia “doing Europe” at the moment so they help a lot. I caught up with them a few days ago and it made me realise how much I bloody miss Australia!

Anyway that’s my Christmas rant so far. Oh wait it’s not, we had snow this morning! It had all melted by the time I went out but still; snow! It might be a white Christmas after all!

There I really am done now.
Good luck surviving Christmas!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

University Life

You’re probably wondering where the regular updates about my life have gone. If you’re not then tough, I’m going to tell you anyway!

This is now the truth
So I am back at uni and have been since October. It’s going well at the moment but the work load is intense. There are always so many things to be doing! It was nice last year as once it got to 5pm I could go home and not think about much till the next morning at 9am but now it’s 24/7. Because of this kind of workload it means that when work is due you have to work regardless of time or social convention. People think students are up all hours because they are all alcoholics and lazy but the truth of it is that we just have work to do and no time to sleep! You have to binge on sleep when you can get it because you don’t know when the next time will be! Biologically this is rubbish for your body.

I agree with Woody's expression
But working on the principle “work hard, play hard” there have been some good nights out too! The student’s union gets in some good bands so I’ve seen Tinchy Strider and Sam and the Womp as well as excellent dressing up nights such as Harry Potter night and most recently cartoon night. Going out makes me realise how far I have come since I started uni though. There are freshers wandering round born in 94! And the difference is startling. I would like to think I wasn’t that naive and stupid when I was a fresher but I suspect I was. At least this way it shows progress?
Its hard to take job finding advice from someone who never left uni

Another thing that is scary is all the careers stuff going on. There are emails almost daily advertising seminars, talks and workshops designed to get you a job. It seems that if you don’t have a job or more education lined up my Christmas you may as well not bother and wait another year before applying. It’s daunting. I have been applying to jobs and PhDs and anything that looked interesting and I was capable of doing, (and some that I’m not, but worth a shot?) I’m just hoping someone likes the look of me. Also it looks like I’m staying in the UK (or at least Europe) for a while too as I can’t apply for funding in Australia because im “international” (pfft same queen) and being self-supporting is not viable for me at the moment and I don’t think I have the skills to get in without being sponsored.

Oh my one fun extra thing I let myself take this year is pole dancing! There is a SPORTS club (for any of you thinking I’m taking slut lessons, no, it’s a sport) where I have lessons and I’m starting to get good at it now! It takes a lot of strength and a lot of bruises! My flatmates are amazed each week at the new array of bruises I come home with. I’m really enjoying it though.

And that’s about it for my life at the moment. I settled into my new flat well and thankfully have brilliant flatmates who I’m not sure how I got through 3 years without knowing!

Also, over 30,000 hits now! Thanks for your support and a shout out to the 400 new Canadians that found my blog this month!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Stuck in my head

This morning I want to be less philosophical and doom and gloom full and talk about some of the songs that have crossed my path lately and have stuck.

The first goes with the Halloween-y theme. It’s a song called The Zombie Song by Stephanie Mabey. This has been stuck in my head since I found it! I think it’s adorable and would love to hear more of her songs. The cartoon that goes with it is adorable too! I could take or leave the twilight reference in the chorus but other than that, it’s pure happy zombie fun!

This one is one I have had for a while but it’s still one of my favourites. The Life Organic is one of the videos done by the Bondi Hipsters Dom and Adrian. It’s brilliant! They are making fun but there genuinely are people like that in Bondi. They have a whole series where the characters discuss topics like exercise, shopping, festivals and how to pick up women. I like the fashion ones especially.

This one is a little childish as it comes from the cartoon Arthur. If you don’t know Arthur and you are in the UK, shame on you! This is the video about Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I dare you to watch it and not have your brain singing “Jekyll Jekyll Hyde, Jekyll Hyde Hyde Jekyll” all day! A friend suddenly remembered this song a few days ago and it’s become my standard greeting to her now.

Recently I went to a Sam and the Womp night and it was brilliant! I wasn’t that fussed to begin with but my mates persuaded me it would be a good night and it was one of the best live acts I have ever seen! They had the entire live band complete with trumpets and didn’t mess about with talking to the audience for hours. They also taught us all how to “Womp” which was fun. Since then I’ve had their song Bom Bom in my itunes and I’ve even learnt the lyrics now which is easier said than done as they make no sense at all! - "I've brought a pie in my pocket, pie in my pocket, an eye in my socket."

Finally a nice calm song Endless Summer – Josh Pyke. This one makes me think of Australia as it was a bit like an endless summer but it’s also got some really pretty lyrics like “Now to ever be touched by the feasting tendrils of light”. It’s one of my calm down feel good songs.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Saturday, 3 November 2012


Have you ever been so convinced of who you were, and utterly consumed by your definition?

Have you ever worked with only one goal?
Have you ever believed with every fibre of your being?
Have you ever loved with all your heart?

…… Have you ever changed?

How is it possible that we can be so completely defined and then change direction and be defined by something else? Are we still the same person? If we dedicated our lives to one pursuit and then changed is it still the same life or is it a new life? Are you then a new being?

People talk of development and maturity of an individual and how this impacts their identity. But development is when ideas build on themselves and interact with the previous existence to create a related, and only slightly different, version and, through many minute changes, the whole morphs. But what about when this change is beyond recognition of the previous incarnation and conflicts directly? How can it be development when the old is not related to the new? I am aware I am asking the same question again and again but it is pivotal. Am I a development of my past or am I a reincarnation and an entirely different entity?

I used to think that I was a sum of my experiences but it suddenly occurred to me that there are key moments in my life where something has changed in me that I previously thought was permanent and key to who I was.

This sounds bizarre but think about it. I will use love as an example as it is probably the one that has affected most people. Being completely in love feels permanent. If it doesn’t; then it’s not love. But almost all couples will break up as a relationship only needs to last once for each person to have a partner forever. When a couple breaks up there is heartbreak and eventually falling out of love. So either love feeling permanent is an illusion or the person isn’t the same person any more.

If love being permanent is an illusion then how can we trust our perception of ourselves at all? And therefore any notion of identity is void. This works with any self-definition whether it is love, ambition or beliefs. What if we chose an identity? Are we really fickle enough to believe our own self-definition and become what we decide we are? Society tells us that we should have purpose and dedicate ourselves to this. This would work if everyone stayed with the same definition and they all worked together. a perfect world would not change and every individual would be totally independent as it is the breakdown of chains of reliance that create imperfection. As we are not independent is this what causes our shift in self-identity? This would create a vicious circle as cause and effect rippled through the network of people on the planet as we flux to try and create a homoeostatic balance where we can all coexist simultaneously. This is truly disturbing.

The only way for the idea of identity to exist is that our identities are not fluids that flow into each other, but are brittle and shatter to destroy the old and create a new being.

However we all are not sufferers of multiple personality disorder. Do not confuse personality with identity. Identity is the characteristics determining who or what a person is, Personality is the characteristics that form an individual’s character, (oxford dictionary). Therefore we can change our identity without changing our character.

Therefore I have the same personality but I am not the same person as I was before and may have been through many entities to get to the person I am today.  I’m not sure how I feel about this or how to end this post.

Food for thought.

Thursday, 1 November 2012


So today is the 31st of October, otherwise known as Halloween. With this day comes a surprising amount of viewpoints. I did some googling to try and understand some of them to see which seemed most appropriate to my mind.

A lot of the different opinions stem from different beliefs on where it comes from. The oldest source is a Roman festival called Parentalia which is a 9 day festival to honour family members who have passed on. There is also a Celtic day called Samhain which was the end of the harvest season where the door to the otherworld was opened and fairies and spirits could enter our world. However it may have come from the Christian all saints day where the recently departed and the saints are honoured. However as with most things Christian, there is a catholic interpretation and a protestant interpretation.

As the day has developed it has become more commercial with supermarkets stockpiling pumpkins and costume shops probably making 90% of their years income in the weeks leading up to Halloween. At least it doesn’t require sending cards! Particularly in America it has become a major holiday with special foods and activities but in England is it slightly overshadowed by guy fawks night.

As a child I was not taken trick or treating and I agree with my parents decision not to take my brother and I. In a society plagued with terrorism, kidnappings and paedophiles its unsafe to parade your children about by knocking on strangers doors. It’s also becoming unsafe to even be at home on Halloween night as if you don’t give sweets out you may be subjected to egging, flour bombs or tepee-ing. That’s extortion plain and simple: give me sweets or I will do something nasty to you! Apparently Halloween is a big night for restaurants as many people want to be out of the house for the night. This is a perversion of all of the festivals that Halloween may have come from and it’s a sad reflection on our society.

However adult’s Halloween parties are everywhere, either private parties or clubs having theme nights. Again this has nothing to do with any of the festivals and just seems to be an excuse to dress up and get drunk. Options for girls are invariably skimpy which seems to be acceptable and become normal almost. In fact, finding a modest costume is increasingly difficult, with your options either being witch in long dress or….. no wait that’s it.

Back to the original question: Should we celebrate Halloween?

Given that the day has changed almost beyond recognition from any of its roots I have decided it doesn’t really have much religious or geographical significance any more. It’s like any other themed night out. So if I’m comfortable to go to a themed night that involves dressing up, like school night, smurf night, safari night and harry potter night, then why not a Halloween night? It just seems to be a bit of fun dressing up and the occasional vegetable carving.

p.s. I wrote this yesterday, I am aware I am a day late for Halloween now

Monday, 24 September 2012

20,000 and more

This isn’t going to be a long blog post; this is just a little update.

Firstly this blog now has over 20,000 views! It’s 20,527 at the moment, so thanks to everyone for taking an interest, especially how I was celebrating 10,000 not even 3 months ago. From my stats I can tell that some of you were just looking for a photo of a tragus piercing but I can also tell that the number of referred views is much smaller than the total number of views therefore that means most of you have come straight here. So big hi to all viewers who have me bookmarked.

Secondly: I know, I know, I still haven’t come up with a name. I’m toying with a couple at the moment and I will pick one that feels best. There will be a name soon….. honest!
The view out my window

Thirdly and finally, (see I said it was going to be a short post) I’m feeling a lot more at home in England now. My family has been a big help in making me fit back into my old life but the thing that’s made me feel most at home? I think it’s the cold and the rain! This morning I’m wearing jeans, fluffy socks, two t-shirts and a huge hoody to stay warm and it seems comforting to be snuggled up 24/7. I’m also sitting in the sun/living room listening to the rain gently tap at the windows and I’m looking at how green the garden looks. The trees look happier for the rain and I would want the trees to be unhappy. I’m not sure why I like the rain but I do, maybe it’s engrained into every Englishman (or Englishwoman) to find comfort in the quintessential f their country? I’m sure I’ll be sick of the cold and wet soon enough but I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Channelling my inner outcast

So this week I have been without my laptop because I fell for from horrible human beings internet scam. So my laptop is undergoing some drastic emergency surgery thanks to a very helpful ict department I have access to. It’s nice to have friends with useful skills. I actually wrote this on paper not in word as usual which I am actually enjoying in an old fashioned kind of way.

The main thing I miss from my laptop’s unscheduled absence, is the social interaction online. I grew up being the geeky, freakishly tall, odd girl (no princess diaries jokes please) and with that came an acceptance of solitude that I rarely resented having observed the strange beings that were my classmates and decided I was better off without. I was therefore, an elected hermit rather than an outcast but the effect was the same no matter what I called it. I never avoided social interaction but I rarely found someone entertaining enough to interact with.

From what I can tell, all comprehensive schools have the same social set up:

I spent years 7 and 8 in ring C. I worked my way into low B thanks to the year 9 Spanish exchange when I became useful for my skills; not Spanish, which I was pretty rubbish at, but I’ve always been quick thinking which was defiantly needed in that exchange. In year 10 my popularity was accidentally skyrocketed when I befriended a lady in waiting to the school queen. This girl was probably at best a high B but was the queen’s oldest friend so was escalated by default. I spent a year with the A* and found it to be useful but exhausting! If the politicians want to sort out international relations they should employ super popular teenage girls. Every move they make is carefully calculated an analysed to consider all parties involved, most are done to sabotage but they know they are stronger in a group so they keep together. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer and all that.

By year 11 I was established enough socially to start taking risks and doing what I wanted for a change. I kept the A* group close but I fitted more with the aloof art crew that ran the B ring. I enjoyed being in this group. They were all individuals rather than a hierarchy of drones. They threw good parties and I was allowed to explore who I was a bit more. Being an ex A* I was given enough respect to be influential. I rarely used this power but it was nice to have. I suspect that’s what saved me from being suspended when I accidentally spray painted the art steps neon green, I hope that’s still there!

But when I was seventeen either I changed or the people changed and being social was now appealing, even more inconceivable I got a boyfriend. Maybe it’s because I moved school and I was given the chance for people to see me for who I was then, rather than who I was in year 7 when all my previous school mates met me. Also I was in a more academically competitive and stimulating environment. Maybe to competitive and stimulating as it was an accurate joke that all enrolled at my school would at some point a) have a mental breakdown, b) develop an eating disorder or c) become a slut. Some girls got bingo but that another topic entirely. I won’t tell you which I got.

One of the best hipster memes
So that’s the story of how I became social. I moved to uni and continued to interact and socialise enough to make me one of the most recognised individuals in my class. No matter how much time goes by, I never lose the outcast identity I learnt from preschool onwards. I guess that’s my inner hipster saying that I was uncool before it was cool. However because of my resent gullibility leading t my loss of my laptop, it’s taken me a while to adjust to only being able to communicate to the cat most of the time. Yes I know I have a mobile but that’s imposing interaction on someone rather than being online implying a mutual availability for a conversation. I guess I’ve become more socially conforming and dependant than I thought.

I wonder what that does to us personally? How many people define themselves by others value of them? Having such an external identity must be unhealthy. Having realised that I was leaning towards this external identity I will make an effort to find some of my self-worth from myself. Not that being social isn’t a vital part of life but its apparently easy to lose yourself in it and forget that you are an individual outside of your social group and be happy with yourself without others approval, especially a young adult today.

Also, as this blog shows, I tend to move about a lot. Not only have I spent the last year in Australia and moved school at 17 and then to uni at 19, but I have spent months at school in Germany, a summer traveling through brazil and time in many other countries. I love to travel which means that I meet a large amount of people but never know them in person for more than a year as this seems to be the maximum amount of time I stay anywhere. I guess this could be partly the cause for my need for social interaction. If I rarely make long term friends then I am relying on new approval all the time. I don’t mean to say that I don’t have long term friends. I have two that I have known and been close to for nearly 18 years and I have half a dozen I have known for about 5 years. One of them recently told me that he couldn't move about as much as I do because he thought that leaving everything behind was too higher cost for a new experience. Is that true? Am I sacrificing social stability to explore? I always looked at it as: those that mattered would stay in my life and those that fell out of my life weren’t worth having. But now I think maybe I’m loosing out. So I have two options: either I chose to stay in one place and settle down and put the man hours in to make a stable life with the social approval the human psyche seems to crave. Or I can become more internalised and rely on myself and continue my pattern of exploration, meeting dozens of new people but probably never seeing them again once I leave.

However I am NOT thanking the low lives that compromised the security of my laptop. They can rot.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Great/Broken Britain

Since coming back to England I have been able to see my country with fresh eyes and notice all the things that I may have overlooked or I just took it for granted that’s how things were. I thought that when I came back I would be able to fit back into British life easily as I have lived here nearly all of my life, but it has been taking more getting used to that I expected.

Every day there is news of the economy; people watch it obsessively but, as I never really had any money, I never gave it much attention as it didn’t impact me. But having come back it is painfully obvious that the UK is in economic decline. Streets are shabby, public services are worn out and everything is either dark green, mud brown or grey as if the bright colours were too expensive to use. People go about their lives with a sort of stillness and solemn resolution to their fate. There is no energy or excitement. Recently there has been the Queen’s jubilee and the Olympics which seemed to generate enthusiasm at the time but now they are over its like they were never here and people have returned to their hum drum. Is there nothing in the whole country to be excited about?

Some of the signs on the trains
People appear to be stretched to desperation as there seems to be very little future or prospects, especially for the younger generations. Unemployment rates soar with the crime rates as people struggle to find employment that pays enough to live on. A couple of weeks ago my phone was stolen out of my bag in a club, it can’t have been worth more than £40 but someone was willing to risk a criminal record for that tiny sum of money. It’s gotten so bad that the entire population is scared of itself. I’m having to get used to never being alone after dark, never making eye contact with strangers and always having some emergency money hidden on me in case I’m mugged. There are now fake signs on the tube in London advising travel activities to avoid confrontation. At least the only threat on the tube is being mugged or stabbed; the threat of being blown up in a terrorist attack is subsiding, or people are just desensitised to it now.

Soon I will be returning to university to finish my studies. This means a new form of social interaction. I don’t mean between myself and other students but between myself and the rest of society. People say that there aren’t classes in society any more but they are alive and well no matter what the politicians may say. Students are regarded as lower than low. We are seen as a drain on the already crippled economy and regarded as troublemakers not to be trusted. According to the socio-economic classification used by the government, student is not even recognised as a class so I guess I would be classed at the bottom as “long term unemployed”. The other day I even found myself using the phrase “its ok for student standards” meaning it was broken, old and barely functioning but that it was good enough for a student. Students are that downtrodden that we expect this rubbish ourselves and worse, we are content with it! This is how Britain treats its future best and brightest. A report for Universitas 21 rated the UK 27th for spending on higher education. That says it all really. Maybe it’s some form of population control? If they make Britain so unliveable with so few jobs then immigrants will stop coming in, and the British born will emigrate out!

However there are some things that give me some hope for this country. Little pin pricks in the dark cover of ruin that let in the light if you know where to look.

Not everyone is out to stab you and there is still human decency in people. While at a train station in London something important fell out of my bag, and a nice old man brought it back to me. I was terribly grateful and it put me in a much better mood for the rest of the day. It’s a shame that we have to protect ourselves so much from strangers, but I would like to believe that those that we are protecting ourselves from are in the minority and most people are actually nice.

Not actually our show but similar
Since I have been home I have been to a couple of events that I think are unique to Britain. Or at least we are the last country to still have them. I went to my village Vegetable Show and actually enjoyed it! It was nice to see the community spirit still there enough to bring people together. I’ve also been to a Cheese and Pickle Fair! This again brought together lots of local businesses. It was nice to see that there still are some local businesses and the whole of Britain isn’t run by soul sucking supermarkets. This event restored my faith in Britain a little more than the veggie show or the man at the station as it included some young people. It had occurred to me that the honest man and the people at the veggie show were all older generations. Mostly retired probably and therefore they were tribute to Britain’s past not its future. But at the cheese and pickle fair there were lots of younger people who had set up businesses and more importantly were passionate enough to make them work!

I am actually really looking forwards to going back to university. Yes I know it will mean being treated like the scum of the earth for another year, but I’m at one of the top universities in Britain and the same report for Universitas 21 rated the UK second for university research and teaching so I am privileged enough to be in a really good higher education system. I enjoy my course and having spent a year out from structured teaching I am eager to get back into being intellectually stretched.

So Britain seems to be a country weighed down by its legacy and unable to lift her head up as she is crippled by herself. But I can see there are doctors working with her to try and get her strength back so she can once again stand proud and tall. I think it’s going to take a while and it may not even be in my lifetime but there are people out there desperately trying to rebuild Britain. Our history is scarred with battles, plagues, wars and ruin but we are one of the oldest sovereign states and we are still one of the strongest countries on the planet so we have been and must be a hardy country and get through this.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Déjà Vu

I’m still working on the name but it’s been over a week since I returned home. It’s very odd; it’s like constant déjà vu which is making me a little uneasy.

Welcome to an English summer
The flight back went as well as could be expected. On the long hall flight I was able to have two seats to myself so I could snuggle down and get some sleep. The transfer was… interesting. Whoever designed the airport decided it would be a good idea to put transfer flights at opposite ends of the airport. 25 minutes of near running through an airport and I was at a gate and boarding my next flight. This one was shorter but it didn’t feel it as it was light and the plane was full so there was no room to get comfy. After 8 hours of being a flying can of sardines I touched down in a familiar green and pleasant land. My father and brother met me at the airport and then we started the car ride home.  It rained. What a surprise.

Returning back to my parents’ house was odd but comfortingly familiar. I moved back into the room that I have never decorated since my parents bought the place in 2008. There never seemed to be any point since I wasn’t going to be there more than a month or two at any time. It’s purple.

I started my journey home on Tuesday and arrived Wednesday. I tried to stay up as late as possible but at about 8pm I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer and went to bed. I only managed a few hours sleep till I was wide awake at 1am and stayed that way till about 4.

Thursday I spent with my brother which was nice. Friday I spent at home with the cat as everyone else was at work. I did however get dragged to the pub in the evening to see 3 of my old friends. They laughed at my accent which is apparently hilarious.

Feisty spider
Saturday I went out shopping with my mum because I’m cool. I actually wanted some flats as I only brought back my favourite shoes which are all heals or boots! In the evening I went to one of my best friends and we stayed up late catching up on all topics. During my jet lag induced awake time in the middle of the night I found a large spider. I only saw 3 large spiders in the house all year in Australia but I haven’t even been back a week here I’ve found one! I evicted it for her as she’s terrified of them.

The following morning she dragged me into town to see a pair of boots that were my size that she loved and even though her big feet wouldn’t fit them, she wanted someone she knew to own them. So I tried these boots on and they were huge! I told her she was a plonker for looking at these boots for weeks but assuming they wouldn’t fit. She tried them on and surprise surprise they fitted her perfectly. So she bought them. Typical.

Monday I slept a lot. I have gotten over the jet lag enough that I can now sleep through the night but I still can’t stay up late. Since I had been up late twice in a row I slept in this morning and was rather impressed that I could. Tuesday was rather similar. I finished unpacking and I sorted through some of the junk that was in my room.

Wednesday I went into town to see another old friend. It was lots of fun wandering round the shops with her. However I was reminded how dull it is here. I don’t mean metaphorically dull, I mean literally dull. It was bright enough to need sunglasses but it wasn’t sunny, it was just bright. The light just fell out of the sky and settled on anything that it met as a film of white dust. This mutes all the colours, or maybe the colours were already muted, either way everything is cream or dark green. Well despite the absence of colour or sunshine, I still enjoyed spending time with my friend. Both of us have been through so much this year and yet we can find comfort in knowing that we have each other no matter what.

Look at that face
Thursday I went to work with mum and fed the animals she works with. I liked the axolotls best. We also met up with a family friend who lives in Edinburgh but was in the area for the day so we went for lunch. It was nice, the family friend is more like a second mother too me, imagine lunch with two mothers! Especially since I haven’t had any mothers around for a year. Surprisingly I survived but I was a zombie by the end of the day.

So here I am at Friday. I’ve been in the country a little over a week and its taking more getting used to than I thought. The jet lag is lingering as is the noticeable loss of sunshine. Maybe it will be better when I have my own place to live and can get about under my own steam. A little more control over my life would be nice. I feel like I am just going through the motions here and not actually having any sway on the matter. I don’t mean to complain, I like being back and seeing all my old friends, but I miss my Australian ones. I miss being able to send a text and within half an hour be in a cocktail bar with some of my nearest or dearest. I miss the spontaneity of that life. Everything here has to be planned way in advance. It’s frustrating.  I also feel like I was just settled into my life in Australia, I liked the person I was and where I was headed so to be ripped from that while so many things were left half done and unfinished. Things I wanted to do, people I wanted to know more, achievements just coming into reach that I now can’t grasp, it makes it hard not to see moving back to England as a step backwards. 

Ill try and shake off this bizarre déjà vu and get back to living my life here. After all I was happy here for 21 years so it can’t be that bad!

Friday, 17 August 2012

What’s in a name?

Since I am no longer in Australia I thought it was a little odd to still have the blog called deb down under. I intend to continue writing as it has become something I really enjoy. However I can’t think of a decent name for the blog, so until I can think of one, it will simply be called Deb. Hopefully it doesn’t make the blog look too plain and it is well known that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Now I am not calling myself a rose by any stretch of the imagination but if something works for something like a rose then why not work for less? Ill mull over a new name in the next few days and hopefully come up with something good.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Last days

Time spiralling out of control

I last wrote about week 52 as it was a whole year since I moved to Australia but I stayed in the country for a few days longer because I had to pay rent and I knew I would need some time to sort things out. I'm glad I did because things got rather busy as I ran out of time!

So my housemate left on Saturday and that was all very sad and the new girls that are going to replace us at work. I had also had my coat left on the party bus from my leaving party the week before. So I took the new girls to darling harbour with the aim of picking up my coat from the party bus first bar and then showing the girls the lights and having a bottle of wine maybe. The party bus people recognised me… that’s a bad sign in itself. But they had my coat which was good. One of my good friends had people couch surfing at his place and they had spontaneously decided to do the party bus that night so we decided to join them as it would be a good way to show the new girls some bars in the city. I wish we hadn’t! It was such a rough night, it was basically a Greek tragedy as it had suffering, drama, relationships, arguments, tears, illness and, of course, a lot of alcohol. I didn’t sleep till Monday night because this night bothered me so much. So that’s what I spent Sunday doing really; just processing everything that happened the night before. I felt so bad for the new girls as I must have made the worst first impression on them!

I made up for it on in the next few days as we spent a day house hunting and setting up bank accounts and Medicare and all that boring stuff. We also went into work so they could meet everyone. We did some of the sights among the boring admin so we saw the opera house and the bridge and a tour of the rocks. I was impressed at how much we got done!

The Monday morning my other house mate flew out of Sydney. Not to go home however, but to go on a tour of New Zealand and then across America! Lucky thing. It was sad to see her go too; I was now the last one of the original brits!

South Pacific
Wednesday I dealt with some off the fallout from Saturday night and Wednesday evening I spontaneously went to the opera house to see opening night of south pacific. My friend had found an amazing deal that gave us over $100 off tickets if you booked them at a certain time the day before. I took the new girls too and it was really good! I haven’t seen it before so didn’t know the story or anything. We had a glass of bubbly after and it was all rather lovely.

Thursday I hung out with a friend and did an epic amount of cleaning at home. I also found a bottle of vodka under my bed which helped heaps with the cleaning!!!

Friday night I took the girls out in Newtown. We went to my favourite little bar called corridor to have a cocktail. It was good fun and we met a Spaniard and a French woman there who decided they would adopt us for the night (whether we wanted it or not) fortunately one of the new girls brother had friends in Sydney who met us just in time as we were leaving corridor with the Europeans. They came with us and we went on a bar hop to Zanzibar, kuletos and finally marly bar. It was a good night! When they found out it was my last night out in Sydney lots of drinks were ordered including tequila and jagerbombs (two of my favourites).

Saturday I had another good night. I went to a friend’s house and we got take away pizza and opened a nice bottle of wine and talked all evening. I’m going to miss her!

Sunday I was busy too! I told you I was cramming stuff into my last week! Sunday I went up to the mountains to see some of my friends there. It should have only taken me an hour and a half from my house but because there was work being done on the line I had to take a replacement bus which added over an hour onto my journey time. I finally got there and had a nice day chilling with them. We went to the pub for dinner and talked about all sorts. One of the guys gave us a lift back to the house but first he had to clear out so much crap from his car! What is it with boys and accumulating shit in their cars? There was everything in there: sports kit, food wrappers, clothes, even about half a dozen mugs!!!

Monday I went to see my great uncle who lives in Sydney. It was nice to see him looking better as he was in hospital last time I saw him.

Pizza and Beer!
Monday night I went for dinner with a friend that had found a deal that got us all you can eat pizza and 2 beers and hour at this pub. It was great! Bacon and egg pizza was a bit naff but the peperoni, the Moroccan lamb and the margarita were good! The two beers an hour (yea right, two beers every time I went to the bar!) were excellent. We ended up playing pool with two middle aged Americans who, even with my blatant cheating, were still drawing with us! It was pretty hilarious. Why does physics not work properly when you’re drunk? I would line a shot up perfectly and then when I took the shot the ball would shoot off in an entirely unexpected direction! It was a good night.

Tuesday I went for lunch with the friend from school that is out in Australia. One of our other friends from school was visiting her so it was nice to see them both. We went for Thai in Newtown which was predictably tasty and cheap!

That afternoon was spent frantically packing everything into my suitcase, packing everything else up for the charity shop and having a final clean. It was a bit mad and if it wasn’t for my friends who got drafted to help, I wouldn’t have got it all done!

At 6.30 we were done and I headed to the airport. It was surreal to be leaving after all this time! I didn’t want to go and it was the first time I have flown by myself. The flights themselves were fine. I even got 2 seats on the 15 hour one so I could actually put my feet up and sleep. I slept for nearly all of it too! The second flight dragged even though it was only 8 hours long. I think it’s because I was awake more. I arrived in London at 1pm local time on weds. My dad and my brother came to meet me which was nice. I got two very big hugs!

Rain on the car window
Coming home it started to rain and as I watched the rain stream across the car window I felt a strange familiarity that still managed to feel alien. I came home and set about summarising my whole year and giving out gifts. I think it was the little toy pelican and the boxers that were most liked, slightly annoying that they were the cheapest! But I’m glad that they all liked their gifts.

I fell asleep at 8pm but my body thought it was 5am so that’s not a bad effort! I woke up at 1am and couldn’t get back to sleep till about 4.30am and then slept through to 7am. I gave up trying to sleep then. I spent today with my brother. It was really nice, we went for lunch and then round the shops so I could change the dollars I had left and pick up some mobile contract booklets.

It still doesn’t feel real being back in England. Things I used to know are coming back to me slowly. I doubt it will feel real for a while. I already miss Sydney though.