2011 has been a year of many changes in my life. I'm pretty sure the year started with teary goodbyes as I had to move back to France for the second half of my year abroad. I loved living in France and in all honesty, being a teaching assistant really wasn't that bad, but with ridiculously expensive phone calls, having to trek to McDonald's every time I wanted to use the internet or Skype and getting a headache with every other conversation, home sickness crept in all too easily. It was sad to say goodbye to the girls I had lived with for over 7 months and to think that it would be an absolute age before we were ever able to meet up again, (if at all, they were from america, El Salvador and Germany), but I have never felt happier than I did when I returned home for good and knew that I would not need my passport every time I wanted to see my family, friends or Rob.
After returning home, I had five and a half months to kill before going back to uni. I took some time off to allow myself to be at complete liberty to relax and catch up with friends and family. It also meant finally being able to see Rob's band YAAKS in action. What he's achieved this year deserves a post of its own, so go give them a listen and a like! I turned 21 at the beginning of June and luckily most of the people I love were home in time to celebrate. I started celebrations early with a family meal the day before my birthday which was amazing. I can't remember the last time we went out as a family, even though it was a shame that one brother was still missing from the celebrations.
On my actual birthday, we hired a limo to pull up in Brighton where I was serenaded with a rendition of 'Happy Birthday' lead by the live band and accompanied by the entire population of the Pav Tav. We then went on to Lola Lo's to dance the night away. I don't think I have ever had so much fun on a night out and the occasion was most definitely marked!
I managed to get a summer job as an Activity Leader for EF language school which was incredibly fun, spending the days lounging on the beach, playing Just Dance on the wii and shopping and sight seeing trips to London and Brighton alike. I adore living by the coast and having the South Downs on my door step, so having a job over the summer which allowed me to be outdoors most of the time was amazing and I had a fabulous bunch of people to work alongside with.
After Summer and a five and a half month wait, I returned to Canterbury to start my fourth and final year as an undergraduate at the University of Kent. I had been worrying for my entire year abroad about who I would be living with and what it would be like to live in Canterbury once again, considering that the majority of people I had classed as my core group of friends had graduated and would no longer be around. However, I could not have asked for a friendlier group of house mates and it didn't take long to settle in. University is the best thing that I have ever done, it has allowed me to grow up so much. I would never have been able to cope with living abroad three or so years ago and the thought of meeting and talking to new people terrified me, resulting in me going retreating quietly and shyly with awkward conversations, whereas now I feel confident talking to people I've never met before and the idea of meeting new people and making new friends excites me, and this semester has been so enjoyable because of that.
I am so looking forward to 2012, to graduating next summer and hopefully taking up a journalism course in Brighton (if my interview and exams in January go well). I'm excited to start writing more, on the ol' blog, for my uni paper and hopefully getting more work experience with local papers or magazines. So if you are reading this, I hope you have all had a very Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year.