Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A week of goodbyes

The exchange is coming to its end, and although I very much look forward to returning home, these last couple of days it has really started to set in that in less than I week I will say goodbye to all of my friends in Nottingham and I don't know when or if I will see them again. 

So this week so far has really been a week of goodbyes. First I said goodbye to André who went back to York, and since we both have final exams and presentations I won't be seeing him again until we are both in Finland. On Monday (which btw was so gray and rainy and dull) we took it pretty easy, just enjoying the bank holiday but in the evening we went to Mod pizza for our last 'date' in England. I actually really liked the pizza there and they had really delicious lemonade as well. Another funny thing that happened (a thing that happens way to often and has inspired the name of this blog) was that the woman making my pizza mistook my name for Jaspin. J A S P I N. Is that even a name? 

Anyways, on Tuesday I said goodbye to André and right afterwards I met Andrea at a coffee shop for lunch. This was also our last day together, since she was leaving the next day. Andrea is really one of the people I feel like I have gotten to know the best here, and she is truly a beautiful person inside and out. She has always had time to listen over a cup of coffee, and it was bittersweet knowing that she was leaving. Then again, she lives in Sweden, so only one boat trip away!

In the evening we were planning to meet up at a pub for some beers, but we really wanted to do something special so instead we surprised Andrea with a crepe party! I was really glad that after all the ifs and buts we actually made it work, and Andrea looked so surprised when she arrived at the pub and we told her that there was actually a change of plans. I love surprise parties and I've even received one myself, although that time the surprise was accidentally revealed to me by a snap from my friend. I still loved it though!

Today I've had some errands to run but I also went for lunch with some friends. The next few days will be spent studying, running errands, cleaning and packing (and a bit of 'last time' partying too). To end this post, here's a collage of me eating some leftover tuna and rice (which probably was too old to eat but I was too lazy to cook anything) after taking a shower in a bathroom I share with 5 people. You know, just the glamorous life of student living in England, not something I will miss quite truthfully! 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

La Familia goes Nottingham

For the past few days my family and Andre's family have visited us in Nottingham, and we have had a great time! It's been close to 4 months since I last saw my parents, so I was super happy that they came here to visit me, even if it was just a little over a week before I will be going back to Finland again. 

On Thursday they arrived by bus from London and me and André came to meet them at the bus station. I had been busy all morning tidying my room, picking up André who came just a few hours earlier from York, and making lunch, and that combined with the super hot weather we have had for the past couple of days (26 degrees!) meant that I was already so sweaty by mid day. But that didn't matter too much, all that mattered was that the family was in Notts, finally! After taking a taxi to the airbnb the parents had rented, we walked back to the city and had dinner at Wagamama's. We ended the night by having some drinks at All Bar One, doing some grocery shopping, and then we said goodnight and see you tomorrow!

Day two was a hot day as well, probably even hotter. After breakfast me and André took the bus (and a few bags with some clothes for the parents to take with them (thank god for that, not sure I would have been able to fit everything in my suitcase otherwise...)) to the airbnb and met everyone there. We once again walked to city and this time to the castle. I hadn't had a chance to visit the castle yet so I was super glad I got to go, especially when the weather was so good!

Our mission was to find a hat for my dad. I think we found a winner.

After touring the castle and the museum inside, we walked down the hill to the oldest Inn in England, a place which I had only seen from the outside but never visited before. They had lots of tables in the shade which made it a perfect lunch spot for a sunny and hot day. The food was pretty good too and the drinks were cold, so we were all pleased with our visit!


The rest of the day was spent doing some shopping, sitting in the sun with some drinks, and for dinner we went to Turtle Bay. The food at the restaurant was a bit of a let down, and service was very slow so I don't think I would go there again (for food at least), but all in all we had a really fun day together. 

The parents left this morning for London, where they will be spending one more night before returning to Finland. As for me and André, we have had a pretty chill day so far. It has been a warm but cloudy day, which was perfect for us since we did get a tiny bit sunburned yesterday. We decided to walk to Wollaton Park, where we have been once before. That time it was pouring rain and absolutely freezing, so we definitely enjoyed the visit a lot more this time. And we saw lots of deer as well! The only downside is that I have been suffering from some hay fever which meant that I was constantly sneezing and blowing my nose in the park. I have to remember to buy some medicine for that!

These last couple of days have been so much fun and I definitely feel like I have this newfound energy and excitement which I will try to take advantage of during the upcoming week - my last week in Nottingham!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

sun & shopping

Hello! Another week has gone by and now I only have 2 more weeks left in the Notts. At times it has felt like I'm just trying to kill time and that these weeks before my last exam would have been spent doing something useful if I was already back home, like I would probably be working and preparing for the move into the new apartment (also it was raining for a week straight here and it was really warm and sunny in Finland, so that also didn't help). But despite all of that, I have been doing some fun things for the past 7 days.

On Wednesday me and Andrea went to the city campus to do some studying and honestly, half of our time we pretty much talked. We were also interviewed by a woman from the BBC. Still haven't found that fotage anywhere online, and I'm not sure I want to.

On Thursday I took the train to York, and on Friday André took me to see the new Harry Potter shop as he had promised. Honestly, it wasn't that special and it was very small, but I've also been to the Harry Potter World in Universal Studios, and I feel like that is almost the closest I will ever get to feeling like I'm at Hogwarts, even if it is in sunny Florida! In the evening we also took a nice walk around campus.

On Saturday we had planned a day trip to Leeds since the trip was only 30 minutes by train and tickets were really cheap. And I'm so glad we went because Leeds was a really cool city and great for shopping! We also had delicious southern barbecue for lunch and even if it started pouring rain at the end of the day, we were both very happy with our shopping. We also watched the semi-final hockey game Finland vs. Sweden, and well, Finland lost so there's not much to say about that.

The best ice latte I've had in England so far/Beautiful shopping places all over Leeds/My summer look (wish I could afford the hat but it was wayy to expensive!)

Pulled Pork, Fries, Sweet Potato Cornbread, Coleslaw and home made ice tea... YUM!
Ei menny iha niin ku strömsöössä...

Sunday was very mellow and on Monday it was time to get back to Notts. These past few days have been extremely warm so I've gone to the park twice now and I'm glad to say that I got my first tan line! Today I'm also meeting with some of the girls for some drinks and football (yes, a group of girls watching football, can you believe it?) but I'm most excited for tomorrow, because not only is André coming here, also my parents and Andre's family! Can't wait for them to be here, I definitely miss them a lot!
Sunday was spent saying bye to all the ducks at Andre's campus :)

I hope that Andrea will keep her promise of visiting me and Finland for the first time, and I definitely want to go and see her in Karlstad as well!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

3 weeks

It's Tuesday which means that I have exactly 3 weeks left in Nottingham. With the pretty shitty conditions at my accommodation (like the cleaners not showing up for three weeks and people stealing food from the fridge) I've honestly been pretty done with this place and I definitely look forward to returning home. Still, I've tried to make the most of the things I do enjoy doing here - like hanging with my friends and André, which is exactly what we did on Friday with a little 'bar crawl'. We did just end up going to 2 places and most of the group went to a nightclub pretty early on to get in free, but me, André, Lisa and her boyfriend visiting from Sweden stayed at the latter place, Turtle Bay for a while longer. They have happy hour from 10 onward, which means delicious cocktails for affordable prices, who doesn't love that?

On Saturday it was time for the Eurovision finale which me and André watched from my computer in my room. The winner was ok in my opinion, not my favorite but then again I didn't really have a big favorite this year. One thing is for sure - worst. hosts. ever. That's one thing I think we can all agree on.

Sunday was the last day of sun before a whole week of rain, at least according to the weather forecast (and so far it's been right, unfortunately). We took advantage of it by playing some basketball outside, but for the rest of the night we pretty much just took it easy. On Monday André went back to York and with no lectures to keep me busy, I've tried really hard to avoid boredom. Yesterday after the gym I had a real pampering day - I bought a face mask and this hair lightening product to give my hair that sun-kissed look. My accommodation also organized a street food festival type of thing and they actually served Mexican food, ice cream and cake FOR FREE! So Monday was pretty much awesome.

Today I've been to the city center and done some shopping. I realized that my wardrobe mostly consists of dark clothes and that I needed some color in my life and eventually I ended up buying a red romper and a blue wrap around skirt. Tomorrow I planning on getting a head start on studying for my exam and on Thursday I'm going to York - and I've been promised a visit to a new Harry Potter shop that has opened there as well as a day trip to Leeds so I'm very much looking forward to the weekend!
Blurry OOTD

Thursday, May 11, 2017

T-R-E-N-T we are the trent army!

Terrific Thursday everybody! My week has mostly consisted of essay writing, which actually hasn't been that bad, especially if I compare to the stress levels of last May - I was finishing my Bachelor's thesis but also had three or four other essays on top of that. And not to mention that those essays had to be at least 10 pages long. This week I only had 2 essays to finish, both 2000 words (which equals around 5 pages) and I can definitely manage that! 

I did also have time to go and see some basketball. On Tuesday, the women's and men's teams of Nottingham Trent University (aka my uni) and University of Nottingham (the nemesis) battled it out in the Varsity Basketball game. I made my way to the Motorpoint arena at 5 to watch the women's game, and unfortunately no one else who had purchased a ticket could make it to that game. It was fine though, I really enjoyed watching the game and it made me want to return to the basketball court even more. I've actually messaged one of my old teammates asking if they have room for one more player for next season, so it looks like I'll start playing basketball again y'all. So excited!
There were also some performances by dancers and cheerleaders from both universities

Unfortunately the women lost, but luckily there was still the men's. The other's came a little before the start of the second game (thank god for that, I had to pee so bad but couldn't because I was a) by myself and b) holding our seats). The game was really intense and the atmosphere was great. And in the end, our Uni won!

After the game I rushed home because I really wanted to see the first Eurovision semi-final, where Finland was competing. I'm definitely a huge Eurovision fan and never miss it - unfortunately this year, Finland didn't qualify for the final, although I really think they should have. But I will still be watching the second semi-final tonight, and the main event on Saturday!

Currently I am sitting in the student's union building in the City Campus and I just finished my second essay! I was planning on working on it today and tomorrow, but I ended up finishing it now which means I don't have any more writing to do! 
A change of scenery did miracles to my essay writing pace, apparently

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Lake District

On Sunday we took one of the most amazing trips during our time here in England to the Lake District. Although the whole day was wonderful, the morning (or rather the evening before) started with a bit of a bummer. Me and André had both bought some sandwiches from the grocery store, since we had an early wake-up and thought it would be better to have breakfast in the bus. Well, just a couple of hours after we had put our sandwiches in the fridge, mine was gone. Somebody living on my floor had taken it. I was super pissed off and even though it's just a sandwich, I bought it with my money! It's just so disrespectful to go and steal somebody's food from the fridge. What do I have to do? Put labels on everything?

Well, all was almost forgotten in the morning and quite honestly I didn't get much sleep that night but I did manage to sleep an hour or so on the bus. We were really lucky with the weather this time too - it was sunny and pretty warm too! When we got to the town of Keswick, we were free to do pretty much what we wanted. Some people planned on doing the harder hike up the highest mountain in England, but with my fear of heights I really didn't want to do that one. Instead, we opted for the Catbells walk, which had a beautiful scenery and a hike up as well, not just as hard as the other one. 

I'm really glad we chose to go up Catbells, because it was absolutely beautiful! There was one little part of the hike which seemed too scary for me, but once André had ensured me that it wasn't that bad, I made it up the mountain without any tears! We had lunch at the first peak of the mountain, after which we descended and walked back to town. 

How happy I was hiking up Catbells

A decent lunch spot

In town we still had some time before the bus would start making its way back to Notts, so we went to a pub to sit down. I didn't get anything in the pub since I was just planning on getting something from a grocery shop for the way home. Unfortunately everything was closed since it was a Sunday, and I have to say that that is one of the things which bothers me with England - everything (except in London) closes so early! Like the clothing shops close at 6 on weekdays and even earlier on weekends! And most big grocery stores close at 4 on Sundays... that's so crazy to me, as if people don't need to shop after that :D

Jassi approved!

Anyways, the trip was great and I highly recommend visiting Keswick and the Lake District if you ever have the chance!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Thai food all week long

Since I came back to Nottingham on Tuesday I've been trying to hang out with my international friends as much as possible, since it is my last month of staying here. On Wednesday we met up in the city center to go grocery shopping together because Elle was gonna prepare some Thai food for us. It was so delicious, although much more spicy than what I'm used to. We spent the rest of the evening doing pre-drinks at her house, before heading to Coco Tang at midnight. I had a really fun night but I was really tired and had a bit of a headache when we came to the club, so I left at a little after 1.

On Thursday I really had to start planning for my other essay, and I was set on just staying in my room and working on that for the whole day. But then Andrea asked me if I wanted to come to the city campus and study, and I thought why not, a change of scenery might do good. So I packed my incredibly heavy laptop and took the bus to the city. I got a lot done actually, so I definitely made the right choice.

On Friday after seminars I also met up with the girls for round two of Thai food. There is a food truck in town selling Thai food that Elle has been talking about for weeks so we finally tried it out. I had already had a salad at the campus so just went for some chicken satay skewers. It was really sunny outside so we sat down at the Old Market Sqaure and enjoyed our food, and we ended up sitting there for a couple of hours (or at least me and Andrea did). By the time it was getting colder it was time for me to leave, 'cause I had to pick up André at the train station. This weekend we are taking our 2nd citylife trip together to the Lake District, which is the biggest national park in England. So excited!