Treat Yo Self 2012

Thought I’d write a post since I’ve been so busy partying and studying that I haven’t written one in quite a long while, so here goes.

The thing about living in Durham is the college bars. That’s where all the action happens: Fisher House. I rent my Doctor Who DVDs from the GCR office there, I play darts there, I drink and dance there, I study there, I get lunch there, I met my friends there… And best of all, I live as close to Fisher as anyone can. But sometimes I have to stay away from Fisher because it can be like quicksand. Fun, sociable quicksand, but quicksand nevertheless. I am here to get a degree so I need to drag myself away and do some work. With all the logistics of moving to a new country getting sorted, I can focus more on day-to-day life and school. One less thing to stress out about.

On my night in, I’ve got Spotify going, I treated myself to some Ben & Jerry’s (the first ice cream I’ve had since I moved here), and I have plenty of material to start focusing my dissertation topic. I meet with my supervisor in the morning to talk about sources. One month in and we’re already buckling down. Durham is a great place to go to school. Everything I need is here: amazing archives, ample library books, a nightscene, and cafés for when I need that life-sustaining caffeine.

I walked into a café the other day to get in from the rain but it was full. I stayed because I thought it was awkward to walk in and then leave immediately and the cashier suggested I make friends and get an empty seat at an occupied table. I didn’t quite “make friends” with the two girls but I did perch on their bench and enjoy my amazing white mocha while ruling out dissertation ideas in my cat notebook. I would never have thought to do that on my own but they didn’t mind my quiet intrusion and it’s good for me to break out of my shell every now and then.

Tomorrow is Bladerunner night with some livers-out on Claypath. Takeaway, Nerf guns, and wine shall combine to make Thursday the great night before my 9am Friday lecture. Luckily my professor is extraordinarily excited about everything medieval– he called us a “merry band of medievalists– so that will make Friday morning more manageable.

This whole weekend is going to be one great ball of fun as Halloween celebrations will really get underway. There was a Hellenic Society Halloween party last Saturday, which I limped down to in my flu-fighting condition. As I haven’t celebrated Halloween in years, I think this weekend is going to be splendid. Tons of makeup, tons of people, tons of fun.

-Win-

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Oh, you’re American?

I have been living here just over a month now, and any doubts or worries I might of had of living here are gone. I LOVE it here. There are things that are new and different, but I’ve been rolling with the change and have been adapting to my true/new environment. One of the many thing I love about London is that there are so many cultures here that it’s hard to keep up with all the different restaurants. There are, of course, even Americans here although not as much as I would have thought. Yes, there are tons of Americans here, but at the same time I would certainly not call us the majority of the internationals here.

There are plenty of us visiting here, but maybe not a lot of Americans living here. We must be a somewhat rare a commodity because it feels like every time I open my mouth, someone is there to ask: “American or Canadian?”

Right there. It’s that moment when you know that by your answer there will be immanent judgment coming right at you. And you also know that you’re answer of ‘American’ maybe not be the best answer. Yes Americans have a reputation, I know it, and I know that some countries don’t like us. Hell, I even understand why they don’t like us. But I actually think that this question is coming up even more so because of the presidential election coming up.

Now don’t worry I’m not going to get political here. There are few things I really do hate in life and politics is one of them. It’s probably because of the whole ‘keep your friends close and enemies closer’ that I do keep myself up to date on everything and keep myself in the know. But that does NOT mean I want to talk about it. And yet as soon as I tell people that I am American it’s like I’ve suddenly become the US spokes person on current political affairs.

“Have you seen the debate?”

“What’s the general view of Romney?”

“How do Americans feel about Obama Care, and where do they wish for it to be taken?”

Do I look like I have a podium in front of me for a news conference? Do I look like Barbara Walters? No. Why? Because I am not here to speak for all Americans or to break down any debate or speech topic by topic.

And I am not exaggerating. I finally purchased a Rail card, which is the most amazing thing that gives you discounts on train fairs or tube/bus fairs, and I was getting it combined with my oyster card (the card you use for tubes/busses) and it was only supposed to take 10 seconds, but the guy behind the counter had just been reading the New York Times about the last debate and he started questioning me. He was clearly not a fan of the US, as he continued to explain to me why it’s an empire. After a failed Star Wars joke, I realized I just had to let him rant and do his thing. Why didn’t I argue or make any kind of hissy fit? It did annoy me, he was insulting the country I was born and raised in, and no one wants to hear that, but there is no point in arguing. I hate politics, and there was nothing that I could say that could have made that man realize that I’m not part of the US Senate.

It may seem like I’m sitting here bitching about my beloved British people. But I don’t blame them. They just want to know what’s going on and want to hear it from an American. Who I do blame is Mr. Romney and President Obama. This part is for you two gentlemen.

I get it. You both want to be president. You both want to change/help America in your on way, and it looks like it’s going to be a close call so you have to work hard for it. But take a step back guys and calm your shit down. Do you really need the one liners? The smart mouthing? The rolling of the eyes? The offensive comments? The hard punches? The entire concept of discussing things like civil human being seems entirely out of question. And that’s for the both of you. I can even just imaging that you are both actually in cahoots with one another, good drinking buddies… ok not drinking, but good buddies and are just doing this for the attention. I’ve seen episode of Toddlers in Tiaras where the moms are less attention seeker then the two of you. You are both putting on a good show, but who is the one doing positive PR abroad? Me. And other people like me, who are just living their lives abroad. The next time you give a speech or appear together, just remember the American who are out there doing damage control.

Hope that wasn’t too political for you, if it was then I’m sorry. I will get you a cookie. No I won’t, but it’s still the thought that counts.

-Jac-