My Review of Leeds Metropolitan University

I was thinking about doing this the other day when I went to Leeds and came home empty-handed. But at the time I was quite angry and thought maybe I should figure things out first before I continue this. But since then I thought I do need to get my opinion out there and say what I think of this school.

Now my perspective is from the point of an English-speaking international student. And one who wasn’t there during the week or two they had set out for international students welcome.

I have to say, I am extremely disappointed in my experience. For what I spent coming over and trying to understand things since it is very different from what I am used to, it definitely could have been better.

Now my first semester I was assigned a kind of course supervisor. I can’t remember the exact term but we met once a week the first semester. But before that all started I was supposed to meet with her my first day on campus to get familiar with a few things. First when I went to her office, she wasn’t there yet and we were set to meet at a certain time. Then she kind of explained a few things to me as far as the classes go but when it came to understand other things, she wasn’t really helpful. I was expected to know how things work or ask questions but then I didn’t know what to ask considering I had just been there for about 5 minutes. She walked me to my first class and introduced me to a few people, the majority of us there weren’t from England is the funny thing. At least not originally. And I think I was one of three whose first language was English, the other two in the class were English.

So there I was not really prepared for my class because I didn’t know what I needed material wise and sitting in a room full of people I didn’t know.

I was terrified!

By the end of that semester I knew all of the people because we either talked or had other classes together. A few I did make friends with as well. But being a shy person I just wanted to find a rock to hide under at the time. That particular class was fun actually, we all made websites that held a certain interest to us. We could pair up or work on our own. I had decided to work on my own. The reason I mention this is because there were two guys who paired together and made a website to help people understand how things work when coming to England. I thought it was a fantastic idea and was surprised that no one, not even the school really, had thought of this. It’s bad enough that I struggled with some things but for someone who can’t speak or understand English very well, it’s even harder. I wish I could remember the website because I would have liked to see if they continued with it.

Now the course supervisor we had for the semester, didn’t actually ever explain to us if we would meet during the second semester or talk any more about the group of us meeting up later for events or outings after the initial talk of planning it early in the semester. It was disappointing since a lot of us wanted to get together but our planner never planned anything. I ended up finding out about what my schedule was online for the second semester after many unsuccessful visits to her office and to the admissions telling me that there was nothing scheduled but I had to talk to her to find out for sure. Well it wasn’t for lack of trying!

Then there was my dissertation supervisor. At first I was actually really excited about it because I quite liked the guy. He taught one module early on before two other lecturers took over and when he found out I was American he used to go to me for answer to American things. (Things that I generally didn’t know much about but I pretended to lol). He also used to be a part of the librarianship course that was once taught at Leeds Met but then it got thrown in with the course I took since it could be cut to fit what you needed it for. Some of the classes I was rather disappointed in since they were so general, I felt they weren’t enough for the librarian/archivist part I wanted to focus on. I learned a lot but I had to focus my dissertation on the librarian/archivist side in order to really find what I needed/wanted. I met with my supervisor a LOT! I think we met every two weeks unless there was an issue. And then when we would meet he’d want to see what I was working on. At first he’d shred it to bits and when I worked on the stuff he wanted, he’d start nit-picking at little things. Little things I wondered if they really mattered. I was expected to write at a certain level that I knew I was far below besides writing standards are quite different in the states, even if he didn’t believe me. I didn’t know how to do any better with my writing because unless it’s pointed out to me, I don’t really see it. I had missed a chance to go to a report writing class in the first semester which was my fault but then I never found out about any others.

It got to the point where I was actually dreading each visit because I had to brace myself for what he was going to say and it rarely was positive. One day I felt so low afterwards I actually went into the closest bathroom and cried. I know I don’t always handle criticism well and I tend to be extra sensitive about things but it was getting to the point where I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. Even when he liked something he still found something else to have an issue with, even if it was a word he wanted changed because it didn’t sound right.

So to find that my dissertation got such a low (but passing) grade was the final blow. I needed to know what it was I didn’t do. I’m going home in less than a week and I still don’t know! It’s been several weeks since the grades have gone in and when I went to the reception desk where I turned it in (another thing I had to find out about from someone, I wasn’t told where to turn in assignments!) there were lots there but not mine. There was only one other student he was a supervisor for besides me so it’s not like there were a lot to turn in. I was told he hasn’t turned in anything for dissertations. So I contacted the secondary supervisor as well as him after I left campus that day to ask about it and tell them I’m leaving.

I thought my wasted trip was going to be redeemed by him offering to send it to me. I told him the address I was at until Tuesday and then the American address after that. He said he would send it to Huddersfield and I thought, oh thank God! I emailed the second supervisor to let her know things were figured out so she didn’t have to worry. But then today I get an email saying my dissertation has been dropped off at the reception desk and was given an apology for the added stress and a small explanation.

So now I don’t know if it is being mailed to me. I did just send an email to verify what he meant. But I did say I could not make it to Leeds due to the rest of my money being spent on train and bus fare earlier this week. I had enough to buy my train ticket to the airport but I think I have less than 5 pounds in my bank account. Not even enough to draw money out from a machine. I could take what’s left in there out and close the account but I wanted to leave a little bit in just in case. So I’m kind of having a WTF moment.

I just kind of feel like it’s been one thing after another with this school.

Now there have been people who have been extremely helpful when it comes to issues I’ve had. The admin office for the postgraduates have been there when I needed them. They answered questions for me, I’ve been able to change a class thanks to them and they’ve also been able to confirm details I gave them that I couldn’t change online. I also had thought the research practice teachers were very helpful. They taught us what we needed to know and answered questions as best they could whether it was in person or by email. Sadly one of them retired so people won’t be able to rely on him anymore for help. There were also a few others but they were ones I never really felt close to, they just had a generally friendly and easy-going attitude.

These are the types of people who try to be as helpful as they can and are fully there for their job. I wish there were more of them out there for the international students. I really feel that if there was more done to reach out to the international students and more care for those that aren’t familiar with the system (or even just realize, they’re not used to this, they might need some help) it would be a much better experience. It really does matter if people care or not because it shines through in their performance.

I don’t know if I would have chosen Leeds Met again if I had the chance. I know I wouldn’t choose my accommodation again! I would have saved loads lol But there’s not much to be done now. So it’s one of those life lessons that you can take something away from and then move on. So that’s what I’m going to do.

 

UPDATE: I am getting my dissertation mailed to me. For some odd reason he decided to listen to what the receptionist told him rather than what we talked about considering the receptionist misunderstood that I could not come in next week to pick my dissertation up since I was leaving Tuesday. And I did tell him I had no money. Anyhow I had to contact the receptionist to ask for it to be mailed. So now the whole mess that shouldn’t have happened is now cleared up and I will see my dissertation. Whether or not it’s before I leave for home is another thing but at least I will see it.

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Guy Fawkes Day

Last week was rough. I’ve been going through a lot lately and been having trouble communicating with people so when I do it comes off wrong or I just end up losing it. I’ve been quite emotionally and I think it’s because of me not knowing if I’m leaving soon or not. There are a few other things but mostly it’s the question of when am I leaving?

I found out my grade for my dissertation finally. I’m happy to say that I passed though not with flying colors. At least I’m done, at least I can say I now have a masters, but until I pick up my dissertation up it’s going to be bugging me about why I got the grade that I did. I can say now that my supervisor was quite hard on me for a lot of things. I do wonder if the English was not up to par but then I would think that shouldn’t account for such a large part of the grade. I don’t know really since I really thought I was doing what he wanted. I know he had to nit pick a lot since he couldn’t find a lot he had issues with but I don’t know.

Anyway it’s Guy Fawkes Day and I wanted to share a little something with ya.

 

“Remember remember the fifth of November

Gunpowder treason and plot.

I see no reason why gunpowder, treason

Should ever be forgot…”

 

I’m more than sure I probably shared this last year and with V for Vendetta having come out there’s not many who don’t know what it is that I’m talking about.

However there might be a few. So Guy Fawkes was with a group of men in the early 1600s who were conspiring to blow up Parliament but was caught while he was guarding the explosives. The group was called the Gunpower Plot. I don’t think he was the only one that was caught but I can’t remember. However we were discussing the other night that one thing was for certain, we couldn’t want to die the way he did. Hung, drawn and quarter is not a nice way to go, but he pissed off the King and had to be made an example of I guess.

There are many that might say that we need a Guy Fawkes now with the way the government is going. We definitely need something.

Anyhow it might not be known in America that on the 5th of November bonfires are made all over the place in celebration of the failure of the plot. Fireworks are allowed to be shot off and if you don’t go to a large bonfire, many people just have one of their own. We tried it this year but the fire didn’t last long and we just ate inside until we shot off fireworks. Though I wonder if many have the bonfires in memory of Guy Fawkes since he’s not really considered a villan now. Just food for thought.

©Lisa Helker

Money Money Money, Must be Funny in A Rich Man’s World

So Friday went well I think.

Besides the fact that I along with many others ran out of time with our presentations so I had to quickly wrap it up. There was so much I wanted to say that I didn’t get to. I also found out I didn’t actually have to be there at 9am. I could have showed up at 2pm and have been fine. I was also late which had me quite anxious and to find it wasn’t an issue was a bit of a relief. But I’m glad I was there all day. I got to support at least one of my fellow classmates that I have gotten along with this year. There was another one whose presentation was in the first section but he ended up being a no-show. I’m quite surprised and was a little disappointed since I had missed his in progress presentation when he had been there for mine. I tried sending him a message but got no response. I just hope everything is okay with him since I don’t think that was a decision made lightly. I know I panicked during the end of the second semester because of having an issue with one of my classes. I did end up turning something in because I spoke with my professor and didn’t fail the class. I also noticed while I was awaiting my presentation that I didn’t have that nervous feeling all day and I wasn’t that nervous when I did my presentation. I do wish I had practiced though. I would have known what I was going to say better.

Anyway I ended up having a headache at the end when it was my turn to present. I had taken something a little bit before but it wasn’t working because when I met up with my fiance and his parents a few hours later for dinner. I still had it and it was worse. I didn’t get a celebratory glass of wine because that does make my headaches worse if I already have one. So I thought I’d try a amaretto and coke (if you haven’t mixed that ever before try it, it tastes like Dr. Pepper) and my headache surprisingly got better. I decided to get a second one that was a double and then the headache came back with a vengeance. I think cause I had been up over 12 hours by that point my body was just like, dude get into bed but I was still at the restaurant so it had to wait a bit. When I got home that night I had every intention to go to bed before 8pm something I probably haven’t done since I was a kid. But when I got into bed I thought I’d keep the tv on so I could possibly fall asleep to it and had Grey under the covers with me (and kneading my belly). I ended up staying up until sometime between 1am and 1:30 because a movie I hadn’t seen in a while came on and then another one and to be honest I was feeling better. Mike was downstairs the whole time until about 2am so he wouldn’t disturb me and then got sucked into doing a little online gambling. It’s funny before I met him I really never gambled. I think mostly because I had to go to a casino to do it and couldn’t be bothered. Here they have fruit machines in restaurants and bars. They’ll also have little chains that you can go into and bet on games or sports or play a multitude of slot machines. I remember the first time I came over to England to meet Mike, we went into this one called Cashino and they were having a Halloween raffle that every person got a ticket for when they came in. I didn’t really understand how the machines worked at the time so I kind of just played. I ended up leaving with 30 quid more than I started with because I won some money on a machine plus I won the raffle of the hour.

I remember when he came to St. Louis we also went to like 3 different casinos, one was just cause it was there and we needed to use the toilet. The second was to try the buffet and then we went in. And the last one was supposed to be where a lot of my friends got to meet him if they couldn’t come to the first event I had. That last one was okay. It was annoying because once we were in the casino we got carded at least 3 or 4 times despite the fact you are carded when you go in. My fiance is going to be 29 this year and looks younger than 18 let alone 21. One person decided to card him because of the way he pronounced amaretto until they realized the reason why was because he was English. But then I won 200 dollars randomly off a slot machine. So that’s a big pro.

I’ve also recently realize how much fun roulette is. Mike got a Groupon for the casino he’s a member of here for a 2 course meal for 2 or 4 people. We went with his friend Hannah and her boyfriend and actually had a pretty good night. It’s one of the kind of places that you don’t feel like you have to spend money cause it’s that nice. His friend didn’t at all if I remember correctly, she just kind of watched and hung out. And at the time I wasn’t sure if I was going to either but I saw the options for roulette and quite enjoyed it. Then getting a few wins on random numbers was nice. I also watched how you play Black Jack too though I didn’t participate. We ended up coming out pretty well having played roulette mathematically as well as on random numbers.

Anyway enough about gambling. Don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea I’ve got a gambling problem because I have an appreciation for it. Once I talked to a guy about the Anheuser-Busch family because I had read a biography about the family and about what they do when you visit the brewery and he accused me of being an alcoholic. Not something I take too lightly considering it runs in my family and while I enjoy alcohol I am careful when I drink.

Anyway despite the finish to my course I still have been a bit stressed and to top it off I’ve gotten another cold. Now that my course is finished, the student loans I had back in the states are no longer in deferment and I didn’t know you only get that 6 months grace period once. So I got some loans due now and I have absolutely no money now and despite me applying for many jobs week after week for many months I still haven’t even gotten an interview with anywhere. That one I thought I had the possibly of getting has completely fallen through. I’ve been trying what I can to try to get out of debt and have asked family for help. But there’s only so much help they can give and only so many times I can ask. I feel terrible asking for help too, I don’t like being in debt to others and I feel like a bum every time I ask for help but I can’t do anything else. I’m starting to think I might need to go home earlier than planned so I can have a better opportunity to get work but then there’s the damn plane ticket! I have been feeling a bit depressed because every time I get an email thanking me for applying also informing me I haven’t been shortlisted kind of kills me a little and getting another email letting me know another bill is due, thankfully it has been fewer emails about bills since some of them have been paid off. But then telling my family I need help and being reminded of what they have already done for me or reminded me they don’t have that much money as well or both. I don’t know what else to do! I’m already doing what I can and I’m not asking for handouts, I’m asking for loans until I can pay them back. And I’m getting married in a year! There are some solutions I’ve come up with to make things cheaper but I still have half the venue plus a deposit to pay for and someone to marry us. It shouldn’t be too hard to do but then there’s all this debt with people and student loans! Plus I need to make sure I got a plane ticket for next November when the UK reception happens. Looks like I won’t be doing a whole lot when I go home. Wish there was something that could make me feel better whether it’s a freaking lifeline, a job, or anything really that involves me taking my mind off money.

You know it’s funny how I sometimes kind of start off positive in a blog or on one subject and I sometimes go the other end of the spectrum. I talked about my presentation and now it’s about my last of money or job prospects. I feel I should end on a positive note though. I think I’ll share a quick and kind of funny story about Grey.

On Friday I got up at 6:30, Grey has recently decided that’s what time he wants to be fed and let out (if the weather isn’t bad). So since I was up I didn’t have an issue with it. Well I ended up going to the bathroom first before I went downstairs. My mother in law got up too cause she had to go teach somewhere and was giving me a ride to the train station. I don’t know if she fed him before he went outside but by the time we were leaving he was wanting in. unfortunately he wanted to bring in the bird he had caught and was dying in his mouth. I was out before my mother in law so I tried to get him to drop it and he wouldn’t. He just kept meowing which I didn’t know a cat could do while holding something like a critter in his mouth. He was also most like he was saying, would you let me in already so I can put this thing down? I wouldn’t let him come in though cause no one else was up and we weren’t sure if the bird was still alive. After both us failed to get him to drop the bird we decided we needed to go. He went to the side of the house and then dropped the bird and there was no movement so I went to pick him up and he picks the bird up again. I realized there was no way he was going to come in without the bird. So I let him be at the side of the house and we left and I sent Mike a warning text in case he tried to bring the bird in later. He didn’t in fact they don’t know what he did with the bird. He either took it somewhere else or he ate it (bleh). He is a pretty good mouser though, just yesterday he left a dead mouse at the backdoor. He seems to like letting us know of his presents and be praised for it. I don’t agree with him killing them (especially the birdy) but at least we know he won’t bring them in alive like Mogs does. She does kill them sometimes but generally she brings them in alive to play with and they get under furniture.

Stratford Weekend/Marsden Day

So my Sunday trip to Stratford didn’t really go as well as planned. It rained like hell. Weird combination there but not even 15 minutes after we got there it started raining. There was this really cool street performer too that I really wanted to photograph but by the time I had gotten back to her it was raining and she had moved on cause her paint would have washed off. But I will at least describe her. She stood out. I don’t know if was the gold paint on her face or the fact that it looked like she was sitting on nothing but a large stick. She was also holding a woven heart that was wooden, or at least looked wooden. Her head was covered in a wrap and she kind of struck me as like a Hindi God kind of look. She was above a woven mat as well that had a jar saying Follow Your Heart. I remember really looking at her entire display and thought it was so cool. So did Mike, we were holding hands as we walked by and commenting on it. As I looked at her and down at her jar I looked back up at her and she was watching us and smiling as she clutched her heart. I really should have just stopped right there and taken a photo because she looked beautiful but I thought when I’ve gotten to Shakespeare’s house I’ll come back. But like I said it started to rain and I saw her move on. She didn’t notice us but she walked right by us not looking too pleased at the rain. I should know as a photographer to take the opportunity when you take it. But I didn’t and when that happened I knew I had to burn that image of her in my head to share. I wish there was a visual that I could show you all. But that’s all I can do.

So beyond that not much has been going on. I didn’t enjoy the weekend that much, the few things I wanted didn’t really happen and all I kept thinking the whole time was that I wanted to be home snuggling with Grey. He’s been staying with us at night. Since his little accident we’ve been sure to let him out before bed and he’s snuggled with us on the bed. He sleeps the whole night and generally doesn’t want out or food until about the time Mike’s alarm goes off. He seemed like he wasn’t feel that good today. His eye was a bit weepy and seemed to be kind of mopey. But then Mike came back with KFC and boy did he perk up! He got to enjoy some fillet pieces practically jumping Mike for some pieces. After that I gave him his real dinner. I think he’s outside since he hasn’t come back up but I think he feels a lot better. I kind of think he was wanting to be around us more but he was outside for a bit today (the weather has been nice for a change) and we were out visiting a little town that has a visitors center for the canals. I took some photos which I will share as well as what I was able to take in Stratford.

So tomorrow is my presentation of my dissertation. I will be all nerves and likely having a pint or two during my lunch since I am the very last person to go. So I’m finished as of 3pm tomorrow (London time). I also seem to be having semi success with a job application. Hopefully I’ll have a job by November at the very least 🙂

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Edit: I seriously need to stop forgetting to add a title. This like the third or fourth time. If I don’t do one right away I tend to forget. Also to update on Grey. He went out before he had his breakfast this morning and brought back dying bird as I was leaving. I know it was dying because it’s legs were twitching as he tried to bring it in the house. I couldn’t let him in or make him drop it. So I guess he got his own breakfast. Bleh.

Bored Bored Bored

So I’m finding myself to be continually bored. I submitted my dissertation last Wednesday and I was expecting things to be calm and quiet when I got there.

Boy was I wrong!

It’s freshers week so there were a ton of students there, new and returning and it wasn’t so bad getting there. The more annoying part came when I was wanting to leave and there was a congestion at the bus stop as well a storm passing through. I had forgotten my umbrella and normally I wouldn’t care if I got a little wet but that day I did. I was going to dinner and the theatre that night with Mike and his parents to see Phantom of the Opera and since it was in Leeds I just dressed in the nice clothes I was going to wear that night. Well since the bus stop sheltered was crammed with students, I was forced to wait outside it, then it started raining. I kept debating about seeking shelter over waiting out the bus, it did say it was due but it was very late. So I decided to stay and a bus did show up just not the one I needed but I did managed to get in the sheltered and in time to save myself from heavier downpour. But then the bus I wanted did show up. And in order to make sure I got decent seat I was one of the first people in line, the heavy downpour got heavier and I was out of the shelter. I had on my thickish winter coat because it was quite chilly that day and I knew it would be colder by the time the performance was done. It also covered most of my dress too so I managed to not get overly soaked. But my coat and the back of my dress did and all these other students got it just as badly as me. I was dry by the time I met up with my in-laws but my wet coat left me a bit cold. I wish I could say I enjoyed the evening but with how tired I was from running around and cold from the rain (my pit stop at Starbucks only helped a little bit) made me a bit cranky. The place we ate at was fine but I wanted to try somewhere new and we walked a long way to decide where to go and then the seats at the theatre were Victorian and not made for comfort or space so I couldn’t completely enjoy the performance. It got to a point where I wanted to leave that’s how badly I wanted to go home. Mike and I both agreed that we wouldn’t attempt to go to a performance there again unless we got the expensive box seats since the lack of space was quite hard on our knees. I felt like an old woman trying to walk down the steps later.

I’ve started the work on my presentation but do find myself distracted. It doesn’t take much really but it’s not like my dissertation where I really needed to be concentrated on it. I think I’m nearly done with that actually and I don’t need that until next week.

But this last week has been doing a bit of job hunting, finally finding some jobs I can apply for, taking it easy and starting to look into when to go home. It’s been quite a bummer finding how high the ticket prices are. I don’t really get why ticket prices are higher for a single ticket rather than ones where you get a return. We’ve also realized that I’m going to have to go home sooner since I’m not restricted by a job which has its benefits but I really hate flying by myself. It gives me such anxiety and I never know what to expect, I think I’m always worried about missing a connecting flight plus all the stuff I got. We are thinking I might just need to decide what I really want sent home after the fact. I’m thinking I will just leave some things here that I don’t absolutely need like some of my books. I will get to meet up with my friends before Mike comes so we’re not rushing to meet this person and that person while he’s here. It might actually be more like a vacation for him as well as us planning a bit more for the wedding. But I am worried about money as usual. I had to spent quite a bit to print my dissertation so instead of nearly having enough for a plane ticket I am a bit short. Thankfully I will be more free for work but I guess I am a little worried since I’ve never worked in the UK and I haven’t worked in over a year. And then I’m going to have to start that process all over again when I come home. I already have a few library websites saved to look for work though I am going to be open to stuff that is at least is full-time and pays the bills and funds the wedding.

Speaking of which, one of the designers I like seems to now have prices listed for the dresses I’m preferring which just puts them out of the price range I’m thinking. And even with the limit I’m allowing myself, that extremely generous. I’d rather not spend that much on a dress but I am planning at some point to try those dresses on and if I like them, I’m might search for an Esty designer to see if they’ll make it for me at a better price and maybe a bit shorter. I definitely favoring the tea length dresses. So those are some things to keep in mind. I haven’t done any dress shopping yet with the mother-in-law but she keeps looking at places.

Oh and I have a very funny story to tell of Grey. I don’t know if I mentioned once before about Mogs recently brining in a live mouse and it hiding under the couch in the front room. Well Mogs when she lets it loose and tries to find it (this most recent one isn’t the first time she’s caught one and let it loose) she gets too excited and can’t pinpoint the scent. We’ve discovered that Grey is much better at it. On this night where she couldn’t find it, Grey jumps off the couch as he sees her and the rest of us looking for it and just kind of points it out by sniffing at a part of the couch and sitting there. I then see where it is and he leaves the room. Mogs at this point is still trying to find it. So that said, Grey was bugging me one day last week for food after I had already given him some maybe an hour or so before. I can’t remember if I check to see if there was food or not but I wouldn’t give in to his pleas. So he kind of settles down for a bit then decides to go outside. Next thing I hear is him meowing and my father in law yelling to warn me he’s brought in a mouse. So I jump up because I don’t want it loose in the bedroom. I open the door to find Grey is already sitting there and there is something on the ground. He just sat there purring away and sitting so proudly as if to say, “Look what I got for you! Can I have some food now?” So I patted his head and walked around him to get some paper towels, the mouse was dead though it looked as if it was a heart attack rather than an injury that killed him though he very well could have crushed it carrying the little guy. I then fed Grey and disposed of the poor little mouse. I just hope he doesn’t plan to do that again the next time I won’t feed him lol

He got to stay in last night too though got to and forced to are two different things. I bet the way he saw it was he wasn’t allowed to go out and he wasn’t allowed to snuggle in bed with someone. He is a serious snuggler. If someone is in the bed with him he will move to where he is laying next to if not on the person. It’s quite cute when he does that. Last night he got up to go downstairs so Mike and I got into bed and we thought his parents would put him out but I guess they decided not to cause of the weather so instead of him being content with the cat bed, he just laid on top of the steps and would meow a bit anytime there was movement cause I know each time I woke up I would hear him whine. He also left a little present by the backdoor. We’re going to have to litter train him it seems. Based on what I found today it shouldn’t be too different from a kitten and thankfully the in-laws don’t have an issue with it. So once that happens he’s just going to have to get along with the girls and snooze with them in the front room at night. It shouldn’t be too hard to do.

Anyway I think that was it. Not much has gone on. I’m leaving this weekend for the band competition that Mike and his mom are in. Sunday we’re going to go to Stratford Upon Avon so I get to see Shakespeare’s house again! It’s been 11 years since I went there and I was in a jet lag coma I think. Most of us just slept on the bus until we got somewhere. I do remember bits and pieces but my photos from there aren’t that great since the camera I used wasn’t very good. So hopefully I’ll have some nice photos to share!

Big Events Come in Threes

Have you ever heard that saying, all bad things come in threes. I kind of wonder the same thing for good things and just major events. I’m nearly done with school. In a matter of weeks I will be done. My dissertation is nearly done in the editing process as well.

I have a venue and date set for my wedding next year.

Yep that’s right it all got confirmed this week. I’m getting married at Hawken House on October 6th 2013. I already wrote a blog or two about the place and time. I already have many, many visions of what I want. A good deal of it will be done myself and done cheaply because I don’t have a job and when I do, I’ll be paying off student loans and Mike will be saving up to come over as well as help pay for it. The things I’m thinking about now is the food I want, buffet or seated dinner, who I should invite and what should be our limit on guests and all sorts of things like that. Then there’s another thing. We’re having a reception in Huddersfield after we get married. My fiancé and his mom want it to be like 4-6 weeks after we get married and all I can think about is, will I be able to afford coming over? And will whatever job I have at the time allow me to. I’m actually trying not to think too much about the second one because my mother-in-law wants to plan it and we don’t need to do too much at the moment so I’m putting that out of my head.

So school is nearly done, I will have an MSc and I’m getting married in about a year. The other third big event that has happened is…

My friend Allison who I’ve known since we were boy-crazy 13 year olds, just had her baby at 5:32am central time/11:32 England time. She had a boy who she has named Isaiah John. He’s healthy but he’s currently got a lung infection so they’re keeping an eye on him. So if you care to, send a prayer or thought out to her and her little man.

So yeah this has been a pretty eventful week. This month as well is pretty eventful with Mike having his band competition on the day my dissertation is due plus the dissertation and presentation. I’m hoping things will be a bit more quiet the next few months before I go home :p I want to relax (and find a temporary job) so I won’t have to worry about money spending when I go home. I think we’re going to look into buying my plane ticket home soon. Though we need to figure out a way we can get me a one way ticket and Mike a return ticket on the same plane and hopefully with seats next to each other.

So that’s basically it. I wanted to share my continuing good news. 🙂

No More Teachers, No More Books…

So I’m attempting to write this post sideways cause I have a Grey in my lap. He hasn’t tried to lay in my lap for a while so I’m taking advantage of it. Minnie came in a few minutes after he did and just stopped and stared at him like, how dare you that’s my lap! She a big lap cat. I think I posted once about her getting jealous of my laptop because it was on my lap. So I haven’t had much happening lately. And I realized I’m faced with something I’m rather baffled by.

I have time on my hands. When did that happen?

I finished writing my dissertation last week. And the only thing I have left to do is edit it, or I should say have my fiancé look at it and tell me how to make it more “English”. My supervisor likes to nitpick at how I word stuff because let’s face it, I’m American and I don’t sound sophisticated enough. He says I write like I’m working for Fox News and I don’t know if I should feel insulted or not  by that. But I know that after high school my writing style had to change. I was taking some kind of secondary English/writing class (it was required) and I’m willing to admit that a lot of things such as parts of speech kind of go over my head. So I had the professor give me a pretty bad grade for one paper and he actually wrote on there to see him for help. I did, because I remember I made such an effort and I didn’t want another bad grade for something I was missing. I actually respected him more for that. Then we schedule a time and worked on a paper and he saw where I had weaknesses (I got a free short story book from him too that was just lying in the room we were working in). I wish I could say he completely changed my writing style and changed how I see things. He did change my writing style to something more serious and out of a high school level but I still struggle to see the parts of speech and unless I continually try to do things to figure it out like I had to in school, I was a part of the special school district, I have a learning disability though I couldn’t tell my exact problem because for many years I didn’t know and I have since lost the paper work, all I can say is I don’t have ADD unlike my mom and brothers and that it affected my math and as well as understanding the English language which also helped me to get out of taking any foreign language classes. Not to say I didn’t want to but if I have a hard enough time understanding English, what makes you think I’d get Spanish or French?

Anyway back to what I was saying, that professor helped me and I always appreciated anyone that went out of their way to help me understand things that were baffling me. I’ve found I’ve really enjoyed all the professors I’ve had here but for maybe one (I was quite intimidated by him but I think that was more my perspective of him than what he actually was.) and I couldn’t really say that for all of the professors I had for my undergraduate. I didn’t like a lot of them because they didn’t make me feel like I was worth anything. I was a transfer student when I went to Webster University and I had one teacher tell me that I may have been a junior but my work was that of a sophomore. Gee thanks, you’re so nice. I wasn’t the only one she said that to either, one of my friends who was as well a transfer student was told the same thing. It didn’t make sense that we were being given crap for not going there the whole four years. I don’t think those that are teachers realize how much they can tear a person down with stuff like that, it doesn’t just stop when we grow up, college teachers can do the same. There is giving constructive criticism and then there’s making someone feel less worthy as a person or professional. I’m willing to admit I’m quite sensitive to that kind of thing, remember that incident with the bone marrow donor, I haven’t been able to not feel bad about my weight since then and it hasn’t changed much with the effort I’m giving. I’ve realized I don’t eat a lot but I have my moments, my diet has changed a bit but it’s really hard to exercise when it gives you pain. I can’t be on my feet walking or standing for too long or my left foot starts hurting every time I walk. I’m more than sure I have plantar fasciitis because my mom has had it for years and I recognized the symptoms and then looking it up I see I fit the description. I’ve actually ordered an arch support wrap that will make it easier for me to get around with or without shoes. I might make an attempt with Mel B again :p. Though I will say that even though I didn’t always like my professors for how I felt they treated me, I respected most of them.

Anyway beyond that I guess I’m writing for a few reasons. I got an email today saying that one of my favorite professors has taken a  “voluntary redundancy” I have no idea what that means. I understand voluntary and I understand redundancy. Is it just a clever way of saying retired? My supervisor told me that a few weeks ago when I asked why the email to this professor wasn’t working. It does make me a bit sad because he was always very help and he was funny in his awkward way. I’m hoping he’ll be there when we have the presentations because I want to see him again and thank him for what he’s taught me.

I also had a hit and miss with a job opportunity at school. They have work at the moment but unfortunately it required you to be there full-time. The guy that called me didn’t realize I was still doing my course and won’t be available for full-time work until after these job opportunities finish. But they said they’ll have lots more when school starts. So I’m hopeful.

So yeah I have a ridiculous amount of time. My dissertation is due in a few weeks. So I’m hoping to get Mike to finish editing it by this weekend and I can get it bound next week and turn it in early! (Now wouldn’t that be awesome?) Then I got the presentation to work on. But I decided I would start on that next week.

So what have I been doing? Watching tv and playing on the sims mostly. My internet hasn’t been that good lately. We realized it wasn’t capped like we thought. It’s either the router that needs replacing or it the cable that my father in law accidentally cut through and patched up. It makes it really hard to do anything online at times and with another person here also using the internet it’s kind of like a fight to use it. I can’t really talk to my mom on Skype either since that is the only thing I can do is talk to her. Otherwise the connection goes a bit weird if I look something up.

Oh and speaking of fighting for something. It appears I have competition with Grey. Mike’s friend who is staying with us (I’ve managed to resist writing a rant blog about him) likes the cat as well so when he comes upstairs and does his meow, we both call for him. And sometimes he opens the door before me and manages to get Grey for a few hours. I’m willing to admit I am very jealous. Mike and I talked about it last night. I’m acting like a child that doesn’t want to share their toys because when it came to my cats back home, I was the only one interested enough in them that I didn’t tend to have competition for their attention. They came to me because they knew they could get it from me. Mike noticed one day last week when Grey came up and meowed so I called to him as did Justin and apparently the look I had on my face was that like I wanted to kill him. I probably did but I was getting tired of having him around because he doesn’t do much and it’s hard to get some peace when he playing music and my usual route is interrupted by someone else.

To be honest the only Grey tends to do besides beg for food is sleep in the bed. He probably lays in my lap once a week but he needs to know he’s allowed in and does crave attention at times. It was funny this morning when I got up (I’m still getting up with Mike) and came down, Minnie didn’t even wait for me to get to the bottom of the steps before meowing for food. So I went into the kitchen to get her some food and I look out the window and see this shape. Grey is sitting outside the kitchen window looking in perfectly still. I didn’t have a key for the door so I started to go up and it when I hear him at the backdoor (he was fast!) so I let him in and he’s soaking wet. I had just put some dewormer on him yesterday too so I’m hoping it didn’t wash out. But he got dried and ate and now is sleeping peacefully on me. I’m home alone at the moment. The in-laws went to the doctor and Justin is out for the day. One of his little role-playing games today. So I’m getting some peace even if it’s only for a little bit. Wish I could have gotten it this past weekend with Mike. It was a bank holiday weekend and the last one before Christmas so instead of getting at least one day with jut me and Mike, we had either  Justin, Mike’s parents or some people over. Granted the game night was nice but I did reach a point where I wanted everyone out because I was feeling a bit closed in. Anyway that’s was pretty much it. Rather boring really but I guess that’s better than nothing. I’ll leave you with a few more photos Mr. Grey.

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The End is in Sight!

So I’m taking a mini break from my dissertation writing to update a few things. I only got about a 1000 or so words to go before I meet my word count! I got two sections left to write which won’t be hard at all. It’s just getting my lazy butt to get cracking on it. I can’t believe I’ve come this far. I think I really did wonder if this day would ever come and now I’m kind of like…well what do I do now? I’m still job hunting. I got an email today saying I didn’t make it to the round of interviews for one today. That really bummed me out. I’ve gotten told by more than one person that I do have the skills needed for certain jobs even though I haven’t necessarily worked in those jobs before and I’m getting passed up. It really annoying when even certain retail jobs pass me up but then those are the ones I don’t hear from either so who knows.

There is one that I might have a chance at. I need to call them first but I’m kind of hesitating for kind of dumb reasons. I want to finish my dissertation first. There really is nothing stopping from doing both but I haven’t been this stress free in a while. I still do get stressed but about little things like money and work but I’m not letting it get to me either. I want to get my dissertation done with and out of the way so I can start on my presentation which is pretty much written in itself and get a job while I’m working on that.

And you want to know something that’s really bugging me. I’m constantly critiquing my writing. I keep thinking I need to say do not rather than don’t and not use first person because that’s how my dissertation is supposed to be done. In third person and whatever the term they use for writing words out rather than taking the short cut with the (‘) symbol. My brain can’t bring up what that term they used is but I think you catch my drift.

Grey is still here too. My mother in law hasn’t spoken with the woman across the road since he showed up Saturday. He’s currently sleeping next to me. I have no idea if they’ve spoken to this woman and what’s taken so long for an answer. We’re kind of in limbo with Grey at the moment. We don’t know if he’s staying with us or if he has to go again and it’s going to be so cruel to do this again since it’s been a few days and he’s getting used to being here now. But I can’t really be annoyed with the woman since we don’t know what’s going on. The other neighbor we have spoken to about Grey or well my mother in law has. She’s this sweet older lady that’s from…well I can’t remember I think somewhere from Eastern Europe but I can’t remember which. But she’s sick at the moment, she has some kind of cancer and she lives alone, so my mother in law being a former nurse and an all around good person checks on her all the time, I’d say daily cause it does seem that way. But she was talking to her about Grey coming back, apparently Grey used to belong to the old neighbor’s brother, I think he lived there for a time. But they got another cat, a black one who I swear I never saw outside but she did go out because she ended up having kittens and when that happened Grey was made to live outside for the most part. He only got fed in this one little room that was more like an enclosed porch. So I’m guessing he must be counting his lucky stars because he can come in and sleep here during the day and go out at night and there are other cats around as well. Plus he’s got me, the one person who can never deny him anything including my love. I think I made Mike jealous at times the way I would fret over him and baby him. He made a joke when Grey left the first time about if this means he has me back now. But he loves that cat too. I watched him do the exact same thing I do to him when he’s laying on the bed, bend over him and pet him and talk to him in such a voice that you only reserve for babies and animals. He looked up at me at one point and just said What? and of course we both knew I was looking at him cause he’s a sucker for that cat like me plus I found it quite cute.

Anyway what was I saying?

Oh yeah I am pretty sure Grey didn’t father those kittens cause is missing the boys, though I have no idea when those kittens came around but I’m thinking its part of the reason why they left. Anyway, as far as I know the brother isn’t around anymore and I don’t see why we can’t help take the burden off by taking him. I mean we’ve basically fed him for up to the equivalent of about a month and we’re not asking for money. We’re just asking either please take your cat because we can’t afford to keep doing this or let us keep him. I vote for the second one but that’s just me.

Anyway that’s really about it with everything that’s going on. Nothing exciting beyond Grey happened. Mike’s parents are going away in a day or two to visit his sister and it’s a bank holiday this weekend. Though it won’t be as relaxing and quiet as I would hope for. I don’t know if I mentioned this or not but one of Mike’s friends is staying with us temporary until he find a more permanent solution for housing and hasn’t been all it’s cracked up to be. But I might say more about that later. But anyway I guess it will be us three hanging out in Mike’s room or downstairs this weekend…oh joy!

Things are Looking Up!

So I was debating about whether or not to write a post today since I wanted to wait until I found out about the wedding venue but I think I’ll save that for my other blog.

So It’s Tuesday, Friday is when Grey was taken home. I was pretty miserable Friday and Saturday. We had a BBQ Saturday evening and right before that I moved all my stuff out of my student accommodation. I don’t really miss the place to be honest. But it got my mind off of Grey. I was pretty cranky at first cause I was feeling stressed about where to put my stuff, my lack of money to be able to send stuff home, missing Grey and needing to work on my dissertation. But a funny thing happened. One of my fiance’s friends knew something was up, I was upstairs sulking (I almost didn’t want to come down for the BBQ) and he came up and asked me what’s up. And this is one of those guys that’s kind of manly and macho and likes being a guy’s guy. And he just sat there and listened to me talk about what was bugging me. He listen to me about Grey, and I will never understand why but he’s afraid of cats, so even though he didn’t care that much about the cat story, he listened.

Mike I think the most shocked because I was generally fine after that (until I wanted to go to bed and relax but they were all still here enjoying the fire pit but I’ll just leave that to me being tired since I was up early) and the fact that who it was that got me out of my mood. If he had tried that it would have been worse. I do feel bad about that sometimes but I do sometimes need to sulk a bit before I start feeling better and I also need to be left alone when I sulk. Now Mike wants to fix everything so when doesn’t leave me to sulk long enough it tends to backfire.

But now that it’s Tuesday, I am doing better. Grey hasn’t come back like we predicted, though not to say he might not. Maybe he’s just happy to be home and maybe she’s actually letting him stay in the house longer. Missing him is a bit different to missing any of my other animals. I know he’s safe and it’s not like he passed away. Mike also said we now know I can love an animal as much as I loved Missy. So maybe in a few years I’ll get to have my own cat like that again.

So my dissertation is going better than I thought. I was getting kind of worried for a bit because I was taking longer than I had planned with my transcripts but yesterday I spent the day working on a few things and working out what I needed to have for a complete dissertation. I’m actually about halfway (if not more) through with it. The beginning will be very easy to write since it’s already partially written from when I did my proposal and the biggest part of it, my lit review is basically done though it still needs editing and bits added to it. I got my reference list done a while ago. My data analysis is going smoothly as well. So really the only parts I need to work on and will go smoothly as well since I know what I’m talking about is my reflections and conclusions. I do need to do a bit of work on the methodology but that’s just making it better based on what my supervisor told me. And I got all kinds of information to use for my presentation. So I’m pretty happy with the way things are going, I think my project planning was a bit unrealistic but at least I realize I’m not behind. Anyhow I should probably start working on it now. I want to see what I can get done in the next few weeks before I need to seriously edit stuff.

So things are looking up. Pretty soon I’ll be coming home and this blog will be done. But that doesn’t mean I’m  going to stop blogging. I got the wedding blog now. Maybe I’ll just be writing one about everyday life and living between the two countries. Who knows!

Forgiving, Letting Go and Reminiscing

Right now I should be listening to the last transcript I worked on to see if I can iron out the bits I couldn’t hear very well and double-check that I got everything right. But I decided I needed to write a post.

I follow a couple of blogs on here and one of them posted about being well-healed. It makes me think a lot about the stuff that has happened to me in the last year and recently with Grey joining us. I know I post a lot about cats but I am an admitted full-blown crazy cat lady. Plus there hasn’t been much going on in my life since I’m deep in dissertation writing and still am not planning much for my wedding (though we may have chosen a venue but we’re checking on the price since I have to call to enquire, I’ve asked my mom for help).

The blog I read today and something I said to my fiance over the weekend has got me thinking. Just over a year ago I lost my cat Missy, she was over 20 years old and a cat I had since I was a little girl. It hurt real bad losing her. I remember the day she died my cousin came over to help me bury her and keep me company that day. And that following week was so hard. I did not want to go into work. Not only had I lost my cat but recently my boss had left and I was left to work with someone who I did not get along with for many reasons and was then forced to hide my true feelings that day. I had two co-workers from a different department and one of the other managers to lean on for the most part that day in order to deal with what had happened, they knew something was up and understood. Even though I left for grad school, the last few months there weren’t good. Recently I heard from someone there that though there may be new people nothing much has changed. I feel a lot of the problems had to do with the lack of supervision and ulterior motives. My boss was not perfect in fact she was going though some bad times the last 6 months or so of her working there but I understood she wasn’t 100% completely there mentally for the job. Unfortunately not everyone saw things that way and someone took advantage of that. I’m not sure if I’m ready to go into the details of what happen at least publicly but I have talked to a few people about it. The one individual who had issues with for the last year of my job (and sadly things did not get better but worse at the end) I’ve managed to forgive for the most part. I feel they do have some serious issues to work with that I hope one day they do but I don’t really have any ill feelings towards them anymore just regret that things couldn’t be different.

Anyway I’m getting side tracked from what I was originally saying. Missy and I connected in many ways I have never connected with any other animal. Though I do love all three (now four) of the cats I have encountered since then, they each have their own personality. Mogs was probably the closest I have gotten to having that same devotion I had for Missy. Since we’ve encountered Grey, there have been a few things we’ve noticed with him.

  • He’s not attacking Mogs anymore like he did when he was still with his former owner, though that doesn’t stop Mogs from giving out a few cheap shots when she feels its necessary. It’s going to take her time to tolerate him.
  • He does miss his former owner. He’s been a bit mopey today. I think because yesterday he went over there and she isn’t there. I also think that’s why he’s gotten so attached to me lately.
  • That said, that cat absolutely loves me. My fiance was saying to his mom that he think I’ve adopted a new cat, she said to him, I think he’s adopted her. He tends to follow me around if I call him. I think he’s even responding to being called Grey.
  • He is vocal. Anytime he comes into the bedroom he meows for a few minutes and I have to call to him a few times before he either jumps on the bed or comes over to me. If the bedroom door is closed he will meow and meow until we open it to let him in. Last night he came in late and Mike and I were in bed watching a movie. We weren’t going to let him in but he figured we were still up watching a film. He got on the bed and laid between us.
  • Saturday night I managed to talk bully Mike into letting him stay for the night. I felt so bad making him go outside two nights in a row (though he willingly walked out) that I was near tears each time. This time I wasn’t going to make him leave. Mike being far too tired to argue just let him stay. However at 5am Grey was up and fed and I let him out (I was making sure he didn’t use the toilet on the carpet just in case). Last night Mike was the one to put him outside and Grey didn’t go willingly. We both feel bad putting him out but we don’t know if he’s litter trained and Mogs and Minnie aren’t ready to accept him just yet.

Now that I’ve said most of that and spend the last several days with him I’ve come to realize a few things. He has so many similar personality traits to Mogs, Missy and Indy even a little bit of Minnie. I don’t think I’ve had a cat take so much to me since Missy and Indy. He loves to cuddle with me. He lets me pick up and even hold him like a baby on his back (Something I only encountered with Missy, Mogs will tolerate it for a few minutes but then she wants back down). Right now he’s got his claws in my legs cause he’s been kneading me as I let him have my spot (yeah I’m a sucker) and sleep next to me. I think in a way, Missy sent him to me, to take care of. Mike thinks when Missy died, she was doing it for me, so I wouldn’t worry about her when I went to England. I remember the first time I was meeting Mike in person in 2010. I started packing my bag the first few days before I even left (I was so excited and wanted to make sure I remembered everything). She sat on the very top of that bag at least twice. I remember once coming upstairs to seeing her sitting there and then mewing at me like she wanted to go too. I thought it was so cute and immediately took a photo of her to send to Mike. My mom said she moped around for me when I was gone. Then when Mike came to see me that following Spring, Missy kind of avoided being around us when we were at home and that’s quite unlike her. It was only the night before he left that she came and cuddled with me, after being quite angry that I wouldn’t let her go outside (and locking her and Indy out of the bedroom because he couldn’t sleep with them on the bed). She’d hadn’t been outside in years and she shot out the door that night when I was trying to call Indy who just lapped up the attention Mike gave her. But in the end, Mike felt she knew I had found someone and it was okay for her to go and stop taking care of as much as I was taking care of her.

I might be acting quite silly with the whole Missy sending me another cat but that’s the way I prefer to look at it. I remember she used to lay on top of these pillows in the other room on a bed for when my nephews spent the night. She spent a lot of her time in there that week she passed. She didn’t want to move much and that seem the most comfortable place for her. I’d walk upstairs and see her laying there from the corner of my eye. I’d usually go to her to give her a little attention before I went into my room. So after she passed I’d keep thinking I saw her there when I came up the stairs and then turn and look to see nothing. I remember a friend taking me out to eat at Fitz to get my mind off things and I did well until I got home and saw the empty pillow. I don’t get as upset as I used to and I don’t refuse to think about her anymore for the fear of crying, if I get upset I allow it. I’m healing still but I’m guessing you could say I am well-healed.

Anyway I should probably get going on my work. I got up with Mike today to get an early start on my work and I haven’t touched it yet.