That’s it. The main reason for me being in Wales is over. Done. Finished. A couple weeks ago I wrote the last final that I’ll ever write for my BA career and just like that I was finished. It’s taken me 10 years to be able to say it and I can’t believe that it’s over. Sure, I took a two year break to work and to figure out what I wanted in life so I was technically only in school for 8 years, but still, I can’t believe that I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally completed all of the requirements necessary for my Bachelor of Arts Degree. It feels good to be finished, but writing that last final was very bittersweet for me.
Writing that last final meant that my time here in Wales is almost over. In fact, it’s going to be over sooner than I expected because not only am I finished my BA requirements, but yesterday I was also offered a great job working for my community as a Youth Summer Program Coordinator. This is a similar position to the one that I had last summer and I can’t wait to build on the work that I did then! As excited as I am for this opportunity, it means that I have to be home for June 15 to start work.
As much as I hate to leave this beautiful country, I can’t wait to be home. I land in Vancouver on June 13 at 11:35am. I’m both excited and sad.
First there were the Student Led Teaching Awards (SLTA’s). That night all of the international students were invited to attend. Not only that, but the basketball and netball teams were nominated for Club of the Year. That night Haylee, Lisa, Josh and I put on our dressy clothes and converged on the awards. We were seated together with three members of the football team as they were nominated for club of the year as well. That night I realized how long my hair has gotten since I cut my dreadlocks off over two years ago and shaved the sides of my head for funsies. Now it’s long and a pain to style. However, once I walked into the banquet hall, my hair taming shenanigans were totally worth it because we all cleaned up really nicely.
That night the basketball team won Club of the Year! I was excited to see that on the plaque our team was listed as “MIXED BASKETBALL”. Watching Josh walk up to accept the award on behalf of the team was a nice surprise and a great way to end a great year with my amazing team. I seriously could not have asked for better teammates this year. They’ve become great friends that I will miss and a few have become brothers and sisters that I can’t imagine my life without.
The weekend after the awards came THE LONGEST DAY EVER. The day was filled with a football/rugby match between the my school’s football and rugby teams. They played one half of football and then one half of rugby. This year the football team won! Haylee, Lisa and I were there to cheer the boys on while we played frisbee in the sun. Yes, that’s right! The sun was out! It was a gorgeous day. I may have gotten a bit of a tan. Or at least my feet did because now I have tanlines from my flip flops!
I didn’t sleep well the night before so after watching the football/rugby match I went back to my room to nap while Haylee and Lisa enjoyed the rest of the days activities.They let me nap for a couple of hours before waking me up to eat dinner and get ready for the last event of the day. The Summer Ball. Once again we all dressed up to go out. I even wore a dress. Except I forgot to take pictures of myself in the dress so y’all will have to trust me when I say that I looked nice! I spent the night dancing, visiting the friends I’d made throughout the year, and dancing some more. I had a blast and was sad when the night finally came to an end.
The sadness didn’t last long because that following Monday Raz came for a visit! The night he arrived my gremlins and I went to pick him up from the bus only to find out that the bus had arrived early and we’d just missed seeing him. Not knowing that the bus had arrived early we wound up spending 30 minutes needlessly waiting for him. Naturally our instinct was to have a mini-photo shoot and play in the empty street of Lampeter. Have I mentioned that these girls are exactly my brand of crazy?
The next day was another reason for us to dress up! Because we’d gone to support so many games throughout the year we were invited to the football team’s end of the year banquet! Once again I found myself taming my wild child hair and spending the evening with my friends while we ate good food, had some good laughs and I got to see my different members of the football team get recognized for their accomplishments and shenanigans throughout the year. Then we all went down to the SU to continue celebrating.
The day after the awards was our friend Ben’s birthday so we made him and a few of his friends poutine (cheesy chips with gravy) and they loved it! I’ve come to love cooking for my friends here in Wales. Haylee, Lisa and I have taught them the wonders of things like poutine, pizza bagels, North American pancakes, and Aunt Jemima syrup. Normally I hate cooking, but here I’ve come to love it!
In among all of the shenanigans that have had me dressing up, making my hair behave, and cooking pizza bagels at 2am, life has been business as usual. Except there have been a few “lasts” mixed in as well. Like the last international coffee! That day most of the international students on my campus gathered to say our farewells and enjoy our last coffee together. We wound up going around the group saying 3 things that we were looking forward to about home and 3 things that we were going to miss about Lampeter life. Lisa, Haylee and I also handed our flags around for everyone to sign! As hard as it was to say goodbye, I’m also very happy to have met everyone and know that I have friends scattered around the globe!
Then my grades on my final assignments started to flow in. I got a 68 (A- range) on my Conference Presentation. I got a 58 (B range) on the final that I wrote (it was an in-class essay). Then my dissertation marks came in…On my reflective piece for the course I received a 76 (A range). Then on my actually dissertation that I did as creative project I received an 80! An 80! Back home that’s equivalent to an A/A+ range and here that means my work is publishable. I don’t know if it will be published, but for my lecturer to give me that grace…I…I am fucking over the fucking stars with this grade. I couldn’t be happier with it. After two semesters working on this thing and putting so much of myself into my work, I am so very very happy with this outcome.
Another exciting event was getting to watch Lisa play in another football match. Last time she was the goal keeper. This time she was playing in the midfield (I think? I’m not good with football positions!). It was great to watch her get ready to play the sport she loves! The game wasn’t the greatest, but I still felt like a proud momma as I watched my shorter half take the pitch and play.
Last week my basketball team hosted a taster session for anyone to come and try basketball if they wanted. There was a great turn out of not just my teammates, but also of new players! I love watching new people play the sport that I love and have fun doing it. As much as I love other sports, I will always love basketball the best and the most and seeing other people having fun while playing makes me irrecoverably happy.
To round off my latest shenanigans, my gremlins and I went to Cardiff yesterday to get tattoo’s! We took a 7:10am bus to Cardiff so that we could be at Frontier Tattoo Parlour when it opened. They accepted walk-ins so as soon as the doors were opened we went in and got our spots reserved for the day. I got to go first. The artist inking me was a guest artist named Luke who owns Hard Luck Tattoo in London. The tattoo I wanted as very basic and I couldn’t believe the outcome. He took the general idea that I had sloppily drawn out on a scrap piece of paper and turned it into what I think is a very simple, but beautiful, piece of art that I’m happy to have permanently scarred onto my body.
My tattoo is the shape of a key. The words “byw, caru, chwerthin,” mean “live, love, laugh” in Welsh. I have to say a special thank you to Billy who helped Haylee, Lisa and I all make sure that our Welsh was correct that that we weren’t tattooing soup recipes on our bodies. The numbers you see are the coordinates to Lampeter. Then the key…Back at Easter, Lisa gave Haylee and I keys. She said they were the keys to her heart. So now I have the outline to the key tattooed on me forever. Ya know…so I can never lose it.
Now i have less than a week left here in Wales before I return home and I have no idea what this week holds for me. I know that on Tuesday I get to drive in the UK for the first, and probably only, time so that Josh, Harry, and Haylee and I can drive Lisa to the airport. I also know that on Friday I get to see my best friend, Chris, one last time before flying home on Saturday.
I’m excited for my last week of adventure with my family here in Wales.