So, more than a few people have asked me how long I will be stopping for in the UK and what will I be up to in the meantime so it’s probably a good idea to set the record straight (ish). I have now been back in Scotland for just under a month and it has been so wonderful reconnecting with friends and family, even more wonderful that the bond between myself and my nearest and dearest hasn’t changed in the slightest. However I never realised catching up with people could be so bloody expensive! I have had a few nights out with chums and I had nearly forgotten how pricey it is to do pretty much anything here, even when it comes to my chips and cheese/curry sauce/gravy/chilli sauce at the end of the night. In the humble city of Nantong, China, I could get a late night feast for the equivalent of about 50p so there has definitely been an adjusting period for living expenses to deal with. One last thing on the food front: I feel it’s only fair that I provide an update on my recent vegetarianism since coming home. Well, I have removed all meat from my diet apart from fish (so I guess that makes me a pescatarian but hey let’s not worry too much about labels at this point) which I am pretty proud of. I do have to admit that the road to an animal flesh free diet has not been without its slip ups. My first transgression occurred when I was rather hungover one day and met my best friend in Edinburgh. One thing led to another and rather than scrambled eggs on toast, I ordered and polished off a full Scottish breakfast. These things happen. There have been two more instances where I have fallen off the veggie wagon and one of which included a hungover trip to Mcdonalds. I am still battling on though and you know what they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
However, the biggest thing I have had to get used to is not working. I will admit I was very much looking forward to coming back from my hectic life in China to minimal demands and a bit of R&R. True to form though, about two weeks in I started to get antsy. Jeremy Kyle was in the middle of a tirade to a noticeably toothless young chap, telling him to ‘put something on the end of it’ before impregnating a 4th woman, when I realised: I’m bored. I have become very aware of the programming of daytime television and have also developed a curiosity in property developing and law, thanks to Homes under the Hammer and Judge Judy. It has become clear: I’m ready for the next project, I’m ready to get my teeth into something and while my Masters will certainly be a massive challenge for me, September just seems a little far away. Despite my admission of regular TV viewing, I have found myself being pretty productive and am in pursuit of finding something to do over the summer whether that is a part time job, work experience or an internship. I have a few things in the pipeline so it’s just a case of watching this space. I have also become a regular at the local library as I am currently without a computer or any access to the internet. I’ve realised that the library is underestimated by many people (including myself prior to joining) in terms of resources. There are many programs aimed at helping you to find a job, coaching on how to use a computer and the web and of course thousands of materials for both entertainment and academic pursuits. #bigupthelibrary
Apart from being the library’s newest and biggest fan I have also been pondering back and forth about a trip to the states this summer. I have a lot of friends who are currently in upstate New York working at my home away from home, Camp Echo. It’s hard being back in the UK without something to focus on every day and seeing the constant updates from across the water of friends having what I know is an amazing experience. I do believe that working at camp this summer wouldn’t have necessarily been the right decision for me, not to mention stressful as I would have needed to scurry manically to secure a visa etc. I also have too many special occasions that I refuse to miss this summer. That has happened too many times over the past 5 years. So I compromised with myself and my wanderlust and booked a trip to New York and Washington DC for 8 days. I thought about this decision a lot before I finally made it and the biggest reason I chose to go ahead was quite simply, my gut. I have an overwhelming feeling that if I don’t make this trip this summer then I will regret it, perhaps not immediately but definitely over time. There are people at camp whom I have not seen in 2 years and I cannot wait to see their faces on visiting weekend this July. Having the opportunity to even consider this trip has been another reminder in how lucky I am to have a responsibility pretty much only to myself and a knack for saving like a squirrel preparing for a winter in Westeros (Game of Thrones fans holla back!). I have a lot of flexibility at the moment and that will soon change once I get my head down to a full time Masters and other projects.
As always my view is to make the most of the opportunities that lay before you and if you don’t see any then it’s up to you to create them. The older I get, the more I realise that you need to make thing happen for yourself. Knock on doors, send emails, dedicate yourself to something and put yourself out there, don’t wait to be found. I like to think I apply this mantra to both my professional and personal life and so far it’s working out quite nicely. So for now I will remain in bonnie Scotland (apart from a quick visit to Uncle Sam) and beyond that I can’t really be sure. The next adventure might be just around the corner and it may be completely different to what I imagine but one thing is for sure, I’m up for the challenge!
Photo Credit: An Errington brother