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

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

Wednesday: Mid Week Ramblings

So Wednesday has arrived! And almost gone, as it is 9pm. No terribly late supper tonight, it was the reasonable hour of ten to 8. In all seriousness, that is pretty normal here, 7:30 the average hour that I try to make things be ready. I made ribs tonight, without using nay artificial sweeteners, molasses, BBQ sauce, or ketchup. Why? Because my family is insane. Well no not really, but since Christmas we have avoided any processed foods, and that includes cane sugar. My solution for sweetness in savoury dishes then is an apple. Simply blitz up an apple with a tomato, and it is pretty equivalent to a BBQ sauce. Add some bustard, spices, and vinegar, and there is a perfectly good crock-pot marinade! Served with coleslaw.  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

I’m Done!

It is over! I did a Grade Six Violin Exam, my first exam ever, and I passed! It was a busy day though, and a long build up, but today what I have to show is an exam is finished, so I know that I am at that level.

However, to get there, I had to get up at 5am. Why? Because the exam was in Vancouver, and I am in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, therefore requiring a ferry to go. So I am up at 5, leaving the house at 6. But oh, before I go out of course I have to get dressed right? Well, I will confess something… Continue reading

Getting Closer

My plane ticket has been booked! So now it is more than ever ‘official,’ as if I don’t go I will be wasting hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Plus that $10,000 + $1000 scholarship, again courtesy of the Irving K Barber Premier International Scholarship Society in partnership with the Victoria Foundation. Or something like that, the words might be in different orders. Anyway, the flight! We went to a travel agency, the same one that booked my week long trip to London in 2006, and again my 2009 3-week bus tour of Europe (pictures and more coming soon on that). She was very nice and checked out all airline possibilities that flew Vancouver to London directly, no stopovers as firstly I don’t want to stress about one m ore thing, making the connector and finding etc, but then also less chance, not none, but a lessened chance of my luggage being lost.

Comparing Air Canada, British airways, and Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Atlantic has the best prices for everything. Lucky for me then that it was only last month, the end of May 2012, that they began offering a Vancouver to London flight. In 2009 we used British Airways which was very nice though. But a few hundred dollars more expensive. And it arrived in Terminal 5 of Heathrow, whereas Virgin Atlantic lands in Terminal 3, where Trinity Saint David picks up its international students on the 17th of September. Just that alone I think would have made me choose the airline that landed there, as I really do not want to be running around an airport with 2 suitcases, a carry-on, and a violin, all the while being tired and nervous and excited and stressed and relieved and panicky and happy. At least that is what I imagine how it will be like a little bit. Continue reading

What I Should Be Doing…

This week I have officially accepted the offer of placement at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, so yes I am actually going! Not that there was every any really big doubt, Camosun has a regular exchange with them so it was pretty much just fill out the paperwork. But still, a big relief when it is official (well, I still have to do the Visa stuff, but lets not think about that for now). However to get it official, I had to send these 2 forms back to Wales.

I could have just posted them through the mail, but maybe it is my 21st century outlook, and the fact that I personally have never, except for a few cards to my grandmother years and years ago, sent anything by post. I don’t even know if we have many stamps at home, and I’d have to buy some then, and get it in an envelope, write the address and all that stuff. So, I did not want to do it that way. I could have faxed them, but we don’t really have a fax machine at home, and again the cost. Well, actually we do have a printer that apparently faxes, but that would have involved finding the right cables and plugging them into the walls somewhere.

In the end, we decided to scan them into the computer via said printer. But, the computer it is hooked up to does not accepts scans, so I spent nearly an hour trying to connect the printer to my older sister’s laptop. It did not work. Then my mother tried, and in 5 minutes she got both of the forms done. Looking back, perhaps the fax would have been better and more straightforward, but whatever, it is done. Now I think that Trinity Saint David needs to send me a couple more documents, Visa number etc. Until then, nothing more I can do either with Camosun or them, as helpful as these people are. With the time zone difference Trinity Saint David replies to me in the middle of the night, which is fine, but it means no more than 1 email a day. And so far all contact with them has been very nice and prompt, and the International liaison over there seems very nice so I’m sure once over there they will be very helpful. The International liaison at Camosun as well has been so great, answering my millions of questions when I was freaking out the most due to deadlines and stress. So thank you International Office at Camosun, for being kind to my pestering.

Now that things for Trinity Saint David are mostly sorted, I can just relax and enjoy the summer here, right? Continue reading

I am going to Wales!!!

September 2011 I began attending Camosun College, in the city I have lived my entire life, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Previous year to that, I was at Belmont Secondary, not graduating, but just taking enough (English 12) to get into Camosun and take Humanities courses. And 2 AP courses, which I got good enough grades on the exam, so I got 12 Camosun credits (4 classes) without ever being on campus. But I digress.

September comes and I am enrolled in 4 classes, and yes really liking them. And while waiting for my sister to finish her class so that she could drive me home, I would be in the library not doing homework but looking up various ways to get to Europe. I considered being an Au Pair and/or SWAP for a couple months, me thinking that as soon as my first year was over that I would get on a plane and go. But, it did not seem like the best plan, and it never went farther than just looking at various websites. My plan at that point was, for at least a little while, spend a year at Camosun, then do a year at the University of Victoria, do an exchange through them, then finish my last year back at UVic. Way back in highschool I had considered doing an exchange through Camosun, but discounted the thought after seeing the…calibre of schools UVic does exchanges with, and then Camosun. This was after a very quick overview of the Camosun schools, and in no way do I want to disparage them. I just mean,  going from the UVic to the University of Exeter (ranked in the top 10 universities in England, I think) to a tiny university in Wales, at a glance did not seem the most exciting. That was months and months ago, before I really researched the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Continue reading