Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Done done done!

I am officially and completely done with the semester AND exams!  Huzzah!  Pretty sure I passed everything, although a couple of those essays were not pretty creatures, let me tell you.  For the History one I didn't know nearly enough, despite a solid 5 days of studying, and for the Conservation Biology one, I knew too much.  Can you believe that?  And I barely studied.  Seriously, I studied for one afternoon, and I knew everything I was reading over, so I just stopped.  And I got to that final and chose my question and realised it was more of a question for a 10 page paper.  How does one condense that much info into two hours?  I don't know.  It was a disorganised sort of train wreck, but it was full of, "OH MY GOSH LOOK HOW MUCH I KNOW" so maybe things won't be too bad.

Anyway, it was really hard studying for finals when everyone else was already done, which is probably why my essay yesterday was not very good either- I really, really couldn't actually be bothered to revise.  I mean, I did read my notes and clarify some stuff, and I can name the Epochs in order... and I can tell you when some mass extinctions occured.  But I can't tell you when anything specific evolved, so that was kind of a minor problem.  But I wasn't the only one, 'cause my friends Anna (from Germany!) and Helen were kind of totally in the same boat as me, or so they said.  But they're both so much better at essays than I am that I'm not suuuuure about that.  Anyway, we went and got tea after!  And it was splendid.  Also I am drinking tea Right This Second- I just nearly tumped the mug over on my computer picking it up.  Smooth move.

So you know I threatened this really philosophical and emotional journal entry about how I've changed and all the amazing things about studying abroad and my musings on the whole 9 months I've been here?  Well, prepare yourselves....

Cause this ain't it. 

Okay, I know that was mean.  I decided that I'm writing it when I get home and have time to digest this whole thing and grasp the implications and what-not else.  THIS journal entry is for happy frivolous details about and especially enjoyable party and also breakfast this morning.

So, first you get to hear all about this really kind of ridiculous and incredibly fun barbeque we had on Saturday.  It was brilliant, and I'll put my story teller hat on and try to make it as fun for you as it was for me.  To start, we'd been planning it for a few days.  It had been hot and humid, so I was hoping it'd cool off a wee bit, which it did.  It was hazy cloudy all day, and the perfect weather for a skirt.  I don't know why I haven't discovered these miracle things called skirts earlier.  They are fantastic for warm weather because they're even cooler than wearing shorts, which I won't wear anyway for the most part.  So I wore my pretty white skirt and a semi-matching shirt of some description which I think was bright orange but anyway is kind of irrelevant to this story.  I made three green chile hamburger patties and bought some others at the Spar so we'd have some non-GC ones.  I got to the barbeque early and put my stuff in Carmen's fridge, and then we were all kicking a football around in her kitchen and the hall, so we decided going outside would be a really good idea, and less likely to break things.  So I wandered with several people outside and we kicked the ball around in a circle til enough people showed up for a game, which was like... fail city.  We played "Italy v the world", which was basically France, Spain, and America.  Oue goalie, the French guy, had a beer in one hand and was goal-tending with the other, and kept abandoning the goal to join the game.  The other person on the team was a Spaniard, and for awhile one of the German girls joined us.  The only two who had any ideas about football were Marc and Pipo.  So I kept accidentally catching the ball whenever it was thrown in because I thought they were throwing to me but they weren't.  And we ran into and over each other, and we actually scored ONE WHOLE GOAL, which was very exciting.

Let me tell you what else is exciting.  Exciting is playing football in a skirt with moccasins on.  Whooboy, let me tell you.  I'm not used to skirts, so I kept being about to knee the ball and remembering that really wouldn't work well in a skirt.  But it was fun, and any disasters were averted.  Then I ran home to watch Doctor Who and get Dusty, who had stayed home to bake cookies.  We watched Doctor Who with my flatmate, Alex, because I /always/ watch it with her!  And then we went back to the barbeque.

The sight that greeted us was everyone gathered around two little metal pans with bags of charcoal in them and two of my friends trying to light them with varying levels of success.  Once we got them lit, the one I'd chosen to sit by and cook on decided it'd rather not stay lit, thanks very much, and we kept having to blow on it to keep it going.  Then, one of the other guys hit on stabbing holes in the bottom with a stick.  First, though, we had to solve a little problem.  Basically, the legs that held the thing off the grass to prevent toastyness of grass were kind of not good.  One broke.  The solution we hit on, since we couldn't actually fix it because the grill was very hot, was propping the thing up on an empty beer can.  So we stabbed some holes in the bottom and the fire stayed lit a little better, so we slapped some burgers on that baby.  While we were messing with our grill, the other group had already started grilling, and a third fire had been started in a metal bucket that was made to use as a grill.  Over the top they put an oven rack, and we used that one too.  So then I manned our grill til everyone had food, with periodic fire-repair by oxygen, by which I mean I just blew on the coals til they ignited again, scorching any burgers on the grill to near death.  But at least they were cooked, right?

I finally made Douwe a green chile cheeseburger, which he's been asking for for like... a whole semester, and Dusty and I each had one too.  I also had a sausage because someone set the plate near me and I was hungry.  We broke out Dusty's cookies too and ate those, and they were delicious!  Then Elio announced he was going to make drinks in the kitchen because I think he used to be a bartender, so we went back inside (where it was hot) just long enough for everyone to have one drink, and fled back outdoors where it was cool.  It was really nice outside, actually.  A cool breeze was blowing, and there were clouds, which you could still see cause it was about 10:30 so the sky was still a little light.

Well, the football just had to make a reappearance at this point.  For some reason the boys had started this reverse keep-away game, where one person gets the ball and keeps it away from everyone else.  They were running around in circles playing Ball Hog and I decided I needed in on that, and so did several of the other girls.  So we went over and got in on this huge chase.  At that point it started raining.  Now, in case you've never had the dubious pleasure, let me tell you about wet grass, high speeds, and sudden changes in direction.  Essentially, you try to change direction, skid, flail wildly trying to catch your balance, and fall over.  Not that I did that- no, I tend to careen wildly about and run into people instead of falling over, which is usually alright cause I usually don't knock them over either.  So we're all cackling like maniacs, tearing around in circles around the courtyard chasing the ball or the person with the ball, and smashing in to each other whenever the person with the ball is cornered.  I found it was much more fun to just get in the way of anyone with the ball, and kick it if I had the chance.  When such occured, I would race after the ball shouting merrily at the top of my lungs, "My ball!  My ball!" and then I'd kick it and of course since I have no control over the ball, I would immediately lose it, cackle some more, and tear off after whoever had stolen it.  I'm sure that everyone living in the building directly surrounding this mess just loved us to pieces.  It was a shame it was too dark to film.  You'll just have to envision it: rain falling, about 10 people running around in a wide circle after each other and a football, all of us cackling and giggling and falling down when we slipped, and laughing at anyone who fell because it /was/ funny, and anyway, they weren't injured.  And my hair was an absolute mess and kept getting in my face and blinding me, plus I was trying to not fall down in a white skirt and moccasins.  By the by, my moccasins have been rubbed smooth on the bottom, which isn't necessarily conducive to good traction.

When we all decided we'd had enough of that, we sat up under the trees to avoid the rain and managed to mostly all fit on the single large blanket someone had dragged out, and just laid around for a good long while.  Then the rain mostly stopped and Douwe announced he was going home, and promptly climbed a tree instead, which only got everyone else started climbing the trees before he did well and truly set off for home.  By then, Marc and several others were in the trees, so Dusty has pictures of that madness.

And that's pretty much that.  This morning, we had breakfast as a flat.  There was a preponderance of food.  I made scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage, and Faustine made pancakes.  Alex brought scones and Nuriya made apple crumble.  There was also bread, jam, butter, two kinds of juice, tea... it was breakfast madness!  Sooooo amazingly tasty though.  I haven't eaten since this morning, and I'm only just now getting hungry, that's how insane it was.  And I'm sure I've missed some of what was there, too!  I have pictures.  I feel like that's my mantra- "Don't worry, I have pictures".  Tonight we're saying bye to Anneleen and Dusty and I are going to a bye-for-now party over at Carmen's so we can all sign the England flags we've bought.  My room is looking sadly empty cause I've packed a good bit of it.  Saturday we're seeing Chris and Dave, and Sunday we're going to Manchester.  Monday or Tuesday we're going to York, and the day we don't do that we're doing the tourist thing in Sheffield.  Ummm, tomorrow we're going to Sherwood Forest and Bolsover Castle, and Friday I have a choir lunch.  We leave the 19th for London and the 22nd for home.  When I get home, I'll be doing a journal-by-pictures, probably only in a physical form in the journal I bought over here for the purpose, but I'll try to post pictures of my favorite pages if/when I get it done so you all can see what I've been up to.

In the homestretch now.  I hope I see some of you this summer!

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