2016 Year in Review (July-December)

Hello lovely readers! Just like that, we’re in the penultimate day of 2016. It’s been a mixed year for the world to say the least. What with Brexit and Trump being elected as President, as well as an inordinate amount of celebrity deaths, it seems as though 2016 will forever be remembered as a year of doom and gloom. However, I want to keep celebrating how wonderful 2016 was for me. Here’s the second half of my Year in Review and the fun that I have had. Make sure you check out my 2017 is starting post on New Year’s Day, where I’ll be talking about my aims for the year ahead and what I want to achieve. But for now, here’s the year we’ve had!

At the start of July, I moved out of my student house in second year. I absolutely LOVED living with my delightful housemates throughout my second academic year. A part of me misses the super-sensitive fire-alarm we had, which would go off even if you boiled a kettle. I couldn’t imagine living in a student house quite like it, it was so wonderful to finally have a proper place to call my own. (Also, I learned that this dress is a size 8 and I fit into it so that makes me happy, I guess).

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I also went to the most incredible 21st birthday party that I’ll ever have the pleasure of going to. I enjoyed EVERY single part about this evening, from getting a brand new dress for the occasion to riding a train feeling SLIGHTLY worse for wear the morning after (still makes me feel queasy to this day), I wouldn’t have wanted to enjoy this party in any other way. I think this party alone satisfied my champagne quota for the year.

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I also went to see Strictly Come Dancing at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms! It was an incredible evening in which I finally got to see some of my favourite professional dancers live.  The atmosphere was glorious, and as I saw the huge glitter ball in the middle of the room, I already knew I was in for one of the best nights of the year. Hearing Gymnopedie no.1 played by an orchestra was dreamy and gaining a follower in Karen Clifton was awesome. I hope that I can go to another prom next year!

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The Edinburgh Fringe was just MARVELLOUS. I always love the Edinburgh Fringe, as I can explore a new city and go and see shows/comedians/performers that I’ve wanted to see during the year that didn’t tour near me. Some of my best performances that I went to see included Ellie Taylor (in which I got to meet her after the show!), seeing Set List and nearly weeing myself at Felicity Ward, Lou Sanders, Russell Howard and of course, Katherine Ryan. Next year, I plan to go to the Edinburgh Fringe again for a few days!

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I’m so proud of the Improv Musical. Put simply, it was an absolute pleasure to live with these delightful, wonderful guys and girls for a week in the centre of Edinburgh where we all walked past Russell Howard (and I properly swooned in front of him, classic behaviour by yours truly). I loved seeing all the wacky suggestions brought to life and seeing sell-out audiences in our venue. To think that we’re just a student troupe and that we get this amount of support at a festival in which thousands of shows perform is mind-boggling. I love these guys.

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Just like that, I was gone. August 20, 2016 will always be a day to remember in my History book, as I flew the nest to Flagstaff, Arizona and started my year abroad at Northern Arizona University. I’m SO blessed to have been given this opportunity and I cannot WAIT for next semester and finish what I’ve started with gusto. (Credits to Phoebe for the photo…)

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School pride at NAU is high, and I loved taking part in the traditional NAU photograph that they do every year to welcome in the Freshman. I’m not reaaaally a Freshman, but I wanted a free tee and a chance to be a part of NAU iconography. Plus, the photo is so bloody cool, Warwick would never do a thing like this.

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Being at the Grand Canyon was brilliant. It was something that I’ve always wanted to see, so to get that opportunity so quickly during my time in America was amazing. However, I did get so burned that day that I had heatstroke and had to lie underneath the fan. Pros and cons, I guess…

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I went through my Pledge Semester of Omega Phi Alpha and found the most beautiful, thoughtful, caring, kind-spirited American women that I could have ever dreamed of meeting. I will never forget first semester. All the quizzes, making sure we fulfilled all of our requirements… I loved it all!

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I went to Albuquerque, New Mexico with Sarah! It was an awesome experience to be in a new state, and I felt as if I was in Breaking Bad. I loved going to the balloon festival, even if we didn’t see any balloons in the air!

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WHAT A DAY THIS WAS! I went to a beautiful pumpkin patch in Prescott, Arizona with my fellow sisters and sisters from ASU, Phoenix. Then, I finally got to find out who my big was, and let me tell you this, Olivia is the best big. She makes me smile all the time and she’s a gift that 2016 has provided me that I would have never known I was going to receive prior to flying out to the US but I know that I’ve found a friend for life in her. cover-photophoto-1blog-11

I went to see Dance Moms in Phoenix and got that reunion photo with Jill Vertes that I’d wanted for a couple of years! The episode that I went to see should be being aired in a few weeks, so I’ll definitely be tuning into that episode to see my face forever immortalised on the Lifetime channel.

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Trump became President. I have no words to say for that, apart from ‘let’s see what happens on Inauguration Day’ and that it’s not the result I wanted but I, Little Old Me, can’t do anything to sort it out.

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I went to Los Angeles for 5 days to celebrate the Thanksgiving season and was reunited with Flagstaff in the snow when I was wearing a dress and sandals, fearing that we’d not get back to Flagstaff because we didn’t have fuel. THANK GOD for that random petrol station 40 miles away. Check out my 5 days here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.

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To mark the end of my semester at NAU, I became an official sister of Omega Phi Alpha. I’m so happy with the choice that I made to go Greek and I wouldn’t want to do my time abroad in the States in any other way. Also, the photo of me hugging my fellow pledge sisters is the cutest, most candid photo possible.

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I FLEW BACK HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!!!! What a flight that was, and what a shocker for my sister to see my phone facetiming her the front door. Phoebe cried for a good few hours after and I was beyond ecstatic to be back at home with the people whom I love dearest. A few days later, I went to Winter Wonderland with my Dad and sister which was great fun, but not without getting a cheeky photo as though I was in Arizona, meeting Santa Claus to say thankyou for allowing me to be home. Best Christmas gift ever.

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In short, 2016 was a dream. I’ll be sad to see this year go, but I’m always looking to the future and I can’t wait to make 2017 just as wonderful a year. I have to end the year with this song, my song of America forevermore.

I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and celebrate just as you wish. Remember to stay safe and if you need to take a taxi/Uber, take a photo of the registration plate so if something does go wrong with your journey, you’ve got immediate recognition. Drink responsibly and stay safe, but have lots and lots of fun to bring 2017 in in style.

Enjoy, and have a Happy New Year,

Sophie x

 

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