The Last Year in England

I’m writing this New Year’s recap two weeks late, from a seat in LAX, where we wait to board our flight to New Zealand. Oh yeah, we’re moving to New Zealand in about…oh, two hours. We lose Thursday, January 16th to the International Date Line, and will arrive in our new city on Friday. We spent the day in Venice Beach, catching up with friends and family before watching the sunset as it melted down into the Pacific Ocean. There’s a full moon tonight, throbbingly bright, perfect to light our way through the sky.

2013 has challenged and changed me, and for the better. I successfully completed my MA dissertation on Freud’s Dora in 21st Century American Literature. I continued to live a more active life, swimming and hiking and walking and going to the gym. That being said, I also continued to live life without a scale, except for the times when my curiosity got the better of me and I’d make use of the one at the gym. I made it one more year without chopping my hair, bringing it up to two years post-pixie cut. I made a conscious effort to speak up and more often.

It’s difficult remembering the important events. This year was the year I forgot to journal, and most major events I can only remember if there’s a photograph of it. I’d like to turn that bad habit on its head, but for now, here’s a picture from every month and a semi-travel addled summary. Happy New Year, and best of luck to you all!



I tried to drastically change my eating habits and decided it wasn’t for me. It snowed, snowed, snowed, and then the lake froze (mostly). I completed essays on hysterical discourse and Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in Highschool, and Dora: a Headcase as a queering of Freud’s case study. Only one or two minor crying incidents, one of which disappeared in the presence of Chinese takeaway.



This month we decided to get away, and a bed and breakfast at the seaside in February seemed a perfect choice. This month, getting away was the perfect choice. This month, it was still snowing intermittently and things at my house were not going smoothly. I remember feeling very grim, an awful lot of the time.


Photo on 2013-03-18 at 12.47

March was a similarly angsty month, although it was also the month one of my dearest friends moved from Canada to live and work in London. Having her nearer was incredibly comforting, even though Norwich – London visits were only bi-monthly. Sean’s 30th birthday came towards the end of the month!



I visited Julie in London for the first time and it was joyous: sushi, hunting down Sriracha in Chinatown, watching a torch-singing drag performer at an underground cocktail bar, my first burrito in months, the Wellcome Trust gallery, and getting lost in cemeteries. Also, a terrible Channel 4 documentary on dogging. I also got solo time in London to explore the V&A and the Museum of Natural History. In April things began to feel noticeably less grim, not least because of the change in weather. I completed an essay on innocence and paralysis in The Age of Innocence and a creative-critical essay on the non-linear narrative structure of A Visit From the Goon Squad. My MA cohort gave our dissertation presentations and were paired up with our respective supervisors.



There were so many adventures in May! We saw the Kiwi mime, ‘The Boy With Tape on His Face’, a stage adaptation of a Scandinavian fairy-tale, ‘The Girl With the Iron Claws’, and a puppet performance of ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’. We saw Brooks Williams in the cozy underbelly of the Bicycle Shop. We spent 24 hours awake in London for Field Day 2013, where we saw Kurt Vile, Connan Mockasin, Dark Dark Dark, Bat for Lashes, and Animal Collective. May was the month of art, culture, and adventure.



We finally moved into our own flat, a sweet little place above a generations-old  fish monger and game merchant. Immediately after – like, the day after – we went to Glastonbury. We watched loads of comedy, cabaret, and small folk acts. I sang along to Billy Bragg (pictured). Other notable acts included the Rolling Stones and Asakusa Jinta. We didn’t shower for a week (also pictured).



July was spent outdoors! So many long walks, fen-y hikes, and outdoor reading sessions. I researched my dissertation and had written about half at this point. I started to feel really good about my body. We also went to a real ale/steam train festival, and the world premiere of “Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa”, which was held a few blocks away from our flat.



We had multiple visitors stay with us in the new flat. My dissertation was nearing the final stage, and performance anxiety began to kick in. I completed my Immigration paperwork, but couldn’t submit yet due to an upcoming trip. I went with Sean to his bowls club for the annual charity bowls tournament – I even had a go and wasn’t half bad! I started working at the Irish bar.



I mean, first things first, I submitted my dissertation. I bit it to make sure it was real before handing it in. The process wasn’t without stress – the entire final week I was convinced I no longer was making any sort of argument. Major thanks to my supervisor and my partner for talking me down, more than once. Sean and I went to Spain! This was my first real trip in a year, and it felt incredible. We stayed with Sean’s former housemates, who are Spanish, and it was one of the loveliest, hottest trips in recent memory. We ate manchego and patatas bravas and a taste of jamon. At the end of the month, my parents came to visit!


October was all about quality time with my parents after being apart for more than a year. We went back to the bowls club so that Sean could be honored for the second year in a row for amazingly awesome performance. We went to London to visit good friends and drink fine whisky, finally visit Highgate Cemetery, and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with Canadian pals. My New Zealand work visa arrived in the mail! We went to poetry readings and celebrated Halloween by attending the Norwich Beer Festival.


This photo’s from Halloween at the Norwich Beer Festival, but I like it and think it counts for November anyway. In November, the White Lion became our pub of choice. There was a formal dinner at Cambridge where Sean received a medal, and I chilled out (or attempted to) for most of the month, and focused on strengthening my relationships. We watched loads of rugby, including the Rugby Union World Cup finals at Wembley to watch England vs New Zealand (Kiwis won, obviously).



The movers came and packed all of our things in a crate to be shipped off to New Zealand. We began a three-week process of goodbyes and two months of living out of suitcases. The weather in Britain became ominously terrible. I turned 26 years old and watched/listened to a lot of Beyoncé. We moved out of our flat and stayed with friends in Ely and Tufnell Park.

Then…California! Loads, and loads, and loads of California. So much California, that you’ll have to wait a few days to hear about it all.

2 thoughts on “The Last Year in England

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