Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Thoughts From A Train

Ok so the title is fluffy and pretentious. I’m going to go ahead and blame the book I just finished reading, it’s called “Jane Austen ruined my life” and it’s pretty awful; badly written, weird concept, historically and culturally inaccurate, the whole nine yards. But I still read it cover to cover and am a little disappointed it’s finished, because it’s really romantic and gushy without being excessively sexy, because it’s fulfilling my saccharine sweet tooth, because it’s mind numbingly easy to read, because it feels good to be reading something which isn’t for school and because there’s something about reading on trains which is oddly, but satisfyingly, romantic to my mind. (Actually there was one more thing I wanted to moan about; all the ‘British’ characters sounded like they had sprung from turn of the century London – what? Who even talks like that anymore? Although luckily there were only about three ‘British’ characters in the whole book, which was odd considering it was set in England...)

I actually tried to write some of my Children’s Literature paper, the only thing I didn’t manage to get finished due to my ridiculously badly timed illness of epic proportions. Luckily I managed to get a medical extension on it, although not without some adventure. Because clearly at this stage nothing can go simply, why would life be easy? My professor wasn’t responding to my email and I really needed to know whether I’d gotten the extension and therefore should panic, or not. So I went to the English office to see if they had a better way to contact her, they didn’t so the chair of the department just asked me how long I’d like to write the paper, I suggested the 10th of January and then he sent off a storm of emails. I still haven’t actually heard back from my professor, so I’m not actually sure whether she’s realised why my paper hasn’t come in yet. Although on saying that we’re supposed to email them in. Still, one would think that if we were supposed to email in our papers she would have to check her email in order to see whether mine was there or not. 

I’m not too sure how much sense I’m making. I didn’t get a great deal of sleep last night. I stayed up last night trying to get as much done on my paper as I could while other people were still working. I sat with Violet and the other Ellen in the library, and whilst I wasn’t hugely productive, I now only need to write 7 pages rather than 10, and I got to spend some time with my friends. I was hoping to get a little more done however, since now realistically I’m going to end up writing the paper over J-term, which I was really trying to avoid. I was hoping to be able to bum around and not really do too much work over J-term. Although on saying that the readings for my philosophy class has been posted online already for me, along with strict instructions that I should read and consider the materials carefully and come up with intellectual things to say about it. (I might have paraphrased ever so slightly...)

Anyway, so I’m on a train. The trains seem to follow the old cliché that everything in America is bigger than things at home. I have so much legroom it’s pretty epic, and the seats seem to be made for phenomenally fat people.  I have a power socket and internet, albeit very unreliable internet, hence why I’m writing this; not much internet require. The best thing however about this train is that it’s just like trains you see in old movies; it’s all tall and we’re plunging through the darkness and there’s an enormous orange moon and I feel very content. I always forget how much I love trains. I think they might be my preferred method of transportation.  There are such fantastic people on trains. I’m sat behind a group of Australian travellers who are all on iphones and ipads which seem to be so much better at capturing the dodgy internet connection than my dinosaur of a Dell, which incidentally I’m starting to think is on its very last legs. And on the other side of me is a couple, the girl is playing violent computer games and the guy is knitting the world’s longest scarf. The Mount Holyoke Woman in me approves of this failure to conform to gender norms. 

So anyway this marvel of modern technology, the peak of travelling comfort is whisking me away to sunny Boston, where I have to do fandagoing with the Boston T in order to make it safely to chez Ink-pad where I’m spending the night before hopefully flying off to old Blighty for a couple days of Christmas and New Year’s malarkey and real life British people and mince pies and vegetables and fruit and my duvet and actual real life Y chromosomes! So much excitement. Lucky I’m only back for 10 days really or all the novelty will go to my head. (I’m going to interrupt myself to say that knitting man has the oddest knitting technique I have ever seen. It’s like a cross between knitting and crocheting, it’s fascinating. I’m trying to figure out what he’s doing without looking like I’m staring at him...) 

I just noticed that this blog post is actually 100 words longer than what I’ve written on my Children’s Literature paper so far. How depressing. I also realised that I haven’t eaten for a very long time. I mean it’s only nine and I had lunch at 12. But I’m used to seriously regular dining hall food. 10, 12 and 6 without fail. Those first two meals are actually much too close together. Perhaps that is not too healthy? Regardless. Three regular meals. So right now I’m REALLY REALLY HUNGRY! So I’m hoping we’re nearly there now.
Wow. That was amazing. Just as I typed that I was hoping we were almost there the lady announced we were five minutes away. Makes me wonder, if I’d typed that sentence an hour again, would it have had the same effect? 

(So I was going to put a bit here about how I American trains were inferior to ours, because they were patchy, infrequent and equally late, but it transpires that despite leaving Springfield almost an hour and a half behind schedule we swung into Boston merely two minutes late! INSANE! The train can do magical time bending type things. So really American trains win! Coincidentally American subway systems are also superior – on the T in Boston they have phone signal! Can you imagine! I wonder how they do it....)

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Home is where the heart is.

** Disclaimer - this was written in several pieces and therefore might not flow well or make sense, not too much of a change from usual **

I only have a week and a half left at Mount Holyoke this semester, I'm flying back to Guildford in exactly 12 days, this has produced the fascinating sentence: 'I'm going home on the 21st and then coming back home on the 2nd of January.' How does that even make sense in my head?

I've been thinking about writing this post for a couple of days now, but was finally prodded into action by the most lovely package I have ever received from my gorgeous friends in York. Usually there isn't much than can make me cry, except you know, a good book, or a soppy film, or a really sad story, which might jerk the occasional tear. But this had me literally bawling. For a good 45 minutes. It was one of the most lovely things I have ever received, even though it was just an envelope with a random assortment of gifts, cards and letters, it contained more love than I could have ever hoped for. /end soppy stuff.

That and the fact that from now on sleeping doesn't really look like it's on the agenda until Friday, let alone writing blogs, and I haven't even written about thanksgiving yet. Also the sheer amount of work is worrying me a little and when I worry I procrastinate like a pro. Still I think it's doable. I mean really it'll have to be, I don't have a great deal of choice. And it's only 2 10 page papers and a portfolio. What's the big deal? Hmmm. 

So anyway, recently it struck me how many places I call home.The first time I really noticed how easily I start calling a place home was in South Africa, when I realised that I was calling a tent which moved every day home and it escalated somewhat from there.The obvious place to start is Guildford, where I have lived almost my entire life, but recently I can say that I have added York, Plymouth MA, and the craziness that is Mount Holyoke College to my list.

I'm going back to Guildford on the 22nd of December this year, in time for Christmas, I have to say I'm looking forward to being home, Christmas on this campus isn't very Christmassy, despite the lights on the Commons and the Gates, and the odd Christmas decoration which has found it's way into the dining halls. I haven't been to any carol services, I haven't seen any carollers, no mince pies have been consumed at all, no mulled wine, no excessive Christmas music. No nothing. Christmas is going to be very short this year I think.

(I'm not going back to York for a gosh darned while, but hopefully I should be headed back for Cricket Presidents, worry not gang!)

The most fantastic thing about being friends with the world's shortest person (read: Half-Pint / Emily) is that I get to lay claims to her FANTASTIC family. They made me feel so at home, it was lovely. (see what I did there? I linked it to the title... ooooh! I'm a smart cookie!) Although Thanksgiving seems like it was a while ago,  I have to say it was one of my favourite American things thus far. This is probably in part because it contained a excess of my favourite things ever to do: sleeping and eating. I have literally never seen so much turkey in one place in my life. We had one huge 40 pound turkey and then another smaller turkey which was smoked, and then sweet potatoes and yam, and mashed potatoes, and beans, and stuffing and bacon and cranberry sauce (which I made myself!!) and I think more things which I'm forgetting about. And then ,when I was sat trying to contemplate how I was ever going to eat again, about 8 pies came out!!I have to admit that I sadly failed at eating everything on my plate. But I ate the pie for breakfast the following morning...

And the last place I call home is this crazy place called Mount Holyoke College. It is like an inverse universe where phrases like heteronomativity are used as though feminism is going out of fashion and liberalism is a way of life. Not to mention the fact that mono (which is what Americans call Glandular Fever I believe) is going (pardon the pun) viral, every other person seems to have it. Possibly because with the advent of the COLD we have recently been experiencing, us singletons are becoming a dying breed, as a friend pointed out "it's getting to the point of comic ridiculousness". However, despite the cold, there is still NO SNOW. Which is also ridiculous considering the amount of snow that England and in fact the rest of Europe is experiencing at the moment. Mount Holyoke trying to be differnet again! (This makes it sound as though the snow comes up to the Mount Holyoke gates and then stops, this clearly isn't the case) Still I'm holding out for a white Christmas back home, if I manage to get there that is...

In other news I'm still dying slowly in a corner, but I have every intention of waking up tomorrow fully healed. (I've been saying this every day for a while now, it's not happened so far - but I have a good feeling about tomorrow...)

Friday, 17 December 2010


I recently realised I hadn't sat an actual real life exam since A-levels.
Which was a long time ago.
I haven't done this revision thing in a while. 
Not to mention the fact that I'm sick.
Like actually, being pumped full of anti-biotics type sick.
Yup. I win at life again!
In other news there is a super sized blog post of seriousness coming. This is just a filler while I freak out about finals.
See you on the other side old chaps!