I would like to start out this post like I have been with every other post this month: sorry for being scarce in the blogging world, I’ve been quite busy with my brothers visiting last month, my dad visiting last week (post about it coming soon) and the usual work, university, life hustle.

But, I got a car! When my dad visited, he helped me buy a used 2006 Ford Fiesta to use mainly for work as I’ve been spending my entire life on the bus. I will write a post or two about it in the coming weeks, but for now, just know that I’m so relieved that I have more time to do university work and take car of myself.

Without further ado, here are my top five favorite posts from this month in all categories:

  1. 28 Things that I am Still Yet to Master: An honest, down-to-earth hilarious post we can all relate to. As I enter into my mid-twenties, I feel a lot of pressure to do everything perfectly and have my life together, but as long as I’m content, I shouldn’t worry so much about being perfect.
  2. What I Learned While Travelling with my Father: My dad and I went to New York and Washington, D.C. together in September and he just visited and I can say that spending time with him 24/7 is a much different experience than our home life.  I feel like I see the “real” him for the amazing man he is. I really cherish our time together and hope we can travel more in the future!
  3. What to Expect on a LiveAboard Trip: I’m a bit salty (pun intended) that this post was published after a strikingly similar post I made… but it’s great nonetheless and complements mine well.
  4. How to Write Better Blog Posts: Because we can always improve!
  5. 21 Things You Must Do in Tahiti: Tahiti looks like an amazing place that I would love to dive in and lounge on the beach.

Science, sustainability and veganism

General travel and study abroad

Travel destinations

Lifestyle

Blogging

Entertainment

Photo by Andrew Knechel.

 

 

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Hello, Music Monday. It’s been a minute.

As I might have mentioned before, I used to collect CDs, however, I haven’t actively bought CDs in a few years. At my peak, I owned about 150+ CDs. Now, I have about 75, which is the bare minimum I could handle when I most recently weeded out my collection. Although, I could probably do with even less now.

However, I would have a very difficult time parting with my autographed CDs, even if they’re form bands I don’t listen to anymore.

Here are my signed CDs and the stories behind them (for your enjoyment, I’ve also included pictures of my awkward, younger self I took with band members when I got my CDs signed):

Rise Against: If you’ve been following me any amount of time, you’ll probably know that Rise Against is my all-time favorite band. I’ve seen the live more than any other band and have been a massive fan for about eight years. I got my first CD signed when I met them for the first time in September 2012 before seeing them live for the second time. Here’s an excerpt from the post:

“… the store limited the items that band could sign to one. Although I brought several CDs, I chose to get their second album, Revolutions Per Minute signed. When it was my turn, I shakily handed my CD to them, gave them each a gift of a painting of themselves, shook their hand and was hurried along. Although our encounter was brief, I was on cloud nine!”

I got the rest of their discography (as then) signed when I saw them in April 2015:

“I was also hoping the painting [I made for them] would be leverage for them to sign all my CDs rather than just the one allowed by the same record store that hosted the first signing. As expected, they were really receptive to the painting and were thrilled to sign all my CDs! Also, Zach (the guitarist) complimented my Anti-Flag shirt and I’ve been wearing it to their concerts ever since. I was even more thrilled I now had all their music to date autographed.”

Now, I’m only missing an autograph on their most recent album, Wolves, but it’s only a matter of time before I’m all caught up again, I’m sure!

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Senses Fail: I often site Senses Fail as my second favorite band. I’ve liked them just as long as Rise Against and their music is so different, but almost as equally powerful (Rise Against will always rein supreme). If you caught my tattoos and piercings post, you might recall I have a Senses Fail inspired tattoo about a year ago.

Unlike Rise Against and other bands I closely follow, for some reason, I never bothered to make myself familiar with the band members of Senses Fail beyond the frontman, Buddy Nielsen. They seem to have so much turnover, it didn’t really matter to me.

I got all the albums they released at the time autographed by Buddy and the other anonymous band members in 2014 at the Let It Enfold You ten year anniversary tour. I was thrilled to have all the CDs signed!

That was an amazing show, but the shows I went to in the years to follow let me down. However, I went to their most amazing show to date early last year and that got me back into them again!

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Enter Shikari: Enter Shikari are another band I love a lot and I have their entire discography to date autographed! After accumulating their three most recent studio albums throughout the year, in November 2015, they were kind enough to sign all the CDs I had at the time at a signing at Banquet Records in Kingston, London.

I bought two of their albums already signed and got the final CD signed when I saw them in Pomona in 2017 on the tenth anniversary tour of said album (Take to the Skies).

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Again, sorry I’ve been scarce on here lately. Life has been crazy with my brothers visiting, work, university work, trying to find a new house for August and more. Also, I’m quite enjoying my free time with reading recently (read two books this week!) and after staring at a computer screen all day for my dissertation, it’s the last thing I want to do for fun.

Anyway, I can’t believe another term has come and gone. The calendar year is half over and my degree is 2/3 done!

Here is a massive goal update with:

  • Second term goals revisited
  • 2018 goals update
  • Third term goals

Here is how my second term goals translated into reality:

  • Work between 20-25 hours a week: Yep. I work about 20 hours a week, but spend about 10-15 hours a week on the bus, so that being said with work at the center of my universe, I don’t have time or energy for much else. Hopefully that will change soon as I’m looking into getting a car.
  • Choose five possible career paths: Ha. Ha ha. I have a few very generic ideas of what I want to do but I have no idea where to start. Yay for being anxious about the future!
  • Visit an academic adviser once every other week: More or less. I meet with my dissertation supervisor once a week or so to check in on my progress, but I hope to meet with some other staff for career advice or just to network.
  • Go to a football game: Nope.
  • Go to a musical: Yes! I saw Chess for my birthday and Les Miserables with my brothers.
  • Meet up with Buddies once a month: Nope. I’m the worst Buddy. I’ve been meaning to message them for ages now but never get around to it, but I like to think they don’t need me anymore and have spread their wings.
  • Message my friends (especially back home) and family more: I try, but I’ve been so busy and when I finally get around to messaging back, it’s been an embarrassing amount of time.
  • Travel to one new U.K. city: Kind of, visited Seven Sisters, a local country park, for the first time.
  • Run thrice a week: Nope.
  • Stretch for five minutes everyday: Nope, but this is so simple and I really should.
  • Limit myself to one cheese and one egg meal, one chocolate bar and three sodas a week: Not so great on the cheese, getting better with the chocolate and soda and don’t eat egg that much.
  • Limit myself to dining out (or, more likely, ordering pizza) once every other week: Not happening.
  • Read two books a month: More or less.
  • Listen to new music (two albums a week): More or less.
  • Complete a new T.V. series: Yes and then some. Really enjoyed The Good Place but enjoy rewatching Brooklyn Nine-Nine and keeping up with new episodes of Drag Race.

As you can see, I didn’t do stellar. I set these goals before I got my new time-demanding job, but will make sure to set more attainable goals for this final term.

And now my New Year’s resolutions:

  • Travel to three new countries: I went to South Africa and have plans to go to Norway, which will probably be the end of my visits to new countries… however, I am also going to Luxembourg in June and going home for Christmas.
  • Travel to three new U.K. destinations: I have been to Seven Sisters and the Scottish highlands with my brothers and hope to go to either Kew Botanical Gardens or the Jurassic Coast this summer.
  • Attend one football game, one hockey game and one musical: I just missed football season and there are no hockey games close to Brighton, but I have seen two musicals.
  • Visit home: I have plans to go home December 19th!
  • Get a pet: My living situation will be more long-term starting in January, wherever that may be, so I will look into sorting that later in the year.

Finally, my third term goals:

  • Continue to work between 20-25 hours a week
  • Continue to meet with an academic adviser once every other week
  • Travel to one new U.K. city
  • Stretch for five minutes everyday
  • Cut back on cheese, dairy chocolate and soda
  • Read two books a month
  • Listen to new music (two albums a week)
  • Complete a new T.V. series
  • Apply for two jobs a week
  • Blog for about five hours a week
  • Watch more films

Hopefully the above goals are more realistic now that I’ve gotten used to my new job hours. I will post an update of the third term goals once I hand my dissertation in at the end of August, eek!

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I spent the first week and a half of the month scrambling to get the last bits of my coursework in and nearly drove myself mad… but it was worth it, I got at least a 2:1 on everything!

But I didn’t have much of a break from university as days after my deadlines, I started buckling down on my dissertation. Things are going quite smoothly so far, it’s just a lot of work and yelling at R and ArcMap.

Other than university, I have also been working regularly still. It’s exhausting!  On the bright side, my bosses are keen to offer me a working visa and assuming they don’t hit any obstacles getting a sponsorship and confirming my visa, I get to stay in the U.K. for a while longer!

In case you missed it, my brothers visited for two weeks and we explored London, Brighton, Edinburgh and the highlands together. You can read about it here.

What I’m watching: The Devil Wears Prada

What I’m listening to: Transquility Base Hotel & Casino by Arctic Monkeys, Celebrity Skin by Hole, Earthbound by Bury Tomorrow, Polygondwanaland by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

What I’m reading: Farmageddon by Phillip Lymbery, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal

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My brothers Kyle (21) and Ryan (20) visited me for about a week! They stayed with me in my student house in Brighton and let me be their tour guide most days, but made their own way on days I had to work.

Monday, 21 May: After work and a bit of last minute cleaning, I met my brothers at a train station near my house after they travelled on the red eye flight from home. To keep them awake so they wouldn’t be jet lagged, we did a few things in Brighton: i360 and the pier. After a little while, they were knackered, so I let them sleep.

Tuesday, 22 May: The next day, the three of us headed to London for a full day. We hit Buckingham Palace, Sky Garden (which was so worth the wait after months of trying to get tickets), Camden market, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Picadilly Circus. We then went to the critically acclaimed Dishoom before seeing Les Miserables, both of which were my favorite part of the day!

Wednesday, 23 May: The day after, they went to Bath without me and had a nice time.

Thursday, 24 May: We went to Seven Sisters, a local country park. It was amazing… until we got rained on. But it was still beautiful! They went to see the new Star Wars movie while I worked and Diego and I met them at one of my new favorite pubs: World’s End. Kyle and Ryan did virtual reality simulator and the lot of us raced mini cars and played Monopoly. I could spend ages in there as long as I have a drink in my hand!

Friday, 25 May: The boys went back to London to do Tower of London, London Eye and Tower Bridge.

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Saturday, 26 May: The next morning, they got a tour of my university (Sussex) campus. They headed to explore more of Brighton, including the marina, while I worked and we met up (with Diego) in town later for dinner and to go to the pub to watch the Champion’s League game. It was an exciting game… I mean, for football. I just can’t seem to get into it but I’m glad Diego is so happy Madrid won.

Sunday, 27 May: The next day, we set off for Edinburgh… but not before one more half day in London on our way there. We had lunch in Convent Garden, walked the Millennium Bridge and strolled through Hyde Park before catching a train to Edinburgh, arriving late. We stayed at Kick Ass Hostels, which is one of my all-time favorites, I can’t recommend it enough.

Monday, 28 May: The next morning we took a guided walking tour led by the exceptional Greg. I remember some bits and pieces from my trip to Edinburgh two years ago, but there’s always more to learn in a country with such a rich and interesting history. After the tour, we visited Calton Hill and then hopped on another walking tour of the “dark side” of Edinburgh with two other Americans we met at the hostel: Matt and Bill.

Tuesday, 29 May: We departed early for a day tour of the highlands and Loch Ness. Both ways, we stopped at various scenic spots including Glencoe. Once we arrived in Loch Ness, we took a short boat tour, highlighting the geography and biology of the lake as well as the mysterious Nessie. Personally, I’m not convinced there is still currently a monster in the lake, but I suppose anything is possible. Also, we were lucky enough to be blessed with amazing weather throughout the trip!

This morning, we took a train from Edinburgh to London, where Kyle and Ryan went on their way to Heathrow and I went back to Brighton. It was great to see them again and I hope they had fun with everything we did!

 

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