Archive | August, 2012

A stranger is probably a cool person you’ve not met yet…or a crazed lunatic…whichever

22 Aug

People who know me and have been out with me in public (the list of people doing that is getting smaller and smaller…) will know that I have an uncanny habit of talking to strangers. Before you get the complete wrong idea, I would like to make it clear that I don’t just go up to people passing me in the street, and start holding a long conversation (despite what my friends may say.) I’m talking about people in the queue at the checkout and serving on tills, people on buses and trains, at the bank, and in the cinema…and most recently in my case, the New Look changing room. I’m a big believer in communication, and in general being friendly to everyone, stranger or friend alike.

When I was younger, I was always told ‘never talk to strangers’ its one of the cardinal rules you learn as a child, and I find myself now saying the exact same thing to my seven-year old brother and three-year old sister, but the truth is I don’t practise what I preach, and with the exception of vulnerable little children aside, I think you should talk to strangers. Because the truth is you never know who you might meet, what you might learn from them, and even if that casual conversation, will later become a close and rewarding friendship. I think that sometimes we are all made a little paranoid and afraid of the world and the people in it, and its true there are a lot of things, places and people we should be careful of, it’s certainly correct to say that not everyone is as open, friendly and harmless as they appear to be. But at the same time, this shouldn’t stop us from sharing a joke in a coffee shop, or casually chatting away to someone you bump into in the street, we should be open to talking to new people, and not closing ourselves off because we don’t know them, and are unlikely to meet again.

Not all strangers are like these lunatics!

Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had have been with strangers, for example, when I finished work (I was at Next at the time) whilst waiting for a bus, an older woman asked me where to wait for the 33, after that we got chatting, first about cooking, and then about her sons recent divorce, and his difficult ex-wife. I know that some people find it easier to open up to a stranger who knows nothing about them, and therefore has no preconceptions about whatever they might say, and she was one of those people.

As I said at the start of this post, I recently had a lovely conversation with a girl in the New Look changing room, I was shopping for a dress for my granddad’s funeral (all my clothes are inappropriately bright) and I went out of my cubicle to check my appearance in the less flattering (and infinitely more terrifying) big mirror, and at that moment another girl did exactly the same. So I was twirling, making sure that the dress was flattering enough to be worn in public, and we caught each others eye. I laughed and she laughed, I asked for an opinion and it went from there, she was dress shopping for a party, in which a guy she was crazy about was also attending, and she was hoping to make an impression on. We spent forty minutes chatting about guys, and I ended up helping her pick the perfect dress to catch Mr cute guy’s attention, and so what was always going to be a depressing shopping outing for me, was transformed into something quite different and enjoyable by a stranger.

Mexico was a beautiful place, I’d love to go back and explore more of it and get to know more of the people who live there

Of course this isn’t always the case, I have also had people approach me that didn’t seem quite the full ticket, or seemed interested in more than just a casual conversation, but this hasn’t put me off striking up random discussions and chats. With all the people who fill the world, it seems silly to stick to contact with the few people we already know. There are so many people which live interesting lives different from our own, and another way of exploring the world, is to explore all the different people who are a part of it, and the way they exist. When I visited Mexico, I struck up a friendship with a waiter, when I went to dine alone one evening in the hotel restaurant,whose name also began with ‘Steph,’ he showed me pictures of his family and where he lived. By talking to him, I got to see part of Mexico that was beyond the hotel, I also got to know the entertainment staff, a staff member called Adrian taught me how to dance, and introduced me to authentic Mexican music. Had I kept to myself, I would have missed out on some fun and fascinating experiences.

Adrian and my younger brother Josh

So I encourage you all, get out there and if you see an opportunity don’t let it pass you by, talk to a stranger! You never know what you might discover, and the friend you might meet.

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Drama Queen

13 Aug

I found myself inspired recently to clear out a very over stuffed cupboard the other day, due to the fact that there was a bit of an avalanche, and I was almost concussed by a falling box, still whilst almost being knocked unconscious I rediscovered some of my old theatre programmes from various shows. I studied drama for four years at GCSE and A Level, I even considered studying drama at university, but more sensible heads prevailed. (I’m really not that fantastic an actress!) Even though I don’t study drama any more, it certainly doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it! And so I have tried to keep up my attendance at the theatre. The last show I went to see was with the lovely Kelly last August, we made the trip to London to go see Love Never Dies (my second time seeing it! I love the Phantom!)

A few of my theatre programmes, I really must have a look for the rest…I just don’t want to be knocked unconscious again!

Anyway here they are, my collection of theatre programmes, I should really get to the theatre more! As you can see, most of them are musicals, but I also love non musical theatre, I’ve seen ‘The  Woman in Black’ ‘Equus’ and ‘His Dark Materials’ ‘A Dolls House’, Three sisters’ by Stanislavsky (all in Russian by the way…requires concentration) and even the unusual ‘Waiting for Godot.’

I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to go see so many great productions!

I’ve always loved how the theatre is a creative way of sharing ideas, thoughts, a story. And how it can take you to places you never thought you would go, cliché I know, but in the theatre you are an active participant in the production, the actors use you (the audience) to bounce off of, create an atmosphere, or sometimes in the case of productions not using the Stanislavsky’s four walls technique, verbalise and physicalize participation. Each show is unique, because an actor will never be able to give that exact same performance again. So in essence your seeing something new, unique and fresh! However many times you go see a production, you will be viewing something special, something one off that was shared directly with you. As I once wrote in a theatre studies essay so very many years ago…’theatre is something special shared between a group of strangers, bringing them together for a short amount of time.’

So I suppose this is me, sharing something I love with you all, and hoping to impart some of the enjoyment and love theatre has given me! I also encourage you to share something you love with me! Send or post me a link, or write about something you care about and ask me to read it! Everyone should be open minded to new things, loves, and experiences, that’s how we grow as people, and what keeps life interesting.

Myself and Kelly with our tickets! 🙂

In the pink

7 Aug

In my ‘by the time I’m twenty three’ post, I made a list of a few of the things I wanted to achieve and do before I got to the depressing mid twenties stage of my life, I was going to wait till we got closer to April to write a recap post, and I wont write it now, as its only been four months! So I haven’t quite had enough time to do all the things on my list, although I am pleased to say that at least I have a few things on my list ticked off already! Which leads me to the whole point of this post! I am finally in the pink at last! Yes….road users beware…I took my driving test on the 24th of July, and much to the surprise of myself (and a little bit insultingly…my friends and family) I managed to pass first time!

Excuse the terrible quality of the picture, I have a horrific camera! But you get the point! In the pink at last!

I didn’t think I would be as nervous as I was, particularly because I had already resigned myself to paying out for second, third and fourth tests, unless they got rid of roundabouts and outlawed parallel parking, but it seemed fate was in my favour, drivers on the roundabouts behaved, and as luck would have it, I got the reverse around the left corner manoeuvre, which happens to be my speciality. (My only speciality!)

I was sweating it, quite literally, as there happened to be a heat wave sweeping across the UK at the time, and in the hour lesson before my test, my nerves fell to pieces, not having been helped by my family, whose advice as I left was ‘don’t worry about failing, everyone fails first time, Peterborough has a terrible pass rate, you’ll just have to take it again that’s all.’ With that helpful titbit firmly stored away in my mind for later reference, no wonder I was freaking out. Parking the car, Bonita (my instructor) and I stepped into the test centre, and I felt everyone’s eyes upon me, and I instantly regretted my wardrobe choice of a maxi dress and flip-flops, when everyone else was clearly more prepared than I was, and dressed in sensible clothes and driving shoes. Then my examiner called out my name, and suddenly I felt like a child back at school again. My examiner took me to the car and asked me two questions about the cars mechanics…my mind went completely blank…panic set in, she was staring at me like I was meant to know these things…well suffice to say that was two minors before I had even left the test centre, and that I will never be one of those women who you will find changing her own tire on the side of the motorway. Chasing a runaway tire down the motorway…maybe.

Despite my terrible start, the test was going quite well…then I came to my old nemesis, the large four lane roundabout by Hampton (if you live in the same area…you’ll know) the amount of times I have done something to make Bonita shriek on that roundabout, doesn’t even stand counting! And right on cue…in a panic to get off the bleeding thing as quick as possible…I stalled. Babbling apologies like an idiot I quickly restarted, and it was at that point I was convinced I had failed my test.

We pulled back into the test centre, and I steeled myself to hear the ‘you’ve failed’ and ‘seriously mate you’d be better off investing in a bus pass’ speech from my examiner, but to my surprise I got a ‘congratulations’ instead. I gave a very high-pitched squeal, probably confirming my examiners impression of me being a complete raving lunatic, and that was it! All those months of endless lessons, and it was all summed up in one quick moment!

Then last Friday I finally got my pink license, hideous photograph and all! (What possessed me to use my passport photo when I applied for my provisional license, I will never know!)

Of course a big thank you to my friends, who were so sweet sending me good luck and good wishes, and were the first to congratulate me, where would I be without you all!

So I now join my friends in the pink license club! Finally! Now I just need to start the arduous task of actually saving for a car and insurance. So fingers crossed for a lottery win, or it could be after Christmas before I make it on to the road. (So some good news for fellow drivers at least lol)

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