Posts Tagged 'folkestone'

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