10 April 2010

Annual Dating Report

Annual dating rate down to 0 points and forecasting a depression by end of second quarter. Climate could be substantially improved by financial investments in the clothing industry and the cultural sector. However, it is reportedly more prudent to put money into debt service if personal liquidity permits.

Inventory and Skills Assessment
- Relaxed fun-loving person
- Intellectual and wise, in a quirky way!
- Passionate and hardworking
- Enjoys travelling, particularly around Asia
- "exotic" look

- Takes a while until you get to know her
- Unable to identify what makes targets tick in order to set up strategy
- Careless about own exterior sometimes
- Too shy to ask out guys she really likes (Work in Progress)

Description of (probably ideal) Target
- Well-educated, witty and wise
- Sense of humour
- Some interest in the environment, must enjoy nature
- Generous and circumspect
- Must enjoy travelling and learning about foreign cultures

Proposed Recovery Strategy
- Be more assertive when approaching target
- Must not be grumpy but instead attempt to be gorgeous in the mornings
- Set mind towards greater dating awareness: switch on radar and vet every single person met on the spot. Motto: Constant Vigilance!
- Do research on success stories and use wealth of available samples for qualitative data analysis
- Invest in reconnaissance about target and use it to your advantage

Image Assessment
- Look mature: Finally wear fashion that actually reflects my personality (phase 1 - to get rid of hideous old clothes - now reaching completion)
- Advertise personality traits more
- Identify situations where you will be likely to meet target group

Progress report due three months from now.
Suggestions and networking welcome.

A few days ago, I logged into Facebook and my email account simultaneously. My Facebook inbox contained a notification that yet another friend had just "popped the question" and had uploaded pictures of his engagement moment with the more than happy fiancee while my email inbox contains a link to a friend's fresh wedding pictures (my personal favourite is the black and white one!).

I am so happy for all my friends who seem to have found the person they want to share the rest of their lives with, who have through trial and error, fear and (disappointed) hope and learning from experience themselves have become desirable candidates for life.

And yet, with a current trend of about nearly ten couples now having reached that stage in their lives, I suddenly find myself surrounded by spouses(-in spe) while still single.

7 weddings
9 other steady-going couples
2 births

... and me!

Let's just say, the thought of sarcastically re-naming this blog "Heidi J's Diary" has crossed my mind (in fact, I wouldn't mind my personal human rights person). Luckily, I know that I have more to blog about than dating and will therefore not turn this into a personal version of Cosmo (I bet a sigh of relief from some of my readers!). I don't feel comfortable even blogging about this but then I thought it is the first step in taking my own (non)behaviour seriously. Besides, I prefer to blog about social issues dear to my heart, like human rights, civil liberties and international development, rather than personal romance. But I guess perhaps I haven't embraced the latter just yet which in turn, is why I must force myself not to take down this post seven days after I will have published it, as I am currently debating to do with myself. I will not go into the details of some of my motivations but will instead pledge to work on my asking-out skills.

Oh dear, I just re-read what I have written so far. What nonsense I am babbling here!

07 April 2010

News from Exile

Moving house is very exhausting. It is one of the things in life which get easier as you do it more often, but also more tiring. The other day, I packed from 6am to pretty much 3pm with only an hour coffee break. Despite my revitalising deep sleep on my first night in the charming hostel, I still felt all hangover from yesterday. I had only taken two cups of coffee and a bag of apples until at last, after a lengthy journey through TFL's utterly traveller- and disability-unfriendly public transport system (particularly shocking in big stations like Kings Cross, Leicester Square, Paddington and Victoria), I arrived at my destination at around 10pm. All settled, I left at 11pm in the big hope of something edible. But obviously, most kitchens had closed and in this small town, there is no chance of finding a 24/7 tesco express. Quite a culture shock for a Londoner! Everyone of the around three people I asked for any place that served food at that hour really tried to think and help but the deep frown usually gave away the unlikeliness of any luck. Somehow, after 20min that seemed an eternity, I managed to find a kebab place open late and although I am not a greasy spoon person, I swer a kebab rolled in freshly baked pitta bread with a bit of mint sauce and fries never tasted so good in my life!

After all the stressing out of packing, popping out for more tape and the endlessly annoying analytical process of filtering out keeps and discards, I figured to give the whole frenzy a rest and just relax watching a movie and some well-deserved sleep and take care of everything else the next day.

So this morning, I was pretty much on the go/phone from 10am to 4pm doing all kinds of errands and coordinating my move to ideally finish everything asap and move on with my life. At last, I managed to book an affordable man & van and a less affordable storage option for tomorrow afternoon. At 5pm I finally received final confirmation that it will all happen tomorrow. Haleluja!

However, the nightmare is not over without repercussions. I feel for my poor mother who is giving more than she has to help me finish my degree. And I am not sure if everything will work out until my exams. This week, I should receive a laptop my mother had bought for herself but which I have to borrow to write my essays. Luckily, my mother is rather afraid of computers and just bought this small one to practice. If it arrives by Friday, I can even get started on some online journals while the library re-close for Saturdays and Sundays. I am back on BLE (or so I was told today), at least temporarily. I will use this time to suck everything onto a USB I found by chance in the PC room. I haven't checked yet what's on it and hope there is no essay or thesis saved on it, so that I can "borrow" it. Can't afford to buy a new one just now and wish I had borrowed that pink one Nancy had found on the street somewhere. Then I also would have to feel less guilty about not returning it (for now), as I would normally do.

Am applying for an emergency loan from uni to fund my move, am however not sure if I will get it, how much and when but every little helps. I cannot believe that after a year I am sort of being dangerously swung close to the kinds of problems that made me delay my studies in the first place. It's like moving back one step, going back two but I do not subscribe to determinism and refuse to submit to a recurrence of that handicap. I hope to be able to extend some essay deadlines and perhaps move the first one or two exams to a later date, even though I hate to do that, as the distribution and sequence had been perfect!

A good thing is that my theory that my current location is much cheaper than London was confirmed. Eateries tend to charge just 10% gratuity here instead of 12.5% in London. Buses are just £1 a ride but usually you can walk anywhere interesting within 15min. Best of all, the air is fresh, the people nice, the streets clean!

More soon!

06 April 2010

Domestic Displacement

I had imagined my Easter Break rather different from how it turned out in the end.

As some of you already know, my flatmate had what appears to have been a psychotic episode, as a result of which I had to basically squat and crash on another friend's couch as my flatmate had turned the house upside down, did a kitchen cupboard "rage percussion", spilled old shampoo of mine and detergent on the doormat, stairs, wall and handrail (it still smells like coconut every time you enter or leave the house) and left nearly two dozen paper notes sello-taped around the house (including my own room!) in order vent off her anger at sth I had said that unknowingly was to strike a raw nerve!!!

It's astounding how within a split second, a friendship of three or so years is being dismissed over sth as trivial as a cleaning dispute. It makes you wonder about priorities of other people and their ability to communicate what bothers them. I still am somewhat in shock at the quick succession of events - from being screamed at in the middle of a sentence in what started off as a relaxed morning in the kitchen together, to waking up to the cutlery drawer being shaking wildly for a full 20-30 seconds and several cupboard doors banged violently over and over again in the kitchen (my room right on top of it), then 10min later having my flatmate's roommate and good friend come up to my room and delivering an ultimatum, "if you really value your friendship, you will talk to her and apologise to her" after clearly having passed the sights of my laundry and shoes having been thrown all over the staircase while the contents of my kitchen cupboard were totally mixed up in one massive expression of wild fury. Excuse ME?! At that time, I hadn't even realised what it was that I had said which made me deserve all this harassment.

Apparently, when I had said "I can't clean an hour after everyone everyday, I have a life, you know" or something along these lines, she had interpreted that as she didn't have a life. Mind you, this person had been calling me names and teasing me in a manner which I actually found qualified as bullying because they were unwanted not funny and immature comments, despite telling her repeatedly to stop it because it is annoying, until eventually she did - after half a year. Did I turn the house upside down then? I had known this person for years and still did not see this absolutely disproportionate response coming. Naturally, I was A LITTLE concerned for my safety or the safety of my property (particularly, lecture notes and study materials as well as my laptop).

I therefore decided to move out as soon as possible as wandering the streets until after midnight in order to avoid her was not a permanent solution. Besides, all this costs me so much money! Eating out (I had been disallowed from sharing her kitchen tools including kettle and pots and since I intended to move anyway, I did not want to invest in new ones), losing my deposit on the flat, booking a hostel, having to call 0845-numbers from my mobile phone as the landline phone was hers and had disappeared into her room, commuting to Oxford to get away and sign up for the library...

Also, by chance (or self-fulling prophecy), my laptop broke the weekend before Easter and since the School closed over Easter and I can't have any spares shipped to my home (not sure what would happen to it if sb else receives the postman), I have been relying on mobile internet and could not get started on my revision/essays. The library is closed for two weeks for major refurbishment, all libraries are closed over Easter weekend. And I am currently barred from BLE on top of it all.

It had been raining for a week, my room has turned into a fridge again, I couldn't make tea (until I started experimenting with an iron and a tomato sauce jar!) until last night and effectively couldn't do ANYTHING at all except pack my belongings to keep moving and hence warm or sleep to pass the night without noticing the cold.

I had to change my postal address registered to several companies to a forwarding address (a friend who's not in over holidays) and told my landlady I will be moving out within a week and why and to please not tell my flatmate because I didn't know what she would do. Landlady called me back later and offered to talk to my flatmate, with my permission, saying that, "She can't turn all our tenants away! If she's the one harassing you, then you shouldn't be the one who has to leave! We want you to stay!" (Referring to the fact that my flatmate had called the council on the restaurant below our flat around four times now apart from jumping up and down on their ceiling frequently to make them turn down the bass. And although at the beginning, I could hear that our landlady's other tenants who had just refurbished and opened a new restaurant downstairs were playing disruptive electronic vibes in an obviously residential area, I did not hear much later and found it actually mean to call the council - which sends a pair of one council rep and one police officer - for noise disturbance again while they were having a private birthday party and jump on what looked like a wedding or engagement party the week before that! So she had been warned if she kept calling the council, her contract would not be renewed.)

I agreed in the end that the landlady may try talk to her to give it a chance and to be proven wrong. So when the landlady came to collect my flatmate's rent, she told her that I wanted to move out because of her harassing me. Did she really spill shampoo and all that? And my flatmate said yes, she did because she was upset and basically confirmed the events as I had told them to the landlady. So the latter said, "Are you willing to be friends again and put everything behind you and forget about what happened?" - And according to my landlady, my flatmate had said, "Yes, as long as she does the cleaning". Now you have to know, my flatmate is OCD about cleaning, a Mrs. Muscle, and demanded everyone in the flat to clean to her standards. One person cleans every week and the others get a freepass to do as much dirt as they like. Now that's exactly what the dispute was about in the first place: That I find it more efficient if everyone cleans up after themselves and minimise dirt/spillages while cooking; that way we only have to sweep once a week, end of story. That would create less dirt overall. Everyone who has been to my other flats before has seen that this system has always worked fine! Nobody has ever complained about my kitchen surfaces before. But her imposing and enforcing her cleaning standard on three other people indicates an obsession which I will not and cannot entertain. I find it undemocratic and unfair because one person who later agreed to submit herself is the friend permanently crashing in her room, the other is a person who didn't know any of us before and probably sees herself as not having any say therefore.

Besides, this whole episode set me back two weeks in my Easter studying schedule, cost me an awful amount of money and last but not least - stress: I didn't dare to leave passport and important documents lying around as well as things crucial for my revision. I felt compelled to sleep in a public place (not saying where) and to inform a tutor in case the situation escalates and my flatmate short circuits and moves on to GBH. I was really scared!

Didn't stop the landlady from trying for half an hour to convince me, "She wants to be friends with you again! Aren't you willing to give it a chance?", as if we're 14-year-olds, this was a talkshow, my flatmate didn't just jeopardise my finals and this is just a piece of cake!!! I stayed firm and told her that I will surely NOT take that risk at this time of the year, that I have known my flatmate better than the landlady and I know my flatmate only said what she said under the threat of eviction (I did bump into my flatmate after that telephone conversation with my landlady and she did not just slam her door behind her while I was walking by but also switched off all the lights, including the ones she knew I would be using). And what person makes a reconciliation conditional on cleaning?! Have to admit though, landlady would make a clever and tough salesperson.

I also prefer to move out because it's so cold at night and things in the house break all the time and I know, it is very hard in the UK to legally evict so. and my flatmate would not move an inch without due legal course. Finally, if you evict a mentally unstable person, would you want them to know where you stayed?

On the brighter side, I am moving into a hostel from tomorrow, hand over the keys, will have a laptop DHL-ed, so I can work on my essays at last!