Private accommodation vs Student halls in Cardiff

*Everything is based on my personal experience.

PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION

  • Pros: It’s cheaper, your flatmates are like your family because you share food, organise gatherings over the weekends and go out together A LOT. Also, you don’t pay an extra fee for doing your laundry and your landlord is like your father (whenever there’s a problem, he comes to your rescue).
  • Cons: sometimes the Internet is very slow, you share the toilet and the shower – which is really small – and you live far from the city centre.

STUDENT HOUSING

  • Pros: The facilities are amazing and it’s pretty safe. They have security cameras EVERYWHERE and there’s always a guard on reception; they also organise parties and gatherings but these are more impersonal since they invite all their residents. However, you’re allowed to throw social meetings at your flat if you want. Also, the toilet and shower are not shared because you have your own, and if there’s a problem with the fridge, the bathroom or whatever, they have a maintenance guy that literally can fix anything. Likewise, you live near downtown which is AWESOME because you just have to walk a few steps to go to the cinema or to Queen Street, the main avenue of this Welsh city.
  • Cons: it’s TOO expensive; you pay an extra fee for doing your laundry and they charge you more money over the summer per week.

In conclusion, both are excellent places to live. Although I’ve been living in a private accommodation for just a month, I’m loving it much more than where I used to live because I feel like I’m being part of a family.  Moreover, there’s a theatre and a cheap supermarket just around the corner, so I don’t need to go to downtown to do my shopping anymore 🙂

I hope this was helpful!

Good luck everyone on finding a place to stay for this coming academic year!

 

Review: The Lady in the Van

The-Lady-In-The-Van-Review

In this movie, screenwriter Alan Bennett adapted a particular moment in his life to the screen which had nothing to do with his career directly, but with an old moody poor woman named MARGARET ‘Mary’ Shepherd who he met in the seventies. Mary, played wonderfully by Maggie Smith (a character that contrasts with the Countess of Grantham, the role she played in Downton Abbey), was a homeless person that lived in a yellow van and moved in and moved out from house to house (where she parked it) every three or fours days, depending on her mood and needs.

In the opening scene we see her running away from the police because, apparently, she has killed someone with her car. Later on we find out she isn’t a murderer but she had the misfortune of being in the wrong place and in the wrong time. Because of this incident, she’s on the run and wants to live ‘incognito’ but she’s too sick and old to live on her own without the help of her neighbours. That’s when Bennett, unwillingly, becomes her ally and eventually, her friend.

Something I liked in the film was presenting Bennett as a double character: as the writer that experiences life and as the writer that only writes, watches everyone from the distance and thinks out loud. It is like having a never-ending conversation with your non-existent twin. This resource works pretty well because it is more visual than the typical voice over.

Although the story doesn’t give us a direct critique about homeless people, it invites us to change our perspectives about them. Not every homeless person ends up like that because of a dysfunctional family or drugs addiction. Some of them had a wonderful and promising life but because of a bad decision or a disgraceful incident, their lives changed for the bad like happened to Miss Shepherd, who was an educated woman and a very talented pianist.

I would have added more scenes of Bennett’s relationship with his mother to understand his motivation of using her in his work. He clearly says he has something with old ladies but why is that? Did she traumatize him when he was a child? Was he closer to her than with his dad? Did she influence him in some way? The story of Lady in the Van is fascinating but I wish I could have seen why Bennett was keen on writing about old ladies.

After dealing and living with Miss Shepherd for 15 years, Bennett realises that some of the best stories happen when you get out of your comfort zone and try something new. He didn’t want to be friends with a homeless woman because he didn’t imagine that relationship would help him to become a more empathetic and kinder person and to conceive new ideas to write about. That is to say that every experience or person you meet in life could be the start of a great story as well as the start of an unforgettable friendship. You never know.

Trailer

Quiero estudiar en UK ¿cómo le hago?

A continuación, 10 recomendaciones basadas en mi experiencia para quienes desean venir a Reino Unido a estudiar una maestría:

  1. Lo primero que deben investigar y tener bien claro es qué quieren estudiar. Puede que al final de su indagación se den cuenta que su especialidad estaría mejor en EUA, Canadá, Japón, Argentina o, incluso ¡en México! Antes de hacer el gasto y el papeleo investiguen bien. No por irse al extranjero vayan a elegir cualquier programa de maestría, pues luego la pasarán mal y su dinero no será bien invertido. En México hay muchísimas ferias de universidades a donde pueden acudir a pedir informes. Otra opción es contactar agencias como LoveUK o Study Across The Pond.
  2. Después de saber lo que quieren hacer, el siguiente paso es buscar escuelas. Aquí hago un pequeño señalamiento, pues mucha gente quiere irse a las escuelas con mayor ranking y prestigio y está bien, pero no son muy económicas (la mayoría) y piden demasiados requisitos para entrar. Si tienen el poder adquisitivo para pagarlas, adelante, apliquen. Si no, la verdad mejor busquen una alternativa. Puede que la beca CONACyT les ayude con los gastos, pero Reino Unido es un país MUY caro y su experiencia estudiantil siempre se va a ver limitada si no tienen ni para ir al cine.
  3. No solamente deben pensar en la escuela, sino también en la ciudad donde vivirán. Londres, como sabrán, es de las ciudades más caras que hay pero Cardiff o Bristol no, por ejemplo. Es importante tomar en cuenta la ciudad donde residirán porque así sabrán cuánto dinero van a necesitar por semana para vivir decentemente. Algunas personas primero deciden la ciudad donde quieren vivir y después la escuela. Eso también les puede funcionar.
  4. Con respecto a las exigencias para entrar a las escuelas, empiecen a hacer sus trámites con uno o dos años de anticipación para que tengan el tiempo suficiente de preparar los ensayos, exámenes, entrevistas, o lo que las universidades les pidan, para no ser rechazados. Apliquen desde diciembre o de enero a marzo para tener su carta de aceptación lista por mayo o junio y así tener tiempo suficiente para hacer su trámite de la visa en julio. De esta manera, no tendrán el tiempo encima. Las cartas de aceptación y la visa tardan en llegar, tómenlo en cuenta.
  5. Ligado a lo anterior, existen instituciones en México que les pueden echar la mano con los exámenes IELTS, por ejemplo. Sin ganas de hacer publicidad, British School, The Anglo e International House son buenas opciones para tomar cursos de preparación. Si su nivel de inglés es intermedio o bajo, la verdad van a tener que estudiarle duro un año entero para poder alcanzar nivel avanzado. El examen lo pueden presentar en The British Council o en International House. Es válido por dos años.
  6. Casi todas las universidades piden traducciones de documentos, como el título profesional y el plan de estudios de la universidad donde estudiaron su licenciatura; así como su acta de nacimiento y otros papeles personales oficiales. Para esos trámites, deberán contratar a un perito traductor. Los costos varían de persona a persona, pero para que se den una idea, el año pasado me salió en $406 pesos traducir mi acta de nacimiento.
  7. Como sabrán, en Reino Unido piden visa de estudiante a quienes no están dentro de la Unión Europea. Es un rollo y es un trámite cansado y tardado, así que lo ideal es pedir asesoría en una agencia. Ellos les ayudarán a tener todos sus papeles en orden y a reducir el rechazo de la embajada en casi un 80% Igual, sin afán de hacer publicidad, yo recurrí a LoveUK y mi visa fue aceptada en el primer intento.
  8. En cuestión de alojamientos, lo más económico es hospedarse en un private accommodation. En promedio cuesta 300 libras al mes con bills incluídos. La segunda opción es una residencia de estudiantes. Aquí es más caro (112 libras a la semana), pero la ventaja es que es muy seguro y las instalaciones son de 10. Sopésenlo.
  9. La visa de estudiante les permite trabajar hasta 20 horas a la semana, así que si quieren hacerse de un dinerito extra no duden en buscar un trabajo de tiempo parcial. En promedio pagan 5 libras por hora.
  10. Finalmente, para comprar su boleto de avión les recomiendo acudir a la International Organization for Migration. Les harán un descuento si demuestran que son estudiantes visados.

Si tienen más dudas, don’t be shy y pregunten 😀 Yo encantada porque más mexicanos vayamos a otros continentes a realizar nuestros sueños ¿y por qué no? También a pasear y conocer otros lugares.

13 curiosidades de Wales (after living here for 6 months)

El blog de Alan x el mundo me inspiró a hacer una lista de los aspectos que me han causado cultural shock al vivir en Cardiff, Reino Unido. Aquí una lista de las 15 cosas que me han parecido raras, nuevas y hasta graciosas. Tómenlo en cuenta si desean venir a estudiar acá:

  1. Su saludo no es como el que nos enseñan en la escuela (Hello, how are you?) sino “Hiya, are you okay?” y si eres su amigo, “Hiya, are you okay mate?” o “Hi, love”. También dicen mucho “fair enough” que traducido sería “Ah ya” (como cuando alguien te cuenta algo y tú muestras que entendiste).
  2. Son MUY puntuales. Para ellos llegar 10 minutos tarde es una grosería.
  3. Los cajeros ATM están en la calle ¡sin vigilancia!
  4. Uno de los platillos tradicionales es el Welsh cake.
  5. La tecnología es parte de la vida cotidiana. En algunos bancos no hay ventanillas. Todas las transacciones se realizan a través de cajeros ATM. En casi todos los establecimientos aceptan tarjeta y el regalo perfecto para cualquier persona de aquí es un voucher de Amazon. Everybody loves Amazon.
  6. La gente es muy polite.
  7. Rara vez hay puentes vacacionales.
  8. Lo más parecido a los tacos al pastor son los kebabs.
  9. Caminar bajo la lluvia sin paraguas es de lo más normal. Como llueve mucho y el viento es tan fuerte que los rompe, es comprensible que prefieran mojarse a tener que comprar paraguas a cada rato.
  10. En algunos lugares, comprar carne para asar es muy caro. Aprovechen que en México no lo es y hagan muchas parrilladas.
  11. Es bastante usual ver gente tatuada. Aquí encontrarán muchos tatoo studios.
  12.  En las fiestas, primero se reúnen en la casa del host para tomar (pre-drinks) y después se van al club (o como decimos nosotros, al antro). Las cervezas más comunes son Heineken, Brains, Guinness y Foster’s.
  13. U.K. es el país ideal para visitar castillos. ¡Por donde vivo hay tres!

Si quieren ver fotos de Cardiff y de algunas otras ciudades de Reino Unido, visiten mi página de Flickr.

 

Tara!

 

Typing your heart out. The challenges of being a screenwriter

“Your ideas are your currency”.

David Koepp, screenwriter and director.

 

(I wrote this report for my Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship Module)

This report makes a reflection of the challenges that contemporary screenwriters face today and mentions some of the opportunities they have to start a writing career, as well as the skills they need to succeed in their creative sector.

Being a screenwriter in the 21st century

Today, many screenwriters are moving to the Internet and other mediums, as digital filmmaking and scripting techniques represent a new area of development because the kinds of stories told are impacted on by the creative possibilities and financial economies of scale of digital techniques, including the inter-relationships between forms of screen media (movies, games, subscriber and mobile television). This way, screenwriters are being reinvented as content creators (Maras, 2009, p. 184)

Regarding this, professor Ian Staples (2015) – lecturer of Scriptwriting at the University of South Wales – said during an interview that in order to become visible writers, we should try to look for opportunities on the Internet by writing digital content for advertising or as transmedia storytellers or transmedia producers. The Producers Guild of America coined this term by referring to “a person(s) responsible for a significant portion of a project’s long-term planning, development, production, and/or maintenance of narrative continuity across multiple platforms, and creation of original storylines for new platforms (Macaulay, 2010)”.

Transmedia can spread its narrative world through web sites, apps, television, cinema, books, comics, web series, online video games, stand alone video games, social media, forums, alternate reality games and flashmobs. Some examples of transmedia storytelling include parodies, memes, alternative endings, false previews and openings, mashups and adaptations (Producers Guild, 2016).

On the other hand, Joe Rendón (2015) – Mexican filmmaker, producer and screenwriter – considers theatre as the easiest way to have job opportunities these days because it is more approachable than film and television. For instance, he released his play Puros Cuentos (Pure Lies) last year through the microteatro format, which is a dramatic representation of a short play of less than 15 minutes. It is like a short film, but on stage.

Another characteristic of this format is it gives absolute freedom of approach and vision. It is also ephemeral because the plays are performed for a short period of time and although they are short plays, they must contain the characteristics of a traditional play. They are neither performances nor improvisations because they require a script and pre-production. Rendón (2015) thinks microteatro is a good way to start a writing career since writers do not need a big budget to get their plays produced.

MICROTEATRO-ME

Cosme (2015)  affirms that the opportunity to become a writer in Mexico is within the television industry, as this country produces and exports its own “telenovelas” (romantic serial dramas) to more than 180 countries in the world. Moreover, he says television is a medium where writers may receive steady revenues, as they are paid per episode.

Wyn Mason (2016) – freelance TV and film director and course leader for MA Scriptwriting at USW – thinks writers need to have their own projects, such as scripts for film, TV, theatre and radio; ones that they have conceived of and developed themselves, as this is their chance of developing their own individual voice. Also, he considers it is useful to work for others, to look out for schemes, internships and work experience. This could be a way of getting work writing for soap operas where they can earn money and develop their crafts.

Regardless of where a writer decides to start a career, there are many qualities that they need to have today in order to succeed. Among the four people interviewed, three of them (Mason, Staples and Rendón) agreed that determination (believe in yourself, have a thick skin); hard work and perseverance are necessary abilities that every aspiring screenwriter must develop. Likewise, professor Mason suggests not being overly self-critical because too much self-criticism can stifle a writer completely. Also, the aspiring writer needs to be driven by a need to say something, rather than just being in love with the idea of being a writer.

Professor Staples (2015) adds ‘luck’ to the qualities that a writer should have today: “Being in the right place and in the right time; meet producers, give them your script, make them like you. Do social networking, do not be arrogant, and make your own luck. Everybody’s looking for content.” Furthermore, Cosme considers that knowing other languages enlarges the possibilities of all the aspiring Mexican writers to study and find job opportunities abroad, especially in Hollywood.

Cosme (2015) affirms that networking is the clue to succeed in the screenwriting world to get good references by a well-known writer or producer in order to have an opportunity and be noticed. Professor Mason also agrees writers should do networking, not only with other writers but also with actors, directors and producers. Staples concluded by saying: “This life is not about what you know, but who you know.”

Michael Hauge (1988, p. 263) – best-selling author and story consultant – also highlights the importance of making contacts by going to parties, attending film seminars, volunteering to work on someone’s film and by telling everyone you are a screenwriter. This author says it is relevant to watch as many movies as reading scripts; be informed about the movie business and to join a writer’s group in order to make sources of contacts, get information, feedback and moral support.

Robert MacKee – Fullbright scholar and coach of 60 Academy Award Winners – says that the difference between a ‘good writer’ and a ‘great writer’ is;

Time to move to an understanding of life that gave them material worth experiencing, so when they mastered the technique they had something to say […] So it takes talent, perseverance, living as deeply as you can and letting life experience accumulate to where you have some sense of irony and how things really work […] you have to be ruthless with yourself (The Craft of Screenwriting, 2015).

MacKee emphasizes that some writers never become successful because either they do not have the talent to write or they have low standards: “They look at the worst of movies that get made and they say, Well, that’s a bad film, but it got made. And I can write that, or better even. And they do not measure themselves against the finest (The Craft of Screenwriting, 2015).”

Wyn Mason (2016) believes another problem aspiring writers face when trying to enter the industry is they send their work off too early and to the wrong places. Writers should research the field thoroughly, so they send their work to people or companies who would potentially be interested. He suggests not wasting everyone’s time by sending our work to the wrong people. It is better to study the market place first and know how it operates.

Conclusions

If screenwriting is so hard, undervalued and underpaid, why people are still doing it? The four people interviewed said they decided to become screenwriters because they love to tell stories but, specifically, Rendón (2015) mentioned he had to learn the art of storytelling when he studied filmmaking, as he wanted to direct and produce his own stories. Learning that skill helped him to adapt other people’s work, as well. Also, he took acting lessons to understand his actor’s feelings and needs. Last year, he was the head writer of the web series Tenemos que hablar (We have to talk, 2015) and directed the play Huevos, Jefe (F*ck you, boss, 2015).

Wyn Mason (2016), on the other hand, chose to dedicate his life to writing because in writing he feels as if he can have his say and present his understanding of the world to others. Likewise, he finds creating something from nothing to be hugely satisfying. To simply imagine and then seeing the fictional world and characters coming to life by being performed is absolutely thrilling for him. “It’s the best job in the world!”, he said.

Regarding revenues, Ian Staples (2015) says one of the reasons why screenwriters are being less paid than before is that today directors and producers invest millions of dollars in a film or TV series and do not want to take risks in hiring someone they do not know or someone who has not got any experience. Therefore, another challenge screenwriters face is changing other people’s perceptions. Winning a screenplay contest or getting a short film or a play produced could be a way. “I was an actor when I started, but I have always wanted to write, and I always did write. People thought of me as an actor until I produced my first show […] Then, when I went to the meetings, people were like Oh, so you write now. That kind of changed the way they thought of me, really (Staples, 2015)”.

The evidence suggests that becoming a recognized screenwriter takes years of hard work and practice because developing a great story takes time and it requires skill, commitment, perseverance and also flexibility and humility when taking feedback and advice from others. Moreover, aspiring screenwriters should consider working for other people before becoming freelancers or script consultants in order to learn from others and to do networking. At the same time, they should create a portfolio with samples of their work (short scripts, spec scripts, short stories, blogs, work produced on stage or screen) to use as a calling card when meeting potential employers or clients.

In summary, aspiring screenwriters should be open to all possibilities. For example, radio, theatre, digital content and advertising could be good places to start a writing career, as TV and film are not the only mediums where they can be employed. Also, they must show skill, determination, self-confidence, endurance and a high frustration tolerance because it takes a lot of time to achieve recognition and mastery in this field.

Who said it was going to be easy, anyway?

 

Reference List

Cosme, R. (2015). Online Interview with Alma Ramírez, 5 November. (Translated from Spanish)

Hauge, M. (1988) Writing screenplays that sell. Elm Tree Books-London

Macaulay, S. (2010) PGA: Transmedia producers have arrived (Online). Available at http://filmmakermagazine.com/6673-pga-transmedia-producers-have-arrived/#.VpHy7cDJyfU (Accessed: January 10th, 2016)

Maras, Steven (2009). Screenwriting. History, Theory and Practice. Wallflower Press

Mason, W. (2016). Online Interview with Alma Ramírez, 8 January

Producers Guild (2016). Credit Guidelines for New Media. Available at http://www.producersguild.org/?page=coc_nm (Accessed: January 11th, 2016)

Rendón, J. (2015) Online Interview with Alma Ramírez, 1 December. (Translated from Spanish)

Staples, I. (2015). Online Interview with Alma Ramírez, 11 December

The Craft of Screenwriting (2015). Storytelling Master Robert MacKee Discusses Story, Writing Philosophy and Screenwriting. Available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/screencraft/storytelling-master-rober_b_8350460.html?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=postplanner&utm_source=twitter.com (Accessed: January 10th, 2016)

 

Xmas break: Chiapas

My family and I went to Chiapas for the holidays. Chiapas is located in the southern part of my country, very close to the border with Guatemala. We stayed in the capital city, Tuxtla Gutiérrez. The first day, we visited Cascadas Agua Azul, Misol-Há and the pyramids of Palenque where the emperor Pakal of the Mayan dinasty K’inich ruled for 68 years. The bus picked us up at 4:30 in the morning and dropped us off at the hotel at 12:30 a.m., almost a whole day traveling.

The following day I stayed at the hotel and went sightseeing in Tuxtla. Nothing interesting to see but the cathedral and the Marimba Park where a group of musicians play every night. According to Foursquare, Las Pichanchas Restaurant was a must, so I gave it a go. It liked it so much that I went back the next night with my family. We all enjoyed their traditional (and copyrighted) drink called ‘Pumpo’. It is made of pinnaple, vodka, mineral water and ice. I strongly recommend it.

The third trip we took was to Cañón del Sumidero. They say if you go to Chiapas and you don’t go to this place, you really didn’t go to Chiapas. It was an hour length trip on boat across the Grijalva river. We saw crocodiles, buzzards and spider monkeys.

Captura de pantalla 2015-12-31 a las 13.39.51

We became friends with our tour guides. Juan, whose mother tongue is tzoltzil, spoke better English than Spanish because he spent 6 years working in the U.S. as a waiter and as a policeman. He is from San Juan Chamula and is a father of 5 kids. He’s just 31 years old. The other tour guide was Victor, a former sympathizer of the EZLN (a social movement that started back in 1994). He told us he believed in miracles because four years ago he fell down in the mountains and couldn’t walk for about two months. Now, he is in perfect health.

In our last day, we went to San Cristóbal de las Casas. This place doesn’t look like the rest of Chiapas. I don’t know why but there are LOADS of Italian people living there and, accordingly, there are lots of Italian restaurants around. It has like an European atmosphere. We went shopping to the Handicrafts Market. My family bought so many clothes, amber, coffee and gifts that we were charged at the airport for excess of baggage. Oops!

We also went to Zinacantán which means ‘Land of bats’. Women elaborate their own wedding dresses and, usually, they get married before turning 20 years old (if you’re older and unmarried, you’re considered a spinster). They are great artisans and I believe they should charge more money for their work because it takes them a whole month to make ONE tablecloth.

bride

After Zinacantán, we went to San Juan Chamula. In this town, women are sold. Men don’t pay money for them, but Poch and Coke (I’m not kidding). Poch is an alcoholic beverage, similar to hard liquor. Likewise, Chamula men are allowed to practice poligamy. They can have up to 5 wives with whom they can have up to 9 children (with each of them). The government pays them 20 pounds a month for every child. Also, they don’t allow tourists to take pictures of them. They believe it takes their souls away.

In summary, I really liked this mystical place and hope to come back soon since we didn’t have the chance to go to Selva Lacandona and La Venta.

If you want to see more pictures of Chiapas, feel free to visit my Flick page.

Happy New Year!

 

8 semanas en Cardiff

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Writing

 

Sorry, but this time I decided to write in my mother tongue. My apologies.

Hace un mes, aproximadamente, publiqué un post sobre cómo me sentía tras haber vivido un mes en la capital de Gales, Cardiff. Cuatro semanas después, me siento y me percibo diferente a como llegué. Por ejemplo, ya sé utilizar las máquinas de auto-servicio de Tesco, ya me sé mover en el centro de la ciudad, en Bella Italia se la pasan dándome vouchers de descuento por ser cliente frecuente (lo cual me hace ahorrar bastante dinero), ya sé a qué lado voltear al cruzar las calles, ya entiendo al 60% las conversaciones de la gente que está alrededor mío cuando voy a los cafés, ya no me hago bolas con el dinero (antes no sabía qué moneda era cuál), vivir sola ya no me parece algo tan malo – aunque a veces sigo deseando que alguien me dé un abrazo de vez en cuando – ya participo más en clase sin miedo a pronunciar mal las palabras y, sobre todo, ya me atrevo más a hacer algo nuevo, como invitar chavos a que me acompañen al cine, y tallar calabazas para Halloween. En mi primer intento, tallé una calabaza dándole forma y color de las calaveras mexicanas. Lo hice para un concurso en mi residencia de estudiantes ¡y gané! De premio me dieron una caja de chocolates, cuatro sidras y una botella de vino español. Yummy!

Después de los ataques a París, acontecidos el pasado viernes 13, y tras haber leído las biografías de las víctimas mortales connacionales (una de ellas estaba de intercambio como yo), decidí  ya no preocuparme demasiado por el futuro y disfrutar del banquete que tengo cada día. Por ejemplo, desde que llegué había querido ir a un restaurante italiano BUENÍSIMO, pero por lo caro no había ido. El domingo fui y pedí lo más económico del menú para ya no quedarme con las ganas. Y ayer fui a mi tea room favorito, Barker’s, y pedí el chai latte de la casa. Lo quería probar desde hace semanas, sólo que me parecía injusto pagar casi cien pesos por un té… pero eso es lo que cuestan en casi todos los establecimientos, así que ni modo.

Igualmente, convivir con personas de diferentes colores y nacionalidades ya me parece algo de lo más normal. Para mí ver una persona de raza afroamericana o un pelirrojo era muy novedoso, pero ya es cosa de todos los días. Debo admitir que los árabes me daban miedo (por el estigma que hay en contra de ellos y más ahora con el ISIS), pero cuando los veo hasta les sonrío y les cedo el paso. Tal vez vivir en un país extranjero donde habitan otros extranjeros te hace ser más tolerante/abierto.

Un aspecto que ha cambiado en mí es que ya me gustan los bebés. Cada vez que veo uno, quiero abrazarlo y besarlo, me llenan de ternura ¿será que ya quiero ser mamá? No lo sé, pero me parecen lo más hermoso del mundo.

No me he acostumbrado a todo, cabe señalar. El clima me sigue pareciendo horrible, y más ahora que tendremos vientos de más de 80 millas por hora. Es casi imposible caminar por las calles con un clima así. De tan intenso que está, hay paraguas rotos en las calles y muy poca gente sale cuando anochece (alrededor de las 5 pm). Eso sin olvidar el terrible frío que hace. Por ejemplo, la semana pasada utilicé por primera vez el calentador que está en mi cuarto y he tenido que dormir con dos pijamas encima desde entonces.

Lo que extraño de México sigue siendo a mi familia, a mi linda perrita bebé, el clima no tan frío y la comida. Yo creo que eso no va a cambiar en los próximos meses. Aquí, no sé por qué, la comida se echa a perder muy fácil. A pesar de que tuve en refrigeración mi queso mozarella con el que sazono mis pastas, éste se hongueó y tuve que tirarlo. Ya ni mencionar mi pan que guardé en la alacena. No duró ni una semana. Weird.

Lo que sí no extraño de México es la inseguridad. Lamento decirlo, pero es verdad. Aquí puedo salir a las 8 pm, cuando está súper oscuro ya, con la confianza de que nada me pasará… bueno, tuve una excepción hace poco. El 31 de octubre fui a un Halloween a un pub australiano. Pensé que con llevar mi credencial de estudiante me dejarían pasar, pero (no sé por qué) aquí no me creen que tengo más de 25 años. Tal vez me veo muy joven o no sé, pues en México sí me dicen que me veo joven, pero no en todos lados me piden mi ID. Como ya había pagado el boleto (que costó 5 quid), tuve que ir de regreso a mi flat para recoger mi pasaporte, el único documento donde viene mi fecha de nacimiento.

De camino de regreso, una señora como de treinta y tantos, se me acercó pidiéndome 3 pounds para su taxi. Me inventó una historia de que estaba embarazada y que había bebido demasiado. Obvio no le creí, pero pensé que me haría daño si no le daba dinero, así que le di la primera moneda que encontré en mi cartera… y huí. Eso fue alrededor de las 11 pm, así que procuro estar en mi flat a más tardar a las 10-10:30 pm e ir acompañada, para no volver a pasar momentos así.

Otro aspecto que extraño de mi país tropical es el bajo costo de la fruta. Aquí pago un pound por sólo 4 manzanas y dos pounds por un paquetito de uvas. Lo que sí es más barato es el Internet (tengo un año de contrato gratis) y la telefonía. Aunque la cámara de mi nuevo cel es horrible, le dura más la pila y, por sólo 10 pounds al mes, tengo 150 minutos de llamadas y mensajes ilimitados.

Algo que me tiene un poco tensa es la situación del trabajo. Hay muchas ofertas de part-time jobs, pero casi siempre son en ventas o como baristas en pubs o cafés y, para colmo, piden experiencia. Ya cuento con mi National Insurance Number desde hace una semana, pero ni así me dan chance. Espero (por favor manden buena vibra) encontrar algo para enero porque vivir limitada no es tan padre y menos cuando la comida aquí es muy cara. Estoy considerando ser free lance, sólo que primero debo organizarme y ver los pros y contras antes de dar el primer paso.

Con respecto a los hombres, he de decir que he visto chicos muy guapos (con miles de tatuajes, lo cual no me gusta mucho…), pero sólo los saludo y ya. Me da pena acercarme e iniciar una conversación (¿qué tal si nos les entiendo?). Otro problema es que no he tenido muchas oportunidades de conocer gente nueva. Casi siempre salgo con las mismas personas. A lo mejor esto cambiará cuando ya tenga dinero para salir más o cuando ya no me importe no entenderles a la primera cuando me hablen con su funny accent.

En fin, así han sido mis dos meses viviendo en Cardiff. Dicen que una persona se adapta al 100% después de seis meses, así que en 4 meses ya me sentiré como pez en el agua (o eso espero).

Love you all.