Another week goes by, another creep comes by.

I thought that title was clever since I forgot one last week and couldn’t be bothered to think of anything.

So few things I will be talking about. My first week of being off my acid reflux meds so I can get testing done to make sure nothing more serious is wrong. The return of class creeper and another one (who probably isn’t that creepy to be honest but I don’t want to be bothered either way), classes update and what I’ve decided to do since the rejection of the bone marrow donation.

Back when I first came here I got registered with a local doctor’s office so I could get some meds again. Birth control which is awesomely free in this country and should be worldwide if you want my opinion, and my acid reflux medication. I needed a doctor’s approval to be on meds and they asked me if I had ever been tested for acid reflux. I just told them about my terrible weekend of suffering from it and going to see the doctor and all she did was ask a few questions and gave me some samples and if they worked they would put me on it. Well here they like to do actual testing before putting you on anything. It makes sense and I’d rather be checked for more serious things than over medicated. Especially since it’s becoming apparent that stomach troubles are common in my family and in some incidences hereditary. My grandfather had stomach cancer and my great-grandmother and aunt both had ulcerative colitis, the colitis is the possible hereditary thing. And mixing that with stress, I’m a prime candidate for it. So I’d like to find out sooner rather than later if there is a possibility of it and if I can do anything to prevent it. I talked to my mom about it and she is worried (I can tell) and tells me I’m too young to get that. I have a friend with a similar problem and he was diagnosed quite early with it. Like his late teen or early twenties. He had to change his diet and takes meds all the time. One day he was fine and the next day he was in the hospital and diagnosed. I don’t think age matters in this kind of thing. I’m hoping there won’t be anything serious though if there is they said something about putting me on antibiotics. I’m hoping I can eventually be off acid reflux medication.

This past week I haven’t been taking my meds because I have to be off them for at least 2 weeks before they can do any kind of testing. If the meds are in my system it could compromise the testing and make it inconclusive. At first when I was told this I really didn’t want to do it, I think part of it was I was thinking it would cost me something for this testing and I didn’t think the pain of it was worth it plus I couldn’t afford it. I had to reminded that I’m in a different country with different health regulations. So here I am, a week in and I am suffering at the moment. I was doing good all week. Trying to stick with foods that wouldn’t upset the acid and avoid the ones that do. I miss coffee (surprisingly not as much as I thought I would), tea, hot chocolate (which I tried once last week, seemed to be okay but I don’t want to test my stomach too much) and chocolate!  I’ve been rather vegetarian this week too and not on purpose. It’s just certain meats I like I think would upset it. Though I did have chicken over the weekend. But yesterday I didn’t have much for dinner and I figured Mike and I could order pizza (he stayed the weekend) and I could have a garlic bread pizza because I thought it would be safe and he could get whatever meaty pizza he wanted. He got a huge one in case I would want a slice. I did eat one and I should have stopped there but it seemed like my heartburn wasn’t acting up too much so I had like 2 more. I should have only had 2 tops because I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible turning in my throat that just tasted gross and this morning when I got up it was still there and throughout the day. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it was when I woke up but I’m still being affected by that pizza. So a bland meal is what I think I’ll plan for dinner and hopefully I won’t have any thing bothering me by tomorrow. Thankfully I only have a week left of this. And then I’ll be back on the meds in time for the trip Mike and I have planned.

So last Tuesday I’m sitting in class waiting for it to start and reading a book from the library about the changing cultures of libraries (ironic? Nah it’s kind of what my dissertation is focusing on), when the classmate that made me rather uncomfortable approached me. I had given him my email and he sent me one over that weekend I first gave it. He was asking if I received it and I panicked and said no because I didn’t know what to say at the time. More than a week had gone by and he hadn’t said anything so I thought he wouldn’t say anything. I was wrong. He then confirmed I gave him the right one and asked me to check again for it. Didn’t really know what to say or do. I figured if he emailed again I would answer it and tell him nicely that I can’t help him. Well Thursday I was waiting for another class to start when this guy came up to me asking me if I was in the waiting class and explained to me that he had been gone for the last two weeks and missed a few things and was wondering if the assessment for our semester assignment had been given out. It was but it wasn’t explained. Apparently he had a copy but he didn’t understand it. I pulled out my copy and tried to go over it with him and explain it to him. He basically told me he wanted me to help him with the assignment and I told him I couldn’t do that. At first I said he could go to the module lecturers because they can easily explain this stuff better than I could and were open to talking to students who needed help. He didn’t seem to hear me or was ignoring what I was saying so I had to say no I couldn’t help. He wouldn’t accept it at first trying to tell me some of my excuses were similar to his. I wasn’t backing down though. I was getting rather frustrated with him at this point because it was kind of like, you’re on a Master level program, figure it out! I don’t know any better than him but it seems because my first language is English, I know everything. I’m not trying to be rude about it but I’ve been told stories of people who don’t understand the language very well here try to talk to other students for help and only for that. It’s rather taking advantage of a person, and classmates shouldn’t be the ones helping you with assignments. My other classmates that I get along with don’t do that and we don’t tend to ask a lot of personal questions right away like these two started. After the guy finally let go the assignment he started telling me where he lived and asked where I was. I kind of ignored the question and walked into the classroom because the other class was leaving by this point. Later that night I talked with a friend and my boyfriend about it online and my friend told me just to tell them flat-out I can’t help. I don’t want to complain just yet either because I’m more uncomfortable with the difficult situation they both have put me in. But if this continues to persist I’m going to have to. But Friday I went out to go grocery shopping for the meal I could eat for me and Mike for the weekend. I was sitting at the bus stop waiting for the next one to come when I heard my name be called. I turned to the direction of the voice, it was the classmate from the night before bugging me for help. Apparently he lived just over the road a bit and I didn’t realize it was student accommodations over there. My impression at the time of him seemed a bit better, he was headed somewhere and on the phone. He did ask me if I lived around there. I was vague about it again because I didn’t want to say where and said I commute sometimes from here and Huddersfield. I told him I was headed into for some shopping. He had to go which was kind of relief. But I don’t think he’s as bad as the first guy. I just hope he doesn’t try to bug me again for help with assignments.

Anyway, classes are going okay. They’re keeping me busy that’s for sure. I got my dissertation presentation coming up next month. My supervisor is helping me to prepare for it by getting a few things understood like objectives. I’m not sure what to do exactly with those. Plus I need to focus down more on my subject. I think I have what I want but I still don’t know if it’s too broad. The class I’ve changed to is nice and more my kind of subject but there is so much to read! I think that’s part of the problem with distance learning classes. You really have to figure out what to read and since you don’t have weekly meetings it’s more material to cover. I think it’s going well so far. This past Tuesday class was nice. It was laid back more than usual because of group discussions and it was just me and my classmate Ricardo. We’ve had all our classes together and tend to sit in the same places so we got to talking a bit and since we’ve gotten to know each other over the last 6 months, we both felt comfortable sharing stuff about our personal lives. I think I did more talking than him lol But we talked all the way to Sainsbury’s after class and we talked about a lot of stuff, classes, work, home life stuff for me and about my boyfriend and then we started talking about healthcare and the difference here and there and if there were any things that were different for me and Mike since we grew up in different countries with different cultures. It was fun, I don’t think I get to socialize as much as I used to. I need to try to get together with other classmates I talked with last semester since we exchanged numbers.

The last thing I would like to talk about is what I’ve decided to do since I was rejected for being a bone marrow donator because of my BMI. I’ve been gaining weight a lot of over the years and I’ve tried to stop it but kind of did it half-heartedly. I think it’s because I was happy with myself but I think I do need to be more aware of what I’m doing activity wise and what I put into my body. So I have started doing sit-ups everyday. It’s been awhile since I’ve done them and it really dawned on me how badly in shape I am. Walking is one thing but I can do stuff in my room and still be active. I will be walking a lot more when the weather warms up more but until then I’m doing sit-ups everyday and whatever else I can think of that will help. I am kind of eating healthier at the moment too since I can’t have a lot of foods. Though I’ll be glad when I can eat a clementine or an orange and enjoy a cup of tea without fear of heartburn. Probably isn’t a bad thing either to cut out meats though I really don’t eat much meaty foods when I’m in Leeds. It’s cheaper not to, and the kind of bacon I like is more expensive than the majority sold here. So no major worries. Just need to plan on feeling better and looking better so I can fit into some clothes again and being healthy.

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Oops I forgot a title…

Well another week has gone by for me with school.

I finally heard something about the new class I was trying to change to. I’m signed up for it and already trying to figure out what to do. I’m thankfully not behind because they just decided this week to do it. It’s also a distant learning class so I only have like 2 days next month that I need to go in and beyond that it’s all self-study. Yay! Pretty much a similar schedule to last semester though now I have my dissertation to worry about. I think I’m pretty much on schedule with things though. I do need to get a general idea about what I’m writing about for 3 classes, and then figure out a presentation for my dissertation and a group presentation (which I am loathing the idea of. I prefer to work by myself because past experience has told me I can’t rely on others for help. And I get total control over what I’m doing.)

Anyway a few things to talk about. A weird encounter with a new classmate from last week. Today’s rejection of being on a bone marrow donation list and an update on my cold. Yeah the cold thing is so exciting…but now I feel I must share.

So first with last Thursday. It was the class I’m having a group presentation in and it was near the end of class. We were finishing up meeting with our group and talking over stuff. When a classmate came up to me asking me some stuff. A few weeks ago he had come into another class late and then later that week asked me where a class was. I figured he was a January starter so I told him what the thing meant by G and where to find the room. I also told him where the next class would be and that I would be in that one. I was there once so I sympathized and it was obvious he wasn’t from England. Last week he started asking me more questions about stuff that really wasn’t for me to answer. I told him he would have to check online or check with his course leader. He then started asking me a few questions about myself. I was used to it because it’s not common to have an American in the UK for grad school at least in Leeds that is. I had given him my email cause he asked for it, I honestly can’t remember the reason why but now I regret that I did. So as we were walking out of the room (we ended up being the last ones, don’t know how that happened). He started saying we could study together and that he was singled and lived alone so it would be okay. And asked if I go out a lot during the week. I then realized, oh crap he likes me! So I immediately and nonchalantly informed him that I don’t go out much during the week and I spend most weekends with MY BOYFRIEND. And he was like oh, this is okay, we can still do work or something like that. By that point I had stopped listening and was just thinking how fast can I get away. Of course he followed me and then started saying he drove and had a full license and could give me a ride home. I declined and said I pay for a bus pass. He tried to ask me where I lived too and I gave him a general area. He had no idea where that was PHEW! It then got to the point where I was wondering if he was gonna follow me to the bus stop and I said, Where are you parked, I just want to make sure you’re not going out of your way, and he informed he was going to the library. We then parted ways and I tried to legged it to the bus stop. It was kind of pointless because I had already missed my bus but I was honestly creeped out. His obvious way of saying he was single and asking me personal questions was one thing but for him to offer me a ride when I don’t know a thing about it really bothered me. I told Mike about it immediately and he said he was probably just trying to be nice which I understand but I being where I’m from. You don’t accept rides from strangers (honestly I think that the standard all over but maybe he didn’t understand that.) and I didn’t like all the personal questions after a while. I’ve been taught from a young age that you need to be careful and prevent any kind harm to yourself and it has probably made me a bit paranoid especially around strange men I don’t know. But I’d rather be safe than sorry. Anyway since that incident, I’ve seen him twice. Earlier this week he was in another class and we had to be in a group together. I made as little eye contact as possible and barely talked to him. He kept asking questions about where we were in the discussion. I was starting to realize he barely speaks English or understands it from others and is probably struggling but that isn’t for me to deal with. Today I didn’t have to worry about being too close to him and pretty much booked it out there asap. I was eager to get home too because I had been at school all day and I really didn’t want to miss the bus this time. There’s a half hour wait for the bus I get and it’s been pretty nippy lately. This reminds me though, I have a third story to tell!

Yesterday I didn’t have any classes and I did my laundry the night before because the laundry room/common room was closed because of the accommodation staff doing some kind of training. So I went grocery shopping. I’m trying to be a bit better with my money so I went down to the local market where they have all kinds of stalls and stuff is usually cheaper. I got some stuff and decided what else I needed I would get at the supermarket because they have a bigger selection. Well I stupidly thought that the bus I took to the market wouldn’t be that long to take me back around to my place so I didn’t bother getting on the other side of the road to get the right bus (actually I did but I didn’t find my bus on any of the closest stops so I gave up because the bags were heavy). I ended up being on the bus for over an hour and a half. I luckily had a week’s metro pass so it wasn’t an issue for me to be on the bus that long. But I had school work to do and the bus driver noticed at one point and asked me if I knew where I was going. I did but I didn’t know where I was at the time. He was so nice though, I actually feel for the bus drivers now because of the fact they need to be on top of it to make sure people are paying the right price for their ticket and not lying. And for those parents that don’t know how to be a parent. Near the end of my journey, a woman got on the bus with a pram and 2 other children. I think she was trying save herself some money and was vague about the kid’s age in the pram. It’s free if they’re under 3 years old if I understand correctly. She then parked the pram, sat next to me and let the other two kids sit on the other side. They didn’t stay there though. They kept moving around and she wasn’t paying attention to them and one of them opened the emergency door in the back because she was too busy looking through her bag for something. The bus driver got maaaad! He stopped the bus and got out of his seat and then told her she needed to keep an eye on her children for their health and safety because if the one that had opened the door had fallen out he would have been dead. He secured the door and got back in his seat when she suddenly decided to seat in the 3 open seats on the other side of the bus (the kid in the pram was fast asleep and secured) and make the kids sit where she would see them and not let them get out of their seats for 2 seconds. Honestly was that so hard to do? I’m sure they’re a handful because they definitely seemed like it but she was lucky nothing bad happened. Thankfully I got home okay and the bus driver made a joke saying I had been on the bus as long as he had been when I finally got off.

I think first I’ll talk about the bone marrow thing from today. Since moving to this country I have discovered a few things. Smoking is banned here. Driving is the exact opposite to where I’m from and roundabouts are common but they still scare me from driving here. Certain things are spelled differently or have different words used, like eggplant is aubergine and corn starch is corn flour. And overweight people are reminded it’s not okay to be overweight by the NHS. WTF? Now back home the whole body image thing was an issue because of the American societies warped image of what a woman should look like. I’ve been battling a weight problem since I was young and over the last several years I’ve come to accept who I am. I’m overweight, I’d like to be a bit thinner but I’m not gonna kill myself doing it and I don’t want to be stick thin. I just want to be happy and to be honest I am. I have my down days at times and everyone does. I basically choose not to listen to hateful people talk about how I need to lose weight and do this or that. I know what I need to do in fact I’ve done it many times. I don’t eat a lot, I try to eat healthy, I like sweets though and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating something enjoyable sometimes that isn’t “good for me”. I didn’t exercise as much when I was at home because to get anywhere I used my car. Here I pretty much have to walk. The only times I don’t walk is when the weather is bad, it’s too dark out for my liking, I’m running late for meeting my boyfriend or a class and I’m just tired or I have a ton of bags from shopping. Even when I take the bus, the majority of the time it doesn’t take it directly to where I need to go so I am walking a lot. But since coming here it seems like I’ve been made to feel bad about my BMI not being where it “should” be. I’m on a birth control that doesn’t have estrogen in it because apparently it’s bad for overweight women. I’ve been told my acid reflux that is because of my weight. Now I know that is one of the many causes of acid reflux but not the only. Like I said before I’ve been overweight since I was young, the majority of my existence basically. I didn’t get acid reflux disease until I started at a 4 year university because my stress level went way up I was in my 20s by then. That is a cause of acid reflux, stress. I don’t handle stress well either and it really hasn’t gone down since I’ve been here so I don’t think my weight is to blame completely. Do I think if I lose weight it will help and maybe make it go away. Of course I do but it is so hard to lose weight right now. I can’t afford a gym membership and the one I had briefly last year didn’t help me and the trainer I worked with made me feel like shit so I didn’t want to do business there anymore. I like having an exercise buddy too which is hard to come by. I was on the Atkins’ Diet back when I was 19 or 20. I lost 40 pounds, it was great but then I hit a plateau and couldn’t lose any more after that. I was living with some other girls at the time too so I didn’t have access to the junk food I would get at home because we couldn’t afford it. I never got to the point where I was supposed to maintain my weight and I had so many people saying, you’ve done a good job, treat yourself a little. Then I made friends with someone who only seemed to care about when she was gonna eat, plus I moved back home because it wasn’t working out for me living with 4 other girls in an expensive rented house for many reasons. So for many reasons and my lack of self-control I gained it back and then some. The thing that bugs me though, looking back I didn’t realize how good I looked, how different I looked and felt. You only notice the bad. And then I think it got around that Atkins’ Diet wasn’t that good for you (I didn’t eat a huge amount of meat like some people thought that meant) and I couldn’t be bothered to take the South Beach Diet seriously.

So here I am today hoping to help out a group of people at my school today asking if I would like to sign up to be a bone marrow donor. I used to donate blood years ago but my iron level dropped too low to be able to donate so many times I just gave up. Apparently the low iron thing wasn’t an issue so I filled out the form and went into a room with one of the guys while he looked over my application. He noticed a few things like I didn’t have a home number, I only have a mobile number and I told him my address is a student accommodation and I’ll only be there until September (or maybe it’s August, one of the two). He left the room to ask about it and then come back and tells me while he holds a form that because of my BMI I can’t donate. My freaking weight was what stopped me from being able to donate. Not my low iron, not my address or lack of a second permanent address, my weight. Frankly I’m sick of it. It’s one thing for my grandma to ask me when I’m a little girl, who is struggling with being bullied at school because of my weight, “Don’t I want to be pretty?” to now being told I can’t do this and that because I’m fat and that makes me unhealthy and untouchable. I’ll probably be told I’ll die young if I don’t lose weight like two people from here have been told and they weigh less than me or around the same as me. It is so stupid and degrading. It’s like the banned smoking over here now let’s work on getting rid of the fat people!

I know I’m a sensitive person and part of that stems from my personally type and to how I was treated as a child. But I don’t think the NHS really thinks about how they make overweight people feel when they do this kind of stuff. Maybe they’re not to blame and maybe the got a good reason for it but damn, talk about making a person feel depressed. I was in a good mood today! And that just deflated me. I don’t know exactly how to make myself feel better when I’m being made to feel bad about myself by the government.

Beyond all that. I did feel a bit better today after that because I found some books today that might help with my dissertation and look like interesting reads. I got a family that loves me and knows better than to talk about my weight (haha but true, I go nuts if it’s even a suggestion about it is said), a boyfriend that loves me no matter what and good friends who care about what’s inside me than what’s outside. I’m sure the bone marrow thing had a reason for it but it would have been nice to know what it was besides my BMI being too high. Tomorrow I got a doctor’s appointment. My cold is now done with though I got an ongoing issue I want to address that’s cause of the cold and get some more acid reflux pills too. And maybe get that doctor’s referral thing done with so we can decide if I still stay on meds for acid reflux or if it’s something more. Anyway, best make my dinner now. It’s getting late.

Tata for now.