Lots of Stuff and Pictures!

My completely spur of the moment random trip to Edinburgh at the end of January this year was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. Seriously, the choice to go is one I definitely don’t regret, and am soooo glad that I did go. I landed in London the 10th of January, then went to Oxfordshire for a few days, still very jetlagged and exhausted. Perhaps not the best state to be in to meet your boyfriend’s parents, but they invited me back so I can’t have been that terrible. I just remember being zombie-like to super-hyper. Extreme exhaustion after not sleeping at all on the plane! Instead I watched movies, Finding Nemo, When Harry met Sally, Hotel Transylvania, and some of Rocky Horror Picture Show. So pretty fun plane ride, just very tired when I landed. When I landed I didn’t rush at all (quite different from last time), slowly walked out, brushed my hair etc, and then by the time I got to passport control there was 1 person in front of me. Not a very long wait then, and my suitcase was one of the few left spinning round.  Continue reading

Thoughts from LHR

So waiting in the airport on the way coming home for Christmas I thought I should just write down a few thoughts, and so here they are. Keep in mind I was so tired, having not gone to sleep, and excited to be coming home, so if none of it makes sense…anyways I am home now, and so glad I am back in Victoria! Lovely to be with my sisters again, if only for a short while. Continue reading

Part 2

Since it is Thursday, perhaps I should write the continuation of the previous post, and what actually happens:

I shouldn’t have said Thursday is the funnest day, because up until 9pm it is pretty dull. I don’t have anything until 2:15, and that is a three hour class. Yes, my third three hour lecture of the week. Luckily the last class also, but still. Three hours! So if Wed has been a normal evening, er early night, then Thursdays commence fine, maybe do work, or bake, or just, as it often is, watch TV on this laptop. Because I have access to the BBC! And Channel 4, so I can watch directly online. And I don’t have to pay for a licence fee. There are a few commercials, but I will tolerate them, because I can watch British TV! Without having to rely on YouTube. I mean I do still, because there are less commercials, but if I really wanted to, I could just go to the BBC. For Doctor Who, when that resumes, is what I will do. Anyway, the only good thing about this class is that it is in a semi-normal classroom. There are full sized desks, but only three long rows, which at Camosun I also had, and hated those. Here, slightly brighter room, but still not good. The class is Imagining the Other: Theories of Religion. An actual theology religion class would probably be fun, but the last few weeks have just been about a specific person and their contribution to the the study of religion, so not that fun. The essay though that is due in January should be a good one, though the classes aren’t.

Then, after 5 usually I go to the Supermarket, just because I’m already out, and it’s really not that far. Come back here, make supper, and apparently type out a blog post! Or watch TV or something. Practice violin would be a good thing too though…Until 9pm that is, when at a pub here there is folk music. Once a week in this pub, and yes I say pub not bar, there are people who go with their instruments, violins, mandolins etc, and just play music in this pub. It lasts a couple hours, and it just seems like a very traditional Welsh thing to do, listen to Folk music in a pub. It’s a pretty fun night, lots of people. One of the best seats in the room where the musicians are, is a filled-in fireplace. So you are actually sitting in a fireplace! Narrow hard seat, but still, it is cool.

Fridays:

No classes today, so do work, clean room, or what actually ends up happening is I bake something. Chocolate chip cookies mostly. I have not tried most of the restaurants and cafes in Lampeter yet, but sometimes on Fridays we will go out to the cafe. ‘The’ cafe meaning the same one every time. Soon I shall hopefully have tried all the places here! So during the day nothing happens, then at 8pm there is a ‘jam session’. I joined the Lampeter Folk Society, and not that there are that many people, but still a few, so we get together and play some songs. It is me, lead and only violinist, a guitar, a mandolin, and then someone who has a couple flutes/pipes, a drum, a guitar, and a bouzouki, which is a bit like a mandolin, and it sounds so nice! Afterwards, just go back home. We practice in the SU, the Student Union building, which is right across from my building. So literally, a 2 minute walk.

Weekend next time! TBC…

Dinefwr

When I first set up this blog, I was still in Victoria and I had all these ideas about writing in it, thinking I would have the time, the inclination, and the content. I kind of do, but everytime I think I should write a post, I remember that I have a 2500 word essay due in a couple weeks, and so much reading to do. So, I go to Facebook instead, because I have become one of those people who use only Facebook to keep in contact! Before I joined I did not really like it, but really, it is a pretty good way to stay in contact, and upload hundreds of pictures at once. So apologies that I have not posted as much as I originally intended!

But to explain the title of this post, Dinefwr. It is Welsh, and pronounced Dinehver, and it’s a castle about an hour away from here, and so gorgeous! Right next to a town called Llandeilo. The castle part is from the Normans, and then there is a house that construction was originally began in the 16th century. Really lovely place, and I went as part of the International Cultural Programme. Unfortunately I did not take that many pictures, but I am going again next term, so hopefully then.

Another thing that happened was my birthday! I turned 19, and had a little party to celebrate. It was really great, I got a few really nice presents and cards, and it was just fun to hang around with new foreign people! Lol that sounds a bit weird, but it was a really awesome birthday evening. The kitchen was decorated by my hallmates, and then a few people came over, then went to a bar, which I was already legal to go to here, but now in British Columbia I can go to bars too!

Classes are another thing that is going on, I have lectures 3 times a week, each 3 hours long. So it’s good and it’s bad that they’re so long. Something else that’s really weird is that I live so close to the classrooms. At home to get to Langford to Camosun it took me over an hour, here I can leave my room 5 minutes before class begins and still make it with plenty of time to spare. And there is less work, kind of. Each class I only have 2 essays to write, but in all it’s going to be 15,000 words. But no exams or marks for attendance or seminars, so that’s a bit different. It just means that the essays count for so much more!

Oh, violin issue has pretty much been sorted, I have bought a violin for £100. It is full size, because there were no good 3/4, and if the violin didn’t sound good I wouldn’t have wanted to play it, so useless. I have found 2 places where I can play, the Lampeter Chamber Orchestra, which is a higher level of difficulty than I am used to, but hopefully it shall be alright. There are only 3 rehearsals before a concert, way less than at home, but as there are wind instruments and percussion the violins can kind of hide in that! Where I can’t really hide is the second place I’ve found, which is the student Folk Music Society. There I am the only violinist, and then there’s a couple guitars, a mandolin, and a bouzouki, a type of string instruments that sounds really cool! So I get to play the tune, and have a nice accompaniment:) And as it’s folk music it is not so difficult or complex, so it does sound really good.

I’ve just written 600 words, and this time probably should’ve been spent on the essay, but I did just want to update. Maybe I’ll just do a picture post soon, but there are just so many pictures I don’t know which ones to put up!

Cardiff!

So finally, after several years of really really wanting to go, I was in the capital of Wales! It is such a beautiful city, typical European architecture I suppose, but being from British Columbia, from Langford, that type of architecture is very welcome. The going to Cardiff was part of the Cultural Programme that this school offers, however, it takes 3 hours to go from Lampeter to Cardiff, and they were just going to let us have a few hours in the city. Definitely not enough time to see everything  So, I booked a hostel. Yup, first time ever doing something like that, and it was actually pretty easy. And worked out really well. It was a private 6 bed (3 bunk beds  room, with tall ceilings. It was very satisfactory for what we – enough people to fill the beds – needed. It was just for 1 night, and not as if we really did see everything that Cardiff has to offer, but as you can see from the opening photograph, basically the only reason I wanted to go was accomplished.  Continue reading

Castle! And Stuff

Today was the beginning of the week for all the students here at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, so finally here are people here on campus! Well, that may not be a good thing, as that mean now the Student Union building is open. Which means the bar is open, and also the club. Which means I can hear the club music, at least the underlying beat, while I am trying to sleep. Soon classes shall start, and then I’ll be too tired to notice! Anyways, today there was a welcome to Lampeter speech, and then we went to a welcome BACK to Lampeter speech, as we are exchange students, so technically in the second year of study. In all, 4 speeches. luckily though all the international students already had the orientation on how to use the computer and library and stuff, so we don’t have to go to those this week. Which means, it is a pretty free week. I want to get a violin tomorrow, and to do that I will have to take an hour long bus ride to Carmarthen. That’s not too bad though, same distance from home to Camosun.

But oh yes the castle! The trip was part of the cultural programme the university offers, one of seven. We had to leave at 9am and it took a little over an hour to reach the bottom of the hill where the castle is situated.  Continue reading

Just a Quick Update

Hello! So I don’t really have time or energy to do a full post, I just wanna say that so far it is pretty great! University experience, halfway across the world:) Except that I am in a hall with other Americans, and 1 Canadian. So not too many accents yet:) Just orientation happened today, so we finally got to meet the International assistant, who I have emailed so many times! Didn’t really get to talk to her much though, busy first with welcoming, then registration. I hate filling out paperwork! But strangely, it isn’t as bad when you are on a table with a dozen other people all doing the same thing.

There is a Starbucks here, merged with a food place, nice sandwiches and daily deals. For $5! Nice place close to my building. It is such a little cute town! Like it looks really old, all the houses and buildings stuck together. I love it! Grocery store is pretty cheap too, I think. Well, some things anyway, just had a quick run through really. Tomorrow is more orientation, so I must go to bed and sleep! Half a dozen of us (USA + 1 BC + me) went out tonight to a real British pub! Well, actually 2. And they were so empty! It is only the international students that are here already, so the place is pretty empty. Next week come all the rest of the students. But still, a real British pub experiwnce, twice in 1 night. I’m not legal to drink in BC, so this was kind of cool, the first one was really homely and food restaurant orientated with a bar, the second was pretty much just a bar. Also completely empty when we got there. So nice people so far, and Sunday we’ll all pitch in for kitchen stuff. Today we bought some plates and bowls, otherwise everything in the kitchen is mine! Utensils and equipment I mean. Food, I haven’t really bought anything, yet;)

Last Bit of Euro 2009 Trip

In October 2009, for my 16th birthday I went on a 3 week European guided bus tour with my mother with Insight Vacations, a very generous present from my grandmother and uncle (whining and persistent “I want to go to Europe” does actually get you somewhere sometimes :-) )It was amazing, and during our trip I write a journal. I have finally transcribed it, at least some of it, so I have decided to put it on the Internet so it is here forever! This is the second journal. Continue reading

My Last Monday…In Victoria. This Year.

I leave in 6 days for Wales! Yet doesn’t seem real. I mean, I have everything prepared (everything is bought, from pens to socks to kitchen supplies all organized on the counter) but still, 6 is just a number. I’ve been thinking about the exchange for 10 months. 10 whole months I’ve thought things like “I won’t be here for Christmas next year. I’m not gonna be able to do Easter Eggs at home next year.” So for the date to finally be here, so close, it doesn’t quite seem like it’s actually going to happen. Obviously it will happen (quite a large scholarship riding on it, as well as all the stuff my parents have bought me) though really, 6 days or 60, same kind of feeling. Continue reading

Part 2 of European Journal Entry

In October 2009, for my 16th birthday I went on a 3 week European guided bus tour with my mother with Insight Vacations, a very generous present from my grandmother and uncle (whining and persistent “I want to go to Europe” does actually get you somewhere sometimes :-) )It was amazing, and during our trip I write a journal. I have finally transcribed it, at least some of it, so I have decided to put it on the Internet so it is here forever! Most of journal 1 of 2 is on the computer. This is second half of journal 1.

I have tried to keep as much of the spelling and sentence structure the same, so there are inconsistencies, which I would hope that I do not do anymore. And yes, I do know how to spell ‘highway’ now…you’ll know what I am talking about once you read a bit further. If you click ‘read more’ it is quite a bit more, nearly 15 pages, so just a warning that it is long. And again, I was 16, and tired and jetlagged while I was writing, so if anything doesn’t make sense, I really can’t help it now. It will just be interesting to see how my writing on this exchange to Wales differs from then. Continue reading