29 · non-binary (they/them) · neurodiverse · spoonie · queer femme · NSO & trainee zebra · polyamorous · burned-out activist · geek.

♥ coffee ♥ roller derby ♥ photography ♥ knitting ♥ exploring ♥ creating ♥

tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
I briefly mentioned about six weeks ago that I'd successfully applied to go and study in the Netherlands next year. Two weeks ago, I learned that the university I was meant to be going to hadn't signed their agreement and that people were "looking into alternatives". I got talking to a lecturer about this, who told me that she'd been working with the school of nursing at a different university elsewhere in the Netherlands; I mentally filed the information, and decided not to worry about it until I had opportunity to tell the international exchange lead lecturer (who conveniently happens to be my personal tutor) when I saw her earlier this week, and she said she would investigate.

This morning, I went into university for a meeting with her and the other international exchange students, and the other students all said things like "I feel like I haven't done enough preparation; all I've done is x, y, and z".
Of course, I have done precisely none of the things they've done, since I can't even complete the first step that is applying to my university for the travel grant, since they want to know where I'll be going… and I have no idea!

When the international lead reached me, she asked where else I might like to go, and I misunderstood, waffled a bit about the other university I'd mentioned earlier in the week (Maastricht) - and she did say that she would look into it, but since there isn't an existing agreement between the two universities for students to travel, as far as we can tell at the moment, that could take… a long time. Enough time that the small window in which train tickets are the cheapest they possibly can be may well have passed before it gets sorted out.

And then she re-phrased the question:

"We're talking worst case scenarios. Are there any other places on the list you'd consider?"

…by which she meant going to a different country altogether.

So now I am at home, where I have narrowed down the list of options to "Northern European countries" (because Spain and Cyprus = hot, and I do not like hot) that are funded by the Erasmus scheme (Slovakia was on the list, but is self-funded) and so I am poring over the options that are left:
  • Västerås, Eskilstuna and Linköping in Sweden
  • Fulda in Germany
  • Tampere in Finland

When I first did this, I kept going "Hmmm, Germany looks interesting… but the Netherlands!" and "Oooh, I think I'd really enjoy living in Finland… but the Netherlands!" and "Sweden is beautiful… but the Netherlands!" … so, well, I applied to go to the Netherlands. But now that that may be out of the picture, I'm more seriously considering them as realistic options, and… I just want to go to all of them.

If I stick with my "somewhere I can get to by Eurostar" plan that I uttered in the meeting this morning, then Germany is the only sensible choice. But it's still 8 hours on a train, and I'm not sure I would actually prefer to go to Germany compared to Finland or Sweden. I mean, I can't get to either of them on a train, realistically, and I don't really like the idea of flying short distances… but when travelling by train involves more than 6 changes and a journey time spanning multiple days… I'm not sure it counts as "short distance" anymore!

(Another concern is being visitable by a few important people from home, and whilst that is important to me, and to my mental health… all the places on offer are reasonably easy to travel to (or they wouldn't be offered) and that's got to be secondary to things like whether I want to live there for three months, and if they offer the sort of placement experience I'm after.)

On the plus side, I only have to choose between three countries… I can attempt to choose between the Swedish cities if I need to later… but I am really not good at decisions.

Also on my to-do list for today: bake cookies.

Hmm. Coooookies.

Update: made experimental gluten-free peanut butter cookies. They TAAAASTY.
tajasel: photo of me lay in the grass, warm light. (summer)
So never date a girl who travels unless you can keep up with her. And if you unintentionally fall in love with one, don’t you dare keep her. Let her go.

No. Just… no.

I have wanderlust. I dream of travelling and of exploring new places, and I will again, someday. New places: Prague, Berlin, Australia, Portland, Japan, Auschwitz, Sweden. Places I've been before and have to see again: the Alps, NYC, Amsterdam, Orlando, Paris (yes, really), San Francisco.

And I am writing this because that thing up there, about not dating girls who travel? The point the author was trying to make, the intention behind it, it makes a lump come up in my throat, and tears prickle at my eyes.

See, I am the kind of girl who would rather go rock climbing than hear about your new car. But that’s not because I’m a girl who travels; it’s because I like climbing and I’m wholly unfussed about cars.

I don't want to work my ass off for someone else's dream - but that's why I'm following my own dream. And I will also follow creative pursuits, but that’s not because I’m a girl who travels, it’s because I’m creative.

Yes, I have switched careers entirely, several times, and my photography degree probably isn’t worth very much at all really - but what I learned about myself whilst I was working for it was far more significant than anything I took out my student loans for.

And I don’t regret a moment of it.

No, I don't know where I will be living in five years, but that's OK, because I know that wherever it is, I know that in getting there, I will have made the most of my life.

Yes, I speak my mind, and I won’t try to impress anyone, but that’s because I know that those worthy of my love, respect, kindness and friendship will love and like me for who I am, and if/when I mess up, they may point it out, they may criticise, but they won’t leave my side, because friends worth having, they try to understand. They may not forget but they will hopefully forgive, because they know that I will try to learn from my mistakes, and my true friends, they will not leave my side.

Yes, I enjoy cooking, and I do it well. But I want to share my food with you, and all my other experiences, too.

Yes, I am independent, and although travelling alone does have a certain freedom to it, there is an incredible value to exploring and seeing new places with somebody who will share those memories with me in seventy years. And I might talk to strangers now and again, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want, or won’t remember, to talk to you.

You are not boring: you are different. And that’s why you are wonderful.

My wanderlust, my travels of the past and my dreams for the future - they are only a part of me.

I do need you. I need you, because for all that I travel, I am not an island.

Don’t let me go.


ETA: it seems that Don't Date A Girl Who Travels is in fact a parody of Date A Girl Who Travels, and the author sadly did not see fit to credit their inspiration. I like the original much more;

"What you are is enough."
"She knows that oftentimes, the journey is more important than the destination."
"Don't lose her with your insecurities and doubts. Because when she says she loves you, she really does. After all, she's seen so many things, met so many people..."
"If she says she loves you, she must have seen something in you, something that can always call her back from her travels..."

And that ending. Oh, that ending.

"Date a girl who travels. Make her feel safe, warm, and secure. Make her believe that no matter where she goes, and however long she's gone, you'll always be there for her, the one that she can call home. Find a girl who travels. Date her, love her, and marry her, and your world will never be the same again."

That ending is just fucking beautiful.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
Landed safely, but ye gods, overnight west-east flights still kick my arse. Hello, jetlag.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)

  • I met people from the internet! They really exist outside of my computer!
  • I ate Humphry Slocombe ice cream and it was divine.
  • I went to a Portuguese food festival with [personal profile] jd and [personal profile] ryan, and explored SF. My favourite form of tourism is seeing it from a local's POV :)
  • Lots of geocaching!
  • I also visited Kitty in Berkeley, and she introduced me to bubble tea and took me out for sushi :)
  • I went to see the Golden Gate Bridge and the Raygun Gothic Rocketship at Embarcadero.
  • Rae and her partner Ken treated me to brunch at Boogaloos.
  • More Humphry Slocombe, because I could. Salted chocolate ice cream is to die for.
  • I stayed in Hayes Valley, Ingleside Heights and Pacifica, and I got to see the Pacific Ocean up close for the first time :)
  • I played lots of Quao after acquiring my own copy in Berkeley.

Tomorrow, I get to meet [personal profile] zorkian, then [personal profile] azurelunatic is dropping me off at the airport. It all feels like it's gone rather too quickly, and I kinda sort of wish I didn't have to come home.
Jul. 23rd, 2011 06:26 pm

Hello SF.

tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
Yay! San Francisco, I am in you!
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
Your Itinerary
British Airways booking reference: ******

Passenger(s)    MISS KATIE SUTTON

Flight number    BA0285
From    Heathrow (London) Terminal 5
To    San Francisco International (CA)
Depart    22 Jul 2011 11:30
Arrive    22 Jul 2011 14:20
Cabin    *
Operated by    British Airways

Flight number    BA0286
From    San Francisco International (CA) Terminal I
To    Heathrow (London)
Depart    31 Jul 2011 16:45
Arrive    1 Aug 2011 10:50
Cabin    *
Operated by    British Airways

* staff and family travelling on a personal bookable concession are confirmed into a unique Staff Travel selling class indicated by an asterisk, as the cabin class above.

Your card has been debited £111.23. Thank you for booking with British Airways.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
Everything sort of went a bit wrong over in the US, and I flew home last night. I'm not sure I know what to say about it at all, or even if I want to.

On the plus side, it turns out that I get privileges because my dad worked for British Airways for 26 years, and I flew home in Club World, for a princely sum of £10. The train ticket from Heathrow to Manchester cost more.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
Yesterday was [personal profile] marnanel's and my first anniversary; today, we climbed Hawk Mountain with [personal profile] firinel, [personal profile] plexq, [personal profile] riordon, Amy and John. We saw bald eagles, ospreys and kestrels and there were stunningly beautiful views from the top.

I didn't get too many photos, sadly; my DSLR seems to have died. It's being very picky about powering on, but I did manage to squeeze one photo out of it today: this beautiful shot of [personal profile] riordon looking down at the rock river from the first lookout.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
I'm in Pennsylvania!

Flying with British Airways is much more pleasant than US Airways. More legroom, a personal TV in the rear of the seat in front of me, actually decent food.

By comparison, US Airways was like a yoga class, with a TV invisible to all bar the front row of the plane, and a tiny lasagne, a pot of carrot sticks and a bitesize piece of shortbread masquerading as a meal (along with a snack of a turkey sandwich later). This time, I was fed a huge chicken and pasta dish, a pot of mixed vegetables and a big chunk of chocolate cheesecake with mandarin sauce, a bitesize chocolate sultana crispie cake thing, and then later, a chicken sandwich and a cherry muffin.

Immigration held me for an hour and a half whilst they checked my bags and quizzed me on things like money and work and why I was staying for three months, but were eventually satisfied and let me go. Then there was the short drive back to Pottstown, and a stop off at Wawa because I was hungry again. Post was opened, gifts were exchanged, and now I have tea and a purring kitty. Life is good.

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