Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere!

If you watched Barney, chances are you remember that little ditty.
It’s no secret (at least to those who know me well) that I’m not a big fan of litter. I’m not really sure when it happened, but at some point in my life I started to get mad when I saw people littering. Whenever I read Voyager by Diana Gabaldon (there’s a point to this story segue, stick with me. And this is a slight spoiler if you haven’t read this), there was a part where Claire has gone back in time and takes a break to eat a sandwich she brought with her from present day. She had wrapped it in plastic, and after finishing her sandwich, decides to nonchalantly throw the plastic down, hoping no one notices this strange anachronistic item. Rather than worry on her being found out for her out of time plastic item, I was mad she just threw it out. Granted, it’s not like they had super advanced waste removal in 18th century Scotland. It’s the principle of the matter.
Last year my New Years resolution (I actually made one, which is rare for me) was to lower my carbon footprint. I wanted to try and reduce the amount of plastic and paper I used, I tried to be more cognizant of the amount of water I ran in the sink when doing dishes or washing my face. Sadly, since I’ve been in London that has all but flown out the window. All I tend to do anymore is watch my use of water. I’ve even gone back to *gasp* drinking bottled water. Not because I think it’s any better than tap (I really don’t give a hoot whether or not I’m drinking pure Scottish spring water), but because I haven’t bought a reusable water bottle since I’ve been here. I should probably get on that.
Regardless, there is a point to this litter ramble. There is litter all over London. ALL OVER. It makes me mental, but I don’t do anything about it because…well…it’s dirty. I guess I could carry around a trash bag and gloves with me, but people already look at me sort of strange. And it would take me even longer to get place to place if I stopped to pick up trash (I HAVE EXCUSES AND THEY ARE SEMI LEGITIMATE – DON’T JUDGE ME!).
Yesterday, though, I was waiting for a walking light to turn green when I felt something tapping at my foot. I looked down to see a lone McDonald’s takeaway cup, knocking into me. I felt like I had to pick it up – it was ASKING me to. Before you think I’m crazy, I am aware London is windy so it isn’t like the cup was alive. But I picked it up and carried it with me until I found a trashcan. All because it begged to be properly disposed of. Now it’s just going to end up partially rotting in a huge pile off in a garbage dump. Cheers.

There was absolutely no point to that whole story except to say I threw away a cup. I mean, if you guys aren’t used to my pointless random stories yet… then there’s no hope for you.

A ton of my favourite book series have new books out this month. It’s making me insane, because I can’t read them. I don’t have time with all my essays/exam.
– But wait, Meg, aren’t you wasting time writing this blog entry right now? – Yes. Shush your mouth. I don’t need your negativity around here.
Anyway. It makes me wish that somehow my job in life could be 1. traveling everywhere and writing about how I’m lost, or 2. listening to a ton of audiobooks/reading books and telling people about them/reviewing them. Can that be a real life job where I can pay bills and everything? That would be nice.

Recently, it was a Bank Holiday weekend here. I have no idea what a Bank Holiday is, except that London pretty much completely shuts down. Except for transportation (thank goodness) and pubs (eh). While walking to the tube from the library, I came across a guy casually standing on the steps outside a pub, looking unseeingly at something in front of him. It took me about 2 seconds to realise this guy was probably going to get sick. Sure enough, I see him slowly press his hand to his mouth, as if thoughtful, and then calmly stroll down the steps to the side of the building. I should have looked away, but didn’t. He proceeded to bend over and upchuck, but it was so quiet. And he did it so nonchalantly no one around him even blinked. Then again, maybe Londoners are just used to this sort of thing. All things considered, he was an extremely polite vomiter. Which is more than I can say for myself. I’m a hacker. You’re welcome for the visual.

I went back and read through my Art of the Body essay. That was a mistake, I am not sure why I did it. I did not read it through carefully before I submitted it, which was a mistake. I wanted so badly to quit picking at it and just get it off my plate. Looking back on the essay, there are several obvious grammatical errors. I even spelled “pudenda” wrong in one case – which is terrible, because that’s part of what my essay was on. I’m antsy to get my grade back. I hope I did decently on it despite all my mistakes. I guess I should put all those thoughts towards my unfinished essays… which I can’t remember anything about.

Side note before I go… I am sitting in my library cafe, enjoying the slight noise of the people around me drowned out by my Disney music (I’m cool and an adult, promise). However, I just looked down and found that I have been exposing myself. I had hung my glasses on my shirt collar, but this shirt is a rather flow-y one. The weight of my glasses brought it right down to mid bra. I have no idea how long I’ve been sitting like this. I hope if anyone noticed, they at least thought good things of the exposure. How sad is it that I hope my embarrassment would lead to someone getting their rocks off rather than disgusting them? Talk about low self esteem. My life, ladies and gents.


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Cupdate – Day 3

You read that right. I didn’t mistype “update.” Forewarning – this is about lady stuffs. Periods. Uterine lining shedding. In graphic detail. Including, but not limited to, actual depictions of my experiences trying to use one. If uninterested in reading about this (though I’ve no idea why you wouldn’t want to, obviously it’s incredibly exciting) scroll down to the part that says “long hair problems.” You’ve been forewarned.

I’ve decided to try out one of those crazy menstrual cups. I’d like to say “new fangled” but apparently they’ve been around for awhile, so… so much for that. They’re advertised a ton here. I don’t know if they’re as widely used as all the adverts make it seem, but after talking with a friend who has used it before and loved it, I thought I’d give it a go. What have I got to lose? Other than a cup somewhere up inside my lady parts (just kidding! Apparently this can’t happen. I’ve researched to make sure).
Some of the plus sides of these are:
No risk of TSS, and you can leave them in for longer. Perfect for the lazy and forgetful. Of which I am both.
More Earth-friendly, as they are reusable.
Save money on constantly buying tampons and pads.
The downside is there is a bit of a learning curve with these. Okay, maybe a huge learning curve. Maybe I just don’t know anything about vaginas despite having one. But this is complicated. Before you can even use it, you have to boil it fore sterilization, which is weird. I felt awkward standing in my kitchen boiling an object meant to go inside me and hold period blood. I felt like I was using the stovetop in a sacrilegious way. How dare I defile it so!
The cup is also hard as heck to get in correctly. You have to fold it in a weird way to try and make it small enough – and even then it doesn’t get super small. So it is more uncomfortable upon, uh… entry. Additionally, it is difficult to tell if it actually opens correctly after inserting. It is supposed to pop open after it gets in there (somehow, I don’t know how it works. Menstrual magic, maybe). When I put it in today, I don’t think it expanded afterward, so I don’t know what is going on up in there. So far I haven’t leaked, so maybe it all worked out? I thought it did get lost in me in the first day. I almost lost my mind when I went to take it out, only to find that the tab had disappeared entirely. I kept envisioning myself going to an emergency clinic, trying to explain what my problem was. Thankful that, if nothing else, I wasn’t one of those weirdos who had something stuck up there that wasn’t meant to be there. A missing cup is a least explainable. I went to the interwebs (thanks internet, for being a treasure trove/garbage dump of information) to see what to do, and read a lot of posts about not freaking out and how to remove it. I don’t know what happened to make it go away, I’m not sure I want to know what happened. All that matters is that I did get it out in the end.
I keep having weird cramp-y feelings, but I don’t know if they are normal cramps, or cup-related paranoia on my part. Maybe this is the cup getting stuck again.
I will say, there is a perverse satisfaction removing it and seeing how much blood is in there. The little cup even has measurement lines inside. I guess in case someone is extra interested. “Oh, today I shed 15ml of uterine lining! How exciting.” Like a little science experiment.


Long hair problems.
Or, welcome to those petrified of periods who skipped ahead.
The amount of hair I shed has gotten out of hand. I don’t even have that much. Today I pulled a hair from my coffee mug, out of the skillet, and off my shirt – all within five minutes of each other. I live in a constant state of awareness that I could, at any point, be about to eat or drink my own hair. I am shocked I don’t hack up hairballs every day. If I ever happen to live with a man, I hope he doesn’t mind finding a small wig throughout the day.

I met with a second new Greek tutor. I’m going to have two separate tutoring sessions a week. I’ll be spending more, but I think it will be worth it in the end. I think I also will like my second tutor better, anyway. She is a bit older, and makes me think of a glamorous, academic, hippie. If that makes sense. I christen thee, “Dr. Hippie” in any potential future posts. Dr. Academic Hippie would be too long, and Dr. AH makes me sound like I’m type-shouting all the time. I do that enough already. Anyway, she seems a bit flighty, but overall super nice. I need to study so I am ready for her tutoring sessions. That has been my project all day today – study Greek. I’ve started looking into commentaries, too; trying to figure out how to write the ones I have due in June. I’d like to write them both and send them off to Dr. Soothingvoice to review. She said she would check drafts as long as we sent them with plenty of time for her to look them over. They’re just so… BORING. Who cares that Plato used purpose clauses all the time?! Or that Xenophon really liked to use comparisons? My grade cares, that’s who. Sigh.

There was a couple canoodling in the British Library today. Actually, canoodling is too cute a word. There was a couple molesting each other and eating face in the British Library today. It was infuriating. Why did it bother me so much? They weren’t talking really loud, or doing anything to me directly – other than being in my direct line of sight. I like to think it isn’t because I’m a bitter, loveless hag… but who knows. Maybe it is that exactly. All I can say is that I got increasingly more and more annoyed as they sat and groped each other while I tried to in vain to read my Greek commentary. I could not concentrate while they were going at it. So many times I almost said, “CAN YOU NOT?!” or, “EXCUSE ME THERE IS A HOTEL RIGHT DOWN THE ROAD” but I held off. Somehow, some way. Maybe they were just exhibitionists and this was their warm up before they got alone and to the real thing. Bleh. I regret thinking that now. Unwanted visuals.

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“Goddesses, whores, wives, and slaves: women in classical antiquity”

This is the title of a book I used in my last essay. Don’t try and tell me history can’t be interesting! I was discussing the title with my oldest sister, and had to wonder if there was a reasoning for the word order. Maybe starting with “whores” or “slaves” would be too risque, but starting with “wives” would be too boring.

Since I last blogged, I received the great news that I passed my second Greek test. A whole 53%! Obviously not my best performance, but I needed a 50% to pass at all, and considering I failed the last and had thought I failed this one, I AM FOR IT! In celebration I ate a whole pizza by myself and later wouldn’t let myself feel fat and guilty for it. No such luck on my feelings on my binge consumption the day after, though.

Claire and I went to the Globe Theatre today to watch Romeo and Juliet. We were beyond excited. I mean, Romeo and Juliet. At the ACTUAL GLOBE THEATRE! Except… it was not Romeo and Juliet. It was… but it wasn’t. The wonder of Shakespeare is that the dear bard’s plays can be redone in almost any setting. They can take place in the past, in the future, on Mars, whatever. Should they, though? Well, I guess that is up to each viewer’s discretion. My opinion is – NO! I assumed this play would be normal style Romeo and Juliet. I assumed wrong. All the characters had clown/mime faces painted on. Fine, I can get past that. Mercutio was played by a woman. Cool, I actually like that take. Romeo had an angsty teenage boy thing going on. You know what, that makes sense, too. Although his weird beatnik-rap moments were a bit meh. Juliet’s mom constantly making weird sexual innuendos and grabbing herself/anyone around her? Not so much. Actually, EVERYONE seemed to make unnecessary sexual motions and innuendos throughout.  It got weird real fast. Mercutio and Benvolio were portrayed as slapstick-esque thugs with bats. Frequently also using said bats to depict penises and make lewd gestures with them. Tybalt was a thug with a bat, too. Though at one point he also seemed to be part dog. Whenever a fight happened, these three scantily-clad dancers (two women, one guy) would come out and dance sexily to techno music off at the sides of the stage. At one point, there was this strange section where the head of Capulet house sang the whole of the YMCA song. It was a good job, but it was still completely out of nowhere. They changed the tragedy of Shakespeare to a comedy. This isn’t a comedy! The acting was good, at least.
Needless to say Claire and I opted to leave at intermission. We went and had drinks and caught up together instead. Much better!

This was a theatre week for me. I went and saw Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the Old Vic with Melanie on Tuesday. It was amazing. I was lost quite often, as I haven’t read Hamlet in ages (this isn’t Hamlet, but follows alongside the storyline at times and has some of the same characters). However, it was stellar. Joshua McGuire and Daniel Radcliffe were great. Not to mention David Haig. Afterward, there was a signing for Daniel Radcliffe. I am weird and awkward and don’t really need famous people to see me being this way. So I had no interest in seeing Daniel Radcliffe. I mean, yea, cool, I get to see him from afar. But he doesn’t know me, he doesn’t care about me, and he won’t remember me. What’s the use in me getting a photo with him? I can just tell people “Hey, yea, I saw him. It was cool.” and it is just as effective.
Melanie and I did ask about seeing the other actors in the play, though. They apparently all exit out the back whilst Daniel has a queue waiting for his signature. We went to wait for them, and they all exited out, surprised to see a whole five people standing around waiting to tell them they did awesome. BECAUSE THEY DID! Everyone did such a great job. I was more excited to get a picture with Josh McGuire (who was the star of the show as far as I’m concerned) than anything else. He was amazing! Despite this, they really all walked out the door as if nothing happened, looking around confused that people were standing by. Slipping silently out the back as if they’re stealing something. Like, I don’t know, the SHOW (ba dum bum chiiiing). Maybe they thought we were trying to mug them. It was infuriating how they had no recognition, but Ratcliffe had an hour long queue waiting for him. He did well. But he wasn’t the only one. I bet he gets annoyed, too. He wants to be recognized for his stage work and everyone is excited to see Harry Potter grown up.

All in all, this week really made me miss acting. Siiiiggggghhh. Would that I were on stage and killing it.

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No cake for you

I had a weird moment in the British Library on Wednesday when attempting to get a treat from the cafe. I decided to forego my imaginary diet I’ve been “about to start” for the past year and get myself a piece of chocolate cake. Absolute last treat for myself before I start my diet, swear (huge guffaw).

Anyway… I was in a busy line and looking forward to the really fudgy-looking chocolate cake. There were only three pieces left, so it MUST be really good. When they asked me what I wanted, I let them know I’d like a coffee and the cake, please and thank you. The woman who took my order gave me a strange look, then turned so her back was to me, and kept trying to poke another worker to get her attention. The woman I ordered from murmured something this other worker, who then looked around, picked up the plate of chocolate cake, touched a piece of it, and walked off with it. No explanation whatsoever. When the first woman rung up my order, she didn’t even mention the cake and whether or not I would want something else. Was there something wrong with these last three pieces of cake? Were they stale from being out too long? Did the workers secretly want them and were saving them for their own consumption? Were they poisoned? Did they think I didn’t look like I needed any more cake (which would be correct, but whatever, let me live my 300 lbs life)? Did I even really ask for it? Maybe this was a figment of my imagination and there was never really cake there at all. The world may never know.

Thankfully, the BL has an upstairs cafe, too. So I went up there to get something to snack on. The girl upstairs was much nicer and suggested I have a brownie. When I was on my last bite of brownie, I happened to look up and make eye contact with a man in a booth nearby. He did not avert his eyes. I mean, I was in mid bite, brownie stuck in my mouth, looking straight in his baby blues… and he didn’t even blink. I wasn’t sure how to react. People always avert their eyes, that’s how life works. It’s an unwritten rule. Strangers do not stare at each other – ESPECIALLY if one is stuffing their face with a delicious baked good and has already been shamed for wanting to eat chocolate cake. I’m just glad I wasn’t eating a banana. Talk about a whole different kind of awkward.

I find it really interesting the kind of things the mind dregs up during the wee hours of the morning (or is this considered the dead of night?). I woke up around 3:45am to pee and have been unable to drift back to sleep. This is due to my brain is doing the traditional, “Hey, time to think about all you have to do and get panicky and anxious,” as well as the ever popular, “Remember every embarrassing and dumb thing you’ve ever done? Let’s brood on that,” thought processes. But tonight it has also thrown in, “Remember what your very first email was? Let’s try to remember for the next half hour,” which is new.
So here I am, trying to remember what my very first email was, while fighting the burning in my eyes that means my body wants to be asleep. I know it was a hotmail account (wasn’t everything in the early 2000s?). I’m also fairly sure it had an “88” at the end of it. I’m not 100%, but I don’t believe I had anything super embarrassing in it per most first emails such as, “cutie_pie88” or “sExYkItTeN_34.” Then again, as I can’t remember it, who knows!

On Thursday, Melanie and I spent the day together before she left for Brazil. She had an evening flight, so we decided to go to Green Park to get some souvenirs for her family and get lunch while we were in the area. On the way to Green Park, however, we stopped to get a coffee. I don’t often take drinks onto the tube with me. I don’t like having to hold a lot of things when I already have my huge backpack to contend with. I’m also accident prone. Cue my next story.
I don’t know what it is about the UK, but 6/10 times I get a faulty to-go lid. I noticed that my drink (plain black filter coffee, duh) was dribbling down the side of my cup from beneath the lid and starting to make the coffee sleeve all soggy. I pointed it out to Melanie and said how the sleeve was going to crumple into nothing soon and my hands would be on fire. Little did I know, the brim of my coffee cup was also getting soggy. I went to adjust the cup, but the side crumpled in and the top popped off, spilling scalding hot coffee all over my lap. I understand that lady who sued McDonald’s. It definitely was not a pleasant experience. I think my exact words were, “MOTHER OF – IT IS SO HOT, MY THIIIIIGHS, DEAR GOD WHY? IT BURNS!” Melanie tried to quickly dig through her purse for a napkin, but she only had a receipt, which she offered to me because she’s a good friend. I thanked her, but turned down her offer. The burning was starting to fade at that point, and I could only imagine how much sillier I would look dabbing myself uselessly with a receipt.
On the plus side, I was wearing black pants. So even though my entire crotch/lap area was wet, you couldn’t tell. Didn’t look like I had an accident or anything.
On the other plus side, my thighs are big enough that no coffee got anywhere on the ground or seat. The thunder twins set up an effective blockade that took the full blast, saving the next person from sitting in an awkward, inexplicable wet area.
On the other, OTHER plus side, people in London don’t interact with each other on the tube, so no one seemed to have noticed. I could have fallen to the ground writhing in boiling coffee, and they would have happily kept their gazes averted. No need to feel embarrassed!

I was asked to attempt a drawing for Melanie’s beau’s band to use on Spotify for a single they have coming out. I’m nervous and excited. I really WANT to do this, but I’m not sure how well I could do it. Or how much time I have to do it… Art stuff has always made me self-conscious, and a time crunch doesn’t make it any better. Maybe I’ll skip out on it.

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Writing a book

Melanie and I have decided to write a book together. That is to say, we keep joking about it, but I think we should really do it. There are so many things that have happened to us (both together and separately) that are awkward, strange, funny, sad, frustrating, or just down-right relatable. I think we’re funny and interesting (totally not biased or anything), so maybe other people will, too. Is this the pinnacle of vanity? Thinking people will want to read about me because, like, I’m obvs totes (this is really cool speak for “obviously totally,” trust me.) the coolest? I already catalogue half of my lame and weird encounters on this, why not compile them all in one place to make a story everyone can cringe through together? Although, I barely make time to do schoolwork… so perhaps not any time soon. We already have a book title: Sexily Awkward, or Awkwardly Sexy? Aptly named after I banged my head on the underside of a table while making eye contact with a hot guy. Smooth.

Today is my last day of actual classes. At least until revision week in late April. But even then I’ll only have Greek. It’s so strange to me that it’s over already. Well, the structured learning part, anyway. I feel like I haven’t learned enough. I’m not ready for it to be done. I’m sad I won’t see everyone I’ve come to look forward to seeing. I’m also nervous since I won’t have the structure from before. And still have four essays to write. I need to write 5,000 words by April 24th and 12,000 others by June 1st. I have a final exam in the middle of it all in May. Followed by a dissertation presentation in mid June. Final dissertation is due in September. I hope I pull it all off. I have my doubts.

We had our second small exam in Greek on Monday. I dreamt last night I got a 32 on it, which unfortunately is fairly believable as a possibility. I don’t have confidence in how I did on it at all. I was feeling okay, until I was looking at it on my desk. I wanted to throw up. Everything I had studied flew out of my mind. Half of what was on it I didn’t recognise. I’ve never been completely unable to translate a Greek to English part before. But I couldn’t! It made no sense to me. And I got so caught up in some parts that I forgot to pace myself on others. When she called out two minutes left, I had tons of blank spaces on my paper still. And I didn’t do well with structuring the paper itself, so good luck to Dr. Soothingvoice trying to read through my scribbles (we can’t use pencil – which is ludicrous to me – so I had to scratch through all my writing mistakes with ugly, black pen). I hope I got a 50, but I will be lucky to have gotten a 32. I added up what I remembers of the test afterward and it wasn’t promising. Guess I will tackle that when it comes.

It is now Sunday. I’ve been writing this entry for weeks and have yet to do anything with it. Sad it has taken weeks considering it has such little content, huh?

Yesterday I went on a date (look at me being all social). I met a British guy a few weeks back at a mutual friend’s birthday. He came up and started talking to me because I was alone and he didn’t know anyone else. We hit it off really easily and talked all night. He’s a fabulous conversationalist. This was actually our second date. He took me to the Tate Modern Museum for a night exhibit they have on. I had yet to go to the Tate, so it was all new to me. It was by far one of the coolest dates I’ve ever been on. There was an exhibit on whenever we first walked in that should have been weird, but ended up being really neat. It was essentially a room where a lot of people were lying down, looking at the ceiling, while speakers played repeating noises (sounded to me sort of like a mechanical purring, but not quite), white light panels flashed patterns, and people released fish balloons. We laid down to watch them float to the ceiling for awhile, and it might have been my favourite part of the museum. Apparently the exhibit is meant to evolve and change throughout the day and six months it is at the Tate. I want to go back and see how it changes. It is called “Anywhen” by Philippe Parreno. Here’s a youtube video to give you a sort of idea on it…

Last night, Melanie, myself, and a group of friends went to an event called “Itchy Feet.” Melanie has talked about it since I first got to London, as she went before and had an absolute blast. They play older music, and people sometimes dress up for whatever era is the star of the evening. Last night it was 60s-70s. Naturally, Melanie and I dressed up for the occasion. Melanie went 70s disco, with a silver sparkly dress, big hair, and gold shimmer makeup. I wore a long, high-waist skirt, crop top, wedges, middle part hair, and dangly jewelry via a 70s semi-involved protestor. The music while we were there was mainly early 60s, which I like, but I had reaaaallly hoped for mid/late 70s. We left around 1:30 and I think it went until 3:00, so it is likely they just hadn’t gotten to the later music yet. There was one Beatles song that played (I want to hold your hand) so I was ecstatic throughout that. Either way, it was a great time.

I say it all the time, but I truly think I belong in another era. *le sigh*


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I had one of those realistic naked dreams 

I wasn’t at school in the dream, thank goodness. I dreamt I was at my flat, and Melanie and her beau were there. I was naked in my room (not unusual) when the front door buzzed. Her beau went to answer it, so I flounced into Melanie’s room, still naked (very unusual). I heard her beau coming back up the stairs (apparently I was unconcerned if he saw me naked, not sure why that was a thing, but I guess every dream has that small unreality), but also a second voice I didn’t recognise. A second male voice. I immediately got up and tried to rush to my room, covering myself, but it was too late. Right as I was crossing the hall, the boys were coming up the steps. It was the beau’s flatmate; I’ve heard a lot about him, but have never met him. This was the first time I met him. Butt-ass naked, clutching my goodies in my hallway. Stellar.
I woke up mortified, but also relieved. Not real. Thank baby Jesus, not real.

My Art of the Body class went to Cambridge this weekend on a little field trip. We went to Cambridge’s Classical Archaeological museum which is full of plaster casts of some of the most famous classical statues. On this trip, we all had a statue to present on. I was presenting on the statue of Athena and Marsyas by Myron. Myron also did the Discobolus, which is much more popular and more people will recognize.

Anyway, the story of the myth behind Athena and Marsyas was interesting. *clears throat* Once upon a time…
Athena invented the double pipe flute, but was frustrated and embarrassed by how her cheeks blew out when she played it. When her cheeks puffed up, it was seen as ugly and the other gods teased her for it. So she cast her pipes down in disgust, through with them. Marsyas was a Silenus, which is a type of creature known to follow Dionysus (god of wine and a lot of other things), similar to a satyr, but older and more horse-like from what I can find. Marsyas came across the pipes, and having an affinity for music, joyously snatched them up and began to play. Too conceited in his ability, Marsyas challenged Apollo (god of music and a lot of other things) to a music competition with the muses as the judges. They seemed fairly evenly matched, but in the end, Apollo turned his lyre upside down and played it (or played it while he sang, depends which myth you read. Pick your favourite extra challenge) and challenged Marsyas to do the same. Marsyas was unable to play the pipes upside down, and so Apollo won the challenge (duh). As punishment, he sentenced Marsyas to be flayed alive. Interestingly enough, the Renaissance LOVED to depict this. Here’s a fun painting I came across:


My favourite part is how Apollo is so casual about the whole flaying business. “What’s that? You’re in pain? Guess you shouldn’t have challenged a god, then.” *winks at the viewer*

During my presentation, I “uhm’d” and “and like’d” through the majority of it, occasionally throwing in educational and riveting phrases such as, “because she, like, looked dumb.” I was also fidgeting during my rambling, standing with my feet crossed awkwardly. Thanks to this rather foolish posture, I almost fell over in the middle of my presentation. Full on tilted, made a “URK NO” sound, and caught myself before I completely lost balance. Even the professor got a small giggle from my almost mishap. Which made me think, I used to be so great at public speaking. What on earth happened? Suddenly all of my presentation skills are shot? I also used to be such a social butterfly. Maybe the strange deterioration of me as an extrovert also crumbled away all of my speaking abilities.

As we were leaving Cambridge, Abby overhead Dr. Freckle (I don’t think I ever gave this professor a nickname. I’m honestly not sure what would be a good name for him. He has a lot of freckles, reminds me of my friend, Robbie, giggles a lot, took us to Greece, and he dresses very preppy – with fun colours – but also slightly disheveled. Calling him Dr. Disheveled sounds rude, though) telling some other classmates that the departing train back to London runs every 15-30 minutes. After looking at his watch, he said people could probably still make the train if they ran. Abby turned to me and said, “Feel like running?” Dr. Giggle said we probably wouldn’t really have to run, but we had already set our minds. We left the Fitzwilliam museum (which had been our second stop on this field trip) to start speed walking. Every now and then we would sort of jog for a bit, but neither of us were dressed for running (backpacks, boots/keds, and no sports bras). Near the end, we realized we had about 5 minutes to get on the train, so we decided to go ahead and go for it. We ran our little hearts out toward the station until we saw it in sight. I couldn’t stop laughing, despite being sweaty and uncomfortable. It was exhilarating. Remember when you were little, and you would just run everywhere for no reason? When did we stop running as fast as we can wherever we could? It’s such a simple, innocent thing. Try it one day. If you’re walking out to get the mail, run there instead. Full speed, as fast as you can go! See if you don’t laugh in the end.

While riding on the tube back home, we were paused abnormally long at one of the platforms. I wouldn’t have questioned it, because often we are “being held at a red light.” (Imagine that was in a female British accent) But this time, the doors were left open, which is out of the norm. Finally, a male voice came on over the speaker system, “Please do not hold the doors open as it causes delays in service. …Gentleman in the fifth car…with the baseball cap on.”
If that isn’t direct, I don’t know what is. I had to laugh a bit, because it seemed so strange. The conductor obviously had a screen where he can see what’s going on, but I’ve never thought about it before. I wonder if the guy was embarrassed.

I finally buckled down and found some workout classes. It’s not like they aren’t everywhere in London, multiple gyms and classes in multiple boroughs. I had only been looking for very specific classes in Streatham, though. I sometimes forget how close Clapham and Balham are, a quick 20 minute walk or 5-10 minute bus ride. So I took a looksee there. There were the traditional, wicked expensive gyms, of course. But I actually found places with good starter deals, too. I can afford £40 for a first month of unlimited Pilates and yoga. But do I have time now for unlimited Pilates and yoga? With Marlena about to come, and my school stuff being so crazy? I may wait and hope they have the same deal in April. I need activity so bad, though. I should get up and run early in the morning or make time to go in the evening.
…did you laugh when I said I’d get up early to run? I did. I let out a guffaw as I typed it. I can’t even get up early to eat breakfast.

Spring has sprung and I have mixed feelings. It’s only around 50-60 degrees and I am already starting to sweat on the tube and on places where they don’t have A/C (i.e. everywhere). I’d like to maybe get some little dresses since I don’t wear shorts, because perhaps they will help me keep cool. But it’s windy here, and I don’t know how to dress in cute dresses. I also don’t like showing my legs above my knees. I always wear jeans. They comfortable, they’re easy, they don’t take any thought process and go with pretty much everything.  Easy peasy. Lemon squeezy. …anyway.

I’m listening to a classic rock playlist on the crowded tube, and it is taking everything in me not to belt out “Rich Girl” by Hall and Oates. I’m already lip syncing and doing small dance moves. But I’m fighting (it’s hard, but I am) actual singing. …for now.

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Eat, Pray, Lo-Fight Crippling Anxiety

I’ve started listening to my audiobook of “Eat, Pray, Love” again in hopes it will give me guidance and a kick in the ass for getting my life in order. It’s one of my favorite books, as I find it inspiring, funny, and pretty much full of what I want to do with my life. If I could travel the world and just write what happens to me on my travels and get paid for it, life would be good. Doing it for free is cool and all, but getting paid to share my awkward, sad, mildly pathetic every day experiences would be way better.

March is a busy month. Busy to the point where I want to curl up in a ball and cry. I’ve been vacillating between a strange, detached numbness and a heart-stopping, panic-ridden anxiety. Usually the anxiety hits and I try to push it out of mind, to be filled with the apathetic numbness, which is probably worse for me. Without at least a smidge of anxiety my drive isn’t as high and I turn into a vegetable (potato, not broccoli. Broccoli has nutrients and I’m about that starchy, lumpy, no-real-nutritional value life in this metaphor). I’ve not done near as well with studies this semester. Keeping up with my reading and staying on top of essays has been all but nonexistent and I (once again) have that sinking feeling of letting everyone down. What makes things even more wild is that the month ending marks the end of my courses. Already! How is it that all the time I’ve had for learning is gone? I still have an essay in April, three essays and an exam in June, and my dissertation in September, but all of my every day class time will be done. It makes me sad. I don’t want to stop learning. I feel like my time has been so short. I’m also depressed thinking about how I won’t see the few friends I’ve made anymore. Claire is moving back to the states as her dissertation is up in June, and everyone else I probably won’t see because we already don’t hang out outside of class.

I have another small Greek exam at the end of the month, and I haven’t studied for it properly (aka: at all). To be honest, I don’t even know how to start, or what to do to study. I feel like there is so much I need to know, and I don’t know where the best place to start is. How do I know I’m not wasting time studying something completely off base and not important? Or what if what I’m studying is way too basic for what I should be trying to concentrate on for the test? I’ve started freaking out again just thinking about it and have sent my tutor an email asking for advice.

To make matters more complicated, I have a friend coming to visit for a week. It’s bad timing with the test and since I’ll be in my last stretch of classes. I’m afraid I will either not give her the attention she deserves, or completely overlook my studying. Most likely the latter. I’m trying to figure out how to plan around everything, but I’m absolute bollocks (I feel like I haven’t used a good British slang word in awhile, so here you go) when it comes to time management.

Speaking of management, I need to try and get a job of some sort over the summer if I want to stay here until my visa runs out. My final loan check comes in June, and I’m not sure it will last through January. Maybe if I eat less than I have been and don’t travel at all. Also don’t buy new clothes. I’m also afraid I’ll just go stir-crazy without anything to guide me through the summer. Sure, I need to be researching and writing, but without a definite schedule I’m not sure my life will really flow well. I’d also like to finally get a gym membership, but they are so damn expensive. I have yet to get one because I keep telling myself I’ll just exercise outside and I don’t really need to do spin classes. But as I watch my thighs meld into a single, congealed mass, I’m more and more aware of the impending 400 pound-must-get-air-lifted-out-of-the-flat life I’m heading toward.

This is going to sound strange, but I keep having to remind myself that my teachers are not my friends or family. Obviously, I know they aren’t. But the reminder is so I don’t invade their lives too much. Not that I’m following them home or anything that extreme. As an example, on Monday I received an email saying Dr. Soothingvoice was ill and wouldn’t be able to teach class. I almost sent her an email telling her I hoped she felt better soon. Today, Dr. Shaggy seemed very out of sorts and maybe a little sad. I had to stop myself from asking him after class if he was okay, and if I could do anything to help him. These are not appropriate responses, and I am well aware of it. Fighting that misplaced concern battle every day.

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