I can’t believe how much I did this past semester! As it was my last one in St Andrews, I was determined to make the most of it. Academically, it was a bit of an oddity due to the interruptions to the course schedule caused by nationwide strikes from a union of lecturers and administrators. At least those disruptions gave me a little more free time and flexibility since about a third of lectures were cancelled: it really was odd. Nevertheless, it was a sensational semester to remember for many years to come!
The Lord of the Rings Supper
Some of us decided we needed to bring some fresh ideas to Canmore’s weekly Sunday Suppers. The obvious solution was of course to make a whole meal inspired by Middle Earth. With the help of a band of hobbits, men, wizards, and elves (unfortunately, no dwarves were on hand) we prepared a feast of Samwise’s Po-ta-to Stew, Mashed Po-ta-toes, Boiled Po-ta-toes, Farmer Maggot’s Mushrooms and Carrots, Lembas Bread, Elfin Salad, Ring Donuts, and Beorn’s Honey Cake. It was magically delicious.
At the end of January, Britain was hit by a tremendous snow storm. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to run around like children and build our very own snowman.
While the British Isles were, yet again, being buried in snow, I flew from Edinburgh to Dublin and my parents and brother flew from the US to Dublin for a family spring break visit. We can’t say it was the most pleasant trip: the weather caused a lot of delays from the outset and after about two days each of us, one after the other, began to get sick. If you must be sick, I suppose it is best to sick when your family is around to look after you. We still managed to see and do a lot in beautiful Ireland.Canmore Ball
Friday April 13th CathSoc hosted its annual charity ball! Our ball planning committee worked for several months to make all the arrangements, and all of our work was well worth it. It was a splendid evening with a ceilidh and raffle. Best of all, we raised nearly £300 for the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund.
A week after the ball, a group of us visited the Catholic chaplaincy at the University of Glasgow for a weekend and also made a pilgrimage to the shrines of Saints Mungo and Margaret along the way.
Star Wars: The Abandoned Kingdom
To celebrate Star Wars Day, May the Fourth, a team of CathSoc’s highly talented Star Wars super-fans banded together to film (in four days) the uncontested finest Star Wars tribute/spoof of all time. It is well worth ten minutes of your time.
March for Life
This year the annual UK March for Life was held in London for the first time. Several representatives from St Andrews’ Students for Life group made the trip southward to join with pro-life marchers from across the country. It was an incredible day! The whole march was charged with joy and genuine love for all human lives.
The Eurovision Song Contest is, in a word, a spectacle. Our small watch party had a wonderful evening heckling and ranking the outlandish performances. This year the “European” song writing contest was won by a very usual performance from Israel’s contestant. All of the songs were bizarre and, as a rule, extremely cheesy…it was something to behold. Americans are really missing out on this fine international entertainment!
As per the university’s tradition, after my final exam, all of my friends came to dump water all over me. One friend even poured a bucket of tea on me! I was a bit nervous about how cold the water might be and the amount of glitter I might have thrown on me, but it was surprisingly fun – the glitter was happily kept to a minimum.
The day before I left St Andrews, a group of us walked to Craigtoun Park, a recreation area a short distance from town, where we had a picnic and enjoyed the trampolines! It was a perfect way to spend my last day there. In the evening, I had a fantastic goodbye dinner in Canmore, and then cried, a lot… I miss it!
Post-semester Bonus: Cornwall!
Luckily, I had one more British adventure ahead of me when I left St Andrews! A friend very generously invited me to come visit him and his family in Cornwall in southwest England. We had the most amazing week! Cornwall has a unique seaside charm with its panoramas of sandy beaches, green hills, and rocky coastlines. The scenery may look a bit familiar for fans of the television show Poldark! It was a week of lots of laughter and sunshine, a perfect memory to close out another year in Great Britain.
I am so grateful for all of the friends who made these joyful memories with me (and especially those who helped capture them with photos when I didn’t have my camera on hand)!