Thursday, October 3, 2013

Week Three - SOC: Finances and Peace of Mind

Country and classical music seem to be my faithful solace. I still regret absentmindedly leaving my iPod in the back compartment of the seat in front of mine on the plane from St. Louis to Newark. What a petty thing to miss among all the other things I have left behind. I don't feel like I've left anything behind, though. Not really. Not when I've never spent more time on Facebook than I do now. I can blame that on the fact that I chose not to get a cheap U.K. mobile phone for my three and a half months here. Does that make me a cheap person? But I feel as though that line is rendered moot when realize I'm living solely on my stipend money. For that reason, I must arrange for my return ticket home to be three weeks earlier than I had originally planned to stay. There's another $300 from the little money I scraped up at the end of my summer delivering pizzas.

Now I think on the kind and generous woman who tipped me so well on two separate occasions. How can I tell myself she is the kind of person I aspire to be if my stream of consciousness runs with thoughts of my lost iPod, or the U.K. phone I haven't bought, or the charge for changing my return ticket back to America in December $...?

I'd like to believe this way of thinking may have arisen from my international roommate, who is studying accountancy and appears to be perpetually budgeting. I wonder if I, too, worry aloud of my own financial situation. What a selfish thing to do. It is only myself for whom I have to provide. And I did the math! If I do leave December 20, that leaves me with about £9.52 a day. If I pay for the cheapest ingredients and all the generic brand foods at Tesco, I'll possibly have enough left toward the end of the semester to head down to see the beautiful library at Trinity College in Dublin. But what about presents for everyone back home? I'm not sure my backpack will be big enough to hold all that, plus the books I bought off Amazon for Contemporary British Literature class. Secretly, I hope all my stuff will not weigh too much going back that I exceed the 50 lb. limit...and have to pay. Oh, this is horrible! I've never felt so concerned with monetary issues. I hope I don't exude this attitude toward expenses to my Irish roommates. Look, a paragraph later, and my thought process is still ridden in materialism.

I can't stop biting my nails - this is the longest I've gone without having nail polish to ward off some of the temptation to do so. I should be reading the book Brick Lane by Monica Ali for one of my modules. The book lay by my feet, shrouded in the unkempt Doctor Who covers I bought for £1 at the charity shop in downtown Coleraine. So far, it's an extremely interesting read. I love the imagery, and the not-so-subtle hints of feminism in the voice. It's going to make my first essay on feminist literary criticism in multicultural fiction quite simple. I really like the lecture for that class - Contemporary British Fiction. Sure he curses every other sentence during lectures, and gives off the vibe that he couldn't care less whether we turn in anything at all during the semester, but I love how real the guy is. There's no bullshit in the way he talks to us or clearly relates to the kinds of things students at our age are experiencing. It's like this is his first and only year teaching, and so he's out to really get to know us as individuals and possibly learn from us a few things. That's what I like about him as a professor, I think. That in his genuine hunger to learn our viewpoints and experiences he has made us students his equals.

I don't know where this post is headed, but it sure has taken awhile to go thus far. Perhaps it is possible to be bad at stream of consciousness. Today another international friend of mine told me that being sick is not made better by constantly stating that you are sick. "You must deny it!" he shouted. I know how strong the mind and willpower can be. I must use it to break my nails from my teeth, pry my eyes from a screen, turn the pages of a good book, and concern myself no more on lavish spending.

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