30 November 2009

The View From Above (or, What I've Been Doing, Part I)

I'm long overdue to post some photos of what I've been up to the past couple of months. Sorry to keep you all waiting! First, we'll start with home. My new flat is simple (especially since I could only fit so much in my suitcase and I'm attempting to live on a budget), but it's comfortable and I'm finding it pretty easy to feel at home here. (But don't get me wrong, there's really no place like home.)

Here is my bedroom, from the doorway.

My bed is pretty darn comfy. Thanks to this guest post on English Muse for decoration inspiration. I still need something pretty over the head of my bed, but I haven't found anything yet.

The pink guitar is borrowed, as I had too much baggage to bring mine across the pond. It's cute though, isn't it?

This is where I spend lots of my time, mostly studying, sometimes blogging and/or procrastinating. The sun comes through my window in the morning; it's fantastic.

These flowers are actually ninjas. Jonty bought them for me almost three weeks ago and they're only barely starting to wilt.

Unfortunately, this photo does the view of Bristol from my window no justice.

This is our kitchen/living room.

Lots of great meals are made and gobbled up right here. My housemates are pretty talented cooks/bakers, and I'm slowly learning myself!

Have a seat!

So, this is my place. I hope you enjoyed your virtual tour! Stay tuned for more of What I've Been Doing later this week.


16 November 2009

The Itch for the Next Step

From the moment I stepped onto campus as a college freshman, I have been a self-proclaimed academic. In my mind, the real world is tedious, meaningless, boring--it's in school that I belong. And I've begun living that dream. I'm living in the United Kingdom studying philosophy as a postgraduate--watching & engaging in real philosophical discussion with the people who are at the forefront of the debates. I'm not sure if it's what I expected (as I wasn't sure what to expect), but I'm definitely finding it interesting.

But I have something to confess... This self-proclaimed academic, enemy of all that is normal, is, without warning, hankering after a normal life. I'm not sure when it happened--maybe last week, maybe before--but I suddenly have the urge to get an apartment of my own and find a solid job, perhaps go on walks in the evening with Jonty after dinner, and enjoy a nice meal out and a good glass of wine on a Saturday night.

Maybe it's that I'm realizing that I'm too old to still be sharing an apartment. It could be that the philosophy talk is growing tiring as it sometimes does halfway through a semester. But I don't think it's either of those. I think the problem is twofold: (1) the back-and-forth life that I'm still living and (2) dependency.

Ever since I was four years old, I've been living a back-and-forth life. My parents got divorced, and I was stuck sharing my sense of home, and of family, between two places. When I finally started to live on my own, I had very little time with a stationary life (except for a few months in the dorms), sharing time between my place, my boyfriend's place, and my mom's home. Even studying abroad took me away from my flat a couple of weekends per month. And now, away from the multi-directional pull from my two families, my friends, my own place, here I am again, sharing my sense of home between my flat and Jonty's house. I'm not really complaining--I love Jonty and I'm happy to be able to spend time with him, no matter where I am--but the life of the nomad can be so tiring, so unsettling. I'm ready to be in control of my life, to keep it in one place for a while.

Also, studying full-time as an involved postgraduate, there isn't really time to work. It's funny: I was able to juggle school, work, and sorority as an undergrad, but now it seems like just keeping up with my studies is incredibly hard work. I planned on getting a job, but unless it's just a few hours per week, it's just not in the cards. Which makes me reliant on my dwindling savings account and, more importantly, my parents. My mom and dad are happy to help out, and I appreciate their support, but it does become problematic because I worry not only how my actions will affect my budget, but also how they will affect my parents. For example, Jonty and I have been talking for a while about going to Prague or Greece over spring break. But if I continue to rely on parental support, I would feel too guilty spending money enhanced by them to do so. It would be nice to have freedom from that--not that that would mean I could do anything I want, but at least if something is within my means I can do it without restraint.

So I guess the overriding factor here is freedom and stability. I want the freedom to do what I choose (within reason) and the stability to make that possible.

The upside is this: A small decision is made. I was having trouble deciding whether or not to apply to PhD programs, and this inclination I'm feeling is telling me to wait. I can spend a year gaining stability, and then I can consider whether or not further study, and what kind of study, is right for me. [And for someone who has problems making decisions, this is big!] For now, though, I will try to live in the moment, and to enjoy being involved in seminars, conferences, and lectures, as well as formulating my own ideas and arguments and drafting them.

I apologize for the gigantic post today; I guess I mostly needed to cash things out for myself, to figure out what was going on.

It's much too late for me to be still on Blogger. Night night, all! (Good afternoon, California. I miss you!)


10 November 2009

More Lovely Music

More from my Starbucks Playlist. It makes me feel like I'm living in a classier era, yet I still find myself dance around like a child when it comes on. Isn't it lovely?

Melody Gardot - Who Will Comfort Me


09 November 2009

Song of the Day

I've been listening to my "Starbucks Playlist" a lot recently, which consists of the free songs I've downloaded thanks to Starbucks. (Remember the cards they used to give out?) This song especially has practically been on repeat. It makes me feel warm & fuzzy.

Madeleine Peyroux - "Instead"


06 November 2009

Happy Birthday, Boyfriend!

Dear Jonty,

Surprise! I set this post to show up on the morning of your big day! I'm so happy to be celebrating with you today. I'm incredibly lucky to have you, & I (partially) have this day, twenty-two years ago, to thank for that. Anyway, I'm thankful you were brought into this big world, & I'm thankful that the world is still small enough that, of all the millions of people I could have met in my life, I met you. You're the best thing since sliced cheese. I hope you have a lovely lovely day today, celebrating you! Happy birthday!!!


03 November 2009

When was the last time you filled out a survey?

I haven't done one of these in a while. Tina from English Muse posted this one, and it gave me a mild flashback to junior high e-mail surveys, so I thought I'd post it too. At least it isn't a chain letter, right?

1. Where is your cell phone: It's not misplaced or being dropped, which is out of the ordinary.
2. Your hair: is long, brown, thick, straightened at the moment. I usually can't be bothered to dry/style it, so it's in a French braid or slightly wavy/awkward.
3. Your favorite food: is cheese, alone or with anything: crackers, fruit, broccoli, noodles. My life motto is, "The more cheese, the better."
4. Your dream from last night: involved me getting in a huge fight with my dad's wife at dinner with like my entire family (Mom, etc. included). My family also got really angry that I couldn't just keep my mouth shut and thus ruined everything. (Yikes, right?)
5. Your favorite drink: is fresh squeezed orange juice.
6. Your dream/goal: has become a bit hazy. I used to be very sure of where I wanted to be. Now, I have a general direction but am open to life possibilities. I like my new view better.
7. What room are you in: my bedroom, on my bed. I should be going to sleep, actually.
8. What are your hobbies: blogging, reading, crafting, traveling, cooking.
9. What is your fear: My fear is always that someone close to me, especially my family, will be hurt or have trouble. I'm very protective over my fam, especially my sister.
10. Where do you want to be in 6 years: Hahaha. I've been thinking about this question a lot recently. Literally, I have no idea. But hopefully by then I'll know where I want to be. In general, I think I want to be living in the U.S. at that point, preferably in/near a city. And I want a nice apartment with a blue door and lots of sunlight. And if Jonty was there I wouldn't complain.
11. Where were you last night: Home, on the Internet. [I will say "ditto" to Tina, because I was home, on the Internet, being thankful that my flat is finally connected to the world again.]
12. Something you are not:
13. Muffins: are great with coffee, especially almond poppy seed muffins, which are my fave.
14. Wish list items: Some money for living expenses in Bristol would be superb. But second on my list is a Polaroid camera.
15. Where did you grow up: Sacramento, California--the best city in the world.
16. Last thing you did: Skyped with Jonty. I'd like to Skype with Sissa & Mummy sometime soon!
17. What are you wearing: black sweatpants and an olive green long sleeve t-shirt
18. Your TV: is in California, 5210 miles away. We don't have a TV in our flat, just the Internet, our laptops & a projector.
19. Your pets: are the coolest cats ever--Molly & McGee. Sometimes, I talked to them on Skype.
20. Your friends: all meet the following requirements: (1) slightly nerdy/goofy/random, (2) like to read, (3) funny, (4) have a creative side, (5) I slightly want to be like them. I'm pretty picky about who I surround myself with.
21. Your favorite store: is probably Borders. I also love independent book stores, especially those that sell used books, but the Paperchase section of Borders gets me every time. Plus, they usually have a Starbucks, at least here in the UK.
22. Your favorite color: is teal.

Bedtime for me. I'm meeting some classmates for breakfast tomorrow, in an attempt to motivate each other to be out of the house by 9am. Good idea, right? We'll see if it works, especially considering it's now past midnight...


Blogger Love

As of this afternoon (yesterday, actually, since it's just past midnight 'round these parts), my flat is finally connected to society via the world wide web. It has been an entire month since I have had easy access to Internet, as it's been available at nearby coffee shops and in university buildings only, plus my couple of visits to Jonty's house have given me my fix. Although I suppose I haven't exactly been living in a cave--I have had some connection to the world--it's so nice to be online in my pajamas in my own home.

And after a long session blog-checking (as well as procrastinating--hello again firefox), I realized how much I have missed the Blogger world. So this post is dedicated to some of my favorite blogs/bloggers--to tell them how much I missed them and to give you some pages to explore.

1. Observations and Musings of a Bystander
First & foremost is my baby sister's blog. Sissa is creative, stylish, nerdy, witty, and intelligent--& her blog definitely reflects this. Her posts always have something interesting to check out or somely lovely to look at. She's also terrible at spelling and doesn't proofread, but that's part of what makes Sissa so special.

2. Quiet Like Horses
Let's set aside the fact that this blog is one of the first I began following when I developed an interest in all-things-blog this past summer. Let's also set aside the fact that Sobrina is the closest thing I have to a blogger friend, as well as the thought that I would be friends with Sobrina in real life had I met her in the actual world rather than the virtual world. And please ignore the similarity between our names (Sobrina/Sabrina). Apart from all these packets of knowledge, Quiet Like Horses is still a great blog. Sobrina has a wonderful way with words, whether she writes about her struggles with her boyfriend Alan's cancer, a childhood memory, or jeggings. She will always make you either think or laugh--and many times you find yourself doing both.

3. you are my fave
With a name like this, how could this blog not be one of my faves? Some of the greatest things about it are: positivity, simplicity, great style, fantastic party ideas, bunting & polaroids. Plus Melanie is just too cute! Check out this interview on My Favorite Things to read more about her.

Joanna's style is classy, simple & vintage--three of my favorite things. My favorite part of following A CUP OF JO is that every Friday Joanna posts a list of links to lovely things on the web that we may have missed over the week; you can always find great stories and photos on that list, as well as new blogs to check out. I adore her & her blog to no end.

5. Des in Real Life
I love love love me a good quote, and Des in Real Life is full of them! My quote notebook has had quite a few entries from this blog, and I like to write them on Post-it notes and stick them to my walls as well. Des also posts interesting works of art, music, videos & more.

These are all Blogger bloggers. Perhaps sometime soon I'll give a list of external sites that I like. Also coming soon: music inspiration, a shout-out, & a tour of my (still new) flat!

I'm very excited to be back online--I missed you all!