31 Dec 2017

2017; The Return of Raven.

I welcomed 2017 in by drinking vodka from a hip flask on Coffs Harbour, Australia jetty. I was one of a handful of us backpackers who'd hung around to finish off our 88 days of regional work. Two months later, after saving money by cleaning the hostel kitchen in return of free accommodation, I sold my 15 year old trusty Ford Falcon Forte and booked a flight to Denpasar, Bali. 
Little did I know that a week into our trip and a huge trek later, I'd be sat on a remote Indonesian island, cycling around the Ocean and receive a call from my sister to say that she and her husband were expecting their first child and I was going to be an auntie. It was in that instance that my life changed. I felt an urge I'd never felt before nor have I ever desired to feel, to come home.
With a return flight to Sydney already booked, I said my goodbyes to some amazing new friends and to the city which I had called home a year prior and booked a one way ticket home to Manchester, UK.
If only I knew then that my journey should've ended in Manchester. Instead, I continued onto my hometown in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire where I was about to experience the saddest and darkest days of my life so far. 7 months of trying to fit into a place I had already outgrown was enough for me.
I'd had counselling to aid my anxiety attacks and depressive episodes and was quickly realising that the sole problem was that Cleethorpes wasn't where I wanted to spend my time living in anymore.
I attended the We Are Manchester re-opening concert at Manchester Arena and it truly changed my life. I stood there in awe at the show in front of me thinking "I used to love Manchester, and working here. I used to be so happy". And that was it. 5 days after the show, I'd arranged to move in with a friend in Manchester, handed my notice in at work and had arranged to have my job back at the Arena. Raven had returned! In all meanings of the word. 

2017 saw me live in a 6 bed hostel dorm in Oz, a 5* hotel in Seminyak, my mother's home and finally our own girls pad in Manchester. 

I visited a friend in Budapest, hired a camper van in Benicassim, visited a friend in Dublin and travelled to London for a brief moment. 

I saw Kasabian twice whilst being drenched in beer, inside and out, I saw RHCP for the first time live, I was front centre for Biffy Clyro, and I danced like a sass queen to Dua Lipa.
I worked events from the Vengaboys to Metallica and everything in between.

I became obsessed with Doctor Foster like the rest of the U.K.

I was christened as a Godmother to my Godson, Ronnie. I became an auntie to Baby Oscar.

I met someone special, and I lost them too. I was reminded that it's ok to let my guard down and let someone else make me happy. And that actually, I am capable of making someone else happy too.

I was the heaviest I've ever been in my life and I'm now the lightest I've been in years.

2017 has seriously been a wild one. It's most certainly kept me on my toes. But bloody hell was it worth it? Yes! I've proved to myself that life is worth living, which I definitely could've done with knowing 6 months ago.

Something ALWAYS works out in the end. Here's to 2018 and all of the adventures I hope it'll bring.
Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to find myself again. You're all incredible.

Raven Twigg
Just Write About it.

30 Dec 2017

From Me to You.

You know those people who are dead-against relationships and will swear blind that they’re better off without? That’s me. I’m one of those people. I’m comfortable with who I am, I know what I want in life and I make plans to make sure that happens. I love being single, and I love being spare of someone else’s feelings. Every decision I make affects me, and only me. So.. imagine my shock when suddenly there was someone who I could see me spending the next few years of my life with. You know when you just, know? I heard people say that, time and time again. On blog posts, in novels and in all of the Hollywood movies when boy meets girl and they hit it off from the word ‘go’. I literally never understood that, until now. I’ve put my guard up to every guy I’ve been seeing in the past and I sincerely thought it was because I was damaged goods. That my darling ex from so so so long ago had truly ruined my chances of me ever trusting anyone again. But it wasn’t that. It wasn’t that at all. It was that they simple weren’t right for me. It didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to make an effort. I felt annoyed when they’d text me and ask about my day. And I’d have to pretend I was interested when I asked how their day was, too. And I genuinely did not care at all. But this time it’s different. Have you ever just absolutely fancied the pants off someone? Been in awe at how perfect they are. How you smile when you get a text from them, honestly I would have found all of this to be revolting a couple of months ago too. I barely even recognise myself. Suddenly I feel like everything’s changed and it’s so intense so quickly that I love it. I love that I can make someone happy, and that actually, someone can make me happy (and I don’t have to buy a plane ticket to achieve that). And I know we’re on the same page. It’s not usual for either of us to feel like this but for some bizarre reason, it works. And that’s awesome. But at the same time, if for some reason it stopped working, that’s OK too. I mean, I’d hope that wouldn’t be the case, but if it was I’d know that we tried and I’m happy alone too. I guess what I’m trying to say is I have become a firm believer in the idea that you ultimately cannot make anyone else happy until you are sincerely happy with yourself. And I am. And we are. And it’s nice. 

This was written mid-September, I can clarify in that now, in December, it didn't work out. Much to my shock horror from reading this back, we obviously lost sight of how good we were at the beginning. But I have no regrets at all, and I'm happy to share this with the world because I think it's bloody lovely that once you're happy with yourself, you can try to make someone else happy, too. And if it doesn't work out, then they're not the one. Find someone who will appreciate you for you, and who will have time for you whenever you need them, because you deserve that. We all deserve that.

Raven x

7 Dec 2017

All aboard the Funemployment Express! How to not get the job.

As you may have seen in my previous post, I've recently joined the Funemployment Express and have been anxiously on a career hunt. Well, hours after writing about my frustrations of being a 23 year old expired young lady, I had a call to say that my application had been successful for an Events Marketing Assistant role.

I was bloody ecstatic! Finally! Someone is about to actually give me a chance to prove myself and potentially start a career with them. Ah.. wait, if only life was so simple...

So I arrived to my interview with 10 mins to spare... 15 is a little too eager when there's a day full of interviews and 5 is just cutting it too late. I entered the bar of the hotel where they were conducting the interviews to be greeted by the HR lady (who was definitely much younger than I), who I'd spoken with on the phone, and another potential candidate for the same job. We sat around a table, filled out yet another form and waited in anticipation to meet, who we were told, would be the director and founder of the company.

A few minutes passed while I was uncomfortably slagged off for being "one of those who goes to Australia. Everyone goes now don't they? Don't understand why..." Erm, thanks? Anyway, we were then both escorted through to the chap who'd be interviewing us. Yes, that's right, WE. He interviewed us both together...

When i'm employed i'm gonna explore again..
Singing Fountains, Margaret Island, Budapest Hungary.
So there I was, playing down my CV because the poor lass next to me had only ever worked in her families corner shop for 4 years and every time I was asked about my experience I felt like I was bragging. Then it becomes very clear that this guy wasn't the director of the company at all, but rather some guy he's hired to conduct his interviews... It's all sounding very dodgy at this point.

THEN, it gets worse. The guy draws a diagram. He explains "So to begin with you'll start in sales and customer services... then you'll go onto this.. and this... and this.. and in 10 months time you'll have your own office" Sorry love, you lost me at SALES. It all started making sense. They'd created an imaginary job role to lure naive and eager graduates who are desperate to start earning some dollar (like matey sat next to me) to fill their cold-calling sales positions.

I was GUTTED. I just addressed it immediately and said if this turns out to be a sales role then i'm sorry to have wasted your time as I'm not interested. He assured me it was more than that... Safe to say I never got the call back.

It's so annoying though. So I walked out of the interview with the knowledge I absolutely wouldn't be getting the job and even if I was offered it, did I even want it? I dragged my feet along, hopped onto my familiar seat on the Funemployment Express, whilst listening to Taylor Swift's first album and gazing out of the window just like a Hollywood movie.

Who's aboard with me?
Lemme know!

Just Write About It.
Raven Twigg

29 Nov 2017

FUNemployment & Job Hunting

I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in July 2015, yet to apply for most graduate scheme jobs you have to have graduated in the past 12 months...eh? Have I passed my expiry date like a bottle of skimmed milk?

The WORST thing about university is the aftermath. Some, like me, graduate and start flapping about beginning adulthood, so we hop on some planes, trains and automobiles and globetrot for a short while yet upon our return we're faced with the "what now?" question? The million dollar question... what on Earth do we do now?

I've gained experience in an array of different positions all over the world, lived in two foreign countries on the opposite side of the sphere yet actually I don't have quite enough experience for, well... anything.

Picking raspberries was not a highlight
of my working life.
I must have applied to at least 30 jobs in the past month and although i'm keeping my head above water (or actually drowning in my Halifax overdraft) with a casual contract at SMG Europe, where I worked as student, it simply isn't enough to sustain my need for a social life and to have a roof over my head. I had to sell my car to top my overdraft back up and now, well, i'm stuck in it again. Paying daily fees for being so under-experienced.

Trouble is, if no one is willing to hire me, then how on God's Earth am I able to gain experience? I've written about myself so much in the past 28 days that I genuinely address myself in the third person. "Raven is punctual, professional and bloody p*ssed off!"

And recruitment agencies? They're telling me to make myself fully available for the whole of next month (meaning missing out on any form of income with the Arena) so that they can find me a job. 4 days before the 1st December, they call me to say do I want to fill a ONE DAY position? Why on Earth would I sacrifice a potential income with my current casual position for one day? So that bridge has been burnt.

So long story short, no matter whether you've got a degree or not, unless you've been able to gain a solid amount of experience in one particular area, or you're settling for something which you know you can do better than, generating a £35,000 debt all for a piece of paper, probably isn't worth it.

Correct me if i'm wrong, or let me know if you're going through a similar situation. Because it'd be lovely to know i'm not the only 23 year old who's passed her expiry date.

Raven Twigg
Just Write About It.

18 Nov 2017

Spending Christmas Down Under.

Last Christmas was the first Christmas in my 22 years of existence that i'd spent without my family around me. I never thought that I would be bothered as such. Christmas Day at home is spent planning our meals around what's on the TV and usually falling asleep after eating copious amounts of food to Happy Feet. Yet last year I was thousands of miles away from the Eastenders Christmas episode and the arctic temperatures. Instead I spent it  on the beach I was lucky enough to call my back garden in Coffs Harbour, Australia. 

I called this place my home for 5 months and there was 1 day in the year when our farm closed and that was Christmas Day. So fortunately for us, we had a day where we did't have to pick raspberries or blueberries for a slave wage. I'd saved up around 11 500MB Wifi vouchers to FaceTime my family in England which obviously started the water-works. It was tough!

It's a weird feeling during the run up to Christmas in Aus. There's a santas grotto in the mall where everyone lines up in their bikinis under their clothes and their Havianas whilst the air con is blasting down on your, it's just completely bizarre. There was barely even Christmas songs playing on the radio, i'm still to decide whether this is a negative or a positive. It just didn't feel very Christmassy at all. And I'm usually the Scrooge!

As a hostel, there were around 40 of us who'd stayed put over the Christmas period while others fled to the cities to see friends and families. The great thing is, every single person in that hostel is going through the same thing. Everyone is hundreds of thousands of miles away from home and you all just want to have a good time.

Let me tell ya, trying to organise a meal for that many people with no budget and no oven, isn't easy. But a select few made it possible.

We had traditions from all over the world influencing our meals. From Italian lasange, Swedish meatballs to Japanese sushi making, we had it all. I even learnt a Spanish Christmas song.We spent the day sat on the beach sunbathing in our Christmas hats and had a very boozey evening. But I can't lie to you, it just didn't feel right.

There was no cosiness, no humble warmth by the fire or thick new pyjamas to lounge around in all day. But we did have a sense of togetherness and determination to make it as good as we possibly could. And, as I sit in a dreary Manchester back in England this holiday season I can't help but think I didn't make the most of Christmas in the sun. Bikini's, sun-block and... Christmas hats? Nah, doesn't have a nice ring to it. I'd take a Christmas in England any day!

Have you spent Christmas away from home too? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!

Raven Twigg

Just Write About It.