Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lovebirds and Mulled Wine: A Weekend Away & Back to Reality


Skittles & Banana
After a very hectic Week 7, I took a much needed rest in Dartford, Kent, where I had the chance to spend some time with family, wish my cousin Sonia a Happy 25th Birthday, and meet her birthday presents ---two lovebirds! Now, the lovebirds may look a tad like budgies for us non-avian fans, but they are really quite smart  - and have quite the bite when they are chicks!  

In fact, Skittles & Banana are not allowed to come out of their cage for a few months, until they slowly get used to humans around them and realize that we're not bite-worthy! They actually come from the parrot family and can eventually be trained to talk! They also live up to 20 years.

For a  cute video on lovebirds in love from National Geographic, check out this link! 

I basically spent the rest of the weekend chilling at home and forgetting about work (except for googling places that may fund me for a Phd)  The last part was a reaction to  a very deflating realization of its true costs at the department PhD seminar on Friday). That's right, distinction marks and proof of $140 000 will be part of the conditions if I get in!

Returning to Oxford was bitter-sweet.  Even though I was only away for 3 days, it seemed like I went on a holiday! On Tuesday, we were assigned our first two take-home exam questions - which will take a LOT of work to fit into 2500 word essays! Following that, we had a drink at Royal Oak pub, with our professor, and those of us in our class who could make it. Thanks to Flora for the beautiful collage picture below!


 From top left going across: Ani, Samantha, Flora, Sapna, Dima, Majka, Ernesto, Jeff, Sally, Bronson, 
I did have a chance to try mulled wine - which I've been waiting for. It was pretty good --but I will say that perhaps my expectations were a bit too hyped up! I'll definitely try mulled wine at the Christmas Market in London Southmarket in a couple weeks and let you know how it compares to the Royal Oak's £5 glass. There was even a suggestion that we should have an ALSLA (that's our course - Applied Linguistics & Second Language Acquisition) Christmas party and make our own!


PS - Just a note -- I am very annoyed that Google has started charging us to blog -- $2.50 a month if your pictures are over 1GB, including Google Drive which of course they are, after blogging for 5 years. The best reaction, I think, was Georgina's (she has an awesome blog about Cambridge - click here), and I quote "Boo Google. Boogle. Boo Blogger. Blooger."  Ah, the price we pay for the commercialization of our lives!

Stay tuned for more ALSLA end of the term fun, exam studying time, dissertation and PhD application fun --- and hopefully --once I confirm a place for Kiara to stay ---Christmas in Kent with family and a New Year's Celebration with ALSLA-ers!

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