Update – last week of term.

Wow! Only 5 days left until I go home for Christmas! How the time has flown… ok so there were a few moments in the term where I felt like it was dragging out, but now that the end is here it feels like it went in the blink of an eye! And so much has happened in these last three months.

Going home is going to be good, but I’m not going to lie, I’ve been enjoying myself so much here recently that in a way I want to stay here a bit longer! So I may come back earlier than I originally intended in January, but it’s all up in the air and will be decided later.

I’ve bought most of my Christmas presents for people here, and I’m going to probably start packing on my last day here, Friday, because I won’t have any lessons. Then I’m going to go to English movie night one last time and say goodbye to people. I said goodbye to people at church too yesterday, mainly those from my house group.

I will miss them all!

But I need a break. I’ve worn myself out this week helping prepare for the party on Saturday, which, by the way, went so well!

I don’t have any really good pictures but here are the ones I do have. I and a friend had to roast some potatoes for the party, and we cut out so many snowflakes to hang up everywhere! Another friend baked millions of gingerbread cookies, and we played silly games like reenacting the Christmas story scene by scene in groups – we were all very creative; for the scene where An angel visits Mary, a guy stood on a chair and two guys stood behind him with a silvery white scarf and fluttered it like wings, and he then proceeded to get his phone out of his pocket and ring Mary to tell her about what was about to happen. You might have had to have been there to appreciate it, but I can assure you everyone was laughing at that point! We also sang the 12 days of Christmas song, which everyone found hilarious. We made a roast dinner for everyone to try (hence the roasted potatoes) and we even made sprouts for everyone and told them that they are traditionally eaten but also hated in England, but they all went so I think Russians like sprouts!

But hey, after all of that excitement, I had to sleep with a hoodie and a hat on last night to try and get my cold to go away – my window in my room lets in draughts so I end up getting quite cold in the night, and that combined with poor sleep and lots of extra activity just really tired me out. I need to make it through this week though because I have more tests! None of them actually count towards my degree but I want to do well to show that I’ve learned stuff and also so they’ll put me into a more advanced group next term. We don’t know if they’ll base that off our test results yet or if they’ll send us another aptitude test by email so it can’t hurt to get good marks.

I’m hoping to go to Ukrop (the chain of vegetarian restaurants) soon with a friend from my group to celebrate he end of term. She won’t be coming back to St P next year, she’s going to Germany for the other half of her year abroad, so sadly we’re going to be saying goodbye for good this Thursday. In fact, I’m the only one from my group returning to St P next year, so that’s going to be weird!

I’ve found housing for next term in a great location near all the shops I normally go to for food etc so I’m really happy about that, and the rent is cheaper so I’ll be saving some of my loan, which can be used for other things!

So yeah that’s me this week. I can’t wait to go home and have lots of hugs and catch up on the advent calendar and play my cello again! I just hope I can defeat this cold!!

In case I don’t post until the new year, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year everyone!

С рождество и с новом годом!


Exams and year abroad plans

Why hello there….

You guys… I’m sorry I’ve not posted in forever, life has been so hectic and over Easter I just needed the break to clear my head and get ready for my final exams (eek!).

Yup, I have 5 exams… most people only have 2 or 3. But no, language students get more. I’ve now taken 4 of those 5 exams, the last one is on the 25th, so think of me if you can between about 9.30am-11.30am!!

Aside from the fact that I’m busy cramming and revising my socks off, I’m also madly applying to work as an au pair in Spain this summer before Russia in September. I think I possibly mentioned plans to go to Mexico in a previous post, if not, then briefly; I was considering going to Mexico this summer but the plans never got off the ground, mainly due to the cost of flights etc. and how it was kinda unwise to spend so much money on that when I needed to pay for my visa and insurance etc for Russia.

Basically, I have Russia on the brain right now so be warned, I will be talking about it A LOT as of now. Hopefully you’re all interested anyway!

OK so I’ve bought my insurance, paid my deposit and admin fees…. so I am officially GOING. Which is kind of scary when you think about how a year ago it felt so far away and downright impossible.

I’m working my socks off in the Ram trying to pay for various flights and such, so that means balancing work with revision. So yeah, that’s why I’ve not been writing in a long time. I’ve been so busy! Yesterday the fire alarm went off while I was in the Ram kitchen and we all had to evacuate… something about oil leaking into the cellar and setting the alarm off. I don’t know exactly. But it was pretty exciting!

I’ve had some pretty good times meeting up with friends – went round to one friend’s house for tea and a movie the other night which was lush… she always cooks amazing food and it’s so much fun to hang out and chill. We watched The Pacifier with Vin Diesel – funny film which I used to watch a lot as a kid….

So yeah sorry this is a brief update I’m sending out there into the world… not sure if any of you remember me I haven’t posted in SO LONG. I’ll try and post more often and the plan is to post a lot while I’m on my year abroad to help future language students out.

So ’til my next post – have a great rest-of-the-week!!


January blues – the highs and lows of uni life.

Exam week. I don’t know about you but – I don’t like exams. And after having what was probably my best Christmas ever… getting dumped back in Exeter is a bit of a downer!

….Buuut it’s finally over!! I had 5 exams, unlike most people, and 3 out of 5 of those went really badly. We’ll see when results come out, eh? I honestly don’t get how chilled out they are about preparing for exams at uni. During my A-Levels, we did two to three essays a week. At uni, we do formatives… which might just be an essay plan or just the introduction. Or maybe a short commentary. Either way… that’s all the prep you get. Unless you’re super keen or an absolute BEAST and can somehow find the time to do test essays in your own steam.

This is probably really boring but I’m gonna explain what I did to revise, because this blog is kinda for the students out there.

1/ Basically I do ‘smart’ revision. In other words, I pick the stuff I know I will need to know, or that I know are my weak areas, and start there. If I plan it right, I usually cover everything, but if I don’t get that far, then I’ve at least covered the key areas.

Also… I never consider an exam ‘lost’ and stop revising even if it’s the hour right before the exam. NO exam is lost. Any revision you can do before or in advance COUNTS. Especially if you target key areas. Say you have tonnes of books to just read. Don’t try and read them from cover to cover. Just look at the contents page and pick the chapters that are relevant and read those. Or parts of them. This tip is kind of a 2 in 1.

2/ I look at past exam papers. I don’t necessarily do them, but looking at them and even at the mark scheme really helps. If there are some titles I don’t think I could write an essay on under pressure then I might have a go at mind-mapping everything I know related to that title and then try and read up on those areas.

3/ This one mainly applies to history modules etc. I make a time line. My A level history teacher frowned upon it saying it would make me narrate events in chronological order. Obviously DON’T do that… but it helps me (personally) to get the key dates in my head and memorise them in relation to one another, i.e. one thing led into another thing… and so on. Because you associate one event with another event, it helps you memorise it.

4/ Figure out your learning style. I’ve probably mentioned this in a previous post but take a free online test and find out if you are a visual, kinesthetic, aural or traditional learner. Do you need colours, do you need to hear it over and over again, do you need to write it out… etc.

5/ TAKE BREAKS. Even if it means watching a silly YouTube video for 10 mins.

6/ Exercise. This could literally be just going for a walk. This week I went most evenings for a little walk near where I live. When I’m at home, I go and bounce on the trampoline for an hour or so before bed.

7/ Eat well. I know most students live on pot noodles and pasta… but add some veggies and your body will thank you. It’s easy to get run down, so make sure you’re getting lots of nutrients in and not just coffee!! And revising uses a lot of mental energy… so you will probably feel quite hungry!

That’s all I can think of for now. Hope this helps someone!!

Anyway… back to general life stuff… I feel like I’m getting back into the swing of things. My room is my little house (obviously). It has everything I need and use in it… All my books and some of my food things that won’t fit into my kitchen space. But everything has it’s little place and what with all of my colourful revision posters and mind-maps it just looks really cool. Yeah just complimenting myself I guess 😉 All about that positive outlook!

Term starts on Monday, so I’ll probably begin reading and doing (more) Russian grammar. Oh and my application for St Petersburg is in and I’ve paid the deposit… I’m officially GOING. AHHH 🙂 I still need to figure out flights and a visa and insurance, but it’s actually happening and you have no idea how excited I am! I’m gonna post my first Russian recipe shortly so watch this space!! I made голубци (golubtsii) – they are like stuffed fig leaves but made with cabbage. Please don’t let that put you off though they honestly taste really good!!

Oh yeah and over Christmas I passed my driving test! I look pretty gormless in this picture but I was so happy I didn’t care 🙂 

Anyway, until next time!! до скорого!

Done and dusted.

Finished! All of my exams completed… hell-loo summer! Not quite though. I’m staying in Exeter an extra week to work at the Ram and for the Dartmoor Kitchen Catering Company to earn as much money as possible before I go back and potentially get another job back home too. Work work work work work….

But we’ve booked 2 weeks at the beginning of August for a holiday so maybe maybe maybe I’ll be going to Spain (fingers crossed!)… It would be a dream come true and I would love to speak Spanish so much again argh I can’t get enough speaking in! 

A few years ago I’d have said I was quiet and shy and not a very social person or good at communication at all…. I guess that that just goes to show how you can change so much in a short space of time! I mean, I can be social now, but I still need a bit or recharge time too! But I’m going out with friends way more now and going to clubs and societies at uni definitely helps with this. 

If you ever visit Exeter go to he Old Firehouse… they serve the best food from 12pm onwards! Best student pizza hang out too

It’s strawberry season – another thing I can’t get enough of! Iceland on the high street does this amazing deal of 2 for £3 so I get about 800g of strawberries most weeks! The co-op is also doing a similar price… Wimbldon is nigh! 😉

Lots of fruit and veg yum yum yum. I’m looking forward to next year living with Rsther and Jenny and Matt and Mia in our amazing premium ensuite flat (ooo-er) 🙂 

So yeah that my first year done. It’s gone a lot quicker than it felt like it would… Parts of it have been hard but I’ve survived and still want more, and that feeling alone tells me that I have made the right choice going to uni. 

So far I’ve been working at the ram and catering at weddings – no celebration yet. 

This is a picture of the cake at the wedding I catered at yesterday all day. It was so tiring but the feeling afterwards is really good. You feel satisfied… Even though you just want to get straight into bed and never wake up! My legs were throbbing once I finally lay down! 

It’s a good way to earn a chunk of money in one go though and you just dig up to shifts as and when. Fortunately the team is friendly. It’s tiring though – emotionally and physically, so I try and space these shifts out! 

Today I should make it to church although I had to pull out of playing in the worship team as I was so tired and I didn’t get round to practicing the songs :/ it pains me to do it because my parents are worship leaders and I know it’s annoying when someone pulls out! 

I think today I’m going to relax a bit before my shift at the ram tonight. Yeah work every day! I’m not doing anything tomorrow though unless something comes up unexpectedly with the ram (if someone needs a shift covered)

But yeah I’m hopefully coming home this weekend wooo I’m excited 🙂 

Exams around the corner – dealing with stress

It’s that time of year again… exams are coming. I have a week exactly before I go home (I mean to Exeter… my home from home) on the 23rd. Then I just have 4 weeks of exams and some work at the Ram and I’m done for the summer woo! Powering through and going over everything I’ve learned, watching a few sneaky episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S and visiting my real life friends is pretty much my life right now. I feel kinda proud that I managed to knuckle down and get some good solid work in this week. I spent about an hour at least writing out my personal statement in Russian to help with my oral exam in two weeks. I’m freaking out about it but it’s only 10 minutes long so it’ll go by in a flash. Hopefully!

I was worried that I wouldn’t get any revision done (like Christmas 2015) because I don’t know why but I just ‘slumped’ – no other word – and I just couldn’t bring myself to do ANYTHING at all. It was so bad. But I think the problem was a) since GCSEs (year 9-11) until the end of A-levels (year 13) I have pushed myself to my absolute limit trying to get A*s and exceed at everything I do. I’m a perfectionist and I never do anything by halves, but when you’re balancing a ton of things at once, it does run you into the ground eventually. I had a mini panic attack (my first and hopefully my last) back in March I think last year (2015) and I could hardly find the energy to write my coursework. I was drained.

I’m amazed that I didn’t get glandular fever or something. Plus I was rowing and running and dancing and doing Insanity about 10 hours a week and I had a job on top of that. I’m so glad it’s over. Over that summer I actually worked so I didn’t even go on holiday with my family, I thought I didn’t need it. So by Christmas, I was exhausted. So, lesson for today is, take a holiday. Please. For your own sanity. (And for the sanity of those around you too, am I right?) 😉

So yeah, this summer I fully intend to get some kind of job if possible, but I also intend to switch off and have a good rest from everything. I’ve learned my lesson and I’m not doing it again!! Fortunately I’ve had a month off this Easter so I’ve been able to have a full 2 weeks of light-to-no work and these final two weeks are power weeks of revision. My head’s a lot clearer and I’m memorising things better again. I’m also away from the environment in my flat which helps a TON. And I can get as many cuddles from my mum as I want – WINNING! (She also makes us delicious juices in the morning for breakfast which are delicious).

Both of my best friends are in town right now, one of them (Ellie) is staying with me right now in my house, and Ruth is at hers. We chilled the other afternoon which was cool. She has a dissertation to write or something. My other friend Sarah (not the flat mate) has her dissertation to write and she’s almost a physiotherapist now!! We actually went to talk to this youth group in Pershore (UK) the other weekend about what it’s like going to uni, and what a gap year is like etc. It was a great evening and I think the girls that came took a lot away from it. We left it feeling pumped that’s for sure 🙂

So yeah… that’s most of the news. So have a holiday and learn when too much is too much and listen to yourself. I have seriously driven myself into the ground from stressing out too much and it’s not good. It used to get to the point where I was so wound up that the back of my head would actually ache and I couldn’t sleep properly and I lose my appetite. It’s better to tell someone what’s up, even if they turn it on its head and point out just how trivial and silly it is to be worried about a silly little thing or something, and even to just back off and not do it for a while. Maybe sleep on it. Sleep is good. #student

Also reading the Bible and knowing that God has a plan for you. I like reading this magazine thing from UCB called TheWord4U2Day (youth version) and often the paragraph for today is really relevant which is great 🙂 AND and and and…. talk to God and tell him about it. He cares. Even if it’s a stupid little thing. He loves it. Trust me.

ThisgirlAudra posted a really great video on her YouTube channel about stress and what it does toy your body which is really good so be sure to check that out 🙂

I am so excited for summer – I can’t wait!

End of term 2 (almost!)

So I’m still ill today (have been all week) and I didn’t know what to do with myself other than go to Aldi to do my final mini shop before my amazing mummy comes to collect me on Thursday. I fully intend to sleep for a week when I get home!

Basically, after a horrible day yesterday… I woke up this morning with the desire for pizza. And I hate pizza. I know, what’s wrong with me? I’m possibly the only human being that doesn’t like it! But I figured if I made it myself, it might not be so bad!

So I did – and honestly it has to be the best pizza I’ve ever tasted – NOT KIDDING guys this is serious.

I’m in love. I like pizza again. Sweet potato crust pizza. Ooohh yeah. AND it was so cheap to make! Perfect for the student. Don’t worry I’m definitely gonna post this recipe because I have a picture of it and it would be too selfish not to share…. But WOW 🙂

I am wowed. Officially.

This pizza hit the spot because yesterday I had two summative exams back-to-back, the first was my Spanish oral and the second was a Russian test. Both count towards my final grade this year, and both were equally traumatic. Coupled with the fact that I’m ill and can’t hear properly they were just the worst thing. (I think my sinuses are inflamed or something because I have a cold, and somehow I can’t hear properly anymore! I also have a sore throat).

I walked out of the Russian one early having answered only half of the paper and barely holding back tears. I had to pull myself together in a nearby disabled toilet just to be able to walk home. And to make matters worse I started crying again when I got home in front of my flatmates. Fortunately Ellen and Sarah gave me some hugs (or ‘cutches’ – as the Welsh (and therefore Sarah) say!) and Ellen talked me down from my unhappy place. Then my other friend Charlotte took me out for rye bread toast and a smoothie at the Boston tea party. By the time I got home I was in a much better state I can tell you!

I’ve never been so pooped before. I think everything just built up and got to me and the fact that I had exams and couldn’t concentrate properly because of my stupid ears just made it burst. I could hardly hear what the other people were saying in my oral exam and it’s meant to be a debate… Plus they were all jumping at the opportunity to talk more to get better marks and I couldn’t get a word in. My teacher did take it into account that I was ill – she’d actually sent me home from a lesson the day before so she was really understanding about it and I guess she knows how well I can speak Spanish because she’s had me all term. Let’s just say I didn’t do my best – and that’s probably what upset me the most.

I’m currently lying on my bed recovering and working before my shift tonight at the Ram. Nothing too strenuous – I’ve already been to Aldi and I’m all stocked up. Thoroughly relishing my pizza food-baby and sipping some water to keep hydrated. But I’m NOT STRESSING. I need a holiday so bad. I just need to push to get my summative coursework essay done and then I’m home.

I’m so grateful for such amazing friends. Charlotte has taken me out a couple of times before and she always insists on paying and she makes me really feel at ease again especially because she’s been through similar experiences in her first year. I’m so gutted she’s in her last year and won’t be here next year! She helped me get my job at the Ram and we have only had a shift together once this term. I’m gonna miss her. Not just her, but a few others as well. Josie, who’s made me Russian food and played Russian scrabble with me and checked my homeworks over for me occasionally… and Clare, who introduced me to Grace Church in the first place.

Why does this always happen? *sigh*.

I can only hope that I can be as generous a friend to some fresher next year that needs a hug and a chat and a coffee/cake. I’m already praying for that opportunity.

But hey… just 6 more days to go!!!!