Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Back in Chicago

It is now July 10th and I've been in my new place with Jonah since June 28th. I have settled back in from being over in Bath for six months. Luckily Jonah found us a dope spot to live in off the Montrose brown line while I was away, and I got my amazing pool attendant gig back. It feels fantastic, and my friends made a lot of moves while I was gone. Jeremiah Behbin came up with a new improv form mixed with hip hop, and Shawn Shaw came up with the name "A Tribe Called Johnny Quest" and they brought on the rest of my best friends, Jonah Andrews, Tim Perez and Junie McGraw, and we have Eko Lu as our DJ. We would have had Andres Merlos too but he is doing big things out in L.A. for the summer. It is so fun and new and exciting. And a great way to get back into performing improv and free styling every week with my homies. Creating new material and reintegrating with all of them after being gone for six months is really fulfilling and fun.

My family is doing well, my oldest sister just had her third child, everyone is healthy and glad to have me back too.  I've seen a few other friends and talked to other powerful people at Landmark, I'll be assisting soon the next couple of Sundays. I'm getting back to my life and surrounding myself with innovative, funny, creative and amazing people.

I have obviously been thinking back on my time in Bath. Talking about it with people here, as well as my time in Ireland and Germany. As well as my time last year in Prague, and weekend in Berlin. Returning home from a trip triggered that trip too. I'm lucky that I have gotten to travel to Europe, and see my German homie Beny Hillbel (who I met through Jonah) in four countries now!
(U.S.A, Czech Republic, Germany, and England) It has helped me grow immensely. And just getting the experience of being in a new place is dope. Seeing how people live and meeting new ones to talk to and connect with.

Being in Bath I felt that people were flaky with plans. I generalized English people for awhile. In the end I did end up hanging out with some amazing people consistently. I think I was a bit "desperate" to make friends at first, so I put a lot of meaning in making plans with people, being there by myself, and only having six months to do so, it took some time to find the right people. Because 'people' in general can be flakey, including myself.

I'll give some acknowledgments to students who I got along with and became friends with, Sapphire Heaton, she was in my class and was warm to me IMMEDIATELY, and I really appreciated that feeling of being welcomed into the class and for that empathy. Suhaila Fahad also made me feel really welcome right away and all of the time after that too. Tor Hudswell, made me feel welcome and became a close buddy near the end, always had a great time chatting and drinking with him. I also respect how hard you work and I believe you will do amazing things as an actor. Mikael Sjoman the FINN MANGS, the only other guy in the exchange program, luckily we got along and became pals. Holly Leggett, who is wonderful and kind also made me feel welcome and was just delightful to be around. Megan Freeman Thompson also made me feel really welcome consistently, and put in the effort to make me feel accepted. Same with Charly Beahan, smiling and saying hello to me was big for me. Max Griffiths too, always saying good morning and giving me a pound, small things like that make a big difference. I could go on and on, I'm forgetting people, I hope you know if you made a difference for me with my stay in Bath :).

And of course, Georgia, my new English girlfriend. I've never been affected by anyone like this. I'm so proud of her, and so happy that I got to meet and fall in love with her. We've been talking every day, it is amazing to be in love with someone like her, and it fucking sucks so hard being this far away from her. Thank God and them that there is social media to keep us connected overseas, so we can talk and see each others faces. She plans on coming over here when she graduates in about eleven months. She is the first thing I talk about when people ask me how my trip was. In the mean time, I talk about her in Chicago and recreate her for people. So I can give them a taste of who she is, show them pictures of her, and allow people to welcome her when she arrives. I know people will fall in love with her like I did.

I enjoy talking about my trip in chunks, I can't spill everything out in one sit down. I have to be reminded of things that trigger memories and such. I have gathered a lot of new stories and memories and they are lodged somewhere in my brain and I can't always access them. Sometimes I am tired and feel worn out in trying to share everything, so I can't always get it all out to people when I see them. I want to share my experience with people, so if you are interested we can chat soon and probably a few more times to give a good taste.

I am so grateful that I did this trip! Six months in England by myself. Although, I left with a plethora of new friends, hopefully I will see some of them again. Most of the people I won't see again, but to anyone who gave me anything in my time other there, thank you. This once in a lifetime experience changed me in amazing ways. Much love to Bath and to England! <3

Monday, July 2, 2018

People I met in Bath

During my stay in Bath England I met quite a few people, these are some that struck me as interesting or meaningful. I'm leaving out most of my classmates as these are people I met out and about in town. 

Bamf- What a delight he is. He is a small bearded English man with no teeth. He has a buzz cut with a long collection of hair at the front of his head, he keeps it out of his face by putting his glasses over them on his head. I always loved chatting with him and letting him go on about anything. He works as a gardener, a child minder, and as a street vendor in Green Park Station, where we met. He is extremely bubbly, friendly and energetic. I have got to know him really well over the six months of being there. He is a great friend and a lovely character that epitomizes Bath for me.

Guillem – He is a lovely Spanish man. He works at the Hatch, which is a food-vending place in Culverhay, where I had most of my acting classes. We had a few deep and introspective discussions about meditation, philosophies on life, women and English culture. He related to me that English being his second language allows him to be detached to the words. And this allows him to get his message across without feeling much restraint. I enjoyed how present he was in his conversation skills. He is also a singer/songwriter/musician.

Georgia – She is the girl that I fell in love with. She is an acting student. I met her by going to an outside lecture, and once we began dating we began to see each other all of the time. We don’t get sick of each other, or we at least put up with a lot from each other. I am lucky that I got to fall in love in Bath. We are still talking and she plans to come visit me this time next year when she graduates.

Mark - He is a brilliant acting/voice teacher and coach. I met him because he substitute taught for one of my teachers. We met up outside of class a few times, and he invited me to one of his lectures where I met Georgia. He is also extremely kind, charming, funny, passionate and charismatic as a lecturer. I could sense how much I’d be able to learn from him as a voice coach and am seriously grateful that I got to meet and experience him.

One time Meetings

Estevan – He is a living statue street artist in the City Centre of Bath. He is usually near the Abbey and the Roman Baths. He is either dressed in a gold painted suit, along with his gold face, a gold hat and gold hair. He is leaning back and pouring water from one can into another can, the stream is continuous and non-stop, it is fascinating to watch. Some days he is dressed in an all silver suit, with long silver streaked hair that is essentially blowing in the wind, again all silver, and he looks like he is riding on a bike real fast hence the blown back hair. He was not working at the moment in his bike uniform so I stopped to chat with him for a few minutes. He was lovely and warm and gave me his business card!

Tiny – He is a six foot five inch tall bus driver. I walked into the U5 bus once and he commented on how I almost touched the ceiling with my head. I asked him how tall he was and he said six five. He then got out of his bus drivers cage and stood in front of me and we chatted about me being from Chicago for a bit. He was very friendly, and he told me his name was Tiny. I found that fitting. 

Johnny Dollars – I had missed the bus to class one day so I called an Uber. and this man showed up. He was a friendly older Bristolian man. I found out his name (Johnny Dollars) because it was tattooed on his right forearm. He was extremely friendly and fun to talk to. He asked me how I liked British women, I said I did, but I was having trouble hanging on to a girl after the first meet. He helped me change my luck I guess, because I soon met the lovely Georgia. I only chatted with him for about 10 minutes. I felt we related well to each other and he was the best Uber driver I had in Bath.

These are some small descriptions of these people. I am keeping them brief to keep some of their privacy and to just give a taste. They made a huge impact on my stay in Bath, and I am grateful to have met them.