Saturday, 23 March 2013

March is a strange month.

The end of term is finally here, and I'm not really sure how I feel about it. The past few weeks have been incredibly stressful. The end of term is always weird, because I often find myself feeling relieved that it's over, but at the same time terrified at the amount of work I will have over the holidays. March is such a strange month, after the depressingness of January, being right after Christmas and just dragging on and on. Then February disappears in the blink of an eye, being so short. March is that awkward month between winter and spring where you can't really predict the weather. I often notice that no matter what the weather is like on the last day of February, the 1st of March is always sunny. This has always baffled me, cos the weather is normally a gradual thing, but then March hits and suddenly BAM sun. However, this year the last couple of days of February were actually sunny, and the 1st of March was grey and cloudy. I hated that, because the arrival of the sun finally meant that I didn't have to wear a million layers every time I left the house, and then two days later the clouds came back. Even worse than this, it snowed yesterday! What the heck, it's supposed to be spring! Stupid British weather! Sometimes I think the seasons just don't exist any more.

Between all the essays and lectures, a lot of crazy things have happened this month. I suppose I should start with the craziest of them all:

Guild Elections.

This was madness. My housemate Vicki decided to run for VP Sport, which meant that for weeks on end the house was full of cardboard and moving around in the living room was damn near impossible. I wasn't even able to help out with the sign painting, because I don't have any old clothes that I don't mind getting messy. So I took to keeping to my room as much as possible while this was happening. Once the campaigning actually started, the madness increased to an even more ridiculous level. Jen, another one of my housemates, was managing Vicki's campaign, and she quickly became very short tempered. So much so that we developed a catchphrase: "poke the bear." This basically meant that she would quite easily bite your head off if you annoyed her when she was in a bad mood. This is the second time I've been involved in a Guild election campaign; the first time was last year when I helped my friend Jess out with her campaign to become VP Welfare, although not quite as intensively, as I didn't live with her. You can check out her blog post about the elections here: The whole two weeks of campaigning and voting were full of ups and downs. I had a lot of fun putting signs up, handing out lollies and wearing a ridiculous amount of purple. I also got to know lots of people. People who were also on Vicki's campaign team, other people running for VP Sport, and friends of my housemates who were running for other positions. Unfortunately, there was quite a lot of vandalism. Some bright spark thought it would be funny to paint erm...certain parts of male anatomy....over people's signs with the most unpleasant slogan "VOTE BONER". Thankfully we were able to take it in our stride and have a laugh about it. In the end it was all worth it; Vicki ended up winning, in the most tense election I have ever seen. I went to watch the results in Beorma Bar in the Guild, and I had never been so nervous in my life! My heart was in my mouth! I'm really happy for Vicki, and I hope she makes a real difference to sport at the uni next year.

Languages Ball

On the 7th of March, the languages departments held a masquerade ball. I was really excited about this, as I hadn't been to a masquerade ball since my freshers ball in 2008. I bought a silver sequinned Venetian style mask, and I wore a turquoise dress which I had previously worn to last year's Gradball. Here is a photo of me at the ball.

I had a lot of fun at the ball, but at the same time it wasn't as much fun as I expected. The food was lovely and the venue was gorgeous - we went to the Macdonald Burlington Hotel in the centre of Birmingham. Unfortunately not very many of my friends in final year went, so I didn't know that many people. I did get to know other people of course, but it wasn't the same as catching up with old friends. Afterwards, some of us went to Vodbull at Risa. I used to love Vodbull when it was at Oceana, even though it was always really hot and cramped, but ever since it moved I haven't enjoyed it as much. What am I saying, I haven't even been clubbing properly in ages! Anyway, I lost the people I was with almost straight away, so I spent most of the night either wandering around trying to find people, or following people around so I wouldn't get lost again. In the end I left on my own. I hate doing that, getting a taxi on my own always unnerves me, even if I know the area. Perhaps I have come to the horrible realisation that I'm getting old and clubbing really isn't my thing anymore. I strongly believe that how much you enjoy something depends largely on who you're with, so maybe if I were to go clubbing with people I actually know well, I might enjoy myself more.


The following week, I had my last official concert with the UoB Windband. We played some really enjoyable pieces and it went really well. I was kind of sad though, windband has been a big part of my life for the past 4 years, and I will miss playing with them. Luckily, the concert wasn't my last ever performance with them, as I've decided to take part in the Summer Festival of Music, which is a week of performances by various music ensembles at the beginning of June. So there's no need to be too sad just yet. I would really like to find some kind of music thing to do after I graduate, but perhaps not on quite an intensive level, as it would be a shame just to stop playing the clarinet after so many years of being in orchestras and windbands. This leads me on quite nicely to the concert I went to the next day. The Birmingham Medic Orchestra put on a Last Night of the Proms style concert. I can't believe they didn't call it "Last Night of the Brums!" Missed opportunity there guys, missed opportunity. As a long time musician, I always find it weird watching concerts as opposed to playing in them. I kept trying to imagine the music on a page and listen out for my instrument. It was really fun though, there was Union Jack bunting everywhere, and they played music from Carmen, The Entertainer, Peer Gynt (including In The Hall of the Mountain King, which most people will probably know better as the music from the Alton Towers adverts), as well as all the Proms classics: Sailor's Hornpipe, Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia and of course, the national anthem. All the seats had little flags on them, but I was dedicated, I took my own! I had a Union Jack left over from when my mum and I went to see the Olympic Torch Relay in Oxford. My arms sure did ache after all the waving! The concert was conducted by the same guy who has led the windband for the past 5 terms. Ed, you are a legend and I will miss you and your random music analogies. I caught up with Ed after the concert, and complimented him on his amazing Union Jack waistcoat. I wasn't at all surprised that he had this, as I know what he's like. He actually told me that he bought it specifically for that concert, which did surprise me as I thought he already had it. I loved both concerts, and I'm looking forward to playing in the Summer Festival.


My most recent source of stress has been a German translation project. I had to translate a 2000 word text and write a 2000 word commentary on my translation. I thought that the translation part would be relatively easy, but to my despair a lot of the German I know seems to have seeped out of my brain from lack of use. I found myself turning to the dictionary every two minutes or so. Sometimes I came across words that I knew but couldn't work out based on the context, but even worse than this was when I found words that I had never seen before and couldn't find in any form of dictionary, whether online or hard copy. Thank goodness for teachers on Facebook! I posted a status about this, and one of my old language teachers commented and managed to help me work out one of the words I was stuck on. She saved my life! I finally managed to submit the project on Thursday at the eleventh hour. I mean this literally, the essay was due at 12:00 and I sent it in at about 11:30. I need to stop doing this to myself! I blame the internet and video games. I kept getting distracted by Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and just about anything else. I've recently become addicted to the Professor Layton games. One of my favourite things to do is solve puzzles - crosswords, sudokus, word searches, things like that. I also love anything that involves adventure and mystery: things like Sherlock Holmes, Indiana Jones, National Treasure, etc. So how could I resist a game series which combines puzzles with adventure and mystery? The answer to that is, I couldn't. I've completed 4 out of the 5 games at least twice, and I've seen the movie. That's right, a movie based on a video game series. Those crazy Japanese think of everything! I highly recommend the Layton games to anyone who likes puzzles, but perhaps don't play them if you have a lot of work to do. It is all too easy to waste several hours playing Layton instead of doing what you're supposed to be doing. Now watch me fail to take my own advice, ha ha ha. But seriously, I may have to ask my mum to hide my 3DS over Easter so I don't get distracted from the three essays I have to do. Despite the mountain of work, I am looking forward to Easter. I'm looking forward to going home and seeing my family, as well as having a change of scene. Plus it's a lot easier to work over Easter than over Christmas. Wish me luck!

Until next time,

Megan xxx