Why am I like this
Posted in England, Life, Thoughts on

Keeping true to tradition, I am once again writing this post from *drum roll* – you guessed it! Starbucks. However, something has changed. I no longer sit at Starbucks because it’s the closest thing to home, now I sit at Starbucks to get some time away from “home”. My, how things have changed…

Although I have been very lucky to find this place where I now live, practically for free, practically in central London, I must admit that the situation is… difficult for me. It’s quite uncomfortable moving into someone else’s home in general, but the feeling is heightened by my never knowing quite what is expected of me. And I really don’t like it. I like to have my work load, and what is expected of me, written out crystal clear. I like to know  what I should do, when I should do it and how it should be done. And this situation is so… diffuse.

When I’m in the house, I can’t really seem to relax one hundred percent, as I always feel like I should be doing something, doing more, to “earn” my staying there. Like I’m constantly at work. And when I do my chores I feel like I’m not doing them well enough, as the gentleman I am living with is very particular about how he wants things done and where things should be. Very particular. So most likely when I perform a task, he will come around later and do it all over again, because I didn’t do it right. Or I didn’t do it well enough. I really hate that. It’s like staring in a new job and not getting any training, you only get told off every time you make a mistake.

Of course, I know he’s an old man who is set in his ways, and I know that when you’re older you appreciate routine and familiarity. And some people are just more detail oriented than others, which is absolutely fine. 

The problem is me. I just have a serious dutiful-good-girl syndrome that makes me unable to handle being anything less than perfect. I’m not very good with criticism, although I would like to be. I know constructive criticism is good. I know it’s meant to be helpful and something to learn by, but truthfully it makes me feel like a total failure. I need to be perfect. I need to be good enough. I need to master everything immediately. I need to be efficient and faultless. And of course, I’m not. I’m only human after all. It’s ridiculous, but I’ve always been like this though.

The problem is me because I’m not very tidy or fussy. I’m not squeamish and I don’t have an eye for that sort of detail. I don’t see it. I couldn’t care less if the spoons were sorted by size in the cutlery drawer. It makes no difference to me if  a dirty stain is left on the kitchen bench over night. I never notice if the hand towel hangs a little crooked on the peg in the bathroom and I don’t see why certain plates need to go certain places in the dish washer, when they clean all the same anywhere. I just don’t see it. I am sort of proud, by in this case a little frustrated, to say that I would make an absolutely atrocious housewife. I was not made for that life.

WHY AM I LIKE THIS? The one question I ask myself an infinite number of times every single day. I just need to pull myself together and stop focusing on the negative. Keep telling myself that I’ve only been here a week, and nobody expects me to be fully accomplished in that short a time. Just need to get that super memory that got me effortlessly through 13 years of school without ever breaking a sweat back into gear and memorise all the ridiculous, tiny details so I can get it right. Think of the perks and benefits. Suck it up. Get your shit together. 

Yep, that’s what I’m gonna do. Because what’s the alternative? Give up and go home?

No.

On top of everything, the weather has gone from this

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to this

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Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true?
Posted in Uncategorized on

A lot of people ask me all the time why, out of all the places in the world, I chose to travel to England. A fair question, to be sure. It’s certainly not the most exotic of all travel destinations, but I have always felt particularly drawn to England. I couldn’t tell you when it started, I just know that for as long as I can remember I have preferred English to Norwegian, and I always dreamt of one day moving here. For some strange reason I have always thought in English instead of Norwegian, and I am fairly certain that my English vocabulary is decidedly bigger than my Norwegian one. Call me strange, but for some very peculiar reason, England has always felt more home than Norway ever did, and I have only been to England once before! Man, I probably need therapy…..

The one thing I love the most about England though, is that it’s so beautiful. I love all the old buildings and architecture in England. It’s like every time I turn a street corner here, I’m mesmerised by yet another stunningly glorious house, or castle or monument. It may be because they are so aesthetically pleasing with all the million tiny details and intricate designs that come together to create a marvellous masterpiece of a building. So elegant and ornamental with their statues and pillars and elaborate embellishments, and all the dandy little flowerbeds. It’s romantic and it’s pretty. But that cannot be the only reason, I’m not that superficial. At least, I like to think so.

It may be because I’m an old soul. I always have loved everything old and full of history. Anytime I see something old or abandoned, I can’t help but wonder and let my imagination run free. How? How did it come to be there? What was it for? When was it used? Why was it abandoned? Who lived there and what happened to them? I could marvel for hours like that and make up stories in my head. And when you actually learn about the history of a place, it’s so fascinating. To imagine that years ago, long before I was born or my mother was born, that in that place that particular building stood in surroundings completely different from those today. And it’s stood there since.

Or perhaps it’s because I’m such a romantic? I have always been in love with England in the olden days, like the Victorian Era, with the polite manners and sophisticated society. All the etiquettes and propriety. Jane Austen and period dramas. I’m secretly in love with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley and Captain Wentworth, the fictitious gentlemen in romantic novels that are too good, too perfect, to ever have been true, and that I hope to find a courteous english gentleman to sweep me off my feet and ride my off into the sunset. Maybe in my former life that is where I lived, as an upper-class lady in a fine castle, and I just long for it because it’s where I feel home?

To be fair, I would have hated it though. I am probably above averagely concerned with feminism and women’s independence. I would have resented living in a time when women had no rights or opportunities, no matter how romantic the gentlemen were. And to be fair, the realist in me knows that it’s definitely been romanticised beyond belief. I’m sure it wasn’t nearly so charming in real life at the time. I often wonder how I can be made up of two such polar opposite traits; the romantic, kind-hearted dreamer and idealist vs. the man-hating, realistically cynical pessimist. I’m a complex character, for sure, and I may never understand myself and all my contradictions. Perhaps I’m schizophrenic.

In any case, I cannot say for sure what it is that draws me to England like a moth to a flame, and perhaps I will find that it’s nothing like I imagined it and not at all what I dreamed it would be, only disappointing. Or indeed, maybe I will find that it’s my true home and I’ll find my happily ever after here. Who knows? Only time can tell. For now I am merely in love with it though, and enjoy it immensely for all the reasons above and many more. And hope I will continue to do so for a long time yet.

 

 

 





Meditating in Kensington Gardens
Posted in Thoughts on

Once again I find myself sat with my laptop and a coffee at a Starbucks cafe. At the moment I feel like Starbucks is actually the closest thing to a “home” for me. It’s comfortable. It’s safe and familiar. And it has free WiFi and power outlets to charge your phone and laptop. In other words, it’s heaven. For an introvert like myself, I must admit that it is quite taxing to travel the way I do, living in hostels and shared dormitories. You’re never alone. And as much as I like people and being social, at the end of the day I relish in being able to retreat somewhere in my own company to recharge my batteries. To have some downtime and just relax, and breathe. And when you share a dormitory with 8 other people, chances are at least one of them will be in the room at all times.

It’s not just sharing a room that is taxing, however. I could retreat there, in theory. There are curtains on the bunk beds that you can shut, and although it isn’t particularly spacious in there, it’s quite cozy and could potentially be comfortable enough to relax in. But, not only is the WiFi connection rubbish, so unless you consider watching Netflix spend 30 minutes valiantly trying to buffer 5 minutes worth of your favourite TV-series surprisingly entertaining, it’s not going to cut it, but  there is also no power outlet within a miles distance of the bed. And batteries do not last forever, especially when you’re watching Netflix.

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So here I am, at Starbucks, a public and rather busy cafe, the closest thing to a relaxed lounge I can find in London. These issues make me feel a little homesick, and I do like to entertain the idea that I will book myself a proper hotel room, just for one night, so I can properly relax and recharge. And take a long, pampering shower in a shower with more pressure than you get from pouring a glass of water over your head, without worrying about people queuing outside the door while you fervently scrub your body and shave your legs at the same time.

Still, today has been a rather nice day. I slept in until 9:30 pm, despite the fact that the four french guys that checked in at midnight last night were making more noise than should be humanly possible for only four people, at 7 am. Then I got dressed and went out for a nice breakfast, before hanging around Kensington Gardens for several hours. One thing I will say about the english, they know how to do parks.

Kensington Gardens is a big park that joins in with the massive Hyde Park to the east, which is London’s version of Central Park. I find it so curious how as soon you enter a park in a big city, all the noise and the racket of the city outside suddenly disappears, and you’re left in the most calming environment where you can actually hear the birds chirping and the leaves rustling in the wind. Even though I love the hustle and bustle of London city, as someone who has lived most of their life in a small, quiet town, I never fully realised how much I would miss and come to appreciate some peace and quiet. So I spent quite a few hours just strolling through the many paths in Kensington Gardens, just appreciating the beauty of English Nature and the lovely weather.

The people who know me may not believe this, but I actually love the outdoors. I love nature. I could walk around for hours just looking and wondering at how beautifully complex this planet is with all its species and plants, all the different colours of flowers and how it all came to be. Not to mention how we take all of it for granted in the stress and urgency of our artificial lives. There is nothing so perplexingly grounding as taking the time out of your day to just be, and truly take in your surroundings. Nothing leaves me feeling so relaxed and conscious of my place in the universe, and how unimportant all my worries and troubles truly are in the great scheme of things.

I know, I know. I’m starting to sound like John Lennon in “Imagine”. To be fair though, that song is a perfect description of how I feel about the world and all the problems us humans create for ourselves. Imagine all the people living life in peace. Truly, John Lennon is my spirit animal. And fun fact: we are/were actually the same personality type. INFP – the dreamer – just look it up! So you may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. 

I should definitely go on walks like this more often. It’s left me feeling very relaxed and zen, and I have done a lot of philosophication today. I’m very sure that is not a real word. Thinking. Contemplation. Reflection. That’s what I done. And I like it.

Peace and love y’all,

Ingrid