Monday, December 20, 2010

Fifteen or Twenty-six

I think it's all the same, really.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12 months

When it's been a while and people ask you, "What's new?" how do you typically respond? I sigh. (Every time)

It's like the phrase, "You all right?" as a greeting, not as an actual question. It took me weeks to get used to being asked if I was okay about 20 times a day. By the end of some days, an unlucky flat mate who would nod and say, "Ya'all right?" in my direction would get a very emphatic and somewhat exasperated "Yes, I'm FINE!!!" from me. But I've come to learn all of these people aren't really thinking that I look like I'm not all right ... they were just saying hello. Now I take pleasure in saying, "Yeah, you?" I can't initiate it as a greeting just yet. My speech pattern is too American to pull it off. Though I can't help but wonder when greetings like "what's up? How's it going? You all right? What's new?" became something to which we don't really want a response that includes detail or discourse. When did we stop caring? Somewhere between our grande lattes and two o'clock meetings? I'm not sure when I lost my attention span.

Adjusting to a new environment has not been an easy transition. Though I've had quite a busy 12 months. Twelve months ago today I was still married, living in a house we'd just built, working at a job celebrating three years there although I hated it and didn't want to celebrate Christmas because I was unhappy. I knew, however, deep in my gut that my life was about to change. Drastically. I felt it on the air, in my bones as I went to sleep - that with the beginning of the new year my regular routine wasn't going to be regular anymore. January saw the beginning of a new life for me with a dissolution of a marriage that wasn't really a marriage, anyway. It was two close friends sharing four walls and a yard who were good at accomplishing tasks together. February saw me living in my parents house for the first time since I was 18. March was full of me going to dance classes and coming home to cry.

April was the turning point. April saw me saying, "I wanted a change. Now change it. You've got nothing but a pocket full of dreams. Place it all on one big chance, one big dream and jump with both feet. See what happens." I never thought about failing. An email was sent to a University in the UK. "I'm passionate about pursuing my education in English Language. If this is something I can do with your University, please contact me." Enter. Send. Back to the job I hated. May saw a response. "Yes, please send your transcripts. Are you coming to the UK?" Enter. Send. Plane ticket booked for June. June saw me and my sister in England to see if I liked the city, see what the school looked like, see if I was accepted or not. I was accepted without hesitation - full entry without having to apply through the normal channels. If I wanted the placement, it was mine. I still laugh when I think about the admissions manager asking me if I'd applied to other Universities in the UK, also and I replied that actually, no ... I'd put all my eggs in one basket and wanted into this specific University. His expression was priceless. I'm guessing not a lot of people do that. July and August saw me working every night after my day job to apply for my UK immigration paperwork, finding a room with the University, selling my car, selling my furniture, packing my things into the basement, giving work ample notice that I was leaving.

September saw me flying to Memphis to say a final goodbye to my family who, in all reality, I won't see for a long time. It saw me having my last day at work, saying goodbye to family and getting on a plane for a new life. September saw the serendipitous meeting of me and my new group of friends, the first day of University and so many other firsts. October was lectures, halloween, football games. November saw more lectures, bronchitis, long walks, student life, friendships growing deeper. December brings the end of term and lovely Christmas traditions that I'll remember forever. Decorating the Christmas tree with J, watching movies with my friends all day, exchanging presents under the tree, writing holiday cards, checking the post every day for cards from friends, family and people I still have hope for, getting ready for traveling and lots of snow.

12 months. Relationships. Jobs. Schools. Different lives. Happy times. Sad times. And all of the in between.

All the while I can't help but wonder - Am I in the inbetween? Or is this the beginning? Or am I at the end of something? And why, when I've done so much and come so far, do I feel like I'm only half of something rather than whole...

Monday, November 29, 2010

For those who have lost

Every day, faces pass us by in a whirl of different shapes and colors and size.
The eyes of some meet yours for a moment and pass by,
The eyes of others have met yours countless times.
Some moments we ponder, memorize or sometimes even forget.

Though frozen in time are hundreds of snapshots, pictures and memories
There to remember for us.
Smiling faces all laughing along to a joke or a story that has
Long since vanished into silence.

But the joy remains imprinted on paper,
Behind the glass hung on our walls.
Precious people who’ve left us behind in this fleeting reality
Still hold our hands, kiss our cheeks, share a smile in those
Framed and trimmed photographs, those moments, those memories.

These people, these moments, these pieces of our hearts,
of our history, of ourselves are with us always
Hanging on walls, propped up on desks, tucked inside wallets…
Carried for a moment in a passing glace
Carried for years in a shining summer
Carried forever when they are in your heart.

(C) MJC 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Life is strange. It's beautiful but it's frightening. It's so easy sometimes and yet so difficult. It's psychological and biological but doesn't make any logical sense whatsoever. I have wonderful new friends. It's a bit wearisome sometimes making new friends. Trying to remember which bits about yourself they do know, which parts they don't. Telling stories you've told a million times over to others again to these new comers to your life so that they may know something about you. Constantly having to explain why you're a 26 year old undergraduate to every single person who asks because "it's just not how it's done over here." Aching a little from losing the relationships you formed in an online community because you withdrew into the physical world.
I could write volumes about what my new friends don't know about me. But they like me anyway. So, really, what are relationships? If it's not about knowing my past and I have no idea what lies ahead in my future...are they really just about the here and now? So that begs the question: Who am I now? Now, in this moment in my relationship with these people, who am I and who are they? Because we're headed into the future together.
I desperately need a moment to just be. I need a long, deep conversation with someone that isn't about today or what I did but is about intangibles and nonrealities. Is about all the bull that doesn't matter but really does matter like what's the meaning of it all, what's the purpose, who are we?
I need to not have to write volumes about what my friends don't know about me. I just want them to know me. But then you could always ask, "Why? Why do you want them to know you?" I always end up going away. We all do. We all end up going away. And in the end maybe that's why no one knows me. But if they wanted to, I'd let them in anyway.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Deleting my Posts and Signing off

I really think that signing off is where I need to go. You all have been so supportive, it means the world to me. You have my email if you want to contact me but I am resigning from the blogging world. It's been a long time coming for me.

It has been an honor spending this time with you all. I will check up on your blogs and support your progress.

My life, very simply put, has changed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Second Thing About Me

So, after having a fabulous day about University and town I am back tonight to answer the second post in a seven part series about me. I'll briefly address some of the comments left from the first and move into something a bit more descriptive. The first three questions were from Alan at News From Nowhere:

How are you enjoying your new home?
I adore my new home. I've never felt quite as "at home" anywhere as I do here in England. My whole life I've felt a bit out of sorts, like I didn't really belong in the places I was living. Sure, I had friends who loved me, a job, a house, things to do but I always felt a bit like I couldn't breathe or be myself. Here in Manchester I am breathing deep, full breaths of life and it tastes so sweet I could live in these little moments here forever. The green plant life dripping with fresh drops of rain and dew, the soft breezes and gentle sunsets, the hustle and bustle of the city while I walk and notice all the small details about this city on my walk to Uni. Roses in bloom, a pidgeon happily munching on popcorn, puddles reflecting the brick buildings on the sidewalk, the multitude of languages that I can hear. Alan, the answer is I'm enjoying my new home very much because to me, in spirit and heart, England is my home. I have just been away for 26 years.

Are you used to the climate?
I am. I don't mind it at all. I love the rain and I'm used to things changing rapidly. I have my umbrella and a rain coat. I know people prefer sunshine and all but I find the weather here lovely. It's never boring.

Have you found any decent pubs?
Yes, I have! I feel so lucky. I met a woman at the airport going to the same area as me for halls. She's a bit closer to my age than the 18 year olds. Her luggage fell off her trolley and I stopped to help her, we ended up dragging each other's belongings all over the campus together. She was kind enough to invite me to join her out at a cool pub on the main thoroughfare on the way to school and in turn I met the most amazing group of people. They love quizzes, are highly intelligent and funny. That and they are so welcoming to me that I'm without words to express how thankful I am that I happened into this gathering of people. I'm in awe of their group of people and admire their friendship with one another. They introduced me to another pub a bit off the beaten path but nice and quiet if I would like a pint to enjoy watching footie. It's in this way that I also feel so happy.

That answers Alan's questions. I will now go into the second thing about me which is about the events leading up to my moving to another country. People from the States have a hard time understanding my decision to move and I can see that from their point of view. I'll answer Andrew's questions in my Third Thing About Me post.

As you know, I'm back in University to get my degree. I'm pursuing a Bachelor's (Honors) Degree in English Language. The events that lead up to my moving to England have, I suppose, been going on a bit of my whole life. I have lived in a lot of places within the states, traveled to a lot of them, that sort of thing.

Education is and always has been so incredibly valuable to me. I want my University degree more than anything in the world and I want it for me. I couldn't bear the thought of living in Denver any longer. It isn't my home. California isn't my home, neither is Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, New York, Florida, or any other states I could name. Then I remembered how much I loved visiting London in 2008. London, though, is expensive and a bit too big for my liking so I did some research and came upon Manchester. It's up and coming, a lot of financial services are being poured into it to restore and maintain it. So, I emailed the University and told them I was passionate about finishing my education and wondered if they would accept me. The director of the programme asked for my transcripts and once I gave them to him he told me I was accepted on the spot. No tests, I didn't have to apply or anything - if I wanted in, I was in. So I jumped. I took that leap that you get in life - that one moment where if you hesitate you regret it and if you take it you could very well live the life you were meant to lead. I sold my car, signed over my house, sold my furniture, packed my things and within three months I had a visa to live in the UK for the next three years to pursue my dream.

Now, when I close my eyes at night and ask myself, "Is this a life that, if you were to take your last breath, you could be happy with and smile?" A tear forms at the corner of my eye, I breathe deeply, smile and say, "Yes. Yes it is."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Seven Things Meme

Hello all. It's been a while since I've been around and I apologize for that! I've just recently immigrated into another country and things have been a bit of a whirlwind for me but in a wonderful and amazing sort of way. I just realized tonight that I am exactly where I hoped I would be in my life. I feel exhilarated and complete in a way I never have before.

William at My Walkabout has nominated me for a Seven Things About Me meme. I thank him for thinking of me. I will try my best to fulfill the honor of this meme and in the process let you all know a little more about me. I'll post this first one and offer the comment section up to suggestions for a topic for one of the next six posts.

This first one probably won't be too informative, as I'm not great at leading the charge on describing things about me. Usually I list off all the normal things. Hi, my name is Meaghan. I'm 26 and a cancer sign. I come from a family of four and my father spent the early years of my childhood in the military, which means I moved a lot in my youth. Thus not forming a lot of lasting childhood friendships. That has been both a blessing and a curse where I try to find a certain peace. I love meeting new people and hope very much that they like me. I usually doubt myself when it comes to social situations, being more of an observer than a leader. Though am happy to lead when offered the opportunity.

I'm at University now and actually I've visited this post and left it a few times now. The first of seven things about me - I have no idea what people would want to know about me and I would hate to presume to even know where to start. So, comment field is below - if you have any questions, give a shout. If not, well ... I'll try my best. I always do.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Recently I've spent a lot of time in airports and it got me to thinking about just how many I've visited over the years. I've been fortunate enough to be able to travel thanks to friends who flew me out, family members who wanted to see me or having flown "buddy pass" because of people with flight benefits. I wanted to clarify that I am by no means jaunting out and about in the blue skies of our world willy nilly but merely thanks to the kindness of people in my life.

My first airport trip, that I can remember, was from Denver to North Carolina, when I was young. My father had just gotten out of military service and had found a job on the east coast. The airports I can remember having visited since then are as follows:

Denver International Airport
Philadelphia International Airport
John F Kennedy International Airport
Memphis Airport
Dallas-Fort Worth Airport
San Francisco Airport
Los Angeles Airport (LAX)
Las Vegas Airport
Salt Lake City Airport
Honolulu International Airport
Kahului Airport
Detroit Metro Airport
Chicago O'Hare International Airport
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
London Gatwick Airport
Manchester Airport UK
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Cancun Airport

Those are the ones I can remember anyhow and some of them were for layover flights. The worst layover flight I remember was getting stuck in LAX for a night because all the flights were over-booked. I have never been more frightened. I told my friend to hang on a minute, I had to use the restroom. I went into a stall and cried. Los Angeles is intimidating! I pulled myself together, washed my face in the sink and rejoined my friend to find out where to sleep that night. Then again I was a mere 18 years old and a bit new to things. I got stuck in St Louis for a night, same problem. New York was a fun trip with a History class in high school. I had written an essay that got selected by the teachers so I was able to go see Boston and New York City. Memphis Airport is rather small and Dallas is the largest I've seen, next to LA. Hawaii is gorgeous - open walkways and birds flying about. I was also intimidated by London's Airport - the sheer volume of noise with people, languages, train whistles, buses...I still remember being a bit scared by it all. I love Manchester Airport. It's smaller and much more user friendly. I stepped off my flight last time, drew in a breath, looked around and commented to my sister, "Now THIS is my kind of airport."

I have an airport story that illustrates how small the world is today. I was flying from Denver to Memphis, connecting through Dallas so I could visit my family and surprise my grandmother. I arrived in Dallas and it was about lunch time so I went and got a Happy Meal. I like them for the smaller portion sizes. I went back to wait for my plane and took a seat opposite a nice looking woman. She looked up from her book and commented on how she has a friend that only eats Happy Meals, for the same portion reasons, but that she keeps the toys for her nephews and nieces. Smiling, I thought she was very friendly and sounded up for a chat, so we chit-chatted a bit about this and that, life stuff, my upcoming move, her business dealings in London and such. Turns out she was on my flight only because her connecting flight was cancelled but that we were both in Dallas from Denver on our way to Memphis. The time comes to board the plane, we say goodbye and take our seats. I had such a connection to the woman, I thought her very intelligent and wonderful to talk with so I took out my notebook, wrote her a little note saying how nice it was to meet her, that I knew she'd be great in the new pursuit she was taking and gave her my email if she ever wanted a person to talk with. I waited until the fasten seat belt sign came off and introduced myself, giving her my name and note and took my seat. About 20 minutes later she came back by and gave me her email, as well, saying how nice it was we met. Fast forward to when we land: I get off the plane and, nice woman that she is, she was waiting for me. I had looked at her email and it had the company name of XYZ that a dear family friend works for. I asked her, "Do you by chance know Joey Smith? He works for XYZ and I know it's a long shot but he's had dealings in London, as well..." She laughs, smiles and says, "Oh my! I know Joey, he's a dear friend of mine as well!! I noticed your last name is Couture. Do you know anyone by the name of John Couture? He's a friend of mine." (I'm making up names to protect identities.) I smile broadly, so pleased with this little life surprise and tell her, "John Couture is my father and Joey Smith has known me since I was 5." Two strangers, a different city, in some random airport by chance because her flight was cancelled and she knows my father and my dear family friend.

It's one of those things that just makes me smile both inside and out. If you're reading this, Ms Smith, it was wonderful to meet you!! :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I feel able to take on the world
and feel as small as an ant.
I feel happy, joyous
and just a bit sad.
I'm excited, elated
and just a tad nervous.

I feel like an 18 year old girl going to school
but I know I'm a 26 year old woman finishing university.
I feel like I'm packing a lot of things
but I know how much I've given away or am leaving behind.
I feel like I've got a million words to say
but I don't know where to start writing.

So giving hugs I wear a smile
As they wipe away a small tear.
And I laugh with a lump in my throat.
I dream of the reality I will find.