A cool housewive to be

Let me tell you something: the smell of mint tea can be one of the best things ever. Whatever the hour is, or wherever you are – mint tea never gets old. It smells like peace and quiet. We used to have our own mint in the garden, and then we would have real fresh mint tea. That was great.

Good, so far the philosophical rant on tea. You know, time really flies when you are trying to make your life work out. I’ve been here for two weeks now, which is not all that long. The past week I finally bought myself a desk lamp, for when I will actually start to do homework. So far I haven’t had too many classes yet, so not so much homework. So far, that is. I also bought coat hangers. These details, as it seems, can make your life be more like your life, and not like some kind of temporarily state. Because it is for four months. Everything here should feel like it belongs to me when I leave. The city as well. But for someone with my sense of orientation I’m doing a good job, I think! Maybe this is just an easy city or something.

Living here is not bad at all. It already feels quite comfortable. I don’t mind doing things on my own, I don’t even mind not becoming friends with all of my classmates immediately. Maybe that’s because I think it’s very cool that I do this, living abroad like this. It gives me some sort of strong feeling. I’m really doing this! I’m really cooking for myself everyday, I’m doing the dishes, the laundry, I even sewed the broken pocket of my winter coat. All of this sounds like I’m turning into a housewive, but somehow I find myself really cool for just doing it. And for talking Polish and Russian! However slowly it happens to be, I can talk to the people here, I can order food and drinks and I can aks for information. I even follow courses in Polish. Which is very hard and sometimes overwhelming, but still, I’m really doing it. Which is cool.

I start to take great pride in the fact that I speak six languages. Well, that’s exaggerated, because I’m not fluent in six language, but if I have to, I can talk in six languages. And however stupid and discouraging it can be, it proves itself worth it completely.

So me is doing well here 🙂 How are you guys?

Advertisements

Worry not…

… I haven’t decided to go living under a rock! However appealing that may be sometimes, I still prefer a duvet. My absence here is actually not because I’ve been hiding from life, but because I’ve been living very much. The past week I went on a skiing holiday, which was so awesome. We were part of a group, though we didn’t know a lot of people of this very group. But it’s entertaining to have all these new and kind people around you. It gives some variety, you know. Next to that, the snow was brilliant. Amazing. Perfect! I can’t remember ever having had suchgood conditions. Temperatures slightly below zero, ‘fresh’ snow, sunlight – it was almost too good to be true.

Well, actually, some people had bad luck, but overall I think for me this holiday was very, very good. It made all my worries about going to Poland and about my grades disappear like snow in the sun, as we say it here. (See what I did there?) As soon as I got home, it started again though.

snow

SNOOOOW source

 

On Monday I traveled to Poland, on my own. I’ve never traveled alone before. And it wasn’t just taking a plane, it was also taking a taxi and a train, with two heavy cases, and all in Polish. Huzzah! But with the help of the very kind and helpful Polish man, and people in general, all went well. Also, on the plane I had a very kind neighbour girl. We talked in Polish for the full two hours. She was so very kind, a lot of good karma must come her way!

So all went well, and now I’m not scared of anything anymore. (In theory, at least. But still. I feel a little badass.)

I got my grades on that very same Monday, but needless to say I thought all the travel stress was enough for one day. The next day though I couldn’t escape anymore. There are some reasons as to why I couldn’t postpone anymore, and there are some reasons why a failed class would be a giant problem. You see, I don’t have a room in the city of my university anymore, because I rented one of another girl who was gone for the semester. So technically the room was always hers. But when you fail a class, you have to retake the exam, so you have to be in the city of the university.
Which only adds to the joy of looking at yout grades, am I right?

But no stress was need, ’cause I passed them all! And some with flying colours. Especially my languages, which are very important to me, were very good. Oh the happiness, the relief! My friend and now flatmate and I opened a bottle of ‘something’ to celebrate. She got the bottle from another friend and didn’t know what it was. It turned out to be a sort of sweet bubbly wine thing. Lemonade with alcohol basically. But hey, it was good to celebrate!

So that’s what I have been doing for the last week(s). Also, I started a new blog, in my own native language this time, to keep my family and friends updated on what’s going on in my life. (For privacy reasons I’m not sharing the link.) This means though that all my wild adventures (that are hopefully yet to come!) will be posted there and not here. You will get to hear some things about Poland, but mainly this blog is going to be the same as it was. I don’t know if that’s good or bad news to you, but hey, I hope you’re at least happy that I’m still gonna be here 😉

The Thing and I : The Struggle is Real

Previously on The Thing and I: our somewhat messed up beginning, our struggle to get used to each other, and the slow improvement in our relationship. Today’s episode: how I realise that some things just aren’t meant to be.

Shouldn’t I have known all along that this was a bad idea? How could I even make myself believe for a second that this was actually a good plan? And could I have escaped anyways? Because these days, when you want a new phone, you either buy such an ‘old school’ type with the 9 key keyboard and a small screen, or a smartphone. While I liked my last phone, I still bought a new one because the alarm clock didn’t work anymore. Thinking I’d be abroad since August, I needed a phone with a functioning alarm clock. And a smartphone seemed like a good choice.

Yes, I should have known better. Next to the troubles in the beginning, even with the case I bought for it, it’s also just a slow phone. Sometimes it takes ages to just load the start screen. But now the fun’s only getting bigger! My charger doesn’t work anymore. It won’t fully charge my phone. Either he discharges while still being connected, or he doesn’t go higher than 90 %. Which is asolutely bullshit for a thing that’s not even 6 months old. Next to carrying the charger with me, in a separate pocket, I have done nothing to it.

So today I returned to the store and explained the problem. They said they would return it to the company. When I asked how long it would take for the new, good one to arrive, they said it would take three to four weeks.

*Alarm bells ringing loudly*

In two weeks, I’m leaving for Poland. I told them I would be leaving in two weeks. They said someone else could pick it up for me. Okay, but how is that thing getting to me, darling? Do you think someone will travel to Poland just to bring me my charger? Do you think I will return almost immediately after leaving to pick up a stupid charger? And how am I supposed to charge my phone during those weeks? Oh, we don’t fucking care how you charge your phone, do we?

This wouldn’t have been such a big deal if I hadn’t been leaving for Poland soon. But of course that stupid thing has to die now, at this moment. Thank you very much, dear smartphone thing. I hope you can meet all your friends again in charger heaven, but seriously, aren’t you too young to die?

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do now. The only option left is probably to buy a new one that fits every phone. Which means I will have to pay because something that shouldn’t break, broke. Which pushes my ‘this is unfair!’ button. It’s not like I couldn’t use that money for something else, especially now I’m almost leaving.

Some things aren’t meant to be. I should have known that you and I were doomed from the very beginning. I hope we will find a way to get along after all still, but honestly, I don’t think we’ll ever be real friends…

A sense of belonging

When I decided to stay in Belgium, I had to start my courses here a week later than everyone else. I missed out on almost all the first classes. That’s certainly not a big problem, and I have good classmates who tell me what I need to know about those first classes, but it does mean that I started my academic year a week later, and maybe that is why I have been so busy. Part of it, at least. It seems that I have been running from point A to B, from classes to food and back, and then to homework and then to bed and then to point A again. I have been running around, it seems. Just running around.

I thought this would be terrible, staying. I thought it would be hell. When I decided to stay in Belgium, I already knew I was choosing the ‘lesser bad’ option. Staying was not what I wanted, but being late more than a month in Russia wasn’t what I wanted either. And it seemed to go well. I have adapted to my new situation. There are small little bright sides here too: I have a good new room, I have good classmates and housemates. Things aren’t as dramatic as I imagined them to be.

But yesterday, I was listening to a certain song, and suddenly I started to miss all the others, all those who are now abroad. I miss them. I want them closer to me, I want to talk to them and go to dinner with them and have a drink with them. But they are all abroad and I am here because of no other reason than someone not doing his job well. I have lost. And I’m one of the few who actually had everything to go studying abroad. Not one retake for an exam. Good grades. No difficulties whatsoever.

And yet, here I am.

Together with missing my friends, I started to think I don’t belong here. I’m taking someone else’s space. This shouldn’t be my room and these people shouldn’t be talking to me and I shouldn’t be walking around here. It’s not like I don’t feel at home, because I do, but I have the idea that I’m out-of-place. I’m very used to this life here again already, and I think I’m doing well, and things look okay and everything. But I shouldn’t be here. I should be elsewhere.

It’s a strange thing, and I know I just have to suck it up, man up and so on, but this injustice and missing sometimes hits quite hard. I’ll get out of it again – but for now, I will try to find a way to deal with it.

A not happy end

Unless a miracle occurs, I will not go to Russia this semester.

I’m still waiting for my invitation, I’m still waiting for news about a host family and some other things. Meanwhile, the academic year in Belgium has started as well. This is the first week. One more week before the deadline of ‘pick your courses’. If I don’t want to be running late everywhere, I will have to decide now what I will do.

But actually, the decision has been made. I will be staying in Belgium. If I go to Russia, I want to be there as long as possible, I want to do as much as possible there, I want to blend in. If I would still go, I would be late more than a month. That’s a lot. It’s a pity to not be there as long as possible, too. Today is the last day. If I still get a phone call – ‘your invitation has arrived’ – today, I will go. But that’s not very likely to happen.

I will stay even though I want to go to Russia so badly, even though I don’t want to stay at all, even though I have done all this effort to go. My holiday didn’t mean anything, because I was waiting. I have thrown away three months for something that will not happen. I have had so much stress for something that will not happen.

It still feels like a punishment, but I guess I’ve paid my debts by now. I feel like a zombie.

Bad, worse, worst

Light in the darkness has come – finally. I received an answer from Russia quite soon, telling me I needed to fill in a form. Suddenly everything seemed so easy. Just fill in the form and send it to them. Then they finally can start making your invitation. There was one document I still needed, but after calling our coordinator at half past ten in the evening, he sent it to us.

This sounds like a solution, doesn’t it? I agree.

So this morning all I had to do was fill in the form some more and send it. Before doing that I was heading to the shop in our street to buy some bread. I ran into our neighbour, more specifically the mother of my good-looking ex-neighbour (her son – the one who winked at me!). By accident I had decided to wear my new, loose pants. For a change I felt quite fashionable while running into her! She immediately asked when I would leave for Russia.

And for the first time, I could give an answer I am quite certain of. That’s such a win – looking good and being able to give positive answers to questions about my trip to Russia!

When I came home, I send the stuff they need over there and now I have some sense of certainity. I’m no longer waiting without knowing who’s doing what, if they’re doing anything anyway. I have taken control for a part. I have sent mails until I figured out what was going wrong and now I’ve managed to get it straight.

The bad thing is that I will miss a month over there. It makes this adventure somewhat more terrifying. But after all my efforts and all the waiting, I didn’t want to give in. The worse option was going to Poland or year – honestly, though, I don’t really want that. The worst option would be staying. I must confess that while going through all the stress and doubts, this option didn’t seem so terrifying anymore. It’s so easy to just re-enroll yourself in the same university as the former two years. It takes perhaps two mouse clicks and it would be okay. On the other hand, I know I would hate to stay when almost my entire class is abroad, and two of my hometown friends.

I have made the decision to take the risk and arrive in Russia with delay. It’s bad, but at this point I can live with it. At least I’m going away. And at least I have done what I could to get this done after all. It’s a victory still!

Waiting

Waiting.

Waiting for my grades.
Waiting for the list of destinations we can go to.
Waiting for the confirmation that we’ve been accepted.
Waiting for my grades.
Waiting for the invitation.
Waiting for the visa.

Everything I did this year was to make sure I could go studying abroad the coming year. I worked very hard, because good grades are required. I have done what I could to make sure everything would turn out fine. To make sure that I could leave at the end of August.

The end of August is getting pretty close, and I still have nothing, no invitation, no visa, no confirmation of the host family. With every passing day I start to think more and more that I’m not going anywhere. Normally I’ve got at least four months Poland that’s safe, but the first semester is still one big black hole. And that scares me. There are only three people who want to stay, two of which are Polish. So if I have to stay, I’ll have classes with just two people sometimes. Isn’t that the most terrifying tought? For me it is.

I have been doing everything I could to make this work. I even send an e-mail to the university in Russia, to which they responded that they don’t have any information about us. And as long as they don’t send the invitation, we can’t get a visa and we can’t go.

That’s what we’re heading at. We can’t go. Though I have done what I could. Though everyone else is going. Though my entire life has been constructed to leave.

I’m afraid.

Oh the Panic

Have you ever been in a situation where you really, really wanted something, and then, when it got real, you got a panic attack because you’re not completely sure?

I’m in that position now. I’ve been saying I want to study abroad for quite a while now, but we finally got a list with possible destinations, and suddenly I would love to stay at home and stay here and not go away. As soon as I saw the list, panic rushed through me.

Shit’s getting real! Fuck! But I’m not really sure about this! I don’t know anything about this!

It’s true that there is still a lot to be done before I can really go studying abroad. Lots of documents, lots of stuff, lots of everything. That kinda scares me, because I’m always afraid of doing something wrong. Next to that the deadline to send all the documents needed to actually have a chance is really soon. Communication has been hard, so we were informed about this very late and now suddenly everything has to happen in a hurry.

It’s not the moment to hesitate. I’ve been saying I want this for quite a while now. I’ve been hearing stories of people liking it. But now suddenly, I’ve come to realize I will leave my family and friends behind and now it scares me.

It’s a great opportunity though, for a language student. I know I have to do it. But I really hope the panic will be replaced by enthusiasm soon…