Life: Before and After

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I love a good blog.  I am a regular reader of many, with a select few that I read everyday, ones that I found whilst scouring the internet on a dull and dreary afternoon, looking for something to pass the time in-between watching Friends repeats, and probably cuddling a hot chocolate.

There are thousands of blogs out there at the moment, it has become a full time career for many people, some of them so popular they get paid a four figure sum just to upload one photo to Instagram, that simply promotes a brand or product, soon to be snapped up by their millions of loyal followers. Many blogs reflect the look and style of glossy magazine pages, with the blogger themselves leading what seems to be a glamorous and perfect life, documenting the free clothes and beauty products they receive and showing their bronzed skin from their latest holiday, but the one’s I like are those I can relate to, I am interested in people that write about their everyday lives, the good as well as the bad, their thoughts, feelings, worries, plans, and embarrassing, cringe-worthy moments.

In a way blogs are like reality TV in a written form however they are actual reality, and who doesn’t love crashing in front of reality TV after a long day at work or on a lazy Sunday afternoon? You? Oh. Reading about other people’s lives reassures me that I’m normal, blogs basically answer all the questions I want to ask other people without making anyone feel uncomfortable/awkward/delete me from Facebook.  So, that is the inspiration for this post, this is an outline of a normal mundane week of my life before and after moving to America. Disclaimer: This could be the most boring post yet, stay tuned.

Before…

Myself and my Fiancé, Ian (I feel so awkward using the word Fiancé, but at the same time I also love it and want to shove my ring in everyone’s face, anyone else?) lived in a rented one bedroom apartment in Leeds, which I have just found out was once an old country house, that was then converted into a school and is now made up of ‘luxury’ flats,  although the spiral staircase leading to our front door did make me feel fancy and grown up, the lingering smell of damp and old rickety storage heaters didn’t quite reflect luxury, however it was really cute and cosy, and set in a really nice location, I do miss it sometimes.

I worked full time at Leeds Beckett University as part of a small administration team, most mornings I would run for the bus because I didn’t get up as early as planned and I would miss it by approximately 15 seconds, my feet would be freezing in my old black pumps from Topshop and I would be wrapped up to my eyeballs in my navy woolly scarf because, well, English weather.  I would arrive at work around 9:00am where I would sit for the next four hours switching my concentration between the computer screen and the clock on the wall until it was lunch time.  I would then meet my friend Jen, where we would sit in the cafeteria with our identical lunches of ham sandwich thins, a yoghurt and a side of grapes, we would discuss people we knew, people we didn’t know, TV shows, women’s rights, the usual things, it was my favourite part of the work day.

On the afternoon I would make my way over to the snack cupboard and consider eating the biscuits that were six months out of date, decide it wasn’t worth the risk, and leave them there for the next person to do the same, I would then probably text Ian a photo of a cute cat, which he would ignore.  I would get home around 6pm (please note: I was never late for the bus on the way home), wash the dishes from the night before because we’re lazy like that, and then go to the gym with Ian, afterwards we would watch dinner in-front of the TV where we would stay for most of the evening, watching Celebrity Masterchef or Netflix whilst simultaneously playing on our phones.  I would probably light a few candles on the fireplace and tell Ian off for sitting on the cushions wrong and messing them up, you girls know what I’m talking about right? RIGHT?  Sometimes we may interrupt this routine with the odd evening out for dinner or the cinema, but not all the time, life is blummin’ expensive! Oh, and we would go to the pub quiz most Thursdays with some friends, I was definitely more of an observer than an answerer but I got to drink cheap prosecco as I did it.

On the weekends we would often go out for dinner, a favourite being The Deer Park in Roundhay – the chocolate brownies are the business, on Saturdays we would often drive into the city centre treating ourselves to lunch and a bit of shopping or the cinema, or we would hang out with friends, drinking gin, talking about life and maybe fit in a little dance to Taylor Swift if the mood was right. On the Sunday we would do all the chores around the house that we couldn’t be bothered to do during the week, we would cook a sunder dinner or some sort of stodgy winter warmer, and then suddenly it would be night time and I would already be dreaming of the upcoming Friday.  Quite often we would also drive the hour and a half trip back home to Redcar in the North East where we would stay for the weekend, have a night out with friends, go for dinner, see family and regress to being a teenager, having our Mams do our washing.  Score.

After…

We now live in a two bedroom apartment as we felt at 25 and 30 years old it was no longer appropriate to store the bike behind the sofa, and clothes that we couldn’t fit in the wardrobe, behind the lazy boy in the living room.  Whereas we do not live in the City Centre we do live within walking distance, the streets are busier than what we were used to in Leeds, it’s not as green and pretty and it’s much louder, but we are also much closer to many bars and restaurants which I love.  However, I do miss the quietness of our old apartment when I am woken up in the middle of the night by a revving motorbike or an argument outside.

As I am unable to work whilst in America I am on my own for most of the weekdays whilst Ian is busy contributing to society.  Each day I get up around 7:30am, however this is slowly getting later and later as the mornings get darker and darker, who know’s whether I will even get out of bed by the time December come’s around.  I go to a gym class or for a run most mornings, but I feel my weekend cheesecake fix is counterbalancing this effort, and then I do the boring chores that I have no excuse not to do now.  A couple of time’s a week I go down to the Italian market where we get our fruit, veg and meat, I will stand and talk to the guys in the butchers who have been tricked into thinking I am a lovely girl by my British (ahum, Hugh Grant-like) accent, they ask me about home and the things I miss, which is really nice and cheers me up if I’m having a bad day.

Up until now the weather has stayed hot and sunny most days, however with ‘fall’ in full swing, mother nature seems to be very confused with temperatures ranging from 10 to 25 degrees C, so you can only imagine what happens when I have to decide what to wear in the morning, and at the age of 25 I still haven’t quite got the idea that a sunny day is not always a warm day.  The rest of my time is spent writing blog posts (which takes me forever), wedding planning, taking a walk into the city centre or somewhere new, writing emails to friends back home, sometimes I write letters (sometimes = twice) and most weeks I speak to my parents on the phone for about two hours talking about what we’ve been up to, wedding’s and just general nonsense.  I will probably send Ian more photos of cute cats, which he now replies with a simple ‘No’, and I then ignore. On an evening our routine is pretty similar to before, Ian goes to the gym, we make dinner and watch TV however this time it is only Netflix as neither of us have the patience to figure out which channels are good on Cable.  Before the dark nights set in we would go out more on a night time for a bite to eat or a walk, however we do still go bowling most weeks, but it turns out life if still blummin’ expensive.

On the weekends we try to go somewhere new for dinner, we usually walk into the city, have some lunch, maybe some drinks, through the summer beer gardens were one of our favourite spots, and we quite often go to our ‘local’ where we have a few drinks (pineapple Martini is my new thang), play our favourite songs on the juke box and have a few games of pool.  Now and then we will go out for the day, or visit a museum or art gallery.  Now that we’re starting to get to know people we’ll meet up with others who will show us some new places, generally based around drinking, which is all good fun.  Generally Sunday is our chill day where I will try my best not to pester Ian as he tries to fit in some chill time to watch the constant stream of sports that are on American TV.  Tries being the operative word.

People often ask me what I do all day whilst I’m not working and I get embarrassed, I think it’s because I still find it uncomfortable telling people that I am ‘unemployed’ and feel like I should be something more, also when I go to answer I simply can never remember what I have been doing, I could have ran a marathon and I would probably forget to mention it.  I do sometimes put music on and dance around the flat to Little Mix though, I advise anyone having a bad day to do this, it will solve all your problems.

When moving somewhere new I think there is a view that life is going to be really different, exciting, and full of adventure, which it is sometimes, we get to go to see new places, do new things, go on holidays we would never have had the chance to, however on a day to day basis Ian is here to work, he has a Monday to Friday routine, and we still have a monthly budget that we have to stick to, so quite a lot of the time our days are similar to how they used to be. Of course, life is obviously very different in some ways, and there are parts of each life that I enjoy and would or do really miss.

The main difference for me is not being able to work which has it’s pro’s and con’s, and I obviously now have much more spare time, meaning I now clean the fridge more than once a year, I have time to hand wash my bras and I can take 5 naps a day if I so wish.  With nowhere important to go I no longer wear make-up everyday and sometimes I don’t even straighten my hair, sometimes I even leave the house like this, and I finally have the opportunity to be one of those people that sit on their laptops working in coffee shops during the day, even if I am just checking social media.  Another big difference we have both noticed is my lack of general intelligence and awareness, ‘my unemployment brain’ as I like to call it, I have always had moments of daftness (if that’s a word) that other people have taken great joy from, however I seemed to have taken it to a whole new level, my favourite being when I left the kitchen sink tap running until there was a healthy amount of water pooling on the floor and in the cupboard below, which wouldn’t be that bad, but I was stood right next to the sink the whole time.  There are also many things I have said, but that’s for another day.

If you are still reading this I take it as a compliment you have enjoyed reading about my boring life, if not, I forgive you.

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