The final week of teaching. That was the week that was.

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I haven’t had much free time this past week, but I’ve got a few minutes now before I continue watching an episode of Poirot on YouTube that I hadn’t seen before.

Monday: I spent most of Monday working on the heat transfer project and Linear Circuits, before going to Ralphs and World Market at 4pm to get fruit, milk and something for the small groups’ white elephant gift exchange. In the end I plumped for the Lonely Planet ‘Signs from round the world’ book (the same as something my cousin got me for Christmas a few years ago). It is hilarious, and I spend a good 20 minutes in World Market re-reading it. I also met and had a chat with a lady from Scotland in front of the shortbread display which was a strange coincidence! Armed with my book and an advent calendar for me, I was ready for the evening. We went out to dinner at ‘Olive Garden’, and it was very nice indeed. I had a Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara, and once I had embarrassingly remembered the hard way that they leave the tails of shrimps on, I scoffed the rest down. It came with a salad, which I enjoyed as ever, and lots and lots of breadsticks. We made a bit of a mockery of their complementary breadsticks, going through 7 baskets of 6 a time. Our table of 10 beat the other table of 10, who stopped counting, but only managed 6 at best. It was enjoyable! We had a good laugh at the nutritional information, which I found on another menu as we were sorting out the bill. The new competition was who had eaten the most! It was neck and neck between me and Nick, as our main meals were 1400 and 1500 calories respectively (amazing as there wasn’t that much to them), breadsticks were 100 each and salad was 350 (or 150 calories without dressing – we didn’t have the choice!). More crazy was the fact my main meal had 88g of fat in it! That’s insane! It’s like eating a lump of butter for dinner!

Back at the apartments, the gift exchange went by ok. Other people are perhaps slightly more imaginative than me, but no matter how hard I can’t buy rubbish or something that’s pointless. The presents were all in a pile, and we got a number and just picked one out at random. Initially the person who got my gift didn’t seem too enamoured, which I was a bit nervous about. I was worried they might miss the hidden hilariousness of the book. Once all the opening was done though, she started looking at the book with Ash, who knows what’s funny, and they began to laugh a lot, and before long there was a little group of us around the book, going through every page in detail. The only one they didn’t really get was “Avenue Road”. I tried to point out what I thought was its true meaning, although now I’m not so sure. What I am sure about is that Terrence didn’t make any sense when he said “I get it, it’s because in England they call them roads, and we say boulevards!” They all said “oh yes, I guess that’s it!” and I couldn’t help saying “What?” That theory wasn’t funny, but more importantly made no sense at all!!! Eventually, once they had surprised Jen with a cake (on yet another birthday!) I went home to bed.

Tuesday: Spent doing Aero and the Heat Transfer design project.

Wednesday: I had big plans for Wednesday, but got a bit stuck helping out some other people with the project. I couldn’t really get on with what I needed to do with them around, but couldn’t really tell them to go either. I got away at 7pm by saying I was meeting up with some people for dinner. It turned out to be true, as I sat with Ash and some of her friends who were eating at that time. As they were leaving Jordan came from somewhere, offered me a chip (fries) and asked if I’d like to come to large group with them. I thought about it, and decided to go. It meant I didn’t get what I wanted to finish finished that evening, but I felt all the better for it afterwards. It was nice to unwind, relax and think about something else. Unfortunately, because it was the last one of the quarter I don’t think it followed the usual format, and they spent a good hour going through various peoples testimonials. Some were actually really good, and interesting. Others offered more questions than answers, and almost every other one began with the unimaginative “I had a bad break up…”. I think it is safe to say Californians are a tad dramatic sometimes, take for example a story that from one of the guys at ballroom that had the attention of everyone. He had caught a bus once when he was unwell and had gone an hour and about 30 miles out of his way. Wow, I thought, how did he do that? I was hooked. Sadly, it turned out he had just got on a UTC Superloop bus going in the anticlockwise direction instead of going clockwise. Considering the whole loop takes 20 minutes to complete, that isn’t an hour out of your way! It was his own fault he got off at UTC to wait for one going the clockwise instead of just staying on the bus he was on. It impressed everyone else though, so I think I should tell some more of my stories – not only are they more impressive, but they are actually true and not exaggerated! But anyway, yes, some of the tales given were overly dramatic. It was interesting though; as I talked to few people afterwards before coming back to do some more work.

David, who is plays the guitar and piano for the small group was premiering a film he had made with someone else at 10:45, and I went down but just missed the beginning of the first showing, so I had to wait for the second screening.  It was very good, and I loved the camera work, it was very artistic and managed to say so much about the characters with nothing being spoken. That’s clever in my opinion. The story was quite good in general, although it was bit American and I can’t see myself writing a letter now to my future wife as, well… to me, I imagine it would feel a bit strange. But it’s a funny thought to think that somewhere out there is, hopefully, someone. I think they were impressed that I got the message of the film pretty quickly compared to the others watching and that I also picked up on some of the other deeper aspects of the film. (It is on YouTube by the by, called ‘Worthy’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UL4nYg3JxiQ)

Thursday: Work, work, work! Not much else.

Friday: The design project was handed in, despite the attempts of the library printers to confuse me and stop me from printing it off. At Ballroom we did the Rumba, which was fun, and now I know a lot more people from the dance two weeks ago and am starting to learn more dances I’m getting more confident in the social hour. I did a lot more dancing this week, and talked to a lot more people. I think I’m in and safe there now.

In the evening I had a number of options. I could go to Balboa Park as there was a winter festival and the museums were all free. I was also invited out with the Ballroom club as they were having a Christmas meal and then going to their social dancing afterwards. Or I had been invited to the Inter-Varsity Christmas party. I said to Omead it must just be something about the accent, and he ‘nope, it’s those good looks too’. Oh well thank you! It is the accent though! I don’t think its novelty has worn off yet! In the end I decided to go the Inter-Varsity Christmas party, and that was a good choice. While talking to a group with Jordan and Ash in early on, one of the leader people came up and I had a long chat with him. They recommended I try a Boba tea, as I hadn’t had one yet, so we went downstairs to Tapioca Express to get one. (The party was upstairs in the Price Centre – the building containing the food court containing the common franchises such as Burger King and Subway). I had a kiwi flavour, and it was very nice, but very strange. I thought, these ice cubes are a bit chewy! I then had a long chat with a chap called Patrick who skis and does some other cool stuff. Then the talent show started. Lots of people sang Christmas stuff, and it was all frightfully jolly. After helping clean up at the end, I was talking to Junn, the director of the film, and he introduced me to one of his friends. She said hello, and I asked where she was from. She said London, and I thought “Wow, someone from England!” I asked where, and then she had to tell me she was actually from Southern California. I had been completely fooled, although in my defence her accent was spot on! She also looked and sounded just like Amy, which maybe subconsciously made me think she was English. She was impressed I believed her accent though, and I could hear her telling all her friends about it from some way away as they were walking back.

That’s the week just gone for you.

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