Tag Archives: Glasgow

Turning Twenty, Cruella Deville and Masturbating Monks?

8 Nov

Okay, okay, okay. YES I realise it’s been over 5 months since I last posted on here and I’M SORRY. Honestly?  I just abandoned it all summer and by the time Uni started back up I’d been procrastinating so long I couldn’t bring myself to *actually* write anything. And as soon as my courses started I’ve been SO BUSY that blogging about HOW BUSY I AM is the last thing on my mind. Right now though I’ve had an incredibly productive day and thought I’d keep the forward momentum going for a little bit longer (until I inevitably collapse in an exhausted heap and just read A song of Ice and Fire all night and eat some carrots…)

Right. This is, as always, ridiculously long, and so I’ve decided to throw in some photos, if I manage to put them on properly!

Well, the last thing I posted on here was actually about having passed my exams. Ye gods, I’ve really abandoned you all haven’t I?!  So much has happened and I’ve got loads to talk about (for once) but I have no idea where to start!

Uni’s been AMAZING. I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am by all of my courses! I’m taking three different classes this semester: Victorian Literature, The Bible – Literature and Culture and Buddhism. Next semester I’ll be replacing Vic Lit with ‘Pre-modern’ stuff, which I’m not looking forward to, mostly because I’ll be seriously upset at Vic Lit class being over!

For those of you who don’t know, I’m absolutely obsessed with literature from the Victorian era. The majority of my favourite authors were writing in this time which is what got me hooked but I think the more I’m delving into the literature, and the more I’m getting to know the time period, the more fascinating it is! So much change is happening and I just love the way these changes are approached so differently! AH I’m not going to go into it now because I could genuinely go on for hours!

My reading list for Vic Lit is both incredible and slightly disappointed. I had hoped that we’d be studying the Bronte sisters (the coursebook had implied it) but sadly they’re not on the list. Neither is a few others I’d been desperate to finally get my teeth into. However I think, for the most part, the texts we are studying make up for the ones we’re not! Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wilkie Collins The Moonstone, H.G. Wells The Island of Dr Moreau, George Elliot Silas Marner, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu Carmilla, some Robert Browning poems, a bit of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, D.G Rosetti and a few poets focussing on ‘Poetry and religious belief’ which is my absolute favourite topic for poetry and is one of my favourite parts of the course thus far! AND to top it off, my new favourite novel, replacing even Austen’s Persuasion and Bronte’s Jane Eyre *drumroll please* Gaskell’s North and South!!!!!!!! I’d actually borrowed the series adaptation of this book in sixth year and I loved it (mainly because Richard Armitage was in it and hot damn…) and so I knew I would enjoy the book. I finally finished reading it last week (staying up until four in the morning because I couldn’t put it down once I’d started!) and, as predicted, I’m obsessed. I’ve bored all of my friends to tears going on about it! AAAAH so good!!!

Anyway, my other courses are great to, for the most part. I was really excited about Buddhism and it’s been a jump from last year, which I was seriously hoping for because I ended up really bored! And there’s a lot more focus on texts than there’s been in any of the other levels I’ve studied it at, which can only be a good thing!

As much as I went into the course with high hopes, though, the last two weeks haven’t really caught my interest. Today, for example, we spent most of the time discussing masturbating monks. As interesting as I’m sure that is to some people, it just made me feel vaguely queasy. I can understand how it’s relevant (he used that text to explain the Vinaya, basically the rule book for Buddhist monks and nuns, and how it was laid out) and I do get that by using something so unusual we’re not likely to forget it in a hurry, but there are so many things about the texts that would have been more worthwhile discussing. When, in all honesty, am I likely to discuss the masturbation habits of Buddhist monks in the early 5th Century? Hopefully never, ever again.

Aside from the last two weeks or so I’ve really enjoyed it though and I’m really hoping it’s just because of the material we’re having to cover (it’s definitely dry reading and I appreciate the lecturer’s just trying to liven it up a bit). Hopefully it’ll pick up again soon!

And Bible lit and culture is okay. I’m not overly enthusiastic as yet, but I’m getting into it more and more and I am definitely enjoying it!

Okay, so yes, Uni’s great. It’s been a really big leap this year in the amount of work though. I have to admit it’s definitely overwhelming! I’m keeping on top of it just now but I’m definitely going grey with the stress of managing it all!

Aside from uni, it’s been a pretty fantastic five months! What’s happened? I’m trying to write this all down in some sort of coherent order and failing badly.

Well, this summer I’ve been doing a lot!

We went to my cousin, Amy’s, wedding. It was beautiful and Amy looked stunning. (I’m not gonna put a pic up because it’s a public blog but trust me, she was like a princess!)

My Gran!

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Uncle Tom and Aunty Ann

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Me, Mum and Bethany 

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Me, Dad, Aunty Ann, Mum, Uncle Tom!

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And I’ve had quite a few amazing days out with my friends from down the road! One that springs to mind was Riding of the Marches, which is always something to write home about, if not always for the reasons you’d hoped… It was actually really good though, most people made it, and I think everyone had a bit much to drink (it’s ROM though, who doesn’t end up drunk?!). And I ended up breaking a flipflop on the floor of The Shed (a pub in Annan) because it was so sticky. Classy.

Lauren and Lisa. This photo pretty much sums them up.

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Jess.

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Pamela. Again, I’d say this pretty much sums her up *ducks*

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Finlay (sorry you’re blue)

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Me and Jess

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EXTREME DRUNK CLOSEUP. Because I can’t judge distance after my fifth vodka okaaaaay.

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And a few weeks later a couple of my friends from down the road came up to Glasgow for Pride, which was brilliant, so busy and loud and bright and just absolutely amazing! We marched with the parade, had a delicious lunch in the centre and spent way too long looking at all the gorgeous jewellery on the stalls!

AND I gave my little sister a make-over. She’s three years younger than me, and rarely wears make up, but when she does it’s like I have a doppelgänger!

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Actually, a few of my friends were up recently for Halloween/ my birthday and my friend, Lisa’s birthday. It was an AMAZING night, we went to Polo and, yes, once again everyone ended up pretty drunk! Yes, I did dress up as Cruella Deville. And yes, I ended up abandoning the wig when we hit polo and realised we were the only ones dressed up! (luckily it was Polo we went to though, there’s always some weirdly dressed folk in that club!)

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Incase you didn’t know, Pamela’s a midget. I’m not just unusually tall. 

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And this lovely photo, after several apple sours, turned into….

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^^ THIS IS MY FAVOURITE PHOTO EVER. It’s perfect in every way.

We even caught a picture of Connor in his leisure wear, which I’m sure most of our mutual friends would love to see!

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He’s a princess, what can I say?

I especially loved Pamela staying on for an extra day and getting to hang out with her! And do stereotypically girly things like drink hot chocolate and try on clothes. 😀

But I had an amazing birthday! Highlights were my parents getting me a blender (I’ve been desperate for one since I moved back up the road and realised I couldn’t make smoothies!!) and my sister baking me a cake

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And then setting it on fire

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OOOOOH also, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I did manage to get a flat this year despite, as most of my twitter followers will have realised, my serious doubts on the matter! Actually, it’s on the adjoining street with my old flat! And it’s pretty much identical inside too, except it looks a lot nicer, cleaner brighter and costs me more money >.< *sighs*

Lately my front door’s been broken though, and so whenever I order a taxi it still has to go to Dick Street and I still get the cheek from the taxi service who thinks I’m winding them up.

What else do I have to tell you?

OH, yes, I mentioned earlier I’ve had a productive day! Well, after uni I decided to go for a walk into Partick because my student loan’s just came in and I am in desperate need of some new tops that aren’t hanging off me! So I went for a wee browse and ended up buying three full bags of clothes! They were an amazing bargain though, and I really do need them!  Then I went into the centre and decided I might as well make a start on my Christmas shopping. And start I did; by about four o’clock I was weighed down with tons of bags, having successfully BOUGHT EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO FOR CHRISTMAS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO; PRESENTS, CARDS, WRAPPING, CRACKERS, DECORATIONS, AND THE TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS SOCKS. Yes ladies and gentlemen, you heard right, it is the 8th of November and I have already finished my Christmas shopping!!!!! Everything’s wrapped and ready to be delivered! Safe to say, I’m feeling pretty smug knowing in a month’s time you’ll all be rushing about in a panic buying your gifts while I can sit back with my feet up (nice and cosy in my new socks) and laugh at your pain. *cackles*

On top of that, I walked five miles without even noticing, which was great and made me feel less guilty about my McFlurry!

That’s another thing that I’m kinda hesitant to talk about, mostly because I don’t want to jinx it. I’ve been working out and eating green stuff. I know, I know, you’re all sitting staring at me in shock. Well, I kinda had to! I’d put on a hell of a lot of weight since starting uni, more so than ever in the last year and it was starting to mess up my health again: the fainting was coming back and stuff. It wasn’t good. So I just bit the bullet and accepted that the only way to get better was to make myself better by thinking better and being better. And it’s working! I’m a lot healthier, I’ve got so much more energy and, up until the last month I’ve been coming on in leaps and bounds! I’ve actually been eating more than I was before, but it’s been so much healthier and *GREEN*!

Unfortunately, and rather typically, I’ve managed to do myself an injury. OF COURSE I DID. I’m trying to get healthier and stronger and I MANAGE TO DAMAGE A BLOODY TENDON. I’m annoyed at myself but also just *eyerolls to infinity*. I mean, there are really no words here. Of course I did. It’s taking ages to heal, and I wasn’t allowed to do any impact exercises for three weeks (it’s been five now and it’s still buggered so I’m going to have to go to physio). It’s annoying that it’s affected me so much. I’ve been moping about it too, so haven’t been eating as healthily and the last month I’ve not really made much of an improvement on any score. Thankfully I’ve not piled on loads of weight, so I guess I’m not doing too badly but I can tell everything’s just sort of sunk since it started. My mood’s been really low too, and I know it’s because I’ve not been eating right and everything. It’s kind of scary how much it brings me down to go back to the way I was just five months ago!

I really can’t explain what a huge difference it’s made to everything since I started trying to get healthier, and I’m not going to because I know it bores everyone stupid when someone goes on about getting healthy/fitness related stuff. But yeah, just thought I’d post about it since it has become such a big part of my life now! And it’s the reason I need all the new clothes! Lost thirty pounds and three dress sizes, everything I put on looks like a bloody tent now!

Yeah, so things have been going fabulously well! I’m not doing any creative writing still, and I’m not even going to go into how messed up it all is. Another rant for another post.

Anyway, I’m going to try and keep this blog a little more up to date. At least, I promise I won’t leave it another 5 months before I post again! I’m also thinking about adding more photos on here too. And maybe, eventually, creative writing but I can’t, and won’t, make promises on that score.

Congratulations, you survived the ridiculously long blog post!!!! 😀

Also, I know the formatting on this sucks, I don’t really know how to deal with putting photos on here yet! Sorry!

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First week, done!

22 Sep

 Well, I’ve survived my first week of classes! It’s been a whirlwind of exhausted rambling, 2 mile walks, illegible notes and an abundance of hot-chocolate and lempsips (Freshers’ Flu is an absolute killer), but I made it out of my last lecture today still conscious! Yay!

I now have a three day weekend (which is why I love Glasgow University and their amazing timetables!!) to work on my ‘to-do list’. This won’t come as a surprise to anyone reading this who knows me, but my new friends seem shocked by the fact it’s five pages long. First on the list is to put in a request with the accommodation folk to fix the lock in the shower. Twice now, after the trying ordeal of switching the shower off, I’ve been left standing in just my towel wondering if I have the strength to knock the door down or if I’d have to get someone to take the lock off, and see me practically starkers, dripping wet and blue from the cold. Thankfully, I’ve managed to open the door both times, using only my flip-flop and a bottle of shampoo. Probably best not to ask. I should mention, actually, that the reason I’ve been having such a time of it when turning the shower off is that it doesn’t have a cord, or on/off button like I have at home and every time I go to turn it off, I forget that, when you twist the dial all the way from 8 to zero, you turn the temperature all the way down to what I’m pretty certain, is almost into minus figures.

I’m slowly getting used to the little oddities of my flat. The ice blast in the shower is a great motivator for learning these things quickly. It’s the little things that cause the most bother now, like the electric cooker. I’ve only ever used gas and cooking without a flame means I don’t know how hot the ring is, or if it’s on at all. I soon find out though, either when smoke starts pouring out of my pasta or after fifteen minutes staring at my porridge wondering why it’s not cooked yet.

Similarly, it is the little things that cause me the most homesickness now. Last week, every time I spoke to my parents on Skype, or on the phone, every time I thought to go into the living room to watch t.v., every time I looked around and saw all of my things in a strange room, in a strange flat, in a strange city, it was reason for tears and worry. Now, it’s things like, wholemeal bread instead of white, eating lemon curd in my porridge with out looks of disgust and having hot chocolate and marshmallows for breakfast that make me stop and get that tingly, butterfly feeling in my stomach. My friend suggested it may well be the lemon curd and breakfast hot chocolate that’s giving me the ‘tingly’ stomach, but I’m pretty sure I just miss home. I’ve done better this week keeping my emotions under control, though. There’s been much less tears and fears this week than last.

Perhaps that’s just because I’m too exhausted to feel or think anything more complicated than ‘must not fall asleep during lectures’. I’ve started doing the things I used to do last year, when my insomnia was really bad; putting toast in the fridge, leaving the flat for Uni in my slippers, speaking to inanimate objects, etc. The last one was actually my attempt to get over writers’ block. I don’t know why I thought having a conversation with my alarm clock would help, but it definitely didn’t.

My worry about falling asleep during lectures has been pointless though, I’m far too fascinated by what’s going on in them to fall asleep. English Literature is great, we’re studying poetry just now and it’s something I have a lot of trouble analysing, so the information they’re giving us is really useful. I find it odd that I used to write a lot of poetry but know absolutely nothing about it’s structure, style, rhythm, metre etc. I assume most people who have read my attempts at poetry would not be as surprised as I am that I have no idea how a poem works, but there we go.

Theology and Religious Studies is absolutely brilliant. In higher RMPS last year we spent months going over the Buddhist religion, and we’re now expected to know the same amount of detail for Islam, Christianity and Judaism but we only have three weeks for each one. I don’t have the slightest idea how I’m going to manage to do so but I’m definitely looking forward to attempting it! And Philosophy is good too, not as interesting as Theology or English yet, but I imagine if I actually read the works we’re discussing (Rene Descartes’ Meditations) I’d probably find it a lot more informative!

That’s what I’m planning to do over this weekend, if I ever manage to complete my to-do list, read the books for my subjects. I have so many, I’m completely overwhelmed. Who would have thought an English Lit student would have a lot of reading to do?

I should say thank you, at this point, for all the messages I got after my last post. To be honest, I’m just surprised anyone bothered to read it. You have no idea how shocked I am when I check the blog and see that I’ve had thirty-odd views a day since I put it up. Even stranger, is that people are actually searching for my blog on Google! Some people have lees to do with themselves than I thought! But it’s lovely to hear feedback, do feel free to comment again.

Anyway, I’m going to go now I have a Jane Austen Society Pub Crawl on tonight. Yes, I’m just that cool. Bye!

 

Freshers’ week

17 Sep

I’m starting this blog after being pestered by two of my friends, who are now hundreds miles away from me and want to keep up with what I’m doing, as well as read some of my short stories and poems, which should eventually make their way onto this blog.
I moved up to Glasgow a week ago to attend Glasgow University Freshers’ Week, which has been much harder than I had ever imagined it could be. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a week since I left.
Like a lot of Fresher students arriving in Glasgow this week, I’m from a small village and have spent the majority of my first week here wandering around in a daze. The sheer size of Glasgow- with it’s never ending roads, it’s buildings stretching higher than appears physically possible, the intense mass of people- is one of the most intimidating experiences I have ever encountered.
I know this shouldn’t have taken me by surprise. Although I live more than two hours away I have been to Glasgow a few times, and pass through it quite regularly while on my way visiting family who live up north. I have seen all of these aspects of Glasgow but I was completely unprepared for actually experiencing it first hand.
It wasn’t too bad at first, I had my parents with me on Saturday, showing me around the city, so I hadn’t lost the feeling of protection that you feel when someone you can rely on is with you who knows what they are doing. It was an entirely different matter when I attempted the journey myself.
When I first walked down Byres Road from Murano Student Village (my accommodation) a wave of noise crashed over me, the smell of the different restaurants and chippies was thick in the air, the rain and wind from the tail end of a hurricane which had hit America the week before pulled me in one direction while the huge, jostling crowd forced me in another, I was bombarded by Freshers’ “Helpers” and sales folk offering me leaflets for free this and half price that and, to make matters worse, I had absolutely no idea where I was going or what I was planning to do. I felt completely lost and absolutely terrified and I didn’t have anyone to turn to for help.
I think that was when the reality of the situation finally sunk in. Before I had left home none of it was real; it was like all the plans I had made, all the discussions I’d had, even all the packing I’d done, had been for someone else. I had spent so long preparing for this, both at school working to meet my conditions, and over the summer organising my courses and filling in the infinite amount of paperwork, that I hadn’t even stopped to think about what it all meant. Then, all of a sudden, everything was happening at once. I didn’t have a spare minute to take it all in.
From that point everything happened so fast that, in all honesty, I still haven’t been able to just sit down and try and make sense of anything. Keeping busy during the day has helped me through this first week with fewer mental breakdowns than expected. I just don’t have the time, during the day, to sit and become overwhelmed by my situation. It was Sunday that I realised this, after getting a tour of Glasgow by my big cousin Amy. When I came back I was able to speak to my parents on Skype without instantly bursting into tears. So since then I’ve done everything possible to keep busy. This was the advice I got earlier in the year when I was trying to cope with depression – keep busy, don’t sit about doing nothing because it won’t help. This advice worked out quite well during the day.
I’ve spent the week visiting Freshers’ Fairs during which I signed up to far too many clubs and societies, taking the advice of someone far older and wiser and using a fake email for the ones I don’t want to join but was too polite to declined, Comedy shows, debates, inductions and drinks with new friends, which has been the unexpected highlight of my week.
Meeting new people has never been something I’m good at. I don’t have the confidence to just go up to people and strike up a conversation which has been the main worry for both myself and my parents. That said, I’ve managed to meet a few nice people this week and spending some time with them has made this week easier than it would have been if I had just locked myself away, like I’ve often felt like doing.
As soon as night arrived it was a completely different matter though. It’s not just my own lack of self-confidence that has kept me in at night this week. I have too many health problems to go out getting hammered with people who don’t know exactly what’s wrong and how to handle it and, although my flatmates all seem lovely, I’m not quite able to speak to them about my health issues. Not to mention that it’s really not fair on them if I end up fainting or becoming ill when they’re out.
So my nights have generally been spent alone in my room. It’s during this time that things start to fall apart. I know that I should be using that time to relax and take stock of everything that has happened, but I don’t. It scares me too much that if I start to think about what’s happened, and what’s going to happen, I’m going to regret the decision to come here.
I’ve spent a lot of time on Skype talking to my parents at night, which has helped somewhat, and coming home has calmed me down a lot. Now that I’m here I’ve got time, and space to figure out what’s what and get my bearings. Hopefully when I go back on Sunday I’ll have started to see things a bit more clearly. I know it’ll take time to settle down and get into a routine and things, but hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later!
Any way, I’ve rambled on for way too long already so I’m going to go now. Just one last thing to say, which is that I’ve never kept a blog before, and have never felt the desire to do so, so it may take a little while for me to get used to this. I’ve always thought that writing a blog, which you know no-one is going to read, is pretty self-indulgent, and a bit of a waste of time. But my friends are becoming way too insistent on the matter, and I’ve given in and agreed to a trial week to see if I can be bothered keeping it up. The wonders of peer pressure, aye!

JH