26 September 2013

3 Days Till London

Apparently, I only have three days till my feet are touching British soil. *Cue freak out*

It doesn't feel like it all. And you wouldn't guess it from the amount of packing/cleaning/organizing I've done.....read: none.

With all the stress of actually getting everything done for grad school in England, my brain is not fully accepting that I will be moving soon. There will probably be some frantic packing Saturday. I hope.

Update: I finally got my CAS number on Friday. Frantically filled out paperwork and sent my goods off to A Briggs, a company recommended to me by another blogger, who has been STELLAR in giving me advice and reassuring me along this whole process. If there's any reason to get into blogging, even if nobody reads your blog, it's to find yourself a community of people that know what you're going through.

The A Briggs company takes 2-3 processing days though...which means that the process shouldn't be done till Friday, as they received my package on Monday. (Additional Update: Just this morning I noticed they changed the DEO-Date Expected Out, to today...don't know if that means something wrong with my application, or it's fine and will be sent soon?) This could all mean there may be a chance I won't have my visa till Monday morning....and that means I would have to pay a ton of money to change my flight from Sunday to Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm trying to be okay with this possibility. School workshop is next Saturday and first day of school and registration is Monday 7 October. Getting there just in time for school is okay. I don't need to be there early (but I wanna!) I just need to be there on time.

So as you can see...everything should work out. Just at the very last minute.

Just yesterday I accepted a room at a flat in the absolute, most perfect location ever. Right in Greenwich. I can go running in the park! Once my damn plantar faciitis heals that is.....grrr.

The location is very near transportation that will only take me 30 minutes to get to school by train, if I don't get a bike. I'll also be quite close to my good friend Laura, who actually went to view the flat for me. The woman who lives there and is renting out her other two rooms is absolutely lovely and Skyped with me on Monday. I get a great vibe from her. Location and who I'm living with is most important to me. Only downsides is the room is quite tiny, as it is a single, and I can't move in till the 9th. And these are small things that aren't really that big of a deal.

Outside of these recent developments, I've been trying to go without coffee or my black tea in order to decrease my caffeine consumption. The goal of all this is so that when I finally land in London and I'm completely wrecked because I absolutely cannot sleep on planes and I'm hit with mega jet lag, I'll have coffee or black tea and the caffeine will work properly for me. Yes, I am such a caffeine addict that I don't very often feel the effects of drinking coffee. It helps me get out of bed, but I'm still fairly tired by afternoon (but then again, I'm almost always anemic as well...)

Point of that story is that me and caffeine are not meant to be separated. Hello caffeine withdrawals. A little coffee is better than no coffee and my body does not recognize green tea as a valid form of caffeine. As a result of four days without the sweet nectar of gods, I've been snacking like a mad woman. For shame. Too much sugar makes me even crankier. I've found just about any little thing to get irritated with and I'm afraid that my family just doesn't know what to do with me in this mind frame. (Usually they just throw sugary goodness my way and scamper. Good call.)
Trader Joe Mango Fruit and Yogurt Gummies. I could eat the whole package in one go. Thank goodness the gelatin just weighs you down eventually. 
Don't worry innocent bystanders, I'm back on coffee now and no longer want to hurt anyone. Win. And as usual, when I get back on the wagon, I go all out.
Turkish coffee. After this, I was like 'I CAN SEE SOUNDS!' Life got jacked. And I felt I could run a marathon after that. 
I do have to say though, with all of my stressful stuff going on it helps that I have my little sister around constantly. I can be insanely goofy around her, and being goofy somehow helps relive my stress. We had a date night last night. Fancy dinner and then went and saw 'Austenland'. Which I have to say was hysterical. I really enjoyed it. Lovely chick flick. And it was interesting to find later that quite a few of the British characters were American in real life, and a few American characters were actually...Scottish.
Recent sister photo. We both have bangs now! Welcome to the Fringe Club, Lauren. Yes that is what I'm calling it, and I'm cool because of it.

John Mayer Concert in August. 
SO EXCITED. Also we could only consume one of those beers. And we wanted to sit a lot till John came on. Clearly...getting older.
Lindsay xx

19 September 2013

Hardest Part of the Journey...is the Journey...?

I've totally got that wrong. But to surmise, things are haaaaard *insert whiny voice here*. (And yes, I used "surmise" correctly. I just googled it.)

I've had some wine so the actual decibel of my whine has gone down. Look at me, ma, I'm self soothing!
My friends have come to play.

Not self-medicating with wine in this photo...just felt it looked appropriate within the context of the narrative. "WINE!"...kinda how I feel about coffee too.

Things have gotten quite tricky on the grad school front. Which is....awesome. Cause this is just going to make me feel like actually being in grad school is a freaking breeze. Ahh, bless.

Funny thing about loans and visa's and grad school. It's all one big gigantic balancing act. Let me lay it down for ya from the beginning.

-Grad school accepted me, hooray! I'm moving back to my homeland...I mean where my heart is....home is where the heart is, so that kind of makes England my homeland..kind of. I don't know...something like that. But YAY!

-No grad school till I can make the first payment of $6,000. I am poor. Hahahaha. But okay. *Gulp wine. Fortify oneself*

-Apply for loan, loan company says "HELLYES, we'd like to help you along your path to debt. Let us give you money. We just need your school to tell us when."

-School accidentally puts down for the money to be released a month into school....basically making it impossible for me to put down my first payment before I start...which technically means, I ain't going.

-School fixes it right quick when I mention that I can't go if I don't get that loan. Ergo, they don't get awesome American dollars.

-Loan money comes in just a little over 1 week ago to the school.

-I need my CAS (confirmation of acceptance to study) paper from the school now that they have the loan money. I need that CAS paper to be able to apply for my visa. My visa that allows me to be in that country to study for a year.

-I am 10 days away from flying to London and I don't have my CAS. I don't have my visa. I don't have anywhere to live because the housing I found a week ago fell through due to unforeseen conditions.

-Additionally, I feel fat.

-And, I can't run due to plantar faciitis. This makes me want to punch people. Especially running bloggers because they're having so much fun...running...and blogging. Shut it, twinkle toes. Nobody wants to hear about your fabulous running adventures. (No wait, I do. I'm not serious. I love hearing about it. I want to weep in envy!)

I just really felt the need to add those last two on, just cause.

Where's my wine?

So yes, grad school...hard. Not even there yet. And it's getting a little rough having everyone keep asking me "are you so excited?" "Are you, like, totally freaking out?" "I mean, this is like your dream. How pumped are you?"

*Throws wine glass to the floor* (Actually that's just for dramatic effect, cause seriously.....I am poor and we don't waste that shit.)

NO. Currently I am not excited, thrilled, or peeing my pants with glee. I wish I was...all those things...except maybe not the pee. I feel slightly overwhelmed by the fact that I have so much to worry about. And I've officially stopped voicing those worries out loud (aren't you lucky to be reading this! Go on, feel pleased) because, as much as I love everyone who says this to me, if I hear one more person say "oh don't worry, it'll all work out" I will PUNCH you in your delicate bits. Stop poo-pooing my stress okay? I know it's going to work out, because I'm bloody well going to make it work out. At this point, there is no way possible that I will be deterred from going over to London for grad school. (*Knock on wood*)

But when people say this in a "hush now little one" *hypothetical pat on head* kind of way, makes my worry, my fears seem childish and insignificant.

And let me tell you, this chocolate and wine habit I am currently cultivating really demonstrates that my emotions are not insignificant. Either join me in drink, or commiserate and tell me your tale of woe. Otherwise...stfu. I say that politely, with non-aggression, and a slight curtsy.

*End Rant*

In good news...my dog has learned a new game. It's called "I'm Mad At You. Hide the Poo."

Essentially, what happened was...my sister and I went away to DC for a long weekend. We did not go to work on Thursday and Friday because of this long weekend road trip, and ergo, Charlie did not get to go to his favorite place ever--CarRideAndThenToWORK. Since we've taken him to the office every day with us (perk of working for our Dad, holler), and he gets treats constantly from all the delivery people, it's like Disney World for him. So we denied him Disney World for two days.

What he does, in retaliation, is poops in my upstairs living room (I live in a kind of in-law apartment attachment of the house. It keeps me and my parents from killing each other.) But he's not like a normal dog, oh no. He's Catholic Guilt Charlie. He does wrong, and feels HORRENDOUS about it. If he could whip himself, he would. So he eats the poop. Like ya do. He eats the poop cause it was his favorite thing to do as a puppy. He eats the poop out of guilt, but at the same time still does it out of retaliation, like a good Catholic. He likes to watch in glee as we run around the small space trying to figure out where the fuck he pooped.
"Poo? What poo? I no poo. If there no poo, there no problem."

So my living room space smells like poop. My Dad tried cleaning up the suspect spots...but we can't be sure. Cause the damn dog ate the evidence.


I want to add on to this whole shenanigan piece that I have not been working out as much as usual, so that makes me a little bit crazy. Apologies. But you can only blame yourself if you've not been entertained by my narrative, cause you've gone on reading it this far. Well done you.

I've resorted to de-stressing through food. I'm telling you right now, watch out for Amanda over at Rhymes & Ribbons . I've been trying out a few of her recipes and they will wash your cares away in a nice creamy vodka sauce. Pasta alla Vodka and I have been making friends...a lot recently.
That eye is supposed to be bigger than the other. Allergies. Not wine. Seriously. 

Most amazing thing ever. I've had it twice in two weeks.
 I also made the best decision ever of trying her Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. Regular cookies will never be enough now.
Recipe has been placed on fridge for easy viewing. When you're feeling low, eat your carbs. God said that.
Better than booze in drowning ones sorrows. Oh and look! I now have more cushion....for sitting. Lovely.

Right. I'm off now to find my dignity somewhere. (Well if you read the last post, Getting Physical: Dominating the Swim Category you'll gather that I don't actually have any...it's there. I swear.)

Cheers, and next time, less complaining...but probably the same amount of wine....

Lindsay xx

02 September 2013

Getting Physical: Dominating the Swim Category

I hear swimming is great exercise. I follow a few bloggers that go into great details about their tri's and their Ironman's and I feel sparks of jealous. Yes. I would like to do a tri someday. That sounds like good fun, running and biking and swimming. Yes! I like all those things. (Says the girl that just had a weekend of marathon viewing Pride & Prejudice and Doctor Who. Also...I've eaten my weight in food. MARATHONING. I mean it in every way possible.)

So one must begin somewhere. I do a bit of the running now and again. Though recently have been plagued by plantar fasciitis in both heels and I'm still trying to figure out how to get rid of it without seeing a doctor and without giving up running.

Maybe focus on another exercise for now.

Biking is going pretty well already. Completed a 30K bike race with my family, not to brag or anything. And by "completed" I mean, I barely survived. Pro tip: don't bring a mountain bike to a road race, kids. It means you get your own security detail because you will be the very last rider on the road. By the very end, everyone had been waiting for me for quite some time and I had just about reached delirium...that fun part of over exerting oneself when all you can do it put your fist in the air and incoherently sing "Eye of the Tiger". Or was it "We Are The Champions"? It was probably a rousing rendition of both. I'm just happy I didn't vomit on myself.
Just need a moment. To remind myself never to ride a mountain bike at a road race again. Or do anything my family says will be fun. LIARS.
So biking. Win. Done. Got it.

On to the swimming portion. I got some good workouts via email from my old ADPi sister Sarah, who's an awesome swimmer and avid sports woman. She does many things that make me very much regret sitting on my ass all weekend. Sarah recommended getting a swim cap and goggles for my new adventure. Swim cap would keep my hair out of my face so I could see while I swam. Originally I thought braids of some kind would do that but I like this idea of getting a swim cap. Surly I will look impressive and fierce at the gym pool. People will part like the red sea when I get into the water because they know....swim cap means business. Swim cap means I'll be slicing through water like a great shark.

Well people will surely be parting like the red sea. Guarantee it once they get a look at me!

See the thing is, I've always known my head to be....somewhat on the extra large scale. It's not just that I have a lot of hair, but my head itself really is...massive. In order to buy a Boston Red Sox fitted cap one time, both my Dad and I had to get Men's Extra Large. Turns out my Dad and I have the same head size.  No lady cap will do on my noggin, no sir.

But why would I think that would interfere with swim cap shopping? It's stretchy right? Made for all sizes?

Well, while the box does say "adult"...I don't think swim caps were quite made for me.

Please...enjoy my trials:

To begin...place hands inside cap and interlock fingers. Be sure not to use any sharp objects such as finger nails or hairpins.

Okay....got it.
Stretch it. Stretch it good.
 Now one must pull over head to secure in place.

Almost made it. But I feel like I've forgotten something within these ridiculously easy steps.
 Oh that's right....I've forgotten about my hair.
Eh, voila. I am swim champion.
 So I go back and put my hair into a bun with one hand and try and use the other to put the cap on. It worked okay....
 Did I do it okay? Do I look alright? Would Michael Phelps take me out for a coffee later to swap pro tips?
 Yes. Yes he would. (I do believe you can cut off enough blood flow to your head to cause that delirium I was talking about earlier. It's kind of like drugs. And don't do drugs kids.)

Brain freeze. Or brain squeeze. I'm not sure yet.
 Guess what guys....you can't head bang in a speedo cap. You just can't. You may hurt someone or yourself.
Also, you're more suited to be one of the Who's in Whoville.
 I think I like it better with my hair down. Don't you? I think I'm really becoming in this one...
 ....becoming a superhero that is! Fighting crime any time, day or night...but preferably in water! As I wear goggles and can see better in water.
 I think my acting career is really going to take off. And I'm going to go places, if only I could use this as my headshot.
Maybe just my Ok Cupid profile pic. Not at all scary.
*No hair or heads were injured in the making of this tutorial. Only pride.

Lindsay Xx

01 September 2013

Jane Austen Book Club: Pride and Prejudice

Such a late review for my July book Pride & Prejudice for The Quintessentially English Jane Austen Book Club that Erin started at the beginning of the summer. It's been such a good idea and I've very much enjoyed reading through Jane Austen's novels.  Join anytime if it's something you'd like to do! Here's some other posts done for P&P from people participating in the book club: Selena @ Oh, the Places We Will Go! and Holly Nelson @ English Girl Canadian Man

I like to throw a bit of controversy into my discussions with friends sometimes. Just wait for a lull in conversation, coyly look up and say..."So...Colin Firth version or Keira Knightley version?" 90% of women will know what you're talking about.

For the record, I prefer the Keira Knightley version. When I first saw it (Pride & Prejudice of course), I thought it so well cast. I will always love Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, but there is something about Matthew Macfadyen that is just...smoldering.

After just finishing reading Pride & Prejudice for the first time ever, I might add, I found the Knightley version even more suitable. But I really need to get around to watching the Colin Firth one to conduct a truly fair trial. (In the name of research, I am taking the task on now. A Sunday for an all out Austen-binge. Lost in Austen was finished in the morning and now we're on to the Colin Firth Pride & Prejudice 6-hour glory.  I know how to do a lazy Sunday right.)

If you've never read the book before, I think you're quite missing out. Unlike Mansfield's Park, which I'm reading for August and have failed miserably at getting sucked into or finishing within the month, P&P is quick paced and absorbing.

Off the bat you hate the mother, love Lizzy and Jane, and can't wait for new characters to come into play. Mr. Collins is beautifully put into color before your eyes as absolutely annoying and dreadful. You get excited for the introduction of Mr. Bingley and his guests and, truth be told, you won't like Darcy upon meeting him. That's the way it's supposed to be. Just like Lizzy's character, Austen makes you wait to warm up to him.

When approaching the book, it may have helped that I've seen the story line and heard the characters names over and over again throughout many different re-imaginings of the story. There are many renditions of Pride & Prejudice so reading the book is approachable and I was not confused easily. (As opposed to Mansfield Park, where every time I put it down, then pick it back up, I forget who some of the smaller characters are and need to flip through already read pages to pick the familiar threads up again.)

I am so glad I've actually sat down and read through Pride & Prejudice finally. It is sure to be a book that I can use in the future to self-soothe with (step away from the wine bottle, Lindsay) and have already found myself being comforted by a recent viewing of the Keira Knightley movie (albeit, with wine). I've been mentally keeping a list of the books and movies I must take with me to London when I head over to grad school (*pending visa*) to help distract me from any lonely moments when I find myself with nothing to do but feel homesick. It was a great tactic to use when I first studied abroad. My main objects of comfort being the DVD's of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Bridget Jones's Diary, the Harry Potter books and a book called Postcards From France by Megan McNeill Libby.

If you're very much into chick lit, fiction that includes a world of manners and etiquette or consider yourself an Anglophile, you should definitely read this book.

So, which do you prefer, Firth or Knightley version? (And can we still be friends since you know I love the Knightley version? I have many other fine qualities!)