One Month On

We have officially been here for one month: and by here I mean in the UK. Things are very different than what I thought they would be after the first month.

Of course, we are not in Durham, or Newcastle, or anywhere near, but are in surprisingly sunny North Wales. I say surprisingly, because Wales is not known for its sunshine, but rather the lushness of grass brought on by onslaughts of constant downpour. Though so far, we have been lucky, despite the sudden drop in temperature.

However, as mentioned before, I am working, have a place to live, and have a car. Having a car is liberating. It feels a lot more worthwhile. During my time off, my boyfriend and I travel about, looking for things to do, or just checking out places to walk. We went to Aberystwith last week, and regularly go to Caenarfon and Bangor, and of course, our favorite, Criccieth.img_4611

I’m still attempting to continue on with my studying. I have just finished my second book that is on the reading list for first year English students at Durham, and am half way through the third. I’m slowly taking notes, taking down quotes, and writing out reflections in hopes that I won’t have to do too much extra research in order to remember what I read this time next year. But so far I have read The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, and am half way through Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (which, by the way, I thought Jane Austin wrote this book).

I feel bad because I basically read the first book that was supposed to be read, and the last book on the list, and I think that I figured out the direction of the course and essentially the theme of it. I basically just read the ending. Oh well, I will be ahead of the game next year anyway.

I’m still gearing up to get involved with NaNoWriMo in a week. I am still plagued by the worry of my supposedly doomed hard drive. My goal was to have my last NaNoWriMo novel completely edited and in the process of being critiqued by Alpha and Beta readers by now. However, since it is hopefully being retrieved, I just worry. I find it’s creeping into my ability to write as it is. My computer has been somewhat restored, with a third of the memory (I used to have a terabyte for a hard drive, and now only have 350 GB), and through the school I was able to reinstall Word. However, my friend’s friend, who is working on my broken hard drive also has my external hard drive, and thus I am struggling to trust saving my documents onto my computer. It’s definitely influencing the amount of writing I’m doing, as well as where I write.

Thankfully, I am in a fantastically inspiring country side, and my creative juices can flow a little more freely come this NaNoWriMo.




Digi Again

Finally, I’m back on a computer. I’ve been trying not to get too attached to this, as I hear tell that the guy that fixed my computer–or at least put in a new hard drive–put in a 350 GB hard drive instead of a 1 TB drive, and will be sorting that out later this week.

Any way, the news on my computer is that my old hard drive is completely fried. He was unable to get my files off it. However, he did say that I could look into some companies that will do it, though it could cost my hundreds of pounds. “You’ll have to decide whether or not your writing is worth it or not,” he told me.

Whether it’s worth it to me or not. A writers writing should always be worth it.

Currently, the hard drive is with a friend’s friend who is happy to work on it and thinks he can manage to sort it out and retrieve the files for me. So he has that an my external hard drive. If he can’t manage it, then yes, I am absolutely going to find a way of coughing up the hundreds of pounds to get this done. Where there is a Will there is a way, and there most certainly is a Will.

However, I have lost a great many of my programs such as Word 2013 which I have absolutely no idea how I got to begin with (though the repair guy was more than happy to hook me up with Word 2007, it seems archaic after the luxuries of 2013), Scrivener (which I actually paid for, though never really used), my video editing software, and so on. I’m sure with time they will come back to me, as will my files.

In the meantime, I am working on recreating the Windows settings that I had before. I had some really amazing artwork as my background that I got from a fellow blogger (though am embarrassed to say I don’t remember which one) that I sorely miss. But! I am thrilled with my creative replacement idea!

I have gone through and found as many images and quotes and prompts that have to do with writing that I can. I have put them into one file and made them a rotating background. So now, every time I turn on my computer, I will see a different background telling me or inspiring me to write. I’m hoping it’ll work.

But I do want to say thank you to everyone who had suggestions for things to do regarding my computer horrors. I appreciate your support and knowledgeable input!

Computer distress!!

As soon as I posted my optimism about getting writing projects done, my computer goes black, and starts clicking. The keyboard lights up and turns off again, lights up and goes off again, all the time an audible clicking. 

Every writer knows the horror of a computer malfunction, when everything they’re working on is on the device that’s going insane. 

I’m looking for help right now. After turning the compter on and off, plugging it in and unplugging it, I still only get this screen:

It somethis will repeat the text down the page, but so far nothing else. 

How do I save my writing?

Coming to Terms with Being in the Village

It’s been interesting being back in this village. I have lived here before, and as the seasons go on, it gets a bit grim. Work stops, people go home and stop visiting, and those who remain either spend all their time in the pub or stay indoors just trying to conserve their money and stay warm.

However, there are a few benefits of staying here for a few months. One of which being that I think it will only inspire my success at uni when I go this time next year. The other is that I can read all the assigned books for next year, and get a head start on it.

However, the other thing that I’m looking forward to being able to participate in is NaNoWriMo. I had given up on that, since I was going to be fully in school and working. But now that I’m just working, and I know the work isn’t going to be abundant, it gives me time to work on my writing, as is always the goal.

I’m tempted to continue on with my story that I started for CampNaNoWriMo, but I think that there is more that I have to experience to be able to make that happen. We shall see. It’s strange what I come up with as the days get closer to the start date.

That being said, I am almost finished editing my NaNoWriMo project from 2014, which was the first one I participated in while writing this blog. Once that’s done, I’ll be looking for Beta readers. It’s rather exciting! Once I get through a round of that, then I’ll try and find my publisher. I’ve got a good feeling about this particular story.

As for being in the village, the weather has been surprisingly nice, and warm. Today we are going to be going for a walk, somewhere. Not sure where. But as long as the sky is blue, we should definitely be taking advantage of it.


Change in Plans

At the time that I last wrote, I was in the midst of a job interview in Newcastle, as well as waiting to hear on a flat from the owner of the hotel we were taking in. It was the end of the week, and since we were constantly shoveling out for lodging, we decided to try and get away for the weekend. We ended up going Abersoch, in North Wales, where I have previously lived.


View of Abersoch from Mynytho in North Wales

Some friends of mine were very, very, very kind, and let us stay with them. Our weekend venture turned into a week, since seemed kept seeming not to fall into place with Newcastle/Durham. We still couldn’t find any estate agents who would let us rent a place without having £14000 in the bank, I couldn’t get any more interviews with anyone–and all the while the car that we rented was costing us £20 a day in insurance due to the ridiculousness with my card.

We began looking for cars to buy, and in the end, bought a car off my friend’s husband, who’s letting us make payments. We returned the rental car, though couldn’t go anywhere with the new car because it needed to be insured and the tax paid on it. It took us a few days before we could find an insurance agent who would let me get insured for less than £200 a month (finally was able to get it down to £92 a month), which meant we were in the village until Tuesday.

However, the insurance is only so low because I put down my grandmother’s address in the village, and wouldn’t be driving around. To stick to that, as it turns out, I was offered some work in a local pub, as well as accommodation for my boyfriend and I for £50 a week!

In the week that we spent down here, we got a car, got it insured, got it taxed, found a job, and found accommodation–the latter two I haven’t been able to arrange in three months! So because everything fell into place so easily, my plan is to defer uni for a year, work here and keep looking for work and accommodation in Newcastle/Durham while I’m here–now that I can drive to any interviews or viewings of houses if need be (a long drive mind you, but I can do it nonetheless), and I can tell estate agents that I have a job as well.

It’s not the ideal plan, but so far it’s been working out alright. The other bonus is that I do have the reading list for my first year at Durham, so that is something I can work my way through as well in preparation.

Finally Arrived

Finally, I’m at a place where I can write a proper update.

As I mentioned in my last post, we spent a week with my dad in Palm Springs. It was really well needed. Up until the day we arrived there, I had been working for three weeks without a day off, on top of trying to get all my loose ends tied and get myself ready for moving across the country and ocean. Six days relaxing in the heat without any expectation was really nice. I got to swim in the pool, just be warm, and chill with my dad, which is always enjoyable.

palm-springsThe day we flew out of LAX, we left Palm Springs early. Our flight wasn’t until much later in the evening, nearly 7 p.m.. SO we went to Venice beach and simply spent time with the Pacific Ocean, the palm trees, the art and the style of the beach. It was really quite nice, and something I knew my boyfriend would enjoy.

When we got to the airport, we were at the farthest end of the airport. Our gate was so small, there weren’t enough seats for the people waiting there by a third. Most people were sitting on the floor. I thought for a little bit that we were going to have to take a bus to get to the plane. But we got on eventually, sans bus.

We were flying Norwegian Air Shuttle, a newer airline from what I hear. But we were on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, one of three in existence. That was pretty cool. It had rainbow lighting, and no shades on the windows which had buttons to tint as you pleased. Plus, the guy next to us ended up being extremely tall, so they moved him to a seat with more leg room and we got some extra space. Win, win all around.

The flight was fine, though of course my anxiety was on high alert as it always is. Every time the hostess got on the intercom, every time there was slight turbulence, and so on. As a result, I didn’t particularly sleep. I rarely do. But my boyfriend was really good with me, did a good job of keeping me talking, which is what I really need. And I tried so hard to forget that he asked right as we were about to board on the plane, “Did you ever watch that show, Lost?” I also found that it was extremely helpful that I could watch the altitude and speed of the plane on my little TV. I had that going the entire time.

The main time that I really began to freak out, aside from during the take-off, was when we were getting ready to land. The seatbelt signs had just gone on, as they do during that time, and I was watching the altitude decrease rapidly, as it’s want to do when landing. The flight attendants were making their rounds, checking that the belts were fastened, bags were stowed, and tables and chairs were up. The gentleman in the seat in front of my boyfriend stopped one of them and said that the plane was leaking on him.

Horrified, I looked up, and sure enough, there was drips along the wall, and just above him. Then my boyfriend got hit with a drop.

The damn plane was leaking! If there was a place where the sheets of metal swere joining that were not tight enough to keep water out, was it strong enough to handle the rapid decrease in altitude and thus the rapid increase of temperature outside?!?!?!

Thus was my quandary.

As you can imagine, since I’m sitting here typing this out, the flight over was just fine, if only a little wet.

Customs was and easy process for me, since I was traveling on my British passport. It was long and tedious for my boyfriend, since he had to explain why he was going to be there for so long. We found our luggage extremely easily—I think it’s the least amount of time I’ve ever had to wait. It was getting the car that proved tricky.

As it turned out, the credit card I had booked the rental car on had been counterfeited a few months ago. I was notified and it was stopped. However, it was my credit union’s security company, rather than my bank proper that cancelled the card. Since I was trying to pay the card off, and didn’t want to put anything more on it, I never replaced the card. After a lot of debate with the lady at the counter (who was as nice as she could be about it), she took my card, and I was forced to use my Citibank card, which, instead of costing me $250 for the car, ended up costing me £699! Not at all impressed, but at this point, I had been up for 22 hours—10 of which had been with my buttocks firmly clenched, so I just handed over the card.

We were now in London, trying to get to Coventry, without any GPS since our phones weren’t working. This was a very long journey. We eventually, five hours later, found our AirBNB location. Our host was as lovely as you could possibly want. Really sweet gentleman. He made us tea, he was funny, and kindly welcomed us in.

Happily, we slept all through the night, got up fairly early, and our host made us tea and breakfast. Our goal was to leave in an hour to Southam to see my grandmother in the nursing home, but ended up staying a couple of hours because our host was just so lovely! He was kind enough to pack us a lunch to go, even! Very nice individual.

We decided not to stay the second night as initially planned. As it turned out, I was able to set up a job interview for the next day in New Castle Upon Tyne (which I’m currently waiting for), and so it made sense for us to drive straight up, get to New Castle, and get ourselves situated for a less stressful day. We stopped at a service station, mooched their insanely crappy internet, and managed to book a B&B for not too terribly much (though I thought it was just a hotel, the breakfast options were a delightful bonus), which gave us an address to aim for.

As we approached New Castle, I saw the first sign for Durham and I got giddy.durham

As my boyfriend gave me directions, I ignored them and pulled off toward Durham. I have been waiting far too long to get there to just drive past it.

We arrived at about 6, found a place to park and just started walking.

I am so terribly in love with it! It’s so beautiful and amazing! We had no problem finding the university at all, and wandered in and out a couple of different buildings, but mostly delighted in the river and atmosphere. I am going to call that place home very soon.

We finally managed to find the B&B in the dark, later than intended. But the gentleman who let us in was very nice, and helped us with our things. We happened to mention to him that we were looking for a place to live, and he let us know that the owners of the business had a ton of properties for let, including one right across the street, for our exact budget, and it’s furnished.

In the morning, we spoke to the owner, who was really reasonable and relaxed. He said it’s not available until the 10th of October, but he would be happy to arrange a deal for us in the B&B until then. It’s not ideal, but it’s also the first place that’s heard me say that I’ve not got a job just yet and is still willing to take us without six months of rent up front, so I’ll live in a B&B until then—sure!

So that’s where we are left: I have an interview today at 2:30, the possibility of viewing a flat today, and the sun is shining. Everything just might maybe be ok.

Last night living State side…for now

I’m sitting here with my dad and boyfriend in Palm Springs, enjoying the warm night as I mentally prepare for tomorrow’s journey. 

We have been in Californnia for a week, decompressing–at least on my end–before the biggest part of the move. This has been a very much needed week, not working, not rushing around, just chilling. The day we arrived was my first day off in three weeks, and marked the first time I’ve been jobless since I was laid off in 2014. Since then I’ve maintained at least two jobs during my full-time schooling.

I have only forgotten one thing, so far, that I know of. Mom was able t post it to me, and it arrived today. I also got a letter from my grandparents, giving me their well-wishes on our journey. 

Tomorrow we drive to LA, and hop on the long flight to London. When we arrive, we have to figure out how to get to Europcar from Gatwick, then drive up to Warwickshire. We still don’t have a place to live lined up, nor do I have a job lined up. But we’re taking the biggest step tomorrow. Today I have been riddled with anxiety, and trying to keep myself together. It hasn’t made me for being good company for my dad and the rest of the family, but I think that moving across a continent and an ocean without housing lined up despite months of trying allows me such moodiness. 

It’s hard to believe that in April of 2014, I was just starting this blog, I was just starting my goat cheese gig, and I was vaguely contemplating universities. I didn’t think I was going to be good enough to get into Western Washington university. Then one class changed that perspective, and I started looking higher. Then I started looking abroad. I dokn’t think I could have found a better school. I’m so thrilled I’ve made it this far, and can hardly believe that it’s panning out.

However, I’ll be sad to lose the easy visits at my dad’s and being closer to my niece and nephews, but adventures and education await! You only live this life once!