Sunday, October 24

30 days in London and I still haven't met the Queen

It's official, Sean and I have been expats in London for a month today! We arrived in London on September 24th, 2010. Coincidentally, we are getting married on September 24, 2011! So the 24th is a special day to us. This also means that we are getting married 11 months from today! woo hoo! I'm not sure what I'm more excited about: wearing my amazing wedding dress or the fact that I found someone who wants to put up with my shenanigans for all of eternity. (I'm not sure he's aware of what he's getting himself into) We also like to wonder about what September 24, 2012 will bring...we've decided it will be champagne and left over wedding cake. The only thing I want to wake up with on September 25, 2012 is a hangover. No babies yet, please.

It is amazing how quickly this past month has gone by. Despite my bout with homesickness last week, I've definitely restored my sense of faith in this crazy adventure I'm on. My friend from college, Becca, said it so well on her blog, she talked about how her confidence has skyrocketed since taking a new path in her life and as I read her post, I realized how true it was for me as well. I feel like I've already changed so much in my short time here, especially in terms of confidence.

Bear with me for a moment while I philosophize about everything, you will leave here a more serene, enlightened human being after I do. I'm sure of it. I invite you to sit cross legged and hold someone's hand if it helps. Perhaps light a lavender scented candle as well. (If not, there will be pictures to look at soon, I promise) I think the reason I have so much more confidence and gusto towards everything is because of this huge risk I've taken. I quit my job. I left my friends and family and moved to a foreign country I had never been to go back to school and jump start a new career. That gives me a small ulcer merely typing it, let alone actually doing it. and you know what? I am doing it. I'm surviving. No scratch that. I'm succeeding. After taking such a big leap off the metaphorical cliff and landing safely on my own two feet, I've become stronger. and bolder. I realize now if I want these things, I need to go for them. I need to take risks and put myself out there. With life, you get out of it what you put into it. So what am I putting into "life" lately? besides too many chocolate wrappers going into the recycling bin?

First, there is my running. You know this whole marathon thing? Definitely a side effect of the confidence boost. The mere fact that I had the cojones to sign up and do it instead of just talking about it is big. huge in fact. (please remind me of this repeatedly on March 5th when I'm having an anxiety attack and pretending to twist my ankle to get out of it)

Also, I ran my second 10k today and I beat my goal from last time! 6.2 miles in 48:55, average pace: 7:53! New PR, folks, new PR!

This is my "I want to vomit. Get that f-ing camera out of my face. Please. Love you." face

There was one point during the race when I *almost* convinced myself to quit. I started walking and gave up hope of beating my previous time, but luckily 10 seconds into walking, the real Marie kicked in and said "na uh girlfrieeennnnd. I don't think so, guuurl. Yo behind needs to hustle it up" When she speaks, you listen. So hustled I did. (and in case you were wondering, the voice inside my head speaks ebonics. she's awesome)

More importantly though, I didn't run this race alone. I ran it with strangers from the internet! Before you start calling Dateline to report me on To Catch a Predator, let me explain. I ran it with my blends. (blog + friends = blends. get it?) See, I'm not a creepy predator...just a bit of a blog dork. Okay I'm a pretty huge blog dork. I'd even go so far as to classify myself as a blog nerd or maybe a blog geek. I think the fact I am trying to classify levels of my weirdness alone shows you where I stand, mmmkay? Back to my blends:

Lauren, Ashley, and I are all Americans studying abroad in the UK. I stalked their blogs pretty majorly before coming over, so I was excited to meet them both in person and run the race together. We had a fantastic pasta party at Ashley's last night that included eating my body weight in baked ziti and apple pie.

I credit it for our success in the race today. All three of us PR'd!

Believe it or not, this was actually my 2nd blend activity of the month. A couple weeks ago I met up with Ashley and Anne, another American living here, for a few cocktails.

For me, this night was way more intimidating. I was downright nervous.It was like going on a blind date. I didn't know what to wear, I was worried I'd talk too much, I hoped when I left they'd call again to hang out. (Hey, I've already admitted what a nerd I am, all my cards are on the table, I might as well just continue with the verbal diahrrea and complety embarrass myself). It turned out to be a lot fun! There were many, many years in my past where I was so painfully shy, making new friends was difficult for me. Often times, my shy nature gets mistaken for a bitchy attidude and people can be turned off before they really get to know me so putting myself out there like this was a big step for me. * pat on back *

In the same vein, I also nominated myself to be the Course Rep for my Master's Program. My first official duty as Course Rep? I organized a Happy Hour at a pub in town. (Hi, my name is Marie and I might be an alcoholic.) I sent out a flurry of emails, told them I'd be the American sitting at the bar alone so they better all come, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best. Roughly half the program showed up, which I think is a pretty decent turn out! I've always hated organizing social events in the past. It stresses me out...are people having fun? are they bored? did I pick the wrong place? But this time was different. I put it out there and figured whoever comes, comes and if they enjoy it, great, if not, oh well, I will. (that was A LOT of commas for one sentence. I'm positive that's not grammatically correct, either. apologies) Sadly, I don't have any pictures from our Happy Hour, so instead I'll provide you with pictures from Sean and I on the subway this morning. at 7:30 am. on a Sunday.

In our defense, the train was COMPLETELY empty.

My last expression of my newfound confidence? The pumpkins we carved this afternoon:

We wanted to pay homage to our recent travel adventures so I made the Union Jack (British flag) and Sean made a Guinness beer for his year in Ireland!

Okay so technically, carving a pumpkin doesn't really demonstrate any level of confidence or personal growth. Really, I'm just demonstrating my ability to brag about myself in as many ways as possible. However, I will argue that my newfound confidence allowed me to have excellent knife skills, providing my Union Jack-o-latern with its perfectly tuned edges. Yes? No? Ehhhh (Side note: Major kudos and shoutouts to my darling future husband for coming up with the term Union Jack-o-Latern. He's a clever one, that Sean.)

Seriously though, making new friends, running races, carving pumpkins. I'm a maniac. The only thing missing from this idyllic London life? Shipyard Pumpkin Ale and Duncan Hines Spice Cake mix. I cannot get either item in this country and it is killing me slowly. If you are reading this in the US, I want you to go out RIGHT NOW to your local store and buy these items. Buy them in bulk. Enjoy half of them and send the rest to me. I'll be waiting patiently by the mail box so don't let me down.


Sean said...

Us 1, This weekend 0, we kicked ass, The weekend started to rallied Saturday, team Grevens emerges victorious!!!

Gerry said...

Loved the pics in the tube. The pumpkins are great. And I think i know that spice cake mix and it might make its way across the pond. 11 months to the wedding...time is flying by.

Ashley said...

I'm course rep tooo!!!!!

AT said...

Congrats on the race! While you were beating a PR, I was still sleeping recovering from a night of over-indulgence. I hope when I'm mended after surgery, I will be able to keep up. Let's hang out again soon. ;)

Lauren said...

yay to a great weekend! and congrats again on the PR!

Preppy in Polka Dots said...

Congrats on the race and all your personal growth! You are going to take London by storm!!!

Beantown Prepster said...

I love too many things about this post to comment on them all without sounds like a creepy stalker. I will just say one thing. I totally aspire to be a blend. (And I wish that I could run that distance in under 4 days. You are amazing, pretty lady!)

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