In which a teenager farts, but won’t admit it was her

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I’m just going to come right out and say it, one of the girls on my junior basketball team that I help coach farted and they won’t admit to it. Friday night my sister and I wound up taking three of our players to our game in Chase, and you know what? I like these girls. They’re pretty awesome and I think they’re hilarious. They also played a great game and they won. So yeah, I was pretty happy with them that night.

Or I was happy with them until we were driving home that night. There we were, cruising through some insane fog, the visibility was low, Tiff and I were making them listen to Missy Elliot, and the three teenagers we had crammed into the back seat of my mom’s truck were kind of quiet. That’s when I the smell hit me. It was disgusting. Like a fart, but rotten. And maybe a little burnt. This was burnt and rotten fart. I can barely describe this smell, but it was gross. It was like that rotten thing that you sometimes find in the back of your fridge and you have no idea what it was or when you bought it.

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Ok, It was like that thing I sometimes find in the back of my fridge and I have no idea what it was or when I bought it because I’m a disgusting human being and sometimes forget the things that wind up at the back of my fridge.

This thing was a silent assassin that could have killed us all.

At first I thought maybe it was the truck making that smell. Sometimes trucks make gross smells. Except no one was saying anything so I was wondering if maybe it was just me that could smell it? I sat there for a few seconds wondering how no one else could smell what I was smelling. It was burning my nose hairs off so how could no one else be complaining? Maybe it was the truck. I really hoped that it wasn’t the truck. If the truck was making a smell like that…

“Was that you?” my sister asked me.

“Oh good,” one of the girls said in the backseat. “I thought it was just me that could smell that.”

Everyone started chiming in how bad the smell was and how they were hoping someone was going to say something while we all rolled our windows down.

“If it had been me,” I told my sister, “I would have been giggling my ass off.”

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At that point everyone said they would have been giggling too if they had farted. Then we all sat there laughing at how we would have laughed over farting. Except no one would admit that it was them! Not a single person would claim that horrendous smell as their own. No one would admit that this stench had creeped out of their ass and into our noses. No one would own the stink they had created.

I bet that smell will come back to kill whomever abandoned it.

And honestly? I can definitely say that it wasn’t me. If it had been me, I would have locked the windows and made everyone bask in the ambiance of whatever the hell that smell was. Except whatever that smell was just really confused me. It also disgusted me, but at the same time it was confusing. Was it the truck? If it was the truck, what the hell was wrong with it that it would make that smell? Was it my sister? Was it one of the teenagers in the back seat? I had so many unanswered questions and all of them centered around one lonely and unclaimed fart. Mostly I was just confused about how anyone could make a stink like that without making a sound.

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Or giggling about it. If I had made the smell I definitely would have had a proper laugh about it.

So now I’m blaming one of the teenagers for it because it’s more fun to randomly ask them if they had made that smell than it is to ask my sister if it was her. Personally, I don’t blame them for not confessing. After all, I’m blogging about it now.

P.S. Work It by Missy Elliot came on and I was convinced that the teens in the backseat were kids when it came out. Tiffany Googled it and as it turns out, one of them probably wasn’t born and they other two were a year old when Work It came out.

 

Making my way back home!

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I clearly am a fucking horrible blogger. I’ve been home over a month and still haven’t written about my final days in Wales. I’m going to try and rectify that now…

The day after we dropped Lisa off at the airport, Haylee and I had a busy day. We got to meet the field school that was in Wales from our old school, Douglas College! Some of them were sick when they arrived because they’d been drinking the night before. If there is one lesson that I can pass onto future international students, it is this: NEVER drink the night before a trip to anywhere. Welsh roads are tricksy and curvaceous assholes and if you happen to have a weak stomach or are not used to drinking with people who probably sipped ale from a sippy cup as a wee lamb then you are FUCKED. I never got sick on a bus, but there were times on long international student trips where I felt like I was about to be come a mighty chunder dragon and it wasn’t a fun feeling.

After the everyone was done being sick, Haylee and I went with them on a tour of our campus (it didn’t take so long – Lampeter campus is SMALL), and then we all loaded onto a bus to go to Strata Florida Abbey where some first and second year archeology students were learning the tricks of their trade in the field. They were actually literally in a field too. My flatmate, Heather, and Haylee’s flatmate, Sophie, were both there digging. They were dirty and sun-kissed and I loved seeing them actually being able to put what they had learned into practice.

That night was my last night with Pumba. We all stayed up late and then Pumba was back in my room early the next morning to wait for his dad to come pick him up. I met and became close with Pumba late in the school year, so I didn’t get to spend as much time with him as I liked. I can say with a certainty though that he is a proper sweetheart and I miss him. He quickly became the baby brother that I never knew I wanted (Josh is the little brother I always asked my mom for) and my life definitely has more hugs and smiles in it thanks to him.

The goober being a goober. And me being cute. As we do.

The goober being a goober. And me being cute. As we do.

Once Pumba had driven off with his dad, reality intruded and I suddenly realized that I was leaving. On Friday. It was Thursday. I was leaving Friday. My room was still a  bloody mess.

Except…I still had my last basketball practice of the year to go to! It was a very chill practice because most everyone had gone home, but it was a good practice all the same. There isn’t a lot to say about my year with the Lampeter Lions except that it was a great one.

I couldn't have asked for a better team. Well I could, but they would need rocket shoes. I still think this mean was the bees knees <3

I couldn’t have asked for a better team. Well I could, but they would need rocket shoes. I still think this mean was the bees knees ❤

Then I had to get back to cleaning my room. Eff.

Where the hell did all this stuff come from?! Was I giving birth to it in my sleep?!

Did I have a version of King Midas’ touch where everything I touch turns to mine and hidden somewhere in my room?

I’d spent the entire week leading up to that packing, unpacking, and repacking all of my stuff while I debated what would stay and what would get to go home with me. It was annoying because I had to get rid of a lot of things that I loved, but just didn’t really need. I debated learning how to live a minimalist life and cutting out all of the pointless random stuff that I had, but one look at my lawn gnomes told me I could never do that.

Throughout the night a few people stopped by my room while I was cleaning to see me off in their own way. I got to see and hug my teammate, Mark, one last time. It was great spending the year playing basketball with him even though I hated that he never let me have any easy shots over him. Pete and Hamza stopped by as well! I even got to hug Pete which was slightly awkward because I’d never hugged Pete before, but it was nice because he’s a #niceguy and he’s someone that I miss now that I’m home.

Pete, Pumba, Scouse, Josh and Billy. This pic sums this lot up nicely.

Pete, Pumba, Scouse, Josh and Billy. This pic sums this lot up nicely.

Eventually Friday morning rolled around and I found myself dragging my bags out the door and handing over the keys to what had been my home away from home. My safe space.  My room was perfectly clean for the first time since I’d moved into it and I was sad to leave my little hobo hole. So many memories happened in that room. Like the first day that I first arrived in Lampeter and met Haylee. I’d just curled up in bed to have myself a proper cry when she and Robin turned up in my flat, shouting my name. They took me grocery shopping.  Or the night that Haylee broke my wardrobe door because she hid in there to scare me during one of our movie nights with Josh.

I couldn’t believe I was leaving. Then I was loading my stuff into the back of Mike’s car to start my adventure home. Mike is one of the guys who played on the football team and he was always nice enough to drive Lisa, Haylee and I to all the away games that we wanted to go to. He was also awesome enough to drive me, Haylee and Josh to Carmarthen so I could catch my morning train to Bristol. Thank you, Mike!

One last look at these lovelies before the train door closed.

One last look at these lovelies before the train door closed.

Haylee, Josh and Mike stood with me until my train pulled in. Then it finally hit me. I WAS IN WALES! THIS WAS REAL! I HAD COME TO WALES! I’d spent the entire year feeling like my entire study abroad experience couldn’t be real. It couldn’t actually be happening. I must have been dreaming. Then I hugged Haylee and…I was amazed that this whole entire thing was real and it had happened. Not only that it had happened, but it had happened with Haylee. I couldn’t believe the two of us had been in the same program at the same school and had the same love for basketball, but had never met until we’d both flown across the world to go to school.

My Littlest and I during one of our many "homework" sessions.

My Littlest and I during one of our many “homework” sessions.

After surviving the 12-hour basketball match together!

After surviving the 12-hour basketball match together!

A walk to the lake together!

A walk to the lake together!

Except now I can believe it. There is no way in hell that I imagined travelling across the world where Haylee stole my blankets while we were staying in Rotterdam. I’m positive that I don’t have that good of an imagination. Haylee and I spent most of the school year together. We stalked a guy who had a basketball together. We introduced poutine to our friends together. We traveled together We spent hours agonizing over our dissertations together. We pinned Josh down to tickle him until he hissed at us together. There was a lot we did together and I’ll never forget it. Unless I suffer some sort of blow to the head that causes me to forget that year. Then that kind of sucks and I hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does, at least Haylee will remember our shenanigans and she can fill me in on the time that Raz left us alone in his dorm room and we planned shenanigans together.

Fun Skype session with Raz!

Fun Skype session with Raz!

IMG_5927As the train pulled away I started to cry. I couldn’t help myself. Lampeter has made me into a bit of a crier. Or a lot of a crier. It depends on who you ask. The tears started to fall and I stole one last look at Josh. The little brother that I’d always asked my mom for. As it turns out he was hiding on the other side of the world. I guess that means he wins at hide-and-seek for now. I’m going to miss Josh. And Geoff. That’s the name I gave Josh’s beard. And this is why I’m going to miss him. He was always happy to go along with any shenanigans that the Turdettes threw at him. Like me naming his beard. Or the night Haylee, Lisa and I decided to dress up in his clothes and have a “Turd” fetish. Or coming along to London with his. He made our adventures complete. Even when those adventures happened to be just the four of us hanging out in my room and watching movies until we were all ready to pass out.

Naptime!

Naptime!

"Sneak hug!" Someday I shall get one more hug from Ky!

“Sneak hug!” Someday I shall get one more hug from Ky!

Movie night with Josh is best night.

Movie night with Josh is best night.

Once the train pulled out of the station I went and sat down at a table on the train and some creepy guy offered to hug me and let me sleep on him. So with this creeper temporarily by my side, I started to make my way home.

Lions, Essays, and Dance Dares, OH MY!

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Ahhhhh!!!!! Life has been so busy here in Wales! This week I officially handed in the last piece of academic writing of my career as a Bachelor student. I managed to spend a good portion of this paper writing about sex, and orgasms while making South Park references. It’s was such a huge relief to hand it in that I had one of the best poops I’ve had all year and then curled up in bed for a celebratory nap. Now all I have left to do so I can graduate is to finish my creative project, finish a presentation that I’m working on for a conference, and to write one more final. After that…I. Am. Done. Besides school, life has been go go go go go! I can’t believe that I’ve been back in Wales for two months! It feels like I just got here. However, it also feels like I have spent several lifetimes here. Time here in Wales is weird. As a result, here is what I’ve been up to! It’s all in no particular order because I can’t remember what happened first, second or last. It’s all been fun and I’m nothing but extremely grateful and humbled by each new memory I get to create with my Wales family.

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Turd and the Turdettes

I guess to start, I should say that I’ve become a Turdette! One of Josh’s nicknames is Turd and back in February our Student’s Union hosted a Fetish Ball. Rather than dressing up in a kinky manner, Haylee, Lisa and I all borrowed some of Josh’s shirts and made jokes that we had a Turd fetish. That night we became Turd and the Turdettes and the theme has made its way into our day to day lives.

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Haylee dance daring on Josh and his two friends, Billy and Sam.

Now that I’m a Turdette, there are lots of things for me to learn from the other Turdette’s. Like what a DANCE DARE is! I had no idea these things existed until a few weeks ago when the Student’s Union hosted a jungle themed party. That night Lisa, Haylee and I all dressed up a bit. That night I learned a dance dare is when you sneak up on people and dance behind them without them turning around to catch you. We spent all night sneakily dancing behind people and I wish I’d caught more of it on video rather than taking the copious amounts of pictures that I did of Haylee and Lisa getting up to mischief.

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Lisa, Haylee, Sam, and Pumba (Harry) dance daring on Josh.

By the end of the night more people had joined us in doing dance dares and my tummy hurt from laughing so hard. Besides the late night shenanigans, training sessions for basketball and netball, and actually attempting to be good students, we also take some nights to hang out and relax. After practice, Haylee, Josh and I hang out and have movie nights together. This term we’ve managed to get Josh to watch the remake of Footloose and he finally convinced me to watch Up! Haylee has gotten us into watching Orange is the New Black. It’s a great show, except for one yucky part. The other week there was an episode where a guy was talking about what some women do with their placenta and I was so disgusted that I actually puked. A lot. I have no idea why, but just the thought of fried placenta and…I’m happy to say that I made it to the toilet in time. I decided that night that celibacy was a good idea again as well. 10429843_10100443664425893_7255754513948871150_nOur dance dare shenanigans carried on to St. Patrick’s day. We borrowed three of Pumba’s shirts, painted our faces, and went out to sneaky dance the night away. Except our night had to end early because… IMG_1783The next day we had to be on a bus at 9:30am to go play in the Varsity games that my university hosts. Every year the University of Wales has a showdown between its campuses where the sports team play against each other in a day of games. This year, my basketball team was the only team that was invited to compete in the games. We are all excited to be going and competing. Unfortunately we got a late start and Haylee and I got take a walk down memory lane and change into our gear on a bus. If you’ve never tried to change while in a moving vehicle, I don’t recommend that you do. Especially if you’re a girl and there’s boys about. I wound up wiggling into my sports bra and changing shirts while hoping that the boys on our bus didn’t accidentally turn around to look at something. They didn’t and we stepped off the bus ready to play. Except there was a game happening before ours that had just started so our bus change was for nothing. Our game against Carmarthen was great. We got off to a slow start, but eventually found our groove as a team. It was the first basketball game that Pumba had ever played in and he did amazing for someone who is only just learning how to play the game. One of the best parts of the game was watching Haylee and Lisa playing defense together. They made a deadly pair who hassled the other team from tip off to the final whistle. IMG_1782In fact, everyone on our team that day played their hearts out. Though the highlights of the game for me that day were Josh’s passes. Before the game he and I had goofed off for a bit by passing behind the back to each other and I jokingly said that someday I was going to pull a behind the back pass off in a game. And maybe someday I will pull a behind the back pass off. And maybe it will be like the one Josh pulled off that game. Towards the end of the game Haylee popped to an open spot on the court for a shot. I saw it. Josh saw it. Then we all saw Josh shoot his hand behind his back for a beautiful and text book behind the pass that went straight to Haylee. Unfortunately she missed that shot, but the pass was still beautiful. Another beautiful pass that Josh pulled off was when I popped into an open spot under the hoop on our end and he hammered a beautiful bounce pass through a very congested key. I saw him look and and I though “no no no,” but he still pushed the pass through and it bounced and popped perfectly into my hands for an easy two points. Even though Lisa, Haylee, Josh and I are all on the basketball team together, basketball isn’t the only sport we play. Lisa and Haylee are on the netball team with me and these past two weeks Lisa has played in her first netball games and totally rocked out in them. You wouldn’t know that her main sport is football (it’s really soccer) because she’s so at ease on a basketball court. The other week all of us and Pumba all went to our university’s football pitch and we kicked a football around. I learned that my feet are not intelligent at all and there is definitely a reason why I should stick to basketball. I kind of felt like a drunk flailing around with my feet in the air. 11053652_10100441960725123_2237090528513806354_nThough now that I’ve spent some time in Wales, I’m starting to enjoy watching football! I still don’t understand it, but it’s interesting to watch. Especially when Lisa is with me to explain what is going on. The last game we went to was fun to watch because it was such a close game! There were some intense moments. I didn’t realize until I’d watched that game how hard some of the hits could be. There were a few moments were I cringed in pain and was amazed that the player got back up and kept on playing. With all of that said, I still have a lot to write about! This past weekend we went to London! Plus tomorrow I’m leaving Lampeter to head out on my Easter break adventure. Haylee, Charlotte and I are going to PARIS! PARIS! Then after Paris, Haylee and I will carry onto Amsterdam while Charlotte heads back to the UK. After Amsterdam, Haylee and I will spend another couple of days in London (I really love London!) before we come back to our tiny town to settle in and start finishing up our final projects and assignments for the year.

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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Back in Wales

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IMG_0601I’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.

One of many "study" sessions.

One of many “study” sessions.

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! 

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Lampeter Lions. We kind of look like bumblebees.

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.

IMG_0557Besides 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.

IMG_0558Afterwards 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!

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breakfast

We introduced Chris (bottom left) to maple syrup. He liked it!

Eight days! I am going home in eight days! I’ve not been away from home 76 days, making this the longest stretch that I have ever been away from home. I can’t believe that it’s been 76 days since my first international flight where I cried every step of the way to Lampeter. And I’ve survived! Not only have I survived, but I’ve been having a blast here in Wales! I’ve definitely not blogged as much as I should have, but I’ve been up to other shenanigans while I make myself at home here in my temporary home away from home. Since landing my life has basically been a mess of laughter, tears, and lost underwear. I’m not even sure how it’s happened, but I came to Wales with 10 pairs of underwear and I’m now down to 4 lonely undies. I’ve also managed to go from having 12 pairs of socks to only being able to find 4 pairs. Besides the lost underwear and socks, I’ve managed to keep the homesick feelings at bay by staying incredibly busy.

My netball team before our first game.

My netball team before our first game.

For those of you who know me, you know that I love basketball and netball. So I’m sure you can imagine how excited I was when I was able to sign up for netball! But just imagine how excited I got when Haylee (a girl who is also from BC and is like a sister now) told me she saw a guy with a basketball! Naturally, because we both love basketball we followed him and wound up joining the men’s basketball team that very night. Except it’s now a co-ed team! I have a ball in my hand every day of the week and I couldn’t be happier. On Monday’s and Wednesday’s I have netball practice and on Tuesday’s, Thursday’s and Friday’s I have basketball practice.

Unfortunately being in the gym so much means that I have lost a little bit of weight and now all but one pair of my underwear is too big. So three out of four days I have to find places to discretely pull my undies back up because they’ve slipped so far down my butt that I’m fairly certain that they’re about to fall out the bottom of my pants.

Erm…trousers.

That’s also what I’ve been up to while I’m here in the UK! Getting used to the words everyone uses. This is what I’ve picked up so far.

Fries are called chips. What I would call a chip back home is actually a crisp. And what I would call a crisp at home (like apple crisp) is actually a crumble. But wait! It gets better after that because over here underwear are called pants. Just sit back and image me running around talking about my pants (it happens more than you’d think) to people who think that I’m going on and on about my undies because over here pants are called trousers. Except I don’t like that word so I continue to talk about my pants. The last and final difference that’s entertained me to no end is fanny. In North America a fanny is a butt. In the UK a fanny is a vagina. I don’t use the word fanny ever, but I love the giggles I’m going to get the next time someone talks about their fanny pack.

Anyway! I’ve been extremely happy playing basketball and netball here. Especially basketball! We had a mini, day-long tournament a few weekends ago. It felt like home sitting in the gym all day while we either played or waited to play. It was a long day in the gym, but it felt really good to spend the day doing something I love. Since that weekend Haylee and I have started showing the team new drills and we’ve even been able to introduce the team to a full court press and new zone defence.

Haylee and I have also introduced a few of our teammates to poutine! To everyone here it’s cheesy fries with gravy. No matter what it’s called, poutine has become a favourite snack food.

Hodor came to my school to DJ! He's even bigger in person!

Hodor came to my school to DJ! He’s even bigger in person!

Besides playing basketball and netball I’ve also gotten to explore a few places in the UK! A few weeks ago I got to visit Bath!  I can remember being a teen and learning about the Roman Baths and wanting to see them. In my mind I always wished for that “someday” to happen when I could actually go and see the Baths and explore them. That day finally happened and it was like a dream to me. I waited in this long line-up to actually get into the Baths and I couldn’t help but think that maybe seeing the Baths wasn’t worth it because there were a lot of people and it felt like I was stepping up to see an over commercialized venue and not the piece of history that I’d dreamed of seeing. But then I actually walked into the main are of the baths and I was in love. I was by myself (I tend to wander off when I explore) when I entered the baths and I’m pretty sure that I peed a little. Then I tripped over a stone because the walkways were a bit uneven. I actually started to vibrate because I was so excited! In my limited travels there are very few places that I’ve been where…

At the Roman Baths! I still can't believe I was there!

At the Roman Baths! I still can’t believe I was there!

It felt like something was about to happen. Being there and actually seeing the baths was magic. When I first stepped out to see the baths I wound up standing still and looking around because I was waiting for something to happen. Of course nothing did happen, but I still felt like I was in a dream. I’d been waiting for so long to walk the steps that I was walk and I was convinced I had to be dreaming. So I took a selfie to prove to myself that I was really there and had really and actually seen the Roman Baths. I spent the better part of two hours wandering around the area trying to commit every detail to memory. Unfortunately the lighting wasn’t very good and a lot of my photos didn’t turn out very well. One of the more odd details that I fixated on was the fact that woman’s bathroom I used was actually heated by the baths! It was like going pee in a sauna! Not only was it strangely relaxing because I was very warm, but I was also just very amazed in a very country girl sort of way that the bathroom that I was peeing in was being heated by a piece of history that I’d always wanted to see.

Oh, I’m also doing really well in school. This semester I only had classes two days a week on Thursday’s and Friday’s. The grading system here is a bit odd, but from what I’ve managed to figure out I’ve rocked the two assignments I had to hand in.

Hopefully I’ll be able to write more about my adventures when I get home. In the meantime I’m going to go watch one of my basketball teammates play in a soccer match and spend the rest of my weekend attempting to get some school work done.

Day 3.7 – March Madness Parenting Tip

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Through the bulk of my life my dad has worked some pretty crazy hours. Most times he was gone before I woke up for the day and wouldn’t get back until around dinner time…at which point we’d eat and soon after dad would go to bed. Other times he would be working these freaky arsed graveyard shift hours where he would be gone before I got home from school and would be asleep by the time I woke up for the day. Though I remember a lot of mornings waking up to my dad covering me up in a blanket that he’d warmed up in a dryer and getting to say a quick “hi” and “I love you” before he went to work.  Now that I’m a little bit older and looking back, I realize that I didn’t get to spend the most amount of time with my dad, but the time that I did spend with him was amazing.

One of the best compliments that I’ve ever gotten as a basketball player was when one coach told me that I “played like I was 6’6”. For the record I’m only all of five feet and nine inches tall. When I was 17 and being told that I played tall, I thought it was the best thing ever! As you can tell, I loved the comment so much that it’s stuck with me.

Now what does my narcissistic memory have to do with the time I spent with my dad, you ask?

Well, everything!

You see, my dad is 6’3 and is a big guy. He played basketball growing up and was a post player just like I play down in the post. My dad didn’t have sons, so as his semi-tall daughter, it was up to me to be just like my dad. I didn’t think like that when I was kid, my only thought was that I wanted to play just like my dad did in his hay day. I wanted so much to be just like my dad that I even wore his basketball number, 15, all through high school. So not only did he teach me how to play hard as a basketball player, but he also taught me how to play big. I’m competitive so whenever my dad and I would play one-on-one or he would teach me how do something, I wanted to do it better, bigger and I wanted to win. And when you get used to getting beat up, knocked around, and running into a solid wall of dad who is built like mine playing against anyone else isn’t as bad.

During all of that time, my dad and I were having fun.

The only move I never figured out was...how to dunk with authority. Or how to dunk at all!

However, even though my dad come to a lot of my games and always made time to practice with me (Not just for basketball but for softball too!), he still worked a lot. He liked to relax and rest after a hard day’s work and I never blamed him for resting when I wanted to do something else. In fact, my dad was, and still is, so awesome…he made watching TV into a great father/daughter activity. I can remember in high school when March Madness (the be all and end all of basketball tournaments – NCAA college finals!) would roll around and I’d get the rare night that it would be just me and dad watching the game. It was really rare and I remember this particular event happening only a handful of times where I would imitate my favorite post moves as we watched the game. Dad would be laying on his couch and I’d have my basketball in my hands and I’d see a particular move that I loved and I’d just have to try it then and there. So I’d get up and try it. Dad would correct me and I’d keep working on it until I had the general idea of the move learned and in my head. I would spend almost the entire game imitating these giants. I’d try to move just like they did, shoot like they did and get position like they did until I was doing my 5’9 version of what they were doing hundreds of miles away.

Then I’d take it into the gym the next day and practice it until it was perfected. After that I’d show it off to my dad at the first chance I got and he’d correct it again, and again…and again until I had it totally correct. I may not be a giant like the post players in the NCAA are, but at least I could do their moves! For me, this was fun. I loved it. Learning to play down in the post and learning to play basketball in general was one of those special times where I had 100% of my father’s attention. I learned, we had fun and I also wound up with some of my best childhood memories.

I mean who could forget a 6’3 holding a basketball as high in the air as he could while he used his other hand to hold onto his teenage daughters head and singing “Da na na na! Can’t touch this!” ?

My point to this whole entry is that even though my dad worked a lot and couldn’t spend endless hours doting on me (because you know…I also have a younger sister who I had to share the doting with), the time that I got to spend with him was fun, memorable and it helped me to become who I am today.

For those of you who know me, you know that I am definitely my fathers daughter. And for those of you who don’t me, you’ll have to believe me when I say that I am my father’s daughter. I’m proud to say that because my dad made almost every moment matter whether it was teaching me how to play basketball, watching TV or…showing off his impression MC Hammer.