It’s fall, y’all

Or as the Brits say, “autumn.” Whatever, tomato tomahto. One helps you remember how daylight savings works. The other… doesn’t.

So. It has been awhile. There have been changes. Lots of changes. I’m now model thin, eat well, spend money wisely, make good life choices, have a goal and path in life, and a steady beau.


Yea, no. But, school has officially ended. Done-so. No more. Nada. Year is up. Pretty bittersweet and now I’m back to that “well crap, now what?” place in my life. Career and job searching? Yippee skippy!

I’ve got book fees piling up because I need to take all the library books I borrowed back to their respective places. Which is a lot. The automated emails from the libraries have gotten progressively more passive aggressive, which actually sort of impresses me. Who makes automated emails passive aggressive? London libraries, that’s who.

I had another giant spider attack in my room. Honestly two in a row has sufficiently freaked me out. This one I didn’t kill while it was crawling on me. Oh no, this one was on my floor and ran at me. Or, at least, towards the bed. Which I was sitting on. I jumped up to grab a shoe to smash it, but of course I didn’t grab a useful, easy to swing shoe. So I ended up missing it. And OF COURSE I had all my books piled on my floor, so it had a lot of places to hide from me. My second plan of action was to spray it with something to kill it. Naturally, I don’t have bug spray. So instead I relied on…Shout. That’s right, I sprayed shout all over my room. And, consequently, all over my books. Guess how much it affected the spider? Not. at. all. Therefore, I watched in horror as the spider disappeared under my bed. I saw it crawl onto my suitcase which I store under there, and not come back out. I slept downstairs for the next three days. I never found the spider. I fear it is biding its time to attack again.

Fall is officially here. I’m super stoked for that. Fave season. I’m celebrating by catching some kind of funky cold. Or perhaps that’s from staying up like 36 hours to turn in my dissertation. *casually slips in* Oh, yes, have I mentioned that yet? Hah, how silly of me for it to have slipped my mind. Obviously it was not a big deal or anything.


Needless to say, I finished. Y’all, it’s done and I am not proud of the work I turned in, or even sure of it, but it’s over with and that’s all that really matters. It won’t be getting published anytime soon. But it’s at least over and done with. My family were big troopers and stayed up late reading through it repeatedly as I rushed to finish it the week it was due (yea, I suck. Learned a lot about procrastination and how it has never benefitted me this year…and totally followed through with those lessons). My poor mother was up until like 4 am her time, waiting to read my conclusion because I was going mental over it and begging her for help. My dad and sister read my trillions of drafts week of as I tried to put it all together. I didn’t really do what my professor asked of me… and I feel bad, but I wasn’t sure what to do for the most part. Half of what he talked about went over my head. But you know what? WHO CARES?! IT IS OVER! Woooohoooo!

And to turn it in, all I had to do was run through a rally of animal rights activists, protesting London Fashion Week. No…big…deal. Totally not strange or disturbing to run through a crowd of people dressed in various bloody animal costumes, holding signs with dead animals, or playing recordings of animals in pain. Not disturbing at all. Or ominous. Definitely not ominous as a path to my major grading moment of my MA life. And when I say I ran through, I mean it. I was hustling to get those hard copies turned in. Barrelling through the crowd with elbows flying, knocking into anyone trying to block me with a megaphone or by handing me a flyer. No sir! When I ran into the school entrance, the guy didn’t even make me stop to get out my ID. He saw me start to slow and search for it, but I think he also saw my panic cause he waved me on frantically.

Afterward, my course mates convinced me to go out for a drink with them. I had had one black coffee, no water, and a bite of a cookie since 7am that morning… and hadn’t slept from the night before. I was borderline delusional, unshowered, and wearing the same clothes from the previous day. In other words, I was sex incarnate. I went, Sarah bought my drinks and a thing of cheese fries as thanks for paying for her dissertation binding (we had to have two printed, bound copies for turn in). I tried to really stay in the moment, and I enjoyed myself. But I also stunk and had no idea what was going on half the time. I was sleep deprived, undernourished, and intoxicated. I managed to get home by 11:30, where Melanie and Will had been waiting for me with champagne to celebrate. I had another glass, even more out of it, and then finally slunk off to crash. I woke up at like… I don’t know, 4:00 the next day and walked outside of my room confused and dazed. Melanie came out and saw me, asked how I was, and all I could do was slide down the wall and sit. I felt like crap and I was so out of it I didn’t even know had happened. I later calculated how long I had been awake, and it ended up being roughly 36 hours.

I ended up sick as a dog for the next week. I had lost my voice, was running a fever, and was overall just in junk-body mode. My friend, Claire, came back in from America and I had to miss out on our lunch date because I was still under the weather. It took me a further week to fully recover.

Obviously I do not have the make for being a special ops agent. I can barely last past a day and a half unfed and unrested.

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Lavender fields forever

I wrote Dr. Shaggy an email begging him to extend my second chapter draft until Wednesday. Rather than using my extra days wisely, I have continued to waste them. Today, I chose to waste them by going to Mayfield Lavender Farms with Annie. I would say I regret it, but that would be a lie. It was gorgeous. Maybe I’ll regret it Wednesday at one in the morning, when I’m going mental trying to put some scrap of chapter together. In the mean time… I’m sitting pretty.

The fields were busy, but they were lovely despite that. They weren’t busy to the point where I was always falling over another person. It was possible to get photos with no one in the background, if you angled it just right. I learned today just how amazing Annie is at photography. She doesn’t do it professionally, or even as a hobby. No nice DSLR that I’m aware of, but the photos she takes with her phone are still gorgeous. She has a way of setting the images up and framing them perfectly. Something I have never really had an eye for. I tried to take a few photos, but they were lackluster, so I mainly just sat/frolicked/and generally enjoyed the sights.


Trying to capture even a portion of the fields

Naturally, there was a lot of lavender-related items for sale. It’s not like they were lacking in the stuff, after all. They sold whole bunches of lavender, which Annie bought some of. They also had various jams (Annie had a peach and lavender jam that was to-die-for), honey, oils, sprays, soaps, sleep masks, cookies, shortbread, chocolate, etc. I had meant to buy somethings, but when it came time to leave, we only had 10 minutes before the bus arrived, and it only came every 30 minutes. The queues were still pretty long, so I decided I didn’t really need any lavender jam or knick-knacks anyway. I was lavendered out by that point, to be honest.


Lavender bunches for sale

The fields were set up like any farm would be, with rows set where we could walk between the plants. They also had a few breaks in the lavender where people could cut over. Being as there were multiple signs which read, “Please do not jump over the lavender,” I have a feeling these mini row breaks were fairly necessary.

Annie fields_2

I don’t generally care to have my photo taken these days (dislike of my new hair as well as dislike of my general weight gain), but Annie, as I said, is a secret photographer extraordinaire.

Annie and I in the fields

Having a laugh. Ignore my stupid blonde hair

We took a lunch break, because who goes to a lavender farm and doesn’t eat lavender-flavoured foods? Not to mention, we both love to eat. Below is an afternoon cream tea. Annie and I both had a moment where we paused and said, “should we share one?” And then immediately scrapped that thought because –– JOEY DOESN’T SHARE! …If you never watched Friends you won’t get that reference.
It was funny and sad all at once, because there happened to be a group of three people sitting next to us who shared this exact same thing. And even all three of them didn’t finish it. Annie and I both got pretty close to finishing our full trays.
The treats were all… interesting. The macaron was probably the best part, which is interesting because I don’t generally like macarons. The scone and cookie were both very dry, so they weren’t super enjoyable. And the cupcake was just… freaking giant. It didn’t taste overly lavender-y to me, but it also wasn’t that great. It was just super sweet.
The lavender fields were already home to a vast array of bees (understandably, it was sort of their Utopia). The food area, was worse. Walking through the fields the bees just ignored you. In the food area, they hovered, invaded, and lingered. They also were largely wasps instead of bees. I am not particularly scared of bees, and I was even uncomfortable a few times. I ended up making a little sacrificial area, where I put a chunk of scone with jam, pieces of the cupcake, and the mostly-empty jam jar. It was an attempt to appease the bee-gods and keep them away from my lunching area. It worked for the most part. A guy came buy to clean the tables and I reached out and asked him to leave my little trash area. I dunno if he guessed what I was doing or just thought I was weirdly into half-eaten foods, but he left it be either way.


Lavender smorgasbord. From left to right: cheddar cheese sandwich with lavender bread, lavender macaron, lavender scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam, lavender cookie, lavender cupcake, sour cream and onion pretzels (I guess they were there to break up the lavender monotony? Either way, they were welcome, I started to get over-lavendered pretty fast). Not pictured: lavender lemonade which was “meh.”

While we were walking the rows, I saw a chubby bumblebee floundering on the ground in stepping-range. I bent down to get a closer look and noticed he wasn’t doing so hot. He may have been dying, but I decided to scoop him up on a piece of broken lavender, just to get him out of the way. It also gave Annie and I a chance to pet him. He was the cutest. He was also orange and black instead of yellow and black. Maybe that means he is a different kind, I’m not sure.

bumblebee and me

The bumble bee I found


Adorable chubby bumblebees were everywhere


While bees were the main inhabitants, we also saw a few butterflies

All in all, it was a pretty solid day. I meant to come home and run (I’ve started running again, did I mention that? No? Well, it’s nothing major, but I’m trying to be more active), but I napped instead (I’m obviously off to a great start at being more active).
I have an interview tomorrow morning and then really need to bust my butt on my paper. My interview is with the KCL Career and Employability Office for a part-time Marketing Assistant position. Part of me feels like I’d be perfect for the role, the other part of me worries because I haven’t done marketing in almost a full year now. And I never felt very connected with marketing, anyway. There’s also the problem with me being damned awkward and not knowing how to interview well. I googled tips and tricks. The email I got after applying said it would be a 30 minute interview consisting of “competency questions.” What the hell are competency questions? To make sure I can tie my shoes? To see if I can walk and chew gum at the same time? Math? Dear God, please no math. I’ll straight up have to get up and leave. It would be less embarrassing that way. Annie suggested maybe they would be competency in marketing questions. I sure as heck hope they aren’t. I’d flunk that one, too. Guess I will know after tomorrow morning. I hope they like awkward people who sweat under pressure.
The nice part is I don’t have to have this job, so if I botch it, it isn’t the end of the world. I just think it might be nice to have a bit of saving cash to leave off relying on loan money indefinitely.

I can’t believe it’s already August. Y’all, that is nuts. I’ve almost been here for a full year. It has seemed like such a short amount of time, it has just flown by.

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Declaring a war on spiders 

This has been sitting in my draft folder for a few weeks now, so any “yesterday” and “other day” references are completely inaccurate. Not that it matters.


The other night I was awoken from my snoozing. I am not sure what actually woke me up, but I do know as soon as I was awake, I looked over at my left arm only to find a giant, black blob crawling on me. Naturally, I let out a terrified wail and smashed senselessly at my arm. Throwing myself out of bed and to hit the light, I turned it on to find a spider the size of a quarter chilling on my bedsheets. Well, curled up with a few legs disconnected from it. I immediately started do the “eeewww heebie-geebie” shudder dance and stripped my clothes and bedding off. I ended up taking a shower at 3 in the morning – JUST IN CASE. I changed to completely different clothes, I threw my pillows on the ground, and managed to fitfully get back to sleep with the light on. I slept with the light on again yesterday, because for some reason it seems less terrifying or less likely that a giant spider will once more find its way to my bed when it isn’t dark.
I am still sleeping with the light on every night. I am a child.

I recently received my grades back from my final three essays. I managed to get a mid-merit and low distinction on my two for Dr. Shaggy. I was shocked – to say the least. I had been convinced I did terrible on them, but he was pleased enough with my one on decorative Macedonian military/household items and whether they were used that he gave me juuuuust over the edge to a distinction. Grades here go: fail, pass, merit, distinction. I’ve been in the low merit range (equating to a B or B-) with all my papers so far for Dr. Freckle, so getting a B+ and A- felt pretty dang good. I even managed a mid-merit on my Greek commentaries for Professor Soothingvoice.
Still no word on my exam results… but now I will pass the class ONLY if I got a 44 on the exam. Which I don’t think I did, I’m pretty sure I got a 38. Results should be coming back to me in the next few weeks. I’ve been a wreck trying to not think about it.

I made friends with a random American guy while snacking at the British Museum. He was kind enough to share a table with me when all the others had been taken. We got to talking and he let me know that he was on a fast-paced Euro trip and this happened to be his London stopover. We exchanged information, and he’s been sending me fun photos of all the places he’s gone so far.
He had a…gross, as far as I’m concerned, experience in Amsterdam which he relayed to me. This was his next stop after London, and while there some people from his group decided to go to one of the sex shows (gag). Apparently, one of the er…performers… wrote on one guy’s chest with a marker. But not using her hand. Meanwhile another performer had people actually eat a banana out of her ladybits. WHO ON EARTH PUT THIS SHOW TOGETHER? I want to know who was the first person to be like, “Yep, new thing, guys. Food and markers in the hoo-hahs. It’s gonna be huge. Practice starts tomorrow. We need to work on your writing style. Also, I need to know if anyone is allergic to certain foods.”
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are real things, people.

A guy on the tube today went to open a canned beer, but when he popped the tab, fizz burst from it and flew all over me. He and his friend stopped chatting and we all just paused and stared at each other, not saying anything. Finally, he mumbled a “mmhsoorry” and we awkwardly turned back to our own imaginary bubbles.

I’m a starer. There. I admitted it. I can’t help it – or at least I don’t try to. I like to watch people. If they have interesting clothes, pretty faces, fun hair, whatever. I stare like a creep. Today, there was a girl with the most beautiful red hair on the tube. It may have been real, I don’t know. It was a realistic colour red, at least. It was crimpy, extremely vibrant, and matched her brown eyes and ivory skin. She looked like a dang magazine photo. Minus, ya know, being on the scummy tube.
Anyway, the point of my overzealous description is to say that I was staring and we made eye contact. Really awkward, triple-take eye contact within a few seconds. I averted my eyes only for a millisecond because I wanted her to think I wasn’t staring anymore, even though I was. She finally turned her whole body to face the opposite direction in order to avoid any more ocular rendezvous.

I dyed my hair recently. Total mistake. I was so excited for the change. I was going to get rid of the red once and for all ––watch out, world, it’s time for a neeeww me –– except not. I mean, it’s new. But it’s also crappy. I wanted to do it big and dye it a really fun colour while I didn’t have a job and could. I was thinking I could try the pinky, rose-gold colour I’ve been throwing around in my head for awhile. I told the lady my idea. We looked at photos. It came out… okay. Not quite what I wanted, but still okay. That is until I washed it once and all the colour decided to disappear. Now I’m left with damaged, straw-like bleached hair that’s this weird pale orange shade. It looks atrocious, but I’m not sure what to do now. I’ve just been sort of ignoring it, trying to convince myself it looks okay. I ordered these other dyes from Lime Crime, to try and remedy my bad dye job, but even they didn’t seem to make any difference in colouring my hair. Maybe it’s just going to be impossible for my hair to hold colour now. Maybe whatever she did to bleach it has made it so I’ll be stuck with awful, straw coloured hair until I die.

Also, I don’t hear well. Most people know that. I went to get my hair cut a week before I dyed it, and had a different lady who cut and styled it. She had a really thick accent, and also would talk to me while blow drying my hair, or when other stylists were blow drying their client’s hair. Add to that I didn’t have my glasses on, so I couldn’t attempt to read her lips, and I was lost half the time. She was discussing relationships with me and said something about her husband. I didn’t understand what she said, so I smiled insipidly. She sort of paused and said, “Do you understand?” And I admitted I didn’t hear, so she repeated herself. I still didn’t hear, but I had a feeling a smile wasn’t an appropriate response. But I also didn’t know what the appropriate response should have been. So I just sort of sat there and furrowed my brows. I asked the lady who dyed my hair about the hair cut lady’s husband, and she said he died 6 years ago from cancer.

That actually happened about 3 weeks ago and I am still currently cringing over it.

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They’ve changed library hours

I am more distressed about this than I should be. I am, at least, aware that I am unreasonable. But they’ve changed the library from being 24 hours to only operating from 8:30 – 1:00am. One of the other libraries I often use is actually closed from August 18 – September 4. My dissertation is due September 15, a LOT of dissertations are due during this time period. Please tell me who thought it was a smart idea to have a library closing for this length of time, RIGHT WHEN DUE DATES HAPPEN?! Do it in the middle of July if you have to do it, give us some recovery time for Pete’s sake. Don’t just throw us to the grading wolves to somehow operate on our own. YOU SADISTS!

I have the first chapter of my dissertation due soon. The only problem is I cannot remember which chapter is actually due. I had written “first chapter due” but had it written (along with the word count I need) next to what is actually meant to be my second chapter. Now I’m wondering if I’ve mischaptered, miswritten, or just flat out misunderstood. All are very likely.
To top it off, I am having the hardest time concentrating.  I’ve been reading and rereading the same paragraphs and sentences while trying to write my first chapter. It is not going well and my time is dwindling very quickly. I am unsure what the cause of all this nonsense is. Poor diet? Probably. Lack of sleep? Not likely. I’m getting 8 hours at least every night. I am not one to really scrimp on sleeping. So here I am, writing a journal entry instead of attempting to read the paragraph again. Don’t tell me I don’t have my priorities straight.

Last week, Dr. Freckle ran a conference which I offered to help with. I was glad to be useful, I know that I am pretty dang good at pretending to be perky, friendly, and meeting people. You need me to be chipper and greet people in the morning? WATCH ME DAZZLE! I will annoy everyone with my giant smile and positive attitude before they have had coffee.
Anyway… the conference was awesome because I got to meet and greet a lot of my academia crushes. The likes of Richard Neer, Guy Hedreen, Verity Platt, and Jas Elsner, to name a few. I also was able to meet a few I hadn’t heard of previously, many of whom I was pleased to discover have Meg-friendly paper topics and writing styles. So I’ve added considerably to my academic crush list. I chatted to a professor from Cornell regarding my dissertation topic, and she suggested we swap emails because she had an article she thought I might find interesting. We never got around to swapping them, so I creeped her online and sent her an email saying, “HEY REMEMBER ME, LOVE ME!” …only maybe slightly less desperate. She responded within an hour, saying she was about to ask Dr. Freckle for my email so she could send me the article. Perhaps this is idiotic, but I was flattered she remembered me and our conversation. She was my biggest new academic crush.
Dr. Freckle kept trying to get me to go to dinners or lunches with them all, since I had volunteered to help. I wasn’t originally meant to help out, it was supposed to be just two other MA students (one who is going on to get a PhD under Dr. Freckle, and the other who had gotten a really prestigious internship at a museum through Dr. Freckle) who he had planned meals and everything around. However, I offered to help and he accepted, so there we were. I think he felt like he had to somehow include me to pay me back for volunteering, but I didn’t care anything about that. It made me feel awkward and like I was more of a bother than I should have been (though I know he didn’t mean to make me feel that way). I am just so awkward and don’t know what to do in those situations, so I kept telling him “no, thank you, though! I need to work on my dissertation.” And then would scamper away.

I am just a helpful little creature lately. On Wednesday, Abby and I are assisting Professor Soothingvoice with setting up and greeting people for a sculptural display put on by the Hellenic Society.  At the end of July, we are also helping Dr. Shaggy with a mosaic workshop for a week. I am excited for both of these things, because I like to feel useful (and it forces me out of the house and to stop being a hermit). I hope it will show that I am dedicated in some ways, and that while maybe I’m not so great at Greek and writing essays, I am at least good with people. …usually.

On Sunday, I went to Greenwich with Annie. Melanie and a friend visiting from the US were meant to come along, too, but they had gone to the pub the night before and were a bit out of sorts. It worked out okay, though, because Annie and I had an absolute blast! Greenwich is the location of the Greenwich market, Royal Observatory, Prime Meridian, Maritime museum, as well as the Cutty Sark (a big ole sailing ship built in 1869). I also got to touch a 4.5 billion year old meteorite – so here’s hoping I get special powers in the future. Ya know, versus getting some weird radiation poisoning.


My feet chilling by the Washington DC, NY, and Chicago latitude lines.

Fun fact about the Prime Meridian: I read recently that this line isn’t the real Prime Meridian. With new science, it can be more accurately measured, and is technically 334 feet east of this point, apparently near a trash can. However, this was the one from the 1800s, so it still has relevance. I don’t care what anyone says, I’ve stood in the east and west hemispheres at the same time. Fight me. This whole thing is made up anyway!!

View from Greenwich_25.6.17

View from top of Greenwich observatory hill

This weekend happened to be the Greenwich Docklands International Festival (GDIF for short), so there was a lot of live music, performances, and art exhibits. One of the art exhibits happened to be the “Museum of the Moon,” by Luke Jerram which is a huge, blow-up moon made with real NASA images. The exhibit was hung in the air from trees, and there were speakers playing excerpts of the moon landing recordings around it. After exploring the observatory and watching a show at the planetarium (WHICH WAS AWESOME! Not to mention hilarious. The guy kept doing weird impressions and cracking jokes), Annie and I went and lounged in the moon area, people and moon watching. There was a little boy who, in a very serious voice, told his mom, “This isn’t the REAL moon.” She played along with him saying, “Are you sure? How do you know?” One of the security workers overheard and chimed in with, “What do you mean? This is the real moon!” It was pretty dang adorable.

I took a short snap-video of the moon when we first got there, but I had to take the sound out, because there was a woman talking behind me about not shaving her legs for awhile and whoever she is dating at the time having to get used to it. Now, I am not opposed to this, because I also follow this teaching (ain’t nobody got time for shaving all the time), however it was not the ambiance I wanted for my moon video. Silence it was. You’re welcome for that pointless story.

All of this was well and good, relaxing in the sun while staring at the moon… until the wind caused the moon to fall. At first, the moon dropped down from its top holder, with a cord still holding it from the top, just lower. I thought maybe it was a moving exhibit and it changed during different parts of the day… until the left wire it was attached to busted and the moon dropped completely to the ground.  There had been people lying underneath it, so they started running (naturally) out of the way. I am allowed to say it was funny, because the moon wasn’t extremely heavy so no one could be seriously injured. Can you imagine if you were chilling under the moon and suddenly it fell on you? Annie and I had moved from lying off to the side of it about ten minutes before it dropped. Everyone in the moon area just sat and stared, watching as the security people tried to shoo people from touching the downed moon (these were adults, and I wanted to shout at them for acting like little kids), trying in vain to figure out how to fix the exhibit. Finally, a guy came over and kicked us out because there was no way they’d be able to repair it (bummer).

Greenwich Moon_25.6.17

Museum of the Moon pre-falling from the sky

After leaving the falling moon area, Annie and I went to a stage area we had passed through before. The same man (dressed as a Victorian style old woman, wearing two different shoes, who knows why) who had been DJ-ing there before was performing. He had to have been DJ-ing from at least 1:00 – 6:30. I would have been dead, but he was still doing well from what we could see. When we walked up, he had remixed a rap song to be the Hokey Pokey, and the whole crowd was doing it. Annie and I didn’t join in for that, but afterward, he started playing other songs (such as the ever classic dance tune, “Satisfaction” by Benny Benassi) which Annie and I couldn’t resist. We ran into the crowd and started dancing along. He ended with a song on “London Pride” and made a joke about how he wasn’t trying to say London was better than anywhere else, but he wanted to be proud of where he was from. He just wanted to be proud of how someone comes and gets the bins on a Friday! Also, just looked him up… his name is Christopher Green. His performer name is “Ida Barr, Grandma Gangsta.”


Here’s an image of good ole Ida Barr (obviously not in performer mode) taken from

Annie and I danced, sang, and all in all, it was a damn great day.

I keep having nightmares about failing my courses. It’s really starting to get to me. Last night, I dreamt Dr. Soothingvoice was handing out our papers from the Greek exam, and everyone received their papers back except for me. For some reason, in my dream, this meant I failed. I guess because it meant she was signaling she wanted to talk with me afterward about my paper. She gave Abby hers back, and she had gotten 100%, so I wrote a note to her on a scrap piece of paper saying I had failed, and some kid (who was not a real person in my class but a dream creation that reminded me of that chubby kid from the Sandlot) saw it and started making fun of me. Gimme a break, mind. I’m already going to fail the course, you don’t have to make it worse by giving me nightmares before I get my results back!

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Fear of mediocrity

I had my birthday recently. First birthday I’ve ever had away from family – which is weird to consider. I was worried it would be really hard. Birthdays aren’t a huge deal after a certain age, and it’s not like I ever really do anything big to celebrate anymore, but there are small things about them that still matter to me. I believe everyone should have a cake on their birthday. If I have to make one for myself, I will (and have before). I also believe people should be sang to – as long as it isn’t in front of a restaurant or something. I hate those occasions. They’re embarrassing to me and make me feel awkward.
I spent my birthday with Melanie, as everyone else was unable to join for one reason or another. It was a bit bittersweet, but overall, it doesn’t matter, because Melanie was there, and we had fun. Not to mention I was exhausted after all of my papers being due the day before. She was the absolute best and made it special for me. We had breakfast together (per my request) where we ate pancakes and drank mimosas. She made me a yellow cake with chocolate icing from scratch, the first she has EVER made, and it was amazing. She wrote me a super sweet (and funny) poem on a card, and I’ve put it up on my mantle with my other birthday cards from my family. I cried when I saw that mammaw had signed her name on the card from her and pawpaw. Seeing her brittle handwriting was hard, but I loved that she was able to sign at all. Heck, I’m crying again just thinking about it. My sister had her oldest son sign my birthday card, and I was so happy seeing he is learning to write already. It meant a lot to me. It all did.
Melanie and I went to dinner together, just the two of us, nothing fancy. We went to a burger shop I had ordered a veggie burger from before and really liked. I think she had wanted to do it big for me, because birthdays are important to her, too. I think she may have been more disappointed at the people who backed out than I was. Her beau joined us for drinks after dinner, but after being fed a few shots from the bartenders (Melanie informed them of my birthday), I was ready to go. I was exhausted and knew I couldn’t handle more, it’s been so long since I’ve drank. When we got home, they fixed the cake for me, put candles on in the shape of an “M” and sang. I gobbled practically the whole thing down, while drunk from our dinner. They really made it great for me, and I’m so grateful for them both.

And so, my birthday has come and gone, and 30 looms ever closer. The nearer I get to 30, the more I have to battle with the standards society has thrown out, dictating directions and achievements to the 30+ woman. I don’t feel ready for anything. Aren’t I supposed to have things figured out now? Have a steady job, a husband, maybe even a family? Shouldn’t I feel like I’m almost 30? Because, I don’t. I don’t feel older, though my body may be starting to look it. I don’t feel like I want to stop going out dancing and drinking in fun clothes. I don’t feel like I want to stop playing video games or watching cartoons. I don’t feel like I want to take out all my piercings, stop wearing trendy clothes, or stop dressing in ways I was never confident enough to before. I don’t feel like I want a husband, or a family, or anything of the sort. I just feel… lost still. I want to travel. That’s the most I know of myself. I want to go across the world, hiking, kayaking, doing all the things I’ve always said “I’ll do that one day” but still have yet to do. I’ve done a lot of this to myself, keeping myself inside and just daydreaming about the life, rather than living it. I’ve hardly explored London, because my time to myself I spend reading alone or watching happy movies. Now I wonder, am I too old to go off hiking across the world? I don’t even know how to hike. I’m not fit, I’m not active. But I want to go. I always have.
I know my personality, for the most part, at least. I’ve always been a dreamer. It has only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. But I also know that this fantasy idealistic life that I want is just that: fantasy. It’s so hard for me to turn away from, though. I know I have unrealistic expectations about life. I’m not completely lost in my head. And yet…I can’t help it. I remember for one of my printmaking assignments in college, we had to make an etching of an image that was 2×2 inches. We had various topics to illustrate which the professor chose, and one of them was our biggest fear. I drew a quaint house with a fence and a dog, then titled it “fear of mediocrity.” Partly to be contrary (look how cool and different I am, watch me wallow in my angst), but also because it was true. I’ve never really wanted the “every day” life. I’ve never wanted a house with a white picket fence. Mediocrity terrifies me. Our lives are just blinks in the grand scheme of things. I’m certainly not about to make some huge difference in scientific breakthroughs, become famous, make a huge political stand, or whatever. And that’s fine. I doubt I’d handle that life well. But I don’t want to just…be. I want to be more. I don’t know if that explains it adequately enough. And now more than ever, with new debt, with maybe an MA being achieved, with all my friends and family moving into their own families and paths, with getting older… shouldn’t I finally have direction? It isn’t here yet. I’m not sure when it will be.

All I know is that Wednesday I have a presentation. Thursday I have a date. Next week there is a conference I can listen in on some days. July 10th my first chapter of my dissertation is due. Past that… I have no idea.

My dissertation topic is officially “Shifts in Polychrome Decoration on 3D Monuments From the Hellenistic to Roman Period.” I’m going to discuss the materials, application and methods, and the effect of coloured marble statues on the people of the time. I may look some on bronze, too, per Dr. Shaggy’s suggestion. I’m excited, I think. I’m nervous I won’t do well. Dr. Shaggy and I talked it through and came up with a basic structure, so I feel better about it in that respect. I just need to research and somehow accomplish it. I’ve got a month to write my first chapter, revolving around the Hellenistic age. I’m not sure if I’m meant to also write my intro… he only said the chapter. Guess I’ll see how it all goes.

Off subject, but I started to read a story on Wattpad and it really got to me for some reason. It isn’t finished yet, but there are multiple points of view, and one of them is told from an abusive boyfriend’s perspective. He’s awful. He’s mainly mentally and verbally abusive, but has started to become physically abusive. He’s cheating on the female character and just reading his chapter made me feel dirty and sick to my stomach. I know this story is completely fictional, I get that. But stuff like this really happens, and it is eating at me. Maybe this is why I don’t really seek out relationships. I have such trust issues with things like this. I either give nothing, or give everything and smother my partner. I have yet to figure out how to balance a relationship, and I have such insecurities with myself. So when this type of thing happens, it pretty much destroys me. Does everyone cheat? I think so, which is terrible. Is every relationship a secret lie? I feel like it is. I’m going to need to watch a Disney movie to wash the story away.

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But who bought the basil plant?

I’ve been watering a little basil plant which has been sitting in our kitchen window. I thought it was strange Melanie bought it, because who eats THAT much basil (at least in our house)? Every time it started to get sad and droopy looking I thought, “poor thing, why isn’t Melanie taking care of it?” So I’ve been talking to it and watering it, and it’s flourished quite nicely so far (thanks to my tender, loving care, obviously).
I mentioned the plant to Melanie and she said something along the lines of, “when you bought it…” which made me pause. When I bought it? Me? I didn’t buy this plant. She was positive, she had a memory of me coming in the flat with it. Which made me start questioning myself – did I buy this plant and don’t remember? I swear I remembered her bringing it in… what if I’m losing my memory that badly?! We both had a mini freak out where we couldn’t figure out where the hell the plant came from. All I could think is, “did someone break into our flat and leave a plant? Who does that?”
Finally, I thought to ask Melanie’s beau. Thank goodness, he had bought it. I guess he likes basil that much. So we figured out that mystery. If this was a Sherlock case it would have been incredibly uneventful.

I received my grade back from my final essay for my Classical Art of the Body course. I have to admit, I was disappointed. I had really thought this essay was going to knock it out of the park. I knew I had taken some risks with my language, I was excessively colloquial at times. But I thought it all fit fairly well. I actually got a point lower than my last one – which I was convinced I failed. This one actually met the word count AND I felt had better arguments and flow. I was baffled. I am glad, I still got a merit grade (whatever that means). I just had really hoped to get higher. I had been proud of something I made for once. C’est la vie. That’s the way the cookie crumbles and all that.

I had my final Greek exam last week. I am 95% sure I failed. This isn’t like my last in class test where I was like “OMG I FAAAAILLED” and I miraculously passed. I did the math, there’s no way I got above a 38, and I needed to get at least a 46. I had really thought I’d be able to do that, too. What makes me mad is that I could have. I knew enough that I really could have done more. But I didn’t go at the exam in a smart way. I didn’t read to see how much each part of the test was worth. So instead of starting with the two hardest parts (each worth 25 and 30 points alone), I started with the parts I knew better, only worth 45. I missed parts on the portions I knew, too. Not leaving blanks, but knowing that my answers weren’t correct. So, I know I didn’t manage full marks on it. It makes me a bit sick. I keep trying to not think on it, but I’m so frustrated with myself. The hardest parts I didn’t even finish 1/3 of the way, it’ll be a miracle if I got even 3 marks on those sections. I had saved them until too late, not watching the clock like I should have.

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It is impossible for me to neatly eat a croissant

How do people manage? This is a legitimate question. Every time I attempt to eat a croissant, it is a massacre. There are flakes of pastry everywhere – places I know it should be impossible for pastry to get in (I will leave you to your imagination for this). It is lucky I don’t like croissants that much, otherwise I’d be distressed over my inability to properly devour them. I’ll just continue to avoid them now.

I met up with Panos at a Greek coffee shop today. He babied me and talked me through my Macedonian weaponry essay. He helped me figure out a structure. And while it is going to be hard as hell, and I have a ton of research to do, I feel better knowing I at least have some sort of path now. That’s the hardest part for me, figuring out where the hell I’m going and making sure I go that way. My essays generally start as miserable ramblings, something I picture being similar to trying to talk to a half-mad crack addict.
He also explained to me how in Greece, lactose intolerance is viewed as mildly absurd. Most women apparently say they want a non-dairy milk, not for their inability to digest regular milk, but because they think it will make them bloat. So asking for something like this in what is essentially an all-Greek London coffee shop makes me weird. I explained to him it was not because I’d bloat. It was because I’d break out something terrible, and then be in the bathroom for awhile after. Which is not always true. I mean, the break out is. But the bathroom part is iffy. Why risk it, though?

I’m seriously going to be a hunchback after this year. I carry so many dang things in my backpack. I’m currently a traveling library with six books and my laptop in tow. So maybe six doesn’t sound like a library, but if this was Beauty and the Beast, Belle would definitely prefer my backpack library over her small town one. This scenario is pre-library gift from the Beast, obviously. I can’t compete with that.

Speaking of Beauty and the Beast, I have been singing it nonstop. It’s my happy music which gets me through traveling. And while I’m sure people around me wish I would stop (poor Melanie hears it all the dang time), I just can’t. I need the cheer. It’s gotten to the point where I’m sort of dancing and acting out the songs while walking down the street. It looks odd enough and slightly psycho on its own, but add in my backpack and I look like a crazy, homeless wanderer.

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