Tag Archives: personal

Resonance: Acceptance of Failure overkill?

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“Yes, failure is part of entrepreneurship . . . but we still need to be careful about not just labeling all failures as equally ‘useful,’” he says. “Some are true learning opportunities born of a disciplined innovation and experimentation process; others are the outcomes of very poor decision making.”

-Michael A. Roberto

Rachel Gillett talks about the acceptance of failure, its failure, and the threatening oversaturation and abuse of the concept over at Fast Company.

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the Lakes

As I slip further and further into the abyss of attempting to write with a looming deadline, I find it harder and harder to disconnect from myself and my own worries. E-mails to friends wait longer and longer in my inbox, and it’s harder and harder to set aside my own stresses to focus on someone else’s. It’s easier to just throw up my hands and say that nobody understands, not even my friends that are doing the exact same thing. Hardly adult behavior.

Continue reading the Lakes

Death and Nature do Contend about them

I’m attempting to trick my mind into believing my room is a cafe, because my Room the Cafe is free, but before I continue with that attempt:

I’m doing research on Macbeth; it’s my favorite Shakespeare play because every time I read it I realize what a crazy-ass BAMF Lady Macbeth is. She has the most fantastic lines

The raven himself is hoarse, that croaks the fatal approach of Duncan under my battlements

Your face, my thane, is as a book where men may read strange matters . . .look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under’t

Screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail

I woke today with the determination to live my life the way I want to live it, and to not apologize for it. I worry that I miss so much by being overly cautious, by holding myself back from what I want because of some voice in my head. I’m not unhappy, I don’t want to give that impression. But I live in an amazing city and I have the opportunity to do amazing things. I don’t want to look back and realize I just existed here, rather than lived here.

I want to go to Paris in the Spring. I want to drive through Ireland and dig my toes into the sand and the sea.

I want to have the courage to do the things that my cautious nature gives me pause to do.

Barefoot in the Park

I’ve been meaning to take a turn around the park across from my building for quite awhile now. The leaves have all changed color and have blanketed every surface in an orangey-red cushion. The park is largely abandoned now; not that it was ever a bustling part of the metropolis. Now people just take their dogs for a quick spin and head back where they came from as quickly as possible.

The sky in London is grey. Just grey. Unending, stretching as far as the eye can see. Fog hovers just atop the buildings, particularly in the mornings, and at night the sky glows mauve from reflected lights.

When the weather is like this I feel such a connection to the British authors, Charles Dickens in particular. Neil Gaiman as well. When everything is dusky and damp, the colors so vibrant due to the saturation of water and the dull sky, I feel like I can turn a corner into any world at all.

Chilly Chilly is the Evening Time

The original post that I started writing is so unbelievably incoherent it’s almost comical. So here’s take two:

Pictured above are all my worldly belongings. Or rather, all the belongings I deemed worldly enough to come with me on this journey. They’re now sort of spread across my lovely hotel room in Bloomsbury, along with the brand new pillows and duvet cover I bought from Argos today in a miraculous feat of errand-running that including eating lunch, going to Argos (and navigating it properly*), getting my iPhone set up, and returning to my hotel in the span of about an hour. I began to set up Charles and literally passed out in bed mid-app.

I managed to resuscitate myself enough to head to Starbucks for a tea and blueberry muffin (dinner of champions). And now I’m sitting here feeling like a knock-off Carrie Bradshaw circa 2003. I’m serious (exhibit A):

But I’m like, the slightly off-beat version because Carrie Bradshaw would be wearing considerably less than a quilted sweatshirt and jeans and would also be clutching a cigarette in her hand. As for the hypothetical, open-ended, “deep” questions at the end of each article . . . I make no promises either way.

Anywho, I hear beginnings are a very good place to start, so I’m going to zip back to 19 hours ago. The flight was uneventful, aside from three things: first, I sat next to a history professor! I have a very bad track record of sitting next to/being approached by some creepy dudes, so this was a very very pleasant alternative. Second, dinner was actually palatable (well played, Sir Branson). It was a vegetable curry with coconut rice, and while it certainly wasn’t the best curry I’ve ever had it certainly looked tastier than the other options. I’m discovering that the vegetarian option is almost always your safest bet for something reasonably tasty (and healthy).

Thirdly, the people sitting in front of me were from the next town over (a very horse-and-hound town). The daughter is studying abroad in London from the University of Miami. As could be expected, she was in no way dressed for crisp 60 degrees fahrenheit that greeted us in London.

After a jaunty bus ride through London with a very nice bus driver and Australian couple, I was dropped off at my hotel. As I wheeled my two large suitcases, carry-on bag, and yoga bag up to the door the handle of the red duffle broke clean off. Much to the theatrical dismay of the flock of blokes walking on the other side of the road (not that it compelled them to come help me), and my very honest dismay. So now it looks like this:

which naturally I’m just skippy about. Won’t make my life more difficult moving in tomorrow, no not at all.

But everything felt better after a long hot shower and cozy-ing up in a warm towel. That’s right. My hotel bathroom has a towel warmer. It is the greatest thing ever, and it should be adopted everywhere in the US. Stat.

So far (and it could very well all go to poo tomorrow) everyone has been ridiculously nice and helpful, to the point where one more nice person could make me go all “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Hopefully without all the shenanigans before and after, though.

But in all seriousness, I couldn’t have gotten Charles activated without the help from the girl who sat down next to me in Pret a Manger when there weren’t any seats left (and laughed when I promised that I didn’t bite, unless we counted my sandwich. Laughing at my poor attempts at friendly humor is always appreciated). And thank the Lord for the concierge at the bus service who saw that I was dead on my feet after lugging probably my own body weight in luggage all over the airport, and wheeled the bags over to the bench for me without lecturing me that I should have gotten a trolley (which I should have). The list of small kindness I’ve experienced in the last few hours goes on and on. And they’re all the sort of things that you don’t even think about while you’re doing them, but that you’re so grateful for when you’re on the receiving end. They’ve all made the transition so much easier to deal with at this point. I only hope the rest of the week goes as smoothly, though I know it probably won’t!

The only downside bit was lugging this massive Argos bag up the street towards my cellular phone destinations. I felt so unwieldy and awkward next to these incredibly sleek city-dwellers; only one step up from the bumbling tourists who stop in the middle of the sidewalk and alternate between staring down at the map then up at the sky like the clouds will spell out the answer like an oracle. (It won’t. People don’t mind you asking for help. They do mind you stopping in the middle of the sidewalk)

I felt much better running out for my tea. Just me, my bag, the L-shape of familiar territory from my hotel to the shop; walking quickly and with purpose. That made me feel better.

But all I’ve wanted to do all day is this**:

*for those who don’t know [most likely Americans] Argos is behind Target but above Walmart in quality. They sell all kinds of crazy houseware items from furniture to lamps to just about anything you can think of. But they operate this superstore by putting out rows and rows of desks with tons of catalogs on them. You figure out what you want, write down the catalog number, take the number to the cashier who rings you up, places your order, and then you wait for however long is necessary to pick it up at a separate desk. I had, in an (inadvertently) genius move, found my items online and jotted down their numbers. I was in and out in 10 minutes! Huzzah! First I-really-do-live-in-London checklist item taken care of.

**and yes, that is a crushed velvet bed pane. The room is very nice, but it does also a bit like a bordello designed by Ziggy Stardust

Roadtrippin’

These past few days have been a whirlwind of packing up my whole life (a post on that [plus un-packing] to come), visiting with friends, and random business things (paying my first credit card bill, aka terrifying). Last Tuesday my friend and I went into Washington, D.C. to chase down the food trucks we’d heard so much about. Well, let me tell you, they are elusive little suckers. And it was raining. So while wandering around the Archives metro station trying to remember where Pret a Manger (one of the greatest British imports since tea, even though arguably tea is NOT a British import) was, we discovered Merzi. Merzi is Chipotle for indian food, and needs to open up a business in every city across the world. It might not be 100% authentic, but it’s good, cheap, and fills you up. Aka, worth it.

Anyway, it rained cats and dogs that day, so after wandering around a bit and a quick jaunt through the Museum of Natural History, we jumped back on the Metro and returned to the equally rainy ‘burbs.

Exhibit A and B of raining cats and dogs:

On Friday I hit the road for Richmond, meeting up with some fellow Historian gentlemen friends. We went to Busch Gardens and walked onto all the rides. Weekend after Labor Day, you Americans. Best time to go to amusement parks. Seriously, we walked on. Every time. It was magical.

I then drove down to Williamsburg, had a lovely breakfast with a lovely friend, then stopped in Charlottesville on my way home to have dinner with my sister and her husband (malai koftas. so good. why does nobody ever tell me these things?)

The goodbyes are getting harder, even if they aren’t for forever. I just keep reminding myself how lucky I am, and how exciting this all is, and what a rare position I’m in.

But it doesn’t make it easier, honestly.

outfit details:
raincoat: my mom’s from circa 1970s
bag: madewell, circa 2010
boots: Russell and Bromley, circa 2009

The Backstory

So here’s the basic story.

I’ve semi-foolishly decided to pick up and move across the ocean, forsaking everything and everyone that I know in an attempt to actually make something of my life. It’s really rather literary, if I pause to think about it. So anyway, I’ll be studying for my master’s degree in Early Modern European history while living in what I’m assuming will be a teeny tiny little room with a bathroom, and a shared kitchen. This little corner of the internet universe will be dedicated specifically to my London/European adventures, from packing as much as I can into two suitcases and a carry on bag to decorating a little space in an attempt to feel more like home to wandering around London and the photographs I take to the food I prepare on a grad-student budget to the general hi-jinx I get up to. Hopefully it will be as exciting as I hope it will be. I’m 19 days out, as it stands.

Let’s see what happens, folks. cheers.