Thursday, May 7, 2009


"You're certain to graduate now," one of my lecturers said to me about a week ago as we walked down the stairs from Humanities room 5.18, site of my last ever lecture.

"Ha," I laughed, before questioning the wisdom of laughing in the face of a lecturer. "You would be amazed at my ability to screw things up."

First off I had to complete some six essays before noon 5 May, the last of those -- a not as-strong-as-it-could-be argument against the concept of the Gaeltacht (a) -- being printed out just 12 hours before the deadline. I suppose it could have been worse. When I was on campus to turn in said essays (a process which delightfully involves shoving papers through a wee mail slot and into a wooden box, a system which has always struck me as antiquated and built to be exploited by American deviousness [b]), I ran into a girl who half stared at me as if not 100-percent sure whether I was actually there.

"I just finished that Cymdeithaseg paper 20 minutes ago," she said. "I haven't slept."

With my papers safely turned in I was able to relax for an evening and join in the celebration of Llŷr's birthday (by the way, the girl on the left giving the thumbs up is Elain, who likes it when I mention her in blog posts). But before I can properly enjoy my summer I have just one more academic hurdle -- an exam next Thursday. Appropriately, it is an exam for my Things You Don't Understand Nor Give A Toss About module. Of course I couldn't finish on something easy.

So there is struggle ahead. I am spending these interim days desperately trying not to stab myself in the eyes while struggling to retain what I can about Welsh-language literature of the middle ages. Many years ago, a friend of mine famously enraged a girl when he responded, "You lost. Get over it," in response to her talking about her downtrodden nationality. An evil part of my brain keeps bringing that moment forward as I try to decipher poetry about forgotten and defeated kings of Wales. Yes, I know, it's a part of this nation's rich cultural and historical tapestry. It is important because it shows a literary tradition that extends back to before those damned English types showed up and ruined everything. And anything that proves you are better than the English in any way, at any period of time, has inherent value. Everyone knows that and accepts it as fact. But sweet dancing baby Jesus in a bouncy castle, it's so very not interesting to me.

It possibly could be, in another time, in another place, if all the information were being delivered by Redd Foxx. But now, with that two hours of an exam as the only hurdle to my earning a bachelor's -- and by extension a secured place on my master's degree programme and by extension another student visa allowing me to stay in Britain -- I am struggling to focus. Especially since most of my brain is being used in thinking about my pending trip to the United States.

From May 20 to 9 July I will be bumbling counter-clockwise across the country of my birth. So endless thoughts of travel and planning and organisation and how to pay for it are what fill my head. On top of this, I am supposed to be sorting out funding for next year. And writing a magazine article. I should probably get to those things...

(a) My basic argument: It's a lovely idea, but so is the idea of living in that cool Mexican restaurant at Epcot. Neither, however, is all that good an idea in practice.

(b) For example: Don't have your paper done? Toss some burning item into the box and all the papers go into flames -- including, theoretically, your own. And suddenly you've bought yourself at least an extra day.


Anonymous said...

Pray tell us....where exactly are you going, and who with ?

Annie said...

Words can't describe how jealous I am of your trip. I didn't realise you were going so soon. Send me a postcard from Tennessee. And Montana. Please!

Lucky said...

And when are you going to be in Arizona?