1.30.2012

so i maybe like you a little bit more than i originally thought i would: an ode to leicester.


My first few days at Leicester have been exhausting and so so much fun. Let me just say one thing: These people know how to party. I really love Leicester more than I love London {yes, I know, shocked faces all around, mine most of all}. I immediately connected to this place. This is probably because there are parts of Leicester that remind me of a really cool New York neighborhood. And yet then you step into the magical city centre {pictured above} and the overwhelming foreignness and unbelievable quaintness of it all washes over you and you know you can be nowhere but England. This city is huge, and so much more bewitching than I had ever dreamed possible. I have a strong desire just to wander around perusing the city for days until I can experience every corner. And guys, the shopping is incredible. Like, INCREDIBLE and cheap and stylish and I am completely smitten and don't ever want to leave the city centre

AND THEY HAVE A TOP SHOP.

Swoony swoon swoon.

So here's a little taste of my Leicester. I've been a little overwhelmed, so I haven't taken as many pictures as I have liked, but now that I'm settled I will rectify this as soon as possible.





Seriously, the clubs are insane here. They put my college town to absolute shame. And the music is just as awesome. My first night I heard Backstreet Boys song and I almost had a coronary.


Just one example of the quality English journalism from my foreign copy editor brethren. 


And then I celebrated Australia Day with some Australians my second night in Leicester.

You guys, I love this place. However, I don't know if I'm going to get used to the crazy partying schedule here. Basically every day is a free-for-all. Early this morning I woke up at 3:45 to the sounds of screams from some friends that one of my flatmates brought home. Let me just repeat this: They were out until almost 4 a.m. on a Sunday night/Monday morning. If that's not an intimidating standard to live up to, I don't know what is. Of course, until yesterday, I hadn't even met any of these elusive flatmates of mine {kind of weird living conditions over here}, so at least when they woke me up this morning I was assured that they did in fact exist and I wasn't completely isolated in the back corner on the top floor of the residence hall farthest from civilisation {I'm already starting to spell things the British way. Before you know it, it will be "travelling" and "colour"}.

I have so many quirky things to tell you guys about, but I'll save those for the next few posts. For now, I'm going to get back to reading my first assignment for my Modern American Writing class {yes, I'm taking an American Studies class in England}. I'm really excited to see how the Brits dissect American characters. Tomorrow I have my first Shakespeare class {!!!}.
Wish me luck, loves. 
Until soon!

By the way, this is my 100th post. I can't believe I've actually stuck to it this long... Here's to the next 100!

1.27.2012

and then i heard the voice of god. {alternatively titled: and then she was shanked by jack the ripper}

{Rejected alternative title: In which I tour of the entire city of London. Entirely on foot. In the rain the entire time. Wearing leather boots. But still an amazing few days. Welcome to England}









My London trip was a whirlwind of two and a half days. Seriously, London is the craziest, most "higgledy piggledy" town I've ever seen {apparently that's the name for the haphazard London architecture and street designs...}. Everything was so much different than how I thought it would be.

It was all so... English?

Besides the fact that my feet were about to fall off and I almost ruined a pair of leather boots in the rain, I had an amazing time trying to balance looking like a native and surreptitiously sneaking out my camera at extremely touristy moments

I ended up not loving what I thought would be my favorite thing {The Globe Theatre tour: It was really short, I knew everything they told me, and it wasn't even the real Globe Theatre. Kind of a letdown} and absolutely enthralled with what I thought would be a boring trip to Westminster Abbey {I never thought looking at a dead person's grave/memorial would be so exciting. I freaked out at Poet's Corner}. At Westminster, every 30 minutes or so, this giant voice comes over the intercom and echoes throughout the entire abbey like God Himelf {/Herself} is speaking to you. And apparently you aren't supposed to giggle when the voice tells you to please bow your head and pray with it... 

Also, can I just say how much I loved the Tube? It is so clean compared to the New York subways, and it makes me feel so self-sufficient. 

Maybe the best part? Kat {bench-girl in the photos} got fake murdered by a REALLY ATTRACTIVE Jack the Ripper on our tour of his London murder spots.

On my first night, we all went out to a local pub {my first English pub and I didn't take a picture of it, for which I am now sorry, but I was already feeling like a clueless American so I couldn't bring myself to do it}. We all shuffled in awkwardly and found a table in the back, trying our best to blend in. And then we sat there for about 10 minutes before we realized we may have to order at the bar. When I went up to ask the barista how we were supposed to order, she kind of smiled a bit and then she leaned over to the guy next to her and whispered "They're American" when she thought I wasn't watching. I'm not sure whether that was an offensive comment or not. I just slunk back to my seat red-faced and drank my Pimms.

Of course I had to order the fish and chips, even though I don't really love fried fish. Because when in England...

And seriously, the "Look Right" signs: THANK YOU SO MUCH LONDON.

It was such a great few days, and I can't wait to go back. I definitely have a lot of shopping to do.

Hope you all are well. I'm finally settled in and registered at the University of Leicester now, so expect another post shortly. Cheers! 

1.23.2012

can i just say one thing?

Don't get me wrong. I already love this country. And I love London.

I love the accents and the beautiful architecture. I love the Tube and minding the gap and the crazily decorated taxis. I love that England is green even in the winter and I love that the streets twist wildly across the city. And I especially love the helpful reminders of "Look Right" or "Look Left" on the street corners. They have already saved me multiple times from getting hit by a car. Or a bus.

But I have to say:

What the hell is up with the toilets??

I mean, I don't know if it's just my hotel or if it's a British thing, but they are so absurdly hard to flush that I'm half convinced they are simply wall art designed to look like toilets as a practical joke. 

However, in light of its many many charms, I guess I'll just deal with it.

This is going to be an amazing semester...

1.21.2012

on the brink.


So my lovely roommates and friends threw me a "surprise" party {which I may or may not have known about ahead of time} last night. It's crazy to think how long it will be until I see these people again. But I really do have the most amazing friends in the world.

And note the decorations? Beth saved up her "Daily Hunk" calendar pictures and we made streamers. And may I just say, BethStephJakeBailey, that I expect them to still be up when I get back. I decree that they are now an official part of our apartment decor.






Hello, Jayce. Although I must ask, a razor?  How is that a sexy pose?? How???

So this is it. In less than 12 hours, I'm truly leaving my home for 4 months {more like 7, if we're being realistic}. I'm not quite sure how to feel right now. Or more like, I know how I should feel. I just don't know how I do feel

I guess I feel a bit of everything right now.

Tomorrow begins one of the Big Events of my life. And it will be my most terrifying and most thrilling and most freeing experience yet {I would list more superlatives that apply, but I fear that might get redundant}. There's nothing more I can say about my mindset that I haven't already exhausted in the last few months, so I'll just stop now. But I will say this.

I freaking HATE sleeping on planes.

I promise to keep you updated, my dears. But tonight, I'm going to go stress out more about my packing. Because that's just what I do.

See you across the pond! 
{Man, I hate people who say that. It's like "See you next year" on New Years Eve. Seriously, just shut up, you witless tool.}
{But really, I'll see you in a few days. Metaphorically.}

1.19.2012

take note of this.


Okay, people, I am going to say something that I have never in my life thought before.

I actually have more space than I need in my travel bags.

Never before has this phenomenon happened to me. I have always been the "packing a full suitcase to go home for the weekend" kind of girl. I can't help it, I need choices. But today I am finishing up my packing and I literally have a ton of extra room {okay, not literally, although it would be pretty awesome to have a literal ton of space to fill with souvenirs and the 50 pairs of boots I may or may not be planning to buy once I'm over there}.

Anyway, can I just say how much I loathe packing? I've been sitting on the floor of my room for 2 days now, completely stressed out because I know I'm going to forget something, something important, and then the world will END {because it's not like my parents could just ship something over to me once I'm there... yeah...}. But seriously, the only thing worse than packing is unpacking. 

And, you know, natural disasters and cancer, but I'm not putting them in the same category right now.
Also, plane rides. Those are pretty much the worst, too.

Okay, I'm very much a scatterbrain today, so sorry for that.

But people, I leave in 3 days. 3 DAYS. So insane. I can't believe how freaked out / excited I am right now. It's become a little hard to function like a normal human being

Of course, maybe that's just me.

I'll get a post up before I leave, and after that, I probably won't post another for a week. Those first few days in England are going to be crazy and wild and stressful trying to get everything settled for the school year, but I promise I'll be back soon to complain about things some more

Ciao, my dears!

1.15.2012

conflicted.

So I guess I haven't been completely honest with myself.
Oh well, what else is new?


A girl commented to me last week that she was sure I must be nervous about my upcoming trip to England. At first I kind of chuckled to myself, thinking 'No actually, I'm not even remotely anxious about it, I can't wait to get out of here...' But immediately upon thinking that, a lump formed in my throat and my stomach soured and I knew. I knew what I have been completely denying for months and months.
I was nervous. 

I am nervous.

It's not that I'm particularly scared about studying or living abroad. I mean, I suppose that I do have worries, but for the most part I'm excited for the chance to explore a new culture for a few months. 

But I'm nervous about everything I'm leaving behind.

I dread next Sunday. I dread saying goodbye to my mother and my father and my brother. My mom will cry, this I'm sure of. But if she cries in front of me, I'll lose it, too. I've never been away from my family for this long. I went to a college only a half hour away from my home, and so while I've been able to experience the freedom of college, I've also had the comfort of a home not too far away if I needed it. And it's not just that, but I'm more nervous for my mother because I know how much she will miss me. As close as my mother and I are, the thought of her upset upsets me as well. I just can't make everyone happy, no matter how hard I've always tried.

And I dread leaving my friends for an entire semester. For one friend in particular, we've barely gone a week without seeing each other since the first day of 8th grade. Hell, we've lived together for the last 2.5 years, so not having her to turn to will be difficult. All of my friends' lives will go on without me, and things will still happen even though I'm not there. I fear that I'll feel a bit separated from everything when I return, like I'll have a hard time connecting again. I wonder if I'll be different, if they'll be different. If home will be different.

I'm nervous.

And I'm okay with that.

Because that little bubble of nerves doesn't even come close to overwhelming my excitement. It just helps brings me back to earth, and quite honestly, I think it will be good to keep my feet on the ground {because I sometimes have problems with this}. I'm nervous, but not too much that I can't enjoy all of the amazing opportunities heading my way. I just won't get carried away with them. I have a home to come back to and people who are missing me, and I need to remember that.


Oh my stars, this next week of packing and preparations already threatens to overwhelm me. But I'll muddle through it somehow. Saying goodbye to everyone will be one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. 

But maybe I'll ease the pain of goodbyes with promises of really awesome souvenirs.  


1.11.2012

a little background.

LIKE I PROMISED, I updated my "about" page this morning, but I didn't want to get rid of all of this. Instead, I thought I'd just keep it in a post. So, here you go. If you've already read my "about" page in the past, this is nothing new. More updates soon, my dears!



When I was a child, everyone called me "princess." That's what my name means, although this is not something I was aware of at the time. I actually thought I was a princess. I dreamed of growing up, moving to a towering castle and finally having adventures of my own (in which I would be the heroine, of course, not the damsel). 

To discover this would not be my future was a tough lesson.

I've matured a bit(?) since then, but I've never fully lost that little girl. I still find myself daydreaming sometimes about a world once upon a time, in a far away land. A world I longed for but learned I would never have. As much a mess of contradictions I've become, that's the one thing that I've vowed will stay pure.
I will never lose my love for the fantastical. 

I was born and raised near Topeka, Kansas, in a modest gray house on 12 acres in the middle of absolutely nothing at all. Yes, I've heard the jokes (they either center on Dorothy, tornados, covered wagons, or a combination of the three), but Kansas is my home; it's the place I will come back to after I've left to make my mark on the world. As a child, I had three passions: Reading, swinging, and exploring (I could add rock collecting as a fourth, but I'm trying to repress that particular fact). They were the only ways I  could escape the endless and monotonous press of days. Reading, of course, could transport me to new places and distant times. The other two would free me in different ways. Swinging was the only way I could fly without ever truly leaving the ground, and exploring...well, exploring every corner of my narrow world cultivated my crush on the undiscovered, the unnoticed and ignored. Exploring opened my eyes to the wonders of the normal; it made me see that maybe the normal wasn't normal after all. I'd only wanted to find someplace no one had ever been, someplace that was mine and mine alone. 
What I now realize I found instead was myself. 

I have been a student at the University of Kansas for two years. My love for books and adventure could only lead me down one path. Or two paths, in fact, because I'm double majoring in English and Journalism. However, as obvious as this path should have been to me, it wasn't particularly easy for me to find. I thought I had my whole life planned out. I was going to be a doctor, to make lots of money and save lives (and notice how the money comes first). It never occurred to me to look at anything else besides financial and job security, let alone my own passions. In fact, it was one movie that changed my life:

"Post Grad."

I beg you not to laugh. I'll be the first person to admit that it's not a great movie. Honestly, it's not even a particularly good movie, so knowing that it took this movie to get me to finally understand what I wanted out of my life is a little embarrassing. Perhaps it wasn't just this movie that made me rethink my aspirations. I was in a rut. Day after day the same thing. I was so focused on perfecting everything that I forgot I needed to care about anything. The day before, I had broken up with my boyfriend, and I told my mother to rent a simple chick flick with a happy ending. I'm not sure she would have picked this movie had she known the effect it would have on me. The plot of the movie itself doesn't really matter. It was the main character's aspiration that interested me. She wanted to be a fiction editor. This was something I had never considered before. I'd always just assumed I would be a doctor, so why complicate things with questions? Anyway, this movie started what I call my "re-evaluation period." It took me six months to convince myself it was okay to change my mind, to disappoint my family (who didn't think this new path was "good enough" for me), to do something that I actually wanted to do. So I did. 

And I've never been happier about any decision ever I've made.

So. Someday, I want to be will be an editor for young adult literature. As a teenager, you are still trying to figure out who you are and who you want to become. It's a time in your life defined by complication and transition and, in some cases, utter chaos. Reading is how I dealt with my issues growing up, and I want to share this with the younger generation. As John Green, one of my favorite authors, said in his Printz Award acceptance speech in 2006, " Writing for kids is the only kind of writing I know how to do that I feel is halfway noble." I want to be a part of something that I, too, consider noble, and, after all of my searching, I think I may found my way.
I guess we'll see, won't we?

1.10.2012

no title.

I really haven’t felt like updating my blog much these last few days. I’m sad, and it permeates my mind and heart and limbs, making it hard to force my fingers to type anything at all, much less some petty post about the weather or coffee or even the excitement of the upcoming weeks. I am confused and out of sorts and unsteady. Every time I get absorbed in something menial I can escape for a while, but eventually I can’t help but bring myself back to my empty house. It’s better than the first day, but the emptiness still presses in on my like an introverted weight. Perhaps I’m overreacting… but I don’t think I am. I’m just sad. And I feel guilty for every moment I’m not.
But although I don’t feel like writing on a blog, I do feel like writing. So that’s what I’m doing. Writing. Because there is nothing more cathartic than just letting words flow unfettered from your mind, setting them free to filter through the world. It lessens the pressure. It makes me lighter and brings me a measurable amount of peace. And for now, that’s enough. I suppose it has to be.
I know in the coming weeks I will put all of this behind me and throw myself out fully into the world. I won’t be so sad forever. Soon I will be as pretentious and self-depricating as ever. But today, I just want to write. To write and to breathe and to write. Because that’s all I can really do.

1.08.2012

molly.


My sweet dog was killed today.

Now I'm not the kind of person who posts about serious things all over the internet, but I wouldn't feel right if I didn't say something in her memory.

In thunderstorms she was completely neurotic. The morning after one I would wake up and look around and call for her and I'd hear a rustling under my bed and she would pop out wagging her tail, happy to see me up. The gap under my bed is less than six inches, and it still amazes me she managed to fit under there.Whenever my dad got his gun out to go hunting, she would huddle at my feet shivering just because she didn't like the loud noise. 

But she was the most loving dog. She was so innocent, but she always knew when I was upset, and she'd just sit curled up at my side. It always made me feel better. And she was always so ecstatic when I drove up the driveway at the end of the day.

Even though she was a wee thing, she pretended she was a big dog. She thought she was.
And every night, I would call her up to my room, and she'd come bounding up the stairs and hop into her little bed in front of my nightstand table. Even when I was home alone, she always kept me company.

I still love her very much. I can't really find any meaning or purpose in her death, so I'll just leave it alone. All I can say is that she made my life so much brighter for the past 13 years, and I was so lucky to have her.

1.07.2012

three princesses and a tea party.*






























*Well, three and a half...

My little cousin decided to help me practice for life in England. Tonight we princesses had the perfect little tea party, complete with real tea and crackers and Star Trek blasting in the background. Not to mention that my mother dragged out the box of all of my old costumes / dance outfits for us to play dress up in {and let me tell you, I have an obscene amount of costumes / dance outfits}. Brooke's lovely ensemble is brought to you straight from this box. Yes, my little cousin is the most beautiful princess in the world. 
At least, we all think so.

So we toasted to our health and drank our tea and ate our crackers and were super super polite, "the princess way," Brooke says. And at the end, Brooke looks at me and smiles and says, "I had a really good tea party. But next time, I want different tea."

"Well, what kind of tea would you like?" I asked her.

"The kind that doesn't taste like water."

My thoughts exactly, love. My thoughts about tea exactly.

And so, okay, I guess I still have to work on the "pinkies up" part, but I guess I still have two more weeks to practice.

England, here I come!


1.06.2012

sunrise, sunrise, looks like morning in your eyes.





























I am not a morning person. Anyone who knows me knows not to speak to me until after I've had at least one cup of coffee and an hour to process my awakened state. In fact, I've always considered myself a night person, most alive when the clock strikes the midnight witching hour, that magical moment when time is in a trance and anything is possible.

But somehow over the last year, I've come to appreciate mornings in a way I never have before. That brief spell when the world seems to hold its breath right before the sun peaks over the horizon. I've realized that dawn is its own witching hour. The streets are not quite quiet, because some people are morning people. But the cars are friendlier somehow, their drivers less harsh, less rushed. The very air is electric with the promise of a new day, a new chance for love and pain and mistakes and triumphs. A new chance to live. Every morning we are awarded with the chance to live another day, and I don't think there is anything more magical than that.

This year, I'm going to see more mornings. I'm going to drag myself {grumbling and bitter} out of bed, wrap myself in a blanket and make my way outside when the sky is a cool grey and the sidewalks are empty. I'm going to sit on a bench or in the lay in the grass and bask in the infinte possiblity of another sunrise.

And of course, coffee never tastes better than in those wee dawn hours. It becomes more than a drink. It is liquid sanity.

Title song: "Sunrise" -By Norah Jones

just a side note.

This year I pledge to post more pictures. My own pictures, I mean, instead of just being lazy and reverting back to Pintrest {obsession}. Because I love seeing people's photos on their blogs, but I so rarely post my own. Partly because I post at inappropriate times, like while I'm at work and don't have my camera or computer... so, oops?

But I have a great feeling this year will be a year where I have scads of pictures, mounds of pictures, gobs of pictures to show you. Probably too many, actually. You may or may not get sick of them.

Just prepare yourselves.

Oh my dears, I am really really happy right now. It's the first year in a long time where I've just been excited for myself because of myself, if that makes any sense. I'm simply excited to be alive and healthy. And it's wonderful. I see this on all of your lovely blogs too. I think we have all been feeling the magic lately, you know?

It's going to be a good year.

At least, it'd better be, because as we all know, 2012 could be the last year of our existence.
So let's make the most of it.

what is this, people??

joy is your lesson....



























I have had just about enough of this nonsenseI think winter is screwing me over. Now, I've heard it doesn't snow much in England, so I was counting on enjoying the crazy Kansas winter weather before I left.

But it has barely dipped below 40 degrees these last few months. Yesterday, it was almost 70.

Like, excuse me, what is this? Where is my bitter wind? Where are my piles of snow?
WHY DO YOU INSIST ON TORTURING ME???
I'm extremely put out right now. It's not like I'm asking for much, just a normal winter. Because I love the cold. I love layers and tights and long socks and legwarmers and sweaters and cardigans and big comfy coats. And you, Kansas winter, are messing with my wardrobe plans.

Because of the way you've been treating me, I'm not your friend anymore.

So there.

1.05.2012

the woes of having absolutely no self-control. none whatsoever.

I may or may not go temporarily insane whenever I walk into a store with sales. Like, really, it’s becoming a problem. Especially because I don’t have money right now that I should be spending, and yet I’m spending anyway.

         


































Take yesterday, for instance. All I needed was some St. Ives apricot scrub. Really, that’s it. So I walk into Walgreens and head straight for the face-wash section, immediately spotting the apricot scrub halfway down the aisle. When I bend down to grab a bottle, I see a little sign that’s beneath the soap proclaiming that St. Ives was “Buy one, get one 50% off!!{not kidding about the double exclamation points. Damn, that’s annoying}. And of course I immediately perk up. Buy one get one half-off? What? That’s awesome. I mean, I don’t really need another apricot scrub right now, but how can I pass up this deal? I can save a whole $1.50. A whole $1.50! I must do this. Man, what a deal!
And then I turn around to go to the counter and I pass the Covergirl colored lip balm. A flash of orange catches my eye, and I glance back and I see another sign proclaiming “Buy one, get one 50% off!!” And then with wide eyes my gaze sweeps across the store, moving from one little orange sign to the next. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE. Everywhere, I tell you. And that’s when I knew I had lost.
I left the store with $30 worth of stuff instead of just the $3 I came in for.
You know, I think the sales clerk knew where I was coming from. She had that same crazed, soulless look in her eyes that I had. At least thank God I don’t work there. I don’t think I would have a paycheck left after being bombarded with those sales every day.
What the hell is wrong with me? This is just terrible. Seriously, when I’m sitting on some street corner in Europe begging for change because I’m broke and homeless and starving, I will look back on this moment and wonder just how many sandwiches I could have gotten for $30…
I think I would excel at extreme couponing.


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