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Three Hundred Sixty Six.

I know what you’re thinking.

Nope. I still don’t have any answers. And I still don’t feel like a grown up. Maybe slightly closer, but I still don’t even want to have to take care of a houseplant.

SIDENOTE: Somehow I manage to keep my dogs alive and happy. I don’t know how that works. Life Math is weird.

…Maybe I’m just not a green thumb.

Anyway.

My BFF Jo texted me yesterday and said, “It’s your last day as a 26 year old.”

At first I kind of panicked. Holy shitballs. 26. It’s over. I feel like it just started. I know it sounds like a super cliche, but in some ways, it really was like the blink of an eye.

I started this blog a year ago as a challenge to myself as a writer. Early in 2012, I kind of lost faith in myself. I hit a major rough patch and thought wow, maybe I’m actually a terrible writer. Maybe I have no idea what I’m doing. Maybe I don’t want to ever write again. Of course, I eventually came around and realized that writing is the thing I love the most. And in the same vein, I knew that if I wanted to be a writer, I’d have to write.

But I was kind of scared.

So I promised myself I would write something every day.

I wasn’t really expecting that forcing myself to write a blog post every day – a story that somehow led to me learning a life lesson, no matter how small – would help me be happy. I saw it as much more of an exercise than anything else. And an opportunity to maybe be funny. But I have to say, writing this blog has given me a completely different outlook on my entire life. It’s helped me understand how my past has made me who I am. It’s helped me work through a lot of difficult times and put a positive spin on things I would have never otherwise laughed at. It’s helped me approach life in a much more open, accepting way.

Like, happen to me, life: I’m ready to learn from you.

That was a disaster. Oh well, next time will be better!

I can’t believe that just happened. I am mortified. Also, that was hilarious. I can’t wait to tell people.

I did it! Someone pat me on the fucking back!

I hate everything right now. Surely someone will understand.

I am hurting. I need to know it’s going to be okay.

This is weird. Does everyone feel this way?

Did that just happen? SRSLY?!

At the same time, I had come to a bit of a crossroads with myself. I had hit a self-love low. I was feeling depressed, defeated, discouraged, you name it. I decided enough was enough: it was time to make the active decision to be happy.

I also discovered that Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks. And my world was turned upside down. In a good way.

To quote myself (is that totally pretentious? I’m trying to recap, shut up.):

Jayne Mansfield, the American actress, singer, Playboy playmate, and all around drop-dead gorgeous bombshell, was flawed in a way that has been the root of much of my self-consciousness for all of my teenage and adult life.

So…all of that got me here.

SIDENOTE: It’s really hard writing the last post of a 365-day blog.

It’s going to be difficult to let this blog go. I know I’m going to wake up tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and my first thought is going to be, “What can I write about today?” or, “Oh shit! I still have to blog today!”

But I’m looking forward to channelling my creative energy into a number of other projects that I’ve already either started or am about to. So I guess what I’m saying is I’m not going anywhere. Maybe there will be another blog. Maybe not. But I promise there will be something.

I was trying to think of a fun way to commemorate the end of this blog.

Here’s what I came up with.

Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks.

jayne

And so do I.

Image2

xA

P.S. It’s hilariously ironic that in the majority of the pin-up photos I took, my stretchmarks aren’t that visible. Because they’re everywhere.

But I guess there’s a life lesson in that, isn’t there?

I’m probably the only one who really notices them.

Image7_2

P.P.S. Things I meant to write but forgot: Happy Birthday to me! Also, here’s to 27! I’m crazy excited for it!

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Three Hundred Sixty Five.

I know this is a 365-day blog, but this is technically the penultimate post, because it’s a birthday to birthday thing. And tomorrow’s my birthday!

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SIDENOTE: Have you bought me a birthday present yet? We can’t be friends if you didn’t because all I care about is material possessions.

Anyway, I thought what better way to spend the second-last day of my crazy year-long blog than looking back on some of its best moments?

SIDENOTE: Maybe that should say best/”best”…

Think of this, if you will, as a flashback episode of your favourite TV sitcom. With the help of a couple friends, I’ve compiled some categories I think you’ll enjoy.

Without further ado…

Top 5 Stupid Kid Moments

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Oh boy. Where to even start with this one?! Well, okay…

1. Pressing buttons was (OKAY, STILL IS) a thing I loved doing. See examples A and B.

2. Of course, there was the time I electrocuted myself

3. The day I put scissors through my finger

4. Setting fire to things is never a good idea.

5. Neither is writing a hate letter to your childhood friend.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

I have to give honourable mention to the day I learned that “bastard” is a bad word. Oh, and also to the combination of shaving off my eyebrows and getting hair extensions.

And guess what?! It’s your lucky day. I found a photo of teenage Andrea with hair extensions and no eyebrows. And apparently I have no shame because I’m gonna post it on the Internet.

Extensions

Boy oh boy oh boy.

Moving on!

Top 5 Most Awkward Moments

If you haven’t deduced by now, I am the QUEEN OF AWKWARD. This is quite the random assortment, but I feel it encompasses who I am pretty well…

1. The day a goat ate my t-shirt. (Enough said.) (Stupid goats.) (Seriously, why would she do that to me?!) (Ugh.) (I fucking loved that t-shirt.) (SOB.)

2. The day I learned about orgasms in sex ed. (Is anyone else craving cake?!)

3. Barrel-chested. That is all.

4. The day the National Poet of Scotland called me stupid. Which I really should add to my resume.

5. My elementary school “boobies” moment.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

There are so, so many, but I feel like my Pilates FAIL and my Zumba BARF moments were pretty grand.

Top 5 “SRSLY?!” Moments

You know those moments. The ones that make you go, “what the fucking?!”

1. People and my tattoos. Why are people so weird about my tattoos?

2. That time a guy threw a book at my face. No big deal.

3. NO I DON’T WANT TO TAN.

4. Nothing says “what the fuck?” like getting pepper sprayed!

5. Also charming: when people tell you how to pronounce your own name

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

I have to give myself a shout out for fucking up my neck by making fun of someone on a Zumba DVD. Because who the fuck does that? This girl, right here.

But the greatest honourable mention in this category goes to Glasgow, Scotland, where I experienced so many WTF things, including…

Finding a tooth in an ATM.

Finding a used tampon on a bus.

And buses in general.

Among so many others. I fucking love you, Glasgow. I really do.

Top 5 Workplace Blunders

It’s a wonder I still have my job. It really is. It’s also a wonder I still have any self-confidence after all of the stupid humbling things that have happened to me at work…

1. My friends still bring up the day I parked on the sidewalk.

2. Also charming: locking yourself in a stairwell on your first day of work.

3. Or, you know, getting caught dancing in the bathroom.

4. Similarly, walking in on your coworkers in the bathroom.

5. Or traumatizing them with your hair colour.

BONUS PHOTO:

Getting caught taking a selfie at work.

Work selfie

At least I know my office mate loves me and doesn’t judge me.

Top 5 Relationship/Sex Fails

Look. I’d prefer we don’t dwell on how much I suck at relationships, okay? OKAY?!

1. I have been known to throw myself at guys I like.

2. I’ve learned the hard way that spin the bottle will only break your heart.

3. So will going after guys who don’t care that you exist. (But you can keep trying to shout “LOVE ME! LOOOOOVE MEEEE!” at them. Trust me. Guys SUPER love that.)

4. I’m good at ending up in awkward sex situations.

5. And awkward kissing situations, sometimes.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS AND A BONUS PHOTO:

Okay, well, first of all, heartbreak, right?

I think I also screwed it up with this guy, because he was clearly paying me a compliment.

Let’s not forget all of my failed marriages. Sigh.

And the time a MONSTER RASH ruined my potential Scottish boyfriend.

And hey, since I’ve already shown you how great I looked with hair extensions as an eyebrowless wonder, here’s a photo of me in the midst of the MONSTER RASH attack. This was after I managed to get my eyes open, because they were swollen shut.

Photo 130

Good lord…

Top 5 Accomplishments

I didn’t screw up everything, though. I’ve done some stuff. Yeah. I do things! I TCB every once in a while!

1. I’ve gotten over a lot of fear to become a Zumba instructor.

2. Then I stuck with it for a year and changed my life.

3. I grew back my eyebrows, guys. I fucking did it!

4. I got over some serious “I can’t!” bullshit and also tried wall climbing.

5. Oh, hey, I also learned how to embrace myself sometimes. I think that’s pretty huge.

HONOURABLE MENTION:

I BLOGGED EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR 365 FUCKING DAYS.

A year, guys. A YEAR.

I’m excited to celebrate my birthday with you all tomorrow.

xA

P.S. I know what you’re thinking. There totally should have been some sort of crazy travel category. But I just couldn’t narrow that shit down. So you’ll just have to re-read my entire blog to enjoy.

Three Hundred Fifty One.

Guys, I’ve had a cold for a WEEK and it’s making me totally stupid.

You know when your head is all plugged and your ears get all plugged so you can’t hear and then you start coughing and every time you cough you let out a little whimper of self pity?

THAT.

You know what else it’s done? It’s made me so whiny. How irritating. I’m not usually like this. So it’s more like cough, whimper of self pity, grunt of, “Get it together, Beça.”

Um, anyway, I’ve decided to do a follow-up to this post, because I thought of more things.

MORE THINGS I SUCK AT by Andrea Beça

Making Minor Decisions

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When it comes to minor decisions, I could not be more of a Libra.

Hilariously, I’m pretty good at major decisions, because I’m good at sitting down, weighing out the options, and really considering what I want. I mean when you think about it, I’ve made some pretty major decisions in life, like moving to the other side of the world, say.

But ask me what I want for dinner or where I’d prefer to sit at an event and I could flounder for ages. In some cases, it’s just because I’m generally a chill person and I don’t mind either way. In other cases, it’s because I CAN’T DECIDE AND I DRIVE MYSELF CRAZY.

Folding Shirts

How-to-Fold-Clothes-That-Look-Crisp-and-Pressed

One word: NOPE.

I used to try. Now I just do it my way, and you know what? That’s just fine!

Speaking of which…

Folding Clothes and/or Putting Clothes Away

UnpackingIf I don’t do it RIGHT AWAY, it will NEVER HAPPEN.

Like, when I moved in with my friend once, I packed, moved, and unpacked all in a single day. I was up until almost 4am because I needed to get it all done. ALL OF IT. Then I was able to sleep.

On the flip side, I’ve gotten back from trips and lived out of my suitcase for weeks just because I didn’t feel like unpacking. Oops.

Telling People Off

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I’m super nice. Way too nice sometimes. Sometimes (see: always) I do this thing where someone will say something really offensive or rude or just that I don’t agree with and instead of speaking up, I laugh. Kind of like when the dude at the casino implied that I was a purchase-able sex object.

It’s probably why I’ve had a stalker before. I suck at just saying, “FUCK OFF.”

SIDENOTE: Totally not going to blog about that.

Letting Things Be

Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 11.09.32

SIDENOTE: It’s a sleeping dog. Get it?

Like, say you crack a joke and someone sort of takes it the wrong way and then everyone sort of laughs it off. I can’t laugh it off. If I feel like I’ve offended you, I will not be able to not get in touch and say, “Hey, I’m sorry – that’s not what I meant.”

Or if I feel like I don’t fully understand what someone means or why they would say something they said, I always feel like I need to clarify. Especially when hurt feelings are involved.

Or like today, when I got a rejection email about a short story I submitted to something and the person said, “It’s beautiful, but it has no plot.” I just want to shout IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT PLOT. SOMETIMES IT’S ABOUT PEOPLE.

Let it go, let it go, let it go.

I suck at that.

So I guess the lesson learned here is that SURPRISE! In the six months since writing version 1, I did not get perfect. Darn.

Good thing I have a prize-winning smile or no one would ever put up with me.

xA

P.S.

HEY YOU CHECK IT OUT.

Remember how I said I suck at technology? Yeah, that hasn’t changed. I just figured out I can make polls on my blog. So let’s have fun. Here’s a question. If you read my blog, vote! And do it soon, because there are only 15 more days of posts. (Holy shit!)

(Hint: it’s an aesthetic thing. I’m not going to need therapy or anything. I hope.)

Three Hundred Twenty Seven.

Andrea: learning things the hard way so that you don’t have to.

I’m usually a super clean eater. I mean, I’m vegan and gluten-free, so that helps, but just in general, I eat well.

Yesterday, though, I went on a bit of a snack heyday. It started in the afternoon when I met up with my friend Caitlin for frozen yogurt. See, my new weakness is soy frozen yogurt from this place called Tutti Frutti. It’s ridiculously delicious and you can cover it in all sorts of toppings, which is basically my idea of heaven.

Screen shot 2013-09-08 at 17.08.12

(GAH! So good.)

So that happened.

I should mention that before my frozen yogurt date, I went grocery shopping on an empty stomach to stock up on snacks for the next month, because my schedule’s about to get INSANE and I know I’ll need to be constantly re-fueling.

So I went home after frozen yogurt and naturally, I sampled many of the snacks I bought while I put them away.

Then I made dinner and ate lots of that.

Then I went on a movie date with a friend, so naturally, I ate all the movie theatre popcorn (popcorn in general is one of my all-time favourite foods). Because DELICIOUS.

SIDENOTE: We’re The Millers is pretty funny. Not stellar, but funny enough.

After the movie, it was 12:15am and my friend turned to me and said, “So now what? Should we hang out?”

“Sure, I’m up for anything.”

…Which landed us at Boston Pizza, one of the only places that was still open.

“Even though I just ate popcorn, I really want some pizza.” he said as we sat down, “Can you eat anything here?”

“I can eat FRENCH FRIES!” I said, because YUM.

So then I ate all the French fries.

I got home at 2:30am, rolled my ass into bed, and finally fell asleep around 3:30am after some tossing and turning due to ALL THE FOOD IN MY STOMACH.

When my alarm went off this morning, I wasn’t ready for it. I had set it for basically the last possible minute I could get up, get dressed, and run to teach my Zumba class.

Blerg.

I figured I should put some sort of nutrient rich something into my body, despite still feeling pretty full. So I had a protein shake and went to the gym.

Look how happy I look when I’m being a Zumba instructor!

IMG_7459
Photo by http://www.christinalouise.ca

Guys. GUYS.

Today didn’t feel like that.

It did at first. I welcomed my class – which was big and energetic and awesome, as usual – and I started my warm-up and I thought everything was fine until about eight minutes into class when my stomach was like “NU UH!” and started rebelling against me.

Suddenly moving felt very difficult and very wrong.

My skin started to feel clammy and cold.

Oh God,” I thought, “This is it. This is going to be my horrific, embarrassing teaching moment.

SIDENOTE: Even more embarrassing than this day, which in hindsight wasn’t too awful.

I am proud to say that I hate vomiting enough that I was able to fight it off. I feel like it was some seriously impressive mind over matter shit. In my head, it went a little like this:

You’re NOT going to vomit. You’re NOT going to vomit. Slow down. Move less. Keep smiling. OHMYGOD I’M GOING TO VOMIT. NO. NO. YOU ARE NOT. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO VOMIT. You can do this. It’s an hour. It’ll go by fast. Breathe. OH VOMIT! Nope. No vomit. Do NOT vomit. Okay, what happens if I need to vomit? No, you know what? Don’t entertain the possibility. it’s not going to happen. NO VOMIT. It’s not going to happen. WHY FRENCH FRIES WHY?! FUCK.

And then eventually it faded. I survived. I didn’t even vomit after!

But let me tell you something, I’ve super learned my lesson. And that is that if you’re going to have a little HEY LET’S EAT ALL THE FOOD day, you should definitely not do it the day before you’re teaching a morning fitness class. Do it the day before a day where you can just like, sit, digest, and let life happen at you.

Oog.

xA

Two Hundred Fifty Nine.

I’m not usually one for seasonal allergies, but some years, they just really get to me. The last couple weeks, I’ve wanted to scratch my face off, which reminded me of a funny (see: horrific at the time, but I’m laughing at it now) story from a few years ago…

That particular year, I was suffering from bad allergies. They were so severe that I decided to take medication, something I never really do. I was taking the exact dose recommended for adults that was listed on the box. For the first couple days, everything was fine. They seemed to be helping me quite a bit.

Ah, relief.

But on the third or fourth day, something happened. I guess I must have been intolerant to some ingredient(s) in the medication. Either that or my body wasn’t absorbing it properly, so it was accumulating too much in my system. Whatever it was, I took a dose of the allergy medication and everything changed.

I was sitting at the dining room table across from my parents. I can’t remember exactly what we were doing, but I have a feeling we were discussing plans to go out later in the day. My eyelids started to feel heavy.

“Wow, this allergy medication is making me sleepy.”

“Ugh, that’s always the downside,” my mom groaned, “You stop sneezing, but you need a nap.”

“Yeah, such a drag.”

But a few moments later, I wasn’t feeling any more alert. In fact, I was on a quick downward spiral. I started feeling like I couldn’t open my eyes at all. It was like my brain was awake, but my body was refusing to go along with it. My head started bobbing around and I started to sound like a kid trying to stay awake for New Year’s Eve or something – my speech was mumbled, the ends of my sentences getting swallowed up by my closed lips, but continuing in my mind.

“Andrea, are you okay?”

“Yeahhhhh…I dunnnnooow.”

I thought about it. Was I okay?

Wait a second.

“I….cannnn’t move…myarms. Ican’tmovemyarms.” I stammered.

“What?!”

Inside my head, I felt frantic. I was telling my arms to move and they weren’t. I couldn’t feel them. I knew they were there, but they were limp and dead, hanging off my sides, useless. I panicked. No, I wanted to panic, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t moving.

What the fuck?

I managed to get to the sofa somehow, my mom trying to keep me as alert as possible. I don’t remember much past that except that in my head, I kept saying that I couldn’t move my arms. Whether I said that out loud or not, I have no clue. For a moment, I wondered if I was dying. I was definitely losing consciousness. Would I ever wake up? There was no way to be sure at that point. I was somewhat comforted by the fact that my life wasn’t flashing before my eyes, but I worried that was just because I was too tired. If I was dying, there was no way I was going to fight it because it was enveloping me quickly. Everything behind my eyes was going black no matter what. I was terrified and eerily serene at the same time.

And then I was out.

I slept for a really long time.

I felt groggy and sick for like, four days.

And then I was fine again, thank goodness.

A week later, I saw one of my friends. I had missed a get-together with him during the allergy medication debacle. He asked me what had happened.

“I don’t really know – I think I overdosed on allergy medication?”

“Oh yeah, I’ve done that.”

“Taking the recommended dose?”

“Yep.”

“Great.”

So that was when I learned that I need to be careful with that.

Maybe you should, too. Just a heads up.

xA

Two Hundred Fifty Six.

A couple nights ago, I was with my BFF Jo at the gym for a weight-training workout. She wanted to start with a prolonged chunk of time on the elliptical, which I was cool with.

It’s been a while since I just stayed on an elliptical machine for 30 minutes. Okay, not a crazy long time, but at least a month or two.

606_29835_P

Wow, it’s boring, hey?

After about five minutes, I was so over it.

So I decided to switch my iPod over to my Zumba® class playlist to practice my choreography.

If you’re wondering how one practices Zumba® choreography while they are on an elliptical, I can tell you that it involves a lot of bouncing in place while your legs move, and a lot of very animated arm movements. I tend to use my arms to represent both my arms and where my legs should be moving. I know, it sounds weird and confusing, but I swear it makes perfect sense to me.

So I went for it. I started to run-dance my way through my playlist, getting completely caught up in what I was doing, flinging my arms around, throwing punches, flexing my muscles, the whole bit.

Then I happened to glance over to my right…where another girl on the elliptical was looking at me like this:

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I glanced to my left and noticed a security camera.

Well, shit.

Did I stop? No. Did I tone it down? A little.

Lesson learned: Andrea, sometimes you’re in a public place. This isn’t your car, after all.

xA

Two Hundred Forty Five

I’m not very good at “settling in.” I don’t know if it’s the whole Beat Generation, On The Road part of my personality, or the result of my “I’m a 20-something and I haven’t got it figured out” -ness or what, but I have a tendency to sort of “perch” in places and not really make them my own. Like, it fascinates me that hotels have closets and dressers, because why would you move stuff out of your suitcase?

Even at my current job, where I have been working for almost seven months now, you would barely know which desk is mine. It took me months to put a picture of my dogs on my bulletin board. I still haven’t put a single thing into any of my desk drawers. Hell, I don’t even use the pen holder that was left behind for me.

And my name is on the door.

When I moved to Glasgow – beyond my obvious inability to “move in” to a place – I did so knowing it would be temporary. I knew going in that I’d be living in Scotland for two years, max. I definitely hoped to stay longer, but I didn’t count on it working out that way.

So I never really moved in.

Okay, I definitely put my clothes into my wardrobe, but I guess what I mean to say is that while I knew that my flat was “mine,” I never really felt like it was mine. I spent every day feeling a bit like I was in someone else’s home and I shouldn’t disturb anything too much. I wouldn’t even hang pictures on my walls.

So imagine my horror when I destroyed the bathtub.

There she is.
There she is.

Fine, I put it that way for dramatic effect. But here’s what happened: I’m typically a very tidy hair dyer. I’ve been dying my own hair since my teens. For those of you keeping track, that gives me over a decade of experience. I know what I’m doing; I don’t make a mess.

Not until I’m dying my hair in an immaculate, newly renovated bathroom in a flat that I’m renting that I feel no ownership over, that is.

I finished applying the dark brown dye to my hair and turned to leave the bathroom. That’s when I noticed that I had somehow completely defied the laws of physics and gotten a splash – not a drop, but a whole splash – of hair dye on the wood panel on the outside of my bathtub.

“Bleach!” was the first thought in my mind. But I was too late. The damage (see: huge stain) was done. Soaked in. Permanent.

I panicked while I waited for my dye to do its thing. I panicked while I rinsed and conditioned. I panicked while I rinsed again. I tried to tell myself I was overreacting until I poked my head into the bathroom again and saw the beautiful cream tile, the beautiful cream sink and toilet, sparkling new. And the beautiful cream bathtub…with a massive stain on the outside of it.

I’m pretty sure I cried then.

Suddenly, I remembered seeing paint cans somewhere in my flat. Where were they? I scoured under the kitchen sink to no avail, then realized that they had to be in my front closet.

Bingo.

I could make this dirty mistake disappear. No one would ever know. I wouldn’t lose any of my damage deposit! Win-win.

About two hours and three coats of paint later, I had solved my problem. I vowed to never let such a stupid mistake happen again. After all, this wasn’t “my” flat.

SPOILER ALERT: Oh, it happened again. And again. And again.

By some bizarre curse of nature and gravity (I just had a flashback to a couple of months ago at work when I asked one of my scientist coworkers a question and he exclaimed, “You don’t understand gravity!”), I managed to stain and re-stain the outside of my bathtub at least four more times. I wish I could explain it, but I can’t. I have no idea how it kept happening even though I was so damn careful.

Maybe it was the universe’s way of forcing me to accept some level of home ownership, even though I was just renting. Regardless, I had to repaint that fucking bathtub four or five more times, which meant 12-15 coats of paint. I’m not proud of it, but I did what I had to do.

Lesson learned: Always have an extra can of paint.

(Also, maybe seek some therapy for the whole “I can’t make myself at home here” thing. Because it’s weird, right?*)

xA

*I feel like my mom’s gonna read that and go, “No, it’s not weird – I do the exact same thing!” like it’s not weird just because she does it too, when really that just means it’s weird and I got it from her, like my severe anxiety and my need to be early to everything. Hi, Mom.

Two Hundred Six.

Here’s another confession.

You know the Seven Year Itch?

7Year_2

I get it. Except with jobs. And it takes exactly six months.

I had never really thought about numbers before. But in the last couple weeks, I’ve hit a bit job slump, and when I started to do the math, I realized that I’m pretty predictable.

It doesn’t even have to do with the job itself. I mean sure, I’ve had shitty jobs that I’ve finally taken the plunge to quit after six months, but I’ve also had lots of jobs I’ve actually enjoyed that I’ve left after six months.

I seem to hit a bit of a monotony wall. I start a job and everything is new. It’s a bit stressful trying to learn the ropes and do things properly and well. After a couple months, I sink into a bit of a routine. It becomes comfortable. I feel capable, like I know what I’m doing. I get to know my coworkers better and feel like I fit in, even just the slightest bit.

Then the routine becomes a routine. Then I feel like those people at the beginning of Shaun of the Dead. You know the ones.* They’re zombies, but they’re alive. They’re sitting on the bus, going to the same place they go every morning to repeat the day they have every day and then go home and sleep to do it all over again the next morning.

I know I’m lucky because I have variety in my life. I have three jobs that are very different from one another to keep me pretty damn busy. But I can feel the routine sinking in at my office job. The, “Oh, here I am at my computer for the next eight hours again. Great.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to quit my job. I don’t even dislike it. I love my job. I’m crazy lucky to have it. I know all of those things.

I just hate sitting still. My heart is in another city/other cities doing other things.

But if I’ve learned anything from this current experience and looking back on all of the past ones, it is all of these things:

(A) I’m clearly soul-connected to Jack Kerouac (because I’d rather be moving than staying in one place),

(B) I’m a commitment-phobe (we’ve been through this),

(C) Sometimes you need to recognize the patterns in your life and break them (this is important to me on so many levels), and

(D) ANDREA. You have two degrees and you got one of them overseas. You are living under a painfully large pile of debt. Shut up. Do your job. Focus on your passions. Good will come of it.

Right? Right. (…Right?)

xA

P.S. How do I spice up my relationship with my job, guys? (I’m not allowed to wear costumes to work, so…)

*If you don’t know the ones because you haven’t seen Shaun of the Dead, I’m willing to press ‘pause’ on our friendship for like, 48 hours so you can watch it. Otherwise, we’re breaking up. Sorry.

One Hundred Ninety Three.

Speaking of foxes and my shitty violin playing, let me tell you about how I learned that foxes make horrendous noise.

When I moved to Glasgow, I gave myself three full days to find a flat, thinking I could spend the first searching through listings and setting appointments, and the second going to viewings and choosing a place.

I was so wrong.

I’m sure I could have found a flat in three days during the off season, but in the heart of September, when all the students were moving in for the year? Forget it.

4PztUfj

I spent my days at the beautiful Mitchell Library (free WiFi!) sifting through flats online, compiling giant lists of places to call, and then calling them, only to find that every flat I was interested in was taken already. I tried my best not to panic, but let’s face it: I panicked. I had to extend my stay at the guesthouse by another few days. I kept searching. And panicking.

So when I found my first flat, I snapped it up at the viewing. It was the first place I actually even got a viewing for, and it was beautiful. Cozy, homey, and it had really large rooms, despite its small size overall. (Little did I know at the time that my “Cozy Flat” would quickly become my “Nightmare Flat.”)

SIDENOTE: I just Googled my old address and managed to find a teeny photo of my first flat. Well, the building, anyway.

Kelvindale Road

There weren’t many things about this flat that I’d call “good” things, but there were a couple. The first was that it had been lived in before, which meant it had lots of nice furniture and it felt really homey. (My second flat – which was a dream, don’t get me wrong – was very bare because it had just been gutted and rebuilt, and of course, I didn’t buy furniture…) The second bonus of this flat was that it was in an area that still had lots of greenery. Just behind my building was a nice space with loads of natural trees and shrubbery.

The major downside – I mean, not including the sickness-inducing mould – was that the flat was on the ground level. Yes, that does have its perks (no walking up a bajillion stairs with heavy groceries!), but it also has disadvantages (people walking by the bathroom while I’m showering, walking by the bedroom while I’m trying to sleep, etc.).

Trying to sleep.

I had a hard time sleeping for the first week or two at my new flat. I mean, I had just moved halfway across the world and was living by myself for the first time ever, so there was that, but it was also a little unnerving being so unaware of my surroundings. I hadn’t met any of my neighbours, I didn’t know anything about my neighbourhood, hell, I didn’t really know much about the city I was living in.

The first couple nights, I would be thisclose to sleep, only to be startled into consciousness by the sounds of a group of people having a conversation at the parking stalls just outside my bedroom window or something. I hated knowing that they were standing right there, and I hated that I could hear everything.

On my third or fourth night, it was finally quiet enough for me to fall into a deep, blissful sleep. Unfortunately, it was short-lived, because at around 2am, I was awoken by some of the scariest sounds I had ever heard.

The best way I can describe it is to say that it sounded like a newborn baby screaming in pain, as if it were being murdered or something.

It’s a totally gruesome thought, I know, but it was awful. My eyes shot open. I stared into the darkness of my bedroom, trying to place the noise. Was it coming from my upstairs neighbour? No, it sounded further away.

Oh shit, I thought to myself, it’s coming from the mini forest area…

My crazy imagination immediately started putting together a story of a woman who had been kidnapped, dragged out to the woods, and brutally murdered during my first week at my new flat. Then it went even further and started to create a murderer who was not just human, but a monster-man, like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. Then it went just a couple steps further and deduced that for some reason, the murderer would know where I was and make me his next target.

Within five minutes, I had decided that there was a murderer standing just outside my bedroom window. At ground level. Right there.

Way to go, Andrea. Way to go.

But the horrible screaming hadn’t stopped, so I couldn’t just pull the blankets over my head and ignore my fear. I was genuinely worried that something terrifying was going on just outside my flat. I knew that I would have to look. I had to, because if something terrifying was happening, I had to call the cops.

I stood up and approached my window, certain that when I peeled a couple slats of the blinds apart, I would be staring directly at this:

03-TOCL-JASON

I took a deep breath and went for it.

I saw nothing.

I heard the screams, but there was nobody there.

The fact that none of my neighbours were standing outside freaking out calmed my nerves a little. Also, I was definitely too afraid to investigate on my own. So I crawled back into bed, pulled the blankets over my head, and tried to shake the idea that the murderer had already somehow gotten into my flat and was hiding in my closet out of my mind.

Eventually I fell asleep.

I was scared of my flat for like, a week until one of my classmates casually mentioned how awful the foxes sound during a conversation over lunch one day.

“Does it sound like a baby being murdered?” I asked casually (see: hoping no one would notice that I was shaky from lack of sleep and an overactive imagination).

“Yes, actually – that’s a good way of putting it.”

Phew.

Fox 1

Not what you’d expect from these little guys.

I would have a week or so of peaceful sleep, until I started to get incredibly ill from mould exposure.

Fun.

xA

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