Saturday, 30 January 2010

There's a first time for everything

Today I put a deposit on a house for the first time in my life. We have been viewing many student houses over the last few days and today we saw the perfect one. It is wonderful compared to these halls of residence and now that we know that it's ours we all want to move in straight away.
The lease starts on 1st July so I can go up whenever I want in my car with a couple friends who can sleep on the couch in summer.

I haven't been blogging much lately due to the fact that I've been occupied with all these house viewings and the only topic I would have been able to blog about would have been the sheer amount of work I have to do.
I have had to put my reading of the Spanish novel, La sombra del viento, on the back-burner because we have now started a new Spanish literature module in which I have been set the task of reading a whole book by Wednesday.
So I'm currently juggling reading with the preparation of my presentation on climate change which I will give for my Spanish oral exam. It's weird how fast this first year is going.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Back in Caerdydd

So once again I bade farewell to home on Saturday, shaking off the cobwebs from my messy farewell party from the night before.
I spent the weekend with my parents in a hotel up here, showed them round and, most importantly, ate out at some lovely restaurants; an occurrence which will become pretty scarce in the months that are to follow.

Today I got stuck into my lessons again with surprising enthusiasm. After such a long Christmas break, it is nice to have a worthwhile outlet to put my mind at work.

I'm still plodding away at my Spanish novel, La sombra del viento. I put a good two hours into it tonight.
I found a quote in it that resonated with me somewhat, which I will leave you with:

- Los libros son aburridos.
- Los libros son espejos: sólo se ve en ellos lo que uno ya lleva dentro - replicó Julián.

"Books are boring"
"Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you," answered Julián.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Write me a story

I've just noticed that for my first Spanish grammar assignment this year I need to write a short story of 300 words ending with the phrase Se miraron el uno al otro y sonrieron, meaning They looked at one another and smiled. 

I'm going to start coming up with ideas soon but I thought it would be amusing to see what you guys come up with for story ideas. So if you're reading this and thinking 'I could write 300 words ending in that phrase', feel free to do it (in English) as a comment to this post. 

You never know; I may end up using it.

Monday, 18 January 2010

The Finish Line

The exams are done; banished from my head and leaving my mind clearer. And I sit here back in Plymouth once again, typing this. My proper return to Cardiff will be this Saturday. Until then I can relax.
The exams all went really well, and I found out today that I got a B in my Spanish assessed grammar test which I did before Christmas. This was one of the best marks out of everyone on the course so I'm pretty happy and have nothing to complain about right now.
I read the whole of Pasta per Due, a little Italian book we had to read over Christmas, on the train today. Even though it's a laughably simple and short book, it's still satisfying to say you have read three books in Italian when you have barely been studying the language for three months.
Right now my head is filled with dreams of travelling to Spain in the summer. I have never been so I am planning on going for at least a month and making it a brilliant trip.
I'm thinking of possibly setting up a travel blog when I go, which I may use for all posting while travelling; especially on my year abroad.
Also my trip to Italy is at the end of the March.
I think this year should be a good one.

Friday, 15 January 2010

The Universe

I just watched this video. It fascinated me and got me thinking about all the different galaxies out there and how our whole civilization, everything we've ever amounted to as a planet, is just a mere microscopic insignificant speck in the grand scheme of the universe.
Surely there must be other planets out there that just so happen to have the perfect conditions for life. If our planet is 1 of 9 (or 8 if you dismiss Pluto) in our solar system. It is the only planet of these 9 to have life.
So if 1 in 9 planets in this one solar system have life, then surely out of the billions of other planets out there, we can't be the only ones.

I leave you with the video.

Good Night.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

First Hurdle

I had my Italian history exam today.
I sailed through it I think. The question I had ruthlessly prepared came up. So I basically just regurgitated my pre-prepared material from my brain onto paper.
In search of some form of celebration, me and Lucy decided to head to The Woodville for a couple pints and some lunch. We were joined by Giovanna, Momin and Lucy's friend, Rosie. It was nice to have a little moment of relaxation. I should be going to a party with my Erasmus student friends tonight.
Then tomorrow it's back to religious studying for my Education exam on Monday.

Sorry guys. Not much to blog about right now. There isn't much interesting going on my life as of late due to exams being at the forefront of everything.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

A Sunday Smile

There's nothing like a decent cup of tea. Heralded mascot of Britain, the humble cup of tea never fails to boost morale during these cold winter months. Its fellow cupboard-dwelling cousin, coffee, looks on jealously every time I reach for the tea bags, wishing it was in America where it would truly be appreciated.

I retract my statement from my previous post about the snow being shit down here. It was a classic case of saying something too soon, as over the last few days Britain has been blanketed in beautiful white powdery layers of snow. A few days ago, I woke up and looked outside my bedroom window to behold the results of a night where mother nature had been working hard painting me a beautiful picture.

The novelty soon wore off.
Snow seems to make Britain come to a stand still. Transport became erratic with delays and cancellations everywhere. And what better than to have this than at a time where I need to be travelling up to Cardiff in a couple of days for exams?

But the cup of tea tells me in its warm reassuring voice, "Relax, it'll all be fine." And I believe it.

I got a haircut yesterday and it no longer resembles a bush. On the way down from the salon, I stopped off at University Bookshop, a small and cosy little book store where as many books as possible have been crammed in. It's like an Alladin's cave of literature and knowledge.

Naturally, I headed straight for the foreign language section. On perusing the dusty little wooden shelves, I selected my first victim, Crónica de una muerte anunciada. Another piece of glorious Spanish fiction for my linguistic quest for self-improvement. I also purchased a copy of Marcovaldo, an Italian fiction book which looks to be at my level of reading. I will tackle it in the summer when I have more time on my hands.

I then went to Drake Circus in Waterstones. I still am yet to finish La Sombra del Viento however I am almost half way through and have fallen in love with it so much that I chose to buy the English version, The Shadow of the Wind, which will serve two functions. Firstly, rather than having a dictionary by my side as I read the Spanish version, I will merely cement my understanding of the Spanish version by taking a glance at difficult passages in the English version. Secondly, I plan on one day reading the English version all the way through because it is such a wonderful book.

This blog came in a moment of procrastination from my Italian history revision. I better get back to it.

That's all folks.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Goodbye old friend

We took down the Christmas tree yesterday, and with its departure came a feeling of disillusionment as I shook off the last remnants of glittery tinsel and magic I had been submerged in for the last couple of weeks.

Life is back to normal. It's got to that stage when the cold weather (and what little snow we get down here on the coast) isn't welcome any more and I just want it to be summer again. I've finally finished my essay for my Education & Society module which is a huge weight off my shoulders but with the disenchantment that came after we lovingly boxed up the Christmas tree and put it in the loft, where it will wait patiently until next year, I realised that I will be returning to Cardiff soon. And that means there are exams to prepare for; something which I plan on doing from now until I go back up there.

In other news, I'm still reading La Sombra del Viento. I'm almost two fifths of the way through now. It's a slow but satisfying achievement and I'm trying to work on my foreign reading technique to make me read faster yet still understand the plot.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Another year, another hangover

I lie here clumsily stabbing at my iPod touch, a defeated man; defeated by his own over-indulgence in alcohol. Every year I overdo it. I never learn.

I'd like to wish whoever reads this a happy new year.

I celebrated the new year at Grace's house and me, Sherwin, Luke and Nathan went out to North Hill after. We saw Dani Jackson, a good friend of ours who moved to Australia recently so it was a nice surprise to see her back for new years. I ended up rolling in at 6.

I'm supposed to be doing more to my social mobility essay today. I wrote another paragraph for it and then hit a brick wall because there is something wrong with a website meaning I can't access a journal I need. All the reading didn't do my hangover any favours so here I lay, disappointed in myself in what appears to be a very unproductive new years day.

I've got work tomorrow too. Bollocks.