A different kind of REVIEW: Six Months Unsupervised

Ha, gosh. 

When was the last time I wrote a blog post just ‘because’? Goodness knows. These days, I’m usually occupied by theatre reviewing – work availability / university permitting – which I am devastated will be ending this year as I will no longer be a student in June (but more on that travesty later). I’ve reviewed about thirty-five shows between The Kings Theatre, Theatre Royal and The Tron in the two years I’ve been writing for The Student Advertiser. It’s been a wonderful experience; I’ve learnt all sorts about theatre performance and have tried, and tested, a variety of ways of writing reviews – some good, others, well, a learning curve. It’s truly been a gift to write for TSA. 

However, I thought –  be it for prosperity, out of cathartics, or just simply so I can reflect when this crazy ride ends – that it would be nice, for once, to review something  a little closer to my heart: the first six months of living out of my family home. I’ve constructed this as a list of lessons, because learning curves appear to have been firing themselves at me from every turn. Though the word ‘lessons’ implies that this has been a testing experience for me, please know that, yes: it has been. However, living in Glasgow City Centre has also been, for the most part, the greatest, most memorable and hilarious six months of my life. I actually don’t want it to end.

I live with one of my best friends, Cassay, a fellow TSA writer and proclaimer of good banter. Two of our other best friends live directly above us, Mat and Ross, meaning that our flats have turned into hubs for our twelve-strong English-studying friend group, which is slightly reminiscent of Friends. Barely a day goes by that we don’t encounter the boys upstairs. They have truly made this experience even better, though, always appear at the door when the flat is a riot. There is something they should know upon reading this: we do actually clean, we promise.

Lesson One

Although a fairly obvious realisation now, I didn’t fully appreciate many things – lets call them gifts – until I moved into my own, self-operated household. Gifts include that of a fully-stocked fridge, continuously emptied bins, washing that does itself and appears – as if by magic – on beds in neatly folded towers, wonderfully dust-free shelves, endless supplies of milk, bread and of toothpaste – oh toothpaste, perhaps the most novel gift of all. How spectacular a brand new tube of toothpaste is. 

Lesson Two

The kitchen is a battlefield I am not equipped to enter. Seriously, though: Shang would never make a man out of me on this one. Toast and beans does not qualify as cooking, nor do pre-cooked, breadcrumbed meats you heat up in the oven. Weetabix is not an appropriate choice for all three meals. It isn’t possible to contract food poisoning from undercooked Quorn, but that isn’t to imply that it tastes good either. The grill actually needs to be on in order to successfully grill Cheesy Beanos; the golden glow of the grill light can often be misleading. Fruit does in fact goes off, and the frustration is genuine; I challenge you to find me anything sadder than discovering an out-of-date melon, mid-cut. 

Lesson Three

Overcoming Fear of the Telephone is a very real and commendable achievement. Allow no one to tell you otherwise. As it turns out, avoiding calling the electricity guy during times of need means that the electricity  will not work if there’s a problem – who . knew. Similarly, you will not physically feel the plumber, the locksmith, the Virgin TV team or the renting agency’s eyes roll off the curb and down the street if you call to ask about an issues. They’re there to help you, and I must remember this next time I stare blankly at an unknown number calling me on my mobile.

Lesson Four

Just because you don’t have a bedtime, it isn’t advisable to stay up deep chatting four days a week until the break of dawn with anyone and everyone who enters your building. The novelty of late nights wears off fairly quickly around essay submission season. And d’you know what else does? The smell of fabric softener on your duvet set.

Lesson Five

A poorly explained game of any description – let’s say Cluedo for arguments sake *twitches* – is enough to divide friend groups, start wars, end peace agreements, and friendships shortly afterwards. However, board games are – as my neglecting family should know – are the most underrated form of entertainment on a Saturday night. Just don’t ask me how to explain the rules of any card games; I don’t know their names, or the meaning of “all in” in Poker.

Lesson Six

I truly believe that it’s impossible to know the value of anything until it’s temporary removed from your peripheral vision. Visits home to see family need to be arranged now. There’s none of this popping your head in the living room door to say, “hello,” and calling it ‘checking in’. My family mean even more to me now that they aren’t conveniently placed, and they were already some of my favourite people before I left. I believe this is what made it harder in November when we sadly lost my gran – a pillar in our family.

This is an extremely brief summary of what has been a fantastic six months of board game nights and weekly 3am drives to McDonalds between crippling eight-hour library stints during the 24-hour exam opening times. I can’t wait to see what these final six months will hold.

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