Couch to 5K – Week 1/Day 1

21 Jul

SO! Having swallowed my doubts, got up off my backside, popped on a pair of running shoes and stepped outside of my comfort boundaries, today officially marked the first day of my new drive to get fit and start running~!

I’ve been told all sorts of things about the NHS Couch to 5K programme, and even downloaded the podcasts for it a while back, but felt that it wasn’t for me at the time.

Now that I’ve downloaded the android app (which allows you to use your own music playlist instead of that god awful one on the podcast) I’ve decided to give it another go and see if I can really get myself fit and healthy, at least to a reasonable degree, before September rolls around…

For those of you who don’t know the programme, in the first week, every other day you are expected to start with a 5 minute brisk walk, then alternate between 60 seconds of light jogging and 1min 30 seconds of brisk running, before concluding with another 5 minute brisk walk for a combined total of around 28 minutes of exercise – perfect for those like myself who are ridiculously unfit/recovering from a bout of illness.

Despite the recent hot weather, today was pretty mild and so it wasn’t too bad – during the first 5 minute brisk walk the breeze was pleasantly refreshing without being too cold. However, as I have just moved to a new area I am unfamiliar with the best non-hilly routes and so, in an attempt to avoid any steep inclines I stuck to going up and down a particularly long road near my house (to be honest this made me feel like someone might see me and think I was a stalker of some kind, that I was “surveying the area”, or that I was just plain weird…).

When the announcement for the first run came on I tensed up, anxious as to whether or not I was going to prove to be as unfit as I thought I was, however all turned out to be ok and I managed to get through it with no issue.

A little further down the line and the road started to decline before coming to a point at which there was only one option – I was going to have to run up a steep incline, and that was not going to be fun…

At this point, in my mind all I could think (honestly speaking) was “f**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**kf**k” and began to feel a sense of panic and anxiety rising up again.

Even so I pushed on, focused on one of my favourite songs that was playing at the time and imagined that (as silly as it sounds) I was not running, but dancing to the music – although I wasn’t ACTUALLY dancing, doing this helped me to feel as though I was doing something fun and pleasant, thus I was able to still my anxiety, to relax, and to make it through without stopping.

For those of you out there who are very fit and physically active, it may be hard to understand where I am coming from at this point – all I can say is that it is just a matter of confidence (see previous blog post “Goodbye to the Past; Hello to the Future!” for more details) and learning to become comfortable with a situation or sensations (such as my temples pounding and my skin coming out in red patches) that I am unfamiliar with.

Suffice it to say, I made it through the whole session without stopping and felt extra good about myself after having got home, jumped in the shower, and pampered myself with some nice goodies that were given to me as a gift earlier that day by a friend of the family.

Here’s to Wednesday being just as good!!!

Post-run evaluation: Had a bit of a headache from the blood rushing around my head and was a tad hungry (hadn’t eaten lunch by that point) but felt positive overall and noticably happier!

Lesson of the day: Sometimes it’s not about the big jumps, but the little steps that can make a world of difference.


Goodbye to the past; Hello to the future!

20 Jul

Following my return to the UK in 2011, I found myself in desperate need of a change that could radically improve my life and help me to be the person that I felt I was failing to be: I wanted to get fitter, healthier, stronger, and to be able to stick a proverbial finger up at Ulcerative Colitis (A chronic medical condition that I was diagnosed with in my first week of my first year at University). I wanted to “man up”, to not let myself be defined by my illness, and to fight against all odds to be the best individual I could be and so joining the Sheffield Officer Training Corps seemed to be the much needed impetus for change that I was searching for.

During the Remembrance Day Parade

During the Remembrance Day Parade

While it was exceedingly hard, I loved every single moment of being a trainee officer: from learning how to run long distance (despite the initial anxiety problems I had with running to begin with); to Wednesday night training sessions; to the weekends away consisting of late nights and 6 am wake up calls; to the banter and nights out with the other trainee officers; to the brutal circuit training on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Now, for those of you who know me, I (funnily enough) actually have a distinct aversion to war and fighting on the whole (I’m more of a diplomat/peacekeeping kind of person); however I did appreciate having the opportunity to learn more about the army as well as to learn how to push myself physically in a way and in an environment that ordinarily I would not have had access to.

As time passed I started to build up a new found sense of confidence and felt happier with my life; met and made friends with some of the most amazing, intense and persevering people I have ever known (you know who you are!); both my social life and grades improved significantly; and I truly started to believe that limits only exist if you let them… And then December came and I was subject to a long overdue medical examination…

As it turns out, (although not to my surprise) Ulcerative Colitis is one of the few medical conditions that makes accession into the army (or any army institution for that matter including the OTC) impossible due to its unpredictable nature. Considered as a liability, I had no other choice but to leave.

Although it did not bother me that I could not join the army (for the afore mentioned reason of having an aversion to war as a means to solving conflict) it genuinely killed me inside to think that, no matter how hard I tried, no matter what walls I climbed over, I was always going to be defined by my condition. I was always going to be hindered by it, it was always going to be a problem and I would never be able to be the person I wanted to be.

Now, I am very reluctant to use the “D” word (depression): clinical depression is a chemical problem that remains consistent in the face of good times, as well as bad. The train of thought that I developed shortly after this event did effect some of my decision making over the following years and I openly admit that I did dip in and out of periods of negativity when the chips were really down. However, although I considered the possibilities and discussed matters with my GP, in light of evidence to suggest otherwise, a conclusion was eventually reached that I am not clinically depressed; just going through natural processes of adapting to the changes associated with being diagnosed with my illness, and learning how to balance health with work and studies. Thus, the following is an account of my mindset during those negative periods in particular and it is not reflective of the situation as a whole – generally speaking I’m quite a happy, positive sort of person!

Following my dismissal from the OTC, I threw myself into other projects, societies and work, and although keeping busy did help to get me through some bad times, there were still times when I struggled to maintain a positive outlook and I was unable to meet my true potential.

Unfortunately I reached a particular point of negativity when health problems became significant enough in the final semester of final year to prompt a re-evaluation of my situation, to take a step back, and to repeat the year as a first attempt (by that point I hadn’t yet submitted any work for evaluation or sat any exams which meant I could still stand a chance at getting a 2:1). Although in hindsight this was possibly one of the best decisions I have ever made, at the time all I could think was that, not only was I diseased and “damaged goods” incapable of physically doing great things; I was also completely and utterly useless in terms of cognitive ability.

Then the new year rolled in and, once again, I pushed myself harder than ever before and was doing really well until, once again, following a combination of a further bout of illness, family issues, a breakup, and a nasty set of unfortunate circumstances involving university work (i.e. loosing half my dissertation the day before it was due as a result of a file corruption), I struggled towards the end of the year. During the worse of it I spent my days lying in bed hunched over my dissertation notes, desperately trying to overcome the feelings of inadequacy and the constant niggling thoughts in the back of my head telling me that I was stupid and too dumb to achieve academic success. My appetite all but disappeared, I was downing energy drinks by the litre, no longer did even basic exercise, resisted sleep for as long as my body would allow, and felt constantly sluggish, dizzy and weak. All in all, I was a bit of a mess.

A desperate desire to compensate for everything I felt I was lacking as a result of my illness and my background caused me to overlook how important it was to sometimes take some time to breathe: no matter what bad things happened, I was determined to maintain a stiff upper lip, to “man up”, and to just move straight on given that I felt that I just didn’t have the time to do what I felt was “sitting on my backside, moping about pitifully at home”. This resulted in the complete opposite of what I wanted and I was being far too harsh on myself.

Of course (as I said earlier) not everything was all doom and gloom and I had some of the greatest times of my life during this period of time: I studied in China for a month; worked on two executive committees at University; visited European Parliament in Brussels; stood up and delivered speeches in front of over 1000 people; and tentatively balanced my studies with teaching kids in foster care, waitressing, and working as an events assistant for a short period of time.


chinaworld week ISC

However, despite how things looked on the outside, there were still considerable issues that I had yet to solve internally. What’s more: physically speaking I was horrifically unfit.

Nonetheless and despite all the problems there is a happy ending to this tale:

Not only did I keep trucking and made it through to the other side; I found out on the 11th of July that I will be graduating with a 2:1 on the 25th of July 2014. As small as this achievement might seem in the grand scheme of things, for me this has been a significant enough achievement to once again instill within me the belief that limits only exist if you allow them to.

Challenges are there to be overcome; walls are meant to be climbed, and struggle is the key to long term success – much like when we train the muscles in our body to get stronger through pushing through physical struggle, emotional and mental resistance training causes us to grow stronger and to become more resilient.

Keeping this in mind I have now started to feel proud of my achievements and am confident in my ability to be more than what limitations may try to define me as: I know I can succeed and am no longer afraid of what the future may hold. All that remains  is to get fit and healthy again!

Now, people tend to look at me with one eyebrow raised quizzically when I say I have the fitness level of a wet sloth, and often respond with something along the lines of “Give over! You are too slim to be unhealthy!”. A common problem that people tend to have nowadays is that they mistakenly equate fitness with slimness: Just because someone is slim does NOT mean they are healthy; and just because someone is fat does NOT mean that they are UNhealthy.

On the outside I look slim and healthy but send me out on a light jog (or brisk walk for that matter) and I guarantee that I won’t be able to go more than a couple of minutes (if that) without getting out of breath and breaking out in a considerable sweat. Moreover, I have known people nearly twice my size be able to undertake physically grueling tasks without batting an eyelid while I’m left floundering on my back like a tortoise in the middle of the Sahara.

Something has to change…

Over the next few months, my life is going to go through a series of major changes as I transition from “student bum”, to working in the “real world”.  Especially as I get older, I know I need to take better care of myself and so I have recently joined a local gym to get fit, and (as of today) started the NHS Couch to 5K course to get me back into running.

To chart my experiences and progress over the next few weeks I will be dedicating a series of blog posts to this topic in order to increase my chances of transitioning successfully from wet sloth to “rocking it”, to show what changes can occur when you make a more conscious effort to exercise, and to prove that (whatever your size, shape and weight) what matters most is that you are healthy and happy. I will, of course, also be blogging my other experiences in general in an attempt to inspire not only myself to keep moving forward, to maintain a healthy balance in life, and to not be so hard on myself; but to also inspire anyone else out there who has faced similar struggles.

So, for those of you who are reading this right now (congratulations by the way for getting to this point in the story – I have a tendency to waffle), I invite you to join me on this journey as I blog my experiences in all honesty to show exactly the kind of changes that CAN be made and the kind of challenges that CAN be overcome in order to live a happy, healthy, full, and downright awesome life no matter what. 🙂

Looking forward to a brighter future!

Looking forward to a brighter future!

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got…”

21 Oct


  • TIME: 11.15
  • PLACE: Mah bedroom! S. UK
  • MUSIC: 30 Seconds to Mars, Pendulum, P!nk, Hoobastank, etc (General mix to get me motivated… ^_^;;)
  • MOOD: Feeling reasonably boss.


I’ve noticed in life a certain very interesting and relatively common pattern of human behaviour – People, sick of an aspect of (if not all of) themselves and their lives, proclaim changes they have “put into motion” that (once fully established) will ultimately better their lives and change them into “new” people. They then fail to properly implement afore stipulated changes and just end up reverting to their old selves. Then, after a short interval they try to “get back on track” again. Rinse and repeat.

This pattern of behaviour can go on for years and years and is the equivalent to treading water – It just seems like nobody gets anywhere in life.

Most unfortunately I am also a chronic sufferer of this condition (s’probably the reason why I ended up doing A-levels for 4 years+…).

Every year is the same – “This year, things are going to change.”, “I’m going to make a plan and stick to it, then finally I can start winning at life!!”, “I’m going to achieve X, Y and Z before the end of this year and prove my full potential”, etc etc.

Now i’m at the stage where (when I make such plans) I recognise I have good intentions and that if I DO actually succeed and “pull it off” it WOULD be amazing, but at the same time I can’t help but have this awful sinking feeling. That feeling you have when that little person in the back of your mind is telling you quite succinctly (not to mention bluntly) “once a fuck up, always a fuck up”.

But rather than backing off and sinking into my own little dark corner of the world, defeated and deflated i’ve started to fight back. Because, to be honest, that little person is starting to get on my tits.

It’s like a small child clinging to your leg, rendering you immobile – except it clings to your heart, resides in your chest and squeezes out your motivation and drive rendering you feeling hopeless, useless and like you are unable to do anything constructive for your own sake, let alone that of anyone else’s.

I’d like to point out that I certainly DON’T advocate the abuse of children in the slightest when I say that: if this feeling really was a small child clinging to my leg, I would have no quarms about launching it (full power) the other side of yesterday.

And I am currently training to take that run up…


The selection weekend for the OTC was brilliant except for the fact that I “failed” the risk reduction run – I got 15 minutes when I needed to have got below 14. But still, it wasn’t bad for a first attempt at running – EVER!

The following weekend there was another training weekend scheduled and because I had failed the RRR, I wasn’t allowed to take part in a 3 mile PT exercise session. Although happy at the thought of not having to go through that, I was quite disappointed with my fitness failings having stopped me from being like everyone else – because after all, I don’t just want to be like everyone else, I want to be able to (in some cases because i’m not a total douche) exceed the majority.

Originally we (me and the other folks who had failed) were given the option to do some sort of treasure hunt task, but then we were told that we could retry the RRR – an official re-run (lol) was scheduled for the 4th-5th of Nov during our next trip, so if we failed the non-official one THAT day, we would still be able to wait until the official one to get fit and sorted.

I think I may have physically paled after this was suggested, and if it hadn’t been for my fellow platoon-mate encouraging me to join her in doing it, I would have passed up the offer straight away. Because of a chest infection caught during the week in-between weekends I hadn’t trained at all and so had absolutely no confidence whatsoever in completing the run in any less time than the previous attempt. But, I went along with it anyway, telling myself that it was all going to be ok and that it was an optional thing, that I could just break off and stop if it became too much; while at the same time telling myself to stop being such a wuss and to “man the f**k up” (a common phrase going around it seems).

I got changed, started running and immediately upon completing the first lap wanted to stop. My heart had sunk and my mind had already decided I didn’t have the capability. I just wasn’t good enough.

I spoke out breathlessly “I can’t do this..” and as soon as the words passed my lips and I immediately felt sickened – Sickened by my defeatist attitude; sickened by my lack of fitness; Sickened by my lack of will to succeed; Sickened that I was allowing myself to fail before I had even tried.

The guy running beside us, monitoring us and helping us along yelled back “Yes you can, let’s keep going. S’not that far! You can do this!!” and so I pushed on, more afraid of disappointing everyone ELSE and showing THEM how much of a failure I had already considered myself to be, than anything else.

At one point it was implied that we had got to the end of the run so I pushed really hard to get to where I thought it was… only to find out that actually we had another lap and a half left. I literally stopped dead in my tracks and let out a breathless “WHAAAA?” before starting up slowly again, shoulders slumped from feeling slightly depressed at having fallen behind again, and feet dragging from tiredness.

A little while later it was spotted by a Senior member (that I had been interviewed by during selection) that I was struggling so he jumped in beside us and shouted words of encouragement. Despite all this I DID have to keep stopping and walking a few pace before starting up again. This starting and stopping and overall inability to keep going frustrated me no end which no doubt showed when I came out with “FOR F**KS SAKE!!” rather loudly once or twice towards the end, but the effort made by the men encouraging us was inspiring enough for me to push on to the end.

Finally, I succeeded in completing the course – 30 seconds FASTER than my original time.

Completely exhausted, I lay down on the pavement, upon which time the senior member came over to tell me to get up, extended his hands down to help, and put my hands above my head while I cooled down.

Lobster-red-faced and dripping sweat, I breathlessly offered garbled words of thanks and attempted explanations on how it was just such a strange sensation, and that my mind wasn’t switching off to allow me just to get on with it – I think too much. To which he said  – ‘thinking too much’ out in the field may cost you your life.


I had always viewed running as something only done if necessary and if could be done in a short burst of time – like running for a bus so you are not late for work, or running after a football so nobody else gets it. There was always a specific goal in mind. Running long distances seemed goal-less. I had been blessed with good metabolism thus far and so hadn’t the need to ‘loose a few’, and I wasn’t intent on becoming an athlete or body builder – hell, I practically AVOIDED sports. So when it came to running the 1.5 mile stretch, I just couldn’t focus to DE-focus.

When I run for the bus usually it is kicked off by instinct. I don’t think it, but I FEEL the notion – “SH*T, LATE!! BUS!! MUST GET!!!”. Same with the football – “OMG BALL! GET! WEEEEEE!”. There is no real thought to it.

But running long distance – that results in my mind asking all sorts of stupid questions, like a kid in the back seat of the car going “ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET?”. These questions fire off simultaneously – “Why am I doing this?”, “Are my legs supposed to hurt?”, “Is the blood supposed to pound around my head like this?”, “I feel dizzy”, “Why am I out of breath so much?”, “Why can I not keep up?”, “Are we nearly at the end yet?”, “How far left to go?”, “I don’t wanna do this!”.


I realized that the man was right. I HAD to find some way of shutting down my mind. To just DO.

Because it DOES count, and it DOES matter.

But above all else. I HATE loosing, and I HATE being a loser.

That kid in the back seat was going to have to learn to shut the f**k up.


Yesterday evening I briskly walked up the road to a large church near where I live. I had roughly calculated that 5-6 laps along the roads around the church would total 1.5 miles.

Stuck my earphones in, stuck on a running podcast I had downloaded to help get me motivated, and proceeded to jog around the church for 90 seconds as directed. Then 90 seconds brisk walking. Then 3 minutes jogging.

I had to stop half way through the latter as the questions had fired up again – I kept wondering when the 3 minutes was going to be up and this made things much harder. I needed to de-focus and just learn to enjoy the running – thinking that we are doing something we HAVE to do will usually result is less productivity than thinking that we are doing something that we ENJOY doing and WANT to do.

I remembered a good friend had told me earlier that day (after I asked him what sort of mindset I should get into when running) that I should just hate EVERYTHING. Hate myself, hate the world, hate anything and everything – this hate should then be used as fuel to keep going and to really push the self.

Another article I had read stated that you should imagine that you are on a rollercoaster when running – that feeling of lightness, fastness, like you are flying through the air, and the elation that accompanies it.

I had also noticed that jogging at a deliberately slow pace made me feel more heavy and tired.

So, I stuck on some of my favourite, angry yet melodic and inspiring songs full blast, and started again.

I pounded the pavement 3 sides around the church, then briskly walked the 4th before starting again, all along keeping my back straight, head up, and gaze focused up to the sky. I de-focused my eyes enough so I wasn’t aware of anything but my intended path and oncoming traffic/persons, and focused on the melodies, rhythms and lyrics being played into my ears.

It worked. I ran at my own pace and allowed myself to feel light – as if on that rollercoaster. I felt good and found myself smiling.

By the end of it I was so happy I ran the way home, bounding over curbs along the way with childish glee.

I got home, out of breath and red faced but happy, and I realized that I was beginning to learn to enjoy the sensations I had previously found uncomfortable and “odd”.

I was starting to win.


I recognise that it is such a small thing, and my bewilderment at this ‘task’ is comical to say the least. But isn’t that the case for everything we set out to do for the first time?

Things we have never done before will always be novel and new. They will always befuddle us and inevitably make us look like idiots.

This is one of those things for me. I feel a bit like a kid who has just touched snow for the very first time and doesn’t know what to make of the new sensations being felt as a result.

As adults, most people quit when they feel this way – it is a shock to the system and uncomfortable, like learning a new instrument, language or even trying a new sort of cuisine.


But I haven’t quit before when faced with something new and strange. I’ve always kept going, and so i’m not about to give up this time, because my philosophy in life is this:

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got…”

I don’t want what I always got.

I want better.


5 Oct
  • TIME: 21:04
  • PLACE: Mah bedroom! Sheff. UK
  • MUSIC: Evanescence, “End of the dream”
  • MOOD: High on life (and possibly orange juice too).



There comes a time in life where you realize that not only do you WANT to be more, but that you are actually capable of SO much more if you just take a chance, jump in with both feet, and just TRY.

Then, with the right amount of determination and application of the self, you CAN get there. You CAN be more.

After all: What is the point in living a life only half-lived?


I’m now into my second week of classes and so far so good – I decided to take “International Relations in East Asia”, “Japanese Contemporary Society”, and “Music Culture in East Asia” this semester, and all of them are pretty awesome modules!

Violin lessons are also going well, but I have had to REgress in order to PROgress: I have had to take a step back and start from grade 1 again as I haven’t played since I was around 13/14 years old, and have forgotten an awful lot. However, I am taking it all in my stride and reveling in being able to actually pick the damn thing up again without flinching!!! (Long story short – I used to be terrified of the strings snapping, particularly given that I have to hold the instrument so close to my face when playing…)

Started teaching English part time to earn some pocket moneyz: two adorable little Korean girls who speak with the most charming Yorkshire accents, and whose Mother supplies me with tasty Korean snacks! (^-^)

I also decided to join the OTC (Officer Training Corps). And this has to have been one of the best decisions I have made in a long time.


In signing up and getting stuck in there, not only will I meet like-minded people from a diverse range of departments at both universities in my area, have masses of fun, and learn new and hugely valuable skills, I will also learn how to push myself to be better than I have ever been. Possibly even better than I thought I could be.

If Korea taught me anything, it taught me the importance in getting up off one’s arse, getting out there and doing stuff. Becoming better. Striving for more. ACHIEVING more.

I think that for most of my life I thought I was only capable of achieving up to the parameters supposedly fixed by my background and immediate surroundings. That ‘better’ was a bit of a myth – an ideal that could never really be achieved. Or simply, that how I was living was ‘good enough’. But for the most part I think that I was just scared. Scared of advancing beyond my family and peers and creating an unbridgable gap between us as a result.

Now, however, I see that I can do so much more and i’m not scared of trying anymore. I CAN become the person i’ve always dreamed of being.


It will, of course, take time and it will, of course, be hard hard HARD work. But I know in the end it will be worth it, and I know that I have the determination to see it through.


Amazing people, Epic times! ❤

So far I have met and made friends with some really amazing people in the OTC through attending a ‘Freshers Cocktails’ event last Tuesday, as well as participating in a sort of group challenge/orienteering event on Saturday – during which I was subjected to lots of forfeits by existing members such as having to scoff cold Paella in 25 seconds, have a mustache drawn on me in permanent marker and having to plank in a fountain for 10 seconds!!! (It was AMAZING fun!!!!)

Planking in the fountain - I am far left behind the kiddy. That water was rather shockingly cold but I soon dried off because it was a rather hot day!

Just because we are at university doesn't mean we have to be all grown up and boring and all that rubbish!!!! EARLY LEARNING CENTRE FTW!!!!

I'M ON A BOAT!!! Ye~ah boi!!! Like a BAWSS!!!

Today I went for kit fitting and to find out what group (‘colour’) I am in.

Tomorrow I will be attending our first formal meeting, and will learn more about what to expect from participating as well as what will be expected of me.

Then, this weekend I will be going away for ‘Selection Weekend’ and will have to run a mile and a half in under 14 minutes.

Those who know me, know how horribly HORRIBLY unfit I am and so will probably getting a good old chortle out of this. HOWEVER CHORTLE NOT!!!! – I am making huge efforts to get into shape (even if only just a tiny bit more before the weekend) so that I can do this. (YEHH BOI~!!!)


SO yeh. Pre-tty busy right now with all of that AND my N2 study. *deep sigh*

But again. S’gonna totally be worth it WHEN i’ve pulled it all off and got to the stage of just generally WINNING AT LIFE!!!! (NO MORE IFS!!! I CAN DO IT!!! RAWR!!!! and such.)


No photo collection would be complete without an epic jump pic!!!! YEH!!! SHEFFIEEEEEEEELD!!!!!!

Reaching for the stars and beyond!!!!

19 Sep

I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer…


I have come to notice that as people get older, they seem to stop dreaming, and even in some cases insist that others do too. Dreams appear to have taken a back seat (or are thrown out all together) and people deal with them in a sort of melancholic or “mmmeh-nonchalant-shrug” sort of fashion.

To most people, dreams just ‘are’: They are just dreams. Nothing more.

Dreams just come and go; fade out or be reignited for a brief moment of time from time to time; are achieved inadvertently or remain part of that todo pile that accumulates as life goes on.

Even in those cases in which some people -do- have a dream or two of some sort, most of the time they dismiss them and regard them as being out of one’s league.

However, what a lot of people seem to fail to realize is that it really doesn’t matter if what you are reaching for is too high, as long as you are still reaching for something. Something that inspires you to work hard, to enjoy life and to LIVE. Something that gives your life sparkle, meaning and importance…


Since coming back to England I have found myself deliberating on the topic of “what next?”.

I’m a big “what next?” kind of thinker. Always have been. Probably always will be.

“What comes next?”, “What should I aim for beyond what I am doing now?”, “What is within my reach?” or at the very least “What is reasonably feasable for me to attempt?”, “What will make my life awesome in the future?” – these are the questions floating about the insides of my crainium on a daily basis, just mostly as background noise and not at the forefront 24/7.

In my first years of high school it was what GCSE’s I would take and what college I would go to, what A-levels I should take, as well as what kind of prom dress I would have come graduation.

When that time came, it was what university I would attend and what I would study.

Now i’m at university and in my 2nd of 4 years, it is all about what Masters I want to do, where and when – maybe even what PHD I want to do (Because the thought of someday becoming “Dr Kass” is sounding more and more epic the more I think about it!).

Moreover, from day dot i’ve been through redicuous amounts of ‘phases’ of “What I want to be when I grow up!”: From “Vet” to “Singer” to “Animator”. Then from “Translator” to “Actress” to “East Asian Art specialist” to “Member of the UN”.

It never stops.

But I suppose that’s just called adapting to life and developing as a person – you never know what is around the corner. Plans change. But even if they do, and even you divert from the original path you intended to take, life is still exciting.

What I have discovered so far is that life cannot be planned out and excecuted as per instruction – Life likes to throw a spanner in the works from time to time to jazz things up, keep us on our toes and test our willingness to truck on.

I’ve faced a lot of bumps in the road and been thrown a fair few spanners but things are not always supposed to go the way we plan; sometimes you don’t get what you really wanted initially; but sometimes it is the throw down that makes you pick yourself up, try harder, and achieve more; and sometimes you might end up with much better than you had originally hoped for…

Back in the land of pork pies and cups of tea!

18 Sep

Been back home for around 2-3 weeks now. My sense of time has been lost in a haze of bakedbeans-on-toast diets, crazy reunions with old friends and family, and then finally the big ol’ move up’norf bac’ t’Sheffield!). Currently residing in new (but not shiney) accomodation and have ALL my stuff with me as my parents were all like “We are (translation – might at some point in the next century) moving house and so get your stuff and GTFO!!!”. *chuckles and waves to family* LOVE YOUR FACES!!!!!!
SO, thats about all I can report FOR NOW. A -BIG- post on a summary of my time in Korea is needed as well as an update on my status in life in general – but i’m a bit of a lazy SOB so that will be done later.


30 Jul

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been finding it hard not to sweat like a pig everytime I move an inch – the humidity here is unreal and I don’t remember Tokyo having ever been this bad and Tokyo is supposed to be worse than Seoul!!! The humidity is also causing my whole body to itch like crazy. But just when I felt like I was going to go insane from the constant river of sweat my body seems to want to emit from it (making me look like some horrid sweaty foreign beast), the itchiness and the annoying red lumps caused by Mosquitos feasting on my flesh as it slow roasts like samgyupsal on a Friday night, I heard for the first time all summer the unmistakable shrill drone of a cicada from outside my window and smiled.
For me those little buggers (Known as ‘Semi’ in Japan and ‘Memi’ in Korea) are symbolic of the summer and since my year in Japan, no summer has been complete without being deafened by them everytime I walk out the front door. It makes me remember the time I asked a Japanese colleague of mine why people hated them so much:
“Why do people hate cicadas in Japan so much? Do they sting or bite?”
“Then do they destroy crops or wood?”
“…So what do they do that is so annoying (apart from the noise)?”
“They piss on you. They piss on you when you walk under them and then they run away.”

Good Memories.