40 days…

…until I go back. I’m not counting down…no. Not at all.

<3

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Friendship

This weekend was a good one. A very good one.

I recently met a girl called Sarah through a couple of mutual friends, and the weirdest thing has happened.

You know in primary school and kindergarten you come across someone you like; maybe they have the same hairband as you, or you both want to play with the same toy in the playground. Instantly it seems you are henceforth best friends, and that’s often how first friendships work in the minds of young children. I can still remember my five year old self running across the road to greet our new neighbours with my dad, and saw the girl clutching her own fathers leg at the door had in her other hand the same doll I had just got for Christmas. We were the exact opposite in looks; her the slim straight haired bright-white blonde, me the curly ball of brunette frizz, but our respective blue and hazel eyes met in wonder and curiosity of one another, and from that moment on we were best friends. Fourteen years later, that blonde girl is still my best friend.

But that’s always how I used to see friendships forming when I was little. Everything was so much simpler then, you were either friends or your weren’t, and you casually made your way through the playground clutching the arm of the one you knew wouldn’t ever push you in the sand pit. There was none of this drama about whether to accept someone as a friend on facebook just by looking at the number of the friends in common.

Growing older, this click of friendship turns into the cliques of the high school and even from the start I was still stuck in 1997, asking people if they had the pokemon cards I needed to complete my deck while they just glared at me and went back to discussing which make up gave them the perfect shade of orange.

I’m approaching my nineteenth birthday this year and I have just about the greatest friends all over the world that I wouldn’t have even dreamed of asking for. Friendships take time; you talk and grow to trust one another. You confide and share jokes and generally get along, whenever one is down, the other can always bring them right back up.  I have become so used to blending in with the clique routine that I never would have expected to become friends with someone and become so close in the space of about…well, as of now…a week and a half.

Sarah and I met filming the ‘Heart’s’ video we’re filming at the moment for our friend, and it was as if we were back on the playground as very young children, we just clicked. I guess being thrown into new situations with strangers does provoke making new friends and whatnot, but I found in more recent years it is always jaded with awkwardness and the constant pursuit of a good first impression. With Sarah it was like we had known each other for years, and were just catching up…the first time we met.

This weekend was of course the big Valentine’s Day one, and so Sarah came to mine and we moaned about boys and listened to amazing music and drank too much and partied at a Freelance whales gig (where I got to meet my friend Darren Criss’ brother Chuck which was awesome).  And so…yeah, the best weekend ever just happened. OH and we made the best cake ever. Enough said.

…aaaand we dressed up as Lady Gaga. Because we’re cool.

I just thought I’d share my thoughts on friendship. Some friends will come and go, but in more recent years I have made some of the most wonderful friends that I hope to keep for the rest of my life. I love you all.

<3

Starting Afresh.

Those two words have cropped up a lot in my vocabulary since New Years, and I really do think this year looks a lot more promising than the last. Don’t get me wrong, some of the greatest moments of my life so far happened last year and I am so grateful for those that made the memories that I will never forget. But with the highs inevitably come the lows, and this year I am ridding myself of my glass-half-empty mind-set and I’m constantly looking for ways to brighten my day, rather than obsessively searching for the negatives.

But a new meaning of ‘starting afresh’ hit me today, twenty-one days into our brand spanking new decade. On the 15th of November last year, I was loading up lots of tabs on my browser so that I could watch ‘Me and my Dick’ on YouTube (by the starkidpotter boys, go watch it because they are wonderful). Anyway, my internet doesn’t carry upstairs in my apartment and I wanted to watch it in bed so I was waiting for all the YouTube screens to load up. When they had finished, I got my computer and started heading up the stairs in the dark…but I got my foot caught on the Disney Princess rug that sits halfway up on the stairs’ landing, and well…yeah. Needless to say my computer came off a lot worse than my ankle did in the long run.

So after a combination of leaving it to gather dust as I travelled the world, endless phone conversations to ‘Lindsay’ from my insurance company and just general impatience on my end, I finally ended up getting it sorted out. And guess what. My brand spanking new computer came TO. DAY. (I did want a mac, but hey beggars can’t be choosers. Plus I would rather spend that money on yet another trip to the Americas:D)

The sad thing is that because my laptop was ‘beyond repair’ they had to destroy it, and because my hard drive on that one isn’t covered on my policy, I would have to pay £70 to get it back…just no.

So today, as I was loading all my old software and programmes I use, I opened up my brand new iTunes and stared blankly at the empty library. I will admit, as silly as it is, a little part of me died when all my music in one second of my life vanished. That sounds so melodramatic but I really do not have a clue where I would be without my ipod. Thankfully I still have my music on there, but there REALLY should be a way of being able to upload your music to your library from your mp3 player. Is there a way? Can anyone enlighten me?! If not, Apple – Sort It Out. Thanks :)

As annoying as it is losing all my music and photos and work I have collected over the four years I had that computer, somehow there is a sort of comfort to be had. I would never have willingly deleted everything on that hard drive, but being forced into a new empty space feels very cleansing; a new start. I can begin this year with a clean slate and organize everything right from the start (I never knew where anything was on my old laptop.) Thus the new collection of memories begins, and I intend to capture as many as is possible to fill up this bad boy of a machine.

This post made me sound so materialistic. Computers and electrical goods and whatnot. It’s more whats on them that interests me. I need my daily fix of listening to the Next to Normal soundtrack :)

<3

So much things to talk on.

It has been far too long.

I have neglected this for the past three weeks or so in the wake of travelling halfway across the world to get home, spending a week with one of my dearest friends on the planet, and trying to have a peaceful Christmas and New Years with my mum (tried being the operative word).

So now I guess is time to summarise what has truly been an absolutely wonderful month in my eighteen years of life.

The second half of my Hong Kong trip was amazing. We went to Mainland China to go to a huuge market where they sell fake designer handbags and cheap new dvd’s. It’s insane; the exchange rate is £1 – 12 Hong Kong dollars, and the labelled price is almost relative to the prices in England! Crazy, although it was weird paying twenty dollars for a bottle of water, even if it was only about £1.70. In the market there were some men that were constantly following us around telling us to go in there shops and robotically reassuring us that they would help us with whatever we were looking for. It was incredibly annoying and as soon as we were able to shake one of them off, another would take his place. I didn’t like it at all, but I was still really surprised when I suddenly burst into tears and couldn’t stop shaking. I have never had an anxiety attack before, but I don’t know what it was about those men; I honestly have never experienced anything like that before because inside I was terrified, and looking back there really was no need to be. I needed some time to calm down, so I went to a swanky hotel lobby and got a drink whilst my dad and Johnny bought loads of DVD’s,  and Johnny got an amazing copy of a Daytona Rolex which is stunning.

At the end of the trip on our last day, we went to a theme park where the best picture of my life was taken. Seriously, check this out:

We are amazing. That ride was hilarious. The picture sadly hides our inner screams of fear…funny though.

So Hong Kong adventures came and went (on the flight back, Johnny and I watched ‘Up’ and I bawled my eyes out. Johnny didn’t so he has no heart. KIDDING. Really though, the saddest film I have seen in a long time) and I had such an amazing time it was unreal.  Thank you <3

I then had one day to sleep off my jet lag because the following day I had to pick up my friend Mr Alex Carpenter from the airport (I have never been to Heathrow so much in one week.) I’m going to save talking about the time we spend hanging out for another entry, because I want to do it justice; we battled through snow and ice on a long journey to Scotland, and I got to see a gazillion of my friends who I hardly ever get to see, so trust me there’s a lot to tell. In short, nothing short of an amazing week.

Then on Christmas eve, I stayed at my friend Alex Day’s house (I know too many Alex..es. It is confusing in my brain) to help him film a music video early the next morning for his song ‘Don’t Look Back’.  We got up at what seemed like an un-godly hour, which is saying something coming from the girl who used to wake up obscenely early on Christmas morning to scream that Father Christmas had been. We got in the car and drove around for  a bit until it got light, and then went to all the key areas that Alex wanted in the video. I started getting unnecessarily angry and frustrated when we were desperately searching for a parking space, and flat-out refused his ‘genius’ idea of parking right across the centre of ‘The Mall’. I would not get my car towed thank you ;) It was absolutely freezing cold and I had to get home so I was all moody and anxious, but through all that I could still see how great London looked almost completely deserted. It was actually quite creepy really especially Piccadilly Circus; the lights still reflected the hustle and bustle of day-to-day travellers, but only the two of us and the ukulele were there to see them. All in all it was a fun morning, and I got home safe and sound to my family in time to open all our presents together and have a lovely Christmas lunch.
Right now however, I’m back in my flat in London after being home for Christmas and I’m back at school, and I’m having a lot of those conversations with myself about whether I am getting what I want to get from this course I’m doing and where I want to be in the next year or two. I think I know, but I’m too scared to admit it because it means a huge life shift and big changes really soon…but I crave change, so I think whatever decision I make I’ll change something about my life for the better. Even if it’s only my hair colour. No…wait, I already did that :) Purple for 2010 was a good choice.

Thank you all for an amazing 2009 anyway, and my thanks especially to those friends who have stuck with me another year and the people that I really just couldn’t function without. You know who you are and I love you. I have learned so much over the past twelve months, and now this year is going to be even better. I always say you learn from your mistakes and hopefully you can grow, and the best memories and friends you have should be held very close to your heart, for you never know if you’ll be lucky enough to have another sunny day (trust me I know, I live in England).

Happy New Years, and heres to making the most of 2010.

<3

China is happening.

Well, it has only been two days but I am already SO behind with all thats been happening here, so I believe it’s time for a quick summary :)

Right now, I’m sat in my Dad’s gorgeous apartment on the Peak with a view looking out onto Hong Kong’s beautiful cityscape…unfortunately we can’t see the view right now as we are surrounded by a rain cloud of white mist, so what we can see of the view is actually zilch. I will take a photo of it that will BLOW YOUR MIND, but when it is actually visible. Typical brits; we bring the rain with us wherever we go! It’s meant to clear up tomorrow though, and I think we are going to head to Disney Land when it’s nice and clear too!

So Saturday night, I arrived in the airport, reunited with Johnny in baggage claim and we headed out into arrivals where I saw my Dad waving  us from across the walkway…needless to say I ran full speed towards him :) Two months is too long to be opposite sides of the world for us.

We went to dinner at a restaurant on the Peak looking over the city, and because that day was the start of the East Asia Games we got to watch all the fireworks out of the window as we ate!

The next day we headed out into Central Hong Kong to meet up with our friend Jazza, who came down from Nanjing where he’s studying. It took us a little while to find him, with problems arising like his phone going dead and heading towards the wrong underground station. (It’s so strange here; you get full signal on the tube all the time!!!) In the evening we went to my Dad’s friend Melissa’s apartment for dinner. It was a lot of fun, and Jazza got to practice his Mandarin on her husband.

The next morning we decided that we were going to have an adventure day, no matter if the rain had started to surround us. We headed to Kowloon Island and we all went ice skating in a big shopping centre. I hadn’t been ice skating in years, and I think all three of us were a little nervous of constantly falling over, but we all got the hang of it really quickly and were soon all zooming around the rink. There was a man who clearly thought himself an olympian as he was jumping and spinning all over the place. He actually did knock a few people flying. Thankfully he left quite quickly. I hope someone kicked him off.

Later, we went to Mongkok to meet Jazza’s friend Coco who lives in Hong Kong. She was so lovely, and took us to all these amazing places on Kowloon Island. It was the first time I actually felt like I was in REAL China. The Peak and Hong Kong Island where we are staying is very modern high-rise and westernised, whereas Mongkok was just…well, more how I thought Hong Kong would be.

We were walking around streets that were so crowded it was difficult to move, and we stopped a few times to look at the stalls selling the street food. In my opinion, we didn’t need to stop at all; the smell was so pungent I felt like I had eaten more of it that should ever be allowed. Johnny, being a vegetarian, wouldn’t eat any of it because it was basically just dead animals hanging on display, but even I couldn’t stomach any of it. Jazza turned round brightly at one point with a bag of squid tentacles, offering them out to us. We refused. Sharpish.

At the end of the evening, Coco took us to a restaurant called ‘The Modern Toilet’. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Surely not??’ Oh a thousand times yes. The whole restaurant is toilet themed. It was the weirdest yet most amazing place I’ve ever seen. The seats were toilets. The wall decorations were toilet seats. The food was served in toilets, baths and sinks, and the drinks were served in urinals! It was absolutely crazy.

So the past few days have really just been whirlwind of fun thing after fun thing. I hope the weather clears up soon though, or I will be very sad indeed. Johnny is on his computer and Jazza is revising Mandarin at the moment, but I think we are all off out to get something to eat soon so here I go finding a way to end this! I’m so excited for more adventures here.

I still can’t quite believe I’m in China. It feels like England…just slightly better and it took us a day to get here.

<3

Adventures and Ideas.

Something extremely exciting that I’m preparing for right now is that I’m actually going on holiday tomorrow. A holiday to the other side of the world. More specifically, CHINA. Not only that, but my friend Johnny, aka (Johnnydurham19) is coming with me. I AM OFFICIALLY MEGA EXCITED!

At the end of September, my Dad moved to Hong Kong. I had just moved into central London to start my course studying performing arts at Italia Conti, and for all the time I knew I was going there (I got my place in February) I knew everything was going to be okay because if I needed anything, my Dad would only be a short trip on the tube away. I always knew my dad would move away on business. He’d talked about it for years; possibly Brazil, New York, always the exotic places. I think I get my sense of adventure and travelling from him :) Anyway, I always thought that would be way ahead into the future, not until I had finished school and drifted off to America like I always wanted to do. My Dad is more like my best friend; we see the world in very similar ways and have pretty much the same sense of humour. In short, I’m really grateful that I get on so well with him, because I really don’t know what I would do without him.

I remember the day this summer when he called me telling me he was moving to Hong Kong. I was in my friends’ apartment in downtown Hollywood, in the middle of one of the most incredible adventures I have ever had. That phone call punctured my perfect holiday bubble a little, but only for a bit because we lightened the mood by heading to a Dodgers game :)

Anyway, my Dads been living there for about three months now and I am flying out to see him TOMORROW. Also, our friend Jazza who’s studying in China right now is coming down to Hong Kong to see Johnny and I whilst we are there, which is exciting!!

Tomorrow I am meeting Johnny in central London to head to the airport together, but right now I am sat in Church ready to perform my last Carol Concert with Conti’s (my school) for the year. I’m still not even completely packed…I NEED TO GET BACK TO GET READY!

One of my flatmates, Royah, is rather obsessed with the Disney character Belle. She’s asked me to take one of her little toy dolls with me and to take pictures of her everywhere I go. Well, its something to do isn’t it?! I need to think of ideas for interesting places she can go :)

Of course, loads of photos and videos will document our trip, I can tell its going to be a good one, nay, an amazing one.

<3

Charity, Confectionary and a Cold Ride Home.

Last Friday night, I was invited along to the Children in Need off-air backstage reception party. Needless to say, that could be in itself an amazing whirlwind experience to remember. It was a night filled with glitz and glamour, an open bar, the live show broadcast on a giant screen on the wall, and rubbing shoulders with A-listers…well the guys from Dragon’s Den turned out to be a bundle of laughs, until I nearly spilled my drink on Deborah Meaden. Oops.

Children in Need, if you don’t know, is an annual telathon on the BBC lasting an entire evening to raise money for children’s charities in the UK. I went as the guest of my friend Miranda, who sang on the Chartjackers song ‘I’ve got Nothing’ released into the UK charts to raise money for this charity. She and the other Chartjackers guys who presented and organised the whole thing were invited to the BBC party after raising £10,000 and getting to number 36 in the charts. Having done nothing productive to warrant being at the event except for buying the song, I was essentially her tag-along :) The night was hilarious in general. As we walked in, there was a GIANT gingerbread Pudsey Bear (the mascot) propped on a huge stand, which was obviously made in aid of the charity; it looked amazing, and seriously it was about human size. There were waitresses passing around mini gingerbread Pudsey bears and cup cakes, chips in paper cones, and all sorts of food that had seemingly been shrunk to the size of one bite, such as burgers and hot dogs. I was a bit too scared of the strange small meaty snacks to go near them…the cakes on the other hand were damn good.

As the night progressed, the effects of the constant free alcohol began to take it’s toll and I don’t normally drink much ever. For example I saw no shame in screaming and jumping up and down like a loon as Colleen Nolan took to the stage right in front of us (I’m not ashamed to love her), not to mention singing along to Legally Blonde the Musical and trying desperately to get others to dance with me, despite being the only one that seemed to know the words. Ah well, I was blissfully in a world of my own. Some of our number had to leave to catch trains home, and because I live in Central London anyway, it would be easy to get a taxi back, surely.

Or so I thought.
*Insert creepy suspense music here*

Miranda was already going to be staying at mine, so I knew at least that I wouldn’t be travelling back alone. Then because Johnny wanted to stay a bit longer than going home with Alex early, with whom he was originally staying, I said that he could stay at mine too. Plan sorted – happy days :) So, we were hanging out and having a good time, and then Miranda dragged me over to the entrance to have a girly chat, albeit a slightly incoherent chat due to the wine. Miranda was mid-sentence, when I suddenly noticed she was eating something out of her hand. I interrupted her with ‘Um, Miranda…what are you eating?’ I think she thought I wouldn’t notice because she immediately looked as though she had done something wrong, blurted out ‘Nothing!’ And threw what she had in her hand over her shoulder, which actually gave her away. Directly behind her, was the giant display Pudsey bear…WITH HALF A PAW MISSING. I couldn’t stop laughing, but not before I had dragged her swiftly away from the crime scene explaining (only half-joking) that the BBC would probably arrest us both. I couldn’t stop her picking a red polka-dot off his bandanna as I dragged her away either. If Pudsey wasn’t in a bad way before, he certainly looked it after Miranda had finished with him.

At around midnight, the Hattrick staff that produced the Chartjackers TV show were heading to a bar in Soho, and so while they and Jimmy left for there, the three of us grabbed our things from the cloak room and called for a taxi (not before Miranda tried to persuade limo and other private pre-booked vehicle drivers to ‘forget those celebrities you’re here to pick up, they won’t even know you dropped us off, you’ll be back in no time!’) For some unknown reason *insert sarcasm*, they refused her drunken request, but luckily we did eventually get in a taxi and begun our journey across town to The Phoenix bar. Now, as social boundaries appeared reduced thanks to my evenings beverages, I ended up befriending the taxi guy; he said to call him ‘Sam’ as his name was difficult to say. I can’t really remember much else about that taxi journey, until the following morning when I got an email from the taxi driver…I’d emailed him while I was IN the taxi, because you know, I’m just that cool. Uhh, stupid girl.

After giving ‘Sam’ all the cash we had (bear in mind we still weren’t home) we found the rest of the guys in the bar. Johnny offered to get me another drink, but I summoned some sense and stuck with tap water :) we actually didn’t stay there very long, and so after bidding Jimmy and the other guys farewell, the three of us heading to mine decided to make a move. Picture the scene; 2am, freezing cold in central London, I have zilch money on me and there are no taxi’s in sight…well, that was until Johnny spotted a lone rickshaw and driver across the road. I always used to say that I’d never get in a rickshaw unless I was desperate and probably drunk. It seemed only necessary for us then and there to thus jump at the opportunity.

He said it would be £50 to get back to Barbican. I grant him that it was a looong way, but we reeeeally didn’t have that kind of money on us. Between them, Johnny and Miranda managed to scrape together 20, but he was having none of it. That was until Miranda shouted out ‘If you take us there for £20 me and Emma will both kiss you on the mouth!’ Um…WHAT?! She just said it as if earlier I had said to her ‘right okay, if ever we can’t get home just offer to kiss people.’ I assure you I HADN’T, but before I could say anything to retract her offer, the driver smirked and said ‘Okay, hop in!’

Johnny and I kept exchanging nervous glances all the way home. I was sat in the middle and luckily we had a blanket to keep us a bit warmer; it was quite cosy really and at least we got the scenic tour :) I did start to feel bad for the guy taking us after a while. He was on a bike pulling our little carriage uphill all the way, and he was only getting 20 quid…more or less. *shudder*

After about an hour, we did eventually arrive at my building. Relieved as I was, I was still worried as to what would happen next. We all got out of our carriage and as Miranda stumbled onto the pavement, the driver pointed as to where she was sat…at some point on the ride home she had clearly felt very ill. After cleaning up his vehicle while Miranda and I stood on giggle like the children we clearly are, he turned directly to me and said ‘well I’m not kissing her now. Come on then’. I clung to Johnny and looked at him desperate for him to help me. As sympathetic as he looked, I slowly realised I was cornered. Miranda wasn’t even kissing him anymore! So yes. That’s how my evening ended. Paying for half a journey across London by being forced to kiss our rickshaw driver. I’m not proud of it, but hey it got us home, didn’t it? Haha, oh my life. Right, now that I’ve written that down its time to permanently erase that moment from my memory. Phew :)

At least we got back to my flat safely and in one piece (well, three pieces) despite the absurdity. I will never forget that night, and not just for how ridiculously it ended, but because it was just in general so so much fun. You should have been there.

Sorry that was such a long post! It’s just that the story of that night was the reason I was instructed to write a blog so I wanted to do it justice. Hopefully that’s not the only good thing I have and its not downhill from here :)

If there is something to learn from this I think it at least serves as an advert to drink responsibly. Oh, and to avoid rickshaws, just in case.

<3