I know that sounds silly, but it’s true. They match almost perfectly and I keep making the mistake of setting my glasses down on the floor (I also sit on the floor, I’m not just tossing them down there for no reason) and then having to scramble around a bit to find them. I’m like Velma from Scooby Doo. “I can’t see a thing without my glasses!” Here, have a look yourself:
Today, I actually had something to do. I needed to go to the bank and set up my dang account. Thankfully, knowing myself well, I set up my appointment in the afternoon at 2:30. Keeping me from having to rush or get up early. Go me. I woke up on time, started to get ready, and decided to look nice since I was applying for a bank account. I mean, who knows, maybe they would turn me away for being a scruffy American.
“She sure doesn’t look like she can put any money into an account. …not unless it’s dirty money.”
To avoid that situation, I dressed nice. I have this maroon, long tunic top that is made of that weird blouse-y fabric. So it is loose and flowy. I paired it with my black jeans and new boots from Nashville (I bought them specifically for London, christening them my “London boots” as the true creative I am). Sure, I had my huge, dorky backpack with the whole outfit. But that’s okay. The rest of me looked nice. I even dried my hair straight. I NEVER dry my hair. Ask anyone who has seen me ever. I hardly even brush it. Moving on… I left early, treking down my hill to the nearest station, enjoying the cool breeze on my 10 minute walk. It was lovely. I felt confident. Until I quit moving.
Then I realized that the stupid blouse-y fabric doesn’t breathe and sweat was coating my back. I tried to daintily sit still and air out; I moved my hair off the back of my neck, I fluttered the front of my shirt to get air down it. Nothing worked. It was only 65 degrees out, it was glorious. There was absolutely no reason for me to be sweating like a linebacker. And yet, THERE I WAS.
What did I decide? I decided “screw you, bank. You’ll take me as I am.” Then I trekked my happy ass back up that hill and changed into jeans, Keds, and an old Victoria’s Secret PINK pajama shirt my parents got me one Christmas. I ditched that backpack and breezed back down the hill. All the while enjoying the freedom of junky clothing.
I had time to spare when I finally made it to where the bank was (keep in mind, it does take me an hour to get anywhere), so I grabbed a snack and sat to wait. I was nervous stuff at the bank wouldn’t go well, because everything I read (and well, sort of experienced so far) made me believe it would take some sort of voodoo magic to work out. Thankfully, that was not the case. I arrived early to the bank, waited in a super comfy chair, and then was nicely escorted to a cubicle to work with a bank person.
Everything was fairly easy. I had the necessary documents, my credit check was good (thank you, Baby Jesus, that I decided to get a credit card and build up my credit last year), I was set to go. Then I heard a small disturbance. This small disturbance finally grew to a full-on disturbance, complete with angry shouting. It was incredibly awkward, and I felt really bad. I could not see what was going on, but the girl was shouting loud enough it was easy to figure out. She was either American or Canadian (hard to tell with the accent. I’d like to hope Canadian, but let’s be real, she probably was American) and she was livid. For some reason she could not open the account. She made an appointment three weeks ago (I feel ya on that, sister. That was annoying), and they were telling her that she was unable to open her account due to another one being open?! But she is trying to GIVE them money! WHY DO THEY NOT UNDERSTAND? IT IS MONEY AND SHE IS GIVING IT TO YOU.
Sadly, I’ve said what she said a few times now. But mainly to myself or my parents, and never shouting. I am not sure what happened in the end. She did eventually stop shouting. I doubt she got her bank account. I went on to try and exchange the cash brought over from the states to have something in my account here, and was disappointed. I should have known better than to hope that current exchange rates were being used at any bank. I’ve become obsessive about checking the exchange rate and all it does is upset me, because no one follows it (except maybe the Bank of England and fancy-pants financial people). Last I checked, the pound was down and equalled roughly $1.30 (thanks, Brexit). The bank exchanged at $1.44. I know that isn’t a HUGE difference. But when you’re a broke college student once again… it sure as hell is. I really need a job. Will work for food.
Before I left the bank, I asked one of the workers (they all wore red in some form, by the way. Pretty sure it was a requirement and not some weird coincidence) when to expect my debit card. While he was answering me, his eyes kept flicking between my eyes and my forehead. It was quite obvious and made me very paranoid. Is there something on my forehead? A smudge? A bug? A zit? A third eye? I walked out of there combing my hair down into my forehead and wishing I had a mirror.
I have asked Marina if it is common for PDA around these parts. She claims no. However, I seem to always be around some couple making out or canoodling somewhere. Today, it was on the train. The guy actually moved from sitting across from a girl in order to sit by her and fully explore her mouth with his own. I glanced over and made eye contact with him right before it happened. We were looking at each other when he went in for the kill. Naturally, I became very interested in my cell phone and everything going on outside the train. I’m not a prude usually, but YEESH. Maybe I’m just jealous. I haven’t really seen any guy around who has thrown me for a loop, though. Then again, I have only been here a week and I am a little old to be boy crazy (OR AM I?).
While waiting on a train, I did sit next to a guy I found interesting. He seemed rather frazzled, sort of dirty, and was covered in tattoos. Not all of them were good ones, either. Some of them were a bit ragged and could have been done in prison (hey, dad, it’s your new son-in-law. Don’t you love the sound of him?). Nevertheless, I think he was my soulmate. Why? Because I noticed this quote on his arm: “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” I kept reading and rereading it. It was so familiar. I know I have heard it before and loved it. Was it Harry Potter? Did Dumbledore say it? No… no, not him. It seemed Greek or Roman in my memory. But surely it isn’t some Grecian philosopher’s quote. I am not pretentious enough to know any of those (although, at the end of the semester who knows).
Want to know what it came from, Internet? It came from my favorite movie ever. GLADIATOR. Starring the oh-so-sexy Russell Crowe *pants heavily*. What is the likelihood some random guy covered in tattoos will have a quote from my favorite movie (Gladiator, of all movies, not exactly number one on “movie quotes to remember” list) on him? I must find him. We will be wed immediately. Our honeymoon will be where the movie was filmed and our first child will be named Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.
…Oh wait, that was a movie quote, too. Maybe we will cut it down to just “Maximus.”
By the way, it has been confirmed. Even Starbucks doesn’t have drip coffee. I asked the girl if they served it and she gave me the weirdest look. I finally said, “You know, coffee that is black, but isn’t an Americano. It’s brewed. It drips. Not made with espresso.” She shook her head and my heart might have cried a little. She did ask if I wanted anything in it, and I tried saying I wanted half and half. Starbucks girl paused and said, “you mean pour in cream?” Sure, lady. Whatever. Just give me my stupid water espresso and let me go on my way.
Whilst at the buck-of-stars, I sat at the window and stared out at the passersby. A guy came and sat at one of the outside tables in front of me and started to take photos of his coffee. No big deal, that is common enough. What got to me, though, is this guy was taking photos of a plain Starbucks cup using one of those lenses that can be attached to an iPhone. Those lenses can be cool, sure. But why not use them on… a more attractive, hipster cup of coffee? If you have a special tiny camera lens for your iPhone, I am assuming you’re using it to take artsy photos to post on social media. Take one of an actual mug of coffee with the pretty design layered into the top of the foam. Not a drippy Starbucks cup with “CM” written on the side with a Sharpie. You aren’t even drinking a seasonal PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte). You’re drinking a generic Caramel Macchiato! Do better, random Starbucks guy!
I once again had to walk home from Balham station. This time it was even more of an adventure because my phone was at 14% and my bladder was about to burst. Thankfully, it was an easy walk. Pretty sure I have it memorized now. Turn right out of the station, keep going straight, turn right into the creepy park, walk a bit in the darkness, turn left out of the creepy park to the main road, walk until my road is on the left.
Going through the park when it was dark again, I drudged up “what if” situations. I love “what if” situations…
What if I can’t hold my bladder? Could I pop a squat behind that shrub? It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve peed outside. But what if I’m caught? Would I get arrested and deported? What a lame reason to be deported.
What if someone attacks me? Will I pee on myself? Would it be worse to be attacked and pee on myself, or to be squatting and peeing when someone attacks me? Would they be disgusted and just leave me urine-soaked behind a shrub? Is it twisted of me to get offended in my imagination by some hooligan jumping me and then having the nerve to be disgusted by my natural bodily functions?
I made it home without any of the possible “what if” situations occurring.
Now I am going over my tomorrow plans. Tomorrow is induction. It is finally here. I will be meeting everyone in my program. I will be meeting my future professors. I am freaking out inside. I am freaking out outside. I am freaking out in general. I didn’t really get anything to wear. I am going to wake up early and try on that romper and see if I look like I’m going to the bar or if I look tastefully artsy. I also am going to try on my slacks and green skirt to see if I look like a banker or old woman. Will keep you abreast of my final clothing decision. I know you’re all on tinder hooks.
To try and prepare (hah, last minute. That works well. Totes ready for postgrad life) I looked through my department email for anything I might have missed. I went ahead to the KCL Intranet to see if there was anything there. I found they have already assigned my tutor. My tutor happens to be who I referenced in my personal statement saying, “OH EM GEE, Dr-such-n-such’s work is AWESOME! It has, like, totally influenced me to come to your school!” Which, is true. Sort of. This professor’s work is interesting. …But it would be untrue of me to say that I really studied it hard and could answer questions based on his research. I hope they didn’t assign me to him for that reason. His class is one I wanted to take, but nixed because it clashed with another one that includes a trip to Greece (limited spots, so it is possible I won’t get it anyway). I hope he doesn’t want to discuss his studies and my studies or anything like that. Not yet. I will be forced to try and create a distraction. I will hurl myself down a flight of stairs if I have to. Avoidance is a totally healthy way to confront problems.
How many ways could this go wrong? Knowing me? The limit does not exist.