Sunday, 10 February 2008

A fresh start

I should have started this blog months ago. As a postgraduate in journalism studies, one would venture I have no problem what-so-ever starting up a blog, getting inspired, and indulge in typing my life away. Ha ha, I wish. If only I was that inspired. At times when I feel like I'm inspired, I'll sit down in front of the computer, only to be greeted with the cold rush of my thoughts running away like a criminal out-running the cops. Today; however, I feel inspired. So let’s start this from the beginning.

I came to England on 19 September 2007 to begin a new chapter in my life; the Postgrad Year. Since I applied to graduate school in December 2006, I have been excited with the prospect of going to uni abroad. At the same time, though, I was shocked at my opportunity. Never in my life did I imagine I could leave the comforts of the Western United States and my family for another location in the US--let alone go abroad. Even vacationing abroad seemed out of reach, given my financial status. When I accepted my place at University of Sheffield in Northern England, I looked at it as killing two birds with one stone. I got to leave my comfort zone for another location and I get to be a tourist.

At first when I arrived, I was scared. Of course! London wasn't what I thought it was the first day or so (then I loved it once I got to the Westminster area) and Sheffield seemed too small. I wanted to turn around and go home. Things weren't actually turning out the way I planned them to be and jeez--it's hard when your plans are ruined. I'm not good with back-up plans. But things came into order, I became good friends with my flatmates and some of my coursemates, and am getting used to Sheffield. Since I arrived, I've had to tell myself how lucky I am to be here. And I really am. Sure I'm in serious debt (I could own a Mercedes right about now!) because of my decision, but... it's worth it. You can't get this type of experience anywhere or at anytime. I believe in fate and fate brought me to Sheffield.

Yesterday, as I was preparing my dinner, I thought about how I used to act whilst a resident of Tucson. I lived only to go to class and do my homework. I barely hung out with my roommates. I hardly saw my other friends. I had to seek therapy and medication because I was having a quarter-life crisis. Most of all, I was self-destructive.
For example, if I had cooked tortellini in Tucson and had some of the filling burst out from its starchy seams and not drain from the pan properly, I would have dumped it down the sink and not eaten dinner at all. The little voice in the back of my mind that tells me to give up in in light of those kinds of stupid situations hit me last night as I was trying to successfully drain the water from the pan with tortellini. But I wasn't going to give in. I know better than that. I'm an adult! Not a prepubescent teen. And I'm not who I used to be. I've grown up ALOT over the past four years, but mostly by force of the situation. Now I'm growing up on my terms. I'm a postgrad. I'm living in England. I'm stronger than the girl who was in Tucson two years ago. I'm even stronger than the girl who left Tucson in May last year (who was pretty strong given the fact she finally went into therapy and wrote an awesome thesis).

I like the fact that I'm in England and I get to start over again. Never again will I give up. I've gotten myself this far so I might as well keep on evolving into a real adult! I have a fresh start. How many people get this opportunity? Not many. I'm lucky. I'll remember this always. I love the feeling of being excited to live somewhere and not be grossed out by the heat and the scenery. I like knowing I have friends that will be there for me even though we've only known each other for four months. I finally belong somewhere.

Sure, I also belong back in the Pacific Northwest, where I can fulfill my lifelong stereotype of being a liberal tree-hugger. (thanks Arizona!) But, for right now, I have somewhere else to be. A place that finally gets me and accepts me for the Anti-American/Anti-Bush person that I am. They may not like that I say "excuse me," "thank you," and when I apologize; however, they don't get a choice when it comes to my personality. They can yak up all they want about the stereotype I'm supposed to fulfill as an American citizen, who is from the West Coast, and is from the Pacific Northwest--but I'll just laugh at them and tell them they're wrong. (I love telling people they're wrong) And I may not be as fashion forward as the rest of the Brits, but at least the girls here aren't some deranged valley girls who carry around a huge Louis Vitton purse and are dumber than a doorstop. These British fashion mavens and valley girls may all be bitches, but sometimes the ones in England can surprise you. The valley girls? I don't think so. I don't expect much out of them. Well, except their vote when I run for the House of Representatives in like, 15-20 years.


As a side note before I skitter away from my introductory note into my life thus far in l'Angleterre, I'd like to give the reason for why I chose Sheffield for grad school.

I chose Sheffield not just because it has one of the highest rated postgraduate programs, but because I love the Arctic Monkeys and Sheffield is their hometown. My goal before I leave England at the end of August is to see the band in concert in Sheffield and meet at least one of them. And guess what? Part of that dream came true on Friday (8 Feb).

I was packing up a box of goodies to send to my sister when I realized I hadn't purchased anything for her boyfriend. I had already been to the store that day and didn't feel like going back. But I remembered I had postcards to send off too and the closest mailbox was about two blocks away in front of Boots. Agh! I didn't want to go just to the mailbox. When I run errands, I need to go to more than one place. I decided I'd go inside Boots because I needed face lotion and they had a small selection of candy bars there. I finally got up off my lazy butt and went to Boots. I took some time in there deciding between things, purchased the items I chose, and left. As I walked out of Boots and walked towards the crosswalk, I noticed a guy on the other side of the crosswalk (coming towards my direction) that had a nice leather jacket and was pretty cute. Then my eyes refocused and he wasn't just a cute Sheffield guy anymore--he was someone very very familiar looking. I studied his face (while trying to look at the traffic and pretend I wasn't staring at him at the same time) and the lightbulb went off.

A look of "You look familiar..." flashed across my face and the boy looked over at me like he knew I knew him from somewhere. As we passed each other on the island in the middle of the road, I glanced at him, we made brief eye contact, and my expression (and body) went into shock. He looked at me as if he expected me to say something... but I kept walking.

My heart pounded as I left the island, crossed the road and landed onto the pavement. By the time I looked back across the street at him, I knew I wasn't mistaken. I had just walked past the drummer of the Arctic Monkeys.

I know I should have said "Matt?" or said SOMETHING but he was with a girl and I didn't feel like embarrassing myself in front of them. (plus I didn't feel like bringing attention to him in the centre of town! he's lucky no one else around me noticed him because I'm sure there would have been a crowd of people swarming at him) I'm a horrible journalist for not saying anything, but my god. Just seeing a member of one of my favourite bands in the middle of the freaking city centre was rewarding enough. My heart pounded in strange beats in my chest at my excitement the entire way home and for the rest of the night.

Can you believe it? I saw 1/4 of the reason why I came to Sheffield. Fate surely had something to do with this. There was no doubt about it. And maybe fate will be kind enough to let me make up for my horrible misjudgment of keeping my mouth shut. Maybe I will see them before I leave after all. I've got seven months to find out... Let’s see what happens.

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