I’ve been neglecting
this blog because it’s the end
of my time abroad.
I will try and do
better but I make you no
promises. So there.
Currently laying in bed and trying to figure out the hall theme I’ll be using in my dorm next semester. (Game of Thrones??? tumblr??? Disney??? Villains??? I don’t even know.)
BUT I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE LONDON.
I really like basketball. I didn’t know how much I had exactly missed it until I started playing again here in London. I am also quite a fan of the fact that I am one of the best players we’ve got on the team. (It makes me think of those Would You Rather questions that I answered with my friends last year along the lines of: Would you rather be the worst player on a winning sports team or the best player on a losing team? There has to be something said for being the best at something. It’s a real confidence booster.)
Recently, I’ve been recruited into scrimmaging a bit with the guys’ team here when they need an extra body. It’s not because of inherent skill or anything like that because guys and girls play basketball completely differently in my humble opinion, but I think it’s because our coach acknowledges that fact that I have the knowledge needed to know when and how to play against guys. Also, I’m a mother fucking tank in the body department. I rival some of the guys in sheer mass which is not something I would normally say with such pride, but when you set a glorious back screen and completely blindside a guy that’s not nearly as big as you, your heart pauses for a moment and a little piece of you feels like it has died because of the sudden impact. That’s when you know deep in your bones that a screen is a good one.
Besides mottling my skin with new bumps and bruises as playing basketball with anyone is wont to do, I also can feel myself getting better as I play with the guys. My tolerance for pain on the court is increasing and the way that I read players is honing in to be something fierce. I’ve always felt basketball in my blood so that it just comes second nature, and it feels wonderful to exercise and stretch this part of me again. It’s different here and a challenge and most of the guys are great to play with. They try not to kill me, but they know that I can be a kind of sort of threat.
I’ve never been one for trash talking, however, but the guys take it to a nearly personal level. It’s wonderful. As the guys go for the jugular, I just smile and jog up and down the court and listen. Occasionally, I comment but never in the snarling and biting way that the boys tend to. I just find it hilarious how much a part of the game it is for them because, as we all know, basketball is as much a psychological game as it is a physical one, but for me, the psychology comes from prepping yourself and on court intimidation. The guys take it to this place where I fear that I fight might break out (and by “fear”, I mean I anxiously await the fight because I want to break it up real bad for no apparent reason), but they leave it on the court and seem to have a good sense of camaraderie after playing. That’s one of the great and many wonders of sport: the ability to want to kill each other on court and yet still remain semi-friendly outside of the game.
On Friday, I was recruited to play with guys along with a couple of other girls after training. The trash talking was instantaneous and hilarious as always. I held my tongue more out of general good sportsmanship rather than lack of things to say and also because I was guarding a guy named Rory who is wonderful and charming and hilarious and nice to me. Before we started playing, he had commented on my “Muggle” shirt and I told him about my brilliant ploy at covering my witchcraft by hiding in plain sight with my shirt. He laughed at my joke which can always earn you some points in your favor with me and we played it out. At one point, Rory asked me where my witch powers were as we played and I just laughed because Rory’s smack talk is always fairly tame and hilarious. This was the first time he’d ever called me out and to me that was just plain funny. Although I will easily credited myself as someone who has biting wit and speaks in a large variety of accents, I will never make a claim along the lines of me talking smack like a pro or anything along those lines. I can make snarky comments and observations, but never with heat behind them because that just seems mean to me.
So, cut to some on court action: I’m playing defense against Rory wherein I’ve bodied up behind him—right forearm in the small of his back, hand firmly on his hip, left arm wrapped up and around him so that it’s in his passing lane and makes it so he’s not open. (Another bonus that I quite enjoy about playing basketball with boys, especially cute boys, is that there is a shit ton of body contact and accidental butt grazing and it almost seems like productive freak dancing. Maybe a little sweatier than freak dancing but it’s still fun especially with, as stated above, cute boys) I’m pressed up behind Rory, covered in sweat that is fifty percent mine and fifty percent every other guy on the court, and he reaches out and grabs my left hand to shove it out of his way. There’s this moment when I’m sort of dumb struck because you just aren’t allowed to snatch people’s hands to get them out of your way. You have to be sneaky and use your elbows and upper body and be super slick about it, but Rory just held my hand in his and tried to push it down. Being the ever intelligent and quick-witted girl that I am, I snapped at him from behind, “Stop holding my hand!”
I think he laughed, although I can’t be certain because all that really shines out from that moment was his snarky reply of: “Oh, you know you like it.”
Rory cutting me to the quick was not what I wanted and also, it was so blatantly trash talk that I couldn’t let it go. Also, it felt a little flirty and weird and I wasn’t going to let it pass by unchecked. So I said the first thing that came to mind. “You need to buy me dinner first.”
And in that moment, we both laughed and I felt so accomplished. I thought of something clever in the heat of the moment that was both smack talk and slight flirting. I’ll never claim to enjoy trash talk but I will always claim to love playing basketball (especially with cute boys *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*).
Dysfunctional Halloween club night (and morning) in London. Had a wonderful time dancing in costume. It’s now six in the morning and I am very very very tired. Sleep here I come.
The only time when hissing at people is okay is when you wear fangs and look pretty.
I played four hours worth of basketball today. Half of that time was me scrimmaging with the gents here. It was fun and competitive and definitely made me a better player. I ran lots and even scored (three times!). Early reports are saying that I survived, but there is still potential for death in the near future. I’ll keep you posted on any bodily trauma that might occur in the aftermath.
It’s one of those good hair days here in London.
In the great list of thoughts that are currently plaguing my existence, I am trying to find a single cheap(ish) concert ticket (referred to here as a “gig”) to see Panic! at the Disco on the date of my birth because that’s what I really think I want to do for my birthday. Plus, the show’s up in Nottingham which would be cool to go to for the day and explore and then concert and living my 12-14 year old self’s dreams. I just feel like I am spending a boat load of money on things, but they are things that I really want/ might never have the opportunity to do again.
LE SIGH. The struggles of a traveling hobo snake.
Looks like I’ve joined the basketball team here. I’m unsure when that exactly happened but, okay.
Bryce and I went to Portobello Road today with the sole intent of finding durable and slightly worn leather jackets for the winter.
As we weaved our way through the market, I became increasingly intrigued and obsessed with racing jackets because they make me look badass and have lots of pretty colors of leather on them. At one stall, I found one and tried it on only to be disappointed in the fact that it was a little too small. As I shrugged it off in defeat, the vendor-a small and friendly older Italian man- came up to me and looked at me for a long moment before saying: “I find you bigger jacket. Trust me.”
I nodded mutely because sometimes the jacket gods just let you know when the right one is coming your way. He pulled out a jacket and helped me try it on, going so far as to zip it up for me. I walked over and looked in the mirror and leaned over to Bryce and whispered, “I look like I’m from some badass apocalyptic world.”
Needless to say, I bought the most beautiful racing jacket and it’s black and maroon and has so much padding that I could probably get stabbed in certain areas (like the elbow, shoulder and lower back) and not have the blade come into contact with my skin.
Bryce also found a jacket and his is so eerily similar to Danny Zuko’s that I serenaded him with a little “Greased Lightning” at Starbucks afterwards.
You know how in Prince’s song “Kiss” he makes kissy noises and such before singing the word ‘kiss’ during the chorus?
People stare at you in shops when you make kissy noises and sing the word ‘kiss’ to them in a very sensual and Prince-ly fashion.
So, I woke up at two in the morning yesterday and had one of those very intense half asleep thoughts of: “Dear God, I need to throw away this garbage by my bed. Like right now." In this wonderful state of mind where I am convinced that getting rid of trash is of the utmost importance, I stand up in the dark, pick up the shit on my floor and begin to walk towards my can. My room is a mine field of disasters and shoes, though, and two in the morning Kate doesn’t want to turn on the lights (honey badger Kate don’t give a shit), so I stumble towards my bin and step on a shoe. It trips me up, but it’s one of those slow trips where you have time to think to yourself: oh, I can totally recover from this. Just take another step or two and you’ll be right as rain. BUT NO. I take a few more halting and flailing steps before I eat shit. And by “eat shit”, I mean that my neck and collar bone got intimately acquainted with the corner of my nightstand. I swore a bit and had a moment where I just laid on my bed and asked myself repeatedly if I was still breathing (the answer was a resounding yes).
IN CONCLUSION, my neck today has a nice bruise on it that my flatmate told me “honestly just looks like your neck got dirty, Kate, and you decided not to wash it" and there’s a big ol’ red line where the corner of the nightstand dug into my flesh. I appear to the British world like I have a choking fetish or a boyfriend who likes to use his Hover mouth to give me giant hickeys.
If there ever comes a morning when I can successfully roll out of bed without hitting the snooze button nineteen times, I feel as though I will in fact deserve some kind of adulthood award. Like the kind of award I expected the moment my feet hit English soil and I didn’t spontaneously combust or break down in tears. I just want someone outside of the monstrous cavern of my head to say: “Hey, you, you did the thing (insert whatever scarily intense and adult like thing that might be here) and I’m proud of you for doing it.” Sometimes I want the world to just fucking pat me on the back, okay?
Take today as a key point in the empirical data of my life long experiment of why the world should congratulate you for existing on a regular basis.
I wake up with my alarm at 9:45am and I slap the shit out of the snooze button only three times. That’s only an extra twenty-seven minutes of sleep and that is very short in the grand scheme of things. Good for me.
I get up, brush my teeth, take the first half of my daily vitamin regime, and throw on some clothes that somehow fit into my personal style aesthetic of I swear I’m trying but I’m not trying too hard, see? and make the champion decision to put my hair up in pigtails. On a random note, I’m unsure exactly when I started to feel as confident in myself as I do now, but it’s kind of wonderful and although it’s not a full time confidence thing, it’s nice to have on more than a rare occasion. This confidence is how the pigtails came to fruition.
I make it out the door only a minute behind schedule which is a feat in itself when you decide to do winged eye-liner and constantly face the internal monologue of:
“Oh shit. Lefty is definitely thicker than Righty. I’ll fix it really quick; no big deal— fuck. That is completely worse and I should just start over. No, I don’t have time for that nonsense. It’s better to just power through and make it work and… ball sack, when did Righty get all wonky? Actually, the real question is when exactly did I decide to be drunk all the time or when did I lose my basic motor functions or when did I replace my hands with Grade A tuna fish fillets? Just… this is going to have to be the last adjustment and you’re going to accept that your crazy eyes are part of your adorable quirkiness and get your ass in gear.”
In the end, I’m only a couple (between four and six) minutes late and I feel that my morning could have potentially gone much, much worse. Let’s look on the bright side: I’m out of bed before noon on a Saturday and I am off to explore a part of London that I haven’t seen before.
This is the part that I think I am coming to like the most out of being abroad and that I wanted the world to celebrate with me: I’m doing things. I’m existing in a new place and I’m still living. There haven’t been too many tears and the mistakes I’ve made have been moderate ones. The world might not think that doing just the existing after completely uprooting yourself for fun part of life is something, but it’s like I now know that I can do it, that I can survive something completely and utterly new. No disasters. No death.
My adulthood level might still rank at pseudo at best, but I’m living in London right now and it’s pretty great.
Bryce and I went to the Sands Film Studio during Open London and got a look at all their handmade period costumes for many different films.
On a completely irrelevant to travel note, this is probably one of the best photos I’ve ever taken.