Darren Hoyland - Blog

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first blog

For the past few weeks, I've been posting this blog to Facebook using their handy import function, and all has been fine. I made a reference or two in an earlier post to the potential privacy issues that might arise, but I had decided that it was worth it, in order to make some progress towards leading that free and open life I keep alluding to. I'm not sure how many people are reading this. I would hazard a guess at one, including myself, but that's okay because I'm using this like a public diary, so I can look back on it in a few years time and work out why I failed my PhD (Probably because I was writing this rather than doing any work).

The problem with a public diary though, is you can't have any secrets. Fair enough, I think, I don't have any.... but actually I do. Quite a biggy in fact.

My girlfriend, Marj, and I have been going out for over two years. We met when I was at uni in Manchester doing my Msc. Because it was in computation, I was worried about appearing on my CV to have lost interest in the biology side to my studies. In order to keep this up while I did my masters, I took a part time job in the pathology labs at the hospital. As it happens, the job entailed sticking bar codes onto test-tubes and had sod all to do with biological sciences, "but as long as it looked good on paper" I thought. I was a little narked that I had a 2:1 from a fine university and had ended up doing this, but at least I wasn't pulling pints any more and besides, there was this girl there I fancied called Marjan...

Anyway, you get the idea. So then I go and decide to do a PhD in Sheffield. Not too far away, but far enough to be a problem, especially if you don't own a car. We spent all that time only seeing each other once or twice a week. After all the hassle with buying a flat this year, we just thought sod it and I moved in with her.

This is the best thing I've done in a very long time. I love living with my girlfriend. I like the town where we live. I like working from home half of the week. We have the occasional dispute over what that little mat that sits around the toilet is for (I say it's for soaking up wee when you miss, she says its for keeping your feet warm, I say eugh, you'll get wet feet) and the distance is a problem (it takes about 2 hours one way), but I've used it as a nice excuse to buy a shiny new laptop. Overall, life is good. The only real problem is that we can't tell her parents.

Now, I don't fully comprehend the reasons behind this decision. In fact, I disagree with it completely, they are good people and I'm very fond of them, but its her choice. The reason we can't tell them is because apparently Iranian girls who live someone their not married to are viewed as whores. I can't believe her family will look at her like that - her brother lives with his girlfriend for a start, but maybe its different if you're a guy? Surely they can't expect to raise their girl in England and still expect her to share that view with them. This isn't some weird muslim thing. Her dad's an atheist for a start, but it's just part of the culture, so I'm told. I don't really know what to think so I just do what I'm told and keep my gob shut until we get married. I'm not ever so keen to rush into marriage, even though I'm 100% sure about Marj, just because I think it'll risk the whole show if we apply too much pressure at the wrong time. Besides, I'm a poor student at the minute and can't provide for her the way I want to, so I'll wait until after my PhD is finished. Now, her brother's girlfriend has signed up to be my friend on Facebook, which is nice. But this is the problem. If she knows, then he'll know, then they'll know and we're not ready for that just yet. To cut a long story only slightly less long, I've removed the export to Facebook :-(

Darren Hoyland, Thursday 23 August, 2007
Tags: facebook, sheffield, manchester, phd, house buying, privacy, marjan, blogging, grown-up stuff, general mutterings