Posts Tagged 'money'

So…reality. Yeah.

In my surprisingly stale life these days, I find I have little of amusement to report. My day-to-day life is still great, and I still have my fun, but I feel like I’ve entered that plateau-ish bit of uni (and adulthood?) where constantly working and constantly being skint prevent any sort of social life. Or fun spending. Both of which I could definitely do with.

I’ve recently made a list of jobs I’d be interested in post-uni. While I know that it’s highly unlikely that I’ll get any of them, or that I’ll get any high-paying job for that matter, I’ve acknowledged that I’m still stuck in the part of my youth that insists I will one day be rich. I had a discussion with two of my house mates about this and how money really shouldn’t be the point of working, but really, I don’t quite care. Of course it would be amazing to do something I love, and an even more extinct sort of amazing to get paid well to do it – but when it comes down to it, as unethical as it sounds, I don’t think I’ve really drawn the line for myself in terms of how much job enjoyment I would sacrifice in order to make good money. Right now I’m just telling myself I’m amazing as fuck and will find someone to pay me to simply be that way and write books. Little chance, I know, but if I can’t believe it at twenty, then when can I?

Then again, we have the fallback of marrying rich. Wouldn’t complain.

On a less financially-minded note: I got a first – and on a paper I wrote in one evening, the day before it was due, no less! It was a 75, which I am most proud of, it was my first first. This will make little-to-no sense to my American readers (unless they’re Laura Stricker or Maggie McBride) so I shall explain. The English university grading system works as follows: Anything above a 70 is a first, anything between 60-69 is a 2:1, anything between 50-59 is a 2:2, anything between 40-49 is a third, and anything below 40 is a fail. Firsts are really an achievement, especially in your second and third years, when they actually count towards your final degree. What am I talking about, do you ask? Well, when you graduate from an English university, your overall degree comes with an attached score – a First, a 2:1, a 2:2, or a Third. So basically, when you get your degree and then go to apply for jobs, everyone knows whether you slacked at uni or if you worked your ass off. Kinda cool, if you work your ass off. Granted that I’m now in possession of a second-year first, it’s looking pretty good. Here’s hoping my other coursework will go just a smoothly.

That coursework, by the way, is more than likely not going to be typed up on Konsuke. Nope, even as I write, it is on the foreign Apple-y laptop of Laura Wells. Why is that, you ask? It is because Konsuke has up an DIED. Yeah, DIED. Possibly in a resurrectable fashion, but even his temporary death is something to be mourned, especially considering I have around 6,000 words of writing that need doing sometime in the next twenty days. Fuck, writing that down makes it sound far, far more daunting.

On a better note, though, I still love having short hair. I’m promising myself right now that I’ll never go back to long hair, because honestly, every time I think of myself with it, I cringe a little. Generally speaking that means you shouldn’t go back. Having my hair this way makes me feel much more stylish as when you only have a few inches of hair it is about one-million times easier to do stuff with it and to make it look nice. Unfortunately, it also makes me want to go out and buy the entirety of River Island, specifically this bag, which I am in motherfucking love with:

Yeah. You might call it ugly, but I call it heaven. Along with every single piece of makeup produced by Urban Decay (all of which, coincidentally, I would also like to possess) and most every other item in stock at River Island. Essentially, I have realized something very strange about myself: if I had the money (which I most definitely do not, so I’m not even going to try) I would dress exactly like a younger, slightly edgier Cruella Deville (minus the crazy and the animal slaughter). Ridiculous, I know, but DEAR GOD HOW AMAZING WOULD THAT BE. I love animal prints, black, white, and red. I’m pretty sure the only thing I would miss would bet he color blue…but then I’d look at something leopard print and I would feel okay again. If I ever do get rich, that is seriously how I’m going to dress. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go see if I can find a copy of 101 Dalmatians and have myself a movie-tastic Friday night.

Thanksgiving was yesterday, and while it wasn’t anywhere nearly as epic as last year, it was still festive. There was pseudo-turkey (i.e. chicken) and there was pie, and there was an attempt at American biscuits. Sadly, the attempt was a failed one, as my ace recipe straight from my grandmother was thwarted by a small confusion involving teaspoons, tablespoons, and baking soda. Excepting that, though, and the fact that I wasn’t exactly at home in California with my family, it was pretty awesome.

So now, basically, it’s the wait for Christmas. I’m still not quite sure how basically this entire term has escaped this blog and my general attention, but hey, nobody is perfect, and time flies. Wish me luck on my 6,000 words – knowing me, you’ll be hearing from me soon on here. Nothing makes me hit up my transatlantic like the fever of procrastination.

Life in High-Speed and Technicolor

If the rest of my life goes by at the same rate as the past two months, I’m pretty sure I’ll be eighty by next week.

Today is March 1st. That is RIDICULOUS! How, how, how can it possibly already be March? My mind is officially blown.

In other news, I turned twenty last week. Something about twenty sounds so much cooler than nineteen, so needless to say, I’m pretty happy. The flat got together and did the cake-and-balloons deal (=]) and we had cheeseburgers and malts. Malts! WIN! I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about making malts, beyond that they’re basically milkshakes with malt, so all things considered they turned out pretty well. Basically, I’m in love with Iceland, and I’m pretty sure that every college town in America needs one.

Iceland is magical. It doesn’t exactly collect the cream of the crop in terms of society, but damn…the selection of frozen food is BOMB, and it is dirt cheap. And it’s frozen. Which means it lasts…basically forever. I can forget about the chicken kievs (6 for £2.50!!) I have in the freezer till next Wednesday and they will still be just as tasty, as opposed to, oh, the mince that I picked up for spaghetti but forgot about and now it’s moldy and ten kinds of fail.

One of the downsides of Iceland is, go figure, their lack of fresh produce. They do have a fresh produce section, but I don’t know if I’d call it kosher. As in, I went looking for some tangerines the other day and couldn’t find any. Found myself a £1 bag of ten “Easy Citrus Peelers” though, which look (and sort of…?) taste like tangerines. Case in point.

On a fantastic food note, though, we have the discovery of MALT LOAF, many thanks to my flatmate Matt. I promise you, you have not LIVED until you’ve had malt loaf slathered in butter. It ranks right up there with Lyle’s Golden Syrup in terms of epic English foods that must come back to the states with me. And in terms of American foods to bring back here come August? How about some Bisquick and some Lucky Charms. Holy shit, what I would do for a bowl of Lucky Charms right now.

This is malt loaf. ITS FUCKING AWESOME.

This is malt loaf. IT'S FUCKING AWESOME.

Lyles Golden Syrup is liquid win and is best consumed on its own with a spoon.

Lyle's Golden Syrup is liquid win and is best consumed on its own with a spoon.

And since I can’t seem to stop talking about food, I’ll go ahead and lay out for you all my current Lenten diet. I’ve given up cookies, cakes, candy, chocolate, and fried food. On second thought, I probably should have given up butter or cider…but last time around (and by last time around, I grossly exaggerate and actually refer to about three years ago) the whole cookies, cakes, etc. seemed to work pretty well, so I thought I’d give it another whirl.

This past week was Reading Week, so I haven’t had any class for ages. It’ll be nice having a purpose in life besides pasties come Monday…er, come tomorrow. Turned in some coursework though on Thursday, so I guess I had a slightly academic week.

Must say though…definitely spent more time with my two besties Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus than I did on my paper. Yes, the Rome bug has bitten again – and this time, I blasted through Season 1 and Season 2 in a concise four days. Why, oh why did HBO cut that series? I kid you not, people…Rome is TEN KINDS of epic, and seriously…if you enjoy quality shows, or anything of the ancient world history variety, or especially if you’re awesome like me and love both, you HAVE to watch Rome. HAVE TO.

Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus: quintessential BAMFs.

Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus: quintessential BAMFs.

Finishing up with that and refusing to come back to reality has me itching for another trip through the fifties/sixties epic movies; you know, The Ten Commandments, Spartacus, Ben Hur, yada yada. Nothing entertains quite like Technicolor and the blatant disregard of race when casting movies of the ancient world. JOHN DEREK I LOVE YOU.

John Derek, my 1950s love.

John Derek, my 1950's love.

[Sidenote: I just searched for a synonym for ignore. On the sidebar of the results page, it had a “Related Searches from” list. Number one related search? Why do men ignore women? Just…at this point in time, no words. Irony for the win.]

For once in my life, last Tuesday, I had GOOD phone luck! Reggie is, I swear, the luckiest phone I’ve ever had. I misplaced him a few weeks ago – left him on the desk in the main office of the Arts 2 building – and Tuesday, once again, I nearly saw the last of him. Amidst a bit of drunken revelry in the LCR, I managed to upend my purse and lose nearly the entirety of its contents. This includes, cause I’m awesome, my ID (£20), my phone (£90), my bus pass (£148), my camera (£150), and my keys (£40). Would you like to know the two items that managed to stay in the purse? Two pieces of chocolate liqueur candy. Of ALL of the things to not fall out…the candy. WTF LIFE YOU FAIL.

Anyway, because Laura and her ENV friends are awesome, we somehow managed to locate all five of those essential items. I don’t even know how that’s possible, almost as much as I don’t know how it’s possible for me to LOSE them all…but hey, it’s a good thing, so I won’t question it.

And right now, just cause I can, I’m going to say how much fun it is creating tags for posts. I know they pretty much don’t even matter…but I’m a fan of making endless amounts of them. I swear, every time I write, I end up with like five more tags than my last post…regardless of relevancy. Once again, because I’m awesome.

It never ceases to amaze me how a piece of information can just sit in your brain and then – BAM! – just re-hit you and suddenly seem like a surprise. For instance, when I was making a mocha (pronounced, by the by, “mah-ka” on this side of the Atlantic…which makes me laugh to no end) for a customer yesterday when I realized, out of nowhere, that next year I will be living in a house that I am paying the rent for using money I earn at a job independent (sans tuition) of my parents. And with three guys, no less. When did that happen? When did I turn twenty and gain that kind of responsibility? It really, really, weirds me out. In fact, if it didn’t excite me about twenty millions times more than it weirds me out, I don’t know if I could handle it.

But, well, as things stand I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be just fine.

Reggie, Manfred Mann, and other reasons not to complain.

I have been here for nearly six months and today, for the first time, I attended church at Norwich Cathedral. It was long overdue, I know…but as they say, better late than never.

The service was amazing. It took a little longer to walk there than I thought, so I was about ten minutes late. Thus, when I entered from the small door in the back the choir was in the middle of singing a hymn. I can sit here and try to tell you how amazing it is hearing a monstrously huge pipe organ and the incredibly talented Norwich Choir harmonize in a 900 year old cathedral, or you can just trust me when I say that it gave me goosebumps. I still can’t get over the fact that people regularly attend church in such an awe-inspiring, spectacular place.

Among other religious firsts, I’ll note that this was the first sermon I ever heard where it was preached that part of the listeners’ Christian duty, in terms of achieving world peace, is to help put a stop to climate change. I’ve grown up in a pretty conservative church environment, so needless to say, pro-environmentalism (if you decide to call a simple decision to live sustainably an environmentalist attitude, rather than a simply logical one) was never really a sermon theme. Don’t get me wrong – I loved my church growing up, and it was hardly preached to drive a Hummer and never recycle. In the same vein, though, I highly doubt many members of the LCMS church find themselves voting on the left side of the ballot. It was, simply put, interesting to see church from a visibly more traditional view (900 year old building, traditional liturgy, etc.) while hearing a slightly less traditional sermon.

When I got up for Communion, I was advised by the woman sitting nearest me that I should bring my bag with me to the front of the church, as sadly before people have come in during service and “nicked” the bags of Communion-goers. Seriously. How much of a conscience do you lack if you steal purses from women while they Commune? Things like that in the world make me pray that my faith in karma is not misplaced. Anyway, the reason I mention it is because after service the same lady spoke to me and chatted with me for five or ten minutes, asking me if I was visiting, or if I attend church at home, etc. It was just really nice that in such a huge, intimidating church setting the members are still incredibly personable and, well, nice. I really, really enjoyed myself, and now that I have myself a bus pass, I’ll try and go every Sunday.

Last weekend was spent in utter relaxation, sleeping 10+ hours both Friday and Saturday night, wearing pajamas for most of both Saturday and Sunday, and curling up in bed eating take-out fish and chips and finishing Devil’s Brood (Sharon Kay Penman = HISTORICAL FICTION LOVE).

This weekend has been 48 hours of compensatory productiveness. I woke up and left for town at the unheard of hour of 9:00 AM with a certain Laura Wells and then proceeded to pick up my paycheck, do some much-needed exploration of hole-in-the-wall Norwich shops off of Haymarket, and pick up a week or two’s worth the groceries at Iceland. It was pretty awesome when I arrived back at the flat at 12 and only found one or two people awake. Since it was a particularly gorgeous (albeit FREEZING) day, I brought a blanket out next to the lake and laid down in the sun. Within half an hour enough clouds had showed up to block out the sun, so that was the end of that. Still though…it was absolutely fantastic. Even more so because I made myself a bacon sandwich when I got inside.

One of my amazing finds yesterday, among other things, was a perfect little record shop near Haymarket. It’s just one small room overstuffed with vinyl, with brown-and-honey-colored speakers that remind me of my grandparent’s house hooked up amidst framed album covers and blasting Manfred Mann. I picked myself up a vinyl Cat Stevens album, partly because it was Cat Stevens and vinyl, and partly because it came with an original poster of shirtless, lei-bearing Cat Stevens playing acoustic at some unnamed blue-walled venue. It’s on my wall being epic as I type…I am in love.

Sadly, I have no academic misadventures to report or to amuse you with. That’s doubly disappointing since I seem to fail at constancy these days…you’d think I would have embarrassed myself tenfold since I last wrote.

I can, though, report that I nearly have my housing situation worked out for next year. That, combined with my realization that in terms of rent and bills I will be financially independent next year, AND with the fact that on the twenty-third I turn 20, makes me feel very, very strange. And adult. You’d think that the whole living in a foreign country bit would go a little farther in acquainting me with feeling strange…but alas, the feeling is just as bizarre now as it was a year ago.

Wish me luck though, guys. No matter how the current numerous roommates situation works out, I’ll be living with three boys. Having no brotherly experience, I’m sure this will be quite an adventure…though, if nothing else, the material I’ll get over the next two years will be boundless, and unavoidably amusing.

Speaking of the other gender, I have a new man in my life, and his name is Reggie. He’s not actually a man in any way, shape, or form. He’s my anthropomorphized phone, and he fucking OWNS. I can now skype anyone at any time via Reggie, and in what is bound to cause my death, I have unlimited access to Facebook as well. Because skype is awesome, I was finally able to get one of my epic friends from my old church on the phone the other night to play six months of conversational catch-up. Communication can at times be a bitch, but skype goes quite far in terms of making it simple. I’ll be doubly making use of that now, as Prue, one of my best friends here that hails from Australia, has left England and after six months of being abroad, returned to her half of the globe. FAIL.

None of you can see (that is, none of you that are reading this and are not one of the ten people I live with), but MY ROOM IS CLEAN. This is absolutely unheard of, as I usually live in a state of general explosion, where the only clean surface is my sink…and that’s only on Wednesdays, when I have to move everything off of it so that Paula, the cleaner, can wash it off.

That, plus the fact that my new tongue-piercing has officially healed and I have the new, much shorter bar in, makes life quite nice at the moment. I can say, temporarily, that I have no complaints!

Let’s try and keep this going, shall we?

The Presidency, James Bond, and Pumpkins.

Apparently there’s some sort of election happening tomorrow. Does that throw anyone else for a trip? It also boggles my mind that for three of the four years that this next sirrah will be in office, I will be living in England. Bizzarro. Me, Maggie (my resident fellow American), and the “globally conscious” of my flatmates are considering hitting up the campus pub for the 12AM-6AM live-stream coverage. Because NOBODY here has a TV…not that I blame them. £130 TV license fee? Not so much.

Since you all know how much I absolutely adore talking about politics, I’m going to move on. To James Bond. And how AMAZING it will be when pretty much my whole floor hits up the Odeon in Norwich to see its epicness. OH MY GOSH, STOKAGE. Nothing is better than Daniel Craig* striding across the big screen in thousand-dollar suits and Armani. Or exploding an Aston Martin or two. BEAUTIFUL. Well played, Mr. Flemming. Well played.

Lastly, we have pumpkins, and how amazing Halloween was. Hit up the facebook for photos of my amazing Cleopatra-ness, and the zombie and pinup and pumpkin and mad doctor -osity that was my floor.

Before my creative writing class today, I was feeling a bit blerf about things. However, there’s nothing like remembering what you love in life to make you feel a million times better. Writing and everything therein for the incredibly epic win.

That’s all I got for now. Apparently there is some sort of traditional Lithuanian food cooking in the kitchen, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was curious. Life is amazing, even if the food is a bit questionable.

*It should be noted that every time I say Craig and pronounce it “Cregg”, Simon Partridge nearly goes into cardiac arrest. Thus I am slowly adapting to this strange “Crayyyyg” business.

A weekend of win.

I’m pretty sure that no matter how long I live here, I will never cease to be amazed by the price of public transportation. The fact that it costs almost exactly the same for a return bus ticket into town and a train ticket to the beach forty-five minutes away completely boggles my mind. With that figure, you have to decide if it’s the bus tickets that are really expensive or the train tickets that are really cheap. Sadly, I’ll let you know that the latter is the truth. Taking the bus around Norwich is expensive as fuck – it’s £3.50 for a return bus ticket into town. That is almost exactly $6.00.

Oh, and the worst part is that with the way the currency works here my brain gets even more confused. Here’s how it works: in America, if you have a handful of change, there is nothing exciting about it. You find a pocketful of change and if you’re lucky and stocked up on quarters, you might have a dollar or two. Here it is the opposite. A pocketful of change could well be £5 or more – that’s like having a coin purse of $10 easy. And hey, go figure, after 19 years of coins being worth nothing, I don’t find it very hard to spend coins and not feel bad about it. Yeah, generally not a good idea.

Complaints about cost and currency (to be fair, their coinage looks fucking awesome) aside, me and my flatmates took advantage of the otherwise amazingness of the English public transportation system this weekend and had a trip up to Cromer to see our first bit of English ocean. It was colder than you’d know, but that was okay because it was perfectly beautiful.

As if the beach itself was not amazing enough, the seaside town of Cromer was ten kinds of picturesque and even came with a variety of fish & chip shops at which you could purchase said fish & chips and proceed to sit on the pier and eat them whilst watching the gorgeous ocean. Sunlight fading, smell of the sea, fantastic people at each side, and the boardwalk slowly lighting up – I think you can imagine how amazing it was. Gonna have to say that my first English beach experience was definitely epic win.

Speaking of epic win, the awesomeness of this weekend did not stop at the fantastic day trip. Nope, I pubcrawled it up in Norwich with Prue, Laura, Zach, Maggie, and Joao. We made three stops – The Bell, Delaney’s, and The Prince of Wales, if I recall correctly – and had many an adventure at each pub and in transit. Nothing like a midnight chip run to make your evening. Though I must say, the fact that we then had the entertainment of three 24-packed flatmates at home (courtesy of a £3 deal at Sainsburys) when we returned around 1:00 AM wasn’t so bad either. Did I say I love where I live? ‘Cause I kind of do.

All you have to do is toss in a free showing of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (mad props to Laura of free movie ticket and energy-saving fame!) this morning and a very successful shopping trip at the City Centre and BAM! you have how awesome my weekend was!

Epic win guys, epic win.

I can cook!

So I’m thinking that on the whole I haven’t talked enough about how amazing the people I live with are. Because of this I’ve decided to share another aspect of our fantastic lives: floor dinners! On the fridge in our kitchen there’s a signup list posted, and everybody signs up for a night that works best for them to cook. They then go and buy all the supplies for said dinner, whip it up, and we as a floorfamily sit down together and dig in. Then afterwords the cook doesn’t have to help with the washing up, and everyone is happy. Pretty much everybody takes their turn, so the spending-food-on-money figure works out, and life is amazing. And we all get better at cooking, which is amazing. Pretty much it is an amazing system of amazingness.

And guess who cooked last night! None other than myself. I used to think that when it came to cooking, I could only handle two things: egg-in-toast, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Apparently all I needed was the inspiration of cooking for people that have never eaten some of my favorite foods before, because since that’s happened I’ve been whipping up awesomeness left and right. I’ve already talked and talked about the whole guacamole extravaganza…but this time, I took it up a notch. After explaining to some of my Australian friends what a tortilla is [!!!!] I decided it was time to unleash tostadas on Floor 5.

One trip into town and four shops later, I was missing the following ingredients from my planned fiesta: refried beans (FAIL!) and margarita mix (EPIC FAIL!). It had been enough of a challenge finding tortillas (as opposed to tortilla chips, which is what people think you’re talking about if you walk into Marks & Spencers and ask where the tortillas are – apparently they call tortillas tor-till-ah wraps here?), but I thought I would cry when I couldn’t find (or really explain) refried beans. Or margarita mix. What is that? Margarita mix is amazing! It’s a good thing I absolutely love everything else about this country.

Anyway, once home I attempted cooking all the different parts of my magical meal and promptly blackened a tortilla whilst trying to fry it and nearly flipping a pan of mince (mince! also known as ground beef) on my way to the dying tortilla. Enter Zach, amazing flatmate, whom I quickly trained in the arts of frying and flipping tortillas. Not gonna lie, he was pretty pro.

Then I needed somebody to work on the guacamole while I worked on the veggie option half of the meal (kidney beans and diced tomatoes instead of mince). Enter Sharaz and Sam – Sam who looked at Zach frying the tortillas and said “What? What are you doing to those? That is not what you’re supposed to do with tortillas” and for some reason I found it really funny, probably because it furthered the Americans-fry-everything stereotype. Sharaz had already been trained in the arts of guac-making, so he taught Sam and got that going. And that was all good until they started playing with the avocado pits, and then wanted to try and eat them (don’t ask me). So I told them that avocado pits are poisoness, and Sam looks at me and asks, “…death poisoness or fun poisoness?” which is a ridiculous question, but is also why I love Sam. I ignored him and he promptly disappeared, only to reappear about five minutes later and recite that “Avocado pits are only poisoness to pets and those people who are allergic to them”. You can imagine my surprise when despite having proved me wrong, Sam and Sharaz ended up using the pits as bouncy balls instead of trying to eat them.

So basically, after no further issues, the meal got on the table in a decent amount of time and oh my gosh, it was both beautiful when on the table and delicious! Mad props to my cooking helpers, and the lady the tried really really hard to help me find tortillas at Marks & Spencers.

My ATM card arrived this week, which makes life exponentially better. And I get paid soon! Oh my gosh, I can’t get over having a job. And money. Oh! And my first loan check comes through tomorrow! Ridiculous!

Oh, and on a way less exciting note, the cold that I shook off a week or two ago has returned. Yeah, I don’t know how things work in England, but I’m pretty sure that in California when I get an awful cold it’s pretty much an annual deal. Not bimonthly. Which is epic fail.

So yeah, here’s hoping I don’t sneeze on anyone’s pasty!


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photo cred to myself and Maggie J. Moxie