Reminiscing on the Past and a Brief Quip on the Present

To you,

Have been going through some rough ‘n’ tough days as of late. Nothing arduous, but quite tiresome nonetheless. Over the past couple of weeks I think I’ve stressed myself into a sniffly cold, and so for the past two days I have spent my hours sitting, laying, sprawled out in bed – I swear, you cannot overestimate the comforting powers of a cheapy duvet from Argos. Such are the luxuries in my life – a cheapy duvet from Argos.

Anyways, I have spent my evening contemplating that which has required thought, and after exhausting myself over those matters I decided to watch an episode of Sherlock Holmes thinking that I would fall asleep peacefully to it. Now, anyone who has fallen victim to BBC’s series of the amusing detective can probably agree that such a thought was rather silly and naive, as I spent a good hour and a half with my eyes wide open and with a little smirk on my face – the smart-aleck dialogue, the camera work artistically portraying London, the wit of the detective’s character, the intelligence of classic English mystery. And so it is now a little past 11 o’clock at night and I sit typing and sniffling rather than sleeping and dreaming.

I think over the past few days, or perhaps more than that, I have come to realize how my little moments of ease and comfort are found most in the vintage; the ‘old-school’; the overlooked character of the past. I have been rather caught up in old french music from the 1960’s, movies portrayed in old London, books retelling the ways of past. At my most comfortable, I adore the old ways that are not even that old – things I grew up with and are now so far forgotten with the quarterly updates of new gadgets and devices. Don’t get me wrong – I love my Macbook. I love my iPod. And clearly, I don’t mind internet accessibility. But I miss letters and cards, and short random phone calls, and tea sets, and old romance and storytelling. I remember my dolls, and action figures, and receiving books with those decadent gold-leafed pages and linen covers, and I remember the slight bit of magic I found in all of those things that, now, technology provides on behalf of your imagination. I am all about modernization and progression, but in regards to my previous post on the simpler ways of life, I miss the simple romance of my past. It’s funny, because as little kids we at times play house, imagine romance when we’re older (at least this was the case for me), and yet we can never imagine how the world is going to change so drastically from the times of our dreams to the world when we encounter the actuality of it all – I think socially, we progress for the good; however, romantically we lose our patience.

[WARNING!! Political Side Note: To be honest, I find some humour in the world’s latest debate over the ‘sanctity of marriage.’ Is not a corrupt world we live in when television can air – without headlining a protest – a TV series based on an individual’s multiple flings to then propose to their ‘true love’ a day after contemplating marrying another, and yet we refrain over showing two people of the same sex kiss on our evening sitcoms? No ‘love’ is perfect, so let’s stop pretending that us ‘straights’ have always had it down-pat on this one, and let’s focus on the discussion of a people’s rights under political governance versus that of ‘religious opposition’ towards the minority few.]

People wonder why I write and adore receiving letters. A facebook message, email, or text will eventually go lost amongst data usage limits, hundreds of updates filled with abbreviations and texting lingo, but a letter is so much harder to rid of. I’ve never tossed one letter given to me (some would say I’m a hoarder; I like to say I’m a romantic), and I love going back through the piles of paper and envelopes just observing the handwriting changes from people over the years, the words we used back then, the things that were worth writing about only to be read 2 weeks later. Many of the things I cherish most were long before having email accounts, or IM-ing, or owning a mobile phone. Computers crash, inboxes get full, accounts expire. Sure, my letter’s could burn up in flames, but even then there’s something still in existence within such a physical demise, n’est pas?

I don’t know. Perhaps I’m in a foggy, sniffly, coughing state of mind. But lately, I’ve found it rather lonely in this modern world we live in. Perhaps that why I adore Durham so much at times. I mean, hell – the uni only just created an online registration system this year. Like I said – I’m an old soul, but I dream like that little girl playing dress-up still. πŸ™‚


Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo


It is Time for the Epiphany! (Term, that is)

This makes a walk in the cold a little bit better

To you,

The last time that I posted was on the last day of 2011 as I sat in a living room, going over the events of the year, still having difficulty in comprehending most of them. But, its been over two weeks since then so let’s catch up in a brief recap.

New Year’s Eve was just perfect πŸ™‚ I truly couldn’t have asked for a better one for the occasion. With the chap off at work until 11PM, it didn’t leave much up for planning, but not being a huge fan of large gatherings over New Year’s Eve it allowed me to stay at home, preparing a surprise meal for the dear boy. (I would post pictures, but they’re all on the dear boy’s camera.. and that’s by no means a hint to hurry up and send them to me.. πŸ˜‰ ) I got all gussied up, slipped on my 6-inch velvet black stilettos (this is me we’re talking about remember), and surprised him with a nice candle-lit dinner eating mediteranean chicken, vegetables, and a homemade dessert of strawberries hand-dipped in chocolate. For drinks, well I had forgotten to purchase those, so we had Mountain Dew.. you know, to keep us humble.. It was quiet, intimate, and made me smile πŸ™‚ And I think it made him happy too, which is even better xo.

On New Year’s day we started 2012 off right by going snowboarding! The weather wasn’t optimal, but we made the most of it. Sadly, my stressed out noggin was not able to fully enjoy the day – but as most of us know, my stressed out noggin tends to get in the way sometimes. It’s another one of my huge characteristic contradictions. I’m chill, adventurous, and love getting off the beaten path, but at then at times I’ve always been one to be overly cautious, the one to over-analyze situations, and the one to runaway – which is probably how I end up off the beaten path, come to think of it..! It was still nice spending time with him nonetheless (whether he feels the same way, is another question since I’m not always so pleasant when I’m stressed). Days leading further into 2012 were a mix of stress and relaxation – it didn’t help that I had essays to write and distract my procrastination/relaxation. Two weeks is just not enough to truly enjoy yourself when you have assignments due upon your return to school. I did get to see my lovely friends, catch up over cheese, coffees, random mixed drinks that I shall call the Vic Louise cocktail..? The Vixon Mix..? The Brit Spritz? Okay, so we’re still out on a name for my drink, (although one boy refers to them as my juice box drinkies), but I had a good time. I met with old professors, had lunches, and ate a lot of food.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The winter holidays were lovely, with my family flying over for Christmas and spending it seeing lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and taking some time for me and them. I was sad to see it end, but am ready for this term to run its course. The day I arrived back in Durham (which took a total of 18hours from one airport to my eventual destination), it was a little rough sitting here on my lonesome, with two papers to complete. When I wasn’t being monopolized by writing and researching and editing, I just took some time to think, something of which I hope to get more time to do this term

I feel like 2012 is filled with so many amazing possibilities, but many of them cancel the others out. I know what I want in life, but I guess I’m still frightened by the sacrifices which they require. In some situations, I have never felt so lucky, but I guess with others I have been spoiled. My family has always given me the freedom to be with the trust that I’m doing what’s right. I’ve never been restricted in where I wanted to live, or what I wanted to study, or what I wanted to do when it came to my decisions in life. I’ve done many years of compromising my absolute wants for others, and so you think I would be used to it, but the thoughts still make me nervous (which is natural, I’m sure). A part of me is worried that I’ll never get to experience the things that mean so much to me with others, because my life is global.

Anyways, lots to think about and consider for 2012. Let’s just pray that I can enjoy the opportunities ahead of me, and not get too stressed out by the decisions needed to be made.

pray hard people, pray real hard..

Oh, and a quick thank you – upon my return to my flat in Durham, amongst all the homesickness and exhaustion, I was welcomed with a small pile of letters, gifts, and cards at my door that truly made me smile and feel the distance of my global nature squeeze in just a little bit closer πŸ™‚ For those of you who have joined in my letter writing pursuits, it means so much to me! I look forward to writing more soon! Bisous!!

Speak again soon,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

I Have Returned From Whence I Came. Well, Not Really, but I Was Hoping for Some Kind of Dramatic Proclamation of My Blogging Return.

To you,

Yes, I have been rather rubbish at writing for the past couple of weeks. For many different reasons I took a slight hiatus from the blogging-sphere, and now with the assistance of returned power to my lovely MacBook Pro, I am briefly here to proclaim a continuing existence on this little diddy.

Reasons for my hiatus: well, they vary somewhat. From the emotional and mental to the electrical, my oh my what a tale of such woes and fury these thoughts could dispel. Okay, not as such, but what a great description for my futuristic romance novel debut if I ever decide to choose that authorship path in life, eh? In all honesty, there were emotional, mental, and electrical dysfunctions of sorts but none so woeful and filled with fury. I have been having some on and off bits of stress and worry causing my moods to hit a rather low slum. I obviously miss those back home, but there are some definite significant kinks in my situation of which make living so far away that much harder. I’m still kicking though! Also, the battle of landing employment on this side of the pond has been rather frustrating, to say the absolute least. I have lived the past four years only being able to work a legal set amount of 20hrs/week as an International student in the U.S. and now here, I am fully legal to work whatever I can manage. And I have not been able to find anything past 20hrs/week. Having struggled for the past month being here without working – it truly has driven me mad some days – I have now found a ‘Casual’ position within catering at Durham University which is providing me with substantial wages to live. And when I say ‘live’ I by no means mean food, coffee, mobile phone bill (although that’s probably the least of the three). I of course mean rent, and rent alone. So I can live indoors, but I’ll be skin and bones. πŸ™‚ I am rather pleased to have found work though finally, because the few of you of whom I’ve spoken to most definitely know that my mood has suffered. So to those few, I will send you my employer’s address and you can mail him a letter thanking him for my halt in depressing phone calls and messages πŸ˜‰ .

In addition to said employment, I have also landed a week’s long gig of which I am extremely enthused with. I managed to secure a position as a Project Apprentice with the upcoming Lumiere Festival, which is a huge light-based art event in Durham. With local, national, and international artists collaborating and creating numerous light installations throughout the city, it is organized by a creative projects team from London and I’ll be working with them while they’re in the city. It also includes numerous workshops which will give further insight into what working within artistic related events on the grand scale entails. This apprenticeship alone pays almost a month’s work at my other job, so I’ll be banking a decent penny and working with people within the arts sector. Big air high fives all around!!

Apart from my employment updates, school is going well – the readings are still somewhat foreign to me and I’m having some difficulty with the fact that I am so academically behind these young grad students, having never studied European political history, or any political history for that matter. I’m indulging in some academic lectures of which I’m enjoying, such as the David Miliband lecture, and the lecture with the head of the Human Rights UK. More are approaching next week regarding the Arab Spring and other relative matters.

Having mentioned this to others, and possibly within my writings as well, I feel as though this was the year of all years thus far where me living on my own has been the right move. I’ve always wanted to experience living on my own, but have never had the financial means or opportunity to do so. It’s still a stretch here regarding finances, but I’m managing. I’ve definitely hit emotional and mental realizations in reference to the healing processes of which I’ve never given myself the time to ponder over in regards to numerous occasions tracing all the way back to Purdue (2003) and possibly even prior. I feel like my mind is slowly realizing that I have no roadblocks in making my way through the healing process – no roommates, flatmates, awkward unannounced interruptions, etc. I’ve a schedule, and I’ve my own space and time. Its been most definitely difficult the past couple of weeks, in trying to sort out my post-postgraduate plans because there is so much I want to start experiencing without hesitation, but unfortunately many of my dreams take place in numerous varying locations, and do not correlate with the others. Its been a struggle, and quite a significant one causing many days of feeling quite grey.. neither here, nor there. And as I mentioned, I have very significant things of which mean the most dearest of all my experiences right now and it can be very challenging to experience said things with my current set of events, a.k.a studying in Durham. I hate to be one of those people, but yes, I am sadly and pathetically complaining and crying over all the wonderful things occurring in my life right now. Go on. Looooaaaathe me. But to be quite honest, I think I am coming to realize and witness the surfacing of much hurt and pain that I’ve experienced over the past many years, which is refreshing to see it come to light, but not quite an assisting factor with all other stress occurring in the present! Oh well, one can’t control everything… or at least I haven’t discovered how to do so just yet..!

So that’s me right now. Part-time employed. Fantastic opportunity coming up in the next couple of weeks within the arts sector. Financing the dream of living indoors. And spending such a dream moping in said indoor space. Oh, and I’ve mailed out a bunch of letters, and more will be sent in the next few days. Watch those mailboxes people. I’ve yet to create my postcards, so you’ll have to settle for the even more old school letter writing. Pen and paper. My two most loved tools πŸ™‚

To add a brief catch-up to the not-so-brief tale of my woes and sorrows, here’s my latest timeline to catch you up even further!
Oct. 14 – Oliver (bruvah) and Georgina (pesty bestie) came to Durham in two separate yet highly coincidental visits
Oct. 17 – interviewed for Lumiere Festival, and received an offer πŸ™‚
Oct. 19 – Human Rights UK lecture (awesome awesome awesome)
Oct. 21 – went to Baltic Contemporary Art Centre for the Turner Prize exhibit in Newcastle
Oct. 21 – David Miliband lecture (fantastical)
Oct. 28 – did some temp work in a kitchen and was oddly offered a catering/front of house position literally as I stepped in the door
Oct. 29 – went to London for Oliver’s 29th birthday shindig
Oct. 30 – mysteriously misplaced my laptop charger in Oliver’s apartment only for it to be found after I had returned to Durham, therefore eliminating all computer usage until today
Oct. 31 – started my new job
Nov. 1 – discovered a small contemporary gallery in Durham which was to open an exhibit from the Tamarind Institute in New Mexico featuring one of my fave printmakers, Jim Dine’s pieces
Nov. 4 – my grand return to this blog thing, and my first night working a Durham formal dinner
Tomorrow – I shall longboard my way to the gallery to gaze at the Lithography featured pieces and attend a lecture from some art folk from London and abroad
Nov. 14 – 21st – Lumiere Festival and Apprenticeship take place
Dec. 7 – completion of the Michaelmas Term
Winter Hols – ???xoxoxoxox????

That’s me. How’s you?

Peace & love,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

A Moment of Clarity and Honesty… in the middle of the night in London

To you,

It’s apparently 3:10 in the morning, something of which already gives me a moment of clarity as I thought the digital analogue reading was to read something around the sort of 1AM, perhaps as late as 1:30AM. Apparently I’ve been up for the past 3 hours – not quite sure as to what I’ve been pre-occupying myself with as, I have just said, I thought only an hour had past since my eyes peeked open at midnight. What’s worse is that I only went to sleep at 11:00PM with heavy eyelids, something of which I thought summoned a good night’s sleep. Clearly, I was just in need of a nap. Wonderful.

Anyways, this post has already rerouted itself from its original purpose. So back on track, here we go.

As just a mere few sentences ago I stated, yes, I have been functionally awake since midnight. Thinking it was one of those awakening moments when your natural body clock clicks itself on right before the alarm goes off, I thought, “Wow, its 6AM already and I feel pretty damn good.” Negative. My disappointment in my 1 hour ‘nap’ was not quite on the levels of theatrical, but most definitely more dramatic than it should have been to be classified within regular persons’ standards. And so I sat, somewhat anxious wondering what I should do to fill my time, and perhaps encourage a sleepy-time relapse. Computer? No. Internet surfing would just add to my anxiety I think. Letter writing? No. Although I’m sure someone would have received a rather incomprehensible rant concerning my failure at achieving a smooth night’s rest. I had visited Waterstones, a bookstore chain, today to gather some academic reads and whilst there picked up a John le CarrΓ© novel, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” One of my dad’s favourite authors, the title has also been flashed on TV screens throughout the UK as an up and coming film – one of which le CarrΓ© has deemed a strong representation of his book. So, I decided to enjoy some old fashioned, and nothing-beats-it, English mystery literature.

Reading through the pages, my anxiety began to fade and thoughts of my upcoming move north surfed upon my awaking brainwaves. I think it was the act of an enjoyable activity of which brought up such thoughts. After a few more pages, I decided to write.

“So.. how did you end up in Indiana?”

Throughout the past decade (and yes, it does pain me to write such a timeline-based statement) I have gone through many transitions, as we all do post-16 year-old experiences. At sixteen, as many of you can recall, I wanted to be an athlete. I wanted to live it, love it, and encompass my identity around it. At seventeen, I decided that I would move to the United States and pursue an athletic scholarship to commence my dream of ‘making it big’ and proving everyone that I could do it. What didn’t come to my realization until after I had accepted an offer to attend Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and commenced my studies, were two things: A) I should have studied American geography so to have learned where the hell I was sending myself to; and B) I did not want to be an athlete, nor did I even want to study the trade. I did something purely outside of my goody-two-shoes, innocent reputation, and that was to give-up and drop out of university after one year of complete uninspired attendance. I still remember calling up my mum with what I thought was the most fantastic revelation of my life, but apparently was not as such on her end of the phone. Lesson learned: a few minutes after telling your parent you want to drop out of university after forking over a massive lump-sum of your life’s worth, it may be too soon to joke about it. So what happens next? Nothing. For an entire year, I did nothing but breathe. After sufficient oxygen had returned to my brain, I chose to move to England. At age twenty, I packed up a significant amount of my belongings and shipped myself over to London. Vulnerable, and still wanting to please all those around me, I ended my London dreams and moved back to Indiana to finish my degree. Never received any pressure from surrounding parties, and from my mum, nothing but pure support to do what I needed to do in life. Due to many reasons, it was the decision I had to make for myself to figure out where many paths of my life were taking, and to this day I do not regret it. However, what I do regret, is taking almost the entire four years of attending university at the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI to realize the amazing people of which I was surrounded by. Which brings me to this first moment of clarity. Sitting on the bed, reading my Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy novel, I thought about all the wonderful people of whom I’ve met and am keeping in touch with still. From elementary school, to high school, to Purdue University, and now Indianapolis, I’ve met some pure, absolute quality. Some mates are also pure crap, but I adore them anyways. πŸ˜‰ But even through difficult transitions and hurtful experiences, I do appreciate everything that each friendship gave me whether still lasting or not.

Turning it up a notch

What I see as inspiring my sudden happiness (a word I have used very rarely in sincerity in my life, and hold absolute heaviness on), is that throughout my four years I gradually developed a sense of wanting to better myself. I wanted to respect the fact that I was still forking out a massive amount of money to attend university, and so I was determined to match the dollar quantity with attended quality. My curriculum vitae is impressive, and my transcripts can match. I’m not shy to boast about my hard work! However, in addition to paper results, I wanted to change myself internally – both metaphorically and physically. After my trip to China in May 2010 with my homegrown mate Stephanie, I began to focus on alternative paths in my life. No matter how hard I had worked in university and in life, I had yet to experience the actual definition of “work” in relation to what my parents went through to get me, my sister and brother to where we are today. I grew tiresome of my own whining regarding money, course loads, work loads, etc. I was uninspired by my own voice, and such a feeling is merely a waste of time. I see myself as changed. I’m more spiritual, engaged, and I actually want to take care of myself so that I can take care of others in the future. This lead to my next clarifying view.

Traditional vs. Art Kids

Attending Durham University for my postgraduate studies is step one in the changes I want to make progress on here on out. Being a Fine Arts graduate, you can easily feel pinholed by your non-art studying peers. We’re eccentric. We’re extroverts. We’re oddly matched. We’re just odd. We’re unfocused. Loopy. Crazy. Unrealistic. Obnoxious. Snobs. Trendy. Freakish. Confused. Immature. Even by our artistic peers we’re judged. Constantly. In fact, its required within our curriculum to critique relentlessly and honestly. I think some of us, if not all, will own up to one or more of these stereotyped characteristics. But we are by no means held strictly to them, are we? secured by lock and chain? In one aspect, I do find that at times we don’t take on traditional academia with the same inspiration as we do our visual and mindful creations. Something of which I was determined to do for myself was to draw a path that I felt laid out a considerably undetermined definition as to what I was and am capable of. I did not want to be pinholed in seeing myself as purely creative in the world of academia. I wanted to see myself as capable of achieving and pursuing the discussion with those who consider me eccentric, extroverted, and unrealistic. What outsiders don’t see within us Art students is the way that our mind is able to reach a level of discussion which utilizes text book theories and history, but does not solely rely on it for opinion. We can speak from our heart and our mind, whether it be through abstracted smears of paint, or digital representations of modernity – and everything in between HOWEVER not all art students are willing to utilize these capabilities, which, I apologize, in my eyes is a person wasting the capabilities of the human body. And so, as stated, I’m hoping to progress on this within my own personal struggles and strengths.

A Lil’ Wee Side Project

I recently contacted 1/3rd of my facebook friends in request of their mailing address. One of my reasons for contacting numerous people I had linked as ‘Friends’ on facebook and requesting their mailing addresses was due to these changes that I am planning for myself. I want personal communication with those who will reciprocate. By using the term ‘personal’ I don’t necessarily mean through content, but through practice. I adore technology, and the digital world is definitely attractive. In the end, however, I still prefer a book in my hands to feel and hear the turns of the pages, and finding a newspaper on the underground still appeals to me rather than checking out updates online. And since I was little, letters have always been very, very important to me. I remember a conversation with my dad when I was little – pre or post-cancer, I do not recall. We were talking about reincarnation, and all I remember him stating was how he wanted to be reincarnated as a piece of paper. As a little girl, this statement seemed to hold the least amount of creative whimsy that an adult could possibly hold. His reasoning – so that whenever needed, he could be useful to everyone. To this day, that statement rings out with an indescribable amount of inspiration to me. After his passing in 1992, I began to write my father letters. I’d write them as if I was reporting my existing statistics, who knows why. IΒ  think I was convinced that someone would come across these letters like they do in far off novels of century-old discoveries, and I thought (at age 7 remind you) that whomever found these would be so intrigued as to who I was, and where I stood. So I would write “To daddy: My name is Victoria. I am seven years old. I have 1 brother and 1 sister. My father’s name is Chhuon, and his wife is Susan. She is my mum.” This would continue into scientifically termed statements as to how my father died. The most unpleasant and highly factual letters ever written by a seven year old who would later become an art student, if you ask me! Anyways, I still write him letters on paper. Less statistical these days, but nonetheless beginning with “To daddy..” and always signed off the same way for more than a decade. So there you go – a moment of honesty. And my reason for wanting to write letters more – to remain honest and connected without abbreviation or spell check.

Well, there you have it. My thoughts in the middle of the night. To sum up, I’m rather happy as I sit. For many reasons – some more significant, life changing, and inspiring than others… πŸ™‚Β  xo

It is now almost 4:30 in the morning. Perhaps I can take another hour and a half ‘nap’ before my alarm goes off.

Speak again soon!

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

p.s – it is now 4:45AM. For those who know me, there was no way I was going to submit this without a read-over. Psh. πŸ™‚ x