Two Down, One to Go

So. Here we are. The end of another academic year. Wahoooo! / Yay! / Yippee! etc.

I cannot get my head around how FAST these past 9 months have gone. I feel like this year has been quite a significant one for me, and definitely the fastest of my entire life.  Typical me, always wanting to be reflective and all that, I thought it would be fun to identify some of the things that have made up my second year of university.

Brace yourselves peeps, it's gonna be a long'un.

1. The first one I must mention is living with 5 very lovely girls who, by the second day of house-sharing, became very good friends of mine. I was hugely excited to live with them, even though we didn't really know each other very well. I just couldn't stay in halls for another minute and they were honestly the best housemates I could ask for.

2. Hours and hours of walking to and from uni. I worked it out that I walked about 90 hours this year between my house and the uni campus. I do love a good walk but I can't express my relief for never having to do that walk again!!!!! 

3. I discovered Sainsburys. Don't worry it wasn't like I'd never been in a Sainsburys before (although being from Guernsey this wouldn't be too unusual), but it was my local supermarket this year and I can't pretend I didn't enjoy my weekly trip there to browse at their 'free from' range and eye up beautiful stationery that I most definitely didn't need (but bought anyway).

4. The single best thing to happen since I started my second year is the birth of my gorgeous niece Olivia. She's changed our lives so beautifully and I have loved watching her grow, and of course having many, many scrummy baby cuddles. 

5. Another life-changing event...  I became the proud owner of a Tesco Clubcard, a Sainsburys Nectar Card AND an M&S Sparks Card!!!!!! I know!

6. Whilst we are apparently on the theme of life-changing events, I guess now is a good time to mention that I brought my car over to England in December (and then proceeded to get a new one in January, oops). Having a car here is the best decision I've made this year. It's given me my freedom and independence back and made me feel so much more settled here (but more on that later... lucky you).

7. Having my car here enabled me to drive in England for the first time. Big whoop right?! Well if you're from Guernsey you may understand my absolute terror when I reached 50mph for the first time. I genuinely thought I was going to die. I've now driven about 2500 miles here and I absolutely love it!

8. Also since September, we have bought a second home, in Exeter. It's made such a difference having a base over here in England and it means we've seen much more of our family which has been so lovely.

9. The freedom of having a car over here let me discover new little places in Bournemouth/Dorset. I particularly fell in love with Hengistbury Head and the River Stour in Christchurch. Who knew England could have pretty little places too?!

10. Of course, living in Bournemouth means weekly trips to the beach/pier are a MUST. It's not as if I was deprived of beach visits having grown up in Guernsey, but it's still lovely to be by the sea.

11. We had a particularly SCORCHING day (ha, that word is so typically British) on the 8th May where I was walking around Bournemouth in nothing more than a t-shirt and flip flops, and we settled on the beach for the afternoon (along with about ten million other people). 

12. Since we've had good weather, I've also been a complete old lady and been visiting my local park a little more with my lovely friends.

13. One of the most truly shocking events of the year is that I JOINED THE GYM. Huh?! What?! Steph joining the gym?! I don't think my mum has ever been so flabbergasted. 

14. Another discovery of mine this year has been Domino's pizza. Sounds ridiculous that it took me 20 years to discover Domino's but our little island doesn't have it, and with my food allergies it was never something I could try during my England visits over the years. But then they brought out the gluten free base and, well, that was a game changer.

15. On the subject of gluten free, I have never had so many baking fails as I have this year. Gluten free baking is a flipping tricky business people! And I didn't have my mum around to fix things. So yeah, many cakes went straight in the bin. I'm getting there though...

16. This year I lived in my dressing gown because our house was so cold all year round. Gotta love a mouldy student house *insert thumbs-up emoji here*.

17. Other highlights of living in our student house included a dodgy cooker that didn't actually cook food, multiple slugs in the kitchen (ewww), a blocked sink that just. wouldn't. drain, a washing machine disaster (life lesson: when it fills up with water during a tumble dry, it ain't working properly), finding a little shed and using it as a sunbathing spot because we have no garden, and having mould all over my bedroom walls :) yay :)

18. This year I had many an English breakfast at uni with my best bud Andrew in between (or during) lectures to de-stress. "Omg I NEED breakfast" became our most used phrase.

19. Going to Queen Adele's tour. I need say no more on that one!

20. And finally, I met my future housemates for my final year - I can't wait to live with you lot in September! Look at them all, aren't they cute.

My second year of uni has been better than I expected it to be. Miles better, actually. The course itself was probably 5% better than first year (a.k.a. not very good) but since having my car here, getting to know the area, living with like-minded people and adventuring out more, I have really discovered my love for England. I've also enjoyed the long drives to Exeter on an almost monthly basis (big thanks to Adele for accompanying me on the A35).

Honestly I just feel really settled here now, and I think I would struggle to live in Guernsey again. England just feels right for me, and a year ago, it was a totally different story!
I'm excited for summer but I'm also excited to embark on my graduate project next year. I can't believe I'll be starting my final year of uni in September. It has flown by!

Two down, one to go! x