Spring is almost here!

800px-Reed_Hall

When I first got to Exeter one thing I wasn’t looking forward to was the cold UK winters. Everyone knows British weather is notoriously unpredictable but I had read that the South was supposedly the “warmer” (or rather the less frosty) part of the UK. However once I got here I was told all I had read wasn’t quite true and heard tale upon tale about how cold it could get during winter.

Having lived all my life in warm and sunny Nigeria I was unsure of how I would be able to deal with the cold. I decided I wasn’t going to risk myself or the children getting frozen and stocked up on thermals, socks, gloves and even got an electric blanket. I was ready to face the cold and I waited anxiously for it

…and waited…and waited! Winter is more or less over and I am left thinking to myself “is that it?” Although my friend who’s lived in Exeter all her life had told me that winter never got that cold in Exeter I had reasoned that what may be “not that cold” to a girl from the UK may be a “ deep freeze”  to me. To be honest there were some days that got really cold but it was nothing close to what I had imagined…I barely used any of my thick socks and thermals and I will be sending the electric blanket to my friend in Scotland.  Perhaps I was just happy for something different from the 37 degrees on the average I normally get back home, whatever the case I am absolutely loving the cold! (Well, except the days when you almost get knocked over by the wind or it’s pouring rain).  It is lovely to be able to go for walks and not get scorched by the burning sun or not sweat unless you’re exercising and my skin absolutely loves the fresh cold air!

Talking about fresh air I haven’t much time much time to explore the beautiful University grounds, so I was happy when I had lunch this week with some classmates at Reed Hall. The building and its surrounding area is quite picturesque and the food was quite nice. After going there I have promised myself that I really must spend more time exploring the beautiful campus.

Christmas by the River Exe

Christmas is hailed as the “most wonderful time of the year”… and to be honest it truly is (once you ignore the fact that after all the merry-making you have exams or a 2,500 word essay to submit)!

Unlike most students who travelled to spend time with their families, I spent mine in Exeter and the rest of my family travelled to join me. To be honest they didn’t know what to expect: my older boys assumed Exeter was a tiny village and were certain we would spend the whole period cuddled by the fireplace, but they were pleasantly surprised.

First, I made sure I stuffed them with food starting with the traditional Christmas turkey complete with stuffing! Then we went to Crealy Great Adventure Park, which was so much fun that we had to go back three days later.

We visited the 7 Wok restaurant (nice food, nice price), the Cathedral, and of course shopped at the absolutely delightful Princesshay! However, for me it was very important that I showed my family two places: the University Grounds and The Quay, two places that sounded dreadfully boring but which they ended up loving!

It was a fun holiday, and I wish their visit had been longer – I had so much more to show them in Exeter and other places around the River Exe. Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Time flies when you’re having fun!

My baby helping me out with an essay!

My baby helping me out with an essay!

I can’t believe I’ve been in Exeter for about 10 weeks already! Time sure does fly! It’s been a wonderful time filled with mostly highs and a few lows.

When I arrived I searched for a bucket in vain (at home we use buckets at lot for having baths, don’t ask me why it’s just what we do) and had to settle for a mopping bucket and take off the top. While I did find it a bit small it gets the job done.

First up I attended one of the Global café meetings and I was surprised to find that scones were not quite what I expected. Don’t get me wrong, they are quite tasty but in my head a scone felt and tasted like a hard, thick biscuit. I did quite enjoy them especially with jam and tea.

Then I met my Global Chum (Exeter does like Global stuff!) a lovely final year student called Jo. She had just come back from a year abroad (it’s a really cool thing most students can do in different countries) and was really busy but made time out to show me round Exeter and even took me to the lovely Quayside which had unbelievably gigantic seagulls.

Then of course I started my classes which have been quite interesting as my class is quite diverse and has people from Malaysia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, South Korea , Pakistan and of course Nigeria.

The only low point I have had was when my toddler took ill. He goes to nursery and must have caught some bug. It was heart-breaking to see him in such discomfort and was impossible to do anything else when he feeling so poorly. One night his temperature was so high that I had to take him to A & E. Thankfully he is doing well and is back to his normal cheeky self.

One of the great things about coming here with children is that I see a different dynamic to life in Exeter, family life. My daughter took part in the 5 nation parade and it was really cool to learn about Rugby and feel the vibe around being a host city for the Rugby World Cup. I’ve also met one or two lovely families who have helped me settle in and who I hope will become good friends.

Also I’ve been enjoying quite a little travel, in September I went to the picturesque city of Plymouth and in October I took the coach up to London and before the month ends I intend to go down to Totnes.

In later posts I will talk about my travels in more details, right now I need to put my toddler to bed and finish up an essay. Ciao!

“Exeter is far!”

Year after year I would defer my admission for my postgraduate degree. I always had a very good reason, it was either I was pregnant, had just got a new job, or just couldn’t afford the fees. So when I got my offer to study at Exeter I was determined it would be the last time I would apply for a postgraduate course. Either I would go through with it, or forget about furthering my studies and focus on other things. After all, I did have a lot to focus on, a great husband, amazing children and a decent job in a top government agency; what more could a girl ask for?

It was a big step for me as although my office had granted me study leave they made it clear they would neither sponsor my study nor pay me while away. Also, though my husband was really supportive he wouldn’t be able to stay with me full time as he had a lot of commitments back home. There was also the nagging question of childcare, just how would we cope with our youngest who was just 14months old?

It didn’t help that most of my friends and family in the UK lived in or around London “but Exeter is far o” (we Nigerians love our ‘o’s) they would exclaim when I told them where I was off to, yes I knew it was a long drive from London but to be honest I was looking forward to being far away from ‘the maddening crowd’. I was looking forward to a nice quiet, small city like Exeter, where I could walk my children to school, hop on the bus and get to class in 15 minutes, and get back just in time to pick them up and watch a little telly.

So, despite all the ‘buts’ I packed my boxes (and my children’s) and started the long journey to Exeter. It’s now been about six weeks since and I got here and I can safely say “I think I’m gonna like it here!”