Saturday, April 13, 2013

Wow--it's been a month since I last posted here; sorry about that. I still can't believe I'm actually typing this, but on Wednesday I turned in my research proposal for my dissertation…and I actually felt pretty good about it! There were no tears and no panic in the days leading up to the deadline. I finished it on the previous Wednesday and then had a week to cut out 600 words and do some final edits. Of course, now that I've turned it in I'm panicking a bit. In addition to needing to get it ethically approved and being assigned a research advisor so I can start gathering participants and collecting data, the proposal is an essay on its own, which means it will be marked. I felt like it was the most coherent essay I've written since I've been here, but I'm still really nervous about it; however, it's out of my hands now and I know I put a heck of a lot of work into it, so I should be fine. It's just getting myself to remember that which is a challenge. My other essay for second term is due this coming Wednesday, and I'm planning to finish writing it tomorrow to give me Monday & Tuesday to do the word-count cuts I know I'll need.

Yesterday was my second day as a Red Cross volunteer with a client. I have been paired up with a woman in town and I will be taking her out every Friday for the next 6-8 weeks to socialize in town or do her shopping, basically whatever she wants to do. She's really sweet and we get along quite well. However, I will say this--you never notice how uneven the ground is when you're walking on it, but you definitely notice when you're pushing a wheelchair!

Running has also been going really well. When I first started I could barely run for a minute and before the 5k the most I'd run non-stop was about 12 minutes, which is why I was so surprised that I completed it. Now I'm consistently able to run 20 minutes straight, which means I'm building up my stamina and getting better at pacing myself. I've also noticed that if I miss a run, which I have done lately because I've been busy and my schedule has been all over the place, I don't feel like I've "regressed" the next time I run--I feel like I'm maintaining whatever level of fitness I'm at now. I'm not planning to do another 5k any time soon, but I might do something during the summer and I'd love to be able to do a 10k by next fall.

Also, I sent off the forms for a learner's driving license a few weeks ago, and it arrived in the mail yesterday! Carmarthen is really well-located in the county for commuting to lots of other towns, so I think if I do hope to get a job here I'll definitely need to be able to drive to open up my options. I am planning to take classes this summer hopefully. As you may know, I hated learning to drive. Nearly every time I went out with my parents I came back in tears, and I actually had to take Driver's Ed through my school twice because I didn't pass my test the first time. I like driving now much more than I used to, but I'm extremely nervous about having to learn to drive again. As Josh pointed out, it should be much easier since I have driven before and know how to handle a vehicle, but I'm going to have to learn to drive stick-shift (or manual, as they call it over here) because those cars are the most common over here. And obviously there's the whole issue of reversing all the directions & learning new road rules. Fortunately Josh got me a highway code book for Christmas (a not-so-subtle hint), so I already have that! There's not much else exciting going on for me, but we turned off our heating last night I am loving the arrival of spring weather!

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