Right now I should be studying for finals, packing and preparing myself for a week in Italy, but Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland is preventing that. I'm supposed to leave Harlaxton in the early hours of Thursday morning to leave for Italy, but with the volcanic ash cloud basically hanging directly over England, flights have been suspended and no one knows when planes will begin flying again. If we can't go to Italy, we're going to try and plan another trip through trains and hopefully I'll be able to get home as planned on May 1st.
Thursday night we had our Valedictory Dinner, which involved a ceremony of "graduation" where we got a certificate and pin for surviving the semester. We then enjoyed some wine punch in the Great Hall, followed by another scrumptious dinner in the Long Gallery. It was good to spend more time with friends. There was a photo competition that I received Honorable Mention in for my picture of the streets of London. That was really exciting for me! Afterward we enjoyed our very last night in the Bistro which was an absolute blast, and Dr. Bujak even bought Jarrod, Nick and I a round of drinks for being on the winning Quidditch and soccer teams for him. It was a great last night in the basement.
Friday Clay, Chelsea, Sarah and I explored the grounds surrounded by green grass and trees. It was fun to check everything out with the spring sun shining down on us. The beauty of Harlaxton hasn't diminished since I've been here. It's still breathtaking in every way. Not to mention Harlaxton has the squishiest grass known to man. I don't know what it's made out of but I could sleep on it. That evening at 5 o'clock, David "collected" Clay and me from the manor and took us to the grocery store where we purchased everything needed to make David, Ruth and Rosalind a proper American meal. We cooked ranch burgers, scalloped potatoes and DIRT CUPS. They loved it. We got to meet their horses, Hippo and Zack, and I even made friends with their apparently unfriendly cat, Sophie. We gave them a picture of our whole family in Nottingham as a going away gift. It was a wonderful last night with them in their home. I couldn't be more thankful for David, Ruth and their family; I definitely plan on seeing them in the future.
Saturday morning I overslept (how unusual) and got ready in 25 minutes and barely made the shuttle into Grantham with Sarah and Rachel. We took a train to Nottingham (only about a 45 minute ride) and did some major shopping in H&M and Primark. I also had to purchase another suitcase because I might have bought a whole bunch of stuff this semester. We also had a major feast at McDonald's, including a chicken sandwich, a cheeseburger, fries, a Coke, and a McFlurry for me. Once we had our hearts set on McDonald's, we just decided to go for it, and it was so delicious. It was a really great day--I hadn't been shopping in quite a while! I bought a lot of things for Italy, so hopefully I'll get to go somewhere warm if not there.
That night Sarah and I got ready together in my room and we went to the Goose for what we think was our last night our in Grantham. Practically the entire school was there, no exaggeration. It was fun to spend time with everyone. We all headed to Vibe afterwards (the somewhat creepy dance place) but they have remodeled and changed a few things around so it was less gross. It was such a blast to dance and act like idiots with everyone one last time (maybe). When we were waiting for our cab home, we even got to see someone get knocked out in the middle of the street! It was so freaky and that guy was out cooold. Hopefully he made a full recovery. Once back at the manor I laid out in the front circle and saw--wait for it--a shooting star. How freaking cool is that?! It was so neat.
We're still waiting on updates on the Italy trip and our flight home...keep your fingers crossed!