I’ve been back in Wales for just over three now and I can’t believe how much has happened in that short of time! I feels like a lifetime ago that my mom and dad dropped me off at the airport and I spent the next 24 hours making my way back to my home away from home. Last time I made the journey to Wales I felt nervous, stressed, and I really needed to poop. Except I’m a nervous pooper so I can’t poop in public places so I had to hold it. This time I was excited and happy to be returning to school and looking forward to whatever shenanigans lay ahead of me.
I landed in Heathrow just after 11am, collected my bags and made my way through the now familiar airport to Terminal 3 where the international students from my school were being picked up. Other students were already there waiting and I talked with them while I waited for the International pick-up people to arrive. This term Charlotte and Haylee are International Buddies, which meant they were going to be there to pick me (and the other students) up! We had a movie moment when we saw each other. I saw Haylee first and shouted her name. Then I saw Charlotte and before I knew it the three of us were hugging and I was crying again.
I’m a bit of a crier now.
Even though I was only gone for five weeks, it had felt like longer had passed since I’d seen the girls who have become like my sisters. So, yeah, I cried. Though I didn’t cry a lot. It was just nice to be back with friends that I had missed and even nicer to be going home with them. We had a lot to catch up on so we stood together chatting until I heard someone say “How’s it going, Rachael?” in my ear. I knew the voice! It was Raz! Raz was coming back to Lampeter with us too! I was just as excited to see him as I was to see Haylee and Charlotte.
After a long bus trip, we finally got back to Lampeter. It was dark out and I was exhausted. The long trip combined with jet lag was starting to kick my ass and I wanted to collapse and pass out. Except Alex was waiting for us when we got off the bus! I probably would have cried then, but I was too tired to cry at that point. I was just happy to see him. We carried my bags back to my room and I quickly “unpacked”.
Read: I pulled all of my stuff out of my bag and tossed everything everywhere.
That night Haylee, Victoria and I stayed up to watch the first NHL game that I’ve seen in several years. The Blackhawks were playing the Penguins. Haylee and I are Hawks fans and Victoria is a Penguins fan. Victoria went to bed before the game was over, but Haylee and I stayed up to watch the game go into overtime and then go to a shoot-out where the Blackhawks won! That night Charlotte was away so instead of going back to my room, I slept in her bed.
I couldn’t have dreamed of a better “homecoming”.
From that point on I have everything has been all about the go go go go!
The day after I arrived back, I had a basketball practice. It felt great to have a ball in my hand again. I felt a little bit rushed to get back on the court and get back into the swing of things because the next week we had our first game against my school’s Camarthen campus. I couldn’t believe that I had just landed the day before and I was already planning to play in a basketball game the next week! We won that game and it felt even better to be back on the court playing an actual game!
Between basketball, netball, and classes, I quickly beat the horrible jet lag monster and easily fell into the routine that I’d created for myself last semester. I don’t spent a lot of time in lecture, but I’m really enjoying the courses that I do have. Especially my Contemporary Literature course because I’ve never studied literature beyond the Modernist era. It’s really weird to think that some of the authors we have studied are still alive! Everyone I have studied in the past has been long dead before I was even born. This time I can actually google search authors and see them alive, kicking, and having opinions on real world things.
Besides those things, this semester has given me new experiences as well. I got to see my first football (soccer) match ever. One of our teammates, Josh, plays for our school’s team so Haylee, Charlotte and I went to watch and cheer. I winced every time I saw one of them slam their heads off the ball and wondered how they didn’t concuss themselves more often. I don’t understand the game at all, so I was really confused when I saw Josh and a few of his teammates stand in a line to create a wall of yellow jerseys. Then I saw someone from the other team was going to kick the ball and I winced again. This looked like a good way to get your face smashed in. I spent most of the game being amazed at how high these guys could kick their legs and how quick their feet were. In the end the Lions won and I decided that football is still not a sport for me and that I’m a rugby girl for a reason.
Afterwards Haylee and I went for a walk to a lake that’s just outside of our town. It was a long walk with lots of hills, but it was worth it to see the lake (more of a puddle, but still beautiful). The walk was fun and seeing more of the Welsh countryside that’s right out my door left me in awe at how pretty my home away from home is. On our way back from the lake we decided to take a different way home and wound up walking in single file along a semi-busy road. For the record, the people here in the UK are all crazy drivers. Despite the somewhat scary walk home, we eventually made it back to town and were able to return to our rooms to warm up.
Since then my netball team has won our first league game, and I’ve started to work more on my creative project for class. I can’t wait to see what else this semester holds for me. This weekend I’m returning to Bath and am excited to see the Roman Baths again! I’ll definitely have more to share soon!