Summer Freedom

There’s just two weeks left of my summer job and I’m only just now starting to feel like the time I’m not at work is MY time to do whatever I want. I’ve not had uni to deal with since my last exam on June 5th, why has it taken me so long to feel free? My summer job lasts 8 weeks, meaning it’s taken me 6 weeks to get to this point. This really baffles me. What have I been doing for so long? I honestly have no idea.

I think the feelings of freedom started when my parents went away on holiday. The first time I really felt free this summer was a day where I was on nobody’s time but my own. My parents had gone away for the day and were eating dinner out, my brother had plans to go on a hiking trip, and the weather was lovely so instead of going home after work I went on a forest walk by myself, just listening to happy music and playing Pokémon GO and enjoying life, because no one was waiting for me with food or anything like that. It was a lovely feeling.

Whenever I’ve been home for a weekend or even longer, during the past 6 years of living in the city and going to university, I’ve spent a lot of time with my parents. I’ve sat in the living room watching whatever they’re watching on TV, I’ve hung out with them, going for walks, going with them to shops etc. I’ve spent very little time to myself, next to no time in my room except for to sleep. The reason for this, is that I’ve sometimes not known when would be the next time I’d get to come home – it might be weeks or months until the next time, and therefore I’ve felt that I need to spend all the time with them.

Now that they’ve been on holiday, I’ve been entirely on my own. Taking care of the house, cooking for myself, spending time doing whatever I’ve wanted to do. I’ve had a couple of days where I’ve only read, I’ve had a few days where I’ve needed to do a lot of chores but it hasn’t been so bad. I’ve spent two mornings and an evening editing pictures for a friend, watched a movie, played a lot of Mario Kart on my laptop… I’ve taken back my time, even though no one has demanded that I do anything else anyway, it’s been liberating.

I’m moving, in 16 days from today. I’ll need to start packing soon, to prepare for the move as I’ve no idea when I’ll be back to pick up more stuff, and I can only bring a suitcase and my carry-on. But even so, I don’t feel the pressure that I’ve felt before, that I need to spend as much of my waking time with my family as possible. Because it’s not necessary to be around someone 100% of the time or to talk to them all the time to know and show that you love them, care about them, like them… It’s perfectly fine to take time to yourself, be by yourself, do things for yourself. Because YOU are the only one who has to be around you 100% of the time, and it’s important to do things that make YOU happy, that make YOU able to live with the person you are.

xoxo

Julie

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Student housing, room mates, and thoughts from a 5th year

I’m in my fifth year of uni studies. I moved out of my parents’ house when I started studying English, because it would have been too long of a commute, too expensive, and I wouldn’t have been able to do anything social with new friends. I spent some time looking for places to rent, and sent out a couple of applications. I didn’t hear anything from the student housing I applied for, but I did get a call from a private renter. He had converted the basement of his house into student housing and was renting out to three people, as there were three bedrooms, and a shared kitchen and bathroom. I moved there in August 2012.

I lived there for four and a half years, with 9 other girls, none of which stayed longer than a year. The landlord’s kids were loud, his wife was a yeller, and the house was on top of a hill 7 minutes from a bus stop, and the connections to the city weren’t great; if you stayed out past midnight it was expensive to get back there and the stores weren’t close enough. Everyone wanted to live walking distance from town and have to take the bus to uni, at least that’s what they said when they moved out. I enjoyed living walking distance from uni though. It was a nightmare in the winter when there’s snow, to walk the shortcut was nearly impossible, but they usually cleared the sidewalk by the main road early enough so that it wasn’t a problem. I walk a lot less since I moved, and I’m not too happy about that.

I became friends with some of my roommates. With a couple of them, we’d all go on grocery shopping trips together, getting the items on special offer from the different stores around, and watch movies, and sit in the halls and talking for hours. With others, we coexisted in total silence. Some resulted to slamming doors in my face so hard that the walls would move, because I put up a couple of notes with tape about turning off the lights and cleaning – nice notes, but I guess they were perceived as passive aggressive, or something. I have a lot of good memories at the old house, but I also have a lot of bad memories. The last semester was good, the year before it was really bad, roommate wise, but good in other ways – boyfriend wise.

All of my roommates at the old house were girls. Since I moved, I’ve lived with two guys. It’s a different experience in some ways. I put up a cleaning sheet on the fridge and a note on the door reminding everyone to lock it when they leave – but no one is slamming any doors in my face and we still sit in the kitchen and talk. Sometimes I get annoyed at dishes in the kitchen or loud screaming due to a football match, but I guess that’s always the case with roommates. But you deal with it because it’s a part of being a student.

I would love nothing more than to get a house, or at least an apartment, with a bedroom that I don’t have to be in for anything other than to sleep. I want to have a couch that I sit on when I watch TV, and to not have to sit at my desk for anything other than work that requires a desk. I don’t even like the desk as a piece of furniture, but I have this amazing desk chair. Perhaps I could get a proper computer, with Photoshop that doesn’t crash and where I can play Cities: Skylines with actual mods and assets without it taking ages to load. That would be a good use for a desk. But I hate sitting at my desk day in and day out. I want a couch and a coffee table and a TV screen that’s larger than 15″.

But that’ll have to be in the future. Slow upgrades, one at a time. I went from having a room in a basement, to a room in an apartment building. I still have 2 roommates, but I no longer live underground, and I have a personal sink in my room. In July, I’m moving again. I’ll still be in an apartment building, but on the 3rd floor this time. I’ll be living with 6 other people, so technically that’s a downgrade when it comes to the shared kitchen, but I will have my own personal bathroom, with a shower and toilet and sink that I don’t have to share with anyone, and I cannot freaking wait!

One step at a time. One dorm room at a time. The good thing about moving is you get to redecorate your living space, make it into who you are, and redo it all over again! And that, I am excited about. Room tour, anyone?

~ Julie

A Friday Spent in my Bathrobe

Today is one of those days where I feel like all I’ve done is procrastinate and eat. And procrastinate by eating… I am terrible when it comes to giving myself credit for the things I’ve actually done, because I keep feeling bad about all the things I haven’t done.

  • I’ve eaten breakfast.
  • I’ve put up one painting and moved another so that the three paintings on my wall are equally spaced out.
  • I’ve done two loads of laundry; whites, and a high-temperature one for towels and “unmentionables”.
  • I’ve eaten lunch.
  • I’ve folded the laundry and put all the items where they belong.
  • I’ve walked to the pharmacy and the grocery store and back.
  • I’ve eaten dinner.
  • I started thinking about packing for the trip to England that I leave for on Sunday.
  • I’ve paid two bills.

I guess I feel bad because I haven’t done too much academic work. I’m supposed to be writing my master’s thesis, for crying out loud! I have done something…

  • At one point I had about 20 tabs open when searching for something (a friend had to send me the document in the end).
  • I’ve rearranged some things in my literature review document.
  • I’ve read some parts of a thesis my supervisor told me to read
  • I’ve written about four lines of text, plus another three that need to go in the introduction, not the literature review.

My supervisor thinks finishing the literature review (after receiving feedback on my first draft last week) should take no more than two weeks. Which means I should be done by the time I get back from England and be ready to write the methodology chapter then. I’ve figured out that I need to write down exactly everything that I need to be and be as specific as possible and then break it down into when I plan to do it, otherwise I’m not gonna get anything done.

So I guess I’ve done some things today. I’ve not done literally nothing although that’s the feeling I’m left with a lot of the time. I haven’t done nothing, I just haven’t done enough… Does anyone have any tips on combating that feeling, that I haven’t done enough, and the general anxiety that comes with the feeling? TIA.

~ Julie

Timeout From Life

I went home to my parents’ on Friday afternoon, and I was there until this morning. Going there, spending time with my mother, and my father, and a little bit my brother, is kind of like a timeout from life for me. I don’t do uni work when I’m there. I don’t watch the TV shows I’m usually binge watching when I’m in the city. We eat dinner and watch a movie Friday night and I go to sleep; we eat breakfast together on Saturday morning and then  go for a walk, eat some lunch, do some chores, make dinner, and watch some more TV; we eat breakfast together again on Sunday morning, then visit my grandparents, make some dinner, have a nap on the couch from all the life-breaks, eat some dessert, watch some TV, go to bed. And this morning I got up early and my mom drove me down to the ferry and I went straight to uni to try and get some work done before I drag my luggage home to my apartment.

And that’s pretty much my weekend in a nut shell. I don’t suppose anyone would enjoy reading about the food we made or the new curtains we bought and put up or the 6 short stories I’ve read since Thursday night, so I’m keeping this short.

I hope everyone had a good weekend, and that you will have a good week, to, now that we’ve started February!

~ Julie

Circle of Life

Two weeks ago today, my grandmother passed away. I’m 24, and the only person I’ve ever lost was a great-grandmother I didn’t know well when I was 9. I cried my heart out. I slept four hours that night, and the following morning I packed a bag and went home to be with my mother and brother, as my dad was 600 kilometers away, with his dad and brother, dealing with everything that needs dealing with when someone dies. I turned into a zombie who wore sweatpants and didn’t shower for days at a time.

It’s been two weeks since my life changed forever. Someone I love, is no longer in my life, and is never going to be again. And for the first time I’m experiencing this in a way that doesn’t involve boys or boyfriends. For the first time, I’m experiencing losing someone who actually, literally, cannot come back into my life. And my heart is broken in a way I didn’t even know was possible.

We drove down for the funeral. The funeral took place, so did the memorial get-together afterwards. Then we drove back. I slept 11 hours, and spent another day being a zombie.

Last night, I returned to my apartment, for the first time in almost two weeks. I dealt with heat and air circulation issues, the fact that my roommate moved out while I was gone, food that needed throwing out, and then I went to bed, cuddling the little plush polar bear I’ve loved for as long as I can remember but was never allowed to take home because he had to stay with my grandma. This morning, I got up and went to uni. I went grocery shopping. I came home and changed my bed sheets, did laundry, dusted surfaces, watered plants, and cleaned my room.

I declined an offer to visit a friend, to do this stuff. I love my friend, I love her apartment, and her boyfriend who always makes us food, but I haven’t been home for two weeks, because I was home with my parents. I’m using the word “home” about both the house I grew up in and my apartment for more than four years, because they’re both homes to me. The house is where I go for comfort, where I can be the child again. The apartment is where I’m an adult who has to fend for herself. It’s nice to combine the two. But I can’t take one or the other for too long at a time. I guess it’s a part of the circle of life. Sometimes I need to be the child who cries herself to sleep with a 30-year-old teddy bear clutched to her chest. Sometimes I need to be 24 and dealing with university and grocery shopping and cleaning. I count myself fortunate, to still be able to fluctuate between the two.

On Stressful Living Situations

When I moved to the city to attend university, I started renting a room in a house. The owners live on the ground and second floors, and in the basement there are three bedrooms with a shared kitchen and bathroom. I’ve lived here more or less happily for three years, but that all changed last August, when I returned from my summer job in my home town…

I won’t say I’ve been BFFs with the six different girls who have lived here the previous three years, but these two are really no fun. One of them slams the doors all the time, worse so when she sees me – I’ll partially take the blame for that, being the author of some passive aggressive notes around the place, but it’s been going on for months and I don’t understand how she’s not tired of it yet… I’m treating this whole situation as a bully type of thing where I’m refusing to react as that’s probably what she wants, I don’t know.

The other has had pre-drinks here several times now, without giving notice. The first time I took me completely by surprise as she’d had a total of one visitor over  several months. I hoped it was a one-time thing. Turned out not to be. Last night it happened again. On a Wednesday, for crying out loud! At least the last time was on a weekend. I was boiling inside. Well, partially. The other part of me is finding it really difficult to react because I have zero energy left to spend on these girls.

I have a bit of situational anxiety, and I hate confrontation. However, my boyfriend, two best friends, and mom all told me I had to talk to her and tell her that I should be notified when she’s having people over. So I managed to find the courage to do that not long ago. Doing that was worse than presenting my project in literature class this morning. Essentially, I told her I would appreciate being notified so that I could choose to be elsewhere when she’s having people over. She said she would, but I doubt it, really… And now I’m sat here, with my heart beating incredibly hard and fast,  the most uncomfortable I’ve been all day.

After my summer job as a guide at a historic property I’ve gotten a lot better at talking to people, presenting things. But in a situation like today’s presentation, I just take on a role and put up a shield between me and the people. I’m incapable of doing that at home. I can’t pretend to be someone else here. I’m just me, and just me is not a very brave person, just me is vulnerable and awkward and hates confrontation. Just me is on the edge of tears. Just me is not sure how she’s supposed to handle this permanent situation for much longer. Just me wants out.