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Tess Wynn

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Tess Wynn

Is anyone out there? Hi. My name is Tess. I'm 22 years old and I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I just moved here about three weeks ago. I'm originally from Wisconsin but I lived overseas for the last four years, so it feels kind of like a brand new and strange place to me here. That being said, I'm finding it pretty easy to melt back into the American way of life in most respects, I guess. I've been working at a restaurant in my old town as a hostess and waitress. That's going alright. I just graduated from college so I'm hoping I'll be able to find a position that's a little more prestigious, maybe in human resources. We'll see. I feel like everywhere I look I'm surrounded by insane success. But that ain't no thang 'cause I live my life my own way, at my own pace, to the beat of my own drum.

I have a boyfriend. His name is Conor and he lives in Scotland. That's kind of a hard thing and I'm probably going to talk about it a lot. I have a mom, her name is Kim. She's 53 and I live in her apartment. I also have a little brother, his name is Ronnie. We don't get along very well. He lives in my mom's apartment, too. He's 20. He goes to college. There are various other characters in the works in the cast of my life, but I'll introduce them as they come into play.

What am I into these days? I'm glad you asked. I like to laugh. I work out. I eat, mostly burritos. I play games. I go shopping at TJ Maxx. I'm in transition. And that's okay. Those of you (if any) who were around on the internet back in the times of 16-year-old me will probably know right off the bat that I'm still the girl I've always been. Times change but people who have bad attitudes and like to laugh tend not to change all that much. And if you want someone with a bad attitude and a funny laugh? I'm here for you all day, everyday. Except when I'm at work making eight bucks an hour.

Here's a picture of me in my living room sticking my tongue out. 'Cause I'm like Miley Cyrus but older and poorer. And who doesn't want a piece of that?

Link275 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

THE LIBRARY IS FOR SINNERS; [Apr. 21st, 2013|08:14 pm]
Tess Wynn

Days like today are the days that heaven is made of. Spring sunshine and gentle breezes make the grass glimmer and ripple. Flowers poke out of the freshly warmed soil. The blue sky blessing eastern Scotland today could bring tears to a particularly sensitive eye. I listen to faint laughter as heavenly saints frolic outdoors while I suffer in this flourescent-lit hell for my sins.

The library is for sinners on days like these, and oh! have I sinned. I've sinned deliciously and languidly, with ten hours of sleep a night and piles of video games, home cooking, and socialisation. I've stayed up late. I've skipped class. I've dabbled in such horrors as twitter, facebook, pinterest, reddit, and the most sinful of all: online shopping. I've watched more television than I care to recall. I've practised sport and even tried my hand at some arts and crafts. I've made new friends. I've actively engaged in hobbies.

My eighth (and hopefully final) semester at university has whizzed by like a plane overhead and as the days, weeks, and months I have left slip through my fingers, the residue of my gigantic pile of work and rapidly approaching final deadlines is all that remains.

For I have sinned and I have sinned hard. I've sinned in good company and I've sinned alone. I've sinned in good spirits, and I've sinned on the brink of total psychological meltdown. I've sinned academically as I have never sinned before, and now I must pay the price.

My penance begins slowly, as I ease myself back into the river of study habits. My brain and my willpower fight. I am distracted. I am focu-- I am distracted again. I caffeinate. I swear. It could have been easy sailing, but my sins have made it hard. I regret. I decide not to regret. I nap. I focus. I take snack breaks. I repent. Oh, do I repent.

I repent! I repent, but the damage is done. "They" say it's never too late to stop sinning and turn your life around, but as I survey the mounds of coursework I have to do and the ticking hours I have left to complete it, I suspect "they" don't entirely know what they're talking about.

My degree classification (and by extension, my soul) may be lost to the devil of procrastination, but I begin my penance of revision all the same.

Just in case.
Link749 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

ON COMPETITION; [Apr. 20th, 2013|09:52 am]
Tess Wynn

Anyone who knows me, knows how into pool I am. I've been captain of the University of St. Andrews women's pool team, I go into to pool society nights twice a week without fail, and I practice pool probably about six times a week. Despite all this passion, I'm not really all that skilled at the game. (Note: I do not consider pool a sport. I don't need to wear a sports bra to play pool lol.)

So, yeah. I practice a lot. I still suck. Everytime I enter a tournament for the society, someone knocks me out first round. St. Andrews pool society is simply full of a multitude of extremely talented pool players. I'm not much into gender differentiation, but at this point in the post I feel I must mention that all of these über players, who defeat me the vast majority of frames? Men.

After being appointed women's captain last year, I went about putting together a team. It wasn't a very complicated affair: I advertised trials and then five girls in total turned up. All but one made the team. Less than a year later, there are now enough ladies interested in pool that a sixteen-person tournament is being run. Most importantly, I think this is awesome that so many girls at the university are getting into pool.

But actually: I think this is something I could acheivably win. I lose so frequently at pool. I've never won a single competition-- not the weekly tournaments, or anything in the semester-- my team even got last place in the national tournament we went to in England in February!

I want to win so much, guys. I want to win so badly that it's getting in the way of my friendships. (I'm meant to play my friend Leonie tomorrow and we had scheduled the match for 2PM. She asked me today if we could play at 4PM instead because she plans to get so drunk tonight that she's too hungover to play tomorrow any earlier than 4PM. I have nothing to do at 4PM; there is no reason why I shouldn't be able to play her then....... I just don't want to let her switch so she can be on better form. I also don't approve of drinking too much but that's an entirely different story. I also specifically want to beat her because she's had training from people who don't like me at all but that is also a different story lol. But then I felt like an asshole for refusing so we're going to play at 4PM. I hope I crush her!!)

I only have a few weeks left at university and I think it would be so wonderful if I could just win this one little tournament before I go-- I'm just SO dedicated to pool! Playing Leonie tomorrow is my first big match. I think if I lose I'll cry. I need to calm down lol.
Link6 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn

I used to lie fairly often, horrible little shit that I am. I'd lie for nothing other than banter and interest, sometimes. I'd lie to impress people, to wriggle myself out of sticky situations, and to entertain myself. My lying penchant was a dirty and bad habit that regularly got me into trouble, because, even though I would lie frequently-- I never seemed to lie well.

Over the past say, five years, I've gotten much better at being honest about things. I'm not perfect, and sometimes I'll still hear something come out of my mouth and ask myself, "Tess, why did you say that? It wasn't even remotely true!" but for the most part I'm a decently honest person. Honesty is one of the virtues I value the most in people: if you can't be true to yourself (because that's what honesty is really about, I think), how can you stand for anything?

Yesterday I told a lie. I think if you're going to lie, you should go all out. I mean, you're already lying, so what's the point of trying to play it safe? If you get caught, you get caught and the damage is done. (I guess there's the argument that the less of a lie you tell, the less likely you are to be found out, but I'm ignoring that.) I didn't want to go to my last shift at work. I ended my time working there on a rather sour note, as I got into a fight with one of my co-workers that ended in shouting and swearing, and my boss was a sexist prick (as all bosses tend to be)!

Yesterday I didn't want to go into work. I wanted to lie in bed and watch bad tv episodes. So I sent a text to my manager that said, "My friend just had a seizure and I'm on the way to the hospital with her, is there any chance i could get off work tonight?" He was like, "nope, no one can cover for you, you'll have to come in." So I did. I went to work anyways and I had to answer question about my friend who didn't exist and her medical condition that didn't exist and I felt like a shithead and guys, I had to go into work ANYWAYS. I was so busy trying to make sure that my lie was weird enough to be believable but not so far-fetched as to not be realistic that I forgot to make sure my lie actually GOT ME OFF WORK.

Life sucks. Life sucks more if you're not honest.
Link7 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

MY COKE ADDICTION; [Apr. 9th, 2013|12:59 pm]
Tess Wynn

Fact: If you forcibly ingest the same amount of sugar that is found in a can of coca-cola, you will vomit uncontrollably. On average, globally, people consume one coke drink every four days. Mexicans drink the most coke in the world, with every Mexican consuming, on average, 665 servings of coke a year. Each 330ml can of coca-cola contains 39 grams of sugar. On average, I probably drink about four cans a day: more than your average Mexican, Indian, Brit, American, and Egyptian put together!

Do we see the problem yet? My mother does. I drink a tin of coke with breakfast, which horrifies her beyond belief. (My mum is a bit of a health nut.) My friends see the problem. "Tess," my friend Kathleen said yesterday, "whenever I'm with you, I find that I crave coke." Conor, my boyfriend, complained to me the other day: "Every time I have a can of coke, I only get like three sips before you drink the rest!" I told him that if he didn't want me to have his coke, he should drink faster. Sorry, but if you leave a can of cold coke in my view and reach, I just can't help myself.

I'm an addict. I wish I could quit. Periodically I will try to limit myself, or to simply stop cold turkey. It never works. Sometimes I can even make it a few days (substituting tea in for my caffeine intake so I don't get withdrawal) until I find myself in a bar, or a restaurant-- and someone I'm with orders a coke. As someone who doesn't drink alcohol, my options are limited for drinks at pubs. Sometimes, I open the fridge in my kitchen and find that my flatmates have bought a 12-pack. "They won't miss just this one," I tell myself. Even the crack of the can popping open releases endorphins into my brain!

It all started two years ago, when I started bartending at a nightclub in town. We could have all the coke we wanted during our shifts, free of charge. Long shifts without food and late nights in the hot, sweaty club would have me reaching to refill my glass for that sugar and caffeine time and time again. I lost track of my intake. I'd get withdrawal symptoms from the caffeine on my days off from work.

Yes, there are worse things to be addicted to. I don't smoke. I don't drink alcohol (much). I don't do any "recreational" drugs. I'm not a kleptomaniac or a sex addict or a self-harmer or whatever. But this is my own personal vice. The main problem it causes in my life is gradual weight gain and blood sugar spikes. These could be a major issue in the future, though, if my coke habit continues.

I want to change guys, but I love coke too much to stop. Mmm, coke.....

Link22 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn

I got in a big argument with this guy at work on Saturday! He was all "why are you just standing there?!!" and I was all "nah man I'm asking the chef a question" and he was all "you're always just socialising and standing there and eating!" and I was like "dude, don't give me your shit, you're not in charge of anything!" and he was like "don't fucking speak to me like that, just leave now and never talk to me!" so I went to find a manager who was like "aye yeah that's a fight but actually he is in charge and stuff, just go home and we'll sort it later" so I went home but it was not sorted and now I have to work with him today and it's a Monday so it's just the two of us on!!! I DON'T WANNA, INTERNET!!! Who put him in charge?! He's a condescending twatface! I would just pretend to be sick or whatever but I reckon they'd totally see through my shit, especially since I actually handed in my notice to quit and I want to save my reference if at all possible.

You don't have to read that paragraph, it's whiney. I'm quitting work because I have been informed, after 10 months of trying to avoid committing to wearing heels, that I must wear heels to waitress or else. That is, of course, totally ridiculous and I have no plans whatsoever to do so. How would wearing heels while waitressing be even remotely a good idea? Hence the quitting. I didn't tell them at work this, though. I want a good reference so I just said I was too busy with university to work anymore. Which is sort-of true. Whatever.

I'm slowly pulling up my roots here, selling my things, quitting my job. It will make leaving easier, I suspect. Fifty-four days! Eek. It's already going so fast. I kind of went off and got myself a new boyfriend though. A Scottish boyfriend. A Scottish boyfriend who is absolutely, 100% gonna be in Scotland. Where I am not allowed to live. Like, am I serious here? It's like my scumbag brain was all, "Hey, Tess, it looks like your re-migration to America is gonna be super smooth. Can't be having that!" So, you know, that happened. Come to think of it, though, as much as I like him now, it's totally possible that in two months time we won't even be into one another anymore and then I won't have to worry about being sad when we have to break up for my moving. Etc. Lols.

In conclusion, I'm seriously dreading my last two shifts at work. But I will suffer through and come out a better, stronger, more amazing star than I already am! Also I have a new boyfriend and I'm kind of obsessed. His name is Conor. ;-)
Link7 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn

This time, I'm writing about Americans. As an American (Wisconsin, born and raised, represent!) who has spent the past three and one half years living in Europe (Scotland), I feel qualified to discuss the Types Of Ex-Pat Americans You Get. There are two, and they are as follows:

Group 1. Those who think the grass is redder, whiter, and bluer back in the states. They go on and on about all the reasons why This Would Never Happen Back Home and how it is just so unfortunate that X, Y and Z cultural aspects haven't transferred across "the pond". They get mad when people poke fun at America and they are the only people who appreciate poptarts and shaker cheese. They're overly friendly, they refuse to use British words, even when they know them, and they can be easily spotted by their "tennis shoes", "yoga pants" and "football jerseys". They refuse to assimilate.

Group 2. Those who are more cultured than the rest of the homeland put together. They try their best not to stick out as "foreign" and claim that they never want to return to the states. They attempt to distance themselves as much as they can from everything American-- and the reputations that come along with that distinction. They're usually hipsters-- they moved abroad to be different. They hate rap, they hate country music, and they hate American football and Republicans. They describe old architecture at length, they criticise the American government at length, and they travel extensively. They're ashamed of their parents, they claim not to miss anything about the homeland, and they're rude to people who do.

In the eyes of most British people, the second category is far superior to the first category, mostly because they're less insulting. Which am I? I suspect most of my friends would put me in the second category, mostly because they like me (and the first category is associated with tourists and assholes). But I don't think I fit into either category, which is perhaps why I find them both so offensive. Does no-one emigrate politely these days? Or, perhaps, I find it hard to notice those who emigrate politely because, well, they're polite and thus by definition not conspicuous! Then again, I don't think I'm polite. In fact, I'm quite obnoxious.... but I like to think that I'm obnoxious because of all the things that DON'T have to do with me being American.

Why does being American have to be an all or nothing affair? I'm American, but I'm neither proud nor ashamed. I simply am.

Link14 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn

"So hold your head up, and tell yourself that there's something more: and walk out that door. Go find a new rose, don't be afraid of the thorns: we all have thorns." --Every Storm, Gary Allan

My friends are depressed. I don't blame them for being depressed: I'm a bit depressed, myself. I think it's hard to live in what I call "this modern world" and not be at least a wee bit depressed. We all have problems. I like to listen to problems. I think the more problems you hear about, the more you can put your own problems into place in the world. This may exacerbate the problems you face, instead of minimising them, but sometimes you need to draw attention to the fact that things are actually inappropriately bad in order to find a solution.

As it turns out, if you think your problems are bad: they are. I don't think any one individual has the right to judge the way that someone else reacts emotionally. Yes, some problems are more dangerous than others, but just because I think I would cope more easily than you are coping with the hardship that you face doesn't mean I have the right to judge you for the way you feel about the situation. The other day, two friends of mine had very separate breakdowns for totally different reasons. My friend Matt was telling me about how social aspects of his life, including conflict with his flatmates, were stressing him out quite a bit-- and I sympathised. Matt also received a mark on one of his essays for university that I would have been thrilled with (as a low academic achiever) but that for him was upsettingly bad. Knowing how much effort Matt puts into his studies, I tried extra hard to be understanding.

Later on, however, another friend of mine, Anna, mentioned in passing (as part of her own string of problems worth complaining about) that her mum was in danger of getting her mortgage repossessed and that when she had been home over Easter, she'd had to pay off her mum's heating and electricity bills out of her student loans, as for unmentioned reasons, her mum had been unable to. I'd had to stop her at that point. "Wait," I said, "like, you paid them out of your own money?" Anna replied that yes, she had, and then went on to discuss other family issues that I personally found much less disturbing. As someone who comes from a consistently financially stable background, the idea that my mother would need to rely on a university student to pay her bills in addition to their own is significantly concerning. In fact, the idea that I might someday not be able to myself rely on my mother is terrifying to me; she's always been my ultimate safety net. Anna comes from a different background, however, and upon reflection I see no reason why if you have always struggled to find enough money and couldn't rely upon your parents for help, you wouldn't simply get used to living a frugal and self-sufficient lifestyle from a very young age. I saw the issue of paying her mother's bill as being far more severe than the other things she mentioned-- but she didn't-- she was much more concerned with a social issue that had arisen amongst her social group.

I don't get to dictate that I think one of Anna's problems is more pressing than the others, or more severe than my problems, or Matt's problems. Neither do you. It's always important to focus on all the reasons why someone's experience is different than yours and not to judge. I'm not a Christian, but I think this is a really important soundbyte to remember for situations like these:

Don't judge someone just because they sin differently than you.
Link7 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn

Sixty-two days is a very long time, for some things. It is also a very short time, for other things. I can't decide whether I feel like my move to America in sixty-two days is forever away, or incredibly close. Life is an exciting and turbulent journey and I'm both buzzing for and reluctant for this chapter of mine to end. What happens next?

This is a post about simplification. I have a lot of things. I think I have more things than most people do. I don't want my things. I don't need my things. I plan to board the plane to Wisconsin with only one suitcase and one rucksack's worth of belongings. Clothes, jewellery, shoes, electronics, keepsakes-- everything, in one piece of luggage (plus a carry-on). I'm in the process of selling everything I own. It's an incredibly cleansing process. I'm listing everything, item by item, on a facebook group for my university where people buy and sell from one another. My objects go for varying prices: my blue guitar, for example, fetched thirty five pounds stirling. On the other hand, I sold a tub of glitter for a mere fifty pence. Each time I trade a possession of mine for coins and notes, I feel my soul lighten. These things are holding me down. They don't define me. I can't take them with me-- and, more importantly, I don't wish to.

I have no interest in things, but I have a deep interest in relationships. There are so many unique and worthy people in this world, and I want to know them all. I want to know dreams, emotions, passions, minds, souls, and bodies. I want to connect on every possible level. I want to fall so deeply in love with humanity that I can't breathe if I think too much about it. I don't even know if I'm talking about romantic or sexual love-- I just want to be constantly surrounded by minds, ideas, bravery, and affection. I'm moving home in sixty-two days, but I have no clue how long I'll be staying. The world is my oyster, as are the spectacular people who inhabit it, the people I wish to learn from and to experience new corners of life with. I am capable of moving onwards and upwards, and I am in the process of simplifying my life in order to break free, and do so. Let nothing keep me from sharing my love and passion for life with the world.

I'm a free bitch, baby.
Anything could happen.
Link27 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

(no subject) [Mar. 17th, 2013|01:33 am]
Tess Wynn

Hi guys. Long time no do this thing. I haven't changed much, though. Have you? My name is still Tess. I'm still at university in Scotland. I still make bad jokes and dye my hair bright colours and play a lot of nintendo games. At the same time, I feel like I have changed a decent amount. Two of my biggest dreams of this phase in my life fell apart a couple weeks ago-- so you'd think I would be devastated-- and in some ways, I am-- but I'm also coping remarkably well. A fairly serious relationship that I was heavily invested in came to a crash ending and with it, my last whisper of hopes to remain in the country when my student visa runs out after I finish university in May.

I'm much stronger than I tend to appreciate, though. Years of first world struggles the computer games I want to play being incompatible with my Macbook Pro and having to take cold showers if my flatmate gets back from the gym before I wake up at high noon) have prepared me for the one of the only times in my twenty-one years of life I've faced the opposite of a first-world problem: that I'm simply not eligible to live in this country any longer. I think they must simply be confused. I'm WHITE, guys! WHITE! English is my native language. My mother is a lawyer. In two months, I will be a graduate of the University of St. Andrews with a 2:1 in Social Anthropology. I have a DSLR camera and three apple products. I'm well-spoken, I score in the 99th percentile on aptitude tests, and I'm young, healthy, and single. What do they mean when they say that I'm not eligible for an employment visa in the United Kingdom? Who are 'they', anyways? And why would they say that despite all the above factors AND the fact that this means all of the relationships I value (including that of my now ex-boyfriend of over a year) will sizzle into nothingness when I am catapulted 4,500 miles west of where my heart belongs? It's even more frustrating to realise that the only reason that as a university graduate from one of the top British universities (the real reason I believe I'm entitled to an employment visa) I would have been able to stay in the country and work, were it not for recent legislation passed in backlash to the expansion of the European Union.

Writing these thoughts and realities down onto this page cause me to dwell on things I am trying to move past. I can't do what I wish to do. Well golly gosh, it's almost like the world doesn't revolve around me or something (and we all know that's preposterous)! Every cloud has a silver lining, if you dig deep enough, and here are ten reasons why I am seriously looking forwards to leaving the country:

One. People will stop making taking the piss out of me for being American. Because they'll be American, too.
Two. I will have a car again (and thus have the freedom of movement I had at sixteen, once more :-P)
Three. Living at home with mommy and the bro will cost significantly less money than any other option. In fact, it will be free.
Four. Mexican food in Scotland is, frankly, shit. I love Mexican food.
Five. I'll have a good excuse for being an obnoxious depressive that will last months. (Almost as good as my current break-up excuse; plus, It'll kick in right about when the break-up woes get stale :-P)
Six. I will once again be able to harass my mother when I have problems (perhaps not the best path to mature adulthood, but hey!)
Seven. I'll be close to Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison: all cities I love dearly. I am a midwesterner at heart and I will always be connected to Wisconsin and the midwest.
Eight. When people ask me where I am from, and I reply with, "Wisconsin," I will no longer need to follow that up with the question, "Do you know where that is?'
Nine. A fresh start can't hurt.
Ten. And, finally, I won't have to worry about British immigration anymore.

Come at me, deportation day. And hey, maybe I'll move back someday.
Link25 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

ONE DAY, BABY, WE'LL BE HOME; [Dec. 7th, 2012|09:58 pm]
Tess Wynn

If I were to say to you, "Hey there sir/madam, how do you fancy being hurled through the sky at nearly 1000/km an hour?" you would have to be absolutely nuts to say yes. What if I were to add in the stipulation that you would be doing this sky-hurtling at 35,000 feet in the air? What if I asked you to do it for 10 hours straight? What if during this time frame, you were unable to contact your family and friends or use any electronic devices that plugged in or communicated? What if you were forced to spend those 10 hours in a 32-inch space and the oxygen content of the air around you was cut in half? What if you had to listen to an engine rumble at 140 decibles the whole time? What if you travelled over the top of the world whilst under all these conditions, and were therefore many hours away from help if something were to go wrong?

And, finally, what if, on top of all this, I asked you to pay over £1000 for the horrifying experience? What would you do? No one in their right mind would ever agree to such a thing! And yet, I do this very activity, four times a year, when I travel home-- to Wisconsin-- from where I live in Scotland. And  to think that people scoff at me when I tell them that I'm afraid of flying! Everytime I board an aircraft, I inform the head of the flight crew that I have a flying phobia and that as a result I take 4mg of diazepam (a sedative medication) every three hours during the flight so that I don't get [too many] panic attacks throughout the process. This way they know what to expect and how to handle me, if I have a wee freak out and a few fearful tears.

We as humans have not evolved for commercial air travel. Our ancestors never spent any time cooped up anywhere, they were never more than the nearest stable tree off the ground, and they certainly did not travel at over 500 miles an hour to go anywhere. I am a logical and often intelligently minded being. I understand why deciding to take an airplane across the ocean to go home to visit my family at Christmastime  is a reasonable decision. But once I'm there, trapped and strapped to my seat, in a gigantic metal tube racing through the sky, my fight or flight instinct kicks in as the deepest parts of my instinctive consciousness tells me that something just isn't right and I need to GET! OUT! NOW!!!

So, even though I have much to do, the least of which being two university exams to sit, between now and Friday (when I take that horrid 5,000 mile journey across the winter skies), my foot can't help but shake and my mind can't help but dread. I'm only human, after all.

Link178 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

ONE GIRL, ONE PASSPORT, NO VISA; [Dec. 1st, 2012|11:40 am]
Tess Wynn

I love my friend Kara. She's from Boston! There are a lot of ways in which we are alike. We both love grilled cheese and tomato soup, for example. We both grew up in the USA. We work together at a hotel down the road. We love to complain. We both love sleeping late and gossiping together on lazy days. These are just some of the reasons why we get along.

We are also, of course, like all friends, different. Kara studies feminism and gender studies, whereas I am a social anthropologist here at university. She has blue eyes and dark brown hair, whereas I have dark brown eyes and blue hair. (Just kidding. My hair is also brown.) I play pool on Tuesdays and Kara volunteers with a local charity. Kara's reached level 868 on the unblock me puzzle app she has on her iPhone 5..... whereas I have a pink blackberry that doesn't even work! And all of these differences are fine by me except one: Kara's father is German. Kara's father is German so Kara has a German passport along with her American one and is eligible for residency in the United Kingdom without needing a tiered visa. Unlike me.

I am not ambitious. I do not plan on having a grand career and rolling in the millions. When I imagine my ideal future, I see myself in a neat and cosy home with an occupation that I find mildly interesting, pays the bills, and gives me something to do all day. That's all. I imagine myself in a small city or a large town, in this country-- in the same country I have been living in for the past four years. I have been building a life for myself here; my appliances all have British power ports and I speak with British intonation (though I will always have, and love, my midwestern American accent). My leave to remain in the UK (under a Tier 4 student visa) will expire in July. There is no realistic way for me to legally remain and reside in the United Kingdom afterwards.

The UK Border Agency scheme which I would have been eligible for (Tier 1: Post-study work) was discontinued a few months ago. I am not qualified enough to get a Tier 2 Work visa. I have no special skills to name (an honours degree in Social Anthropology apparently does not count) and I am not qualified to work any of the jobs on the government's "shortage occupation list"-- a list composed of jobs that are not open at entry level, such as Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Astronomy Engineering Directors. I have no Britsh ancestry and am therefore not eligible for a Heritage Visa (one grandparent must have been born in the United Kingdom). I have no one to marry and thus be eligible for a Spousal Visa. My heart is here in a country which has no place for me.

"What are you going to do after you graduate?" I ask Kara. She tells me she is going to go and live and work in London. She says this to me confidently and with no hint of uncertainty as I struggle to come to terms with why, as we are both finishing our degrees at one of the top British universities, she is entitled to this opportunity and I am not.

Kara, on right, and I together :-)

Link15 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

HELP! I THINK I MIGHT WANT TO LEAD A SIMPLE LIFE; [Nov. 27th, 2012|07:00 pm]
Tess Wynn

  "What are you up to today?" my flatmate, Josh, politely asked me this morning, as he waited for the kettle to boil.
  "Ah, well, you know," I replied, "I have a dissertation meeting in like 20 minutes. I'll probably watch a film for class this afternoon. Pool society later."
  "That's alright for some." Josh said.
  "Yeah, well, simple minds lead simple lives," I quipped.

I don't necessary have a simple mind, but I think I want a simple life.

I know a girl who I think is incredibly simple. I don't interact with that many simple people. This girl, she is nice enough, I suppose. There's nothing inherently wrong with her, other than how shockingly uninteresting she is. She studies eight hours a day. She bakes cakes and drinks tea. She speaks with her family daily. She is always counting calories. She keeps to a schedule. I judge this girl. Let's call her Georgia. So I sit on my high horse, and I look at Georgia, with her collection of decorative mugs, and her early morning alarms, and I judge her. I deem her boring. I deem her simple. But I've been giving it a bit of thought, and you know, I reckon miss Georgia and her simplistic ways might just be on to something.

In fall of 2011, things were not going great for me (dumped, unemployed, anxious, lonely). I turned to rigid structure in order to pick myself back up; strictly awake at 8AM, breakfast, shower and library-bound [for university study or just to surf the net somewhere bright and friendly] by 9:30. Things were kept clean and organised. Meals were home-cooked. Social outings were planned in advance. I took control of the things I could, and slowly and surely, I felt better. And then: over the past year, my structure has fallen away. I never exercise anymore. I eat ready-meals, takeaway and "snacks" more often than anything else. I sleep haphazardly. My kitchen and bedroom are a mess. My calendar is empty. My tasks are left unfinished with increasing frequency. It's my last year at university. The future is looming, but no more certain. I don't know what city, or even what country I will be living in. I don't know what I'll be doing with my life. I don't know who I'll be with. It's scary!

My resolve this winter is to spend these long Scottish nights living a simple life. I resolve to be awake and alert for the morning sunshine. I resolve to eat as many vegetables as possible. I resolve to be active. I resolve to be honest. I resolve to behave. And it's a win-win. If I succeed, I feel accomplished (without, let's be serious, accomplishing a single thing); if I fail, I'll have something new and exciting to complain about!
Link8 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK, AS LONG AS IT'S ABOUT ME; [Nov. 7th, 2012|11:46 am]
Tess Wynn

On 4th November, 2008, I posted this exact entry on this exact blog:
"it's trufax guys.
ilu obama, but you've still got lots to prove.
plz to be keeping your promises.
i love america like mad, but idk guys
i think all can agree that we are in quite the pickle."

The words would, perhaps, now that I'm not sixteen anymore, be a bit more grammatically correct, but the sentiment that the 2008 version of myself and the 2012 version of myself felt/feel is the same. My pet issues, health care (specifically, the abolition of big pharm) and public transportation (specifically, the building and improvement of trains) are fairly ignored. It's easy to feel far away from American politics when you are physically distant in miles. But deportation looms! (By deportation, I mean, the expiry of my leave to remain in the UK :-P)

My boyfriend had a hilarious and quintessentially British response to yesterday's election: "Wait, so if the Democrats win the presidency and the keep the Senate, but the Republicans win the House of Representatives, then what happens? Do we have to wait for a coalition?" lolololol. No. Worse. They just spend the next four years arguing on C-Span [American gov't TV channel] and not getting anything done.

To be completely honest, my secret fear before the election was going to be that people would judge my desire to stay in the United Kingdom after graduation as political if Romney won. It's not even political guys, I just seriously love the weather. SERIOUSLY THE WEATHER HERE IS GREAT! You know how many times I had to wear shorts this summer? Zero. Zip. Nada. Also British food is better. It sounds like I'm taking the piss but I'm for real. It might not be fireworks in taste but it's much much better at keeping nasty additives and other chemicals out of the shops.

Besides, I can always just go home for a wee visit whenever I fancy. See I even speak in tongues. Lols. The point of this entry is: I have so much university work to do that I'm drowning in it. Hence the procrastination. I'm still the socialist I used to be, but this time instead of harping on about it, I'm going to go buy something fried in beef fat instead and crack open some books. Because that Ethnohistories of the Amazon essay ain't gon' write itself, no matter how much pokemon I play with the texts sitting next to me.

(See, I'm still your girl. I still play pokemon and procrastinate with the internet [though mostly @tessleberry these days]. My accent just changed a little bit, that's all!) 
Link9 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

MY MOTHER WILL BE HORRIFIED; [Oct. 16th, 2012|04:42 pm]
Tess Wynn

My university dissertation is a cross-cultural analysis of tattoos and gender. Researching it makes me want to fill my skin up with ink. I wake up in the morning excited to read academic articles all the livelong day and by noon I have degenerated to clicking through pinterest tattoo boards. My mind whirls. My heart aches. I am a caterpillar. I am a blank canvas just itching to transform into a stunning work of art. A butterfly.

My mother will be horrified.
Link29 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

BORING; [Oct. 15th, 2012|03:38 pm]
Tess Wynn

I was going to update my blog today, but then I got an e-mail from my film module convenor telling me I've missed too many lessons and that I had to come to lecture or else. That little girl is making the face that I made when I learnt this news. I h8 uni.
Link7 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

BUT IT'S ALWAYS DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN; [Oct. 11th, 2012|12:56 pm]
Tess Wynn
I've migrated to the library. I have my laptop, iPad, twenty-six academic articles, green winter hat, my blackberry, and an entire litre of coca-cola. One thing I've learnt over the past few years is that just settling myself into a place where people do university work quite diligently doesn't mean that I will be productive. Hipsters sit in creased red trousers and big round glasses with books, so many books. History, biology, psychology. My hair is wet and my jeans have a stain on them. Blonde girls glance my way and then turn back to their circles of academia in disdain. This is not my place, but I must comply to culminate the four years and over a hundred thousand pounds spent for a bit of paper with an as-yet unknown distinction on it.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, can I just turn in 12 pictures and call it even with my undergraduate dissertation? Here is a dissertation's worth of what's on my mind for you all to contend with.

And that's how I feel today.
This post took an hour to write.
I should have spent that hour researching.
Link9 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

YOU GOT ME, GOT ME LIKE THIS; [Aug. 17th, 2012|06:32 pm]
Tess Wynn
Last month, I spent a week on the tiny island nation of Cyprus! It was a pretty interesting experience, full of good and bad, and I would like to share it with you today. I actually knew quite a bit about the island before my visit as one of my good friends from university halls is from the town of Paralimni, which I had the chance to visit during my trip. knew it was a peaceful, very westernized place despite being in quite a tumultuous geographical area of the world, and despite being technically at war with Turkey, which occupies approxmiately 1/3rd of the island.

What I wasn't quite prepared for was the void of unique culture that I found there to be once I arrived. Cyprus used to be a Britsh colony, through until quite recently, in fact (a quick google tells me 1960), and so I expected a strong English-speaking population, but I didn't realise the extent to which the island caters to tourists as a "little Britian" with sun. Recently, many Russians have also been using the island as a prime-holiday desitnation so I was also reminded of my time in Ukraine when I saw all the signs in Russian lettering.

(From top, from left) (A rollercoaster in Ayia Napa, Mhari and I up on a parachute behind a boat, me walking in the sea)

(Mhari's converse hanging in the sunshine, a purple flower in her garden)

(Me sitting on Jenny's shoulders for a game of chicken, swimming in the pool, some detailing, Mhari shoving me!)

Looking like a pair of clowns, clowns, clowns.Collapse )
Link58 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn
Years ago, when I still lived in Wisconsin, I embarked upon a short-lived project when I was trying to lose weight (I was probably about sixteen: there was no weight to lose). The idea was, that if I took photographs of everything that I ate, and posted them on here, I would hold myself accountable to what I was putting into my body. Anyways, after a couple weeks my disposition towards laziness kicked in and I abandoned the idea. Some of you who are particularly long-time readers may even remember this phase!

My boyfriend, Ian, was kicking about my flat for the past couple weeks (since, when you don't have a job, well, it's not hard to take a fortnight across the Irish sea to visit your girlfriend), and he is pretty much the worst eater, heath-wise, of all time (no offense, Ian!). Take-aways every night and doughnuts and cookies for every breakfast were very tasty, but, two weeks later, my body pretty much feels like it's been put through a trash compactor! I decided yesterday that I would re-start my enthusiastic health kick WITH PHOTOS, and here we are today, with the first set of All The Things I Ate Yesterday photos: a wonderful sub-set of The Most Average Blog In All Of Recorded History (Probably)!

Yeah! Vegetables! Fruits! Bread! Cheese! (White thing in back is large hunk of butter!)

Hot chocolate and chocolate and.... tasty german candies! (Hey, they were buy one get one free @ the shop!)

Macaroni cheese and peas, plus some innocent smoothie (so delicious, so expensive).

Half a pesto pizza. You will soon notice that I am a bona-fide coca-cola addict and that I put chilis on everything!

If you would like to play along at home with this super-fun game, here are the rules to All The Things I Ate Yesterday:

1. Take a photo of everything you eat or drink (before you eat or drink it), save water.
2. There are no exceptions.
3. Post photos online the next day.
4. Be slightly disappointed when no one comments on them, despite the fact that it is literally photos of all the things that travelled through your digestive system on any given day, which is kind of gross and pretty damn boring.

Stay tuned for the next installment of The Most Average Blog In All Of Recorded History (Probably)!
Link37 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

COME ONE AND COME ALL; [Aug. 16th, 2012|01:23 am]
Tess Wynn

Dear friends, family, acquaintances and total and complete strangers, please accept this very warm welcome to (drumroll) The Most Average Blog In All Of Recorded History (Probably)! Pull up a seat, take off your shoes, and don't be afraid to get very, very comfortable! Let's get down to business: here's a quick soundbite for The Most Average Blog In All Of Recorded History (Probably), or, for short, TMABIAOH(P) (tuh-mah-bee-ah-oh-pee...... erm, okay, that won't catch on).

Who?: You (a small sub-set of the people of the internet) and me (a mostly American and marginally British girl woman, a bartender and university student, who answers to the name "Tess").

What?: A collection of only very slightly related thoughts, jokes, pictures, ego, emotions, rants, and--- hopefully-- banter! Essentially, all the stuff that blogs are made of. (All the stuff that average blogs are made of, anyways.... and after all, this is The Most Average Blog In All Of Recorded History (Probably)).

When?: Sometimes. Not always. Not never. More frequently if I can be bothered, less frequently if I cannot. What, you want specifics? I just gave you specifics!

Where?: Live and on location here in my house in a small town in Scotland and tape-delayed just for you wherever and whenever in time and space it is that you are able to access it.

How?: The Most Average Blog In All Of Recorded History (Probably) is brought to you mostly by the power of the internet, followed by my ability to type in English, and the somewhat uninteresting topics about which I can rant and rave.

Why?: Because, like the majority of the world, I am actually incredibly self-centred and I just love to talk about myself. Also I spend my free time on the internet instead of socialising. The internet is more fun than friends! Just kidding friends, I like you just as much as I like the internet. Kind of. The internet doesn't judge me if I don't put on trousers when we hang out.

And that's the who, what, when, where, how, and why, eh? Here's to many happy days, weeks, months, and years spent together--- just us, that is, you, The Most Average Blog In All Of Recorded History (Probably), and me! Now here is a picture of some cake, it is very colourful.

Link20 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

YE OLDE IMAGINARY ME; [Jul. 23rd, 2012|01:48 pm]
Tess Wynn

I was running a fever yesterday. I got very sleepy at work (makes for poor waitressing-- "Get your own fork! Ya shouldn't have dropped the first one eh!") but then once I got home I was burning up and wide awake, lying in bed in my underwear. And, as feverish insomniacs are likely to do, I began to think some pretty strange thoughts. And the conclusion that I came to is this: I am so glad that I wasn't born in 1691. The 1712 version of me (as opposed to the 2012 version of me) would have a pretty rough time.

I would have two children, Bertha and William, and I would be pregnant with my third: a girl, Caroline, who would die on her second birthday due to cholera. My husband, John, would be thirty-eight to my twenty-one, and he would be a farmer whilst I occupied myself with the house and children. We would have one bedroom, and one bed, in which the four of us slept together. (The 2012 me hates to bed-share, so I find this idea particularly offensive!) In 1712, no white people really lived in Wisconsin, so I would be in the east somewhere, I reckon, Boston or Philadelphia maybe. (Although I am American, I don't really know much about my family history or my heritage, since I don't come from money and there are no records. This customer at work the other day thought he was being particularly funny by asking me what part of Ireland I came from, since so many Americans have Irish roots. I didn't get it. "Oh, no sir, I'm American," I kept repeating. :-| )

John would take our family's crops down to the local general store and sell them for whatever the going rate was. I would then use the money received and trade it in for luxury items, like spices and sugar, and cloth so that I could sew clothes for myself and the children. We would have one book, a family bible passed down from John's grandfather, and he would be able to read it a little, although I would only be able to pick out letters. Since we wouldn't have been able to afford proper glasses, and I am particularly blind, most of the world would be a blur of colours to me. Luckily, I wouldn't need to drive or operate any heavy machinery that hadn't been invented yet! 

Whereas 2012 me lives in a town 4,500 miles from the one in which I was born, 1712 me would have never travelled more than 20 miles from home in her entire life. I used to complain, in my house that I lived in last winter, that the sporadic hot water we had was not a "first world problem" but then, when I think about how 1712 me would have to heat all water for the monthly baths on a wood-burning stove...... in fact, I wouldn't have any heating at all-- just a fireplace. Keep in mind, of course, that I don't really know much about history and 1712 me and her habits and lifestyle are more of a figment of my imagination than anything. 1712 me was very pious. She prayed to God morning and night. She emptied chamber pots daily, and filled (probably the same) pots up with drinking water at the stream. She only had three pairs of shoes in her entire life. Poor 1712 me. She didn't even like her husband much. She broke her arm as a child and couldn't use her right hand properly. She only ate meat fortnightly. She'd never tasted a mango. 

And then, I remember that 1712 me would be dead too! Because the heart surgery that I had when I was 15 was not an option back then. And daaaaayum am I glad to be 2012 me.
Link21 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

PERPETUAL SORE HEAD GUYS; [Jul. 20th, 2012|04:01 pm]
Tess Wynn

Summer has arrived! I spent about twenty minutes outside this afternoon and came to the conclusion that it was too hot and too sunny so now I am back inside my house. I've been working a lot (waitress and bartender, me). I went to Cyprus for a week. I've been playing a lot of online pool. It's hard to update your blog in a timely fashion when you're playing so much online pool! Plus then I've got these adverts I said I'd make for one of the shows in the fringe festival, and I only ever really did half of them. Well, I filmed all of them but only produced half of them, so I always feel guilty whenever I do something "productive" on the computer that's not them. Online pool isn't productive. Blogging is. Humph. Alex and Caroline, if you're reading this, I'm probably never going to finish your little fringe adverts. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said I'd do them and then not done them completely. But they are a lot of work and you aren't paying me and I just frankly can't be arsed. #honesty

I've been having a lot of conflict with one of the guys I work with, and I'm not sure the way forwards. But you know what, I don't really feel like writing about that today. So let's look at some pictures of sweets instead.

Some more pictures of desserts'n'things.Collapse )
Link33 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

NOT SURE WHICH DAY ANYMORE, IT'S BEEN SO LONG; [Jun. 7th, 2012|01:43 pm]
Tess Wynn

Last Tuesday evening, I was an accomplice to a crime. I had about a week in-between my two housing leases (just moved into such an awesome new flat, guys!), so I was staying with my boyfriend, Ian, for a few days. Ian lives in an apartment complex with about eight flats in the same building over four floors, and a communal stairway-- pretty standard stuff. From the door, you can buzz up to any one of the flats and they can let you into the building. Anyways, so, I was staying with Ian, and at about 20:00, I went out to the student union for some drinks and to play pool. On my way out of the building, there were three teenagers, pretty young kids, probably about fifteen or so, knocking on the main door. I opened the door and held it open for them on my way out. "Thank you," one of them, a blonde girl, said to me. I then walked through the entryway and out of the complex.

When I returned to the flat at about 1:00AM, I noticed a police van parked outside of the building. Ian let me into his house, and I went to bed and didn't think about any of these events again. The next morning, Ian receives a call from two officers. "Can we come up and speak with you?" they ask. "Did you let anyone into the building between 7PM and 9PM yesterday?" Those three door-knocking kids broke into and robbed an apartment, stealing computers, money, jewellery, a television, and oddly: a toaster.

"Describe them," the policeman said to me. "How tall? How old? What colour hair? What sort of accents? Clothing? Any tattoos or piercings?" I had spent no longer than three or four seconds in their presence. I racked my brain. "I think one had a blonde fringe and gauged ears.... a girl. Two girls and a boy maybe? Or no, wait, one girl and two boys?" I was pretty sure I was inventing them features. "They were between maybe 5'3" and 5'9"? The one in front was freckled. They just looked like normal kids." The police officer frowned at me. "Did you let them into the building?" "....Yes."

"Can I see your passport and UK residence visa please?" "They're in a box on Lamond Drive-- I don't actually live here, I'm just staying for a couple days." My heart is pounding-- surely I can't have done anything wrong myself-- what was I going to do, refuse them entry? Odds are they're just visiting an equally obnoxious teenage friend who lives in the building-- and if they aren't-- and they're capable and prepared to rob a house-- then they might stab me or something if I don't let them in! Plus, I was on my way out the door-- how was I going to prevent them from entering behind me? They might have even been residents, I don't know the neighbours, this isn't my house...

Speaking with the police and giving a statement is a stressful experience. I was mostly aware of how messy and dirty the kitchen was. The prior (and only other) time I was interviewed by a police officer was when I witnessed an assault about a year and a half ago. I remember feverishly cleaning my sitting room after the officer phoned me and said he wanted an official witness report, and that he was coming around to interview me. That was a very different occasion, as I knew the involved parties quite well in that incident. I'm a fairly law-abiding citizen myself, but I certainly have my own weaknesses. There are the things I wouldn't go near in this country for fear of deportation, things that perhaps I would be more lenient about in America: knowing copyright violation, being in the presence of illegal drug use, trespassing-- minor offenses.

These are musings on my uptight brushings with crime.
Link13 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

DAY THREE; [May. 21st, 2012|07:16 pm]
Tess Wynn
This update is a follow up from THIS ENTRY, in which my boyfriend wagers me that he can make a cheesecake. We come to an agreement that if he can make a fantastic cheesecake, he wins the right to cut my hair. The cheesecake he was assigned to make was this one.

Here's some pictures of the result he concocted up:

This is the out-of-the-oven result. It's overcooked. But in fairness, my oven is pretty shady-- it loves to burn things when you look away for 0.00001 seconds. So I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this aspect.....

Ian gives a go at taking off the burnt outsides of the cheesecake. Poor guy was mightily confused by such things as the way in which baking ingredients are measured (he had an American recipe but luckily for him I have imported my own set of American measuring cups) and what exactly such terms as "creaming" "whisking" and "beating" mean. It's a whole new language of cakes.

CONCENTRATING ON THE CAKE. I only gave him marginal help and only when he was doing something horribly and terribly wrong. The ingredients weren't super cheap, after all. I'm too thrifty to allow a tenner to go to waste! It's interesting and perhaps a mark of how crazy strange our society is that it's far cheaper to buy a pre-made cake than to make one yourself!

Are chocolate chips and a melted chocolate lattice the same thing? Ian says "close enough". I distinctly disagree. You can see the bits of cookie dough in the sides here. Not sure 100% where the cookie dough went wrong, but it was almost indistinguishable from the cake in-mouth. Was alright though as cookie dough when raw.

It looks deceptively tasty here but don't be lulled into a false sense of fear for my hair, internet!

And, here's my last picture of the cake. Upon tasting it was, well, distinctly mediocre. Ian is very proud of it but I honestly didn't really like it all that much. I ate it for breakfast this morning! (Then I felt quite ill afterwards...) I had a second slice, which Ian claims should be enough to tip the scales that he ought to be permitted to cut my hair. I say, no way. Ian: "But Tess! If you didn't like it, you wouldn't have had another slice!" My response: "But I'm hungry! And the cake is here, for the eating!" Either way, I'm not sure I recommend it as a breakfast. But Ian still thinks he should be able to give me my haircut. So I'm going to put that one to you then, internet. In clearly objective terms: This cake was not all that good. Should I, based on its merits, allow Ian to give me a haircut? (If you're confused, check this post for backstory.) Let's have a poll.

Poll #1841735 Does Ian win the right to cut my hair?

SO yeah?

Well, he, uh, tried really hard? Pity haircut permitted?

And, finally, for those of you who are interested in Ian himself: he is very tall and very skinny and has fluffy hair. He's twenty-three years old and Northern Irish, from just outside Belfast. I met him playing pool here at university. We both play on Tuesday nights. He finished his degree here in Chemistry last year and now he does like investing and stuff. Not investing but like investing (not to be confused with my propensity to "like" my sentences). Anyways, he is very kind and a bit awkward and quite unintentionally hilarious which is what I like in my boys so it works out. He was like "hey Tess let's date" and I was all "meh" but then my friends were like "Tess what are you doing date him" so I did and that was a couple months ago and now I like him loads and loads so huzzah I guess. I'm the least enthusiastic teller of this sort of story imaginable; people think I'm not excited, but I am! I just get embarrassed, so now I'm going to talk about something else.

Actually, I don't have much else to say today. I'm going to go for a run. So YEAH BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS I'LL BE OFF GETTING FIT OR PERHAPS IF YOU READ IT MUCH LATER I'LL BE FIT ALREADY. Whoop whoop.
Link29 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

DAY TWO; [May. 20th, 2012|09:58 pm]
Tess Wynn

I've decided that I'm going to start really intensely keeping track of my finances. I'm twenty so it's about time to be financially independent I reckon. Yeah! At the moment I live off a fun combination of student loans I get from Obama & Co., my various minimum wage jobs, and random money I sporadically get from my mommy. I think this summer is a good time to flex my LIVING ON MY OWN MONEY fingers and you know, yeah all that nonense. This is not going to be an easy task. First of all, starting next week, I am gonna be living in a really freakin' expensive house. I'm going to be paying £530 a month. I know that is mind-blowingly shocking, but hey it's a pretty house and it's dead centrally located and you only live once so suck it this is me living once YEAH ME. Right-o. So anyways I know this might be more of a measurement of how deep my deficit runs.

I started yesterday. I spent £3.40 on fish and chips for dinner. Then I made £33.02 at work. Then this morning, I spent £21.62 at the grocery store, and this afternoon, £2.00 on pool games. So that makes me currently up an even £6.00. Hahaha. Cool. My geeky boyfriend is gonna make me a sweet spreadsheet so I can keep track of all my moneys. I'm keen. He does spreadsheets for a living so it better have some badass 3D graphs or something. (I will post about the geeky boyfriend soon by the way as many of you have been asking!)

Right, whelp, budgeting is a fairly boring topic so ONWARDS WE GO, TROOPS.....to another fairly boring topic. Oh well! A huge aspect of my summer this year is going to be my job. I work as a bartender at a nightclub! I make a strange club bartender, since I'm teetotal (don't drink), I hate dancing and going out to nightclubs, and I'm not that good at small talk. But I love it. Mostly. Anyways so since I sometimes work 'till like 4AM I'm rocking a sweet nocturnal lifestyle. And since it's summer and stuff here in Scotland, the sun is well up by the time I go to bed.

Anyways, since we're the only nightclub in this small town, we get a funky variety of clientele. There's the university students, of course. They drink like drinking is their job. They don't tip, they don't make chit-chat, and they are interested solely in the most units of alcohol they can get for the lowest price. Then we have the golfers. Primarily middle aged British and American men, they're tourists who come into town for the week or just the weekend, and they drink like they're on holiday-- which they are! They come to the club to find young girls to creep on, and ask all sorts of interested questions about me and my life. I like them though as they tip me quite generously (especially the Americans, who both come from a tipping culture, and don't fully understand the money-- something I both sympathise with and disdain). Then there are the locals. Hailing from St. Andrews proper and the surrounding small fishing villages, they are the rowdiest bunch. They order pints of snakebite and bottled of WKD and VS vodka mixers. They're messy and generally very kind, until they get it in their heads that I either look down on them, or that I am not a very competent barmaid.

So yeah! This has been my day two update of my summer here in small town scotchland. Thus far it hasn't been any different from my three winter years in small town scotchland, but my friends are all still here and I haven't moved house yet or switched work from part-time to full-time :-)

Hope you're all doing well, internet!
Link16 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

DAY ONE; [May. 19th, 2012|08:41 pm]
Tess Wynn

It's that time of year again, kids! The sun is out! Exams are over! You pack your bags, fish out your passport (and, in my case, dust it off), stash your pots and pans and snow gear, and head off to the airport for the short flight, the long-haul flight, and the middle-length flight. You've got headphones in and red itchy eyes (for the travels must always, for some unknown reason, begin between 2 and 5AM) and you've got a snuggly sweatshirt on, and a large frappuchino in one hand, pulling the biggest, heaviest suitcase known to man across the terminal floor. London Heathrow airport is an interesting place; one of my all-time favourites. The entire spectacle of the world is at London Heathrow; burka-clad women with six children in tow and many Louis Vuitton trademark luggages on a rent-a-cart; fat American tourists with baseball caps and white tennis shoes, talking loudly about funny money; skinny Danish businessmen with silk ties, rolled cigarettes, and perfectly spiked up hair. Airports are fascinating. But the eight-and-a-half-hour flight looms, so you breathe equal parts a sigh of relief and dread when it flashes red upon the screen: "BA2031 Toronto: BOARDING" (or Chicago, or New York, or Boston) and you make your way down the long, long corridor towards the gate.

Flights are timeless things. The day stretches on, artificially long, as you race west in an attempt to outrun the fading sun. Minutes pass as hours (and for some reason hours do not pass as minutes) and you tap feet, twirl hair, and flip aimlessly through magazines while trying not to think too hard about how many feet you are above the ocean and how trapped you are if something goes wrong. Your edginess increases, your airsickness sneaks up on you, and you walk up and down the aisle in an attempt to shake the feeling off. The woman next to you sleeps easily, contentedly, as you pick at your de-oxygenated box lunch. Communications and power supply suspended, the whole world boils down the gigantic (but really so tiny) metal tube hurtling through the sky. Hours, days, weeks, months, eons later, you spot land through three layers of class and miles of clouds, announcements ring, the plane circles, and woozy, dehydrated, nauseous, and exhausted, you land.

The signs welcome you into the country, they funnel you through the roped-off queues. The man in uniform asks, "how long have you been away" and you're not entirely sure how to respond. Five months? Three years? He welcomes you home, and you look around the fluorescent-lit warehouse of a room. Home? Suddenly the 4,500 mile journey catches up with you. Your head pounds, your palms sweat, and your surroundings wobble as your head fills with fuzz. Harsh voices puncture the hall; do you really speak that way, is this really your accent too? Your papers are stamped and you stop to sit down on a bench and let the sensation pass before boarding the next flight, the small plane, head between your knees, reassuring yourself that it's all going to be fine. Just fine. Your mother is on the other end, at the airport, waiting. She will have brought dinner. You can sleep, in peace, soon. It's that time of year.

But not for me. This year, I won't be joining the droves as they pile into buses, trains, and planes headed south, west, north, away. The mass exodus from the university continues but this year, I stay. This small, remote, seaside town will quiet, and then busy itself again with a new crowd, an even more transient crowd. Tourists. It's going to be a long summer, a lonely summer, a static summer-- and hopefully a summer after which I will feel confident of my position in this world as an adult. Only one year left of university, after all. I am nearly twenty-one. 

I hope you will join me on my journey of self-sufficiency and search for happiness and meaning over these next four months. Today is day one (for my university term finished yesterday afternoon). I am too comfortable here, too knowledgable of the town, of the social dynamics, and how I do and don't fit into them. This summer I will try my best to shake it up, to be spontaneous, adventurous, creative, and fresh-- and most importantly, to take important steps in finding myself a place in the world beyond and after my degree.
Link35 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

THE CAKE/HAIRCUT CHALLENGE, PART ONE; [May. 15th, 2012|03:49 pm]
Tess Wynn

So my boyfriend and I get into a bit of a debate this afternoon. Well, debate is a strong word (for it implies some sort of academic nature of discussion..... and please, never). And it ends in a wager! Nothing like a good bet to shake things up, I say! The conversation goes like this:

Me: I want a haircut but all the places in this town are so expensive.
Ian: I'll cut your hair!
Me: Have you ever cut hair before?
Ian: Nah, but I've had my hair cut, which should count for something!
Me: Ooh, does it work like that?
Ian: Yes.

Uh. No. It does not work like that. What he's basically saying is that because I eat cake, I could bake one. Because I eat delicious and fancy cake (yes, I'm a student, but you really have to have your priorities, you know?) I could make a delicious and fancy cake. Hmmm. "Yeah," Ian says, "I could do a cake." This is coming from a guy who thinks that microwaving something counts as cooking a nice dinner. Cake, my foot. CHALLENGE! 

Me: OK, fine. If you can make a cake based on having eaten cakes, and it doesn't suck, I will let you cut my hair. And I get to pick the flavour because I would also get to pick the haircut. AND you have to do it from a picture because that's how haircuts work.
Ian: That's not how my haircuts work. I just tell them to whack off some of the top.
Me: That explains a lot and this one is going from a picture. 
Ian: Can I read about cakes?
Me: Yes. And if you win, you have to read about haircuts, too.
Ian: Link me.

So I did. And the cake that he is going to make me is this: 

Ian: What kind of cake is it?
Me: I don't know, what kind of haircut do you get? (I do know. It's a chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake. Shhh!)

So, you guys think he can do it? Is this an idiotic bet I've made? Am I going to end up with one delicious slice of cake and the worst haircut ever known to man? I will update you and let you know ;-)
Link58 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

JUST A BUNCHA PICTURES THIS TIME; [Apr. 30th, 2012|04:12 pm]
Tess Wynn
Hi-ho, internet! How are you lot? Pretty sure the best way to guarantee that I won't be posting any entries is by promising to update daily. Which I did promise. A month and a half ago. So, uh, yeah, about that. Anyways. Guess there's been things going on in my life; I have a new job, for one. I've written an obscene amount of anthropology. I'm kind of into this guy I know. You know. Life stuff. I could ramble endlessly about any of these things, and lots more, but I think instead I'm feeling a bit visual! Yeah! Let's look at some PICTURES! The theme is whimsical and a little bit melancholy. Which is how I feel today.

It's not like New York City burned to the ground once you drove away.Collapse )
Link9 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

HAIR, DOWN TO THERE, LONG BEAUTIFUL HAIR; [Mar. 18th, 2012|06:47 pm]
Tess Wynn
This post is kind of stupid, but what-evz I'm okay with it. So, I like hair! I'm definitely a "hair person". There's probably something psychological behind it but I'm not bothered about that, just that I really, really like hair. I like to play with hair and ruffle it and plait it and straighten it and curl it and dye it and cut it. If it didn't involve so many gross chemicals and such little prestige I would totally be a hair stylist! I like long hair, shiny hair, hair that curls into ringlets, naturally red hair, white hair, brightly coloured hair, hair in a lovely messy bun, mop head hair.... the list goes on. What's your point, Tess? How come you're on about hair today? WELL, hypothetical reader asking me questions, I am going to show you some pictures of really cool hair today! Isn't that fun? Yeah! Go!

67 images underneath the cut.Collapse )
Link74 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

EYES ARE PRETTY MUCH BEAUTIFUL, Y'KNOW?; [Mar. 15th, 2012|06:13 pm]
Tess Wynn
Hey, guys, you know what happened to me somewhat recently? I got a new camera! Wanna see some of the sweet pictures I took? Yeah, course you do! I know I'm not the greatest photographer that the world has ever seen but I am learning a bit! A friend lent me a very cool macro lens so some of these pictures are really (uncomfortably) close up but eh ;-) Next week, the DSLR and I are going to Spain together so get excited for some beautiful Barcelona in a soon upcoming post....and I will probably do the travelogue like I did in January! Anyways here they are! Hope you guys are living life happily and well. Do something extra nice for someone you wouldn't usually tonight, okay? I probably won't but it would be good if someone did, haha.

This one is obviously an eye, but specifically it's my eye. Look at that blood vessel! Creepy!

My drippy bathroom tap.

An extremely delicious and juicy grape!

This is a bit of pole outside my flat, on the clothesline. Y'know, I was drying my laundry OUTSIDE the other day and I realised I have gone totally native [to Scotland]. Also to note: I just spelt "realized" realised and "spelled" spelt. Who am I?

These are some fairy lights I have on my bedside table!

Twenty-two more photos underneath the cut.Collapse )
Link29 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn

Dear you,
I would call you out, but I know you'd get all pissed and whiney like a twelve-year-old girl about me calling you out instead of owning up to your actions like a twenty-one year old adult man, so I won't-- but you know who you are. You have treated me worse than I have ever been treated in my life. You treated me like dirt, like a piece of someone else's gum stuck onto the bottom of your shoe. You were a massive factor in the ending of my two-year relationship. You lead me on, sucked me in, and wrapped me up in order to stroke your own ego with my affection, and I was enough of a naive idiot to fall in love. You coaxed me into a vulnerable place over the course of seven months, you pressured me into sleeping with you, and then FOUR DAYS after I finally consented, after I gave you my heart, carefully wrapped up and with many many warnings-- you smashed it with a hammer and threw it in the bin. 

You knew everything I was going through and you were the person I trusted the most with my secrets, with my honesty-- and you didn't even respectfully dump me. You told me you wanted to just be friends and yet you continued to turn up at my house late at night, drunk, and tell me how much you didn't love me as you tried to get into my pants. I tolerated a lot from you. I continued to be your supportive and loyal friend while completely failing to understand why you didn't want more than that-- and why you had so suddenly changed your mind after seven months of dedicated woo-ing. I told myself you were just trying to be a good person, a good Christian man, to respect the God you claim to be so devoted to. I convinced myself that you were well-meaning, if not incredibly misguided. Then, two days after you had sworn up and down to me-- in my bed, no less!-- that you were just unable to be in a relationship, unable to be with anyone at all, you told one of my best friends (Are you stupid? How stupid are you?!) that you were sleeping with someone else. And that la-dee-dah, she was wonderful. Understandably, I snapped. I asked you to never speak to me again, to avoid me, to give me space.

Did you give me this space? Absolutely not. You didn't even respect me enough to let me get over you in peace. Every time you saw me for months you attempted to catch my eye, to talk to me, to get my attention. You are so self-centered and immature that you couldn't even give me that small wish, to be left alone. There is no one in the world I know personally that I think less of than you. 

Now here's the big moment, here's the point in the letter where the climax appears, where things take a sharp turn: I forgive you. I forgive you for everything. In fact, I thank you. Thank you, for teaching me a valuable lesson about humanity. Thank you for showing me that trustworthy, loyal and caring friends (note: not you) are so very precious and that I need to hold onto them as much as I can. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to grow and mature into the individual that I am today. Thank you for teaching me that harboring anger and hurt will only lead to more anger and hurt. Thank you for giving me the experience of holding in this anger and hurt for six long months-- and for permitting me the beautiful, glorious, freeing experience of letting it all go. In short, thank you for being such a scumbag! Without you and your dickwad actions and complete disregard for my feelings, my well-being, and my dignity, I would not be the independent, capable, confident woman of twenty that I am today. Thanks to you, I am ready to move on to my next relationship (whenever and with whomever that may be) with a grace and awareness I would never have been able to manage without you. So, honestly, thanks!

Without hate or resentment; with peace and self-reliance,
Tess // jolteons

P.S. Also, just FYI, because I can't miss this opportunity to let you and the world know: you have a small dick. Yep. I just went there. Sucks to be you, mate!
Link29 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn
I think I've decided not to blog every single one of my people stop-motions. I've at this point already filmed twelve, and if you guys find them interesting, you can either subscribe to my youtube channel or you can follow me on twitter to get them instantly. I think that I will still continue to share my very favourite video projects here, but they will all be tweeted and uploaded to youtube so don't despair if you think you might miss them! :-)

So these are the last two I will post here, I hope you enjoy them! I am learning how to use my new DSLR, but it is obviously an on-going process. This first video is of my friend Carson as she practices dance.

Carson has been a friend of mine for years, and even though we don't keep in as good of touch as we used to I very much enjoyed the afternoon I spent filming her. I had never seen her dance before (as it's something she does in New York mostly) and I had no idea she was this talented! For me, this was a very enjoyable video to make. The lighting was good so it required minimal post-production editing and her spontaneous dance routines were just the right length and amount of movement.

This next video is of two of my friends from pool society at my university, Ian and Sam. They took me as a guest to their social club and allowed me to film one of their pool matches (they are very even players and often bet one another for money). This one was a bit fussier to edit and my models themselves were a bit obnoxious at times (boys don't sit still well..... even well into their 20's) but I really like some of the angles of the shots I got, and I love pool so I had such a lovely time with it in the end.

Link10 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn

HEY internet! I'm super into blogging lately it seems. Who wants to see some incredibly awesome stop-motion videos? I make stop-motion videos, sometimes. Not gonna lie, I think mine are pretty cool......but oh, are there some videos out there that are simply and completely mind-blowing. These are my five favourites of all time, in no specific order. (I had a hard time choosing, but in the end, each of these speaks to me in a different way.)

The creativity here is cool, but I'm mostly just impressed by the smoothness of the animation, not gonna lie. That, and, I am obsessed with guacamole, so uh, yeah. Also: the tomatoes and onions are diced, get it? Ba-dum dum. And chips!

This one I really like 'cause of the emotion in it, the innocence, and the juxtaposition!

This one, and the next two, are all three advertisements. It's pretty unfortunate, I suppose, that most of the coolest stop-motion films are funded by corporations..... but at the same time, without that crazy budget, we wouldn't get the amazing animation that we get to see :-) I just think it's so cool that this one is little bitty!

This is one of the first stop-motion films I ever saw. I love so much that it is a stop-motion within a stop-motion and in particular I am impressed by the fact that they made a stop motion with FILM. With FILM guys!!

I really wanted to include a claymation but I had trouble finding one that I thought was as awesome as the general stop-motions out there. I wish this video was in higher quality, but I still appreciate the awesome-ness. Also, this one had a production team of HUNDREDS, which is crazy large for a stop-motion project!
Link13 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

ON WHAT BEING A WOMAN MEANS TO ME; [Mar. 6th, 2012|01:24 pm]
Tess Wynn

Yesterday, I wrote about wanting to fall in love and today I am going to talk about feminism in an attempt to explain my background and further show (as perhaps I wasn't clear--- I forget that everyone else does not see the world through these ridiculous spectacles of mine) why I do not believe that dreaming of romance makes me in any way not a feminist. As if I need to be saved by a prince charming!

If you had asked me last summer if I was a feminist, I would have been a bit affronted. "Do I look like a feminist?" I would have said. "Uh, I shave my armpits thank you very much! I have long hair! And a boyfriend!" This is nineteen-year-old me confusing feminism with being a crunchy granola lesbian....common thing in this day and age, eh? I love to make sexist jokes (at the expense of both sexes) and I performed a rather successful experiment last summer involving the amount of cleavage which I exposed and make-up which I wore at work and the direct ratio that my tips took. By all means, middle aged drunk men, continue to behave in a slightly creepy manner as I serve you hamburgers as long as that extra dollar bill in change goes directly into my tip jar, thank you! Errr, is that prostitution? Let's just call it customer service. Oh, America!

My mother is a very impressive woman. She was born to parents without highschool diplomas who worked at the paper-mill in Menasha, Wisconsin. She was the first in her family to go to college, on a full scholarship, and on to Harvard Law School. She is now one of the board members and head of the finance team at a prominent Milwaukee law firm. There is very little that my mom can't do. She single-handedly brought up two very difficult children (one of whom, obviously, is me.... and I was quite the terror!). She bikes up mountains in the desert and she cooks the best food I have ever tasted. She has supported me financially and emotionally with everything I have ever dealt with in my ongoing transition from child to adult. So yeah, my mom's pretty cool. My childhood was not one of an environment in which there was not equality of the sexes. I played ice hockey for 12 years, guys. I'm pretty damn liberal.

I forget, though, that not everyone is fortunate enough to be me (har, har) and doesn't necessarily see things the way that I do. My flatmate, for example, bless him, can be one of the rudest chauvanists on the planet. He is constantly making "jokes" about how I ought to stay in the kitchen and cook and clean for him. Oh yeah, Kelechi? I will happily do your cooking and cleaning when and only when you start paying my rent. How do you like them apples, eh?! Thought so. Now, I honestly don't know if perhaps Nigerian society (for he is Nigerian) has more divided gender roles, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt and call it a cultural thing so as to avoid punching him in the face! Humph! So let's be clear here: when I talk of love, I am not talking about and absolutely would not tolerate a relationship in which I was a dependant to anyone, be it man or woman. Neither am I, however, a female supremacist (of course not!) and by the same token I have no intention or desire to "take care" of anyone. Pfff!

If we look at feminism as being "belief in equality of the sexes" well, then, I am indeed a feminist, and a particularly proud one. Although, I personally believe perhaps we would be in that case better off calling the phenomena "equalism" or something..... because, again, I really would like to be clear: I'm not a hairy granola lesbian. Not that there's anything wrong with that!
Link22 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

THE STIGMA OF WANTING TO FALL IN LOVE; [Mar. 5th, 2012|10:36 pm]
Tess Wynn
You know what, internet? Screw the fronts. Here's a confession. Ready? Ok. Fuck it, I'm a romantic. You know me, or you at least know someone like me: the girl who pretends to vomit into the nearest rubbish bin when she sees an adorable couple holding hands; the girl who doesn't believe that relationships should be a male-dominated affair and silently rolls her eyes when girlfriends claim that they could never make the first move. It's like, is this 2012 or what? Grow some balls, eh? I am offensively direct. But at the end of the day, I just want to be swept up off my feet and fall madly, hopelessly in love! I want surprises and weekends holed-up and over-the-top cheese-- but please, please don't tell anyone. I don't want to ruin my rep (I say, as if I have a rep to uphold or something).

I have now been single for seven months (EONS when you're twenty and mightily hung-up on your ex), and distant friends and awkward family members have begun to give me the "So... Tess... you've been single for awhile..." lead in. Shut up, guys. As if I'm not already giving that fact way more thought and attention than it deserves! But you know what? That's not something I ought to necessarily be ashamed of. As if wanting a boyfriend is some sort of personal failing on my part! That's not a personal failing on my part, that's a basic human instinct! Wanting a boyfriend does not make me weak or overly needy! Why does society get to dictate such things?! There's such a stigma to it! Even as I sit here and logically and intellectually recognize that I am not someone who should be in a relationship right now, or at least not a "serious" relationship-- I still want one! And there is no shame in that. 

So this is a post about celebrating the romantic side of myself-- And to do that, I am going to share with you some photos. Photos that make my heart ache and my stomach lurch. Photos with emotion and love, photos that speak to me. Some of them are perhaps a bit "obscene," but you know what? I don't think that sex is always obscene. Sometimes it is beautiful. I think these photos are beautiful. I hope you enjoy them and I hope that they light a spark of romance in you as well.

Exactly thirty-three more images under this cutCollapse )
Link38 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn

So, internet, I've embarked upon a great adventure. "An adventure," you say, "now Tess, that's pretty cool. Are you travelling to the continent again? Have you adopted a particularly rambunctious puppy? Have you taken up cliff-jumping?" The answer to your pressing questions, my friends, is no, no, and only that one time and honestly I do not recommend it. Nay, my newest adventure is more about what I'm not doing than what I am doing, and what it is that I am doing is a six-week detox diet. It's pretty intense. I am now on day four of forty days of meat-less, wheat-less, sugar-less, alcohol-less, additive-less, dairy-less, caffeine-less life. No pasta. No biscuits. No cheese sandwiches. No apple pie. No bread. No coke. No diet coke. No diet caffeine free coke. Yes to water. Wham, bam.

So what's left that's a "safe" eat? More than you'd think. There's potatoes and rice and onions. Bananas, blueberries, and oranges. Curry paste. Eggs. Tuna. Cucumbers. Oatcakes. Wait, no, that's about it. It's getting easier. Sort-of. The first two days were an obnoxious and at times nearly unbearable blur of cravings for sugars. Sugars! Sugars! You would be so surprised how much added sugar we eat in our diets! (Err, maybe me more than most. Y'know, student diet and all that....) I've hidden all my non-perishable "bad" forbidden foods in a blue plastic bag behind my sitting room chair. My pantry food shelf looks like a blast from the past; three potatoes, one sweet potato, two onions, salt, pepper, some raspberry preserves, one bag of lentils and a kilo of rice. How boring is THAT? I am so bored. But to that, I suppose, is where the adventure comes in. ("Uh, Tess, are you sure you don't just want to go travelling again? Anything but this!") Creativity must abound, and I do love to cook! 

Will the benefits outweigh the costs? I hope so. Our bodies aren't designed to handle the sorts of food I've been giving mine. I start my day carboloading and I end it with carboloading. How am I not truck-sized? This is the wake-up call I need. It is only day four and I already feel more energetic. I feel a great sense of contentment and happiness although in all fairness, I did buy a new vacuum cleaner yesterday so really we could attribute my immense satisfaction to my freshly vacuumed surroundings. (My flat has reached new heights of cleanliness! Which I reckon are about everyone else's average level of cleanliness...) Or the sunlight streaming in through my sitting room window. Or one of any number of factors, but for the sake of argument I am going to say that I feel great because I haven't been stuffing my body with enough E-numbers, and fats to.... to.... ah, to make an average university student (me) cranky and tired and headachey. I guess logically I ought to lose some weight too. In conclusion. Conclusively. Or perhaps inconclusively. We'll see, eh?!

I leave you with a recipe, one that I made up myself, and which I highly recommend. My friend Johannah (who is doing this detox with me) calls it "the daily spread," because it is fast, delicious, easy, and smacks all the nutritional components right in the face..... whilst still being legal under our ridiculous dietary requirements:

"The Daily Spread"

1 large onion
1 tin of tuna (150g)
1 cup (approx 250ml) garden peas
1 large baking potato
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and chili pepper to taste

Right, kids. Stick your potato in the microwave in a bowl with a couple of inches of water at the bottom (or boil it, whatever) and cook 'er up. Fry your onions and when translucent, add in your peas. Mash up your cooked potato nice and mash-y (maybe add some more oil if needed) and then mix that shiz all together vigorously with the tuna, too. Shake, shake, shake some salt and chili flakes on it and dig right in. Yum!
Link31 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn

So I've been, like, surprisingly busy! I mean, come on guys, you know me! I don't do anything with my life! But I've been taking my stop-motion film project really seriously. (I am making a series of stop-motion videos of dudes "doing their thing," that is to say, people being themselves on film-- generally showcasing a talent. I aim to make these videos personal and engaging.) I've now filmed six and published four (the first two of which can be seen here if anyone is interested).

This post is featuring the second pair of videos I've made this semester! The first video is one that I made with Stefan, who was actually just visiting Scotland from Australia for a couple weeks, so it was really cool that I got this chance to film him! He is a film student in Brisbane so he had some really awesome ideas for his video, although they didn't really fit in with the premise of my project: he wanted to have an imaginary girlfriend, go on a quest for a mundane object, and stage fight-- crazy ideas!..... although we ended up just having him go for a very long walk, which is something he actually does often do! So in the end it was a good representation of his life and personality and I am very happy with the video. I am especially happy that this features the beauty of the town that I live in, St. Andrews, because it really is a lovely little place. Check it out!

The second video I did ended up being a bit different from the series, although it was not intended to be. My friend Helen, who is very active in church, wanted to have me film her worshipping the Lord, but she was feeling ill on the appointed day and decided not to be filmed. Since I had my camera all set up and everything I took pictures instead of the band at evening church service and made them into a similar video. I guess it's a representation of the service itself in a way! I am honestly very unhappy with this video because I had a really hard time taking photos in the lighting. The camera that I used for this, and for all of my videos to date is a Canon IXUS 220, which I love, and which has served me really well, but is not ideal for stop-motion films because there isn't a true manual settings adjustment. This is the result that I got!

I had been toying with the idea of purchasing a DSLR for some time, although on a student budget it is hard to justify. I have been taking photography and animation more seriously lately (my big new year's resolution!) and the difficulty that my camera had last Sunday really pushed me over the edge and I jumped right in and bought this Canon EOS 500D! I haven't gotten it yet since it's being delivered by Royal Mail (ha!), but I am actually so, so, so, so SO keen to start learning DSLR photography! I am going to have so much fun, and also eat lots of rice since I spent upwards of £450 on something that is not student fees or flat rent! Eeek! So get excited for more from me, guys!

OK, now I'm off to do very busy and important things. That season finale of Pan Am and roll of chocolate digestives won't watch and eat themselves, you know! ;-)
Link15 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn

Hello. My name is Tess. I am twenty years of age and I am a master of what we can euphemistically call The Easy Way Out. On a scale from one to hard-worker for the ages, I am approximately a one point four. I'm not being hard on myself; I am being honest. Luckily for me, I am naturally clever. I have managed to skate my way into a very well respected university, when, in all fairness, I oughtn't have made it into university at all. I'm smart. I am. I'm not trying to brag; I am being honest. Unfortunately, I am also incredibly lazy. I don't necessarily think that I lack passion-- I can get wrapped up in a project, if I am inspired by it. But plop me down into a university lecture or essay research or even job-hunting and after approximately four minutes I will zone out and engage in whatever procrastinating activity is up my alley at the time (currently whipping my way through the angry birds franchise, for example). I live my productive life in four-minute spurts.

Not that I can't do ANYTHING for more than four minutes. I make stop-motion videos and I can literally sit with my camera in hand for hours on end clicking away. I can work as a cashier all the live-long day, having mundane conversations with strangers and counting out money. I can talk to my friends about their problems and pound out what I think is decidedly solid advice. I can write blog posts. I can clean and organize things. But you know what? That's about it. And I can only do these things on a good day. A day of concentration hotspots. A day of inexplicable clear-mindedness.

I am an anthropology student. I was signed on this summer to do some Proper Real Actual Fieldwork; I was going to spend six to eight weeks of my summer researching. I was keen. I was almost keeno #1. But then, last Friday, I went to the first lecture for the pre-dissertation class. I was to READ BOOKS, NOT JUST ARTICLES BUT BIG ASS BOOKS LOTS OF 'EM. I was to WRITE THOUSANDS OF WORDS OF PLANNING and I was to FILL OUT A WHOLE CRAPTON OF LEGAL FORMS. This was all before even starting my actual research--- nevermind the dissertation animal itself. And then, BAM, guess who decided that she didn't really want to do a dissertation after all? Yours truly, of course. And then I was almost even TOO LAZY TO SWITCH OUT OF THE CLASS. Because that takes effort too, you know! (Eventually the grand fear of ALL THAT WORK caused me to send the necessary three e-mails sheesh.)

I took a trip to France last month. It was an absolutely lovely trip! Five days in Lille, hanging out with an old friend. Immediately after, I decided that I really, really wanted to be fluent in French and that in order to do this I was going to work in France this summer and totally immerse myself in the language and culture. Okay. Cool. What does this entail? I am going to need to write a CV in French. I am going to need to send out applications, dozens of them, considering the current economic climate. At least 30 applications! Did I mention I would need to do this in French? I am going to need to get a work visa, seeing as I am not a citizen of the European Union. Also in French. I am going to need to find somewhere to live. An apartment. In French. I am going to need to plan out my life so that I do not get lonely, or anxious, or depressed living on my own in a foreign country where I do not fluently speak the language (although I am sure given three weeks of immersion I would be fine just fine..... I did take six years of the freakin' language, after all). IN FRENCH, did I mention I needed to do these things in FRENCH? Errr, right. Um, going home to America again this summer sounds a lot easier, doesn't it?

Yes it does. Going home is comfortable; going home is always comfortable. I can live with my mom and drive my old car and do some whatever Wisconsin job and take naps in my old bed and eat lots of cheese that doesn't suck. I mean that would be cool, right? I can maybe take a photography class (if I can be bothered) and you know, fight with my little brother some. Whatever. But I mean, come on, what is that going to do for me? Is it going to help me grow as a person into the secure, independent, cultured adult I want to be? Probably not. The status quo is rarely the way to elicit personal growth, and obviously so!

I need a kick in the ass. Hard. It's easy to sit here all comfortable on my couch sippin' peppermint tea and say that. It's a lot harder to actually get out there and MAKE IT HAPPEN. Living and working in France this summer would not be a slice of perfectly made pumpkin pie, you know. It would be challenging and stressful and I would probably very unhappy for a solid portion of the time. I would certainly get very lonely, moving somewhere I don't know a soul without any real framework for meeting friends. But I know that if I could actually dig down into the admittedly limited depths of my willpower, I would genuinely gain from the experience in so many ways. That's all well and good, you know, but can I actually force myself to do the necessary work to make this happen? I truly don't know. I feel the tipping point is nigh.

Simultaneously hopeful and cynical love,
Tess / jolteons
Link27 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

I TELL MYSELF TO LET THE STORY END; [Feb. 11th, 2012|07:49 pm]
Tess Wynn

I had a boyfriend once. Many of you will remember him. His name is Fraser and we were together for twenty-two months (yes I just finger counted). I loved him, and he loved me too; more than I realised. Maybe everyone has that one person, that they must systematically NOT THINK ABOUT because the wound is enticingly fresh, elegantly deep, and embarrassingly leads to tears in public places.

Fraser and I needed to break up, because I needed to grow up. I thought we needed to break up because I thought I was in love with somebody else, and maybe I was-- but that is not what is relevant here. Timing is everything. When you wrap yourself up in a serious relationship, at eighteen years of age, to cover up your anxieties, homesickness, and insecurity.... well, I think we can all see in retrospect why that was a mistake. The me of two and a half years ago was so wrong about so many things! (I am sure future me will say the same about present me, but there you have it.)

Fraser is a wonderful guy in many respects. He is kind and ambitious. He is generous, dedicated, and loyal. He is a fantastic cook. He is extremely patient. Incredibly intelligent. He dresses well. He is a year away from a master's degree at one of the best universities in the country. He has a Scottish accent. The list goes on. He is of course, by no means perfect, but a year ago I would have sworn up and down that I was going to marry him. We lived together. I did his laundry and cleaned his flat. He cooked for me. I used his toothbrush. You get the point.

Things were rough. There was an ocean between us. We never quite understood each other. The day after we broke up, I slept with someone else. It needed to happen. I have learned so many lessons. I regret it immensely. I lied. I confessed. We argued. I cried. He cried. We both felt wronged, and I think we both were. He has not spoken to me since. And yet, somehow, life has continued on. I go to class, I make breakfast, I write blogs on the internet. I attend church. I travel. I make animations. I play my guitar. I run. I see my friends. We laugh, we joke. I sometimes even find myself thinking about and chasing after another boy. I am happy, happy enough. I find meaning in life.

But I miss him. There is a hole, an enduring hole. It has been six months. Six months is simultaneously such a long and such a short time. I understand why some people say that some things should only be done in a marriage. I don't mean sex, or at least not only sex. But when you spend so long in the "us" mentality and then suddenly you are just "me," it's not a nice or a simple adjustment to make. Intellectually, I know that I will love again and that I will love another. (Probably.) Most of the time I do a fairly good job of pushing him and his memories to the back of my mind. But when I'm alone in my apartment on a Saturday night because my friends are busy, it's hard to resist the urge to turn up at his house and demand that he talk to me, provide closure, take me back. Obviously, I will resist that urge, because I'm not CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND #1 (maybe more like #3 or #4) and instead I will post this blog, allow myself a good cry, and then put something happy to watch on TV and push on through.

Love a little bit unconventionally tonight,
Tess / jolteons
Link22 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

TIME COMMITMENT AND A SHOT AT ARTISTRY; [Feb. 11th, 2012|10:20 am]
Tess Wynn

This semester, in addition to the two social anthropology modules that I am taking (I must of course always remember that university classes are MOST IMPORTANT, even if they are least engaging), I am also giving a huge portion of my time to a series of projects-- animated videos depicting the people I know "being themselves", that is to say, doing the things that they normally do in the ways that they normally do them, on camera. The goal is to capture people's personalities in a series of photos that are engaging and emotional. I have finished two of these so far and I would like to share them with you here!

The first is a morning spent with my friend Sydney as she reads and drinks tea in various fancy cafés. Sydney is an exchange student from Texas at my university and she studies theology! She is very kind and accommodating and was a really excellent model! She's got very good taste and super pretty blue eyes. She's a treat! Here's her video:

My second video stars my friend Peter, playing his guitar and telling stories about his life. Peter is a 22 year old Latin scholar who is the proud owner of three different passports: British, American, and New Zealand(er)? Turns out I do not know the adjective to use there. But anyways! That's just being greedy with ethnicities if you ask me! He is polite, serious, and pensive. Top conversationalist! I am honestly less happy with this video than the one I did of Sydney, although I am not sure exactly why! I hope you guys like them!

Link10 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

A VIDEO I MADE ABOUT LONDON; [Feb. 8th, 2012|11:19 pm]
Tess Wynn
Hey there dudes and dudettes! How are you all rocking this February up?! Hope it's awesome! Since I've returned to university from my many travels, I haven't done too much that's noteworthy... Just hanging out with some cool kids, sorting out my classes for this semester, playing me some pool, and taking lengthy afternoon naps!

Here's a stop-motion video I made while I was in London a couple weeks ago! Finally got around to editing it today (because my projects and full memory cards are really starting to pile up!) I hope you guys like it!

Link23 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn

This blog post is my attempt at explaining why, in the words of my friend Molly, I am the "most devout non-religious person" that she knows. It is no secret to my friends and family that I love church, and that I both attend a Christian church at least once on Sundays (sometimes evening service as well) and also take part in a small bible-study group evening every Thursday. Similarly, it is also not a secret that I do not believe in God, and that I am, in fact, an atheist. Understandably, this confuses people. "Why do you go to church then?" people ask me, when they discover what seems to them, to be an oxymoron about my life. "What is the point of pretending to be religious?" They are even more flummoxed when I explain that my family is not religious either, and that I do not come from a religious background.

To be clear: I am not pretending to be religious. When asked or if it comes up in conversation, I will happily explain my worldview to others, but I do not go around advertising and broadcasting the fact that I do not believe in God while in religious circles. (I honestly think it is neither appropriate nor necessary for me to do so.) So what is it, then, that I love so much about church and religious settings?

I guess what originally drew me to the church that I go to (which is called Kingdom Vineyard, in St. Andrews, Scotland), is the atmosphere. The sense of celebration that is evident from the moment that you walk in the door-- if you are on your own, someone will immediately come round and introduce themselves and offer you coffee and a doughnut (and who can refuse a free doughnut?!). There is never any question as to whether you are welcome or not: you absolutely are.

The service begins with what is called "worship"-- instead of a traditional choir, a band at the front plays, usually a couple of singers, a guitar, keyboard, drums, and sometimes various other instruments. Words flash across a screen on the front and everyone sings along... it's basically like a big Sunday morning karaoke session for God. We have this saying in my family (well known world over for our utter lack of musical talent) and it goes like this: "If you can't sing good, sing loud." This version of worship works perfectly for me! I often find that recorded Christian music can be quite dull, but the energy levels found with the Kingdom Vineyard worship are almost un-matched! I honestly have no qualms interpreting celebration of divine creation as celebration of existence-- and at the end of the day, biblical preaching is by and large about living a moral and kind lifestyle-- something I personally think is crucial to happiness as an individual.

I have met the friendliest, funniest, fashionable, and most fantastic (check out that alliteration, eh?) people through my involvement with the church, some of whom have become close friends. I am a university student and because the church is in part a student church, I feel perfectly at home with the demographics of the congregation: it's not made up primarily of the pensioners that one generally associates with church attendance. Are there people who go to my church who I find to be offensive in some way? Of course! Are there aspects of the church teachings and proceedings that I am uncomfortable with or object to? Absolutely. However, offensive people and ideas can be found most anywhere-- and, frankly, the individuals who run the photography society at my university (another one of my interests) could take a leaf or two out of the church booklet on making people feel comfortable! If one approaches religious activity with the same open-mindedness that is essential for all walks of life, finding people to relate to and appreciate is not hard!

I love to be inspired. I love sharing my life with others, and supporting them with their endeavours and being supported in return. These are important aspects of my church experiences and I have not managed to find other groups here at university that fill those roles in my life. Finally, I think I just really love food. My Thursday bible study group? We cook each other dinner! When I have a dinner party, who is by far most likely to attend? My Christian friends! Meal-sharing is emphasized in Christianity and there is little else in the world I appreciate more than good food and good company at the same time.

So yes, I love church. And no, I don't believe in God. I hope that is okay with you, but even if it isn't-- that doesn't matter to me, since I have a whole bunch of friends from my church who love me anyways :-)
Link82 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

Tess Wynn

Oh gosh, where to begin with the rest of my time in Latvia? Honestly, I think the main point that needs to be made is: cold. Cold! Cold cold! Cold. Cold cold. FREAKING COLD. I am talking -22C cold. Jo's boots literally cracked open as we were walking through town from the cold. That is cold. Ok. Are we all in agreement that it has been cold in Latvia? Okay, good. Where did I last leave off? Tuesday afternoon? I talked with Emils' mum a bit, though he had to act as translator, and she really just seems so lovely! Emils is a really good guy, he is very kind with his brother and his family, and Jo and I. I didn't really know him much at all before this trip but he is a real treat, haha :-) 

Then Jo slept some more (recurring theme on this trip), we watched the New Zealand version of Napoleon Dynamite, and I bonded with Emils little brother, Edward. Edward is honestly one of the happiest two year olds I have ever seen. According to my mother, I was not exactly the most content toddler (and I believe it lol) but Edward is pretty smiley. He impressed me a lot with his understanding of how to work my iPad, which he adored. He figured out pretty much every basic command (volume, home button, mute, power) within five minutes, and could locate the bubble wrap game and doodle jump, which were his favorites, within seconds. LOL, technology children. Obviously at two he can't read or write, and he only knows how to speak Latvian, but he managed to tweet a few nonsense tweets from my account and beat a few angry birds levels! Imagine that!

Yesterday, we spent the day wandering around Riga. Such fun! We met up with a friend from university who is working in Latvia, Julianna, for the afternoon, and it was so nice to see her! We saw an old Orthodox cathedral, and went to a couple of amazing vintage shops and designer boutiques-- I got some absolutely gorgeous earrings! Three pairs, one that has handmade beading, one with crazy fringe, and one with little plastic planes just like the tattoo that I want! We also got drinks at two VERY cool independent cafés, Riga really is a bit of a hipster paradise I think (or maybe that is just Emils haha). Then last night we went off to a very trendy bar-- it was called Piens, which means "milk" in Latvian-- and it had all sorts of really niche lighting and these really high couches around the bars instead of bar stools. We met a bunch of Emils' friends there and they all spoke such impressive English! I really loved Kristine in particular, she is such a joker-- if she does work in Chicago this summer, I will definitely go and meet up with her.

The food in Latvia was both amazing and quite the experience! Johannah didn't appreciate it the way that I do, because, well, Latvian cuisine definitely makes use of dairy, and, hello-- I am a Wisconsinite here! There were these amazing little cheesecake bars that I just couldn't get enough of, and we also went to like, the Latvian version of a Old Country Buffet (LOL) and I got some amazing chicken and potatoes with soured cream. Though, we went to this Russian dumplings fast food place yesterday for lunch, and Jo told me that this very spicy white relish was potato mash, and I took a big spoonful-- never have I ever tasted something so disgusting!!! Hahahaha, I am sure my face was hilarious.

Now, I will leave you with this little gem of an anecdote: when we were at dinner last night, I went to use the bathroom-- and when I was done, I began to wash my hands in what I thought was a weird, eastern block sink.... But there wasn't any soap! When I turned around to look for it, I realized that the sink was actually behind me, and what's more, I had been washing my hands in a urinal! Hahaha! The romance of traveling, eh?

Tess / jolteons
Link23 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

SOME MORE LATVIA LIFE FOR THE AGES; [Jan. 31st, 2012|09:53 pm]
Tess Wynn
Snow outside my house Pictures, Images and Photos

So my first day in Lativa has been pretty crazy! When Jo and I arrived in Riga last night, Emils met us down at the airport and we went back to his flat, which is very nice and modern, with lots of light, wood floors, and a big screen TV. We then went into downtown Riga to a very cool, student-y pub where, believe it or not, I actually tried a beer that I liked! I am well known for being a top beer hater (I mean, it is just not a tasty drink!) but Emils suggested I try "Brenglu" and it was delicious! Colour me so surprised! I don't think it is available in the UK, which is really unfortunate! 

After that we went back to Emils apartment, where his friends came, Anete, Christine, Patrick, and Alpha. They were so lovely! Christine and Patrick especially were very silly and they sang and joked about; it was very funny. When Anete heard that I had been in New York earlier this month, her big question (of all the possible things to ask about New York) was, "Does it really smell like urine there?" Hahahaha!! Uh, no?

Then we ate really delicious potato pancakes that Emils' mum made, with soured cream and cheese and tomatoes! Soooo good! Christine then cooked a crumble with banana and apple, which was also amazing! Poor Jo though, got food poisoning (we think from the chicken sandwich she ate at Prêt at Stanstead Airport) and spent the whole night feeling faint and throwing up! Six times I think! Even today she has still not managed to keep any food down and needed to rest often, but she has had lots of coca-cola! As Jo said, you really can't get beyond the fact that we are very good friends now that I have been awoken several times in the night by the lovely sound of her vomiting. Eek! I feel very bad that she is so ill but I think that tomorrow she will be better!

Another thing about Emils is that he has an absolutely adorable little brother, named Edward, who is two and a half years old. We are good friends now (I tend to get on pretty well with kids, hahah-- probably something to do with being somewhat of a child myself!) although he doesn't speak a word of English, and me, not a word of Latvian. Edward seriously is like the poster child for cute little kid, with big blue eyes and blonde curls and a big smile!

Today, we went to Emils sister's godmother's home, where she runs a vintage shop, and we all tried on lots of cool vintage clothes and things. Jo bought lots of stuff, including a hilarious, hilarious sweater that has little dolls bathing in the sea on it! (Banter or bust) After that, Emils took us down to the harbor where he used to hang with his friends when he was younger, and I got lots and lots of cool photos. Jo started to feel quite I'll again, so we came back to his flat so she could sleep, poor Jojo! Tonight I will cook tomato and parmesan pasta for Emils and his family, who are all vegetarians.

Latvia is FREEZING cold! And I mean FREEZING, -13F and -19C--- Brrrrr!! Why did we come to this crazy place?! It does get this cold in Wisconsin, where I am from, but man I am not used to this!!
Link27 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

LIFE IN COLD AND FRIENDLY LATVIA; [Jan. 31st, 2012|09:21 am]
Tess Wynn
latvia Pictures, Images and Photos

Hey there Internet! I am currently on the extraordinarily hyper-safe RyanAir flight to Riga, Latvia. I think Jo and I are the only non-Latvian people on the plane, because, well, who visits Latvia in January? We do, apparently. RyanAir are TOP dicks, you know. Top, top, top dicks. Our flight was due to take off from Standstead airport at 12:45PM this afternoon, and we went to check in and print off our boarding passes at approximately 8:50AM..... Three hours and fifty-five minutes before the flight. Apparently, however, this is too late for the ever-timely RyanAir and we were forced to pay £60 each once we got to the airport in order to print out our boarding passes for us. ARE THEY KIDDING?!?! I am sorry, but sixty freakin' pounds to print off a boarding pass?! That is just being assholes. So that has put a bit of a damper on our trip thus far, because, well, no one likes to spend all that money just 'cause homies are being rude, but I am sure it's going to be a lovely trip all the same!

The moral of this foray to Latvia is, of course, "banter or bust"! Let the jokes commence. Jo already got hit on by the guy who was working the airport Prêt (the presence of which cheered me considerably-- being charged extortionate amounts of money is always nicer on the other end of breakfast!) who offered to let us sit in for no extra fee (lol) and apparently speaks Latvian.... Guess we could have brought him along to translate. I mean, he's no that-guy-who-might-have-been-named-Steve from church last night, but you can't go wrong with the Prêt boys........ It fits in nicely with banter or bust stipulation: husband hunting, in which, Jo has pointed out to me, I only have a year and a half before my British visa expires, at which point, in order to get leave to remain in the country I need to have either 1) a well-paying, respectable job, or 2) a husband with a British passport. Which is easier to find? You tell me.

I wrote a song about my RyanAir experience today. Here's a sneak peek excerpt:
They'll gleefully ruin your fun
Before the trip has even begun
Whether you're traveling to rain or to sun

RyanAir, RyanAir
Charge ya 60 quid, they don't care
As you empty your bank account and cry,
"It's just not fair!"

85% of their flights land on time.
But do the other 15% land at all?
Landing safely is an extra £32.95
Payable by cash or by visa debit please.

Everytime I fly I make a vow
Never again, this nonsense I allow
But then I see the adverts on the bus
"Riga from £3.50, easy, no fuss!"

And it's back to RyanAir!
(they just don't care)

Coming up next time: My first day in Latvia in which: Johannah lives out the "gap yeah" video in real life-- chundering everywhere, Emils friends teach me a thing or two about what is and what isn't sexual innuendos and how to keep warm in Latvian winter, his brother Edward informs me that I don't know how to eat citrus fruit properly (he is two and a half and speaks no English, but the message was clear) and I actually find a beer that I like the taste of!
Link23 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

LONDON EVERY DAY, EH?; [Jan. 29th, 2012|11:56 pm]
Tess Wynn
church Pictures, Images and Photos

Another fabulous day in south London! Had the absolute best breakfast this morning, Jo's mum made what are sort of the equivalent of American pancakes, except a bit thicker and with a slightly crunchy outside; they're called drop scones, and they're served with fresh cream and mixed berries! What a treat! They were playing some kickin' classical tunes at the breakfast table and I felt like I was having afternoon tea at some posh hotel ;-)

Then I went to the Lewisham shopping centre with Jo's sister Abigail. It's a pretty interesting place, really, a combination of the standard British high street (M&S, Primark, Boots, etc.) and market stalls. There was this guy selling mattresses on the street! I'm just like, alright, who is going to be like, "yeah, I'll take one that one love, can I have a bag please?" Pigeons are pooping on 'em! It's just not hygienic! I was going to buy mittens for Latvia, since I forgot mine back at uni, but get this-- Johannah's mum hand- knit me some this afternoon!! How lovely is that?! I am very appreciative! She made them pink and orange so that they match my hair, haha!! Handmade mittens, eh! I did get some thermal socks at the shops though, Latvia is going to be very, very, very, VERY cold this week!

I went to church this evening with Jo and her sisters in South Kensington, and it really was quite the experience! The church is called Holy Trinity Brompton, and it had a very "mega-church" feel. There was a full rock band playing the worship songs, with a drum set, two electric guitars, a keyboard, and about six singers! Everything was hooked up to video and sound systems, so you could watch the band from anywhere in the church, with the words flashing across the screen and fancy video effects and transitions going as well; I was surprised they didn't have a jumbotron! Ha. And then on the way out the door they were giving everyone a free egg roll!!! Hahahahahaha!! I mean, standard, gotta get your Sunday service egg roll! Don't forget the sweet chili dipping sauce!

I found the sermon very inspirational, though! It was all about how you have to get out there and really live your life, you know? You can't just sit around waiting for a sign or for opportunities to come along! You just gotta seize the moment and live your dreams!! Don't be afraid of failure! WHAT ARE YOU DOING GET UP OFF THE COUCH AND MAKE THINGS HAPPEN!

Now that I've shouted at you all, here is some absolute BANTER for the road: When we were waiting for the tube back down to Jo's house after church, I whined to Susannah about how I was really thirsty. Her response? "Do you want me to spit in your mouth?" Jokes! Anyways, I am leaving for Latvia in just a few hours so it is waaaay past my bedtime here! 

Tess / jolteons
Link13 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

A LITTLE SLICE OF HOME TO BE FOUND; [Jan. 28th, 2012|11:52 pm]
Tess Wynn
london Pictures, Images and Photos

JOKES life with the family Alltimes in South London, guys. Currently sitting around with Jo's parents and her three siblings (but not Johannah herself, haha!) playing a rousing game of Articulate! Too funny!! Jo's family reminds me a little bit of my own extended family sometimes, definitely true with the extremely competitive side of them, just like life with the Glasheens! They even dance around the room yelling "LOSER!!" (Impossible to get homesick, here) So yes, such good laughs tonight! I am a bit rubbish at Articulate! but luckily they are too polite to tell me off :-P Her dad is now ROCKING out to some Kylie Minogue, and apparently he does this daily! What fare, eh?

I took about a thousand pictures for my London stop motion film today! (Not even an exaggeration, haha.) This morning, Susannah and I went off down to the local farmer's market and train station, and got footage there, and then Johannah and I took the bus over to Blackheath and Greenwich, and got LOADS of photos there, which was really nice. I really look forwards to putting my film together! I think it is going to turn out so nicely!

Another amazing thing that happened was when Susannah told me that she saw one of my YouTube videos online the other day, and she found it just by links through another site, not from me on Facebook or twitter or anything! How incredibly cool is that? Jo was explaining my video to her, and she was like, "hey, I just saw that the other day with my mum! I didn't know YOU made that!" So, so, so cool!! My videos are actually getting genuine views!

Late last night, Jo and I had such banter! I always forget how fun sleepovers are, even at the age of twenty, haha! I was feeling pretty rubbish 'cause I am crap at social situations and I totally misread some nonsense and embarrassed and put myself in a rough position, and, man, we just brought the jokes and I was SO cheered! You know, I think I have a new life moral, and my new life moral is this: banter or bust! If you can't find jokes in a situation, get yourself the heck outta that situation! Life is absurd and hilarious and people are such gems! Treasure your friends and treasure your sense of humour. Pain is the price we pay for wisdom, yes (one of my favourite quotes), but you know what? There is no need for pain because laughter is the best medicine!!

As far as the actual London in my life, I mean, I suppose I could be most anywhere and still have the same experience, but at the end of the day, the best holidays are made so because of the people that you are spending your time with and not because of the place that you're in. It's January as well-- cold and dark all through Europe! (That being said, there just isn't anywhere like the Cote d'Azur and WOW I just can't wait to go back. Blue sea! White sand! Brilliant sun! Lovely old towns! Huzzah!)

That's all from me for today! 

Tess / jolteons

P.S. Honestly, I really feel such a compelling need to emphasize the amount of hilarity that has gone on this evening. My cheeks hurt from laughing and I honestly need to go upstairs and lie down quietly to calm myself from the jokes. Hahaha, is this even real life?!
Link5482 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

TAKE ME DOWN, TO LONDON TOWN; [Jan. 27th, 2012|07:18 pm]
Tess Wynn
Drinks Up Pictures, Images and Photos

Wahey! Well it is now Friday night and the last time you heard from me was Sunday morning so I thought I would give a cheeky little life update, eh? I am in London! I am loving me some London. I got here yesterday evening and promptly found myself treated to a fantastic dinner cooked by my friend Johannah's family, who are absolutely lovely. It was such a treat! Lamb, and potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, carrots, parsnip and more gravy than I have ever been permitted to have in my life, haha! It was such a party, with all six of the Alltimes family, then me and Emily and Tola, and Jo's friend Stephen! Like christmas dinner. 

Then we went into a part of London that I am told is called Shoreditch, and we met up with Yannick, Kitan, and Claire (and two of her American friends) (also, what right do I have to call people someone's "American friends"? Lol) at a fairly standard pub before we all went out to a very strange dubstep club called Plastic People. When we first got there I was just like, what?! Because it was pitch black and the music was pretty quiet. Like so quiet that we were able to hold conversation on the dance floor. And then when I say pitch black I mean it was DARK like in Yannick's words, "Even when I close my eyes in the middle of a power outage it is not this dark" so since I am five foot one on a good day, that involved a lot of getting bumped into since no one could see ANYTHING. So at first I was just like, this is absurd. You know how sometimes when you're at a club, and you're like, oh man, it is like everyone else is having the time of their life except me? (I can't be the only one who thinks this sometimes..... Probably something to do with always being sober, haha) But this time I was like, this is so awkward, no one else seems to be having fun either! Hahaha!

Then the DJ switched up though and it got better! They turned the music up and I got used to the ridiculous darkness, which had a hilarious bonus--It means no one can see you not knowing how to dance LOL. So in the end it was a good time, although I missed what is generally my favorite part of going out in big cities, people watching!! Then we got the 3AM night bus home, which was a laugh in of itself, as I got a good look at the other patrons of the 3AM night bus! Jokes. This morning, Tola, Jo and I went down to a Jamaican place in her neighborhood and I got some absolutely amazing fried chicken and rice for only £3-- what a deal!! Tola then got the train back to Kent and Jo went to work, so I went back to sleep all afternoon :-) 

Going home this week ended up being a pretty solid idea, I think. I managed to sort a lot of my financial stuff out with the university, my bank, and my landlords, which has definitely lowered my stress levels! Plus it was just really relaxed, I love being in St. Andrews when the university is on holiday 'cause it just has such a tranquil feel. Also I watched basically an entire season of Arrested Development, and how could THAT not lower stress levels? Ha. So that's the dealio with me, I am sorry that I didn't post my photos of France and Ukraine before I left, I was really busy, um, washing my hair........ But hey at least my hair is clean! ;-)

Tess / jolteons
Link171 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

TWO BLOGS ON MY TIME IN UKRAINE; [Jan. 23rd, 2012|09:08 am]
Tess Wynn

Today, y'all get an update two-fer. I know it's a CRAPTON of block text, but this is more for posterity's sake than to actually think anyone would read it. Lets go!

This was written on 21 January, at approximately 6PM:
Wow Ukraine, what an experience!!! I have been here in Kiev a bit more than 24 hours and I am in a fairly intense state of culture shock, I think. Lucy, the friend I am staying with, lives illegally in a two-room top floor, 1950s soviet flat out in the suburbs. I am surprised by how small and run down it is, but I shouldn't be, because I know Lucy. We lived together last year and she is a very "free-spirit" type, you know, loves the romanticism of shabby things. I am slightly ashamed to admit that, as a girl who has grown up in a middle class American household, I much prefer houses and things that, well, you know, work...... Eek.

The architecture in the old section of Kiev is absolutely beautiful! Very eastern and grand-- glamorous! Today, Kathleen and I walked around in the city centre and Lucy's flatmate, Marina, showed us some of the sights, including a stunning old cathedral from the 10th century, and the Ukrainian version of the white house! Marina is from central Ukraine and has been studying at a state university in Kiev for five years. Her English is fantastic, really, and she is so kind. All the Ukrainian girls and women are so well made-up, in tiny skirts and high heels, even with 8 inches of snow on the ground and un-shoveled sidewalks! I mean, even by American standards, I am pretty low key of a girl, you know, ponytail and jeans etc, so I am sure that I stick out like a sore thumb!!

Everything is so very..... Soviet, as well! The metro cars are rickety and painted with ukrainian flags and everyone looks so eastern to me! They all wear fur and they never smile!! All the Russian and Ukrainian is so overwhelming! The only word I know is "nyet", which means "no". I have never been somewhere before where I didn't know the language because I really can speak French, when it comes down to it, and literally everyone in Norway speaks English. Also, Norway and France are Norway and France ya know? Not the same as Ukraine!

Even just the way that things are explained, how Marina says that it is dangerous to cross the road in the rich part of the city because the rich don't pay attention because they know that nothing will happen to them if they hit someone with their car, or how Marina very badly wants to go to visit the Shengen zone, but it is extremely hard for girls to get visas if they are unmarried, unemployed or employed in entry-level jobs, and do not own a house or a car, because governments are afraid that they will try and stay in Europe and that they will either try and marry a European man or become a prostitute! How unnerving! I guess I just never realized how many doors are open for me because of my American passport. I have always in many ways focused on the inconveniences that I face as a non-EU immigrant in the united kingdom, ya know?

Haha, the other thing is that Lucy has an adorable kitten! His name is "smurdiak", which means "bad wine" in Russian. He is about two months old and oh my gosh how cute! I am definitely a cat girl so the playful kitten just makes me melt :-)

Okay, I think that is about all for today. I am trying to be as honest as possible so I will admit that I find the whole thing rather scary, but I am here for four more days and I will do my best to make the most of it!!


Tess / jolteons

And this one was yesterday about 2PM-ish:

So although I have not posted my last entry yet, as I haven't had any internet access, it has been approximately another 24 hours since I last wrote! Due to a sad and complicated chain of events I would rather not get into just now (bleughh), I am now on a plane headed for the UK! Four hours! What a flight! Although it is unfortunate that I didn't get to spend my full week in Ukraine, I am looking forwards to getting home tonight. I guess I was only in Ukraine for three days, but I got over a hundred photos and it has definitely left an impression on me! I will upload the photos from my trip as soon as I can!

One thing that really surprised me about Ukraine was the smoking culture. I have never really been exposed to much smoking in an indoor setting, as it is illegal in public places both in Wisconsin and Scotland, and I don't really have many friends who smoke, but oh my gosh! Shocking! The other night we were in this like, sealed-off basement pub, and everyone in the entire place was pretty much chain smoking! I had not realized to what extent the smoking culture is very world-wide. Kathleen was explaining to me that smoking is highly prevalent basically everywhere in the world except America and to a certain extent, western Europe. In some ways I am very naive, and drinking/smoking/drugs is basically the top of that list for me!

I really wish I could understand Russian! First off, what a beautiful language! I didn't realize, since I can't hear the different between Russian and Ukrainian, but Russian is actually the most prominent language in Kyiv. I had expected that Russian would be spoken by mostly the older generation who had used it more during the Soviet era, but in fact, Russian is more the language of the youth and the language that the education is done in. I have learned one more Russian word-- bringing my total for the trip up to two, lol-- which I don't know the spelling of, but sounds like, "peh-jaal-suh" and means "please" :-)

Depending on how things unfold, I will probably be back on track with my travels on Thursday. I will just have to buy myself a train ticket down to London and all will continue on as planned :-) We must always persevere, you know! London and Riga await me! I look forwards to a couple days of down-time though definitely. I am still being sued about my flat, after all, and I do need to deal with that, and it is unfortunately the tip of the iceberg of my financial issues as apparently my rent has not been paid this month either, though as I am fairly careful with my money I am assuming that has to do with my student loans not having come through yet! Luckily all my travels had been paid for already!! I also need to start worrying about what I am going to do this summer. My really absolutely lovely time in France last week has left me really pushing to reach fluency in French, so I will certainly look into a summer work visa there. Hopefully I will be able to spend some quality time with the couple of friends I have who are still at university during the holidays. I also plan to cook a big pot of delicious chili. There is always an upside to every bad situation! :-)

Please keep well guys, and always remember to be kind to those whose paths you cross in life, for you never know who is carrying a heavy load.

Lots of love,
Tess / jolteons
Link25 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

12 HOURS IN BELGIUM; [Jan. 19th, 2012|09:38 pm]
Tess Wynn

Oh my gosh what a day today in Belgium! So much qui s'est passé and wow how unhappy I was for parts of it, but in the end oh how wonderful in total! This is the first time I have ever left one country in the morning, spent the day in another, and gone back to the first one by bedtime! En fait, it is just 35 minutes on the super fast TGV train from Lille to Bruxelles, and so Lucie and I got there bright and early! It was absolutely pouring down rain like there was no tomorrow for most of the day, so that did put a bit of a damper on the day, and oh my gosh how cold and wet I was all day! But I could tell Brussels is such a beautiful city when il fait beau! Oh, so we started by trying to go to the chocolate museum, but it was closed (WHY?!) so we had to settle for the "Brussels History Musée" ha! Which was actually quite nice, I particularly enjoyed all the costumes of the peeing kid statue...... And just generally LOL the peeing boy statue!! I had never heard of it before today but omg lol the Belgians are literally obsessed with it. Ha.

Then Lucie and I went to a little restaurant where for 9,50€ each, we got a full plate of mussels (which I had never had before, what an experience!) and also fries. It was really a very good lunch and the restaurant was absolutely adorable! It was in some basement with a gorgeous chandelier and a lovely sloping exposed brick ceiling. Overall, I think the architecture was my favorite part of Bruxelles by far. I took lots of pictures but of course not as many as I would have liked to, on account of the terrible rain, trying not to et my camera wet, and trying t get from one place to another as quickly as possible!!

After that, we walked around a good deal, and basically just checked out some sweet old buildings and stuff. Then we took a tour of the European parliament, which was actually pretty damn cool. It made me want to work in the European administration lol. I got a gauffre with white and dark chocolate and strawberries, which was so delicious but I started to feel SO nauseous afterwards.... Though to be fair I am not sure if the waffle was to blame. But probably lol. Then we still had a couple hours before our train back to France so we of course went shopping! What was really interesting to me were the number of homeless people in Bruxelles! For reasons I am not really sure of, in my head, everyone in Belgium is rich and white-- but this could not be further from the truth!! I saw very few people who I would assume to be of "Belgian" origins and so many children begging on the streets! How very sad!! I make it a habit not to give to beggars-- for several reasons-- but oh my gosh the distinction between the poor and the rich was so evident. Even more so perhaps because food is so freakin' expensive! I live in the UK so I am used to very cheap food-- even at home in Wisconsin the food prices surprise me with how high they are. France and Belgium are killing me guys. Haha.

Tomorrow at 6AM I leave for Ukraine! I am very excited but also a little bit scared!! I hope I will be able to keep my travel anxiety in check! I am excited to stop speaking French because I do love to talk, but it really takes a real effort to tell bad jokes in a foreign language, you know? But at the same time I am just starting to get used to all the French after five days of immersion so I am sad that I won't truly get the chance to amerliorer! I need to really spend extended time in a francophone country if I really want to become truly fluent, which I do!

Now, it's time for bed, since the alarm rings at 5:40 tomorrow morning!
Link19 revolutions|we could make the earth turn

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