Saturday, 27 January 2018

Oh Hello 2018


Lovely to see you, it's been a while. How have you been? And how's 2018 treating you? Are you, like me, both baffled that it's already 2018 while finding it inexplicable that it's still January?

Anyway, I thought I'd drop by to let you know that I am still alive. The end of 2017 was hectic to say the least: once I started my MA in September life became a bit of a whirlwind.

I knew before I started university that it would bring challenges. The fact that I started off my post about beginning an MA by reflecting on my (largely negative) undergrad experiences suggests I had an awareness, perhaps subconscious, of what some of those challenges would be. But I've still been pretty blindsided by how returning to study is affecting me.

First of all, there's the obvious challenges of being a learner after twelve years in the role of teacher, which is undeniably strange and at times difficult. I don't deal at all well with feeling inexpert, and thus far I feel inexpert pretty much every day. Added to that is a severe case of Imposter Syndrome: a little voice in my head that's trying to tell me that everyone else on my course is brilliant and I am stupid; everyone else gets it, so why can't I? Because this shit is hard. I'm realising how little I've been intellectually challenged in recent years, how I need to learn to flex mental muscles that have long gone unused.

Equally, I think if I'd known beforehand how difficult trying to do an MA while living 120 miles from university is, I'd have had second thoughts. But I didn't, and in truth there are many positives about doing the MA now, not least of which is that I get to see my mum every week when I stay with her, and see much more of my brothers and nieces, too.

But as well as being hectic and challenging, the last few months have also been full of positives.

Thomas and I spent a wonderful long weekend in Norfolk at the start of December: four days of no internet, no photographs, no phones, just lots of open fires and books and long walks. In other words, bliss.

Having felt that I was struggling with the MA, I was surprised to find myself really enjoying researching and writing my first assignment, and was even more surprised when I did really well. To know I was doing ok made the struggles of the first semester feel more worthwhile.

I made it to the end of 2017 well within budget for my Buyer's Archive challenge, and although blogging my buys has gone by the wayside, I'm still keeping a record of my spending and am aiming to keep it below £500 in 2018 (ahem, we won't talk about how much I've spent in January...).

We've booked our long-overdue honeymoon to Canada this June, and I'm looking forward to spending time with family while we're there.

Oh! And while we're on the subject, Thomas and I made it legal. As much as we would have both liked to maintain our "fuck the man and fuck marriage" stance, it unfortunately makes so many things complicated (I lived in fear that he'd have an accident while cycling and I wouldn't have had a say in his treatment). So we popped down to the town hall one Saturday with a couple of friends, got into trouble for giggling during the ceremony, then went out for a massive pizza afterwards. And now, in response to anyone who asks why we got married, I can quite genuinely say, "so I can turn his life support machine off"!

So yeah, a busy few months.

Thanks to the MA, I won't be around here much until summer at the earliest (apart from posting some stuff that's languished in my draft folders for ages). But I'm finding Instagram increasingly useful as a sort of micro-blogging platform so if you do want to know what I'm up to, you can find me there.


  1. It's lovely to hear from you and congratulation on the 'real' wedding! I feel much the same, I'm not all that fussed about getting married myself, but want to just because it would have made certain aspects of the house buying easier if we had been married and because I want a legally binding next of kin thing to exist between us so that there can be no issues should one us die or anything! Were it not for that, I wouldn't bother, but it's a job now on my near (ish) future to do list!

    You have a great trip to look forward to after the hard work you'll have put into the MA over the year - it sounds like you've made a great start despite the challenges and the negatives views... I wish you all the best for the next part of it :)

    1. That's exactly why we decided to get married in the end - it just makes everything easier in terms of boring legal stuff. Not very romantic but never mind!

  2. It's good to hear from you, and I'll still be here when you have time to blog again.

    Hope the studies go as well as they can my love! I know it's hard work, but it sounds as though you really care about and are interested in your subject which I'm sure means it will be worth it in the end.

    Lis / last year's girl x

    1. Fingers crossed it will feel worth it in the end! I think so, if only just to say I managed to get an MA after doing so poorly on my undergrad degree.

  3. Your weekend in Norfolk sounds wonderful - a no technology break would be dreamy.

    I hope the second semester of your MA is kinder to you. Good luck with it :)

    1. It was SO lovely. Sad that being without wifi or phone signal is the only thing that can get me to put my damn phone down, though.

  4. I'm so glad to see you write here! Well done for getting through the term and doing well in your assignment and good luck with the next bit!

  5. Good luck with your next semester, hopefully things will fall into place more for you with the routine now. It does sound daunting but the fact you are sticking with it despite how hard it has been is very impressive/inspiring to me! And have an amazing time in Canada, that is something to look forward to (something I am lacking right now in the travel front, jealous!). Will keep an eye on your Instagram, it does seem to be the future of blogging in some ways, for better or worse! :-0)

    1. Thank you, what a lovely thing to say :) And yes lots to look forward to this summer so hopefully that will keep me going.

  6. I like life updates, and I’m so pleased that you’re finally on the MA course after having heard your desire to do so often over the years. Well done on your first semester achievements! Hope you’re feeling better about it now, after second term.

    I also think it’s awesome that you made the legal deal without making it a big deal. I am struggling with the idea of wedding vs marriage at the moment and frequently think back to your way of doing it as a reminder that you don’t actually *have* to do *this* or *that* and often use as reference to friends.

    Please blog about Canada. I want to know more!