Happy New Year from England!

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In front of Harrod’s Winter Wonderland in London.

This has been quite a holiday season! I have been busy not being busy, mostly doing Christmas shopping with my aunt and cooking and baking up yummy treats. We don’t do too much which is in complete contrast to ourselves during the work week/school year!

I am extremely excited for this new year. 2014 was an amazing year - I had my ceremonial graduation, was an RA during the summer, and I have officially been to 4 more countries than in 2013! [i.e. Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and England!]. I’ve made so many great friends and learned a lot more about life and myself. That being said, 2015 is going to force me to choose a career [or at least a temporary job] because I have to officially leave school and make my way out in the real world!

Here are my goals for 2015. What are your goals? I think goals are important not because they necessarily should be achieved but because they represent your mindset and current state when you write them. When I look at my goals from last year, I am proud to know how much I have changed personally.

  1. Academics / Career: *Get good enough grades for grad school / scholarships *Officially graduate and come home from abroad [eventually….] *Get a job! [that I like]
  2. Health / Fitness: *Manage stress *Be more moderate in basically everything
  3. Social: *Maintain social and family relationships *Date normal people…. I don’t even know what that means lol
  4. Etc…: *Read good books [currently reading Cooked by Michael Pollan and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green] *Learn some computer skills

This list may be fairly vague, but honestly, life is pretty vague. I don’t know what will happen this year even though I have a general plan. Opportunities arise where we never expect them. I had no idea that I would be going abroad until October last year. And I had no idea I would come to England until the end of October this year! I don’t yet even know what summer will bring [fingers crossed that I get Critical Language Scholarship to study in Turkey!] but we will see.

So here is my life recap! As always, I love questions and comments, but I realize you can’t post comments on this blog so feel free to send FB messages(:

Christmas

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My cousin S., aunty S., and me S. lol.

Christmas was a lovely, lazy event spent in Cranfield where my aunt lives. We ate a traditional English Christmas lunch/dinner and ate chocolate. English Christmas is essentially American Thanksgiving though! With cranberry sauce, Brussel sprouts, parsnips, potatoes, bread sauce, onion sauce and Christmas pudding [i.e. fruitcake], I was completely stuffed and happy as we opened presents(: This Christmas was almost better than spending it at home with my immediate family because it was so much less stress - but gosh I miss my fam! Hope you all are well! <3

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Me, S. and A. getting towels to hold the heated plates for our traditional English Christmas lunch.

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Me wearing the silly crown from the Christmas cracker.

Boxing Day = the day after Christmas
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All of us ladies lined up for a photo!

Boxing Day is an English tradition that is essentially a second Christmas! We headed to a friend’s house and had a lovely day that was essentially Christmas in a different part of England. In terms of shopping though, Boxing Day is comparable to Black Friday in the States. My aunt and I stopped by the mall on the 27th and the mad rush for Boxing Day sales was still in full swing! It was crazy and I was shocked. Anyway, here is our cute Boxing Day pics.

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Everyone getting food…yum!

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I love the action in the photo and how I’m the only one looking!

Woburn Abbey
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Me holding Louie! He never lets me hold him!

My aunt and I took a trip to a beautiful estate called Woburn Abbey. I don’t particularly care for the history, I just like nice architecture and S. had not visited it before, so she decided to take me! I find it funny how my aunt has lived in the county (?) of Bedforshire for awhile and still has not visited several sites that are of historic importance. We also swung by Bletchley Park today (see below for my blurb on that).

Also, in the above photo, I am holding the ridiculously temperamental dog Louie! He is the darling of my relatives here in England, despite his mood swings. Louie goes from letting you pet him to barking, snarling and biting at your toes! I was so surprised that he let me carry him, but he does not like to walk much and also the weather was literally 0 degrees C so he was freezing [despite the dog coat!].

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This is the Abbey itself. It looks quite beautiful with the jewel blue lake in front of it.

Bedford City Center
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Aunty S. and I made a trip out to Bedford which is a lovely town on the River Great Ouse. We mostly hung out in the City Center which is filled with shops and restaurants. The city itself is really cute with quaint looking houses and tiny one-way roads that cannot support the current size of the city. As S. describes it, Bedford is a “proper town” because it is so old as opposed to Milton Keynes which was built in the American style about 40 years ago. I have not posted any photos of Milton Keynes yet because all I’ve done there is go to the shopping mall with Aunty.

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An awesome sculpture in front of Bedford City Center.

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Me and the River Great Ouse.

We also celebrated my cousin A.‘s birthday! We went to a steak restaurant to celebrate, but thankfully they had some vegetarian options for me! When it came to singing happy birthday and eating cake, A. was quite picky about not having the birthday candles on his cake because they drip wax everywhere… Hence the candles on the bread!

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A.’s bread held the birthday candles while the cake remained wax-free.

Bletchley Park

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This is me on the set of The Imitation Game, a new Brit movie about how the Brits broke the German codes during WWII at Bletchley Park.

My Aunty S. and I went to Bletchley Park today, which is the site of where the British created the first computer ever in order to break the Germans’ coded messages during World War II. It was pretty cool to see the models and the actual sites of the action. The museum is set up with loads of props and projectors depict scenes of what happened in the rooms.

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Me in front of the Bletchley Park mansion.

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A poster inside the mansion.

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I love this photo because my aunt asked me to get in it because the car is old “for me”. LOL. That was a cute move!

So that’s what I’ve been up to! I hope you have all had a great new year and have awesome adventures to tell me about!

*Happy New Year everyone! Remember the year that passed, and look forward to the future. *

 
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