Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In Search of a Pot of Gold!

Christmas has come and passed and luckily for me I did not have to spend the day alone thanks to the hospitality of my professor and his family! A fellow student and I went to his house and had a delicious meal of duck and pheasant, followed by traditional Christmas pudding and Christmas cookies. It was definitely different from the usual Thanksgiving-esque meal we have in the Davis household but was still delicious nonetheless! It was also nice to converse with my professors two children and their friend, all of which are around my age.

Now that the holiday is over, it is time to move on to New Years celebrations! I just finished packing my bag for a trip to Dublin I am taking tomorrow night with a few of my American friends to ring in the new year. I am SO excited I cannot put it into words. The only downside of this trip is, in order to save about 150 quid, I chose to take a 15 hour train ride there and back, and, because all of us will be coming to Dublin from different places, I will be taking the train alone. I am not too down about this though, as I am planning on spending my time listening to music and writing in my Beatles notebook I bought especially for this trip (very cliche, I know). We do not have finalized plans for this trip yet, other than paying a visit to the statue of Molly Malone (or "the tart with the cart" as my grandpa says) and to the Guinness factory, of course! We are planning to go with the flow and see where our adventures take us.

Talk to you all in 2012; HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Have A Holly, Jolly Christmas!

WOW I cannot believe it has almost been a month since my last post! I guess you never really realize how busy you are until the time passes!

At Constable Country

So much has happened this past month! My program took a field trip to Constable Country to see the areas Constable painted in his artwork. It was very interesting to see, as many of the locations Constable painted looked exactly the same today. I also got injured playing rugby, which I shouldn't be surprised about considering I am constantly getting injured, so I could not play for our last two games. We did win our first game, however, against Leicester! Even though I wasn't playing, I could still feel the same joy and excitement on the sidelines as the players on the field.

The team at our meal!
To top off winning our first match, the rugby team all went out for a Christmas meal together. Though it was pricey, all the food was delicious! We went to a restaurant called The Library in town and had a three course meal, which we picked from a preset menu. I know you must be DYING to to know what I ate so I will tell you; for a starter I had goat cheese and red pepper bruschetta, for my main I had turkey with stuffing and roast potatoes and other vegetables provided, and for dessert I had creme brulee (along with a taste of everyone else's, of course!) Though at first I was disappointed with how small the portions were considering I paid almost 30 pounds for my meal, the portions proved to be the perfect size as I was completely stuffed before I even reached dessert!

At our holiday party
In addition to the rugby Christmas meal, my professor and his wife hosted a holiday meal for everyone in our program as well. Just like on Thanksgiving, the food was absolutely delicious. Everyone also brought a gift and we had a mini gift exchange. Everyone drew a number. The person who drew number one picked any gift they wanted and opened it for everyone to see. After that, in numerical order, each person picked a gift. However, before they picked a gift, they could choose to "steal" someone else who had already opened their present's gift, causing them to have to either choose a new gift or steal a gift as well. It was a very interesting, yet fun game. Not many people stole gifts because we are all just so kind and moral 0:). I ended up getting a bunch of Hershey Kisses and a pack of hot chocolate. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. We ended the night by watching the cartoon version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, one of my personal favorites (though I do greatly enjoy the Jim Carrey version). I also went on another Christmas meal with all of the people in my building. We went to a carvery, which essentially was a buffet of food that is provided in a traditional English roast. Though it was not all you can eat, we all managed to pile so much food on our plate the first time we went up we were stuffed anyways. After this, we had a Secret Santa gift exchange. The person who got me gave me a rugby ball, so thoughtful!

Other than these three delicious meals, I have been very busy with writing my final essays for my classes and only just handed my last essay in this morning! It was a very stressful time as all my deadlines were very close. But I still managed to complete everything to the best of my ability so I can now only hope for the best!

Also, the majority of my American friends who were studying abroad for just this past semester went home: some for the holidays, some for good. It was really sad saying goodbye to all of them, as I developed close friendships with people I knew prior to this trip, with people I had vaguely met before this trip, and with people I had never seen before in my life. Next semester definitely won't be the same without them, especially because I lost three of my teammates. I know when I return as a senior, though, we will also still be close friends as I plan on keeping contact with everyone while I am in England next semester.

On another note, currently I am sitting in my room watching Never Been Kissed as I chose to stay in my flat at UEA over winter break to do some traveling and to save my parents money on a roundtrip flight ticket. So far it has been a bit lonely, though I have been keeping busy with looking for and applying to summer internships and was busy earlier in the week completing my final essay, which I happened to write about rugby. Luckily a few girls on the team were here for part of the week so I went over to their house to watch movies and help cook my first ever pasta bake. At first it seemed like our efforts were going to result in a failure, but the pasta bake turned out to be delicious! It was nice leaving my room and having real life human interaction instead of digital via Skype and Facebook. I am also going to have some more human interaction tonight as there are other people who remained on campus for the winter break as well. UEA created some activities for us to get involved in as well as a Facebook group for all of us. Tonight a member is having a few people over to hang out and I plan on getting involved just so I can get out of my stuffy, small room in the Village for a bit.

Though you may think my winter break has a grim outlook, I can assure you it does not. I am spending Christmas Day at my professor's house with his family. Another student from Dickinson who stayed for the year is going as well and my professor also has two kids around our age. It will be nice to be around another family, despite the fact that it is not my own, for the holidays. Plus I am guaranteed to be provided a delicious meal by my professor's wife; she has yet to disappoint so far!

I have also made a couple travel plans for this break, though I am hoping to go on more trip. I am going to Dublin, Ireland for New Years with two of my American friends, Emily and Julie, who have not gone home yet and am going to visit my English friend I met at Camp Vega in Salzburg, Austria as she is studying there for the year. I am greatly looking forward to both trips and am sure that New Years in Dublin will be a blast!