Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas in Kent: A Few Days of Rest & Board Game Fun!

After weeks of essay writing, Christmas was the perfect excuse for a couple days off, and another visit to Kent. It was great to see everyone again!

We spent most of the holiday playing Boggle, Scrabble and Articulate (a really great word game that's kind of like Taboo). Boxing Day, I'm sorry to say, was a sore disappointment. The mall opens at 9am, not 6am, like in Edmonton --and the sales are not worth queuing up for. In fact, the only shopping I did was to buy gym clothes at the over-priced Nike store on Boxing Day, and today, to buy a skirt and sweater at H&M, since we don't have one in Oxford.

Thai Silk at the O2 Dome
Also, on the 27th, we went out to the Millenium (O2) Dome in London, for dinner at a wonderful Thai place called Thai Silk. It definitely beats the Thai place I tried in Oxford, and the cuisine really reminded me of Thailand. The decor is beautiful as well - the perfect place to have dinner and catch a movie. Of course, I had my favourite dish - tofu green curry and jasmine rice. Nice and spicy!

 As for the film, I was not too impressed. Although The Hobbit's cinematography was spectacular, the plot could have been improved and was far, far too long. To be fair, though, the last time I read the book I was twelve, so I can't remember every detail, and can't comment on the plot's originality.

I've really spent the majority of the time studying though ---2.5 essays and my DPhil research proposal down, 2 more intense research essays to go. My goal is to finish them all in 7 days, and have the remaining 7 for editing. I need some New Year's luck to make it happen ---lucky '13!

Luckily, I was able to find a really great place for Kiara to stay that still had room available ---at Top Dog Home Boarding. Ineta, the lady that runs it, is actually a dog trainer who owns two training schools, and takes dogs into her home during the holidays. She only charges £20 a night for large dogs, too (most places I checked are over double that on Christmas week). This week, Ineta had her own two golden retrievers, a lighter golden retriever named Taz, a little dog and Kiara --all sleeping on her living room floor.

My cousin Tina and 10 year old Taz! 
Kiara nice and calm at daycare!
The only trouble was, when we went to visit Kiara for a day and take her for a lovely walk in a very muddy park and then left, apparently Kiara was whining the WHOLE evening. She probably thought we were back to take her home!  Apparently she has some separation anxiety (the non-destructive kind; she doesn't ruin things when I leave the house). Apparently, I also spoil her royally. I'm not so surprised at that, actually. Many trainers have told me that Kiara's the "top dog" at my house. I've really tried...but I guess I'm just not a good dog-mom? Poor puppy!

Here is a slideshow of Christmas Day with my family in Kent. Even my grandmother, Jhaiji, came over to the house to open presents! I received a lovely necklace from Sonia, a Gordon Ramsey blender/processor (to go with the Jamie Oliver cookbook I bought myself) from Jhaiji, wall stickers for my house from Tina, an awesome filter/waterbottle for kickboxing and a calendar from Sunny and Nia, and a beautiful Gucci bracelet, a file organizer and some London-themed place mats from Aunty and Uncle. What a great Christmas! I will say though, that Rakhi's pictures of homemade key-lime pie at home looked so delicious. I tried a British kind of pie--minced pie (filled with dried fruit, not mince).

Now, for a few hours off for New Years' Eve...(blog post will be up tomorrow) and then.... (you guessed it)...

.... back to study, study, study --and apply (using all sorts of strategic methods) for PhDs in the UK! I'm sure it'll all be worth it in the end.

Happy New Year's Eve, everyone - and all the best in 2013!

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