milestone: a sigh of relief

June 9th, 2017

I walked out of my Beginner Korean exam at 15:18 feeling such a torrent of emotions, mostly elation at the idea that I would never have to take a university exam again.

I can’t say I won’t ever have any form of test for the rest of my life because we’re meant to keep learning and testing ourselves… but that aside, I am done.

AIN’T NO PARTY LIKE AN EXAMS OVER PARTY.

(okay, that’s my burst of excitement crazy moment over 😀 )

As life is never simple – and why should it be? – I got into my little car and darted down the M1, A38 and along the A50 until I reached my grandparents’ house. I am leaving my car there for the summer as I fly to Canada on my birthday to spend some time with my parents.

Calgary is also one of those places where not many people venture to so I have no excuses to not write my dissertation which is due at the beginning of September. The past few months have felt like a massive countdown clock has been ticking above me. Despite going on small adventures here and there, my mind has been churning up a storm. I really hope that tonight is a night of proper sleep where I don’t dream about everything going wrong and ending up in really bizarre situations. I also relish in the fact that I just have time for the small things. I recently read an article about making plans and how cancelling or postponing them affects our wellbeing. I seem to find that I always have unread messages. But I’m not saying that I’m popular in the slightest, but I admit that I just don’t respond to messages immediately anymore. I am replying days later and it is not something I feel good about. So now, a new leaf can be turned, one that involves my head having the free space to communicate. Hallelujah.

In a roundabout way, I am grateful to past-Georgie for making the decisions that I have and am proud that I’ve stuck it out. I make it sounds like doing a master’s degree is the worst thing on the planet… It definitely is not and I have learnt so much from it. Yet, sometimes going against the grain of your own instinct is harder than taking another suitable path which follows the unknown and is so intimidating.

Nevertheless, 66% of my course is done. YIPPEE.

Life is about living, and making mistakes and achievements along the way.

2017 has definitely been a year for change, not just for me, nor our country following this election, but for some of my friends. With your new jobs and/or new adventures, I am so happy for you. ❤

I am so lucky to have such amazing friends across the world and in the UK who have been so supportive. I listened to a whatsapp audio message on the train from a old school friend who’s also doing a master’s and I just couldn’t help grinning. Thank you to you guys, whether you ever read my blog or not, for putting up with me and being just flipping amazing. ❤

Tomorrow morning I’m running in Wollaton Park for the MS society for my grandpa who is doing so amazingly well despite the challenges he faces. I’m absolutely stunned by the generosity of both friends and family and have surpassed my target by 190% !! Thank you so so much, it definitely means I can’t sneakily back out now… I only hope it doesn’t pour with rain… Danny assures me that we receive a medal at the end but all I wish for the at the finish line is a fresh glass of prosecco.

What can I say, turning 23 is meant to be bubbly fun, right?

GL
xxx

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it’s the most wonderful time of the year; a festive finale of 2016.

Christmas never ceases to fill me with joy, laughter and inspiration. The season of giving is infectious and spreads so much love and care around a world that is in desperate need of it. I’m a massive birthday fan – always have been – but this year Christmas has seen to pip birthdays to the post for my best celebration of 2016. 

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” – Charles Dickens

I have had a Christmas playlist playing since December 1st: mostly in the car on my journeys between Sheffield and Nottingham as singing the classics at full volume somehow makes time fly! 😀 

Since Lisa’s long awaited arrival and too soon departure, the end of the semester came around quickly that found me driving down towards Birmingham to join Danny for his birthday celebrations on Tuesday 20th. We went to see the Magical Lantern Festival hosted in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. It is created by a Chinese company therefore the are a few Chinese influenced sculptures. Here are the pictures that I took 🙂 

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After spending three days with Danny and his wonderful family, I made my way north to my grandparents house. My grandpa hasn’t been too well in the last part of the year following a series of unfortunate events. After going into hospital last week, I can’t express the surprise and excitement I felt when I wandered into the living room, completely unaware, to find him sat in his usual armchair. To him, and to anyone else whose health hasn’t been at its peak, here’s to a fresh year of better health and happiness. ❤

Christmas eve has appeared in a blur. Right now I am on a plane to France; to Nantes to be exact. (If Flybe hasn’t had any delays or problems!)

They say the first Christmas apart is the hardest. So, I’m leaving the country for a few days. 

Dramatic much? I thought so. 

Yet, it is true. I was given the amazing opportunity to visit Léa in France, alongside Lisa, and spend Christmas with them. They are both friends that I met during my semester abroad in China and it is going to be amazing to see each other again. I have no idea what to expect but am excited to spend a lot of time with the girls and Léa’s various family members. 🙂

Amongst all the festivities and chaos, the Evans family have managed to find a time that fits to have a “Christmas skype session”! 

With Calgary 8 hours behind Nantes, and Auckland being 12 hours ahead of Nantes, some mathematical sums were involved. The result being, on the Western world’s Christmas eve, we will call each other for Harry’s Christmas Day.

I don’t know what it’s going to feel like. It’s an odd situation to not be with the people – family – that embody the image and experience of Christmas. I’m just going to hope my dad doesn’t accidentally end up with a 21 pound turkey due to last minute shopping again. I think a turkey cookbook would be the appropriate Christmas present if so… 🙂  

To all my friends and their families this Christmas: I hope you have a wonderful celebration no matter how seriously you celebrate it or how much you eat of the grandiose feasts made.

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!” – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

To my own little family that seem to be getting way too good at globe trotting…

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all my love, be strong and remember to open a cracker for me. You know how much we love wearing those hats. ❤

Xo.  

Guide 101: when your family moves abroad without you

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while and have only managed to sit down and do it recently.. The title says it all really. So here we go..

As the world is becoming more global and multicultural, it is becoming common to hear that families are not only moving house but moving to another country or even continent.
When my parents’ decided to move to Canada in the summer of 2013, I found that there was nowhere I could turn to for advice. The simple solution of “Google it.” wasn’t working. It appeared that no one else had ever experienced this before. I knew that I can’t be the only one. At all. But why wasn’t there any comforting or informative blog or thread to for me to waste hours reading?

I have realised that in the build up and period of adjustment to the “big move” there just wasn’t that much information or advice out in the world wide web that helped me or my family through it. Many google searches rendered useless except for the obvious fact that having the opportunity for my family to live abroad was one of the best things they could do. Most would assume that those members of the family that are moving have the hardest struggle of all. I don’t disagree with this at all however in this particular situation, it was missing out one important factor. My parents’ and brother were emotionally pushed to the limit when they left – my mum still cries in the airport no matter who comes and goes – and I admire them so much for braving it out. But they do have each other in a physical sense. What I mean by this is that they remained intact as a family unit whilst I floated along on to be attached through the use of Facetime and WhatsApp.

 

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I still find it difficult to explain to people because I feel like I am coming across as melodramatic and a weepy mess. Many people, friends and strangers, that are young adults are most likely to say that they don’t see their parents much either except for obligatory holiday visits or if they happen to be taking a weekend break from being at University. I understand their position because if we were to count the amount of days they see their parents and I see mine, it may total up the same. But the crippling thought for me that is quite un-relatable is the psychological fact that my parents’ just are not there to go home to. Hence this is the core as to why I wish I had someone who experienced the same as I. Even if they’ve only posted once on Yahoo! Answers. Yet to hear their side of the story too could have made adjusting so much easier.

Anyway!

To stop my babble continuing… I’ve boiled it all down to five things I wish I had known when it all began… I most likely paint myself to be a grumpy and melodramatic but it is difficult to explain emotions and goings on without it. Nonetheless, I hope it’s a good read…!

1. Honesty & Expression

In short, let yourself feel your emotions and don’t internalise them if they are doing you more harm than good. I’m not suggesting that you let the water works flow constantly but it’s better to talk to someone about it before letting it build up and then explode out in a jumble. I definitely remember one occasion where I just burst into tears on one of my housemates’ bed because I just let all the emotion and thoughts build up and break out when completely unrelated things were stressing me out.

2. Keep yourself busy

Sometimes the saying ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ may ring loud and clear because your family will be doing different things that you aren’t able to do back home. If you don’t want to be alone, you don’t have to be. If none of your friends or other family members are over, go to the cinema, look up creative DIY ideas you can do at home or do those chores you’ve been putting off for ages. I found that most of the time I didn’t worry or think about it consciously but every now and again, I had to give myself a boost of positive thinking when I was stressing about whatever a 21 year old does stress about…

3. Communicate

 I have to admit that now my relationship with my parents’ has improved massively through the use of FaceTime and Whatsapp. An important thing is that if you want to talk to them, tell them. As we both have this need to check in with each other once everyday, it means we talk about everything and anything that is going on. My mum is a lot more like a best friend than she has ever been. I understand that as everyone grows up their relationships with their parents’ mature and improve and the same has happened to me. I guess the positive is avoiding my mum’s nagging by accidentally hitting the mute button… 😉

5. You are not alone

 I found that this is the hardest one to come to terms with. Due to this not being a common situation, it’s hard to feel that you have someone to turn to. Most of my friends were all really lovely about it and were always happy to lend an ear if I needed it. However it felt really difficult to be open about it because it’s not something they can relate to personally. When we want to help our friends through  a difficult time, we use our own experiences to give advice. Most of the time that helps but for me; all I wanted to do was just let it all out with someone without a word being said. That being said, it is so simple: you are really not alone and you’ll always have someone to listen should you need it. Even if it is your poster of Justin Bieber or the teddy you just can’t get rid of that sits on your bed. 

After this whole rollercoaster, I am so lucky to have the family I do and to have experienced all the opportunities that have arisen in wake of Calgary being added to my ‘places to call home’ list. Despite it still being more of a ‘holiday house’ for me, I have definitely accepted it in all it’s trauma and glory.

My Family, Canadian Summer 2015
My Family, Canadian Summer 2015

I hope that this has helped anyone who’s gone through, or going through the situation. More so, that it may help anyone, who has a friend who is in the exact position as I am, understand it all that little bit better. I’d love to know what you think of all this or if you’ve experienced the same!

Big love.

Xo.