New bean 2016

How terrible have I been with updating my life?! Well, the past couple of months have been eventful to say the least and all in a good way.

01/16
January saw me volunteering at an organisation called Mousetrap Theatre Projects in London. Here, I supported the work of the relaxed performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Theatre Royal Drury Lane (check out the video and my appearance at 1:14!). I had studied relaxed performances for my dissertation last year and was thrilled to have the opportunity to work on one! MTP were an amazing company and I loved working there so much. It was incredibly inspiring to meet so many people that were passionate about providing theatre to young people and to people with special needs.

Throughout this time I lived in London and so made the most of my time by seeing as many shows as possible. I saw:

  • Amaluna Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall
  • The Mousetrap at St Martin’s Theatre
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Theatre Royal Drury Lane
  • Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre
  • Billy Elliot at Victoria Palace
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the National Theatre
  • Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre

I also did a bit of dating in this time which was fun but a huge learning experience. All in all, January was a fabulous month where I learned a lot about myself. I found that you can meet so many great people but just because it doesn’t work out romantically doesn’t mean you can’t chat at all. However, I have found that often people don’t want just to be friends so this has been a bit of a bummer. 

02/16
In February I started my new job as a bank support worker. Perfect job for me at this point as work is flexible which means I can still travel about a bit… I also got my brother a present to pet aardvarks for his birthday. All in all, February was a chilled month but it was lovely to start a new job and be grounded for a while.

Kieran and aardvarks

03/16
WARSAW. Okay so staying grounded didn’t last long and I got itchy feet. With flights costing £40 and accommodation only £30 or so it was too tempting to resist. On arrival I knew barely anything about Warsaw which was perfect for being very open minded in what it had to offer.

Warsaw Downtown Hostel had everything I love about hostels: it’s small, has events in the evening and has a free breakfast. I met several people on my first night and they were all 6-month backpackers which was incredibly inspiring (especially the one guy that if couldn’t get to his hostel in time would pitch a tent in the middle of nowhere and set up camp for the night). We played Polish scrabble (but English Words – no keeping score as Z was only 2 points), UNO and drank cognac. Perfect start.

On my first full day I went to the Chopin Museum as it would have been blasphemy for a music graduate to not see it. Absolutely LOVED it. It’s so easy for museums to just have his belongings all on display but I really liked how interactive it was (and rightly so). There was a listening room where you could follow scores and listen to his works from different genres. The death room got me the most because it seems there was obsession over death in the 19th century and so placed in this very dark room lay a death mask of Chopin and a lock of his hair. Spooky.

Chopin head and hairChopin's last piano
That evening I met Madeline, originally from California, studying at NYU but doing a year abroad in Berlin. We were staying in the same room and immediately got on (which is a godsend in a hostel room). Bonding over our desire to not eat meat but surrounded by nothing but steak and wild boar we finally found a place that did pirogues and fish (hooray!). Headed back to the hostel and enjoyed the chocolate fountain event at the hostel. The majority of people I had met the night before had moved onto their new destination but one guy was spending his last night of his travelling in Warsaw and wanted to go out to celebrate the end of a fantastic 6 months. So, Madeline and I joined in and we wandered around the Warsaw nightlife drinking vodka along the way.

The second full day Madeline and I went to the Old Town to visit the Royal Palace and eat some Polish food. The Royal Palace had an interesting history which mostly comprised of being built and then destroyed and then built again but then destroyed. It was built once more only to lead to ultimate destruction for it finally to be built again. Beautiful building but oddly deceiving. Before Madeline was to set off her journey to Krakow we had some pirogues. Never had them before but oh my god they were so tasty. 5 x Spinach and feta cheese and 5 x Salmon and Camembert. Had I died and gone to heaven? Not quite. I then covered in all in butter. Now I had reached my peak in food.

Warsaw Old TownWarsaw1
The rest of that day was very chilled. I had been having hiccups on and off for about 12 hours (and for anyone that knows me I was absolutely exhausted). In the evening I went to the common room and met several contestants from the Mr World competition that were just in the hostel. I’m not sure why but it’s hardly one of the questions at the top of my list. (MR WORLD!??!?!)

Final day. I went to the Museum of the history of Polish Jews. Absolutely fascinating and I wish I had had more time to take it all in. I only had 2 hours there but that just simply isn’t enough time to take in the one thousand year span of the exhibition. Nevertheless, I learned a lot and am pleased I was able to go even if it wasn’t enough time.

MOPHAJ
Warsaw was fab but it did occur to me to be a city that is still in recovery from the disasters that have taken place there in the past century. Definitely would love to go to Krakow as everyone I met said it was amazing.

ALSO in March…
So I thought it was about time I brave going back to the city I once lived in for 3 years. Nottingham. A number of things have held me back from visiting and so when I booked the tickets for the trip I was bloody terrified. The Music Society I was a part of, Mussoc, was having the orchestra hold a concert on Sunday 6th March. It was a good a chance as any to see everyone and finally get over myself. And honestly? It was the best timing. I hadn’t made a big deal of my presence and so surprised several people. I wasn’t greeted with a “Oh shit, it’s you” which can only be good!

I did find going back brought the worst and best out of me though. Small artsy departments can be toxic and bitchy places but they can the most wonderful places where you meet so many lovely people.

I also faced somebody that I hadn’t heard from in so long and it was a real pleasure to chat to them again in a more human and normal conversation. I walked away from Nottingham on Monday feeling light like a weight had been taken off my shoulders and all the stress from the year before had all been moved on. Facing your fears is one of the best things you can do. Honestly, my travelling has been somewhat of escapism for me. Copenhagen last year was completely that and while you can do that to your heart’s content at some stage you have to face the stuff that has been holding you back.

 

2016 is shaping up pretty well so far and I’m generally content. Stay tuned for the new adventures coming up!

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