quick update for those interested.

hello friends.

a few cool things have happened the last 10 days since my last post besides only playing Skyrim in the flat.

I had a writing seminar with one of my favourite authors – Maggie Steifvater.  It was five hours of learning about her writing process which has honestly inspired me to get back more into my own writing.  She discussed plot, characters, and pacing.

I have a really bad habit of working on a manuscript and then reaching a point where I have the story finished in my head but not on the paper and I get bored.  This has happened with a 70,000, 40,000, and 20,000 word manuscript. tl;dr: I have commitment issues when it comes to writing and going to a writing workshop with one of my favourite authors helped me a lot.

But!  I have a urban fantasy novel (about 10,000) and a futuristic sci-fi (about 40,000) which I’m working on right now and I’m really excited about them.

Yummick X-mas Dinner.  This year the EUMC headed out to The Advocate for a nice dinner and then out for a evening of dancing and debauchery.  It was the last Christmas dinner with all of us together so it was a little bittersweet.  For those on facebook you can see the album there.

Hozier in Glasgow.  Ellie, Caitlin, Sophie and I took the bus over to Glasgow to see Hozier at the O2 Academy.  I love smaller venues because they make for a much more intimate show.  I’m big fan of being able to actually feel the drums through the floor and the speakers hitting your chest.  If I’m going to shell it out for a concert – I’d prefer not to be in the nosebleeds.  Seeing Hozier in a smaller venue and being near the front was incredible.  Cha girl got taken to church.

So yeah other than that I’ve been doing a bit of Christmas shopping and then it’s back to America in a few days time.

yikes, my dudes.

It’s been a whirlwind month.  November was here and just like that bottle of Dalwhinnie single malt whiskey I drank at the Bothy in the course of a single night… it was gone.

(I’m not going to comment further or defend myself, but just know that I had a great night and in the four years of living in this country cha girl has learned a few tricks about alcohol consumption and optimal pacing.)

Apologies for not posting in a month.  November hit me like a ton of bricks and between uni work, a cold, and seasonal depression because it gets dark in Edinburgh at 3 pm… it’s been a long month.

I just submitted my final essay for the semester, an lil 3,000 word piece about the appeal of sexual renunciation for men and women in the first to fifth century Roman Empire.  It’s for my Early Medieval Sexualities course.

Turning in that essay marks me as finished for first semester!

Because I am smart and only took classes with coursework, I don’t have any upcoming exams.  I have work to do over break on my dissertation… but for all official purposes I’m on holiday.

*cue crying*

Since our last meeting, a few important events have occured.

1. Democrats flipped the house and elected a RECORD number of women and people of color. Including Sharice Davids of Kansas District 3 – one of the first Native American Women in Congress!

2. I traveled northward once more to the EUMC Bothy.  The Bothy trips is (and will probably always be) my favourite meet of the year.  We filled the trip with a record high of nearly 50 Yummicks and booked it out of Edinburgh on Friday night to secure spots on the highly coveted alpine bunks.  I spent Saturday reading a few articles for my EMS essay and Sunday helping out with bits and bobs around the Bothy.  Once a Bothy Secretary always a Bothy Secretary I guess.

Saturday night was as to be expected and cha girl lived the tell the tale.

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bothy trip year iv.

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3.  We hosted 40+ at our flat for Thanksgiving.  Gregor, Erling, Tuva, and I hosted our very own American Thanksgiving and invited all our friends around for food and comas!  Thanksgiving is always a special time of year for me and I tend to get over sentimental and cry a lot.  Having spend Thanksgiving outside of America and my family for the past four years doesn’t make it much easier.

Per tradition, before we tucked in everyone had to say what they were thankful for. Me?  As I looked around at my friends I said that I was thankful for the hope that I saw sat around our living room in Edinburgh.  I was thankful for the hope I saw for the future.  I was thankful for the hope vested in my friends from all over the world.  I was thankful we were all able to sit down together for meal.  Looking to each one of them, I know, that together my friends and I will overcome the bigotry, hatred, and fear seemingly everywhere these days.  Even when things seem the darkest, I hold onto that hope I saw in my friends faces.

“Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it, you’ll never make it through the night.” – Leia Organa

Other happenings?  I went to the Botanics to see the Christmas lights and went to the Murrayfield Ice Rink for some Ice Princess Antics.

Other happenings coming up this week!  I’m taking the week to chill out.  I’m going to catch up on the books I’ve been reading and work on my writing.  I have three pretty major events which I’m really excited for as well.

One of my favourite authors, Maggie Steifvater is doing a surprise writing workshop in Edinburgh this week.  She’s in Scotland for a personal trip and decided to host an impromptu event.  It’s an informal event with lectures and Q&A about writing novels with fantasy elements.  I’m honestly really excited to go.

The EUMC is hosting its annual Christmas dinner as well.  It’ll be a great evening with everyone and a little bittersweet as well for most of us it’ll be our last Christmas dinner all together.

And, then the next day it’s off to Glasgow to see Hozier in concert!

I’ll be punting around Edinburgh until my flight back to America on the 17th but after all the hard work I’ve been putting in this semester, I’m glad I’ll be taking some time to enjoy Scotland this December.

i. am. traumatised.

‘Could you describe your bag and its contents?’

‘Yeah, it’s pink.  Northface.’ Contains my will to live.

This was me yesterday at the Edinburgh Airport after my baggage had been left planeside in Chicago.  2017 has a little over 24 hours left to live and, I swear, it has tried it’s hardest to take me down with it.

And because this is my blog, I’m going to whine.

My flights back were an absolute nightmare.  It all started in Kansas City when all the of the baggage had to be taken off the plane and reloaded… twice.  Arriving in Chicago, I mad a quick dash to my gate only to find that my fight from Chicago to London had already closed.  This was at 4.37 when it was not due to depart until 5.23 (as my boarding pass said)  However, I was informed this was a misprint and it was actually departing at 5.05.  Another passenger on this flight and myself were told this at the British Airways help desk.  I have never felt true comradie until this moment when this unknown dude trying to get to Manchester and I to Edinburgh looked at at each and shouted expletives in unison at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Then it was back to Terminal 3 to rebook through American Airlines because BA couldn’t help.  I waited in the queue, seething.  But, I realised that being grumpy at a customer service employee just trying to do their job amidst the panic of New Year travel wasn’t going to get me what I needed.  I’m not proud, but I thought of dead puppies and could have won an Oscar for the performance of ‘sad, lost, female traveller trying to get back to her friends and family.’

Khloe (god bless her and I hope she has a wonderful New Years), the American Airlines employee, rebooked me onto a later flight.  Regardless, I had a seat.  I wasn’t getting stuck in Chicago.

To be fair, the seats were decently comfortable.  AA had an absolute shit ton of movies which included a channel entirely dedicated to Star Wars.  Inspirational.  Unfortunately, I watched nearly the entirety of Empire Strikes Back before we took off.

And when we did take off, the small infant in front of me decided it was time to scream.  In a cruel twist of fate, the dude in front of the infant was offered a free upgrade to business class… with full recliners etc.  Offered is the key word here.  My dudes, I have seen some shit on airplanes, (figurative and literal) but I have never once seen a person decline to be upgraded for free.  My only conclusion is that the American male has a desire to suffer.

Finally after 7.5 hours of screaming and the wine cart passing me eight times (However, because this was an American operated flight, and me being not yet 21 I couldn’t have a glass to numb my pain), we arrived in the London airspace.  We attempted to land… three times.  Finally after nine hours, I was free with less than an hour to catch my connecting flight to Edinburgh.

Heathrow actually moved much quicker than the past few times I have flown through, which was a blessing.  I filed through security while my flight was boarding so had to race through the terminal with one shoe and my belt in my hand.  I was sweating on the plane and it was really gross and I’m really sorry.

I arrived in Edinburgh just a little before 1 pm.  I was supposed to have arrived at 9.20 am.  I waited for my baggage to arrive when it didn’t I moved to the baggage claim desk only to discover my baggage had been pulled and left in Chicago when I had failed to make my first flight to London.  Why tho cruel world?

I returned to my flat around 2 pm. I made the rookie mistake of sleeping all afternoon and woke up at 10 pm.  Ellie came over and we ordered pizza and watched the Victoria Christmas Special.  We had plans to leave for the Bothy today, but as you can infer from reading this now… that has been postponed until tomorrow.

This morning, my baggage was still reporting as missing and I was getting really worried because I needed the bag to pack for the Bothy… that and my aunt had made me popcorn balls and I feared they had been squashed.

Ellie and I went to brunch and I became increasingly aware I had picked up a stomach bug from the airplane.  (@god y tho).  It was my fault.  I knew not to eat the chicken on the plane but I did it anyway and @my poor body I am so sorry.

A final stroke of luck, my baggage was found and I called to check delivery times.  Not very helpful, the soonest they could deliver my bag would be tomorrow when I would have already left.  Instead I said fuck it and went to the airport of collect my baggage.  Now reunited with my jumpers and popcorn balls I can cry into my peppermint tea.

Beside all the dramatics, I can say that I am back in Scotland.  I’m happy to be here and thankful that I will not be boarding another transatlantic flight until August.

pls console me – i have suffered.

 

 

 

merry christmas ya filthy animals

Heyyo it’s me.  Cha girl.  You know, the author of this blog… who for the past 20ish days has neglected her duty to tell you every minute detail of her life.  Sry.

Anyway.  To back track… I finished my semester earlier this month and spent the next few days not moving and or going up to the National Museum or the Royal Botanical Gardens where I have really sick volunteering jobs.

My mother came to visit me with plans to go to the Bothy, but Scottish weather had other ideas.  We stuck around Edinburgh for a few extra days and took a day trip to St Andrews.  I went to go see Star Wars with Tuva and Gregor and was not prepared.

I flew back to America with mom.  We woke up early, got to the airport on time, etc only to have our flight to Newark delayed for two hours.  This decreased our three hour layover in Newark from three hours to one and increased the panic as we landed in Terminal C, had to get through customs, over to Terminal B, through security, and to our gate in about an hour.  A friend of mine once said that if she ‘believed in Purgatory the Newark Airport would be it’ as well as my father famously saying, ‘I would rather experience Soviet-style security again than ever have to fly through Newark.’

And my dudes, I wholeheartedly concur with these statements.

Just quickly, I’d like to discuss how airports are in general the worst.  I mean this with full sincerity.  Airports are the absolute worst.  William Golding could have easily increased the drama and conflict of Lord of the Flies had he set his novel around being stranded in an airport versus being stranded on a island.  Airports are a terrible liminal space which cause primordial instincts to kick in.  They turn people into animals.  I have seen some shit.

(If you need food you find a Starbucks.  And because there are never enough chairs you sit on the ground and stare blankly at the 80s geometric carpet which is probably harboring all sorts of pathogens while you drink lukewarm coffee and eat a brownie purely for the calories because you slept through all the food services.  Then you have to protect your belongings by lugging everything you own into a tiny bathroom cubicle (which you would think would be designed to be able to accommodate at least a small carry on?).  And then after finding empty soap dispensers and no towels you return to find your spot on the cold hard ground taken by some other eye-glazed human who knows what they did and won’t make eye contact with you.)

But anyway, we landed with one hour to get through all the annoying gate checks.  Mom took my carry on and instructed me to run and ‘hold the plane because I am not fucking staying at another hotel and I want to go the fuck home.’ Cheers mom.

And like I’m surrrrreee there are worst situations but running through an airport is pretty horrid.  I’d like to formally apologise to the lady whose baggage chart I vaulted over… but my dude you gotta stay to the left.

We made it to the plane, I don’t want to relay any more of the trauma.  I took my seat and for 3 hours and 55 minutes the row behind me was occupied by a man and his pet parakeet.  This is not an innuendo, this man brought a live bird on this flight and even had the audacity to give this already horrid animal a squeaky toy.

Additionally, within the first hour the pilot had to make an announcement to the entire plane to remind us all that toilets in the lavatories, ‘do flush.’

But everything wasn’t all bad.  By the time we arrived to Kansas City my dad was waiting at the arrival gate with the pack of salami and cheese I had requested.  We waited for our checked baggage.

But eh, I’m back in Lawrence now.

I spent time with some friends from home and then time not leaving my house.  My parents adopted another kitten… this one my dad found abandoned and nearly dead on the front porch.  We named her Rey.

Christmas day was yesterday and Crosby woke me up way too early.  Crosby and I went to see Star Wars again.  Today was my Grandmother’s birthday.  Tomorrow I’m going to go see Star Wars again with the entire family.  Mom and Dad still haven’t seen it and I personally don’t think they’re ready.  On Thursday, I’m headed back to Scotland.

 

 

 

 

end of semester

Because I hate exams and, as exhibited previously, do not perform as well on them as I do on assessed work… I played the classic ‘what courses am I interested in that also don’t have exams.’  It worked out brilliantly.

So that’s the end of the semester for me.  I’m done early… just in time to catch up on my Christmas knitting and yarn shopping.  Sorry everyone, you’re all getting knitwear.  Yay!

I really enjoyed this semester.  My favourite course was Conflict Archeology because we got to study different aspects of conflict including human remains, battlefields, and military strategy.  We took a field trip to Edinburgh Castle and submitted a poster.  It was my first time making an academic poster so I didn’t really know what to expect.  What I didn’t expect was to cry at a uCreate computer in the Edinburgh Uni Library for three hours, but eh.  I ended up with a first on it so I was pretty chuffed.

B073641_ConflictArchaePosterFinal   (that’s the link if you want to check it out)

I also really enjoyed Archaeology in Practice because each week we had a lecture from a different type of archaeologist and it helped to think a lot about my future career and different jobs in archaeology.  My third course was History in Theory, and it was pretty dry not gonna lie.  I enjoyed a few of the lectures, but it was a required course.  I’ve learned I’m a much more practical than theoretical person.

Other great things that happened this semester including increasing the scope of my volunteering at NMS and also starting to help out at the Botanical Cottage at the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh.  It’s all very official – I’ve even got a pass.  I’m just trying to widen my experience and see what all sorts of jobs are out there.  As an American, it’s already a narrowfield for me to work in the UK on a work visa… so I may have to get creative.

The EUMC had it’s Christmas Dinner the other week.  It was a great time with all my friends and we all got a chance to get dressed up.  Honestly, with mountaineers sometimes you don’t really recognise people out of muddy kit.

I would say that more exciting things have happened this semester, but truthfully it’s been about the normal level of frantic panic and reassuring ‘it’ll be finnnneeeee’ … maybe with just a higher intake of coffee.

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First semester done.

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2k16: wtf

Hello and welcome to my … drum roll please … ‘Year in Review’ post.

And it’s early, but I won’t really have time to write it later.

2k16 was definitely ‘the year of realizing stuff.‘ Thanks Kylie Jenner.

*cracks knuckles* click play on the playlist above of wow! 12 songs corresponding to the 12 months of the year! *refrains from cracking neck* leggo.

January

I spent New Years with my Mom’s side of the family in Hays, Kansas.  Then I traveled back to Edinburgh to start the second semester of my first year.  I traveled to the Cairngorms for some choice winter walking and cried about how much I loved the Dark Ages for a solid twenty minutes.

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February  

I booked my place for my first archaeological excavation and cried about how I’m actually going on an archaeological excavation.  Then, I cried some more at medieval castles.  Slept in a bog for a weekend… and then won a photo contest from Historic Scotland… and then cried some more about my new lovely historical city.  Also I got really angry at the state of Kansas for being stupid.

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March

Essays.  Essays.  Essays.  I wrote a really cool paper about Anglo-Saxons. I joined the Young Demonstrators at the NMS and complained about being busy and tired all the time. I finished up lectures at classes at the end of the month.

April

I finished with my classes for the year and started Spring Break. I traveled to Spain for rock climbing and camping.  This was an amazing time away where I got to practice my new climbing skills and be in sunny, warm weather.  Then I came back to Edinburgh, signed a lease with three stelar flatmates, and learned that uno tequila shot does not equate to one bottle of beer when determining how much one should drink.  I got my tattoo for my 19th Birthday and the next day I had my Archaeology 2B Exam.

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May  

And that was first year.  I packed up and moved out of Pollock and into the new flat… and then it was off to Romania.  I spent three weeks in Schela Cladovei excavating a neolithic settlement.  It was awesome is an understatement.  I sound like a broken record, I’m aware, but I love everything about archaeology.  I love the history.  I love the physicality of unearthing artifacts that haven’t seen the light of the sun in hundreds or thousands of years.  It’s an incredible link across time and space that I would argue not a lot of other disciplines get to have.  In Romania I excavated small sample of human remains and it was a really sombering moment.  There I was was, 6,000 years later bringing this young person back into the sun, into archaeological relevance.  I am so excited for my future in the field.

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June 

I finished up my excavation in Romania and traveled back to Edinburgh for a short layover to do laundry and repack for America.  I arrived in Kansas for the summer and it was really, really hot.

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July

(Sorry no blog posts to link back to.) I spent the summer in America and celebrated the Fourth of July with my family and friends on our farm.  I got to hang out with my lovely cat, Rory (who is sitting with me now while I write this).  Kansas gets really hot in the summer so I spent a lot of my time either hiding from the heat inside or out by my pool… could be worse.

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I found my tricorn hat.

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August 

My family and I drove to Florida for our annual family vacation to Disney World.  My sister started her senior year of High School and all my friends from Lawrence went back to uni.  I stuck around for the rest of the month a little bored but glad for the peace and quiet in the house with Crosby back at school.  I also decided to grow out my fringe.

September 

And I hit the ground running.  Second Year.  My mom came with me to Scotland to help me move into my new home.  We then took a quick trip out to Ireland… well it was a business trip for her, I just got to see some cool medieval stuff.  The flat didn’t have wifi for a week and everyone nearly died.

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October 

I went on some cool mountain trips where I saw some Neolithic Rock art and went climbing near Bamburgh Castle (which fingers crossed, I’m working at this summer 2k17). I rant more about Archaeology and cry about Henry V for the 601st time.

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November

Essays almost killed me and it was not okay. I had seven essays all due all within five weeks… well it was a little okay, I did well on them (a 75 and 64 in Modern Scottish History, 70 and 75 in Osteology, and 60, 64, and 68 in Archaeology).  November was the roughest month this year.  Between school work and the election I didn’t really know how to function or move forward.  I ran away from humanity for a weekend and went to the Bothy to collect my thoughts.  November was also when my Dad and sister came to visit me and to be fair that was probably the best thing that could have happened.  Talking with my Dad always has helped me to figure out my life and I really needed a good chat.  I realised that I can be sad but I can’t allow that sadness to keep me down.  In a burst of light in the bleakest of hours, Young Justice was brought back from the TV show graveyard for a season 3 and things finally started to look up.

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December 

And here we are.  I took all three of my exams within a day of each other, spent the next two days sleeping and Christmas shopping, boarded a plane back to America, nearly got stuck in Newark, but then finally made it back to Kansas.  I went to go see Rogue One with my family and got absolutely rekt’d.  Yesterday was Christmas and I got some really awesome presents.  I’ll be flying back to Edinburgh in two days to pack for the Bothy.

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So it snowed on the farm.

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*end scene*

And that was my year… of realizing stuff.  2k16 was really a year of massive highs and crushing lows.  I’m excited for next year, I’m taking some really great courses and I’ll be back in Scotland studying what I love.  I’ve got a few excavations lined up for the summer, I’m just waiting to hear back from them.

So thank you to everyone who reads my ramblings here.  A big shout out to my family and my lovely friends without whom I would never get anything done.

Best wishes for the coming year,

2/3 Exams Complete + Scotland Soundtrack 20

Heyyoooo! Two exams down and one more to go.  I had my Archaeology 2A exam on Saturday and finally 2k16 cut me a break with questions on both the Roman Army and Iron Age Scotland!  This morning I had my Osteology exam and 2k16 must really be sorry for the shit storm it realeased this year because the exam questions were glorious.  I felt really good about both exams, so that can either mean I did well or screwed them up entirely… but I feel like it is the former.

But, here’s to Wednesday – I hope that my luck doesn’t run out.  Wednesday is my final exam for this semester, Modern Scottish History.  Out of the three, this is the exam I’m probably the most worried about because instead of two essays in two hours like the previous exams, this one will be three essays in two hours. (Like my hand already doesn’t hate me after two exams and climbing…)

Today, after my exam I came home and played more Tomb Raider to decompress.  I’m nearly to the end of the game and it’s getting that part where playing it becomes increasingly dangerous to my productivity… that and it has me yelling at the television in both triumph and fury.  Both of which Tuva, Erling, and Gregor think are hilarious.  Later this after I had a volunteer meeting at the NMS, we’re probably going to have our tours running soon so stayed tuned.

Tomorrow, it’s one more final day of revision.  I’ve got three more episodes of the Scotland documentary to watch just to refresh and to read over my notes one last time.  I also need to talk a quick walk down to find my exam hall.  It’s in a new building I haven’t been before.  I’m not too worried about the concepts, just mostly the time constraints.

I generally tend to freak out over things and when I’m actually taking the exam everything usually turns out just fine… which can also be said for a lot of things in my day to day life.

But anyway, study tomorrow.  Exam Wednesday morning.  Final Xmas shopping on Thursday.  General packing and last minute stuff on Friday.  9:05 AM flight on Saturday morning.  Busy.  Busy.  Busy.

revision, exams, etc

Hello lovely readers! I’ve got my first (of three) exam tomorrow (Archaeology 2A!!) and I’m feeling confident about it but still slightly stressed.  The next on is on Monday and the last is on Wednesday.  It’s busy but I’m glad to get them over with so I can go back to Kansas and hang out with my cat.

I’ve been deep in revision the past week by reading over my notes and catching up on a few lectures I missed because I was sick and didn’t want to infect everyone else with a terrible awful cold.

Just because I thought you all would be interested and not because I don’t have anything else to write about… I figured I’d share with you how I revise for exams…

Generally speaking, I try to avoid attempting to learn new things during revision.  I’ve sort of accepted that if I didn’t learn it over the semester I’m not going to learn it now… which I’m not really sure is a good view to have but this forces me to spend my time synthesizing and better understanding the topics I read about and do understand.  Because, honestly, I’ve learned it’s better to understand 4-5 topics really well than mediocrity understand a whole bunch. Example: my archaeology class covered from the Mesolithic to the Roman Iron Age in Scotland, I focused my time on the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Roman Iron Age, and ‘Archaeology and the Public.’  I only have to answer two out of six questions and I know there should be two out of those topics.

I’m also a huge fan of documentaries and podcasts.  Reading all the time gets really boring and after a while I tend to lose focus so by switching up my tactics I tend to get more done.  And while, yes, documentaries and podcasts are going to be more general than the specifics from reading and my notes they offer a good contextual overview that truthfully in history is really nice to have.  For my Modern Scottish History class, I’ve been watching the BBC Scotland series.  It’s a little broad but again, it’s a really nice way of condensing the information into something easily understood by a wide audience.

I’m also a big fan of breaking out the markers and colouring some spiffy charts or drawing my notes.  I’m made quite a few for my archaeology and osteology classes.  You can check those out below.

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But, lastly, and arguably most importantly I go do other things.  I’ve gone to the NMS, running, and climbing this week.  I’ve also hit up the pub quite a few times when 18c Scottish politics just gets a bit too annoying.  I take the time I need to study but then realise when I’ve hit the study limit and put the books away for a while… and play Tomb Raider… I mean Lara Croft is an archaeologist so it does relate… I actually just got back from seeing the new Disney film, Moana. It was so good and the animation was beautiful.

So that’s what I’ve been doing this week.  A lot of studying but also making sure to take some time to go to the gym or go for a run to get some fresh air before exams drive me crazy… enjoy this nice video instead of a weekly vlog.