Archive for September, 2009

A year, in layman’s terms.

What is a year? 365 days? 52 weeks? God help me, I’m struggling not to quote Rent here. I’ve never seen the play or the movie and so any notable amount of derision would be unfair of me…but still. I love me some Mamma Mia, but I’d be lying if I said Broadway was my thing and as such, quoting Broadway would be even more out of character.

Regardless of my non-affinity for America’s West End and my ability to digress on the subject, I was talking about years. A year, to be exact. Three-hundred sixty-five days and the incomprehensible fact that while each and every year is exactly the same amount of time, it does not always feel that way. For example, and I know you saw this one coming a mile away, the past year. Just about this time last year, I was meeting for the first time about ten or so people that would in the space of about 48 hours become some of my closest friends. Since I was without internet at the time, I didn’t even chronicle meeting them, and because the experience is something I want to remember, I’m going to recall a bit for you now. A forewarning: those allergic to high doses of nostalgia might want to skip the next few paragraphs.

The last night my mom was in Norwich with me, she and the family friends we’d been staying with dropped me off at Norfolk Terrace to spend my first night there. My mom’s flight was at six am the next morning so spending the night in the same house was slightly pointless…and I think we both wanted to prove that I could be dropped off and left alone while she was still in the country, just to make it seem less like I was about to live 5,000 miles from home. Our friends hadn’t seen much of my living space, so when they went with us they came inside and I showed them around the flat. My purple-doored room, the yellow-doored toilet, and lastly the green-cabinet kitchen. While admiring the view from said kitchen, a guy burst in and practically had the fridge open before he noticed us at the window. He, in a well composed drunken state, introduced himself as Dan, and after I’d said my name was Kathy and that I’d just moved in, he promptly invited me to the flat two floors up where a bunch of drama students and internationals – the only ones currently occupying the building – were hanging out. It was a casual invitation, and I’m sure Dan was just being nice, but it was amazing. Not ten minutes in the building and I already had plans for the evening. Not only that, but my mom knew I had plans, and felt about a million times better about leaving me in my incredibly foreign surroundings. Ten minutes later I was saying goodbye, knowing that for the first time in my life I was leaving my mother for more than a month – and in a foreign country, no less. Five minutes later I nervously tidied my room (ha! how quickly that habit would die) and then set off up the stairs, following Dan’s super simple instructions as to how to find his room.

I forget who first let me onto the floor -each flat has a key-locked entrance- but they must have led me to the room. Even if they hadn’t, it wouldn’t have been hard to find. Simply follow the sound of uncontrollable laughter to the shoved open door down the hall, with the crazy red-head Australian girl spilling into the hallway.

Somehow I got up the nerve to walk into the room. Well, into what space there was. There were four girls sitting on the bed, Dan ensconced among them. He smiled when I came in and introduced me to everyone, and immediately following a blur of names I instantly forgot and a wave from an apparent fellow American seated on the bed, a dark-haired boy with a heavy accent shoved a shot glass and foreign-labeled bottle of vodka my way and said, smiling, “Drink!!” From there, nearly everyone in the room (who had clearly made use of the first three-fourths of the bottle) took up the chant, and from the direction of a sympathetic Australian – let’s call her Prue =] – I received a glass of cider to chase with.

“That Lithuanian stuff is feral,” she said. “You’ll need this.”

I tried to share the group’s enthusiasm, but my novice self kept insisting I didn’t drink. When this was met with friendly mockery, I conceded to one shot, and the whole drunk room cheered. One nasty shot of Lithuanian vodka and a glass of cider later, I plopped down at the door next to the red-head, who’d introduced herself as Kelly. Sitting there, warm now from the bit of drinking, I felt one of my favorite vibes: acceptance. Yes, I admit, it was the acceptance of happy drunk people, but it was acceptance on my first night alone at school in England, and so I was happy to take it. Not only that, but two minutes later, my fellow expatriot who’d been seated on the bed extricated herself from the pile and joined me on the floor.

“Mad props for being American,” she said, smiling. “And I have to come sit with the only other non-drinker in the room.” And from there she re-told me her name, Maggie, and proceeded to be my guide for most of the evening.

From there, photos were taken, I actually absorbed the names of those around me – Becs, Sharaz, Martynas, Suzy, Kelly, Maggie, and Prue – and I accompanied the group on a vague adventure up the few flights of stairs left to the top of the terrace. I remember getting slightly scared of Sharaz simply because he offered me a cigarette out of politeness, and thinking Kelly was crazy as she jumped around and talked about the wild European trip she’d just finished up called Contiki. I saw the incredibly extroverted side of Becs, who was full of hugs and smiles and insistence on being friends right from the start. Maggie was the cut-a-bitch girl form New Jersey that I soon could not live without, and Suzy – though she doesn’t remember – was chatty, lovely, and generally hilarious. Prue and Kelly I thought were best friends, right up until they told me they’d only met on the bus from the airport to UEA. Basically, they were all amazing and, unlike what I assumed, they all were just as nice to me the next morning as they were during their late-night celebrating. Right off the bat they were fantastic, and I spent most every moment of my days with them.

The rest of the D5 clan, who arrived a few days later, got to play my new-comer role upon spending their first night with us. Again, we were all a bit pissed, and got along famously. I have never known a group of people to get along so quickly and so amazingly in such a short frame of time, and though I give the booze some of the credit, it was still pretty fucking lucky. To not be tired of any of them a year later, and most of us still living together (and by choice this time!), is awesome.

So yeah. There you have it, this time last year, my introduction into my life as I know it. Maybe it wasn’t very exciting on paper, but I hope that at least it was easily skipped for those who were uninterested, and memorable to those that were there.

END MEMORY LANE.

Thanks to the wonderful event that was Zach moving into the house for reals, I have not only had more going on in my life than work at pastyland, but also, I have had the LUDICROUSLY amazing advent of the TV show Chuck entering my life.

Zach and I powered through the first season in oh, a day and a half, and now we’re forcing ourselves to work through the second season in smaller, spread-out portions. I am in LOVE with Zachary Levi, like, Jon Derek status love. And I am in LOVE with John Casey. And I am in LOVE!! with Awesome. Basically, I’m in love with everything about that show. It is hilarious, amazing, and has renewed my love for Cake. So, unless you think you can get through life without a good dose of this:

…then go watch yourself some Chuck. Mmmmm.

On other television related notes – and there are lots of television related notes, as with school not yet starting, television and pasties are my life – Zach and I are also trying out Deadwood, Weeds, and Mad Men (which I cannot, for the LIFE of me, stop calling Mad Money on accident. SO MUCH FAIL). We’d be getting through a lot more of Mad Men if there wasn’t the prerequisite that I’m-either-working-eating-or-sleeping Sharaz be present, but seeing as Weeds is actually really entertaining I guess that’s alright. Deadwood, I fell asleep during, so we’ll see about that one. And yes, for the record, I am aware of how boring my life sounds right now.

Positive thinking, though: SAM arrives tomorrow! After dallying about in France for a few days, Sam is moving into the house for reals and then finally our house will be full (just like that one show, only without John Stamos and his science-defying mullet-y sexiness). So yay for that. Also positive thinking – I get paid on Saturday and can finally buy groceries. AND! On Saturday, Emily gets here, and on Sunday, Kate and Laura get here! So despite how boring it may sound, life is, at the mo, slightly more than win.

I apologize for the lack of embarrassing foreign adventures or generally interestingness that I like to think my posts usually contain. Hopefully this will hold y’all over until next week when classes start, and I suffer the return of Joad Raymond (and all of the ridiculous Englishness therein). Being in his class again, I’m bound to have some sort of “oh dear god, she is still ludricously American” anecdotes to share. For now, though, I’ll just settle for finishing a post with my (boring) dignity in tact.

Pirate keys and pounds – yes, I still live in England.

When Lindsay and I were in high school, not only were we dorkily awesome, but we epitomized our dorky awesomeness in a book creatively titled The Book. Somewhere around junior year The Book and its relevancy petered out and retired to Lindsay’s house, but from its birth sophomore until that untimely end it was incredibly entertaining. Now, unlike some capital B books in high school dramas, our Book had nothing to do with our peers, and everything to do with ignoring our existence in high school in El Do and looking forward to how amazing the rest of our lives would be. The night before I left to come back to England, Lindsay unearthed The Book from some corner of her ridiculously organized room and brought it to my house for some much-needed reminiscing. It certainly served its purpose, because looking back through it, we found a page titled “A Day in the Life”.

The gist of this particular exercise was to imagine what, in an ideal future, a day in our lives years from then would be like. I like to think that I was a fairly normal teenager, and that as such I had the fairly normal desire to skip high school and go straight to college. That said, my “Day in the Life” had me stationed knee-deep in university, having the time of my life, not in America, but – where do you know it – in England.

Now I’m not going to pretend I’m psychic or prophetic, but I’m also not going to pretend that I didn’t find the whole thing incredible. It sounds cheesy, and corny, and any other ill-chosen food word used to describe general triteness, but my dream pretty much came true to a transatlantic T (minus the degree in Archaeology I apparently had planned [???]). This thought occurred to me not only as Linds and I paged through The Book, but also today as I walked through the little gate to my rowhouse and unlocked the front door with my pirate keys. My life is pretty awesome, and I am incredibly lucky to have it so.

And yes, I totally just said pirate keys.

How awesome is that? I’d post pictures of my house as well, but Reggie and my gimpy camera are somewhat fail at the moment and make doing so really past any level of motivation I currently possess. I will, however, give you the following one-sentence summary: four bedroom, one bathroom, three boys, and a galley kitchen. Those seem to be the most life-affecting highlights I’ve discovered so far. Oh yes, and no drier…which seems to be a general English thing, rather than a students-are-complete-cheap-asses-and-can’t-afford-one thing.

On that note, I ventured out into our small backyard the other day to, for the first time, put out my laundry to dry on a laundry line. Sharaz had already done so a few days ago, and partly because he doesn’t need the clothes but mostly because he’s a lazy ass, he’d left a few bits of his laundry out. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem…but when a few extra days outside means SPIDERS BUILD WEBS AROUND YOUR CLOTHING, it means I, as a fellow lazy person, suddenly have no desire whatsoever to dry my clothes outside. So I substituted a laundry line for my kitchen counter.

Besides indoor chores like laundry and feminizing the otherwise plain and boring kitchen, I have work at the pasty cafe to keep me busy until school starts on the twenty-first. Oh! And I have one other, newly acquired activity! You are now reading the blog of UEA’s Student Ambassador for America. I don’t know how long the job goes for, but I do know that I love UEA, I love England, and that I could probably sell the idea to anyone and their mother that’s interested. The job entails, as far as I know at the moment, an hour’s worth the work at uni each week, and emailing/contacting prospective American students that are interested in the general transatlantic business, specifically in the East Anglian direction. I’m really excited, because not only does it sound like resume material – it sounds like something I’ll be sincerely interested in. And will get paid for!

Now that I live in a house, I feel ridiculously adult. I paid my first rent yesterday with my own money, and due to the gloriousness that is the student loan system (no, we don’t talk about future crippling debt on this blog), I will be entirely financially independent this year. It’s a very strange feeling, but I feel like it’s a huge achievement, and, debt-that-I’m-invariably-ignoring aside, I’m really excited and proud of myself. Yes, this has turned into a bit of a narcissistic post, but hey – since you’ve made it this far, I promise to stop talking about how awesome I am.

Instead, and as an exciting bit to leave you with, I’ll talk about how FANTASTIC!!! it is that this year, both in the fall and spring, I’ll be seeing fellow Californians doing the abroad thing! Jaime and her roommate from SDSU will be in Granada for the spring semester, and Wes is au pairing in Munich. Bharath is even in London, so hopefully I’ll get to see him to. That said, anybody heading in this general direction – let me know! You have a free place to stay, and I’d love to have you. You’ll just have to ignore the pigsty that is my room and the size of the couch you’ll be using as a bed. Other than that, good times, I promise you.

So at the mo, such is life. Back to the queen’s currency – which I am unashamedly a fan of – and to swashbuckling keys. That’s what happens when you call Narrich home.


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photo cred to myself and Maggie J. Moxie