Dear Reader,

First of all, I am terribly sorry I am posting this blog so late, it has been an exceptionally long day! Alright, now that apologies are out of the way, lets get to the real deal. As you may be aware, I have been spending my time this past few weeks working at the National Assembly for Wales as a research intern. As I have said before, it has been and continues to be an amazing experience. The internship provided me with a unique, “behind the scenes” insight into everyday politics at the Assembly which is fascinating on its own believe me. However, while I truly enjoyed researching the topic of education in Wales and the PISA 2012 results, the real treat was seeing my work bear fruit in the end. Today the Assembly Member – whose Support Staff I have been working with for the past three and a half weeks – used my research while talking on live television today! I must admit, it was a pretty awesome feeling! Right now I am spending my remaining days finishing up another research project I have been working on more recently. As my internship is going to come to an end on Friday, I will have to pick up the pace and finish drafting up a report before my time expires. I really don’t want to leave a half-done project behind.

Nonetheless, concentrating on work gets harder and harder as the weekend approaches. My flight leaves on Saturday for Budapest so the promises of music festivals, road trips with friends and meeting my family keep popping up in my mind, making it increasingly hard to think about anything else other than summer. I have already made plans with friends and I am truly looking forward to fulfilling my promise of finally spending more time with them. I also want to do some more work during the summer, however, that is yet to be confirmed. Naturally I will let you know as soon as something comes up! Until then, I think I will just go and enjoy the remaining time I have in Cardiff and at the Assembly before I fly home to Hungary. Take care and have a great summer! I know I will.

Until next time,

A

Dear Reader,

So this will be my last post before I head back to Aber on Saturday. Naturally, I am trying to enjoy the comfort of my home as much as possible in these few remaining days. Actually, this week will not be overly different from all the previous “last weeks”. Past experience indicates that I will soon start worrying about exams a lot more, while also trying to spend more time with the family and my friends. After all, I won’t bee seeing them until about mid June.

Nonetheless, as Saturday noon draws nearer and nearer, I know I will start looking forward to getting back to Aber. All my buddies from the university are already there, asking me when I would get back, so it will be nice to see them again and discuss the joys of the Easter break after taking care of the exams. Also, I am excited about getting feedback on my essays, I truly enjoyed researching and writing on both of my chosen topics so I am curious about what the professors thought. Putting the academics aside for a moment, I have just realised that I will be spending barely more than a week in Aber! After writing both of my the exams early next week, I will have to pack all my stuff and move everything over to the new place I will live at starting next September. As a result, I will probably spend a day or two running around town changing my contact details at all the necessary places and taking care of some dull paperwork. Nevertheless, after getting all things in order, summer will kick off with a blast. I will finally leave for Cardiff to get started with my summer placement program at the National Assembly of Wales! The job seems extremely exciting, Cardiff looks like an amazing city to spend some time at and I managed to find myself a great place to live. The best part: I will get to enjoy all this for a month! I must admit, it feels good to finally have a (summer) job that requires me to wear a suit and a tie to work. Naturally, I will keep you updated throughout the month!

So all in all, while trying to cram in all the things I wanted to do during the break into merely four days and enjoy the comfort of living at home, I can’t help but feel happy about hopping on a train in London and starting my journey back to the university.  Nevertheless, I will have to go now and  enjoy the warm sunny weather in the good company of some caramel-chocolate cake my father made during the weekend and my revision notes.  Talk to you next week!

Until then,

A

To say this Easter has been hectic is an understatement! Along with revision/ essay writing I’ve been lucky enough to take a family trip to Brighton and to visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. Being one of the many massively enthusiastic Harry Potter fans, I could not WAIT to visit the studios and witness where the franchise had been born. A few years ago I was also lucky enough to visit the Universal Studio Tour in Los Angeles and I personally thought that the amount of props and equipment shown in the Harry Potter Studios tour was much more detailed and handcrafted and just beautiful!

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But first let me talk about Brighton – they call it the mini London by the sea and I completely agree.It has all of the shops, the different districts and what felt like the population of the city. There were so many people crowding the lanes that I found myself with bruises on my shoulders from the amount of times that people had bumped into me or rushed past me – although I’m sure that Brighton isn’t like this all of the time, it just so happened that we arrived on a Bank Holiday weekend and the sun was blazing which made it feel as though we were abroad somewhere. Even walking along the Pier and looking back at the promenade felt as though we were in a slightly better looking version of Benidorm. The stretch of beach was so long between the marina and the residential area it was like looking into the horizon – it just never seemed to end!

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It was interesting to hear my younger cousin mention that she wouldn’t mind living in this part of the country and maybe going to the University of Brighton/ Sussex. She asked me what it was like living in a seaside town and I honestly couldn’t see much of a comparison between Brighton and Aberystwyth except for the promenade. Yes Brighton was bigger, but it wasn’t that much better for me. It had all of the hustle and bustle and stress of the capital city and less of the relaxation of a seaside town – the only relaxing spot I found was in the gardens of the Royal Pavilion which I’d advise anyone to go and see – I’ve never seen architecture like it in Britain before!

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And also it is home to one of the most delicious and cool cafe/ cake shops I had ever seen, which also happens to have the coolest name: Choccywoccydoodah. Here is a picture to prove that this place actually exists along with some of the AMAZING wedding cakes they’ve created:

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And also, I forget the name of this shop but it was situated on the beach – literally in the tunnels under the promenade and the artist who owned the shop had painted this onto the ceiling and I thought it was incredibly clever.

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This is just a quick post – I don’t feel like I should post a lot of photos or descriptions of the Harry Potter tour because I’m just going to urge you to go if you are a Harry Potter fan. Although, a piece of advice, maybe don’t take someone with you who has no idea what the books/ films are. It was particularly embarrassing having to hear my grandmother question whether we were going to see Hogswash anytime soon.

A few other things I’ve been up to – I’ve finally finished Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist (I’m not too sure why it took me so long to read, it was only 161 pages) I must say that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it but I can foresee myself coming back and re-reading the book when I’m feeling a bit down or lost. It’s riddled with thought-provoking, enthusiastic, life affirming metaphors and is really capable of helping you step back and view your life and your problems in a healthy way.

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I thought I’d include this as it was actually quite a lovely day after a lot of planning – I threw a garden party for my friend’s 20th birthday and have never been so relieved for the U-turn in the weather! Her party happened to be on one of the warmest days of the holidays and so everything went smoothly. Here’s a photo of a part of the table and her cake that my friend and I made for her – the theme was basically all of her favourite foods and drinks and when it came to making the cake it was pretty simple; include as much chocolate as possible. So we made a chocolate sponge cake covered in chocolate butter cream and topped with Kit Kats and Smarties. The cake didn’t last five minutes without people picking at it!

Until next time!

Shannon

Dear Reader,

Remember when I have mentioned in my previous posts that doing well at the uni requires a lot of time and commitment? Well, this week I will have to make good use of both as the Easter break slowly comes to an end. I have two exams to prepare for and I still have to tinker around with one of my essays, not to mention some extra work that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. Naturally, while I recognise the importance of paying particular attention to studying, I still want to spend as much time with my family and friends as I can. After all, I won’t see them until mid-June after my flight takes off on the 10th of May. So due to my lack of time, I am unable to write about anything interesting that has happened to me last week. It has been pretty calm anyway, the only thing worth mentioning is my visit to Warsaw, which was great! I’ve got to meet a friend who is spending a term at a local university with the Erasmus program. I must admit, it was strange to be the one who visits a friend studying abroad for once. Usually it is I who get the visitors. Anyway, Warsaw was charming! It is a great city filled with really kind people who made he whole group feel very much welcome.

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If I was travelling alone, I would probably have skipped the 12 hour train ride, but travelling in the company of a great group of friends made the whole journey much more tolerable. To be honest, the train ride back to Hungary did seem exceptionally long though.

So that is pretty much it. It is not much but I still wanted to write a short little something to let you know that all is well, I am just swamped with schoolwork. I promise I will write a proper post next week! Now, I am off to bury myself under my notes with a strong cup of coffee near at hand.

Until next time,

A

It is Sunday once again. It is still the Easter Holidays. The weather in Snowdonia this weekend was mostly rain with a chance of rain so my intrepid expedition up Snowdon was called off. The leopard was disappointed. Just as well as I have a stinking head cold and this week has not been great.

First, the interview. Well still waiting for the result but I have a feeling the answer will be no. Sadly due to the unfortunate laws that govern such things, it was Wednesday that my alter-ego chose to make an appearance. And sadly no one really wants to employ him as he is an introverted, barely coherent idiot. Still I’m going on like normal Sion is any better. this is one of those times you chalk it all up to experience and move on. And at least I still have other options.

Anyway.

This week saw me get a massive reminder of how fleeting our time really is. Someone that I was an undergraduate with, who was full of life, full of love, full of the spirit of humanity that so many people are lacking, died. He was only 42. Married with 4 children. And now he is gone and the world is a very different place. His name was John and he was a brilliant bloke. I cannot count the number of drunken shenanigans we took part in together. The number of stories. The tall tales of the fireside that are all true. The crazy, crazy nights of youth. We all thought we would live forever. We were wrong.

We found out about John’s death on Thursday. The Keele alumni page had the news. The page is called “Forever Keele” and those words never rang truer than this last week. There is a point to all this so I ask you to stay with me for a while longer. By six o’clock on Thursday night I had spoken to seven people that I haven’t actually talked to since graduation. Of course we have all kept in touch by Facebook and by hearsay. But on Thursday, the phone started ringing. Friend requests from faces I used to know under different names popped up. People sharing stories and above all offering help. Wanting to know what they could do. The Catholic Chaplain from our class of Keele graduates weighed in with support, wanting to know how he could help. And that, my friends is it. It is another example of what “Students’ Union” means. I keep writing about this.  Because it is important. And you will never understand until something like this happens. And some people don’t get it, and never will. But for those who do it is a truly amazing thing.

There will be friends you make at University that you won’t speak to once you graduate. You will know them through updates on social media. You will know them through the first steps of their children and obligatory happy birthday messages you send. But. Something like this happens and all the years and all the water, snakebite and scotch washes under the bridge and you are once again standing together. And in that moment it is like no time has passed at all.

You will never have friends like the ones you make at Uni.

You will never get the opportunity to meet such a diverse body of people as you get to meet at Uni.

It is truly the best of times and the worst of times.

In my interview I was asked about my university career both past and present and for both I answered that the thing that made it was the brilliant people I was with. I consider myself blessed that both universities I have attended seem to have the same spirit.

Embrace every opportunity whilst you can. if you are in doubt, do it anyway, because really what is the worst that can happen?

I will now quote from another Keele friend who has summed it up : (credit Mark Holtz)

“I was lucky enough to go to university when simply getting a degree…any degree…was seen as a ticket to a secure job and financial well-being. Keele for me wasn’t an extension of school, but a new home, a new family, a new life. We had all the time in the world for extra-curricular activity, and for better or worse, we took advantage of it.

There were some students who cared so much about it, they paid back in through voluntary work. Not for an extra paragraph on their CV, not to climb the ladders of political power, but simply out of love. A few of those cared so much that even after graduating they kept on giving. Again. And again. And again. Elmo, you will be terribly, terribly missed, but for every student who got home safely (albeit at 90mph) at 3am because you worked an extra hour on your shift, and for every cellist who woke up in Prague wondering quite how they got there, I thank you. RIP.”

In Loving Memory of John “Elmo” Watson. Forever Keele.

Hey guys,

This week has been an absolutely lovely week spent at home, now that I don’t live with my family I love spending time with them and catching up. Mum and I have become such good friends since I have been at Uni and I think that will continue throughout my life, which is lovely! I have enjoyed long walks with the family, movie nights, a lovely Easter dinner and lots of glasses of wine! It has been a lovely break from university and work as I have banned myself from doing anything other than relaxing! This is the first ‘holiday’ I have had since I have been at university and I doubt I will have time to go on holiday once I start my job full time and try to get to grips with everything, so I have made such I have fully enjoyed being at home.

On the flat hunting front, I have booked some viewings for tomorrow and Friday for properties based in and around Aberystwyth and mum and I are on a mission to find me somewhere nice and affordable to live! Really looking forward to having a nose around houses and flats and try and set up some form of life for me from the beginning of June onwards. It is a thoroughly exciting time and as my little brother put it ‘I am at the moment at the end of a level on the PlayStation where I have to kill the zombie and then level up!.’

Hopefully this time next week I will have news for you on the flat/house searching front and how my induction at Innovis went, as that is on Monday! Really looking forward to that too!

Until next week

X

Dear Reader,

So Easter has come and gone in a flash. As every year, the holiday brought family gatherings, an immense amount of food and a lot of laughter with it, leaving everyone kind of sad that it flew by so quickly. So this week, I thought I would just write something short about how my family and I celebrated Easter this year!

IMG_2593Lucky for us, Easter always comes at a time of the year when the whole family is home, so we usually take advantage of this and travel around the country a little bit to meet the relatives. On both Sunday and Monday, I have visited my grandparents, cousins and family friends we have not seen in a while. We have spent a great weekend  exchanging stories, playing board games and eating a crazy amount of delicious food. Also, since we have met all our female relatives, the men of the family decided to make sure the girls and women stay just as beautiful in the future as they are now.

 

I am not sure whether it is customary to do so in other countries, but in Hungary you celebrate Easter by “watering” the ladies during the early hours of Easter Monday in order to keep them young and beautiful. While this sounds a bit strange, boys and men practically go from house to house where girls and women they are friends with live; recite one of the traditional Hungarian Easter poems, and sprinkle some perfume onto the hair of the girls. In the olden days, the men would have used buckets filled with cold water (some of them still do), but I don’t think my teenager nieces or my grandmothers would have appreciated being doused in ice-cold water on a Monday morning, so my father and I decided to go with a not-too-strong perfume instead and left the buckets at home. As a reward for their efforts every year, boys get to choose from a basket full of hand painted eggs, a traditional reward that is older than Hungary itself. Alternatively, the visitors might also receive small pieces of chocolate, or—if they are old enough—a shot of palinka. This year, I had learnt a beautiful poem for my mother and sister and I have gotten some gorgeous painted eggs (and some chocolate that is already gone) in return!

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While this tradition is kind of fun—especially when boys are younger and form teams with their friends to visit everyone they know throughout the day—the best part of Easter is always the food. Besides the usual chocolate the Easter bunny brings the kids every year; traditional Hungarian Easter meals include boiled smoked ham, boiled eggs, horseradish, potato salad, Easter bread and even the famous walnut and poppyseed “bejgli”, an amazingly good traditional Hungarian pastry. Lucky for us, my father has already perfected his bejgli recipe years ago and he continues making them with renewed enthusiasm every Easter. As a result we have been treating ourselves to the walnut and poppy-seed goodness for days now without any regret.

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 As usual, Easter has been a fun part of my time at home during April and early May! Nevertheless, the need to do some work looms over as I can see the icon of my unfinished essay glaring at me from the desktop of my computer. As I may have mentioned it before, I am leaving for Warsaw on Thursday, so I will kind of have to bury myself into my notes until then. I will make sure to take some pictures during the weekend and let you know how the trip went!

 

Until next time,

A

You find me, on this Easter Sunday, at home in Sunny (ish) Huddersfield. Lent has ended. I may have wine. This morning one mouthful of good old Catholic Red and I was a bit wobbly! I have since recovered enough to crack open a bottle of Shiraz (The Shiraz is un-transubstantiated). Somewhere in the house, the Easter Leopard is laying in wait for those who taste of chocolate. I am thinking I may need to revise the survival guide.

The week just gone has been quite entertaining and relaxing. I’ve caught up on my laundry. My fencing kit no longer smells like a damp dog has been sleeping on it! I have been enjoying the luxury of a king-sized bed and a memory foam mattress. I have even (wait for it) had a bath without interruption by a fire alarm!!! The joys of being at home.

On Wednesday I have an interview. This is an interview for my dream job. You may have noticed that I really enjoy working with people and getting people involved in stuff. It has only been since coming to Aber that i’ve realised I’m actually quite good at it as well. This job will basically allow me to do that and be paid for it. Unfortunately it isn’t at Aber. Major wrench there. But everything has its time. So I’ve spent this week prepping a presentation on teamwork. Fingers crossed.

A lot of my fellow students are in full on dissertation/ exam mode in spite of the holidays. Having been there, albeit several years ago, I feel their pain.  To all of them I give  the wisdom of Winston: “When you’re  in hell, Keep going!” And trust me, once you emerge from the final exam or the hand-in it is like being blinded by the light outside of Plato’s cave. Remember that feeling when it comes. Hold on to it. It will get you through almost every trial life will subsequently throw at you my friends.

This is a short blog this week. Next week, as well as the report back on the interview, there will be the scaling of Snowdon by Lucius and myself. Watch this space!