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Graduate trying out life on the other side of the world.. stay tuned.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

It's just like riding a bike!

So in the past few weeks, I have started having driving lessons again.. so, if you're ever around and about the Manchester area on the roads, you may be well advised to avoid all learner cars for the fear of coming across me.

Now, I may be doing myself a little injustice here. I had lessons when I was 17, and yes, I had a fair few and didn't seem to get anywhere with them. In hindsight it probably wasn't the best time for me personally to be having lessons as I had a fair bit going on in my life otherwise at that time to be thinking about- never mind learning how to change gears. My first driving instructor (yes, I have had more than one, worryingly) was an absolute arsehole. He would shout at me, and worst of all he had the most hideous body odour I have ever smelt in my life, probably not helped by the fact he wore the same woolly jumper originating in the mid 80's week in, week out. Mostly I think he took a particular disliking to me. So at one point I realised enough was enough and stopped lessons altogether. A while later I started lessons again- with an absolute gem of an instructor who was the complete opposite to the previous numpty, and smelt lovely. (Not that I ever purposefully smelt her..) But those came to an end when I went off on my travels, went to uni and pretended to convince myself that I really didn't NEED to drive. My Dad insisted otherwise- due to the fact he wanted someone to come pick him up from the pub after a few pints.

I've only just started again as I have realised that having that glorious pink card sitting in your purse is a credit to the ill fated CV and many employers require you to be able to drive. And it's actually not a total disaster. Believe me, this is a real surprise, considering I once went round a MINI roundabout the wrong way. Don't ask. (Fair to say that wasn't my proudest moment, and I still maintain it doesn't count as nobody was around to see this epic fail) Anyway- I have a good and patient instructor and I have realised that I remember a scary amount of driving practises considering I hadn't been behind a wheel in going on 5 years. (Bloody hell, I'm getting on a bit.)

Learning to drive has been, for me, up to now- a round of tests and tribulations. And I'm still not there. In some ways it's a bit like finding your perfect partner- you have to often take a wrong turn, go round the roundabout the wrong way to realise what you want in your dream husband/wife. Like I said, I'm still learning how to do a three point turn, so it's doubtful I'm quite there yet.

To take a quote from Sex and the City (yep, I am definitely a girl's girl. No shame.) "Relationships are like couture; if it doesn't fit perfectly, it's a disaster". I reckon that can be applied to driving too.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

"Yeah, but, what if?" ... "Sod it."

Now I am the first person to admit that I am constantly wondering, "what if?" I know in a post a few weeks back I was talking about having no regrets. Having these 'what if?' thoughts are far from regrets, admittedly, but they do my head in. I'm constantly thinking of the whats, the ifs and the buts. (Typical girl, I hear you cry! To which I say- get over it). That's what makes me who I am I guess.

However they may not necessarily be a wholly bad thing- dear God, no- especially in a place of work, I find they can be particularly helpful. Asking the inevitable what if questions as part of a project review is almost definitely what encourages you to constructively criticise what has been achieved (or rather, in some cases of epic failure, what was definitely not achieved) and gives you a great POA (Plan of Action..I'm all about the abbreviations of late) for future projects. In this case, asking that damn question can be seen as a positive. Can you tell I'm one of those rather irritating people who strives to turn every negative into a positive yet?!

Yet in many, many other life situations it can be hazardous. How much has changed in my life in the past 18 months or so is actually a little disturbing. Inevitably, I start, in my haze of a daydream wondering; 'what if I had done that differently?'. You all are aware of these questions, because, you, my dear friend, are just as guilty as me in having these unproductive thoughts- so don't go getting up on your high pedal stool of judgement thinking you're different, because I severely doubt that you are.

These can go from, 'argh, what if I decided to go with Dominoes pizza last night instead of that dodgy Chinese takeaway around the corner?'.. What if is that you would probably be out in town with your mates having a great time instead of curled in bed with severe food poisoning as a punishment for trying to be 'exotic' and trying a different dish on the menu, different to your usual chicken sweet and sour... then there are the pretty major what ifs, such as.. 'What if I never went to uni? What if we never broke up? What if I had decided not to go to the interview?' These examples are slightly more destructive. If we keep on questioning our own actions, we'd be stuck on a bloody roundabout going round and round, getting nowhere but feeling instead increasingly sick and dizzy.. which would slightly damage your street cred.

One of my oldest best friends yesterday said to me to quit with the what ifs.. I'm gonna take her advice partially, and use the 'what if' with caution. As should you.. I reckon that although I don't want to have regrets thinking about what could have been, in some cases is healthy.

In others, it's just plain stupid. As long as we're happy and healthy, that's all that should count, right? So, take a step forward and think sod it the next time you even start to think of what could have been.

Otherwise you'll be stuck on that damn roundabout for life. Gutted.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Rain, rain go away..

Wow, today was wet wet wet.

I swear some bus drivers have a vendetta against the general public when it rains or just uses it as an excuse to show their general hatred and bitterness towards their own lives.

Now- today I did choose to wear THE most inappropriate footwear ever. Gold ballet pumps to be precise. The weather just wasn't THAT bad when I left the flat.. To add insult to injury, as I was about to cross the road- a bus driver went and soaked me with a tidal wave of muddy water from a lake of a puddle. Nice one knob. *cue jumping into the nearest taxi and cursing all bus drivers*

I had some friends up for the weekend that I haven't seen in a long while. It was a lovely weekend. I think we all get a tad worried when we arrange to see those we haven't been in touch with as much as we should have been- and worry that we will have changed into incredibly different people with different outlooks on life that means the friendship will never be the same. Thankfully this wasn't the case- we have known each other longer than we would like to admit and there is a reason we were friends back in the days of fluorescent pink eyeshadow and the days before Lady Gaga. Now it is clear we all change into different people as we grow up but one has to remember that the people you know, and indeed, yourself never really intrinsically change one hell of a lot. I will always wear the most inappropriate shoes in the most adverse weather conditions, and will always be drawn to pretty things in shops, as well as owning about twice the amount of shoes more than the amount that is actually considered normal.

I'm incredibly lucky in that I have a fantastic circle of friends round me, from every part of my life- school, sixth form, gap year, uni..it's part of the reason that my phone bill is perpetually high. Keeping in touch with those around us is the one thing that will always be worth the frightening moment when we get a notification from our network provider telling us that 'your bill is now ready to view online'. Another thing that will never change- my talkative nature. My Mum once told me I didn't start talking until I was three years old- and that the only words I could say were 'neenaw' (thank you Fireman Sam obsession) and 'Mummy' (my Dad probably wasn't best pleased about that one). Let's just say, it explains a lot. I'm clearly still making up for the time lost speaking when I was a toddler. Sorry everyone.

So my point is (See, I got to it eventually..) that the friends that are worth having are the ones that you could not see for donkeys years but still pick up where you left off. They are the ones that find the chatterbox side of you endearing, and will still love you even when you're soaked through from the sodding Magic Bus and it's sadistic driver, and giving you sympathy when you're upset about ruining the beautiful pair of Topshop gold ballet pumps even though they think you are an absolute tool for deciding to wear them because they go really very well with your outfit despite the rainforest style downpour outside.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

"We're all going on a Summer holiday..."

I write this post with an air of incredible excitement. In about three weeks time, I will be in Heathrow about to board a flight to Dubai. I can feel all the green eyed monsters eyeing me up right about now. But I do not care, cos I'm going to mother-chuffing Dubai!

I'm in need of this holiday- fair enough- I did go to Mauritius last July for an incredible holiday. But that was like, six months ago.. A hell of a lot has happened in that time. I worked very hard for the past few months and feel more than ready for some March-time sun and sea fun times.

Then- this gets me thinking- a hell of a lot of stuff has happened and changed in the time since my last holiday. For a relatively short time period, I have had major changes in my life. I would even go as far as to be over the top and say they have been life-changing things.

So- July 2010. Sat on *the* most beautiful beach at *the* best hotel, at one of *the* most idillic places I have ever been to. I had just graduated, with a great, (kinda unspecific) degree- a degree, which I think was absolutely fantastic, but requires you to work bloody hard to convince prospectful employers see exactly why the hell my indepth knowledge of ancient Greek philiosophy and Existentialism makes me the ideal candidate to join their organisation. I had landed myself a great volunteering role at a charity which I am actually kinda passionate about. So- I was ticking all the right boxes: academically: TICK. Using my initiative to gain the experience needed: TICK. Making the (possibly unwise) decision to move out of home despite having no job or real savings: TICK.

I honestly didn't think I'd be one of those graduates who would struggle to find a job, I mean, I'm not trying to sound like a big headed prick here- but I have never had any problems in getting a job- I'd always got interviews and bagged the job there and then. Boy, I was wrong. I even applied for a job to be one of those people we all avoid on the streets because they want money for charity. I got the job, but after seeing the looks of horror and pity on my friends and family's faces when I told them- I decided not to go to my first day.. Good job too. Because the day that I didn't turn up for that job, I got the job I'm now working in. Now, if that isn't fate, I'll eat my wooly hat.

Anyway- I (well, my housemate did to be fair) found a flat in Manchester, (before getting a job- that could've gone SO much worse), got a job and defied those statistics.

And I grew up. I like to think of myself as a fine wine, just gets better as it ages. But in this case I haven't really aged one hell of a lot. Just matured, like a good cheese- but that's a shit comparison, so wipe the cheese comment from your memory.

So just think of me in a few weeks time, sat on a beach, with my lovely friend Caz- a now resident of Dubai.. sipping on my glass of Merlot and eating cheese and crackers- (please note the symbolism of that..) and thanking the Gods of fate because I don't have to eat my wooly hat.

(p.s. thanks to Nia for giving me something to write about this time round re. conversation over a cup of tea last night... *puts on mancunion accent* "cheers love")

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Hungover to hell and back

I had an absolutely fantastic Saturday night. It was my one of my best friend's birthdays. So, in true 'the graduate' style, we made sure we saw the birthday come in with a hell of a lot of dancing and celebratory birthday drinks- and singing happy birthday a bit too loudly in a taxi. (Fair to say the taxi driver was regretting the decision to pick us up at tis point) And the inevitable rolling home at an incredibly dirty time of the morning. And then there is the hangover. And boy have I seen some incredible hangovers in the last 4 years.. Now the general consensus is that the days consigned to hangovers is that they are wasted days.

But are they really? 

I kind of take the view that although the pain we have all endured at some point in our lives- some more times than others- is, to be quite frank rubbish- it IS self inflicted therefore we should grin and bear it. Plus I kind of think that if the night has been a great one then it is worth it. (I would like to say right here that I do NOT endorse binge drinking..) However, I will admit that I have been there waking at 11 in the morning the next day and weakly stretching for the glass of water and the ibuprofen, feeling like utter shit and knowing full well that the painful head is made even worse by the fact the night was an epic fail. Thus proving that alcohol definitely does not equal a good night out..

But I still think we should enjoy these lazy days if we cannot move without the room spinning- watch that film you bought in HMV on sale for an amazing bargain price of three quid on a whim, and start that book you borrowed from your friend about 2 years ago.. Because in that sense they aren't wasted, they're just days purely for yourself. (Totally obvious I'm making excuses for my own hangovers here).

Either that or you could grow a pair, build a bridge and get over it, have a bacon butty and a large espresso (*thank the Gods of Nespresso*) and make the most of your Sunday afternoon in a different way to the aforementioned.

On that note, make mine a double.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Social Media. A good thing? Really now.

Now it is clear to all you readers that I am a social media addict. I try to convince myself that because I openly admit this fact, it's okay, because I recognise this fact. And that I'm in the same boat that all you guys are.

The thing is- this whole social media lark is fantastic. But it can actually be a tad self destructive. Take my previous post- I nearly had a nervous breakdown because I wouldn't be able to tweet/blog/post for a measly 24 hours! It is absolutely ridiculous that I even felt the need to write about this fact. What's worse is- I even had a dream that I was eating an almond cake in the flat on my own and suddenly developed a nut allergy. Fair to say, and I will admit that I woke up in a sweat because the last thing I remember is reaching out for my phone only to see the ill fated TIMER OF DEATH on my Blackberry. Now if this isn't crazy talk then I don't know what the hell is. Actually, it is a sign that I have fallen ill to SocialMediaitis. (Totally made up terminology, FYI).

I may be single (tequilaaaaa-some will know what the chuff I mean by this, others will be clueless- to which I say, get on Facebook to find out..) but actually, I think I am actually in a committed relationship with my phone. Which is kinda sad. I think I may have been more cut up about the recent loss of my phone than I was about a recent breakdown of a relationship. (Okay, that's a total lie, I'm not THAT much of a loser.)

Anyway, back to the point. It is self destructive. One innocent click and you are suddenly presented with your ex's goings on, and you suddenly realise that, darn, life goes on without me in their life. And that kinda hurts. But I like to blame the whole social media concept than actually blame myself for not deleting the twat (sorry for the language mum and dad.. *cringe*) off my friends list. Because I'm not quite there yet. (it took a year to delete the last ex off my Facebook for example.)Which is perhaps sadder than the fact I check Facebook, on average 6 (maybe more..but you'll never know the full extent of my addiction) times a day.

On that note, I'll leave it at that. Oh, and not before announce that the date has been set for my wedding to my phone. Get buying your hats girls!! I shall be known forever more as Rebecca Davies-Berry.

Over and out.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Crackberry. I hate you.

Now, today my world feels as though it has slightly fallen apart. Well- it hasn't actually fallen apart- all that has happened is that my phone has decided to give up on me.

This not only means I have lost contact with my friends- I can't do my usual facebook-ing, twitter-ing, blogging (well I can, but it's just not the same when you're doing it from a usual computer instead of a tiny handheld device. It takes away the novelty of such things.) But ICE (in case of emergency)- what the hell would I do?! Seriously now. It has made me realise how reliant I am on my phone. I feel rather cut off from the world and a little bit isolated. Now, I know that having the knowledge that Chris Moyles has been to the gym (Twitter), or that someone I barely know has just split up with their boyfriend (Facebook) or that knowing how many views my blog has had (blogspot) will have any great impact on my day, and that I will PROBABLY survive the next 24 hours until my replacement phone arrives, but it still sucks, and yes I am going to complain about it in the form of this post. Sorry. (Actually, I'm not sorry at all, just horrifically bitter..)

Now having a smart phone really is a wonderful thing in my job- as I work on my own in my lovely little shop I don't have all that much to do with the 'outside' of my shop 9 through til 5 on a daily basis. Yes, I have work emails and the phone calls and customers- but the social networking ability and the connect-ed-ness I have to the 'real' world actually is a miracle worker when it's raining (bloody Manchester) and is just a generally miserable day. A quick WhatsApp message, and BINGO! you're having an actual conversation and can lift your entire mood. Which is nice.

Now obviously, it isn't all sweet smelling like roses. Like right now, it is rubbish.But on the other hand I should be making the most of this time to do other things, like organise things and clean. I'm clearly not, instead am clinging to the only way I can feel connected to the outside world! Ridiculous. I know. (I WILL get to that organising and cleaning momentarily..) But it also means there is absolutely no way in hell you can ignore your bosses emails and phone calls, as they know as well as you do you will pick them up immediately. We have run out of excuses anymore as to why we missed that oh-so-incredibly-important deadline/meeting etc, because there is NOWHERE to hide. Gutted. It is the end of the days where we could be 'out of the office' in 'meetings' when in fact we were rushing to Selfridges to purchase the one and only black Mulberry Bayswater bag in the sale at a marvellous 75% discount (I wish...) because, I hate to break it to you, your emails and work life are constantly at your side. Inescapable. (Well for me, at the moment it is for the next 24 hours.. silver lining and all that jazz.)

In which case, we better start thinking of some better excuses, or actually get down and dirty to that filing you've been putting off for about 3 months.. (obviously, it is definitely, absolutely, NOT me I'm talking about here.)