Oh look its Friday

Writing this post has been on my to-do list since Sunday, but yet here we are on Friday, talking about last week. Whoops.

With non stop meetings, a training in Manchester, the tech and dress rehearsals, and the show Saturday and Sunday night, last week was a whirl wind. I’ve rearranged some of my meetings, so I have two extra meetings, but it also shortens my Tuesday meetings by an hour or two. Its a tradeoff for sure, but sometimes having an hour off makes the day a lot better.

Last Thursday we actually booked the trip to Romania. Next Wednesday (the 24th) two of my project members (for Enactus) and I will be headed to Romania to meet with local NGO’s, our project partner, and a number of survivors of human trafficking in variety of stages of recovery. I am both incredibly excited and panicking, just a little. When I started university, I had no idea I would be running an international non-profit a few months later. I love it, but the responsibility is also a little terrifying.

My involvement with SCAN (our student newspaper) seems to grow a little week, but the excitement of seeing something you wrote on paper never goes away. I wrote an article about the university’s  ‘I Won’t Stand for It’ campaign last week, and seeing it front page was a thrill. That article is not up yet, but some of my other articles can be found at http://scan.lusu.co.uk/index.php/author/alexandra-brock/

I’ll try to be a little more timely in my update this week (as in a few days) but I make no promises.

Alex

 

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Sunrise

I have a complicated relationship with the sunrise. I’m not sure if I love it or hate it.

I love the time as the sun rises before the sun actually rises into view, when the sky is purple and pink, sneaking up the horizon, chasing the night away. Its quiet, there aren’t enough birds to make much noise this time of year. With a cup of coffee, standing on the porch outside my house, its a moment of peace before the day starts. These are all the reasons I love the sunrise.

I hate the sunrise because I think the earliest time of day that should be seen twice is 8, and the sun rises long before that, even this far north. I hate the sunrise because if I’m seeing it, my sleep is all kinds of a mess, and the day ahead is going to be far too long. But I guess if its one of those days, at least it starts with something so beautiful.

Last week was a few too many ‘sunrise’ days, and there are more to come. I’m feeling quite a bit better than last weekend, and if nothing else, days that start that early are at least incredibly productive.

It seems like everything is moving very quickly right now, TR:ust has grown so quickly in the past months, and I’m beginning the countdown for the first trip to Romania. International Women’s Day is approaching in early March, and as per usual I’ve managed to get involved in that. For every item I complete, it seems I add two more to my to-do list. But my classes are interesting, and reading for class is somehow a break from the chaos all around. I know we don’t go to university for all the societies, but part of me believes we do. I could take these classes online, read these books anywhere. But the things that happen on a campus, the energy, the push to change things, that’s why university is important. So my focus may drift from my course occasionally, but in the end, its definitely all balanced.

I’m trying not to drink too much coffee, and the salad I packed for lunch (yes, I packed my lunch because I am an adult and planned ahead) is calling my name to balance out the amount of caffeine I’ve had. Here’s to another week of seeing all the sunsets and sunrises.

Alex

What to do when you’re sick at Uni

That moment when you wake up, and it feels like you’ve been hit by a bus. The first conscious swallow hurts, the sniffles begin, and you dread opening your eyes. Yes, its that time. The time of year (winter) when everyone gets sick. Yesterday I had the “it feels like I’m getting sick” feeling, but I woke up this morning sick. There is a very big, and very not fun difference.

Luckily, its a Saturday, so I was able to spend a good part of my day under the covers. I probably looked mostly dead in the meetings I had, but I am quite unbothered by that. The current day-in-bed uniform is my favourite flannel, (mostly because I could wear it to meetings) a pair of St. Andrews pajama pants that have great pockets for cough drops and tissues, which are tucked into my Red Sox fuzzy socks (thanks Mollie). I know, its easily the most attractive look of the year. I’m sure it will be all over the runways soon.

I’d say I’m eating soup because I’m sick, but to be honest, I always eat soup. Like at least one meal a day is soup. I had some spicy tomato soup earlier, though if I’m feeling a bit better tomorrow, I’ll be making this soup, which is like chicken noodle soup for the non-meat eater. I have some raspberries in the fridge that will also be eaten. Probably right after I finish writing this.

I have a collection of cold meds (because honestly, I always (and basically only) get colds) as well as a bag of cough drops and Emergen-C. What more can a sick uni student really need? Probably a bit more sleep and a not as many meetings, but there are just so many exciting projects going on in life at the moment, I can handle the little cold.

Alex

(counting on the fact that I get it together over the next day or so, there will be a bit of more normal, weekly update post soon)

It begins again

I’ve finished my first week of the second term of my first year of university. I meant to write a week ago about flying back and settling in, but jet lag thoroughly kicked my butt. I’ve decided to move away from weekly update posts, though I still plan to post (almost) weekly, but with a little less rigid structure. Just write a little more.

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It feels really good to be in a new year. 2015 was a big one. A life changing one. One I really need to write about, but thats another time. I want 2016 to still be big, but maybe with a little less dramatic change.

The flight from Austin to Manchester (plus the train to Lancaster, and the taxi to the university) is not fun. Will never be fun. But its definitely livable. And much less stressful now.

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I stood in proper snow for the first time I can remember. It was beautiful. I think even a few days of gently snow makes up for the cold and rain that is the weather here most of the time. Running errands is so much more fun when there are snowflakes getting caught in your hair.

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The first week back was difficult. Getting back into the swing of things always is. I feel more settled now, but the week ahead is so busy. Its only Monday and I already feel like I’m being pulled in a hundred directions. One of my housemates told me yesterday that I put too much pressure on myself and I’m trying to remember that. I don’t have to do everything.

More to come.

Alex

Week 11

 

IMG_4495alternately titled: ‘what I learned in the blackout’

-Showers are terrible because the water is cold and the air is cold and your towel is never dry and warm

-The little things in life really are the best. Like having light when you’re trying to go to the bathroom

-Listen to your mom and don’t procrastinate on things like emails and washing your hair.

-I may be able to move to another country on my own, but sleeping in an empty building with no power is really hard.

-You meet some really amazing people.

-You make good friends very, very, very fast.

-You might as well stay up incredibly late with those friends because nothing else is going on and you have so little time together

-Wear your pajamas to breakfast even though its the tacky American thing to do. Then take really bad pictures.

-Don’t try to plan friendships. Being friends with study abroad students is worth it, even if they leave you after a few months.

-Dance. For hours. Even when the power is back on.

-Don’t sleep the night before everyone leaves, even if you have 17 hours of travel the next day. Enjoy those last hours.

-I am so incredibly grateful for the last few days. I didn’t know being stuck on campus with no power could be so wonderful.

Alex

The Blackout of 2015

On Saturday evening, the lights flickered. Then, they went off. We had no idea then what was coming.

For a country where it rains constantly,  a flood sure did a lot of damage to this city. Apparently rains north of us flooded quite a bit of Lancaster, including the power main. This resulted in a city wide blackout.

When we woke up on Sunday (after spending most to of Saturday night awake, gathered in a kitchen, my housemates and I found there was still no power and ventured out to find information. Things were beginning to feel apocalyptic, though I blame that on the fact that everyone watches Walking Dead. The Chaplaincy Centre had a backup generator on, so we went there for power, tea, and information. This is where we found out that school was cancelled. For the rest of term. This would be great information, if you know, I wasn’t in a different country.

So while all of my British friends called their parents and packed their bags to go home, the international student looked around, lost. We were told to ‘pack our essentials’ and head to the Great Hall. This turned into us spending the night in the Great Hall, which felt like a scene out of Harry Potter (thanks Sirius Black) and the worst sleepover I have ever been too. I know when I walk across stage at graduation in a few years, I will look over at the spot I slept in and think of this adventure.

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We had some hope on Monday when the power came back on for a few hours, but it did not last. The power has been out since, though we were originally told it would be back on by 7pm on Tuesday. Now we are hearing 4pm on Wednesday. Who knows?

They’re feeding us and we’re supposed to be sleeping in one of the lecture buildings tonight, so its another night of cold floors and close proximity with people I don’t know.

Its an adventure to say the least.

Alex