Raise Your P!nk-Tinted Glasses…

During my Study Abroad period in 2011, I discovered what it was like to live in a Small Town.  I used the capitalisation, because, you have not lived until you’ve lived in a Small Town of America.  I lived in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, which is a land far, far away from the rest of civilisation.  The highlight of socialising there for me and my friends, who had no access to transport of any kind (not even any buses or taxis in Huntingdon), was the weekly visit to Memories.

Memories is a sports bar, which hosts karaoke every Wednesday night.  I had never done karaoke before, at least not in public.  I mean, plenty of times, at home in the safety of my living room, could I be found beating PlayStation’s SingStar at its own game.  But to get up in front of strangers and sing, that is something completely different.

While I wasn’t the age of most other students at Juniata College, my time there can definitely be attributed to a coming of age.  Juniata was full of firsts for me; the place I first wrote anything that wasn’t an email or an essay (and what would eventually become this blog), the first time I ever got bollocked for drinking in public (on campus! at the age of 31! America sort your drinking laws out…) and the first time I slept with someone more than 13 years my junior…

Memories, ah….ahem, back to Memories the sports bar and Wednesday night karaoke.  While James Blunt’s 1973 became quite an anthem for me and my friends, Smooth by Santana featuring the lovely Rob Thomas became my favourite karaoke tune.  The song that will always remind me of Memories though is Raise Your Glass, by P!nk.  It’s a song for outcasts everywhere, a celebration of those who don’t fit into society’s place for them.

I have always seen myself as an outsider, and while there was an element of me being different from everyone else, I think for the first time in my life I didn’t mind.  I knew that I was well on my journey in life, and that I would enjoy its ups and downs, with those who chose to come along with me. Many of those had chosen to take further study, or travel the world, because, like me, Life hadn’t offered them the relationship, the children, the house, the car. They sought the future, like me, through rose-tinted glasses. Always looking for that guiding light to show them the way.

University, incorporating my Study Abroad period, was where my friendship ring truly went international.  At the University of Lincoln, I ran a group called MAPS (Mature and Postgraduate Students) which is where I met many students similar to my age and older, both British and international. Working in a London hotel at the age of 19, and working in a hospital meant that I had always been surrounded by people from different cultures and backgrounds, but it was at university where I really got to know people from different nationalities. While everyone has different issues, beliefs, ways of seeing the world, at the core, we are all just on the same path, wanting to carve a way through life with the support of those around us, be they friends or lovers. I am lucky to not only have the support of my family and my British friends, but also my worldwide family.

While I will always be an outsider to the world, this is a place that I am finally happy to be in. So this post is a way of celebrating those that choose to sit on the outside with me, and watch the world go by. To you, I raise my glass, and dedicate this awesome piece of karaoke (lyrics included!).

P!nk – Raise Your Glass

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