Monday, October 22, 2007

Not all of these components are measurable using currently available metrological techniques.

I don't think that there is enough coffee in the world to ensure that I am kept awake through more than one paragraph of text as written above. Where do people come up with these things? Yes, using big words makes you sound smart, but using only big words makes people want to slap you and fall asleep simultaneously. Preferably after a great deal of alcohol.

Sorry for the silence. It's been fraught over here recently.


Friday, October 12, 2007

All the leaves are brown/ and the sky is gray

Recently, I've noticed the seasons more. In the last few years, I've found myself hyper-attuned to winter mellowing to spring, summer blowing in, autumn creeping up, and winter shutting everything down.

I don't remember being this aware of the seasons as a kid. They just seemed to appear one day, fully in swing, with almost no transition from one to another. Now, as autumn follows an almost non-existant summer in London, I find myself looking around and saying 'Oh, the leaves can't be falling yet. Surely, it's not time for them to. And the drizzle. We've got at least another month before the never-ending drizzle starts again.'

Strangely, the aspect where this becomes most obvious to me is in my knitting. Now, I've only really been knitting since April this year. But as spring turned to summer, I found myself attracted to bright, bold yellows and reds. Deep clear blues, vibrant greens, and luscious purples were also noticed, but it was mostly the yellows and reds and oranges that caught my eye, begging to be made into sometime that would encapsulate summer.

Now that autumn's come around again, I find myself being drawn towards muted oranges, raspberries, and browns like walking through a forest on a clear day when the leaves are turning all around you. Like Indian Summer, from Cherry Tree Hill. I'm making a pair of the ubiquitous Monkey Socks by Cookie A. out of a skein and every time I pull them out to work on I marvel at the colours. There have been days that I've been so enamoured of the colourway that I've sat it on my desk at work (to the derision of my co-workers) just so that I can look over at it. It makes my day better.

Monday, October 08, 2007

One toothbrush

Matt went away this weekend, some for business and some for visiting friends, and left me all on my lonesome. This is unique in alot of ways, but each of us doing our own thing is something that's fairly unique in my relationship with him in a lot of ways. When we got together, we both abhorred our school. We didn't like our courses, we didn't like our rooms, and shortly after getting together we both pretty much stopped going out or doing anything and stayed in watching tv and playing computer games. After that, every time we started to get settled somewhere and start getting to know people that we liked to spend time with, we'd move. So pretty much, until now, we haven't stayed in one place for over a year. We did everything together.

So it's unusual for him, or me, to go somewhere for a weekend without the other coming along. I didn't really think about it until I got home from work on Friday and looked at where all our toiletries are kept. The shelf was fairly bare, but what really hit me was my toothbrush. It was all on its own. Usually the two of them are one-on-top-of-the-other, or tangled up with the toothpaste. But it just sat there. Alone.

I do not know how people in long-distance relationships survive. I missed Matt this weekend, and he was gone for a total of just over 48 hours. I can't even imagine having to go weeks or months without seeing my sweetie, without a hug, or a kiss, or that way that he always touches across my back when he walks by me. I'm happy that I don't have to, but my respect for people who can deal with that situation has skyrocketed.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Notes from a small island, take 2

I realized this last weekend that I’ve now been over here for five years. That’s almost a fifth of my life. Living in this country has been both infuriating (Nothing is open on a Sunday in the countryside. NOTHING. Me being, well, me, I found this out the difficult way. Oh yes. And Bill Bryson? His book is so right, in ways that make you want to cry.) and wonderful (Matt, most specifically. Also, cool accents, old things, more beer than you can shake your fist at, cheese I didn’t know existed, and more old things.).

When I left Seattle on September 11th, 2002 (my mother really didn’t like my choice of dates, but it was cheap) I never thought that I’d be gone this long. Like so many large decisions in my life, I made a snap decision. I wanted to get away from Seattle, away from my family and the people there, and see who I was somewhere else. At the time, I couldn’t tell you why I was really leaving, except that I’d always wanted to live abroad and I saw this as my one, and possibly only, chance to do so.

So, in looking back, here’s how arriving here really was for me, five years ago, despite the fact that I told people it was wonderful and I loved it.

After a horrible flight and three great days in London, I found myself alone and on a bus to Wales. There was a guy selling sandwiches and potato chips and soda with a Welsh accent that was so thick that I couldn’t understand a word he said. When we arrived at my stop he helped me get my baggage out of the storage compartment on the bus, and turned to me with a hopeful smile and yet another sentence I couldn’t decipher. His face fell as I shook my head and apologised, saying that I hadn’t understood anything for the last three hours.

Getting off the bus, I’d arrived in the town my university was ‘in’ only to discover that the school was a 20 minute drive outside of the actual town. I got a taxi from the bus stop to the campus, and tried to tip the cab driver. He looked at it, said ‘I think that you’ve miscounted, love,’ and shoved his tip back into my hand. I dragged my suitcases all over campus, trying to find the people I was supposed to talk to so that they could show me my room. The place was deserted, except for a few security guards that stopped talking each of the three times that I walked past them. After about 45 minutes of walking between different buildings, carrying a huge backpack and smaller backpack and dragging a wheeled piece of luggage, I finally found the person that could take me to my room. They took me to a small, dark and dingy room in an ugly building, with fluorescent lighting and a shower that, if you hit one of the walls wrong, let out a cloud of mold spores. I almost started crying.

For the next week, it was just the international students on campus. There was me, a girl from North Carolina, two guys from Norway, and about 50 men from India who thought that being American meant being easy and constantly on the lookout for the next person we were going to sleep with. The lovely girl from North Carolina and I spent most of the week trying to find such things as: sheets! A supermarket that sold more than frozen dinners! How to take the bus into town! We also spent most of the week getting drunk with the Norweigians every night. We’d found the corner store, which over here sells all kinds of alcohol, the first night.

When everyone else moved in, it wasn’t that much better. My flatmates consisted of older woman from the north that complained constantly about the noise and from who’s room clouds of pot smoke billowed almost continuely, a very, very young girl who was having an affair with a married man 30 years her senior who eventually got her pregnant, a guy from India who liked doing strange and loud exercises at three in the morning while playing Indian pop music at ear-splitting volumes, and another guy from India who thought the unwashed kitchen countertops were a perfect place to cut raw chicken. It was an absolute nightmare.

I hated the university, I wasn’t very impressed with my classes (what there was of them, which wasn’t very much), and I didn’t like Wales. At all. But damned if I was leaving, as that would only prove my mother right when she told me that it wasn’t the best decision. The only good thing to come out of Wales was Matt, who I’ll have been with for five years in about two weeks.

It was an interesting beginning to life in the UK.