Train to unchanging lands. Maybe.

It was unusually busy at the train station today. Took a while for the queues to move but at least I am on my way.

This week I started my internship at SAGE. It’s very different from the other ones I undertook, primarily because it has a large London headquarters, with rows of cubicles spanning two floors, atmospheric with computer keyboard monotones that tap, tap, tap away. Sometimes I pretend they are the chirps of electronic birds in a jungle.

I have also been tasked with assignments that I have not done before, such as looking for potential book reviewers and helping to prepare reports. I daresay, with a heave of relief, that the people I have encountered during my internship (and indeed, internships) have been very friendly and helpful. Something I am incredibly pleased has not changed.

This weekend is UEA’s 50th anniversary celebration (it started the same year as Doctor Who first aired; what a coincidence). It will be the first time since I left for London that I would be back there. It makes me feel warm inside just knowing that a lot of people will be there as if no one left. And it makes me feel nervous too.

I don’t know why I should feel nervous. Maybe because it’s nice to think that Norwich will be unchanging, wrapped in memories of good times. Going back will only help determine whether it has. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Everything changes. And people did leave. But I will rock myself back and forth while this train snakes down the tracks from London Liverpool Street and whisks me away to that idyllic place.

Gone is the grey city and smog. Green pastures and cobblestone and concrete walls await.

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A Bit of Friday the 13th Luck

Friday the 13th was a surprisingly lucky day for me.

Following a phone interview a couple of weeks back, I am glad to say that I got a reply. I was offered a two-week work experience. I’ve not been involved in academic publishing yet, so it is incredibly exciting. Later that afternoon I headed to Leicester for a birthday weekend and had a lovely time.

Students are also flocking to universities once again. Familiar faces are reappearing in London, which is relieving news for my socially deprived self. It is probably the same in Norwich. Needless to say, UEA’s 50th anniversary celebration is already on my calendar. What sweetens the deal is the fact that I have accumulated so many points from the East Coast rewards scheme that I have two free tickets for the trip. Whoop whoop!

Apart from that, all is swell. My research is going well. And I’ll update when there is more to tell! (A friend told me in Leicester that ‘that which rhymes must be true’, hence the wishful thinking.)

The One with the Last Minute Hurrah

More often than not, a dry spell on my blog means there’s prolonged anxiety and/or general annoyance to be dealt with. I’m glad to say that this week has started becoming a lot better. And with that I find no reason to delete this post and/or slam my head upon the desk.

It was by chance earlier this week that I was informed by the lovely Lucy about a last-minute opening for work experience at a publishing house. I leaped at it like a stage diver at a concert and thankfully did not hit the pavement. It went through successfully and I started the following day. While there was the matter of adapting to a new environment it has been good so far. Most of the tasks were different from what I did previously – there is more publicity work such as dealing with image requests and press clippings, but there was a range of things to do. One of them involves getting hunger pangs while proofreading recipes. And learning how to make poached eggs while I am at it.

I’m also looking forward to the coming weekends. There’ll be many familiar faces around who will probably remind me of why my sanity is intact. Well, no, really there are many people I miss to bits. And if sending random messages and spontaneous sound clips like a cat who has dragged in some poor animal as a peacekeeping gift isn’t an obvious sign, I don’t know what is.

Since there’s no better analogy to describe this, I’ll just go ahead and say that this week I feel as though I am crowd surfing. Thanks to brilliantly supportive people. And if I reach the end only to fall off I suppose I can be content with how fun it was.

The Week of the Weary and Weird

This week has been strange and rather exhausting. In more ways than one. But first off, perhaps I should talk about happy things such as my internship. My second and final week at John Blake Publishing was just as lovely as the last. And cliche as it sounds, I was honestly quite sad to leave. As it turned out, all those years I clocked in favours by proofreading multiple essays, personal statements and articles did me a whole lot of good. It is one of those crazy little things that I find absolutely enjoyable. And now I am on their list of freelancers! Wonder why it never crossed my mind to do this earlier.

I also realised this week that the road towards a job after graduation is a mixture of many things – including effort, dedication, experience and frankly that little bit of luck. My colleague did say something quite clever though. He said, ‘ I suppose you have to make your own luck,’ which I couldn’t help but agree.

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Then again, there’s only so much luck you can spin. Recently I have been led to learn that sometimes things just don’t work out. For reasons more than one. And that is if you don’t consider the series of unfortunate events that spring up just after as though there is some superstitious cosmic rule out there stating that bad things have to come in threes. Or fours. Pondering on why these happen doesn’t help, really. I just have to pack up my troubles in my old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. Right, enough of all this vague nonsense that I cannot consciously elaborate in a public account!

WIth the extra time on my hands, I’m aiming to charge through job applications and do lots of writing (which I admit I have been neglecting) and maybe sight see London on a tight budget. Preferably free. Any suggestions? I visited Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove with Charlene today; it’s very ‘alternative’ there (I say this with caution). There’s this stall on Portabello Road that sells antique prints – ‘nothing modern’ – for roughly £10 each, and on the back of each print there are some information on when it was produced. I also tried to take a cheesy picture at Platform 9 and 3/4, King’s Cross Station, only to find that there was a queue. A very long queue, which I had no time for. And I found one of the London street pianos at St Pancras (the existence of which was brought to me by Lucy). Had I enough time I might have plucked up the courage to play the Game of Thrones theme song.

But that is for another day perhaps.

So I conclude my train of thoughts on a fairly optimistic note.  If luck won’t find me than I’ll have to mould it with my bare hands. And if that doesn’t happen you probably won’t hear from me for a while. Have a good day.

What lies after graduation

17 July 2013 was the day I graduated from the University of East Anglia. It was exciting, nerve-wrecking, bittersweet and incredibly hot being in those robes, but I was glad to have my family around and friends about as hats flew into the air. It’s one of those classic moments where you either go, ‘Aha! Now everything’s going to change!’ or ‘Oh no! Now everything’s going to change!’

It’s really odd looking back: first time abroad on my own, moving an over sized suitcase from a quiet airport to UEA, then realising I had to drag it all the way to the accommodation on the edge of campus. It was raining as well. Very atmospheric.

The past three years in Norwich and UEA since then have been amazing, to say the least. There was a little touch of blue sometime in between first and second year; overall though, there are many memories I would not trade for the world. Finding more and more lovely people as the years go by, being part of Concrete, running the Malaysian Society, writing hilarious poetry for a class, having Gothic seminars at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, listening to Of Monsters and Men in a corridor at the Union House, spending Christmas with wonderful families, reading at an open-mic, singing on stage, corridor conversations… let me stop there before the images blur into one another.

The people I have met, the new things I have experienced, the things I have learnt about myself – I suppose all these led me to what I have, in a fantastic leap, decided to do.

I have uprooted myself from Norwich (ironically, following the end of a house contract, I was living in the same campus accommodation as I did in first year) and moved into the large, bustling city that is London. You might like to know that the weather was perfect when I left today. I am job-hunting. It’ll be difficult but I’m staying optimistic.

As luck would have it I also managed to secure a work experience and internship with two publishing companies in London. That is 10 weeks of my life sorted.

Had it not been for these three years, I don’t think I would have been brave enough to take this step. But there you have it. My journey is still continuing and my best days are ahead of me.