Birthday, Bath, and Beyond!

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I’ve been away from home for six weeks now! Every week has brought an amazing routine of basketball, class, netball, class, more basketball, and trips to the grocery store to see if anything good has been put in the reduced section. Every day has brought new experiences, more laughs, and more time spent with my friends. Plus, ya know, more shenanigans as I’ve gotten more comfortable with my friends here.

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I got to go back to Bath for a second visit! Last semester I spent most of my time there on my own, exploring and completely falling in love with the city. Read: I got lost and wandered around a lot. I was so incredibly stoked to see the Roman Baths for the very first time that I was basically speechless because I was so awed by the place. This second trip, Haylee and I planned to spend together. We explored the Roman Baths with other international students and being there was just as amazing as the first time. However, this time had the added fun us pretending to throw each other in the Baths.

That day I learned that if I were my height when the Baths were originally built I would have gotten a lot of concussions. Throughout the baths are several doorways leftover from the original structure. Apparently the Romans were really short and I’m kind of tall. Those two tings added together make me happy that I exist in a world where I have zero chance of slamming my head into the top of a doorway.

After the Baths all of us wandered around the city while we looked for the Fashion Museum. Only Haylee and I went in though. While I thought it was interesting to see fashion through the ages, I was the most excited seeing the ballroom and the chandeliers! I’ve never actually been in a ballroom, nor have I ever seen actual chandeliers, so the country girl in me thought seeing both together was about the best thing ever. Then I got to dress Haylee up in Victorian era clothing. We strapped her into a big hoop skirt thingy, put her in a corset and then put all of the dresses on her. Naturally I was wearing a top hat almost the entire time because it felt like the thing to do.

The week after we went to Bath, we had another basketball game against Carmarthen! It was a good game because both teams have been improving and starting to mesh as teams and I had a fun, but very physical game rebounding. Back home in Canada, I am usually one of the tallest on the court and never have any issues playing my position (I’m a post player), or rebounding. Here in Wales I am no where near the tallest on my team (He’s 6’6″!) and I am definitely short compared to a number of the guys on the Carmarthen team. So it is safe to say that when I play in games here, I play a very different game. It’s all still a lot of fun though! I love any day that I get to be on the court playing. We won that game.

Haylee, Lisa and I weren’t able to celebrate our win for too long though. We had to get on a bus to go to a Chinese New Year celebration in  Swansea! The performances were interesting and we got to see a couple get engaged! One of the performers proposed after his performance and she said yes. I thought it was incredibly sweet and the hopeless romantic in me melted a little. Then there was the food. Oh my days, was there ever food. I’d been craving broccoli for ages, so when I saw a giant pile of steamed broccoli I nearly screamed in delight. Thankfully I contained myself. I’m not sure how the people around me would have felt seeing me freak out over a vegetable.

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Hour seven of twelve for the 12-hour basketball game.

That following Saturday there was a 12-hour basketball match that my team took part in. Yes, you read that right! It was a 12-hour basketball game. We started at 9am and it went until 9pm. Josh, Haylee, Sam and I were there for the full 12 hours. We weren’t playing the whole time and took lots of breaks, but the game continued on through the day as people joined in to play whenever they wanted. Thanks to Haylee, I’ve gotten used to basketball practices lasting anywhere from 2 to 4 hours so the first few hours weren’t that hard. I actually spent most of the first hour attempting to wake up since I’m not a morning person at all. However, by the sixth hour my legs felt like they were noodles and I was positive that I was going to fall over from exhaustion at any minute. Then the seventh hour rolled around and I started feeling better. By the time we got to our eighth hour of game play I was starting to get a second wind. At this point I was ignoring my body screaming at me while it wondered what the hell I was doing to it. I felt all icky and sticky from sweating all day, and I felt like I needed to poop, but had nothing to poop. Then the final alarm went off, letting us know it was 9pm and I couldn’t believe that I’d made it. Now that I think back to that day I know I made it through because I got to spend the day goofing off with my friends and every moment was just as fun as the last. Even when we were all collapsed on the bench for a five minute break, we were still full of jokes and smiles. If there is anything that I’m proud of accomplishing this year, it’s making it through 12 hours straight of basketball.

After the 12-hour basketball match we all got a day to rest and then Monday brought another basketball game for us. We were playing a team we’d never played before. That night we loaded up onto a bus and went to Llanelli and put another win down for the Lampeter Lions. I was extremely happy watching my team click together on the court. I love watching the guys and girls move and play together. For me, that’s magic.

When we got home from that game we all went to our Student’s Union where we all watched our phones tick over to 12:00am. It was my birthday! At first I was a little sad because this was my first birthday away from home, but I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be with. Lisa and Haylee played great music on the juke box and goofed off until closing. Then we all went back to Charlotte’s where I unknowingly sampled my birthday cake and ate vodka gummies until everyone was ready to go home.

The next day I woke up and it was…an odd day. I’m going to say it was an odd day because everyone was acting weird! Lisa made Kraft Mac n Cheese with hot dogs for us for lunch and then…well, things were weird. I’d originally planned for us to spend my birthday drinking and playing Cards Against Humanity in my kitchen, but Charlotte had other ideas. In fact, everyone had other ideas!

That night after basketball practice I went home and showered. We were going to meet at Haylee and Charlotte’s building at 8:15 for food. I figured that since we were always late that I should just take my time, so I washed my hair and took a really nice long and hot shower. It was my birthday after all! I wanted to be clean. As it turns out, I was late for my own birthday! When I walked into Haylee and Charlotte’s kitchen everyone was there waiting for me! It was a surprise and holy shit was I ever surprised! I almost cried because it was so awesome. I also almost pooped in fear because they had party poppers that they were setting off and I’m kind of totally terrified of loud banging noises.

My newest gnome that everyone got for me!

My newest gnome that everyone got for me!

That night I got to talk to Raz on the phone because he wasn’t able to make it back. After I finished on Skype with him, Haylee and I walked over to my building and there was a weird glow going on in my kitchen. It was another surprise! Charlotte, Victoria, Haylee, and Lisa had made me the most awesome cake ever! Again I nearly cried. I also nearly pooped again because of those damn poppers.

Needless to say, I had an amazing birthday. Everyone made it the best that it could possibly be and I couldn’t be more thankful to have the friends that I have here.

IMG_1067But the shenanigans didn’t stop after that! The next day we all got up to go watch Josh and Lisa play in a friendly football match against Carmarthen. Lisa was playing as a goal keeper. She did amazing and Haylee and I cheered for her the entire game. I still don’t understand football (soccer!), but I think I’m slowly starting to get it. It’s fun to watch anyway. Never mind that I think everyone is crazy for slamming their heads off a ball and somehow not getting concussed.

There has been a lot more going on with my time here in Wales, but it’s hard to record it all. I’ve gotten a little homesick here and there, but the girls and guys who are now like my brothers and sisters definitely make life here a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see what other shenanigans are on the way. I know for sure that I’m stoked to be spending a weekend in London with Haylee, Lisa, and Josh!

To everyone back home, I miss all of you. I especially miss my mom, dad and sister. So you can guess how excited I was to FaceTime with them while they drove to Kamloops…

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