Friday, 10 September 2010

You Obviously Didn't Hear What I Said

so i just sent an email update around to my contacts, friends and family and people i know who have been supportive of me in various ways during the past few years while i've been living abroad and working on my phd.  it's submitted now, and my viva is in ten days.  yay for that. 

however, everything else in my life is up in the air.  i have no visa currently, because the visa people haven't dealt with my application from back in april.  which means i might not be able to apply for the post-study visa i've been planning on getting forever since i started this program here.  and if i can't do that, then i'll have to go back 'home', which is NOT home anymore.  i. do. not. want. to. go. back.

i detailed both these things in the email, and then asked for people to pray with me, if they are the praying kind.  for peace of mind in the viva, so i don't break down in tears-- crying being my default reaction to any strong emotion, and completely beyond my control to stop.  which could be embarrassing in an academic meeting of that sort.  =S  but also for peace of mind as to what to do in the future-- because i don't have peace about any of my options just now.  if it were just financial, there is only one obvious choice.  if it were just emotional and what i want, there is only one obvious choice.  but it's a mix of those things, and things outside my control.  and i have no peace about any of the options that i can see before me just now.  so i asked for people to pray with me in this. 

so what did some woman i don't even know write back?  my mum apparently forwarded my email to all the people she works with (wonderful.  really. *sarcasm*), and so this woman writes back-- oh yes, i'll be praying for you in the middle of the night when you have your viva (the time difference makes it not a convenient time for most of the people i know in other parts of the world), and then, i quote:

'as for discernment of the future, i think your mama would like you to come home.'

seriously, woman?  did you not just read my email?  it's not home to me now, and i do not want to be there.  i don't give a damn about what my mum would like.  even if i have to move back there, i will NOT be living with or near my mum.  ever.  i love her, but only from a distance.  so i do not care one bit what she wants. 

how does what she wants have any place in my discernment?  it doesn't.  and it shouldn't.  this is my fucking life, and i'm going to make my own fucking choices.  i've spent too damn long having to be and do what my mum expected from me, and i'm not doing it any more.  so either do what i ask, or don't do anything.  bitch.

Monday, 5 July 2010

stupid small-town mentality

i'm flatsitting for a friend in mid-country nowhere, in a very small hamlet.  they have everything you need--fast food, grocery, pharmacy, bank, library... the only problem is the hours.  why is it the pharmacy thinks they can close for two hours in the middle of the day?  i need a prescription filled.  i can't be waiting around to drop it off, and then wait around to pick it up the next day.  i want it now.  but nooooo.  they open for a couple of hours in the morning, and a couple more hours in the afternoon.  how is that helpful?!

the grocery store stays open til 10pm, but they charge an arm and a leg for everything.  more than £2 for a small jar of peanut butter? no plain vanilla ice cream?  shelves empty with no idea when they'll restock?  i guess when they have a captive market they think they can get away with anything. 

and the fast food joint, as well as the restaurants and delivery places, charge more than anywhere else i've been.  captive market again?  perhaps.  in a hamlet that can't possibly be more than 1 mile square, why do they think they can charge £3 and more for delivery?  that's outrageous. 

mostly i'm just frustrated.  it costs too much to get the bus into the next city over (20 minutes, £4.90 return), so i can't even easily go get things cheaper.  or with more variety.  or whatever. 

i hate small towns.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

i hope they burn in hell

and that's only a slight exaggeration.

some jerks broke into our flat this week.  the one day i was out, meeting a friend for lunch.  i was gone two hours, and when i got back couldn't get in.  our lock was broken.  we've had trouble with it before, so i thought it was just acting up.  when we finally forced the door, my flatmate and i, we still didn't really see anything amiss.  till i went to check my email, and my laptop was gone.  and the laptop a friend was loaning me so my own laptop doesn't overheat and shut down and lose my thesis.  and the thumb drive with all my work from the past six years.  and my filofax.  and two chequebooks.  and a wallet with us cash and cards.  and my flatmate's broken laptop.  and his camera with all his photos from his last holiday.  and his filofax.  and his gold chain. 

mostly i was angry about losing all my work.  my thesis.  everything but the last draft i'd emailed to my supervisor, because he still had it in email form.  two weeks' of work, completely gone.  six years of random bits and smaller pieces, completely gone.  and i'm supposed to submit in a month, and now i'm totally demoralised and don't want to do anything. 

those assholes.  i hope they get caught.  i hope they get nothing for the stuff they took.  i hope they suffer horribly from painful and humiliating diseases because of the time and energy they stole from me.  bastards.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

waste of my time

there's this guy who is in my department at uni.  he was here to do a masters two years ago, was home a year, and now is back to do a phd.  was back.  something. 

anyway.  i've met him twice, i think.  his supervisor is my supervisor.  he's... socially awkward, to put it nicely.

so he's sent me a friend request on facebook this week. 

for the third time. because the other two times, he deleted his account.  and then recreated it.  with a different name.  out of worries of identity theft. 

seriously?!  you're putting things on facebook that will get your credit stolen and stuff?  whatever.

so i'm not sure whether to even bother responding to this friend request or not.  because it's not like i know and like him;  it was just out of common courtesy for being in the same place at the same time.  i don't really want to get to him any better, either. 

and besides.  he'll just delete this account in a month or so, and in a few more months make another, and request my friendship.  again. 


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

flatmate complaint

i generally really like my flatmate.  but sometimes, i want to say, 'one of these days, k... pow!  to the moon!'

this is one of those days.

k is out of town.  for a week.  which is great for having the flat to myself.  i love that. 

it's not so great when k left all kinds of gross and grody dishes from cooking and stuff, unwashed.  for me to do, i guess.  what a nice gift. 

and also not great when i can't lift the rubbish out of our bin, but less heave it into the big bin outside... especially when k empties the litterboxes in there a couple of times.  that junk is heavy.  so i'm gonna be stuffing in as much rubbish as i can, and leaving the damn bin for k to clear upon return. 

another thing.  leaving laundry clogging up the washer and dryer.  and hanging all over the flat.  when there was a full week to get it done beforehand.  so now, i'm left dealing with k's laundry just so i can deal with mine. 

if i were to leave any of these kinds of things undone while i went away for a week, boy, would i hear about it!  but since it's k's flat, it's just expected that i deal with it.  which is unfair, really.  i pay my rent, and i'm not here to be a maid or slave of any sort. 

it just works out that way most of the time.  grrrr!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

flat-block woes

there are six flats in my building.  all of them owned by a different person.  some of them lived in by the owners, many of them just rented.  this makes it very, very hard to get anything done at the 'communal' level. 

like our front door. it's old and filthy and doesn't lock/unlock very well. 

and our intercom system.  it's never worked since i've been here.  so if you buzz me, i can either just let you in and hope you are someone who is supposed to be here... or i ignore you and don't let you in.  because i can't call down to see who it is.  either i can hear you and you can't hear me, or you can hear me and i can't hear you, or (nearly all the time) neither one of us can hear anything.  so if i'm not expecting anyone, don't bother buzzing. 

besides, the buzzer often doesn't even sound up here.  or it gets stuck and just keeps buzzing.  so really, you're better off just texting me to let you in, if you are an actual person i know and like. 

then there's the back garden.  oh my life, this is travesty.  i've been here for nearly six years, and it has never once been tended.  i went down to try and get it sorted so we can hit the pinata tomorrow at my party, but noooo.  it's thigh high in most places, and not with just weeds and grass but with reeds and small trees.  it'll take a bushhog to get it sorted.  and the parts that are just weeds and might be able to be mowed (if the mower i only just found out we have actualy works, which is debatable since it's been sitting in the cupboard in the stairwell for more than five years) is all covered with piles of bracken and branches and vines that were trimmed at some point and just left there.  why bother to cut stuff if you aren't going to move it out of the way?!  and i don't have a car or any way to get rid of it.  i want to be able to use my garden this year... but noooo.  that seems like a losing battle.  hmph. 

maybe i just need to take the initiative and figure out a way to sort some of these.  except the intercom.  that's too dang expensive.  the garden, at least.  and maybe cleaning the front door and the stairway.  am i nice enough to do that?  we'll see, i suppose. 

Saturday, 1 May 2010


friend, i am glad you've discovered doctor who and are loving it so far.  in some ways, you are lucky to be coming in with the newest regenerated doctor eleven, because you don't have to deal with the heartbreak of getting to know and love one just to have them change.  and yet, you are totally missing out as well, because that's part of what makes the doctor--his past incarnations, companions, and adventures. 

so don't think that you, the new viewer, are the reason this show keeps going.  and that you are the best because you are fresh to it and discovering baddies and goodies and other things for the first time that we've known for years.  you are not the reason this show keeps going.  i am. 

me and millions of people who have been following the doctor through time and space for all our lives are.  those of us who grew up fearing the daleks and cybermen, who know the quirks and outfits of all eleven, who have gotten every silly pop-culture reference that pops up in random places all the time.  we're the ones who know and love the doctor, and who keep him alive.  us. 

not you.

welcome to the family, though.  just realise that you are the baby, and you have a lot to learn.  and when this doctor finally regenerates, you'll understand a little more.  but until then, enjoy the show and shut your trap. 

Friday, 23 April 2010

it's not really opinion when it's also true

i have this friend whom i really, truly, deeply love.  he's one of my very best friends, and i would do anything for him.  which meant sitting on the phone, on an international call, for six hours the other night. 

six hours, people.  that's a long time.  and no speaker-phone, either.  my ears still hurt. 

but i love him, so i listened.  over and over and over again.  and said the same things over and over and over again, because they are really the only things i can say. 

see, he's been not taking my advice... and it's come back to bite him.  he now knows he should have listened to me.  i knew wherein i spoke.  twice now that's been proven true.  this third time is by far the worst, and even though he knows i'm right, he still refers to it as my 'opinion' and clings to his own desperate path. 

it will end in more tears, i tell ya.  lots and lots more tears.  i know.  i've been there.

yes, it's about a girl.  and yes, she is the one in the wrong yet with all the power.  and yes, he thinks she is the only one for him ever again and that if this ends then his life ends.  i am not sure that he means that literally, but i know he believes that he'll never love again and will die miserable and alone. 

how do i get him to hear me? i really have been there, in a situation very, very similar to this one.  my ex and this girl could be related, seriously.  and i thought i'd never get over it.  and here i am, a decade later.  but because i didn't let go when i should have, because i let it drag on and on, i was about a gazillion times worse when it did end than i would have been.  and i still feel like a fool about it, because i knew then that i should end it, and didn't.  that i kept hoping, kept giving it one more try, kept thinking that this time would be different.  stupid, stupid me. 

now stupid, stupid friend.  and he just isn't hearing it.  i don't want him to hurt any more than he is now, and that is considerable.  but i also cannot pray for or support his desire for this to continue and somehow work out.  i don't think it will. 

so why won't he do what i say when i've been proven so, so right?  and how do i be a real friend when i think he's an idiot and don't agree with what he wants?

Monday, 19 April 2010

hot lava + cold snow =

aberdeen's weather. 

it has been largely clear and sunny skies, with even some warmth if you stay out of the shade.  but not today.  i blame the volcano.  today it's overcast.  near-freezing (actual temperature, not figure of speech). snowing and sleeting.  ridiculous.  i know aberdeen has crazy weather, but this?  no thank you. 

i also am frustrated for friends who are stuck here when they'd rather be somewhere else.  on holiday.  visiting relatives and friends.  anywhere else.  just like they'd planned.

i do not feel sorry for people who are stuck here who actually belong somewhere else.  i mean, dang.  enjoy the imposed longer holiday, people!  i would.

and i have absolutely no sympathy for people stuck places like faro, or malaga, or the canary islands.  seriously? you expect me to feel sorry for you having to stay there longer?  not happenin'.  no way, no how.  i'm actually quite jealous. 

i also feel sorry for iceland, though.  they just can't catch a break. 

Friday, 9 April 2010

angry auntie!!

i am furious, and upset, and there is nothing i can do about it but wait. 

my nephew, who is nearly four, is in preschool in the states.  yesterday, he had a poo accident at school.  at morning play time, which is the first fifteen or twenty minutes of school.  his teacher either didn't notice, or didn't do anything about it if she did notice... so my poor bubbs had to spend the whole morning (nearly three hours!) in dirty pants.  that just isn't right. 

i mean, i know that cleaning up a 4 year old's accident isn't going to be pleasant.  but kids have accidents.  this is the only time it's ever happened in school, and my sister only lives about five minutes away.  at the very least, they should have called her to come and get him or come and change him.  but this is a health hazard--for my bubbee and for the other kiddos in the class.  and it's just irresponsible on the part of the teacher. 

on top of that, as if that weren't bad enough, when my sister was trying to find out from him what happened, he said that he didn't tell either of his teachers because he didn't want anyone to know his secrets.  that has me worried, as well.  has someone said or done something to make him feel so embarrassed, or like he shouldn't trust people, or like he has to protect himself from others?  i know he had to have been embarrassed by the accident, but is that all it is?  it's breaking my heart, because there is nothing i can do from another continent. 

i am angry.  i am upset.  i am worried.  and i'm waiting to hear what happens when my sister confronts the teacher about it today...

Thursday, 8 April 2010

life with, and yet without

i have a decent chunk of change sitting in my bank account.  whether or not it's enough to get my visa extended is still to be seen.  what it is enough for, however, is to make my life miserable.  or at least very frustrating.  there are things i need... that i could technically even afford to buy.  but i can't.  here's my list of things i need (not even counting things i just would like to have):

fresh groceries (i did just splurge on pantry items and nonperishables to see me through
new mattress: the springs in mine are poking me
new contacts: i've been wearing my one-month disposable pair for about six months now
new glasses: my frames are about a decade old, and the prescription is nowhere near right
postage: to send my sister and brother-in-law birthday gifts (late now), and my godson/nephew his easter gift
toiletries: like hair stuff, and toothpaste, and other necessary girlie items
bus fare: 2.60 every once in a while, so i can visit friends in far parts of town
rent: luckily, my flatmate knows i'm good for it, and since he owns the place, he'll let me slide
sunglasses:  i can't go out in the light without them, but i've lost two pair in two weeks.  bah.
underclothes: yeah.  socks and underwears and bras.  mine are... well, not in good shape. 
academic expenses: to bind my thesis, pay my graduation fee, etc

i know that i am lucky to be living where i do, doing what i am, and all that stuff.  i am not literally starving (yet), and i am not in danger of being put out on the street (yet).  but i am--and having been--living well under the poverty line for quite a few years now.  it gets old.  i know how to budget, i don't splurge on luxuries very often, things like that.  but still.  it'll be so nice to actually be able to buy the things i need one day...

Monday, 5 April 2010

As Gordon Ramsay might say...

f*ck me.

  ilove me some gordon.  and his vocab has infiltrated mine, at least in my mind. i don't use it out loud like he does, but it's what comes to mind when things go wrong.  'this can't be f*cking possible' and 'you're f*cking killing me!' and, of course, 'f*ck me.'  apologies to those with senistive eyes for my horrible language.  it's just what's spewing out of me right now.

what's going on?  oh, just the same old shit.  visa beaurocratic basterds ruining my life.  all over money. 

apparently it didn't cross the int'l advisor's mind to tell me that they now require you to have 600 pounds in your account for each month you are applying to stay-- with a minimum of two months.  even though i was quite clear last time that money is an issue, and i only barely had the 800 i was keeping in for the fresh talent thingy.  i don't have 1200 anywhere.  and it has to be there for 28 days prior to your applying... which is now impossible.  i have less than 28 days til my visa runs out.  so i have to fill in all the forms anyway, and go back on thursday.  why, i'm not entirely sure... because if i try with less than 1200 then i could just lose the application cost and get nothing if they reject it.  or i could wind up with just the one month extension, which wouldn't give me enough time to get enough money back in my account to apply for the post study work visa.  so.  i don't know what i'm going to do, and i'm beginning to wonder why i should even bother.  it's a good day.  ha.

i don't know what to do. i should be madly working on my thesis right now, in order to get this effing draft done and get moving on the viva and whatnot... buti have no motivation now.  i am really ready to just throw in the towel. i don't want to, but i'm feeling like i am out of options and it's not worth working my @ss off just for nothing.  or what feels like nothing right now.

anyway.  i just needed to vent.  thank you for listening.  and please don't tell me it's only money, or it'll work out in the end, or anything else like that.  i appreciate the sentiments, and i know all those things you want to say.  it doesn't make me feel any better, though, and it doesn't change the situation. just let me be angry for a wee while.  you can be angry with me, if you want.  but please don't be chipper and positive.  i can't deal with that right now.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


i am not all that political.  i am glad to have the freedom to vote and have an opinion, but i don't get very caught up in it all, either locally, nationally or internationally.

i am, however, very opinionated about how people are treated.  especially when it is completely unfair.

i also know that a lot of people will think that this makes me political.  it doesn't.  i'm not anti-anyone-- i'm pro-everyone.  i just think that all people have the right to live and work and love, and to do so in a manner that is not in constant fear or under constant threat.

what made me so mad today was the stupid young undergrads in a class i'm taking notes for.  it's a class on the history of the middle east and all the conflicts there.  i actually am really glad to be in this class.  i have been to israel and the palestinian territories, twice.  i know people who live and work in various parts of the entire region.  i love the history, the culture, the food, the people-- arabs, jews, christians, muslims, all of them.  it is fascinating to me, and i would love to live there some day.  i also took classes in university from a rabbi-- both bible classes and classes on the holocaust.  i am not ignorant of what has been done to jewish people... but neither am i ignorant of what they have done to others.

today in this class, we were talking about the history of the conflict between israelis and palestinians, going back to the 1930s.  it has been a difficult situation for a long time, and neither side is blameless.  for the second half of the class, we watched the first half of a film called 'paradise now' about two young men from nablus, following their journey in becoming suicide bombers.  i don't know how it's going to end yet.

first off, the film is filmed in nablus.  having spent time in the west bank, and really wanting to go back, it actually made me a little homesick, which is funny because it's never been 'home' yet.  also, having spent time there with friends who have family living there, as well as having spent a summer term at hebrew university of jerusalem, i have experienced both sides-- and now i've studied the history of both sides.  this film, seeing these two young men struggle with very limited options, trying to decide what they can do, how they can make a difference for their family, their people, their land... it was heartbreaking.  at many points, i had tears streaming down my face.

and the kids behind me were giggling.  laughing.  ridiculing.  i was furious.  but i just had to sit there.

i want to be clear:  i do not support or approve of violence on either side, whether state sanctioned (israel) or revolutionary (many arabs).  i. do. not. think. violence. solves. anything. or. is. ever. the. answer.  EVER.

that being said, i do understand why many oppressed people around the globe feel that violence is their only option.  i have seen myself what life is like, and how intolerable it can be, when you are the oppressed and occupied people.  one person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.  israel itself used the very same tactics to claim their statehood-- and are every bit as violent and oppressive towards their arab neighbours as they suffered under the nazis.

how is that fair?  how is that right?  it's not. and it's no laughing matter.

i know that there are no easy solutions, and that violence begets violence, and everyone has claims, and all that.  but i get angry anyway.

Friday, 5 March 2010

delayed payday

i do not understand the way some places work.  that's most likely because they don't work like i would like, or they don't work in ways that i would think of as making the most sense. obviously they never asked me, but still. 

for instance.  i work for a month.  i turn in all my timesheets on the last day of said month.  i get paid at the end of the following month. 

so i have to wait at least 28 days to get any dough for the work i did ages ago.  that is a long damn time to wait for my hard-earned cash.  especially when i have bills and stuff.  right now, i'm living on £50 for the entire month of march.  that means no extra activities (like coffees or dinners with friends or bus passes to anywhere).  that pretty much means only the most basic of grocery necessities, like milk and eggs.  the long-life milk, at that.  and the cheap, not-free-range eggs.  it also means no rent for my flatmate til much later.  at least k knows i'm good for it, and isn't dying for the money. 

but still.  i understand a delay for pay--i'm used to two weeks.  but this is too long.  too damn long, university. 

not that they'll pay any attention.  they don't care. 

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

beaurocratic bastards

i got bad news yesterday, and i can't figure out what to do about it.  my visa situation is all messed up right now.  and i'm not happy about it. 

i either have to have my thesis done, my viva done, my corrections done, and the university saying i'm done in order to apply for a post-study work visa (which is what i want) by the end of april (which is pretty damn well impossible)


i have to leave the country. 

i don't want to leave the country.  but while they say they want me, a person educated here, to stay here and work, they are making it f*cking impossible for me to do that.  and that's just the paperwork and timing.  the cost is out of this world. 

i'm a student for crying out loud.  i don't have £2500 to my name, in any country.  how the hell am i supposed to come up with that much, to leave in a bank account for three months, and then pay another £500 just for you to consider giving me a visa?  you've got to be joking. 

so, i'm going to spend the next month writing-- no eating, no sleeping, no nothing but thesis-- and see if i can submit in a month, get readers to agree to do my viva over spring break (good luck with that, self), get the corrections done in a week or two tops, get everything okay'd and printed and bound and turned in and paperworked.  if i can, then things might work out. 

if not, i'm totally f*cked and don't know what i'll do about it. 

Friday, 26 February 2010


~ don't sit on the end seat of an otherwise empty row if you don't want to have to move to let people in to sit down.  seriously.  you can't get annoyed about that-- it was your own damn choice.

~ why is it that people think they can rearrange the times set for meetings, classes, etc on a whim-- and expect people to be able to shuffle the rest of their schedules around at just a few minutes'  notice?  it's not that easy, people.  i understand last minute problems, but dang.  i can't just skip everything else in my day so that you can be an hour late.

~ i thought about doing the 'rants and raves' meme, but i've got nothing to rave about.  it's all rants.

~ the days are getting noticeable longer.  yay.  but it is still colder than hell here.  yes, for me, hell would be cold.  hot i could handle.

~ why is it that everyone insists on telling me, 'oh, of course you can. don't be silly' when i say i feel like i can't do something?  like something feels impossible?  i know that technically it can be done, and i know that logically, based on my history and my make-up and all that jazz that it CAN be done.  but what i feel doesn't match that.  you don't make me feel better by pooh-poohing my feelings about it.  just sympathise and let me get it out.  encourage me later, after you've taken my concerns seriously.  sheesh.

~ i really miss diet sundrop.  nothing like that exists where i am.

~ i really like kirkyards.  graveyards.  cemetaries.  does that make me creepy?

~ i haven't called or spoken to my parents since thanksgiving.  does that make me a bad child?

~ this is kind of fun.  getting out all my random thoughts feels good.

~ why do academics so often have to be such douchebags?  i mean, really.  yes, you're smart, and yes, you've put in your time, but dang.  that doesn't mean you are always the only one right, and it sure doesn't mean that i'm an idiot because i've not reached your level yet.  get over yourselves, academics!

~ i want to be a stay-at-home.  not anything particular after that;  just a stay-at-home.  too bad no one pays for that kind of life...

Monday, 22 February 2010

share the space!

seriously, people... do you have to take up the entire pavement?  can't the three of you scrunch together, or walk single file, so the rest of us don't have to go in the street to get around you, or slow down to your drunken high-heeled crawl? 

i just don't understand this.  it's bad enough when i get stuck behind people-- but i do understand that they can't see me.  of course, they should move a bit when they realise i'm trying to squeeze past, but still.  it's still rude, but it's not nearly as bad as when they are walking towards me.  four of them, spread out across the entire pavement.  and not one of them makes a move to clear some space for those of us going the other way.  c'mon!  really?  you jerks can't move just a tiny wee bit so i can get through?  apparently not.

today, though, it was the drunk man and woman (this was just after 1pm) who were staggering their way along.  sometimes they were making out as they walked (very crookedly).  sometimes they were holding hands and each weaving in a different direction.  sometimes they were pushing each other away, and covering who-knows-what distance and part of the pavement.  i actually did have to step into the street--into oncoming traffic-- to not just get around but get away.  they were a menace, and an annoying one, at that.

it's rude, people.  just some common courtesy here for your fellow walkers.  that shouldn't be too much to ask, even when you are blitzed out of your mind.  damn.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

why i hate undergrads

i am a student.  still.  i have been a student for the vast majority of my life.  and a typically straight a student at that.  an occasional b here and there, and sometimes less (though i would generally say those were either classes i didn't care anything about, or there were other factors, like illness).  but i am a nerd.  a student through and through.  i know how to play the academia game, and play it well. 

right now, in addition to being a student, i work for students.  i take notes in classes for them.  not just anyone, mind you.  it's through the disability services, and it pays very well.  and i get to sit in random classes, which are often quite interesting and nothing i would ever have had the chance to learn about otherwise. 

i'm damn good at my job.  the students who get my notes are more than lucky-- they are blessed.  they have absolutely no reason for not doing well.  if they fail, it's their own fault. 

so tell me, mr second year undergrad, why is it exactly that you think you had to meet with me in person to tell me what you expect from me, your notetaker?  i was polite to your face and all, but inside i was scoffing.  worse than scoffing, actually.  i could not believe that you thought you should tell me how to do my job.  my job, that i am damn good at.  that i have never had one single complain in five years, and many, many thanks and compliments.  that i have been doing for myself for most of my life-- which is no short amount of time. 

seriously?  you, a second year undergrand, know better than me how to take notes in class?  really? 

*rolls eyes* 

i'm sorry you've had bad experiences with notetakers in the past.  you don't have to worry about that from me.  and now that you've met me in person to instruct me in what i need to do *rolls eyes again*, could you please stop emailing me every. freaking. day?  what the flip do you think that will accomplish?  besides, it's not like you have anything to complain about the notes i've sent you.  you just want to make sure i'm going to show up.  as if i've missed a class yet.  dude.  relax. 

and give me a little credit.  i'm a grown up.  i'm paid to do this.  and i'm a grade-a number one nerd.  damn.  back off, bucko.  

Monday, 11 January 2010

half my rent in shipping

yup.  that's how much i spent on sending parcels home to people:  more than half a month's rent.  that is just ridiculous.   i mean, i know that email and cheap phone plans have cut down on how much people use the postal service, but really?  we have to charge that much?  i live overseas from all my family and a lot of my friends.  i have to post internationally 85% (at least!) of my gifts.  i may never do that again, if they don't reciprocate and start sending me things.  they each only have to send one expensive parcel to me-- i have to send them to everyone.  it's just not fair.

so i could just send gift cards, or order online, or simply call.  but where's the fun in that?!  i love finding the perfect gift, and buying people things from the awesome places i get to travel.  but when i have to spend more on the shipping than the item itself is worth, how is that right?  it's not right.  but is there anything i can do about it?  no. 

because it's not just the specialty shipping folks who are outrageously priced-- it's the local post office.  surface mail takes two months to arrive for a slight decrease in price.  slight enough to make up for the difference in time?  not really.  i could just pack everything in my checked luggage when i go home... if i go home.  but since i have not been in more than a year, and have no idea when i might get back again, that doesn't even work.  gah. 

c'mon, shipping people.  give us poor expats a break!  this is flippin' highway robbery.  =(

Sunday, 10 January 2010

the cupboards are still largely bare....

because no one is open at all over the holidays.  not only are they closed on christmas, early on new year's eve and all day long on new year, then we have a stinking local holiday on 4 january.  seriously?!  we didn't just have enough days off?  and all the tiny wee shops in the tiny wee village where i'm staying just now are all closed.  because their tiny wee owners can do that, i guess.  but how am i supposed to buy groceries, especially when the co-op is out or ridiculously over-priced?  i don't have a car.  bus travel here is expensive and it takes a good while to get into a big enough town to have shopping.  and then i have to carry it all back on my aching back without falling on my back side in the ice and snow.  no thank you! 

so i just ended up carting back about two tons worth of food from my pantry at home, when i was back for two days' worth of appointments.  it nearly killed me, hauling that case in the icy snow all the way to the train station... but at least i'm not starving now.  because i'm not sure when or if i'll be able to order in groceries, because i had to spend my life savings on posting parcels home to everyone for christmas.  which, again, is another story in itself...

Monday, 4 January 2010

the cupboards are bare

so i'm flatsitting for a friend who is gone this month.  it's great for both of us... she's home, and i get a place all to myself for a while.  win-win. 

except that i got here late on 30 december.  and the cupboards were pretty well bare.  not that i expected her to stock up for me, but what kind of person doesn't have staples in the house?!  no bread and milk i can understand.  no meat or veg or fruit, no problem. 

but no canned goods?  nothing frozen?  no canned good?!

there were:  a few sauces and condiments.  garlic.  two boxes of mostly-eaten cereal.  flour-sugar-spices-the like.  gross health food like protein bars and walnut oil.  (what the hell is walnut oil for?!)  tea. coffee. both very good things, since it's freakin' freezing here.  a few oatcakes (but nothing to put on them). 

that's it.  not even things to cobble together some random weird meal.  again, who doens't keep staples like tinned tomatos, ramen noodles, tinned tuna, even just pasta, for crying out loud?! 

luckily i had brought a very few things with me-- some tortellini, clementines, pringles, mince pies.  not the healthies of combinations, but it got me through. 

did i mention i arrived late on 30 december?  because nothing was open for days and days... but that's another post in itself.