Ok, I'm starting off with an apology. I am literally the worst blogger in the world! The last time I posted I was in Germany. That feels like a lifetime ago. So anyway, a very quick update on my life since then...how on earth am I going to do this concisely?
- In March 2011, there was a fire in my house! One of the motion sensing security lights on the outside of our house shorted out, and the spark caused the entire garage and our extension to set on fire. I was in Germany at the time, but I was properly freaked out! I had to go home for a weekend so I could sort through my stuff - loads of things got smoke damaged so we had to send it away to be cleaned, but there's not much point in having stuff cleaned if you don't want it in the first place! So that happened, and my family had to move into a rented house while our house was being rebuilt; my mum had been wanting a new kitchen for ages, so this seemed like the perfect time to do it. When we finally moved back in, we were living in half a house for quite a while. Literally the only liveable room downstairs was the living room (ironic) and there were no carpets in most of the rest of the house. But it eventually got sorted and we now have a lovely new kitchen and TV room.
- I graduated from university! Final year was both the most stressful and the most fun year ever, I had a ton of work and lived in a slum of a house, but I also had lots of good times with my friends. Here is a picture of me in my graduation robes.
- I must be mad, but after all that final year malarkey, I decided I would go back to the same university and do a Masters degree! So I'm back in Birmingham now, studying for a Masters in Translation. I miss all my undergrad friends, but I have made lots of new ones and my house is a lot nicer, bar a few issues, but even with these issues, this house is a palace compared to where I lived last year. Everyone on the MA course is really friendly, apart from one person, who I think deserves his own paragraph, but there's no easy way to rant about him without getting in trouble for slanderous comments or something, so I'll just say that he's annoying and leave it at that. People who know me will know who I'm talking about.
- Essays. As expected, life as a Masters student is so much more intense than life as a lowly undergraduate. However, the essays weren't as bad as I thought they were going to be. I was genuinely expecting ten THOUSAND word essays every couple of months, but actually Masters essays are no longer than anything I did during the undergrad, with the exception of the dissertation. However, this does not mean they are any easier. At the end of last term I was set a 3000 word essay, and I stupidly left the whole thing to the last two weeks of term. Normally, I struggle to even reach a word limit, but this time I had so much to say that I went over by a thousand words! I was so panicked trying to finish it in the last week of term that I didn't even get to celebrate my birthday at uni! :( The essay was meant to be submitted by 12 noon on the 6th of December, and I submitted it at 9am on the 7th. NEVER AGAIN. I got the mark back recently, and I got a 58. In undergrad terms, that's 2 marks off a 2:1. Considering the fact that I only managed to cut it down to 3600 words and it was late, that's not as spectacularly bad as I thought. I'm determined to do better for this term's essays, of which I have three, but I also have the D-word to think about. I have to submit my proposal by March, which is terrifying because I have no idea what I want to write about!
- Birthday! Like I said, I didn't get to celebrate my birthday at uni, but I did have an awesome celebration with my family. I went to see The War of the Worlds at the O2 Arena in London! For those of you who don't know, The War of the Worlds is a novel by HG Wells about Earth being invaded by Martians. In the 70s, a man called Jeff Wayne turned this novel into a musical story, which he recorded onto an album. Then a stage show was made of the album, and recently a new stage show has been made to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Jeff Wayne album. The show toured the UK in December, and by sheer chance, the only date when it was showing at the O2 was on my birthday! So my dad booked the tickets, and it was the most epic thing I have ever seen in my life! I first discovered WOTW when one of the songs/pieces/chapters (?) came up on my dad's iPod in the car, and I asked him what on earth it was. He explained it, and gave me the money to download the album from iTunes. I listened to it about a week before I saw the show, and I was totally hooked. The stage show was so clever! There was action going on on the stage, and at the same time there were animations on a screen behind the stage, like a film, except the sound was provided by a string orchestra and a band. At one point a massive alien machine appeared on the stage, and I must have been distracted because I didn't even notice it coming down from the rafters, so when I saw it I jumped out of my skin! They also had a holographic projection of Liam Neeson as the narrator. It was so futuristic! The Martians were horrific, I'm surprised I didn't have nightmares about them! I also got lots of lovely presents - clothes, DVDs, jewellery, the usual kind of thing.
- Christmas! The Christmas holidays were a bit of a mishmash if I'm honest, as most of it was spent slaving over essays. I didn't get to see any friends while I was at home, but I did spend lots of time with my family. On Christmas Day my granny and my auntie came to our house for Christmas dinner. It was all a very civilised affair, we had roast turkey and pulled crackers and drank champagne, and my brother and I got lots of awesome presents. Among my favourites were the Strictly Come Dancing 2013 annual, a very cosy silvery grey jumper from my brother, and a remote control gyro helicopter thing. After the relatively chilled Christmas Day, Boxing Day was a whole other kettle of fish. We went to see my other auntie (on my mum's side) and my cousins. The difference between them and my granny and auntie on my dad's side is that they never fail to make me laugh. That doesn't mean I love my granny and auntie on my dad's side any less, just that the time I spend with them is different. At my auntie's house, we had a yummy dinner/late lunch of roast pork, then we played board games and my uncle teased me with his deliberate bad French, saying things like "enchanté" (enchanted/pleased to meet you) "tous les arbres" (all the trees) and "dans ma bouche" (in my mouth). All nonsense really! One of my favourite moments was when we were playing a game called Who's in the Bag, where we had to play in teams, and take it in turns to pick cards out of a bag and describe a person on the card to our team. At one point my auntie picked "Long John Silver", did a very convincing impression of a pirate saying "Arrrr Jim lad!" and my cousin guessed "Captain Birdseye"! I collapsed into giggles!
- My auntie's 50th. Two days after Boxing Day, we went to Raymond Blanc's restaurant, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. I still don't know how we managed to keep this quiet from my auntie when we were at her house two days previously! Both our families were there, as well as several close friends of my auntie and uncle. Now I'm not particularly adventurous when it comes to food, so I was pretty apprehensive about this uber posh restaurant with its uber posh food. To my pleasant surprise, I actually really liked most of the food! I'm not going to brag too much about it, because that will make me sound like a spoilt little Daddy's girl, which I most certainly am not. I'll just say that we had a 5 course meal and it was all delicious.
- I think we're just about up to date, so now I will finally tell you what's been happening over the last month. I'll start with what I like to call a "Megan fail story" - this is something that is so much of an epic fail that it could only really happen to me. On Thursday after my 2 hour lecture, I went to Tesco and foolishly dropped my debit card when I took it out of the paying machine, so both the shop assistant and the security guard had to help me find it. As embarrassing as that was, it wasn't the "Megan fail" that this story is actually about. I got back to my house and discovered that I had lost my keys! I had to bang on the door and get my housemate to let me in! Once I got in, I frantically searched the kitchen for my keys, and I was panicking because my room was also locked, so I thought I would have to sleep on the sofa in my clothes! About 10 minutes later, I decided to walk back to Tesco to see if I had dropped my keys in the kerfuffle with the card. Oooh, lots of alliteration there :D Unfortunately Tesco didn't have them, so then I stupidly decided to trek all the way back to uni (at this point it was about 7pm and it was dark and snowy and cold), but all the buildings were locked. So I walked all the way back to my house, stopping at Tesco on the way for one last tentative check, got let in by another housemate, then I did what anyone would do in a panic situation; phoned my mum. She told me to ring the letting agency, which I did, but they didn't pick up. I looked them up on the internet and found an emergency number, rang it only to be told to ring the local office again. Catch-22 much! Not helpful. This time they did pick up, I told them about the keys and that I had medication in my room that I absolutely had to take (I have epilepsy). They asked me my name and as soon as I told them, they said that someone had found a set of keys with Megan on them! I never thought my love of personalised things would come in handy! It's also a good thing that this agency gives all its tenants a keyring with their logo on, for such situations as this. The man on the phone said that someone near the Edgbaston Cricket Ground had found my keys, so the very nice man drove out to get them and dropped them off at my house! I have never been more grateful to anyone. Not much else of note has happened, apart from crazy amounts of snow and boring lectures, although I did meet a guy who looks exactly like Neville Longbottom aka Matthew Lewis, circa Deathly Hallows as opposed to cute pudgy Neville from the earlier films. I'm not gonna lie, I fangirled. I guess I'll leave it there for now, more news on my oh so exciting life soon!