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Juggling Acts – by GLObewriter Gina Cameron

Gina Cameron is studying on exchange at the University of Nottingham in England, for Semester 1 of 2017. As a GLObewriter she is sharing her experiences with us every month.

Tree branches against the sky and a bed of tulips

Wide skies.

One of the pleasures of the last few weeks has been watching the seasons change. Actually, noticeably change. In Australia it pretty much ranges from bloody hot, to in between and then mildly cold. Whilst of course in this part of the world, I’ll never get the Australian levels of heat I miss so dearly, but it’s been a complete joy watching as my surroundings tick over from winter to spring. My walk to Uni gets brighter and brighter as the daffodils and (build me up) buttercups grow higher each day.

Daylight savings has stretched out our afternoons by hours, so we’re still on the lawns by 7:30, often accompanied with the plastic pints the Uni pub lets us take outside (this would never happen back home). Sunsets are getting increasingly spectacular and the days definitely warmer. Honestly never thought I’d cherish the forecast of 17 degrees so much but here we are.

However like the seasons, this will all come to pass (quality comparison Gina).

Just as I’ve finally figured out the bus timetable, it’s my last week of studying in Nottingham. Over the April break the students in dorms are invited to leave and so all the routines we’ve so easily fallen into will have vanished by this time next week.

Flowering tree branches

Spring blossoms.

In between goodbyes and final (make it second to final) trips to the pub, there’s a lot of technical things to be dealing with. I realise I’ve been on one too many Primark hauls, made one too many Amazon Prime purchase (24 hour shipping though) and it’s going to take a solid 2 hours to zip up my suitcase to take down South. I’m dreading the journey I’m taking this Saturday, particular transporting my large suitcase and rucksack between St Pancras and Waterloo Station in the 40 minute London layover. It’s going to be tight.

Travel for me feels like 40% having a lovely time/making friends/eating chips/taking photos, 20% per cent saving various email attachments to Ryanair/Flybe flights, 10% making sure all your passwords are in alignment, and the other 30% triple checking that you haven’t lost your wallet for the third time (yes third time, don’t be like me). When everything works out I get a jittery rush of joy and adrenalin that I am actually on the ball.

Gina Cameron and her wallet

My precious wallet.

It’s completely a juggling act, but whilst being on exchange, you find a place to drop your arms for a bit. Being the walking disaster that I am (thrice lost wallet speaks for itself) I wouldn’t be able to travel without that home base steady myself on. In that, Nottingham has been fantastic, it’s been a place to return to after weekends in London, the Lake District, and Edinburgh. It’s going to be hard to leave. Particularly whilst dragging everything I own along with me. I’ll be back for a week or so to hand in assignments and tie up a few loose ends.

I’ve had a few sad goodbyes, made some good friendships made far too late in the semester. The month ahead feels long and quite stressful. I’ll be typing away at my essays due in May, (one of them is 100% no pressure I’m totally calm). It’s definitely the hardest part of exchange so far, and I’m back to the juggling act for a while. But it’s been 28 days without incident, and with all these nine lives I’m pretty good at landing on my feet. Also please excuse all the clichés, mixed metaphors and brackets that keep making their way into my writing!

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