I spent the last few days of my 10 week Middle Eastern trip in Paris, oddly enough. It made sense to go. After all, I’m moving abroad in a few weeks (although OMFG, am I… More
I booked my flights to Asia today, and I’m actually really (pardon my French) fucking nervous.
And I’m not nervous in my typically exaggerated sense, such as when I ‘panicked’ on finding out I was travelling the Middle East during Ramadan, but nervous in the traditional sense. My blood is thrumming lowly through my body, my heart is beating just that bit quicker and I can feel a light-but-ever-present tension since my flight confirmation came through. My neck, my arms, my shoulders, every part of my body, is just that bit more rigid, that ounce more stiff, unable to relax no matter how much I inhale and exhale and eat to distract.
I’m overthinking everything but nothing.
In fact, I know that if I think about it too much, I may have a full-blown panic attack.
So actually, even though I’m blocking all coherent thought out, I’m incapable of blocking the feelings out.
Because this summer, I’ll be leaving my home to go on my longest solo trip ever – to teach English in South East Asia. My year long draft contract has come through, I’ve been in contact with the two lovely women I’ll be living with, and I’ve even ‘met’ some of my colleagues at the school via a Skype meeting with my supervisor.
It’s real and it’s happening, very much so. And not like how I thought moving to Colombia was happening. This is genuine.
I’m moving abroad for a year. This is considerably more time than the two to three months I typically spend abroad, such as when I went to India in January 2017, or to Thailand, Cambodia and Bali in September 2017. Hell, even right now… I’m only in the Middle East for a couple of months. This will be for a year.
I’ve desired this since I was 16 years old (when I first discovered my love of history and different cultures because I was obsessed with my Eastern European history class) and the utter want to move abroad and discover and learn something new has never died down. Ignored and pushed away certainly, but never entirely forgotten. So it’s not like the excitement and amazement that I’m doing this nine years later isn’t present, it’s just that those feelings are currently heavily buried under the sheer amount of nerves I’ve already mentioned I’m blocking out.
Also, I find that, on all of the travel blogs I’ve personally followed, I’ve not read one article on people who are freaking the hell out because they’re moving abroad. Or if they are, it’s mentioned in passing and then neglected as they write about all the things they’re instead excited about (although perhaps they’re too blocking the feelings?). But I can’t do that yet. I’m too nervous about what I’ll potentially miss than to write about what awaits.
Because my nerves are only because I’ll miss people. Everything else, like culture shock, keeping my veganism in a heavily based meat country, finding make-up that won’t break me out, etc. can be dealt with once I’m in the country, and I actually look forward to those challenges (although maybe not the make-up one!), but it’s just… this feeling, I’m not sure how to remedy. I mean, can I really look forward to missing people like I’m looking forward to the hardship of everything else?
Firstly, I’m worried that I’m throwing something good away. That I’ve found someone who I absolutely adore, and who I believe adores me, and that I might ruin it all by leaving. Notwithstanding the fact he’s 100% supportive of this, I can’t help but think about what could be, and the affect and changes this will cause.
Then, I’m worried about my friends. I have the most amazing friends. Friends who I’m blessed to have. Friends who I miss the most whenever I go travelling: I send them voice messages when I’m in a club and ‘our songs’ come on, drunkenly screaming the lyrics at them, I message them everyday with stupid pictures and facts and they do too. I’m literally in love with them. And even though I know our relationships won’t change, I keep worrying that I’ll miss the important things. I mean, what if one gets married? And another pregnant? Or, oh God, maybe someone has a house-warming party because they’ve finally managed to get on the bloody expensive property ladder and they now have an actual mortgage!? I would love to attend. My point is, is that I would want to be there for all of it, and it bothers me that I may not.
Lastly… it’s my family. My Mum is literally one of my best friends, and the prospect of only seeing her once in the year if she can fly out to see me, is quite upsetting. We speak pretty much everyday, and see each other when we can. I’m already missing the Brasilian restaurant with its passion fruit caipirinhas we frequent in Camden Town, alongside our shopping trips where I usually ask her to buy me shoes and hats I don’t need because I’m a cheapskate.
My brothers will grow older, and that will be strange too, to not be there as it happens. I’ll be buying my Dad and stepmum presents from across the globe (as I already am for Fathers Day, as I’m in Jordan), and thinking about my return journey, when they’ll be there to greet me upon my return at the airport, is already making me quite happy – and I’ve not even left yet!
I can write a much longer blog post about each of the people I’ll miss and why. I could probably turn it into a novel with just how many words it would be, but I’m refusing to do that here as I’ll probably end up cancelling the trip due to homesickness before I’ve actually left home!
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for this opportunity – I always am when I travel because I recognise how much of a privilege it is – but damn, the nerves are getting to me tonight. I don’t think I realised, in the months between getting the job and then getting prepared to leave England, that I would be this affected. I thought that excitement and dream fulfillment would be the overriding emotions by a long shot. Not this dull terror. Because I really am quite frightened now that it’s actually happening, and I’ll be honest, if the right people seriously asked me to stay, I would consider jacking in the job strongly. But, as aforementioned (because I do need to keep reminding myself too), I’ve wanted exactly this since I was 16, and it may be a good idea to also have some stability for a while.
But this, this dream that has plagued me and shaped my life immensely over the past two years… is, dare I say, coming true, and yes, I’m worried.
From the ancient ruins of Jerash to the nature reserve of Ajloun, you can smell the olive trees.
As the minibus rumbles along, winding through large valleys and small towns where stalls sell qatayef and nuts with nougat, the scent that enters through the open windows is distinctive and homely.
It reminds me of my Dad’s Italian cooking – olive oil with balsamic vinegar; chopped olives in a fresh tomato sauce; olives served as an antipasti alongside cheeses, cured meats and wine. Olives straight from the jar in the fridge as a snack.
It reminds me of passages from religious texts, where these trees are mentioned so frequently. This must be what the Mount of Olives smells like in Jerusalem, and the Garden of Gethsemane. I want to take my Mum there one day.
The scent of the olive trees, only prevalent for 10 minutes or so, are comforting.
I love Sunday mornings with you.
And because of that. I feel odd.
I wouldn’t say I’m lonely right now, not quite that, as I lie here this Saturday night. But that’s only because I have an energetic little kitten playing beside me, nibbling my fingers and licking my cheek as I settle down to sleep. (I wonder, would you let her sleep in bed with us? You probably would, because she makes me smile and you love when I smile. Besides, you like cats too).
But… I feel odd though, because it’ll be her I wake up next to tomorrow morning, and not you. It’ll be her attacking my feet and making me jump, rather than your body pressed tightly against mine, your arms wrapped around me, my hands clasping yours, as you kiss me gently awake.
My Sunday morning won’t start with you… and it’s a strange feeling.
Usually we wake up slowly, dreamily, lazily. I kiss your warm cheek and nudge my leg further against yours as you stir.
We’re often stuck together from sweat.
I smile when that happens. I smile because it means we’ve spent the whole night entwined, unable to part even for a minute in unconsciousness.
When you press your lips to mine for the first time on a Sunday morning, my heart beats quicker. When you tell me that you wake up so frequently during the night just to take in the fact that I’m the one sleeping beside you. That you’re spellbound because you’re in awe of me, because you love me, because you want me, because my head feels so perfect on your chest. I still can’t believe that I’m the one who ignites these feelings in you – I mean, fuck, I’d looked at you for so long, and you had no idea. But now… I feel so loved by you, and I hope you know that I so love you too.
We have brunch together on Sunday mornings. Often hurried, because we like to laze away curled up in bed, toes pressed against shins. Cereal for you. Toast for me. The news or the sports channel on TV. You chow down and rush to get ready as I laugh at you and roll my eyes lovingly. Because this happens every time.
‘They won’t mind if you’re late,’ I call from the living room, spooning sugar into my coffee.
‘You’re wrong!’ you respond, stumbling about, trying to find your shorts, your sock, your trainers, in the bedroom. ‘Look,’ you emerge, patting your hair down as you shove your phone into my face, ‘all from my cousin! He texts every five minutes telling me to hurry up, hurry up, four minutes, two minutes… I was supposed to be there 10 minutes ago! They’re going to be pissed!’ But you’re smiling as you say it, and I’m sorry darling… but I really do have to delay you by another 10 minutes, because you look so wonderful and so damn hot in your football gear, that I find I can’t stop kissing you.
‘What’re you up to today?’ You ask, when we eventually make our way down to your car – you to go to the pitch, me to the tube station.
‘Brunch with the girls from university.’ You raise an eyebrow.
‘But we just ate.’
I shrug and grin. ‘I like food.’ You lean over and kiss me.
‘And I like you.’
Ah! My twentieth blog post is about an award I’ve been nominated for!
My face is just full of smiles. ❤
When I first got the notification regarding the Sunshine Blogger Award, I was seriously ecstatic, and now I’m looking forward to spreading the love to other bloggers!
The rules are:
-Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog
-Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you
-Nominate your favourite bloggers to receive the award, and write 11 questions for them
-List the rules and display the award logo on your post and blog.
So thank you so much for the award, KingKelseyxo, because this genuinely made me grin! x
1) What’s the last song you listened to?
Hmm… I believe it was a popular Arabic song. I’m currently in Jordan, so the only music I’ve been hearing lately has been Arabic. However, the last song I played on my iPod was probably something by Jack White, who’s voice I am in love with!
2) Do you watch blogs? If so, recommend someone?
I don’t really watch vlogs or anything, but I am obsessed with a few bloggers, including my absolute darling: This Battered Suitcase, who I credit as the one person who inspired me to take that first plunge to change my life and finally travel solo.
3) Who’s your favourite female animated character that isn’t Disney?
You know, I haven’t really watched any animated shows or films for years, so off the top of my head… I’m not too sure. Although I am obsessed with The Incredibles, so I’d have to say Violet Parr or Edna Mode!
4) What’s your favourite song from 2004?
Quite a specific date! *Googles quickly.* Damn, 2004 was a good year for music! Out of the quick selection Google has provided me with, I’d have to go with Eminem’s Just Lose It or Kevin Lyttle’s Turn Me On. That was a hard choice though! Especially because I know that at that point, I was in love with Within Temptation and Nightwish too.
5) If you could read only one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.
6) What’s your usual order from McDonald’s?
Chips. As I’m attempting veganism, I can’t order much, but when I was just vegetarian… Smarties McFlurry all the way!
7) If you have £1000 and only one hour to spend it, could you do it?
Of course I could. I’d just book some flights.
8) You just got a cat/dog, what do you name him/her?
This is dependent on the personality of my animal. However I’m quite fond of food names for animals because I’m quite fond of food. Otherwise, it may be a name entirely unexpected for an animal, such as Enid.
9) What’s your Hogwarts house?
10) What’s your favourite game to play on your phone?
I’m so boring, I don’t have any games!
11) What colour do you look best in?
Probably black or yellow. Secretly I’m a bumblebee.
So here are my nominations, because I absolutely adore reading your words!
And my 11 questions are:
- What’s your dream holiday destination and why?
- What book would you recommend for summer reading?
- What outfit or accessory makes you feel fabulous?
- On a typical Sunday morning, what would you be doing?
- If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- Do you have any role models? If so, who are they?
- What is something on your bucket list?
- Tea or coffee?
- What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
- If there was one change you would like to see in the world, what would it be?
- Do you have a favourite fairy-tale? If so, what is it?
Thanks for reading!
It was only after I had booked my flights to the Middle East that I realised I was travelling during Ramadan.
Initially, I worried and fretted, panicking whilst pacing back and forth before my laptop. ‘Shit,’ I would say, wondering ‘will services run slower? Will people be easily irritated from lack of sustenance? Will attractions even be open!?’ I was giving myself a list of reasons as to why I should change the dates – perhaps travel in late June or early July (times where I wouldn’t have to think about possible fines and/or imprisonment for having a bite to eat or some water to sip on the street), and I was ready to halt all travel plans to the region. Instead, I began looking at travelling to Sri Lanka or Nepal, or perhaps returning to India.
But I thought about it, had some discussions with myself and my hottie, and decided that, ‘hell yes, I’m travelling during Ramadan!’ Because why not? I was assured that the people were extra hospitable at this time, and also, my lazy ass self didn’t care to cancel or adapt the plans I had already made. So I decided to go ahead, and as I sit here in Jordan and write this, I’m incredibly happy that I flew out to Lebanon a week before this holy month to begin my journey. Continue reading “My First Time Ever Fasting! (Ignoring the 5.2 Diet)”
Today armed police took us to a museum.
Literally, they were the armed police and with their threatening guns, khaki uniform and bulging muscle, every ounce of their power stance suggested that they don’t like to fuck around.
But apparently, they do. For at least 10 minutes a day anyway, because when we asked for directions to the Armenian Genocide Orphans’ museum, two of them were only too happy to pull round their cars, tell the six of us to hop in, and drive us there themselves.
And yes, thankfully they did leave their guns behind.
When in America, do as the Americans do – especially because England doesn’t have any legal shooting ranges that I know of where you can shoot with SWAT style guns and AK-47s! (Although, after a quick Google, I did manage to find a few places in the country which offer clay pigeon shooting and an air rifle/pistol experience, which I want to go to solely to wear a corduroy blazer and tweed trousers).
So when we went to Vegas for my Dad’s wedding, it was a given that we would be going shooting – indeed, my Dad and my brothers spearheaded this whole movement – and a few days before we left, me, my family and my bestie found ourselves being thrown about in a huge Humvee vehicle careering down the wide American roads, AC/DC blaring as the army clad driver yelled, ‘this is just what it was like in ‘Nam!’It was over the top and exhilarating and I loved the drive. The sun kissed our skin as the wind threaded through our hair, and my brother’s excitement for what was to come was infectious. None of us could quite believe, as we bumped along, that we were about to go shooting.