Lonely Cities (Birmingham, Worcestershire, Stratford-upon-Avon)

Well, since my last post, I’ve had my birthday and I’ve done a weekend trip! Last week on the day before my birthday, we ended up getting hail for about four minutes! The kids started freaking out, and lessons came to a stop as all of the kids looked out the window. It was the first time we had ever had some type of snowfall all year! The teachers were talking about it in the staffroom, wondering why we had hail at the end of April, and then it finally clicked… I ALWAYS have snow on my birthday! I’ve had about two birthdays without snow, and this time it was trying to strike again! It was the weirdest thing… Anyway, that same day, one of the kids made a comment that she was going to get me a birthday card for my birthday and I replied that my birthday was the following day. The class started freaking out, “Miss, what do you want for your birthday?!” “I don’t want to give out any C-points (bad behaviour points)!” “Okay, miss!” Well, on my birthday, I’m pretty sure I’ve given the most C-points that I’ve ever given in a day! I also ended up having a physical incident between two boys in one of my classes, and had to stay after school to write up a report. That evening, I went out for dinner, drinks and dessert with my flatmate, which was quite nice! I was so happy when the week was over; it was such a long week! That Monday was a bank holiday, so we had an extra-long weekend. Jess and I decided to make a last-minute trip to Birmingham, which is about 2.5 hours north of London. I contacted as many people as possible on couchsurfing and surprisingly, someone wrote back and said that we could stay with him! We arrived in Birmingham around noon on Saturday, dropped our stuff off at Joe’s house, and then joined

another couchsurfer, and the four of us made the trip to Worcester (pronounced Wuh-ster), Worcestershire (pronounced Wuh-stah-sher, so weird). We checked out the cathedral, the river, and then went to the Worcestershire sauce factory. Unfortunately, they don’t allow people inside, but we could smell the sauce all the way down the road; it was lovely! We then went for dinner in a pub that used to be an old church. It was so cool! The stained glass windows were still there, and it still looked like a church with the pews removed. The dj even set up where the pastor would stand. Well I must have not paid attention to the couchsurfing profiles because that night, Jess and I realized that we’d be sharing Joe’s room with him. Jess and I shared his bed and then he slept on the floor, which was somewhat weird… The next day, Joe, Jess and I went to Stratford-upon-Avon, which is where Shakespeare was born. We got to tour his house, and then go to the church where he was buried. I’m not much of a Shakespeare fan, but it was still really neat to see! On Monday, Jess and I went to Cadbury World! We could smell the chocolate while walking from the bus stop; it was delicious! They had a 4D chocolate adventure, a tour of the factory, tons of samples, and even a ride similar to the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyworld, except chocolate-themed. This past week has went by a lot more quickly! The kids have been a bit better, which has been nice, but now I’ve been having more problems with the teachers and feeling belittled by them. Anyway, thank goodness it’s the weekend! Three more weeks at the school 🙂 I got to go to the Close Talker concert on Wednesday, which was great! Kim and I were looking for a place to go for dinner before the concert, and happened to find Chris on the sidewalk, so we joined him and the band for dinner. It’s always nice to see some familiar faces here in London!

I’ve seriously been contemplating whether or not I should put this part of my life in my blog, considering most of the people who read my blog are family members. But I’ve also gotten multiple requests to write about this, so I’ve finally decided what the heck, I’ll do it (Obviously while keeping it G-rated and sugarcoating it a bit)! So as people most likely have gathered, I’ve always put dating on the back-burner of life. It definitely has never been my number one priority, and I’ve always made sure it would never get in the way of my goals. Therefore, I’d never consider any of

the past dating relationships I’ve been in as long-term or serious relationships, as pretty much all of them started in the summer and then would fizzle out once university started back up again. I also made sure I didn’t date at all during my two years of education, because I knew I wanted to teach abroad and I didn’t want anything or anyone holding me back from that. And now I’ve realized that I’m finally where I want to be, and I don’t really have anymore excuses left. But let me tell you… it’s extremely difficult to meet people in London! Whether it’s for dating purposes, or just meeting new friends even.. Everyone always has somewhere to be, people don’t have friendly conversations on the bus or the train, the only people I interact with on the daily are under the age of 18, you get the picture. And there’s an IMMENSE lack of wedding rings in this city.. I actually think that people are so caught up in their own lives that they just end up staying single forever. I don’t really want to be one of those people, so I decided to try the whole online dating thing. And unbeknownst to almost everyone, I actually started it before I even moved to London so that when I got to London, I could maybe have some dates set up. And that’s exactly what happened.. I was still staying in the hostel when I had my first date! I wrote Guy A first, he seemed nice, played rugby, had a nutrition degree, but lived about two hours away in Kent. He ended up catching a ride with a friend to London, and he came to where my hostel was and we went for coffee until the cafe closed. Anyway, we ended up talking on the phone every night before and after meeting. A couple of weeks later, I had finally gotten settled in my place and we decided to meet up again. This time, we went for dinner, coffee, and basically talked until he had to catch the last train back home. Eventually, phone calls stopped, texts became less and less, and questions went unanswered. I had been ghosted. For those of you who don’t know what the definition of being ghosted is, urbandictionary.com defines it as: “When a person (male or female) leads on another person into thinking they’re interested in them. After leading on this individual they “ghost” them and disappear. This is usually indicated from no responses through text, phone call or email. Ghosting is performed by selfish people and ones who don’t believe in karma. Because what goes around, most certainly comes around.” Well-said, urban dictionary.com! I was quite disappointed, and

Shakespeare’s Birthplace!

decided to wait awhile to get back into the dating scene. Anyway, a few months later, I decided to try out the whole online dating thing again. Because let’s be honest… swiping left or right makes the one-hour trips to school go by a lot faster! I met up with Guy B and he took me to the Sky Garden, which is a bar at the top of one of the tallest buildings in London, with the nicest view. It would have been a very romantic setting, but I felt that the conversation was quite forced, and I wasn’t feeling it. I’ve learned to start arranging first dates on school nights, so I always have the excuse that I have work in the morning. So I used that excuse, but then there’s always the awkward saying goodbye part, where it’s like, “Crap, is he going to try to kiss me? He looks like he’s thinking about it, and I definitely don’t need to deal with that right now. Quick! Reach out for a hug, keep it friendly.. Turn your head to the side. Phew! Kiss on the cheek.” I left that date feeling really unsure about online dating.. It seemed like the guys I was interested in weren’t interested in me, and vice versa. Unfortunately, I had already set up another first date for the following day (haha) so I decided to just get on with it, and then stop online dating for good. I met up with Guy C at a German pub. He was an Australian engineer, who loved to travel and had been living in London for quite a few years already. He ticked off all of my boxes and conversation easily flowed for seven hours straight, to the point where we got kicked out of the pub cause they were closing. The chemistry was even there, and I thought about how lucky it was that I decided to go on this last online date. We had arranged for a second date a week later, and on the day that we were supposed to meet up, he wrote me about being sick and asked if we could reschedule. And I bet everyone can guess what happened.. Ghosted again. I know what being ghosted is like all too well. Why, you ask? Well, because (and I’m not even kidding) I have never NOT been ghosted in my entire life. Yup, that’s right. Out of every guy who I’ve somewhat been seeing or dating, (unless I’ve called things off myself) NONE OF THEM have had the decency to just be like, “Yo, I don’t think this is gonna work out, sorry.” They’ve all just peaced out, stopping all communication, with no explanation, no apology, nothing. Which is probably why my opinion towards men is so negative. And BECAUSE I’ve dealt with this so many times: wondering when he’s going to write back, thinking every ding of my phone is from him until after a week goes by and I finally convince myself that no, I’m never going to hear from him again, I now know all of the warning signs. I know when guys are thinking of ghosting, I know when a guy makes a false promise of meeting up soon, and I know when a guy has sent me his last message. And those first few warning signs are when I start clocking out, just so it hurts a little bit less when it actually happens. The only thing I can do is change the way I write my messages in hopes that they’ll feel a bit more guilty about the cowardly thing that they’re about to do (Hey, two can play at this game…). I’ve always been the type who doesn’t date just for the sake of dating; I date because I can see a relationship progressing. So of course, I was once again hurt when the two guys that I actually connected with both just ghosted on me. And I sat there feeling sorry for myself, and thinking I’m never going to date again because I’m much happier just being single and not having to worry about anyone else. And if I go on another date, I’m just going to end up being ghosted AGAIN cause that’s all any guy ever does (<— Oh look, a bit of foreshadowing…). And then after awhile, I thought: Wait a second… why should I have to avoid dating just to avoid getting hurt? Why do I feel like when I go on a date, I have to impress the other person, when I already know that I’m a good person and if they can’t see that, then too bad for them? Why should I even go on a date with the mentality that it’ll progress any further? Why should I owe that person ANYTHING? I’m living in one of the biggest cities in the world, I’m 25 (now 26) AND single; I might as well take advantage of it! The chances of running into someone that I’ve dated in a city of 9 million people are slim to none. And right then and there, I decided to change my attitude about online dating. My friends and I call it my new MENtality. I was going to date MY way. As in go out and just enjoy MYSELF. No expectations, no plans of taking things further than a first date. Hopefully have a good conversation, take any free drinks or meals that come my way (hey, it’s not like I sit there expecting them, but if they’re offered then why not?), don’t expect anything more, and move on. I don’t owe these guys anything. They don’t owe me anything. Hopefully I’ll just have someone nice to talk to for the evening! So then I started setting

up those first dates. Guy D was a teacher who had actually taught in China at one point, nice guy, not interested but it was a good chat! Guy E was also a teacher from Canada, who had been living in London for as long as I had. Funny thing is when talking on POF, we found out that both of us would be in Edinburgh at the same time, so we decided to both book the same 12-hour tour (that Loch Ness tour that I did). I guess I wouldn’t really consider it a date, but moreso of a meetup with a complete stranger for a 12-hour bus ride haha Longest “first date” of my life though, and I’ve had many long first dates! Guy F was English and we just met at one of my local pubs. Guy G was South African but has been living in London for a few years, and yet again we met at a pub. Guy H was English and he was my first Tinder date! Met at a pub.. And since then, I’ve given online dating a rest for awhile because I went on my two-week holiday and met that one Australian guy in Amsterdam. And we met up a few weeks later, but the romantic holiday feelings just weren’t there anymore, and I was ghosted once again. But have no fear, I have reopened my dating account! So I’ve now become an expert on first dates aaaand I’ve gotten at least 20 free drinks (but who’s counting?) and a few free meals. The only difference between me and all of the previous guys I’ve dated is that I at least tell the person that I don’t see a second date happening. And maybe this whole ordeal is just horrible of me, and everyone is going to judge me and think I’m a terrible person. But frankly, I’m just sick of being treated the way that I have been in the past. And who knows, maybe London HAS turned me into a heartless bitch (‘scuse the French..). Honestly though, if I fall in love while I’m in London, it’s likely because I’m mentally unstable and I can’t actually think clearly because my job has driven me crazy.

Speaking of a change in mentality, I used to think the best in everyone – that everyone had something to offer. Now I’m at the point where I get suspicious if someone is being nice to me. I now believe that no one will do anything nice for me because they only have an ulterior motive. I’ve started to just hate dealing with people in general. Why? Cause here, everyone lives with a ‘fending for yourself’ attitude. Everyone has somewhere to go, and you’re the only person who’s going to get yourself there. People have stopped worrying about the people around them. When I went to Birmingham last weekend, someone accidentally ran into me and actually said,

“Sorry!” I remember looking at Jess with a shocked look on my face, thinking, “Where are we?!” People here make plans, only to cancel them. It’s happened time and time again, and I don’t understand what the point of making plans is if you’re not going to follow through with them. The students here have an excuse for EVERYTHING – nothing is their fault, the blame is always put on someone else. And after dealing with some of the teachers, I’ve realized that that mentality never really fades. No one wants to own up to anything, everyone just wants the easy way out. Frankly, I’m at my wit’s end, and I’m sick of not being appreciated and not being respected. From the students, I’ve learnt to expect it (even though it still isn’t right), but not from the teachers. However, it’s happened on numerous occasions. I come home everyday just fuming, literally hating my job and hating people. I count down every single day and urge myself to just get through it, “You only have 15 days… you can make it.” But is it really worth diminishing my sanity, my happiness, and my self-worth? I’ve always lived trying to do the right thing.. when I give someone my word I stick to it as best I can, I don’t back out when things get tough. I’d rather have integrity and do things the hard way, than be a disappointment to someone else. But then I often find myself being walked all over and taken advantage of. And there’s never been a time when I’ve regretted the morals and values that I have, but there have been multiple times when I’ve wished people would stop messing me about because of them. So who knows how much longer I’ll last over here… I LOVE it in London, but the combination of everything else is getting to be too much. Anyway, I have a great weekend planned so that should lift my spirits! Hope everyone is doing well! Love always

Lonely Cities – Tigertown