Friday, 11 March 2011

Unexpected trip to the UK; ups and downs.

So, I was supposed to go to visit my aunt in Torino, Italy, but for reasons I'm not going into here that fell through. I was incredibly disappointed not to be able to go, and then it hit me that I had no money to go anywhere else for the week's break, because it was initially my uncle who paid for the train tickets, or else I wouldn't have been able to go at all. I got so unbelievably sad at the though of being stuck in France for the whole week on my own, while all my other international friends were already away on trips they'd had  planned for weeks. I was on Skype to Tim, and he suggested I come to London as his parents live about an hour away. Once I'd got the idea into my head that I was going to be seeing Tim I just couldn't get it out of my head. I had to borrow money from my parents (again..) to pay for the travel, and it was very expensive as I had to book it right at the last minute, having had next to no notice about Italy falling through I could only get a refund on the return tickets, which went back into my uncle's account. If I'd have known even a few weeks in advance I probably could have done the journey for around 100-150 euros, as it is I think I spent about 230 euros on my tickets, which was expensive, but I considered it the only option I had. I booked the tickets as soon as I could and travelled on Tuesday (up at 6am), arriving around lunchtime in St Pancras.

Tim took me for a wonderful lunch at Tas Pide, a Turkish restaurant specialising in their equivalent of pizza (pide, pronounced pea-duh). It was delicious. Being the indecisive person I am, and being confronted with more than one vegetarian option, I went for the lunch menu as it saved a lot of time and I was hungry by this point. Tim had a pide too, but his was slightly different to mine. Before we'd even ordered food, we we brought complementary soup, with freshly baked, warm bread, and olives. Tim remarked we could have just said oh thanks very much, paid for the drinks, and left with a free lunch, but we didn't. The food arrived, it was beautiful. My pizza had peppers, onions, tomatoes... loads on it, and Tim's had tiny cubes of cheese all over it and was slightly curry/spicey-y. We'd ordered a side of chips and we got given free sides too so were feeling very stuffed by the time the pudding came: an apricot stuffed with cream stuff and sprinkled with nuts. It was delicious but  a bit too rich after the feast we'd had! We paid, and waddled out back into London. I could hardly move!

Then we got a bus back to Tim's parents' house, near Oxford, which took about 1h30 and we fell asleep together.
We had some soup which Tim's lovely mum had made for us, then headed for an early night.

Wednesday I didn't really do much, Tim got up and tried to wake me and tempt me with the thought of warm pain au chocolats for breakfast, I vaguely remember it but apparently he said 'there's pain au chocolat for breakfast if you want it' and I said 'mm, good' and then fell straight back to sleep! I had obviously needed the rest. Wednesday afternoon we drove up to Newcastle, nothing much to report there. We did some food shopping on the way back and I can't tell you how excited I was to be putting Quorn burgers, pies and veggie sausage rolls into the basket!

Thursday we got up early, had breakfast, then went ice skating together! It was lovely, I was much better than I thought I would be, and than I was last time, maybe because there were only 10 people on the ice so I had space to practice without being scared of being killed/knocking into anyone. Tim is an ex ice-hockey player so he showed me up a bit, but I didn't fall over. I did a serious wobble into his arms but nothing too crazy! By the end we were having mini races, although I'm sure he was slowing down considerably for me, because when there was only us left on the ice at the end, he did a few speedy laps while I watched, and then told me that he was out of practice and that was slow!

I took some soppy pics to remember the day by as it was so lovely. We're hopefully going to go a bit more regularly once I'm back in the UK!

Thursday night Tim had band practice so I caught up on some UK TV on my laptop in the bath.

Friday I met up with some girls from Newcastle who are coming to Angers in September, they asked some questions and I told them some stuff so they could feel a bit more prepared. I wish I'd have talked to someone like that earlier, it might have saved me a lot of stress last year!
Friday evening we (me, Tim, James from his band and his wife Anila) went to my favourite vegetarian cafe/restaurant, Sky Apple Cafe in Heaton. Oh my, it was good. For starters, me and Tim shared the sweet potato gnocci, then he had the mushroom wellington, and I had a tostada... you'll have to look on the website coz I can't describe how amazing it was! Again we were stuffed but I love it SO much in there.
Afterwards we met up with Joey and Emma, my ex-flatmate and her friend, which was great, to be able to see them again at such short notice! We only had one drink then said bye as the girls we feeling a little fragile after the night before, and Tim had a very long day ahead of him so we needed an early night.

Saturday was spent packing, and travelling. We collapsed into bed and had to get up at 6am. Oh, and I managed to smash a pot of pot pourri before bedtime. Oops. When I'm tired my eyes don't work together and my peripheral vision is awful!
Sunday, up at 6. Haul selves out of bed with no time for breakfast, Tim's mum drives us to the bus stop to get into London. Sleep on bus. Arrive in London around 8.30, around 2 hours before my train leaves. Get tube to right station, have a sleepy, expensive breakfast in Pret while taking pictures of Tim to use as my phone background. Buy another sandwich for lunch on the train, have cuddles with Tim then say bye to him. No tears this time, although I do get a bit choked up when I can't see him anymore. I think it gets easier the more I do it.
I even managed to do Paris Metro on my own with no hassle, which used to terrify me. I arrived at my station with over an hour to spare, so sat quietly snoozing and watching the world go by. My train is called, I go to the platform and get on the carriage. I couldn't find my seat for ages, the train was jam packed and it turns out our seats were through the bar area, I had to kick a guy out of my seat and there were people trying to sleep standing up in the bar. Crazy. I was so glad to be back in Angers.

I tried to work on Sunday night, really I did, but I was exhausted and not in the mood for learning. I was thrown right back in at the deep end on Monday, in from 9am-6pm, with only 1h15 break and an exam in the morning.
Tuesday I was so tired my eyes were point blank refusing to co-operate, both with me and with each other, and dealing with double vision, and coursework and lessons just didn't appeal. I had got myself up at 8am, went for a nap at 11am when I realised productivity was not working, then got up again at 1pm, missed all my lessons trying to get this coursework done, only to find out it was for Saturday. D'oh!


Not much to report other than that. I'm really feeling the financial strain this term though, having gone a bit crazy last term. I'm almost £800 into my £1000 overdraft, and after next month's rent I'm not sure I'm going to have enough to live on. I've set myself a budget which I'm going to stick to, but I'm feeling very stuck because I don't feel I can go out on day trips because I have no money to, and I don't like going out in the evening because the night buses stop fairly early and I don't feel comfortable walking back home on my own sober, let alone after a couple of drinks.
I'll have to borrow money from my parents next month, which makes me feel sick because I've spent all the student loan plus a lot of their money already. I've put adverts up for babysitting or English lessons today, so hopefully something will come out of that. I'm also volunteering at the English Library next Friday, running a conversation group in English with 5 15-18 year olds, so looking forward to that.