The Perpetual Storm Cloud

I purposely titled this blog post with something that sounds like the first chapter of a John Green novel because I’m a nineteen-year-old girl and I hate myself. With that been said, let us continue. 

England is a rainy place. This is an objective fact that cannot be disputed. Kanye West is a genius egomaniac, bottled water tastes better than tap water, and there is a constant 70% chance of precipitation in England. It rains when it’s cloudy. It rains when it’s sunny. It rains every goddamn day. If you arrive here expecting to be greeted by sunshine, a gentle breeze, and endless pints of beer reflecting soft, amber light onto the bare chests of bearded men, you will be disappointed. Trust me. I found out the hard way.

And yet, I have consistently forgotten an umbrella every single time the sky has unleashed God’s wicked tears upon us. But how, you ask? Surely I must have gathered after three weeks of sporadic torrential downpours to carry an umbrella on hand? Alas, my fair citizen: I am a fucking idiot and have the short-term memory of a coat rack. If I look outside for four seconds and there are no visible signs of a monsoon, my initial reaction is to throw on leggings and a t-shirt and call it a day. Clearly I have gone through thirteen years of compulsory education and can count past five without looking at my fingers.

I like the rain. I like the way it forces everyone to slow down or halt what they’re doing entirely until the deluge lessens to a light drizzle. I like the anticipation of waiting for sallow skies to darken from gunmetal to charcoal to black, and I like the way the overcast lingers for a few hours—sometimes even a few days, with ceaseless stretches of flat, opaque greyness that seem to remain long after the storm has passed. It gives me time to think. Time to breathe.

However, I fucking hate humidity, and it appears that the two go hand in hand. Sticky, muggy, unbearable wetness that creeps into every pore until your skin is slick with perspiration. My hair is both sucked dry of any moisture and simultaneously expands to the size of a baby grand piano. Industrial strength deodorant is no match for my freshly shaven armpits. I understand that this is literally the textbook definition of First World Problems, but I guarantee that the 98% of you reading this on your dog’s iPad whilst sipping a quadruple-espresso salted caramel white mocha Frappuccino made with unhomogenized raw organic goat milk might understand. Maybe. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to interject that despite my incessant whining, I harbor a truly intense adoration for this lackluster little town. There’s an infinite expanse of red brick houses and tiny roads and wood-paneled pubs in every direction. Everyone chain-smokes menthol cigarettes like they’re in a bad YA novel. The girls are trendier than I could ever hope to be. The guys all look/smell like they haven’t showered since 2011. There’s one Starbucks in town that is vacant at all hours of the day. It’s the complete and utter opposite of anywhere I’ve ever called home, and I love it dearly.

I don’t know if anything I just said had a point. It doesn’t need to. Since I started this post with John Green, I might as well come full circle and end with this:

“In a stunning turn of events, it’s raining in England.”

- Ava

I’m going to preface this post by stating that jetlag has literally ruined my life, so I apologize in advance for any horrific grammar or spelling errors that may occur. I haven’t been able to fall asleep before 4 A.M. for the last three days. My body thinks that it’s currently November of 1998.

Yesterday was lovely. I woke up at 10, crawled onto the couch and slept for another hour and a half, and proceeded to stumble in a groggy stupor to the shower where it took me about eight minutes to remember that the nozzle was electric and there was no knob to turn. Europeans.

We were washed and dressed by the afternoon and hopped in Bri’s brand new Ford Fiesta (aptly named Penny, due to the fact that she no longer has any) to head towards Theale, where we were scheduled to meet her mom for lunch. I’m still not used to the roads in this country and practically shat myself every time our teeny car rounded a corner.

We ate in the back garden of an adorable little pub called the Crown Inn. Bri and I ordered a ham and brie baguette with chips (crisps?) and a small side salad, while Marcella went for the chicken burger. It was heavenly! The only area where Bri and I differed in taste was a matter of beverage—she sipped on some sort of gin and tonic thing while I got a hearty pint of Fosters, which reminds me a bit too much of keg beer to be enjoyable. For some reason I keep ordering it whenever I’m out; probably because it’s the only thing I know how to say without sounding like a massive twat.

ME: Hello, yes, I’d like…a drink. An alcohol. May I please alcohol.

BARTENDER: Fuck off, you American piece of shit.

Not necessarily how the interaction transpired, per se, but in my head it may as well have been close enough. Anyway, afterwards we took the train into Reading, which is one of my favorite places! It was very British and there were lots of pigeons and double-decker buses. We went to Primark and the cashier refused to let me use my card because apparently my signatures didn’t match (???) which sent me into a frenzy, but luckily Bri covered for me. WHY MUST YOU PATRONIZE ME, PEOPLE. WHY.

By 5 P.M. we were absolutely shattered and dragged ourselves home with heavy eyes and weary bodies. Earlier, however, something had possessed us to suggest a catchup at the pub with her friends at 6, so right upon arriving back we were off once again.

The pub was fun. And pubby. And I was drunk off two glasses of Rosé, which goes to show how low my tolerance is in comparison to everyone here. Bri fell asleep on a park bench at a quarter to 10 and then we ended up wandering back towards the town square to snag a bus home. We were only catcalled once by a couple of middle-aged men, but still, it was cringe-y. Whatever.

Either way, the day was fun! Bri’s at work until 6, and then we’re heading into town, which is Brit-speak for clubbing. I am not a clubbing person. Pray for me.

Catch y’all on the flip side.

- Ava

UPDATE: It’s been several hours and I’m still not a clubbing person, despite my valiant attempts. Keep me and my liver in your thoughts.

Hello world! I’m currently writing this from the floor of Bri’s bedroom, which means—you guessed it—I’m alive and well in the good ole’ Land of Angles. They’ve gone and purchased some kind of elongated couch cushion for me to sleep on, which is much more comfortable than it appears. 

Yesterday commenced with the tedious trip through Manhattan to Long Island. I drove the first leg despite the fact that I was in no condition to operate a vehicle due to sheer exhaustion. We toured a few apartments and then spent the remainder of the day visiting my grandparents. They’re both adorable.

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The nerves didn’t really set in until around 8PM, at which point I decided to pop an anxiety pill and call it a night. The next morning I was rudely awoken by the 49 alarms both my parents and I had set in case the first 48 didn’t wake us up. For some unknown reason, my stomach had settled and I felt a strange sense of peace wash over me, like I was about to march to my imminent death.

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Fun fact: If you haven’t already guessed, I don’t do well at airports. Or on airplanes. Or being alone, especially in large spaces teeming with crowds of strangers. Hopefully this puts into perspective how daunting the prospect of traveling by myself is, because holy shit, it’s terrifying.

I somehow managed to make it through security with a half-empty water bottle in my backpack? Not entirely sure how that happened but…okay. The flight went smoothly enough aside from the guy I sat next to, who looked like Alan Rickman and snored for the duration of the 7 odd hours. By the time I landed, my stomach was in knots, and I was writhing in my seat with nerves.

The border patrol (once again) almost didn’t let me through, because apparently 44 days is “too long” to be in the UK. If I had been permitted to use my phone at the desk I would’ve opened up the national visa site that specifically states I’m allowed to be in the country for up to six months without a visa. After several minutes of stammering through questions and shakily handing the officer all of my travel documents, I was on my way to go find Bri and her mom.

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(Ignore my unshowered post-transit face. I am disgusting.)

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They bought me flowers and a sun emoji t-shirt. Pretty sure I’m the luckiest. We arrived back to their flat and drank too much champagne and laughed until we cried. I woke up this morning slightly hungover for about 9 minutes until I remembered that I’m getting my nose pierced in a few hours. Woo.

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I’ll check back in with y’all again next time I decide to lug around my DSLR with me.

OUTTIE 3000,

Ava

26 May 2014

Yesterday was nice.

Spent the first half of my day lazing around in bed before being coaxed out into the real world by Lisa. Drove out to the Allentown Fairgrounds for Mayfair—which has kind of sucked ever since they moved it from Cedar Beach—and debated spending six dollars on American delicacies such as fried cheesecake dipped in milk chocolate on a stick. I feel like everything sounds substantially less appetizing when it’s advertised as being “on a stick.” Is that just me?

We went to Cedar Beach afterwards because Lisa wanted to play with the bizarrely high-tech playground, which might actually be the most useless and unnecessary thing in existence aside from fried cheesecake dipped in milk chocolate on a stick. We tried to play with the giant green thing where you hit all the buttons (if you’ve been there you’ll know what I’m talking about) but then it stopped working and all of the rabid children were staring at us so we briskly moved along. There was lots of nice greenery and picnicking couples and little ducks as we headed further down. Very cute.

The next few hours were spent eating shitty pizza and exploring the depths of Walmart’s makeup section, which was, as expected, subpar. Came home and laid in bed with Sarah and David for three hours before passing the heck out.

Contrary to popular belief, Mondays aren’t that bad.

Goodbyes are weird.

I’m writing this at 8:11 in the morning. Why do I always start these posts by acknowledging the time? I’m sure you don’t care. Hell, don’t care. Okay. Moving forth.

Sunday, May 11th at precisely 8:15 P.M. Eastern Standard Time I was struck (more like punched) with the sudden realization that my 8 A.M. exam was on Monday rather than Tuesday. This wouldn’t have been so devastating had I not left my 19-page review packet completely untouched, since I was under the assumption that I could spend all of Monday slaving away at the library.

Needless to say, if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll already be aware that I was up until 6 in the morning attempting (and failing) to condense five months of information into ten hours of crying at the kitchen table whilst blankly staring at pages upon pages of racial physiognomy. Bit of a shameless plug, there. Wasn’t intended.

What I’m trying to articulate is that I’m within my own right to defend this week’s heinous sleeping schedule. I felt as though the long and slightly unnecessary anecdote was a pleasant touch. If it’s any consolation, I probably bombed my exam. Yay. College is so much fun.

Anyway, my intrinsic procrastinatory nature is inconsequential to this post. Let’s get back on track, shall we?

I’m annoyed that Tumblr text posts don’t automatically correct the “th” to superscript. I’m also annoyed that yesterday night was my last sleep in this dorm, and I ended up wasting it by passing out at 8 P.M. My life is an actual joke.

I woke up this morning and went for my obligatory post-slumber restroom visit when something caught my eye. And that something was the fact that the last eight months of my life were neatly assembled in our living room.

Bags and bags, piles and piles of things. Silverware, dishes, pots and pans, clothing, hampers, boxes, luggage, toiletries. My roommates had emptied the collective contents of their existence into our shared common area. This is getting deep when I hadn’t really wanted it to, but whatever. I’m sad.

I’m sad because despite the trauma of my first semester, the last five months have been so ridiculously fulfilling—even if I hadn’t realized it at the time. I met a handful of my best friends, some of whom I’m privileged enough to call my roommates next year. I met Kristen, and I honestly don’t even know how I’m going to cope without her this summer. We haven’t spoken about it because neither of us have the capacity to handle human emotion. Ugh.

Ugh because sad. Ugh because leaving. Ugh because my freshman year of college is officially over. Ugh because I still have to clean the bathroom. Just ugh.

Jess, Nick and Jon are coming to pick me up at around 12:30. I have to figure out a way to cram the rest of my stuff into a single suitcase without potentially damaging the shirtless Kanye West mug Kristen got me for my birthday, or the cat mug Sarah gifted me for Hanukkah. Mugs, man. They’re too sentimental. I’m drinking out of medieval goblets for the rest of my life.

To all of the graduating seniors: Cherish your time at home. Cherish your parents, your siblings, your friends, your dogs and cats and fish. But most of all, cherish your experiences, because they are what truly shape you. 

To everyone else: You’ll be just fine.

See you in August, Philly.

Hi. It’s been a while.

Technically, I wasn’t born until 12:28 P.M. on April 22, 1995, so I’m eighteen for another 27 minutes. By the time you’re reading this, I’ll likely have taken another step in the direction of my inevitable demise. Optimism.

Nineteen is a weird age. You’re not twenty, so nobody treats you like an adult unless it’s convenient for them, but you’re also not at any particular milestone, so you kind of just linger in this uncomfortable no-man’s land between teenagerdom and actual responsibilities.

What happens at the glorious age of nineteen? Nothing. Two more years until you can legally drink, and then you die. I mean, obviously there’s a ton of cool stuff that occurs between those two fixed points in time, but still. Pondering the various aspects of my devastating mortality wasn’t my plan for this blog post. Whatever, let’s roll with it.

I guess what I’m trying to articulate—albeit poorly—is that I want to make the vast gap between now and then as awesome as possible. I want to travel to Greece, Italy, Iceland. I want to fall in love again. I want to document my experiences so I can relive them when my legs won’t let me. I want to learn how to like spicy food and I want to kiss people and I want to see a lunar eclipse. I want to have a baby with tiny fingers and tiny toes. I want to make films. I want to write books. I want to live

The thing is, it’s not a bucket list. It’s my existence. And I can promise you that it’s going to be a damn good one.

I moved back into school on Sunday.

Talk about bittersweet. Part of me is like, “Yeah! Alcohol and friends!” while the rest of me is just grossly sobbing under a table somewhere. If you’re not a real life acquaintance of mine, you likely aren’t familiar with my current predicament regarding college.

See, I don’t hate being at school, per se. I’m an FMA major at Temple University, which has an esteemed film department and a faculty whom uphold a decent array of credentials. My dorm is disgustingly well equipped for four adolescents who still sit around the kitchen table at two in the morning eating macaroni and cheese, and my best friend of eight years lives three floors below me. Everything I need is either located in my building or a few blocks away. All in all, life should be relatively awesome.

The thing is, it’s not.

I don’t want to host the world’s least warranted pity part right now. I know that I’m beyond privileged in my circumstances and, according to everyone, I’m supposed to be having the time of my life. But it’s kind of hard to do that when you can’t bring yourself to leave your bedroom.

I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since I was a little girl as a result of some pretty intense bullying. I tried as best I could to overlook it until senior year, when everything came crashing down—family problems, college applications, my mom accidentally left for two months (which I’ll get into at a later date). Basically, I had about twenty mental breakdowns an hour.

Summer rolled around, and with every new essay and placement test, I found myself drowning in a sea of deadlines. By the time I moved into my new home, I was, as my roommate would so kindly put it, a mess.

How is school? Do you like your professors? Have you made any friends? Any boys that caught your eye? What kind of job do you expect to get? Why bother with a degree? You’re useless. Useless. Useless.

Horrible. No. No. No. None. I don’t know. I know. I know. I know.

Being depressed is something I would never wish upon anyone. It swallows you whole, and even when it fades, there’s a dark taint to everything you once loved. Memories become painful. Everything sucks.

There was a period of about three months where I just laid in my bed and stared at the ceiling. I skipped classes, gorged myself on shitty food, and ignored the steadily rising numbers in my email inbox. It got to the point where I would have a panic attack at the mere thought of checking my TUmail account, which only served to push me forth until I was teetering by my tip-toes on the edge of a mental cliff.

My friends would try to coax me out on weekends, and I’d continuously decline their invitations in favor of wallowing in my room and thinking about my failure of an educational career. There were several instances on which I decided, fuck it; I’m going to have fun—until I found myself walking home alone through the streets of North Philadelphia at one in the morning, slightly intoxicated and hating my pitiful existence more than ever.

Everything culminated one afternoon over lunch with my parents during Thanksgiving break. We were gathered around the table, eating our respective lactose-free turkey potpies and chatting idly, when all hell broke loose. I don’t want to delve too far into it, but let’s just say that somewhere in the midst of a dispute concerning my whereabouts for that weekend, my mother uttered a phrase that made me lose my shit:

“You have enough fun at school.”

There was a lot of crying and a lot of screaming and a lot of me writhing around in my pajamas with tears streaming down my face like a giant, hideous eight-year-old. Looking back, this may have had to do with the fact that it was my time of the month. Them crazy hormones. I’m tellin’ y’all.

After about four hours spent curled in a fetal position on the kitchen floor, my parents and I came to the conclusion that it would probably be best for me to withdraw for a semester, or drop out entirely, if it came down to it.

On the occasion that I’d choose to leave school, I would end up moving back to Manhattan with my parents and picking up a fulltime job. It’s not a glamorous lifestyle by any means, but it’s something different, and I think that’s what I need right now. For the time being, I’m going to complete this semester before making any radical decisions.

At the moment, though, I’m trying my best to be optimistic. I’ve rearranged my dorm, strung up some fairy lights, organized my school supplies, and bought a planner because I’m a responsible adult now. (Sike. I’m actually just a huge baby disguised as a semi-competent cat-human hybrid.) My first class is Philosophy, which is located on the literal opposite side of campus. Have I mentioned it’s snowing like a bitch outside? Because it is. Snowing like a bitch, I mean. 

Wish me luck.

☯ songs about that person you want to simultaneously make out with and punch in the face ☯
call it off ➜ the films
au revoir (adios) ➜ the front bottoms
love is blindness ➜ jack white
cable rat king ➜ tom milsom
the weekend ➜ modern baseball
sun hotel ➜ the menzingers
y’all boots hats (die angry) ➜ glocca morra
never saw it coming ➜ tigers jaw

listen here »

☯ songs about that person you want to simultaneously make out with and punch in the face 

  1. call it off ➜ the films
  2. au revoir (adios)  the front bottoms
  3. love is blindness  jack white
  4. cable rat king ➜ tom milsom
  5. the weekend ➜ modern baseball
  6. sun hotel ➜ the menzingers
  7. y’all boots hats (die angry) ➜ glocca morra
  8. never saw it coming ➜ tigers jaw

listen here »

I thought I’d try something a bit different today. Inspired by the lovely Marissa who runs youngpoorcoutore, I’ve decided to do the occasional fashion post!

Yesterday’s gloomy weather meant I was able to break out my beloved Deena & Ozzy multi-buckle combat boots, which I snagged for $40 at the Urban Outfitters in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, they seem to be sold out more or less everywhere online. Sad face. I paired them with some disco pant leggings, a chunky knit geoprint sweater, and a black circle scarf.

My staple piece for this outfit was my new favorite item: this Throwback Longline Denim Jacket from Forever 21.

It’s absolutely gorgeous in person, not to mention incredibly adaptablelightweight enough for spring, but somehow still warm during winter. I can tell it’ll be great for the upcoming breezy summer in England (unless there’s another massive heatwave, in which case you’ll be able to find me crying in the corner beside the nearest air conditioner), and I love it dearly. I’ve had a lady boner for acid-wash lately. Don’t ask me why.

And, finally, on my lips I’m wearing Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Shameless, a beautiful vibrant violet color, which I’ll likely be doing a full review on because I’m effing obsessed with them. I went out and bought three the other day. Literally addicted. Send help.

Big thanks to my compadre Dylan who helped me to photograph this. If you have the time, I’d highly advise you to go check out his band Sharing Stereo, because they’re super rad and the guys and I spent the entirety of last week slaving our asses off over a music video that will hopefully be released soon…ish.

Hope you all have a fantastic day! Toodles.

△ songs that make you drum your fingers and nod your head ▽
 ⇉  unbelievers † vampire weekend
 ⇉  next in line † walk the moon
 ⇉  the weight of living pt. ii † bastille
 ⇉  not your fault † awolnation
 ⇉ semi-automatic † twenty one pilots
 ⇉  binary mind † ra ra riot
 ⇉  disparate youth † santigold
 ⇉  spaceman † the killers

listen here »

 songs that make you drum your fingers and nod your head 

  1.  ⇉  unbelievers † vampire weekend
  2.  ⇉  next in line  walk the moon
  3.  ⇉  the weight of living pt. ii † bastille
  4.  ⇉  not your fault † awolnation
  5.  semi-automatic † twenty one pilots
  6.  ⇉  binary mind  ra ra riot
  7.  ⇉  disparate youth  santigold
  8.  ⇉  spaceman  the killers

listen here »

MW