Saturday, 22 August 2015

Same City, New Perspective

Her fingers created strokes in the mist that veiled the train window as flickers of light seeped through and each station’s name was called out over the speaker by a nameless woman. Her eyes were heavy with exhaustion but her heart was wild with inspiration after three days of consuming the wonder of the capital city. As the train rattled by, swirling shapes and shadows could be found outside as the sky displayed a fiery exhibition of oranges, reds and golds.

The array of colours reflected in her soft eyes, as thoughts of her hometown occupied her mind for the entire journey. The glorious flavours of her mother’s spaghetti bolognese already began to explode in her mouth. The sound of innocent giggles from her sisters rang through her ears as she became insatiably desperate to feel their tight embrace.

Another station was called out and a warm feeling tingled down the valleys of her tendons, the crossroads of her veins, right through to the core of her anatomy. She pictured the peaceful neighbourhood that she had known all her life, silently waiting for her arrival. She refused to forget her determination as she walked through the same alleyway every day for five years on her way to school.

The fond memories of spending many evenings after school perusing the library as a youngster, as well as walking through the buzzing city centre in the lead up to Christmas and being able to smell the sweet aroma of fresh doughnuts wafting through the air. The large tree across the road that stood like a warrior, sheltering her and her friends in the dreary Autumn months, as she felt the rushing thrill of being chased in a game of ‘tag’.


She remembers it all as the image of her city became more and more vivid in her head. Familiarity is what she craved. She was only separated from her city for a few days, but those few days was all she needed to be able to truly believe in the magic of her hometown. And it’s made her want to go out and discover all of the hidden treasures that it has to offer, it’s made her want to see her city like a tourist because sometimes you have to, in order to really feel its beauty.

The glimmering lights filtering through the train window beamed brighter as the name of her hometown was finally called out. She smiled at her brother who sat beside her, equally as delighted. Never had the phrase, ‘the grass isn’t always greener on the other side’ been truer. Her eyes saw the same city, but her heart saw brighter skies, prettier buildings and greener landscapes.

Walking out of the station along the cobblestones beneath her aching feet, she spread her arms and grinned, all the while thanking God because she knew that in that moment, she was so lucky. As she made her way through the quiet town, a woman in a vibrant blue dress and sparkly heels walked past and sent a smile her way. A smile that said, ‘welcome home’, as if the stranger knew just how much home meant to her.

***

I felt inspired after my recent trip to London, which you can read about here, and wanted to share my thoughts on coming back home in a short story. I really hope you enjoyed reading it, be sure to leave a comment or tweet me to let me know what you think!

{Photo source: Nabsticle}

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Reflect and Refocus

I sat in retrospection of the long days spent devouring each and every letter within the textbooks that scattered my bed, deciphering meanings between the lines like a detective. Hands smudged in smoky black and dents formed in my hands where pressure was applied. As ink exploded upon paper in the midnight silence, I became desperate to articulate each thought in a sophisticated and formulaic style in order to please the education system.

My analytical cogs whirred as I tried to imbue the right technique into the essays that occupied and strained my clouded mind. My eyes burned and my head rhythmically pounded as I stared in hopeless naivety at the computer screen in the communal library, surrounded by students equally as weary, mind’s numbing at the pressure that loomed behind wet eyes and miserable smiles.

But now this hardship belongs to the past and I believe that there is a silver lining among us. And that silver lining, believe it or not, is results day. When it finally arrived, it acted as a metaphorical barrier between the concept of reflection over the past year and the goal of refocusing for the year ahead. And on Thursday 13th August, I crossed that barrier.


Results day, no matter how nerve-wracking, formed a revived sense of inspiration, instigating an odd craving to learn and a recharged ambition to prove that I’m worthy of the grades that I want. And in a bizarre way, this day was a necessity, because now I’m ready. I’m ready to scribble down my infinite to-do lists once again, I’m ready to inhale coffee in the early mornings and to eat far too many energy bars to keep me going. I’m ready to avoid falling in the trap of complacency and I’m sure as hell ready to be the student I know I can be.

Believe me when I say that I understand the inevitable risk of losing sight of what’s important, as I’m suffocated by sleepless nights and my dreams are suppressed by mental fatigue. But I’m hoping that when that feeling strikes, I can find the strength to reflect on the time before results day, remember that it’s all worth it in the end, and refocus on the future of hopeful success.

Behind the barrier is a lesson, but ahead of the barrier lies the unknown. And for once, I’m excited at the thought of that, because the unknown means that I have a choice in how I wish to shape my future. Thanks to results day, I now have a clearer idea of what I want my second year of college to entail, and I know that I’m ready to conquer it wholeheartedly.

{Photo source: Nabsticle}

Monday, 10 August 2015

London 2015

Everyone around me faded into a drunken blur as I smiled at the sheer wonder and surge of curiosity that the capital city had permeated into my veins. I consumed the various flavours of exotic food, captured the scents of rushing people and admired the beautiful architecture that surrounded me.

Three days, two people, one city; here are the most memorable moments.


- Checking into the hotel on our own was a new experience and it felt like we had finally made the transition into adulthood. That was until we couldn’t actually unlock the door to our room and had to get the kind lady staying in the room next door to show us how it’s done…

- Feeling the surge of warm air glide across my skin as the tubes passed by in the underground tunnels. It’s such a small thing but that sudden rush epitomised that feeling that travelling gives you; that feeling of constantly being blown away by everything that you see.

- Hearing various different languages and accents from all over the world really heightened the concept of diversity and filled me with so much joy to see that so many cultures were being united in this one city.

- As we were lost in the backstreets of London trying to find Brick Lane, my brother happened to trip over, almost face-plant the floor and to top it all off, dropped his phone. I luckily managed to capture the aftermath on video and couldn’t stop laughing for a good five minutes.

- Exploring the vintage shop ‘Blitz’ and admiring the unique pieces and beautiful d├ęcor. The entire shop was such a magical place and I’ll definitely remember it with fond memories whenever I wear the gorgeous top I bought from there.


- Setting eyes on the colourful houses in Notting Hill for the first time and being completely mesmerised by the quaint shops on Portobello Road. All the while I imagined myself sitting on one of the balconies and filling my notebook with afternoon musings as I watch the crowds of people perusing the stalls below.


- Visiting the Sherlock Museum on Baker Street and wearing the detective’s renowned hat was something that I’ll never forget. Browsing the various ornaments and small treasures was a lot of fun and further enhanced my love for the series.



- Reminiscing my childhood as we walked through King’s Cross Station and wishing that platform nine and three quarters really did exist. Harry Potter was a huge part of my childhood so to get the chance to go to where some of the scenes were filmed was incredible.

- Walking up the stairs out of King’s Cross Station to find Big Ben staring back at us, chiming as if to remind us of its existence, standing tall like a ruler watching over his kingdom. With just over an hour and a half before the tube strike, I sat down to breathe it all in as the crowds rolled by, continuing on their way.


- The cool breeze blessing my cheeks as we took a pleasant stroll around Westminster, laughing at the crazy amount of runners and cyclists as well as taking advantage of any place to sit due to my feet aching from walking around all day.

- Since we were so exhausted we decided to take a break and sit down at a bus stop for a while. Despite it being something quite boring and uneventful, there was plenty of laughter and I just really enjoyed being in my brother’s company.

- Sitting in bed drinking cup-a-soups whilst looking back at the photos and videos that we'd taken that day. It was really relaxing and exactly what I needed after such a tiring day.

- Pulling out our Oyster cards as we stepped onto a bus only to find that it was free due to the tube strike. The bus was packed but the atmosphere was wonderful and everyone seemed to notice one another, whereas before people wouldn't even look twice.

- Tasting the delicious street food and enjoying the refreshing smoothies at Borough Market. The entire place was buzzing and the central seating place was surrounded by beautiful nature; the perfect place to explore on a sunny afternoon.




- Finding a huge chalkboard at Borough Market with ‘Before I die I want to…’ written on it, allowing people to write down what they wish to do before death finally takes them. It was lovely to read about people’s dreams, no matter how crazy they were, and really added a wonderful touch to the place.


The trip was a lovely end to a great summer however, stepping back into my home city filled me with so much pride and gratitude, making me realise that to live where I live really is a blessing. Nevertheless, London has taught me a lot and I’m so thankful that I got the chance to go.

{All photos belong to my brother and I, if you'd like to use any please give credit!}