My first English Christmas

food-holiday-love-holidaysLast weekend I traveled with N to visit his parents for their annual early Christmas celebration. Since we’ve been together for a year only, this was also the first time I got to participate in the festivities, and the very first experience of English Christmas for me.

I was surprisingly calm about participating in N’s family celebration, much calmer than I was with my previous boyfriends. I am only realizing now how well I get on with both sides of his family and how calm he makes me feel in most situations. And that might as well be my favorite thing about him – I can really be myself around him.

I can tell that English Christmas (at least the way N’s family celebrates it) involves lot of champagne and good food. Too much food! I couldn’t even fit all of the side dishes on my plate to accompany the turkey and ham! And the champagne kept on flowing. pexels-photo-257855

The celebration also involved games, which is something I am not used to from my family. N and his brother introduced their parents to Cards Against Humanity. You’ve got to love that game. As mentioned earlier, I really feel I can be myself around N, which resulted in me winning that game and clearly showing how twisted I am. Oh well, now it is out there.

I also experienced the crackers for the first time and got to wear the paper crown during the dinner – so many Christmas scenes from movies now make sense. So they don’t just cut the crowns out of the paper before the dinner to make it more festive…aha! 

I think my favorite part of the celebration must have been the closeness. It was finally a time to spend some alone time with N, without at least one of us being annoyingly tired. But I also liked feeling close to his family and feeling really included. With my previous boyfriends, I always felt like their parents were tolerating me, rather than accepting me and actively seeking out my presence. Being included in this Christmas celebration made me understand that this time it’s different.

and oh well, who could say no to pigs in the blanket???

What about you, when did you experience Christmas in a different culture? What is your favorite thing about family Christmas celebrations?

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Transition from student life to unemployment to working life

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This is something I have been experiencing very vividly for the past couple weeks, maybe months. Ideally, there would have not been the unemployment period or it would be short enough to be legit called holidays. Unfortunately, this being London and me having Arts/Social Sciences degree and limited work experience, this period was almost ten months long.

I did have some temporary work and unpaid internships (to hell with those) in between, but I failed to secure a full-time job for 10 months after submitting my master’s thesis. Failed is the word choice here, because this is how I felt about it. I had my family and friends and career websites reminding me how difficult it is to find a job after finishing university. I had the experience of other people from my university who gave up after two months and went back to their home countries. But I also had my stubborn head and inclination toward self-torture which was reminding me that this is somehow my fault.

I could and I will write another article on how to handle unemployment after finishing your university, but in this piece, I wanted to talk about something else and that is the transition to adult life with responsibilities. As said, although I had some jobs in between I virtually had ten months of free time. I really wanted to get a job and I followed a routine of getting up early and treating job hunt as a job itself.  But there was no need and there was no routine per se. Everyday was different, because I could get up at 7 but go back to bed at 9 after finishing two applications, cook nice lunch or go for a walk at 11 am. I could stay up late and spend all my days with N,  drinking and hanging out because I did not have to get up for work. It was also a time of great stress, because I was living off my parents money and trust me, the conversion rate of Czech crown to pound isn’t favourable for the Czechs.

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I think most young people coming from university to work are hit by the harsh reality of the real, adult life. And no, being able to hold five tequila shots, find your way home or actually cook something else than past once a week isn’t a real adult life. And in a sense, my university life was prolonged with my unemployment because it involved lot of drinking to forget how bad I feel about myself and my parents. But still, had time to exercise, practice languages and explore London. I had time and energy to invest in my relationship and I could work out my schedule around his bartender’s shift.

With my 9-5 job all this is gone. And rather of it being a slow transition, it seems like everything collapsed within a month. I don’t have time for my body, hobbies and I am ridiculously desynchronized with my boyfriend. I feel the weight of responsibilities and the weight of routine on my shoulders. And it is one of the most difficult things I have ever gone through in my life.

Even when I moved to London, away from my family and literally everything I have known, I did not feel so lost. For the ten unemployed months, I was desperately trying to avoid a work in a pub and suddenly I think I would be having much more fun doing a shift work and talking to strangers over a loud music every night. I know an absolute minimum of people lands a dream job after graduation, but I feel like there is no dream job for me. I always thought I am a typical office person, I liked visiting my dad in his office when I was a child and enjoyed the buzz in places I worked before. But now, when this is a permanent reality, I hate it. I desire something unusual, something that is not 9-5.
I always had a part-time job, did volunteering, helped at home and managed to get very good grades in school. I am not lazy, nor I do have problem with having responsibilities. I have just never had this many of them. I am unable to determine whether this is a permanent hate towards routine, dissatisfaction with my current job, fear of transition from a honeymoon period of my relationship, or all of this together. I know all those mixed emotions are only making me drink more to forget how I feel, which is hardly compatible with getting up at 7 am and being a smiley marketing person.

I am sure most of you went through this, as I am fully aware this is a part of adulthood. Some of you might be going through this right now and be enjoying the transition. Hopefully, some of you are freaking out and drowning just as much as I am. I think my advice to you – because this is what I am doing – is to see this situation as temporary. It is actually good general rule for life, because nothing lasts forever. I don’t mean to say you should resign, give up and just fall into a routine. What I do, is take this as a great learning experience. This might not be my dream job but it is a great opportunity to learn things that I was not previously interested in and expand my horizons. Regarding my relationship, it is a great test. If we can get through this, then we’ll be stronger. I am also learning to live in a moment and enjoy the little time we have together and not take it for granted. I know things will change eventually, because they always do so for now I am practising my patience.

Do you or have you had problems transitioning from your student life to work? How do you cope when you feel trapped and unmotivated?

Love, A.

When I decided to start a new blog, I wanted to do it right. I wanted to be part of the blogging community, have a great network of lovely followers and be creative.  There was also the thought in the back of my mind of turning this into a full-time career once – especially now when I have hard time settling into the 9-5 routine.

So I did my research and I read articles on how to build a successful blog. Apart from boring technical jargon about SEO, hosting decisions and inbound links, what lot of those articles had in common was suggestion that your blog should be helpful. It should offer unique advice to the readers.

I started brainstorming and soul-searching. What is it, that I could advice people on? In what area do I call myself an expert? Is there anything unique about me?

Naturally, I started to panic that there is nothing that I can advice people on or how could I help my readers. I am not into home designs. I love fashion but I do not want to be a fashion blogger. I don’t have a baby. I don’t travel as much as I want to and when I do I always forget to take pictures.

And then I remembered two things. First, I remembered the movie Love, Rosie. I freaking love the movie (no, not just because he is super yummy and Lilly Collin is beautiful) because it shows that not everything in life always works out at once. And it shows that in a funny and truthful way. Secondly, I love both the main characters. And thirdly, there is this scene approximately in the middle of the movie, when Rosie fails to get together with Alex again and is having a moment with her  best friend on the roof of her house.  The friend says:

 

“It’s so great having you as a friend. Every time something goes wrong in my life, all I have to do is look at yours and it puts everything into perspective.”

 

That put perspective on my life. I remembered my sarcastic comments, self-destructive behavior and funny stories that come from my ability to over think absolutely everything in my life.  So my unique skill that I can offer my readers is my ability to f*ck things up,be annoying, be miserable, motivate myself,  do things before I am ready, move on, laugh at myself, laugh with my friends, make them laugh, make strangers laugh, teach people things that I know better, and learn from those who know things better. I think my skills might be to put those experience into short stories with sarcastic tone but positive lesson. I hope my commented experiences will make you laugh but also think, change, progress or apologize.

Maybe not everyone on the internet is looking for a tutorials for DIY skin care with 1-5 steps and cute pictures of the result. Maybe some of you out there are looking for human stories and experience to share and comment on.

Also note, that I am in my early 20s and many of the experiences and feelings that possibly will be discussed here are just an inevitable part of growing up and could therefore seem exaggerated or irrelevant to many readers. You might want to yell get over yourself or tell me I sound like the most annoying character on one of those annoying millennial shows. And that is okay too. 

Disclaimer: This doesn’t mean my blog won’t feature any travelling tips, tutorials or fashion inspiration ever.

Ten things that were different the last time I blogged

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A decade ago, I had a very successful blog which I maintained for over 3 years. I was completely immersed in the teen blogging community about celebrities. My blog was about Hilary Duff and maybe that should be on the top of this list.  Hilary Duff was very popular. It is hard to compare because the celebrity culture and the measurements of their popularity rapidly changed with the advent of social media, but I think it is okay to say she was as big inspiration for young girls as Selena Gomez or Gigi Hadid are now.

Apart from being a great creative writing exercise, blogging in my teen years actually allowed me to find great friends too. I found two of my oldest friends (we are just celebrating decade of friendship now and that IS something when you are 24 and live in different parts of the world) online and I couldn’t be more grateful.

I am very aware of the fact how blogging has changed since then. It took me much longer to establish this blog and I find it more difficult to come up with interesting content. Not only because I am more aware of digital footprint, but also because I am aware of the surplus of existing content. I also want my blog to be original, helpful, fun and mine.

But what are the things that I believe changed most profoundly for me, blogs and the world in the decade?

1. Social Media. And their omnipresence. And then again, in the last couple years, realization how toxic they are.  Recently,  I’ve read an article about school campaign in which pupils are encouraged to let go of their phones. The participants were first very reluctant to take part, but found themselves more relaxed after disconnecting and are now asking to repeat the no-phone days. One of the main reasons why the kids enjoyed being without their phones was the lack of need to check social media and feeling crap about their own boring lives, looks … I am sure you can fill in how your friends Susan’s Instagram or Tom’s tweets are making you feel.

2. Jonas Brothers were thing, and my obsession.

Well my personal obsession was Nick. Awwwww, the curls. The rest of my friends seem to be obsessed with Joe. Who is now engaged to Sophie Turner, who is protagonist of Game of Thrones, which wasn’t thing at all.  In fact, I also helped to run a blog about Jonas Brothers and wrote fan fiction. I cannot believe I put that online in the first place and that I confessed to it online now.

  1. Iphones were non-existent.

They were introduced in the US towards the end of my blogging in 2007, but definitely were not common in my country or globally for another year. I can’t honestly remember what phone I had, only that it was my sister’s old phone. I do remember owning a Motorola flip phone later on tho.  I let that sink in.. Motorola… flip phone.

  1. I was sure LA is the best place to live and US is the best country.

I was crazy about everything American. Sadly, there were very few american things available in the Czech Republic at that point, apart from  Nike and McDonald’s. I was convinced that LA is city where I want to live and absolutely sure I want to study at an university in the US.

5. I was single and convinced I will never need or want a boyfriend.

Everyone was dating and breaking up, usually within the scope of 4-6 weeks. How many guys like you seemed to be the only value you had as a girl.  I didn’t participate in that, simply because I didn’t find anything interesting about teen guys trying to get into my pants. Naturally, this rendered me weird and brought unpleasant bullying. The same guys now try to get into my pants and swear they liked how mysterious and untouchable I was back then. Look how the table has turned. And look how not interested I still am.

  1. North Korea did not posses any nuclear weapon and there was no was in Syria

Many other serious things happened on the global scale. I could probably mention how US presidency didn’t worry me in 2007. However, those two conflict/realities symbolise something wider for me. For me they symbolize the failure of international organizations and treaties and show world full of insecurities. Maybe I was just less politically aware in my teens than I am now – probably. Still, those two conflicts now are reality which I now live in and I did not imagine when I was growing up.

  1. I have not been to London yet and definitely did not imagine I would be living there – see point 4.

My first trip to London was with my sister in 2010. Little did I know that five years later, I would be standing in Victoria Coach Station with two massive backpacks and eager eyes.

  1. Blogs were more of personal journals and less of marketing tools.

Even though my blog was about Hilary it was also very much a personal journal. I tried to keep it away from my real life friends. There were probably many adult blogs which were not like mine and resemble contemporary blogs more. For me however, blogging was like writing a journal about you and things that matter to you and sharing it with virtual community which was far more accepting then the real one.

  1. Umbrella by Rihanna came out

I had to put at least one throwback on the list, and I distinctly remember how excited we felt about the video and Ri’s new haircut.

  1. Skinny jeans didn’t make their comeback yet

Fashion is really funny thing when it comes to recurring trends. I am only 24 and I already remember quite a few trends that made comeback or two. I also remember how one of my friends wore her mom’s  old skinny jeans with high waist and how we all laughed at her. Now we would kill for that stylish and vintage piece.

In the end, those are probably not the things that has changed most profoundly. There were bigger hits than Umbrella.. Still, those are the things that I associate with early 00s when I blogged and how they are no longer true. What about you, which Jonas Brother was your favorite?

Start

This isn’t really an original name for a first post and the whole idea of my blog is not really innovative either. I want to use writing my blog as a therapy and way of getting my thoughts straight.

I currently live in London – hence the name of the blog – and I have been job searching for over half a year now. I finished my postgraduate degree in Media this January and since then London managed to crush all my dreams about finding the perfect job in my desired field. Or at least a job that has ANYTHING to do with what I studied and what I am passionate about.

The constant stress about not having a job, no prospect of having one, depression from rejection (if they actually even bother to get back to you after you spent hours perfecting that cover letter), money issues and other ‘joys’ which come with living in London has taken their toll on me. I tried the two known and tried methods – crying and drinking. Sometimes one followed by the other and sometimes at the same time. Drinking is expensive and crying makes my eyes really puffy.

I have always enjoyed writing. I used to have a very popular blog when I was a teenager – about Hilary Duff! But I do not think I have ever considered writing as a form of therapy or remedy. I am still not sure how much I will be willing to share or where I actually want to take this blog in the future. I will probably forget about having it in a month.

But if not, then I know this blog will be full of personal stories and experiences which hopefully will help someone else in their journey. I do not want it to seem like a self-loathing confessional booth, where I complaint about first world problems. I wanna use it as a platform to share my experience no matter how good or bad it is, and hopefully connect with people experiencing same, similar or totally different things.

And perhaps see what is happening to me from a different perspective once I write it down. Add a bit of sarcasm and humor to it. Make the job hunt less daunting. Kind of like when you have a movie when a character goes through a transformation. Well this, this phase of my life in London right now, it’s the sequence before they undergo the transformation. In that sequence, the characters usually drink a lot of wine and feel desperate. That is my sequence. With the wine.

So I guess, this blog is going all the way to basics of blogging – electronic journal. Writing down interesting (or not so much) stories and events of my everyday life in London. Hopefully, this blog will evolve over time. Hopefully, I will get to write about something more exciting than a job hunt. Hopefully, we’ll get to that transformation sequence soon.

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