Sunday, 6 March 2011


The sky is clear, the air is crisp and refreshing, new buds are sprouting, the days are getting longer, and the birds are singing again. Spring has sprung. The cold, dark nights are becoming longer, more refreshing evenings and the sun is beginning to shine down on Strasbourg again.  A new year, a new season, a new start.

I love Spring; after a cold and dark winter Spring is so welcome. The light breeze and sunny days make the world so much more attractive, they make you want to go out, to the make the most of it, to celebrate life.

I can't believe its already March. This week has been half term and it has just gone so fast, time escapes me so much it makes me realise how much we have to make the most of it. This week I have attempted (and succeeded) to get on top of my work...I have written 3 dissertations, a language project, a presentation and a book review, not to mention the reading and lecture notes I have caught up on. But it feels good that I can go back to Uni without a great big backlog of things to do. 2 weeks time sees all my deadlines and an exciting but exceptionally stressful project I organise...Model European Union. I am going to sleep so well when all this is over! The project is great, we organise work experience for almost 200 people in the European Parliament, Strasbourg, but I have taken on more work than I thought I had...But that's me...

This weekend I am realising how fortunate I am in my life. My Grandparents have taken the time to come all the way to Strasbourg to see me. It was totally unexpected, I never thought they would really come, but we are having such an amazing time together. Having lost my other Grandad just a couple of months ago, it seems so strange to be here with a grandparent who is the same age, but still works and can still travel. I am grateful for good health, and hope it stays that way. G & G are funny, they mention hoping they will keep going on for ages, but the same applies at every age, as I know too well. We can never know when our lungs might I don't know, decide to collapse, we have to make the most of every day. They inspire me. I feel so blessed to be their granddaughter. This weekend has been an amazing chance to get to know them better. I have known them well, but not often spent time one on one with them, and this weekend has been amazing. My Grandma is on the executive of her local council and my Grandpa still runs his own Financial Advisory business, they are so interesting and active and such a pleasure to spend time with. I also have enjoy how they challenge me. They won't just ask me a question and accept my answer, they'll ask me why I believe what I do, why I act how I do. Just like the spring air, thinking about the reasons behind your convictions is refreshing and awakening.

They are Torie politicians, and I work for the Labour party. And I love how they challenge me but they encourage me, how they can disagree with my political stance but will push me and help me to get where I want. They are amazing. Even more inspiring is how they have been married for 47 years and how I can tell they are still in love. They have such a friendship, such a deep love, it is inspiring. Not any day soon, but one day I hope for the same kind of relationship. They are a true inspiration.

The refreshing change of season and visit from my Grandparents has challenged me to keep pushing towards some goals I have set myself. I have to say I never expected my year abroad to be like this. I thought Erasmus was about parties and late nights, but I am finding myself on an experience that is beyond anything I could ever have imagined. I live with a family, I feel like they are my own. I feel loved and safe and comfortable, and I have had such an amazing opportunity to get to know French culture. I am working in the European Parliament, even more than I planned. It is stressful and tiring and I have missed lots of school but is an incredible opportunity and helps me see what I want to do when I graduate. Just being abroad, being the foreigner, makes me more sure of who I am, and who I want to be. I have never been easily led, but now more than ever I want every person in my life and every experience to shape me into something better. This year is going to be life changing in ways I had never expected...

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