I took a break for the holidays that ended up being longer than I thought. The break, not the holidays. I meant to start blogging again in early January, but after drafting an unnecessarily morose 2014 reflection post I thought it best to focus on the ‘real world’ for a few weeks until I’d rediscovered my sense of humor.
December and January have been busy. Right after our final presentations and the last holiday parties Matt and I spent a brief but wonderful week-and-some-days with my family in Manila (where I got to see some of my nearest and dearest, but not enough!). We flew back on December 31st and promptly passed out, waking up to soft pops of fireworks and clinking beers on the roof just long enough to mumble Happy New Year to each other before passing out again.
On the heels of that, I had to finish the last of the term’s schoolwork before we packed up and moved to our new flat in North London. The past week has been spent cleaning top to bottom, unpacking, and arguing about furniture placement. The flat is tiny but cozy; at the moment sparsely decorated, but tidy. I want to make the space feel comfortable and beautiful, but am hesitant about cluttering the apartment more than it already is.
Also, I find it hard to justify buying items whose primary purpose is to simply add beauty to a space, even if I know it will make a world of difference. When you move every year and a half, getting nice furniture and household items seems a waste–you just have to find a way to get rid of it later.
Also I have the design sensibilities of a wild donkey so what is decorating even.
I started an internship at a publishing company last week. It’s pretty good. I enjoy it. I apologize for that super eloquent summary of my experience thus far. I only mention it because lots of new things happening at once tend to throw me for a loop, and if I don’t force myself to focus solely on managing those things then untold disasters will happen. Tomorrow is the first day of the new term and I’m hoping a return to routine will set everything on its normal course again.
Onto the Currentlies:
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. I’ve had this on my shelf awhile but have been too guilt-ridden with my slobbery, clutter-y habits to read it without the accompanying waves of self-loathing. So far it’s wonderful. It’s the first book so far that I feel has a convincing philosophy about how to tidy and get rid of what you don’t need. Have I put any of it into practice? Not yet.
I especially like Kondo’s advice to keep things that only spark joy in your life, and to reconsider how an item’s purpose has been “fulfilled.” You don’t have to keep things till they’re unusable — even a regrettable clothing purchase or wrong shade of makeup fulfills the purpose of teaching you something about yourself and your tastes, and so can be thrown away without guilt.
It’s a very radical approach, especially for Filipinos who adhere to the “new shirt>little brother’s shirt>pambahay>rag” philosophy or the “I’ll save this on the 1/30000th chance that I’ll need it again” philosophy. Kondo’s approach also involves a lot of thanking of inanimate objects for a purpose fulfilled (how Japanese). But for a hoarder-on-the-verge like myself, perhaps there is some value in personifying objects — before you usher them gently out of your home and life.
A lot of lists. An IKEA shopping list. A cookware dream list, in which a Le Creuset 5.5 qt dutch oven takes the lead. A monthly budget of rent and bills (horrifying). A blogging schedule that I immediately ignored. A weekly grocery list. I’m domestic as fuck now and loving it. I think.
Childish Gambino’s “Retro [Rough]” not of my free will. It was nice the first couple of times, but for some reason it now slips under my skin like barbed wire. It’s not even a terrible song, it just makes me…react. The song is making me regress back to high school emo poetry days. The barbed wire cuts deep, the piercings in my skin matching those in my heart. I long for light. I see only darkness. I call for my raven. But the raven was me all along.
Waaaaaaay too much about cookware. I’ve become a bit possessive of the kitchen. Maybe obsessive is a better term. I just want to cook all the things. Maybe I should save this answer for “Wanting.” But seriously, I spent an hour comparing electric kettles. I spent a good half a day educating myself on enameled cast iron vs stainless steel vs copper vs hard anodized cookware. I’ve evaluated the need for stock pots, steamers, casserole dishes, food processors, and essential kitchen knives (for the record: chef and paring). But since I have the budget for none of these magical things, I will probably just get a boxed set from IKEA.
Bleach. We did a serious cleaning this morning because Matt’s parents were coming over. But for a sexier answer, I also have beside me an open bottle of Satinka Naturals’ Fleur a Gruem reed diffuser. Rich and floral (o rili?) without too much sweetness. You can find them in Legaspi Market every Sunday.
For structure again! I feel like I ask for this every week.
A white Uniqlo dress shirt under a loose black Zara blouse, Uniqlo jeans that have so much excess space in the butt area that they go flap-flap-flap when I walk, and the ugliest hot pink socks in the world.
The new apartment. I’m trying not to be impatient and to take it one step at a time, but after a few months of crashing (with some very gracious, generous people) it’s so nice to have a room of one’s own. That I share with my boyfriend, but still. I love not being cold all the time. I love that I have a separate room to work even when Matt goes to bed. I love that the toilet is actually in the bathroom. I love that the shower feels like a thousand angels leaving hickeys on my skin. I love wrapping myself in a freshly heated towel, AKA the physical manifestation of Alan Rickman and Tom Hiddleston reciting Shakespeare at each other.
I love that my domain is the kitchen, and Matt’s is anything to do with electronics. I love our sexy wooden chopping board (also bought at Legaspi Market). I love that our tea bags and sugar are in freaking mason jars. I almost grabbed a shipping pallet off the street to go full Pinterest until Matt warned me that those particular pallets were rentals and I would actually be stealing, not salvaging, to fulfill my shabby chic dream.
But seriously. Shipping pallet herb garden. It’s happening.
I also love Come Dine With Me, a British TV show where 5 strangers take turns hosting dinner for each other for a week for the chance to win £1000.
A Le Creuset 5.5 qt dutch oven (though I might not actually be physically strong enough to carry one, so I am eyeing the far more affordable Sainsbury’s version so I’ll still have money for medical bills). A big, sturdy stainless steel pot. A masticating juicer (the one with the dildo-like accessory that crushes all the veggies). Chinese steamed fish. Vietnamese spring rolls.
Excited about the new term. Apprehensive about 2015.
I haven’t been very active online, and that includes reading. However I did read through Ira Sukrungruang’s account of living with cluster headaches. I cannot even imagine that kind of pain, but he does more than enough to describe it for you. The fact that he suffered from cluster headaches for many years and still produced an extensive body of work is admirable. And sobering.
Also, a lot of people are starting up Tiny Letters, something I am considering doing as well. It might be a better outlet for more personal *~musings~*. Yikes, I can’t say musings with a straight face. I can’t even type it with a straight face. But anyway, if you write Tiny Letters or have favorite Tiny Letters do share the link with me so I can subscribe k thanks.
Ugh, that’s enough Currently for now. At 22 minutes past midnight it’s technically Monday Currently but who cares! Hope everyone has a wonderful week!