Tuesday, 6 September 2011

FOOTBALL, FLAT FRUSTRATION and FLOWERS! (who doesn't like alliteration?)

(sorry Mom- this time it was necessary) 

 Last Sunday (August 28th), I went on a solo mission to Regent’s Park to seek out the gardens, which Martin, my temporary flatmate at the time had indicated I should go see… With Martin and Tarvi in Paris for the weekend and the race against all other flat seekers complete (flat found, but not yet moved in), I needed to breathe, explore and take in nature in a form that I miss dearly. 
Wondering up and down, alongside the carefully manicured, yet, mature and melded floral mosaics, I felt at ease and completely happy to be living and taking the moment in.  Bright yellow marigolds paired with deep red dahlia and soft purple English Aster against shrubs of slight, cool, grey-blue leaves… Perfect.
After enjoying the gardens and taking a few snapshots, I continued along a walking path, rather a walking highway, which led me through the centre of the ginormous park.  Looking to either side of the path, all around me, there was FOOTBALL…  Pick-up games of FOOTBALL, participants of varying ages and cultures, playing at varying intensities, EVERYWHERE.  I walked and stared eagerly, longingly, at the play all around me. I may have been twitching with the urge to sprint over and engage in a game of FOOTBALL IMMEDIATELY…  It was absolute torture.
I must have looked bizarre to the people walking the park “highway” around me, as a battle in my head ensued… 
The Battle:
Completely distracted as I walked, I gazed at groups playing, often stopping in my tracks as I thought… “you really should just go over there and ask to join in”… anxious with desire and apprehension all at once… staring some more... “yes, just do it”. I convinced myself for the moment and started towards a group of players, walking a few meters in their direction… stopping... as I thought… “what if they’re too hard-core and intimidate me and then I don’t play my best and then they all think ‘who does this girl think she is, thinking she is good enough to come play with us’…”… Feeling self-conscious and sunken, I return to the highway and continued, more purposefully down the path again… *Eeyore voice*… “I’ll just run home today and try again another day…”… Filled with disappointed in myself for not just going over there, I look back over my shoulder regrettably…Knowing deep down, taking the risk is always the better decision…  (again, people around me, observing my behaviour,  must have thought… “THIS GIRL IS ABSOLUTELY CRAZY!”)... I pulled myself together as I thought...
NO SHOULDA, WOULDA, COULDAS!… This is what life is all about! This is why I am HERE in London England! Taking risks is what brings about opportunities, growth, and the best things in life… 
That was it. I had to do it. After so much contemplation and turmoil on the park highway, there was no turning back on the decision. I MUST PLAY FOOTBALL IN THIS PARK TODAY!!!!
I set out to find a group of footballers that felt “right” for me and I did. A friendly bunch, majority males, but a couple of girls in the mix, a variety of fitness levels and ages, a general desire to play hard, but also to have fun… As we began to play together, I could overhear words of encouragement being exchanged amongst players. Positive reinforcement.  My favourite. This is the group for me.
I am now on their emailing list and will be playing football every Sunday at 12:45pm. I played again this passed, Sunday September 4th, in the pouring rain and it felt DOWNRIGHT AWESOME!!!! 
I can now cross “find a group to play weekly football with” off my list of things to establish/do in the UK.
Firstly, my flat comes with a large backyard with TONS of gardening potential.  Looking forward to next Spring, fo sho.
My flat is a 3 story walk-up with 7 bedrooms total.  I have to only room located on ground floor, which is ideally situated across from a “toilet” and right beside the social kitchen/lounge area. Then there are 3 bedrooms on the second and third level each.  My room is ideal for the following reasons:
1.       It is very private and is not adjacent to other bedrooms
2.       I can sneak into the kitchen for a late night snack without crreeeaaakkkinnggg” all the way down the old, wooden stairs between the levels… Particularly useful for when I start lesson planning late into the evenings!
3.       My extraverted side requires regular social contact and with the social areas close by, just next door, I can easily shift over to the communal lounge, no problem, to chat up/harass my fellow flatmates, as they drop into the kitchen.
4.       Although I still have yet to meet all my fellow flatmates, I can almost guarantee I am the loudest of us all. With my room on ground floor, I am more separate from the other rooms and don’t have to moderate my voice as much, whether I am hanging in my room or in the social lounge/kitchen with friends.
All so ideal.
An unfortunate circumstance- Friday September 1st- Approximately 10:30pm
With my two new lovely flatmates away for the weekend and the entire flat to myself, and no plans, I hoped to mask the fact that I was completely alone by spending my Friday evening in a brightly lit home, while engaging in internet communication with friends back home… Likely play some music and dance vigorously by myself. Play make-believe that I am dancing amongst fellow retro night friends/frequenters at Call the Office or something.
This did not happen.
Instead, I sat in the light of two sagging and dejected candles, lent to me by the next door neighbours, with absolutely no power on a Friday night.
With the delivery of our brand new washing machine that day, I eagerly “loaded r’ up” at about 10pm to wash some of my accumulated laundry.  About 5-10minutes into the load, the electrical system of the entire flat overloaded and all was dark and silent.
Initially, I sought help from the neighbours, hoping they would know how to solve such an issue. One very friendly lady came over to take a look at the breaker system and help, but once it seemed that there was no hope for having power that evening, I instantly had this incredible urge to be left alone.  I was anxious and in need of space... I NEEDED the opportunity to be emotional. I felt cooped up, suffocated with her around, poking at my fuse box (pun intended…), with no solution in sight. I fought to hide my anxiety, as this friendly women offered suggestions. My frustration and urge to be left the fuck alone quadrupled when her mother came in, only to poke at my fuse box some more and repeat the same conclusions her daughter did. STILL no solution.  Stuck in the same place, wheels spinning, my anxiety and need to explode building. We were getting nowhere and I couldn't listen to their voices anymore. They sounded loud to me. Difficult to take in. Finally, they left. I went to bed.
It was noon the next day that I had power back.  What a night.
Beth’s first, not so pleasant, meltdown moment in the UK.
On a more positive note: My new flat is in a really fun, fairly central (Zone 2) area often identified as “London Fields”/”Broadway Market” area.  I am perfectly placed in this area, with a 1 minute walk to the park- “London Fields” and a 5 minute walk to “Broadway Market”, a sweet villagey stretch of street with charming little shops, pubs and cafes.  HOW PERFECT!  Green space for my tree hugging, nature loving ways and a fun little social hot spot and amenities at my fingertips.
After the not-so-positive Friday night in the dark, this past sunshiny Saturday (September 3rd), I got to witness my fantastic area in full form. Completely vibrant, bustling and slightly “alternative” are good words to describe it!... 
London Fields, which Martin likes to call “fashion Fields”, really did embrace its nick-name.  I got to see “Fashion Fields” in FULL affect.  All of the hipsters came out in their trendy, vintage wear and spanned the entire green space. Literally 75% of the ground, a grassy carpet for the masses, was covered, with lean bodies, vintage patterns and materials and fixed wheel bicycles.   It looked like a hippy movement.  This made me smile.

As I continued passed my lovely, thriving park, I reached Broadway Market ON A SATURDAY…
The entire village-y stretch of road was COVERED with vendors, tightly packed, side-by-side with people weaving and pouring through the tracts of pedestrian space down the sides.
All my sense were filled to the brim with stimulation. The melody of “oh when the saint go marching in” rose and fell as I passed by a group of 3, playing in the street.  Colourful, fresh fruit and vegetables jumped out at me… I spotted the deep green leaves of kale and my dorky nutrition side kicked into gear as I pondered what healthy-yet absolutely delicious meal I would like to make with it… Meats and cheeses, fresh breads, drool-inducing deserts… Dresses and vintage fashion items drew me in… and… FLOWERS!!! Absolutely STUNNING flowers… Lilies, roses, gerber daisies, sunflowers, hydrangeas in green, pink and indigo blue! Now this is the best type of overstimulation. People, sounds, smells, colours in every direction.
A crucial purchase of the day: Flowers to myself as a “pick me up” after last night’s unfortunate events…. Oh and a dress too. J
I love my life.

P.S. Another wonderful day spent with the charming Matt. My favourite parts:
1. Matt exposing his science-dork side as he observed and initiated a discussion on Eutrophication as we walked along-side a stunning, yet aglae-rific waterway… I’m so glad to have company in the super-dork world here in London England.
NOTE: Eutrophication and the process whereby aglae accumulates on the surface of more still water, due to excessive food (algae food = nitrogen- manmade contribution of course).  The problem is that eventually all the algae build-up will block the sun from penetrating down into the water. This causes issues for other aquatic life below… Gluttonous aglae…
2. Strawberries and cream on-the-go!.. Feeling quite peckish after our walk along the canal, we bought some strawberries as a snack… Matt felt it was a priority that I try the traditional British snack of strawberries and cream… So with cream drizzled carelessly over the strawberries, the container dripping EVERYWHERE, we walked on down the street, mucking up our hands and faces and savouring the delicious snack.
NOTE: Any words that are bolded, italicized, underlined and in red are suggested/preferred words by Mom. She doesn’t like me saying words like fuck, shit, ass (etc) on the internet… I feel these words better illustrate my feelings as times, so just imagine them in there if you will.

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