Her Campus American

Click HERE to read my farewell to Leslie Knope and the cast of “Parks and Recreation”

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The 5 Stages of Having Writer’s Block

As you’ve noticed, I haven’t been posting as much on this blog. And it’s not that I don’t want to – I really, really want to write. I just have no idea what I should write about. It’s not like I ran out of ideas – I’ve been doing some awesome things in England. It’s just that I can’t figure out how to articulate the things I’m doing here.

A couple of weeks ago, most of us on my program went to visit Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, and Bath. The trip was really fun; not only did the bus have wifi, but we all got to bond and get away from the hustle and bustle of London. Stonehenge was pretty fuckin’ amazing (excuse my language) – it’s actually much cooler than it looks in photos. I also ran into one of my good friends, Daniel there! The wind at Stonehenge was crazy – my hair was everywhere and I was freezing and it sucked. Luckily, Stonehenge’s visitor’s center had a cafe with amazing hot cocoa, so that definitely made up for the shitty weather.

One reason I wanted to visit the Salisbury Cathedral was to see the Magna Carta; however, due to its 800th anniversary this year, they weren’t displaying it. However the cathedral was very beautiful and it’s cafe had GREAT roasted potatoes. I mean, they were the best potatoes I’ve had in a long time. And they also had thousands of cat trinkets. (Can you tell I really love cats and potatoes? I should change this site’s name.)

Bath was also a beautiful, beautiful place to visit – I’m actually planning on going back to have my own personal Jane Austen experience (AKA write poems in cafes and pretend I’m a hipster.) We got to visit the Roman Baths (again, beautiful) and my lovely friend Mandy had us all try the water. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t taste that great. After visiting the baths, a group of us went and got some AMAZING gelato – where I ran into Daniel for the second time! It was great seeing him again so unexpectedly! I really enjoyed my time outside of London and as much as I love this city, I can’t wait to explore other parts of England.

I also had the chance to visit Brixton; if you know me, you know that I love The Clash/”Guns of Brixton” so this trip was pretty meaningful. It was great going to a different part of London; the area is so culturally diverse, I loved every second I was there. I mainly hung around the indoor market, Brixton Village, and got some amazing sourdough pizza. (I’m saying ‘amazing’ too much but I don’t even care.) I also got to spend some time with a friend in Brixton, who showed me some cool street art. I’d include pictures but I’m honestly too lazy to be bothered with going through my iCloud.

Last Thursday I was able to visit Parliament for a second time and watch the MPs grill Ministers with questions (I also took a nap – Parliament needs comfier seating.) It’s always nice going into central London and seeing Big Ben and the London Eye (which I have yet to go to.)

Lately, I haven’t been out exploring because school is so demanding right now; two weeks ago I had 3 papers due, last week I had 2 papers and presentation, and this week I have another 2 papers and a presentation due. It’s quite stressful. Luckily, next week is my last week of classes so I’ll have more free time.

OH! I also booked solo trips to Paris and Amsterdam during my spring break in two weeks. I’m a little nervous about traveling alone but I’m excited to see some European cities. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris to visit the Louvre and though my French is pretty rusty (je parle Francais un peu???) I can’t wait to immerse myself in the culture for FOUR days! After Paris I’m heading up to Amsterdam for a couple of days to hit up the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum – I love Van Gogh so this trip is going to be pretty damn emotional. After Amsterdam, I’m heading home to London and I’m planing on taking a trip up to Leeds (to see the university, because I’m a nerd) and go back to Bath (because Jane Austen.)

This post was originally going to be about the struggles of writer’s block… I’ve kept the title for the sake of continuity (AKA lazy) but I’m glad I’ve apparently gotten over it. Maybe my next post will cover it. We’ll see.

An Open Letter to my Ex-Boyfriend’s New Girlfriend

Trigger warning: this post discusses an abusive relationship; do not read if you are easily trigged by this topic. And please, if you are a victim of domestic violence, call your national hotline and seek help.

Hi there,

I’m not sure if you know of me other than the “horror” stories he may have told you. I’m not addressing you as bitter or jealous – I’m far from it, actually. The events of last year are so far away that I couldn’t even will myself to be jealous, even if I tried extremely hard.

I’m not sure if you’re even a girlfriend, but the few friends of mine that keep in touch with him have told me he’s dating someone again. This letter isn’t meant to harm either of you, but it is a warning.

When he and I dated two years ago (it seems so far away now), I was on cloud nine. I was so happy that I had found someone who seemed to be the right guy. I thought he was sweet, kind, caring; basically, he was a good guy. Not to say that he isn’t one now, but he most certainly is not the nicest person. Nor am I for writing this, I assume.

Anyway… If you’d like read about all the horrible things he did to me, click here. I’ll give you some highlights.

Being in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship is… I’m trying to think of a word to describe it, but I can’t. These types of relationships are never easy to deal with and overcome. Speaking from experience, I’m still dealing with the effects certain aspects of the relationship have had on me. I still have nightmares of memories, I still wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

So here’s the deal: he will treat you well, he’ll pay for meals, drive you places, kiss you in public… He’ll do everything he can to hook you in. Then, the little fights will start. He’ll probably flirt with another girl in front of you, text his ex-girlfriend in front of you then blame you when you bring it up. He’ll start calling you “stupid” and “idiotic,” only to apologize with “I love you baby, you know that.”

He’ll start making you question yourself. When he does something that doesn’t sit right with you, and you bring it up, he’ll turn around and ask you why you think he’s such a horrible person. He’ll turn it around and tell you that you’re insane for ever doubting him.

When he continues to flirt with other women and disregards your wants and needs from the relationship, you’ll get angry. You’ll be frustrated and you’ll question if you’re worthy of him (spoiler alert: he’s not worthy of you.) When bigger fights arise, the fun really starts. You’ll be called a stupid bitch, a fat fuck, a fat cow, a fat pig, a stupid whore, a fucking slut… He’ll tell you that he wishes you were dead, that you would be found in a ditch somewhere, that he could rid himself of you.

I would really like to tell you more, but as my hands are shaking and my breath has caught in my throat, it’s far too raw still for me to articulate. But you get the picture. He isn’t always who he says he is. He pays for your meals and holds your hand in public, yet behind closed doors he screams in your face and breaks you down.

I’m sure in regards to our relationship, he’s told you that I was crazy, that I did things to keep him in the relationship. And sure, that’s definitely one way of looking at it. But what he needs to understand, and what you and others need to understand, is that my actions were reactions due to the horribly abusive nature of my relationship. In a powerless partnership, I did what I could to get the upper hand. I’m not say the way I acted was wrong or right; however, it is justified. I wasn’t “crazy” for no reason. I was driven mad by someone who would tell me I deserved to die then told me he loved me. I was driven insane by someone who threatened to cheat on me every time I did something he deemed wrong.

So please read this and heed my warning. I’m not trying to infringe on either of your happiness, but I hope you continue this relationship with caution. I hope these words stick with you (like that have, me) and that if you get one inkling of abusive thrown your way, you leave. Do not be me and “stick it out” for over a year. Do not give into his threats of suing you if you leave – they’re empty threats, but they definitely scared me enough to stay.

And if he’s learned his lesson from our relationship, I wish you two the best. I hope that he can learn from the mistakes he made with me and the girlfriends before me.

I’ll end this letter-thing with a quote I saw today on tumblr. It was random but I think it summarizes this well:

I loved a boy who didn’t appreciate me and it fucked me up.

London Called and I Answered (Pt. II)

So I’ve been in London for about four days now and I’m already dreading having to go home in four months. London is the most amazing city in the world, I’m convinced. I’ve only been here a few days but I’ve already seen so much of the city, I’m completely in love. As I continue to stumble my way down cobble stone streets, I’m sure I’ll learn more, but I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned during my time here so far.

1. They drive on the wrong side of the road

Okay, this is probably really obvious and total common knowledge but it still freaks me out. They drive on the wrong side of the road. Not the opposite–the wrong. Every time I cross the street I put my life in the hands of London drivers (which I do not recommend.) I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this.

2. They don’t have designated walking directions

In the states, when you walk on a sidewalk there’s a certain side for people going one way and people going the opposite way. Here, all bets are off. I’ve stumbled into countless people here because they just walk wherever. In any direction. I’m blaming this on their driving on the wrong side.

3. They have weird adverts

Every advertisement I’ve seen has been weird; they involve a lot of talking animals. I mean…A LOT. I can’t tell what they’re advertising. I can’t tell what product they want me to buy. Why can’t you Brits make sense?!

4. They are completely obsessed with their queen

Again, this might be totally obvious but their obsession with the queen is borderline scary. They care so much about her and her wellbeing it’s a little scary. I also get a little jealous; why can’t someone care about me and my wellbeing so much that they lay out a carpet so I never touch the floor?  So jealous. Someone make me a princess.

5. The weather is temperamental

Today was windy and chilly, then it rained, then we had a freak minute-long wind/rain hurricane, then it was sunny, then it got rainy. The weather fluctuates constantly and it’s turning into a problem. Do I bring an umbrella? A heavy jacket? Sunglasses? I’m so lost.

6. London is fuckin’ old

This too is pretty obvious, but you don’t realize it until you’re actually here. London is fucking old. I’ve seen buildings made in the 10th century, I’ve walked on streets where every monarch since the 1800’s has walked on. I’ve seen buildings damaged in World War II. This place is old and it is beautiful.

7. British boys are very cute

I’m in between significant others right now so I’ve been scoping out the new dating field. Between walking around central London and tinder, I’ve found that British boys are much more attractive than Americans. There’s definitely something in the water here that breeds beauty. And the accents don’t hurt, either.

So as you can see, I’ve learned a lot during my four days in London Town. I hope your newfound knowledge gives you a different perspective on England, and I’m sure that as the months go I’ll learn even more.

Image credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

London Called and I Answered

It’s currently 8PM LA time. I’m on my flight to London. I spent most of the day dreading getting on this plane; 12 hour flights are not the most fun thing. I even held my mom up at the airport saying goodbye because I was dreading going to London.

I’m not someone who likes change. I like as little change as possible. I’ve been eating the same food for years, I’ve had the same phone and phone company for years; after shopping at Forever 21 since I was 11, I just barely made a switch. I hate change. I hate things changing. And moving to England is obviously a huge change.

My past three weeks in LA felt like a year. I was with my friends and family and enjoying my time at home. When I’m at school, I spread myself so thin I rarely have time to relax, so going home is my safe haven. At home, I can sleep in later than 6AM (and I don’t have to rush to my 8AM classes.) I got through Sherlock, Parks and Rec, and Cosmos during my three weeks. I saw my family a few times and spent the holidays with them. It was nice. It was great, really.

So now, leaving paradise for four months is heartbreaking. I won’t see the sun for four months. I won’t see my family for four months. I won’t see my cat for four months (held back a sob writing that – crazy cat lady?)

On the bright side, I’m moving to fucking London. LONDON. LONDON. This has been my dream since I was 12. Since I finalized this in September, this day is all I’ve dreamt about. I have about 7 hours until I land at Heathrow and I’m nervous and excited and scared and anxious and every other weird emotion. I don’t know how tomorrow is going to go, I’m going to try and navigate the city alone to get to my little apartment. I’ll probably refrain from posting this so I can update you all on my journey through London.

If I’m trying to be sappy, which I’m not, I’d talk about all the things I want to do and see within the four months I’m there. Right now, my priority is finding cheap Fall Out Boy tickets (they’re doing a show in the city next week.) Fingers crossed that works out. Fuck it, I’ll be sappy.

I hope I explore parts of London I’ve never seen in photos or on TV. I hope I’m able to find friends that I get along with and travel with on the weekends. I hope I get to venture to other parts of Europe (Paris and Dublin are a must.) I hope I’m able to grow as a person and learn a bit more about myself.

There we have it.

~~

I’m just posting this today though it was written on Tuesday. I know I said I’d write a follow up but I’m severely jet lagged so I promise it’ll be up soon.

Image credit: 1