The Almost-Impossible List.

Friday, September 4, 2015

If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that something super duper exciting happened today (Friday) ......

I submitted my Master's Dissertation! And earned a new grey hair as a result! Jokes aside, very excited that the "student" chapter of my life is done. My time as a master's student was challenging and pushed me to the brink on multiple occasions, but it was more than satisfying holding 39 pages of hard work in my hands. Even if the perfectionist in me really wishes it was a nice, round 40 pages. Of course I could fail miserably, but we won't think about that for a while.

Back in July after the excitement of my summer holiday and snagging a job settled down, I wrote a very short list of things I needed to do come September. In a nutshell, it was:
1. Open new bank account
2. Find somewhere to live/move out of current flat
3. Re-schedule flight
4. Write 15,000 word dissertation
5. Don't have 2007 Britney meltdown

...Or what I coined "the almost-impossible list" Although it was pretty short and simple, I felt like it just wasn't going to happen - there was no way I was going to get a satisfying check next to all of them. Sure enough as August rolled around the corner quicker than I ever thought possible, the list was still staring me down.

So #1...major mistake on my part. When I first moved to England, lots of students opened UK bank accounts immediately, while others did not. I was in the latter of this group. I didn't have a job yet, my flat accepted rent via my account at home, and basically didn't understand the point in opening one. A student advisor told me it wouldn't make that big of a difference unless I needed somewhere to put money, so I ignored this. Throughout the year I ran into little annoyances of not having a UK bank account, but nothing really came to fruition until I got a job, and obviously needed somewhere to put pay checks. I trotted down to a local, well-known bank with all of my documents neatly ordered. The lady took a few looks at my visa, a few looks at my proof of address, and immediately said I couldn't be offered an account. Having never had any problems with bank accounts or credit in my life, I was flustered. I pay things on time! I just wanted somewhere to put money! What was wrong with me! Since my proof of address was over 6 months old and my visa didn't extend at least a year, she told me I'd have to look elsewhere. As I only had about 6 weeks left on my current lease, I knew other banks would probably say the same until I had an updated proof of address (which brings me to #2 on this list). But long story short I DID manage to finally get a bank account sorted and although it was an absolute PAIN and I could ramble about the whole process and the drama of my first pay check getting partially withheld when my company's accountant tried to pay me via PayPal, I'll just leave it here - it's done, lesson learned!

#2! The place I was living at (which I can now say since I no longer live there) was international postgraduate student accommodation affiliated with the university, so there was no option of renewing a lease there. Although the location and wifi were impeccable, it was very "dorm-y" so I wasn't toooooo sad to move on. Flat hunting is stressful. In any country. You want a good deal, in a nice part of town, yadda yadda. Most places require a UK-based guarantor (nope) And once again, not having a UK bank account ready to roll can limit you. Quite the Catch-22, right? I lucked out with this situation for the most part and didn't have to faff around with flat viewings and agency fees, as I met one girl at a work-drinks shindig and she briefly mentioned that she was looking for a flat as well. I immediately hitched on to her wagon and we wound up signing for rooms in the same house with a landlord who is pretty old school and doesn't care much for weird agency-type of rules. Whew! Mid-August I moved, and although it wasn't that far from my old flat and you would think a teeny studio room that I lived in for 11 months wouldn't have that much stuff - MAN was I wrong. It's insane how much crap I've managed to collect in the past almost-year! Granted things like kitchen supplies and bedding didn't come over here with me and won't be going back stateside, but I'm a little terrified of how I'm supposed to get everything back across the ocean. It took 1 van, 2 taxis, and multiple walks with my bags full of stuff to get it all from point A to point B. But I'm in, I'm settled, and pretty fond of my new room. I do miss the Internet at my old flat though, my new flat's wifi is so temperamental.

#3. Re-schedule flight. Easily the least-stressful thing on this list. Basically when I booked my flight from Texas to London in January, I picked an arbitrary return date in September so I could pay the change fee rather than book two separate one-way flights. Since I didn't have a job last year I wasn't sure if I would be able to stay past my dissertation deadline, because I can't exactly justify living life overseas with no income and no school. Luckily the job factor got sorted and I get to play Brit for a little while longer! Booking a return flight and paying a change fee is way less expensive than multiple one-way flights if you don't know exactly when your return date is.

#4. The most important and maybe most stressful (the bank account thing really pushed me to my limit) - obviously researching, writing, and finishing my dissertation - AKA the whole point of me coming over here in the first place! I procrastinated all summer like any good student and read and wrote here and there, but July/August is when I really kicked it into gear. It could be rubbish for all I know, but I gave it my all! I actually submitted it a week ahead of the deadline like the anxious person I am, so no last minute panicking over here!

#5. So I maybe didn't go full Britney but I did have the occasional melt down or two over teeny tiny things that built up and seemed like the end of the world. We all have those moments, right?

Farewell, old flat! I will miss the squawks of seagulls at 4 a.m., the cruise ship style bathroom, and being able to touch all of my furniture at the same time. JK - I'll mostly miss the wifi.

Clifton Village soaking up the remnants of summer sun. Primrose Cafe in the corner there do a delicious croque monsieur!

In case you're might be wondering why I'm not out partying and celebrating the end of the almost impossible list - true to form, I managed to get extremely ill within the past day or two. Not sure if I just have the worst timing in the world, if I'm actually allergic to paper deadlines, or if all of the adrenaline from the past few weeks finally caught up to me and my body decided it had enough. But I've been cooped up in bed all day after my exciting morning with piles of tissues and a never-ending flow of medicine. If anyone has a holy-grail pharmacy purchase that lets you breathe out of your nose again, please let me know!

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