A Letter to Myself.

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Dear N,

Remember who you were in Hong Kong. Remember that confident and resilient woman you were. Remember the friends you made and the people you now cherish.

I know England is hard for you right now, because life has become hard for you right now. There’s a certain way you used to be in Birmingham which effects who you are right now. But that’s the old you, that’s not who you’ve become. Embrace England with a fiery passion in your belly and a kind spirit.

Noone knows your personality like you do. You’re hilarious, witty (sometimes) and altogether kind. Remember that. Be that person you want to be, smile at strangers, be kind to the people around you and live life to the fullest. It doesn’t matter what country you’re in or who’s around you. Do this next step for you. Make the most of the hand you’ve been dealt and love yourself ever the more for it.

Remember people don’t know what you’re thinking. Ask for help when you need it and take notice of what’s going on around you. Be the strongest you, you want to be.

You know you don’t always love yourself. In fact often it’s quite the opposite, but the only way you can get through this is to be true to yourself. Use everything you learnt and be the traveller N. Right now there’s not much difference between you and her. Take that as an opportunity.

It won’t always be easy to read this letter without crying your eyes out or wishing you didn’t exist, but remember it’s always here. To care for you on the dark days and lift your spirits on the bright ones.

You need a new start and that all happens with you. Sit and write those applications and tell them everything you love about yourself, about how when you’re working with Young People you can’t think of anything else you want to do in your life. They make you happy, they give you life and without them you don’t have that. So get it.

Now, stop reading and get on with your life. Live it, to the full.

Best wishes,

N

When it feels like the adventure is over.

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So I’m now back in the UK and living with a wonderful friend I used to live with when I was last in Birmingham. All is well, but I suddenly have an overwhelming anxiety about everything and nothing at the same time.

My mission now is to get a job and make a new life for myself. I am here to progress in my career and I need to get on with job applications. Also at the same time though, I just want to bloody rest. The last few weeks have been insane, I spent two weeks in Singapore, left Hong Kong, did Dubai on the way back and visited Edinburgh for the fringe so I am pretty much exhausted. Yes this was mostly for leisure, but I know most people would agree when you’re travelling you’re not always relaxing by a pool getting a good rest.

So here I am, two weeks into being back in the country and I haven’t touched a job application. It’s almost starting to scare me, the thought of going through the process and the almighty thought of rejection. I need to not give up.

Today I spent the day sleeping and scrolling through Facebook, less than productive. My anxiety is returning and I am losing hope in life a little. My friend half convinced me to move back here because I had such a big support network and don’t get me wrong I have a lot of friends back here, but some have moved on and others I see as much as I did when in HK. Everyone worries about money in the UK, they’re not living on expat wages here and therefore nobody wants to do anything. That’s something I am finding hard, in Hong Kong everyone is so social and always want to go out for meals and have a coffee.

I miss the beach. What I wouldn’t give to Kayak in the sea right now in Stanley. I also think I’m grieving for Hong Kong. Sometimes I’ll suddenly break out into tears whether for 5 minutes or 30, it’ll effect me for my whole day. The place was home, but without the right job there was no point in me being there.

The dream now would be to find somewhere new, perhaps not the UK (I am dreading the winter already) but somewhere further afield, just the path at the moment isn’t clear. I need to keep looking and researching. Without work, there’s no way I can travel and that passion still runs through my veins.

 

The Start of the Big Move

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It’s coming oh so very close to my move out date, just shy of three years after I moved in. In my adult life I have never lived in the same place for this long before moving somewhere different. This place has been my fortress of solitude, the place I got to live with my best friend for a whole year and the first flat I was allowed cats!

As it comes nearer, I begin to get nostalgic. As I began moving things around I always hark back to the days when I sat in my flat alone on a thin mattress on the floor because I had to save up to get furniture. I stayed in a single bed in a room with no curtains for over two months before I began to transform it into the home I made today. It’s by no means perfect, I’d change a few bits of furniture if I had the money or was an interior design expert, but it was all I needed.

Slowly I’ve begun to take out storage boxes I forgot I owned, thrown away over loved shoes and found two HUMUNGOUS cockroaches, but it’s got me almost tearful at times. and not just because of the cockroaches… I try to think what this flat represents to me. A change in lifestyle, a change in country, a change in me.

So I have devised a master plan of attack for my final week in Sands Street.

Monday – Post stuff to England / take out my pension (You can take out your MPF in Hong Kong when you leave the country if you aren’t going to return and I thought it best as if I grow old and senile I might forget I ever had it!) Get a handyman to touch up the walls and fix the tap.

Tuesday – Send money to England. (excuse my french) FUCK BREXIT, but while the exchange rate is high, I should send as much across as I can.

Wednesday – Organise furniture donation to Crossroads charity and say goodbye to Milky (my last foster cat).

Thursday – Have the unwanted furniture taken away and electrical items cleared. Final clean of the flat. Take final items to the Salvation Army.

Friday – Say goodbye to my lovely flat.

Then that’s it, the keys leave my hands, I get the deposit back and I try not to bawl my little eyes out. You’ve done me proud little flat, you’ve done me proud. Thanks x

Alone

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I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and it’s by no means something I haven’t spoken about before.

I sit here at my table, full of pots and pans that haven’t been washed, across from a sofa that hasn’t been tidied and a load of washing ready to go to be washed. This is what happens when i’m alone. I don’t respect my own personal space. I have no regard for what issues it may cause for me, if I’ll trip up, not have a dish to eat my dinner from or struggle to find something I needed when running late in the morning.

I’m so sick of living alone, but I know i’d struggle to live with someone else if it wasn’t Mel, a friend I lived with before my move to Hong Kong. We shared a bed for 6 months after I lost my job and moved to a studio apartment. There’s no one else I could be myself around like that.

I don’t know what people do when they’re alone. I long all day to be back home and then I get here and sit on Facebook, barely feed myself and go to bed. When you’re alone, you sleep, lots, almost too much that you feel you’re just wasting you life as it rushes past you in a series of naps. But there’s nothing else to do.

At 21 my passion became my full time career and I’ve never been able to replace it. I could sit in the middle of the Praya and feel alone. With all the people jogging past me, doing their Tai Chi and sitting people watching.

It feels like there’s supposed to be a part of my life when I’m supposed to be alone. To be free of a boyfriend or child to take care of.I remember a colleague of mine saying “You’re so lucky you live on your own, I can’t get away anymore, all I want to do is sit alone and read a book”. This plan however, as I see it is highly achievable, have someone watch the baby put on the kettle and take a bath. But what happens when you’re done being alone? You go back to your unlonely days. I can’t sort out this situation, except to not be alone and for me, that’s just not possible right now.

My dream? To have someone that loves me. I’d say children, but I’m not greedy, I need that special someone to scoop me up first and make me feel like my life has some purpose, something to live for, something to come home to. I just don’t feel like it’s an achievable goal.

 

The Final Asian Adventure

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So I just got back from Singapore to see my best friend and to be a tourist for a bit. This was my final Asian adventure before I return to the UK in August. Hopefully I can get to go to Dubai on my way home, but we’ll see when the time comes.

Honestly, it was the most relaxing holiday I have had for a while. I was anxious when I woke up at 4am on the day of travelling, but after taking half a Xanax, I was free for the rest of the day. My flight was incredible, I slept on the plane and when I got to Singapore, I could eat. This is incredible in my journey to lower anxiety. I find it hard to eat when I go away as I’m so anxious about what I CAN eat being Gluten Intolerant and a bit fussy. My friend was a legend though, she was googling Gluten Free eats all over the place and I had my fair share of options giving my health and well being a good old top up.

The entire time I was in Singapore I felt an overwhelming sense of calm, perhaps it was getting to be with my best friend again, maybe it was because I’d been before or maybe, just maybe I was achieving something new and exciting.

I went out in the evening to places I’d never been to before and experienced the wonders of Singapore. I found myself in forests and new places, got lost and I think found myself a little. I don’t know about you, but I wish my everyday self could be my travelling self. She’s a wonderous girl, she gets up early, eats well, lives life to the full and takes everyday as a huge adventure.

It’s hard to keep up though and when money is tight as I try to save for going home. I just have to think of all the people I will get to see again and how lovely it will be to be near to some wonderful people I love and yet so far away from my very best friend.

 

There’s always ying to your yang but you just have to make the most of it. 

I want to run away…

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Every time something big happens to me, I just want to run away. You can tell I’m at a definitive point in my life because all I can think about is where I could go in the next 48 hours.

This isn’t out of character, just before the end of university in 2007, I ran away with a guy I’d only met once to the Lake District. It’s a beautiful place and it was liberating. To be sure the relationship lasted the couple of days we were there, but not much longer. Last year it was my trip to Taiwan whilst I was having a stressful time working and trying to get my friend to commit to coming away with me. I booked it and was on a plane in less than 24 hours.

I’m not sure why I do it, I’m not even sure what the urge is inside me, but it’s always to get somewhere else. From reading my Taiwan blog, it’s probably my sense of self which is rejuvenated when I have to make a step by myself and become reliant on only me once more.

I’m already worried about going back to the UK or wherever the wind blows me. Everything is so uncertain and though I can be brave and I always say never to be afraid of change, sometimes change is something that gets to me. It’s the unknown in all that lies before you.

So here I am, a 27 year old woman, sat on her sofa with her two cats asleep beside her, googling frantically looking for deals on getaways. Perhaps a hotel, a simple change of scenery could do it. Whatever it is I need it and bad.

If you could jump up and do anything, what would you do?

The Meltdown.

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This time last week I was in bed exhausted after overdoing it at work. Here I am one week later and at the end ( I hope ) of a major meltdown.

It started last week after an intense period of rehearsals and getting everything ready for a huge meeting I was hosting with the freelance staff. I had stayed at work until 10pm one evening and worked from early in the morning. I was crashing, hard. On Sunday, I woke up thinking I’d be ok but as soon as I woke up, I didn’t want to move, I stayed in the same position for hours until I got up to go to the bathroom. Only then did I realise my viral labyrinthitis had been set off. Due to stress at an earlier time in my career the virus tends to rear it’s head at different stages of my life and throughout the day it got worse and worse.

I had begun this week also, to fill in my first job application and the journey I was starting on began to become more real. I also had a performance with a call time of 7.30am when I worked through until 6pm. It just all began to get on top of me. My mood changed, my sleeping habits changed and on Friday I couldn’t even concentrate enough to work and asked to leave and go home.

Friday night wasn’t too good. I have a colleague at work that, though she bought me over to Hong Kong to work for the company, she seems to want to find my negative flaws and air them out like her own dirty laundry. Within this week alone she’s pulled up my mistakes in from of my General Manager and at the end of this terrible day, sent me messages telling me I was doing my job wrong. No, she’s not my manager and yes, we work ‘together’ we’re on the same team and she doesn’t seem to want to work alongside me.

With her final message to me, it sent me over the edge. I bawled. I was almost inconsolable, I found myself pacing the flat trying to get this hate and anger out of me, but it was no use. I knew I wouldn’t be able to survive my day of work the next day, I work with young people through process drama and I just couldn’t face it. I text my boss to see if he was free and then, he rang me. I was in mid stream and full blown panic attack and I picked up the phone. I wasn’t thinking and I really shouldn’t have done it. My boss is a good one though, he heard what was happening to me and even offered to travel the hour and a half journey to see that I was alright, though I couldn’t let him.

Finally we both got in touch with my friend Lisa and she came over to calm me down. At this stage it would have taken hours if someone else wasn’t here to see me through it.

I am so thankful for having such supportive management, but I know in the next few days conversations will have to be had about all of this.

It’s now Saturday and today is the first day I’ve started to feel normal again. I just hope this is a one off. It’s the only time I’ve ever been like that when on my medication. It scared me, but I just have to keep looking forward and think of all the change ahead of me.

Listen only to the ones who matter.