Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The One With All The Jokes

"How did the man become Thor? He forgot to thtretch."

I never know how to open blog posts so I cunningly have side-stepped my dilemma with a joke. Hope you laughed as much as I did.

So I haven't blogged in a while. I keep getting into the rut of not blogging for ages and then doing never-ending blog posts that are far too long to read. I'm sorry. 

Before I begin, however, I can't believe I'm saying this, but in four days I will be moving to Durham to study English Literature this October. It still hasn't properly sunk in that I will actually be going to uni, nevertheless Durham, but I'm so excited for the challenges and experiences that it will bring! No doubt there will be many more blog posts to come with Uni stories!

My summer started on the 7th of June, after an intense two day exam period. Whenever I told people that I only had two exams, and that they were on the 6th & 7th, I was met with intense jealousy and stories of millions of exams spread over decades. But there we go. Definitely a pro of taking Arts subjects!

My first big excursion was to Holland, to visit Anne-Mai, an old friend from Nepal. I know I go on about Nepal sometimes, which my Brownies kindly reminded me of on Pack Holiday, but my childhood is a big part of who I am. Some people forget that I have spent more of my life in Nepal than in Wales, and therefore will have a big impact on the way I view things. It was really nice to be able to talk through cultural differences with someone who had a similar childhood to me, who can relate to growing up with shoot-to-kill strikes and bomb drills and fun things like that. 

So anyway, Holland. I absolutely loved experiencing the Dutch culture, which is completely stereotypical; cycling, Stroopwaffels, flatness, cheese, more cycling, canals, double decker trains, etc. Straight after we arrived at Anne-Mai's house from the airport we went on a family cycle trip, which was tiring but foreshadow of how the week would pan out! I must've toned up a bit with all the cycling we did. I definitely think the Dutch are onto something; I didn't see a fat person all week, which is more than I can say for Bridgend!

I also, however, experienced the less savoury side of Dutch culture by visiting Amsterdam. Just to clarify, it is a beautiful city, which I will hopefully demonstrate in my pictures, but the drug culture really puts a damper on the mood in the city (well, not for the people on drugs I suppose!)

The first major culture shock was walking past 'coffeeshops'. To anyone who hasn't heard of this phenomenon, basically cannabis is legal for 18+ in Holland, and they have 'coffeeshops' which don't actually sell coffee, but weed. It was just crazy to walk past them and think that it is perfectly legal, and in Amsterdam, almost celebrated to get high. 

The amount of weed memorabilia was insane; tops with cannabis cartoon characters, cannabis lollypops, literally anything that you can print a logo on. To top it all off, we went in a shop which had a sign on the counter that said 'Do a line, 5 Euros' and had some form of legal cocaine substitute right there in a pepper shaker. Insane.

*Joke Break to lighten up the somber mood* 
Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Hula who?
*End Of Joke Break. Please don't despair, there is a happy ending.*

I also walked through the red light district. Again, for people who don't know, this is some streets in Amsterdam where there are big glass windows with a neon red light above it, and a prostitute stands behind the window, waiting for her next customer. 

I literally could not believe it when I walked past. Although friends had told me about it, to actually walk past it all was absolutely crazy. After passing the first window I was literally gaping and repeatedly gasping 'whaaaaaaaaat?!' and Anne-Mai had to remind me to keep walking and stop staring.

Apart from all this, though Amsterdam was absolutely gorgeous. I loved walking up and down the canals, looking in the quirky little shops and art studios, perusing market stalls (in one I bought vintage Twinings tins!) and chilling in actual coffee shops. It was so rich in culture, and it was so interesting to talk to various people and listen to buskers along the way. 

We also got to walk past Anne Frank's house, which was completely mind-boggling and humbling. Unfortunately the queue was too long to go inside, but to see the house in real life was amazing. 

Whilst we were traipsing around Leidseplein, a guy approached us. He quickly introduced himself as 'Dez' in a strong Scouse accent and proceeded to try and entice us to go on an organised pubcrawl. He was all like 'You'll be partying wi' me' (as if that would be an incentive to sign up!) I was clearly uninterested and made it very clear on my face, as I'm not the best about being subtle with my expressions when I don't like something. 

Anne-Mai, however, being the smily, friendly girl she is, asked him questions about it, which prompted a 10 minute conversation about details and meeting places etc. After he finally moved on to his next victims, I asked Anne-Mai if she actually wanted to go, to which she replied 'Noooo! Of course not!' Evidently we have different ways of dealing with people that we want to go away.

Apart from our Amsterdam day, the rest of my trip was quite uneventful but lovely. We talked a lot, cooked pancakes, had a painting day, listened to hipster music, visited her school in Utrecht, played boardgames and cycled. 

I won't bore you with a detailed explanation of the rest of my summer, so instead, here is the last 3 and a half months in a nutshell.

Prom. Spray tan. Plane. Holland. Waffles. Plane. Painting fences. Back-to-back episodes of The Renovation Game/Motorway Cops. Tea. Painting dining room chairs. Tea. Painting Lydia's wardrobe. Baking. Brownie Pack Holiday. Painting more fences. Heatwave. Camp 3. Bala. Sweet Fellowship. Family camping. Tents. Loud drunken Scousers. Aber. Curry. Sister Mary. Lighthouse. Results day. Crying. Driving test. Jubilation. The Lorax. Uni Paperwork. Reading list. Robinson Crusoe. Parent trap dance. Balloons filled with paint. Paddleboarding. Gloucester. Friends. Minute mysteries. Dunelm Mill. 18th. More friends. Packing. Goodbyes.

So there we go. It'll be sad to leave, but I'm really looking forward to starting a new chapter of my life! Cheeeeeesy. 

I'll leave you with my master plan of How To Make Friends In Uni. 

Step 1: Make them chai tea lattes with my new milk frother.
Step 2: Give them cake.
Step 3: Tell them jokes like: 

Me- Knock Knock!
New Super Cool Uni Friend-Who's there?
Me-Little old lady
Other New Super Cool Uni Friends joining in-Little old lady who?
Me- I didn't know you could yodel!
*New Super Cool Uni Friends hysterically laugh*

I think I'll be just fine.

Story behind this photo: I took a photo of the cheese as I was passing, armed with my Stroopwaffel,  saying loudly 'ooooh cheese!' This guy was like 'have a picture with the cheese!' Typical tourist photo.

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