Wednesday, 26 October 2016

A Year In Norwich: A Week in the Life (UEA) III

Here are my last Tuesday and Wednesday... they're not as immediate as the others were but I think I've remembered most things! 

Tuesday, 18th October 

I don't get to uni until about 12 noon today, but since I will have to be on camps til about 9pm I feel this is OK. The morning is a rush as I am keen to get going but oversleep. I end up spilling some coffee on my bed and hoping it doesn't stain too permanently. This sets a precedent for the day. I get the bus to Uni and manage to get my printing done at the library - at last. I read my medieval gender and sexuality literature for a few hours, during which I am sent a text informing me I've been rota'd in to work at a pub I've done a couple of shifts for at 5pm. I won't be there, as I'm working my calling job from 6-9pm. And also, said pub may or may not be the pace beer goes to die.

All this, coupled with the fact that in attempting the simple feat of crossing one leg over the other, I tear a ladder in my tights, prompts minor library breakdown. The library breakdown is interesting in that of course, you have to be very quiet. Heavy breathing sometimes permitted. Head in hands. But absolutely no crying. I get over it in a matter of moments, enough at least to read more medieval literature.

I nip out to take a break and when I'm back I move on totally to work on my dissertation instead - it's nice that I love both of my academic focuses at the moment so can alternate when it all gets too much. I find several new exciting sources and this cheers me up. I then decide to watch some vidoes online about the campaign I'm going to be calling about today. Come 5.30 when we all meet for tea and biscuits before the calling shift, I do not feel any more prepared.

The shift goes well. it's most people's first time so we're all a bit nervous but this dissipates as predicted after the first dozen or so answer machines. I speak to maybe four people properly in three hours and am flustered but they are kind. I just need to remember to follow the script, a necessity which I struggle with somewhat.

After my calling job I go home, noting how cold it gets now after 9pm, and finally get to chill out somewhat and enjoy life, and contemplate the fact that work/academic/society/social/love/sex lives are going to have to be neatly timetabled and colour-coordinated from now on, or else something will have to give.

Wednesday, 19th October 

I feel a lot more relaxed today. I get up at about ten, shower and then clean down the bathroom because our house will be inspected by the landlord today or tomorrow and my housemates cleaned everywhere else last night. I quickly gather my materials together for the workshop I'm running in the Hive I need to be on campus before noon to secure a table because delays with forms and the union mean one mightn't have been booked. I arrive, grab a coffee and panini from the café and commandeer a table which is promptly filled with people working on a group project of some sort or another. I use my limited artistic ability to make signs for the workshop: it's a zine-making session based around Asexuality and Aromanticism. I am straight, romantically and sexually, so am not an expert on this, but I know my way around a zine and have run lots of workshops before so this shouldn't be a problem. Also, to use a common privileged phrase: actually, I have friends who are Ace/Aro. at 12, I'm joined by Eliott and the lovely Juliet and Sharmin, who commandeer a proper table (and chairs, if you don't mind) for me and help to set it up with pride flags, flyers for the week and flyers for UEA Pride. It's a slow start, but I use the time to think about things like equality and diversity training and how best to put together this publication. We decide on twelve pages and I get everyone to make a nameplate, with their preferred pronouns and also why they are interested in coming to the workshop. from this, we gather some ideas. The centre spread is a series of hearts upon which we write about what we love in non sexual or romantic ways. Mine reads: "I don't know if I'll ever love anyone as much as my mum." It's a constant worry of mine.

As the workshop progresses, around seven people show up. Some are from Pride, some from Egg Box publishing, and some who are just interested in what's going on. It's a good number to work with. I make the cover, Amelia (my former flatmate who first introduced me to asexuality as a thing) makes some maps to show the spectrums (spectri??), and people submit pieces about how they were first aware of Asexuality or Aromanticism. We also make a back cover and by the end of the workshop have about 8 pages sorted out. I'll finish it at the weekend.

I find out from Abi that the landlord has indeed come round, looked round the house, set a timer so the heating is on for ten hours a day - ridiculously hot when I get home - and left.

I'm meant to meet my friend Kat at 3pm to talk about our medieval literature reading but instead I push this back an hour and go to get some food with Eliott. It's the first time we've sat down together properly since the summer holidays so there's a lot to catch up on and it's much needed. we reassure each other over left-behind coursework and he tells me not to panic too much about my dissertation, as I will inevitably end up with some days of zero productivity followed by huge bursts. These are wise words indeed.

It's about 3.45 by the time Kat and I get together to discuss such raunchy verses as "I have a gentle cock" and a story on "the meaning of marriage" about a medieval priest who decides the only way to spice up a woman's marriage is to have sex with her himself. Obviously. Afterwards, I pop to the library, message my sisters-in-law and look up some more information about the call campaign, which I still somehow don't feel versed in. At 5.30, I head over to start my shift with some tea and biscuits.

Today goes slightly better than the previous day, I'm more in the swing of things and am having much longer conversations with people who are both interesting and interested. However I feel more rehearsal is needed and I need to memorise some more information on the campaign. I just need a bit more practise . I talk to some people who've done or gone on to do similar things to me, and they seem really happy to give advice and chat. Nobody, however, can afford to donate as many are students or have just graduated. All the rich people are out earning their money, it seems.

I finish at nine again, chat with a new friend on the way home, and make a curry using quorn instead of chicken. It is not the worst. I then catch up on the Bake Off with Sam, put on my electric blanket and sit in bed to write about the last two days, which I now realise have become a little muddled in my head...

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