I am officially filling up my semester as the weeks go on with lots of travel plans. I figured people were a bit curious as to where I was deciding to adventure. Being here at Harlaxton has made me realize how very short a semester is! Every one of my weekends has at least a tentative plan, if not a booked one. I've been recently thinking about how bummed I am that I can't even begin to get to all of the places I want to go this semester! (i.e. Finland [Sorry Colin!!], Scotland, Wales, Prague, Amsterdam, Italy, Rome, etc, etc, etc). If those are all the places I'm NOT going, where am I spending all my weekends??
To answer that, my schedule is as follows:
Sat. Sept. 25: Unknown. My goal was to go to London for the day and see the opera. Still in the works.
Wed. Sept. 29-Oct.2: Dublin, Ireland, where I'll be visiting with Ian and Jen!
Thurs. Oct 7-10: Brussels, Belgium, where I'll be visiting Elizabeth!
Thurs. Oct 14-17: The Lake District, England, with the school.
Fri. Oct 22-24: RA duty...I won't be able to leave the manor, but I'll be studiously working on 2 term papers!
Fri. Oct 29-31: University of Sheffield, England, celebrating Matt's 21st birthday!
Fri. Nov. 5: London day trip with the school
Sat. Nov 6: Unknown day trip - possibly Cadbury World...
Wed. Nov. 10-14: Paris, France! Accompanied by Ashley and Kate
Fri. Nov 19: Class day...
Sat. Nov. 20: The RA organized Costume Ball and Date Auction!
Thurs. Nov 25-28: Granada, Spain, visiting Maren!
Fri. Dec. 3-5: More RA duty...
Fri. Dec. 10: HOME!
Anyway, that's probably more information than people really wanted, but there you have it! I also wanted to explain my Meet-a-family a bit. Ashley and I were coincidentally paired as siblings and had dinner with our family for the first time this evening. We were picked up by Ray, in their blue Audi, and driven about 15 minutes from Harlaxton to the village Hougham (pronounced hoff-um). We were greeted by his wife Pat and daughter Sarah. Now, Ray and Pat are in their mid-seventies, and Sarah is 40. Sarah has Down's Syndrome but is very high-functioning. The Beal's don't always participate in the meet-a-family program because they are a very active family, especially due to all of Sarah's activities. However, they had time to have dinner with us this evening and it was a great time.
The Beal's are very well traveled, due to the fact that Ray was in banking his whole life. They had great stories about where they've been and good advice to us. We discussed many different things, from Christmas Crackers to Hedge Rows to Thousand Island Dressing. They are such a personable family and love to make sure we are taken care of! Sarah sat at the table with us, working on very intricate knitting. She said she loves to knit in front of the TV while she watches all of the quiz programmes. She remembers everything.
After having a dinner of a pasta bake, garlic bread and banana meringues (which were delicious!) Pat brought out the deck of cards. They made sure we weren't offended by gambling, and proceeded to hand out the buttons. They taught us a very simple, but entertaining game of "Sevens" in which we gambled our buttons. I think one button was worth ) 0.5 pence. We played that for over an hour and chatted amiably. We collected our buttons at the end to hold on to them until next time.
Overall it was a great night! Our schedules together won't allows us to see them again until the end of October, due to them going on Holiday, but hopefully after that we will be able to see more of them. It's actually very spoiling to have two wonderful "host" families while we're here! Ashley and I are learning so much from the Beal's and Matt's family that it's very possible we're known as the know-it-alls. But then again, there are worse things!