22:03

Why is it that when you know you have time to sleep that you feel at your most awake?

This bank holiday has messed up my sleeping pattern. I woke up this morning at 04:30 and stayed wide awake until 06:45, before sleeping on till 09:30. My natural body clock is usually very good at letting me get a good nights rest, and at waking me up for work.

I have not seen 05:00 since my student days so the stillness of the morning was quite refreshing (albeit tiring in the long run).

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23:15

Last weekend I was able to return home to visit my family for a few days. Though it was a short ‘long weekend’, it was definitely worth it to travel 5.5 hours home and back just to see them. I miss simple home comforts now and again so quick bursts of home satisfy my yearnings.

I am thankful for time with family and friends and the rare times I get to return home. It makes me cherish those times all the more.

22:47

After a hectic week of work and play I have finally had a chance to let my body rest. For the past week an Australian friend has been visiting Edinburgh so everyday has been eventful. I went to work during the day and met my friend in the evenings which resulted in long days out of the house. We also helped to prepare for our mutual friend’s wedding over the weekend (making favours, decorations and organising schedules). Over Sunday and Monday I attended wedding festivities and taxied friends around in my car.

Today I went back to work feeling very drained and ended up being quite unproductive. After a long Monday of wedding activities and the previous week of work and play, the tiredness finally caught up with my body. When I got home from work I had a 3 hour nap, skipped dinner and now I am ready to sleep again.

As much as I love being busy sometimes, I also need time to rest and have some time to myself. Being physically out of the house every day and night is exhausting! I think my body is telling me to slow down and take it easy, however I seem to have a million things planned for the coming months. I am grateful in advance for any opportunities that I get to stay at home!

22:09

After a little break away in the sun; I have returned to normality and my usual routine. While being on holiday is normally a time to rest and relax, I have found that my body has not recharged itself until I got back into my routine. The excitement of being on holiday and exploring a new country takes its toll. I found myself getting stressed with planning both before and during the holiday, and ended up waking a lot earlier than planned every day I was away. Amidst long days out and coupled with broken sleep I was left exhausted by the time I hopped on the plane home. Not long after take off I completely knocked out and fell asleep!

After being back to work for a week my body has finally gotten back into my usual sleeping routine. I have managed to get back into swimming after a little hiatus, and also changed my eating habits back from the late Spanish meal times. Change is good every now and again but it is always comforting to come back to a ‘normal’ lifestyle.

21:54

My latest book read was Charlotte Mendelson’s Almost English. The book follows a Hungarian family (namely a mother and daughter) and their life in the UK. I picked the book because I was enticed by the blurb and by my curiosity of Hungarian culture.

My thoughts on the book? I was not overly impressed with the content because it seemed to lack depth. Just as I was starting to feel a connection with the characters; the book came to an abrupt ending. The last few chapters left questions unanswered and several loose ends. I suspect that the book is aimed at a younger audience hence the character and plot development is less established. This was a disappointing read in my opinion but I guess that’s what I get for choosing books on a whim! Onto my next venture!

21:29

As someone who is more on the introverted side of the introvert/extrovert scale, I am always looking for ways in which I can feel more comfortable in the general public. While I can walk down a busy street without feeling anxiety, I often have panicky feelings or pangs of social awkwardness when faced with crowds (both strangers and people I know).

When faced with a situation in which I have to speak to an acquaintance, I tend to stay quite quiet and avoid making conversation where possible. I am not a fan of small talk! On Monday mornings I seldom ask colleagues how their weekends went (not out of rudeness but out of a slight feeling of uncomfortableness). I think that this sometimes stems from my weekend habits. On Sundays I tend to take the day to recharge my batteries and have some alone time. Come Monday morning; the loud dynamics of colleagues chatting is sometimes difficult to emulate. I work hardest when it is quiet and peaceful; however office etiquette calls for bonding with colleagues and sharing interests. With a naturally quiet character it can sometimes be difficult to interact with those who have a much louder personality.

Recently in a monthly meeting with my team leader, she told me of an observation she had made of my character. She noticed that I had been more open and vocal, engaging in more conversations with colleagues and generally having a more outgoing demeanour. She seemed pretty pleased that I was engaging with my colleagues more (not that I was ever a completely silent worker), and that I seemed happier as of late. I had not actively changed my behaviour in the past month so it was strange yet satisfying to hear this observation from a colleague. I am pleased to realise that my comfort levels in interacting with others has increased (if only a little), and that I don’t give off a socially awkward vibe (as much as I think I do). Sometimes all an introvert needs is the quiet reassurance that they are doing okay.

22:14

My latest reading adventure was American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. My exploration of genres has taken me far and wide but I think this was my biggest challenge yet.

I believe most people have heard of American Psycho and know it to be quite intense. The first couple of chapters ease you into the life of Patrick Bateman. He is suave, good looking, fashionable, knowledgable in music, fashion and food, and comes across as a ‘normal’ guy. His violent and psychotic tendencies are not revealed till later on, shattering the illusion of normality. Patrick struggles with the reality of his life: drugs, women and working on Wall Street. His encounters with his victims increase as his interest in socialising in fancy restaurants subsides.

Going into the book with a few notions of the plot did not prepare me for the intensely detailed scenes depicted. I found some of the torture/murder scenes very graphic and difficult to read. I did the unspeakable and had to skip over sentences and paragraphs due to their violent nature. This very much added to my character profile of Patrick Bateman as a psychopathic killer.

Uncomfortable reading aside; the book was written very well with clear character development through out. Patrick starts off as a put-together, knowledgable man who has the world at his feet, nevertheless by the end he becomes dishevelled, shaken and one who has lost their grip on reality.

My next reading venture will definitely be one with lighter undertones!

21:12

The latest book I finished reading was To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It is such a well-known book but I found myself not picking it up until my mid-twenties. I never studied it in high school like some of my fellow twenty-somethings did, nor did I hear much about the actual plot of the novel.

Reading it at my current ages has allowed me to appreciate the depth of the story and of the underlying teachings. I also think that reading this after two of Khaled Hosseini’s thought-provoking books enabled me to have a more open mind, and a broader perspective.

I have always considered To Kill A Mockingbird a ‘classic’ book. One of those books that the wider population has read (or at least heard of). A sticker on my copy states ‘over 30 million copies sold worldwide’, which is quite the feat. I am glad to be able to experience such rich culture and detailed lifestyles through the power of the written word. I am also glad that my knowledge of history and its stories has broadened.

21:04

Recently I finished reading The Kite Runner and also A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

Both books were gripping with such an intensity that surprised me. I found myself reading the books in every situation I could: curled up in bed for the evening, on the bus to and from work, and squeezing in chapters before my shift. While not being particularly knowledgable of the culture, religion or background of the books I have found myself enriched through their teachings. The stories have given me a window into Afghanistan culture where the country’s wounds have been patched up time and time again. The hardships of the few in the books are in fact the hardships of many in reality. I found myself teary-eyed and empathising with the characters, rooting for them in their triumphs and sorrowful in their losses.

I am looking forward to purchasing the next book in the series. Hosseini writes in such an amazing way; a way which gets through all the emotion of a character and the nitty gritty details. These books have been a real eye-opener into another culture. They tell the reality of life in another land so strikingly different to my own. A well worthwhile read!