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What’s the Welsh for “veni, vidi, vici”?!

…Or is that premature of me to ask? Despite the fact that I have a million essays and assignments to be working on, I am currently floating upon a cloud of happy, triumphant energy. Why, you might ask?

 

Because I just finished my first Welsh exam! Now, I could be wrong here, but I think I did quite well on it! My hours of studying, despite the fact that I devoted my Reading Days to it, totally paid off. Or so I think. A lot of other members of my class were not feeling very confident after the test, thought it was difficult, or were very ambivalent about the whole thing, but I found it to be quite straightforward.

 

Then again, with Welsh it’s always the little details that seem to trip one up.

 

In addition to my fantastic feeling about the Welsh exam, I also got my first Welsh written assignment back and got at 66 on it! Now before you Americans gasp in horrified astonishment at that rather deplorable sounding grade, I should point out that in the Welsh department everything we turn in is marked out of 70, which puts my grade at ~94%! HURRAH!

 

Okay, I think I’ve bragged enough. I don’t mean to sound pompous, I’ve just been working really hard and am very excited.

 

Moving on, I’ll take a step in reverse back to the rest of Reading Week! In my last post I discussed my trip to the Wye Valley. On Wednesday, I spent the morning studying and then spent my afternoon in the stables having a lesson with my riding group in the Cardiff Uni Equestrian Club. It was a pretty miserable day and we had to walk the mile and a half to the stables in the pouring rain, but everyone in the club is pretty nice and friendly, so I had a good time anyway. I rode a 5 year-old Cobb mare in the lesson–she is still rather “green” and didn’t really understand what I was asking her all the time, so it was challenging ride!

 

I wish I were able to take pictures. The problem is that there have been thefts at the stables and I don’t have anywhere safe to put my camera whilst I ride.

 

Thursday and Friday were fairly uneventful days primarily spent studying.

 

Saturday was another great day. In the morning, I met my fellow IFSA Butler Cardiff Uni student, Sarah, to study Welsh! Because we were meeting pretty early, we decided that a breakfast of crepes was definitely in order if we were to get any work done. ;]

 

The place we went is called “The Pancake House” (located in the Old Brewery Quarter, if you are someone planning to visit Cardiff!), and it was absolutely fantastic. I chose the deliciously decadent Nutella & banana crepe:

 

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I feel as though it is necessary for me to mention that we DID in fact get some good Welsh practice in during the hour and a half we spent sitting outside!

 

It had been quite sunny and warm when we arrived at the Pancake House, but after we’d been sitting outside for a while it became very cold and a bit overcast, so we re-located to the warm interior of a nearby Costa and drank glasses of cocoa as we drilled Welsh vocabulary. A lovely morning, all in all! It was also fun to be in City Centre at that time; the Christmas markets have all been set up, stall upon stall of food, hot drinks, Welsh crafts, and other items, and it seemed like the whole world was out and about shopping!

 

After our Welsh study, I headed back to my apartment to do some reading for another class and, you guessed it, study more Welsh, before heading to a pub down the street for dinner with some flatmates.

 

And then I studied MORE!

 

Sunday was similarly great, but in an entirely different way. From 11am-6pm I was off on a hack with the Equestrian Club in the mountains of the Brecon Beacons! We were so lucky that the weather was great–sunny and not too cold. Cantering through Welsh fields on Welsh hills above the most beautiful Welsh valley on a scruffy Welsh horse (named Jaffa Cake!), riding past tiny farms and through twisted hedgerows made me feel absolutely as though I was on a film set or in a fairytale! At the bottom of the valley was a beautiful lake, and as it got closer to 4pm, we could see the sun starting to drift down and set behind the mountains behind the lake.

 

I wish so much that I could have taken some photos, but for safety reasons we weren’t allowed to carrying ANYTHING in our pockets and had to turn our cameras in at the office. :(

 

Though I will say, the one advantage to not having access to a camera is that you can’t be distracted by it, fumbling around trying to get a good shot. You can just focus on enjoying yourself and really experiencing the scenery, and I know I’ll remember that ride for the rest of my life.

 

Monday and Tuesday were a blur of lectures, researching for papers, meetings with professors, and studying for Welsh. I will say, I am becoming quite academically stressed. But I’m trying to stay positive!

 

On Wednesday, my Material Evidence for Ancient Historians class had a seminar on Ancient Greek Numismatics (coins!) in the National Museum, right down the street from the University. The museum is really great, and free for students! I definitely want to go back someday when I have more time to poke around on my own.

 

Anyway, I found the seminar extremely challenging and am somewhat dreading the essay I need to write on it this weekend, HOWEVER, during the seminar we were actually allowed to handle the artifacts and I must say it was pretty darn amazing to be holding such old coins that some ancient Greeks had ACTUALLY handled and used.

 

Here are just a few of the coins we looked at:

 

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And here we are, Thursday evening, and you’ve already heard all about my double-Welsh class today ;]

 

What am I off to do now? Study even more for tomorrow morning’s Welsh class! There isn’t much time to take a breather when you want to stay on top of a new language, BUT I am in love with Welsh, so I can’t say I mind.

 

Coming Up this Weekend:  The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with the Tea Party Society! “Frocks and Hats Required.” Should be a good time, though of course I have heaps of homework and reading to get through! C’est la vie.

 

Until then!

 

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