There's a reason I'm not a poet

Archive for May, 2015

Mao-tivated

Slight delay in posting this but my Chinese classes have ended! Aww. By the way in case you didn’t know I’ve been taking Chinese classes. And they’ve been great fun! It was a bit strange cause nearly everyone else in the class had come from the “level one” beforehand, and so there were a bunch of times when they were talking about vocab that I didn’t know as if it were common knowledge. But generally it wasn’t difficult to keep up, and the course I did a few years ago gave me a really good grounding in the language, so I was quite happy in the class.

I feel like I made a bit of progress with the language, but as I’ve obviously been working this time I haven’t really had the time much to sit down and just geek out on my zhongwen like I did a few years ago. And as the course wasn’t as intense (ie there weren’t two exams at the end of it) there wasn’t really any pressure to study in between classes either. So I probably didn’t advance as much as I could have done. Which isn’t really the end of the world.

So it raises the question of what to do next. I’m currently thinking of taking a gap yah after F2, and during that time I’d quite like to go to China for a bit and explore. Ideally I’d like to be able to survive on my own while I’m out there, which would obviously involve a bit of speaking the language. I don’t feel like I’m there yet, so a bit more learning is required.

My next placement is A&E, and what with the irregular shift patterns I don’t think I could realistically commit to going to a class at the same time each week. Well, maybe I could, but I feel like I need a contingency plan. So I’m thinking about the possibility of getting private lessons; they’d be less fun obviously because you’re on your lonesome, but I feel like I’d learn quite a lot.

So yeah, the dream of becoming Asian is still alive.

M

Jack of All Trades, Master of Arts

It’s a fact universally acknowledged that all people who have had three graduations will be in want of a fourth.

So, I headed back last Friday to the old Alma Mater with my parents to pick up a free degree. After six years in the place, I’ve got a BA as well as my medical degree, but all undergrads who’ve studied there become eligible to have their Bachelor of Arts converted into a Master of Arts degree. Without any extra work being required! All you have to do is remain an upstanding member of society, ie avoid getting

  1. Bankrupt
  2. Thrown in jail
  3. Divorced

Yeah.

We flew over and I picked up my stuff for graduation, and immediately started running into a huge number of familiar faces, setting up the theme for the weekend. It was pretty great seeing so many people again, as practically the whole year was back at the same time. There was maybe 100-150 people from my year in college, so there was a whole bunch of people I’d lost contact with who it was great fun catching up with. People are doing Real Life Things like moving to exciting locations, buying property, heck one guy even brought his daughter along.

Of course, with a year group that big, there have to be people that you weren’t best buds with, that you at best exchanged awkward hellos with when you came across them in the street. Aaaaaand that was another part of the weekend: there was a hefty number of times accidentally getting caught chatting to someone while walking towards one of your actual friends/alcohol. It was flipping hilarious watching people go through this, and deliciously painful when it happened to me.

Graduation was preceded by a dinner the night before, which again was a great hark back to old times. Food, wine and port was served, we got screwed over by seating mayhem, and the serving staff told us off for being too noisy. The ceremony itself involved a lot of standing, a lot of waiting, and a lot of Latin. All the pomp and fuss is quite fun, but by the time I went up to the front I was a bit keen to get out pf there into the sun! We had lunch in college and hung around on the grass chatting- we ended up being the very last to leave out of the 300 or so people there, as one of my friends was taking 595 photos. Yup.

That night we headed out for dinner to a South American tapas place for my birthday. It ended up being a bit of a logistic nightmare, what with sixteen people ordering off three different menus and sharing 2 for 1 cocktails, but the food was class and the craic was 90, and the sitting down meant I had a bit more time to chat to one or two people I hadn’t really managed to yet.

We ended the night with a walk around college at dusk, reminiscing and stirring up nostalgia. With a sit on the fountain I said goodbye to college life. For the first time I don’t know when I’ll next be back in Cambridge, which is strange. I had a flipping great six years there, but that’s all over, and Cambridge is now just a place I used to live.

M

Island Getaway

It’s my birthday this Saturday (woooo!) and I’m going to be over in England for my last in a long line of graduations. I’ve taken this week off (another woooo!) and decided to head out to Rathlin Island last weekend with a few friends, partly to see the place and partly to celebrate my birthday.

I’ve seen the island from afar quite a large number of times from the north coast, but as far as I can remember I’ve never actually been there. It’s quite a small island, about 6 miles long with around 100 people on it. We got the ferry over, working on our quads against the rocking of the boat, and made our way to a hostel a few minutes walk from the harbour. We got a bit sidetracked along the way when we found an OUTDOOR GYM, getting a bit excited as it was essentially a playground.

We went for a walk around the island before heading to the pub for some grub and some drinks. Inevitably this turned into a bit of a boogie. There were only around twenty people in the bar, and most of them all knew each other of course, but the atmosphere was so friendly and welcoming that it meant for some brilliant craic. We hogged the jukebox a little bit and had a boogie, and a bunch of the locals joined in. The electricity wasn’t working in half of the bar so it was just like being in a dark nightclub in the real world.

We ended up staying out quite late, dancing/chatting/eating birthday cake/getting offered jeeps until the early hours of the morning, and it had been a while since I’d had a drunken boogieing night out with my friends, so I was in a pretty great mood by the end of it and well tuckered out. We slept in a fair bit the next day to work off the alcohol, so missed the morning, but then headed out, got one of the world’s best sausage rolls, and then went for a trek up round the island.

The weather wasn’t too kind to us over the weekend: there was a fair amount of rain, and an¬†awful lot of wind. This meant we didn’t really get to do the whole cycling/puffin-watching set of activities I had mentally planned in my head, but the scenery on the island was still pretty great. I don’t tend to do too many outdoorsy-type stuff, but when I do I appreciate how much of it Northern Ireland has to offer.

So yeah, bit of a short trip but really enjoyed myself. I’ll definitely go back some day, if for nothing else to finally see those puffins!

M

Things I’ve Learnt Tonight

1. Dancing your heart out in walking boots can be sore

2. Baby guinnesses are glorious

3. If you’re nice enough a woman called Nuala will lend you her jeep to drive around the island.