Hello everyone, I’m back!
I hope you had a great start to the new year. At least, I hope it was better than mine. January was a killer for me. I struggled a lot, I stressed a lot, I read and studied a lot, I wrote a lot, and I cried a little bit. This rollercoaster of a month officially ended on the 28th with my last exam and the submission of my last assignments.
I had already started this post at the end of December, but then uni life caught up with me and I had to abandon everything. I know it sounds silly to be still talking about December and Christmas when we’re already in February, however, that month was pretty fun and exciting. So I didn’t want to skip the journal entry and instead, I merged it with the January entry.
Therefore, expect quite a long post!
- Christmas shopping with Matt
- Swedish-style Christmas Eve lunch with Matt
- Christmas Day lunch with my parents
- Winter break and the end of the semester
- Matt surprising me during one of my study marathons by drawing me (and his overall support throughout the month)
- Tennis, particularly the Australian Open, serving as a distraction and a consolation
- The Fedal final at the Aussie Open and Roger Federer actually winning it, his 18th Grand Slam <3
- Celebrating the end of the exams with my classmates
- Matt going to Sweden on his own for a week
- Catching a cold a week before Christmas (lasting until mid-January)
- That feeling of time slipping away, leaving me behind with a lot of work and deadlines
- The huge stress of having to write up assignments and study for my exams at the same time
- Admitting my failure at time management
- Not being satisfied with the quality of my work
Where I’ve been
- Italian film festival: In December, there was a film festival, Italy on Screen, held over three days in Valletta. I attended the first and the third night (on the second one there was Matt’s flight to Sweden). On the first night, I saw the comedy Perfetti sconosciuti (Perfect Strangers) and the director and main actor were present too. On the third, after a series of short documentaries, I saw Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea), nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the coming Academy Awards. I loved them both and I hope to write their reviews soon.
- A mini julbord on Christmas Eve: Matt wanted us to celebrate the Eve like they do in Sweden, so he ordered some food from the Swedish grocery store in Malta. Unfortunately, because of the bad timing with our order and because of some issues with their shipment, we didn’t get some important food such as the ham or the sausages. However, we obtained enough food for a big meal and we had fun cooking together (while listening to Christmas music) and eating all day long. Oh, I also got to taste a lussekatt (saffron bun) that was left from St. Lucia’s Day, but next time I’d like to taste a freshly baked one!
- Christmas TV and movies: To keep with the Swedish tradition, we watched the Kalle Anka special at 3 PM on the Eve. We also watched the Mr Bean Christmas episode – always a classic! Then, on the following days, we saw a bunch of classic Christmas movies that we like: Tomten är far till alla barnen, Gremlins, Gremlins 2, Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Jingle All the Way and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (we watched this one for the first time, wasn’t too impressed).
- Family time: Christmas Day was, as always, reserved for lunch at my parents’ house. On New Year’s Eve we stayed at home as usual (we’re not into partying) and on New Year’s Day, we visited some relatives.
- Gifts: Matt pampered me way too much with Christmas gifts. I got Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove (I had read the e-book, now I’m happy to own the hardback) and Britt-Marie Was Here (also My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, but it arrived a month late!). I also got a Candy Crush Saga-themed guide book and colouring book – I have a weakness for that game, I admit it. Finally, I got a cute phone cover and a hilarious t-shirt. You can see everything in the below photo.
- Not too bad, not great: That’s how I feel about my four written exams and four assignments. My focus was almost entirely on the assignments, so that left me with little time to properly back up my revision for the exams. I dread seeing my results next month because I’m afraid my average will be going down, but I’m confident of passing anyway.
What I’ve been reading
- Not much… only texts related to my assignments and exams. Luigi Capuana’s Il marchese di Roccaverdina is the one I enjoyed the most and I didn’t have any problems with reading it fast, but having to write a paper about it was awfully difficult. I have to admit that I didn’t read all the other texts from cover to cover, so I kinda feel like cheating when I list them as ready on Goodreads!
What I’ve been watching
- Animated films: I found the time to continue my quest of watching every (or almost) animated movie from the last couple of decades. I watched Storks, The Angry Birds Movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, and the nostalgic Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.
- Nostalgic 80’s and 90’s: On Matt’s suggestion (and coaxing), I watched some important old comedy/action/adventure movies, i.e. The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Leon: The Professional, The Mask, Jurassic Park, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (this one is awesome!), The Shawshank Redemption, Liar Liar, and The Truman Show (loved it too).
- Italian films: Apart from the film festival, I tried to catch up with some other films I needed to study. The best one was Divorce Italian Style, the perfect example of Italian dramedy.
- Nostalgic TV: Once again, Matt suggested an old TV comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond. I used to see it on TV when I was young but never bothered following it. We finished 9 seasons in a few weeks and now I miss it so much haha. We also started another series, ‘Til Death, with an actor from Raymond but it’s not as funny.
2016 vs 2017
- I had written 20 goals I planned to pursue in 2016. Well… out of those 20, I feel like I’ve accomplished 6-7 to the full, and a couple of others just partially. It’s not that impressive and it makes me think just how bad I am at these things. That’s why I avoided doing it this time. I’d rather have informal lists (I love lists!) of what I want to do in my notebook.
However, 2016 was a great year. After all, I successfully finished my freshman year in uni with a very good average grade and, although I changed my plan on my major mid-way, I’m satisfied with my final choice and I look forward to achieving more from this Bachelor degree. Besides that, I even managed to do some extra learning, such as the Latin and Greek summer courses!
- December: I posted what I had in mind, that is, some easy posts I was tagged for and the Christmas masterpost. I couldn’t afford time for anything else, but I wasn’t planning to because I knew my limits. Of course, in January I was totally away from the blog, as expected.
- 2016: It was a subdued end to a fantastic blogging year. It was the year my blog turned one and the year it migrated to WordPress with a better look. In the second half of the year, I started to follow other bloggers and I upped a bit my promotion on some social media platforms and I’ve won a few followers. I still insist on having no specific statistics-based goals, but according to my book, I can definitely consider it a positive year.
- 2017: I thought that planning was going to be a priority this year, but in December I realised one thing: my uni work will only increase from now on and I don’t feel like fighting to keep the right balance between studies and blogging (and personal life). I don’t want to force myself to blog when I’m busy because I know how it makes me feel bad about the whole blogging idea.
Therefore, instead of focussing on planning everything to the smallest detail, I’m going to stick to what I always do: jotting down my ideas and drafts in my online notebook, taking note of particular periods that would require special posts to be planned ahead, and keeping the rest as free and spontaneous as possible. The most I will do is the usual monthly planner, but again, I like to keep it flexible. I’d like to feel free to write about whatever I like and not what I think would bring me more visits, so I’d like to do lots of reviews and long-reads this year, but of course, I’ll do my best to keep the range of topics as diversified as usual.