Bring it Back – Returning to reality and pseudo-adulthood

Day Twenty-Seven. Kreutzberg. Song of the moment: “Only the Strong Survive” by McFly. Level of saddness on a scale from one to ten: seven and a half.

Before I say anything else, I have to say this: I am so grateful for the wonderful and talented Ed Sheeran. After an Ed-less 2016, seeing this tweet fired me up like no other. “Shape of You” is the jammest of the jams. “Castle on the Hill” has me in tears every time I listen to it, and it reminds me so much of England. With these songs (and the track list!! Major heart eye emojis about it) on repeat, I was ready to take on my first day back at Cal Poly.

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The “study” part of “study abroad” is used very loosely. Yes, I went to class, and yes I had a few papers to write, but the schooling itself was nowhere near the kind of stuff I was doing at Cal Poly: late nights in the library, middle of the night SloDoCo runs, coffee for days. Abroad it was more: museums trips as class, let me write this paper in an hour, no schoolwork on the weekends because I was traveling. And I still did well in my classes.

In short, going back to the fast-paced quarter system was going to be a rude awakening. Lucky for me, I have a spooky set of friends to get me through it.

Cue the badass, early 2000s girl power band intro music for the infamous Frat Rats’ first weekend back together. I am incredibly happy to be living with Tori, Kristin, and Mads this year. They got me through the rollercoaster that was sophomore year. Mad Dog was the real MVP whenever I got upset while I was in England. Now we live together in our cute little apartment (though it is rather cluttered at the moment) and are ready to re-establish ourselves in the Cal Poly social scene–fur included.

And in even luckier circumstances, most of the Abroad Squad happens to be here, as well. I missed them every day that I was home, and I cannot wait to be reunited with them–and with Jaci in spirit. Very thankful that I have them.

This first week back in real school was a bit of a whirlwind. This quarter, I thankfully got enrolled into all of the classes I wanted–no waitlist for me! Not having to worry about whether or not I was going to be in any of my classes was a sweet moment. It was made even sweeter when Tori walked into my astronomy class. I have a roomie to get me through it. I have a friend in my history class (about the witch hunts in Europe–so stoked), and I know a few people in my english class (small majors for the win). I don’t really know anyone in my fiction writing class, but at the rate I have been making sassy side comments, I will be okay. Plus, I have a new gym routine. Monday: Zumba, Tuesday: Barre, Wednesday: Spin, Thursday: free day, Friday: Spin. All of these are work-permitting, of course, since I am back at the lovely little lingerie store Victoria’s Secret.

I know, I know, I am setting high standards for myself, but I don’t think I have ever been this motivated. I always start the quarter and tell myself all of the great things I will do over the next ten weeks, but I never follow through. I don’t even really get close enough to make a dent in these resolutions. But this quarter, I have gym buddies that will make sure I go, study buddies for my classes, and good friends to keep me sane.

Setting these bars is right on track with all those “New Year, New Me” mantras. While that wasn’t really my intention, I guess it makes sense to follow that kind of path–and stick to it. Because, coincidentally to the new year, I truly have become a new person over the last few months. Bet you can’t guess why!

I am ready to take this new and improved Ashley and throw her back into SLO. One week down, and I think she is doing pretty well! I am happy and thriving. I miss London every day, and whenever someone asks me if I am happy to be back, I reply with a simple, “No.” It kind of takes people aback. Yes, it is good to be back, but I long for my London days. It snowed there a few days ago, and I cried. But I am determined to get into a good groove here and shed minimal tears about my wonderful abroad experience. So far, so good.

The Frat Rats made their big debut into the new year this weekend. We are back in action! Starting off with a bang, we went to a Disney-themed party as the Cheetah Girls. Fur and animal print is very in for us. Tori and I went on a hike to Serenity Swing the next morning with Alex and one of her friends. It was not easy. I mean, it was okay for the ninety percent of the way up, but the last ten percent really was a challenge. We were basically perpendicular to ground, and I wish I could say I am exaggerating. But the view? WORTH IT! And the descent was much better. I did ruin my shoes a little bit, but like I said, it was worth it.

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And with all that fun comes serious stuff, too, I promise. I am getting down to business with my schoolwork and whatnot. I am writing my papers for my abroad finals (yup, their term isn’t over until next month so I still have homework) and reading for my english and history classes. I am cooking more, rather than snacking or going out, so that’s exciting. And I have been writing a lot lately.

All good things, all good things. Yes, my level of saddness about London is still close to ten, but I am also very happy to be back in the happiness city in America.

Ash

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