“Who’s there that makes you so afraid. You’re shaken to the bone, and I don’t understand”

My sister came round last weekend. She was supposed to come on Saturday but on Friday I got a text saying she was coming tonight and was that OK? Well, it was far too sudden but it was hardly like I could say no. Things at home are continuing on their downward spiral, and my sister had to get away then. She was furious and fed up with the way things were. Again, I felt that anger that things were turning out like this. My father texted me to tell me to try and get my sister to calm down, the obvious implication that he wanted me to turn her round to their (our parents) side and I felt angry at that too. She’s my sister I thought. And you’re my parents. How dare he put me in that kind of awkward situation? I don’t want to have to take sides. To be honest, I never thought my family would get to the point where there were sides to be taken. As a family, we’ve never been perfect but its never been like this. Never been as bad as this, even when my sister was at her most rebellious, or I was at my most depressed, and so quiet and vicious because of it. A part of me hates that I wasn’t there at the beginning of it – it’s too much of a shock to come home and to realise just how much things have changed for the worse when you’ve been away. To see what’s been hidden from you, censored through the miles, the phone calls.

I do feel bad for my father though, even if he is annoying me with his attitude it hurts to talk to him these days. He always sounds so tired when I talk to him. He’s trying so hard, too hard. I feel helpless, as always. I wish there was something I could say to make my father feel better, my sister too, or to get my mother to change back to the person she was. I hate it all. I hate this anger. Selfishly, I feel happy to have been able to escape it, to be back in a position where I don’t have to see it, to have to overhear the arguments, to feel the tension thick in the air.

Well, anyway. My sister came down on Friday night, arriving at midnight and I fed her supper then, despite the time. Then we shared chocolate cake, heavily iced in rich buttercream mixed with crushed chocolate cookies, as we had a good bitch. The next day my sister drove us to a nearby forest and we went for a long, meandering walk through ancient trees. It was very, very pretty. We talked and played stupid games. I spy with my little eye something that begins with t — . We came back and I made food, we ate more cake. We talked some more, watched stupid videos on youtube and laughed together. The next day she took me to the supermarket and generously bought me a whole load of groceries. We came back and talked some more, and I made more food (a butternut tagine that I was very proud of – have you ever tried to cut up a butternut with a blunt knife? I do not recommend it) and we talked even more, until she had to go. We hardly shut up the whole weekend and it was nice. As predicted, it helped to lift my bad mood to be able to talk about things, everything, even the stupid little things, to be able to laugh carelessly and be a bit idiotic if I felt like it. It was also nice being able to feed my sister good, comforting food and to make her laugh. I worried about her the whole weekend, watching her out of the corner of my eye, knowing she was hardly as cheerful as she presented herself. I almost wished she could stay, in a way. That I could share my retreat, my quiet place, with her.

Once my sister was gone my mood fell again, and I spent the week doing little at all and eating too much and fretting about university. Last week, I was not registered for a single module or even on the right course. I sent emails to the right people asking to meet and they never replied. I went and tried to talk to people but they either did not know what was going on either, or they weren’t in their offices. Thankfully on Monday I finally managed to get hold of who I need to get hold of and get all the necessary paperwork filled in and handed in and to get answers to all my questions. I know what’s going on, now. I’m registered for my modules. And I’m on the course I want to be – that I’ve wanted to be on since I was 18 years old. Electrical and Electronic Engineering (MEng). That little MEng makes all the difference, to me. That fact I’m “MEng hons” makes me feel even more ridiculously pleased than I already was. And yes, I am proud too. I know its bad, pride, but damn I’d done it.

I was looking at my photos from Japan that other day, trying to formulate the rest of my diary entries, but it’s hard. I have not quite gotten over my amazement that I went to Japan for the second time, that I managed to go to Hokkaido and Aomori, where I always wanted to go. This is not the first time I have thought this. I remember clearly standing at the base of asahi dake, absolutely blown away by the beauty of what I was seeing, absolutely stunned as it hit me full force that I was standing in Hokkaido. It felt completely surreal, like any moment I’d wake up. But, I’m not waking up I thought to myself. I’m here. I felt so incredibly blessed, so incredibly lucky, to be where I dreamed I would go, so so long ago. It hit me how amazing it was to have my dream come true. It hit me just how many things I had made happen, when everyone told me they would not. Looking back I feel that sort of pride too , as it was my own hard work that had gotten me there, achieving the things that everyone told me I’d never achieve.

Three years ago I failed my A levels and was rejected from university. I was being told to “reconsider my options” and to essentially, give up. But I didn’t give up. I didn’t listen to that sort of reasonable advice. I ignored all evidence of my short comings and I fought. I wanted to be an engineer and no one was going to tell me I was not capable. No one. My dreams, that fragile hope for the future, was what got me through my depression without physically harming myself and I could not let them go, not so easily. I went through clearing- and that remains one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done, and I got myself into a foundation course. I did that foundation year, got myself into one of the universities that rejected me, became part of the top 10% of my class in my first year, went to study abroad in my second year, got to travel and see places I could only dream of seeing before, and now this – getting onto the masters course. So yes, I feel proud. I think this is a case where I can be allowed to feel ridiculously pleased with myself. Back then I thought to myself that if I only worked hard enough I would surely be rewarded. Thus far I’ve not been proved wrong. It’s not been easy, I doubt its going to get any easier, but I hope I’m never proved wrong.

I admit, I’ll never forget the things said to me, or that feeling of failure when I was rejected from university the first time. It’s good, in a way, it gives me the strength to fight. I have a point to prove- to myself, to the world. That I am capable. But it gets tiring, fighting all the time. Always doubting, always, always looking over your shoulder, waiting for the past to catch up and for everything to return to the way it was.

I admit, second year was a tough one for me. I’m not sure I really enjoyed my time in Malaysia. Academically everything got very rough, my grades fell, and my degree means enough to me that that really affected me quite a lot. Then my Grandmother died and I was overcame with homesickness, and sadness, regret, longing, pain. I want to say my study abroad period was amazing, but I think I hit a bit of a low last year. I began to really doubt myself, to start to give up. I began to really doubt whether I was capable of meeting my goals. I thankfully managed to achieve what I wanted anyway, but I think this year I need to be better. I need to be more determined, more focused. I cannot give up yet. I don’t want to live whilst waiting for the other shoe to drop- whilst feeling that I’m about to lose everything, suddenly, without warning, any second. That this will be the year that things go wrong again. I admit, I sometimes struggle to believe that I am capable of anything more than failure. It feels very pathetic, with all that I have managed to achieve. Second year was like that, especially. I will not have third year be like that. How much more do I have to achieve before I believe in myself? I wonder. Just when will it be enough? So I say to myself now- enough. It’s enough.

That doesn’t change the fact that I’m terribly nervous about starting university tomorrow. I know, tomorrow. Tomorrow I will start my fourth year of university, and my third year of my degree. When on earth did this happen? I hope third year goes better than the second. No, it will. I’m so scared but I refuse to let it get to me. I’ll try and find my old determination, and I will not let things become so messy and painful as last year. I will not let my stupid emotions make a mess of things again. I cannot. It’s enough, now.


On Tuesday it was my 21st birthday. My sister had been teasing me for about a month by telling me about taking me out somewhere, but not telling me where. She had good fun joking around telling me she was taking me to Cadbury’s world (remember, I’m dairy free) and then afterwards that she was taking me raving.

So. I woke up early on Tuesday and got ready with very little idea of what to expect, and still despite my pleading my sister kept our destination to herself. We set off on the motorway, me paying close attention to the signs, wondering where we turning off. As we got further and further from home the signs began to narrow down to one place – Hull.

We stopped at the services for lunch and I thought about it and eventually asked my sister “We’re not going to Hull are we?”

My sister laughed and said yes.

I hoped she was joking around again but… it did not seem like a joke this time. “We’re seriosuly going to Hull?!”

No offense to Hull, but I had no idea what was there to do. I imagined it a grim, industrial sort of place with little of worth to tourists. I was very nervous. I spotted a sign for the turnoff for York and hoped…but no…we continued on and indeed I found myself in Hull. In the bright sunlight it did not seem as bad as I imagined but I still was not certain what we’d have driven all the way there for. Of course, now certain that was our destination I paid even more attention to the signs, especially the brown tourist ones, but still I wasn’t sure where we were going until my sister slapped her hand over my face and told me not to look. I’d just seen a sign for someplace called “the deep” with a fish next to it, and after being punched in the face for it I was fairly certain that was where we were going. My sister was not aware I knew though, and quickly told me to close my eyes. “I’m scared of the dark!” I cried. “Well avert your eyes then.” I diligently stared at a little hole in my tights until my sister said I could look. We had indeed arrived at “the deep” which was an aquarium or as my sister declared proudly a “sub aquarium”. “What on earth is a sub aquarium?” I asked her, intrigued. “I have no idea. Maybe they’ve built it under water?”

I still have no idea, but regardless it was good fun. It was quite a small one, compared to the grand sized of the ones in Japan and there was initially a plague of loud school children with little spacial awareness, but it eventually got quieter and they had a huge 10m tank so as you worked your way down the aquarium (yes, you start at the top floor and wind down- maybe that’s why it’s a sub aquarium?) you would eventually land up right at the bottom of the tank, where you could either take the elevator through it back to the top, or the stairs. My sister and I instead took the elevator up, and then down again, and then went up the stairs. It was good fun. Another cool display, separate from this huge tank, was one where they’d covered it with a blackout curtain which you had to peek behind, to see the flashing lights of some deep sea creature. It was a little scary, being afraid of the dark, but quite unique. Of course there was the required clown fish (nemos!!) and jelly fish and what not but it was still very, very nice.

We left the aquarium and spent some time in the gift shop, amused at all the unrelated souvenirs you could buy (there were quite a few dinosaur and big cat things and just… lots of things that weren’t fish. or that were fish/sea animals that didn’t even exist in the aquarium.) Then we left and I did not know what was coming next, and I asked but of course my sister was having far too much fun keeping me in the dark and would not say. At least she let me know that we were sctually going somewhere next. We drove away from Hull, and I was probably a little relieved as I was not certain what else we could have done there. I once again played the look at the signs and wonder game, and was certain we were stopping at Leeds, but we passed it and it then became clear that we would be going to Manchester. I was very certain and very hopeful that by how late it was that we were heading for food, but without my sister confirming anything I had no idea. By that point I was grumpy and fed up with my sisters game of secrecy. I just wanted to know what was happening! My sister was still too amused at my frustration to tell me. We arrived in Manchester and I trailed after my sister towards the unknown place, then in the certain knowledge we were meeting with our parents. Indeed, we met our parents at a fancy Thai restaurant where we would have supper. The food was delicious, but the portions sizes were crazy. The starter was the size of a main meal, and as such I could not finish my main meal. I felt super bad as it was very expensive. I admit, I do wish we’d gone somewhere more casual. I’m not a big fan of formal, expensive places- I always feel awkward and out of place, and very conscious of the cost. I usually cannot manage restaurant portions and that’s fine when it’s reasonably priced, but once you start getting into pricier food you just feel guilty.

Anyway, it was nice and I went home very full and happy with my day, although I do wish my sister had kept me more informed of what was going on. I’m not a big fan of surprises. (That’s why my sister loves surprising me… typical. :/)

Since then…nothing has been happening. Being 21 is no different than being 20.
My aunt from South Africa is coming to stay with us for a week starting tomorrow afternoon though which I’m quite nervous about. I hope it’s going to be a good week with her.


Cable Cars
caves under UV
Prospect Tower
Matlock Bath Village
River near Over Haddon
Peak District

My sister took me to Matlock Bath in Derbyshire on Thursday. It was something we’d been wanting to do for a while but there never seemed to be the right time. Currently we are both going mad with boredom being stuck at home all day, with all the things we need to do being the kind of dull things we don’t want to do, so a day out seemed a welcome respite. The drive to Matlock was long, we headed into the peak district, going along narrow, meandering, and steep country roads. When we got there it was around 11 and the day had become pleasantly warm. We were both keen to get going, albeit hungry. We followed everyone else to the cable car station and took the cable car up to Abraham Heights. We were in the cable car with a couple and their son and naturally their son was happily wondering out loud what would happen if we were to say, crash, or stall. I wasn’t scared though, just slightly queasy from the rocking movement. My sister was scared, which was slightly hilarious. Once we got to the top we jumped out the cable car (with more grace than we got in on my part- I walked into the door for going up, this time I managed to just stumble slightly) and allowed ourselves to be driven by hunger and immediately headed to the gift shop and cafe. We ate some surprisingly cheap and tasty fast food on the balcony overlooking the village of Matlock Bath. Then we headed to the playground where we decided we would totally go down the giant slides they had, our ages of 20 and 23 be damned. A little girl gave us a weird look and asked us if we were queuing and why yes, yes we were. I went first. I was nervous, a little scared, no longer having the bravery and fearlessness of a six year old. It turned out to be wicked fun. I laughed as I leapt off the end and laughed even harder when my sister came down, arms in the air and cheering. I laughed until I felt breathless, totally forgetting that I had gone down first for the purpose of filming my sisters go. It was exhilarating. Sadly, the second time down was anti climatic and boring. Turns out going down a giant slide when you are 20 is only thrilling the first time around.(Later we saw a middle aged man going down the slide and felt slightly reassured not to be the only adults indulging in reliving our youth, although this guy could likely have been forced by his children…)

After that we made our way through exhibitions before finally we joined the queue for the tour of the old mines there. The caves were cold and damp and the passages were narrow and low, so we had to bend over almost double as we inched our way along. The tour was filled with restless kids and the tour guide was aiming his tour at them, but the caves themselves were interesting. A little gloomy and claustrophobic though and I was not impressed when they turned out the lights (I clung to my sister and prayed for it to be over, whilst staring hard at the flickering candle light that seemed to float in the darkness in a way that was just as unsettling as the darkness itself) When they turned the uv lights on it was impressive though, as the walls around us shifted from pink, to red,to green, blue. Very eerie but cool. I was pretty glad to get out of there though. We went to the prospect tower next, and I took one look at the steps that were no more than a few inches thick, tall too, and said no. So instead I found myself sitting at the bottom, waiting for my sister to appear. She appeared as a waving hand over the wall and through pointing and shouted instructions and a lot of confused looks from passer bys who likely didn’t realise I was talking to my sister at the top of the tower, I managed to get in a position to see her and get a picture. After more shouted, confused attempts at conversation I waited for my sister to come down.

We bought slushies next, because it seems that we had decided the day would be dedicated to being 6 years old again. Our tongues turned purple and our hands froze as we walked through the woodland down to the next set of caves. We ended up sat on a bench finishing our slushies, talking about nothing until the next cave tour. The next tour was much as the first, but the caves were more spacious and less like the walls were pressing down around us. The guide was older and thankfully made none of the lame jokes as the previous. They unfortunately did the whole turn the lights off again and this time was even worse- they decided to stick up a figure of a miner and have him narrate a typical day work for a miner, with added sound and even theatrical smoke at the end. Interesting, but I was too busy staring at the hovering light of the candles again to really care. It dragged on and i was spooked enough to forget to duck in a narrow passageway, ending up hitting my head on the low ceiling. I can imagine people working down there, because they had to, but I find it slightly crazy that these caves became a tourist attraction when they were no longer useful as mines, with rich people paying to be hoisted down there in the dark, with only the light of a candle (so not really any light at all) and no guide. Dressed in their fine clothes, of course, just to complete the strangeness of it all.

We decided to avoid the cable car coming down, I was nauseous at the thought of it and my sister was still scared so instead we climbed down, ending up taking a little walk through Matlock bath village, admiring the beautiful, unique cottages there. We walked along the main street which reminded us both of somewhere like Blackpool, a typical quaint English tourist trap but this one without the seaside. There was mainly cafe after fast food place after eatery. We did make a stop in an amazing chocolate store, where we bought  marshmallows dipped in Belgian chocolate, which we devoured at once. They tasted like sweetie pies, which are  a south african chocolate which is not sold here. :(  With nothing much else to do and feeling pretty tired we went back to the car and started the journey back. We nearly stopped at  Matlock, but there didn’t seem much to do there, and then we nearly stopped at Bakewell, but again, nothing caught our interest and somehow we instead ended up at the tiny village of Over Haddon. Guided by some signs and my sisters shaky memory of going there years ago we walked along  deserted country roads and found ourselves at a river where my sister had the grand idea of us taking our shoes off and taking a walk into the river. It was painfully cold, and the smooth looking river bed was actually pretty sharp and uneven once stood in it. We cursed whilst laughing at our own stupidity. Of course we endured enough to take a picture, with forced, pained smiles. We got our shoes back on and went for a little walk, following a path alongside a river of clear, pure blue water with several waterfalls. It was very quiet, with no one about, and it was growing cooler, but thankfully still warm and no rain. We stopped and took stupid selca, my sister smiling and me pulling weird faces to annoy her. of course time was getting on and we headed back the way we came, slowly, as the way down was fine, but going up hill was another.

We continued on home but ended up stopping again in Buxton to eat, where we found a lovely Italian place with an even lovelier happy hour deal on which meant delicious food for cheap prices- and a free garlic bread! We were hopelessly under dressed in our slacks and loose t-shirts, complete with walking boots and me, my backpack. But hey, whatever. The garlic bread was slightly too garlicy, and the carbonara wasn’t the best I’ve had, and unfortunatly very messy. But I broke my diet of reduced diary to eat it, so it was heavenly. We got back on the road, were my sister enjoyed driving along the twisty, hilly roads (now downhill, so not as laborious as going uphill to get there) after months of motorway driving every day, whilst I stared out the window and tried to take pictures of the passing scenery (and failed, mostly).

it was a ridiculously fun day of laughter and being slightly crazy and immature because why not.I realized that I am really going to miss my sister when I am away in Malaysia. I can say and do things around/to my sister that I could not anyone else. We play fight and insult each other and laugh over lame jokes together. I can call my sister “bitch” as an affectionate pet name, tell her to fuck off and mean something more like I love you, but god you exasperate me, ramble on about tmi things, be totally unfeminine around her with the things we do and say and just, be myself completely because in the end we’ve spent our whole lives together. We’ve seen each other at our best and at our worst and at our most annoying and horrible and we’ve stuck together through it all. I know my sister as I know the back of my own hand.  Being around her is as natural as breathing. I hope my sister will be able to visit me in Malaysia, or we can meet up in another part of Asia. :/ Of course I’ll miss my parents too. My mother is currently driving me crazy,and ruined my lovely day with my sister by fighting with me when I got back, but I know that once she’s not around I’ll want more than anything to see her. I guess that’s family though. When they’re around you can’t wait to get rid of them but when they’re not there you miss them. :/

“I’ll change my tears into strength”

Yesterday was my birthday. I was reluctantly woken up at 9am by my family singing to me and trying to give me presents..which I guess I shouldn’t complain about, even if at the time I really just wanted to continue to sleep. Although I was surprised at the fact my dad and sister were both there. Actually, I had been sleeping lightly and had woken at several points to wonder why the house was so noisy with all my family about- surely my dad and sister should be at work? I had asked my sister months ago if she would take me to the aquarium for my birthday but  she couldn’t as she had to work, and she had said she didn’t want to take me over the weekend either. But I opened up my card from her to find “P.S I am taking you to the aquarium.” Turns out she had been planning it for ages and everyone (from my family to her friends at work) knew that she was taking the day off from work to take me! My dad meanwhile was just waiting for me to open my presents and left soon after. My dad was also the one who made my birthday cake this year, on Sunday after we came home from our hike. This needs mentioning so that I can remember it always, because my father never bakes. I was surprised to find the cake turned out delicious but not really, as it is somewhat typical of my father that even if something is unfamiliar to him, he can still do it and do it well. :|

Back to yesterday. Me and my sister took ages to get ready and ended up leaving over an hour after the planned time, and arrived at the aquarium around midday. I was stupidly happy. In fact this may be an occasion where I could use words like “gleeful” and “delighted” and not be exaggerating. Yes, I am 20 years old and I was ridiculously overjoyed to go to the aquarium for my birthday. I think I have mentioned on this blog before that I really like aquariums, yes? The only aquarium I haven’t enjoyed immensely is the small section of fish in the museum in Harare, where I actually nearly started to cry because I did not understand how the fish were still alive in such tiny, grubby tanks. You could barely even see the fish the windows of the tanks were that filthy and scratched. It was actually heart breaking. Then again the entire museum was… a bit of a strange experience? It was enjoyable as there were good displays and someone was clearly trying to take care of it, but you could tell that they just didn’t have the money/resources/something to really make it shine… we were also one of the only groups there which only made it the more surreal.

Anyway, this aquarium was on my list of ones I wanted to go to however tickets are expensive so I needed an occasion to get someone to take me. I was very happy and looking forward to it when my sister promised to take me for my birthday, disappointed when she said she couldn’t, and shocked in a very good way to find that she had been lying to me. (Even if at the same time I do hate how people take advantage of my gullibility…)

As it turns out that the aquarium was a bit overpriced. It was fun, however this aquarium wasn’t the Nagoya Port Aquarium or even the aquarium in Cape Town. It was smaller than expected? Me and my sister looked at the displays and watched them feeding the sting rays then had lunch at a truly dodgy cafeteria (I am sure there was little actual meat in my jumbo hot dog). After lunch we thought there would be more displays but in the end we had looked at everything! I am probably being petty because we had been there for a good few hours- I guess I am such a freak when it comes to aquariums that I could have spent the whole day there looking at endless displays of fish! And Nagoya has dolphins and beluga whales so it is kind of on a different level. XD I did however really enjoy walking through the underwater tunnels they had at this aquarium- where they had sharks, string rays and fish drifting around us- despite having to maneuver past herds of children. I remember how at the Nagoya port aquarium everyone else there was a family, with a few couples thrown in there. it was a similar situation yesterday. Lots of noisy children were noisy and everywhere you wanted to be. I took a video of walking through the tunnels and the camera is shaking and swinging from side to side as I tandem through the children. XD

After deciding to leave the aquarium we went back to the entrance/exit and discovered that they also had otters outside the aquarium which were adorable, if somewhat viciously attacking slices of meat as we watched. After seeing those we left to go shopping at a nearby designer outlet and spent hours looking at clothes. I came to realize that now that my sister is working that there is becoming a certain gap between us. Like for the first time it really feels like she is older than me? It became apparent when we were shopping and the difference between the places I can shop, and the places my sister can shop. She still shops on the high street, but now she is a working woman she can also afford more expensive, designer clothes. We looked through a lot of brand shops and I looked at and tried on a few things so she wouldn’t feel alone but in the end there was no way I could afford any of it! Then again moving abroad and having only 20kg of luggage also hinders what one can shop for too. I have a set list of things I am allowed to buy between now and September and I am being strict not to break it! I bought some cotton shorts and leggings in the end, both of which i think will be OK in the heat of Malaysia. I still have to get hold of some more loose cotton tops and shorts to sustain me until I can go shop in KL. My wardrobe right now is designed for the UK aka cold, wet, windy weather. I have very little clothes suitable for extreme heat. :/

We eventually headed home and that was about it. I had a fun birthday. Although it was quite tiring, and my legs were aching the entire day from the walk on Sunday (both me and my sister could not help but complain out loud every time we encountered steps.)

And so I am now I am 20, although to be honest I feel no different than when I was a teenager. XD

There’s a beautiful mess inside

So, it seems that time is just flying past again. When I last updated I was getting ready to leave halls. My sister came and picked me up as my dad was unavailable. She arrived in a bad mood, annoyed at having to pick me up and then more annoyed after getting lost. She sat and watched as I packed, making sure that I had every last scrap boxed up before we could take a break to head into town in search of food. We eventually ended up in town, wandering without destination until we finally came to agree that we wanted Thai food. She googled it and we found a small Thai restaurant tucked away on a side street, where we were early enough to be one of only two groups there so it was lovely and quiet. The food was delicious and it was nice to spend time with my sister, chatting about this and that. (No matter how terrible a mood she is in my sister will always become mellow after eating.) After dinner we got the bus back to campus, then walked through campus making stupid jokes, saying silly nonsensical things that would make no sense to anyone who overhead, and laughing too hard over it all. I was really happier than I had felt in long time. I read through some of my entries over the past few months and they were really pessimistic. I felt like reaching into the screen and shaking myself, telling myself to get over myself. But its easy to say that when I have achieved what I wanted. Just as it was easy to laugh then, the reality of moving abroad not set in yet and therefore none of the anxiety. I was just really happy to have achieved it.

Once back at halls we started to pack up her car aka lugging boxes through halls and trying to get them to fit into her tiny corsa. We bickered the whole time- my sister complaining, and me telling her to get over it. Half serious, as always. We got some amused looks from the people we passed as we so often do. Somehow when we are together we often end up being loud and silly together, like we’re children, and I often see someone nearby glancing at us with a certain expression, kind of amused, almost surprised. Not that I care. It’s fun. It took a while but we got everything packed up then I poked around my empty room to check and recheck if I’d left anything behind. It was strange to see the room so empty and to think of never going back there. I handed in my keys and then I left and… it was really easy to do. I didn’t feel sad and I don’t miss it. I was relieved to be coming home. In the end when I come home I more miss independent living than living in halls. Living in halls is exactly as advertised- grimy, loud, bad food (although admittedly that last couple of weeks of the semester the food was pretty good and the dinner hall was always quiet which was even better) .

So now I am home. I have idled away the time in the usual ways, although I have been good and I have been trying to study Japanese so I don’t forget everything I learned over the course of my lessons- it would be a waste to spend so much money on lessons and then forget it all- right? Besides, it makes me feel productive. Apart from that I have gone out to the cinema twice. I went to see the 5 year engagement with my sister which was enjoyable enough. And last night I headed out with my sister and her friends to see Magic Mike which was just awful. They tried to inject plot into a movie which would have been better without. Really, the plot was flimsy, the lead actress was awful and the ending was abrupt-  worse than the flimsy plot, the flimsy plot was never resolved. ugh.

Really, right now, everything’s pretty boring and I’m slipping into a very comfortable and lazy routine- which can’t be a good thing as in less than two months I’ll be totally uprooted, flying off to live in a strange, foreign place. I’m playing the waiting game at the moment- waiting for the confirmation letters to come through, waiting for accommodation to be allocated, waiting for the term dates to be given. In fact both me and my friend got bored and fed up of waiting so we already booked our flights to Singapore, where we’ll stay a few days before heading onto Malaysia. We’ve not booked the flights to Malaysia yet so I don’t know when my life will start there, but I know I leave the country on the 12th of September. The way time is slipping through my fingers that is uncomfortably close. I started a to do list and it is already half a page long, all the things I need to research and organise and all the preparations I need to make. Although I am excited the glamour of moving abroad has faded, revealing the reality of the fact that moving abroad isn’t as easy as throwing stuff in a suitcase and going, which is the romantic ideal right? But no, so much to do… and so much I’ll have to leave behind. It’s going to be hard to resist the temptation to try and fill my suitcase with things I don’t need for any reason than sentimentality, than wanting to cling onto some part of my comfortable every day routine in this country.

I’m excited, but nervous, and very scared. I say that its sunk in that I’m going, that this is happening, but it’s half a lie- I don’t think it will truly sink in until I am on that plane.