A christmas market and not sucking at writing
Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 - 7:12 pm.

This morning, Andrew and I hopped on a bus to go to a christmas market in a town in the countryside. It was Andrew's idea, proposed weeks ago, that we went to one and make an enjoyable day out of it. That is a very rare proposal coming from him, and I seized the opportunity. 

The bus trip from our city to that town takes about 50 minutes, but today everyone else had the same plan as us and went to that town. Except everyone else had a car. It took us an hour and a half to get to the town, there was a long line of cars trying to get into it and find a parking spot. The bus driver yelled to a couple of drivers on the road. Andrew and I stepped off the bus outside of the town and we just walked the rest of the way to the city centre. It's a small town, didn't take us long. 

The christmas market was, of course, crowded. The day was cold and cloudy, but bearable. We spent our hours checking out the stalls, lining up for street food (which was the main reason for our trip, I guess -the food, not lining up for it), and checking out souvenir shops. We finished the day stopping by a coffee shop, which was packed, thus service was very slow, and a customer made a scene and then stormed out.

We bought random Christmas ornaments in that coffee shop. That was just to get a tangible souvenir from this trip, which had the ingredients to make both Andrew and me angry: time wasted stuck in unexpected traffic, and massive amounts of people. Yet, we were both cool enough the whole time. We're getting better at emotion regulation, I guess, but most importantly, it *was* nice being out of the house, out in the beautiful British countryside, looking at shiny stuff. 

The bus ride home also took longer than normal. For starters, the bus itself took longer to arrive to the bus stop. While we waited for it, we saw a third instance of holiday stress (one, the first bus driver, two, the customer at the coffee shop). Someone from our bus stop started yelling to a driver across the street who wasn't moving for a wailing ambulance, then the driver yelled back saying he was bloody aware of the ambulance but had nowhere to move; and so on. I listened to the exchange, for I had no other choice, but refrained from taking sides. I just hoped whoever needed the ambulance got their needs met. 

The day was great, anyway. It was quality time with Andrew. It's a small but precious pleasure in my life, sitting by his side as I look out a window while traveling across the Peak District, with Bowie on my earphones. The only real reason to complain about this day is that my period arrived, almost a week before expected. No big mess occurred, thankfully, but the whole bus ride home I had achey womb and thighs, plus I was anxious with the possibility of such mess occurring.  

Leaving the house today was also useful because it kept me from thinking of a very stupid mistake I made two days ago. Short story: I wired money to my friend Virginia online, but I didn't give her full name, and so she couldn't collect it. That was just pretty fucking stupid on my part, because the transfer service website does ask you to provide the receiver's full name. First, middle and two surnames. I gave out the first one and the last one, thinking the transfer code was the key information she needed to collect her money. 

I get the practice of name-giving mixed up. When I came here, I gave out my full name to the university, and that can make things confusing sometimes. In my home country, we usually provide three names: first, middle, and one surname. In Chile, the four names. Here, only two are usually required. I've had trouble, though nothing serious up until this transfer, for mixing up the requirements of one country in the context of another. This was a cross-country situation...but the truth is, I was stupid and did not follow instructions. 

Customer service replied in less than 24 hours, luckily. It looks like I'm on my way to solving this stupid mistake, paying my friend as agreed, and putting this display of idiocy on my part behind. 

Now, I was paying my friend to edit my manuscript. I've had enough of it myself. I mean, I like the story a lot, but I started writing it 11 years ago! To me it is calcified, I know it by heart, and there are many things I simply cannot see. My friend Virginia is a freelancer, and she's really, really good at copy, proofreading, and editing, so we negotiated the scope of her work and its price. We're both aware of the value of intellectual labor, so we tried to reach an agreement that was fair for her and affordable for me.

Hence I was so embarrassed when she wrote me saying she couldn't collect the money. She was gracious about it, because she loves me, I guess, but it was still an embarrassing situation, and it was my fault. 

She's read the first part out of the three that make up the story, and already corrected terrible mistakes in my writing. Most of them have to do with the way the story is structured (no wonder I keep getting rejected), some lengthy/unnecessary passages, and the fact that some of my writing in Spanish sounds like I'm thinking in English. Regarding the latter point, one of my PhD supervisors says that some of my writing in English sounds like I'm thinking in Spanish. Fun. 

Curiously enough, I got Virginia's feedback for a part of my story, and my supervisors' feedback for a thesis chapter, on the same day. My ego squirms when I see the mistakes I make, which they have pointed out, but there is a silver lining: Nobody says that my writing sucks. My supervisors are happy with my writing (one said some parts were "super"!), and I got kudos from Virginia for a section that had a voice of its own, separate from the protagonist...though then she pointed out, fairly enough, that that section was too long.

I write too much, that's my cross to bear *is being dramatic* 

Dinner time, so that's it from me for now. 

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