Two Weeks in Which I Break Out Like a Middle-Schooler, Have My Debit Cancelled Multiple Times, Run Around a Victorian Greenhouse, and Aspire to be a Shaolin High-Hand
My life, right now, is pretty freaking cool.
I don't mean this in a brag-y fashion. It's also really stressful; for whatever reason my debit card got canceled at least three times in the last couple weeks, which induced pure horror because I wasn't sure whether I'd have enough cash to buy food. Not fun. I had to use my super-retro Posh flip-phone to call my credit union each time and say, hello, yes it's me, please don't cancel my card just because I tried to buy a £2 sandwich. Thankfully, that seems to be at an end. Also, my sink (which, upon my first days here my friend told me it'd been jammed for nigh two years), fully clogged and it took until today for someone to come fix it. Which is alright, I understand people are busy, but once the puddle in your room starts to literally fester, it grates on your psyche a bit.
For lack of ProActive or my constant confusion on my current location and if I need to buy food or top up my Oyster Card, etc., I've been breaking out like I'm fifteen again and don't know that drinking water is crucial to survival. A lot of girls tend to not wear makeup here (or if they do, it's so well done that it looks like nothing), and there's such a lack of sun that my cover-up in the lightest shade you can buy looks like a fake tan on my face. So I've been making sure to chug water like I'm about to enter the Sahara. I also bought a tiny loofah thing to scrub the skin off my face and tea tree/witch hazel lotion that is 98% pure magic. So at least I won't be roaming the streets as a pizza face much longer. ;)
But there's a lot of good stuff going on, too.
For one thing, we went to Kew Gardens for a field trip on Monday and explored Victorian greenhouses filled with plants from all over the world. It was like we'd stepped inside a storybook and I took way too many photos. I regret nothing.
For another thing, I've started Shaolin Kung fu. This originally started when I searched for a Zumba class in UCL's society pages and couldn't find one. The Shaolin page said it was good for beginners, and I wanted to improve my balance and find a way to chill in between all my homework. Then, upon arriving, I realized practice is really late (7:30-9:30 on Wednesdays when I have to get up at 7 the next morning for almost nine hours of class). I almost didn't go. I've done this with a lot of clubs. But on the last night of the "tester" sessions, I threw on some leggings and a cami and forced my butt on a bus to get to the UCL fitness center.
...And promptly had by butt handed to me. Kung fu is difficult. My brain doesn't operate at the same speed my body reacts yet. Class lasts two hours and as soon as you're in the door of the studio you start running, or high-kicking, or some other awful form of gut-wrenching cardio until you wonder why your eyes hurt and it's because sweat with the salinity of the Dead Sea in pouring down your face. By the time 9:30 rolls around, there's a crick in your chest like hey, maybe you're having a heart attack or you've lost so much sweat that you're actually slimy and your legs are actually going to pop off at the knee cap. However, you also know how to do a really cool side kick that would hit someone in the stomach and send them flying.
This weekend, one of the girls from the club told us her sifu (it literally means "skilled person") from her year abroad in Shanghai was visiting for a few days, and invited us to learn mantis Kung fu with him if we wanted. His name was Leon, he was incredibly nice and cheery, and even if we'd all attacked him at once I'm certain he could've killed us all with little to no effort. At one point he moved so fast that, when he asked if we understood the move, we just started blankly and asked him to do it again, slower. He also showed us what it felt like to have the moves done on us--albeit very lightly so we didn't actually have our arms broken or internal organs bruised--but it was wild to be in a position where you were practicing with someone and all of the sudden it was like, "Okay. I'm kneeling on the ground now and you might snap my arm off if you don't ease up. And I'm not even sure how this happened."
So, my body is slowly getting stronger and I'm really stoked. I always ache like I've been beaten to a pulp in a back alley the next day after practice, and I had bruises on my wrist and arm from Sunday even though that was three days ago. Nevertheless, I feel invincible walking out of that gym.
Lastly, I have Kung fu tonight, class all day tomorrow, and then Friday I have two big appointments: one, I have a placement interview for when I start working at a museum next term. Two, I go to a five-story bookshop in SoHo to have coffee with a contact who has worked at Bonhams (an art auction house) and knows people who've work at Sotheby's, Christie's, and Phillips. Even though my one professor acts as though auction houses are the devil in comparison to museums (and she has several key arguments), I need employment and am interested to see how art houses operate. So I'm very excited for that.
I will definitely keep everyone updated on what's going on. :)
♡ Official website of Rachael Kosinski, 23.