An Ode To The Spot On My Chin

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Now and then you rear your head,

A sore, unsightly, vulgar red,

You sit so proudly on my chin,

Unwelcome neighbour to my grin.

A beacon here upon my face,

I wish you’d chose a different place,

Somewhere not so obvious,

You horrid little bump of pus.

I fight the urge to pop and pick,

The thought alone could make me sick,

All I can do is hope and pray,

I really wish you’d go away.

Each time I find you waiting there,

I make an oath and I swear,

From this point on I’ll exfoliate,

My skin shan’t be in such a state.

When my reflection shows I’m clear,

I’ll let out a joyful cheer,

Until then, to me your stuck,

You rancid, stupid, nasty ffff.

The Murica Quiz

As I enjoy the turbulence over Labrador sea I’m going to answer a series of questions my good
(American) friend Joel gave me before I left.

What will you miss most about America?

The people, I made so many new friends here and they’ve all left me with happy memories. It’s hard to face the fact that I’ll probably never see any of those people again.

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What is the strangest American habit you witnessed?

How much blood lust there is in hockey, people were cheering for players as the fought. Hundreds of people screaming for more as two young boys beat each other around the head! I have to admit that I was one of them. It all felt so gladiatorial and barbaric. I enjoyed it way too much.

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After spending nine whole weeks here, how does it feel to be leaving and going home?

It’s a very bitter sweet feeling. I’m so excited to be heading home, to my family, my friends and my boyfriend. I like to imagine my reunion with them and it makes me go all warm and fuzzy inside.

On the flip side I’m sad that this adventure is over, I’ve had so much fun and I’ve got to experience new things every single day.

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Has this experience changed you in any way?

It has and I hope the changes stick. I feel much more confident, I feel like I can deal with stressful situations better. If I can go to the other side of the world on my own for nine weeks I don’t think there’s much I can’t do.

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Do you have any tips for your fellow countrymen/women planning on traveling to America?

Learn the difference between a dime and a nickel.. I’m still not sure which is which, one is the five penny piece the other is ten. They’re really tricky to tell apart at a quick glance, one is just ever so slightly smaller than the other. I found that when at a till with a queue of people behind me I would look at those silly little coins, panic and just thrust a twenty dollar bill in the cashiers hand.

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Last and not least. Now that you know how inferior the English really are to the Americans what will you do to cope?

…I’m not sure how I will drag my poor self out of bed for the first few mornings but I hope that in time the painful sensation of loss will subside. If only a little.

….Modesty isn’t a strong point of Joels’ ;P

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P.S Thanks Joel for helping me kill an hour, 4 more to go..

Seattle to London.

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Board your flight, park yourself in your seat then sit in wonder as you realise NOBODY ELSE IS SITTING ON YOUR ROW! This is simply too good to be true, ask a passing stewardess if the plane has finished boarding. She clarifies that the doors are shut and you’re free to stretch across all three seats. You stare back at her in silent amazement, she moves on, you’ve made her uncomfortable. Move over to the window seat and look out at dark, rainy Seattle with the biggest grin on your stupid smug face. Stretch, hog all the seats, make yourself comfortable as you watch ‘Trainwreck’.

Two hours of complete comfy solitude, your bubble is burst a man sits on the aisle seat as his TV has stopped working. Oh well it was nice whilst it lasted.

Your tummy is full of barely edible olive pasta and a rock hard bread roll, aeroplane food, it’s time to get your sleep on! Seat reclined, pillow acquired, headphones in and you are good to go. You thought Rachmaninoff was a good choice to help you fall into a deep sleep. You were wrong. Just as you fall into a delightful slumber the orchestra kicks in exactly resembling the sound of a woman screaming in terror. You’re suddenly jolted awake believing for second that your plane is plummeting to the ground. It isn’t, all is well.

As you try to work out the current time in England a horrid thought just occurred to you, “did you take into account the time difference when you booked your bus ticket out of London?” After checking your papers you can confirm that no, you did not account for the time difference. Buggar, you don’t have a way to get home. When this plane lands you will be stranded in London. It’s time for more stress eating, good job you didn’t finish those Reeces Pieces. You are an idiot.

Two hours pass and despite telling yourself over and over and over again that all will be fine, you will just have to buy a new bus ticket when you get to Heathrow, you cannot shake a nauseous worry.

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Try to distract yourself with more inflight movies, Paper Towns was good but you discover you’re not quite emotionally stable for Me, Earl and The Dying girl, wipe the tears away and stare out of the window. You’re somewhere above Ireland now, the sky is so bright and blue and you childishly imagine Peter Pan and Wendy lolling about in the clouds outside. As you get over London the pilot announces that all passengers on the right of the plane will have a fantastic view of central London, Westminster, the Thames and a whole list of other iconic sights. Unfortunately you’re on the left of the plane, you do however manage to grab a sneaky look at The Gherkin through somebody else’s window.

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After 9 hours in the air you hit the tarmac with a bump and a lovely thought pops into your head, “I’ll be seeing Jonathan soon.”

Spokane To Seattle.

After a few quick snaps in the photo booth and a solemn farewell, it’s time to leave Joel and leave Wall Street. Jump into an uber and nervously chatter away to the driver for fifteen minuets.

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Drop off your bag at check in and fight the urge to happy dance celebrate that your luggage is miraculously under the weight limit. Fly through security, seriously this is the smoothest experience you have ever had with the TSA and before you know it your sat on the plane ready to go. BUT! Do not pat yourself on the back just yet. You see a woman coming down the aisle straight toward you with a TODDLER! There’s two empty seats next to you, “please, please no!” You mumble to yourself, pray as hard as you like but it won’t change the fact that she is coming to sit by you. She straps her child in and the small human immediately starts screaming. The horror. Just as you give up the will to live, a glowing heavenly creature approaches, a member of the cabin crew, “there’s nobody sitting in this chair in front, would you like to move here Miss so you can spread out a little?” He’s letting you move away from the two year old howling thing, this man is wonderful, would it be inappropriate to hug him? Probably yes, just say thank you and move.

As the plane departs you look out of the window and quietly say goodbye to snowy Spokane, a pang hits you in the stomach, your sad to leave a place you’ve called home for two months.

The flight is uneventful and you land in Seattle.

A quick run through baggage claim and security and you realise the evil fate which has befallen you. You’ve lost your phone, where the hell? How the hell?! You find wi-fi as quickly as you can to inform your boyfriend that you will not be able to tell him when you land because of this awful disaster. Panic subsides, you’ve moved on to acceptance, your phone is gone it’s time to move on. Go to duty free and buy a huge bag of Reeces Pieces to help you in your time of sorrow, stuff them into your mouth as you revoke your lost phones access to all your social media accounts. Unzip the pocket of your bag to store the few remaining Reeces Pieces and discover that your phone has been tucked in there safely all along. You are an idiot. Laugh out loud because you are an idiot, receive concerned looks by all in the departure lounge.

Homecoming.

I’m posting this as I head out the door to the airport, I’m about to embark on a 19 hour journey back home. Goodbye America, it’s been a crazy time! Thank you to everyone who made such a daunting trip so very enjoyable. I’ve been made to feel at home and had a blast every single day. I’ll always look back on these months with so much happiness and I’m so lucky to have met so many lovely new people..No more, it’s been amazing.

Abergavenny here I come!

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New Ink

Behold my two new tattoos, I am so in love with them! A lovely new friend of mine Shelly did these for me, we had such a lovely evening together and I’ll always think of her when I see these pieces. If you live in the Spokane area I cannot recommend Shelly and her Father highly enough, here’s a link to their Facebook, really worth checking out, Inked310.

I am one of those people who likes their tattoos to have some meaning behind them so let me talk you through them, it won’t take long I promise.

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As well as being ridiculously cute this heart is also very..well…heartfelt, for lack of a better word. I’ve lost many pets over my life time, and recently lost two in a close space of time. I’m a huge animal lover and have taken every loss of a furry family hard. I always wanted to commemorate them somehow and I thought this little heart would be perfect as (prepare for corniness) every one of my pets will forever hold a special place in my heart.

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Whilst looking for ‘wanderlust’ tattoo ideas I kept bumping into this quote, “miles to go”. Curiosity lead me to the poem it belongs to and I was astounded. Not just by the beautiful imagery of the poem but by how relevant the message is to me and this moment of my life. I’ll leave you to enjoy said poem..

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

BY ROBERT FROST

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

The English Girl in America

I’m spending a huge chunk of time in the States, I had a blast and I couldn’t help but notice a few things. Prepare yourself for all the GIFs.

The TV Will Hold You Hostage  At the end of a TV show they will immediately show the first two minuets of the next show. So just as your show is coming to an end and you think you’re going to get off the couch. BAM! Your sucked back in and before you know it you’ve watched the entire 3rd season of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. We were on a break!

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Innuendo Everywhere. iHops advertising slogan is “now that’s a reason to come together over breakfast”. I laughed so hard, nobody else did, perhaps we’re a nation of filthy minds?

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“Oh My Gosh I Love Your Accent” The biggest perk of being an English person in America. You can say anything and people will drool, you are no longer a fumbling weirdo. No. You are sophisticated, sexy sex god.

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The Most Important Meal. You always knew you were a fan of breakfast but this nation..this wonderful grease filled nation has taken your breakfast expectations to a whole new level. Your life will be forever changed thanks to french toast cinnamon rolls with a side of hash browns and fried eggs.

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My Own Kind! Normally you’re a complete recluse, your aim in life? Avoid all human contact. Now though, you hear an English accent in a crowd, you will hunt that sucker down and force them to converse about the Motherland.

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And just as you’re getting the hang of everything you’re going home!

Vegas. What The F….?

There’s something about the glowing bulbs and 1,500 foot long TV screen of Fremont Street that summons the mentally unstable. I’m not referring to those who chose to queue for three hours to hurl themselves down a zip line. Nor those who eat at Heart Attack Grill under threat of spanking if they fail to finish the mountain of food served to them. No. Fremont street is home to an old man covered in Mardi Gras beads heading banging along to Barracuda without a care in the world. There’s the guy holding a sign advertising his ‘services’ , give him five dollars and he’ll let you kick him in the nuts, if he falls you keep your money…..

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I should however clarify that the crazy isn’t restricted exclusively to Fremont Street, it seeps into most corners of Las Vegas. It manifests in many forms, there’s the zombies who sit at the one armed bandits all day with vacant expressions across their faces, the only sign of life being the occasional arm movement to press flashing buttons.

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There’s the religious fanatics, who bear signs condemning all passers by. When these people shout at you, “you’re going to hell,” I suggest your response be, “no I’m going to the Bellagio!” The look of indignation on their faces is pretty adorable to behold.

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My personal favourite has to be the tiny old tour guide running, and boy do I mean running, all over Vegas. His unfortunate and out of breath customers trying desperately to following the mans little green flag as it skates aggressively through the masses of the Vegas strip.

So perhaps ‘crazy’ is the wrong word, I just can’t imagine these people fitting in anywhere better than The City of Lights.

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…also there’s something about Las Vegas toilets that seems to give everybody the sniffles. Every cubicle I went in I could hear women snorting….hhmmm….;)

Taking a Break.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “stop the world I want to get off”? I think we all have at some point, it’s a sensation I’ve experienced many times but at the end of 2015 it was a sentiment that I could not shake. I was going through a lot in my personal life, too many decisions too scary to make, people putting me in horrid positions and I was drowning. Fast.

I shared this feeling with an online friend of mine, I told him, “if someone gave me a button and told me that pressing it would make me disappear. I’d push it in a heartbeat.” Well, that friend gave me the button.

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My family weren’t all too understanding when I announced I was leaving the country and wouldn’t be back for two months. After much frustration and explaining they finally started to understand why I needed to do this.

I’m almost at the end of my break from reality and I’m starting to realise how important this whole experience has been for me. For starters I’ve had some incredible experiences like discovering pumpkin pie! I got to meet one of my closest friends in the flesh as well as all his lovely family and friends.

Being this far from my family and friends has made me realise how much I love them and how important they are to me. I vow to never take them for granted and to make sure they fully know the depth of my love for them. They got me through some really dark moments last year and they’ve shared all the excitement I’ve had on this side of the Atlantic.

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Then there’s my beautiful partner. Long distance, very long distance, is a true test of any relationship. It’s been tough but I feel even more love and respect for him now and I’m overwhelmed by how lucky I am to have such an amazing man in my life.

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I’m learning to let go of insecurity and worry. To stop letting others dictate my worth and to embrace who I truly am. To accept that I don’t have the answers to the big questions, that I probably never will and that there’s nothing wrong with that.

Lastly I’ve realised that fear is not a bad thing. It’s natural and instead of running from situations that cause me fear, I have to chase them and push through. I’ll become a stronger person from doing so.

When I arrived here I felt broken and lost. I’m coming home feeling so much strength, love, peace and excitement. I’m ready to come back to Earth.

Throwing Myself From A Plane.

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There’s nothing quite like having to sign a piece of paper which reads, ‘may result in serious injury and/or death’ to make you question your sanity. Initial here, here and here and you’ve signed your life away. Signing along the dotted line I waved away all liability but also all my nerves. It was quite a surreal sensation, I went from suffering anxiety induced nausea to utter calm in the blink of an eye. I suited up, in a very unbecoming jumpsuit and little rubber hat. I lay on the floor demonstrating to my instructor that I could get into a safe position for free fall. I posed for photos in front of our tiny 50 year old plane. Climbed into said cramped vessel and I sat happily staring out at the view as we climbed high above Nevada. Calm. Not a grain of fright or worry in my body.

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If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it. ~Toni Morrison

It was only when my instructor threw open the door next to me to reveal the 10,000 foot drop that I felt a fleeting moment of concern right in the pit of my stomach. This soon passed, I grabbed my feet and swung them out and under the wing. As I sat perched and hanging out of the plane I posed for pictures, waved and smiled and the camera and admired the view far below me. The entire time feeling complete serenity. At some point I crossed my arms across my chest, threw my head back and Dallas (my instructor) leapt from the plane. We tumbled through the air, doing at least one somersault which gave me a great view of the aeroplanes underbelly and we fell. 5,000 feet at 120mph. We free fell for almost one minute but to me it was over in a second, the parachute was up and we were laughing as we soared above the desert. More smiling and waving at the camera as Dallas pulled some tricks and got us circling through the sky. I kicked my legs and enjoyed our jaunt amongst the clouds. We landed with a bump on the gravel and it was over.

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I doubt it’s possible for a human to come any closer to the sensation of flying than sky diving, it was an utterly magical experience and I can’t wait to do it again.

“If riding in an airplane is flying, then riding in a boat is swimming. If you want to experience the element, then get out of the vehicle.”