1/4

I am almost exactly one quarter of my way through my first year at college. Let that just sink in for one moment. Surreal.

Tomorrow I’ll have been at Wittenberg for two months, although it feels like longer. It’s amazing here, it’s like a bubble where niceness is reciprocated to one another. There isn’t one person who I’ve spoken to that I dislike, there are a few people I’ve never spoken to who we (soccer freshmen) don’t like – but that’s for another time.

By the end of my four years here I’ll be saying American words instead of English, purely because trying to describe words like pillock and plonker and wally are too difficult so I’m just gonna conform.

As far as academics are going I can’t complain, it isn’t overly difficult but it isn’t too easy, it’s a solid balance, except for my Wittsem. A Wittsem is a class just for freshmen so we all get the hang of what’s going on, it counts for nothing except 4 credits (which are necessary for graduation) so they’re somewhat irrelevant, but also, not… Anyway, in my Wittsem on Wednesday and Friday of last week we did arts and crafts. Seriously, like, cutting out and colouring in. Ridiculous that I got out of bed for that.

I got marked down on an essay the other day for not typing in American, as in, colouring is coloring and so on.

The soccer team are awesome, in fact all the sports teams I’ve socialised (socialized) with are cool, but to have 25 guys on a team and to get on with all of them is a pretty decent thing to have. 

Me and my shocking haircut, which has since grown back fully, are on the website from last weekends game which you can see here.

I’m kinda just writing for the sake of it now and I have practice soon, but just know that I miss all you fellas and ladyfellas from home, and I’m home for Christmas so I’ll see you all then.

 

Chip chip cheerio (apparently all British people say that…)

Josh

I’m returning

Since the time of last writing I have been to Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

The families that host us British guys and girls are saints. Imagine having one, two, three or even four stinky, sweaty, sweary morons inhabit your house for a week.

The company I work for would not be able to survive if it was based in England. I guarantee only a handful of people per county would volunteer, and there’s no way they’ll be as welcoming as some of the people I’ve encountered.

In Alabama, Steve the Goalie and I lived in a house with Lisa and Geoff/Jeff and their son, their disabled daughter and their blind and Alzheimer’s ridden uncle and ex-Colonel Rick. Quite possibly the nicest family I’ve ever met. To take in 2 randomers alongside all of that stress is outstanding. On top of that they took us to their lakehouse for the weekend where we swam, tubed, rode the jet ski and scream at the plethora of spiders on show. We also christened our car Heather.

My car, Elvis, got sold.

Steve and I then met up James, Jamie, Kristian, Will and Will for a camp in Mississippi. There I met a child who ran a mile in five minutes flat. He was labelled a freak by me all week. If anyone else called him one they got in trouble.

Steve, Will, James and I all stayed in one house. My room had one direction everywhere. I felt sick. The family had 2 dogs. Later added to 3 when they decided to take in another one they just found somewhere. Oh the wonderful south.

For any of you who are still (somehow) unaware, I’m attending Wittenberg Uni in the fall in Ohio. I will be studying sports management hopefully, if not then it’ll be English.

The woman sitting behind me whilst I’m writing this just sneezed and headbutted the back of my head with the back of hers. Cretin.

We progressed onto Florida where Steve and James and I somehow completed one week in in the heat there. Soccer golf, soccer tennis, soccer baseball and soccer cricket all came out to play one day at a time.

I just wrote one day at a day. Can you tell I’m tired? Mind you you didn’t realise I wrote the word ‘in’ twice in a row in the paragraph prior to this did you?

I’m not gonna embarrass you but you definitely just scrolled up to double check I wasn’t lying.

In Florida (St. Petersburg) I stayed with Colin Kaepernick’s little cousin. Google him if you don’t know him. I was staying on the ocean front. If I didn’t see a dolphin within 15 minutes of looking at the ocean then I must have looked away at some point.

We watched a baseball game. Inside the stadium there were stingrays which you could pet. Ridiculous. Only in America.

Our week off ensued and we went to Orlando for 2 days and 3 nights. We went on a night out before we left St Petersburg and James got a new profile picture out of it. I became a slave to the pu…. as I followed a girl round until I realised what I was doing so I left.

The next day we we went to Orlando. I think. I’m very confused what happened last week I’m not gonna lie. We went to universal studios. I lost my tshirt I wore the night before. I think. I don’t know. But it was new and $7 and from converse and now I’m sad I lost it.

The next day we went to universal studios. I wore a pug tshirt because I’m an attention seeking swine. It worked. Universal was awesome. I loved being a kid again. ‘Cause y’know I’m 20 now and all that.

We went to wet and wild the next day and a song emerged. It was carried onto the night out with us like a mascot, or like when you’re younger and you steal road-signs and put them in your kitchen and your mum shouts at you and your friend Red and doesn’t find it funny and so you have to put it back without anyone noticing. Just like that.

That night we went out in Orlando. It was 3rd of July I think. I wore my pug shirt again, I enjoyed it. The ‘hugs for pugs’ movement was a hit. As was ‘say no to drugs, yes to pugs’. I had a good night anyway.

The next day I got picked up and we went on a hangover fuelled roller coaster to Miami. We were all very touchy and edgy after a night out. I think I could have lost my converse shirt that night/morning in the motel. I digress.

On the way to Miami I booked our hotels for the next two nights. $45 for 2 nights last minute isn’t too shabby.

Anyway I have to board now. We had 2 nights out in a row. We sang crap songs and drank crap drinks and had a darn good time.

I don’t want to come home to shitty drawn on eyebrows and an army of Nike Air Max’s but unfortunately I want to see my family and friends/I have to for my visa.

People who wear neck pillows and walk around the airport are imbeciles.

Thank you everyone (almost) I met in the past 3.5 months. Apologies if I’ve burnt the bridges we formed last year. Hooray if we built a bridge.

Flight takes off in 30 minutes. Have a good day, see you all soon hopefully.

Josh.

#Marksyyontour

Day 42 – Y2

14.05.2013

Divulge.Persevering.Gamble.Oh.Sunstroke.Manchester.General.Screamed.

Francesca.Flaws.Complain.Star.Ripp.Snapchat.Package.Crap.

Let us divulge in some nostalgia and revert back to the fourth of November 2012, where I state, in my penultimate MoT blogpost, the following things.

“This time in ten days I will be back home in England. I have a list of things I need to do before I arrive back home. One of which is to get into college out here.”

“On Wednesday, Steve the Goalie, Kristian and I will be travelling down to Wittenberg, which is a university in Ohio. This 12 hour round trip could be a very worthwhile trip indeed. If I got into an American college I would be happier than the fatty who won a free big mac at the Bulls game when it got fired out of a canon. Mind you I’d be pretty happy if I won one too, but I digress. The point still stands; I want to go to university out here…

Just in case I haven’t mentioned it yet, I want to study in America.”

I have never emailed so many people, had so many deep conversations with my father and called the other side of the world so much. Persevering pays off. There are so many clichés about ‘trying so hard you don’t take no for an answer’ but I’m not going to go all Warren on you, because after all, he’s a tosser. Anyway, it would appear that taking no for an answer has got me to where I want to be.

Wittenberg have taken a big ol’ gamble on me, they’ve slashed their monetary requirements for me down by 62%, they’ve put me in touch with the right people constantly and above all they’ve welcomed me.

I’ve been out here for a month and 12 days. How many of you from home have Skyped me? Oh.

Since being back I’ve witnessed unreal weather, from flash-floods turning football pitches into lakes and Steve suffering from sunstroke on the first day of warmth. He’s also burst a blood vessel or something in his middle finger and also dislocated his middle finger. I may pass the title of ‘sicknote’ onto Steve. Sicknote Steve is on par with Stitch-Up Steve.

Jamie and James are new. Jamie has ‘crazy funky hair’ according to an eight-year old. James is from Manchester.

Kristian cheats at shotgunning for the front seat and also at naming the 50 states, thus earning himself a nickname of Bullshit Bover. He also made his kids do push-ups today. It was 28 degree heat. That’s the General for ya.

Sunday was the loudest I have ever screamed in my life. All I’m going to say is HOGGGGGGGGGG……. DEEENEEEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!

I haven’t bought that much this time around. I think I will leave my suitcase out here when I go back home in whenever it is, probably early July, then fly back out to Chicago, then drive from here to Ohio. Anybody wanting to drive me is more than welcome, I’ll buy you lunch and give you gas money and will also tell you many tried and tested stories which you will laugh at. Francesca will verify that my stories are spectacular, wont you? Yes, yes she will.

When people find out about bands I’ve known about forever it used to really bug me, cos im well hipsta, but Bastille’s recent recognition is making me happy. All I will say is Flaws was downloaded onto my laptop on the 13th of June 2011. holds hands up and pulls classic Josh Marks smug face whilst shrugging shoulders*.

I’ve been out for dinner once with Brathleen since being back, I should see them more, getting a balance between new host family, old friends, new friends, work and the other coaches is quite hard, but I guess if that’s the only problem I have out here I can’t complain.

The new host family are all so clever. Cameron (13), Charlie (12) and I were discussing the North Star tonight, they taught me so much. I coach Claire (8) and her sister Caitlin (6) so threatening them with laps is fun.

On day 68 of last years blog I put a song called Fine By Me by Andy Grammar, I went to see him in concert with Kristian. There was a support act called Andrew Ripp, he was better than Andy Grammar. Take a listen, he will also feature in my newest 8tracks playlist.

 

Snapchat is superb.

In a few days a package from home should be arriving. Inside said package will be one Marksyyontour snapback. If anyone would like one then let me know, this is genuine, you may have one for $25. Facebook me if you want one. Or a t-shirt. Or something.

I should proofread this as I’m beyond tired, but alas, I’m not going to because I’m a bad ass mother, who wont take no crap out of nobody.

#MarksyyOnTour

The Return.

Aside

05.02.2013

Semiretired.Comatose.Wink.Wiping.Bed.Mundane.Adamant.Productive.Improve.

Jolly.Transferring.iTunes.Suggestions.Views

I currently work 2 days a week, Padre tells everyone I’m semi-retired, which seems a reasonably legitimate statement to make. This isn’t really out of choice, it partially is, but overall, it’s not. I worked at River Island as you may know, but working 6pm-9:30pm for peanuts isn’t exactly enthralling. So I left there. It’s a half-decent place to work, the people are nice, but I did get told off for talking to another member of staff when the shop was closed. That was belittling, I dislike feeling belittled.

Since leaving America (#didyouknowiwenttoamerica?) I have had a lot of different emotions, provoked by a variety of events. I felt like I had never left England, and that an eight month dream occurred in between. I won’t list everything I did, but it was just spectacular. When the plane landed, my melatonin-endused comatose state wasn’t exactly overjoyed with the overcast weather welcoming me back and the inevitable queue at customs didn’t help either. Everything inside me wanted to go back out to the Vitamin D and endorphin-filled land that is Chicago, although my iPhone tells me it’s -8C there now. Woof.

I saw my parents and sister waiting for me which was worth the seven and a half hour flight alone, although I hadn’t slept a wink despite four sleeping pills, so my happiness was somewhat distorted.

Image

Image

I missed the small things when away, like how the water level is lower in the toilets in England so the paper doesn’t get wet when you’re wiping, speakers in my bedroom, SkySportsNews and Nick (he’s only 5ft bless him).

Oh and my bed:

Image

So I rejoined Wembley and it was back to the real world. Working 2/3 days a week and playing football on a Sunday, and that was it. That was the mundane reality of it all. Maybe that’s not everyone’s real world, but that’s mine. It’s pretty relaxing and I think you need to be quite self-assured to do so little. Most people wake up every day with a reason to get out of bed. When all you’re doing is waiting for April there’s only so much you can do in a day.

A lot of people were adamant on me coming to visit them when I returned, but then as soon as I was back they didn’t want to see me. I realised that this stems down to one of two things; 1 – people want what they can’t have. Saying you want to see someone is easy when they’re 4,000 miles away, or, 2 – I’m too exciting for you. I assume it’s the former, but if it’s the latter then I completely understand. This paragraph is dedicated to the following people: J, D, L, H, A, A, B.

I realised I actually needed to do something more productive than getting my Be A Pro player on NBA 2K13 an MVP award in the Championship game… which I did anyway. Shout-out to 76ers centre, Andrew Bynam by the way.

So I contacted Wittenberg Uni, emailed UKsocca and searched for Level 2 F.A. Badges. I was confirmed to coach at London Maccabi to for February half-term week and I started volunteering at Park High School coaching the Year 7’s football. Things started to improve.

My first payment was made to UKsocca, I’ve signed the contract and am currently waiting for the VISA. I called the legend/chef that is Matt Baker, and told him of my plans with Wittenberg. He’s also a big fan of the MarksyyOnTour blog, so everyone else reading him welcome him to the MoT family. I Skyped with Brathleen (for you newcomers that’s Brent and Kathleen, my American parents) and the kids a few days later. Brent was in a jolly mood: Image

Contacting Wittenberg is enjoyable, they’re all genuinely helpful people, and whenever I say “thanks”, they always say “you’re welcome”, before transferring me through; how nice of them. As it stands, the likelihood of getting accepted is roughly 70%, the likelihood of being able to afford whatever they’re going to charge me is 20%. Time will tell how much they offer me. They may have more intelligent students apply, but if any of you know me well, as soon as I set my mind to something then it’s going to get done, and getting into Witt is one of them.

So now here I am, thinking of ways to raise money to get into college. I feel like Peter LaFleur in Dodgeball trying to fund Average Joe’s gym, and his best idea being a car wash. However, I do have an idea.

If any of you have an iTunes which is messy, I will tidy it up for small sum. This is a genuine attempt to get money, and it’s for a good cause, plus I have OCD so you know it’s going to be done efficiently.

Anyway, if you have any other suggestions or you’re aware of any jobs going then let me know.

This is partially a one-off, but if I get enough views then I shall carry on.

#MarksyyOffTour

Day 213

04.11.2012

Trust.List.Piercing.Pivotal.Consistently.Homely.Sympathy.Somewhere.Free.

Case.Moot.Precious.Suitcase.Ten.PS.

People don’t trust an English accent on a night out. Girls think you’re a player and guys think you’re hitting on their girls. Truth is, both assumptions are most probably true, but not in all cases.

This time in ten days I will be back home in England. I have a list of things I need to do before I arrive back home. One of which is to get into college out here.

Today was bliss. Walking through downtown Chicago with just my trusty iPod as a friend and the wind piercing my ears and drying my lips, I realised that I have got to stay out in this country as long as possible. Its small moments like them that make you realise what a special place you are in.

If I think back to the events I have been to, from screaming like a pre-pubescent girl at the Coldplay gig in Philadelphia, to watching the Chicago Bulls, catching a catfish in Gettysburg to almost drowning in Alabama, this was probably the most pivotal moment since being here.

The last post I did was bittersweet: it got me a lot of views, questions, attention; but it made me look depressed. I was not and have not ever been sad about being out here. Can any of you honestly say that out of your 15, 20, 30, 50+ years of living, you have had a consistently superb, life-changing seven months in a row. Sure you may have had one week here, one month there, but I’m talking out of 213 days, 200 have been quality.

Sure I miss home, home is home, I’m living in a homely house, but it’s not the same as having your own bed, and not secretly having a countdown in your head of how long it’ll be before you have to pack your bags and fly home.

The last blog I did everyone was feeling sorry for me. I assure you I do not want or did not want sympathy. You’re probably going to hate me after reading this positive post and want me to shut up, you’ll probably be thinking “yeah we get it you’re in America cool” – but you’ll just have to get used to that.

I will most likely be coming out here in April, in the meantime I will be getting a job somewhere to save up for the flights, VISA’s etc. and most importantly I will be looking for a college out here.

On Wednesday, Steve the Goalie, Kristian and I will be travelling down to Wittenberg, which is a university in Ohio. This 12 hour round trip could be a very worthwhile trip indeed. If I got into an American college I would be happier than the fatty who won a free big mac at the Bulls game when it got fired out of a canon. Mind you I’d be pretty happy if I won one too, but I digress. The point still stands; I want to go to university out here.

Just in case I haven’t mentioned it yet, I want to study in America.

I love the word ‘moot’.

If you look on my Facebook you’ll see pictures of me with all my teams, they’re ‘precious’.

Anyway, I’m off to do my preliminary pack so I can figure out how big my new second suitcase will be. In April I will be bringing out here a half filled suitcase and will be buying shitloads of new clothes. Not that I need any.

See you all soon.

#MarksyyOnTour

P.S. I feel like colleges may look at this page so I need to proof-read it, but I’m sticking by the point of this blog and that’s to write whatever is in my head, so if it comes out all gobbledegook on here just be sure to know that in my head what I have written makes perfect sense.

Day 182

08.10.2012

Last.Homesick.Shittonne.Husband.Itching.Banners.Limbless.Cocky.

It has been over 3 months since writing my last post. I have been here in America for 6 months, 2 days ago.

Time flies, it’s a saying that everyone says but doesn’t really mean. 6 months, that is half of a year that I have spent on the other side of the globe from my home. I’m 19. I’m talking to people back at home that are a 3 hour drive away from their home and their bed, their family and their friends, yet they say they’re homesick and going to get a train back home. I’m not trying to say I’m homesick, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t excited to come home. I think people are spoilt sometimes. Again, I’m not saying I’m slumming it out on the streets of Chicago, but this is (or was) alien to me and I had to deal with it. You can’t just book a ticket and travel home for the weekend. This whole thing was the only thing I’ve ever committed to in my life. I didn’t ever commit to studying because I was lazy and idiotic and didn’t want to. I can’t think of anything else I’ve had a chance to commit to really, which speaks volumes I guess.

During my last post to now not a lot about me has changed. I have learnt a few things and have lost a few things. I have gained experiences and stories that people only dream of getting; I have met people that I wouldn’t have ever thought I’d get on with. I have lost a shit-tonne of money on clothes and food. Mostly food. I regret nothing.

I began and ended a relationship which actually made me realise that someday I will be a great husband. I just need to not be paranoid, which in turn means I’ll have to completely trust my girlfriend/fiancée/wife (which I did). I can’t wait to get married one day. I also can’t wait to have my own place. I think that being settled in one place is the greatest thing that can happen to you. My parents lived in their first house together for 20 something years I believe. This stability is vital. I know I can’t really talk about this with much experience, but my summer was a magnified view on life crammed into an 8 week period. I stayed in one place for 14 days and that was the longest before an 8 hour drive usually ensued.

During the Spring I had summer to look forward to, the road trips, the host-families, the parties. Towards the end of summer, i.e. when I stopped blogging, I was itching to get back to Chicago. This was a mixture of things. The travelling bored me. It sounds spoilt as I did end up in New York, but after the heat and the driving and everything else, I really couldn’t be bothered. The last group of coaches I worked with I didn’t really try to get on with, which I regret. I also wanted to see Brie. About 99% more than I expected when I first left in June, which is still a lot.

I finally got back to Chicago and was greeted with banners and signs welcoming me back home. And it did feel like home in comparison to some of the places I had been, not saying the places I stayed didn’t make me feel homely and welcome, but it’s not the same when you know you have to leave a week after you arrive. This homecoming to the Brathleen household was a microscopic version of what I hope for on my arrival back in London. The more I write about being home the more I want to be there. But I think this is because of the time I’m writing this post. Here is a quote for you all: “It’s a Sunday night, a night never to be trusted for emotions.” — John Mayer. True right? Like I say, I don’t 100% want to come home right this instance, but I have nothing else to look forward to now.

I need to have a break from coaching too. When I get back I will not be coaching kids for a while. It doesn’t even bother me that the kids I coach might as well be limbless when it comes to soccer. Like, some of them are genuinely that shite. But what pisses me off more than anything is when they come to practice and tell me that they don’t want to be there, or they just stand there distracting everyone. Look, if you don’t like football just tell your mum and dad, don’t come to practice with a shitty attitude and stop everyone else from learning. I sound and feel like a teacher from my high school, but until you’re in a situation like mine you can’t comment.

Some people think that knowing their problems is enough and they’ve convinced themselves that telling others of their own faults ends them. I’m not trying to claim to be something I’m not, like everyone is doing nowadays apparently, e.g. a psychiatrist or philosopher or fucking motivational speaker, but I heard people over the course of my time here saying stuff like “I need to stop being so…” (myself included). Just because you’re in a different country doesn’t make you a different person. When I’m home I can imagine people will be like “oh you’ve changed since being in America”, if I hear this in a serious, non-jokey way I’m going to be unimpressed. I’m still late for everything, I’m still competitive, I’m still hilarious and I’m still cocky. So hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife etc. because when I come back it’s going to be the beginning for me. (Not sure for what, but it seemed like a powerful way to end this extremely deep blog).

#MarksyyOnTour

P.S. admit you missed me.