I always start by saying "So now I'm properly back in London. Except for...".
But this time there's no but (but for the three in this sentence anyway). Sure there's plenty of ever present possibilities: Brighton tempts easily, as do Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Edinburgh, Passau, Prague, Athens, Nairobi, Singapore...
I think that I should take the opportunity though, while I don't have concrete plans to distract me, to re-settle. And to make some decisions. Although I've been back in London since the beginning of August it doesn't really feel like it, because I keep wandering off.
I do love London. I love quirky Southbank events and (sometimes free!) Bookslams and random weekend festivals and Soho and great gigs and hanging out in wicked pubs and free baklava in shisha cafes and being silly on the tube and reasonably priced theatre and wandering around Covent Garden and peaceful walks in the 'burbs and Notting Hill and cute cafes and free comedy events and stalking Russell Howard and Camden and house parties and the sofas in the foyer of the Royal Opera House and Brick Lane and the Taste of London card and amazing pizza and Orange Wednesdays and awesome pop punk nights and bowling and activism and and and.
The best thing, of course, has been getting to see and catch up with people. Spending time with family and friends wherever and however.
On the other hand, it rains a lot here. And it's cold in winter. And then I get ill. Which is actually the cycle of annoyance that led to me wanting to leave in the first place. Funny how I forgot that until I started needing to remember my umbrella again.
And I'm not sure that I have enough of a reason to stay in London. Sure, I enjoy myself here. But I enjoyed, and could imagine living in, Seoul, Tokyo, Yunnan, Phnom Penh, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Johannesburg, Brighton, Prague, Paris...
I also think that the experience of upping sticks and moving to Seoul, and the fact that it wasn't ever too difficult, makes the idea of moving again seem pretty accessible. And travelling around Asia doing really stupid things like driving motorbikes into fences and so forth, might even put the trials and tribulations of visa applications into perspective. Or at least I can distract myself from wanting to stab bureaucrats by looking at my scars.
I'm certainly not set on vamoosing. I've applied for the Civil Service Fast Stream (though not with the best application ever I'll admit: I didn't really realise just how much maths-ing was required) and am in the midst of applying for a parliamentary internship, which is frankly mildly terrifying. Overall, asides from the stark realisation that maybe I shoulda studied politics instead of this anthropology tomfoolery, I'm just not prepared to put up with the downsides of London (crappy weather; long commutes; high cost; stressiness) for something I don't care about. If I'm invested and passionate all those seemingly solid problems just...melt into air.
My aim for 2010-2011 is to do a Masters, which sounds wonderful and definitive...except that I've in no way narrowed down what exactly I want to do. I'm kind of torn between the academic and practical routes.
I really enjoy anthropology. Unlike some of the friends I made on the course, anthropology was my first choice for my degree. I like the way that studying anthropology has shaped my viewpoints, even if it does sometimes frustrate me, and I think I enjoy academics for the sake of academics. Writing essays is actually pretty fun. (Although not as fun as exams, natch.) So I'm certainly tempted by that option. I think if I was going to pursue anthropology in the UK I'd want to be at SOAS (the Anthropology of Media course appeals particularly), and like pretty much every SOAS student ever I've got a bit of a love-hate relationship with the place, which makes me balk a bit at the idea. Another key problem is that Lola Martinez doesn't seem to be teaching any courses I haven't already taken, not that the SOAS site is necessarily the best source of anything other than a guide in how not to design a website. UCL does also have some interesting looking ones, although I'm a little bit perturbed by these three letters: MSc. Better stick to the Visual Culture shiz. I can certainly apply for anthropology MAs (or even, shudder, MScs) outside of this country too.
I was also considering the Creative Writing and Authorship MA at Sussex. I love writing (though you might not guess so from the staccato sentences/run on rambling and general nonsense I'm producing right now), and whenever I start to feel jealous of people who have a singular passion and a clear path I guess I fall back on the knowledge that at least writing is a "thing". (See? I'm hella articulate. Stuff and things; things and stuff, yo.) But if I do want to study writing it doesn't need to be in a degree course, there's plenty of other options. The thing that really appealed to me about the course, and what shout have been the tip-off, was the 'Authorship' component. I clearly just want to write about authorship and fanfiction from an anthropological viewpoint, and there's probably no point dragging a Creative Writing Masters into the mix.
I don't necessarily have to follow the ivory tower route though. In terms of the practical side I'm definitely considering Librarianship-
I was also considering the GDL and LPC route; my somewhat dormant interest in law has been piqued again in recent months. And who likes arguing more than moi, goshdarnit? Most people I've spoken to about it seem to think it's Not A Very Good Plan however, which makes me feel a bit reticent about it. At least it's practical though!
I was thinking about doing a TEFL in the next few months perhaps. I definitely have an interest in English teaching, both for its own sake and for the opportunities to travel and experience different things that it can afford. Seems way farking harder than it needs to be though. Sigh.
Right now I'm itching to do something practical; something real. And not just playing with the binding and franking machines (much as I love them). I spent today dressing dolls, which is a pretty good job as far as things go. I've taken over the role of painter and oddjobwoman at mine- I can't see the point of my parents paying someone to do something I'd happily do. Paint is fun! I love screwdrivers! In lieu of having guns I can clean, it'll have to do. For now.