The number of weeks I’ve been here has hit the double digits! And the temperatures here have finally broken into the single digit range so at last I felt like it was acceptable to break out my “winter” coat. Back home, I’m used to saving my winter coat for when it’s absolutely a necessity because if you start wearing your winter jacket when it’s only kind of cold and not freezing cold, you’ll have nothing warm enough to wear when it’s freezing cold. I don’t think I really needed to apply this mentality here in Exeter but some habits die hard.
I believe it’s also acceptable to announce to the world that the Christmas season has official descended! We had a light-up ceremony on Thursday in Princesshay, which is like the central shopping district/square; it was all very exciting and lots of good fun. I’m not sure if we have these light-up ceremonies back home; I feel like we would and I’ve just never paid enough attention to know that they were going on. I’ll have to make a note to keep a lookout for it next year. I feel like I keep saying I’ll do all these things once I get back and it’s all just going to amass into this one big list; perhaps I’m better off saying that I’ll go back home and try and be a little bit more of a tourist instead of subtly avoiding it.
At the light-up ceremony, they gave out red antlers, these things called z-bands which would light up if the MC decided he wanted to light them up with his all-powerful remote control, and lots of really great live music. I discovered a new folk/rock duo (Sound of the Sirens, check them out!) that I really like so that was a plus. It was a great night and now every time I walk through city centre, everything is all lit up and it’s beautiful. I love the holiday season and seeing the lights and the decorations just makes everything festive and all the more real, and that always puts a little extra bounce in my step.
To keep the Christmas theme rolling, Exeter’s Christmas market started up this week too. Christmas markets seem to be a really big thing over here and they seem to be everywhere. It must be nice with each different place putting a different spin on their own markets. I’d never really known Christmas markets to be much of a thing back home but suddenly, now I keep seeing them pop up all over back home too. It’s a little odd but I’m also glad I will have Christmas markets to look forward to at home next year.
They have so many cool little knick-knacks for sale and so many of the items are really unique and fun – it definitely makes Christmas shopping easier. I mostly browsed around all the stalls to get a feel for what was around. Towards the end of the night, I did get myself a bag of hot chestnuts, which made me very pleased. Sitting there with my bag of chestnuts with the Christmas Market around me, listening to “Let It Snow”, it really dawned on me that the holiday season had begun.
The weekend rounded itself off most beautifully with weather that was pure perfection. I made the most of it by going out for something of a walk (it lasted about 4 hours though so I’m not sure if it really counted as a walk). I was quite grateful I didn’t have to coop myself inside to do research and fill up blank Word documents with words and quotes this weekend and miss out on such loveliness. Once again, Exeter reminded me of its magnificence and it is small moments like these that really make the thought of leaving hard. At the same time though, I guess I can think of it as incentive to come back to this place and all its splendor.