Thanksgiving and end of Fall Quarter!

As I sit at LAX and listen to the genius of Brandi Carlile, I can’t help but ponder over the highs and lows of the past 3 months. Anyway, I guess I should start by apologising for the lack of blogging in november. You have ample opportunity to “spank” me for my badness, as I’ll be in Glasgow for a couple of days from tomorrow. Also, if you’re interested in excuses, my final exams started well before everyone else so I had been busy revising. And, in response to this excuse, I guess I should expect “Yea, sure, you were revising!”.

So, instead of continuing with predictions of possible comments, let’s move onto my activities during november and december. Last time I left off, I was complaining about exams and glorifying the spectacle of halloween! This time I’ll go on about thanksgiving, yosemite and maybe exams (I’m guessing you’ll skip that bit!).

As I’m sure you all know, thanksgiving really is a big deal here and Santa Barbara practically becomes a ghost town as almost everyone leaves to spend time with family. However, this didn’t stop me from getting a marvellous turkey dinner, rather a pre-thanksgiving turkey dinner! Having made some really cool american friends, I was lucky enough to be invited to their pre-thanksgiving turkey dinner! I have to thank Amanda, Jessica, Sarah and Nora for having prepared such a marvellous feast. It was quite surprising to see the 20lb turkey finish that fast! Having been placed partially in charge of drinks, I thought I would introduce the girls to mulled wine. It was a huge success!!! Pumpkin pie and mulled wine really is the perfect combination…not sure if I can go as far as to say better than mulled wine and mince pie, but pretty close all the same! That sunday night really will be a night to remember as we were just sitting and chatting till goodness knows what time in the morning, all courtesy of 5lit of mulled wine 😛

The following few days, or 2 days mainly involved recovery and a preparation. Again, with the International Students Association, a trip had been organised to Yosemite National Park. For $200 we were going to be driven there and back, with 3 nights of accommodation. All we had to take care of was food. As any student knows, food is secondary compared to beveraging! So our trip started on the thursday, which essentially involved an 8 hour drive to Yosemite. We were also given a proper thanksgiving dinner as it was the 26th Nov (actual thanksgiving in USA). That night we didn’t do very much, except plan which hike to do for the following friday. As a psychologist, I was quite surprised to see group membership theory in action! Basically, you could either do the uber hard 13 mile hike or the relatively easy 5 mile hike. Obviously I went for the 13 mile hike, and I was enthusiastically recruiting more people to join our rather limited group. The following morning, I was quite surprised to see that we had as many as 26 people who had committed themselves to waking up at 5am, in order to reach the hike trail by 8am. The hike itself took 8-9 hrs to finish. How I managed to finish 13 miles is a mystery but with everyone pushing each other, chatting and generally being stupefied by the sheer views at Yosemite, I don’t think I noticed 13 miles finishing. The night which followed the hike mainly involved having S’mores over a hot fire. S’mores are something that either you’ll love or hate, I hate them generally as they’re too sweet. They’re essentially marshmallows heated on the fire and then sandwiched with chocolate biscuits. The “S’mores party” as it was known was something to remember as 26 of us were quite tired and more than happy just to laze around a warm fire. The next day, I didn’t go out again with everyone else as I had to revise for a Stats exam which was on the monday after the weekend. This reality was very hard to accept, but hey no work and just fun may ruin my 3rd year. I would like to say the revision went well, and it did for 3-4 hrs, but after that I got into a conversation with a rather old couple (Vince and Cindy). They had an interesting story to tell themselves, and my interest in their stories didn’t necessarily help my revision but hey I did fairly well in the exam so looking back, maybe not the worst distraction in the world. Overall, Yosemite was a weekend that I will never forget. The amount of in-jokes, laughs and parties were just too much fun and it sort of reminded me again how lucky I was to be able to see one of California’s wonders in the company of some brilliant people! The group photo that I took at the top of Glacier Point, I think accurately captures how immense all of us were feeling.

At this stage, I’m guessing you’ll stop reading as we are reaching 800 words. Your concentration is slowly waning away, and I’m just about to push it completely as I start my monologue on exams. Well, all I can say is, “same old, same old”! I mean seriously, it was just the same multiple choice questions with a short answer question. So, I would be lying if I said I excelled the exams but, at the same time I think I’ve done quite well despite some of the health problems I have been having with regards to my epilepsy. I would write about my health issues, but I don’t think I’m the kind of person who likes to dwell on them. More importantly, by writing about them you give them more importance than they actually deserve. So therefore, if you do have any questions regarding how to deal with ill health, feel free to contact me but I won’t go into it too much on the blog.

I think the last thing I have to end with is about saying good-bye. My last weekend was spent partying with the two of the most kindest and most enthusiastic dutch girls I’ve been lucky to befriend (or perhaps they’ve been lucky enough to befriend me?), whichever way you look at it! As they were only at UCSB for 1 quarter, i.e. from Sept to Dec, we had a very short period of time to have fun. Thankfully they were present for our trip to Yosemite and the jokes including the ABC song as well as my rant to Joshua about “spanking” are some of the memories that I hope will stay with us for a very long time. I really am going to miss Dorien and Sophie and I really hope that we will be able to catch up sometime in the foreseeable future. I am generally quite aversive to saying bye to people, as I really do think that life as we see it is defined by the people who are part of our daily rigmarole. So saying bye to them was difficult, but well, it was my pleasure to get to know them and hopefully stay in touch!

On that note, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a successful New Year ahead! I hope you’re finding the blog useful, somewhat annoying and even funny up to this stage and I hope you keep up with the updates in the new year!

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