A month ago . . . up to now

It’s been yet another donkey age since I’ve written/posted/whatever here. And it makes me feel like a real jerk. So, sorry about that. But! In that time I’ve submitted a master’s thesis, taken my friends back to the States with me to do a grand tour of Virginia/Pennsylvania/Delaware/Maryland/New Jersey/New York/Connecticut . . . (major cities D.C., New York, and Philadelphia).

Coming back from America to England, marking the year anniversary of living here, has been interesting. It certainly hasn’t been as easy as it’s been in the past. Not that leaving my family has EVER been easy, but now I’m a bit more jaded about the bureaucracy that’s so prevalent in England (not that we don’t have it ourselves, but it’s taking 5 BUSINESS DAYS to deposit a cheque here. BUSINESS. DAYS. 5. FIVE. We were not amused). As much as England became a real place while I studied at Oxford almost 4 years ago, it’s real as anything now. I’m here longer than I anticipated, or anyone in my family planned, despite my not-so-secret desire to stay here for a considerable period of time. And perhaps that’s why, finally, I feel like a kind of/sort of adult. I’m having dinner parties (small ones) and planning holidays (my first Thanksgiving, albeit on foreign shores).  Everything has a bit more of a grown-up edge to it, as I apply for jobs and sort out my still-new flat. I no longer just like to USE a diary (planner) because it makes me feel smart, I legitimately NEED one (or 3) because I have to keep track of my life.

I’m considering going into greater detail about organizing my flat, but what I’m quite proud of at the moment are my new window boxes. The previous tenant kept two window boxes, with chrysanthemums, rosemary, sage, and other plants. By the time I took over occupation, these plants were dead as a doornail and functioned as an ashtray for somebody’s illegal cigarettes. Lovely.

I’d always intended to re-plant them, but a number of things stopped me. 1) my thesis. 2) my lack of funds. 3) the multiple spiders squatting in various corners of my window.

BUT! Post-thesis, with a bit of coin rattling about, and after a quick de-forestation of spider webs and their inhabitants, I am now the proud proud owner of lovely window boxes! I drove (was driven) to a lovely garden center just outside  on the outskirts of London. My parents always dragged me to garden centers with them when I was younger (or dragged me enough that it was memorable) and, despite my general refusal to help with yard work, I now find gardening and looking at plants to be a very comforting pastime. Or the idea of it, anyway.

I tried to pick out some hardier plants that would survive the winter, or at least survive INTO the winter. I’ve chosen ferns, winter berries (a type of holly, apparently), and calluna vulgaris. I wasn’t sure what calluna vulgaris was, only that I thought it was pretty and looked hardy. Turns out, I have a special attachment to it, because it’s just this:

It was wonderful to get my hands dirty and produce a visible result. It makes my window look much more cheerful and my flat much more homey.

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