The Magpies are Flying Again

I always used to say I could live my life by the magpies. You know the well-known magpie-spotting rhyme that goes one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy and so on. I can pretty much guarantee that if I’m having a crappy day I’ll see a single magpie, or if I see one solo magpie it usually signals something not great it about to happen.

In the last week or so, since I parted ways with my male friend, the magpies have been in pairs. I can’t explain it. There was a single magpie that lived in the tree opposite my flat, the one I have a direct view of from my bedroom window. Since I moved in at the end of June, I have only ever seen him on his own. Yesterday I saw him frolicking on our neighbours’ roof with another magpie.

Thus, I see this as a sign that I’ve done the right thing. But have I?

That is as much as it wrote of this blog yesterday before arriving at work. It was my intention to write about how I felt like I had abandoned my friend, who is likely to move back up north in the next few weeks. He is pretty fed up with life too, and his own romantic knocks have only confirmed his decision to leave London. Yesterday I felt bad that he would spend his last few weeks without someone who he’s spent a lot of time with since moving to London, someone who had been a good friend to him as much as he had to me. Especially as now I have friends here, I want to open my social circle to him. So I had planned to call him last night.

Due to our department being short-staffed at work, I worked until gone 7pm last night, and by the time I got home it was close to 8pm. After sitting in my room for a while, I decided that after all my travels this last week – Manchester to help my friends move to London, a two-day business trip to Edinburgh that involved taking minutes at a senior managers’ meeting that lasted six and a half hours, and a six-hour spontaneous round trip to Lincoln where I drove to visit my family at the weekend – on top of working til 8pm the remaining days I was in the office last week meant that all I really wanted was a really early night. I used the bathroom then told my housemate I was going to bed. At 8:30?! Was his reply. He asked if I’d eaten and I hadn’t, deciding to forego dinner for sleep. He then started asking me all sorts of questions about what I had been eating lately, which made me mad because all I wanted to do was sleep, and I told him I didn’t appreciate him interrogating me.

We argued about it for a few minutes then I went into my room. I chatted with one of my friends who allowed me to vent while calming down.

After a while I left my room to let the Bish in, because I wanted to feel contained in my room, and also because I have started shutting him in my room at night so as not to bother my housemate who was complaining about getting woken up at night by my cat. Bish still wakes me up of course, but I tell him it’s not time to go out and he accepts that and goes back to sleep.

As I ventured out into the flat, my housemate asked me if I was ok, and after a long debate about how he feels I’m not looking after my health and not doing anything to better myself, the culmination of that conversation was that I handed my month’s notice in to leave.

To be honest, I have never felt comfortable living there since I moved in at the end of June. My housemate is a life coach, and while I do believe he wants to help, I dread the spontaneous two-hour long conversations where I get overwhelmed by all the personal development he tries to pile on me. After the last relationship with my former life coach didn’t end exactly great, I have been wary of him, and to be honest I find I can’t cope with being in such a tiny flat with someone who is trying to fix all my problems.

So anyway, now I have one month to find a place for me and Bish. Obviously I’m not relishing that thought after the previous trouble I had finding somewhere which left me homeless for three weeks. Although I’ve been told off for using that term “homeless” by my housemate. Whatever.

All I wanted last night was an early night. I don’t usually skip dinner by the way, as I love food. But this last week has been quite unique and while travelling I’ve ended up eating more sandwiches for lunches and dinner than I would like, considering I’m trying to go gluten-free.

I do wonder if I had phoned my male friend last night whether all this would have been avoided; if I’d told my housemate I was going to make a phone call rather than going to bed. But probably that would have been the wrong thing to do too.

Right now the sun is shining but I have a very nervous feeling in my heart. I don’t know where I will be in a month’s time, I only hope it won’t be in another B&B.

As for the magpies? I guess they’ll soon tell me whether it’s gonna be a good or bad few weeks.

Jogga-Blog No. 4 and 5: AKA The Return of 33andlostinlife

Out of all the titles you could possibly have expected me to pick for my first blog post in almost two months, I bet you didn’t expect to see the words “Jogga-Blog”.  In fact, this is the fourth and fifth Jogga-Blog combined, because my first London-based jog occurred on Thursday evening.  While afterwards I was most pleased with myself, the closest I got to blogging about the experience was thinking about it.  Well, you know what they say, it’s the thought that counts.

Today I was up early, so I decided to take advantage of the nice morning, before the heat became too overbearing, and take myslf off on another jog.  Once round the park without stopping this time.  I was most impressed with myself.

You may be wondering why it has taken me so long to write another blog post since the publication of The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 1.  I’ll do my best to fill you in on what has happened in my life over the last seven weeks, and from then onwards I shall attempt to keep you updated on a more regular basis.

I managed to find a lovely flat in West London, which I’ve settled into now.  My “housemates” are slightly older than me, but it’s nice to be with people who are full of stories from their lives.  I love listening to them talking, because it gives me inspiration for writing.  While this is the first time I’ve put virtual pen to paper in some time, I’ve been jotting down notes in my mind.  My little notebook that I use for my writing ideas got dusted off the other day, and I’m delighted to say that some of my ideas made it onto the page.  But I finally feel like my creative juices are starting to flow, which makes me happy because the pipes have been clogged for some time. Now though, that all my university work is finished, I can write for pleasure, without having to worry about deadlines, and I am thrilled that my ideas may finally find a place in the world.

It took me a while, but in mid-June I finally found a temp job, working in the Head Office of a high-end retail company.  The office is located only four tube stops from where I live, so the commute takes around 30 minutes door-to-door, which is not too bad considering I work with people who commute up to four hours a day.  The work is very similar to what I did in the NHS, analysing data, but instead of patients, it’s handbags and high heels.  I had a job interview for a writing position for one of these Daily-Deal websites just before I was offered this post.  While I was slightly disappointed not to have got the job, I think I’m coming to the conclusion that, for now, I’m happy with a nine-to-five job that I can do without having to stress out over it, where the people are nice and the commute isn’t too long.  I can get work on getting my finances back into a manageable condition, and use my free time to do what I have wanted to do for so long: write.  This job is temp to perm, which means it may become permanent in a few months.

You may be wondering why I bothered to do a degree in American Studies, if I was only to get a job the same as what I was doing before.  Well I got my degree results the other day, and I will graduate from the University of Lincoln in September with an upper second-class honours, or a 2:1.  This is reflective of the work I’ve done over the last four years, and while last year I may have been disappointed not to have received a first-class honours, right now I am just glad to have made it to the end with some sense of sanity.  When I started my degree, my life was very different, and what I want to gain out of a degree now is not necessarily the same as it was when I enrolled back in September 2009.  While I would still love to have the opportunity to work in America, I am learning to pick and choose my fights, and the opportunities for someone like myself to make the USA my home are slim.  What I’d rather do is focus on what I want to do, which is writing, rather than where I want to do it.  Days like today, where the weather is 26 degrees centigrade (79 Fahrenheit), and the forecast for the next six days is much the same, I’m more than happy to be in London, which is like a little greenhouse full of heat, where I can spend my lunchtimes sunning myself in the park, and the early evenings in the garden.

So I have somewhere to live, a job, and lots more time on my hands.  One thing I don’t have, is a relationship.  As you know if you’ve spent any time with me or my blog, that is high on my list of wants.  Right now, as much as I’d love to meet someone, I don’t have the money to spend on dates, or buying new clothes for dates.  But that is ok, because knowing myself as I do, it would be wrong to rush into finding someone, and people do always say it happens when you don’t expect it.  I can enjoy settling myself into my new life, and eyeing up the hot guys on the tube…

For now, life is good.  This chapter is still very new to me, and I’m very much finding my feet.  I’ve put on weight since my arrival, hence my desire to jog, and knowing that I won’t be able to afford to join a gym until possibly later in the year, I’m going to have to rely on my own resources and free exercise such as jogging and walking, in the tree-lined areas close to where I live and work.  By the end of September, I will have graduated from university, signaling the true end of the previous chapter of my life; potentially have secured a permanent job, and have made myself financially stable.  All the key ingredients for the basis of a happy life, on which I can build the foundations of the me I’ve wanted to become.  Please join me as the journey continues.  I’ve missed talking to you guys.



The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 23

In light of the bombings that took place at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday, I feel like perhaps I shouldn’t be talking about my problems here.  After all, in the grand scheme of things, finishing a degree and deciding what I’m going to do with my life afterwards is irrelevant.  There are people who won’t be going home, or for whom life has changed forever.  But it is precisely for those people why I am going to continue to write this blog, as trivial as it may be in the universe that we live in.

The events of yesterday prove that life is short.  Unexpected events can take loved ones from us.  There is evil out there seeking to destroy what we know and believe in.  Even more reason to live your life, and live it like there’s no tomorrow.

I co-host a radio show called The American Dream Team, for a community radio station called Siren FM.  Normally our show is fairly lighthearted, while bringing listeners the latest in American news, events and the best eclectic mix of music around.  Nobody can go from Carly Rae Jepson to Stevie Wonder like we can.  Today’s show, however, had to be different.  While we usually do lighthearted, today called for something much more sombre.  So, with help from some of Siren’s more senior members, including Managing Editor Andrew David and Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Journalism at the University of Lincoln Deborah Wilson, also a producer for Siren, myself, my co-host, Jack Harrison and our Social Media Ambassador, Ben Steele, presented a two-hour news special, focussing on the Boston bombings.  We brought listeners the latest updates, as well as  interviews with several people, an American academic whose specialism is Communications, a social media specialist, a Lincoln academic visiting the US and a most poignant interview with a woman who was stood a block and a half away, waiting for her husband to finish the marathon when the explosion took place.  He got to 25 and a half miles, but thankfully was able to collect his medal, and return home to North Carolina.  Some people were not so lucky.

While the preparation and presentation of the show was more pressurised today than what we are normally used to, I enjoyed it.  While I’m not sure that I’d like to be doing that full-time, I now know that when I write “working under pressure” on my CV, that I can actually do it.

Upon my return home, my housemates had just eaten, and were still sat around the table when I arrived.  I filled my plate with food, and started to eat.  Then I told them of my intention to visit London on Thursday to view a flatshare; having decided today that I must take the risk to move to London in order to find temporary work, having been told straight out that this was the case by a London recruiter earlier today.

They were concerned about my moving to London without a job.  Would I definitely get a job?  What if I didn’t?  What about the fact that I have four assignments to do before May 3rd?  While I had stayed calm and collected at Siren, the pressure of today’s show, on top of the pressure I’ve felt for months about finishing my degree and my future life afterwards, hit me and I burst into tears.

I have a lot of worries about the coming weeks, from finding a job to finding an apartment, having enough money to pay bills and having the right place for me and The Bish to live, with the right people.  The Bish was sat in my bedroom window, which looks out onto the street, waiting for me to come home tonight.  His disgust at my lateness (a drink was necessary at the pub after the show) was marked by the fact he had sat his royal black ass on my only pair of white shorts, which I’d dug out ready for summer.

But tonight I feel grateful to have these worries.  There are people in Boston who won’t be going home to loved ones, or who won’t be returning to the pet that waits anxiously for their return.  There are many people who have been seriously injured, and may never walk again.  It is for them that I continue this challenge to find some peace in my life and follow my dreams.  Some may never get that chance.


*To listen to the interviews from today’s The American Dream Team show, click on this link The American Dream Team: Interviews re Boston Bombings