The fact that my last blog post was about what I did in July, it’s pretty clear that August was extremely busy. Mostly just the usual – university assignments, working, babysitting, tutoring, trying not to drown in weekly readings, you know how it is. In between all this, August did have a few exciting events like: my very first uni ball, a French soirée, and lots of birthday celebrations for some of my favourite people.
Here’s what I got up to in the last month of winter (!)
So, I should be doing my History assignment. I should be reading my Politics textbook. I should be listening to an English lecture that I can’t attend in person because of French class. Speaking of French, I really should be practicing for tomorrow’s pronunciation test. But, I’m here instead. Reflecting on the month that was July. This year, it felt like July flew by, even though I did very little. The majority of the month, I was on holiday from university, but as you can tell from the above passage, I am now well into the swing of second semester. Also this month, we got Netflix, which meant I spent an awful lot of time on the couch. When I did manage to drag myself out of my blanket fortress, however, here’s what I got up to in July:
I was quite hesitant about writing something of this sort. Firstly, because you’d only have to make a quick Google search to discover that there are countless articles about dealing with break-ups out there, and I hardly think I have anything new to add to the table. Secondly, I didn’t want to risk sounding soppy/pathetic/completely hopeless at this whole ‘life’ thing. I want to be as honest as possible, but I’m a little worried that I’ll get carried away, reveal too much, and subsequently embarrass myself enormously.
But at the same time, I think a little vulnerability is good for a person. It builds character.
So, last year, I met a guy who, upon finding out where I was from said, “UGH, Canberra is the absolute worst.* It’s hot in summer and cold in winter.” Instead of dwelling on his strange idea of what exactly the weather is supposed to be like in different seasons (because, last time I checked, it’s actually quite acceptable that summer = hot and winter = cold), I’d like to focus on the last part of his statement, because he was quite right: Canberra is pretty cold in winter.
I guess different people have different definitions of ‘cold’, so if you’re new to the city, and think that anything lower than 20° is ‘cold’, I’m telling you right now that you’re in for a bit of a shock. But luckily for you – even though my name is not Kevin – I’m here to help. Having experienced a number of Canberra winters, I’ve got a few tips that you’ll hopefully find useful
The other day, I made the second most game-changing purchase of my life (organic tampons – trust me on this one, ladies). Enter: Target socks. AKA: the best socks for winter you could possibly imagine, and also the best $7 I’ve ever spent (it was a pack of two by the way, so really it was $3.50 per pair, making it $1.25 per sock. As an English major I’m pretty impressed by my mathematics skills/ not even sorry if those figures are completely incorrect). If you want to avoid your toes looking like the fingers of that girl who fell asleep outside during the Canadian winter, you need these socks. Alright, alright, so it doesn’t get quite that cold in Canberra, but still, you should definitely run-not-walk to your nearest Target for a pair of these.
Everybody hates a sniffer (and yet? So. Many. Sniffers.), so you don’t want to be that person. I think it should be a world-wide policy that every man, woman and child have a packet of tissues on hand at all times, especially during the winter. So do yourself, and everyone around you, a favour and spend the $2 on a packet of Kleenex so you’re never unprepared for the inevitable winter nose-running.
// BEATING THE S.A.D
Colds and flus are not the only thing that give winter a bad rap. The weather getting colder and the days getting darker can often affect people’s moods more than they would think. Sometimes what helps is a change of perspective. For example, my life motto is “I like to party and by party I mean take naps”, but during the summer, I always feel bad for not heading out ‘on the town’, as my mom likes to say. With winter approaching, I can now just use the excuse that it’s much too cold to go out, and can completely avoid shivering outside Uni Pub, silently cursing past-Maeve for convincing present-Maeve that of course she would absolutely 100% have a fantastic time. PSA: If you need me at any point in these last few months of winter, I’ll most likely be cocooned in a fluffy blanket drinking a rather large cup of tea.
*=By the way, I later found out he was from Harden (10 points to Gryffindor if you can tell me where that is without Googling it), so I really don’t think he was in any sort of position to be so judgmental.
To be honest, June was kind of a bad time, and I’m not sorry to see the back of it. Looking through some of the photo’s on my phone for this post, however, has been a helpful reminder that there were some pretty fun times last month, even if I did feel a little out of sorts for the most part.
London is preeeetttyyyy spectacular. The week we spent there the weather was unseasonably warm AND it didn’t rain once! Safe to say, I’m already planning my next trip there.
Here are some things I learnt in The Big Smoke:
Where to Stay:
Other than when we were with my family, the Astor Hyde Park Hostel was hands down the best place we stayed. It was clean, the rooms were spacious, safe and secure, and it was in Hyde Park, right up the road from the Natural History Museum. The tube station was close by as were the lines we needed to get around the city. Just a few of the reasons why Astor Hostels win awards for Best Small Hostel chain! The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful and I would absolutely stay there when I’m in London again.
Get your walking shoes on:
The best way to see any city is to just get around on your own two feet! Of course the tube/ buses are always there for when you’re completely exhausted, but a little walking never did any harm. You never know what you may stumble upon, that you would’ve missed by taking the train/bus! There are loads of free walking tours to choose from so on our first day in London, we headed over to Green Park to meet Owen from the ‘Undiscovered London‘ tour company. Owen was so knowledgeable and funny, and the tour was really helpful in letting us get our bearings of the city. That weekend we did an East End tour with the same company, which cost £10 pounds, which was totally worth it. Again, our guide was fantastic, we got to see all the cool street art, and also learnt a lot about history of the East End.
A Few More Tips:
// One of the highlights of our trip was seeing Wicked! There are loads of websites to book cheap tickets on the day of the show – and students (or people under 26) are often given further discounts.
// It’s definitely worth it to pay a bit more for accommodation closer to the city – travelling by tube can get expensive the further out you stay!
// Speaking of the tube – if you’re in London for a week or more, I’d highly recommend getting an Oyster Card. Not only can you use your card on the underground, but also for buses (including the iconic red double-deckers!) and even regional trains. Oyster cards have a daily maximum of £8.50 which means you can visit all the sites in one day for a pretty good price.
// London is home to some of the best museums in the world – and most of them have no entry charge! Our hostel was right down the road from the Natural History Museum which is definitely worth a visit.
I spent the majority of my time in London trying to get the Mary Poppins soundtrack out of my head. Also, some bad news: There’s no such thing as 17 Cherry Tree Lane 😦
But there are views like this, so I guess things aren’t so bad:
London, you sure know how to steal a gal’s heart. I can’t wait to go back.