The new year began at Amy’s flat in central London to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. After a night of chili, cookies, and trivia it was back to my flat for a nice lie in and a relaxing day – school studying was about to begin.
January would work like this: 1 week to study before an exam, then 7 days after that an essay would be due, then 7 more days after that before the final essay would be due. 3 big things to conclude first term. And they would slowly build on each other, combined with taking new term 2 classes, to create a bit of burn out by the final essay.
Cat sitting for one of my profs gave me a new area of town to explore, so in between coffees and study time, I took breaks exploring the Hampstead Heath and Crouch End neighborhoods. Hampstead Heath is very park based but I was surprised about Crouch End. I’m not sure if it’s actually ritzier but it had a boujie, modern vibe to it with comedy bars in brick buildings and a movie theatre in an old hall.
I spent one afternoon walking to a cemetery, the famous “Highgate” (split in two to East and West) where Karl Marx is buried and where many films have been made. The Karl Marx half was £4 and included a little map that led you around to see the different, crowded corners of the cemetery. The other half of the cemetery was only available by a £15 guided tour- out of my budget. So I consider seeing ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ as my tour of the cemetery.
For one evening in January, I took advantage of my Hungarian roots and dragged Alex to a little Hungarian dance party in a bar in west London. It was fun! I left dancing to the professionals but listening to the music and talking to people about Hungary made me feel a part of something that wasn’t Uni, and it felt really nice. I think that identifying with one sole interest can be a bit routine at times, and it’s nice to remember that I’m an individual who is composed of more than classwork.
But the routine is part of grad school and from meal prep to bone cleaning to early morning studying, once second term began I became very invested in Uni – even more than in first term. I spent the weekdays studying and working all day so that my weekends could be spent with friends or exploring.
On Chinese New Year, my flatmates made a huge array of food which had a BYOB (bring your own bowl) theme. AMAZING Chinese food. And it was necessary to have a celebration day with all the racism these girls have been facing with the Coronavirus. They’ve been coughed at, told to put masks on and people will not sit by them or will move to the other side of the street on purpose. It’s really hard on them and it’s because of the way they look – none of them have traveled to China recently! Actually, one of my roommates is from Wuhan and she’s been facing a huge mental struggle as she can’t go visit family but she knows a lot of people who are very sick and dying. It’s really tough.
I did make sure to get out to some museums, checking the Canal Museum, Churchill War Rooms and a Pathology Museum off my list. I visited old churches, wandered around food markets and spent any remaining free time on planning February’s trip to Spain with Tristan.
January ended with a trip north to Manchester with Amy, where we attended a Modern Conflict Archaeology Conference and had a big kid sleepover watching England leave the EU. Happy Brexit!