It’s Raining, it’s Pouring…

It has been raining really really hard here for the last couple days, and as a result, the river is flooded. This univeristy is situated right in the town, the tiny town with 3 streets. As you exit the university gates, you are on one of the main streets of Lampeter. As you walk into the actual gates, there are all the buildings, and then there is a tiny river, and over the bridge there are the student housing. So to get to the supermarket, it is less than a 10 minute walk, 5 if you go fast. But really, no reason to rush here, just dawdle.  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

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