Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I haven't updated since my birthday, which was fun! I had a lovely dinner with my nearest and dearest on the Thursday. On the Saturday, Carina and her flatmates threw one of their mental house parties. It was...eventful. Everyone kissing everyone else, people vomitting on other people's beds, etc. Good clean fun. Pictures of my wonderful birthday presents to follow!

Last weekend was sort of odd. Good Friday was a bank holiday in the UK. I had to work, of course, but they offered to let me go home early and I jumped at the opportunity. I only found out later that they were paying us time and a half. D'oh! Anyway, one of the guys I went on a date with, the one who was too chicken to ask me for my number, he was having a pub day to celebrate the day off (the best way the English can think of to spend their free time.) So I went over to that, since James and his new girlfriend were there as well. Weirdness number one: I got asked out to dinner by a 40-year-old, overweight, self-proclaimed bipolar lesbian. I was flattered when she called me hot, but really did not know how to handle that. As for the date guy, by the end of the night, I had decided he was actually quite sweet and I should give him a proper chance, despite not really being attracted to him. I went to get late night curry with him and some of his friends, and eventually conversation turned to his sex life. Apparently, he's currently sleeping with a coworker four nights a week. They also discussed his top five list of objects he likes to use during sex, to insert...places. I left dinner feeling confused, annoyed, and like I'd dodged a bullet. We clearly misjudged each other, if I thought he was sweet and he thought I was...that kind of girl. Blech!

So nothing going anywhere with any boys, but I'm okay with that. I can wait for someone who suits me better. Besides, at the moment, I'm far more concerned about finding a job. Uuuuuuuggghhh.

Easter was nice. I hung out with James and we went for a walk along the canal in beautiful weather! Everytime I pass see canal boats in London, I think of Grandma and Grandpa telling me on at least three different occasions about the PBS special they watched on canal boats in England. "Did you know there are over 800 miles of canal in England?" "Yes, Grandpa..."

I got new contact lenses today, as I dropped my last one down the sink hole last week. I like the way I look in my glasses, but they aren't quite right and I haven't really grown accustomed to them. The optician today said they weren't correcting my astygmatism. Why the eye doctor in Bothell gave me a pair of glasses with the wrong prescription that didn't correct my astygmatism, I'll never understand. Moron.

Anyhoo, gotta run to eat and get to work. And try to apply for a job somewhere in between!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gentlemen prefer...me!

New goal: apply for at least one job per day on my days off. So far, so good. Applied for a job yesterday in Washington, D.C. I'm not that keen on moving to D.C., but I should put myself out there and see what happens. It would be a TB advocacy job; in fact, the same job I applied for back in November in London (which my friend, Aparna, got). It's for the same organization and everything, just in a different country. Then today, I was looking at jobs in Scotland and found an entry-level job that would train me to do exactly what I want to do (social science research)! Everybody cross your fingers for that one!

You may now call me Diplomat Kusems. Graduation was Saturday and it was good, but I was sad that I actually didn't get to spend much time with anyone other than Carina (though I adore Carina, so I was happy to be with her). Her mom and brother came and adopted me for the day, so we went for champagne near school, then a really fancy steak dinner in Fitzrovia. By dessert (cheese board!), I was three sheets to the wind. Then we went to the pub that had been designated as our class meet-up point for the evening, and no one was there! So instead, we went to Carina's friend's birthday drinks in Holborn.

So I mentioned the guy who was too chicken to ask for my number. Well, I agreed to go on a date with him, to give him a chance since I had no other romantic prospects. That date is tonight. But after graduation on Saturday, I met a very cute boy from Boston. We went out last night to see "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (so funny!) and I had a really good time. I quite like this boy. I feel a bit bad for the guy tonight, because I'm going to have to let him down. I just think it's funny that I haven't been on a date in...longer than I want to admit, and now I have two in one week. Life is funny sometimes. Funny, but good.

BTW, I highly recommend Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, although I don't understand why they called it that. The brunette in the film gets just as much attention as Marilyn Monroe's character and they both do very well for themselves. Anyway, see it. It's cute!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


So much to say! First off:

I HAVE BEEN GRANTED LEAVE TO REMAIN IN THE UK UNTIL 5 MARCH 2012!!!! Yaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy!!! (Also, the Royal Mail didn't lose my passport! Good work, guys!)

To celebrate, I stopped into T.K. Maxx to look for a belt (yes, that's a K and not a J; not entirely sure why they felt T.J. wasn't appropriate for the UK, or that T.K. wasn't appropriate for the US). Working at Brand A has made me obsessed with shopping, partly because I'm surrounded by gorgeous things that I can't have, and partly because I actually have to look nice and fashionable all the time, something my wardrobe has never had to contend with before. It needs just a touch of updating. So I bought a puka shell necklace, two shirts, and a weird but awesome knit belt from some charity shops yesterday.

£3.50 necklace
£6 top

£4.50 top

£1.99 belt

Then, at T.K. Maxx, I fell hopelessly, head over heels in love with a pair of shoes. Luckily, since they were in T.K. Maxx, they were not nearly as expensive as they would have been originally. Still, I did essentially spend the rest of my budget for the week on them (meant to last through Sunday). It's worth it, though. My love for these shoes is whole and complete, undeniable and unconditional. I can only hope I'll one day find a man about whom I feel the same way, but for now, I will concentrate my adoration on these shoes.

£24.99 shoes

Are they not the most beautiful things you've ever laid eyes upon? Yes, they are.

Also, bought a purple belt to go with my newish £10 Urban Outfitters dress.

£7.99 belt (more than I wanted to spend, but I liked
it more than anything else I've seen, so oh well)

Photos from Decades party

Finally posting photos from the Decades party that took place weeks ago.

Maya in James's tweed jacket

James, looking a bit like Mark Twain

Someone borrows my camera to take pictures of people I don't really know...

And at the end of the night, I take a picture of my outfit because I realize that I forgot to do it before or during the party. This photo is minus one string of fake pearls, purchased for a pound at Primark, which broke during the party (the boy who is the love of my life, except that he's not interested in me and is dating someone else, helped me collect all the pearls off the floor; sigh...) I think the 20s suit me quite well. This party was the first time in my life that I felt like I was one of the prettiest girls in the room. I *heart* this dress ever so much. (Thanks for buying it for me, Ross and Sandra!!!)

I mean, really, how could he resist this???


My passport and potentially new, two-year visa (or rejection letter, but I'm thinking positive) arrived yesterday, but there was no one home to sign for it, so it got taken back to the mail distribution center. Rather than try to deliver it again today, which would have been awesome because I'm actually home today, they have reabsorbed it into the mysterious abyss that is the Royal Mail. This terrifies me because Alex has had numerous packages lost because of this very same scenario (though Alex is followed around by a vortex of bad luck, so maybe this won't happen to me?) I have to wait 48 hours before I can go to the distribution center and pick it up. This makes me very, very nervous. Uuuuuuggggghhhhhh.

Everybody cross your fingers and pray that my passport (and potentially, visa) don't disappear into nothingness but are returned into my loving hands within 48 hours.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chelsea and wellness

Chelsea is like a different world. It's the nicest, most expensive part of London and people there are...well, different. The other morning, I had breakfast in Starbucks before my shift, and a group of school boys, probably 13 years old and all wearing matching riding gear, trotted down the main road on horses, led by their teacher. Horses!! In the middle of London, nowhere near a park!

The NHS (National Health Service) has come out with a series of advertisements (because apparently, people in this country don't use the free health service enough as it is?) I was particularly amused by a sign I saw on a bus the other night:

"Choking. Chest pain. Blacking out. Blood loss.
For symptoms of serious illness, and major accidents, choose A&E or 999 [the ER or 911]."

Everyone criticizes Americans for being dumb and uneducated, but the citizens of this country have to be told in bus ads to go the hospital when seriously injured! Who, when choking or bleeding profusely, doesn't think, "Maybe I should call emergency personnel?" And what kind of country has to advertise national health care? The posters might as well cry in block letters, "And don't forget, IT'S FREE!!! PLEASE USE US!"

The mind reels.

Monday, March 08, 2010

...and saboteur

I didn't get the lab job. I kind of sabotaged the interview by not lying and giving them the answers I knew they wanted to hear. I sat with them and they described the job and my heart filled with dread. I would be doing very similar work to what I did before, and I got bored out of my mind with that. They asked why I was applying for a lab-based job when my degree was more epidemiology based, and I replied that I was applying for everything. They asked where I saw myself in the future and I responded that I didn't know. In my head, I was thinking "Hopefully not in your lab!" They gave me a tour of the lab, a typical mo bio lab, and I asked myself when I walked in, "Do you want to be back here? Do you feel the urge to pick up a pipetter and get to work?" The answer was a very unconvincing, "Maybe I could get back into it?"

So I'm relieved they didn't offer it to me. I know I can't afford to shun anything right now, but my heart can't afford to continue not doing what I want to do. I don't want to get sidetracked yet again from what I want to be doing. That is, of course, still a sort of nebulous idea, what I want to be doing, but I think it's mostly still nebulous because I lack the confidence to commit to it. I want to live, at least for a little while, in a developing country and do field research. There. That's what I want. I almost had an offer to go to Cambodia and do tuberculosis research (unpaid), but it was cruelly yanked away not long after. It would have been perfect, so it's lame that it fell through, but at least now I know what I consider "perfect." I have something to pursue.

Speaking of which, I should quit blogging and get back to the pursuit. Actually, I should quit blogging and go to sleep. Was at a house party last night and only got 5 hours. I think I'm almost old enough that I care more about sleep than socializing. Not quite, though. The house party was weird. It was a friend of a friend, and few people knew each other but the hostesses didn't make any introductions at all. So people only talked to the people they knew. There was no intermingling whatsoever. I went with James and I knew no one else. James spent half the time setting up the music playlist and I stood around looking helpless and awkward, waiting for somebody, anybody to talk to me. No one did, so I finally left and as I was leaving, I was cornered by a girl called Mary and a guy called Nathan. Mary was quite drunk and kept insisting that I stay, that no one has to work on Sundays, that work wouldn't miss me in the slightest if I failed to show up. Finally she changed tack and insisted that I'm come for Sunday roast with her family sometime. "They do the most amazing roasts! Our gravy is like an heirloom!" (She meant the recipe, not an actual heirloom jar of gravy.) "You must give me your number!" she insisted. I did so, assuming that she would be too drunk to remember any of this conversation and would never contact me.

So it was much a surprise to me when I received a text today, not from Mary, but from Nathan, who hopes I don't mind that Mary gave him my number and would I like to go for a drink sometime?


It was all a set-up! Family roast. Pah! Heirloom gravy! They must have thought I was a right fool. She was just playing wing-man for a coward! Now I don't know what to say because I'm totally not interested. Ugh, have to figure that one out.

I had a really nice day with James prior to the party. It was my first Saturday off in absolute ages and I wanted to go to Portabello Road market. It was James's first time. I bought a pocket watch necklace (it was my intention to buy one) and also impulsively bought "The Poisonwood Bible" and "Diary of a Provincial Lady" for £2.50 each. I started reading "Diary" once at Holly's and it was really funny. Then we went to one of James's favorite cd shops and I bought M.I.A.'s first album for £3 and a Fats Domino 2-cd set for £1. I love buying used stuff for really cheap! It makes me happy. The happiness was slightly deflated, though, when I got home and realized Sara gave me M.I.A.'s first album ages ago, and it's been sitting dormant on my computer ever since. Whoops!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


So, I've quit the pub job. Saturday night, I didn't sleep well because I was stressing about how I was gonna juggle two part-time jobs with odd hours. I want to give Brand A all of my availability because I don't want to limit the number of hours I get there. By Sunday morning, I had decided to quit, but was gonna save it for Monday morning. I was gonna tell them that I'd be happy to pick up shifts when I wasn't scheduled at the new job. Then I went to work Sunday, and the head chef berated me and insulted my intelligence. And it was for something that I hadn't even done. I welled up with tears and everyone saw it, all my coworkers, both my managers, the guy I have a crush on, probably some of my customers. I mean, they all sympathize with me and think the chef is a douche bag (except that British people don't know what a douche bag is), but I'm still embarrassed because no one else cries when he shouts at them. Just me.

When I got home Sunday night, I took a bath (shower's broken) and cried some more. This isn't completely surprising because I've been really tired and a bit burned out lately, and I always cry at the drop of a hat when I'm tired. I was in the bath, crying, debating whether I need the money badly enough to continue working at the pub. And I decided that the money isn't worth being verbally abused, and that it's time to move on with my life. No sooner had I thought this then a Bible story popped into my head, the one where Jesus tells his disciples that if any city doesn't welcome them, they should dust the dirt of the city off their sandals as they leave. I've never been much of an evangelical Christian; I've never tried to convert anyone, but I try to live a life that follows Christ's wisdom. I treat everyone with respect, I'm sweet to everyone, even when they're assholes, and so I don't think it's too much to ask that people return the favor. Anyway, cheesy story short, I quit. I haven't offered to pick up shifts. I might at some point offer this, but not just yet. I gave one week's notice, but since I'd already requested off the next two weeks, my last day is today. And the head chef is on vacation, so I don't have to deal with him. Sigh of relief.

Tomorrow, I start the new job and get to have roast with Izzi, so things are looking up!