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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Home, but is it?

How quickly has Christmas come around? And with that the end of term, and the end of the first term at uni. Granted it is nice to have a break from the work, but to be honest, in the last two weeks of term I did very little work anyway. We had a lovely successful flat Christmas dinner on Wednesday, so much food and all the secret Santa presents were so perfect for each person it was amazing. 

I love my flatmates, there I said it, they are each individually incredible people that without them wouldn't make uni as nearly as good. 

Now I'm home without them it has dawned on me how close we have become in the past three months, and how crazy it is that back in September I didn't know them and now I am finding it really hard to survive this holiday without them. These 4 weeks are going to be really tough, it has only been two days since I left and I am already going crazy without them - most definite flat withdrawal symptoms. Also hugely feel like I am being that clingy friend as I won't leave them alone!

Saturday was very hard as everyone slowly left one by one and it felt like the last episode from Friends when they all leave all their keys on the side and walk out. Slowly everyone left until it was me and Ells left so we had a nice night in, Amalia and Kate came over and we ordered pizza, watched Friends and went to see the stars, and got to see a shooting star. When they left Elliott and I did not steal everyone else's food... and did not go a bit crazy wandering the corridor, I kept expecting someone to walk in as if they'd just gone away for the weekend but they didn't. I was very very strange and driving home I just felt very numb. 


Living with 11 other people to living with my family again is very hard, I just don't quite feel like I belong here or fit in here anymore. To be honest, I feel like I have changed and so should have everything at home and it hasn't. They have their own lives and their own things to be getting on with which is fine and everything but I don't know where my place is, and almost as if the last 3 months never happened, like I've returned from another trip on my gap year. I know I will get used to it and it will just take time, I mean I have to, but to begin with, it is a challenge that I will have to deal with.


Miss them all so much,


Have a great week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx






Saturday, 6 December 2014

Affected

I can't believe I have one week left at Uni until we break up for the Christmas holidays. It's crazy how fast the time goes and although I love everyone here to bits and it's going to break my heart having to be away from them all for a month. Yet last night was the first night I well and truly didn't want to be here. While most people were getting dressed up and drunk to go out I couldn't go because of my stupid illness. The SU is shit at the best of times and apparently only good when drunk - but I would never know that!! And I don't want to go out like that and be the only vaguely sober one. I never thought not drinking would ever bother or affect me. But last night is really and truly the first time it ever has and I hated it. I was so angry that I would be missing out and so pissed off that once again I was left behind because of this stupid pancreatitis and I don't want anyone else to treat me different or stay in with me or anything like that. I don't want to ruin anyone else's night. I'm just putting the thought and the wish out there that I hope I won't get so upset over it as obviously there is nothing I can do about it except get over it. 

Have a great week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Friday, 7 November 2014

Time for a catch up

Well, I did say I would try to keep you all updated on all my trips over my gap year but that seemed to fail epically after South Africa! So I'll just do a quick recap and then catch you all up on my time so far at university - I can't believe I've been there for just six weeks now, it feels like so much longer but I have met the most amazing group of people in my flatmates.

Right, after South Africa I went to New Zealand and although it was amazing scenery, brilliant places and it was lovely to see my family, it was most defiantly the loneliest trip I went on. I was in this tiny little town called Picton two days into arriving and I felt the loneliest I have ever been, it was horrific. Luckily the end of the trip from Queenstown onwards it was better as I got to meet some lovely people. 


After two weeks of being at home I then headed off to Thailand with the famalam which was great - boiling hot, crazy colours and very friendly people, but I have discovered Elephant riding is not for me - it is definitely one of the most uncomfortable things I have ever done. 


Then I was literally home for two days before heading off on my last trip to the States. It was absolutely incredible. I started off in New York before heading to Boston, then into Canada - Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Ohio then finishing in Chicago. The people I met were all really lovely, and I got to know lots of very funny Australians. I think the best moments may have been standing in a glass box over the Chicago skyline, flying in a helicopter over Niagara Falls or getting drenched in grade 5 rapids on the St Lawrence river. It was an epic trip! 



That was basically it for the trips in a very quick run down.


Right, to uni, at the end of September I headed off on the biggest adventure of all time, and probably the one I was the most terrified of, going to uni. I was absolutely petrified about moving to Egham, but it was and still is awesome, all down to the fact I have the most amazing and downright crazy family there! Even though I have only known these nutters for a few weeks, I feel like I have known them forever. I cannot wait to get back there to see them all. 


That's it for now,


I'll try to catch up again soon


Have a great week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Monday, 9 June 2014

Back

I can't believe it has been nearly 4 weeks already that I have been back from South Africa and now, in three days, I am going to be flying the other side of the world to New Zealand. Once again I am very very nervous but slightly excited, but also looking forward to seeing my little cousins. The flight is going to be awful, 30 hours with two plane changes, urgh, I am going to be so tired, greasy and gross. I am going on a Stray Bus tour which should be good but I really hope there are some nice friendly people there, and ones who don't want to go out drinking every night, I guess that is what I am most nervous about. Anyway, I'll next update you when I get there.

Have a great week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Finally Home

So on Saturday was the last cub day which was sad but calm and I enjoyed being with the little monkeys all the more! Although we had no meat left to cut so we had to cut up chicken breasts instead which was so so so much easier than cutting up the beef.
Sunday was our day off so we chilled by the pool, helped with the cubs and started packing which was a lovely day. In the evening we all went to the bar for the last night, and was the most expensive night on my bar tab!!
Then finally we left on Monday, we were dropped off at the airport on Monday afternoon after saying all our quite emotional goodbyes. It was tough saying goodbye to the girls I came with as well as Gill the lady who runs the project. Getting on the plane was very disappointing because I did not want to leave at all!
It was one of the most amazing trips of my life, I will hopefully go again, but now I am home and time to look forward to New Zealand next!

Have a great week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Trip Updates

Well, I haven't written for a while so I thought it would be time for an update. Sunday was a pretty relaxed day as we only had to look after the cubs in the afternoon so had a lie in the morning but that did mean forfeiting breakfast :( the cubs are so adorable - it's going to be so hard to leave them now, they just steal your hearts!

On Monday we had a ranger day which was well wanted, I love spending time with the cubs, don't get me wrong but sometimes you need a break from being eaten and scratched all day! As there were so many of us on ranger we split into three teams, my group went with Junior to collect a dead cow which we then, well I say we, I mean the ranger, Alister while we watched, cut up and disemboweled the cow who we then fed to the hyenas and tigers which was pretty gruesome but also amazing to see. 

On Tuesday a few of us went to an elephant and a monkey sanctuary and a craft market. It was great to see some other animals, and we each got a lovely wet kiss from the elephants as well as getting to take them for a walk! They were all from the circus or zoos etc. 
The monkey sanctuary was just next door and was so big, but it was a little different from ukutula and the elephants in that the monkeys are mainly pets that have been donated so you are not allowed to touch them as they are trying to become wild again. After pizza for lunch we went to the craft market - time for haggling, it was quite fun and I bought a few little pieces. 

On Wednesday we went to Pilanesberg national park in the jeep with Alister in order to do a day of safariing. It was amazing as we got to see rhinos and elephants, hippos and crocodiles and Alister knew so much about the animals and the park making it really interesting. We had lunch at this spot on one of the mountains overlooking a lake which was just beautiful, so peaceful and made everyone so philosophical! 

Thursday saw us get our lion walk with five of the older lions ranging between 1-2 years old. It was incredible to see the power of some of the lions but also a reminder how wild they are, even after being hand-reared by us. Then we went to Alister's bird rehab centre that he and his mum set up - 'The Patrick Lewis Raptor Foundation' which was the sweetest thing ever, it was their home where they would look after small birds that were injured and would try to help them be released into the wild, as they are not open to the public, and us volunteers are the only visitors they have I just had to donate something. They are so amazingly selfless to set up this centre. 

After visiting there, we went to the De Wilt cheetah centre which was cool as we got to see African wild dogs as well as some other animals but petting the cheetah was nowhere as good as our lions! Finally today quite a lot of the others have either gone to Kruger park for the weekend or went to sun city, the water park for the day. I decided to stay here with a few other people and was on ranger duty but we didn't really get to do much apart from picking up the veggies and feeding them to the zebras, ostriches, impala and wilder beasts. We also got to take a peek at the new 3 days old lions cubs but their mum was protecting them very well so we only got to see a glimpse. 

Well, that's it for this week, it's been busy but amazing. I cannot believe we only have two and a half days left in South Africa and with the lions. I know it is going to break my heart to come home from the country and the lions so I am already planning a trip for next year and hopefully, I can bring one of my friends along too! 

Have a great week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Cubs

On both Friday and Saturday I was on cub duty which meant I have now learnt all the names of the babies who are now 5 weeks old, they were called Lexus, Jag and Cooper with are car theme going on, however, we had a celebrity visitor at Ukutula, an American ventriloquist comedian called Jeff Dunham - who I had never heard of. He has adopted the little ones and changed their names to the names of his puppets, Ahmed, Walter and Peanut, which I think are really stupid names by the way!!

Anyway, I spent most of these days with the bigger cubs: Kala (who is a boy), Sherlock, Dingo, Audrey, Jasmine, Nero and Logan (who is a girl) makes no sense I know but there we go! They are all very sweet but I have many many scratches and bite marks to prove their love!  Each has their own personality and character. 

Also yesterday some new volunteers arrived from Awesome Travel, most are nice but don't seem to want to come to the bar tonight - well except the only English guy - of course, the English love to drink! But it did mean it was time to say goodbye to Victor and Anton, two Swedish guys, and Mads who was from Denmark which was a little sad because they had been very helpful with learning everything about the cubs. 
Right, time for bed soon as we get the morning off tomorrow I need to do my laundry, exciting life I know!

Have a great week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Ranger Day

Today was my first-day doing ranger duties. We started later than the days with the cubs, and it all seemed a little more relaxed as we all sat in the back of a pickup truck on the way to collect a dead cow! After seeing one that had been left so long that its stomach had swelled so huge we went to pick up another one that had died on a farm. Having dropping that off back at Ukatula we then went to go and collect loads of unwanted veggies which we had to load from giant crates into the back of the trailer. Then after a long lunch we took the veggies we had collected in the morning, along with four crates of frozen chickens and went to feed the 'gremlins' or the teenage lions, and by feed, I mean flinging dead, half frozen chickens over a barbed wire fence... After that, we drove around the park unloading veggies and smashing them up for the giraffe, ostriches etc. And that was it for ranger day so fairly chilled but tomorrow is cubs again so lots more to do! 

Have a great week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Lions, Lions, Lions

Right, as you can see from the pictures, I have finally met the lions! From the 13-year-old, 250kg males (behind a fence), to the 3-week old baby cubs which I could give endless cuddles all day long! 
Today was the first full day at Ukatula - the name of the reserve, meaning 'place of quiet' and today was our first cub day. Yesterday we had a tour of the place and saw a few cubs, lions and tigers too! They are all incredible. 

Today we had to feed, clean and play with the baby cubs, feed the older ones with chopped up meat which we also had the pleasure of having to cut up which takes forever and is pretty gross... Also had the joy of getting dead chickens for the even older ones who are called 'Devils'. 

Tomorrow we are on ranger duty, having heard horror stories of having to cut up dead horses I am somewhat dubious, but here goes nothing! There was a dead horse in the freezer today which some others had to chop up, even seeing it dead there was quite strange...

Anyway, I will try to update you all soon! 

Have a great week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Monday, 5 May 2014

Jo'burg and Pretoria

So I am now in Pretoria Backpackers in South Africa! After a long flight, stopping via Istanbul, which was very very strange to be travelling alone for the first time, I am here. I found it very strange travelling alone because I had no one to talk to for about 14 hours! But never mind. After battling through passport control and security, and a nervous moment trying to find the man I was meant to be meeting, I was met at the airport by the Real Gap rep and one of the girls who would be on the project, Tash, from Dublin, who works at Google! How cool is that?!? I thought she was going to have an amazing Irish accent but no such luck. Quickly arriving after me was Annabel who funnily enough comes from near Reading - isn't it a small world? We then were driven to Pretoria backpackers which was much much nicer than I thought it was going to be, nothing like the naff bunk bed hostels I've stayed in before, we have our own house!

Then we went out for lunch but were told not to go too far so just went down the road to a sports bar where the food was very cheap, before coming back to the hostel and having a well-needed nap. Next, it was orientation where we were told about the project and South Africa in General before having dinner which was rice, vegetables and some sort of sweet sauce, different but very nice. 

Now we are just chilling before going to bed as we have to be ready to leave for Brits, the town near the lion cub project at 9.30.

I will try to write tomorrow about our first day and orientation with the lions!

Have a great week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Welcome to 2014

Well, it has nearly been 2 years since I last wrote a post, and man has time flown. Where do I even begin? Well backtrack to me passing my driving test, I had a good summer, went on an archaeological dig in Silchester with some of my friends which I really enjoyed. I then resumed my job which I had to take leave from in May at the beginning of September. I mentioned the magazine article in 'That's Life' my last blog, and the article came out in October, which I was very pleased about, and still have a copy today! The payment that they so very kindly gave me has gone to my gap year fund.

So obviously 2013 was a very busy year as I was studying for my A-levels, which due to the fact I missed out on my AS exams because I was in the hospital, meant that I found it very hard catching up on my exams. After taking my first ever holiday abroad without my parents to the island of Kos, near Greece with my friends, which was amazing by the way - but getting sunstroke at the beginning was not part of the plan! Anyway, I got my exam results in August, A*BB, which was great, but originally I was upset because it meant I was unable to go the university I was planning to - UCL, and I didn't want to go to my reserve choice, Reading. So I decided to take a gap year, originally I was going to retake an exam and try to get into UCL again, but after all I chose to not put myself through doing another exam again, therefore I am now heading off to Royal Holloway, University of London, in September to study English and Classical Studies. 


However in between September and now I have been working very hard in various jobs to raise money, to begin with, I had no idea what I was saving for, maybe for university or for a holiday, I hadn't decided at this point. I still had my job at the Wyke Down pub, and they managed to give me 4-5 permanent shifts a week, but I thought I would need other jobs so I searched around and managed to get a job at Waitrose Newbury, working in the cafe, which paid well, but I did not enjoy it and felt like I was just a number to them, so after staying there for 6 months, and enjoying the discount as much as I could, I left. But during this time I also tried out one shift at Norton Park Hotel - Qhotels, yet I could only manage 1 shift because I had to work 8.5 hours without a break, and just hated it! I tried to get a job with Winchester Cathedral working in their Christmas Market, however, unfortunately, that fell through. 


In January my friend Beth and I visited New York for 4 days, which was honestly amazing, and one of the best experiences ever! We visited Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre, Central Park/Zoo, Broadway, Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero to name a few! 
This weekend was such a success my other friend Sophie and I visited Paris in April and went to all the touristy places such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc d'Triomphe. At the beginning of February, I booked a two week trip to South Africa with Real Gap to Live with Lion Cubs on a Safari Game Park, which is actually coming up at the end of this week!!!

Currently, I have now booked a 3 week trip to New Zealand as well as a 4 week trip across northern America and Canada, and I am going to Thailand with my family for 2 weeks too! Lots of travelling within the next few months, finally ending in going to St Ives, Cornwall with many of my friends from Sixth Form, but then of to university. 


Therefore all the money I have saved is going rapidly!!!! But I guess that is good for my trips, but I am very very nervous about going abroad alone! Anyway, I hope to write again before I go to South Africa, but if not I will write either there or when I get home.



Have a great week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

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