In my last post, I mentioned how I spent the past few months doing anything but writing my novel and blogging. That doesn’t mean I’ve done nothing, so here’s a quick roundup of my time since May.
Let’s make that since June. May was a blur of revision, exam questions, early morning study sessions and coffee.
So, end of June. I finished my exams, skipped out of prom early and set off at 5am the next day to explore Europe by train with my boyfriend. By 6am we discovered we’d messed up our tickets and got stranded in London for two days. Eventually, we left the country by boat and our real travels began. We somehow survived the month and returned in early August.
I slept a day before throwing myself into job hunting. Specifically, ski job hunting, which I’d started in Spring. I’d even had a Skype interview while travelling but it didn’t go well (it’s hard to look professional in a walking shirt in a rustic German hostel.) At that point, I’d never had a job and only a week of a cookery course to prove I could boil an egg. (Fun fact: one boy on that course couldn’t.) For some reason, employers seem to want things like ‘skills’ and ‘experience’ before hiring you so I wasn’t having much luck. I had a few interviews and not all of them outright rejected me, but it wasn’t until Hotel Plan that things looked up.
This was my first face to face interview. I was supposed to have a week to prepare, but the email went to my spam folder. Cue four days of frantic canape making. The interview was actually very relaxed and friendly (although I made way too many canapes) and a few days later I got the job! With somewhere to go for the winter, I could plan the intervening months.
A few weeks later I started waitressing at a local cafe/bar/restaurant, partly to save up to visit my boyfriend (now studying in Holland.) I’d heard working in food could be a nightmare but I got lucky. Most customers are regulars and quickly learnt my name. I’m allowed to help myself to drinks and sometimes I get snacks or lunch. On one side is a patisserie and on the other a florists, with a second opposite. The bakery and butchers both know me. The inside of the bar is strung with fairy lights and the menu is Pokemon themed. I’m a big believer in romanticising the little things in life and on a good day, working there doesn’t make it hard. (Just don’t ask me for a flat white.)
It hasn’t all been work. I’ve been practising Kenpo (Theoretically I can escape a choke hold. Don’t test this.) and drawing. My family went on holiday and left me home alone for two weeks, mostly cooking and sleeping. A friend came over and we cooked a fancy dinner before watching Mammia Mia 2 in the local retro cinema. Every day I practised Japanese. I read a lot. Mostly, I wrote.
Not my novel, though I did pick that back up in the last weeks of September. My writing consisted of anything and everything I felt like. I edited a short story and submitted it to a magazine. It got rejected so I sent it to another. I started another story entirely. I typed up what I’d scrawled on trains in Europ. I wrote silly fanfiction that made me happy and emotional fanfiction that made people cry. I wrote every day and for however long I felt like and worked on three projects at once and it was lovely. My whole summer was lovely, if a little lonely.
Things haven’t changed much for me in the last few weeks, or months, which is strange when all my friends have gone off to uni and are starting a big new chapter of their lives. It feels like I’ve slipped out of the usual flow of time. I’m just pottering around here while the rest of the world whizzes by.
That was kind of the point though. I’ve got the rest of my life to hurtle around at break-neck speed. I wanted time to do something different from the rest of my life, to hone my skills and explore. Things are slow right now, but soon they’ll be moving again. Soon, I’ll start work in France. After that, I’m hoping to travel to Japan. These are things I’ve always wanted to do. I’m lucky enough to have these opportunities so I’m going to make the most of them.
Whenever I worry I’ve made a mistake by not going straight to uni, when I feel I’m wasting time here, I remember the lines from one of my favourite Hamilton songs. I’m not standing still, I am lying in wait. Maybe Burr’s not the best person to quote, but I like the sentiment. What you’re doing won’t look the same to others as it does to you. I don’t know how my summer looks to you. But to me has been full of joy and growth and excitement and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings.