City of light (prose)

General

So this is it. Welcome home. Welcome to your new life. Welcome to the unknown.


The thing is, you packed your bags and left the country and said your goodbyes, but you didn’t really think about what you were doing. Where you were going. It was just another  link in the chain of events that string your life together. Just another brick in the wall.

But you got here, you made it and it was busy, so busy and yes it was strange but it was good strange, not bad strange, and you fit into the city like you fit into most places; without a struggle. This is home but not yet home. It’s home in the future, not the present.

Cities and strange places and strange coffee and strangers asking you all kinds of strange questions that you don’t understand and strange roads with strange drivers that come at you from the wrong side. A mistake, maybe?

Sounds you’re not used to – the last trams rattling through the city, car alarms in the night, children playing in the park. Car horns beeping all day long. Cigarette smoke and the smell of fresh bread.

And then – clean streets, lined with trees. Sipping coffee and cocktails in the rain. Dogs barking in the park, children playing. Interesting cafes and corners and nooks to explore. New spaces to discover. A bookshelf stacked high, a cake-stand to admire. My legs are getting stronger, day by day. I pace the wide streets of what I am beginning to think of as “my” city.

A home that wasn’t mine but is now, a bed that wasn’t mine but is now, a desk that wasn’t mine but is now. My photographs on the walls. My food in the cupboard. My washing on the line, my neighbours to observe. Space I am slowly fitting in to.

My life, stretched thin, seen through the looking glass. Dismal days of rain and work followed by sun upon sun upon sun. A vase full of sunflowers in my bedroom, like always.

I sit and draw, or I write, and let these golden days and final rays of summer sun flow through me. I try and think of the future, about how valuable these precious moments are, seconds before the scale tips once more and again, I’ll be learning. Striving. Academic pressure and all that comes with it. Change is good. Stasis is safe. How to choose?

A strange city, indeed, full of strange versions of myself that I can see only vaguely as manifest through the years.

Out with the old, in with the new. Sunflowers, like always. But growing, and rising, too.

C x

Flight mode: types of people at the airport and my travel tips 📦

travel

Travelling is, of course, the epitome of “fun.” Plane rides are meant to be exciting news for you, an experience of relaxation and enjoyment with the knowledge that for six or seven hours, you are expected to do no more than lie back and r e l a x.

Have you EVER tried to relax whilst someone in the seat in front of you has laid themselves almost horizontally in your lap? Or the person next to you is overly-ambitious with their allocated armrest space? Or the relentless pinging of the loudspeaker system telling you that the seatbelt signs are now ON…. no wait! They’re off again! And on again! And off again! Just as you’re starting to drift off, neck cricked at an unnatural angle and legs crammed into the footwell, then BAM, it’s the snacks trolley, and you can’t sleep through THAT. 

I do NOT, in any way, shape or form, find travelling “relaxing.” Airports suck, I always get spots and everything seems to be covered in a weird filmy haze of sleep deprivation and general confusion.

Want to buy a designer handbag? A suitcase??? (Who buys their luggage AT THE AIRPORT?) a special panini offer at 4am??

Also, the people in airports really freak me out. It’s like there’s this dividing line between those going Full Glam and those going Major Sloth.

Now, Full Glam individuals are easily identified by their thick make-up (to cover the dark circles and aforementioned airport spots), and usually high heels as well. They have their hair majestically twisted into ringlets or ironed straight, for that really casual, just-rolled-out-of-bed look. These people are usually smug, and should not be approached under any circumstances.

And then there’s the rest of us. The Major Sloth parade.

The bleary-eyed, deathly pale troops that have rolled out of bed at 2 in the bloody morning to get on this crappy plane when in reality, we wish we could just teleport. There’ll be a high percentage of pyjama tops and no bras, a stained sweatshirt and a hastily-packed rucksack. Some of us may have put mascara on in an attempt to go Full Glam, but it just makes us look like pandas, and smears unattractively in our undereye creases.

Anyway, I’m sat in an airport right now, so I thought I’d share with you my tips for lessening this pain 

1. ALWAYS PACK A HAIRBRUSH. I REPEAT: ALWAYS PACK A HAIRBRUSH. Honestly if your hair is tangle-free, your trip is likely to follow suit. 

2. DON’T! Forget your headphones. Listening to the churning noise of the aeroplane engine is A. Boring and B. always makes me feel nauseous for some reason. Oh, and C. It’ll drown out the voices of the screaming kids/ snoring men around you. But don’t forget to remove them so you can ask the flight attendant for a large g&t.

3. Get as much sleep as you can the night before, if you have to get up early to catch your flight. If you can get 4 hours, you’ll probably be okay. Any less than that, and you’ll be bursting into tears when the check-in lady tells you to enjoy your trip.

I know that this is a hard one, but it IS do-able! E.g the day before I had to get up at 2am, I got up early so I would be tired and fall asleep earlier, and exercised during the day. Thus, by 9pm, I was all ready for bed!

Even if you don’t sleep on the plane, you can still try close your eyes and let your body rest, even if your mind doesn’t :). I find this comforting! 

4.  Starbucks is your friend. You need SUGAR. I don’t care if you’re on a diet, the only way you’re going to function is by ordering a large mocha-frappalappacino with extra vanilla syrup. It’s positively REVITALISING.* **

* But don’t overdo it on the caffeine, otherwise you’ll end up with, like, heat palpitations and stuff, and that’s not cool.

** ALSO don’t forget that healthy sh*t has sugar in it, too. So you can fuel up on orange juice or grapes or something. If you like. 🍋

5. I’m gonna say it – don’t eat too much! It’s so tempting to cronch cronch the entire time you’re travelling, just for something to do, but if you go overboard with it, you’ll just feel sluggy and bloated. May I recommend that you graze on light snacks, rather than a roast dinner, if you’ve got a long and arduous journey ahead of you?

My airport time is when I like to try out new snax, usually. That and BAKED GOODS. Mmm.

Anyway, whether you’re a Full Glam individual with sass and time to spare, or a Major Sloth who just wants a soft blankie and to lay down for a while, I got u. 

I feel your pain.

But the journey is only a small part of the trip, and you can recover usually after one night’s rest.

Those are my thoughts, written from Amsterdam Airport. I’ve already been travelling for 7 hours and I’m feeling pretty groggy.

However – adventure awaits!

^^^ This is a really nice playlist and includes a few songs about travelling! I’d recommend it for your journey 🙂

Love and nasty aeroplane coffee,

Cam

Where have I been?

General
(Top left = me at Grey Ball, bottom left = me in Europe’s certified worst nightclub, second right = me sunbathing, bottom right = me graduating, pic on right is me with my doge TOBY, who we love.)

Oh, you know. A little of this, a little of that. I just haven’t felt much like writing! I was WRUNG OUT with tiredness and emotion, come the end of my degree. There were nights out and days in and plenty of goodbyes. There was love and light and tears and early mornings and all kinds of things going on. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to say.

Anyway, the point is: I’m back now. Maybe you missed me (although I know the answer to this is most likely, probably not). Now the craziness of the EnD oF aN ErA is over, I can get back to *relative* normality.

My goal is to post 2 or 3 times a week! I promise to be more consistent (at this point you’re probably reaching for the “unfollow” button, I know).

Consider this tho, where else are you going to get such #realtalk? I’m spending the summer working in a pet hotel, where there’s EIGHTY EIGHT dogs (yes, you read that right). And many many other animals, including cats, horses, rabbits, and even occasionally, someone’s pet rats. Lol. I’ve already been munched on by someone’s dear little pony (apparently my fingers must resemble carrots) and fell in love with a fluffy akita called YUKIO (how cute is that!).

NB: the hashtags are (mostly) #ironic.

I also really want to tell you about my graduation day, cause that was hella fun, and I discovered that I am a lot less fun than my sister, who is eight years older than me and by rights, the one that should have been complaining about being tired.

I have soooo much to tell you, dear friends. There’s been kisses and near-misses and general drams and fun timez. (Maybe I’ll make some of it up, to make my life seem more exciting. Who knows?) I even did a bar crawl consisting of all 14 Durham college bars, and actually COMPLETED IT! I either am super enthusiastic, or want nothing to do with a night out. Call me fickle, but it’s the truth.

Omg also I got rid of like 99% of my belongings in preparation for my move to Croatia (Sept 13th, looking at you). IT FEELS SO GOOD. It was like The Purge, but with my things. Based on this, I’d quite like to brag about my #fengshui abilities.

I don’t know why I’m typing like I’m an American Teen in every tween novel ever.

Right now I’m on my way to LDN! For like the 3rd time in my life. I am SO not a city girl.

Anyway, next post will be on SUNDAY, and it will be about PRIDE! Which is why I’m off to the capital.

 

Also going to be posting soon body image and exercise and how much I love carbs and how bad I feel if I don’t exercise and why that’s a bad thing and oh my gosh I have so much to say! I also want to review a book I recently read, which was really weird, even though it’s a classic. Maybe you can help me shed light on it.

IMG_8408.JPG

My “Finding Nemo” dress

 

To end with some wise advice:

in this world, it’s either yeet or be yeeted.” 

Love,

Cam

 

Briefly, Budapest

travel

My experience of Budapest was a heady mix of aching feet and awe at the beauty of the city.

Highlights:

  • Food
  • Scenery
  • History
  • Cheap

Lowlights:

  • Effect of large quantity of dairy on Cam’s stomach.

Admittedly, the latter problem was my own fault and I can’t really blame the city. 

IMG_5569

 

Hello and welcome!

General
Hi there!
 
If you hadn’t already guessed, the inevitable has happened – and I have decided to start BLOGGING *everybody cringes.* As if I wasn’t embarrassing enough anyway (check out my Insta). Still, I remain shameless about my propensity to over-share online. If reading about my trials and triumphs makes even one person feel better about themselves/ their own life, I will have won. Also low-key, my therapist told me that most of my problems would be solved if I just wrote them down and thought them through, so I will also be testing that theory.
 
More so than being an anthropologist (the subject of my undergrad degree) or a veterinarian (the subject of my next degree – we’ll get to that), I have always been a writer. Someone once called me “fat and weird” for reading books a lot when I was a pre-teen, but my hobby did leave me with the ability to string together a few sentences in a way that’s easy to read. Who’s laughing now? Probably them, actually…
 
So what should you expect from avocamilla.com?
 
Food 
 
Food, glorious food! Yes, I’m a (mostly) vegan. BUT before you turn away in disgust, I promise you I am not one of those vegans. I don’t CARE if you eat steak three times a day or are a gluten-free milk-free Paleo pescatarian. As long as you don’t send me sausages in the post or something, we’re cool. I will not preach about veganism or anything like that. I will just share my reality with you! Which is, admittedly, mostly guilty bags of Malteasers and the occasional cheesy pizza. *gasp!* And some meals that are just cous cous and ketchup – I’m a student, let me live. Sometimes I do make nice food (or have it made for me), and when I do, I’ll be sure to share it. But me and my baked beans are probably not going to make it onto the #foodporn hashtag.
 
Fitness 
 
Ha! Ha! Good one, Cam. If you know me in real life, you’ll be well aware that I am super pale, sickly, dramatically asthmatic (no, seriously) and generally do not look like someone who is #bodygoals at any given time. Despite this, I love to run and to swim. I do my best. Occasionally, I dabble in yoga (at present, however, I am nursing a broken heart and am favouring more intense exercise as a form of REVENGE).
 
Rest assured, I suck at both running AND swimming (I didn’t learn to swim until I was fourteen), but maybe you can help me achieve some kind of fitness level or goal. We can encourage one another to get out there and get moving. I do think exercise is an important part of life, but as a normal person with a normal body you will not find me hanging out in the weights area sipping a kale smoothie because, well, I’m probably in bed with a slice of toast and a hangover.
 
Mental health 
 
Okay, this is where it gets a bit heavy.
 
I am someone who struggles with mental health problems. Throughout my teenage years, I had anorexia, which was incredibly debilitating. Thankfully, I got the help I needed and have recovered fully from that awful disorder. But it’s still something I talk about a lot and fight every single day – yes, I live a normal life and eat what I like, when I like (hence why I don’t restrict myself cheese or cake or chocolate if I want it), but the problems which anorexia developed as a coping mechanism for, still remain, and I struggle massively with body insecurity.
 
These problems take the form of depression and anxiety. Panic attacks, SSRIs, all that jazz. And sometimes it makes every day a struggle.
 
Mental health forms a big part of our media coverage today. But what is “mental health”? How do we know when it’s “bad” or when it’s “good”? And what can we do to not feel like crap all the time?
 
I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some of them. Whether it’s books, or lifestyle changes, or quotes or websites or whatever, I hope to share what works for me. By letting you inside my mind, maybe you’ll see that you’re not alone, or be able to help a friend going through this stuff.
 
I am in no way qualified to give advice, so all I can do is share my experiences. Some of them are funny, and some are sad, but they’re all real, and from my heart. And if I got through them, you can too!
 
Travel 
 
I am fairly intrepid and I have some stories to share, mostly about the times I have visited Africa to spend my summers working with primates. One time I got hit in the head with a rock thrown by a chimpanzee! Also once I landed a drone a bit too near someone’s face. OOPS.
 
This September, I, a typical Yorkshire lass from the UK, will be moving to Croatia for SIX YEARS. From what I have described about myself, that seems crazy, doesn’t it! So I will definitely be posting about what it’s like to prepare to move away for such a long time, being an international student, and what life is like away from home.
 
Everything else 
 
I hope to share some of what I learn from my veterinary studies, as well as keeping up-to-date with anthropology. I promise to make it at least a little bit interesting, and not too gross. I’ll also be sharing music that is cheerful and uplifting, as I think music can do a lot to change your mood! Finally, I might share some of my fictional writing, some of which I’m quite proud of. Oh, and probably some “fashion” too. This will mostly involve me wearing brightly patterned shirts and grinning like a maniac because apparently I live in the 80s, despite the fact I wasn’t alive then. There’ll be some funny stories from university and from my family life, too. Plus I have a puppy, so watch out for pictures of him.
 
Anyway, enough rambling. I have a flight to catch. But I hope you are excited! I certainly am.
 
Love,
 
Cam
 
first post

It me! I was trying to show off my shoes but I look a bit silly instead. Still, you win some, you lose some.