I’m off to Amsterdam!

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When you’re reading this I will be boarding a coach for an 11 hour journey to Amsterdam through the night, tomorrow morning I will be seeing the beautiful sights with two of my best friends. I’m beyond excited to finally be going on a girls holiday and also absolutely terrified after I had to miss out on the trip to Prague because of my fracture, I’ve never been out of the country without my family or Ali before.

I’m looking forward to falling in love with the beauty and culture. We have a list of museums to visit, things to see, a visit to Hard Rock Cafe and there’s a certain surprise that the girls have planned, I have no idea! It’s also going to be rather amusing to go to the sex museum that’s not far from our hotel.

Fear not my faithful followers I won’t be leaving you with nothing! I’ve got a few posts lined up for this week like this months book haul, my piece for suicide prevention day and a book review. Although if you want to see what I’m up to you can follow me on Instagram as I’m sure I’ll be posting up some of mine, Amy and Dani’s adventures follow me on @chloemetz_.

Catch you all at the end of the week! 🙂

Goodbyes

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I’m writing this post with both a heavy heart and endless excitement. In the next two days two of my best friends will be getting on a plane and heading to New Zealand for a year of exciting adventures and studying! Eleanor and Maisha have bigger lady balls than I ever will and I am so proud of both of them for not only getting on to the programme in the first place but accepting. It seems to strange that come September it will only be me, Dani and Amy heading into our third and final year of our undergrad degree.

I wanted to write this small post just to say how bloody proud I am of them, how much I am going to miss them (words can’t even describe) and that I know for a fact both of them will have the time of their lives out there. I love both of you girls so, so much. Good Luck ❤

Athens Day 4: Spine Strike, Stalker Pigeons and Writing Inspiration

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Hello and thank you for understanding my late writing. Today was a very different day to what I’ve been used to in Greece. My Spine decided it had, had enough and I spent nearly all day lying in bed watching BBC World news and trying not to sulk. Yep, I over did it so for the next few days I’m going to have to go very easy until I get home. Ali and I took a short trip downstairs to grab a late lunch in the hotel bar, where we were stalked by hungry Pigeons! Despite my protests he didn’t leave me on my own, he stayed in the room with me working on his laptop and helping me any way he could.

Of course I still had class and that was something I wasn’t willing to miss, even if it took me ages to get up there. So I stocked up on my pain medication and made the trip, my walking was a little better after all the rest but like hell was I going to push it. We spoke about another student’s piece before being sent to do our assignment of the day.  I went to fit somewhere to fit and be inspired and ended up under a tree. I had this overwhelming sense of loneliness sitting there. I looked around and just missed London so much.

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I want to go and explore different cities, obviously, but none will stay in my heart like London. It’s a part of my heart and the Thames goes through my second home. Even when I was younger days to London were my favourite and I was always caught up in the city. I really did miss home, but didn’t let it show in my writing.

In the lift down after class, a woman was blunt she was older and American ‘You cracked your spine?’ she asked. I told her I had fractures, she looked at me (I sound so damn British here!) and told me she’d cracked her spine twice within 2 months of each other and wished me a speedy recovery. She was the first person while I was here to ask about it and I didn’t mind, it was better than staring.

Ali was waiting for me as usual and we decided to try and find some kind of food and returned to a restaurant we went to a few days before. They remembered us and we laughed through dinner where I finally got some traditional Greek food, Gyros Chicken with Pitta and Seasoned Chips. I’m so happy I’ve gotten to share this with my favourite person in the world, Ali’s so much more than just my partner he’s one of my oldest friends as well as my best friend.

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I don’t know what the plan for tomorrow is, it really depends on how my back is, but if I can’t explore again I’ll try and take the opportunity to write again.

Athens Day Three: Open Top Bus Tour, The Acropolis and working with my novel

I made it! I made it out and got to see some of the sights. After filling up on breakfast we slowly made our way to buy tickets for the bus. City – Sightseeing Bus Top Tours are all over the world, I’ve often seen them around London but now I want to actually go on one. The deal was you buy one day and get another free, we’re hoping we can use the other day later this week, because there is a lot too see it’s just really spread out. IT cost us 18 Euros for the bus, so not the cheapest and I didn’t get as many photos as I wanted too because the sun was so damn bright. We sat on the top deck, with our headphones plugged in, melting in the heat of Athens. If you do any of these tours then water is a must, and a hat which I bought before we got on board.

The bus travels around the city, giving you a mix of historical information, opportunities for walking tours and photo tours and top tips for the city, all included in the price. I knew I couldn’t do much walking so the tour was a nice way to catch a glimpse of the city and it’s beauty. The columns standing after thousands of years, statues of the Gods mixed with modern touches too. Children shouted hello and waved to our bus and we waved back, laughing at their excitement.

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In the city gardens

Our method was to stay on the bus the whole way round, which took an hour and a half, before getting off at the Acropolis. It didn’t take long to realise my hopes of going up the Acropolis weren’t going to happen. Most of the city was too uneven for my wheelchair and there were a lot of steps surrounding, Ali promised we’d come back later on when I could do it, but I was heartbroken. I did, however, get to go to the Museum where most of what was inside was moved to, or casts of them anyway. Seeing what had survived and the detail of the ancient world was breathtaking, unfortunately you’re not allowed to take any pictures while inside. There was even the old streets under your feet that you could look at through glass.

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The Acropolis Museum, (l) Stadium, (r) The best picture Ali and I could get together on top of the bus and he’s actually smiling!! 

As we got off of the bus we were lucky enough to watch the changing of the guard, the outfits are amazingly detail with 400 pleats and take 80 days each to make. The 400 pleats represent 400 years of occupation. They have a special march and guard the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Today put a lot of strain on my spine, we came back to the hotel for an hour or so that both of us could drink a lot of water and relax before having to head to class tonight. I was upset with my spine, fed up of the pain and still wanting to do everything. Even going to class this evening was a struggle, but I’m glad I did!

As well as discussing another piece of work by a fellow student, I also had my 1-1 meeting with my tutor. We sat down and worked through my submission piece and discussed where I was going to go with it, how I felt about ideas that had been put forward, things like that. Katherine is a brilliant tutor. I have so many ideas and directions of where I can go with my novel now, it’s actually becoming real!

As for tomorrow, it very much depends on my spine and how I feel but I’m hoping to go out and explore again (fingers crossed).

Athens bound!

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We are in Athens!!! I’m writing to all of you after hardly any sleep, so keep that in mind while you’re reading! At 1am my family and I were headed to Gatwick Airport to meet Ali (who’d had to come straight from work bless him). Ever since I was little I’ve loved the trip to the airport, watching the lights on the motorway, the darkness, everything.

I found Ali in the airport with his Mum and her partner Andy, who had dozed off waiting for us. And so I was dropped off in my wheelchair and after goodbyes I just had to sit and wait until bag drop. Excited didn’t even cover it I was going on HOLIDAY! Plus it’s the first time I have been abroad with Ali alone, something I’ve wanted to do for years. London being London meant the special assistance lane at security was closed. So I had to wait while people worked out the best way to check my wheelchair and push me through (they didn’t have enough staff). People were generally nice, although the woman searching my chair was chatting to me a lot, her daughter rides and what had happened to me was ‘one of her worst nightmares’ but as she said it’s just something that can happen to riders. She was surprisingly cheery for 4am, but then again so was I.

Then it was on to the shopping, I already had ideas of what I wanted to buy in Duty free and it was made even more fun by Ali now running with me through the airport. We zoomed around World of Duty Free, Ali teasing by going straight past what I wanted to look at before pulling me back. I must have looked slightly mad laughing so hard. We soon found the MAC counter…I might have treated myself.

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Well, they were discounted…how could I resist my first MAC make up

Everything then went really quickly, then we were on the plane ready to GO! It was only 6am though…so I dozed quite a few times and the flight was ok although Ali and I were both ready for a nap. Athens Airport was completely different to Gatwick.  I was met off of the plane and taken straight through, our bag was the 5th on the belt and we were personally put into a taxi by a lovely man.

The hotel is cute and right on the shopping street (uh oh) and tomorrow we’ll be taking a slow walk around to get used to the place and find the British Council before my first class in the evening…eek! Right now though I need to go and get some food before crashing and finally getting a full nights sleep before class tomorrow!

Why I’m going to Athens

In less than 12 hours I will be on my plane heading to Greece, eek! This week I will be visiting the beautiful city of Athens for the first time and I’m stupidly excited. I wrote a little while ago about being accepted on a course that was thankfully being paid for by the university as a part of my work with the Kingston Writing School. While I wish I was going to simply lay around and enjoy the sights of Athens, instead I will be working on my creative writing skills!

Every evening I have a few hours of class with two other students, working on each others pieces and getting feedback on our own. It’s an international writing school, so it’s a great opportunity to network with people from all over the world as well. I really have to thank David Rodgers for the opportunity!

So tonight my family are driving me to meet Ali at the airport. Initially I was going on my own as this crazy, fun and scary adventure travelling on my own, then of course the accident happened and Ali’s Mum stepped in so that he could afford to come too! Now I’ve just there are about 4 shops open before security at 2am, so there’s going to be a lot of Cafe Nero before we can get our big Spoons breakfast. I’m a little nervous because I will be of course wearing my back brace and in my wheelchair through the airport, something I’ve never done before.

That said, it’s such an incredible thing for me to travel to another country for something academic and be honored with an invite to it. I’m planning to make the most of my writing time, as well as seeing the beauty of Athens and spending some much needed relaxation time with Ali. So off I go and I’ll catch you all in Greece!

10 things I’ve learnt in the last month

Yesterday was 1 month since I fell off Rose, I couldn’t believe how quickly one month had gone. Although I still have a month until my next spine appointment, I will have hopefully made some more improvements. Where am I at the moment? I’m still taking very strong painkillers and have trouble getting up but I can walk that little bit further than before. I was quite poorly yesterday night (hence no blog) but I wanted to use today’s to think about some of the things I’ve learnt this month while I’ve been resting. Enjoy 🙂

1. Fear of falling is never a good thing

When I fell from Rose, I wasn’t scared. I knew that I had to just let go, it was only a fall. Ok, yes I ended up with much more than just an initial bruise BUT I want to get that feeling back. I want to get that feeling where I’m not scared of falling because I can’t just go around scared whenever I ride. I kind of want to apply it to other areas of my life too. I’m a total perfectionist, I’m absolutely terrified of failing, especially academically. So maybe I can relax a little? Just enough so I’m not a huge ball of stress all through third year.

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I will get back to being this fearless on a horse! 

2. How lucky I am

I am walking. I am not permanently in a wheelchair and I’m so grateful. The lack of finding the fractures meant I went back to my normal life, I could have very easily ended up paralysed. I’ve been cared for by the people who matter and I’m still getting there but it looks like I’m going to recover from this, for that I am so,so lucky.

3. I want to be financially secure so I can afford private healthcare once I’ve graduated

I don’t want the NHS to be privatised because for most of my life it’s been there and I’m glad we can rely on a National System. That said, I wasn’t treated well with this serious injury, I’ve had to wait and push and be in extreme pain for appointments and I still don’t have my back brace never mind that the fractures were missed. It’s one of my goals in life to have private healthcare because I know I will be treated with the best possible care, it’s sad but true.

4. I have lots of wonderful people around me 

My family is incredible and so are my friends. I’ve had this outpouring of love from all of my friends and family. Cards have been sent, I’ve been accompanied to hospital, Ali’d had to help me move, I’ve been pushed in my wheelchair and made to smile about it, comments,presents and messages. I feel so loved and appreciated everything so, so much.

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5. Sometimes it’s ok that things don’t go to plan 

As you all know I was meant to go to Prague with Eleanor and Dani this month. I’d been counting down for so long and I couldn’t go. I was devastated to say the least and I cried, a lot. The thing is although I didn’t get to go to Prague, I got invited to the Society Awards instead and saw my society win an award, as well as another one of my best friends win an award. Am I still sad that I missed out on time with El and Dani? Of course I am but at least I still got to smile with two of my other best friends.

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6. You can always embarrass yourself in front of your partner, no matter how long you’ve been together 

Ali and I have been together for seven years and yet I still find ways to embarrass myself. I’ve been taking showers as I can stand up in the warm water, it helps the pain. I decided my legs NEEDED shaving so I sat down in the bath…then realised I was stuck. Ali then had to come and lift me out of the bath, it was a beautiful moment. I was so embarrassed, love huh?

7. There are other ways to let out pain and frustration 

In the past when I was in the darkest parts of depression I didn’t know how to let my pain and frustration out in a positive way, now it’s a lot better. I write a lot or I draw sometimes. There are so many things that you can do to let it all out, I’ll be writing a post in the future about it.

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8. Friends are priceless

I couldn’t have kept my spirits up the way I have without my friends, they’ve been incredible. They’ve visited or messaged me and kept my spirits up with I’ve been very low and they haven’t gotten frustrated when it takes me so long to walk anywhere.Thank you to all of you, I love you so much.

9. A lot needs to be done for people who are permanently in wheelchairs 

I’ve gone out in my wheelchair twice and I’ve noticed this. While the majority of people have been nice and helpful I’ve been moaned at my people in cars for not being off the road the second the light turns green for them, I’ve been sighed at when someone needs to change their path because of my wheelchair and I’ve been walked in front of. This is where angry Chloe happens who doesn’t give a monkeys, I usually shout after them. It’s been so hard getting about in the wheelchair, to get up the pavement is a major issue, getting into shops, getting around in general! More needs to be done for people in wheelchairs to make their lives easier!

10. Pain doesn’t mean the end of happiness 

I’ve been pretty low through all this but I’ve still managed happiness. I can stil laugh with my friends and I’ve adapted things. I’m not saying I don’t get upset, frustrated and angry, but I can still achieve happiness even if it’s harder.

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Still smiling 

Wheelchairs, Goodbyes and Dinner along the river

girls!

Left to Right Alissa,Eleanor, Amy, Maisha, Dani, Me 

Yesterday marked the arrival of my wheelchair, which I’d been recommended to rent out, but it was more cost effective to buy it *sigh*. I hadn’t been looking forward to it but I wasn’t that anxious until they rang the doorbell to deliver it. It came in it’s big box while Ali unwrapped it for me. We both just kind of stared at it for a while. I could tell that something in him matched my uneasiness about it. I sat in it and got back out again trying not to cry before asking him to put it away, I can’t even push myself in it!  I didn’t want it, I hated it and I didn’t want to go anywhere.

Luckily I got to escape to my doctors appointment, determined to walk to the bus stop. I got given more pain medication, had been dealing with the lousy insurance company and had to call Orthopaedics about a mistake they had made in my appointments. To put it simply I was pretty low. It didn’t help that on the bus ride home there were no seats. Standing on a bus brings unbelievable pain and luckily a woman spotted my face and let me sit down and a man offered to help me get up again after, which being me I said no to. I met Laura quickly to pick up my new prescription and she cheered me up, but I was still uneasy about going out in the evening.

A thousand thoughts went through my head, what if people stare? What if I just become the wheelchair girl when I go out? What if people laugh? I didn’t have too long to think about it before Amy picked me up. From then on it was more trying to navigate the roads…they really aren’t that wheelchair friendly. Pavements to get across the road weren’t straight and we couldn’t pull my chair, horrendous pathways I feel for people who are wheelchair bound, it’s really not fair!

From then on we met the girls and I started to relax, nobody here treated me different that’s for sure! They all relaxed too after being a bit nervous themselves and we were ready to have a great last meal with Alissa before she headed back to the US *sniff* and before Dani and El caught their flight to Prague.We had a great time, good food and I laughed so much my face hurt. We were all laughing and screaming while Amy and Eleanor divided steering me and trying to avoid the river ;). 10521733_10153886855593206_6154522888338423380_n

Dinner along the Thames

Despite smiling so much I went home and cried, I cried because I was going to miss Alissa who has become such a big part of our lives, I cried because I wished more than anything that I was going to Prague with the girls and I partly cried with relief because none of them saw me any differently. I woke up with a funny picture of ‘stick chloe’ on the plane with El and Dani to make me smile. I carried on with the day going for my brace measurement appointment, having a coffee with Laura before picking up some drawing stuff on the way home as something to do.

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Last night when the girls had made me laugh so much the chair didn’t matter 🙂 

The closer I got to home the more pain I was in. I got so mad, I was trying to be positive and everything but WHY was I so frustrated and sad all the time? On top of that I was completely exhausted, fed up I took a lie down to rest again. It is hard, I didn’t think I’d mind as much as I do but I’m usually up and about all the time. I caught myself dreaming about going swimming again, or for an absent minded walk around Kingston and for the next 6 or so weeks I’m stuck not being able to do either. 11295569_10153888888068206_1153168637262698221_n

Being Supergirl for my brace measurements appointment

I’m both positive and sad at the same time. I know it won’t be forever but I think missing out on Prague has hit the hardest. I know I can go again, but I look at the girls pictures and love and miss them both so much. So all in all a confusing day and I’m just about ready to sleep after being cooked a lovely Steak by Ali tonight (to make up for the palm size excuse for one that had the girls wetting themselves last night!).

Tomorrow will be better, I’ll make sure of it. Night guys!

Road Trips with the girls

Off in the sunshine today to see the beautiful Eleanor while she’s resting up after her surgery last weekend. The surgery all went well and she’s healing nicely despite having a pretty bad knee injury. Up early (ish), cup of tea down and bundle Dani, Amy and Alissa into my car just after rush hour so we can get down to Kent as quickly as possible.

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It has been SO sunny here in Kingston, unfortunately I missed a chunk of it when I traded the sun for the clouds of Durham and Newcastle, luckily it followed us to Kent. Cruising through Kingston and the M25 we had to change the journey but eventually pulled into Eleanor’s cute little village. It’s been such a long time since I’ve been in a proper village, there are a few that surround Basingstoke but I never go to them when I’m home, I’ve never needed to. We drove through all these little country lanes and fields. I had this little smile on my face as soon as we got to those views, just like I did while I was in the car up to Durham at the weekend. I don’t think you can really appreciate how beautiful this country is until you take a long drive/ train journey through it.

Once we finally got there, I can’t explain how good it was to see El again. I’ve missed all the girls so much since we finished lectures but with El, obviously I’ve been worried too because surgery is damn scary. El’s was a relatively simple surgery but what can I say I’m a worrier. We were able to catch up before eating an incredible lunch Eleanor’s mum had made for us. Oh my god it was so good, I’ve really been spoilt with all this good food for the past week (and I get more when I head home this weekend *dies*) potatoes and pasta were my picks out of the load of food laid out for us and then homemade cheesecake for pudding.

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The five of us in El’s garden

l-r, Amy, Me, El, Dani and Alissa 

With all of us back together it was back to our usual banter and a lot of laughs, I’d missed it. It’s different than the laughs I have with the boys, I like having the mix of both.

I guess I need times like this week, to get away to different places and be left to appreciate things. When you distance yourself from the things that are stressing you out, like my assignments, physically walk away from them it can bring that glow of happiness back that I really needed. Back to reality tomorrow, but it was nice to have a break 🙂

It’s not just escaping

I’ve been back from Durham for a few hours now, I’m sitting at my laptop willing for something to jump onto the page. I have a few more quotes, a plan of ideas but they won’t go into words, into the essay that I’m so desperate to finish. It’s taken a few hours to start to get anxious about what’s coming, I have assignments to do, gigs to organise, work, blog and all these things. I need to stop and breathe.

I’ve written before about being tired, and that’s partly to blame for my stressed out mood right now. I don’t know why but getting away has always made me relax, made sure that I could think straight. I’m not going to lie to you all and say yep as soon as I get away I’m fine and happy and don’t get worried, I do. For the first day and a half in Durham I had this horrible twisting ball of anxiety inside me, for the whole of the first evening Ali’s Gran kept asking if I was feeling ok. I wanted to be perfectly ok and normal, maybe I was trying too hard. I just wanted everyone to like me, to make a good impression again. It did work, Ali’s family were all lovely and kind and treated me like I belonged, so the feelings went away.

I guess I’m writing this to say that I worked out a long time ago, you can’t just run away from the things that are hard but sometimes a little distance from the things worrying you is a good start.I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, it’s all ups and downs. For now I think I should take myself off to bed for the night, I have another long drive tomorrow.