I actually can’t believe it, but it has been about a month since I first arrived here in Wales. When I first was planning on coming and looking at calendars, 4 months seemed like a terrifying amount of time to be away from my family, friends, and especially my dogs. Now that a full month has passed I feel like I am short for time and that it is going entirely too quickly. It feels even shorter when we are trying to plan weekend trips and we look at the calendar to see how limited we are on time before it is time for final exams. But as the wise man once said ~TiME FliEs wHEn yOu’RE h@VinG fUN~
Anyways here is my brief update that you all have been constantly refreshing my blog page waiting for….
The past two weeks school wise have been a blur, like I said, it is going super fast. I did however turn in my first real assignment which was my lap practical on the dissection I wrote about last time. This paper ended up being about 18 pages (double spaced with pics!!) and a little over the 2,000 word limit. The tricky part about this paper was that it had to be referenced in something called Harvard Style. This is like MLA and APA, except I have never learned it before. They take plagiarism very seriously here, just like the states, so hopefully I cited my paper correctly and don’t get throw out of the university! Another fun fact about this paper is that it is worth 50% of my final grade in the class. The other 50% is my final exam consisting of 3 essay questions in May. So, pray for me that I wrote it to their format and expectations.
Another fun school activity I got to experience was a field trip. My Zoo Science module went to the Chester Zoo in England last Wednesday to collect information for presentations we will have due in April. The field trip left at 6:30 am (YAY) and we returned home are 7:30pm that night. While we were there we listened to a few lectures from zoo researchers and employees and then were cut loose into the zoo for 4 hours. I essentially spent this time taking pictures of all the animals so hopefully that counted as “research.” Zoos here are no different than zoos back in the states. While some species are more common in Europe, they still had elephants, tigers, zebras, lions and much more. All the exhibits were set up to have proper enrichment for the animals as well as guest entertainment. My two favorite parts were that for one, a ton of their animals has just had babies! I saw a tiger cub, a baby elephant, an 18 day old rhino, baby deer, and a baby monkey! My other favorite part was the bat exhibit. For the bar exhibit, you walk into a building that is basically pitch black and set up to resemble the rain forest. It is humid and smells like rotten fruits. As you walk through the winding path of the building in the dark, there are about 50ish bats freely moving around you. Some would fly within inches in front of my face or above my head. While it was terrifying, it was cool to feel like I was actually experiencing them in their natural habitat.
Other than school stuff, last weekend we stayed in Aber. Saturday was a really nice day as well as Valentine’s day, so the little town was very busy with people and couples. We got breakfast at an American Diner so that we could have pancakes, then we took a nice walk down the beach to enjoy the day. Afterwards we went to a coffee shop and did some school work until later in the evening. After we left the coffee shop we decided to see the movie Kingsman. This is some sort of british spy movie. While it was an enjoyable and humorous movie, it had a lot of interesting forms of violence and vulgarity that are different from American films. Saturday night after the movie we went to a night club and all just danced the night away to awkward valentines day remixes.
Last Thursday night I celebrated the Chinese New Year by eating homemade traditional Chinese food prepared by one of my friend’s flatmates. Then, we went out again to go dancing. At the night clubs we met a wide variety of interesting men. By interesting, I mean that I am not sure if a word any of them told me was truthful! After dancing we decided to take a nice stroll down the beach. It was super peaceful since it was like 2am, and the stars and ocean are always breathtaking.
This most recent weekend, we took a day trip to Manchester. Our train left at 5:15am so getting up and to the train station was quite a struggle. When we got there, we explored the Manchester Museum first and then got a taxi over to Old Trafford. In Old Trafford we took a tour of the Manchester United Stadium and museum. I took a tour of this stadium about 5 years ago, so it was really cool to be back and see it from a newer perspective. Before the tour we explored the museum section which has the history of the team. The best part of the museum was the part dedicated to the Munich plane crash. They had numerous memorials, plaques, and an eternal flame in remembrance of the players who lost their lives on that day. They also had news papers and quotes from the tragedy and how it affected the team and the city all over the walls. It was a pretty moving experience to see and read it all. On the tour our tour guide also talked about the crash and it was hard to try not to tear up during it all. The rest of the tour was cool because we got to see the field and the press and fitting rooms for the team as well as hear a lot of the stadiums history. After that, we got another taxi to the Manchester Cathedral. I was expecting more elaborate decor on the inside of the cathedral, but it was still a pretty church, especially from the outside. We spent the rest of our time in the mall and in China town (the UK’s largest china town!) and then got on our train back to Aber.
Sunday, we spent the whole day in Starbucks doing homework and kind of planning trips. When we left we stopped at a place called Little Italy for a nice 3 course italian meal, and probably my favorite meal I have had since being here.
Overall, the past two weeks have gone by fast but have been a lot of fun exploring and seeing new things. This weekend coming up we will be leaving the UK for the first time and heading to Ireland!