Thanksgiving at a friends, I was treated to turkey, cranberry, sweet potatoes and the (apparently) essential pumpkin pie. It was a great meal and had a nice relaxing day - we even watched gavin and Stacey, I'm educating Americans about the motherland one at a time. It turns out yanks are obsessed with pumpkin around this time of the year, they make pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin biscuits. Just about anything is given a pumpkin makeover. It's kind of a shame I don't like pumpkin.
Snowboarding at Keystone, I was with some locals who were really good so we did some powder skiing in the backcountry that was a little challenging for me, I fell over many times, it was a really nice run though - through the trees and in the outback - it was like playing SSX3. I will come back when I'm better and I won't fall over as much.
Snowboarding with Kevin, it was nice to go with someone who was worse than me, (sorry Kevin) it was a needed ego boost. We skied one of the green runs many times which -although at times is boring - is good for improving my ability to board fast on flat ground (on a snowboard going on flat ground is actually quite hard). A long day on the slopes left me feeling slightly drained but very happy.
After a thanksgiving break where I did minimal work I calculated how much work I'd have to do to get my end of term essays done. It turns out I have to write about 600 words a day until the end of term :
Sleeping has become increasingly difficult since it's become cold. We put the heater on which warms up the room well, the problem is leaving the heating on for a while triggers the freezer to go into some sort of compensatory frenzy where it whirrs at high speed to try and keep itself cool. So every night is an epic battle of Heating vs freezer - like Alien vs Predator, Batman vs the Joker... Cardiff city vs Swansea.
I tried to apply for accommodation on campus at Lancaster for my third year, after logging on to the system I was greeted by an error message that read:
"We regret that you are unable to apply because your Accommodation Eligibility status is invalid"
It turns out this is happening to all of the study abroad students, basically the system is useless. It doesn't really make a difference that I'm not in Lancaster - I think if I went to the office and talked to the adviser she would just scream "DOES NOT COMPUTE, DOES NOT COMPUTE" and her head would explode. Either that or it would be a very tedious scene similar to the little Britain sketch where 'computer says no'.
Carrying on my 600 words a day, I'm ahead of schedule thankfully
Trevor got an electric drum kit so we now jam quite frequently, it's nice to have something to look forward to when you back from lectures.
Worked all day, then met up with my host family to watch the xmas parade on pearl street. Was kind of an anti-climax it must be said - it was probably too cold for a lot of people to venture outside. It was a very American event, floats from the local fire brigade, scout groups etc. Some of the floats were kind of cool but my rubbish camera has a terrible flash so the pictures turned out badly - unfortunately you can barely see Miss Colorado! I also think it's a little cruel making the girl scouts sit on a float for hours in the freezing cold and have them wave and shout at people, they seemed so tired by the end it was like being wished merry Christmas by a chorus of dying furbies. Standard ping pong and halo in the evening.
Just when I thought my dreams were becoming less peculiar and less frequent I had a spell of weird dreams, the resulting texts read:
End of the world pendrive
Heart eating cannibal
Punch goose in bathroom
Rhino-racing American hicks
Days 118 through 131 have been a nightmare-ish time of studying, exams, more studying, packing and not doing anything fun. It's all worth it now though, I'm sat in my room drinking my remaining cider and eating ben n jerrys. I'm trying to stay awake for as long as I can so adjusting to the time difference will be easier. Thanks everyone at Boulder for a great term, I cannot wait to get home though. Let's just hope the snow in the UK isn't so bad that I get stranded somewhere.
Day 132 - The voyage
Well the day started simply enough, waking up to snow and carrying my suitcase outside where I was met by my host family. I went to the international office to get some travel signatures and then had breakfast at my host family's house. Then the trouble began, I had been asked to help some friends of my host family move house, not a big deal you may think but in the snow I spent hours throwing sand around the roads and helping direct the moving lorry. It also turns out the family weren't actually doing any helping, the 3 main removal men were 3 mercenaries - me, an alcoholic hick and a Mexican guy who knew very little English. A recipe for disaster you might say. After a few hours moving cupboards and sofas and beds and all sorts of heavy things I left the house and caught the bus to the airport. At this point the heavy lifting had left me tired and with a dodgy back, which was to be aggravated during the many hours to come.
I got to the airport ok only to find my flight was delayed by 4 hours. So I hung around for a while and went to the boarding gate at 9pm. The useless flight staff said that the delays were due to 'weather, and that there was more "weather" in London'. Very useful love, what exactly does 'more weather' entail?
The first 8 hours of the flight went pretty well, I took some sleeping pills and was out for about 7 hours. As we were flying over wales we were told that heathrow was closed and that we were being diverted to east midlands airport. Not too bad I thought its only 2pm after all - shouldn't take too long to get home - how wrong I was. Due to some indecision as to whether we would take off again and go to heathrow we sat on the runway at east midlands for about 4 hours. We then had to get off anyway. Kind of annoying. Unloading the bags took about 2 hours in which time I spent much money trying to contact my dad on payphones. At 8 45 I left the airport and got a bus to derby, then took a train to Birmingham, then a train to Redditch. By this time it was the early hours of Sunday morning - bearing in mind I set off on Friday morning. I have omitted some of the anguish I went through as I shouldn't bore you all with my sob story - it may have taken 40 hours but at least I was home.
So now the xmas holidays begin, due to my ever increasing american fan base I might be carrying on the blog over xmas to educate the yanks in what a UK Christmas is like, if I'm not too busy that is.
Merry Christmas everyone