03 January 2010

and four months later. . .

I'm wondering why I'm still on people's blog rolls, since I haven't managed to post a thing during that time.

It has been quite a whirlwind of 4 months, though I have nothing exciting to report, except how much my life has changed. I'm in a foreign country, completely uprooted from the comforts and stability of my past life, far from friends, with very few material things
(no TV, no CD player to play the CDs I just bought), surrounded by people who are 10-15 years younger than I am, immersed in full-time despotic regime studies.

Between end of June and early October, I moved a total of 7 times, before finally settling into my current dwelling place.

This move--this packing up of things, the downsizing and selling off of many of my worldly belongings (well, except some of my beloved kitchen stuff and about 20 boxes of books), including my car, the shedding of all of the responsibilities that come with being a productive working citizen (e.g. paying taxes, somehow contributing to GDP, and I dunno--making monthly contributions to one's retirement plan and social security, etc.) and flitting off to a foreign land (to a world class city, no less!) and starting anew sans attachments and hardly any material possessions--it sounds so carefree and romantic, doesn't it?

It certainly did when my friends regaled me with their own U.K. study abroad adventures. The same uprooting. The same packing up of one's belongings and moving on short notice. The same sense of exhilaration over the new and unknown. The excitement. Ah, the excitement. Yes, I remember thinking that, experiencing that, when I finally decided and put my reply in the post.

It influenced my decision to come here. Many of my friends still buy into this romanticized notion of studying in the U.K. I keep getting emails from people who want to hear of my "exciting adventures!" (exclamation mark theirs.)

But now I am here and half done with my program already, and my life couldn't possibly be further from this idealized notion of studying abroad that many of my friends and colleagues seem to have conjured up.

What do I tell these people? That I spend 87 percent of my free time in the library? That my life has become so one-dimensional? That I might as well be studying in Siberia, since it's not like I have time to enjoy or take advantage of the fact that I'm in actually London, where there are hundreds of cool things one can do for free--if one had spare time?

And lest I sound curmudgeonly, don't get me wrong--the wonders of this city hasn't been completely lost on me. In fact, most days this city continues to enchant, and more often than not, I find myself marveling over the fact that, "Wow. I'm really living in London!"--Like on new year's eve when I was there to enjoy the fireworks spectacle among tens of thousands of people and rang in the new year in a city that ranks among the top 10 for NYE celebrations.
Like on Christmas Eve, when I got to enjoy the glories of midnight mass at St. Paul's Cathedral.
Like when I go running along the Thames, just because I can.
Like when I pass by the oldest cathedral church in London on my (almost) daily walk to school and many other cool, old structures or places of historic significance.

But for the most part, the nitty-gritty details of my life (or lack thereof) would disappoint my friends who want to be entertained with stories of my "new and exciting life".

It's not that I expected life to be a picnic, but despite my preparations last year, this return to full-time studenthood has been a tougher adjustment than I imagined. I didn't think I'd have literally no time to explore the city during studies. I thought I'd have plenty of time to go catch a concert or two, frequent museums, or hell, go on weekend excursions to Paris or Lausanne in my spare time. Ha! Spare time.

I thought I'd be grown up enough to not be overconsumed by school. I thought I would've learned by now the importance of work/school-life balance.

Yes, yes. I thought many many things. And well, no sense in dwelling on how different things are from what I expected. I guess things not going as expected is part of this whole experience, though I wouldn't mind a bit more balance in my life.
(Again, lest I sound extreme, it's not like I had zero free time, but given the choice between vegging and doing some sort of low brainwave activity or going to a (brain-)taxing classical music concert and sitting through an entire symphony or two. . .I usually chose the former.)

Anyway, speaking of spare time, and lack of it, (in this time, I've also lost the ability to write my thoughts and organize them in a coherent manner. And given my lack of practice and time for editing, you will have to just deal with my Faulknerian stream-of-consciousness style of writing.) I need to wrap this meandering up soon, so I can catch up on my sleep.

So for 2010, I'm hoping for better work-life balance and better composure, though with the libraries threatening to be open 24/7, and the material only getting harder, plus the added burden of a thesis, I'm not sure exactly how this will happen.

Happy New Years to y'all. And perhaps if I have some time before classes start, I will post something on what I have been learning, because despite my whining, some of it is actually quite fascinating stuff.


Sator Arepo said...

Heh. Hey, anzu! Glad to know you're alive and still plotting/studying to be dictator. Grad school's a peach, ain't it? I know I'm in my seventh (!,?) year and NOT SICK OF IT AT ALL. Thesis looming, too. Whee.

Anyway, I hope you have some small amount of time to enjoy the city and some music.

Oh, one last thing: What's a "mass"?


anzu said...

Ah thanks. What do you mean what is a mass? Midnight mass? Isn't that common parlance?

Sator Arepo said...

Ah, sorry. You've caught me in the atheist-feigning-ignorance-about-the-most-basic-facts-about-religion ruse. C'est la vie.

Jerry said...

Okay, perhaps the reality isn't quite meeting your expectations. But you are doing something that few would have the courage to do.

You have my admiration,

Carrie Counsel said...

That's pretty brave to totally uproot your life like that. It must be kind of difficult, but I'm sure you'll find ways to have fun! Check out my blog, I just started it:


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