Home for Christmas and then back to SB!

I think I should start by wishing all of you a wonderful new year! It has been an incredibly long time since my last post…or maybe not that long…but it certainly feels like a while. I should probably ask you, the reader, how you spent your holidays, and the inevitable past 3 weeks of work? This is your cue to leave responses!!! I should also point out, everyone who’s emailed me, I hope I’ve answered your questions! If you have anymore, please don’t hesitate to get in touch again! I’d actually encourage you to leave comments on the website, as they can act as FAQs for everyone else, but email works too 🙂
So this entry involves Glasgow, a $30 purple-pink bike and also the wonders of the theme park – Six Flags, Magic Mountain!

So let me start with some musings about the little time I got in the UK over Christmas. I don’t think I’m one of those people who ever gets home sick. But I’ll let you in on a little secret, when I reached Glasgow International Airport, the rather strong Scottish accent that welcomed me and further still, helped me with my luggage was when I knew I had reached the place where I belong. All the networks of memories attached to Glasgow came flooding back and as I waited in the familiar Starbucks with my dark cherry mocha, I realised how much of the past 3 years in Glasgow had meant to me. In fact, in my first year, I distinctly remember on more than one occasion having a good rant about the weather! During my past 3 months in California, I also remember ranting about the lack of cold weather…I know I’m nuts…but really the weather in Glasgow in beyond unique and it’s just one of many things that I had missed!

The 3 short days in Glasgow that I got with most of my friends really were worth it! Having had troubles with my health, it was good to be among people who understood the problems and everything that came with them! I even popped into the library to the IT Support helpdesk, where I used to work! It was just brilliant to see everyone there and within 5 minutes there, me and my friend (or is it still colleague?) Calum were already involved in some technical debate, and Danielle (other friend at work), just blurted out “I’ve missed you two bickering!”. At that stage I think I realised my amazing routine at the office. Thankfully we were able to organise some needed pubbage! Gosh it was good to have a pear Kopperberg…I know what a girl…but beer has never settled with me! I think I was in dire need of pubbage as we had not actually been to any in California as most of our friends were under 21 😦 So thanks to everyone at work who made that possible! So aside from meeting friends at work, I managed to catch up with everyone from psych in Glasgow as well as my other friends who I’ve known from my maths and comp/sci days! For those of you who didn’t know, I changed my degree from Comp Sci/Maths to Psychology…I would get into the details but I doubt you’d be interested! Christmas and new years was with family mainly. I also managed to see quite a close friend in Sheffield 🙂 She was kind enough to donate her time over a rather busy new year’s eve and I think I had forgotten how much I missed catching up with her! To be honest, my new year’s really did pass with me musing over all the things that had happened over the course of 2009! My biggest plus was still being chosen for exchange in California!

Anyway, after those musings which no doubt were skimmed over and the response “yea yea…get on with it” was probably evoked. I’ll get on to the issue of my purple-pink bike called Dorien. Yes, I’m launching into another story so bear with me. This bike is one of the best entities I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, synonymous for its original owner, Dorien. As mentioned last time, she’s one of the most enthusiastic dutch girls I had and continue to have the pleasure of befriending. I got if from Dorien the day before I left for home for the exceptional value of $30. I did spend a bit more to get it tuned for my usage so the net cost was $60, but let me assure you that it’s worth more than any sum of money…a bit like my friendship with Dorien 🙂 At this stage, let me stress to all of you who come to Santa Barbara, GET A BIKE!!! Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise! It’ll make your life easier than you can possibly imagine and you’ll have a lot of fun doing all the bike routes that exist in the Santa Barbara area. Stefan (swiss friend) has been kind enough to show me the coastal route a couple of weekends ago, and the 20 miles of views that we covered are nothing short of breath-taking! We were also lucky enough to see dolphins along the coast as well as at the peer down town. That view, was nothing short of priceless! I would go through the trouble of making a mastercard joke but I’m scared of all of you tiring of my dry humour by the time June comes round 😉 You also get to see what a lot of money can do in the US. Yes, I was being a “peeping-tom” while cycling as the houses were just architectural wonders! Hopefully you’ll get an idea from the photos of the driveways 🙂 So maybe not that much of a “peeping-tom” as I couldn’t actually see the houses 😦 But yea, so a big thanks to Stefan for showing me the wonders of the bike paths that engulf Santa Barbara!

Now, guessing this is the bit where I could go on for hours about Magic Mountain. But all it boils down to is having a great group of friends to enjoy the scary and adrenaline pumping rides! Don’t get me wrong, I love rides! Magic mountain has the reputation of having some of the best rides in the world! I was like a bloody advertisement for Magic mountain during the week of signup! It was organised by the ISA (International Students Association) and as ever we had brilliant fun. Made more new friends like Anjini, Paula, Marta and Annekee! You guys really were the best! The car ride back, again with Sam (President) was as promised worth every minute. The rides started at 11am and even on the way back we were on a ride, given Sam’s driving 😉 We also did a quick stop at In and Out burger which I think I’ve gone on about…but basically California’s best burgers imaginable! Don’t even get me started on the shakes 😛 So yea, despite some of the rides being closed, it was great fun!!! Tatsu was by far the best ride, similar to Air at Alton Towers but on a larger scale!!!

So yea, this term really has taken off to an explosive start! I’ve started meds that have completely controlled all the problems from last quarter. I’ve also engaged myself in badminton 3x a week and all the cycling that Stefan and me are getting into is providing tremendous fitness and fun! Just today, we went on another trip to the Santa Barbara mission and then from there to the hills behind Santa Barbara! It’s always great fun cycling with him and today we had his friend, Arzu who joined us as well. Getting to know more people better and enjoying the views is all part and parcel for me being here. Yes…studies are also another reason, but thankfully they’re not exclusive by any measure! Although, this term they are certainly more engaging given the videos with Dr German for Developmental Psych and the hilarity provided by Dr Revlin in his Cognition lectures. Let’s not forget Dr Cosmides’s passion for evolutionary psych, I would mention the perception course, but still not getting it completely 😦 That reminds me, need to see the teaching assistant tomorrow! Anyway, so after than spell of name dropping, things this term really are going great and I have no doubt they’ll just keep getting better!!!

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