Writing a book

Marina 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, Marina, myself, and a group of friends went to an event called “Itchy Feet.” Marina 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, Marina and I dressed up for the occasion. Marina 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 Marina 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 Marina’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, Gaby 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. Gaby 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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Platform jumper 

This will definitely be a somber post.

Today, Marina told me how her classmate saw a girl jump in front of an oncoming train on the underground. Needless to say, the girl died and the classmate who witnessed it will likely be scarred for months, if not longer. This is something I’ve been terrified of potentially witnessing, since the platforms are so open. I’ve been scared I’ll fall, accidentally push someone, or see someone jump on purpose. In Tokyo, trains have automated barriers on the platforms that prevent people getting on/off until the train is stopped in the correct place. I’ve only seen that here at Westminster station. Now, whether these are suicide, accident, or whatever prevention, I don’t know. I wish it was implemented more places in London.

I’m no stranger to depression. My family is well aware of all (or at least most) the struggles I’ve had trying to get to a place where I’m happy with myself and life in general. When I was recently off my medication I realised how off-kilter and out of control of my life I felt. It was terrible. I won’t lie and say I’ve never contemplated suicide. I think everyone who has struggled with depression has at some point. But I’ve never been in such a terrible place in my life where I forgot completely about everyone I’d be leaving to deal with the aftermath. This girl that jumped, I don’t know what was happening in her life. I can’t presume to know, and it is unfair of me to judge her in any way; I’m honestly not trying to do that at all. But I keep thinking about who all she has left behind and how they will move on from this. What about all of those unsuspecting people who just happened to be standing on the platform, like Marina’s classmate? They aren’t directly related to this girl, but are still going to need help moving on. This one, self-inflicted action has the potential to affect dozens of people. It’s really sad. I’m sad and I wasn’t even there to witness it. I hope whoever she left behind finds a way to cope together.

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Pokemon pick-up lines

So I downloaded Tinder. Tinder is this iPhone app which is supposed to be for dating, but has a reputation for sleazy hook-ups (at least in America). Never in my life was I tempted to put it anywhere on my phone. For one, I don’t have much room on there for unnecessary apps. For two, the internet is scary and if I wanted some sleazy hook-up I could pick one up in a bar where I could size them up and see their face first. Not that I would, but you get what I mean.
So then why did I download it? Well, it’s a long story which I can’t really go into detail about. Let’s just say I was heavily coerced via the Girl Code to creep other people on there. I decided I might as well have fun with it. So my picture is me with a pikachu mural, and my profile says, “I just want to be the very best, like no one ever was.” For those of you who don’t know, that’s the opening line to the Pokemon theme song.
Anyway, Tinder is really good for being judge-y and making yourself feel better by swiping “yes” or “nope” to people based off appearance or whatever they have to say about themselves within 400 words. Some people are actually really funny, and I swiped “yes” on them because they made me laugh. One guy described himself, “I’m alright I guess. Not amazing. Like, okay. Not the worst. If I had to sum myself up in one word that word would be ‘tepid.'” His picture is himself in some weird bunny cape-type costume. I don’t know what’s happening there, and I’m okay with it. You do you, random Tinder guy. He made me laugh for a long time and that is all that matters.
Now, if I swipe “yes” on someone and they do the same for me, we end up matching and Tinder gives us permission to message each other (Tinder is such a thoughtful chaperone). It’s almost like catching Pokemon (yea, I just went there). HOW MANY CAN I CATCH?!  The answer is a surprising amount, actually. I’ve been amusing myself during my nonexistent down time by messaging these guys when we match and forcing them to talk to me about Pokemon. Sometimes I open with the ever popular,
“Okay, you’re finally 10 years old and able to set out to explore the Kanto region. Professor Oak has given you first choice ahead of his nephew Blue/Gary. Which do you choose: Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle?”
It’s a pretty quick way to weed out the losers. Psh, what do you mean you don’t know who Professor Oak is? NEXT! As a fun fact, so far everyone has picked Charmander. Not very original of them.
…this is what I do with my free time. This is probably why I’m failing Greek.

Today for Dr. Shaggy’s class we went to watch glass blowing at a local shop. A few weeks ago we went to a bronze foundry and were able to see the ins and outs of bronze statue creation; we were even lucky enough to see them pour bronze into moulds. I’m really getting to see a lot of really cool things in this class, and I’m so glad I took it. Glass blowing was amazing. The blowing portion of it was less exciting than I had hoped (the particular shape they were creating didn’t need it to create  it), but the rest of the process was really neat.
It always amazes me how laid back people are with things they are comfortable with. I am terrified of breaking glass. I don’t know why, it is just one of those things that gives me extreme anxiety. Like balloons popping. I hate it. Boiling hot glass doesn’t sound like it would be much better. Instead of cutting my skin it would just burn it off. The guys handling and creating the glass today were very casual about it. They didn’t really have any protective gear (one guy wore a short-sleeved t-shirt, cargo shorts, and regular sneakers), and made it seem like it was the most normal thing in the world to be holding a red, hot iron with a glob of molten glass at the end. No big deal. To handle the glass, the worker has to continually turn the iron rod they’re holding. Otherwise, since the glass is fluid, it will begin to drip. They demonstrated what it looked like when this happened, and it was the weirdest/coolest thing. I wish I had gotten a photo of it, but I wasn’t thinking about it at the time. It drizzled and pooled just like melted chocolate might. Then, after a few seconds of cooling, the glass began to turn clear again, and he was able to pick up the iron it was still attached to, showing how it held the drizzled shape.


Attaching a temporary foot to the main glass piece. Teamwork makes the dream work.


Firey hot glass mixture. Circular shape on the inside is the coloured glass, the pointy portion shows where the clear glass has been overlaid and shaped

And now, I need to do my Greek homework that I’ve been putting off. Hopefully it won’t take me a thousand years like it usually does. But I think it likely will and I will be up until 2:00 am trying to finish it. Fun life!

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Adult acne is the worst.

I’ve never had to deal with stress at the level that I am right now. I thought my job had been stressful. I thought wrong. I feel like my life is spiralling out of control. I have had a lot of issues lately getting things completed in time. I have never been unable to turn in a homework assignment, and I definitely have never had this issue multiple times. It has actually gotten to the point where I want to skip classes sometimes, because I just don’t want to look stupid or face my teachers.

All this added stress has lead my face to one of the worst break outs of my adult life. I actually had a fellow classmate ask me if I had had an allergic reaction… talk about embarrassing. Of course, in life’s twisted way, I start getting more stressed about my acne which in turn produces more stress acne.

I am currently holding a frozen baby gin bottle to a huge zit on my forehead in an attempt to make it shrink somewhat.  I need to go to the library, but I don’t want to leave the house. This is what my life has come to. Not even enjoying alcohol, just using it in an attempt to hide a zit.

And yes, this brief entry was completely about acne. You’re welcome.

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Failing my first grade

Today started off promising. I ate a good breakfast, I told myself I was going to stick to trying Veganuary this time, I had read multiple sources for my essay and sleep-written ideas the night before. I went to the British Library filled with renewed purpose and vigor for writing my essay (due in less than a week. Way to go with my “don’t procrastinate” resolution).

Yesterday, Gaby told me she received her grade from our Greek exam last semester. I was nauseous with worry for mine to come in, but it never did. Today, it came. I was expecting it, and I was expecting something similar to the grade I got, but I wasn’t prepared. I failed. Utterly. 46%. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that low on anything before. I needed a 50% to pass. I failed one course in undergrad, and that was terrible. This was worse. I knew in my gut I hadn’t passed the test since completing it, yet I still held out a small bit of hope. I didn’t even realize I had until I read the email. I think what made it so much worse is that my advisor, Dr. Shaggy, was CC’d on it. So he, too, was informed of my failure. It made me ashamed and embarrassed. He had, after all, heavily discouraged me from taking a language course when picking out classes. But I was determined. I wanted Greek. I needed it if I wanted to go further in the field. I had taken a semester of Chinese and not done poorly. I have always liked learning snippets of other languages, it’s almost like a game or song. Despite all that, there sits my 46%, proving him right. I felt like I let him, Dr. Soothingvoice, and myself down. I felt defeated. I’m almost positive I am the only person who didn’t pass, which makes it even more embarrassing.

After seeing the email, my mini writing spree fizzled considerably. I texted my friends and family to let them know, then I went to the bathroom and awkwardly tried to silent cry in one of the stalls. I was in there boo-hooing to myself a good ten to fifteen minutes. Marina called me, knowing I was upset, and told me it would be okay. It is only 12% of my grade, I know now what to expect, I can learn and move on. When I mentioned being the only one who failed she said, “my mother used to tell me, ‘Marina, I don’t care what those other kids are doing.’ And I will say it to you.” She gave me a laugh and made me feel better about the fail. Even with her cheering up, I decided to eat my feelings (as always) and scrapped the Veganuary start, getting myself a piece of cake from the library cafe. It wasn’t that good, but it didn’t taste like failure.

Marina’s pep talk alongside my parent’s helped me buck-up and focus again on writing. I wrote around 1500 words today, but I have no idea how much of that I can use. A lot of what I wrote was little snippets and notes to myself, no definite flow or paragraph structure. I wrote up a large section on the science of colour and wonder if I can keep it at all. It follows the same outline as the source I took it from, because the source I used is THE SOURCE for polychromy in Ancient Greek sculpture: Vinzez Brinkmann. I have not bothered to tie in what I wrote to what my essay thesis is meant to be, either. So I essentially wrote 1500 pointless words today.

Classes start on Monday. This means I need to not only finish this essay ASAP, but also translate ahead in Greek, mentally prepare for the face-to-face discussion on my grade, and research for my next essay due the 27th for Dr. Shaggy. Which I have zero sources or start on and will be much harder than what I am doing my report on now. Cooool. Semester is already off to a stellar start.

On the upside: my hair looked nice today.

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