Place in the World

Life is a constant stumble and fumble
of navigating through the world
looking for your place
for where you are supposed to be
as if the universe designed a single little space where only you can fit.
But the you of yesterday is not the you of tomorrow.
Does the universe know this?
Does it change and adapt
as you change and grow,
change and regress?
Perhaps it creates numerous little spaces for you to occupy;
for when you find yourself alone and free
or together and comfortable.
Perhaps your mistakes and mishaps
reshape your little niche,
moves it from place to place.
So you struggle and fumble some more,
forever searching.
But maybe the universe mocks us all
and we never need truly search,
for we are always where we should be
in the time and place.
It seems we are destined to a fate of free will and decision
and it is only a matter or embracing yet not attempting
to solve this puzzle of a life
which allows our unknown place to reveal itself.

written: March 1st, on my blackberry, finished in the Plaza Mayor, Salamanca, Spain

An Expensive Cocktail

My heart is heavy.
When I breathe in, there is something pushing back against me, as if it is trying to prevent me from taking another unsavoury, life giving breath.
When I breathe out, it feels like my whole body tries to leave too, weighing me down as it tries to escape.
My limbs grow heavy, my eyes they close, my will to do anything vanishes. It is as if all my burdens suddenly decide to appear all at once, in a calm, overwhelming feeling where a sweet, sorted confusion is all that remains.
Eventually I give in and sink to the ground or whatever is underneath me, be it a chair or a bed. I sink and would keep sinking were it not for the Earth beneath my feet. On my tongue I taste acid indifference but mixed with two shots of syrupy sadness and a dash of loneliness. A strange combination but one that is all too familiar.
I’m as far into this cocktail as my physical body will take me but my mind keeps drinking away. And eventually I give in and order me another glass. I pay with my heart – heavy, not worth a lot, but just enough to overdose.

The Call

Artwork: Julia Yellow (source)

I can hear it: in the night, at lunch, as I walk down the street. It is loud and is getting louder every day, shouting my name and urging me to come. It accompanies me where ever I go. Sometimes it’s a ringing whisper in the back of my head; other times it’s a horrible, jarring, screeching tone.

It wasn’t always this loud. It used to be a dim voice that I would notice every now and then; an accompanying soundtrack when I heard a certain song or watched a certain show. But now it has got a hold of my heart strings and the constant vibrations cause pain and tears. It messes with my mind and plays with my feelings. But there’s no way I can stop the call until I go back to the source and hang up the phone.

21

21. Wow. Twenty freaking one. Now I can drink legally drink in America. Yay!?! (But let’s be honest, I only go to the States to shop.)

There isn’t the much to turning this age, no real advantages to being 21. It is so much closer to 22, which let’s face it, sounds for some reason a lot older. 21 means I am an adult (well, technically that was 20, but this is just another year of re-enforcing that idea). According to Yahoo Answers, it means that I should be able to make rational and mature decisions; childish thinking should be behind me and my life goals and plans ahead of me.

If this were Christmas and I were Scrooge, I would say “Bah Humbug!” to that. Rational and mature decisions? Last week I was seriously considering dropping out of uni for a bit because I’m fed up with it, while at the same time I was mourning of the sad dis-figuration of my beloved stuffed hedgehog, Hedgey. I can barely decide what I want for dinner most days, let alone what to do this summer, after graduation or for the rest of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful that I have made it to another year and that I get to spend it in Spain with some awesome people and 8 hours of class. But sometimes I feel like that Rizzle Kicks song, When I Was A Youngster:

Back when I was younger,
I wanted to be everything on the planet,
Now that I am older,
It seems the ambition has vanished

Yup. Pretty much sums me up at the start of my 21st year on this planet. Confused, without ambition, lost, older.

Happy Birthday to me.

The Merger

It’s been a long time. Too long. But I  write to today of exciting news!!! (Well at least exciting news to me.) I combined my two blogs!!!!! (Yay??) Yes, yay. It is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now and I finally got around to doing it.

The Old One:

My previous blog was called I Saw A Turtle On A Fence, and I kept it up for about a year and a half, ending it in February of last year. It was a great platform for me to express my thoughts and ideas of the moment as well as challenge myself with things like the 12 Days of DIY and the 50 Book Challenge. I felt a lot freer there than I do with this blog, so I decided to merge them. Since I never deleted Turtles, twas simple, exporting the old blog and importing it into the new one.

Changes:

Naturally, there will be some changes. Most notably the layout. The old Dynamic theme worked well with all the posts I’ve written since being in Salamanca, since they (almost), all have pictures. But on Turtles, there tended not to be as many photos. So I tried to pick something that was suitable for both. I’m still tinkering around with it so it be pink one day and green the next. Bare with me 🙂

Secondly, I think I’m going to start posting more often; not only things about my travels, but whatever I feel like be it culture, music, youtube, politics, fasion, DIYs or just my general opinion on a subject. Sounds good?

On another note, about two weeks ago I went to Ireland with Em and tonight Vi + us are heading to the airport to fly off to Italy tomorrow morning! I’m looking forward to it! I will write a post or two about Ireland and post them in the up coming days. Have a good Wednesday!

– Sarrah ♥

Have We No Wine Here? – London Part 3

I started the day by going to the Globe Theatre, a replica theatre of where Shakespeare wrote and staged some of his plays. But as I was walking there I came across a food market that seemed pretty freaking awesome, and  it was. I had half of a homemade brownie for breakfast as well as a beef empanada. The theatre itself was cool, I just wish I had a better knowledge of Shakespeare. On the spot New Year’s Resolution: Re-read A Midsummer Night’s Dream and read Othello or something.

Outside the Theatre

The inside

I walked back towards the London Bridge from the globe theatre. I was going to visit the London Bridge Experience/Dungeons but I just was NOT feeling it that day, plus the people behind me were soooooo annoying. I did walk across the bridge though while eating a salt beef hamburger with sweet red onion relish and sautéd onions that I got on a return trip to the food market. It’s not an exciting bridge but was an exciting burger.

London Bridge

After basically wondering around on the tube doing nothing, changing my mind about where to go every stop, I ended up going to The Monument. It is a tall tower that commemorates the great Fire of London. But after that I had no need really to go on the London Eye, not that I intended to anyways. The view was amazing and I got there just around sunset, so even more beautiful with reds and purples in the sky. I also gained a real appreciation for people who walk up the CN Tower. I didn’t even walk up  half the height of the CN Tower and I felt like keeling over when at the top. New Year’s Resolution Numero Dos: Do some freaking exercise!


 Then I went back to my roots – shopping. Yea I went back to Oxford Street with the excuse of buying my mom a sweater…I ended up getting settling for some pyjama dress thing for her and a pair of pants for me, some jewelry and more socks. Then I headed over to H&M where I picked up another pair of jeans and a necklace and lastly to Top Shop where I bought my third pair of pants…I love pants??

I think this was New Year’s Day but I really don’t remember. I spent my New Years by myself in front of the TV because my aunt and cousin were asleep and my uncle went out. I did watch a part one of a good documentary about the British Music Invasion before I went to sleep. Happy New Years!

Side note: earlier that day, I went into a McDonald’s and saw they sold 20 chicken nuggets in one box! They are promoted as a share-box and I did share them – between me, myself and I.

The Outside of the V&A

The next day I chilled a bit in the morning, had a sword fight with my 7 3/4 year old cousin and watched some children’s TV before I went back to the V&A, this time with my aunt. We went to see the special Hollywood Costumes exhibit they had on. It was fascinating to see so many different costumes from famous movies like My Fair Lady, Spiderman, The Dark Night, Kill Bill, Gone With the Wind, the Wizard of Oz, and that movie where Marilyn Monroe wears that white dress that blows up when she stands over the grater. The amount of effort and detail that is put into these things is baffling but appreciated.

I spent the rest of the day hanging out with various family members and then my aunt bought me fish and chips when she learned I hadn’t had any since being in London. How un-British of me. That night at my aunt’s house my cousin and I watched the movie Anuvahood (trailer here) as he was trying to culture me in British film since his earlier attempts to show me Carry On…Screaming were unsuccessful. A cool side note, my cousin, who is a singer and designer, had a song in that movie. Pretty nifty, eh?

Natalie May: Sexy Sexy
 

I would write about my sad failed attempts to get back to Salamanca but it makes me angry thinking about it, so here it is in 20 words: wrong terminals in London and Madrid → missed bus → freaking out in bus station → hotel → bus (not express) → home at last.

And that was London.

A magnet I bought from the Globe Theatre

Towers and Gems – London Part 2

I have been without internet for the last few days so I am bringing you post courtesy of my school’s wifi. Internet withdrawal isn’t fun. Back to London – let me just start by saying the my dad bought me a London pass which basically gave me access to a bunch of tourist places and unlimited travel. I explained it London Part 1. Onto the touristy stuff:

Where I Went:
The first place official place I went was Buckingham Palace. It was a bit of a trek from the subway station to the palace and not very well marked, but I did what I normally do in situations like that,  follow the crowd. For those interested, I went to Hyde Park Corner (the subway stop) and walked from there. It was cold and I had forgotten my mittens 😦

Harrod’s: I bought a cinnamon bun. 

Egyptian Themed interior

Next I headed to the Albert Memorial. It is a big giant statue dedicated to King/Prince Albert I assume. Across the street was Royal Albert Hall, which was my real destination. But by time I got there and found the door, the last tour had already left, unfortunately. Although I did walk around the whole building (unintentionally) and I can say that it is lovely.

Royal Albert Hall
The Albert Memorial

After that I made my way to the well-known Natural History Museum. I LOVE this museum. I didn’t even go to the most famous part with the animal skeletons but I loved the parts I did go to. I saw the exhibitions on volcanoes and earthquakes and stood in a earthquake simulator. I went to another section I don’t remember then headed to the minerals exhibit. I t is really astonishing what Mother Nature is able to produce; the beauty of her creations. I probably spent about 40 mins to 1 hour walking through, admiring everything. That is why I really enjoy going to museums by myself, so I can be as slow as I like.

Once the museum closed, I took the tube to the Tower Hill to see where the Tower of London was because I planned to go there the next day and I wasn’t quite ready to go home yet. I also did my Tower souvenir shopping before hand so I wouldn’t waste time the next day. I left the store with a post card of Henry the Eighth’s wives and a blackberry and apple candy cane (which was delicious).

At night

The Shard

Tower Bridge

THE NEXT DAY!!!

The Tower is lovely. I always imagined it to be a giant vertical structure, but it really is more like a fort/castle. It was very busy but manageable. I also saw the Crown Jewels Exhibition which is housed on the grounds. They really are something, so sparkly and shiny. Although you really can’t stop and look at the most famous and current pieces. There is one of those moving sidewalk things like in airports on either side going in one direction so you are moving involuntarily as you pass by. Security reasons I guess.

After the Tower I walked over to Tower Bridge, the most recognizable bridge in London. First off, it’s blue! I did not know this until I got there. I walked allllll the way up one of the towers and looked at the two exhibitions at the top: one about the Olympics and the other about famous bridges around the world – it turns out that I have been to about 5 of those bridges which is pretty cool. I also saw/briefly chatted with a guy who is in my grammar class here in Salamanca….so random…. After that, I walked back across the bridge to the old engine rooms from when the bridge was first built. I then walked along the Thames, passed the HMS Belfast and walked by the Shard and City Hall to London Bridge Station.

From there I headed to Westminster Abbey. When I left the station, I walked towards what I thought was the Abbey, all the while thinking, since when did Westminster have a giant clock tower??? Turns out it was Big Ben and I didn’t realize until about 10  mins later that what I thought was the church was actually Parliament…whoops. But I found the abbey and headed inside. Audio guides are the greatest and this one was very informative and detailed. I quite enjoyed it. It is a beautiful church. In the gift shop I bought a Christmas tree ornament for my mom and another postcard for moi (shocker).

Westminster Abbey

When I left the church it was already dark and I didn’t have very long until the Churchill War Rooms, my next stop, would close. After finally figuring out how to cross the street without getting hit by a bus, I went and saw the rooms where Churchill and his War Cabinet stayed and led the country during the Second World War. It is a fantastic place to visit and the museum portion, which a lot of multimedia and a good insight into Churchill as a person, is great. I only wish I had more time there.

The Map Room

Lastly I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum (a.k.a. the V&A). On Fridays it’s open late although as I later discovered, a lot of the exhibits close because they don’t have enough staff to cover them. But that didn’t really affect me because I spent an hour there in only two galleries really and went home because I had had an exhausting day. Unfortunately I didn’t get back in time to watch some soaps 😦 But That’s okay. It was a great day 🙂
Inside the V&A

Christmas Things and Getting Lost – London Part 1

Hola amigos!

I am currently in London, where I have been for the last 6 days or so and it has been pretty different and cool thus far. I basically came because the thought of spending Christmas by myself, in Salamanca, was not so appealing. So I/my parents (perhaps mainly my parents) were like why don’t you go and invite yourself over to your relatives in London and spend Christmas with them? That’s more or less what went down and here I am! It turns out I have a lot of family here. A LOT. Like a bajillion cousins and some aunts and uncles, most of whom I haven’t even met yet and I leave on Wednesday. It was my first time meeting any of them, although they were more of less all familiar with my dad and the older ones remembered my mom from when my parents got married here a million years ago. But it is nice meeting family. I am staying with my aunt and uncle and their almost 8 year old son, Mr. T. He got a lot of Lego for Christmas and we (I) basically put it all together so I am now a Lego master if I do say so myself. And he likes to make fun of the way I say things like washroom instead of toilet or how I pronounce “water” like the “t” is a “d”. But we tend to do that in North America, pronounce lots of Ts like Ds. But enough with phonetics (I hope that’s what it is – if not I will definitely fail my phonetics and phonology course. I never know which is which).

I spent Christmas Eve on Oxford Street, doing some very unnecessary but fun shopping. All the boxing day sales had started Christmas Eve which that was great for me, bad for my wallet. I discovered the awesomeness that is Primark as well as later realized that the pound is a horribly expensive currency and with an exchange rate of 1 pound to 1.5 Canadian dollars, I wasn’t really getting thaaaat much of a discount with the sale prices. Not like that stopped me. Also Top Shop continues to be my favourite store. Word to the wise, NEVER go to the one in Madrid. It is such a disappointment. Even our little Canadian not-fully-a-store versions are better than that one.

My dad was so kind as to pay for a London Pass for me, which I am going to say is a Christmas present, because those things aren’t cheap. But they are well worth the money I think. The pass basically gives you unlimited access to the Underground and buses in all the zones (if you buy the travel part) as well as free entry into a lot of the most popular  tourist attractions and some of the lesser known ones along with discounts in stores. I bought a 6 day pass. You can get the pass on its own without the travel feature but because my family doesn’t live in central London, I got the travel part is necessary. It’s perfect because when I got it, I had 7 days left and it if valid for that long. It expires the day I go back to Spain.

I spent yesterday and today traveling around central London, doing touristy things, after spending the last few days inside with Mr. T, perfecting the art of electronic Guess Who while becoming hooked on Eastenders and Coronation Street. The Tube isn’t hard to figure out – I just wish that the door closing bells were louder. I got caught in them one time when I wasn’t paying attention. It is when I get above ground that I can get sooooo utterly confused. And I am VERY good with directions and almost always know my orientation, north, east, what have you. But I find London streets terribly confusing. Now I appreciate the brilliant grid-like system that is North America, where things make sense. Take for example, Piccadilly Circus. I went there with the intention of walking from there to a place I wanted to go, a few subways stops away, just to take a walk and see what was around. But I could not get my bearings what so ever. The map outside the station was oriented in a different way than the map I was walking with and I couldn’t tell what street was what and eventually I just gave up and went somewhere else. Also, I don’t get what’s so great about Piccadilly Circus. I always hear about it but nothing’s there really…

Annnnyyyywhoooo

I was gonna write about the sites and places I have seen so far but it’s late. And I’m tired. And I’m still fairly sick (I’ve been trying to cough silently for the last 2 hours to no avail). I’m going to go to bed now and leave you with some photos of nothing in particular.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

To the Abbey!
I’m pretty sure SALE is the greatest word ever invented

some products of said sales – bracelet and earrings from Primark, ring and necklace from Top Shop

Stereotypically British

THE coolest rock I have ever seen in my life – Natural History Museum

at the Tower of London

not called an exit

A girl’s best friend (or maybe just mine)

Walking to Buckingham Palace

Until tomorrow. 🙂

Travel Woes and Dirty Airports – Heading to London

Here is what NOT to do. Do NOT wait to the last minute to buy bus tickets to the airport. That will screw you over and end up costing a bunch more. That is what happened to me. I kept putting it off, forgetting, just not doing what needed to be done and then I ended up having to take a bus to the Madrid bus station and then a taxi from there to the airport. The taxi cost me about 36 euros. It’s not even that far, it’s just that there is a 2.25 base fare when you get in any cab on a Saturday. That’s fine. Then there is a 3 euro fare if you take a cab from the bus station and then another 5.50 euro fare if  you go to or from the airport. That’s already 10.65 before I even left the parking lot. But it was a lot easier than going with my suitcase for 40 minutes on the Madrid metro to go to a train station, to then wait another 15-20 min to get an airport shuttle bus which was another 40 minutes ride. So I took the taxi. BUT NEVER AGAIN. 

Christmas tree in Barajas Airport
Madrid Barajas is not my favourite airport (mehh experiences when my mom and I first  got here) and it went down in my books again today.  When I walked into the departures area the place was disgusting. Like absolutely gross. There was paper everywhere, garbage overflowing, things strewn about. I literally stood in the entrance for a minute or two taking it all in. I could not believe that an international airport would look like this. It honestly looked like a recycle bin or something had exploded but stuff was everywhere that it couldn’t have been that. When I went to check my luggage there was paper there too, outside the stores, outside the security lines, everywhere. Even in the washroom which was really gross on its own. If you can’t tell, I was disgusted. But once I went through security, it was as clean and nice as an airport should be. I don’t know what happened out there but yuck.

At first I thought I  got there too early but it seems like it was good enough timing. My dad always says go 3 hours before your flight for an international flight, but he’s just crazy punctual. I had to eat and I did do some shopping  (I bought another bottle of Cava for my family – I hope they like the stuff) so time went by pretty well. Plus it I actually a really big airport I had to take a train to get to my gate but as I type this I am sitting in some random gate. The screen is telling my gate is SR but that seem to be non-existent so I’m just chilling for now until 30 minutes before boarding, typing this up.

I’m excited and thoroughly terrified all at the same time for this trip. Meeting new people is one thing. They don’t necessarily have too much expectations of you. But this is family. I’ve heard things about them and they’ve heard things about me. Plus I don’t even know how many there are, most of their names or  what they even look like, let alone who is picking me up. I feel like I’m going in blind. But if I have learned anything from my three months in  Salamanca so far, it is that people aren’t as scary as you might expect.

Also, I’m moving again! On Thursday, Vi and I signed a contract for an APARTMENT!!!!!! It seems I can’t sit still. Ever. Em is living with us a well except she won’t be there till almost February. YAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!!!! We are REALLLY excited. It’s only about 5 minutes up the street from where our residence currently is but that’s  great as it cuts 5 minutes from our walk to school and we still know the area. When we move I’ll introduce you all to the new place. For now, I’m just going to go back slightly freaking out over going to London while eating a turkey, onion and goat cheese sandwich.

Happy Winter Break!!

 ♥

(This was written while waiting to board the plane – I’m in London now – 12 Days of DIY will continue when I get back)

12 Days of DIY – Day 6 & 7 – Safety Pin Necklace and Some Random Jewelry

Day 6: Continuing with my love for safety pin jewelry I developed when I was in Quebec earlier this year, I tried my hand at a safety pin necklace. I think it turned out pretty well.

I think that the dollar store has stopped selling safety pins because finding the last box was quite a challenge. Plus they are all different sizes and it’s a bit too long. But I still really like it.

Action Shot!

Day 7: This day, I just tossed together some jewelry after a little adventure to the bead store. I love that place. It’s got everything from beads to gold findings to silver jewelry. My heaven. I whipped up these apple earrings using some of the many apple ornaments found around my house.

Litterally. There is a giant bowl filled with them and another vase in the kitchen. 

Here we have the lovely Bow Wowie, named after (Lil’) Bow Wow himself modelling these earrings.

They were too short originally but a few more jump rings and they were just the right length.

Doesn’t he look darling?

I also whipped up a little robot ring using on of two pendants and ring backings I bought. Each was 75 cents so it only a buck 50. Awwww yeahhhh.

I’ll probably buy another one to make a set of earrings.

In the last post I said I’d do something origami, but it has been given me so much grief that I just about threw the paper off the balcony into the freshly fallen snow. I couldn’t find the paper I wanted, some paper I tried was too thick, turned my fingers silver, various other stuff… But I still have ideas up my sleeve and plan on completing all twelve days!