Trialling Life in the Adult World

I’m nineteen. I’m twenty in just over six months, which is crazy because my child self has always thought twenty to be that age where I am officially an adult, like, for real, because that is when I am literally no longer a teenager. The reality is that my child-like self currently wants to shy away from all things adult and just spend a little bit more time being irresponsible (psychologists out there must be thinking all manner of things with this statement) and this is perhaps why I have been stalling on looking for jobs, and places to live. I just don’t want to grow up. I have a Peter Pan complex going on. But today I have taken a glimpse into the future. No T.A.R.D.I.S needed. 

Ed is currently away camping on an archaeological dig and is there for a week. No huge biggie, I’m used to spending time apart because university has made me that way but it’s the fact that he is away on an archaeological dig that’s made it strange. Because we are both interested in archaeology and ancient history and general history what is likely to happen, if we remain a partnership after university days and whatnot, is that we will be all over the place digging all over the world. I went on the same dig two years ago, but because I went home every night, instead of camping, I never realised what living on a camp site would be like. I didn’t know that it would only consist of one phone call per night, and spending the days waiting for the time to call. This is perhaps the least attractive thing about archaeology. At least Ed has signal though, I just feel sorry for the people there who might have children and marriages waiting for them at home, who might not have signal. Perhaps it won’t end up like this. Our plan, at this moment, if we last, is to find a job in Italy and moving there together so that I can work on restoring Pompeii, and he can go out and fulfil all manner of digs from classical to medieval periods and live on the Italian coast (preferably Sorrento) but who knows, it could end up being a case of broken phone calls as we stand in a countryside field desperately seeking signal. 

Of course, while Ed is on his dig, I am currently still staying in his parents house, which feels a little bit weird, but there’s no space for me at home, unless I fancy sleeping on a sofa, futon, or on the floor. Not so much a look into life. I’m sure I’ll have my own place at some point, I’ll have to if I’m going to be in Italy. But today everyone was out. So for a little bit I pretended the house was all mine. My sister came round with Boscy, my nephew, and we chatted and watched episodes of Gossip Girl, which even though we literally live across a park from each other made it feel like she had travelled to come and see me and catch up (despite the fact we have seen each other every day since I came home). This is adult life. I always pictured adult life with Vie to be different. Miles different. For one I never imagined having a nephew when she was so adamant on never having kids. I also pictured us travelling together, living together, spending a year in New York or Los Angeles after university but it’s not going to be like that. It’s never going to be like that. It’s going to be sporadic visits and ‘catching up’ and reminiscing. 

Today, while I hung out at home I waited for Pookie to come home from school and we went to the supermarket together to pick out food for dinner and then we went home and I cooked us all a meal. All right, it was bunging a pizza and garlic bread in the oven and then making super noodles for my sister, but as I heated up bottles of milk for Boscy and made the food, it made me feel like a parent. I’m still currently on this ‘I’m-never-ever-having-kids’ mindset so this idea scared me. It was weird cooking for an eleven year old. Taking on the responsible role. It was freaky. It made me feel old. It’s weird to think that maybe someday (but highly unlikely) I’d have my own eleven year old that I’d have to look after. It was weird to think that maybe in the future life will be staying at home waiting for my eleven year old to come home from school and then cooking them dinner and looking after it. Making sure that they’re ready for Scouts or Girl Guides and then tidying up. 

Life will be me looking after the kids, somewhere in Italy, but probably actually England, actually back home, because the education is better. (of course I could send them to boarding school while I preserve Pompeii, but where would I get the tuition fees from an archaeologists salary?) Ed will be off on some dig somewhere, making me very jealous that I am not out there too. I will be missing him, waiting by the phone because I don’t know when he’ll next get signal or when I’ll see him next. I’ll get visits from my sister every so often, and will go to see my parents when I get the time. That will be life. Not anything near what my dreams are. I probably won’t ever find the right time to live in Los Angeles and New York and Paris just because I want to. There will come a time when I have to settle in one place and stop travelling the world and more. Maybe not. But probably. It’s weird. 

So I haven’t done any taxes today, or anything else as responsible and adult-y as that but I have had a glimpse into the future from the little things. Those little things that make people realise that one day they can’t be Peter Pan and remain child-like as ever. It was an epiphany that freaked me out because I am still very much a person that is incredibly naive, that still has a childish wonder about the world and desire to just explore it. I’m a person that is too shy to order in restaurants. How can I be an adult? I don’t want to be an adult. Not yet. Definitely not yet.

I think, this may just be the first time in my life that I actually relate to Wendy from Peter Pan. I know that there are responsibilities that I will have to accept, but I just don’t want to yet. I want to fly away to never-land and not go back for a long time. I mean, I know that I am only nineteen and I have years yet before I actually have to settle down for real. But seriously, that time will go incredibly quickly, I’ll be a fully sledged adult in six months for Pete’s sake, my mum had my sister and I when she was twenty, and I’ll have to get a job and that will actually change the entire game-plan. I must say, though, that although there seems to be one major downside to archaeology I’m glad I chose it and have a passion and ambition in that, because although I may not have great contact, or a permanent house, and I’ll be living in a tent most likely, I can still travel the world and keep some of my childhood dream. At least for a bit. 

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And The Results Are In…

I’ve just looked at my university portal to see if my results have been posted yet. They are in. With an intense click on the left hand button the results are as follows:

I HAVE PASSED ON MY FIRST ATTEMPT! I think I’m quite pleased with that.

The way university works is that you need 40% to pass a module and 40% overall in the year to pass, meaning that you don’t need to succeed at every module that makes up 120 credits altogether. I have successfully passed all six modules with full credits and can therefore return to university for second year (if I find a place to live, that’s next on my checklist). Of course, each module has varying degrees of success. 

LATIN: D, 44% 

This actually does not surprise me. I got a D in Latin at GCSE and in the two years between then and now I had forgotten everything except ‘Caecilius est pater’ and have a terrible memory when it comes to labelling the grammar (why is it all so similar!). Added to the fact that the department failed to tell me about a mid-year assessment that counted to this years grade until after it was done and there was nothing I could have done and the grade is even less surprising. If only I hadn’t have been ill that lesson and I would have had a higher grade, possibly even a B! 

FIFTH CENTURY ATHENS: D, 45%

I should have known this. I thought I did well in the exam. I don’t know what made me grade so low. The only thing I can think of is that my coursework wasn’t spot on. This was one of the earlier modules and I was still getting used to the referencing system, bibliographies, how to write the essays and more. I could spew to you facts about Greece left right and centre but I could not for the life of me tell you where they came from. 

PRIMATES TO PYRAMIDS: D, 47%

Not my best work. I blame the coursework which I spent forever suffering through the most difficult question that I have ever seen (how am I meant to write about the archaeology of the Assyrian Empire from 2000 to 1000 B.C when a quick Google and multiple sources told me that there is no surviving written record and very little in the ways of archaeology to go in this period, like the dark ages in Britain only in a dessert. Also, I have never studied archaeology until this year. 

ROME TO REFORMATION: C, 50%

This grade annoys me, purely because it shows that if I had gained three more marks then in my Fifth Century Athens module then I’d have gotten a better grade. THREE MARKS. But still, a C. Not bad, that’s a 2:2 in the university world and that shows that I have potential to get better, surely? Again, this was an early module in archaeology. 

PRACTISING ARCHAEOLOGY: B, 63%

What!? A 2:1!? I thought I did terribly with this module following my 90% in an assessment at the start of the year. I believe that what some people call “hubris“, the pride before a fall (there’s tonnes of it going on in The Iliad) but mind you a 90% is a nice little safety mat to fall back on if I do happen to fall. Sophie the Academic Stunts-woman. 

AUGUSTAN ROME: A, 72%

I believe this is a first. I can’t quite remember the grade boundaries, but seriously, how can an A not be a first. If it isn’t then it’s pretty damn close and I’m happy with it. I’m a bit of an expert when it comes to all things Augustan Rome. I did an essay on propaganda in literature including The Aeneid, which I have read at least ten times (I was 9% off a first class grade with that essay) and then my exam was on the Forum Augustus which, you should know, took some inspiration from The Aeneid (or vice versa) and the myth of Romulus and Remus. See! I know it! 

To be frank the later modules are a lot better than the early ones, besides Primates to Pyramids, which was always going to be the case. Mix having to completely learn new writing styles, not being able to access key reading (a university library SHOULD have the books on your reading lists!) being ill for a week and a major depressive period where I was skipping some classes and generally not being motivated to do anything then I honestly say I deserve each and every grade I got. All I wanted to do this year was to pass as I learned how everything worked. The important thing is that I know where I went wrong and can improve this greatly when I go back; besides, this year doesn’t count towards my degree so none of it will effect me, but now I can be serious and get the best grades I possibly could. Bring on second year!

Pillow Talk #1

Just now I’ve had a funny conversation. The funny things about it is that my counterpart in this dialogue was asleep. I find the conversations with a sleeping Ed to be hilarious, if not slightly weird (one time he confessed to being a serial killer and proceeded to put his hand vaguely around my neck….ookaayyyy). Because he is asleep I haven’t got a clue about what he sees in his head and the guesswork game is all part of the fun. I must say these conversations are the only up side to being awake at four o clock in the morning. Today’s went as follows:

Me: shifts in bed and pushed Ed away

Ed: What was that for?

Me: Because I’m all hot and sticky and uncomfortable. (it was very hot, and being snuggled up to someone in bed makes it unbearably so)

Ed: Well come here! jauntily extends arm and pulls me in so that I’m even closer to the sticky heat. I do not see how this will help but I go along with it for the sake of the conversation. What are you doing now!? 

Me: What do you mean?

Ed: You’re going in slow motion! (one can only hope that in his mind he is playing out some cute romantic montage, and not because I’m making myself look stupid)

Me: I’m not going in slow motion

Ed: Yes, you are. You’re all like d..d..du..duu (this is apparently the sound of slow-mo.)

Me: Already too hot to handle. I move away from him and move the gap

Ed: I just got the word ‘hat’ from the bottom of my coffee!

Me: What? Really?

Ed: nods his head

Me: How did you do that?

Ed: I don’t know. I was just thinking of the UCAS day thingy makes weird hand motion and got…yeah, that. 

Me: That’s new. 

Perhaps Ed’s coffee is like the prophetic tea leaves in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and is telling him that one day he will wear a hat. Who knows. This is however liked to UCAS so unless there is a university whose UCAS code is HAT or there is a university in Hatsfield (is that a real place?) then I can’t piece this together, never mind why I would be walking in slow motion. 

I hope to have more pillow talks soon. Documenting them is pretty fun and I could show this to him when we wake up and embarrass him, or just entertain him with his unconscious babblings of his subconscious mind. There are some people who say dreams mean something, can someone help me decode this?

Driver’s Ed

Today has been a first. I’ve gotten in the same car as someone with only a provisional driver’s license. I admit: I was scared. But he had bribed me with ice cream and I couldn’t say no to that.
“Come on!” Jem said to Ed enthusiastically. “You can drive me to my jazzercise class!” Ed looked at me.
“I don’t want to.”

The thing with this was that I had never gotten into a car where the person had not been driving for a long time. There’s my mum, whose cars were the dangerous parts about being in them as one by one they failed and broke and made noises that no object in the world should. There’s Grandy, whose disregard for speed limits would sometimes lead to me clinging to my seat-belt for dear life. And there’s Jem, neither her car is lethal nor her driving bad. Yes, there have been moments where in some of these cars I thought Today I’m coming to terms with my tragic death but their driving has been licensed for over ten years and generally I can reassure myself that crashes have a slim chance. Ed only has a provisional, I don’t know how well his lessons have been going or what he has learned, who knew if he knew the clutch from the break or which thing next to the seat was the hand-break (we could have needed it if a near-fatal incident occurs) so I was scared. 

It, of course, helps that, having had very few friends in high school never mind friends who could drive, I had never experienced what driving with a beginner would be like. I have a hazy memory of a policeman telling us not to go in cars with beginners, and especially not friends (though I think stranger danger must be noted here too) since they want to show off what they can do. If there’s any words to follow it is that of a law-enforcing officer, so I wanted to back down until they had came back from this escapade unscathed and someone could hark to me praises of how brilliant Ed’s driving was. Oh, but I am fickle. So sold out on ice cream. 

It was not a good start. First I did not step foot in the car until Ed had pulled out of the parking space from the small cramped designated area into the narrow private road. Jem didn’t get in either, I can not say what this showed for our belief in Ed or his skill. Perhaps Jem was just as scared as I was, but she had suggested it and couldn’t back out now. Much like Ed couldn’t back out of the space (sorry). Firstly the car didn’t even make it two inches without hitting into the gaudy red one that was flanking it’s left hand side. Just a bump but my mind was instantly telling me that if we were travelling at 30 miles per hour and so was that red car we would probably be dead. Then he tried to reverse back to pull out at a better angle, so that the owner of the red box wouldn’t have to get mad at us. In doing so he nearly drove straight into the gate of their garden. Oh. Dear. The final attempt was a narrow shave as mere millimetres was the difference between unscathed motor vehicles and dragging the red box with us or snapping off various wing mirrors. I laughed a nervous giggle. 

I got in the car and buckled my seatbelt. 

“How do you work the indicators?” Ed asked as he buckled up. I froze. If he didn’t know how to work indicators, something I’ve learned to do aged 8 just by asking mum, then we didn’t have a chance. I took a deep breath as we drove down the road and out into the traffic. 

The lucky thing is that the route we took didn’t require too many main roads, so we could casually go down the back streets where minimal traffic remained. Ed did however have trouble spotting a motorcyclist as he pulled out onto the first lane and if Jem hadn’t said anything then the biker would most probably have been like a bug on a wind shield (only the wind shield would have smashed and investigations would have been drawn up). I am, of course, slightly exaggerating here, Ed didn’t have the courage to go above 25 miles per hour. Having watched an advert on TV if he accidentally hit a little girl she would have had at least an 80% chance of survival. We pulled up to pick another up. Now there were three people in the car watching his every move. That must have been pressure. Not only that but in that exact moment Ed’s driving instructor drove past, mentoring another student. 

And then we had to go on to the main road. The thing is to get to it there was a traffic light that regulated the flow at a safe and efficient pace. This traffic light, in particular, changes very quickly. Then suddenly his best friends father came driving up behind us. Now four people were watching. The light turned green, Ed stalled, the light turned red. The driver behind waved. At least they didn’t honk the horn. Ed stalled again. 

“This is a particularly bad light.!” Jem reassured quickly as the light turned back to red. 

“I wouldn’t worry, I’ve been sat behind five light changes because I’ve stalled” Jem friend said. “It happens all the time.” And then at the third turn we managed to pull out. But it was a main road, there are traffic lights everywhere. This road is notorious for being a bit manic. At least it was not rush hour. At the second lot of traffic lights Ed stalled five, maybe six, times. Each time the metal contraption of doom was sending us inches closer to an impending fate. We were in the middle of a main road. We could not get out. Finally, finally Ed calmed down, having gotten frustrated at the car’s ill co-operation and pulled out at a small enough, but still too small to make me think I’m safe, especially when we were snail pacing through it at 20 miles per hour. We turned a corner. And we were back in the small streets where I could finally let a breath. Ed pulled up outside the jazzercise venue. 

“Right.” Jem said. “If you want to get out I’ll park the car.” Having witnessed the initial pulling out she probably didn’t want more wing mirrors to be threatened. Ed and I walked home, having bought the ice cream. I don’t think I will be stepping into that car again until his driving is officially deemed safe with a full driver’s license.

Bachelor Pads

What I’ve come to notice is that renting a place to live is like dating. Full of desperate people looking for a good relationship, or any relationship for that matter.

First of all there is the flirting. You see an attractive looking house or flat and decide to make some sort of move, so you get their contact details and enquire about it. The house is trying to sell itself, and so are you, so when the people renting it out ask for a little bit about yourself you give off your best impression. With the flirting comes hope, and when your friends/parents ask if there is “anything new on the scene” you say that you have been talking to this good one that seems as if they’re going to be…the one! And so you stop looking for other houses and play flirty little games with your hopeful.

And then there is the first date, which is where you properly see the place for the first time. You get to learn everything about your hopeful ‘one’ and learn about all the little cracks in the wall that they don’t want you to see. If, after the first viewing you like what you see you arrange another. If you don’t then you call the whole thing off and go back on the market looking for more “bachelor pads”, so to say. Sometimes you can like them so much you can find yourself in a whirlwind romance and signing contracts, like marriages, within the blink of an eye! If you find yourself desperately looking for a new ‘bachelor pad’ you go everywhere, and eventually may resort to ‘online dating’ and looking at ads in the newspaper, which you refused to do when you first entered the dating/renting scene.

Sometimes there is let down, for example, you’ve been on a ‘first-date’, you liked the hopeful and have texted hoping to arrange another where you figure out if you can go with this one. But he doesn’t respond to your messages for days and you start to wonder what was wrong with you. You can’t play clingy, even though he’s beautiful and charming and you want him so badly it hurts, but you decide to text again to find out why he won’t respond, only to found out that he’s decided to go with a different girl. Now you have to get over this one and find another, but the ‘clock’ is ticking and you have nightmares of ending up in a loveless relationship or being alone forever.

Sometimes it does go well, and it’s all easy peasy love-at-first-sight fairytale endings and you can have the house for years, grow with it, raise kids still with the same one, and potentially even live the rest of your days with this one but for some you’d have to kiss a hundred frogs before you find your prince. For some people you’d have gone on a thousand ‘first dates’ and still not have the right one. Is it something wrong with you? Some of your friends will say that you just aren’t picking the right ones, or that you need to lower your standards, depending on whether they were the ones that let you down or not.

The thing is that there is a relationship for everyone, somewhere. And although I didn’t get the perfect house with good cleanliness, similar interests and is secure and safe, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place I’ll end up going to. Maybe I’ll have to settle a little bit, or go on a few more dates, or go back to an ex that I realise isn’t ‘so bad after all’ but I know I’ll find something…..eventually.

Summer Songs #1 | Woodland (The Paper Kites)

When the sun is shining in the summer like it is right now there’s noting I like to do more than listen to really good music that makes me happy. I decided to share with you some of these songs.

The first one I chose is ‘Woodland’ by The Paper Kites from their 2011 EP of the same name. It’s a song set in Autumn, but the up-beat folsky sound is perfect for Summer, evoking feelings of festivals, fun and forests. I love it.

The chorus is unbelievably upbeat chanting the words:
“Won’t lay down our heads till the day is won
Won’t stop running till we reach the sun
Chasing all the things that are keeping us young
We won’t stop running till we reach the sun” which always makes me think of skipping around in woods and fields like I always dream of doing in the summer.

Have a listen. I hope you enjoy it!

House of Humiliation

I just got back from viewing a house as a prospect for not being homeless during my second year at university. It’s a wonderful house, with lots of light, lots of space and is very clean. It is in the same area as I currently reside, just one street away, so I know the place and feel secure. They house even has a garden with strawberries my favourite fruit! Can I say I love it before I even know if it’s mine. 

I got to the house at 4:30 on the dot, racked with nerves. I had no idea who it was I was going to be greeted by, could have been a serial killer for all I knew, and knocked on the door. First I knocked using the knocker that was down by the letter-box, but then I saw that there was a doorbell. Did they hear the knocker? Should I ring the doorbell ten seconds later? 

I rang the doorbell. 

There was footsteps. 

Oh my goodness! I thought I’m scared. And I tried to shake away the deer-in-the-headlights look. They’re ECOLOGY students, they’re not going to be serial killers! And then the door opened. There stood a woman, who was very pretty and I went blank. How am I meant to act!?

“Hello!” she said, very cheery with a mega-watt smile. 

“Hello!” I cheered back, and stumbled through the door. It was just as I tripped that I realised I really should have introduced myself first before trying to get into the house. Luckily I’m not a vampire (though my nocturnal-ism could say otherwise) so I didn’t burst into flames as I stepped beyond the threshold, but now I looked like a fool. looked like the serial killer. She asked if I was Sophie, and I said yes and shook her hand. And then she showed me around. 

I think I liked the house the second I turned down the street, it sort of reminded me of streets I can find back home in Norfolk with terraces made of old brick. The second I saw the hallway I loved it even more because it was HUGE and airy. 

My mind screamed “I’ll take the house now!” But of course it would be stupid when you haven’t seen the room. 

The woman showed me to the lounge and it was cosy, the sofas were small and TV was…minimalist, but I don’t watch much TV anyway so I wasn’t that bothered. Then she showed me the room, and it felt homely. The place I’m living in right now constantly feels like a hotel more than anything. There was lots of storage space and lots of space in general. Not as much space as my current room, but none of it was unnecessary. 

“The only thing that wasn’t here before is the bedside table, so you’ll need to buy one if you want one.” I don’t need a bedside table, I don’t think I’ve ever actually used a bedside table. There was a hand drawn picture of a zebra on the wall. 

And then I was shown the kitchen, which was lovely, with light pouring in from all the windows and doors that led to the garden with the strawberries. I savoured the thought of having such a large kitchen between five people and not twelve and not having all the flatmates use my stuff and not wash it, or lose it. CAN I MOVE IN NOW!? 

She took me upstairs to show me the bathroom and I had to stop myself from going into all the bedrooms and satisfying my nosey curiosity. It’s hard to resist a good snoop, even the people on Come Dine With Me can’t manage it. 

And then it was the garden and I looked for the strawberries and found the strawberries and there wasn’t a spider in sight. Hooray! I was told that everyone took shares in the gardening. That’s all right, I can dig. I am an archaeologist and my trowel will come in handy. I was led back into the house and we talked about the costs. The most it’s ever came to is about £20 for the person I was talking to, but she hadn’t been here long and said it might be more in winter. I figured it was fine, step-dad can help a little bit, right? She asked about my interests. 

And then I heard more footsteps and I was faced with another person, fresh from the shower but thankfully wearing clothes and I tried not to sound nervous in front of these people which was easy, because I can act and all I had to do was smile. The girl talked about how most of her classes are in the agriculture building for a little bit. 

“I had a lecture in the agriculture building on my first week, I got lost and called my friend saying ‘help me, where is it?’ and she told me to take a turn at the bridge, but there were four turns and I didn’t know what to take, so I went down them all and was forty minutes late when I decided to give up.” I narrated to her, thinking it would be a good story, but like a lot of my stories that I think are going to be funny, and trailed off when I realised it wasn’t. As lovely as the woman is a part of me said ‘thank goodness I’m not living with her, i’m making such a fool of myself!’ 

I was asked if I had any questions and I drew a blank. Was I supposed to ask questions. I feel like I should, like I do when they say that phrase in classes and lectures, there’s a pressure to come up with something great. But for some reason I didn’t think “how often do spiders come into the room” seemed like a ridiculous thing to ask, so I left it and shook my head. 

I was seen out of the door and wasn’t quite sure how to say goodbye. If I am interested in the room I need to e-mail, but I’m acting like it’s just been a date and I need to play it cool, hard to get, and am stopping myself from saying “LET ME LIVE HERE I’M DESPERATE!” at least until tomorrow. If I want it I’d have to come back and meet the other people. Oh dear. I do not do well with talking. But maybe, hopefully, I can prepare myself to be less humiliating to myself and not stumble through the doorway again. 

Deep breaths.