Mini adventure!

So here I am, after my first lecture about the elements of narrative by a guy who clearly wanted to establish boundaries in his first class: ” You can fight me but you’d be fighting Aristotle. You’d be wrong.” Ok, a little bee in bonnet… but he’s seems nice enough and he can laugh at himself. Very important and made me less cynical about him.

I’m writing this during what is supposed to be the ” Writing Lab.”  The actual physical lab is a dinghy room without any distractions; the conceptual lab is us students writing for three hours. Anywhere and attendance optional.  As we have no assignments as yet, group A has gone home. Presumably to write the preliminary out-lines of their fantastic screenplays. Or possibly to roam the city, only to last-minute panic about it next week, no doubt.

Why am I telling you this and not roaming the city with fellow A’s?  Two reasons: Firstly I’m meeting up with a friend of a friend later on today and I wanted to drop my stuff off now I had the chance.

Secondly, the people I like hanging out with were either in group B who have class in the afternoon or trying to find a place to have lunch with group B which resulted in undecided lingering outside a cafe because the group was too big to go in.

Had I in a previous life happily lingered with them, it now just told me to go home drop the heavy stuff; repack and go old-school with an actual paper notebook and  pen and find a place to write. Preferably with coffee.

This is a little hard, because I like hanging out with people. Especially when you just get to know a group: everybody is in the same boat, all having fun. Been there, done that and got several T-shirts. This time around  I want to keep an eye on the reason why I am here: to write.  ( The first night in the pub, reminded me of my month in France to learn French: I made friends for life – but I still do not speak French.)

Of course I don’t intend to become a complete recluse that would be dumb, a waste of time and worse: earth-shatteringly boring for this blog. It’s just that I’ve discovered I am happy to walk my own way again. If it happens to be where others are heading, that’s good, if not – well I guess I’ll see them in class.

This might not be new to you but to me it is a revelation: to have refound this confident that I can choose to walk the streets of a metropolitan city on my own.

On that note: time to grab my stuff and go for a walk to find inspiration and some coffee. Let’s go on an adventure!

Roll on Enrolment

Survived day one! Managed to find my way to school and bought a coffee with the card the lovely Cat gave me in London!

Got to there early, obviously, registered with all the international students which took all about 15 min before getting kicked out and told to come back in a couple of hours for international orientation.

I ended up hanging out with a baby-faced guy from Venezuela and a lovely Brazilian princess. The guy might have regretted his choice of company as we were both not into music and both had graduated over two years ago. But we bravely soldiered on through the niceties and luckily the sun was out so we spent some time on the Union Square benches.

International Orientation basically meant: Don’t make a move until you check with the International Office. Don’t go abroad ( Canada/ Mexico) without a signature, don’t plead guilty without an immigration attorney, don’t jump of rooftops high as a kite before you’ve checked with the international office how this is going to affect your immigration status or health insurance.

Then we moved on to the regular orientation: screenwriting, filmmaking and screen acting were all put in one room. We all had to introduce ourselves. Nobody paid attention. So we all had to do this again when it was just us screenwriters.

It’s a medium-sized group that is then split in two groups for most of the course, though you have some ‘screenwriting labs’ together. Sounds good? Well it basically means you can use the screenwriting room or sit in Starbucks. Uh-oh… Especially because we aren’t based at the cool Union Square but even cooler Soho with more shops. Leave the credit cards at home ladies.

We have a few more girls than guys I think, which is good because we are the future after all. Americans/ International: Internationals win hands down. Not a lot of Americans, still I distinctively remember one. An older guy, who served in ‘Nam. Yeah. He’s exactly as he sounds. He is also in my group. Sigh.

Can’t win them all I guess, Brazilian princess and Baby face are also in my group – which is cool. Not too surprising, the Londoners were the first people to suggest a drink and we ended up in a bar sharing our first pitchers of beer together. Note: all internationals, no Americans that joined. Hmm can we see a pattern developing already?

Let’s remember that beer is calorific, but managed to stick to my two drink rule (ok, two and a half but as they said, it was Bud so it doesn’t really count.) and I have found a lovely Mexican lady who lives in the room opposite me and we went home together on the subway together. There, security checked us but also introduced themselves for the first time, so Ray and Jeffrey are here to help us in times of need. Grand.

That was my day really: got an evening class tomorrow, normal classes for the rest and a Saturday morning class this week and the week after next.

So here we are: I made it to school, I met people, I had a beer with them and I managed to get home safely.  Day one: Tick!

The Eagle has landed

Disclaimer: as I am writing this to fight off the sleep I would hereby like to apologise for all the nonsense that might come out. Already.

Firstly I would like to thank you all for your lovely message of support and your interest in my travels.  My top three of advice by you guys looks something like this:

1. Have fun and enjoy the course.

2. Eat loads of food and make photographs. ( still in debate whether pictures  in general or pictures of food are meant.)

3. Don’t marry a Yank. ( speaks for itself.)

To give you some indication of how unprepared I was, the residence that I was dreading is actually ok. It’s located ten minutes from Central Park ( what the taxi driver tried to point out to me for extra “Mr Guide”-points; unfortunately his ability of English, a plastic screen and my jet-lag made the conversation a lot longer than it needed to be.)

My room has a fridge ( after 3 months of sharing half shelf this is a bit amazing.) a sink, a desk and a bed. Also a bit amazing,  having slept in my sister’s room on an airbed, I haven’t slept in an actual bed for about two months.

Apparently there is a common room, a kitchen and a laundrette somewhere – tonight is not the night they will be found. Some weirdo already knocked on my door, I guess he got the room wrong: the doors do all look the same. Apart from the numbers by them obviously.

I got a sympathetic nod from the doorman as I struggled with my suitcase, the door and then my name. There are shops about five minutes away from the place and I am running low on water but I just cannot move again tonight.

The rest of my 2 hours will be filled by reading the guidebook to see what’s around and to see what I can do with a Sunday morning before I meet a friend of a friend for (no doubt more) coffee.

Excited is not the right word for now, but content and calm is something I settle for. So day one and tonight this sleepy lady signs off from the city that doesn’t sleep.

Two More Sleeps…

Sometimes I wish I was Charlie Sheen: born ready and winning. Only two nights to go before I leave and I feel neither ready or winning.

This week I’ve been tying up loose ends and making myself feel nervous about this endeavour. It’s the contradiction in me: wanting to go on a little adventure but also wanting to have the stability.  The other day I did a handwriting test – yeah lots of time on my hands – it said I was spontaneous and I liked having things planned. If I had paid the $49.99 I’m sure I would have found out loads of other interesting things about my personality but this really summed it up.

It doesn’t help that I am willing/hoping that the next stepping stone will pop up in the next few months. I have no plans for May and as exhilarating as it is – it’s also very scary. What if this is all a big mistake? I turn up, I have nothing to add, everyone will know everything and I may as well pack up and go home. Those are my fears, my thoughts that literally make me feel sick.

Someone said to me: ” You have moved country before, this is only for two months and it’s not going to be different!”  It will be different: when I emigrated I was 17 and invincible – now I can spot potential dangers from 300 miles off. That is what an extra near-decade of life does to you. Plus, every time I have done something similar I have felt nervous; often because the outcome of my travels/ courses were not as predicted. Why? Probably because I set my standards stupidly high and if/when I do meet them, I promptly move the goalposts. I know I do this. That is what an extra near-decade of life does to you too.

So yes, it will have to be different this time: in the four hours (!) that it has taken me to write this piece, I have decided it is time to break the boring cycle. Time to let go of the self-deprecation, the feeling guilty and the self-sabotaging.

I can do anything. I am woman. Watch me grow.