Apparently, I’m more of a pessimist than I care to admit, because the idea of this year being half over already fills me with an overwhelming sense of despair.
Half over? Already?
We finished our final taught module this past Friday. I have a few weeks off for Easter break, and then we’ll have two field study modules. And then I’ll write my dissertation. And then I will have a Master’s Degree.
What an incredible 6 months it has been. I have visited 2.5 new countries*, I have made some incredible friends, and I have learned so much about a subject that I’m completely head-over-heels in love with.
When did I get so lucky?
Here’s to you, Newcastle. May the next six months be just as wonderful as the first.
The uni hosted a Discover Islam week, and they had a tent set up by the student union where you could ask questions, listen to guest speakers, try samosas, get henna tattoos, try on a hijab, and have a calligrapher write your name in Arabic.
We had Stake Conference in Sunderland on Sunday, and I experienced a miracle. I was already at the bus stop when I realized I had left my map on my desk. (Conference was held at a different chapel than the one I attend most weeks.) If I went back to get it, I would miss the bus and arrive late to Conference. My phone was also almost out of juice because I had failed to turn on the outlet when I plugged in my charger the night before, so I wasn’t going to be able to use the map app for very long. I said a prayer asking for a miracle, and got on the bus. I made it to the metro stop closest to the chapel and tried to make my way to church via memory–but then someone I knew drove by and recognized me! They turned around and offered me a lift to the church. I am grateful for tender mercies and for a Heavenly Father who hears and answers prayers!
I walk down this street on my way to and from class every day, and I am in love. The houses and flats are so lovely. If I end up staying here after graduation, I’d really love to rent one of them.
This is my name written in Arabic! Isn’t it lovely?
The one thing I don’t like about Newcastle is how much trash there is. It is pretty bad. The street sweepers keep the roads and sidewalks pretty tidy, but the park is full of debris. It makes me so sad.
I am working on a super top secret project, which may or may not come to actual fruition. If it does, it’s going to be rad. If it doesn’t, these storyboards were a complete waste of time.
One of my favorite movies, Penelope, is about a pig-faced girl who wants to be a horticulturist. During one scene, she spots some helleborus orientalis and gets really excited about it. Naturally, because I like the film, this flower is also one of my favorites. I had never seen on in real life before, but it is quite popular here! Such a pretty little thing, isn’t it?
I went down to Hull for a YSA dance with some friends. The dance itself was kind of underwhelming, but the 2 1/2 hour trip (one way) was fantastic fun. Also, look at what Sandra is holding. That is apple flavored soda. APPLE. I don’t really drink soda these days, but that was sure tempting. (And please ignore the random sliver of my face. I couldn’t get us all in one shot no matter how many times I tried…)
I had the opportunity to go to the Preston Temple with the YSA group on Saturday. I feel so blessed to be part of this group, and I love every single person in this photo. What a great group of Saints! (Photo courtesy of Beth Choi)
I think I might do a series called “Things That Are Different In England,” and this is an example. When you have a terrible headache on a Wednesday, you don’t take Acetaminophen. You take Paracetamol. Tuck that little tidbit of wisdom away for the next time your brain is thumping against your skull like your neighbor’s subwoofer at 10pm.
I have long assumed that Mother’s Day was an American holiday, but apparently not! The only difference is that Mother’s Day happens in March in the UK instead of May. So Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful moms out there–but especially mine. <3
We took a field trip to Stockbridge Technology Centre on Monday. Stockbridge is a greenhouse research centre, where they look at different fertilizers, pest control methods, plant disease management, growing mediums, etc. This is the LED 4 Plants study, in which they are investigating the impact of different wavelengths of light on growing plants! It was really fascinating!
On Friday, I went to hear my friend Daryl’s band, The Pastures, play at a pub called Mr. Darcy’s. The opening act was another up-and-coming folk band called Twisted Folk. Both bands were quite good.
In honor of Pi Day (a phenomenon unique to those parts of the world that write their dates in MM/DD/YY format), I prepared 48 mini pies to take on our YSA temple trip. I made my Husband Gettin’ Apple Pie, Banoffee Pie (sort of…), and a Vanilla Cream Pie that just might be good enough to give the apple pie a run for its money.
* I will come visit you for realzies soon, Ireland. I promise…