Still here

Hey all, it's been a while since I last posted (almost a year now).

My Europe trip was fantastic, having visited west and east Germany and then spending a month in the Czech Republic doing a business course and having gained a a network of contacts. Unfortunately I don't have much time to go over it as I have studies to attend to but suffice to say it was a very rewarding experience and I hope to put some photos up soon. When I got back to Australia I was selected for an internship for four months which contributed towards my degree. Sadly, this year won't be as eventful but I have been writing a lot and hope to get something published by early 2012. This is also a very stressful period since I start applying for graduate programs around March next year and will be heavily involved in my management and finance units for the next 6 months.

2015 update: :O I'm still here btw. I mostly use this account to keep up with friends and authors. :)

3 weeks to go

Not long now till I'm finally off to Germany and the Czech Republic. Still trying to sort out an itinerary as my trip will vary considerably while I'm in Prague and largely depend on what my group wants to do (I'd prefer not to go off on my own for my first trip to Europe). If anyone's been to Germany and knows the western part quite well I'd love to hear of any decent places to see.

I'll most likely use Prague as a a base to go off on day trips to nearby towns and weekends for longer trips over the border and further into the east of the country into Moravia. I'll definitely go see Kutná Hora, Český Krumlov, Olomouc, Mělnik, Hradcany Castle, and Karlovy Vary (will definately be a lot of copy and paste with all those special characters :P). I was also fortunate to receive a bursary to aid in my trip which will add nicely to my travel expenses. :)

June 18 - Depart Sydney Airport
June 19 - Arrive Frankfurt Airport, Germany (at 0600 urgh!)
- August 30 Spend almost two weeks with a friend of family who have offered to show me the sights around Bavaria, Frankfurt, Dresden, Rothenburg, Munich, Bonn etc
August 30 - Flight to Prague, Czech Republic
July 1 - August 1 Begin leadership program, trip to Terezin, Karlstejn Castle, Kutna Hora
August 1 - Depart Prague, arrive at Frankfurt, then depart for Sydney
August 3 - Arrive back at Canberra

Doctor Who?

I've never been a fan of this show and don't quite understand its popularity. I attempted to watch the previous series but found the acting to be rather mediocre and the cast failing to give its interesting concept justice. Having watched the first episode of the the latest iteration, the script still seems haphazard and its actors jumping from one dramatic scene to another with little to no transition. I hope the story improves, but at the moment I'm inclined to not bother with it.
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To Germany I go

My Europe trip just got better. I'm now off to Germany for two weeks prior to my trip to Prague, visiting some friends of the family who have offered to show me some of the sights. This couldn't have happened at a better time, as I'm working on a novel set in 18th century northern Europe, so it will be a good opportunity to do some research while I'm there in person. Almost six weeks overseas by myself, I could certainly get used to this arrangement. :)

Now to find out how I can afford all this.

About a third through my assessments now and so far so good, but still need to keep up the momentum of doing my essays and preparing material for my group presentation. I still haven't decided on a topic for my European history paper (the proposal is due this week). I'm interested in British naval/army strategy against Napoleon or Prussia's involvement in France's demise in the later part of that war, but the topic will need to be more specific. I've gotten as much books as I can from the libraries on these subjects so I'll be left with online journals for other sources.

Rolling on

Uni continues on, and with it plenty of deadlines. I have an assessment item due every week for the next six weeks including a mid-semester test. :S Then a two week lapse before I have to hand in my major history papers and a large group presentation on organisational performance.

I've been pursuing a couple of scholarships this week, as I'll take any financial support at this stage to help me with my travels in Prague. There's the possibility that I'll add a few trips to my itinerary, seeing as I have 2-3 weeks before the program starts. All going well, I might be able to spend a few weeks in Germany visiting family friends or France.

I always seem to pick up my writing production during these busy periods (though, the quality stills need work!). Wrote 1k in the last few days between tutorial readings. I think it might be related to all the items and tests due while I'm studying, as I'm much more sensitive to the amount of time I use up every week. I tend to sleep less, exercise more and my mind is definitely up to the challenge of being creative and proactive. I knew there was a reason I dislike overly long holidays.

Europe in July!

Well, it's official. I've been accepted to participate in a leadership program in Europe during July and early August. It will be summer in Prague around that time, and being immersed in the rich cultural history of a land that has been subject to periods of occupation and divided by ethnicity and an ambiguous national identity should make for a fantastic and memorable experience. It's been an opportunity I have been striving hard to get into for a few years, and I've had my fair share of hardships to overcome to get to this point. I feel humbled by this chance to make a difference to my life and gain insights that will inspire and encourage me to become a better person, to develop valuable skills and reach my potential.

Man, I'm so glad I'm doing European history at ANU this semester.
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Saved by tech failure

So a few minutes ago I was supposed to have one of the most important interviews I'll have as an undergrad. I applied for a global leadership program in Prague last December and got the provincial acceptance. Interview was on this morning but it got cancelled at last minute. Literally.

I spent the last three days preparing for it, but can't be helped. At least that's another day to get things sorted out and fix any problems with my responses.

Now for sad news. Our cat, Lily, a white persian, is being put to sleep today as her kidneys have failed her. We got her back in 1998 when one of our tenants was moving and left her behind (seriously how do people live knowing they abandoned their pet?) so my stepdad took her in. She is a fussy eater, a cantankerous grump most of the time, a queen of poses and leaving fluff on black suits and dresses. She also has her moments, such as when she's asleep in her weave basket and makes a loud chirping noise when you wake her. She is also a cat that has no fear of dogs, as one intruding mutt found out in our first house and left as soon as he realised the white fluff of doom stalking him was death incarnate. Lily has outlasted our Rhodesian ridgeback and my cat, Mickey, and even survived two paralysis ticks (though it did leave some nervous damage such as being unable to stop her claws from retracting at times). Eventually she became lethargic and stopped growing back her bottle brush tail fur(had to shave it at vets as that's where the tick hid). I can't believe she's almost fifteen, living the entire time I was at highschool and subsequent uni years. So, the decision was made after the vet determined that she was too sick to recover. I wasn't as close to her as my previous cat, but she was like the matriarch of the house; that silent, yellow-eyed face that appeared at the kitchen bench whenever we came home from shopping to greet us. :'(

RIP Lily.

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Well, I survived the cardiologist appointment. Only had my pacemaker checked for about 15 secs, despite me making a fuss beforehand. The reason being, when they first started it up in the hospital after the procedure last year I began to feel an extra beat in my heart, followed by my blood sugar dropping rapidly and blacking out. And that's just the easy part, as the nausea I get when I wake up is beyond comprehension, the anxiety of it happening again, the sheer terror of being put into that cold, dark state of unconsciousness flooding my thoughts. I haven't had a problem since leaving the hospital back in July, but knowing that I have to go to see my cardiologist really makes me dread the prospect of it happening again.

This is what it means to have an anxiety disorder, to get worked up over the most trivial of things, even if it is a mild one at best. It's one of those conditions I have to deal with daily, and it usually manifests itself at the worst of times, particularly if I know something bad or unsettling is going to happen. It feels like I'm a prisoner in my own body, fighting to control my own chemical imbalances in my brain while trying desperately to maintain a normal life without being gripped by nervousness or anxiety for hours at end. I feel almost paralysed by its effects, my attempts to ignore my reticence crushed by its icy hold on me.

My cardiologist assures me that the extra bump in my heart when they check my pacemaker is caused by my anxiety and heightened heart rate. I don't actually feel the pacing itself but it is the thought that I will feel something that causes me to get worried and stress out. I didn't feel a thing this time round, it was only a small test afterall. However, I am due for a pacing test in August, and if they find that my condition hasn't changed, they'll make it an annual checkup. I need to find something to keep my nerves down before each checkup though, perhaps yoga or meditation techniques to ease my mind of all this.