Happiness is….

You don’t know what happy is like until you’ve gone from one extreme to the other. As many of my readers know, I came back from a year abroad in Wales. Being back means living with my mom, working at the same company I did before I left, and no friends who can just head to the pub at the flip of a coin. The difference in the night life in America and in the U.K. are staggering. There is genuinely more happy and friendly people in the United Kingdom than in the United States.

Which brings me back to the point I wanted to somehow make in the beginning of this post. “You look so happy,” and “I’ve never seen you as happy as you are right now” were regular statements heard from family and friends while I was away. I kept thinking, “was I that unhappy before? I mean, I smiled and laughed, just as I was here.”

But then it hit me. I wasn’t happy. And here is why.

Giving an explanation to any action is terrifying. If I want to go out, just to go out, I couldn’t here at home. Most of my older relatives or friends would say it’s because I didn’t have any responsibility. To me, it was because I didn’t have to conform to someone else’s idea of clean, or what’s proper. I could just be me.

That’s the glorious part about going abroad and being alone. You really get to know who you are. These things you learn abroad might not stick with you when you’re back, but you will always have that memory of being away and free.

The worst part about being home after a year abroad are the pictures. The pictures your friends post at the clubs or on campus. You imagine yourself there, as if it won’t cost you about four months of work to even get back to the place you love. You can imagine that club scene like you were there with them. Pre drinks at your place, Gassy Jacks right before the main event, and then all hell breaks loose. You might find yourself at Live Lounge at the end of the night, where you will most definitely NOT be carded because the bouncer recognizes you. Or maybe just perusing down the City Center, where you will inevitably stop off at McDonalds for some overpriced McNuggets.

So maybe I will have to push myself to be happy, but at least now I have a goal of where I want my life to be like.

With that being said, I would love to go back to the UK. At the time it felt like it was such a long time, but in reality, it flew by like a gust of wind.

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Hwyl fawr Wales!

Croeso readers! (That’s welcome in Welsh)

I haven’t posted in two weeks and I am ASHAMED!!!

*edit: it’s been three.

** edit: It’s been about a month since I started this post.

fidzknj

So what’s been happening in my life, you ask? Well, tons of things. I will try and plan it out for you guys.

PACKING!!!! 

I’ve started packing and it’s making me a little teary eyed just thinking about it. I’ve spent the past year in Wales and to go home will be bittersweet. I’ve had to purchase two boxes to ship back home and I’m still struggling to get everything in my suitcase. I have one giant suitcase that I will be checking in to the plane, and a carry on suitcase that is currently filled with most of my wardrobe. I swear, I came to Cardiff with the carry on holding all of my clothes and now I have to divide it all up.

TWO MORE WEEKS TILL I GO HOME!!!

(actually, it’s really only five days. Cause I forgot to post this.)

I can’t believe it’s almost time! My life has changed so much throughout this trip. I’ve figured out a lot about myself as a person and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve had so much fun getting to know new people and see new things.

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I’ve been the worst blogger ever! I forgot to post this update for the longest time. So instead of having a countdown like I wanted, you basically get a post of random stuff to look at. I can’t decide whether I’m nauseous or hungry. Come on stomach! Work with me here! Anyways, I’m currently waiting for the bus to the airport. It’s been a long journey to today. Packing was a pain and lugging a whole year’s worth of clothes and memories around is taking its toll on my back already.

The worst part of travelling is the constant waiting around. You get to places early, hoping to make sure you don’t miss your bus. No, plot twist! You don’t miss the bus. You actually are a half an hour early. Now you’re faced with the inevitable waiting around. Because not all places have outlets and you don’t want to walk around with two suitcases to a place that does, you have to limit your time on your phone. You brought two books, but who has the energy to stare at a book? Yeah, I’m that exhausted. Not to mention that by the time I get on the plane, I’ll have been awake for a good 24 hours, with maybe one or two hours of nap time in between.

***

I did it again! I forgot to post this!! Okay so I’m back in the States. I can’t believe a year has already gone by! I miss everything about Cardiff at the moment. From the clubs to the annoying seagulls screeching at five in the morning. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s over. There are so many memories that I’ve had that I would not change for the life of me. Some of them are grand memories and others are just small memories. Like the time I went to McDonalds at one in the morning with my friend Sanja.

I think this whole experience has changed me and I’m loving it.

There is so much I want to talk about, but honestly? I can really only sum it up by saying that it was the best time of my life. I’m so grateful to all of the friends I made along the way. Definitely made the trip worth while. Every moment was spent enjoying a new land.

When you study abroad, you get to see the day to day things that travellers rarely get to see. I got familiar with a lot of the streets of Cardiff and have some basic knowledge of where to go when you want to party. Favourite place to go is definitely Live Lounge. Well, at least for a good dance off.

In the beginning of the year, there were so many things I hadn’t done in college. I didn’t have the experience of bar hopping (or pub crawling) with friends and spending time with friends was something a little new to me. When you get accustomed to being the loner and the one who isn’t invited to most of the parties, you tend to be very skeptical when people start hanging around you for a longer period of time. So I think I’ve learned a lot more social queues than my four years in college.

I will end this post saying that this was only the start of my journey. I have so much more to offer the world and I hope to see more of it.

Cheers from Across the Pond!

Cheers from across the pond! It’s been a while since I posted about my adventures here in the UK. I am having a blast over here. Seriously, it’s the best thing that has happened to me so far. Well, besides meeting Billie Joe Armstrong! Every day I’m reminded of how amazing it is to travel the world and to see new places. So far, I’ve only been to London outside of Cardiff, but I’m still happy to be here. And to have this experience. Halloween was such a crazy weekend. I have to say that it started out on Thursday for me, since I attended a friend’s party that night in costume.

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I’ve been to London twice so far. I wrote about my last London trip, so here goes my epic story of the second. It’s not that epic, but it’s awesome regardless. We left at 4:25 in the morning on Saturday. We had actually been partying really hard the night before, for my flat mate Harsha’s birthday. It was so fun getting to share in that moment with everyone. I had lots of fun at the party. I’m not really that big of a party person, but I’m sure no one even noticed.

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When we had gotten to London, we were all tired. But we couldn’t check into the hostel till two pm, so we walked around. We went to the London Bridge area and walked around. We even got to go on the top of the bridge and look down from the glass. It was so cool.

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When we finally got to the hostel, we were already divided. We were a group of ten so you know. We took a nap and then got ready to party. We went through Picadilly to find a club to go to. We had finally found one after an hour that let us in for ten pounds. Considering everywhere else was full and cost twenty pounds, I say we got a bargain. I admit I am not usually into the whole clubbing thing, but it was great to spend it with friends. Harsha wanted to go to a strip club, but none of them would let us in. We did get to see Chinatown and Soho though, so that was a plus.

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We didn’t get back to the hostel till around 3 in the morning. It was so cold, but thankfully the bus stop wasn’t too far from the hostel. It was so hard getting everyone up the next morning. I even pelted a guy with a pillow. Hilarious. Sunday was spent seeing Big Ben and going to the Sherlock Holmes museum. Harsha and I went alone to the museum since everyone else wanted to see things we had seen on our previous trip. It was definitely somewhere I would suggest people go to in London.

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Even though I had been there only once, I found our way through the city pretty easy. What can I say. I remember directions pretty well. Other than the London trip, I’ve had some interesting times here in Cardiff. Just going out with friends is fun and exciting. I went with a friend to the Doctor Who Experience the other week and I had so much fun the second time around. It’s definitely way better than going alone.

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As for my course, I have to say that I love it. It’s so enlightening to be with people who are dedicated writers. I’m lucky that I didn’t go into business or science. We don’t have exams like everyone else. But that doesn’t mean that it’s totally easy. It’s hard to come up with ideas and to critique your own work. I think the greatest advantage to being here other than in the States is that since everything is so different, I can get material from that. I also gain a knowledge about what international readers might think about American writers. There are some things that I have to explain to them when I’m writing that I probably wouldn’t have to if they were American. And it works the other way around. So it’s interesting trying to make everything accessible for everyone.

I’m so happy that all of my friends are proud of me. I have yet to send out my postcards, but believe me, I will get to them. And I found a substitute for Target. Tesco has a big store near where I live that is basically like Target. It’s huge and kind of intimidating. A place I can get lost in, just like at Target.

I miss all of my friends back home and hope you guys can keep in touch. I love you all!

Dear Future Jillian

So here we are, dear readers. I am a few hours away from boarding a flight to Cardiff. I am beyond excited. It has taken a lot of courage and motivation to get to where I am today. This was only a small idea in the back of my head last year. I didn’t even really think it would actually happen and that so many people would be so into the idea of me going. I started off just inquiring about it and then it was a long process to do the application. I kept procrastinating on the application and I remember my mom saying that I probably wouldn’t even do it because I was taking so long. Well, I did it. Cardiff University was my first choice of school. Mainly because of the location and also because it seemed that it had some ties with SF State. I am very glad that I picked the school that I did.

There are so many things I would like to say but I can’t get up the motivation to write them down. My hopes and dreams for this year is to get out of my shell and to be who I truly am on the inside. I feel like I mess things up sometimes and each time it kills me inside. I need to learn to deal with my mistakes. I want to take the world in, one country at a time. This is my opportunity to start a new life and to really live up to my full potential. i’m not just studying for that piece of paper that says I have been awarded a masters degree. I’m chasing a life of potential and success, in any shape it may come in. I strive for the chance to live my life as I see fit. Yes, I’ve had some amazing opportunities because of my parents’ help, but now it’s up to me to pave the way for my future.

I may not know where I will end up after this year, but I do know I will come back a different person. I would like to write myself a letter.

Dear future Jillian,

I hope you are doing fine. Gosh, hope I am not reading this from Heaven or whatever. (If I am in hell… then you done messed up bro.) I am writing this hours before I leave for Wales. I hope Wales treated you nice. You are a bright, brilliant young woman and you deserve your spot of happiness. Tell me, do you run off with some sexy Welsh man who wears plaid and plays guitar? Or even some Scottish bloke? Either way, I know you will do fine. I want you to remember the girl you were before your trip. If you ever have to think about whether you made the right choice, read this. You will know that you did. Remember that it is no use comparing yourself to others. It will only bring you down. It’s society’s way of telling you that you are not important and that you should be ashamed for ever thinking that. No. You are important. You don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else but yourself.

i want you to remember the girl you were when you first decided to get up on that stage and sing Anastasia. You know what I’m talking about. It may seem like the easiest thing for you, but remember that most people don’t have the courage to sing in front of older kids. If you ever have a problem with finding a voice, remember mine. We live each day as a new person. We might not see it now, but we see it as we grow up. You are in charge of your own destiny and I hope you made the most of it.

Love always,

Yourself.

P.S. Please tell me you lost at least ten pounds by the end of the trip. XD

As I embark on this new journey, I would like to thank everyone who made it all possible. My mom was a big supporter of this who thing and if it wasn’t for her I would not be where I am today. Thank you guys so much for the support. Next blog post will be from Wales!!!