It's been ages and ages since I've felt the motivation to write but last semester was a bit of a blur what with moving to England, settling in, taking required modules, and basically being ill from Thanksgiving (Canadian) until I went home for the holidays in December.
The holidays were great... I spent a lot of time enjoying sleeping in my bed at home and just laying low. I had to save the cash so I could convert it to pounds sterling eventually.
I saw the Ansel Adams exhibit at the AGO that I had been looking forward to since last year and did some other cultural things. Saw people from work, saw Gosh off on her 6 month around the world adventure and was just happy to be home after a very mixed up autumn.
I'm back in Newcastle now and this semester is already off to a good start. I was hardly here for 48 hours, when I got on another plane with some schoolmates and my advisor for a week in Rome. It was my first trip to Rome and it was unbelievable. We were there for 5 days and basically walked our feet off for 12 hours a day trying to see as much as we could, and when I refer to my guidebooks, we covered a lot of ground! By chance, we even got into the basement of the church of S. Nicola in Carcere where the podium bases for the three temples in the Forum Holitorium are buried. It was one of the coolest archaeological things I've done so far.
I've done my duty as a born and raised Catholic to see St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums, and the tombs of the popes, although not the Roman graves that are under St. Peter's. That I will have to save for another trip. I've started a list of sites that I want to aim to see next time.
This is really my first full week back in Newcastle since early December and it's exam time so the campus is unnaturally quiet. Michelle, Nadine, and I will be going to see Ray Lamontagne on Saturday night so that is something else to look forward to.
I feel a new motivation to get started on my own research, finally! This semester could really start to make or break it for me. I have a year review in June so I've got to start researching more efficiently and writing stuff, mainly a preliminary chapter. Sometimes I still think it's wrong that I am in a PhD program, like I tricked someone into thinking I was smart or something, but other times, I KNOW this is the right path for me. I'm just glad to be excited by school again. I suspect I was somewhat low in the fall with all the change, but I am hopefully moving onto brighter things and that's all I will say for now.
Here's a pic from the day we spent at Ostia Antica last week: