In the end I didn’t quite make it to Israel, but that is a somewhat predictable story for next week. I have put all travel plans on hold as my first week in the office has been a treat. I even have a telephone with my name on it. Following last week’s trip back to mid-June, I arrive this week at America’s Independence Day…

4th July 2014

Well, the ten little days left in my beautiful Clifton flat have come and gone; my independence hanging by a thread (otherwise known as my suitcase.) There was only so long I could depend on my friends for a spare room and the inevitable move back to my mum’s in Essex was impending. Nine hours before check-out I contemplated adding myself to the inventory, but I abandoned this idea after dropping my laptop from shoulder height and cracking the screen. I experienced severe insomnia during this cluster of time which led to locking myself out and crying even more than when I left Prague/university. Other side-effects included pouring my heart out at unintended times and getting jealous of a fictional character in Girls (she received a scholarship to do a Creative Writing MFA in the States).Tweeting more pictures of baby elephants and Netherland Dwarf bunnies did little to compensate, and I learnt that six Manhattan restaurants are now offering empathetic hugs with coffee or tea. Evidently, independence is feeling lonely.

‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ were the principles signed on the Declaration of Independence back on July 4th, 1776. As the American Revolution came to an end, freedom and equality for all was the celebrated outcome. Understanding that even today, all are not protected by this mantra, the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ is questionable. Imperialism, nationalism and war still tar individual attempts at personal freedoms, and guilt-by- implication erodes liberty. Modern judgments still divide collectives and predisposed discrimination is apparent when this judgment is based on what an individual does not do. Silence does not equal choice; not every individual exhibits the freedom of speech. Personal choice is fundamental, but judgment stands in direct contradiction of this basic right. As age-old ignorance disguises itself in the form of moral judgment, how will you plead? Fear and division are upon the international community, and a reminder that unity can only be achieved through inclusive measures is vital. Has judgment eroded independence?

Although a level of independence is paramount when attempting success, the boundaries are being stretched from all angles. Catching the 4.30am Megabus to the London Short Story Festival stretched my boundaries for an amazing purpose; listening to unique authors was worth the sleep-deprivation. Swapping Buckingham Place  for Buckingham Palace reminded me that change was on the cards, and my day in Piccadilly led to the final push for funding. E-mailing the New School on Independence Day seemed apt, until I realized it was a federal holiday and no-one would be in office. Re-writing 487,384 versions of a piece of writing and a letter led to e-mailing the Vice-Chancellor at 1am; I needed a miracle. Realizing that I was dependent on funding, I decided to also ask for a deferral. Whilst waiting on the outcome I became addicted to Game of Thrones; a reminder that freedom should never be taken lightly.