Wanderlust.

I’m not sure why but, over the past few days, I seem to be experiencing a fairly strong desire to just go and travel and explore and see the world. I’ve been looking into teaching English abroad and ways in which I could volunteer overseas for a few months but, as attractive as both these options seem, there is no way I’d ever be able to afford the flights. I feel restless at the moment, maybe due to the fact that my life currently seems massively in limbo – I still haven’t heard a single thing from any of my remaining applications or from my Newcastle Interview. I even emailed Reading a week ago to check the status of my application but to no avail. I’m starting to feel really quite impatient now and I’m longing to just hear some news (good or bad!) so I at least know where I stand.

Also, I’ve been starting to feel a little bored of life shall we say. I mean, while I’m still enjoying myself up here and enjoying work etc. I desperately feel like I need some excitement in my life, a change or just something ‘big’ to happen. If I had the money I’d have booked myself on a plane well before now I think, even if only for a small weekend break, just to get away for a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I get a new flatmate on Saturday which is exciting and should probably alter things one way or another and I’ll be heading home in March, which I think is going to be really really good for me, as I’m sure it’ll make me appreciate my independence and life in Glasgow that bit more. I’ve also just booked tickets for a weekend back in Lancaster, to relive my student days once again, pretend I have no responsibilities and massively let my hair down with the girls. It’s been far too long since I’ve been back to Lancs and I genuinely see it as my second home so I can’t wait to be back, if only for a weekend. However, despite all this, I miss the days when every week seemed to have some sort of adventure or spontaneous happening or just something more exciting than the daily grind. Hopefully, this is just a delayed case of the January Blues – roll on February!

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Burns Night.

Yesterday was Burns Night which is a celebration of the life of the poet Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s most famous sons. Traditionally people celebrate by heading to a full Burns Supper but, as Eujin is leaving on Tuesday, she decided to have her leaving do last night instead. We headed to Citation, a beautiful restaurant in Glasgow’s Merchant City, for a meal before heading onto a few pubs/bars in the area. I’d never been to Citation before but the food was really good and excellent value – we managed to get two courses and a glass of wine for under £10! As it was Burns Night, I had Haggis and Black Pudding Fritters to start followed by chicken on a bed of potatoes and mushrooms with a red wine jus which was lovely.

007Haggis Fritters

After that we headed onto Maggie May’s and The Libertine, also in the Merchant City, for a few drinks and what ended up as a ridiculous amount of shots! Although they were two places I wouldn’t normally choose to go to (not cheap or cheesy enough for my liking in all honesty!) I really enjoyed myself and had a great night with everyone – there ended up being quite a lot of dancing to such classics as ‘Summer of ’69’ and ‘Living on a prayer’ which was interesting to say the least.  I’ve never actually been out with Eujin and Rosie properly before which was fun although it’s a shame we’ve never got round to doing it before now. However, Eujin is hopefully heading back to Glasgow for a holiday in December so fingers crossed we can be reunited then for more dining, dancing and drinking!

016Me, Eujin and Rosie at The Libertine

048Me and Rosie at Maggie May’s

Visitors and Volunteering.

Last weekend, my best friend Sarah braved the 300 mile journey in the snow to come and stay with me which was just lovely 🙂 I hadn’t seen her since I’d left Nottingham so it was so good to finally be reunited and spend some time together. She arrived on the Saturday afternoon and we spent a nice chilled evening in at my flat, catching-up and cringing at Saturday night television. I even managed to rustle up a rather snazzy meal of fresh lemon pepper salmon fillets, garlic potatoes and carrot – SO PROUD.

After a lazy Sunday morning we decided to brave the cold and venture out into the city centre, so I could give Sarah a quick tour of all the sights. We ended up wandering around the Cathedral and Necropolis before heading to The Willow Tea Rooms on Buchanan St so we could warm up with a hot chocolate (and a few cheeky shots of Baileys for myself!). Usually I go to the original tea rooms on Sauchiehall St, so I was not expecting to see the crazy Mackintosh chairs they have there – they have ridiculously high backs so the chair was genuinely taller than me (I’m only 4ft 10 but still!)

002 (2)Willow Tea Rooms

003Sarah next to one of the chairs! 

It was so nice to just have a relaxing weekend for a change and just spend some actual quality time with one of my nearest and dearest and I do have to admit I was rather sad to see her go. Of course, seeing people from home makes me realise just how much I miss everyone and does in a way make me long to go back, although only very temporarily! Luckily though, I’m headed back to Nottingham for nine beautiful days at the beginning of March which I simply cannot wait for – my diary is already starting to look pretty full with various plans which is exciting.

Talking of plans, I’ve realised over the past few weeks that I’m definitely someone who needs to be on the go all the time or, at the very least, trying to juggle a few different projects here and there. At university I juggled academic work with a weekend job, being on the exec of a society and a rather hectic social life. At the moment, I only really have work going on so I feel like I have far too much spare time on my hands. Consequently, I’ve decided to apply for some more volunteering opportunities that I can do after work or on my days off as a way of gaining yet more experience to help with my postgraduate plans. I was fortunate enough to stumble across a great opportunity for a communication support volunteer with the Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS Trust which also involves direct training with a qualified Speech and Language Therapist. I’ve been offered an interview but unfortunately I can’t make the date due to work so hopefully we can reschedule and get the ball rolling sooner rather than later. I’m also applying to be a befriender or mentor with the Autism Society as this was something I wanted to do back at home but didn’t get chance to because of me moving up here. I’m considering doing this as an e-bfriender (so over email etc) as I admit I may struggle to fit everything around my shift patterns but hopefully I can still get a good level of involvement in the scheme.  Between all these various things and trying to see as much of Glasgow and Scotland as possible, I have a feeling I’m going to be quite a busy bee over the next few months!

Screw the diet.

I realise that the past few blog post have mainly revolved around my postgraduate applications and interviews and such forth and I haven’t actually wrote about what I have been up to in Glasgow. Admittedly, I haven’t been up to a lot lately but I have been for a few lovely meals with the girls that I’ll briefly fill you in on!

Last Thursday, me, Rosie and Eujin headed to TGI Fridays at Braehead to spend our gift cards from work and have a much-needed catch-up. I love TGIs although it’s not a place a visit often at all, so it made a really nice change from the usual restaurants we’d visit. I had some gorgeous loaded potato skins to start and then a rather spicy Chicken quesadilla for my main. The highlight by the far though was the Ice Cream cocktail I had for dessert – so amazing! I had a great night and it was nice to finally unwind and relax with both of them, as it had been so long since the three of us had been together properly due to Christmas and everything.

734110_461482237245645_275055774_nMe and Eujin at TGI

The following Tuesday we decided to treat ourselves yet again and this time headed into Glasgow city centre for a trip to La Tasca for a tapas night. Luckily I had a 2-4-1 voucher so we managed to get four tapas dishes (chicken and chorizo paella, calamari,  meatballs and more chicken with chorizo in a creamy sauce) and two glasses of Sangria for £14 which is pretty good value. Apparently we saved £27 altogether which is just amazing really!  La Tasca is one of my favourite restaurant chains and, as with TGI, it had been ages since I last visited (or had Tapas in general) so again it made a nice change and I had an other lovely evening spending some quality time with the girls before we go our separate ways/they leave me up here!

408435_461482963912239_216790142_nMe and Rosie posing with our Sangria. 

001 (3)Tapas feast! 

This week I’m taking a break from eating out and actually doing some proper cooking at home – shock horror! My best friend is coming to stay tomorrow, if she can get here without too much disruption because of the bad snow in England (we have no whatsoever here, gutted!), so we’re planning a nice chilled out weekend full of DVDs and spending quality time together. Being the excellent host I am, I’ve decided to pretend I’m Nigella and cook some snazzy food which could be an absolute disaster. Fingers crossed it doesn’t all go up in smoke, literally!

 

The Fourth Month.

Apart from Christmas and New Year, the biggest thing to happen this past month was my Newcastle Interview yesterday. It actually went surprisingly well – I feel I did quite well in the problem-solving activities and my presentation went smoothly. I’m not optimistic that I’ll get a place, as it was glaringly obvious that I just do not have enough relevant work experience, but I am pleased with how I performed so I’m happy. I also got to have a lovely catch-up with one of friends from Uni, Lucy – we went to Revs after the interview for a few cheeky cocktails and pizza which was a great way to unwind after quite an intense day! With regards to the whole postgraduate situation I still haven’t heard from any of the other universities so no updates there I’m afraid. Weirdly though, the more I think about it the more I’m warming to the idea of heading back home for a year and finally earning some decent money!

While this month has been quite eventful what with Christmas and everything, the past few weeks have been very quiet as I’ve spent most of my time preparing for my interview, which was pretty dull I must say! However, I have a feeling this month with be a whole different story. It’s going to be quite an interesting time as a lot of things will change over the next few weeks. Eujin heads back to Korea on 29th January and then Rosie finishes her placement on 10th February so I’ll have to say goodbye to the two people I’m closest to here within a fortnight which is quite sad. However, my new flatmate from Columbia (so exotic!) ,arrives on the 2nd February so I’m looking forward to meeting her. Also I should have definitely heard from all my applications by this time next month so I’ll finally have more of an idea of what life post-Glasgow holds for me. As well as that, there’s lots of good stuff to look forward to – I’ll be spending lots of time out and about with the girls before they leave and my best friend is coming to visit this weekend which I am so excited for 🙂 I know I say this every month, but I can’t believe I’m a third of the way through my placement.  Time really is just flying by at the moment!

Under Pressure.

My Newcastle interview is on Monday and it’s safe to say that I’m starting to feel the pressure ever so slightly. I’m not nervous for the interview as such, I’m actually more nervous about the wait afterwards and the possibility of rejection. Even though I still have four other universities to hear from, this feels like my last chance and it’s as if all my proverbial eggs are pretty much in the one basket. There are only 18 places on the Newcastle course so it’s really quite competitive and I’d love to be offered a place – the course sounds fantastic and Newcastle is a city I can most definitely see myself living in for the next two years!

Probably the most pressurising thing though is the weight of everyone else’s expectations. My friends, family and colleagues have all been absolutely lovely and said some really positive and complementary things to me which is great but also, for some reason, adds on a whole load of added pressure. People think I’ll do well or I’ll get onto the course and while that’s a massive confidence boost, it feels like everyone expects me to be successful and that for me just makes things ten times more intense. In theory, this is probably the easier bit for me – I’ve always said if I can get my foot in the door and get myself an interview, I should be alright as I’m pretty confident and I come across much better in person than I do on paper. However, that doesn’t make this any less nerve-racking.

In a strange way though, I’m a lot calmer than I thought I would be. By now, I expected myself to be fully freaking out and just generally having a bit of a panic. Instead, it’s almost as if I’ve managed to convince myself that this is a practice run for next year and I’m not actually going to get a place but I may as well just go in there and give it a shot on the off-chance. In a way it doesn’t feel quite right, not just yet, almost as if I do actually need another year of practical work  experience and then I’ll be fully ready to do the course and do it properly. Obviously, I’d love to get a place this year but I’d understand why if not and I’m slowly accepting the idea that a year back at home, in another related job could be good for me – if worst came to worst, at least I’d be able to afford a holiday next year! Fingers crossed though that it doesn’t come to that and I get to spend the next two years of my life in the North-East, being an extra on Geordie Shore!

The Year Ahead.

Given the time of year (aka the beginning), I’ve been thinking a lot about what 2013 has in store for me. This year, probably more than any, all bets are off – I literally have no clue what is going to happen really. Of course, I know that September sees the end of my placement and another big move but I have no idea where or what I’ll even be doing really. Of course, I obviously do have some minor plans in place – I’m heading back home for a week in March which I’m rather looking forward to and it’s also my Nephew’s Christening so it’ll be great to finally meet the little fella! Plus, my best friend is coming to visit in a fortnight which I actually cannot wait for. I wasn’t sure if she’d make it up due to money and the journey and other such things so I’m really chuffed that she’s making this massive effort to come and see me for a few days 🙂 I’ve also planned a cheeky trip to Lancaster so I can visit my friend Becky and re-live my youth once more (well, for one or two nights anyway!) which should be pretty interesting to say the least!

Aside from that though the year is a blank canvas, which is quite unusual for me. Prior to this year, I always knew roughly what was in store, mainly because I was still in the cycle of education. Even last year, momentous as it was, had some sort of ‘plan’ – finish uni, graduate, head to Australia to celebrate and then get a job! Simple. This year everything seems that bit more open for some reason which is exciting but also quite frustrating. I personally like to look ahead and it would be great if I knew what the year had in store for me – if I make it onto a postgraduate course and where, or if not what I’ll end up doing back at home. I’m so sick of obsessively checking my emails to find out whether or not I’ve gained an interview or place – my nerves can’t handle the stress! For those wanting an update, I’m in the same position as I was before Christmas so I’m still waiting to hear from four universities. I expect Reading will reply pretty soon as it’s been over four weeks now, but the rest could make me wait until the end of January which would just be awful really.

In terms of live in Glasgow and Scotland in general, there’s a lot I want to do this year. I’m making a resolution to get out there and not only discover more of this great city but also more of the country. Christmas and all these applications etc. put all my exploring on hold so I’m excited to get back out there and find some hidden gems! However, I’ve also decided that I finally need to be sensible and save up some money this year so it’ll be interesting to see what I can get done on an even more limited budget. To be fair, I think I’ve done pretty alright so far, so it hopefully shouldn’t be too bad! In terms of my other resolutions I don’t really have any. I’d like to loose weight and be a bit more healthy but, let’s face it, I love my food far too much to ever make a drastic change in that department! Apart from that though, I think the main thing for me is to just keep enjoying life up here, stay positive and just go with the flow, whatever happens this year. Bring it on!

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