The stone walls and walkways of this town bounce the voices of the pedestrians up to my open window. I could decipher and listen to their conversations if I tried. While my sister was here, she was woken by a couple having an argument in the street. The young man was shouting at the young woman, demanding that she be tested for HIV. She screamed back at him that she had been tested four years ago. “You were FOURTEEN!!” he returned.
But tonight I am not listening to the conversations of the folks on the street. Tonight I am just lying, mellow, in my bower.
Things improved today.
This evening a dear friend from back home informed me that graduate teaching assistants make about twice what I made as an undergraduate teaching assistant. I could very easily live and pay my university fees on $1000 a month, so if I get a teaching assistantship I will be okay for the fall. The prospect of some stability when I return home soothes me. Now, the only hurdle is being reaccepted to grad school. Even though I’ve already been accepted once, there is something strange university paperwork-wise that requires me to reapply. I don’t understand. But I also don’t understand how it has taken the university a month and a half to process an electronic application. I’m told they’re waiting for the trees to grow to make paper onto which they will print my application, so they can then attach it to the back of a snail who will take it across campus to the CS department. (This is not so far from the truth. They do print out the electronic applications, and then send them through inter-office mail to the CS department, thereby completely defeating the purpose of an electronic application.)
I slept until noon today, though I was woken at 9:00 by Alicia needing to borrow some shoes she loaned me to walk up The Hill. The Hill being the hill that we lived atop from September until June. When I finally woke to the gray drizzle, I snagged a piece of french bread pizza that Alicia had made, then wasted time until I had to leave for my appointment with the sexual health clinic. There, I filled out some paperwork that indicated that I am at very low risk for sexually transmitted diseases (good to know celibacy works like I thought it did). One of the other questions was whether I fainted when my blood is drawn. “Every damn time”, I scrawled on the form, and spent the rest of the visit practically vibrating in terror that that someone was going to attempt to draw my blood. (And then was further worried that my quaking in terror would raise my blood pressure or something crazy and cause them to not give me contraception). Typically, I pass out before they draw the blood, and then again after. Fortunately, all of my blood stayed nicely within my veins.
I was attended by one of the nicest nurses I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She wasn’t allowed to give me the birth control that I was on, a tri-phasic pill, because of my weight. (This is particularly interesting because I was on it in the States when I weighed about forty pounds more. However, this doesn’t surprise me: it seems that British culture is somewhat more cautious… Or maybe my American doctor just didn’t care about me?) So instead she gave me a three month supply of a mono-phasic pill. For free. A three month supply of birth control in the US would cost me $30. It used to cost me $90. Free is amazing. Sometimes, socialized medicine totally rocks. At first I was concerned about the monophasic pill. I’m not sensitive to hormones that I’m aware of–in fact, I really like being on birth control. However, I have friends who react just terribly to it, so changes in my birth control freak me out. I’m always worried that I will suddenly start having terrible adverse reactions of some ilk.However, after having read the accompanying pamphlet, I felt significantly less worried about it.
My nurse, Sheena, commented on my name and asked me if it was Native American. I explained that it was actually an Americanization of a French name, “Chaudoin”, and had been changed with my ancestors had come to America. She commented that all the American and Canadian ladies seemed to know the history of their names. She seemed wistful about that.
When I left, she offered me condoms. At first I declined, because I have no use for them. Then, saying, “Okay, nevermind, I’ll be optimistic. I’ll totally take some,” I allowed her to fill a pretty purple paper bag with a variety of condoms. I later dispensed those to someone who would actually use them, for which that person was most grateful.
I was still so buzzing with adrenaline from worrying about the clinic wanting to steal my blood that I decided to go on a run after getting home. I ran two C25K workouts, and even in the wind it was really great. I ran the last part of it to Flogging Molly’s song Tabacco Island, which was just fantastic.
I came home to find that Alicia had decorated the house with paperdoll cutouts bearing sweet little sayings. She’d taped one to my computer that read “I ❤ You”, and another in my bedroom that says “Rachel is Awesome”. All evening, I kept discovering others that I hadn’t noticed–there’s one on the window in the living room that says “Rachel is cool”. She also left me a sweet card in the cabinet in the kitchen. Her sweetness surprises me.
I made black bean confetti salad for our dinner, adding a carrot that needed used. It was, as usual, divine. It’s the dish that made Alicia and Shanna eat raw bell peppers, which they loathe. Alicia added some sour cream to hers, and I followed suit. It was grand.
I decided to stay in tonight–I will be socializing tomorrow, and don’t want to wear myself out. Instead, I ate fresh blackberries (yum!) and watched Casanova on the BBC iPlayer. Casanova is cute enough, but be aware, Dangerous Beauty is better.
Perhaps ironically, considering my trip to the sexual health center and my evening entertainment of Casanova, I am considering keeping this celibacy thing up, maybe seeing how long I can do it. Perhaps, after almost a year, I am only beginning to hit my stride. Maybe it would be good for me to really settle into singleness for a while. I think I have been viewing my current singleness as just a passing phase. I think I should not be so quick to move from this phase, after all..