Sometimes, it's really nice to be wrong.
Those of you to whom I talked to about it know that I was incredibly negative about returning to Edinburgh before I did so. I felt like I was back-tracking, that all my friends would have moved on, that classes were going to be awful, that, frankly, I just wasn't going to enjoy it at all.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
I made what turned out to be an amazingly smart decision to come back very early, before most of my friends had returned to the 'Burgh. This meant that had time to hang out individually with all of my friends before others got back, and meant I didn't feel left out of some kind of clique. Which probably wouldn't have happened anyway, but this way was fun anyhow.
Work is great fun. Any job in which they pay me to work with great people, help kids learn and just generally dance around making a fool of myself is OK in my book. Added to that is the fact that I'm in the process of applying for a full-time, salaried position for the same company in a managerial role, and suddenly my life seems to be getting very adult. Yikes!
Now on to the most surprising thing - I'm actually enjoying my course. I've started to specialise in Language Production and Psycholinguistics, and in every one of my lectures I'm thinking to myself "How the Hell am I enjoying this so much?" and yet I am! I never thought I could be so interested in speech errors.
I am such a loser. :D
Church is also amazing. I'm taking on a leadership role this year, which is very scary, but also very exciting. I'm looking forward to it greatly, and I expect not only to help people, but also to get a heck of a lot out of it - I've always been best when thrown into the deep end.
Also, I'm thinking of coming out to Chambana in early March - will be people be around?
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Sometimes, it's really nice to be wrong.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Well, I made it home. At least for a while.
I'm currently staying at my parents' house in Durham for a couple of weeks - I'm back home to Edinburgh on Wednesday, and back to work on Friday - hurrah! Not sure when classes start - quite a ways away, I think.
It's going to be a bit going back to classes at Edinburgh - I haven't been to a lecture there since March 2006 - well over a year ago. In that time, a lot has changed - in the world, at Edinburgh, and within me. I almost feel like I'm backtracking in going back to Edinburgh. I know it's the right thing to do, I just don't think I'll appreciate it for a while.
Switching to full-time Psychology should be interesting - as I go to a Scottish University, and spent my third year in America, my final year will be the first year that I won't be studying other subjects outside my major. I'm not quite sure how I'll handle it - I'm sure I'll figure it out, although if my fourth year curriculum doesn't improve on the second year stuff, I might go completely insane.
It's also starting to get to the point where I need to think about *gulp* life after University, aka The Real World. My current aim is still to emigrate to the United States as soon as I'm able - in an ideal world, Chicago, but Philadelphia is a more likely option, due to my contacts there. The next year is going to pretty hectic, what with looking for a job, working, classes and writing a dissertation - ah well, at least I won't get bored, eh?
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I'm in New York!
Benn a fairly traumatic day, as on the way to the bus I witnessed my friend crashing his car, but they reckon he's going to be OK - very scary though.
Camp is over, and now I have just a few days left with my friends before flying back home. It feels like my summer has vanished into some kind of hole - I really did blink and it was over. The crazy thing is though, all I can think about now is returning to Camp. One day I'll have to wise up and get a real job, but for now, doing this every summer suits me just fine.
We're in a hostel called Jazz on the Park, which is quite nice, but more importantly has cheap internet and food - my two basic needs right now. We were going to go out to dinner tonight, but unfortunately we didn't manage to cash our checks before the banks closed, so that might be off. We do intend to go see a Broadway show on Monday, though - I'm pushing for Lion King.
Anyway, hope Jolly Old is doing alright - heard you have Foot and Mouth over there - a bit of a drag, eh?
Oh, and I'm very excited by the new football season. :D
(That's real football, not American Football)
Saturday, July 28, 2007
So I'm still in America.
This time, I'm at the house of my surrogate parents - the Camp Nurse and Medic - Barb and Steve.
Camp's been it's usual excellent self - I'm still the Unit Leader of the youngest boys unit - Apache, which means I work with eight year old boys. A lot of fun, but hard work. One of the children decided it would be a good idea to pee in the rubbish bin in my cabin this week, so it smells a bit iffy, and we had a child with multiple personalities, who frequently had to be restrained for his own safety, but apart from that, all is pretty stress-free.
I'm cultivating quite a nice tan at the moment, and this morning I bought some sunglasses, so that I don't give myself a headache from squinting.
None of you really care about this, but I thought I'd tell you anyway.
I'm back in the UK in a couple of weeks - just two more weeks here, and then a smidgin of travelling, and then back to Newcastle for more work with children - hurrah!
Monday, June 25, 2007
I clearly don't do staying in one place very well.
Having returned from Illinois a scant five weeks ago, this Sunday I'm off to America again - this time back to the camp where I've spent the last two summers. I'll be working as a Unit Leader - a supervisor, working with one particular unit. In my case, that'll be the eight year old boys of Apache Unit. I also get a staff that varies in size depending on how many kids we have. Last year there was one week where there was only four of us, and the next week we had ten staff. That'll take me up to the middle of August.
When I return to the country, I have two weeks of work (interspersed with the most awesome party ever on the eighteenth) and then back up to Edinburgh to work and start on my dissertation! Huzzah!
Also, I worked out this morning that the last time I spent every night of one week in one bed was back in April. (I hasten to point out that this isn't because I'm ridiculously promiscuous...it's just that I move around a lot).
So anyway, if I don't see you before this weekend, I hope you have a great summer, and I look forward to seeing you in the autumn.
Unless you're American. In which case I'll see you soon, I promise.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Given my recent fascination with various 'cool' gentlemen, I decided to actually go ahead and create a list of men I seek to emulate, both in their demeanour and their accomplishments, but mainly in how awesomely kick-ass they are. I hope to eventually achieve twenty names, but this'll do for a start.
Here's what I got so far. In no particular order, here is the list of men I wish I was as cool as:
Gary Sinise - The original man I wished I was as cool as. Gary gets into the list simply because he has an aura of 'coolness'. Whatever role he plays, (except maybe the one in Forest Gump, I haven't seen it) he gives off this incredible air of competence - he's got it covered. Plus, he has an awesome accent. In our house CSI:NY has been renamed CSI: GS.
George Peppard (in Breakfast At Tiffany's, not the A-Team) - I have never seen anything else with George Peppard in, which tells you how awesome his performance in Breakfast at Tiffany's must have been to get him onto the list. George plays Paul Varjak to perfection, balancing the coolness with a real empathy, all wrapped up in a sardonic humour that I wish I had.
Sean Connery (in the James Bond movies) - "The name's Bond...James Bond." 'nuff said, really. Sean Connery defined the role of James Bond, and no-one has ever quite matched it, though a few have come close. Connery combined suave sophistication with brute force, and always got the girl. I'm hitting 0 for 3 of those right now, but I'm working on it.
Cary Grant - Cary Grant may actually be the coolest thing on two legs. Nothing phases the man. He is, in fact, unflappable. Communist spies kidnap his undercover girlfriend? No problem. Fiancée return to the father of her child? That's life. Wife run off with a Russian music teacher? Well, you get the idea. Basically, Cary Grant gets in on his ability to just deal with anything.
Jimmy Smits - Congressman Matt Santos only arrived in The West Wing (the best programme no longer on television) in the sixth series, and yet he instantly became my favourite character. With his charm, quick wit, and ability to speak faster than should actually be possible, Jimmy Smits should run for US President in real life. He'd get my vote. (Apparently he's pretty good in LA Law, as well.)
Dylan McDermott (in The Practice) - The Practice isn't just another courtroom drama. Mainly because only very small amounts of the action occur in the courtroom. McDermott's character Bobby Donnell is a defence attorney, and the show revolves around the cases his firm takes. Often the people they represent aren't wonderful people (this isn't Perry Mason, after all), but some of McDermott's speeches are just downright awesome, and he seems much more real than other lawyers - he fights cases, not causes, and yet still manages to come out with most of his conscience intact.
John Cusack (in general, but especially in Grosse Pointe Blank) - John Cusack is another actor who excels at making ridiculous characters believable. GPB is a superb example of this - Martin Blank is not made into a romanticised figure, but he is a genuine hero, despite being a hitman. It's an extraordinary role that could only ever be played well by Cusack, and so he gets in on unlikely likeability. That and his extraordinary ability to deliver wisecracks perfectly.
Hugh Grant (in movies post-Bridget Jones) - New Hugh Grant is so much more amusing than old Hugh Grant. He's not nearly as annoying for a start. At some point somebody told Hugh Grant to stop acting for the Americans, and start actually being good. And he listened. Wise-quipping, sarcastic, and most-importantly, non-floppy-haired, Hugh Grant deserves to be on the list.
Ray Mears - The original bushman, Ray Mears was out surviving when the current crop of TV wildmen were still exploring their cots. Smart, courageous, and most importantly, English, Ray Mears could build a shelter for six out of two bits of wood, a magnifying glass and a hat. And he wouldn't charge you a penny for it.
Marvin Harrison - He plays for my American Football team, he regularly defies gravity, catching balls that should be uncatchable, and then landing inbounds when all common sense says that should be impossible, and oh yeah, he happens to have just won a SuperBowl, but that's not why he's on the list. The reason is that in an era where professional athletes are expected to be brash loud-mouths lauding their every achievements, after he's outperformed them all, Marvin Harrison goes home to his family. He's the best at what he does, and for him that's enough - he lets his play do the talking, and boy does it do a good job.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
So recently I ran out of space on my Facebook Wall for quotes. Clearly my friends are just too full of ridiculous misstatements for the internet to handle.
So what do I do about this? Do I stop cataloguing the madness and idiocy that spews from the mouths of my friends, family and random people I meet?
Certainly not. I'm just going to list all the old ones here and start a new collection. I feel like it's my obligation to history.
"I know what you did last sugar!" - Rumplepuss
"In Britain, when we stick our fingers in a socket, we take the pain!" - Myself
"James Blunt was in the army, wasn't he? He was a general, right?" - Sagan Leasure
"I'm wearing a sweater-vest - I can do whatever I want!" - Lostro
"So me and Bill just had a race. I was peeing and he was pooping...it was a photo-finish!" - Andy W
"I'm not a lesbian - I love boys!" Erin
"I once kicked a monkey so hard he landed in three different trees...like a furry watermelon." A horse
"No offence, Sonny, but around here...you're a parasite." - Al - Assigment:Outer Space!
"I'll race you to Baby Jesus!" - My dearest sister on Christmas Morning.
"Ninja Jesus Stealth Attack" - Myself.
"She has a specially tailored skirt that allows her to take a stride of exactly thirty inches." - Mission:Impossible
"I'm choking on my own language." - Myself
"Death by accent." - Bill
"Erin Mikulecky - Conversation Assassin." - Myself
"No, BananaFingers! NO!!" - Erin
"You're wrong coz I'm Sandy Radford!!!!" - Ravi
"Orlando! Orlando! Orlando!" - Myself
*Phone rings, I answer"
Me: Hey Mark, how are you?
Mark: I'm fine. I just called to let you know I'm driving to Ohio.
"I'm going to give this movie the highest accolade I can think of - I'm going to put it under 'favorite films' on Facebook!" - Bill displaying a fine sense of what is important in life.
Ravi: That's a terrible storyline!
Sandy: This is Backstreet Boys porn - what did you expect, Jane Austen?
Ravi: Well, yes!
"Summary: Methilde and Nick are out on their boat. Having fun. Then a shark attacks them." - Backstreet Bauhaus
Sandy: I first knew Chris was a bad ass when I came in and he was playing "Sweet Dreams Are
Made of This."
Ravi: I first knew Chris was a bad ass when I heard him playing Benni Benassi out of those awesome speakers.
Mark: I first knew Chris was a bad ass when I did those lines of coke with him.
Akshaya to Mazan: You scam on boys like Rav scams on girls!
Rav: Excuse me, I scam on girls *and* boys!
"Sandy, if your sister is as hot as you are, I couldn't keep my hands off her!" - Andy W
"Everything cool, Marcia - Rude Boy don't fear." - Priest, *Dancehall Queen*
"Don't screw with my disco, Nadine." - Harold, *The Stand*
"I'm so excited about going to New York - we're going to see the LAPD!" - Rav
Me: My cousin just went into labour.
Erin: With a baby?
Me: No Erin, the other kind of labour...of course with a baby!
"It's a soup opera!" - Nalini
"Sandy, you're a boogerfingers!" - Jeffrey
"Que Sera Sera, Douchebags!" - Tony Snow
"Boy, it sure is dark in here with the lights off." - Esther Smith, *Meet Me in St Louis*
"You'd be like 'click'! And I'd be like 'BAM'!" - Erin on what would happen if I sent an email from her account.
Monday, April 02, 2007
I'm swiftly approaching the endtime.
My time in Illinois is nearly over.
What made this really sink in was the realisation that I will only be going to church five more times. I'll only work five more Mondays at the ICL. I'll only have five more chances to go to Joe's. I'll only...well you get the idea. The point I'm trying to make is this:
I don't think that I'm ready to go home yet.
I don't think I'm ready to say goodbye to my friends, not just for a holiday, but for much longer, and in some cases, possibly forever. I don't think I'm ready to admit that this chapter of my life is coming to a close, that all my excitement about the NFL draft is in vain, because I won't be watching the games with my friends, that all my friends deciding where to live is totally irrelevant to me because I'll be living five thousand miles away, that all the exciting things my church is going to do will happen without me...I'm just not willing to accept to accept these facts right now.
The way I've decided to compensate for this, however, is to cram as much into my last few weeks as I can. From late night conversations to shopping trips, ridiculous numbers of coffee-dates to rehearsals, I'm not going to let these weeks slip away from me like February and March did. I may not have much time left here, but I'm going to make the most of it.
So if you're a friend of mine in the Illinois area, expect to be hassled. These last days are going to count.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
I was asked recently to tell someone some crazy things I've done. The result was sort of an edited highlights reel of my life. I took it, and added to it, and here's what I came up with, in no particular order:
running outside on the snow day wearing just a pair of very tight denim shorts; inventing a fake band and then being interviewed as six different people at the same time in order to convince people they exist; spending six days in the Scottish highlands with people I barely knew, surviving mostly on German sausage; going to Paris and inventing both a secret handshake and a song about said handshake; running around a park in a ninja mask and beating up girls; playing the wonderful game of 'Shouty-shouty'; coordinating a sixty person picnic, lying to people on long-distance transport, dining with the grandparents of famous people, pretending to be foreign, going for long walks at five in the morning through sculpture parks, embarrassing streakers with a floodlight, camping out in a outdoors shop, buying tiny jackets to prank people with on April Fool's Day, falling for a multitude of different girls, each of whom is completely wrong for me in their own little way, planning and hosting a cabaret evening for my school, and doing it so well that i was asked back the next year, even though i had left, performing in a play that starred my best friend and my sister, and was directed by my ex-girlfriend, discovering what time subway opens, getting caught sneaking into a hotel, having waterfights with buckets at two in the morning, playing volleyball, late-night five minute chats that go on for hours, platonic dates, planning not so platonic ones, trips to visit friends, constructing endless 'Top Five' lists, writing letters that never get sent, screaming into the night, crying on shoulders, sleepovers, spending endless hours on video-games, appearing in movies, exulting in past glories, discussing movies at the top of my voice, having a street-brawl with someone I just met, exchanging countless in-jokes, going to concerts, supporting friends in need, running to hand in an essay by the deadline, dancing, fishing for the first time, planning parties, having my heart broken, then realising it wasn't broken at all, just bruised, making new friends, losing old ones, making out, discussing girls, discussing boys, seeking, finding, exulting...living
I could tag everyone I shared one of these experiences with, but it would really be rather futile. Life is meaningless without people to spend it with.
I'm feeling rather poetic today.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Wow, it has been a while.
Just thought I'd say that - it wasn't really constructive in any way. I do that a lot, I've noticed.
But anyway, what have been up to?
In a phrase, not a lot.
On March 6th 2007, I turned 21. This was only significant because I was in America. If I had celebrated this birthday in Britain, it would have been simply another year. But because I was in the States, where the drinking age is three years higher, it instantly became an exciting event. And yet for me, it shouldn't have been - not only have I been legally able to drink since I was eighteen, three years ago, in high school, I also don't even drink that much back home.
Admittedly in September, I did decide not to drink in the States until I turned 21, and so there was an element of success in arriving at the date, but still, it should not have been as exciting as it was. Bizarrely, it was like turning eighteen all over again - the same excitement, the desire for one day of the year to be IDed, you know how it goes. I definitely over-celebrated, though. Ah well, as long as it doesn't become a habit.
Much more excitingly, on March 6th, my cousin gave birth to her fifth child, Isa. he is of course, due to his birthday, by default my favourite cousin, and so I intend to spoil him outrageously.
It's beginning to dawn on me that my time in Illinois is coming to an end. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean I know I love Edinburgh, and all my friends there (and this Christmas only served to accentuate that) and I know that I am going to be very attached to Illinois because I am currently here and yes, I know that were I in Edinburgh right now I would probably feel the exact opposite, but the fact remains that were I offered a chance to do my final year here and graduate from Illinois, I would jump at it.
This isn't to say that I don't want to go home. I do, desperately. I love Edinburgh, I love all of you there, I love my church, and I know that the next two years of my life are there. It's just that, right now, I really don't want to leave. I guess you truly can't have your cake and eat it too.
That won't stop me trying, though.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
So I was listening to Alanis Morisette's 21 Things I Want In A Lover this morning (don't laugh), and I realised that I score pretty highly...
AM: Do you derive joy when someone else succeeds?
AM: Do you not play dirty when engaged in competition?
Me: I try not to. I also try not to misplace negatives to make lyrics work better.
AM: Do you have a big intellectual capacity but know that it alone does not equate wisdom? Me: Absolutely
AM: Do you see everything as an illusion?
Me: No, not really.
AM: But enjoy it even though you are not of it?
Me: I'm sorry, what?
AM: Are you both masculine and feminine?
Me: I'm a guy who cried at 'Million Dollar Baby' - does that count?
AM: Politically aware?
Me: Absolutely - Obama in '08!
AM: And don't believe in capital punishment?
Me: Definitely - although some of your grammar is starting to change my mind.
AM: Do you derive joy from diving in and seeing that loving someone can actually feel like freedom?
Me: Um...I guess so.
AM: Are you funny?
Me: I was once described as a 'comedy genius'
Me: I'm really bad at self-deprecation. (See what I did there?)
AM: Like adventure?
Me: Absolutely! I once went for an entire week without flossing!
AM: And have many formed opinions?
Me: Yes indeed. Opinion is my middle name. (My parents wanted a girl)
AM: Are you uninhibited in bed?
Me: Well, I do enjoy a good lie-in.
AM: More than three times a week?
Me: Well, as long as my classes allow, three lie-ins a week is fine with me.
AM: Up for being experimental?
Me: As long as I don't get burned with acid, experiments are fine.
AM: Are you athletic?
Me: Next question?
AM: Are you thriving in a job that helps your brother?
Me: I don't have a brother. Come on Ali, it's like you don't even read the three letters I send to you every week!
AM: Are you not addicted?
Me: Only to your music, Alanis...well, that and cheesy lines.
AM: ...curious and communicative...
Me: Is that even a question?
My number's on Facebook Alanis - I'm waiting for your call.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I had an amazing winter break.
In fact, it may have been the best winter break ever. I think the trick to enjoying holidays is to go for very long periods without them. This is very similar to my current theory that the best way to get on with your family is to only see them for very short periods of time.
When I left Illinois, I was definitely looking forward to returning to Britain. I was excited about seeing people I hadn't seen in seven months and about doing stuff I hadn't done in ages, but I was also very aware that I had a limited time to do it in. This necessitated great efficiency, prior planning, and an organised system.
I had none of these.
And yet you, yes all you wonderful people out there made this truly a Christmas Holidays to be remembered. Whether it was thrashing Roger and the Scholls at Risk, going for a walk at three in the morning on New Years Day, playing pool at the Sports Cafe or talking Claire and Hannah's ears off about how amazing my time at Illinois has been, these three weeks have been simply awesome.
When I came back, I figured this holiday would be like any other - sit around on the sofa most days, maybe see people every so often, but mostly be bored. In this respect, I couldn't have been more wrong. This may have been connected to my friends' somewhat fanatical desire to spend time with me - in one case travelling all the way from Inverness to spend an hour with me.
I feel this is the point where I stop being vague, and single out a few individuals for special thanks. And by a few, I mean lots.
First up, my wonderful sister, Frances. Of all the people I've missed while I've been away, you were top of the list. I may hide it incredibly well sometimes, but I do love you, and I love to spend time with you - especially the ridiculous in-jokes we share. I try to explain them to other people, but they just don't understand. I hate mandatory minimums.
Martin - I miss you buddy. All the time. Hello there lighty.
Nik - Badger Position! I just lost the game. Thanks for getting me through - I'll return the favour anytime.
Robin - Thank you for being lovely. I love Robin.
Jamie - This holiday has been a million times better because I finally got to know you properly. Let's not lose touch again.
Andrew - The hugs don't lose anything with repetition.
Claire Storm Philips - If I could choose anyone to be my ex-girlfriend, it'd be you. I think that's a compliment. Don't become a Rah, please.
Josiah - Thank you for letting me just appear and take possession of what is really now your flat. Thanks also for letting me host a party there when your only form of notice was your invitation.
Luke - Stay in Edinburgh. Please.
Clare O'Driscoll - Thank you for not telling me to shut up. I'll still be in Edinburgh when you get back, I promise.
Clare McVittie - You're the best ex-wife a man could hope for.
Christy & Ruth - I didn't realise how much I missed you until I saw you again. Please, don't ever change. If you do, at least act the same around me.
Thom - Thank you for my jumper and my CD. And I know, you're not gay.
Esther - I miss you. Thanks for dinner and wine. It was very bizarre you cooking me food, but I think it worked out pretty well.
If I've missed you out, it's because I suck at remembering things. You've all been wonderful to me in this holiday, and well, just in general actually. I miss you all, and I'll see you when I get back. You guys rock so much, it's unbelievable. Thank you.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
A friend of mine asked me a while back if she could write a paper on me, or rather, on my accent. I agreed, and she recorded me speaking. She wrote a paper, which included this transcript of the recording:
Sandy: “So I’m in Wal-Mart yesterday… and…no, this, like, was a couple weeks ago. Anyway, this was a while ago. I’m in Wal-Mart and I was trying to use the automatic cashier-less thing – the till. So I’m standing there and you have the swipe-y thing on the thing and it beeps so I have a Mar-, not a Mars Bar, sorry, I had a Milky Way as they call them in this country. And – ”
Jeanne: “Milky Way? What do they call them at home?”
Sandy: “Mars Bars.”
Jeanne: “Oh… okay.”
Sandy: “Yeah, exactly. So I swipe my Milky Way and I think, “Right, I’m going to eat this later,” so I put it in my pocket. And then the Wal-Mart, like, machine, like, starts, like, beeping and saying “You have not put the Milky Way in the bag,” and I was like, “um, okay.” So I take it out of my pocket and put it in the bag and it says, “There is something in the bag that was not swiped through the cash register.” I was like, “No I just…” So at this point I’m arguing with the machine. I’m like, it’s very annoying, like, “No, I can see that, ri-.” So then I realize at this point, so I take it out of the bag, swipe it, it goes, “You have been charged for three Milky Ways.” I was like, “No! I only have one! One Milky Way! It’s not even in two bits like back home!” So I get very irritated. I keep swiping it and it’s starting again and this woman behind me is obviously getting really really irritated. She’s like [imitates frustrated breathing]. And like, I, I’m getting really… you know, I’m a newcomer in this country, I don’t know what I’m doing. So eventually I think, “Alright, alright,” so then I turn around to her and I’m like, “Listen love, I’m really sorry but I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t understand it.” And she looks at me, she’s like “Oh you’re English! Let me help you!” And she does this amazing... I’m sure she was launching a space shuttle or something and I’m sure it undercharged me as well so I was really excited. Put it in the bag, pick it up and leave.”
I'm somewhat ashamed.