The Ramblings of the Excited 2nd Year

 

So, in light of my rather terrible installation troubles, i.e. no internet for the foreseeable future, posts will be even more limited than they are at the moment. Of course, I will do my best to abuse the uni WiFi, and will squeeze as many insightful and interesting thoughts out of my head as I feel I can. A new term of new books and new lecturers will surely provide me with ample material for posts. I started this blog as an outlet for this material, and so it will be nice to return to the original stuff, even though I’m sure you find my culinary updates just terribly exciting.

Now, I can’t sit still. That’s the main problem. Because I’m just so very excited. Sitting in the car tomorrow for the six-hour drive will just about push my patience to the limit I think, because I’m already itching to unpack everything, clean cupboards, and get really, really organised. I’ve even roped my little sister into staying with me for the first night; she’s really good at cleaning things and so I guessed she’d be a useful pair of hands for the evening. I will have to concern myself with trying to cram tonnes of clothes into my wardrobe, and negotiating homes for my ever-expanding shoe collection.

It’s the waiting that I hate the most about moving from place to place. I love the excitement of finding somewhere new to live, and I like having a clean slate; you can make it look as lovely as you’d want to, and I have a fantastic collection of fairy lights that somehow make any given room far more inviting than a simple ceiling light. I have shelves, and I couldn’t have asked for a better house. I even have a garden with a greenhouse; not that I’ve ever gardened, but I like to entertain a fantasy that I could.

I’ve also managed to create a collection of comfortable and yet attractive clothing this summer, thus dispelling the need for baggy track suit bottoms around the house. Instead, I’m going to head down the ‘jegging’ route, and whilst I hate the word, and used to despise the idea, I’ve come to realise that they are in fact quite comfortable, but look marginally more presentable than tracksuits. I also spent a vast amount of money on an original Rolling Stones tour sweater, but I’ve decided it was just completely, and utterly worth it.

Anyway, I have to try to sleep tonight, because tomorrow is going to be long and exhausting. So for now, I’ll leave you to stare at the screen in a nonplussed sort of way, trying to work out what I spent the last four hundred words talking about. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to come back, but I’ll do my best to make it soon!

(:

©

 

Mixtape

(1)

I’m going to put this out there, because it was incredible. I honestly cannot believe how lucky I am. Yesterday, I was at work, and I was fairly fed up. My cold was annoying me, and my shift had been dragging on for far too long. But then, I met Voldemort. Yes. Lord Voldemort. Or Ralph Fiennes really. So anyway, I run back into the kitchen, kind of hopping and bouncing around a bit. And after I finished doing that, I went home and watched Harry Potter films all night. It was amazingly cool. And, having just read back that paragraph, I realise that I sound a tiny bit as though I don’t get out enough, but there we go. I thought it was awesome.

On a completely unrelated note, I’m starting to get very excited about my impending trip to Washington D.C. I’m especially excited about going to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. I like looking at all the mechanics and engineering behind space travel, and space exploration, and the shuttle, Discovery is living at the museum for the moment. I’m going to go and see that! I particularly like looking at  the scale of these things. They make me feel like a very tiny blip in the world, when you compare yourself to the machinery that means we can actually walk on the moon!

(2)

There’s a cupcake shop in Washington, called Georgetown Cupcakes, that my little sister is just desperate to go and visit. She really can’t wait, because she watches their television series. She’s also an excellent baker, and makes the most adorable and delicious cupcakes. I’m a very big fan of her red velvet ones; they’re somehow creamy and moist all at once. Her face lights up whenever I mention cupcakes. It’s so lovely. And because she finishes school, ready to go to college this week, I bought her two brand new cupcake books, so she’s got something to do over the summer. She’s fifteen, and will be until the end of August, which means that by law, she can’t work this summer, even if she wanted to. I think she should just start a business plan for opening a bakery, and I could help her do the promotions.

At this point, I must bid this post farewell, because I have to go to work soon, and I have some ironing to do. The joys of work, but maybe Voldemort will still be there…

(:

(1) http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/images/content/107094main_discovery-launch.jpg

(2) https://sarahalicewaterhouse.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/cupcakes.jpg?w=300

©

Sarah Alice Goes Back To (relative) Normality

(1)

There’s been great excitement in  my life recently, because of a new laptop, and a brand new reading list, for my second year at university. The relief I felt to know I was allowed to return was immense; I’d all but convinced myself that I was destined for smaller things, and would have to move back in with my parents for eternity. And it’s nice to go home of course, but a lifetime is a very, very long time to still be driving your mum’s car, and eating your mum’s dinners.

The reading list for next year is fantastic; much more modern, with far less emphasis on the intricacies of mythology. I’m extremely excited about these modules, mainly because they are the reason I applied for the course in the first place. The modules of first year were an introductory gallop through the history of literature and theory; the second year looks at literature from the eighteenth century to the present day, which is a time period I feel much more comfortable with. I suppose that a literature course has to consider all the facets of literature, from its ancient beginnings. But personally, I shall be happy enough moving on from the ancient world, into the Victorian world, and then the post-modern world.

So, first year is finished, and has been passed. This is something I find reassuring, as though it wasn’t all wasted, as if I’ve done something truly productive this year. I have moved out of my flat, and subsequently, into my new flat. And I think my writer’s block is finally starting to lift, which is something again, that I find reassuring. It’s been weeks, and despite venturing outside, and trying to find things to write about, I just couldn’t think of anything worth saying about very much at all. Work has been a little bit hectic too, which is yet another reason why I’ve had absolutely nothing to say; waitressing doesn’t tend to inspire any ideas, except rants against irritating guests.

The end of the tunnel is being revealed to me however; my new laptop literally sparkles with CPU processing power, and my sleepy brain is starting to be creative and shiny again. Myself and the gym have reawakened a slightly abandoned friendship, which is producing a chemical influx, which is in turn making my brain work again. Examinations called a rather abrupt halt to my ability to write about anything but how stressed I was. And now there’s other things to do; like plan for my trip to Washington, and explore my fundraising ideas for Kenya, next summer. It’s all looking shiny and happy, like an intellectual Disneyland, as it were.

So now I’ve bored you all to death, telling you about the reawakening of my brain, and I promise that tomorrow I’ll write something vaguely interesting. Promise!

(:

(1) https://sarahalicewaterhouse.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/normal.jpg?w=235

©

 

This Writer’s Block Shows No Sign Of Letting Up

So things are just a little different at the moment. I seem to be leaving a trail of destruction behind me.  I’m exhausted, because I’ve dived straight back into working long shifts, and I find myself confronted with some rather horrible realisations, especially related to my future, and the path I seem to be following. Or as I like to put it, I haven’t found a path yet; I’m just stood at Clapham junction, waiting for the lights to change. I just haven’t figured it out yet, and it’s starting to affect everything, from my self-esteem, to the ways in which I approach employment, and employability.

So at the moment, I’m bumming around at home, tackling my second year reading list, brushing up on some philosophy, and working every shift I’m allowed to try to save some money up, readying myself for my climb up Kilimanjaro next year. I don’t know what it’s going to be like; I toyed with the idea of dropping out last week. However I received an email that snapped me out of my reverie: my deposit had been processed, and so without any real input from me, the deal was signed and sealed. I’m going to Kenya next June. For sure. I’m sure there’ll be a number of posts about the preparations for the mountain; it’s promising to be a daunting task, and the fundraising itself is going be to a gargantuan challenge; three thousand pounds must be raised.

Another problem I’m facing is that I can’t think of anything to write about. There’s nothing that’s attracting my attention. I seem to have run out of things to write about, because all I can think about, is me. And that’s terribly selfish, and I feel horrendously self-involved. I just don’t know what to say, and I certainly have nothing to say that would be of interest or note to a reader.

I wish I had more to say during this post, but the sad truth is that I don’t. I wish I did. But I don’t seem to be able to think about anything but the above, and I’m hoping I’ll venture back to the blogosphere again soon, hopefully with something better to write about, something a little more positive.

(:

©

Last Day In Halls Today!

You can really only live like this for a short amount of time… (1)

So it’s finally arrived. My last ever day in university halls. It’s been an experience and a half. However I think it’s about time that we moved onwards and upwards, into a real live house. A house with a dishwasher, no less. It’s one of those things that don’t appear to be terribly important, however living without one for a year really increases your appreciation of such a magical, practical object.

It’s a little bit strange though, to think I’m moving out of my flat. I mean, I can’t wait. I’m just so excited. The last couple of days have been just, well, perfect, despite the looming presence of my last exam. However, the sun’s been shining, and the weather has been warm, and so the desire to go to the beach simply outweighed any desire to stay at home, reading books. Helpfully, my last exam is my favourite module, and so I think it’s all going to be just lovely.

It’s been strange because its only in the last two or three days that I’ve finally fallen in love with where I am. The climate is lovely (except during the winter), and it’s just beautifully quaint, and fantastic. I haven’t fallen in love with it, all year. In fact, I’ve been wondering if I went to the right place for university; did I make the right decision? Ironically, I only decided that I have, about three days ago. But now first year is over, with the exception of one two-hour exam, and then I’m up, and out, back home, and before I know it, It’ll be moving into a brand new, wonderful, and lovely house. I cannot believe how lucky I feel today.

I’ve finished packing now, up to and including doing all my washing, and cardboard wrapping my external laptop monitor. It’s a very odd feeling to know I’m not ever coming back to this flat again, after tomorrow morning. It’s a feeling of almost being displaced. Because that’s what this whole year has felt like; the moving back and forth has been something of a struggle to me, in places. I think it’s been a learning curve too. The most important element however, has been to never, ever, try to pack more than you can lift onto a train. That is perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learnt this year. Packing light is really the only way to travel, if you’re a cheap skate student, and get the cheapest train tickets, and subsequently have to get four different trains. No one wants to be shifting heavy suitcases up and down train staircases. Nobody.

Anyway, I have to go to the beach again now. It’s just too beautiful to stay indoors, as much as I do love the blogosphere.

(:

(1) http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Education/Pix/pictures/2012/4/16/1334574443353/Filthy-student-kitchen–008.jpg

©

On Coming Home

A very short note, to prove to all of you that I haven’t abandoned the blogging-sphere. I haven’t, really, I’ve just taken a small blogging hiatus, whilst I’m on a holiday of sorts, with one of my best friends. Anyway, the holiday is drawing to a very rapid close, and this time tomorrow, I will have skipped merrily across the country, back to my own house, and my own bed. I’m very excited.

I think my love of coming home stems from the fact that when I was younger, I couldn’t wait to move out; I thought it would be the best thing ever; you know the drill. Unlimited freedom, the power to go wherever I wanted, with whomever I wanted to. The part I managed to leave out of my perfect little fantasy, was that with unlimited freedom, comes unlimited responsibility. Money, bills, rent, and so on. All those things that just sort of weren’t there when you were fourteen, and designing grand houses that you would move into, as soon as you escaped from home. I realised however, this was the most preposterous thing I’ve ever done in my life. Ever.

(1)

Anyway, the point is, that in twenty-four hours, I’ll be back at home with my parents and little sister, and all my teddy bears. I’m nineteen in a week, and I still cannot wait to go home, put on my onesie (they look ridiculous, but it’s like being in a bag of blanket), and cuddle up with my Mum. Whenever I tell people this, they either think it’s lovely, or that I’m somehow pathetic, and not independent; I think the two concepts are not the same. Loving home, and being independent, are not the same thing. There’s a distinction to be made, and I always feel as though people should realise the difference, and appreciate things they have, whilst they have them.

So to conclude: the rucksack is packed, the train tickets are ready to go. A spot of washing, and the making of packed lunch, and we’ll land back in the homeland before you know what’s hit you. Guess who’s back?

(1) http://www.twincitieshomeforeclosures.com/images/home/quotes/HFquote10.gif

((:

©

On Impatience

This morning I rang my mother, as I do every morning, just to say hello. And as is so often the case in these conversations, she told me I was impatient, and that I ought to learn the art of being patient. I’ve been struggling with this particular condition for years. Apparently my dad donated this particular gene to me, during the “making me from scratch” phase. I’ve never been able to wait for anything, from buses, to trains, to leaving school. I just seem incredibly anxious, all the time, to be moving on.

This is reflected in the microcosm of my bedroom. I rearrange all the stuff in it, clean it, and stack things in a different way, approximately every three weeks. I do it because it makes my room feel “new”, and fresh. Like a fresh start, almost. And this is what I spend my entire life doing, I think. Chasing a way to make a fresh start, move on, and keep progressing. I want to be everywhere, all the time, all at once. So much so that my brain feels as though it’s in complete chaos, all day long.

In some ways, I embrace this impatience, because it means I always want to improve myself, and do better. I want to succeed in my course, I want to meet more fitness targets, but I want it all now. I want to be fundraising for Africa and for South America already, and I haven’t even booked the latter yet. I have what some would call a type A personality. Others would simply refer to it as being “a pain in the ass”. I think I’d agree with them too.

“Personality is more important than beauty, but imagination is more important than both of them.” – Laurette Taylor

But anyway, today I have only one real thing to do; and that is write my essay for my Past and Present module. I will stop researching flights to Lima, Peru, and I shall read scholarly things about postmodernism. Even as I write this post, I feel some of the frustration fading away. I like posting sometimes, because it’s like venting to somebody, an almost anonymous person, and it does genuinely relieve ideas that are spinning around in my brain. I’m always scared of there not being enough time, to get everything I want to do done. I’m terrified I’ll run out of time to do the stuff on my list, and be somebody. But, as my mum said, “You’ve got all the time in the world”. She might be right; she usually is.

At this juncture then, I ought to abandon my blog, Twitter, Expedia, and G Adventures, and read my books, and write my essay. I suppose it’s always much harder to start than it is to carry on. It’s worth starting in order to finish though, I think. It’s just putting down my plans for the future and focusing on the present. It’s always much harder than it sounds, but I like to pop some Meat Loaf in my stereo, close down the internet, and make some coffee. And once the introduction is done, it gets easier.

At least, that’s what I’m counting on.

“I’ve got big shoes to fill. This is my chance to do something. I have to seize the moment.” – Andrew Jackson

(:

©

On Dreams

Sunshine is currently streaming through the window, and the temperature is an ambient twenty degrees centigrade, inside my bedroom. But I’ve been sat staring at my computer screen for half an hour, wondering what on earth to do with the afternoon. Should I go to the beach, or should I research for my essay? I’m torn between the two, really. The beach seems far more appealing than an adventure to the library, but then again, essays don’t write themselves. This is something of a conundrum.

Anyway, I think logic is going to prevail; research on postmodernism is going to be far more useful to my future, in comparison to an afternoon jaunt to the beach. This is perhaps one of the strangest things about modern life. We spend all of our present planning for a future, something we aren’t even sure exists. We have no idea of the course our lives will take, and whether all of our planning will come to fruition, or whether something will change the course of our lives without us realising it. This is perhaps one of the most alarming things about being human; we have no idea what might happen to us.

At this juncture, we can consider the lion; lions (especially males) have an almost intrinsic idea of the course their lives will take; they all have a goal. To rise to the top of the pack, and to be the dominant male, a chief hunter. This ambition puts their entire lives into focus, and they have an innate idea of what their existence will be about. Humans, on the other hand, are fickle; we have big dreams, and big ambitions. We all dream of being something different, whether it’s to be a mother, or to be a CEO, or be a novelist, or a protester. We just have no idea, and we have such an abundance of opportunity that it’s confusing, but so completely breathtaking, all at the same time. I often wish there was a clue, of where I might end up, so I could work out how to get there. I think we all wish that sometimes.

Courage to Dream

Walt E. Disney (1)

I hope to end up in publishing, as both a publishing mogul and novelist at the same time. I also want to be able to travel. I might have to make career changes, and cut back on things to do it, but as I said on my bucket list, I would like to travel to every continent on the planet. I love the idea of being able to escape, and run around the world, going on safari, building houses and schools, and so on. I just like the idea of being free. However, I also really like my mum’s cooking, and watching television with her. There’s so much choice, and technology makes it so very possible, that a person couldn’t ever decide on just one dream, I think.

So, I’ve got a plan: I’m going to do things that will make me happy. Sometimes these things, for example, going to the gym at seven-thirty in the morning, will not make me happy at that present moment. However, as I get thinner, and fitter, and closer to being ready to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, I will be happy. It’s simply a system of cause and effect; temporary pain for an abundance of long-term gain. Nobody gets everything for nothing. Dreams do not simply happen. You have to work for them, and work hard for them. And it feels amazing when you actually get somewhere, and it all pays off.

(:

(1) http://images.picturesdepot.com/photo/c/courage_to_dream-8499.jpg

©

On Survival

So today, I’m taking a brief diversion from my T.S Eliot series, because I read a rather inspiring article in The Guardian which made me think carefully about the nature of survival, and the very different perceptions of it from culture to culture. The developed world, the world which has Starbucks coffee on every other street corner, deems survival as an almost decadent indulgence; “Oh, I simply couldn’t live without my four by four”, or “I’m just starving…”. The article however presented a rather more interesting perception of survival; it was all about the boys of war-torn Afghanistan, who quite literally, walked to Europe, crossing vast amounts of land, traversing mountains, and clinging to the chassis of assorted lorries.

These boys are certainly not undertaking the journey for any charitable purpose; they are running away, paying gargantuan sums of money to smugglers, to escape the Taliban, or endless poverty, or the constant bombing of their villages. Like every other human, they have the fight or flight response, and unfortunately, it’s hard to fight a cause that is illogical. In the same way as arguing with a three-year-old is pointless, it is pointless to attempt intellectual argument against fundamentalism. Neither of these things are rational.

The startling thing of course is the fact that whilst I’m vigorously exercising, researching, thinking about things to take to Kilimanjaro, etc, these boys, who barely have a pair of shoes, are literally just doing it, climbing the mountains, and travelling in any way that they can, because that truly is the only way that they will survive the journey from their own damaged country. No one voluntarily traverses the Italian portion of the Alps, without shoes, medicine, food or shelter. However, this statement in essence, cannot be true, because people do it, if not regularly, then often; it is not an unheard of occurrence. This is startling because in our world, that is to say, the “civilised” western world, the thought of doing something so fundamentally dangerous is tantamount to declaring one’s own insanity.

One of the young boys who travel (1)

We continually, as adolescents in particular, moan about how bad our lives are; our student loans aren’t large enough, our boyfriends don’t love us enough, and our parents are always completely unreasonable. And to a certain extent, we are entitled as teenagers, to moan a little bit; to realise slowly that we aren’t the centre of the universe. It’s a rite of passage to know that, however these teenagers never had the chance to be ungrateful, because they were thrown into an unimaginably intense world of pain, where their parents don’t survive long enough to be able to ground them. That privilege was removed from them by extremism and foreign intervention.

Their education is also of paramount importance to them; something that as financial markets narrow, becomes even more important. We don’t tend to notice how privileged we are, and more often than not, will moan about getting up early, our homework, and something that a girl said about us, to someone who we thought was our friend. The boys who walk across Europe seek education as ferociously as they seek food; it is inspirational to read their stories, and to hear such unshakeable commitment, is fascinating.

These kids are inspirational, please have a read through!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/29/out-afghanistan-boys-stories-europe?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038

(:

(1) http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/u/

©

On Exploring Budapest

Eastern Europe holds a certain allure, because it is essentially on the same continent as France, or Germany. However Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia are rather alien in terms of culture and social convention, although less so in terms of religion. We, who call ourselves European, are in fact rather sheltered from the essence of Europe, and so this summer I’m hoping to rectify the situation by visiting Budapest with a friend. I’ve always been curious about the history of Hungary, and the history of the Hungarian Jews, ever since looking at the impact of World War Two on the country.

I rarely go on holiday to cities; as a family tradition, we tend to sit by swimming pools or on the beach; anything to avoid the appearance of money belts and explorer shorts, and the taboo socks and sandals combination. We sit by the pool and complain that we are hot; we are typical British people on holiday when it comes to discussions on the weather. We don’t often visit cities; we’ve seen New York and Boston, and had a day in Pisa; but on average, city breaks are not a family venture, especially when you have younger children; pulling them through blistering heat with a plethora of other tourists is an organisational mission, as well as requiring the patience of  a saint.

File:Saint Stephen's Basilica Budapest.jpg

St. Stephen's Basilica (1)

However, cities have a vast number of opportunities for cultural exploration; museums and access to authentic cuisine is one of the highlights for me in exploring cities. I have found that eating at the same restaurants as the locals improve’s one’s understanding of the local food and local traditions, especially further afield. However, if you’ve been touched by the cruel hand of food poisoning, there’s really nothing wrong with a McDonald’s. Our Western digestive system isn’t always trained for layered cabbage dishes, or in more extreme cases, stuffed lamb heads, or stewed insects. You do become accustomed to things assuming you are prepared to try them however.

I’m thoroughly looking forwards to having a look round the Hungarian National Museum, and visiting the shopping centres and markets. The Saint Basilica has a certain appeal too, venturing into the Roman Catholicism world and the history thereof. The architecture of the building also has roots in Greek architecture and Roman history and therefore we’ll be exposed to neo-classical elements of Budapest too. I’m hoping to look around the city and night, eat some Hungarian food and go to the Hungarian opera.

The only challenge is to make the trip as cost-effective as possible; stay in a hotel in the centre of the city so that we save money on transport costs, and hopefully, somewhere where breakfast is included. As Michael McIntyre says, on holiday, we convince ourselves that we won’t need lunch, because we never want to eat when we’re hot. I’m rather hoping that we’ll be sufficiently busy that we won’t need to be thinking about food all the time; four days isn’t very long to look around such a beautiful city, but I think if we fill all moments of consciousness with interesting activities, we should be able to maximise the time we’re there for.

(:

(1) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e8/Saint_Stephen%27s_Basilica_Budapest.jpg/800px-Saint_Stephen%27s_Basilica_Budapest.jpg

©