December 2015
Erasmus-diary in retrospect, month no. 4 ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง

โ€“ 3rd of december, thursday โ€“
I decided to leave my English class early, so I could celebrate Sinterklaas with the Dutch students. I was helping a friend all semester with her internship in which she taught Dutch conversation classes to British students. My task was basically to engage with the students and talk with them. We drank some mulled wine, listened to typical songs and they wrote poems for the students – so nice.

โ€“ 5th of december, saturday โ€“
I went to the airport of Manchester with five friends, because we were going to spend the weekend in Dublin. We already saw that the flight before and after ours was cancelled, but for some reason we were going to fly. Once in the air, about halfway, the pilot told us we weren’t going to Dublin but to Shannon. Shannon? Yes, that’s on the complete other side of Ireland. One friend was listening to music and missed all the commotion, so it was quite funny when she realized we were in a different airport. Our bus to take us to Dublin didn’t arrive for hours and we ended up arriving in the middle of the night. We were super tired and took a taxi to the hostel, tying to get at least a little sleep. We were a bit sad to have our first night in Dublin ruined by the storm.

โ€“ 6th of december, sunday โ€“
We took the train to Howth, a lovely seaside town just outside of Dublin. We saw seals, went on a long walk on the cliffs and enjoyed the amazing view. We were aiming for this ‘fantastic’ lighthouse that was advertised and ended up really disappointed when we finally saw the tiny thing standing there. We spent the evening in Dublin, exploring the city a bit and going to some pubs.

โ€“ 7th of december, monday โ€“
After a lovely day in Dublin – trying to see as much of the city as we could – we flew back to Manchester in the evening. I’ve never been more happy to see my own bed and get a good night of sleep.

โ€“ 10th of december, thursday โ€“
A little early, but we celebrated Secret Santa with my roommates, before some of them were returning home for the holidays. All except for one roommate wanted to participate and we all made some snacks for the evening. We even had typical English Christmas crackers out of which a little crown appeared (I still have mine now five years later). Everybody got each other a nice present and we had a fun evening!

โ€“ 12th of december, saturday โ€“
We had our most disappointing day trip in Leeds. The weather was very British and it didn’t stop raining all day. The Christmas market was pretty sad and there wasn’t much to do with the bad weather, so we spent all the day in the shopping center. And if you know me, you know that a whole day in the shopping center is NOT a fun day.

โ€“ 14th of december, monday โ€“
Together with two friends I went to a bar, where we had drinks with the Dutch department. They invited the interns who helped with the classes throughout the semester for drinks, so I got free gin and tonics. I think this was the first time I ever had gin and tonics and we ended up a little tipsy. On the way back my friend even managed to accidentally invite someone over for Christmas in her tipsy mood.

โ€“ 16th of december, wednesday โ€“
The Christmas activities were getting more frequent: a girls night at a Turkish restaurant, spending some time together before the holidays. I totally overdosed on halloumi there and I have not dared eating it since. But other than that I had a nice evening, it wasn’t about the food anyway.

โ€“ 18th of december, friday โ€“
I had my last class ever in Sheffield, now all I had to go through were the essays and exams to finish up my semester after the holidays. Right after my last class, I went to the station with three friends to go to London for a couple of days. I went to London for the first time when I was 15 and I fell in love with the city. Then and there I realised I wanted to study in the UK and five years later I was actually studying there. I was super excited about going to London. We went by bus and I learned that my friend is able to talk for four and a half hours straight. Of course that’s fun, but I could’ve used a nap too, haha. We went to our hostel and I slept in a bunk bed with three stories! I’ve never seen that before and it was a little scary to be so high up, but also cool. We went out for a pizza and afterwards we planned some things for our trip, with a map in the common room of the hostel.

โ€“ 19th of december, saturday โ€“
Oh wow, back in London! We walked a lot through the city and I love the vibe of the place. After a long walk, we had a coffee and went to Kensington for the museums. We looked at dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum and then we learned about genetics in the Science Museum. We had burgers and some beers and I laughed a lot with these three lovelies I was travelling with.

โ€“ 20th of december, sunday โ€“
We went to one of my favourite places in London: Camden. We bought some food at the market and just walked a lot. In the afternoon we took the underground to the London Monument and walked up all the way to the top. The views from there are amazing, we were looking at London in the almost dark. We walked along the Thames, got a tea to warm up, crossed the Tower Bridge and had some soup. Again the night ended with a beer in a pub until the pub closed.

โ€“ 21st of december, monday โ€“
It’s our last day in London and we went to the Tate Modern. One of my friends was very confused and didn’t get modern art at all, which made it a very fun visit for me and my other friend. After a failed lunch we went back to the station to go back to our home. Time to sleep like a baby!

โ€“ 22nd of december, tuesday โ€“
We just returned from a trip, but in the morning we were already downstairs with our suitcases again. Two friends and I were going to house- and cat-sit for a Dutch teacher over the holidays. For us it was also something nice, as we got to spend Christmas in a cosy British house. And cats! There were three of them! I fell asleep in the room of the teenage daughter, looking at One Direction on the wall.

โ€“ 24th to 26th of december, thursday to saturday โ€“
We spent the Christmas days at the house, very chill and fun. We cooked lots of food, had some friends over for a dinner, watched movies with blankets on the couch, made a fire (that caused the smoke detector to start beeping like cra-zy) and ate more.

โ€“ 29th of december, tuesday โ€“
It was time to say goodbye to the house and the lovely cats. During the day, more and more roommates came back home and it was so fun to be with seven people in the house again, to eat together.

โ€“ 31st of december, thursday โ€“
During the day we did groceries for the evening – mainly drinks and snacks. We all made something to eat and decorated our living room with string lights, put on a party playlist. I celebrated New Year’s Eve with my roommates and few friends that came over to our place. Already before midnight I had enough (or more than) to drink. I ate twelve grapes in twelve seconds, saw some fireworks, went to a club, walked back in the heels of my roommate because her feet hurt and ate lots of chips before going to bed.

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