Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Adventures

Life has a funny way of taking you down paths you don't plan on. I always make plans even though they never work, they never turn out the way I expect them to. That is probably a good thing because I don't really know enough to make my life as awesome as it can be. Thank heavens I am in someone else's hands. The last 8 months have been some of the most stressful of my life, (don't get me wrong: it's been great, but I am in a foreign country so there's lots of adjustments) but I am glad of what I've experienced and learned and I am very happy to be in England. And I know things are just going to keep getting better.

Status update: My Masters classes are done! All my term papers are turned in and will eventually be graded. Probably will take two months before I get those grades, but I'm not going to think about them at all. Now I get to spend the summer concentrating on my dissertation and of course, I am planning on traveling around and doing fun things. I've moved to a new place closer to London, though still on the outskirts. But I have my independence: I can walk to the station, travel into London, travel back, walk home. In the past weeks I have also met a lot of fun people through church and now that I am not so stressed and focused on my classes and assignments, etc., and all the other stresses in my life (like my dad's health which is loads better and how my family is doing and me figuring out a new country and school system and new culture), I will be able to get out and have more fun. And that is what living in London is all about, right? Well, I still have to make sure my dissertation comes first. I have written 4,000 words so far. (I am a little behind b/c I've spent weeks looking for a place to live and several times once I'd decided on a place it seemed to fall through, ergh. It is really hard to write when you are stressed, even when you have the time to write because your mind is just not in the right place to do it.) I need to write 1,000 or so more today and then send that to my tutor/supervisor. She, Sophie, is awesome and brilliant and I am so happy to work with her! She will review what I've written and then on Monday we'll meet at the British Library and see what is working and what isn't and where I should go from here.

Anyway. I'm where I need to be, I just took a different route to get there then I'd planned on. The next 4 months are going to be amazing and hopefully very busy, full of people, writing, editing, activities, traveling, etc. Then after that I'll see where life takes me.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

English Countryside

Last weekend I went with my British parents David and Gloria to visit their friend in the Norfolk area. The weather was beautiful and sunny, still a little cold mostly from the wind, but that is one of the best feelings. It brought back memories of hiking through the English countryside, through meadows, over mountains, into valleys, past sheep-loads of sheep-though there weren't any on the walks over the weekend. The memories were almost overwhelming and calmed my somewhat stressed soul. Nothing too big in the stress department but as with any big change in life there will be adjustments and sometimes I handle them just fine and other times I get tired. The walk through the country renewed by zest for life and tapped into my energy, which I had been keeping under control, thinking that would be the best way to get work done. I've discovered I don't do too well when I have too much time on my hands. I am best with structure and routine though not good at creating either for myself. So I need to be better at managing my time. Except while I was walking through the countryside I wasn't even thinking about writing, not directly. I was thinking about a dream I have, a lovely dream where I have a home in the English countryside, where I can roam as I please, write leisurely and not at an eight hours a day 40 hours a week type job, a dream where I am surrounded by green hills, fields lined with daffodils, where I can stand on a cliff at Tintagel or Tennyson Downs and lean into the wind and feel at home. Is it weird that there is something about England that feels like home? That feels like being here for only one year is not enough time that even a lifetime wouldn't be enough? Maybe that is weird considering I come from Utah and certainly this dream I have would be filled with people, I can't stand being by myself, and I haven't yet met that many people, not that are going to stick around here. Anyway. being in the countryside was lovely and just made me wish I could stay longer even though I am still going to be living here for at least another 8 months and shouldn't even be thinking about going home yet.

A few pictures from my weekend:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sporatic at best. That is my motto.

Remember when I posted last month and said I would be better at posting that month? Yeah, that didn't happen. I was also going to catch everyone up with my life and that didn't happen either. I have decided that I am terrible at blogging. But that's okay, I guess. It's not like I am writing loads in my life right now.

Since I can't possible write about everything that was missed just know that I finished my 90,000 word novel and turned that in and we are currently reading each student's novel in class so hopefully I will get a lot of feedback. I also finished and turned in my 4 final papers for last term's classes. Someday I might even get a grade and feedback on each of those.

I am currently taking two classes on writing fantasy and science fiction, novels and short stories. Speaking of short stories, one we had to read was called "The Care and Feeding of Your Killer Baby Unicorn." The world is like Buffy but with unicorns. Awesome.

Other things of note. I am learning how to play cribbage. I eat British food. I travel in to uni and to church on a train and it takes 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours of travel time each way. But I have discovered that I can read on trains! So helpful. In the past I haven't been able to read in cars or on planes so I didn't expect to be able to do so on a train. Thankfully I don't have to feel my travel time is wasted.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Catch Up part 1: Christmas

Okay. So like everything else in my life, I put blogging on hold over the month of Christmas break. For one thing I took off for Germany, then I had Christmas and then I had to finish a 90,000 word novel and write 3 assessments (final papers) for 3 of my masters classes each 2,500 words, which doesn't seem like a lot, but since each paper is worth 100% of my grade I kind of needed to make sure they were good. I have one more due this Tuesday that I have been working on. I'll be glad when it is done.

I know it has been 3 weeks since Christmas, but I still need to recap it. It was amazing. Saturday, day of Christmas Eve, Gloria and David planned an all day FHE which was from 11 to 9 of fun. We sang hymns, read scriptures, played games, went to the woods for a walk where D and G took care of Sqweaky while Matt and I ran about like children chasing each other. Every day over the weekend we took a walk through the woods and inevitably I ended up getting flipped gently to the ground. Serves me right for attacking someone with police training. We also had treasure hunts around the house and planned games and then ended the evening watching Downton Abbey and eating Indian food. Yum. Perfect Christmas eve.

Christmas day the Lloyds went all out on me. I went into the living room with a mound of presents for me. In my family everyone just opens everything as they go but with them each person takes a turn unwrapping a present while the others watch. It was weird to have everyone watching me as I opened my presents to find various dragons! and thermals b/c I am always cold it seems and an electric blanket for my bed (I have it on every night) and pjs to also keep me warm. I got jewelry and chocolate and sweets, candles and bubble bath, a notebook, socks, drawing pencils, etc. Not that presents are the important part, but it just goes to show how awesome the Lloyds are. I had planned to move to England, live on my own and have a small Christmas by myself. Ha! The lord landed me with the most perfectly weird and wonderful family I could imagine living with in England.

Life is good.

Okay. I will be better with blogging this month, this year. Maybe even this week. So check back more often to read up on my life.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Germany Christmas Markets

The weekend before Christmas, Gloria and I headed out to Germany for the Christmas Markets. We arrived in Koblenz and boarded a river cruise ship that took off up the Rhine the next morning. We saw castles and lovely old buildings as we went along. Saw the Lorelei rock and statue though I didn't get pictures.

We arrived in Rudesheim and headed off to the drosselgasse and wandered around the markets and shops.

We had tasty treats and decided to take a gondola lift up the hill.

Once we got to the top we wandered around and had races.

On the way down we saw Santa.

And then the market with lights.

The next day we spent in Cologne. Saw the Cathedral first.

Then the markets.

It was a very relaxing and fun weekend.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Novels I Read for My MA

In no particular order:
The Owl Service
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
I am Legend
World War Z
Clockwork Orange
Virgin Suicides
Behind the Scenes at the Museum
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Moll Flanders
Going Postal
The High Way Men
New Moon's Arms
A Pack of Liars
The Warden

This list does not include all the short stories and the non-novel books I had to read (Or the ones I will still have to read-that were on the list for supplemental reading and will be good for my thesis but I never got around to reading this term.)

My favorites were:
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Behind the Scenes at the Museum
A Pack of Liars
High Way Men

And I actually liked I am Legend better than the movie. It was slow in the middle but the ending is loads better than the movie. It was surprising that I liked it better. I also liked New Moon's Arms for the most part. There were just a few bits that were hard to handle: the main character's homophobic tendencies which were a reaction to being rejected by her gay best friend who she was totally in love with. I had to set the book down and walk away during those moments when she was flipping out and saying horrible things.

But classes ended Tuesday night and I don't have to go back to Uni until Jan. 9th! Yay! I am heading to Germany this weekend for the Christmas Markets then I am coming back here to spend Christmas with the Lloyds and will post more then!

Saturday, December 3, 2011