Okay, so I haven’t posted in a while and I apologize. Life has been getting interesting for me. I have moved to Wales and have started classes. I’m so happy that I’m here, but at the same time, I miss home. It was a long journey to get here, but it has finally happened.
I recently finished this book called “Mosquitoland” by David Arnold. I loved it. As someone who is writing a story about a road trip, this was the perfect book for me. It also gave me some great insights for how I want to proceed with my life and what my goals for writing are. The book is about this girl who finds out that her mom has cancer and may be dying, so she takes a bus to where her mom lives. Oh yeah, she lives with her dad and stepmom. I think this book really called to me because of it’s theme. It was a must read for me, especially at this time in my life.
I’ve been putting off writing a blog post for some time now. Every time I sit in front of the computer, I get distracted. Well here is me not getting distracted…oh look! A new Doctor Who episode! Eh, but I’ll watch it once I finish reviewing these stories for class. So when I got here, I had to wait for my checked back to come. I was pretty smart and packed my essential clothing stuff in my carry on. There was some kind of problem with the layover in Amsterdam. I was the first one to arrive to my flat. I was quite nervous to find out who I was staying with. There are four other people besides me living in this flat. We share a living room and kitchen. We each have our own bathrooms.
My flatmates are super cool. Three of them are from India and one of them is from China. It’s definitely an interesting culture on our floor. The first place I ate at was this place called “Hogwurst.” It sells coffee, tea, bubble tea, ice cream, nachos and oh yeah. Hot dogs! They’re pretty fancy looking hot dogs. Plus, they have books and board games in the shop, so it’s a cozy place to go read a book or chill with friends. The food here is pretty good… except all of the Mexican shops here all taste like Chipotle.
There is so much walking! Just to get to class I have to walk about fifteen minutes. My calves feel stronger from the three weeks that I’ve been here. I even walk around the City Center a lot. It’s my favorite place to be in the middle of the day. There is always people around over there and the shops look amazing. There are different small “arcades” which kind of remind me of Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. Unfortunately the shops normally close pretty early so any late night shopping is out of the question. There is a huge mall called “St. David’s Arcade” in the City Center and seriously, it’s one of the coolest malls I’ve seen. One thing I do miss is Target. They do have a store that is owned by Walmart. Hahahaha.
I did get to go to the Doctor Who Experience. I shall not tell you about what you will experience there, but the exhibit hall was fantastic! (And if you read that in Nine’s voice, extra points for you, ya nerd! XD) Cardiff Bay was the place to be for any writer. It’s calm and it has a great view of the water and other amazing spots in Cardiff. I just could not believe that I had the chance to go. Plus, I went by myself so I got to do everything on my own time.
I’ve met several people on this trip. I am part of the North American group on Facebook and we basically met up the first week. We all get along quite nicely and I’m glad that I was able to make friends easily. Definitely people I can turn to whenever I want to go places. The thing about traveling to another country alone is that if you don’t make friends, you’re always going to have to watch yourself more. Whereas if you make friends, those people will have your back to make sure you’re okay.
I’ve walked so much while I’ve been here and I’ve gotten to know the streets well enough that I stopped using a map sometimes. It’s amazing how familiar you will get with a place if you are forced to walk everywhere. Something that I still have an issue with is money. It’s confusing. Anything less than 5 pounds is a coin. I’m not used to carrying around so many coins.
The novel that I read really made me think about the way our lives are in general. The main character, Mim, runs towards this idea of her mom. She believed that she needed to see her mom and that her stepmother was to blame for everything. She meets these two guys who she forms a bond with. One is a kid who is mentally challenged and the other a college drop out. One of my favorite parts of the book (Oh yeah… SPOILERS AHEAD!) was when she was sleeping with Beck. No, not having sex. Just sleeping next to each other. She felt so close to him, and even if they weren’t going to be together in the relationship kind of way, she still enjoyed being with him. Just being with someone can be far better than sex. It’s knowing that person in another level and just … being.
I actually convinced someone to buy the book the other day. I was in a bookstore, applying for a job, and this girl was looking at the Young Adult section. I told her that “Mosquitoland” was really good and she got it. I also want to say that the fact that it uses mosquitoes as a symbol was very insightful. Mosquitoes suck your blood. So basically, Mim feels like her life sucks and she eventually sees the fact that she is a mosquito in a way. Or at least her mom is.
I also want to say that I love how it wasn’t a typical romance. I mean, they don’t hook up in the end. Beck says he’s too old for her, but we know he will wait. They both know it’s something more than just a crush. It was great reading the part where Mim says, “This is not just a crush, you know.” And Beck knows what she is talking about. They get each other in a whole different level. I love it.
That is kind of the thing I’m going for in my own novel. My first class was amazing. We had this author come in and talk to us. He talked about the power of imagination. And how our realities are dependent on the stories we believe. Thinking in terms of what is reality makes me think of storytelling in a different way than before. I only have about six hours a week in class, so I count myself lucky.
Yesterday I went to Barry Island with my flatmates and their friends. It was kind of like Santa Cruz, since there were rides and stuff. I saw a pug! It was so cute!!! The ocean sounded different over here. The waves weren’t huge like at home. I would like to go back and spend an entire day there. Hopefully I can get in the water properly.
I am writing this at one am in the morning. I should go to bed. I will keep you guys posted on anything else. Oh and I have edited my story again, so I will post that later!