Year two: reflections 

 

Yay! Second year completed – no more exams, revision… just relaxing and enjoying the sunshine! Not for long though..

I fly out to Spain next weekend for 2 months to work as an au pair, and then come back for august before flying out to Russia for 9 months. Is this real life? I cannot believe that it’s happening already! My year abroad is finally upon me, and I have to admit I’m excited but also a little nervous.

Last summer I had a not so optimal au pair experience, so I’m really hoping and praying that this year won’t be like that. I’ll be living in Madrid until the end of July, and I’ve never been there before so it will all be new to me! I’m hoping to make some friends at the church I’ve found and intend to go to while I’m there, but I also hope to gel well with the family.

I will take as many pictures as possible so hopefully a few will end up on here, and also I’m going to do some year abroad posts – things like what to do/what not to do and how to go about studying your language while abroad and making the most of your time out here. I hope it will be useful!

The weather in Exeter is beautiful right now, I’m loving the sunshine and clear blue skies. I’m missing my church camp back home (this weekend) which is sad, but I rang my family yesterday to top up on some lurve before I go home on Tuesday. Yeah, I know, I’m already about to go home and leave for the summer!!

I will admit, this year hasn’t been easy. It’s been somewhat easier than last year in the sense that I knew what to expect a little more. You can usually tell the difference between and fresher and a second/third year because of their confidence levels and how they behave. I definitely feel more confident and well on my way to being a True Adult. Although I’m not sure I’ll ever fully grow up! But I can at least feed myself decently well and put a wash on once a week so we’re doing good so far!

I was so glad to walk out of my last exam yesterday knowing that that was it. The thing is, I’d been struggling with the more complicated grammar stuff we learned this year in Russian, and even Spanish was giving me a run for my money! The step up was bigger than I expected… so I had to amp up my game and work harder than last year. I pretty much coasted last year – which is not the best approach, but then it doesn’t count towards your degree so most people do even less work than I did!

So yeah that’s the first thing – this year was harder work-wise. Because it counted. So everything had to be good. I had to read tonnes of books and things while doing all of my grammar/homework for my lectures and preparing before the lecture in order to write my coursework in my second term. And I had to revise hard over Christmas for my January exams, which is never fun at that time of year.

Secondly, I learned to trust God a lot. I couldn’t work a lot this year because I was so busy with my studies, so there were some hairy moments where I had barely enough money for food and things. Don’t worry – I made it through, but it was a little rough in places and this is also partly because I didn’t really earn a lot of money last summer. It’s hard to get a job as a student because bosses look at your CV, realise they’ll train you up to only lose you again in 3 months and say nah not having you. #studentlife.

But this summer that won’t happen as I’m working as an au pair through a company and the family has to pay you. But anyway, back to my point. I had to learn to trust God with my finances… to trust it would all be OK and try and still meet up with friends even if I couldn’t buy food or a coffee, but to just be there to enjoy being with them because that’s the important bit.

Lastly, I learned to forgive myself and love myself for who I am. It’s something I’ve found hard my whole life, and I’m sure I’m not alone with this. But this year has really been a turn around in many ways… and that has definitely been helped by reading the Bible and discovering what God thinks about me and not worrying about what other people think.

Bring on summer… I hope you’re all well and enjoying the weather as much as I am!

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Update Halfway through Term 2

There’s so much going on on campus at the moment I don’t think I’d be able to mention it all!!

Currently there are people campaigning to be the next student president, vice president, sports union president, treasurer… you name it. You get stopped by people in colourful t-shirts wielding brownies and cakes to try and persuade you humbly to vote, even if not for them, just to vote. It’s a nice atmosphere though. One of my friends has nominated himself too and he’s in a good place to get in, that’s for sure. There are also some funny campaign videos going viral. I think I’m just gonna read their manifestos and vote that way. Brownies do not move me. Even if they’re vegan!

I’ve begun renewing my love of break dance – we went out as a crew on Monday to this event called PHAT at a club called Cavern and it went really well. I managed to get the guts up to go into the cypher on the tiny stage myself and do a round.


 It made my voice a lot worse though – I lost it Monday morning and then on Tuesday I was all croaky 🙂 Wednesday it wasn’t good in the morning but got better through the day. So now all I have is a bit of a cough 🙂

Most people seem to be run down now, and I guess it’s mainly cos it’s the middle of term – week 5 – and it’s just when everyone gets ill.

My friend Jamie had to pull out of BUCS (gymnastics) this weekend – most of my Russian set has a cold.

I’ve really got into this series on Netflix called Heartland. It’s American and its about this family that lives on a horse ranch. It’s rekindled my inner dream to live on one when I’m older…. horses have been my favourite animal since I could say the word, even though I haven’t always been able to afford lessons. I’m thinking maybe in my year abroad I could spend some of it on a ranch in South America somewhere…. that would be a dream come true! But I’d have to brush up on my riding. So I’ve been looking around and at prices. We’ll see…..

I also need to keep my gymnastics up over the summer so I’m going to try and save a bit to help pay for membership for a few months.

Money, money, money….. God’s definitely teaching me a lot about it. About not worrying about it and where it comes from.

The ECU activities week was amazing too. So many students came to the lunch bars and evening talks and many gave their lives to Jesus which is just ACE 🙂 I got to host one of the team that came from Oxford to do the talks etc. and I and my friend Esther made her this Moroccan dish with chickpeas and she loved it 🙂 (Might post it later sometime!)

Anyway… must carry on working as I have lots of formatives and deadlines to meet next week!