2018 wrap up

Hey guys; and Merry Christmas! Hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating Christmas with your family and friends.

It’s that time of the year again, the last couple of days of December. And that means it’s time to reflect on what has been going on throughout the year, and this post is exactly just that .So let’s begin…

On a wider scale, 2018 has been…a pretty interesting year, dominated by the US-China trade war, the actions of the Trump administration and Brexit. Oh, and there’s also the World Cup, which saw teams who are favored to win getting knocked out quite early on, most famously Germany, who went out at the group stage. All in all, 2018 was a year where unexpected things happened. There could possibly be more big events, but what happened in my life was so much that I couldn’t really focus much on the wider world.

Yep, in terms of my life 2018 has been a very interesting and awesome year. The year started off pretty nasty and brutal, where setbacks followed setbacks, and there were very few events. However as the second quarter got underway, things began to change. The first sign that 2018 would not be like any other year stemmed from an email received in early May. Yep, just a single email. Entered June, and the number of wonderful events more or less skyrocketed. Still no trips, but that was about to change when, in early July, I went on two trips (the second one was even a residential trip), literally one after another.

Excitement continued to build throughout the summer, in great anticipation for what lays ahead.

The last four months of 2018…was a time full of events. Yeah, tons and tons of events. Five field trips (all of them were day trips), and all of them weren’t that far apart from each other as well. This was also the time when 2018 literally flipped around, more or less completely, from pretty awful to amazing. All in all, 2018 started one way, and ended in a completely different way. It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it, the fact that you can go from pretty awful at the start of the year to amazing at the end of the year.

And…now, time for the best and worst events of the year…

Best event of 2018: Hua Hin residential trip (July 7th-8th)

Although this event is part of a series comprising nine other events, I felt that the Hua Hin trip deserves to be mentioned on its own. The trip was very short, lasting only two days, but it was still pretty fun. This trip also saw the highest number of participants of any residential trips, possibly surpassing any STA residential trips since it’s literally two classes, each about 40 students, going on the trip. Think about it, two double-deck busses are required for the trip. Since the trip lasted for just two days, there weren’t really enough time for lots of activities. As for the activities themselves…they were not too bad, though some were pretty theory-intensive and there were class lectures on the second day.

Second best event of 2018: Field trips during my exchange program (September-November)

Five field trips in a span of three months, can you believe it? Although they were all day trips, they were still fun and full of interesting knowledge. These trips are what made the exchange program so great. All of these aren’t free, of course. The cheapest was I think the Lewes trip at £6, and the most expensive was I think the Stonehenge and Bath trip at £48 or £50. And, for at least three of the trips, the weather was actually really nice, with clear blue sky and sunshine.

All of the trips except the Stonehenge and Bath trip includes a guide who explains the sights, only the London and Sussex countryside trips include a guide explaining the landmarks on the bus. The five trips are more or less a walking tour, since they involved a good amount of walking around once everyone got off the bus.

Third best event of 2018: Post midterm exams events (June-July) (excluding the Hua Hin residential trip)

Yep, this series of events, nine in total (excluding the Hua Hin trip as it’s already the best event of the year), is the third best event of the year. There were simply so many events, a number of them were quite big, such as the Siam Museum field trip and the two musicals. Spending time with my best friend was also great. And of course, there were food fairs and also two dinners with some MUIC students.

The Siam Museum trip was kind of a special event because, it’s the first club trip that I had been able to actually participate since the Pattaya trip in March 2016. Yeah, I have to wait that long to go on another club trip, all of this is thanks to the pretty unfair trip registration methods employed by clubs where students with disabilities are placed at a huge disadvantage over other students. The Siam Museum trip only lasted half a day, but it’s still better than nothing, I guess.

Fourth best event of 2018: Post midterm exams events (March)

Yep, another entry featuring events from right after the midterm exams, this time all the way back in March. To be fair, there weren’t that many events compared to the one in June and July, and the events aren’t very big as well. The biggest event was probably the Disney musical, which was also the very first musical that I get to watch. I only know of this event’s existence because one of my friends who was an exchange student at MUIC at that time told me about it. The musical itself was pretty entertaining, and seems to be well-organized.

Fifth best event of 2018: Pre-midterm exams events (May-early June)

Wow, five best events of the year. When was the last time the list of best events includes this much? I wonder…

Anyways, this series of events aren’t all that interesting. Just a series of dinners/meal and as visit to the new STA high school campus, and that’s it. The biggest and the only notable event was probably the STA high school campus visit with one of my friends. The campus remained essentially unchanged since when I last saw it in November of last year. Once again I got a chance to meet with some of my former teachers.

Now, let’s move on to the worst events of the year, and…I can tell you, there are multiple events.

Second worst event of 2018: Freshers week (September 15th-21st)

Yep, a series of events that was suppose to be a great event for new Sussex student had the misfortune of being placed into the list of the worst events of the year. Though the freshers week ran from September 15th to September 21st, I only participated in events taking place on September 16th, 18th, 20th and 21st. The events I participated are: The welcome evening for exchange students (September 16th), the beach BBQ (September 20th), the big buddy hello (September 21st), the fireworks display (also September 21st), and the One World Sussex event (September 18th). So, what made this series of events so bad. Well, it’s down to either the size of the event, the organization of the event, the lack of proper food/beverages, or the combination of all of them. Though the exchange student welcome evening and One World Sussex weren’t terribly bad, the beach BBQ was awful, and I really mean it. No food until like 7PM, no drinks at all, and no proper tables to sit, plus the brutal weather made this event pretty bad. And when the food finally comes, there was nothing more than hamburgers, and there were only a limited number of them. Big buddy hello and the fireworks display are similar, but at least both are held at places where drinks are not too far away. But still, for those two events, the food aren’t all that great. The actual fireworks display iwan’t very big either.

Worst event of 2018: Fire alarms and the UK weather (September-December)

Yep, two events jointly held the worst event ranking this year. And…these two events are really bad. Let’s start with the fire alarms…

Every two or three weeks, the fire alarm in my dorm would go off, not because of a fire drill or an actual fire, but because some students who doesn’t know what they’re doing burned food in the kitchen. And this happened so often to the point that I always feel petrified whenever I spend time in my dorm room, worrying that another fire alarm would go off. But at least they all happen either in the middle of the day or early in the evening, right? Well almost. On one occasion (I think it’s December 1st) this bad boy went off at like 6:30AM in the morning, and just a few days later (I think it was December 3rd or 4th) this bad boy went off at like 11PM at night But! for both cases I was about to wake up or go to bed so I don’t feel too grumpy, had this bad boy went off at like 2AM or 3AM I would’ve been extremely grumpy and pissed, perhaps to the point where I would even consider giving the person who set the fire alarm off a good shout. And no, it would not be a friendly shout, but the meanest, most offensive shout possible. In other words, I would’ve revealed the absolute darkest side of me. But fortunately I did not have to go that far.

Now, on to the weather…

The UK weather was cold, I mean very cold. At first in September the weather was pleasant and nice, but eventually the temperatures dropped and it quickly turned brutally cold. There was one day (I think it was November 20th) where temperatures remained below 5°C for the whole day. That’s right, a whole day of near freezing temperatures. For once I thought it would snow because the temperature was so low, but it didn’t, although some of my friends did report that it did snow in town. And since the internal public transport of Sussex University was so bad, I have to walk to get to where I want to go, which means contending with the brutal weather. And since Swanborough does not have a laundry service this means I have to brave the cold twice a week just to get my laundry washed!

Oh, in addition to the extreme cold, it also did rained from time to time, but luckily it’s not a heavy, thundery rain. But it’s still pretty annoying when it rains, and on a few occasions, the road right outside of my dorm became flooded! Yeah, flooding on roads can occur outside of Thailand as well.

So…yeah, that is pretty much it for the end-of-year summary. Since 2018 was so great, hope 2019 will be just as good.

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