The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 32

First of all, I have to apologise for how spectacularly late this blog is.  Only yesterday (I mean the day before – Day 31) was I bragging about how I’d almost always got these blogs done on time, but at least before I’ve done them after midnight on the day it was due, and were at least posted before I woke in the morning.  But here I am, sat at the kitchen table, Frasier on the telly in the living room, with the sun streaming through the window, and I’m going to tell you why I missed yesterday’s blog.

In Day 31, I talked about how I’d received a letter from a debt collection agency regarding a property I’d live at over four years ago.  I spoke to them yesterday, and they told me that there was an outstanding amount of £485.90 for an unpaid water bill.

I have to say this news hit me pretty hard.  There was a time in my life when I had a lot of debt, but I believed it had all been paid off by the time I separated from my husband.

£500 isn’t a great deal in the grand scheme of things, but at a time when I’m about to start the next chapter of my life, and I’m going to need money for whatever adventure I choose next, be it a new job and home in London, or working in the USA for the summer, or somewhere else in the world.  The money I will have to start with is going to be limited anyway, and I don’t want to see it going to some debt collection agency.  But I am determined not to carry any baggage with me starting out again and therefore I want this paid off.

This whole episode yesterday did enable me to make a decision about something.  I realise it’s not something I’ve mentioned in my blogs so far, but in twelve days I was supposed to be heading to China for two weeks.  It was a trip I decided to make shortly before Christmas.  My Chinese housemate, Fen, was due to be heading back to China for the Chinese New Year in February, but unfortunately, her application for a new UK Visa is taking longer than we thought, and the Home Office still have her passport, so she can’t travel back to China.  At the end of January the UK Border Agency announced changes to the process for applying for UK Visas, and these changes would apply to those people whose applications had been in for months already, such as Fen.  Five months after her application was sent, she is still without her passport, trapped here in the UK.  I’m pretty sure that must be against some kind of human rights law.  She’s lucky that she’s not stressing about it now (you can probably imagine how I would be acting).

Anyway, while she awaits her visa and passport, I had to face the fact that the person I was going to China to visit may not be there.  At first I was determined not to go without her, but when I checked my flight ticket, it unfortunately does not allow for changes or refunds.  The best I could do would be to get some tax back, possibly a third of the price I paid for the ticket.  Last week I decided that I would still go rather than lose some of the money, and would make the most of my trip to China, visiting friends and friends of friends.  But after finding out about the unpaid bill, I realise that I cannot go to China right now, and I’m going to have to put it down to an expensive mistake, one of many I’ve made in my life.  When I get settled somewhere and I have money, I will make plans to visit Fen in China.

Maybe I shouldn’t have booked the ticket to China when Fen hadn’t even booked hers.  But neither of us foresaw this as being a problem.  Maybe I should not have booked a two-week holiday during my final weeks at university.  But it was after my dissertation deadline, and as I hadn’t decided then what I would be doing after I finished university, I wanted to visit China when Fen was there.  I am a risk-taker, or that’s what I’ve finally become in the last few years, and would have it no other way.

In Day 30, I spoke about the unexpected, and staying in Bristol another night because I’d missed the last train home.  So, rather unexpectedly, I have an extra two weeks at home, to work on my other assignments once my dissertation is in, and I have these next twelve days to concentrate on my dissertation without having to worry about packing to go away.  I’m trying to see the positives here.  The sun isn’t streaming through the window as brightly as it was when I started writing this morning.  The blue sky is being replaced by cloud.  But I know it’s up there somewhere, and will be waiting for me once I get all this work done.  Then I can plan as many trips as I like, because my time will be my own.  Right now, I have really had enough of university.  I don’t want to do my final pieces of work; I don’t care about them at all.  But I know I must finish this.  Despite how hard it’s been at times, going to university was one of the best things I ever did.  It is what put me on the path to changing my life, and it is that path, the one that is overgrown and full of prickly bushes that I must push through, because I know there’s a bright meadow full of beautiful flowers at the end, where I can lay down among the petals and breathe.  That is what I must focus on now.

Below is a heart-shaped blackboard I have hanging on my bedroom wall.  Its message is more important than ever now.

A message to myself...

A message to myself…



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