Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Heart Break and big decisions

I'll start first with the heart break. On June 16th 2010 my good friend James Mangrum lost his battle to a rare form of cancer. The cancer started as a lump in his leg about 5 years ago, sadly this stopped him from entering the army post high school. I wish that had been the worst it had done. Later on it moved into his lungs and last year I visited him again in the hospital at UCSF. He was bright and funny that day. He regaled me of the tail of having a reaction to the morphine they had given him yesterday. Apparently he thrashed about and punched out at the nurses and doctors. He hadn't remembered any of this and just before I got there he said nurses kept standing at the door calling into him to see how he was feeling. He was mystified as to why they would not come in until his mum informed him of his bad behavior the day before. Tut, tut not so much morphine next time! After that he was suppose to have one last surgery to finally get rid of it all. That was the last information I had of the cancer. I thought it was gone, that the doctors at UCSF had fixed it like they were supposed to.

Going to the hospital that day was really the first time in awhile I had seen James since leaving high school. We had just lost touch as people do but when I found out he was in the hospital I had to go see him. He reached out to me and suggested we get together. So we had lunch a couple of times that year. He always insisted on paying because he was such a gentleman. He told me about his family in Alabama and said he'd take me out there sometime, he thought I'd really like it with the open country and the horses. Up to the last time I saw him he still had that wise cracking sense of humor and silly grin. I had such a great time reconnecting with him as young adults and a good friendship grew. I thought seriously about traveling with him a bit because I knew we'd have a great time. He was kind, thoughtful, opinionated, stubborn, funny, and all around wonderful.

I left for England without a care in the world not knowing I was actually saying goodbye forever to one person. I never thought he'd really die and when I saw my friends update on their facebook yesterday (Monday) morning I just shook my head, said "no,no,no" and burst into tears. I was in such shock the first half of the day I felt nothing and would cry intermittently. As the hours slipped away and the information sunk in I felt sick inside and I knew what I felt was heart break. I didn't know I'd grown so close to him but I had. I think what brought me closer to him was one time after we had started hanging out again he thanked me and told me I'd been the one person who had really been there through it all. After that I strove to provide him with company and happiness which led to a deeper connection. I was so touched he felt that I'd been there for him and I was all too glad to be there. I wish I could take back what's happened, I wish I could have my friend back but I know that if the cancer couldn't be cured its better he isn't alive still fighting an uphill battle.

My heart is there in Cali with his family and friends. A big thank you to my father who will attend his memorial this Friday in my place.

The other better news is that I have decided to return to California in December just after my birthday to enjoy Christmas with my family and start school in January. I'll go to a community college for two years then transfer to a university. I'm still pretty bent on coming back to London as soon as I'm able but I'll deal with the Community College hurdle first then start thinking about American Uni's in London or a study abroad etc. Lots of possibilities and many more with a degree. I'm looking forward to advancing my skills and challenging myself. Well that is all for now.
lots of love

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Brand new!

Ironing away and letting my mind wander and I slowly came to a realization that I think I've been formulating for awhile in bits and pieces. Now it’s like those pieces came together and suddenly I saw the picture.

One thing I told my therapist before Ross and I broke up was that I didn't need him but I wanted him. I did believe that but it wasn't entirely true. What I find now is that I did need him in my life as a boyfriend for that period as much as I needed him to break up with me when he did.

I find myself more grown up and settled. For so long I had a frenetic anxious energy that I carried about with me and that energy caused me to make impulsive decisions, have extreme ideas, and prevented me from being able to see what I really wanted to do. I came to a point after middle school where things got harder, I didn't know how to cope and I began slipping. What I began telling myself though I wasn't aware of it was that I couldn't do it. I couldn't do school, I couldn't save money, I couldn't do it and eventually I believed it. So if a task made me anxious I pushed it away. I managed to get a high school diploma without ever writing a paper longer than 2 pages or doing any substantial research for projects. After school I continued to decide things in extremes, either I wanted to do something now or I never wanted to do it. I "had" to do ____ because I thought that was what I was suppose to do. I pushed myself to try community college and then gave it up and was bent on trying to get a job that wouldn't require a degree because I was NOT going back to school. My life was just so clouded by this anxiety and I didn't see it even with all the wonderful therapy.

Then I came here and though for four months Ross was teaching me so much I wasn't very aware of it. I was partly using him to help me avoid having to make any real life decisions on my own. If I stayed with him I could move from this house as a nanny to London with him and get some kind of job. I wouldn't have to do things on my own and yet while I was with him I was starting to branch out and become a bit more independent but it wasn't till he let me go that I saw I was standing on my own two feet on solid ground. Not only that but that frenetic energy that told me I had to do something now or never was gone. The need to make instant decisions had disappeared and now I'm this brand new me; a me that had wanted to come out for a long time.

I am interested in going back to school. There are so many things I want to learn and do with my life. Something Ross said to me at one point was "I've always known what I've wanted to do and I find it hard to empathize with someone who isn't sure yet of what they want to do" I retorted " I know what I want to do, I want to help people". I'd never really said it out loud before I'd kind of hemmed and hawed between ideas but bam I said it and now I'm trying to figure out how to do that. My current thoughts are to get a degree in psychology and then get a job doing some type of therapy with youths. I liked the sound of Forensic Psychologist where you help rehabilitate offenders and do other various similar tasks. I'm not sold on any one idea but I do have a direction and now I'm just trying to figure out exactly how to execute it all. I don't feel ready to go back to California I really want to move into London to explore, learn and grow there, but that may not be the best plan for me. If any of you out there reading this have worked and gone to school simultaneously I'd love to hear about your experience. What your struggles were what method's you used to cope with the busy schedule etc. Any advice is more than welcome.

People tend to emulate qualities they admire in other people so I suppose by trying to emulate Ross' confidence I found my own and with that confidence I learned all that I just told you. I'm so excited now to experience the world as me and to continue to grow up and learn. I think the nannying thing has become less interesting to me than in the beginning because I want to challenge myself and I'm ready to take on those challenges. It has provided for an excellent place to grow away from my parents and California. It is also a good haven as I try to formulate a next step so I'm not knocking the job completely it has a lot of benefits that have been and still are important for me. Its just time for something new.

In other random news I told Amy yesterday I was going to paint my finger nails white with red crosses on them in lieu of the world cup and she then asked if I would do it for her so tonight its going to be a girly painting nails thing :). Tommorow I head off to Harlow for a relaxing weekend...well mostly relaxing there maybe some shouting at the telle screen, ;) I expect not to much though as we shall win. Teehee. Have a lovely week everyone and enjoy whatever it is you are doing!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

A change is gonna come

One way or another change comes into all of our lives. I personally find it best to not try and fight it too much. I re-read my last blog to remind myself of what I said. It hasn't been a week since that blog and I have many new thoughts and ideas and find myself in a different place than 5 days ago. Much has also happened and my brain has probably also been working in over drive just a bit as one does when you are processing something not so simple.

Last week as I mentioned I spent my hours in various states of either up or down. One thing I had decided though was to not mope about all weekend as that accomplishes nothing. So I went to google and typed "How to meet people in London", haha but it worked. I found a website called city socializing and signed up. Its a place where people can find events to go to with other people from the website. You can also create an event yourself and CS creates some larger events to really help everyone on the CS website to meet each other. So I signed up for an event of 35 people on Friday evening which was held at a bar called the Albert and Pearl in Islington. I was a bit nervous when I got there, we had a reserved room on the 1st floor. But as everyone is there to meet new people I got into the groove and started chatting round. I made pretty good friends with a very tall teacher called Matt. We chatted along with his friend Nile in the beginning then we wondered off and I met some various others who were all nice and in the end of the evening I was chatting with Matt again. Round 11pmish I had to head back to Victoria station to get the last train to Oxted. Christopher who I had met on the train coming into London earlier that evening was at Victoria after being out with other friends and rang me to see if I was heading home so we met up at the station. There was an 11:50 to Oxted that was just about to leave when I got there but Chris wanted to have a pint so I said no worries we'll catch the 12:23. Well turns out I had gotten train times confused and the 11:50 to Oxted WAS the last train. We asked a conductor what to do and he said "go to East Croyden and get off there". I tried to ask if there was a bus or something but he hurried us along as the train was about to leave so we jumped on. We got off at East Croyden and instead of finding a bus we went dancing till 3am which was an absolute blast. Afterwards we hopped over to his friends about a mile from the station where I crashed on the couch for a few hours while the rest of them chatted. Chris and I left around 5:30am and walked to the station and I was back home before 6:30. Quite a night, got a few more hours of sleep then was up getting ready for a picnic in Brixton (in SW London).

The picnic went well about 12 of us showed up for it. The dynamics were interesting. At first people were a bit cautious though nice. After a bit we started a game of footie (soccer) which I played 3min of very aggressively then was out of breath and a bit ill because I had just eaten :(. And after the game of footie everyone collapsed back on the blankets and you could just tell everyone had relaxed and we were just chatting as friends even though we had all met for the first time about 4 hrs ago. At 7p, 7 of us went on to another CS event in Covent Garden which was huge. Around 50 people showed up and it was quite loud. Had to shout to be heard which was a pity but I met quite a few nice new people there as well. So far I think the lot from the park I'll hang out with again, wouldn't be surprised if all of us actually get together again to do something. Then there was a very comical Irishman by the name of Paul I'll definitely hang out with again. He was the one person from the weekend with whom I really hit it off with. All in all I was well pleased with all the CS events I attended and I look forward to more.

Today (sunday) I just took myself out. Went for my 3.5mi walk just before it rained then went to Knole Park and took pictures of deer and had the life scared outta me when thunder clapped right over my head. After that headed to the movies. I ended up there about 1.5hrs early so I went to a near by Italian place for some drinks and a tomato soup. As I was sitting at the bar two ladies were chatting and I heard them mention the cinema so when one went off to the loo I asked the other what they were going to see and then we got chatting. In the end I walked off with both their numbers and the promise to have girly drinks sometime :).

Now Sunday evening a full week after things changed quite dramatically I find that I have in fact gained a lot more than I lost. Now that is no offense to Ross who as I have said is an incredible person. But the relationship wasn't really working out. We failed to truly connect for various reasons and it became more about me putting much more energy into it all than I really should have, which is what I do. Now I have the freedom and the energy back to do the things in life I want to. I've met so many people this weekend. I must have talked to at least 30 new people in 48hours. As my therapist has said I have to practice putting my eggs into multiple baskets. When I came here I put every egg into the Ross basket and didn't have any left for myself. Now I've got em all back in the me basket and I'm dolling them out. Some for my new friends. A few into the exercise basket and some into the job research basket etc. I feel I've come to the place in my life I've been searching for for several years but when I started looking for this place I was too young to be here and now I find I'm in the right place at the right time. So to everyone of you that read this and even those that don't thank you for being part of my life. I am enjoying this person I have become and I couldn't be this person without everyone of you. You have all taught me something wether you are aware of it or not so thank you. Love you all millions and millions. Now go have a lovely day or evening and enjoy the week ahead. LETS GO ENGLAND for the world cup!!!!!!!!!!! They play US this Sunday 8:30p South African time. WOOOOOO, were gonna whoop your butts US :p.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Sitting in the kitchen where the internet works. My throat is beginning to feel sore again and I feel exausted after a stressful week end. I have a mixture of feelings currently. Ross and I broke up on Saturday and since then I have had a lot of interesting thoughts. Occasionally I have a renewed energy with an interest in beginning to try the long list of things I have been longing to try. I feel strength seeing myself stand on my own two feet (metorphorically) while being far from the place I grew up and far from people I share close connections with. I am proud to have come to this place I stand. A place where I recognize attributes that make me wonderful and faults that I don't need to fix but accept and be aware of.

I feel as though I have a better understanding of who I am and now have the confidence to protray that to the world. I am thankful for everything I have learned in my 4months here. Truly they are some of the most important lessons I have learnt to date and I have no doubt there is still so much for me to learn.

This week I am not attempting to throw myself fully into the renewed energy I feel. Instead I let it wax and wane taking every feeling in stride. I've learned the importance of balancing myself and not throwing myself competly into any one direction. This is why I know despite how I feel this hour or in the morning I have to continue to take care of myself. Exercising will resume and I am pleased I have already lost 3lbs in a week. Yoga continues to be my saving grace. There have been times when energy has been low and I have mentally begun to crash and then I take a yoga class and feel revived and ready to tackle the next thing.

As break up goes it is bittersweet. He is a most exceptional man and I wanted to try my hardest to not let it end but truthfully he did the right thing for both of us and we will be better off not trying to continue a relationship that I believe would have drained more of our energies than buoyed them. It is always hard to adjust to change but I am resiliant and shall persue new things using my extra energy.

My various goals are to discover possible job interests, meet more new people, try new things, and keep myself fit and happy.

The job is still fine. Though the family are all lovely I don't think I'm very good at this sort of job. I know I am wonderful with children but I don't really hang out with the kids too much. I Iron and clean and drive. So I drive fine, no problems there but I'm rubbish at cleaning. I can strighten things up but I don't really understand what it means to properly clean something. I was asked today to clean the girls and Tom's bathroom and bedroom. Well I neatened up and cleaned the girls bathroom but hadnt gotten to Tom's before therapy so I thought I'll just do it when I return. Well when I got back TJ said she was dissapointed b/c she thought I was going to clean the girls bathroom and Toms...I didn't really have the heart to say, "well I did clean the girls bathroom" clearly she didn't think I had. Sighhh. I just feel like I've been repremanded more than I ought to have at this point. But I don't feel to dissapointed in myself because I am not in my area of expertise really. I suppose I should try and do everything splendidly weather I like it or not because I'm sure there is an argument that that is the grown up thing to do but honestly I think right now I'm more important than my job. Not to say I won't continue to try and do the things she asks and doesnt ask etc. I think generally my work ethic is good even when I don't care much about the job I'm just a bit more interested in using the much down time I have to help me grow and mature and learn things. I think it is a bit of a pity this job is not more challenging or interesting. It was not what I thought I was getting myself into but then there ya go. Perhaps summer will be better with the kids off. I will probably spend more time with them. All in all I don't think I'm leaving much of an impact on any of their lives. I feel like after it all TJ would say "o, once we had this Au pair called Bronwen...she was nice". Which is just fine with me.

Well I am sick and I had a full body massage today which was wonderful and well deserved but has also made me very sleepy. I honestly should have been in bed early at 1/2 9 as it is it is 1/2 10 instead and I ought to catch up on my sleep. Looks like I get to spend tomorrow waiting about for tilers or plumbers w/e becuse inevitably something is always broken in this damn house.