Farewell England!

So my last day in England.

I got my dissertation on Saturday. Got to see my marks and comments. Of course got a little annoyed with some of it. One thing I wasn’t surprised with was some of the comments were repeats. I guess I just didn’t get what he wanted me to do. Either way it’s over with.

I’ve packed pretty much everything I can. There are a few things I have to leave behind. Hopefully some of it can fit in Mike’s bags when he comes otherwise it will just stay here or can be shipped to me if I really miss it.

I’ve not been as emotional or weepy as I thought I would be. But it’s a bit different this time. I know I’m going to see him at Christmas and even though it is quite a bit away I’ll see him in the Fall when we get married. The first two times when I saw him first and then he came to see me I started crying a few days before the end of the trip because I wanted more time with him. I remember after I dropped him off at the airport the first time I had to run to the bathroom so I could cry. I’m one of those people who hates to let others see me cry especially complete strangers so I prefer to weep in private. It was kind of funny cause I got to a point where I thought I was okay enough to leave the stall and a song came on and it was so freaking sad that it got me started all over again. Finally I thought I need to go home at least I can lock myself up in my room and cry! My mom didn’t understand why I was so upset cause I was going to see him again but it was the fact I hate being separate from him! Even when I was in Leeds I thought I preferred to be at his. Granted his house had a lot of benefits that my student studio didn’t have including silence at night!

I had a nice weekend. Friday we watched a few films together, Saturday we spent some quality time together before he had to go to a brass band concert and then we had people over as a last time game night. I’ve really been glad to get to know and become friends with some of Mike’s friends. I’ll be glad to see them again at the wedding. I even got a card today from one of his friends and his wife. Mike’s godmother gave me an early Christmas present of American money when I returned her books she lent me. Sunday we went to Bronte Country and I got see the house they lived in that was turned into a museum. I wish I could have taken photos but there was no photography or video allowed. I really enjoyed it and it made me want to read the books I have and the ones I don’t have yet. I think my favorite was Jane Eyre. I remember when we were in the car and saw the moors I kept thinking about Jane traveling through them when she left Mr. Rochester before coming to her cousins’ place.

Then there was Anne Bronte’s Agnes Grey when she was in Scarborough. I got to see what she saw going down the large hill to the beach (granted with a ton of arcades that weren’t Victorian). That’s one of the biggest things I’ve loved about these novels I can visual what they saw when they were writing the manuscripts.

Anyway I’m getting distracted. I really enjoyed it there obviously lol We looked around some shops. I finally got to try a macaron (the french kind not the coconut kind) it was a mini one. It was vanilla with marzipan in the middle. Mike had a chocolate one. I’m definitely going to have to start making them. We went to dinner at a restaurant I quite like and have been wanting to go to but it seems that they have gone down in the service and quality. Almost every time we’ve gone they’ve been out of food. It’s kind of surprising really if they’re that popular. But I enjoyed my lamb shank pie and churros sundae. I also had my very last glitterberry J20, it’s only around during the holidays and it tastes like cherry jolly ranchers.

Today I got a visit from the neighbor across the road. She was giving me a send off and we were talking about marriage and family. I can’t wait to see her again next year.

I’m going to miss Grey like crazy though. I picked him up earlier and thought I need to snuggle him a lot today and I nearly let loose the waterworks. I’ve got some quality time in with Mogs and Minnie as well. I wonder if Minnie will act weird now that I won’t be there. Mogs won’t be as bothered I’m sure but I wonder she’ll be afraid of me again the next time I’m around. I at least got to give her belly a good rub and a nice chin scratch.

I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get home. I did warn my mom I might be a bit tired and crabby. I’ll be glad to see Indy again. Things should be okay, I’ll just have to get used to everything again.

And before I know it Christmas will be here and I’ll have my most wanted present, Mike. 🙂

I might write another entry or two once I’m home again. But this is the end really. I’ve really enjoyed writing this blog and been happy to get more followers. I don’t think I ever expected to get so many people liking it and coming back for more. Hopefully they will like whatever I come up with next. 🙂

It’s been a great year.


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.

So Much Stuff, So Few Bags!

So I’m going through stuff that I want to pack and I’m realizing I just don’t have the room.

I only have two bags and two carry on and it’s just not enough to hold everything. I don’t think I realized how much I had here. Some of it is stuff I asked my mom to send me and I’m beginning to regret it since I don’t have the room. I got tons of shoes that I haven’t worn but asked to be sent and three pairs are converse. I love converse shoes. My first pair was some high top flames that I had been coveting. I stupidly got rid of them a few years ago cause I got unwanted attention from wearing them at church a few times. I was only a teenager but was easily influenced. I think the last time I wore them was to my prom (which I still love that I did) and then got rid of them. They didn’t really go with anything anyway but I loved them still. I got a grey, purple and green pair at the moment. I used to wear them all the time back in St. Louis but then I wasn’t using my feet as my main point of transportation. They are not walking shoes at least the canvas Chuck Taylors aren’t. But I’ve also acquired two new pairs that I can’t live without. They are nice and I can just slip them on and wear them anywhere, dress up or down or just to put out the trash. So I’m beginning to wonder if I should get rid of my chucks. I hate the idea of doing so cause I once wanted to own a pair in every color. It might be one of the many things I asked to be sent back to me or a few things I ask Mike to bring with him at Christmas.

Then there’s a few other things. I got coffee mugs, figures, an antique musical jewelry box, a blanket that was my grandmother’s and I’ve had since she passed away 13 years ago but is falling apart terribly.  I also got a ton of books I’ve acquired as well. I’ve tried hard not to buy books when I’ve been here but when I see a classic that’s on my list of books to read I end up buying it. I think I got the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes books for about ÂŁ1.50. I have yet to read those because my list has become so long.

I think some of the mugs I’m just keeping here until I either come back for them or ask for them to be sent. My jewelry box I won’t be sure about until I go back home. I do have one more back to pack and I might find I have room for things like some photos or a few books. The shoes are just material things, I’m a lot different now than I used to be and might find I don’t miss them.

But my grandma’s blanket is another thing. I don’t know what to do. It is falling apart so I can’t really use it and I don’t think it’s even repairable. I stopped using it last year around this time because I realized I couldn’t keep washing it without it shedding more and more of its material. I’ve also gotten used to not having a small blanket handy when I get cold though it might be different when I go home. I wouldn’t mind a new one. It’s really hard to say at the moment. I do still have a week before I leave.

I booked my ticket and got my first class train ticket (I’m not dragging four things of luggage with me to fight for a seat in standard.) It really overwhelmed earlier just finding things I can pack now. Luckily I was home alone and could have a good cry. I haven’t really had a chance to cry. Last night and Friday while I was in bed I did well up but I couldn’t really let it out for fear of waking Mike. Leaving him or watching him go has been the hardest thing for me to deal with. I just want to stay with him and that be it. But we got about a year a part to deal with before the wedding and who knows how longer after we’re married. We need to meet certain requirements as far as immigration goes either way.

Anyway don’t mind me as I question what to do. I know things will get better I just need to allow myself to be upset. I don’t want to build it up. I also don’t think it’s truly hit me yet. At least I get Mike for Christmas 🙂

Meet Me in St. Louis

My time here has an expiry date.

My flight out of England has been booked. And I got mixed feelings.

I’m coming home on the 20th and will be home just days in time of Thanksgiving celebrations. I’ll be seeing friends and family I haven’t seen in person in over a year and I’m pretty sure my cat will be jumping for joy.

But then I’m leaving behind the life I’ve gotten used to here, my new cat Grey who won’t know where I’ve gone and Mike my fiancĂ©. Thankfully I’ll be seeing Mike at Christmas. And I know I’m coming back here. I just hate that a lot of things are coming to an end.

Like this blog for instance. This blog was only meant to be for my year here but I’m finding I quite enjoy it. I like putting stuff on here and sharing it. I find that little things like my photos and when I talk about my cats get a lot of notice. Photos I wasn’t that surprised by but the cats yes! lol

I am planning on having a different blog after this. I already got my wedding one up. I don’t know what to make the focus of my next one to be. I don’t mind it being about me and having it as a general blog. But then there’s the design and layout and the name of the blog and how often I want to update it.

There is one thing I want to crab about though. STA Travel. I have only used it once before this. It wasn’t for student prices I don’t think. Maybe it was but I first used it to get a flight home to St. Louis after going to Minnesota for week with a friend. She was staying cause it was her mom’s house and I had to come back to go to work. I had to call them because I didn’t know until a few days before I left that I deleted my flight ticket from my email. They claimed I needed a student card to prove I was a student because if I didn’t they ask for proof and I didn’t have any. I got the stupid card and it was never asked for and I never used it for the whole year I had it.

So back to today when I was trying to buy my ticket at a student price. I went all the way through until I got to a point where it was asking me for an ISIC card. I didn’t have one and I wasn’t about to pay for one to prove I was still a student. So I had to go back and redo everything and tweak things as far as not going one way (if you don’t know already, if you get a one way flight ticket, it will cost you more than getting round trip ticket) even though I’m not coming back to England for a year. So it was more expensive than the student price but it was less expensive than the other sites I was looking at. I guess I should start going through stuff and seeing what to keep here and what to take with me. I think I’m going to have to pay for a second bag but it is actually a lot cheaper than I thought. Just got to make sure it is under the weight limit.

Don’t think I will ever get anything through STA Travel again though. It really is a scam to demand a card from someone who has student ID as well as a passport that says I’m here on student visa. Oh well it’s all done now. Wish me luck! I’m not a very calm traveller when it comes to planes. I don’t think it’s the plane ride but the trying to get to the area in time and making the next flight. The biggest problem I might have in the flight is motion sickness and I’m out of my motion sickness pills. I’m sure I can get some though. See you soon St. Louis!

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

Fountains Abbey

These are my selected photos I took of Fountains Abbey. If you wish to see a larger version just click on the photo.

Mix in the Good with the Bad

Things have been up and down lately.

I was hoping to post some photos I took of Fountains Abbey on Sunday but I haven’t edited them yet so it might be a bit before I do. But I got a lot on my mind that I just need to let out. On the job front I really thought I had a possible job but it’s starting to look like my last chance is going out the window because I never had a need for a national insurance number until now. It will be crunch time but hopefully I can get all the information they need as well as pass the tests to get a temporary job so I can actually buy my own plane ticket home as well as have a bit left over. But it’s starting to look like not only will I be going home sooner and poorer but not have any real kind of job.

Beyond that I did have some good personal news. We got the venue for the UK reception booked and we’re going to do our Save the Dates this weekend. We meant to start working on a budget but we were pretty busy last weekend and not really in the house. So sometime this week or over the weekend we will. The reception actually looks like a nice place, we like the feel of it and it looks nice.

But then last night I got some news that really threw me off. It was like getting sucker punched and then hit again for a knock out. One of my friends from back home who I’ve known for years and years had some bad news for me. A mutual friend who shall remain nameless has been accused of murder. It’s someone who has had a bit of a troubled past but one I didn’t know much about. I don’t know the motive or if there was one or if it was true. All I know was a guy that seemed genuinely nice and I gave a ride home a few times (he didn’t drive) is now in jail for murder. Based on some their past issues, if it’s true I don’t think they should go to jail but a psychiatric hospital. Now I’m not normally one who would generally be okay with this but I know this person is troubled and based on what he may have done, it’s got to be screwing with his head. My friend that told me this is going to see what he can do and I guess possibly talk to him. It’s just completely mind boggling.

Then he gave me some news of his own that just breaks my heart for him. He’s getting divorced and from the sound of it he will remain friends with the ex and try to see the kids as much as possible. But he’s having to move on from his current situation to another. I don’t know the circumstances of what happened but it makes me sad to see that this is happening to him. I am of course biased in the situation because he is my friend and I know he’s got to be hurt. But I know I can’t judge either since I wasn’t in the situation. It was honestly one of those situations where I thought it would work because I know how much of a decent guy he is. But even nice people get divorced. I’m not one that generally believes in ending a marriage unless there is abuse involved. I’m also probably one of many that wants to just grab hold and slap across the face one of many celebrities that rush into things and two seconds later things are over.

My fiance and I have talked before about if things ever ended for us then that’s it we would never get married again. Because we both don’t want that and in many ways we are insecure about the other based on past experiences. He’s had more than one girlfriend get bored with him. I think he still expects it with me sometimes but then he sees how I get when we talk about being separated from each other with the long distance (just the thought of it happening sooner today cause me to break down in tears) and we see how much we get along. We can be stupidly immature with each and laugh about it and there is no one else we have ever been able to do that with. I’m not one that generally believes in fate and destiny and such. I’m more of a “you choose your own destiny” kind of person and I wouldn’t have it any other way with him. I can still majorly crush on celebrities like Gerard Butler or Michael Fassbender and it doesn’t bother him and he can do likewise.

Anyhow I’m getting past the point I was wanting to make about my friend. He’ll find someone, that right person that is for him. He’s still young and he’s already got plans for his new situation so he’s a lot better off then someone with no plan. His situation as well as the other thing that happen makes it hard for me to be happy about plans with Mike. Because in my ideal world everything is happy and great and hunky dory. But in the real world it doesn’t happen that way.

So I might have go home soon. I am looking forward to it in a lot of ways but I’m also going to miss being around Mike so much. At least we’ll get Christmas together. That’s a positive way to look at it.

What I’ll Miss: A Year Later


I’ve googled myself today. I’ve done it before but it’s been awhile but I’ve been curious to see what I find when I look my name up, I remember back when I started this blog as an intention for my photography work and I found I couldn’t get a domain in my name because someone else had it. I didn’t see the website anymore though for the person that shared my name but did watercolors. It doesn’t really matter anymore but I was pleasantly surprised to find this blog was on the second and third page.

The first blog entry that showed up was from last August when I was trying to stay positive about my delay to the UK so I shared some photos of a festival that happens yearly back home. The second blog entry was about what I would miss and wouldn’t miss from back home. And it’s interesting to see that a year later some of those things are different or didn’t have as big an impact as I thought it would.

So I’m just going to share the original item on the list and then say how I feel now.

1.I will definitely miss my friends and family and being able to call them up and hang out.

I do miss that, I do find that I crave contact with people sometimes and other times I am so shell-shocked from being in town that it puts my social anxiety into overdrive. I know I am looking forward to seeing some people again but I’ve gotten used to it.

2. I will not miss the weather especially the damn humidity. I barely got any sleep last night cause it was too warm even with a fan and no covers.

Oh how I haven’t missed that. It’s actually been between cold and mild here the entire time, though their past winter wasn’t normal it has gotten cold sooner this fall/winter. Next summer is going to suck.

3. I’ll miss my walks with my friend and former boss Emily, we talk and bitch and sometimes go out to eat together.

I do miss those walks but I can definitely say that I think my walking speed has increased since being over here cause if you want to get somewhere you have to pick your feet up and these damn hills go by faster the quicker I go.

4. God I’ll miss the St. Louis food! Ted Drewes, toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake. Among others…

Yes yes and yes this is still true. I may be able to get a root beer fix and marshmallow fluff fix but it’s going to be a struggle not to stuff my mouth with any of this when I get home. First thing I’m probably going to do is order some Imos.

5. I’ll miss having a full length fridge, seriously they’re small there.

When I was in Leeds it wasn’t that bad and Mike’s parents have a fridge freezer in the cellar as well as a large freezer so it’s not too bad though I do miss the connivence of having the freezer and microwave in the kitchen. I have to go down there if I want something and sometimes I can’t be bothered.

6. I won’t miss the stress that work has brought me or certain individuals that create the negative environment.

I remember how stressed out I was last year at this point. My boss was no longer there and all the people I really got along with in my department were slowly going elsewhere or working completely different hours to me. And the one person who made my work life hell was doing what he could to make it hard on me. I remembering for months having dreams about being back at work and having to see him again. I’ve since been able to deal with the situation in a positive manner and move on with my life. Just wish I could find another job.

7. I will miss some people from work. They’re the ones that still keep me sane.

I do miss a few old co-workers. I’ll likely be visiting them when I go home.

8. I’ll miss my room. I’ve made it mine for the last 25 years. I guess I’ll allow the cats to own it.

I do miss it but Mike’s room has been a nice substitute.

9. I’ll miss my kitties, especially poor Missy, who just got diagnosed with kidney disease.

Missy, the poor baby, passed away before I left home. But she was old and she is doing better now. I do miss Indy and I bet she’ll be happy when I come home cause she changed when I left. But I got three more cats I love and will miss. Mogs, Minnie and Grey. 🙂

10. I think I’ll miss my car, I’ll miss being able to just drive anywhere, I won’t miss the damn money it costs me to fix it all the time and for gas.

I kind of have missed my car but not as much as I would have thought. I’m quite used to walking, taking the bus or train and riding with Mike’s parents when they drive.

11. I’ll miss having unlimited access to books, cds, movies, etc for no cost at all. God I’ve read so much in the last four years it’s crazy.

I did at first but I found that I didn’t have as much time for reading books and there were plenty of options with films. My tv shows I watch are mostly shown over here and I’ve found substitutes for find them or new shows while being over here. I can’t say there are many that I’ve been oh I have to watch that.

12. Irish Car Bombs, it’s kind of a tradition for me to have them on my birthday though this year I think I’m skipping it but I think if I ask for that over there I’d get my ass kicked. It’d be like asking for crashing twin towers here.

I don’t know what I was thinking. I haven’t thought about that drink at all while here. I’ve discovered other things to try. But yeah I didn’t miss those.

13. Hmmm some more things I won’t miss…feeling guilty cause I haven’t help with this or that lol Sorry mom but it’s true.

Why did I put this? lol Can’t say I’ve been made to feel guilty for some things but it has been nice to be somewhat independent as much as one can be in someone else’s house.

14. I won’t miss my neighbor, his crappy music or his mean dogs!

I have to say I think the people living in my student accommodation gave him a run for his money. But yeah I haven’t missed his crazy antics at all.

15. I won’t miss the chaos that happens after my nephews have been over. Love em but it’s like a tornado hit the playroom lol

Hasn’t bothered me lol

16. I won’t miss brown recluses! Haven’t seen one yet this summer but I’m not gonna hold my breath, but I will have a shoe ready >)

There are currently 4 spiders living in the kitchen and I haven’t been bothered by them. Why? Because they aren’t poisonous. Sadly when I go home I’d likely be killing anything that the size or color of a brown recluse.

17. I’ll miss my movie channels, I love watching movies whenever I feel like. I’m hoping I can get the rest of True Blood online since I’m moving in the middle of the 4th Season.

I did managed to watch the rest of the 4th season since I was still at home. And I’ve seen the 5th season. I’m quite content.

18. I’ll probably miss my blanky lol.  I’ve had this one probably since I was a baby but it’s so torn up I’m probably gonna trash it when I leave. It was good for a makeshift pillow and as a kid a cape for my kitties.

My blanky was put to good use. It accompanied Missy when she was buried. I couldn’t find her collar but I figured since she was used as the cape holder when I was a kid and both I had from childhood and I thought it was a nice thought.

19. I’ll miss the malls, they have shops there but not nearly as much as we have especially when it comes clothes for me. Though there might be some in Leeds. I’ll just have to find out.

Nope haven’t missed them. Plenty of shopping around here and I’ve saved money! Do wish it was easier to find my way around the grocery stores here than back home.

So that’s pretty much it. I found at first I did miss the familiarity of being at home because there are so many little things that are different that it can add up. But there are good and bad things here as there are back in St. Louis. I know when I go home I’m going to be talking about how much I miss my fiancĂ©, the cats, some ciders and a few tv shows. Oh and how can I forget the NHS! Not having to worry about any bills from the doctor and finding alternatives to my acid reflux meds. I am kind of surprised at my feeling towards Halloween now. It’s not a big deal here and I haven’t missed all the Halloweeny stuff but that could be because it marketed towards kids here. I do miss the art show I used to go to and the movies but I don’t think I’ll worry about costumes anymore.

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.