A day in the life of my UK family

I’m at a very big advantage having family to stay with in the UK. I’m lucky that I had a British father who still has relatives living in England. It makes accommodation a lot easier and stress free, and it’s a good excuse to travel and spend time with my family here.

I was going to add in their last name into my blog title, but I decided against it for privacy reasons.

I’m staying with my cousin, his wife and their two young children who I absolutely adore. They’re both girls and they love my company just like I love theirs. It’s great to be around people you can trust and just have a good laugh with and spend time with them in general. That’s why I feel so at home here because I have family to be around so I don’t feel so alone. It has definitely helped with being home sick during the first couple of days since my arrival. Having young children around also keeps my energy up and I find I become so exhausted after playing with them. So it’s been good to keep busy and just hang out with them. My cousin and I also talk a lot about life and the world and his wife and are like sisters, going out for breakfast, coffee and shopping of course! So it’s almost like I haven’t left home!

The time with my family I treasure the most is eating at the table together. I have not done that with my immediate family in Australia since my dad died and because mum started working full time after his passing where she works in the evening and so my sister and I are left to fend for ourselves so we basically eat at any time we want and wherever we want. My dad was the main reason we all got together as a family because we all had more spare time. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to eat as a family because it’s been a while but it’s nice to get a feel of that again. It makes me realise how much I miss it when my dad was around. It’s just a great way to be together and talk and laugh with each other. It’s my favourite time of the day with them and I always get so excited about it each time I am leaving from work of an evening.

I believe it’s so important to spend time with your family as much as you can because they are so special and are a major part of your life. I have been a little sad my family and I back home don’t get as much time together as we’d like. So we make the most of the time we’re at home together. It is good to have our own space though, now that my sister and I are older, but family time is always special.

They always make you feel better when you have a bad day at work or if anything else gets you down.

I’m so happy I’m staying with my family here in the UK. We are all very close and I am grateful I get to spend the next year with them. We have a lot of plans ahead and I look forward to spending more time together and creating even stronger bonds than what we have now.

Self belief

I have been in England for just over a week and I have already been able to get two jobs: one at an inbound call centre only a 7 minute walk from home and one at a local nightclub called ‘Enigma’ as a bar person once a week every Saturday.

I’m so amazed that this has happened all so quickly. I feel like I have been here for longer than a week because I’ve settled in so well and adapted to things quite quickly. I really feel England wants me here. It’s all just working out so well for me. I’m so happy and loving life.

What inspired me to write this blog is the fact that the reason I have got to where I am now is because I believe in myself and I always have a positive attitude and keep an open mind. Of course being here is a new and different experience which has caused some nerves but it’s all about giving things a go and trying things out and seeing how far you get.

I’m so proud I have come so far in my life by having the opportunity to travel at such a young age. America was a great head start in travelling on my own. And now I’m in the UK! Life is just so great right now and I have already learned so much in this week since being in the UK. I have already had doors of opportunity in front of me that I am experiencing and I’m going to gain so much out of them.

Working at the bar will be a great way for me to meet different people and use my social skills that I’ve had my whole life. What I love about my personality the most is that I love talking to people, I’m friendly and very sociable. Now I can apply this to my job and make new friends!

I love that I’ve had the confidence and courage to get out there and experience the world and do different things. I’m never going to stop believing. Having faith is the key to a successful and happy life. I’m so excited for the year ahead!

Hero of all time

My best friend in the whole world passed away almost 5 years ago now. And that person was my dad. Every day I miss him and wish he was here in my life physically. I know he is here in spirit and watching over me but it isn’t the same. I know he is in a better place now though, not suffering anymore.

I was 16 when he died. To this day I still think it is quite a young age to lose a father. But, I’m thankful that I was at an age that I knew him, grew up with him and made memories with him that I won’t ever forget.

We did everything together. I loved doing DIY work at home with him the most. And I loved how he always joked around and made me laugh. And what I love about him the most is that if I was ever upset about anything, his voice was the only voice I needed to hear to let me know everything was going to be okay. He was one of the most gentle, calmest people I have ever known.

Sometimes I can openly talk about his passing like I am now but other times it is awkward and hard. What inspired me to write this blog was the film ‘Breaking Dawn’. The scene where Bella gets married and her dad gives her away made me think about the fact that my dad won’t be there to give me away on my wedding day. Bella and her dad are also close which took me back to my relationship with my own father. I really miss him. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it even though I have moved on in my life. He will never be forgotten and he still is apart of my life even though he’s gone.

I’m so proud I have had the strength to get through such a tragic time in my life but it has made me such a strong person and makes me realise that I can conquer anything.

I will always miss my dad but his legacy will always live on and he is an inspiration to me to keep living life happily, the way he would want for me. I’m sure he is looking down on me giving me a big smile ūüôā He is the reason I live everyday. I live and breathe for him because I know he would want me to be happy.

Forever in my heart and mind.

Michael Joseph Crofton Sleigh,
I love you forever and always.

Feels like home

I haven’t even been in the UK for a week and things really seem to be on the bright side and going really well. The first two days were hard because I was so jet lagged, sick and my sleeping pattern was all over the place. But since mid week, things have been looking up. I started to look for work and I went into Job Shop on Friday and I had been given a job which I start next week. I have also been given an interview for a bar job and fingers crossed that works out but I’ll be okay if it doesn’t because I’m just glad I’ll be giving it a go.

I’m so happy I have settled in and adapted to things quite quickly. I’m pretty good with adapting to new things anyway so I knew I just needed a little time to adjust.

Staying with family is also a huge bonus because I don’t feel so alone and they’ve been a great help to me showing me around and making me feel very welcome. Sometimes it feels I haven’t even left Australia because I feel so at home here. The food isn’t all that different, and the community here appear to be quite friendly. I haven’t met anyone properly but in passing and being served in the shops, most people I have come across seem nice and approachable.

I’m a little nervous about my job not in the sense of the work as such but more so the people. I’m a very sociable and friendly person myself and I can’t handle snobby people very well because I’m not used to it and I don’t like those kind of people. So I hope I’m in a friendly environment. I’m just going to go to work with an open mind and nothing can go wrong.

I really love it here and I’m staying with my amazing family who I get along with so well, especially my two young cousins who are absolutely adorable! It helps to have that kind of company around if I ever feel lonely and miss home.

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m here but for the most part I really feel like I’ve been here longer than I have and it just feels so natural to be in this country. I’m so blessed I have this opportunity to experience different places and different things. And I’m very grateful that I can work here. It’s only going to open up more doors of opportunity.

England you do me proud! You haven’t failed me and you’ve been everything I’ve dreamed about and so much more.

Every moment counts.

What is your view on your life and the world?

For me, I appreciate every day and my life as a whole. I thank God for all the good things in it such as my family, friends, nature, peace, safety and basically all things that make my life what it is today. I’m very grateful for what I have. I think it’s really important to have a positive perspective on life and the world because you never know when your last day will be, god forbid it won’t be any time soon. But anything can happen which is why I believe it’s so important to appreciate every moment in life. And if something were to happen to you wouldn’t you rather leave feeling happy than miserable?

Live everyday like it’s your last and appreciate the good times and learn from the bad. Never forget to tell your loved ones how much you care about them and love them. And simply just be happy. What really frustrates me is that some people abuse their lives and neglect everything good because they choose to see the bad. They shut themselves off from the world and are constantly negative about everything. I used to be like that and I’m glad I’m not that person anymore. I don’t ever want to go back there. Negativity is a waste of emotion and it only brings you down so why make it apart of your life? Throw it in the trash and become the happy person you’re meant to be. Life is too short to mope around all day and think the whole world is against you and that you’re alone and no cares and it’s all about you. It’s a selfish way to act. And I can say that for myself when I was in that position. I admit it now.

There is so much beauty¬†and goodness in this world that goes unnoticed and underappreciated because people choose to see things in a negative light all the time. There is so much worse out there. For example,¬†there are people out there who¬†are dying and a lot of those people live each day so happily because they know they don’t have much time left and so they¬†are grateful for the time they do have. Whenever I look back on how I¬†viewed my¬†life, I always think of that example because in my situation,¬†I know¬†that¬†at least I had the choice to get away from my ex boyfriend to get over¬†him and be happy.¬†People who are dying can’t choose¬†not to¬†die. It’s physically impossible. But yet they still live with as much happiness as they can. And I think if you’re just going to abuse it over stupid, petty issues, or ones that you can get through and ones that people support you through,¬†then you don’t deserve to have a good life. It may sound harsh but it’s true. If there are people out there who have only days, weeks or months left to live and are as happy as they can be, shouldn’t they be ones not to have an illness or a disease? Not to say¬†I believe people who are negative deserve a disease inflicted upon them but what¬†I mean is there are people out there who aren’t so lucky in life but yet they’re the ones who live it to the full. It almost seems unfair that they suffer from horrible things like diseases when they’re such happy people.

Negative people need to stop acting the way they do! The world does not revolve around you and it’s time to appreciate life and live it to the full. Give it your all. Life is great if you let it be great. The world is a beautiful place and there is so much to see out there. Of all the places I’ve seen in traveling, I always wonder how people can be so down about life when there is so much beauty out there in this world for human life to experience. Places that want to be seen and embraced by people. It’s amazing.

I love my life and I wake up everyday feeling grateful that I’m alive to see the world. Every moment is important. Every moment counts.

Embrace the world, and it will love you back.

Love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely

Whether you’ve been through a break up or not, some of us feel we need to rush into finding love. It could be because we feel we’re behind from our friends who are in long term relationships or because we feel we won’t ever find anyone so we decide to settle for less; someone who isn’t right for us and won’t make us ideally happy. And in the long run, you won’t be in a genuine relationship with that person.

Soon after my ex boyfriend and I broke up I felt I had to move on to someone else straight away and start a relationship with them to make the pain go away and forget my ex. Well through seeing different people and growing attached to them, only for those relationships to shatter and never become anything more, I learned that that’s not the best move because I find soon after a break up, issues between you and your ex are still fresh and therefore you’re not emotionally ready to commit yourself to someone else. You’d constantly be comparing your new partner with your ex and that’s not fair on you or them and it would result in an unhappy relationship, more hurt and potentially, another break up.

I myself have good friends who are in serious relationships and I always felt I had to catch up to them because it seemed that they have their lives on track and are set to go. What I didn’t realise until recently is that you don’t need a partner for you to say your life is set. You don’t need to be like anyone else who is a couple either long term, engaged or soon to married. Life is not defined by one person. Well I don’t think so anyway. There is plenty of time
to settle down and be with someone but first it’s important to make room
for you and enjoy your life on your own, to do all the things you wouldn’t normally do or can’t do if you have a partner. There is no need to rush. I’m young, I’m 21, and a lot of you people out there are young too. Be happy you’re at an age you can still enjoy your life and do so much for YOU. I used to absolutely hate being single but I’ve become so used to it over the past few months and I absolutely love it! I don’t have to answer to anyone, nor do I need to stop myself from doing or not doing something because of someone else. I don’t have to worry about fights or any other dramas with someone else. It’s a great life! The thought of being with my one true guy is a nice thought but one that will exist in the near future. I will settle down when I’m ready. But for right now, I’m going to enjoy my life. And you should too. So don’t be sad you’re not with anyone and don’t be desperate and just jump at someone who crosses your path just because you need someone to make up for your loneliness. That’s not the way to true love. After all, it’s better to wait and have something that’s real and true, than to rush and settle for second best.

Experience, adventure and a big world ahead

I left my homeland of Australia on November 20 for a cold and wintry England. There was a bit of a stuff up at the airport. I went through passport control at about 9:30pm,
going through the scanning procedures and reaching immigration which took a good 10 to 15 minutes. Thinking everything was fine, the officer asked me if I held another passport other than my British one. Totally forgetting to remind mum I needed my Australian passport, we didn’t bring it and so I didn’t have it on me. I was stressing out because mum and my family had already said their goodbyes and were on their way home. I basically had to turn back and exit passport control so I could make the phone call to mum for her to bring my Australian passport. Mum didn’t think I’d need it because I was heading into the UK so the British passport would have been fine to use. However, I was told I needed the Australian passport so I can return back home. Well that makes sense! I wouldn’t want to be restricted from getting back into my own country!

Anyway, I was stressing out a whole lot when I was back in the main international terminal because mum wasn’t picking up her phone and then we both tried to call each other at the same time and couldn’t get through. I was stamping my feet on the floor and hitting the wall going crazy over the fact I went through all the security procedures only for me to come out again and wonder if mum would make it back in time. I would call every 5 minutes to find out where they were and kept looking at the clock hoping the minutes wouldn’t go any faster and that time would just stop for me in this moment. I called my best friend who kept me calm but at the same time I was still stressing out. And it was weird for me since I’ve changed my attitude over the past couple of months and have been a lot more positive and relaxed. That’s why I wanted to keep calm. Because in the end, everything would have it’s way of working out. For some silly reason I kept thinking I’ll miss my flight and that maybe this happening was a sign I wasn’t meant to go to England. But that was just irrational thinking. These things happen and at least I was getting my passport back to me.

It turns out that things worked out, my family came back about the time my plane was due to board. I said my goodbyes again and thought to myself that seeing my family again was the reason the passport incident happened.

I rushed back through security and immigration and everything turned out fine. I made it to gate 11 and could see there was no sign of anyone boarding which I presumed would be the case because plane flights never board on time. Boarding time for my flight was at 11pm but I didn’t get on the plane until after 11:30.

The flight to Doha which was the stopover didn’t feel long at all, nor did the flight from there to the UK. So I was happy. I saw my cousin at the arrivals terminal and was greeted by a hug from him and my auntie Kate. It’s so nice to see your family when you haven’t seen them for a while.

I didn’t realise how big of a stretch Heathrow Airport is!

It’s now day three since I’ve been in the UK and I’m still adjusting to things. I am homesick but that will pass. The weather is very cold and England looks very different but I’m staying in a nice area. I’ve been into the local town and have got to know the main area and shops to go to. I also know the bus system and used it for the first time today when taking my cousins to school.

I’m looking for work and have been asked to go to a job shop in town tomorrow to be registered which is promising. Hopefully all works out and I am successful in finding work.

In the mean time, I’m trying to get used to things here still and hopefully I will find some new friends and feel more at home.

UK bound

This is it. Tonight is the night. I fly out to England at 11:55pm and won’t be home for a year. It really hasn’t sunk in that I’ll be leaving yet. It has come around so quickly.

It only felt like yesterday I was leaving for America in September and I’ve already been and gone from there, was back in Australia for a week and went to Queensland and now I’ll be jet setting again! It’s a great feeling though and I love how much I’ve traveled so far. America was a good head start into traveling on my own so I’m definitely not nervous about the plane flight by myself. I have gained a lot during and since America that I feel more prepared for England now. The nerves I feel now are mainly linked to the fact I’ll be gone for a year and will be away from my friends and family. I know I also have a lot of challenges ahead of me in the UK in reference to working, meeting new friends, getting used to the lifestyle and the place and basically starting a new life for myself. I still can’t believe I’m actually doing this. I was almost going to pull out of this and America because of my ex and I’m so glad I did not make that decision based around him. That would have been a very big mistake.

I’ve always loved travel and it’s already done wonders for me so I’m sure the UK will be the same. It will be hard to settle in and get used to things but I’m sure it will eventually feel like home and I won’t want to leave. I may even end up staying there if I like it that much but it’s still early days to be knowing that. According to my friends and family, I’m not allowed to stay in England if I decide I want to even though I know apart of them is joking, they do want me to come back but will support me whatever happens.

It’s so strange that I won’t be home for so long and will be away from everything I’m used to. I’m just glad I have a really supportive group of friends who reassure me and give me the best advice for my trip, especially my friends who have traveled and lived overseas for a year’s time too. It helps to know that I have friends who have been through the same experience and are always willing to give me their support if I’m ever stuck or lost about anything.

There’s no going back after tonight since the ticket has been booked. Although, I can always go back home at any stage if I’m really that uncomfortable but I really do want to give England a chance and I never would have known until I was there on how I felt about it. And I most likely would have regretted it later if I pulled out. I’m going to grow even more as a person and will come back a different one in a good way so I’m sure everything will work out the way it’s meant to and for now, it’s all about taking each day as it comes and living for the moment.

England here I come!

True friends

Last night I had a farewell party with friends and family because I’m leaving for the UK tomorrow to live and work for a year.

The great thing about having these kind of parties like birthdays as well, is that they show who your true friends are and show the people who want to be there for you and see you. Friends I had not seen in a year or more showed up, one of them bringing me a gift that I did not even expect! And it was like nothing had changed and that no time had passed between us since we last saw each other. It was very sweet.

It wasn’t a huge crowd but I know the friends that did show up are the ones who are true to me and wanted to catch up with me before I leave. Some only stayed for half an hour and it was just so great to have them there for that time.

One of my friends who I only properly talked to at a birthday came to my party to see me and we never even hung out all that much prior and it meant so much to me she was there to spend time with me.

I got a few other going away presents which wasn’t necessary but so kind of my friends. I got a beautiful butterfly necklace, a travel wallet which will really come in handy and was what I needed, a compass which was a sentimental gift so I would always know what direction home is and I also got the ‘Eat Pray Love’ book, a travel journal and photo album. Today, one of my best friends called me to tell me she ordered flowers that were to be delivered at my place because she couldn’t make it to my farewell party last night. It was the sweetest thought ever and I was so touched by it. She went to so much trouble to organise that for me. Unfortunately the flowers have not been delivered today like they were meant to be which is a little disappointing from the deliverer’s end but I have hope they will somehow appear tomorrow.

Today and last night really made me see who my true friends are and how much I appreciate them. I think sometimes I do take having such good friends for granted but they really do mean a lot to me and I appreciate them very much. I’m so grateful and blessed to have them in my life because it’s really hard to find true friends these days.

I’m really going to miss them when I’m away…

To any of my friends who have read this blog, you know who you are and thank you so much for being in my life and for being the amazing, supportive, kind, caring and generous souls that you are. I love you all very much and you will always have a very special place in my heart.

Journey to self-discovery

There comes a point in your life where you don’t know who you are, where you want to be, what your long and short term goals are and the like. You’re at a stand still, not going forward nor backward. Just still, immobile and going nowhere. I believe this is very common in the adolescent years because it is a time you’re at the age where you’re still trying to find yourself and trying to find out who you really are and what you really want out of life. What a whole load of confusion!

Over the past 6 weeks or so I have only just figured out who I am and want I want in life. I also have short and long term goals that I never thought I would have created until now.

From previous blog posts, namely ‘I am number one’ and ‘Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional’ I talk about a break up I went through. And of course it is a very typical story where there are worse cases of that situation which is why I don’t like to play the victim role and I have stopped feeling sorry for myself. The point I’m trying to get at is, is that it was a time where I really lost myself ¬†for awhile and I had nothing left. My whole identity had been stripped away from me. I was emotionally broken. When I was in that position I never felt like I could get out of it because I was constantly putting myself into that situation and making it worse on myself when I knew it wasn’t healthy for me. But you can’t help how you feel sometimes and those feelings are bound to happen. I knew I needed to get out of that vicious cycle though.

My main escape or way of healing and becoming myself again was to travel – getting away to see different places and different people. Just constantly being surrounded by something different every day. It was also good to break out of routine at home too.

This traveling I’ve done so far has already paid off! I am so happy and I absolutely love life. I am so grateful I have had the chance to have a lot of time to myself to figure out what I want out of life, who I am, what I deserve and where I want to be. It’s such a good feeling knowing you’ve reached that point and from there you know you can conquer anything. I wake up everyday appreciating my life and I’m excited for what is to come. I treat every day as an adventure and just take everything as it comes.

I’m a much better friend because I can freely give advice without having to focus so much on what my problems were. Rather than being so consumed and constantly relying on my friends to make things better, I now feel strong enough to be there for my friends completely. And they seem to take in my advice more now that they can see I’m focusing on them when they need me.

Today I caught up with a good friend of mine for lunch and we had a really great catch up. I was laughing and talking so strongly and happily. I kept telling myself that I couldn’t even remember the last time I felt this happy. I usually would see my friends as a distraction from my problems but now that I’m not consumed by them, nor do I care for them I can actually catch up with my friends without that need to see them because I’m stressed out. I am genuinely happy and just talk so freely about things. I looked in the mirror when I got home and just gave a massive smile to myself for how far I’ve come in 6 weeks. I have really grown.

I have found out so many things about myself and I have learned to love myself again and feel happy. Days aren’t a struggle any more, simple tasks aren’t an effort like they used to be. I just feel so free and happy within myself that I can’t imagine going back to the person I used to be. It’s really hard for me to be negative these days because I don’t like to be any more. It’s a waste of emotion that only brings me down and I don’t need that. I have finally learned that choosing to feel happy is the much better and healthier option.

I love the fact that I have been traveling to help me find myself again. It’s what I really needed. My good friend actually mentioned a valid point and told me ‘don’t associate the happiness with the place, but within yourself’ and that’s a great point because he was trying to say I shouldn’t just feel happy because I’m away, that’s just what I needed to get me there but once I come back home, I’ll still feel happy. That has not changed at all since being home so I’m glad I haven’t associated my happiness with being away.¬†It’s great I’ve had a head start in traveling on my own and getting some time to myself before I go to the UK for a year where things will be a lot more challenging. But I’m up for the ride and I have already achieved so much through traveling already, just imagine what the UK will do for me.¬†This journey to self-discovery still continues!

I know people who are in this situation where they don’t care about themselves and life in general so they just let every day pass by them like it’s meaningless. It makes me sad and frustrated that people neglect their needs and not care about anything in life. Taking care of your appearance isn’t an issue any more and you eat and drink whatever you please until your belly explodes! And you gain those few extra kilo’s making yourself look and feel physically unhealthy. Now that I’ve gone passed that stage, I help those who are in that situation and motivate them to get themselves out of it because anything is possible and there is no such thing as a hopeless situation (referring to The Secret once again). You can change your life to the way you want to live it. I know it’s a hard place to get out of which is why it takes some time and patience until you realise it’s not where you’re meant to be. For those of you who are feeling really low at the moment because you’re going through a really hard time in your life, please don’t give up hope because you will be happy again and there will be something you choose to take up in in your life that will make you realise who you are again and that life is too short to be miserable. We’re all allowed to feel down at times which is completely normal but you don’t need to constantly put yourself in that situation. Things may seem really hard at the time, but they do get better. You just need to take one step at a time. That’s all it takes.

Just believe in yourself. You can do this. If I got there then so can you!


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