Thursday, 20 September 2012

New Balls, Please!

New Balls, Please! People are starting to tease me about the frequency with which I'm using this phrase at the moment, but it's really the only way I can sum up what's going on. Firstly, I once again apologise for the delay since the last blog: I can flick back through my filofax at least four weeks and 'blog' is un-crossed off the to-do lists for each of them. *sigh* It's been a busy old couple of months - which is why there's so much to write about - not to mention the fact that I've just moved house (saga in its own right, which I REALLY won't go into details of here!) and we don't have internet in the house yet. One big delay after another. However, having lived for a month over the summer with the wonderful Emma, who blogs in a proper, award-winning way, I'm re-inspired; and also am at home with the parents this week, who have more internet than you can shake a stick at.
This is a lovely view of the Swiss mountains from the holiday I went on earlier in the summer, just to give you something pretty to look at for a moment.

So, presently, I'm in a weird little limbo phase of transition between one big thing and another. All change. In my head, I was going to blog about this as soon as I found out, and chat about it as news, but for most people this isn't news any more: In two weeks I start my Masters course at the University of Reading, in Species Identification and Survey Skills (SISS). 

The two reactions I get when I tell people what I'm doing, as to what this course entails are:

a. 'What, like discovering new species?! That's so cool! Will you name one after me?'
b. 'What, like, 'that's a cat'? 'There's three squirrels'?'

The hilarity is that it's much more akin to the second - I'm unlikely to be finding any new species (if I don't know what it is it'll only be because I haven't worked out my field key yet), but will be learning how to sample/catch anything that's out there, in a sensible fashion (Survey Skills), and then identify what it is that's there (Species Identification) - just thought I'd break it down for you. You're welcome. It leads, hopefully, to Environmental Consultancy: being hired out to survey natural sites and tell people what they can and can't do with them depending on what's there.

To me, it just sounds like a slice of heaven, handed to me on a career-shaped plate. Can you imagine, I get to spend a year learning about SO MANY SPECIES, and tramping around in wellies and waterproofs, and can *hopefully* spend my life doing this and writing reports for clever people, to tell them what to do. Just, bliss. As you might be able to tell, I'm thuper-exthited, and am really keen to get past all the nervous 'starting-new-things'-thing, and get my teeth into it. And that's not even thinking about the excitment of a new place, and a whole new set of people to meet.

Now, for the astute among you, you'll realise that if I'm going back to being a full-time student (which I am), then that full-time job thinger I've been doing this year doesn't really fit any more. This is true. And this is sad. I left OCC on Friday just gone, and was very sad to say goodbye to some truly excellent colleagues. It's strange for me to leave something that I know will be carrying on, without leaving because it's time for my cohort to go (like leaving school or uni); and bizarre knowing that everyone is carrying on in my absence. But I've had time to have some good conversations about all this while I've been back in Northampton this week, and as my excellent friend Philippa put it, 'just 'cos it's sad, doesn't mean it's not right.' Which is also very true.
Pub picture shamelessly stolen from Miles
We had a great time together at the pub to celebrate my leaving (I think that's how I'm looking at it ;)) - with a bittersweet mix of being ridiculously spoilt with stationery-centric presents that were spot on for me; and being somewhat mercilesly teased. There's not much more I can say about it other than while I am ridiculously excited to move forward, I can't quite imagine another workplace where I am so loved and encouraged, having been there for such a short time. Thanks guys :)

In my little limbo-fortnight between working and starting post-grad-freshers-week, I've made a list of all the things that are changing for me at the moment:
  1. Leaving OCC, starting Masters
  2. Moving house
  3. New Housemates (they're awesome, btw)
  4. Becoming a commuter (Reading ain't Oxford, doncha know!)
  5. Different involvement at church (newly part of the Student Team, rather than leading a Missional Community)
  6. New-found love of prayer and the prophetic. Yeah, sneaky little spiritual one for you there. Muaha. I love when God speaks.
  7. A new phone! It works! It has a camera! It texts quicker than it would take to send a pigeon! It's a miracle!
  8. New pyjamas. Ok, I realise that is not the same level as starting a Masters course, but it was time to *embrace* All Things New, so I've thrown out the PJs I've had since I was fourteen (yes, and they do still fit, thank you very much), and indulged in new awesome ones. I feel like Heather. (This only makes sense if you know Heather - she's got more pyjamas than Calvin Harris has girls. Yeah, quite.)
That's most of the update I have for now, without starting off on something else entirely; so I'll leave you now with the other joy that autumn brings, apart from the excitement of new stationery, and getting your boots and scarves out the back of the wardrobe again: autumn TV.

 I love that Downton is back - be excited with me!

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