So thanks to what many are calling 'UEA Techpocalypse', Christmas genuinely came early for myself and fellow third year pharmacy students. Our epic last day of term poster presentation research skills exam marathon become a day off, since every computer on campus, the whole university's internet connection/intranet/email system has been well and truly broken for the last few days, scuppering all printing plans and statistics joy. Some blame Nick Clegg's education cuts but mostly this can't be helped. An inconvenient fact of life turning us all amish in the run up to christmas as presumably loads of people scrabbled around in the library unable to complete and print coursework. So, an unexpected day off today meant an early train home and now means extra night with the fam.
Immeadiately ahead is an enevitably busy weekend bringing an annual christmas party with friends, carol singing,a couple of church services, a family meal in honour of Dad's birthday, catching up with close friends and apparently The Apprentice final! Stella to win this year's series of my absolute favourite tv programme.
My third year at university started somehow more quietly and serenely than my first and second. A quieter household, missing mental christian union committee meetings and a substantially less manic timetable in terms of my course have certainly been contributing factors. In the first few weeks of term, I had loads of half days in which Jeremy Kyle, 60 minute makeover and homes under the hammer became a great backdrop for wonderful activities previously weeded out of my schedule due to lack of time (predominantly cleaning, pharmacy and painting my nails.) Perhaps my age is showing in the decreased frequency of wild night outs. Although there have been a few fancy dress occasions and some Saturday nights, including a PJ party, Cave Rave (genuinely took the sheet off of my bed and wore it) and a magnificent effort on the part of Amy my housemate and I in the fashioning of some quality (if I say so myself) Hogwarts robes (see below for Harry, Ron, Ginny and Hermione, easily identifiable).
There have been a few whirlweekends away from the fine city of Norwich too, beginning with a special evening in Birmingham with the Groby gang. After a perfect chilli courtesy of Alison and Mike at their flat, we headed out (for a change!) to Broadway Casino. Having mastered and enjoyed the art of winning at Roulette I spent the night at Mawbs' house with the girls, and consumed a very large fry up before heading back home.
A couple of weeks later, it was time for UEA Christian Union's Houseparty weekend away (see them all below!). In all senses it was an amazing weekend! I boldly went where I had never been before..into the catering department, helping to serve food for 50 the whole weekend! Perhaps an initially intimidating task but one which gave me the opportunity to really get to know the other girls and sing along in the kitchen, so I genuinely loved it! The weekend was full of so much teaching about God's character; I particularly loved hearing again about how our relationship with God as christians does not rest on what we resolve to do, but on who God is. I can not earn God's love by being a good christian, neither can I loose it by being a bad one! I don't earn my salvation by works, but I recognise my salvation as Jesus' righteousness accreditted to me and seek to live a life pleasing to God in response to this knowledge.
I spent another few days at home in the middle of November, seeing my immeadiate family, old friends from School (a night out in trashy leicester nightclub life) visiting my Nanny in Luton and dropping quickly in for the rememerance Sunday church service. I had a quick drink at local The Stamford Arms with Deb Goodhead, bumping into a familiar face or two, and managed to fit in some r&r plus report writing before heading back to Norwich.
It's been a relatively musical term, with one thing and many others. I've had the pleasure of hearing folk legend Michael mcGoldrick and friends, Seth Lakeman (is he married?), and 65daysofstatic (which was incredible!) who all put on stunning live shows. It's been great to meet up a couple of times over the term with old friend Dave Blane (now living and working in Norfolk where are the cool people end up..) who introduced me to The Kings Chamber Orchestra. Their concert was awesome comprising a very enjoyable accessible combination of classical tunes and top notch contemporary christian improvisations. For good measure and hilarity they also included a carrott solo and some glowing balloons overhead...what more could you want of an orchestra? The same weekend one of my dearest friends Beccy came to visit, we made a weekend of it including some shopping, a trip to Norwich Castle, the LCR and some pie from old Local The Farmhouse following church on Sunday morning. Here we are, in Eaton Park in the snow..
This year, I decided to finally pay up, attend and throw myself into involvement with UEA Music Society, to the extent of relatively faithful attendance to rehersals and even the purchase of a society hoody! I absolutely loved singing as part of the choir in last week's Christmas Concert, held in St John the Baptist church on Timberhill in the city centre. Here we are, my housemate Amy leading the merriment clarinet in hand.
Along with a flurry of christmas shopping, a lovely afternoon watching Glee with Fran Chorlton, Carols in the Square, a couple of epic meetings, some piano playing, and yet more christmas carolling at an old folk's home in Cringleford, the last couple of weeks at uni also brought the Christian Union Carol service, a jovial occasion (as usual) designed entirely to share the good news of the christian message with those who don't know it, over singing, some preaching and excitingly mulled wine and mince pies. Although not involved in leading the Christian Union I am so committed to the work of the CU on campus and really excited about what's going on this year.
I'm very encouraged to see so many first years getting involved and tapping into the aim of the society. The CU at UEA exists not just to bring christian students together but to make God's glorious gospel known to the whole campus. I feel quite challenged. The danger is to forget that our entire reason for existance (when I say our, I mean us as a society but also us as individuals!) is to give God all of the glory. Perhaps the time I can give practically to Christian Union is limited, but how much more could I commit this cause of making Jesus known on campus to ceaseless prayer! Ditto this realisation for every area of my life, which I find exciting even in my general state of aged apathy.
I've decided to begin reading the bible through completely and in some detail from cover to cover. I don't know if this is the most practical way, and I am a slow reader prone to give up easily, so I have no set readings ahead for each day and no expectation of how many days, months or years I may take. Neither is this a promise of a daily blog to write about what i've been reading or learning. If I feel like it along the way, perhaps i'll write about some of my coolest discoveries, favourite bits and the bits which throw up questions. So far, I'm just getting up to the bit where Issac is born.. aka at pretty much the beginning..but I am already so amazed at how much there is to learn in just the first 18 chapters of Genesis!
So to finish off, some party pics!
birthday party (Me and Mr Bua at his 22nd!)
HPLC research party (not sure this counts as a party but nevertheless an integral part of this semester)
light party (alternative halloween...my face + larry's face + kids with face paint)
p.s My previous blog 'The Trauma of Boots part 1' was titled so as I quite rightly anticipated today's enevitability in the form of reserving the title of 'part 2'. Boots (the chemist) somehow predicatably have declined my summer placement application for the second (or possibly third..i can't remember) year running! I don't mind at all, since the likelihood of me having to turn down the placement had they offered it was strong anyway, since I have already booked a holiday for next summer with my family. Despite feeling a little hurt re: repeated rejection, I may consider applying to work at some hospitals (preferable anyways) whilst nonchalantly naming this blog after my epic failings as a community pharmacist.