Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A little breaktime

I feel so very collegiate at this moment. As I type this, I'm sitting in bed, my legs under the covers. Next to me is a Styrofoam (sorry, Earth) container holding some Japanese instant yakisoba noodles. They taste heavenly. Especially because I've barely had a bite to eat all day. A few Digestive cookies and some Cadbury Buttons. So essentially my diet is made up of chocolate. But now that changes. And my stomach is thankful (however, slightly angry because I am taking moments away from the food to type this blog).

In addition to my terrible - probably disturbing to some - food habits, I have taken on another trait of the infamous college student. I am doing an essay within way too short a time frame before its due. To paint a more vibrant picture, if I don't print it out tonight, then I am risking that the printer doesn't work and I will not get it into the departmental office on time.

How did I become this way?

I'll tell you how...

There's just too much. By that I mean I'm simply too extended. There's too much to do and somehow not enough time. I don't know how it happened, but I became a working lady just in the couple of months I've been in England and it means I don't have time for anything other than sleep, work and maybe a bite of food here or there.

Classes started almost a month and a half ago. On the 1st of October, the thought of homework couldn't have been further from my mind. Just as the situation is back at my home institution near Chicago, the concept of work doesn't usually occur to me until it's actually staring me in the face. But for some reason, being here in London means that it has to be bumping noses and foreheads with me before I start paying attention to it. The deadlines, I mean.

A month into classes and already I had a midterm paper due. How is this possible?, I thought to myself. Surely it hasn't been long enough and surely not enough material has been covered to warrant this quantity of work. A 2,500 word essay can only be the result of at least a few months in a course.

Not in England, I suppose.

In each of my classes, I will have two essays of 2,000 - 2,500 word length due in the next few weeks. I've only done two so far. I am currently at work on the third. That leaves five more. How will I do five more essays in just four weeks?

I don't know. But what I do know is that I'll need more instant noodles.

I'm surprised I haven't started resembling Jack Skellington yet. I can tell that my body has reached an unusual weight, perhaps even an unhealthy one. The fat on my arms and my tummy seems to be nearly gone, my face seems just a little bit more defined at the jaw and cheekbones. It's not that I'm emaciated or anything, but food hasn't been at the forefront of my thoughts these days.

That being said, when I was in Denmark, Germany, Austria and Italy, I ate up a storm. So many pastries, so much pasta, so little time.

But arriving back in the UK I was reminded what it's like to have to cook my own meals. I can't just get up and run to the nearest restaurant for every meal. That would be wasteful when I have a refrigerator, microwave, stove, oven, etc. at my disposal.

On nights like this, when I have been ignoring the need for food all day, I think how I'm glad to be going back to a university where the sustenance has already been prepared for me and all I have to do is put it on a plate. I could've arranged for a similar situation here in England, but I didn't. Perhaps it was because I didn't realize that I would barely have time to take showers in the evening, much less make a lovely full meal for myself.

Some days I have had time to experiment. I've gone to the store especially to buy produce, sat in the kitchen for hours trying to sautée them in just the right amount of sauce. Those nights are great. Those are the ones I wish I could have every day.

But when I'm cooped up in my room, lacking the necessary supplies to cook and the time as well, I just sit back and try to forget how much I love eating and cooking and having the time and energy to do those things.

That's why I'm taking a little break from the action right now. Just for a few minutes, while I eat my instant noodle dinner and postpone writing my paper for just a few hours longer.

It's not that this is a meal that is in need of savouring (though I do admit, it is the best instant noodle find I've ever made - and when I'm in the states I buy packages by the dozens), but it's the pleasure of calmly partaking in food that I need right now. Not to stuff a pastry down my face and move back into the realm of paperwriting, but to actually forget for a second that I'm even doing work. Because right now all that matters is the basic human stuff - the eat, drink, sleep stuff.

In a minute, though, I will return to being a college student in terms of work rather than dietary characteristics. But I've promised myself that once I'm done with my paper, I can have a Magnum ice cream bar as a reward. So don't worry about me. I'll be just fine.

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