Your English seems perfect to me, Hiker!
I grew up bilingually abroad, and I read loads of English books when I was a child (as well as having English-speaking parents). But when we came over here to England to visit our relatves, I often found that I wasn't able to understand a lot of people, or at least I was struggling a lot of the time. Now I know that it was mainly working class people (and people from up North, eg. Newcastle) which I had difficulties understanding, and there is a lot of slang which I never learned from books or from my parents. The communication barrier was the main reason which kept me from coming back here for a long time, but after I moved back to England 13½ years ago, it was something that I quickly got accustomed to. Although I still occasionally come across terms or expressions that I don't know, and it happens quite frequently that I find out that a word which I've only read in the past but never heard is actually pronounced completely differently than I thought.
Earlier on I realised that it had been nearly two weeks since I last posted here, so I thought it would be good to post an update, and it's always nice to see some feedback. After I stopped smoking, I constantly felt the urge to communicate on here what was going on for me, on an almost daily basis. But particularly since I've started counselling, I've hardly thought about this forum at all. I'm still not sure how exactly counselling works, but I do feel that I've had more of a sense of direction since I've started the sessions, and I'm very pleased that I decided to head down that route.
A week ago, I had my kitchen flooring replaced, and I found out that the company that had been employed by the council to disconnect and reconnect my gas cooker wouldn't connect the new one, but that they were only being paid to reinstall the one that they had disconnected. I was furious, especially after they told me what they would charge me, and I refused. Instead, I found a gas engineer through Facebook (where I returned to on the day that I was 100 days nicotine-free) who did the job slightly cheaper. It was still quite a lot of money for me, but at the same time I realised that it was something that would have been impossible when I was still smoking, as I would have spent all my money on weed - so I was able to shrug it off fairly quickly, and I didn't have to go hungry or live a frugal lifestyle because of it.
This week I got paid again, and a few days ago someone advertised a really nice and big stainless steel fridge freezer on a local community page on Facebook. I wasn't sure how much I had in my account, but I really wanted it, especially as my old one has been getting progressively worse for the past two years or so, and I have to defrost the freezer every few weeks. The past two weeks things have been particularly bad, and now everything in the fridge keeps freezing, even on the lowest setting. I sent the seller a message straight away before anyone else would lay a claim on it, and I thought that in the worst case I'd just have to be a bit careful about spending for the next two weeks. But it turned out that my parents agreed to pay for it, as part of the payment for setting up their website, so I'm very happy that that's another thing that's out of the way.
Today I had an appointment with a plumber who came to look at my bathroom. It is still the original bathroom that was installed when this house was built in the 1960s, and I had a small repair that needed to be sorted out. I've been quite upset for some time about the fact that everyone else in this building seems to have a more modern bathroom, while my own one is so old and crappy. It turned out that some of the plumbing has become too old and rusty, and that there are health and safety issues, so that it seems that I'm entitled to a new bath and sink - one more thing that I will no longer have to worry about!
The other thing that has become a lot
better is my social anxiety. I had booked two tickets for a gig a few days ago, one for myself and one for a friend (as I didn't want to go on my own). It was the first time for over a year that I would have gone out, but half an hour before I was going to leave I found out through Facebook that the gig had been cancelled. Obviously I was disappointed, but I got an email from the ticket agency the next day saying that it had only been postponed, and that the tickets would still be valid for the future date. Two days ago, I also found out about an arts festival that is taking place in London tomorrow, so I booked a ticket straight away. A friend of mine who grew up in the UK but who has moved to New York will be performing, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to meet her, so I am really, really looking forward to the event! I've got no idea what to expect, but I'll definitely be taking my camera along, in the hope that there will be some subjects that I can photograph on the way to use for my own artwork. I am also very eager to soak up the atmosphere, and to let myself be inspired. It is going to be a great step for me, after years of hiding away in my flat and hardly leaving my own environment at all, and one which I didn't hesitate about one single bit. Yesterday I had my hair cut by an ex-classmate of mine, from the time when I had been studying art at college a few years ago, and I had retouched my greying roots the day before. Before that, I had felt quite scruffy (after not having seen a hairdresser for over a year), and it gave me a lot of confidence to have treated myself to a new haircut. As a result, I dared to dress more outrageously than I had for a long time, when I was more or less trying to hide away, and only allowing myself a minimum amount of freedom of expression, and I feel far more like I am being myself than when i go along with the mainstream, and I constantly worry about what is 'acceptable'. In reality, what other people think of me is far less of a concern to me than what I think of myself, and I have found that most people - at least the ones that matter - value individuality over any attempts to conform to existing social standards.
I am here to push and transcend boundaries, and not to be restricted by them. That is my mission, and I am looking forward to taking things to another level when I venture to the big city tomorrow, so I can enjoy a change from my usual surroundings.