God, I haven't written a Journal in ages! So, I thought it was about time I let people know what's going on, seeing as I haven't for months! ;D
The good news first, I think.
I've finished University now, in fact I graduate this coming Thursday (the 18th)! Someone once said to me: 'look forward a few years and it seems like forever. But look back
the same number and it feels like no time at all'. Truer words were never spoken, because it seems like only yesterday that I was first moving into Halls of Residence to begin a three-year Zoology with Animal Behaviour course. Now, I'm graduating with a 2:1! Grading in the UK (at least in most Universities) goes like this: a First is the highest you can get, followed by 2:1, 2:2, Third and then simply by a Pass. You can only do a Masters degree if you get a 2:2 or higher and considering that I ended up with really, really
crap data for my dissertation, I never in my wildest dreams expected that grade. I don't intend to do a Masters degree (I've had enough of education for a while), but it's nice to know that the option is available to me if I want it. I do not, nor will I ever, regret going to University - despite the fact that I made myself ill towards the end, I really enjoyed the challenge and the independence. But, I'm glad that it's all over.
I've started to get into my competitive swimming again too and boy, am I ever kicking myself now for not training whilst at Uni; I am so unfit, it's not even funny. I'm concentrating on Open Water first, as pool training has wound down for the summer holidays. I swam 3km in the North-East Regionals yesterday and although I'm sunburnt on my face and the backs of my knees (yes, it is uncomfortable, to say the least), I got two silver medals to add to my cabinet (one for Yorkshire, one for the North-East region), so you won't get any complaining from me! I'm going back to Llanberis in North Wales (ironically, not even a 15 minute drive from where I went to Uni) to swim in their 3km swim for the tenth year running in just over a week, so there's that to look forward to as well, seeing as we go camping and treat it as a holiday while we're there. I may or may not enter more events through the summer, we'll see how my training goes.
But that's about where the happy news ends, I'm afraid.
Things have been kinda hectic for me lately; normally I have all the free time in the world and am quite willing to stay up past my own bedtime and remain online for most of my night. Well... that kinda can't happen anymore. For one, I'm back home and I cannot stay awake when my parents have to get up for full-time jobs and my sister (whom I share a bedroom with) will be back home in three weeks and then I definitely
won't be able to stay up, it'd be inconsiderate of me to do so. For another, I work long hours myself so cannot stay up late even when I want to. It isn't really a bad thing; money is money after all. But, it means that I won't be online as much during peak-time American time. I may stay up now and again on nights where I'm not working first thing the next day, but that'll be few and far between.
The other thing is that, nearly three weeks ago now, we lost a family friend. I'm not terribly upset, so don't worry at all. I wasn't close to her particularly, but I've grown up with her kids and it is for them that my heart aches.
I may or may not have mentioned that there are about a group of five families that are really close at my swimming club. I'm not kidding when I say we're like one big family; we see each other more than our own extended families and have seen each other at our worst after a bad race or at early morning training. We spend holidays such as Easter and Boxing Day together and pool our money to buy a beach chalet over the summer. Looking back through the years, my Mum lived nearby one of the other Dad's and they grew up playing together; my Dad played cricket and football when growing up with two other Dad's; two of the other Mum's were close friends at school... each one of them knew the others in some way when they were kids, before they were ever married to their respective spouses. And now we, as their kids in turn, have all grown up swimming together, despite some age gaps of about 6 years or so in cases.
Imagine everyone's shock when, not two weeks after we all spend a day hiking through a forest finding Easter eggs, Seana was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She had often had problems with her legs in recent years, it even being so bad as to need surgery. But, considering she was hiking up Mount Snowdon a mere six months before, it was a shock how fast things deteriorated. Only three months after the diagnosis, she was gone.
The funeral was beautiful and her husband gave a fantastic tribute to her, only faltering once or twice. Their method of coping seems to be to carry on in the new normal that they have found themselves in; the Dad is still working part-time, the daughter (who is a phenomenal swimmer of national standard) has continued training in preparation for the nationals later this month and the son is being kept busy. It's all terribly sad, though they'll be alright. They're going to have to be.
But, the fantastic part of the families all being so close is that they know that we're there to support them, and I like to think that that was a massive comfort to the three of them in recent weeks.
That's really all I've got to report now. I'm saving up to go on holiday next year to the US, so that's something I'm looking forward to.
I have no idea where my art stands. I have quite a few things that I've been doing, but I haven't finished any with things being the way they are. Ah well, I'll get around to them eventually!
If I don't update soon, have a lovely summer, everyone!