No More School = Blog! Finally!

Well. It certainly has been a while since I have written a post. Months and months. In my defense, my laptop died (temporarily) in July, and I wrote out a whole blog post on Word, and then….never posted it. And then August was not such a great month, and school started in September, and my go to excuse for not writing a post is I feel guilty about blogging rather than essaying! But anyways. No more excuses, let’s just write. Slight recap perhaps; I’ve been at the University of Victoria since September, and Ollie came over for Christmas. Oh, that really wasn’t a very long recap. Not much has actually happened since my last post. Well what will happen, is I will be going to Aberystwyth! And yes, that is spelt correctly.

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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

Aberystwyth

Today as I had no classes, I decided to take the bus up to Aberystwyth. Not that I had nothing to do, I would like to finish my essay this week, as well my room needs cleaning before inspections, and laundry would be good too. Yes, we are going to have room inspections, I suppose a good things to make sure things are properly clean, but I, not being the neatest person, don’t know exactly how clean I should make it. Well, I say clean, it is only cluttered, nothing worth fines. Because they do fine you! If a cleaner is required to come in, or something fixed that you broke, it comes out of the deposit you paid at the beginning of the year. So hopefully, she won’t find anything fine-worthy! As well laundry, is really horrible here. Well, meaning that I have to go outside of my building, so two flights of stairs, and then across this complex of buildings before coming to the laundry room, with 4 washers and 4 dryers. Only, for hundreds of students. And then, it costs £2.00 to wash, £1.50 to dry. I really hate doing laundry, firstly there is the walk (lampathy!) then the paying, then the waiting, and then returning to put it in the dryer, and waiting some more. That, if there are even any empty machines.

Anyway, I was going to write about Aberystwyth! The lovely sea side town (Aber mean water, or sea something like that) that is so cute and quaint. Huge, in comparison with Lampeter, but very much a town. Shopped a bit, wandered by the sea, walked through some 700 year old castle ruins, had tea, and finally took the hour long bus back. Yes really, I had tea! Never do you get that in Victoria, just stumble upon castle remains built by Edward I. It is very much in ruins, yet you can still see the outline of it, as well as a few arches are still standing. So you can just walk through it and around it! Very cool.

It was a really nice day, meaning clear and not raining. Freezing cold, or at least, cold, especially by the water, but the sun was shining. It is actually a sizable town, lots of hills to walk up, and holding the national library of Wales, as well as a university. So quite studenty  too. Within 3 hours, there are 3 universities in Wales. But one of the…____ signs I saw on the bus, was one that looked like those ‘deer crossing’ signs, but said “elderly people” and actually had an image of 2 people walking hunched with walkers. I didn’t get a picture because it came too fast, but yes it is really what it was as there was another not too far down.

I should really stop procrastinating on this essay, going to Aberystwyth was half shopping, half travel, and half just procrastinating on this essay. I really really want it done, but can’t seem to get past 50 words at a time. But it’ll be so great when it’s finished! Because then I’ll have another one to start…

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

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;)

2 Days. Technology Will Save Me!

Well, not specifically me, but my parents and sisters. My little sister keeps saying I’m going to have to Skype her 5 times a day, or at least text. Or Tweet. Or email. Luckily, it is the 21st century, and I have the resources to be able to keep in contact with people very easily, cheaply, and quickly. It is only the timezone that might make things a little difficult. When your family are night people, and able to Skype after supper, it would be 4 am most times for me! Just a decade ago it wasn’t this easy, nor really possible this near-constant contact, so there is no reason to not go far; it’s quite easy to stay in touch with home.  Continue reading