Posts Tagged 'awesomeness'

And here we go!

I’m sitting cross-legged in cozy pajamas watching Sharaz play a ridiculous motorcycle and fire-pit filled game called Trials HD and I’ve decided that while I meant to write a post yesterday, now is as good a time as any. I’m going to pretend that I haven’t ignored this blog for the past year and just throw you into my life at the moment.

Lots of things are going on so I feel thrown in about a million places at once. For one, this time last week my mom was visiting from California; she arrived on Monday and stayed until Sunday morning, and it was beyond the word amazing to be able to see her. If she hadn’t been able to make the trip out, by the time I see my parents at graduation it would have been nearly a full year since I’d seen them, and that idea (which still stands for both my dad and my sisters) blows my mind. Missing someone becomes normal after a while, and you begin to forget you miss them – not in an impolite or unloving way, but in the way you get used to anything that nags you, like a small cut or a bug bite. It’s not until somebody points it out that you realize how painful it is, and now that my mom’s left, that’s how I feel. Two weeks ago I missed her inactively but now everytime I have chips or walk to Chapelfield mall I think of her. All the same, though, it was wonderful seeing her, and I wouldn’t trade her visit for the world!

That fact may or may not also have to do with the many fantastic trips we took. We spent an entire day wandering Norwich (the weather did a rather half-assed job of cooperating, but we had coats and as such survived): going through the Lanes, touring the cathedral, stopping for lunch in Tombland, & other Norwich activities. For my actual birthday, our family friends from Norwich were nice enough to drive us all out thirty minutes away to Blickling Hall, where Anne Boleyn was born. I may not have been posting on here very often, but I promise you, you have missed little-to-no travelling on my part, so that makes Blickling Hall one of the first English National Trust buildings I’ve seen, and it was fantastic! Again, the weather left a bit to be desired, but I must admit it gave the grounds a thoroughly English backdrop (mist, a bit of rain, ludicrously green fields, all against red brick and leaded glass). I shall show you a picture for effect!

Last Thursday we spent all day in Cambridge and luckily enough the sun finally pulled its thumb out and gave us a bit of blue sky and sunshine. We literally must have walked over five miles, wandering from the train station upon arrival to Kings College, across the street from our breakfast cafe, and then down to St. John’s (where we later had tea and scones!) and eventually the River Cam for a good old bit of punting.

Punting, for those that don’t know, is the Cambridge version of gondola-ing (not a verb, I know). It’s apparently a tourist must when visiting Cambridge, and seeing as we’d magically avoided the rain-showers and overcast skies of every other day that week, we shelled out the required £15 for the forty-five minute tour. Though the day got chillier as it progressed, it was all in all a wonderful day, and was especially appreciated once we saw the weather for our day of wandering in London.

London, I am quite sure at this point, hates me. I have NEVER been to London when it hasn’t rained. Every. Single. Time. Gray skies and rain. Sadly, besides a beautiful sunny ride home on the train Sunday morning, AFTER having dropped my mom at Heathrow, the weather was rainy. It rained on and off for the majority of the day, but my mom and I were fantastically determined to not let this affect our touristy agenda, and after girding ourselves with hot coffee and Krispy Kremes (which I insisted on getting as they, and any other decent semblance of a donut, are unavailable in Norwich) we hopped on the first round of our double-decker bus sight-seeing tour. After one stop of standing on the over-crowd, overly-humid first floor, we snagged a pair of seats in the coveted covered portion of the second floor and enjoyed the next hour and a half seeing all of the things you’re meant to see in London: Big Ben, Westminster Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London, & etc. It sounds boring, but in my (rain-soaked) previous travels to London I’d never been able to see much of any of the above, so I had an amazing time. Besides, I was sitting next to my mom (who is one of the most amazing people on the planet) the entire time, so there was no way it was going to be a bad time!

We listened to the crisply-accented tour-guide for just over an hour and a half before getting off at Green Park, ready to make our way to Harrod’s for a bit of walking and copious amounts of window-shopping. We eventually made our way there (though not before being told by a French-accented man at the Ritz that we couldn’t take a peak at the famous tea room because I was wearing jeans) and quickly found ourselves lost among runway fashions, an endless gourmet food department, and the massive Egyptian Escalator (because even escalators get the fancy treatment at a place like Harrod’s). My mom and I decided most of the restaurants were a bit ridiculous in the price department, but we found a middle-ground cafe that suited perfectly and had lunch there. My mom had an iced coffee that, I swear, tasted of absolute roasted perfection. I would give my left hand to wake up to one of those iced coffees every morning.

After lunch we did a bit more Harrod’s-ing (you could literally spent a week in Harrod’s and still not know your way around) and then left off for Picadilly Circus so we could find the Comedy Theatre, where we had tickets booked to see The Children’s Hour. This particular play, which is by no means light-hearted, I picked for its cast: Keira Knightley, Elizabeth Moss, and Tobias Menzies (Brutus in Rome!!). If I’d been thinking at all I’d have picked something much happier for my mom’s last night in town, but alas, I was a bit starstruck and booked The Children’s Hour anyway. The play itself was amazing, though there was a young girl starring in it that acted a bit like a psychopath (so much so that by the end you certainly wanted her to get what she deserved, so I guess she did a good job!). I would definitely recommend it, as long as you don’t have plans the next morning to drop your mom off at the airport and then spend the next four hours alone on a journey home reading Never Let Me Go, yet another hardly uplifting story. But I highly doubt any of you would find yourself in such circumstances.

Weather, lack of sleep, and over-spending included, it was such an amazing six days that I can’t believe it’s already over and that now I have to wait another four months before I can see my mom again. But! It made me realize not for the first time how lucky I am to both have such an amazing, happy, generous, and loving mother and that she is not only all of those things, but also so in love with England that somehow it resulted in me living here!

On the note of living here, you might be wondering how much longer that’ll be going on for. Well, unless the government says no, I plan on living here for at least another year. I might be getting an MA at UEA (either in Creative Writing or Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures – I won’t be hearing back for another month or so probably), or I might be working – who knows. Either way, I think it’s fair to say that my near future is definitely Norwich-bound!

Sharaz has at this point moved on to Black Ops, so I think I might head off to bed. But I do feel that much better about myself having thrown 1300 words out into the ‘net, so I hope you enjoy!

We’d like to take a moment…

Oh hi there May! I didn’t realize you were all of eleven days away. Eleven days, twenty pages of screenplay, twenty-five-hundred words of a contemporary fiction coursework, and more pasties than I want to count away. Having spent the entire day in bed catching up on season two of Gossip Girl and ignoring every bit of aforementioned responsibility, I figure I owe the world at least a bit of productivity. Do me a favor and overlook the fact that I currently consider posting on my blog a form of productive.

Before I continue down the constructive path, though, I’m going to put the last few weeks of partial lethargy to use. When I haven’t been at what I semi-fondly call pastyland, I’ve been at home alternately hanging out with Sharaz, mourning the lack of a laptop in my life, playing Burnout, Oblivion, and Halo 3, and watching far too much television. Somewhere during term time I’d sat down to lunch in front of the television and happened upon a show called Masterchef, and based solely on the similarity in title with the AMAZING Bravo show Top Chef, I thought I’d give it a go.

Some of my English readers have heard of Masterchef, but for the benefit of my American friends and the Brits that ignore Masterchef because they think it’s lame, I will briefly explain the premise. Basically they found 136 normal people who’d recieved enough casual compliments on their cooking and polite “you should totally be a chef!” suggestions that they thought they’d give professional cooking a shot. The first few episodes are classic, as 5 out of 6 competitors at a time get told, “No, no, that’s basically shit. Nice try.” My personal favorite would be the mid-uni kid whose revolutionary chorizo, tomatos, and pasta (your everyday student fodder) got shot down and owned in the face. That is, if greasy, five-minute student food had a face.

Anyway, the initial amusing elements and gradual really awesome cooking got me hooked and ultimately this led to a shameless addiction that I satisfied all the way through watching the finale over break. And also, becoming a shameless fan of one of the two runners-up, Tim! He is basically amazing, and bizarrely enough is a children’s doctor (why they never said pediatrition I still don’t know) at the Norwich Hospital like ten minutes away from where I live. So who knows? I may yet run into the nerdy-looking legend. He is basically the most amazing guy ever. I’m throwing in an early interview of him, and though nothing entirely interesting happens in the 2 minutes and 49 seconds, at least you’ll know who I’m talking about:

Now, since I know you love youtube clips so much, and since I seriously have been watching a ludicrous amount of – dare I say it – telly (totally never use that word in real life), I’m going to indulge you with a few of my favorite commercials of late. I know, I know, commercials are ten kinds of foreign to the on-demand, Tivo, and internet generation, but it would seem that some people are actually still shooting out more than decent two minute clips and somehow managing to spend their advertising pounds wisely.

First off, as sort of a clipular segue, a short advert for Gordon’s gin, featuring Gordon Ramsay, who is both capable of balancing total doucheyness with awesomeness and definitely in possession of my utter infatuation. Plus, I dig the music (credit to Switches and most sadly composed solely for use in the ad and is thus undownloadable), so basically it’s endless win-win:

Next up we have a few very short ads that I am seriously in love with. I don’t know if it’s the vaguely stop-motiony film style, the bizarrely adorable suicide, or the fact that Cadbury Creme Eggs are – let’s face it – fucking delicious. Either way, I love all combined forty seconds of these ads:

Ah, so amazing! And now that I’ve bombarded you with clips and a vague update on my life (yes, I realize I’ve said next-to-nothing about my actual transatlantic happenings), I’m going to go ahead a try and tackle that first paragraph of responsibility. I’ll be back tomorrow to write something more update-ory, I promise!

19 days.

Consistency, as fate would have it, is not my thing. Example? A month and a half of no transatlanticking. Yes, I just turned transatlantic into a verb.

Because of this failing, not only have countless eventful weeks passed – weeks that included most of the traveling I’ve done since I’ve been here – but it has gotten to the point where I have not written in so long that I don’t even know where to start. And yes, while I had to re-write that sentence three times, it does make sense.

I’ll start with the end. The end being in 19 days. In a half-assed fashion, D5 loses Sam tomorrow. I say half-assed because he’ll be leaving, stripping his walls of the posters, notes, and memories that made this year what it is, but after a week-long stint in Austria, he’ll be back in D5 with just a backpack and a sleeping bag to get him through the last 5 days of term. Laura, Sam, and I spent a good hour just sitting in the kitchen, doing nothing this afternoon, doing our best to avoid thinking about this. Because thinking of the people in this flat slowly stripping and vacating their rooms makes me want to cry. Next year will be amazing, that much I don’t doubt, but it will be a very different kind of amazing, and I’m not even going to try to pretend that this year is something we can re-create. You can’t do that. That’s half of what makes it so great. It’s also half of what makes it so shit.

Some stuff we can continue, like throwing together random dinners, á la Monday night. Laura, Kate and I have taken it upon ourselves to extend our cuisine-knowledge of Norwich by mapping out a schedule of new restaurants to try through the end of term. Monday night we started out with sushi, by hitting up (literally) the ONLY (legit) sushi restaurant in the entirety of Norwich. We dragged along a good portion of the flat and friends, and while it was slightly overpriced, it was totally worth it. I for one felt awesome, because not only was I doing the honor of exposing most everyone at the table to real sushi for the first time, but I got to explain most everything about the menu and food to all the Japanese food noobs. And, while it was incredibly tempting, I did not use my position of power to feed them bullshit and pretend to put my four years of high school Japanese to use. On the contrary, I was a fantastic guide of awesomeness, because whether it be sushi, pasties, or guacamole, awesomeness is what I do.

Except when I happen to be using the London tube system. Amidst my many month-of-April travels, I hit up Dane Hill (the land of Laura Wells, near Brighton), Folkestone (Coventry-land, in Kent), and Harrogate (from where Eleanor hails, near York). Somewhere in there, on the way to Folkestone, I believe, I was in London, trying to get from Liverpool Street Station to Charing Cross. Had the tube been fully functioning, this probably would have taken under fifteen minutes. As my luck would have it, as it would happen to have it EVERY time I go to London, the tube proved completely useless as the line I needed to use to get to Charing Cross was closed for repairs. That said, I needed a quick way to get from station to station to catch my Folkestone train – and what better (if you have ten quid to spare) than a taxi.

I was a little unexcited about taking a taxi because while I’d just gotten paid that day, I didn’t want to part with a tenner just for a quick drive. So when I got in the taxi, I nervously eyed the little ticking pay machine at the front of the cab and watched slightly miserably as it skipped upwards in forty-pence increments. I was the opposite of (new favorite word) chuffed until the taxi turned a corner and we suddenly came up alongside the Thames and I saw, lit up in the nine-in-the-evening night sky, the London Eye and Big Ben. It was absolutely incredible. I sat there in awe, absorbing the epic view, missing the jump from £6 to £9, until we turned back onto a sidestreet and came right up next to Charing Cross. Call me a tourist, but I was totally willing to shell out the £10 after an unexpectedly awesome sideshow like that.

I had many other adventures throughout my travels, many of which are probably worth telling but sadly, due to my lapse of timing, I can’t quite recall in a fashion worth transcribing. What I do definitely recall, and definitely find worth writing about, is the whole village concept.

When I first came over here and people explained where they were from, I had a time of it explaining why growing up in a village sounded…well, silly to me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in America, the term village is practically a novelty term, relegated to either historical fiction and fantasy novels or ridiculous 1990’s housing developments in the El Dorado Hills area. Over here, though, it’s a commonly used term for, well, villages. Small pockets of houses and a few stores that exist a good twenty minutes from either the next village or possibly a town or city. When this was explained to me, it made sense and I figured it mapped out sort of in the same fashion as the different areas within Sacramento or El Dorado County. Then, when I did my bit of travelling throughout April, I got to really see how the whole village thing worked out. Some places do sort of work out like El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park, where there are fairly large-sized town-ish things that exist a few miles apart. But those are definitely not villages. Villages are literally a few pockets of housing, a few shops, and that’s it. If you’re looking for a summer job and you live in a village, chances are that unless you’re working at the local shop, you’ll go looking for employment elsewhere and thus pretty much have to commute. I don’t think I’m explaining this as well as I’d like to, because as I reread it, the system sounds pretty similar to what we have in the states, so everyone reading this is probably confused as to what my point even is. But still. I swear. It’s different. And interesting enough that I thought I’d take a stab at trying to explain it.

Something I definitely CAN explain is my frustration with what I have so far experienced of an English summer. There are beautiful days that inspire Pret picnics with French Fancies enjoyed on the grass of the Cathedral Close, and then there are days that inspire every Norwich citizen and their mother to avoid the shit weather and rain by heading to Chapelfield Mall and buying a fucking pasty from my work. I might be a little better at handling the mixture of bipolar and ADD that is the English summer if I had not, for the better part of the last ten years, had the wondrous experience of the 103°F (39°C), sunshine-all-the-time, let’s-go-eat-nonstop-fro-yo (Jaime Bissell I love you), spend-the-whole-day-melting-by-the pool El Do summer. I want that. I want that right now, especially since I was just informed this morning that it has already reached the point in El Do that you can comfortable lounge about at 6.00 AM in a tank top and shorts, if you happen to be awake and outside at such an ungodly hour. Oh, and by the way, I had to stop myself from writing strap top instead of tank top. I blame the nine months in England and Laura Wells for this slow degradation of my vocabulary.

So now I’m sitting here in my pigsty of a room, trying to remember what the fuck I’ve been doing for the past month and a half, and why I haven’t bothered trying to write about it. It’s ridiculous, because it points out the disturbing reality of how much can happen in a short time, and exactly how much of it you promptly and depressingly forget. I look back on the journals I kept in high school with faint amusement and a fair portion of derision, but to be honest…at least now I know what I was doing. It may have, 90% of the time, been something along the lines of, “OMG, HE SAT NEXT TO ME TODAY”, but still. At least I didn’t a. rip any of the pages out, or b. forget a really important four years of my life. I now have on paper, documented throughout four separate journals, how lame I was. But this way I know exactly how much I enjoyed it, and every single amazing friend I met along the way.

I like to think that these days I’m a lot less lame, though apparently my skill at recording any bit of it has gone to shit. I don’t know if I’m going to take a break from writing here over the two months I’ll be home, but whenever I am full-time writing on here, I’m now promising myself that I’m actually going to do it. Waiting longer than a month makes it seem like a burden, and it’s not until I’m 100 words in that I realize how much I enjoy it, and why I do it. Writing here still serves the purpose I first intended for it: it keeps me in touch with home, it makes me happy, and somehow, at the same time, it makes everything make a little bit more sense. I’ve been getting desperately homesick a bit lately, which is a horrible feeling when compounded with how much I simultaneously want anything but this year to end. But there you have it…torn in two directions, loving it and hating it in inexplicable amounts either way.

19 days, guys. And I don’t know if I’m more happy or sad.


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photo cred to myself and Maggie J. Moxie