A letter to snow

I don’t know who you (think you) are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for internet, I can tell you I don’t have 3G. But what I do have is a very particular set of knitwear; knitwear I have acquired over a very long winter. Knitwear that make me a nightmare for snow like you. If you let my phone go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look through you, I will not puruse you. But if you don’t, I will look through you, I will find my phone, and I will grit you.

So. I know snow  must be a trending blog topic but I felt I had to make my words heard. Today I must  have dropped my phone in the snow and this has made fiding it somewhat impossible! Snow is going to sit back and listen to what I have to say!

I hate snow. It’s cold rain that proceeds to stick to you and further reduce your body temperature against the minus 70 degree winds. Then, when you come inside away from the cold, it melts and you get wet. It’s a repeat offender. The parasite of weathers. It is only outdone by hail, the weather that sponsors the apocaplypse.

So far, because of the snow, I have:

-Fallen one

-slipped sever times

-lost hours at work due to early closes

-arrived late to two destinations due to lame train

and now I’ve gone and lost my phone in it. Every year it brings this country to a standstill and to be honest I’m not sure why. The lightest snowfall seems to ground all forms of transport and even disables walking! It’s ruthless. The worst part is that after the pretty snow is gone, you’re left with a sort of dark grey sludge. Then that grim sludge freezes in it’s own chiliness and becomes slippy ice which proceeds to attempt to break my coccyx at least twice each year.

Sort your self out snow else I will go all Laim Neeson on you!

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Little differences…

As I have informed you, I work at a Subway sandwich shop. I’ve been working there for just under four weeks now and am still being trained in some aspects but have got most of the job figured out. It has been refreshing to once again recognise the ignorance and the rudeness of some of the general public. Some people seem to misread my nametag and think that, where it says “Jack” in a cold blunt font, it in fact says “your personal sandwich bitch, treat me like dirt”.

Other than this, the job is pretty good and the staff really are great so I’m never too miffed about having to go in for a shift. Mostly the day goes fine without any real problems and we all get to go home on time and be happy forever and ever amen. This is, of course, until the area manager comes in.

She is lovely too but somehow she is a huge jinx. As i said, I’ve got most of the job figured out and am now pretty well practiced but when she is around I just screw up on everything! It’s like the pressure  pushes my brain out of my head and i just forget how to function as a human being. It is probably something to do with the fact that I am still in my probationary period  and she will be the one judging me. I don’t know but whatever it is I really wish it would stop. I’ll start making sandwiches incorrectly or  forget orders or I’ll mumble in some incoherent fashion that even I can’t understand let alone an customers.

I think using the till is the worst becasue this is a job that, when the store is busy, requires a bit of speed and quick customer interaction. I can usually handle this, heck I can even be pretty good at it until I get area-manager-present syndrome. Below is my slightly simplified version of the till screen. As you can see, it is pretty simple. Order on the left, price at the bottom and then a load of buttons with the different sandwiched written on them. It’s even colour coded:

before</a 

And below is how I see the screen when the manager is watching me. Even Salvador Dalí would have nightmares:

after

Vincent Van Sandwich

What am I like?! Look at me totally ignoring this blog, I am a fiend! A fiend!

So, you’re probably (not) wondering, “hey, Jack, what have you been up to?” Well, sit back and allow me to tell you!

First of all, I have settled quite comfortably into my university studies and, though I wouldn’t say I’m particularly enjoying lectures, I am enjoying learning about the world I live in again. I’ve been on two pretty lame field trips recently; once to a park to collect two types of bramble and once to a salt marsh. The salt marsh was basically a huge beach of mud and progressively deeper sea water. Oh and also, my arm is stained purple from a recent lab experiment. And not stained like when you can’t wash pen off your hand for ages, stained like “this stuff is used to permanently dye cells” stained. It’ll take about a week for me to lose enough skin cells for it to go away which is going to look very professional at work…

Which brings me to my next exciting piece of news: I have gone and secured myself a job! This is very very handy considering money was just vanishing from my bank account. I am now a Sandwich Artist at a fine local deli; SubWay (eat fresh!) Yes, I have landed myself a position at Subway and am now a slave to the demanding public so it’s fake smiles ahoy! I’m mostly just thankful to be earning some money but the staff are really friendly and the job isn’t too hard so I’m pretty happy really! Annoyingly, my job title is “Sandwich Artist”. Firstly, this is far too fancy for a job which is essentially putting stuff on bread. Secondly, the term “artist” would suggest I use some creative flare which would be impossible in Subway because I have to ask about a million questions in order to create exactly what the customer wants; “which bread would you like?” “toasted?” “Any sauce?” For once  I would like someone to come in and just ask for a regular cheese sandwich.

In other news, I saw “the coca cola advert” last week which has become the international symbol of nearly-Christmasism (and they say Christmas has become a corporate scheme!) I am quite prepared this year, I haven’t started christmas shopping but I think I know what I’m getting everyone which is a pleasant feeling. I’m excited for christmas this year in a way I haven’t really been before. I’ve not been home all that much this year between being at uni and being away all summer. Also my sister has kick started her own adult life and has flown the nest so when I do go home I don’t get to see her as much as I used to. It’s the same with my nan, I haven’t been to her house at all this year and usually I’d trek with mum two or three times a year and I suppose I can only blame myself for that one. Nevertheless the point is that with my increased separation has come an increased feeling of specialness and homeliness of home. So this year I have a little extra excitement for enjoying christmas at home with my family. It’s the best feeling in the world sitting at the dinner table on christmas day listening to Terry Wogan on radio 2 playing the same playlist as last year, feeling full, drinking some pretty bad red wine, enjoying the novelty of having candles on the table and the odd chair at the end and just laughing constantly. I think it’s my favourite thing. It may be cliché but it is genuinely a warm feeling.

This is a link to a song by Tim Minchin which I think describes exactly what christmas is about. It’s called “white wine in the sun” because he is Australian so his christmas is in summer. My version would be called “Buck’s Fizz with the heating on”. It’s a happy sad song just to warn you!

This, however, is still a month off which I think people forget. It’s as though it becomes December as soon as Halloween has gone. People are always wishing their lives away! I have a whole 28 days of adventure until Christmas and an awful lot to do in that time! This includes posting more frequently which I must must do. Mostly for myself, I have about three readers of this blog, but I like to look back and see what I have done; even if it is written in a slightly narcissistic tone that isn’t quite how I’d naturally talk!

Fidgeting…

I have moved into my new flat! Hazaa! I am very much enjoying that buzz of independent living again and am pretty excited to get stuck into my studies (despite the early mornings!) We have had a few little issues with our flat; cracks in the walls, damp patches and nerf dart stuck to the skylight. Our landlord, however, has been a real star and fixed what he could and has arranged some builders to sort the damp. The dart remains suckered to the skylight however – stupid high ceilings…

With all the homely loveliness going on, then, it is a huge mystery to me why I can’t settle and feel all comfy-cosy. It’s like when you’re lying in bed and you’re wrapped up in your duvets and your pillows feel like marshmallows, you’re at a comfortable tiredness and ready to drop off the edge of awake and free fall carelessly into a land of dreams and be free from the burdens of being awake. But you don’t. Everything is right and lovely as a hot chocolate but you cant sleep. Instead you lie awake staring into the darkness becoming increasingly angry at your own brain which then, cruelly, furthers your inability to sleep. If you’re still following this then congratulations to you dear reader.

I think I secretly know why I can’t settle but I don’t want to acknowledge it because I know there isn’t a blasted thing I can do about it. I think, I know, that I’m missing Disney and all the lovely people I met. I miss the sun, the parks and the stories. I miss loving my job and waking up excited for the day. I miss that special girl and the missed opportunities. I miss exploring a foreign country and getting sun burnt all the while. I miss it all and everything reminds me of it! I can’t hear a Disney song without wanting to break down. An accent on TV will remind me of so and so who I worked with that time or some one will crack a joke that is ‘so typically that person I got on well with’. And then I feel guilty for being upset about it because at least I got to experience it which is more than most can claim.

It’s very confusing indeed. I’m happy here and excited for everything like my previous posts mentioned but in the back of my mind I know that that is where I want to be, living the summer I had. Am I a bad person for wanting that? Am I being selfish or greedy for wanting more of that time? I really really do not know!

However, like my last couple of posts have said, I really can’t complain with anything I have going on in this country. I have my delightful friends and family here and I wouldn’t swap them even for Disney! I think I just need to settle back down and readjust again because really, when I think about it, I haven’t given myself much time to do just that.

In other news I am looking for a job which is both exciting and a complete nightmare! Faffing with CVs and emails and online applications is a little frustrating, why can’t there be one simple method of applying? I think its quite hard to advertise one’s self with two pages of numbers and paragraphs that try to scrape the relevance out of one’s last jobs. I propose that companies ask for a drawing or a 500 word story because I’m sure that that would much better display the type of person I am! No? No takers? Fine, back to my online application for Aldi…

Whiplash!

I know, I know, I haven’t been very faithful to this blog recently but then again it is my blog so really I can do as I please! No, the reason I haven’t posted recently is because I haven’t really had the time. I would love to say that this is because I have been doing hard work or studying or busy ending gang violence in Mexico or something but, as it happens, i’ve been busy enjoying myself!

At one point I had been in three different time zones within three weeks! How mental is that!? They are, of course, my time in America (GMT-5), England (GMT) and Mallorca (GMT+1). Yes, I recently visited Mallorca where I resided in the infamous town of Magalluf. Magalluf is a dead town and it’s quite sad really. All the residential and local business has shut down and the only thriving economy comes from bars and hotels run by Brits. To say that it’s on a Spanish island there isn’t so much Spanish going on. Aside from it’s ethical downfalls I have to say I had a bloody good time. Eleven days of lounging in the sun, splashing about in the pool and having a few drinks. A few may be an understatement but I’ll brush quickly over that!

I returned from that pretty eventful holiday just yesterday and I slept the whole day through becasue I was utterly shattered from my travels. And tomorrow, just a few days after my return, I’m leaving the family home again. I am going to move into my new flat near university which is rather exciting! I’m struggling to comprehend just quickly these last few months have gone. I feel utterly unsettled what with my move all the way out to the US, then my return home for just a week to fly out to Mallorca for eleven days to return home for three days to move to a new home entirely! My head is spinning.

What I’m looking forward to now is unpacking my bags in my new flat and knowing that I dont have to repack them for a little while. It isn’t that I haven’t enjoyed being a jetsetter and flying all over the place, trust me I’ve loved it! I think that for now, though, I would enjoy a little more stability and a permanent place to hibernate over the coming colder months.

So then, although I am sad to be leaving my parents again so soon, I am very much looking forward to settling in my new home and getting back into routine with uni and doing some work. I have some fantastic modules coming up this year in my degree and some great opportunities to work with genuine scientists and inspirational researchers. As I said in my last post, I am looking forward to the future! I just wanted to give you a little update as to what I have been doing and what a whirlwind these last few months have been. I’m so happy when I think about it, I feel I have learnt a lot from this year so far and have done some real growing up but I suppose that isn’t really for me to say! It’s more than likely that this time next year I’ll look at this post and reflect on this naive 19 year old me and think how immature I was “back then”.

Anyway, I hope everything is going just great for you and, if it is, leave me a comment expressing you’re happiness. Alternatively, if not, then still feel free to comment letting me know what’s bothering you. I know a lot of bloggers write about leaving comments but I would genuinely love to hear what’s going on in your beautiful lives. For now though, good night!

Pause for reflect

 

 

Hello all. It’s been a tragically long time since my last post and soI’m now trying to rectify this. I feel I haven’t posted very much since I have been in the states and I think that is mostly down to the fact that I have been too busy enjoying it to try and put it into words. I could probably never write down all my experiences, all the things I’ve seen and all the emotions I’ve felt. I’m happy everyday which is my life goal but in turn this makes me sad because I know that famously “this too shall pass”. It must come to an end which crushes me but then I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity and suddenly filled with envy for those who continue to enjoy this magic for as long as they like and sup every drop from it. I’m more emotionally spread than a thirteen year old girl.
It is only an experience like this that could make me think as much as I am as I approach the end of it. It is a frequent occurrence for me to reflect on something upon its completion and of course I am constantly reminiscing about the times I’ve had here but my mind is full with more than that.
Meeting all these people and sharing parts of my life with them has given me the opportunity to remember what it was that has made me who I am today; my parents who raised me sensibly and instilled me with good morals, my sister with whom I aspire to be like, my friends who each donated a little of their personality to me no matter when or for how long I knew them, those who taught me, even those who were perhaps less kind to me. And it is for all these people that I am grateful. It’s because of them I have stories to tell and have so far ended up in the generally happy place I am in – and I don’t just mean Disneyworld by the way!
The experience has also resulted in me thinking about my future. I know this summer job has to end and so what is next? I return to uni and I finish my degree (I’ve started so I shall finish) but from there the world is my oyster or my lobster, my flying spaghetti monster and I’ve never been more excited to get stuck in! There’s so much world to see and so many things to learn! There are so many people to meet and food to eat and nights not to remember the next day and arguments to have and arguments to win occasionally! I’ve so much to read and watch and hear, see and ponder! I really can’t wait to live this life of mine, even the boring parts. It all forms part of my story and it’s had a few pretty good chapters so far!
To think, I almost didn’t sign up for the interview that gave me this job because the queue was really long! It was a massive step into the unknown which is not something I usually like to do but I am oh so glad I did!

A touch of magic

 

I am a huge lover of theme parks so, then, you can probably understand the appeal Disney world has to me. I have now visited all four Disney parks in Orlando and, as wonderful as they are, they’re not the monopoly of theme parks in this city. Yesterday it was finally time to venture out from my cosy familiar Disney and head into the wild unknown of Universal Studios. Universal has two parks in Orlando, the Studios park and the Island of Adventure park. We opted for the Island of Adventures for a couple of reasons but one main reason.

The wizarding world of Harry Potter can be found only in the Adventure park and this seemed to invalidate any argument for heading towards the Studios park instead. It’s phenomenal! You step through a little stone archway and you’re transported to hogsmeade! NOTE: if you’re not a Harry Potter fan then this post will probably not mean much to you, sorry. It’s just like it’s portrayed in the film, Hogwarts and everything. As a naive muggle, my little mind was blown! It was unlike any experience I have ever had; so much attention to detail and special effect-ery. They’ve reduced hogsmeade to one street – like Garstang if you’re familiar? They’ve included a few shops from diagon alley and some street venders.
I had  dinner in the three broomsticks which was awesome. It was proper British food they offered and so I opted for shepherds pie which was a delight! It was pretty expensive but most of the cost came from a souvenir beer tankard which I bought along with my – wait for it – butter beer! I am an official butter beer trier! It’s delicious, it really is. I’d buy it even if it wasn’t Harry Potter themed. It’s sort of like a caramel cream soda with a thin marshmallow fluff foam top? It was only like three dollars which surprised me considering theme parks have a tendency to rip you off at every occasion. I think the trick is that it is so delicious that you’re bound to buy more than one!
Along with the three broom sticks is the Weasley twin’s joke shop, honeydukes confectioners, filch’s emporium of confiscated goods (harry potter merchandise) and ?????? Stationers. Oh also wands from Olivanders! They put on a little show and sell wands for about 35 dollars which is tempting until you come to your adult senses and realise that they’re just sticks… The sweet shop was really good and they’d made a real effort to turn regular sweets into something a little magical. They also sell the best fudge for, again, a pretty reasonable price considering. You can find a few of the classics from the books in there too; every flavoured beans, chocolate frogs and cauldron cakes. The other shops were okay and there are some really interesting things for sale such as official hogwarts cloaks and quaffles and all sorts. These things tend to be a bit pricey and, let’s face it, in the muggle world absolutely pointless. The whole Harry Potter world is a money machine for Universal because people get so drawn in that they buy all this crazy junk, clothes they’d be shunned for wearing in public and sweets that probably cost pennies to make. But then again, that’s what a holiday is all about isn’t it!
The rides were phenomenal, a couple o roller coasters which far out perform those at Disney especially when you consider the rest of the rides at Island of Adventures. They’ve got some of the wettest water rides and unique roller coasters! The HULk ride was awesome fun and unlike rides I’d been on before. The best ride, though, falls again to Harry Potter world. The queue takes you all through hogwarts, meeting moving paintings and certain characters, floating candles and it even snows in one room! Then the ride is beyond my imagination it’s a cross of thrilling movements with extremely clever simulations and animatronics and special effects. You come across a dragon, fly in a game of quid ditch, spiders and even dementors which scared the everything out of me. I’d pay extra for that ride, I really would!
This may all sound like I have been hired by Universal to advertise the park but I assure you I have not! It really was just that good. Since then I have had the Harry Potter World blues because I know it will be a fair while until I return or try another butterbeer. But still, to have the opportunity to go was amazing and it was well worth the money plus some! For the price you get a hell of a lot of park and a hell of a lot of entertainment. It’s not as much of an experience as the Disney parks and overall it is definitely not as perfect in terms of how everything looks and upholding the themes. They need to apply the same keen eye to the rest of the park as they did to the Harry Potter bit.With that in mind I wouldn’t say that Island of Adventures is better than Disney World but if you’re making the trek to Disney anyway, you should definitely make time to slot in Universal too!