Wednesday the 24th of June 2015 was a relatively relaxing day. I looked over my proposal question in the morning and attended my Polish lesson in the afternoon, after the lesson I didn't have to go to school so I went back to working on potential interview answers. That night, I tried to relax and although I went to bed early, I couldn't sleep. My brain wouldn't calm down, it felt like I had a soup bowl full of facts, dates, books, names and theories in my head and I was just stirring them around with a spoon. I must've fallen asleep at some point because I awoke on Thursday morning with a bit of a headache and two hours to get ready.
I arrived at Pałac Staszica early and I approached the same security guard I met before my application submission. I don’t think he remembered me but he went to fetch his glasses (as he did last time) and told me where to go. I got into the elevator and made my way to the same dark corridor as before, unlike last time there were two grey chairs in the corridor, the interview room was practically opposite the admissions room. I decided to choose the chair furthest from the door. The chair closest to the door didn't look right, I wondered if it was my eyes playing tricks on me due to the unevenness of the floor or if it was something to do with the legs, either way, I wasn't going to sit on it. I read the notes on my iPad for half an hour sat outside the room, occasionally standing up to crack my back and stretch.
Nothing could've prepared me for the moment I was actually asked to enter the room. I recognised the man who invited me and decided it was now or never. I walked through the door and felt rather disorientated, there was a lady sat at a desk to the left of me, I believe there was a window directly in front and another room to the right. Nervously, I entered the other room and waited to be told where to sit. There was a large, old, wooden table; sat around the table were the Admissions Committee. I recognised most of them from photographs on the internet and various videos I managed to find. They were so pleasant but the entire situation was so intimidating, I only noticed the chocolate biscuits on the table as I was leaving. I would usually always notice chocolate biscuits.
I thought it went well for about twenty five minutes, there were perhaps five where I royally messed up and another five where I nervously babbled. I left feeling as though it had gone disastrously wrong and that there was no way I would be accepted into such a prestigious institution. I looked at myself in the reflection of the door on my way out; I sighed and sat on the steps outside the building. I looked at the architecture around me, I looked at the sky, it was so blue, I looked at the statue of Copernicus holding an armillary sphere and I made a wish. I made a wish the way a child would but rather than staring into the night sky, putting all of my hopes on a star, I considered my place in the universe, I thought of Earth and all of the astronomical features that surround it, I made a wish on that armillary sphere in Copernicus’s hand. “Come on universe…” I thought. I was sat on the steps of the Polish Academy of Sciences making wishes rather than using reason the way I ought to. My emotions took over and I was left completely deflated. My SO took me to McDonald's, which helped. I taught two lessons that day, then came home and set up an operating system on my SO’s new computer. Although, there were so many drivers to install that it seemed to take forever.
On Friday, I woke up in a slightly more optimistic mood, que sera, sera. I taught one lesson in Łomianki, then two in Reymonta. After my first lesson, I received an email update; I wasn't thinking straight, I couldn't concentrate, I asked my friend (and centre manager) if she could read it for me, she read it, I asked if I had got in, she said that I had, we jumped, I hugged her. I was so happy, I'm still so happy, I can’t quite believe I've been given such an opportunity. I called my parents individually, one call to Saudi and another to Southport. I later realised I might encounter a rather large phone bill this month but despite that I know I've made them proud. Admittedly, I finally feel proud of myself too. This was always a goal of mine and I'm on my way to achieving it. The results of the application were posted online here: http://newwww.css.edu.pl/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/PhD-June-2015-application-results.pdf I was also given a lovely gift from one of my students that day, an orchid and box of chocolates. I've never seen such beautiful flowers; I made sure to replant it very carefully. My summer holiday started today, my family are coming to visit in July and the day after they leave I’ll turn twenty five. I'm moving to a new apartment and I’ll be going back to work in August for enrolment.
I really like this but I was unable to find the author, if anyone knows, send me an email, comment or message.
Possible source: 'English is Difficult' World Wide Words [Online]. Available from: http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/ar-eng1.htm (Accessed: 10/07/2015)
I started writing reports on Tuesday night, it's now Sunday afternoon and an hour ago, I had finally finished them all, every single one. Success. I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself, I had a nap, woke up, looked at dogs on the internet and thought "I'll try again with baking". Most people know I'm not the best at baking and by that I mean I'm the worst at baking... but today, it all changed. I baked the most delicious muffins ever and I am so proud of myself. So, if you would like to make them too, here's the foolproof recipe.
You will need:
300g Plain Flour
200g Sugar (I think it's fine to use a little less)
3 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon of Salt
50g Cocoa Powder (Optional)
Measure out and mix the ingredients together, I used a hand blender to stir the mixture but a spoon might work just as well. Our oven has to be lit by hand as it's an old gas oven, it also has no temperature control... so for this part I'll just say "preheat your oven". Grease your muffin tray (I used vegetable oil but you can use margarine or butter) and pour in the mixture. Then, put the tray in the oven and keep an eye on it until the muffins have risen. Stick a knife into a muffin, if it comes out clean, you can remove them. Leave to cool a little and then eat. I don't know where to buy frosting or how to make it so I think we'll just have them plain or with margarine and jam!
I'm dedicating tomorrow to preparing for my PhD interview, which is happening in the morning on Thursday the 25th of June 2015 at Pałac Staszica. I am so incredibly nervous.
This is a self-indulgent post, a piece of writing I have chosen to share with you because I have had enough of hating myself, I have had enough of looking at people and wishing I had their life, their hair, their sense of style or their dog. I am tired of the shallow excuse of a world we’re forced to be a part of and I intend on making a difference, starting with my attitude towards myself as it is only by knowing yourself that you are able to overcome the opinions of others and live as your true self. Some of you may know that I suffer from a number of personal issues relating to my appearance. These issues are I'm told, purely psychological, they’re in my head. I am not bulimic, anorexic or obese. I don’t suffer from lack of sense or limb nor do I have an internal disorder such as diabetes. I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2010 but as the consequences of over medicating a patient were not taken into consideration, I decided to disassociate myself with the cocktail of side effects. The entire notion of something getting worse in order for it to get better just doesn't make sense.
Back to the previous paragraph, I struggle with dermatillomania. I stand in front of a mirror, every day. I look at my face. I look at it again. I can’t see my face. I remember being able to see it. I recognise my eyes, mouth, ears and nose but it’s as though I'm not really there. I try to look at my face. I really try. I lift my hands, I feel my skin and I stop, I softly scratch over every imperfection, I squeeze, pick and pull every millimetre of dry or damaged surface. My vision becomes blurred as I attempt to salvage my skin by removing blackheads, hairs and other imperfections. I put in contact lenses and I look at myself again. My skin is red, raw, weeping, bleeding. I don’t cry. I rectify my mistakes with make up or a heavy face cream and it’s really not obvious anymore. Such behaviour is never limited to one part of the body but is often concentrated to one area which becomes the site for self-destruction. I have been doing this since I was a teenager because despite my family telling me I was beautiful, I never understood why. I don’t see what they see. The reason for this is other people. It is the effect other people had on me. Outside influences caused me to feel inferior for so long that it has almost certainly stuck. The phrase “you’ll get over it” is no longer worth listening to, no one gets over anything and there’s a booming industry out there to prove it.
Despite the above flaw in my personality and inability to deal with the past, I am otherwise a healthy, intelligent, normal human being. By using functional contextualism, a modern philosophy of science, I intend on predicting when such incidents will occur and influencing myself against such situations. Self-knowledge is the key to overcoming all that negatively exists in my head. I need to ACT: Accept my reactions and be present. Choose a valued direction. Take action.
The next paragraph is an honest account of my first day at school, of the people, some of whom I'm ‘friends’ with on Facebook. A few of them are married and some even have families of their own. I often hope they teach their children better than their parents taught them. As an adult, I feel that perhaps their behaviour was caused by their own insecurities at the time, their home environments and by what was deemed as acceptable by their own parents.
I brought a small cool box to school on my first day, a dark green one with a white lid and handle, in Doha; we would all bring them so that we’d have something to sit on in the playground. In England however, it was a different story. The cool box was smacked out of my hand onto the ground, my lunch was trampled on, my tie was pulled, my buttoned up oversized blazer had its buttons ripped off with one swipe of a hand down the front. They walked off laughing. Alone, I stood outside, staring at a banana crushed into the dirt. Alongside it was a carefully and lovingly prepared sandwich made by one of my parents. I don’t remember what was in the sandwich. The mini cheddars were ruined. I picked up the juice from the ground; we used to buy the multi vitamin tropical fruit juices from Lidl. The juice hadn't been stepped on, which I later discovered was something people at school enjoyed doing, stomping on juice cartons became quite a common sight. I wiped the mud off the top of the carton, revealing the unpierced silver foil circle, pulled the straw from its plastic cocoon and drank the juice slowly. There was a lump in throat so large I can still remember how it choked me. I didn't want to cry on the first day but I did, of course I did. I cried sat on a green and white cool box sipping juice with dirt on my hands.
My family put up with so much as I protected them from so much. My attitude towards them was often a cry for help, a way of venting the frustration I felt at school every single day. I left home young so I wouldn't burden them with my inevitable phases of self-hatred, I needed to be away from them in order to grow, in order for my mind to be left alone to process all that had happened to me. I often find myself shying away from people, I don’t enjoy social events where one might be expected to make conversation and I find it hard to communicate with others on a daily basis. I over analyse the world around me, constantly. My childhood was complicated to say the least and the repercussions of such complications affect my confidence and self-esteem as an adult. There is one person in my life outside of my family that I finally trust, whole heartedly and because of this, I have decided that now is the time to make a difference in my life, to put behind all of the comments, back handed compliments and violence I was subjected to and to embrace what I have now. It might seem juvenile but I came up with a plan today, every time I say something derogatory about myself, every time I compare myself to other people, every time I damage my skin because I'm feeling sad and it somehow helps, I will add a coin to the jar on my desk.
I am my own person. You are yours.
I spent most of yesterday marking final exams and project work. Today, I made a disastrous egg free chocolate cake where I added too much baking powder to create an almost unpalatable fizzy mess. On the plus side, my final recommendation arrived and I have sent it to the university. The final piece of the puzzle has been submitted. I am so excited about this interview. I think it's probably the most excited I've been about something for a while.
In other news, I accidentally bought quince syrup, thinking it was lemon syrup. I just saw a fruit which looked lemonesque on a rather fancy bottle for half the price of the other syrups. There's a reason it was so cheap, I don't believe it's the most popular syrup ever. I thought to myself "what on Earth is this flavour..." as I proceeded to sip the concoction of mysterious yellow liquid mixed with water, I added more water, then a little more syrup. My taste buds were so confused, which had never happened to me as an adult. I picked up the bottle and looked again at the image, what was it if not a lemon, a yellow apple, a pear perhaps? I did a Google search of the words 'pigwowiec' and then 'chaenomeles' and then 'quince'. I'd never come across this fruit in my life! My Polish teacher told me on Thursday that she even has them growing in her garden! I felt like a child, so alienated by this strange new information, it was an incredibly unusual situation. Anyway, so I decided mixing it with cold water didn't quite work. I added some to a mug, poured in boiling water and made a sort of fake syrup tea. It was much tastier this way.
This week has also been heavily dominated by my current (Google) Squared Online project. Writing a white paper on wearable medical technology takes a huge amount of concentration. Especially when attempting to paraphrase and successfully understand and interpret the rather scientifically worded work of others.