Monday, 3 November 2014

Life as a fourth year modern language student and autumn leaves

It's that time of year again, orange and yellow are becoming the prevalent colours in a world which is temporarily decaying. This decay is beautiful. Seasons always conjure up the same feelings inside of me, it feels like a continuation of where I was last year. I remember a surreal dream-like evening with friends, walking through an eerily quiet campus in France, feeling surprised by the extremely mild temperature and jumping into piles of fallen leaves. There is this need to stay warm, cosy, read and watch series (the walking dead has appropriately arrived just in time for Halloween), hoard food for the winter (my favourite foods are orange: butternut squash curry, pumpkin soup, crates of clementines, roasted sweet potatoes) and stay close to other people. In addition, Edinburgh looks beautiful right now. Sorry summer, autumn is undoubtedly my favourite season.

You know... Just hanging out in trees, standard.

Blackford Hill

Half way into the first semester of my final year of my modern languages degree at the University of Edinburgh. What is life like? As this year constitutes a large percentage of the final degree classification, it is safe to say that stress levels are high in all of my classes. Students who previously evaded optional secondary readings, skipped class or left essay writing to the last minute have raised their game. Strangely, I have found myself with far more time to do the things I enjoy and to hang out with people I care about. Perhaps this is due to the fact I worked so hard in first and second year, maybe I have acquired the basic skills of time management and selective analysis necessary to conquer fourth year? I am yet to find out whether my strategy works exam/essay grade wise, but otherwise I am getting consistently good grades for my weekly translations. I am currently relieved after having finished my last essay of the semester! I couldn't be happier with my choice of flat and flatmates, lucky considering I only had one day to view one flat back in June.
Now is apparently the time to start thinking about the future, but I kind of don't want to. I am providing myself with countless possibilities so that when the time comes I can do something enjoyable, but money has never been my main motivator. The likelihood is that I will heading to Asia in 2015; I have already started my application for JET in Japan and several other programmes in China.

As the annual gym membership at the CSE is so reasonable I have been able to go climbing three times a week. I have made good friends with my main climbing buddies, and I have progressed a lot in the last few months. I am now confident doing most 6As and have improved my technique a lot. This is a hobby I am glad to have picked up in the last year. Within the student bubble I have been frequenting more parties than I ever did in first and second year and find that I have been trying out new things. I have escaped the student bubble and finally got involved with the Vegan Edinburgh community, which basically means attending socials with some like-minded people. In the private sphere, I am rediscovering my inner voice, and I am enjoying writing down what it tells me. I have been having many visitors this semester, which is nice. Edinburgh university is really international, so coming back to to the UK doesn't mean leaving that Erasmus feeling of togetherness.

Halloween party at CSE=climbing in the dark=very difficult

I spend a lot of time reading/writing essays in cute little cafés. It's an expensive way to work, but it's effective and fulfilling.

Soya cappuccino and vegan pecan pie, Peter's yard

I enjoy Van Gogh inspired coffee art, Macchina espresso

In other news, this December I will be heading to the states to spend Christmas and New Year with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew! Mainly based in Atlanta, we will also be visiting New Orleans, Alabamah and Memphis. To conquer the expected winter blues that will hit me in February, I am heading to Iceland or Morocco.

Realising that my time in Edinburgh is soon to come to an end I have a few last bucket list ideas (need help achieving them):

Blackford hill Why didn't I come here sooner?! Want to come back as soon as possible!
Eat at Kanpai
Return to Cramond and walk around the island
Visit the Pentlands
Return to the Sheeps Heide Inn in Duddingston with a bunch of friends
Japanese garden in Duddingston
Cycle along the canal
Go back to the Jazz bar and the Voodoo rooms
See a film at the Dominion cinema
Spend an afternoon at the Shore