My Hometown

Hello, welcome to my hometown. This is the place I grew up, my half-home at the moment while I’m at university. I’ve lived in this town all my life, I know it pretty well. There are so many segments: my town almost feels like a lot of different villages put together, each of them feels different.

Old Hall feels like home. Layers upon layers of memories: first kisses, childhood friends, and 21 Christmases. I used to play in the little woods opposite my house, if it was an adventurous day we’d go to the Bumpy for the swings and slides. My mum goes to the Spar every morning to get her paper, the staff know her pretty well by now. Our time in this house is probably coming to an end soon but in my heart I think it will always be mine.

Chappleford feels like expectation. I watched these houses rise up from an old air force base. The first time I visited was to the museum, just before it closed. Within a year the first houses were finished. Before prom in year 11 I met my friend to sunbathe on a nice patch of grass which looked pretty ordinary, now its a park for many to enjoy. I had a make or break conversation with my ex there last year. This place always reminds me of him: it was my walk to his house and a middle point for us to meet. Other people are making lifelong memories there now.

Westbrook feels like childhood. My primary school and old church live here. Primary school is rose tinted in my eyes, nothing really felt too much there. We used to go to the cinema once a year as a treat but I usually ended up scared of the film and leaving before the end. The change from UCI to Odeon was not welcomed at first but I really can’t tell you the difference, teenagers still meet there and favourite films are experienced for the first time there. I spent a lot of my childhood there, now go only for the supermarket.

Hood Manor feels like nostalgia. Its home to two people who used to be the most important. My ex-best friend: the closest to the type of friendship everyone else appears to have. We grew apart and thats okay. Nevertheless I’ll always think of her. My ex-boyfriend: my first love and hardest break up. He doesn’t stay there much but his family is still there and that house holds a lot of memories of awkwardness, fun, and love. Its happy nostalgia tinted with loss, and I wouldn’t ever change it.

Great Sankey feels like school. My high school is here, seven years of my life I got the bus in and out. Its not as happy as primary school but even so I became me here. I have a friend who lives down the road and her primary school was where my mum taught last. I didn’t explore the area too much, although I could find my way around alright. My school years were up and down but they made me who I am.

Thats just a snapshot of my hometown: the places that mean the most. I’ve spent a lot of my time here wanting something else but it’ll always be my first home. I’m getting ready to leave again now, start a new at my second university. I hope to carve out a new home one day, give my children a hometown that they can base their lives upon.

Shiny and new

I just bought a laptop.
Its shiny and new,
I can never help myself when it comes to new stuff,
I have to open it and use it,
Immediately.

I knew when I bough it that it didn’t have much memory,
Still I bought it,
I don’t regret it…yet.

It didn’t take long for me to overload it,
Find a fault in it,
The optimistic stage kicked in.
This is the trying to fix it stage,
Or rather the ‘I will fix it’ stage,
Where I become the answer,
It won’t be like this forever,
I’ll find the answer.

Hiding underneath is the pessimist,
Its never going to be as fast as my other one,
I’m not going back,
But I’m not moving forward,
Its all new
Yet all the same,
In a year I might get fed up,
Buy a new one.

I don’t know what I’ll think in a years time,
I’ll probably be used to it,
Might’ve found a solution,
If not I’ll still be complaining.

Maybe I’ll try a new way,
Work with another to find the answer,
Be somewhere different,
Instead of longing to be there.

My new laptop,
I wonder where we will go together,
What sights we will see,
When our relationship ends,
Where will we be?

 

A letter to my 18 year old self

Hi 18 year old Kathryn,

Its you, only three years older. It feels as if we’re completely different people, I remember not wanting that to happen but I’m glad it did.

Right about now you’re recovering from LeakyCon, or as you’d call it the best weekend of your life. Thats very true to you right now. Today, things are a little different. You don’t want a LeakyCon tattoo anymore and the memories feel very distant. Don’t worry though, they’re still as fond. You’re still in touch with Kristina and Annika, you won’t believe how much they’ve changed, and you’re updated on facebook about the others. I know this sounds scary, but believe me, its all good.

You’re terrified of change and facing a lot of it, its totally understandable. You don’t think you could be happier right now and its so much easier to stay where you are but you’ve got a huge adventure ahead of you. Its not always going to be easy, in fact its going to start off as the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You’ve been through heartbreak and heartache but you understand why. You’ll go through ups and downs that will turn your world upside down, but guess what? You’re happier in yourself than ever before.

I’m sorry to say that you don’t have everything figured out. Those times you set yourself for when you’d know everything didn’t really work. 21 doesn’t feel a huge way off from 18, but it does at the same time. You’re still classed as a young adult, but that feels a bit more comfortable now. You’d never believe how much you’ve done, how many new people you’ve met and how little it matters about those you’ve lost. You’re just starting to learn to be okay with the fact that you’ll always be a work in progress.

I didn’t want to write this to scare you although I know it would have, I just wanted to write this as a tribute to how far we’ve come. There are huge specific things that happen to us that I’ve missed out. I’ve done that because I don’t think they’d happen if you knew about them. Keep going, you’ll get through, and some wonderful things are still to come.

Yours lovingly,

21 year old Kathryn

Forgiveness, can you imagine?

If anyone asks me what my faith is based on, I’d tell them: the love and forgiveness of my heavenly father who has set me free.

Forgiveness. Thats what we receive from Christ. The ultimate forgiveness, setting us free to be and free from so much. Forgiveness that is ours to have and hold, to make us better people.

I don’t understand forgiveness yet. I’m a little bit closer to understanding today than I was last week though. I’ve made a huge step since one of my best friends challenged me, asking “have you forgiven him yet?”.

You see, I thought I’d moved past the hurt of breaking up with the guy I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with. I thought I was good. For the first time in nearly a year, I reached out to him. I thought it would be okay. It wasn’t. I realised that he wasn’t hurting how I thought he was. He’d moved on and had been moved on for a long time. A spiral started and the next 12 hours were a write off.

During that time was when I was asked if I had forgiven him. I hadn’t. I haven’t got all the way there now. Until last week I believed that forgiveness was for the other person only. Until last week I thought that to forgiveness was letting the other person off the hook. Believe it or not, google taught me otherwise.

According to google, “Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.”

What struck me about this definition is that it focuses on the impact on the ‘victim’ rather than the ‘offender’. Thats a totally new way of looking at it for me. Remembering that forgiveness is for me, rather than the other person has transformed the way I think. I’ve always been bad at letting things go but by the grace of God I’ve been able to begin to learn it this week.

I’m not going to claim to understand God in any way shape or form but thanks to a very good friend I’ve been able to follow Jesus more truly by learning to forgive. What better way to bless others while increasing my own blessing from God?

Drop in the ocean

2016 has been a bit of a year.

Recently especially,
Every morning something new,
Whether its in politics,
Or another tragedy right on cue.

I’ve become desensitised,
The shock value is gone.
Cautiously pessimistic is my default,
A barrier of self protection.

Its not airtight,
Things drip in,
Though I try not to worry,
Things still weigh heavy.

The pull of empathy,
Overtaken by the helplessness,
It all seems so far away,
Just too removed.

Amidst all of this,
Rays of sunshine can still shine through,
Sharing in the sorrow is important,
Remembering the good even moreso.

All I know to be true,
After all this sadness,
We will come through.

Make this year a year of love.
Kindness through and through,
Overwhelm the negative.

Afterall is said and done,

Love will always win.

The toastie project: Hay on Wye

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The first toastie is, of course, the one I was eating as I was dreaming up this idea. Because of this, I didn’t actually get a picture of the actual toastie, just the one above of the sugar packet I was fiddling with and the book leaflet. Hay on Wye is a small village/town on the border of England and Wales which is known for its bookshops. Me and my mum are big bookworms so it was the perfect place for us to stop on the way home from our holiday in Cornwall. The stop was semi-inspired by the tiny Norwegian village we visited a few years a go which felt like it had books spilling out of the buildings and it didn’t disappoint!

Following a morning of looking around the bookshops, in which I was very restrained and only bought one book, we stopped at what might be the main cafe in the village for lunch. I did my usual scan for toasties and happily ordered the usual. The toastie looked perfect: just the right bread,ham and cheese ratio and homemade looking enough that I was looking forward to eating it – a lot. It tasted almost as good as it looked, my one complaint would  be that the ham was a bit too tough and kept falling out of the sandwhich when I tried to bite into it. I wouldn’t of said that it was the best toastie in the world (not the best start, I know!) but it was definitely one of the good ones. We finished the meal by sharing a very very nice tiffin (or traybake as the woman in the cafe called it). Overall I’d say it was a very successful meal!

We finished and walked out into a lots and lots of rain and decided to look around the shops a little more, since they were all inside. I made friends with the owner’s cat in a very colourful shop my mum called a ‘glastonbury shop’ who played with my umbrella a bit, got is paw stuck to it and ran off to sit at the shop door. We tried to go through the run down castle but were met with only building work and decided to get back to the car ready to leave.

I mentioned before that this was the last night of our holiday in Cornwall: the village is somewhere in between Cornwall and our home. We’d had a lovely beach side holliday and so Hay on Wye was the perfect place to visit to bring us partly back to reality whilst still feeling tha we were on holiday. After going the wrong direction and finding that the nearest supermarket in the Welsh village was just past the English border, we set off on the last couple of hours back home.

Overall ratings for this toastie experience would be:
Visiuals: 10/10
Taste: 8/10
Location: 9/10

See you again soon, fellow toastie lovers!

Click here to read an introduction to the toastie project

Love is fire.
Burning passion,
Heated arguments,
Hot and sweaty.

Love is sweat.
Soppy compliments,
Hugs and kisses,
Chocolate and rose petals.

Love is sharing.
Constant company,
Known inside out,
Work and play.

Love is fantasy.
Teenage dreams,
Perfect harmony,
Aspiration and unrealistic.

Love is changeable.
At the heart of everything,
Ebbing and flowing over time,
It will come and it will go.

The Toastie Project: An Introduction

Lets set the scene: I’m in a cafe in a little Welsh town known for its book shops having lunch with my mum. My usual lunch: a cheese and ham toastie, arrives. This looked like an especially good toastie and so I expressed my excitement to my mum. Thats where this idea was born, as she commented that I should do a book reviewing toasties. I adapted the idea and in my head, it became the toastie project.

The Toastie Project is going to be a food/travel series that I do on this blog. Almost every time I’m on holiday or go somewhere interesting I eat a toastie at a new place and so I thought that talking a bit about the toasties I eat would be a good way to document my travels and the various different adventures I go on. The posts won’t just be about the toasties, they’ll be about the places I’ve been and any memorable stories from the area. I can’t commit to a schedule because the posts are based around my life and how exciting it is which, of course, changes. To start with I think I’m going to go back and look at some memorable toasties that I might have had over the last year or so.

Welcome to this journey, lets see where we end up!

As a Christian

As a Christian my beliefs are complicated,
I come as a mix of who I was and who I’ve become.

As a Christian I know I’m not perfect,
Just that I have an almighty father.

As a Christian I don’t have to follow a set of rules,
Developing a relationship comes first.

As a Christian I think that love comes first,
My God is love after all.

As a Christina I strive never to judge,
Only give love as I have received.

As a Christian I know the label may be misjudged,
But I’m called to be the opposite of expectations

As a Christian I disagree with conservative ideology,
Believing that Jesus was a fan of social justice.

As a Christian I know that I am loved,
And that is the best feeling in the world.

As a Christian I want to create change,
Though I cannot do it in my own strength.

 

As a Christian I have a calling,
Although I don’t necessarily believe that it has to be my career.

I am many things,
Wrapped up in a unique package,
My identities are ever expanding,
But one comes above all,
And as a Christian, that’s my call

That time a pair of shoes gave me an identity crisis

“Talk to the person next to you about what kind of shoes you’d be”

All I could say is “I have no idea”

A retreat with the student ministry of my church,
Connecting with God,
Growing as a group,
Learning and spending time together.

Then it struck.
“What kind of shoes would you be?”
I had no answer,
No real sense of self to fit into a pair of shoes.

Spiralling,
Exhaustion and loneliness,
An hour later trying to hide my tears.

They didn’t care that I didn’t know,
They just moved on,
I came up with half an answer,
So had to back track.
“Maybe converse, dependable converse”

I stand by that,
But still worry about what they thought,
A turn around from my first answer,
An actual answer this time,
Well, maybe half an answer.

Identity has been a theme of the past year,
The loss of a relationship that defined me,
Growing deeper in my relationship with God

What shoes am I?
I’m still not 100% sure,
But I can’t wait to find out more.