There are only four weeks left of classes before our month long winter break begins. This last month means essays and test prep and preparing to live out of a backpack for a month while I travel Europe. It also means that we are running out of time to explore the UK and after this weekend we have some big trips planned in order to take advantage of our last remaining weekends here.
While we haven’t traveled much the past few weeks because, well, we are still poor college students trying to save money for our month long adventure, we are still exploring new parts of Nottingham, and oh yes- studying too.
This week is also the beginning of Thanksgiving break back in the States. It is weird to be away from home and without the means of making any sort of thanksgiving meal in our dorms.
The best way to avoid thinking about homesickness is shopping. Friday, after tracking down a post office so I could send home some postcards, Carmen and I spent the afternoon wandering Old Market Square and the mall. And since there’s no Thanksgiving here, Christmas has already arrived everywhere. The town square, which normally has a fountain and some local vendors, is now an ice rick, an ice bar, vendors and amusement rides.
To get our minds off of the holiday we were about to miss we headed to Liverpool Saturday morning. Leaving Nottingham railway station at 7:45 in the morning meant being up by 6 am and leaving campus by 6:45. We knew we were in for a day of exhaustion and excitement.
Our first stop was The Museum of Liverpool. With three floors of exhibits about Liverpool and one dedicated to John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the museum had a lot to offer. Although, by far our favorite was ‘Double Fantasy- John and Yoko’ which chronological broke down the two performers relationship and impact on the world.
Since most of the museums in Liverpool are free, we decided to take in as many as we could in one day. Our next stop was the Tate art museum.
Then we stop for lunch before heading to the Merseyside Maritime Museum. We only went to the International Slavery exhibit here before heading out to find the World Museum.
We made a quick pit stop at the Beatles statue on our way to the World Museum.
Finally, our last stop was the World Museum, with 5 floors and a planetarium, we were convinced that in our last 40 minutes we could make it to each exhibit. From a small aquarium, to a room full of real mummies, to a dinosaur exhibit and finally the space and time floor we saw something on every floor and even made it to the last (and free) planetarium showing.
From there we headed back to the train station, grabbed a quick dinner and got on the next train headed to Nottingham. We didn’t make it back to campus until 9:30 pm but, the sleep deprivation was worth it.
To curb our appetite for better food, we went to the Nottingham vegan market Sunday. From cosmetics to doughnuts to ‘chicken’ and ‘hot dogs’, Carmen, Haylee, and I spent the morning indulging in good food and looking at booths for local vegan stores.
Later that day we headed to Mansfield for their tree lighting ceremony. Although it was a significant journey there (we didn’t know that there was a train from Nottingham to Mansfield) we made it just in time for the stage show to wind down, a Christmas music laser show to begin and Santa to be ushered on stage. As soon as it was dark enough the countdown began, and the tree in the city centre and all the lights that lined the streets turned on. This was followed by fireworks and even more Christmas music.
Before break I have two essays due. While one of these is only 25% of my grade (the other 75% is the multiple choice test in January) the other is 100% of my grade. It is intimidating and nerve wracking to have my entire grade decided by one essay. We were warned at orientation back in March that our grades would be solely based on one final exam or essay, but now that I am here and nearing finals I’m realizing just how much pressure that is. With both deadlines approaching and trips to Scotland and Ireland coming up, it’s definite that this last month will be chocked full of stress and excitement.