Sunday, 20 October 2013

100 words minimum on what I did last summer

What. A. Whirlwind.

And I'm not talking about tornadoes for once.

After the meltdown I call my Viva, I think I earned a few months of something completely different. I am fortunate enough to have an advisor who doesn't mind me taking all my vacation, conference, and summer school time away at off I went to channel my inner jet setter.

First stop: Bristol. I've mentioned the Bristol summer school on my blog already, but my first trip away for the summer included plenty of time walking around, watching some wildlife, looking at beautiful scenery, and seeing Gromit (from Wallace and Gromit) dressed up all around town.

Second stop: Manchester Airport to pick up Mom and Dad! People ask me all the time what it's like to live so far away from friends and family. In a word, it's awful. The beauty is that my parents now have the perfect excuse to holiday in Europe! We had ourselves a blast roaming around Manchester, Liverpool, Chester, North Wales, and Stratford-Upon-Avon...which brings us to....

Third stop: Amsterdam. My sweet parents dictated that, although I'm legally an adult, I was not allowed to visit Amsterdam without them. Good thing they got their cute behinds over here quickly...I wasn't going to wait forever! We got to tour the canals, see Ann Frank's house, eat pannenkoeken, see the red-light district, and witness the outdoor urinals. Most of all, we got some quality time with my amazing parents. That, my friends, is priceless!

Fourth stop: Scotland. When my parents left town again, I had exactly 36 hours to sob like a child before heading up north to the Isle of Arran for an atmospheric measurements summer school. The views were astounding. The wildlife was beautiful...we saw sea otters, seals, golden eagles, jellyfish, red squirrels, red deer, and the elusive haggis. I did learn a lot too: sleep deprivation causes some serious cases of the giggles, all food can be yellow if you cook it just right, whisky (Scotch) is absolutely delicious, and it's dangerously hard to distinguish seals from rocks sometimes (or all the time for some of us...). Upon returning, I'm very glad I went, but I don't need another 2 weeks without sleep, ever. I guess I should never have kids right??

Fifth stop: After a quick week home, Richard and I celebrated the year we both turn 25 by going to Tuscany. If you've seen any of the pictures I posted on Facebook, you know the theme of our week-long trip was eating. Oh Italian food...I will never look at you the same way again. So divine...and magically I lost one and a half pounds on the trip. How is that possible?? A full week's relaxation and enjoyment was the perfect close to the summer and start of the autumn.

In my short interludes in Manchester, I enjoyed spending a full hour a week on horseback, improving my seat and jumping higher than ever (90 cm, which translates to 3 feet. There WERE expletives yelled, but I survived to jump another fence) with the most fabulous riding instructor. Seriously, Hayley, getting me from scared of jumping to 90cm fences in a few're a miracle worker!

So what's on tap for the new term? Well I suppose I should do some research, perhaps some TAing, definitely more horse riding, and of course the hilarity that comes from an American living in England.

Watch this space...

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