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!

Finish Lines Sprint!

I’m coming down to my last hours in Bellingham for a while. I’m finishing my last shift of my last job. I hate being jobless.

I finish work in two hours, before going home to have a family dinner and frantically searching for anything I might have neglected to pack, followed by hmming and hawing over whether or not my suitcases are within the weight limit. Then we go to my boyfriend’s mom’s house, to sleep for two hours at best before getting up to leave for Seattle Airport at 2am.

After that, it’s on to Palm Springs for a week to see my dad, and then off to Durham. Holy crap I actually completing a long-term plan.

So far I don’t have a job lined up (yet) and I don’t have a place to live when we get there (yet). But I’m pretty dedicated. I can make stuff happen. Cross your fingers for me though, just in case.

Defining “Mansplaining” Via Long-Winded Example

I was in a conversation with a friend of mine about what mansplaining is. He was saying that as a man, if he tries to explain his side of anything, then it can easily be combated with the idea that he’s just “mansplaining”, and there for his argument is irrelevant.

I am here to say that is not so.

Of course there are those who will just battle any man who has something to say and just call it mansplaining. I can’t speak on behalf of those who don’t fully grasp the concept. However, what I can do is attempt to make it clear the difference between explaining and mansplaining.

A few weeks ago, someone that I know mostly through either his profession or my profession approached me at my cheese booth at the farmers market. He stopped by to say hi and chit-chatted. As he went to say his good-bye’s, he said, “It’s such a pleasure seeing you and your boobies.”

I looked at him and calmly said, “You don’t get to say that to me.”

“Oh,” he replied, taken aback, but smiling nonetheless. “I’m sorry. I  miss seeing your eyes,” he corrected himself.

I wasn’t really pleased with the answer, but I saw that he was making the effort to remedy his mistake and so I was happy to let it go and move on.

Except  he didn’t feel the issue was over.

He later that day came back to me on Facebook, wanting to talk about it. He began telling me at first about how such statements are healthy, and that I should embrace them in order to keep healthy relationships. I disagreed and said that I felt I was being judged and reduced to my shape. My shape should not be a reason to be visited. He tried to tell me that he had no interest in me. That is, of course, fine, but it still does not permit for such comments. I explained this, and he said that because he’s willing to see my point on this, that I need to find a willingness to see his point, which is that he was giving me a compliment. 

The discussion soon ended when I stopped responding. Or so I thought.

The next day he decided to let me know that he had “figured it out”, that the reason why I didn’t feel it was an appropriate comment to make was because I don’t trust him. If only I know that he’s not trying to “bed” me then he would be able to make those comments without me being offended. I told him that no, that’s not the reason, it’s because no one gets to make those comments at me. If he respects me, he would simply hear what I said at the market that I’m not comfortable with those comments, and would leave it alone.

He told me he understood, and the matter was settled. For a little while.

There is more to this story, but I want to interject with some explanation of what I’m understanding of what is going on here.

  • Acquaintance makes an inappropriate comment. I tell him where my comfort zone is (in the sense that I said he can’t talk to me like that), and he adjusted his comment.
  • He messaged me on Facebook to tell me why it was alright that he made that comment, and that I shouldn’t be upset, ignoring my initial statement that I was uncomfortable with that kind of talk.
  • He messaged me again telling me that he figured out why I wasn’t comfortable, and why I should be comfortable.

The first bullet point was a social mistake that was corrected. That is fine. That is explaining himself, or adjusting, and that is fine. had he gone on to say something along the lines of, “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought that would be funny, or I didn’t realize that’s where your boundaries are,” that would have been fine. That is nothing to dwell on.

The second and third bullet point are mansplaining.

The reason why they are mansplaining is because they are times when this individual was not listening to what I was saying. He wasn’t hearing that I was trying to tell him what is inappropriate language to use with me as an individual, and where my comfort zone is. Meanwhile, I was being told that my boundaries weren’t where I said they were, and why they shouldn’t be there. He was going on to readjust my comfort level because to do so would remove him from fault.

What should have been done is simply realize the social faux pas, accepted the mistake, and move on. But instead, the fault was attempted to be put onto me and my perception of his words.

The story continues.

This weekend was my last weekend at the farmers market. nearly at the end of it, he appeared, wanting to explain himself yet again. He explained that he had learned he had a certain disorder, which makes him say certain things (I won’t list it out of respect for this other individual). Fair enough, I will give him that. However, I’m certain that it’s not that disorder which caused him to come back to me multiple times to try and change my mind on my discomfort.

I tried, as calmly as I could (because I was at work, trapped behind my booth, and representing the company that employed me), to explain to him why I was initially upset, why didn’t want to talk about it at all anymore, and what I viewed him as trying to convey to me every time he tried to talk to me about it.

He literally talked right over me, did not hear anything I said because he was too worried about being heard. And I conceded, I stopped talking because I didn’t want to start yelling at him top be heard myself, and cause more of a scene than he was already causing. He explained to me that I wasn’t hearing what he had initially been trying to tell me when he made the comment, that I just wasn’t understanding what his “joke” had been trying to portray to me.

(It should be noted here, that I put the word “joke” in quotation marks because when he initially began explaining to me on Facebook his position, he was saying I should take the compliment, and was adamant of his words. However, at the time of this recent discussion, it had transformed into a joke.)

I was also told that I was only meeting him with aggression (though the girl I was training said that I was extremely patient with this guy), and that I wasn’t hearing him as a result. So I gave him his platform. I asked him what it was that I had missed that he was trying to say between the lines of commenting on my chest.

I was then informed that what I was wearing the day of the comment on my chest wasn’t very flattering that day, and his comment was a means of portraying that to me. 

I reminded him that it wasn’t for him to comment on, that I wasn’t dressing for him, or anyone else. He went on to tell me that it is important that I should know how I appear to the rest of the world.

I left it at that. I gave up on my words because I had no more for him. They were only going to be wasted.

If I am grungy, I can understand why that might be important in my role as a prepared food representative and salesperson. Smelly, professional, any of those things–yes, I do need to consider how I look. But I do not need to consider whether or not my clothing is flattering, especially in a work environment when my only concern is to appear professional and to the style standards of my place of employment. And what I was wearing that day was downright cute and I have had multiple compliments on it. Though, that really is neither here nor there.

By suggesting that the non-form-fitting, flowing dress that I was wearing was unflattering, it was stating that what would have been flattering is something form-fitting. True, there are other possible meanings other than that one (though none come to mind), but at the end of the day, the assumption is that what I wear is meant to be for other people’s pleasure, which is completely inaccurate.

In summary, what I was met with when I expressed my discomfort at a comment that was made to me weeks ago was someone attempting to tell me that I’m taking it too seriously, being told to where I should adjust my comfort level, being told I misunderstood, being told what to wear, as well as a insult to what I was wearing and how I choose to display myself to the world.

Yes, perhaps in some regards one might consider this as airing my dirty laundry to the internet. But what I really truly want to do is display the difference between mansplaining and explaining. I also want to point out what it is that women deal with on a regular basis, and let it be known that sexism is still around, that women are still fighting to be viewed as human beings and not as something that should fit into a box of pleasure for the external world.

Farewell, Gothberg Farms

getlstd-property-photoI just finished up my last weekend working at Gothberg Farms.

This job has gotten me through community college, break ups, car wrecks, and even this blog so far.

I was misty-eyed at the Bellingham Farmers Market as I said farewell to my market neighbors, packed up my booth, and took off. This job has been really good to me, and whats more, my employer has been extremely good to me. She has been there for me for all of my hard moments over the last three years.

How often can someone say goodbye to their job and be sad about it? I got pretty lucky with my goat cheese gig. I can only hope I’m half so lucky in the future.

Gearing Up for the Move

It’s 4 a.m., and I’m trying to get things done. But I’m in panic mode now, not really sure what I should be doing, though I know there’s things to be done. This was me yesterday. The difference between today and yesterday is that yesterday was in the evening, this morning I’ve been up since 3, and now I’ve at least eaten and slept–which the former was an impossibility for me while sleeping was like pulling teeth yesterday.

This is what I do right before I come to the big moves. Not moves between housing. Those are simple. This is the pond hop. Technically, I still don’t get over to the UK for another nine days, but I’m going to visit my dad in Palm Springs for a week, and leaving in less than 48 hours. I’m still working every day until then, and trying to figure out how it is I can sleep, clean, pack, get rid of, and all that other nonsense before that time. I think I’ll be forfeiting sleeping.

I’m still looking for a place to live in the vacinity of Durham. It’s proving tough. I have to get up early, 4 or 5 in the morning, so that I can hope for a chance at a conversation via email with a realtor. Thankfully my shuttle driving job has been really understanding with my need to constantly be looking things up and emailing on my phone. Durham is eight hours ahead of us, which means their office hours end at 9 a.m. for me. I have to be quick on the ball.

I’m house sitting, which means I have to move out of this house, get everything to my mom’s, pack and get everything out of there as well. There’s no storage available, so I’m getting rid of just about everything.

It’s Monday morning, and between now and 2 a.m. Wednesday I have to clean, pack, work two shifts, see my grandparents, see my brother, lunch with my boss, breakfast with my friends, dinner with our moms, clean my car, move out of the house I’ve been staying in, transport two guinea pigs from house-sat house to another house, print all the necessary information…I’m sure there’s more. There’s always more.

But here it is, I’m moving.