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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in miaulement's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, January 30th, 2002
12:44 am
Rightio, this might well be my last entry before I leave.

I'm going through to Edinburgh on the 7pm train tomorrow night, staying with the girl I'm traveling with, and we're heading out to the airport early on Thursday morning.

It's funny, although I'm still worried about some things, and still get upset about going every now and then, I've been a lot happier and relaxed about going over the last couple of days. I got so worked up about going over the last few months, as I worked through the application process, struggling with a real lack of information. One thing that always reassures me is information.

I enjoy going to the cinema, so I've already got the addresses of all the cinemas in Avignon written in the back of my diary. It's that kind of preparation that reassures me - I'll be fine, I've got fun things to do and I know how to get to them.

My boyfriend's been great, he's helped me to prepare things that make me feel secure. He's good at packing, always thinks of the really practical things to take - like he's lent me a good swiss army knife, compact and useful. He downloaded some tv and burnt a cd for me to take with me, I'll have something cool to watch in the first couple of days before we can necessarily make any contact, get each other letters etc. It's the next two episodes of Enterprise (which I love) a new episode of Smallville, and the first episode of the US version of Queer As Folk (I watched all of the original British series, so I'm curious to compare).

It will be emotional when I leave tomorrow, but it wont feel quite real, so hopefully I wont make too much of a fool of myself at the train station. He's taking the train (in the other direction) to a friends house and is going to spend the evening there. I like the thought that he's going to have company to take his mind off of the separation.

I do intend to have a good time in Avignon. There are many good things that I know about it already, and many more for me to discover for myself I'm sure. The fact that I'm traveling with another girl is great, she's lived in France for a year already, so should be able to handle the practical side of our journey really well. And that's a weight off my mind.

I'm going to keep my journal going, and upload my entries when I can. That might be often, or I might end up posting four months of entries when I get back. Whichever, I want to save these memories for posterity.

Have I mentioned that I've never flown before. I have two separate flights on Thursday, I'll feel like an old hand at it by the time we get there. =) We should reach our hotel by midnight (French time), and then for 4 months of sun, sightseeing and French classes.
Sunday, January 27th, 2002
4:31 am
Feeling quite motivated right now. Starting to get into doing the things I need to before I go away. The waiting's been killing me, I feel like this trip has been hanging over me for months if not years, it'll be good to actually get going.

I just updated my website to say I wont be able to answer emails so quickly etc. Been making big to do lists and to pack lists. I've written about 1/3 of the notes I'm going to give to my bf. He's been doing stuff for me too - like writing me up some good basic recipes that I can cook with minimal ingredients, nothing that requires a fridge or an oven. I think I'm only going to have two hobs - a wee grill too possibly, who knows.

We even picked me up two plug-adapters (to go from UK three pin to European two pin) at Woolies today. I'd be sad if I couldn't recharge my laptop for a few days when I arrived. I'm intending to write journal entries on my laptop, and upload them when I have the chance, which will hopefully be reasonably often.

I was feeling sad the other day that I haven't really made any proper 'friends' other than my boyfriend whilst living here. It's because I just slipped into his circle of friends, and have the friend-making skills of a skunk. Hopefully I'll get better at it as I grow out of my teenage years (what do you mean that at 20 I'm not a teenager anymore? eek). But I'm a contradictory soul and would complain loudly if I couldn't have my 'space' so, that's how it goes.

I discovered that although Spiderman is coming out in the UK while I'm away, it wont be out in France till after I return. I was quite looking forward to seeing a dubbed version.

"Je m'appelle Toby Maguire, et je suis l'homme-araigne. Admirez mon costume collant - je suis trs sexy, n'est-ce pas?" (I have no idea what Spiderman is in French by the way).

I really must turn my sleeping patterns around though. I didn't get up till 3pm today, which explains why I'm so active at 5am.
Saturday, January 26th, 2002
3:10 am
I've been thinking almost non-stop about going away. It's getting close now.

I can't believe how impractical it is that the uni doesn't provide bedding, I'll most likely have to buy it on my first day. And I'll have to buy crockery and pots and pans etc. There isn't a single map of the town/campus on the university website, and I discovered tonight that my guidebook and little map of Avignon places the university in completely the wrong place (it's at the wrong end of the town for God's sake). Thank goodness I noticed and didn't trust it on the day, walking with my luggage.

The girl I'm traveling with phoned this evening, she's still got plenty to sort out too. She didn't even seem to realise that she had to hand over three months rent in advance before she'll get her key. That's kind of a crucial thing not to have picked up on. I know I've told her before, I guess she wasn't paying enough attention. Not that it's hard to get stuff wrong, we've had no help from the uni here. If I didn't have access to the internet here, I don't think I would know a single thing about how to get there, not even the address of the university for God's sake, or even the ability to book accommodation.

So, I'm going to stay with this girl at her parent's in Edinburgh the night before we fly out (it'll make the early morning trip to the airport so much easier). That means I'm going to be saying goodbye to my boyfriend on wednesday night. God I wish I could take him with me, it might be a fun adventure to look forward to then.

The word 'boyfriend' sounds so flimsy, like maybe we go out on a date every week or two. I wish we were married or something sometimes, just because when I told people I was missing him they might understand. We've been living together as close as husband and wife for a year and a half. Leaving him is daunting, and I don't want to do it. And I don't like the way people act like I'll hardly miss him, the word boyfriend just doesn't impress them.

I've acted on a suggestion by makitt to leave him a note (with a message of love, etc) for every day that I'm gone, and some extras. She might well not have suggested it if she'd known that would mean writing well over 120 notes. But what's the point in a moderate and restrained romantic gesture? I like the idea that he'll get a few words from me every day, regardless of how hard it might be to keep in contact.

I'm also going to buy some pre-paid airmail letters so he can still write to me even if he runs out of money. I'd hate that to prevent me from hearing from him as often as I might. I'm already afraid that he might not be a very good letter writer (good emailer though) - he rarely sits down and writes like that, I hope he wont find it artificial, or a drain.

On a whiter note, we had the first snow of the year this morning. I took a few snapshot with my camera, and have sent them to my family. Yay! I hope to do the same from Avignon.

I can hear two of my flatmates up and giggling still. They've been taking drugs tonight, so I avoided them.
Thursday, January 24th, 2002
4:23 pm
I phoned up and got my grades for last semester today.

Our system works around firsts, upper seconds, lower seconds etc. Within each if these there are three bands. So you can get an upper, middle or lower first for example.

For my core language unit I got an upper upper second.
For my translation French -> English unit I got a lower first.
And for my (sexual dissidence in 20th century French) literature unit, I also got a lower first.

So, pretty good. =) Overall there were roughly what I was expecting, but they are certainly good enough to keep me on honours, which means that I will be going to France.

If I'd got below a lower lower second in any of my units, I would have dropped off of honours, not have been able to go to France, and would be going into my final semester before graduating. Needless to say, that would have been a bit of a shock, and much less useful in later life than a good honours degree.
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2002
5:23 pm
I just went clothes shopping. As ever, it's made me depressed. People always talk in disparaging tones about women having a low body image, as if it helps them to be criticised for that too. When I go clothes shopping (which is very rare) it makes me feel really bad. Almost none of the clothes ever fit me, it's a real confirmation of how bad I feel about myself.

The problem is: I'm too tall and I'm too fat.

Being tall isn't a problem in itself, but the two together are.

I'm 6'1" tall. Which means I can't really shop anywhere except Long Tall Sally - the only UK shop for tall women that I know of.

Except, they don't cater for people as fat as I am. I don't know how much I weigh, all I can say is I weigh more than 19 stone (266 pounds) which is as high as the bathroom scales go. I'm certainly obese by any clinical measure. The thing is, in proportion to my height, I'm not amazingly fat, I'm mean I'm not round or anything. I ought to way more like 12 stones (168 pounds), so I have plenty to lose, the tag obese just doesn't seem to fit me because of my shape. It doesn't look anywhere near as much on me as it might.

Unfortunately, dress sizes are oblivious to proportions. I'm never going to be a small dress size, not unless I'm unhealthily thin. I have to shop at Evans, and there I take a size 26. Long Tall Sally goes up to a size 20 - for someone my height that would be plump I suppose. They just don't cater for fat people.

Evans does have long trouser lengths, but they rarely stock them, and they often aren't long enough (I expect they cut them for women who are more like 5'8" or something). It's not just trousers that are a problem, all clothes need to be cut differently for tall people - the arms have to be longer on tops for example, none of my clothes actually fit me. There wasn't a single pair of trousers in the shop that fitted me today, and I only have one pair of trousers that are good enough to wear out of the house. I have to buy some more before I go away. That means a trip to Evans in Glasgow tomorrow, and more tears and depression.
12:24 am
Feeling a bit stressed about all that I have to do still before I go away. I've only got a week left here. =( I don't want to be apart from my boyfriend. Since I moved here a year and a half ago, the longest we've spent apart is a week, when I went to stay with my Mum without him.

---

I just had a chat with my bf, and he's reassured me somewhat. he's done enough travelling before to know what's useful to take etc.

Anyone else have any top travel tips/things to take for the journey/first day etc?
Monday, January 21st, 2002
11:16 pm
Poo, just lost my entry (that's the first time it's not been there when I've pressed the 'back' button). Good job it was so short.

I had two delicious fudge doughnuts today. I was introduced to the joys of this healthy snack at a beach bbq last summer in St Andrews. There's a bakery there that's famous for them, and a friend of ours brought an entire box of them along.

That was a fun day! There were about 7 of us adults and two kids - one around 4 years old and a plump baby. In the end their mother had to go home early with the kids because the baby had eaten so much sand that he was getting very grouchy. =)
4:47 am
It feels like I haven't posted in ages (hmm, two whole days, not a long break in any *actual* sense). Well, I haven't really posted/commented since I made myself cry over-empathising with someone else's journal. Or to be more accurate, thinking about people in my life who've died.

I've looked at a lot of pics of naked women over the last two days. Many on various lj communities, some on newsgroups like alt.binaries.pictures.bluebird. I've been feeling very sensual and sexual these last couple of days. Though right now I'm feeling tired (4:30am).

Earlier we watched Sleuth and Leaving Las Vegas, followed by the second half of Jerry Maguire which was on TV. Yesterday we bought some Chubby Hubby (delish) and rented Stir of Echoes from Blockbuster. I didn't like the look of it from the trailers, but I really quite enjoyed it - it wasn't full of lots of predictable cheap scares. Though I just remembered that bit with the fingernail. Gross.

We ordered a take away this evening. I had some yummy vegetable pakoras, followed by a long pause, then some chick pea curry, rice and a peshori naan (I have no idea how to spell that). The naan was amazingly sweet, and I'm always somehow charmed by the bright artificial colours of the rice, and coconut etc in the naan. I've got loads of rice and curry left over which will make a delicious lunch tomorrow. Our flatmate finished off the naan with a pot noodle - what a combination!

I've been looking at the bring back invader zim petition which is getting signatures every few seconds it seems. A couple of people seem to be using it like a message board (how stupid) but for the most part, the comments seem genuine. Currently 6439 signatures. Now 6454..... see?

I'm checking my friends page at the same time as 'updating' my journal. I suppose that means I don't have anything else to say today. G'night all.
Saturday, January 19th, 2002
3:13 pm
Mmm. And again last night. And again this morning. It's what we've both been missing these last long months.

Can I sneak him into my luggage?

-----------

Well. I got some post this morning. My aunt has just sent me a cheque for 1000, that's right, a grand. We can afford to spend the 100 odd it's going to cost to have my love visit me while I'm away now.

There's only a few things that could make me happier right now.

=D
Friday, January 18th, 2002
2:28 pm
Feeling good today. =)

Last night, I was amazingly horny, and even though my boyfriend was very tired (well, it was like 4:30 am) he held me and helped me and it was wonderful. It's been many months (I don't remember how long exactly) since he's made me cum, even the last couple of times we've done stuff, I haven't quite let myself. I was so overwhelmed by it all that three seconds later I started sobbing uncontrollably. He held me tight and let me get it out. The very first time I cried right after an orgasm I was a bit scared, but he held me close and told me it was ok, made me feel safe.

We snuggled for a while, and I felt really good and happy. We fell asleep cuddled up together like we often do, with me hugging the fluffy bunny he bought me from Hamleys (my cold has made me revert to a twelve year old again, I have to sleep with stuffed toys). This morning, it was his turn, he woke me up with a hard on (not literally) and he felt passionate it was wonderful. He climbed on my chest, and I sucked him. We cuddled and groped. In the end we lay close together, I held him and whispered a current fantasy of his in his ear while he jerked off.

It feels like all those months of nothing are slowly fading away from our memory. I'm sad that I'm about to go away and put a stop to this all again (we don't even get to have phone-sex this time, which explained our phone bill last time I was away at a different uni). But... I think these memories will help me to feel good about us while I'm away. To look forward to a visit or to coming home.

I feel slightly odd writing all this in a 'public journal', but I'm pleased I did. I want to be able to write in it just like I would if it was completely private, otherwise, what's the point?
Thursday, January 17th, 2002
2:30 am
To do:

  • get an E111
  • phone the inland revenue about an E128 after finding an E111 isn't 'appropriate' for me
  • cancel some things on my visa
  • check for charges on visa late payment (none, yay!)
  • remember to take my dictionary cd with me
  • keep photographic/written record of all key documents securely online and/or on laptop
  • deal with pics I was going to scan
  • organise addresses of people to take to France - or they wont get postcards
  • clearly organise with my boyfriend what to do with my post while I'm away
  • make sure to call Mum enough before I go
  • thank dad & step mum and/or aunt if money arrives before I leave (if not, thank later obviously)
  • get my boyfriend a little goodbye gift, or leave something sweet for him to find when I've gone
  • try to remember all the good things about the trip, be organised and not over-stressed
  • find out good places to buy bedding in France (I'd probably go to Argos for cheep stuff here)
  • get myself another pair of trousers - I can't just hide in the flat when I wash my one good pair anymore - laundrettes are more public
  • swat up on what the Euro looks like
  • learn exchange rates so I don't get ripped off
  • take nice pictures of here to send to my Mum (who has never visited me here)
  • get good pics of my boyfriend to take with me
  • try to find out more about Avignon, find out how to get where I'm going on the first day
  • double-check my veggie vocab
  • get loads of passport photos done to take with me
  • get some euros/cash to take with me
  • pay big cheque into my account
  • write a nice thank you letter to my aunt (for said big cheque)
  • get travel insurance
  • get travellers cheques
  • get and post birthday card for aunt
  • change visa pin to something I know
  • post off camera warranty
  • buy air letters for my boyfriend
  • buy travel alarm clock
  • buy travel 'first aid' kit and sanitary pads
  • buy travel shampoo and other toiletries
  • buy sweets and 'dry provisions' to tide me over the first day
  • buy sweets for the journey
  • buy trashy novels for the journey - I got one Danielle Steel and one Maeve Binchy
  • have a trial-run pack - see if everything fits, and check weight - the weight with most of the things in was about 11kg, well under the 25kg limit
  • get as much laundry up to date as possible
  • buy plug adapters
  • stick my photo on my railcard
  • get shopping/food phrase book - gotta avoid that meat
  • tidy-up harddrive, delete porn, defragment
  • actually do the things on this list, cross out done things and add new ones


=)
Wednesday, January 16th, 2002
8:56 pm
I got a few things done about going to France.

I phoned the bank and an getting a pin sent for my visa card. That way I can use it to make some cash withdrawals in France to help me get over the initial cash-flow problems.

Then I went into my branch and got a few things sorted. I paid in my last christmas present cheque (25 from my sister, thank you very much). I got my overdraft extended to the limit for third year students (I was still on the 2nd year limit) which is an extra 200 at my disposal (after 4pm tomorrow). I found out how I can transfer my student loan money when it comes in from my Bank of Scotland account to an account in France (write and ask, pay 11/15 for the privilege). Lastly, I ordered a cheque for 945 Euros (nearly 600 - three months rent in advance) for me to take to France with me. I didn't quite have enough money in my account (by about 20 or so) but we're betting on the fact that my overdraft extension should come into effect before the money is taken from my account in about two days time (here's hoping).

My boyfriend and I have been a bit cranky with each other all day. Kinda odd. But we're fine. He's happily looking at a 70s book about spaceships right now, he's a happy bunny. =)

My flatmate with the very groovy digital camera just loaned me his spare 16 meg digital memory card (to go with the 8 meg one I already had) so that I can take lots of cool pics in France.
1:46 pm
I got my first replies from France. Bedding not provided.

I checked on the easyjet page, I have a checked baggage allowance of 1 bag at a max of 25kg. I've never had to weigh my luggage before, but that doesn't sound too generous. Especially the 'one bag' bit. I wonder if I'll have to buy bedding when I arrive, taking a dictionary and a grammar is more important (and probably more cost effective) than taking a duvet and pillow.
Tuesday, January 15th, 2002
9:00 pm
I sent two emails off to France today with no subject lines just because I couldn't be bothered to think of any. I suddenly realised that I had no idea what I'm supposed to do when I get to Avignon, we've not been sent any info from the uni (campus maps, schedules for registering with the university, a prospectus, anything) so I mailed my coordinator in France to ask her some questions. I'm not sure if she'll have any idea either. In my experience the key to getting things sorted out is to ask the right person, finding that person can be the hard part. The other mail was asking if bedding was provided in halls, I don't want to have to take it with me if I can help it, my weight allowance is precious on the plane.

My aunt rang me this evening and told me that she was going to send me some money to take with me to France. It's very kind of her. That's two sets of contributions now, �100/month for while I'm in France from my Dad and step mum (see my earlier guilt) and I didn't ask my aunt how much she was giving me, so I'll have to wait and see. I feel kind of bad about taking it, I'm not very good at being poor (I don't make the efforts I should to stay within my budget) so I feel like I'm wasting her money. But I didn't refuse it either.

Partially, I'm aware of the fact that my brother didn't get all this help when he was at uni. He was self-disciplined enough to cope, and no one was in a financial position to offer him money. And of course my sister, her life's harder since she didn't go to uni, surely she deserves it more than me. I hope she gets a gift from my aunt/dad and clare too.
1:23 am
Went out for a long walk in the dark with my boyfriend at about 11pm. It was nice, we can talk to each other so well. I was thinking about what effect my parent's divorce had on me as an adult, and he talked about growing up without a father (he died) and then what it was like when his mother died. In some ways we have quite a few things in common with our childhood. All this was sparked off by my re-reading bits of The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, a book which I bought after seeing it on Oprah (!) and which has helped me think more clearly about what their divorce meant to me.

Earlier in the evening we watched Dead Man with a friend of ours, it was good, though I think the pace flagged a little near the end.

I had a good long chat (2 hours) with my Mum on the phone last night. I like keeping in contact with her. I found out more about when she had her gall bladder removed (around the age of 24) so that I can keep an eye on my indigestion in case I need to visit the doc about it. She also told me that she'd had three abnormal smear tests in a row, if she has another, they'll send her to have the abnormal cells zapped with a laser. What a procedure!

When my boyfriend and I were out tonight, and as midnight came and went and it turned into the 15th of January, he told me that he thought today is the second anniversary of us first physically meeting (we met online at the beginning of november 1999). I've just checked my old diary, and it was the 16th in fact, so one more day to go. But it was romantic to remember it on our walk anyway. =)
Sunday, January 13th, 2002
5:25 pm
Having a nice quiet sunday.

I've still got a cold, it's beginning to get annoying. I just sucked a sore throat sweet and have managed to make part of my tongue go slightly numb, but my throat's still sore.

A bored friend of ours has come over for the afternoon and might stay for dinner, he's with my boyfriend talking about the game my boyfriend is hoping to run soon. Our friend has cut his long hair, trying to go 'respectable' because he needs a job. It's funny seeing people do that.

I discovered that my new camera can take good pictures of documents etc, so I'm uploading photos of important things to my yahoo briefcase to have copies of when I go to France. Even if I lose all of my luggage for example, I'll still be able to show people copies when I'm trying to get them replaced.

We're thinking of selling some old copies of comics on ebay that a flatmate was throwing out. If we make any money we'll give him half, but as my boyfriend says, it seems a shame to throw out ten year old comics that people might want. Plus, it's another excuse to use my camera.
Saturday, January 12th, 2002
4:32 pm
Carlyn's back. =(
2:01 pm
Last night, my boyfriend and I did something sexual for the first time in months. It's quite a relief. We didn't actually have sex, it was very late and we were both tired, not the ideal time to break down that particular barrier. And I still have my cold (go away already). A while ago I was depressed about our relationship and I thought to myself that I wouldn't come back to him when I moved back from France, if there wasn't anything more concrete to come back to. I feel like I can give it more of a chance now.

In other news. Lets see. We've been invited to the house warming of some friends who we don't see very often. We'd see a few people there who weren't able to come over for our party at new year's, it'd be nice to catch up with them.

My mum also found and sent me my birth certificate so I can take it to France with me. It's amazing how unofficial it looks compared to my passport for example. You wouldn't think that anyone would be interested in seeing it (which is why I left it safe and sound at my mum's house in the first place).

The Buffy episode 'The Body' was on tv twice yesterday (the BBC show a cut version at tea time, and an uncut version much later the same day), both times I saw bits of it. It's amazingly well done and emotive. Such a good series.
2:11 am
I just read a snippet of news. The Eden Project might get used as a back-drop in part of the next (20th) Bond film. I think this is very cool, Eden has done such a lot for Cornwall already. Espionage in St Austell does seem a little absurd though. It has been keeping a low profile for years, maybe that was just a cunning disguise - the most boring place on earth.
1:46 am
We couldn't find the film in the wall of videos behind the sofa, it's called Angel Heart by the way. So, we watched In the Company of Men instead. My boyfriend's been trying to get me to watch it for ages, but I was always put of by the premise (two blokes plan on seducing a deaf girl, only to let her down at the end and hurt her like every woman has hurt them) and the film was as fucked up as it sounds. Good though, in a scary sort of way.

It fits in with what I've been vaguely thinking about recently, the role of men in our society. I saw a bit of a kids programme today in which this twelve year old girl says her mum was part of this women's drama group, where they get together to talk about how bad men are. And that it keeps her happy, she supposes. Heh. I've always been put off by practically anything prefaced with the word women's - except 'toilets' that is.
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