A Rollercoaster of Everyday Life

by Anna Parsec
Updated: April 29, 2024
12 minute read
Anna reading on the train

Yet again, it is Sunday night and we are trying to remember what we’ve done during the week and it feels that it was nothing particularly significant or important or interesting. And what’s the point of talking about that? However, to remind myself, I looked through the recent pictures, from Monday until Sunday and I was amazed how much we’ve done and what a carousel of emotions we’ve been through.

Monday 22 April 2024

Burning Questions

We were looking forward to this 22nd of April because it was our first proper appointment with the midwives at Horsham hospital. We thought that we would have some answers to our burning questions. We didn’t have any list of questions which was probably a mistake. Lesson learnt.

During the meeting, I was asked, do you have any questions? And I said “Am I pregnant”. Unfortunately, they couldn’t answer it. They said to wait until our first screen. It was interesting though to talk to these two young midwives in training. It was just an appointment to collect medical history, both mine and James’.

Probably the only revelation that we had was the location of birth – which will be Redhill. That was very important to me, and I really wanted to make sure that location is easy enough to pronounce and to transliterate into Russian.

Anna in Horsham Hospital
Tuesday 23 April 2024

Presenting Results

It was a nerve-wracking day for me because of my meetings at the lab. I was very unhappy about the progress I’ve made, the results I can show and I felt a little bit all over the place and not focused. I had to admit this to my supervisor at our first meeting in a month because he was away. However, the meeting still went really well, and I knew it would, but I just wanted to impress rather than to say, well, yeah, it’s going fine.

Straight after that I had another call with Astogazers. That’s my Outreach project and I needed to introduce myself and tell about my research. On the way to the MSSL I was discussing with James whether I really should tell about my journey sincerely and honestly or I should present the story in a bit more subtle way. Not that diverse, not that unorthodox. However, I already had the slides ready and I didn’t have time to change them. It was to tell about my education back in Russia. About my background and then, how I decided to become an astronaut, what it required and why I ended up doing PhD. It was an online meeting and it was hard to read the room. Hopefully there was some food for thought for those students at Croydon High School for girls.

Book recommendations at MSSL.webp
Wednesday 24 April 2024

Frustration Over Service Providers

It was a regular day at work and I tried to focus on my research and James tried to focus on wrapping up some business projects. However, we were thinking a lot about our call with EE, about the refund they promised us and about their call to us at 4 pm.

James wrote three pages of complaint and explanation and story of why we ended up where we are. We questioned how on Earth they charged us £350 the day before. We were very annoyed about that and we were going to talk to someone from executive complaints and make it alright.

However, even though the call was scheduled for 4 pm, someone called at 3:20pm, and James was driving at that moment to collect me so that we were home by 4 P.M.

When we got home, I was talking to various people and to Darren in particular, who was my point of contact this whole week, and he was trying to calm me down and make some promises that it will be all okay, and it will be all sorted. But as of Sunday today, it has not been and some manager was never at work and they kept wanting to look at some records even though everything was clear to everyone. Clear that they should refund but someone needs to sign it off and it’s been ridiculous. I shouted for an hour. I was a little bit cooler for another half an hour. I released some anger, irritation and frustration. Despite all of that, it has been delayed and delayed and delayed and no luck at the moment.

EE return kit label
Thursday 25 April 2024

Moderating Webinar

I took a day off from my lab work to stay at home because we had a webinar to run with one of our clients. Gerard has known me for the past 10 years and he is probably the first English person I became in touch with at the end of 2013. We’ve been collaborating since on various projects.

We have delivered quite a few webinars so far and they’ve been usually very enjoyable and successful. It depends though on the third party as well.

Gerard and us did a great job and we were pleased with how it went. At 1 pm we could start resting a little bit, which we definitely needed because James felt unwell under the weather.

All this week he was sneezing and coughing, and he really needed to be in bed all this time, but there were many things to do. So Thursday afternoon was the time for him to rest.

We had a nap and in the evening I meant to go to my choir rehearsal but because I’m really unsure about the program and it’s all a little bit not how I like it, and I felt quite tired, I wondered whether I should stay at home because I feel like it or I have to go. In the end, I just decided not to go anywhere because I thought it’s nicer for James, not to drive four times – to drop me off, come back home again, to collect me, come back home. It was nice for me too so we just stayed in bed.

Book case with Russian and English books

Friday 26 April 2024

Officially Parsec-Wallis

It was a day when we meant to go to London with a sleepover. The main reason why we need to go is because I was going to collect my Name Change certificate at the Russian Embassy. We meant to go early and go to some museums and then go to the Embassy and then to go see some concerts and then stay at Neda’s. On Saturday we had another day of events in London. However, James felt unwell and didn’t want to stay for a night in London.

Hence all Friday morning we were looking at all the options of how we would go to London and come back. In the end we decided just to get to London by about 2pm, and do something quickly. I would collect the certificate. We would shop a little, then James could carry on shopping for my birthday present, and I would go to Neda’s to catch up to collect our letters. After that we planned to come back home.

We did exactly that. At the embassy it was the usual lady with a very Nazi approach as if something I always do very wrong, and she is very harsh with me. I thought that I’m harsh but she’s so much harsher. However, she sorted the translation of my surname Parsec-Wallis into the right spelling which was very good and a very great relief. I waited for about an hour and then collected my name change certificate in Russian and its certified translation into English.

Later I met James in Selfridges. We had a look at a couple of things for my birthday present. I couldn’t find anything suitable enough, which is very hard work. I know that. That’s why we work on that as a team. I want something that costs thousands and thousands and I don’t necessarily want anything cheap. I also want something very unpractical, memorable, very me. So it’s hard so if it is, it needs to be pretty significant and usuallyWe do a very good job like with the telescope or a fig tree or some jewellery that James got me. But it is getting harder because I get more things and everything is sorted.

In the end we just bought some clothes at Marks and Spencer. I tried a couple of outfits and then I made my decisions and we left because we got so tired. James carried on shopping a little and I went to have some Iranian stew with rice and tea at Neda’s (thanks, ladies, for the hospitality – It was great to see you).

In the evening, unfortunately, I didn’t check train times, so I was a bit late to Victoria. Well, not really late. I actually arrived in Victoria and saw the train seconds before it left, but I couldn’t see James anywhere. James thought that I wouldn’t make it so he was still in Waitrose and I was there seeing the train, so we could have made it, but we had to wait for another hour to get home. And we were home just after midnight.

Anna in London in spring
Saturday 27 April 2024

A Day of Chores

It was meant to be a day off. However, the thought of going to London for a birthday party was a little bit daunting and kind of dictated how we planned the day.

I decided to do a bit of laundry. It turned out that we had four washes to do, and considering how difficult it is to dry everything in the house, we decided to wash everything and then take everything to the dryer at the laundromat. We also collected a cheque from HMRC for our business which we wanted to deposit but none of the post offices could do that for our Tide Bank and it was really annoying and we still didn’t have any good solution. So we need to sort that.

While doing all the post office, business and laundry, I was trying to decide how to get to London, what the times were and buy flowers and drinks for the birthday party. I started checking the train times and the route and I realised that it is 2.5 hours from the station. On the way back, same thing and probably I was looking into six of six hours of clean travel. That was a little bit daunting and expensive, more expensive than I thought. Of course, if I would just go to Victoria and back, it would be £15.50 for me to travel by myself. James didn’t want to go to the birthday party because he felt unwell and it was too hard. I decided not to go either which is a shame but I needed to rest.

Rest?! We actually turned the car to go to a shop for the week at the Tesco. We spent quite a bit of time, bought loads of fruit and berries, looked at the first floor of Tesco for the first time with some baby clothes and glasses and plates and then came back home.

It was time to rest while we watched Back to the Future 3. In the evening I made french onion Soup and then we watched Wonka. I think we enjoyed it even though James doesn’t like all the singing. It was still enjoyable and had a nice feel (“scrub-scrub”, “oompa-loompa”).

James and Anna shopping in Tesco
Sunday 28 April 2024

Another Day of Chores

It was a true day when we could relax, there was nothing planned and we didn’t need to do anything. In the end though, we did so much and we realised how much we need to do. At first though we took it easy. We lied in and watched Pleasantville and probably got up around 1 pm. I looked around the house and took pictures of all the corners and it turned out that every single room was a mess. There were clothes, things, boxes, buckets, plants, papers all around. I took pictures of the evidence so that I do before and after, and started working from one room to another. It took lots of time. And I still haven’t finished some of the rooms but there was a good progress.

We had planned to have a roast dinner. I’m looking forward to roast chicken and James is looking forward to roast potatoes. So we have our preferences and while I’m recording /writing this, everything is being cooked in the oven. James is working. We are getting hungrier luckily because we didn’t feel particularly hungry before. And hopefully, we’ll have some roast dinner and after that, we’ll start working. In particular, we need to do this blog and some business projects as we like being slightly ahead of the game for Monday morning. That’s it.

Roast Dinner

If you are curious, here are our living costs for this week 17 of the year (22-28 April 2024).

22-28 April 2024
One week of rent of a one bedroom house in West Sussex but near Surrey Hills
Ridiculous charges by EE broadband which should be refunded
Train to London and back and underground around London
Shopping for the week plus small purchases on the go
Vitamins for a couple of months, clothes for Anna, Embassy charges and laundry
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