• Courtney Cook

FINally here

After 4 days of travel, that was meant to be 3, I arrived here to the residency yesterday evening right in time for the opening evening meeting.

I think I will rewind a few days a bit before jumping in to this moment. Bare with me and my poor writing as jetlag is finally hitting me. ( I haven't had a chance to really let it get to me yet)

I arrived to London on Monday after flying for 24± hours. My friends picked me up from airport and let me shower and cooked me breakfast. We then walked the streets of Brighton where they live. I felt like a child seeing everything for the first time. It has been a long time since I have been somewhere NEW. Somewhere that I have never seen before. ( I would be including pictures but I can't at this time...I will get to reason why in a moment) After a busy few weeks of ''doing stuff'' and being on a timeline... It was so nice to have no agenda and no where to be until the next morning when I was due to fly out.

We woke early the next day to get me to airport for my flight to Helsinki. I was loading the car and put my suitcase in the boot and went back around to find that the window had been smashed and my backback was gone. My laptop, American passport, my sketchbook, calendars, important documents and a letter Collette wrote me were all in that bag. I am grateful I had my aussie passport on me as I would still be in London at this time dealing with consulates. Long story short, I had to cancel my flight to Helsinki to deal with police report and all. I was strangely overall calm through this whole process. Possibly because I knew I had my other passport. I am now obviously without my computer which I really need on while here on the residency but I will figure out a way to exist without it. And I am happy that I had my camera with me and that wasnt stolen either. It is a very violating feeling knowing some stranger out there has your personal and sentimental items. I thought about putting up a sign saying, '' IF you took my bag, keep the laptop, just please return everything else.''

Anyways, there is not much I can do and I hope insurance will cover it all but there is a bit of a grey area as the backback was in a car and technically things stolen out of a car are not covered (MAKE SURE TO ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT).

Essentially just time and money were stolen from me that day. I still have my life and that is clearly something to be grateful for.

I ended up having another day in Brighton and watched the weather change from cold and gloomy to warm and sunny in a matter of hours. Mother Nature likes to remind us that we can experience these 2 extremes in one day just like we can experience the various emotions of life all in one day.

So that then brings me to yesterday. My flight to Helsinki was then late so I missed my train and luckily made the next one with 1 minute to spare. NO EXAGGERATING HERE. I laughed when I looked at my watch when I bought the ticket. Train was arriving at 4:01 and it was 4pm!

The residency coordinator picked me up and then drove me the 40 minutes to the residency.

So I arrived here to the ARTELES Creative Centre at 7pm with our intro meeting set for 7. I had a quick shower to make me feel semi human before I faced my social anxiety of meeting new people.

Had a lovely meeting of everyone and our mentor Dr. Margi Brown Ash and then we all shared dinner together. There are 12 of us in total. 9 females and 3 males. Most are American and Australian actually and then 1 from Germany and 2 from Finland.

I settled in and unpacked and fell asleep within minutes.

So here I sit, Thursday morning, on the residencies computer. Typing this and starting to sort out insurance etc. also learning the Finnish keyboard as there are different buttons and symbols so this is taking me a bit longer to write than anticipated. We do not have constant access to computer and internet so I will probably be writing 1-2 posts a week. I do not know if I will be able to post photos as I am not sure I have a way to get them onto this computer as of now.

Today I am taking the day to settle in. My body is tired and achy. The chaos and slight trauma of the other day are settling in as well. We are going to grocery store soon and then will come back for a workshop.

Anyways, Thank you all again for your support. Despite everything that has gone on, I do know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment in time.

I will leave you with this...

Here is a thought I am now curious about after a few days in a new city... How can one experience the familiar in a similar way to experiencing the new?

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