Monday, May 14, 2012

Here at the End of All Things

So I’ve finished exams and am nearly done with my final essay for my semester here in Wales. The last week…it feels weird. Being so displaced from home was a bit frightening at first, you sort of go into survival mode and everything that’s different from normal life becomes like a flashing billboard that’s on 24/7. But after a while, my flat here became the new base of operations, my home away from home. When I had a chance to travel, like during Easter holiday, if I thought of “when I get back…” I would think of getting back to Swansea, not Oklahoma. I really do think I’m going to miss this place (for more than just the ocean view and distinct lack of homework). But yeah. Before I go sentimental old lady on this post, I’ll turn the focus to a wrap-up of what Wales has really been about for me. I’ve told you about the awesomeness of university alongside the beach, all the great outdoors fun stuff to do, castles to explore, house movie nights, and tea (and other liquids) that everyone loves to drink. I have yet to describe the wonderful amounts of vacation time that this side of the globe requires in the education system. Bank holidays and three week breaks are littered throughout the calendar, and it is splendid. Over Easter holiday, I went with a few friends to Spain and Italy. Memories are made as much by the people you’re with as the places you go. We saw some amazing sights, like the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s David, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and numerous other old things that existed before our country. We planked on or in front of a lot of really old or cool stuff. I punched over the Leaning Tower of Pisa. True story. We ate tons of pizza and I nearly died as I found out I was allergic to Sangria (a Spanish drink; never trust a Spaniard, unless his name is Inigo Montoya, and he promises that you’ll reach the top of the cliff alive). The others I was traveling with, luckily, found the witch doctor Mad Max and… okay, enough of that, point is that I survived Spain. Spain was exciting and colorful, with dancing and nightlife and tasty tapas, and Italy was like paradise, architecture and art and beauty and sunshine (which the Welsh are continually deprived of). We eventually made it back to Swansea and I hit the ground running, because apparently, most students use Easter holiday to prepare for final exams and essays. Huh, who knew, right? I made it through my “this-three-hour-exam-is-your-entire-grade-for-the-class” Medieval Encounters exam without a hitch; actually, I’m pretty proud of that one, I wrote enough to fill an entire essay booklet and half of another (they’re sort of like blue books). And now I’m laboring away at my final Arthurian adaptations essay on Jane Yolen, and trying to avoid running to the beach or clicking the Netflix button on the toolbar. It’s been a struggle between the show Supernatural and academic productivity, but I know I’ll start getting antsy in a couple days and develop proper tunnel-vision for the essay. It always happens. Then I’ve got to pack it all up, the shuttle launches in 
T minus six days. I’ll be meeting up with some other Hillcats in Dublin, where we’ll start our two-week Ireland extravaganza, and then I’ve got a week in Egypt and a week in Israel. After the marathon traveling is done, I’ll finally be back home and stateside. I’m looking forward to the travel and to the eventual break I’ll get to take before classes start back this fall. It’s all rather, well, big. I don’t quite know what to do with myself. I do love it, though.
“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson