Sandy speaks on matters of life and mirth.
Monkeys are seldom present.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fungus

You know, sometimes old clich├ęs are actually true.

They say that sometimes you have to leave something behind to realise how much you love it.

(They also say that bumblebees shouldn't be able to fly, but hey 'they' can't get everything right.)

So I was volunteering at a Study Abroad Fair the other day (hey, it's not like my courses give me any work). I was there to represent Edinburgh, and convince people to take a semester or a year abroad there. Well, I did that for a while, and it was fun, but there were two of us, and I noticed Newcastle didn't have anybody. So I switched over to Newcastle, and started plugging that.

And wow. I have never realised quite how much I love Newcastle, and the North-East in general. As I spoke, I realised I wasn't exaggerating a single word. Now that doesn't mean that I regret leaving - not in the slightest. Edinburgh is awesome, and Illinois is fantastic. It just makes me a little bit sad that I'm unlikely to spend more than three weeks at a time there ever again.

My life, or at least the next few years of it, is starting to come together in front of my eyes, which is nice - although also incredibly petrifying. I may be returning to America a little sooner than I thought, although to a totally different place than I expected. But I'll tell you more when I know details.

Well, that was mysterious.

In other news, the room I share with Chris has become known as 'The Embassy'. Who knows why. Still, we made a Facebook group, so if you want to see pictures of life in Illinois, then that's the place.

My addiction to American Football is growing stronger. (Yes, I called it 'American' Football - deal with it.) On Sunday night, I really wanted to watch the Colts vs Giants game, but I also really wanted to go to church.


So, most normal people would've just shrugged their shoulders and resolved to watch the highlights on YouTube. (That's the football, not the church service.) Not me. No,I got my friend to TiVo it, and then went over to her's immediately afterwards to watch it. (While making sure she screened my calls so that no-one could ruin the score for me.) Thanks Kirsten, you're a legend.

I also went to see the University American Football (We won, but not against a great team.) and the real Football. (Again, we won, this time 4-0). It was refreshing seeing 'soccer' (urrggghhh...) again. I think me and my other British friend enjoyed ourselves a little more than the rest of the crowd. We were the only one's standing up, and I think we confused the other fans by nicknaming the girls based on famous European football players. (Especially when I decided to yell "Pass it to Nedved!" across the field.)

I feel like I'm some kind of talisman. Notice how Illinois have a perfect record at games I attend? Now contrast that with the American Football game at Rutgers, which we lost 33-0.

I wonder if watching it on TV counts?

Monday, September 04, 2006

William Gallas May Soon be Sleeping with the Fishes

Gallas 'issued own-goal threat'

For those of you who aren't aware - The English Premier League champions Chelsea just sold William Gallas to Arsenal, after long and arduous negotiations.

"Chelsea say they sold William Gallas because he threatened to score an own goal if he was selected for their first game of the season."

Wow - that's hardcore. I love how bitchy this statement gets. Chelsea went on to say:
"He also failed to recognise the role Jose Mourinho and Chelsea played in helping him become a double Premiership champion for a player whose only league title prior to that had been in the French Second Division."

and then of course there's the frankly disturbing:

The manager told him that, even if he did not agree a new contract but returned to the "family" and abided by the rules, he would still select the best players available and would not punish him playing wise.

The 'family'? Sounds a little ominous.

I guess Arsenal just made him an offer he couldn't refuse...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bow for Brown

I went to a volleyball game the other day.

It was utterly insane.

In Britain, when two university sports teams face off against each other, the usual turnout is around twelve. (and that's only at the home games, and if the striker's little brother doesn't have a dentst appointment.) At the volleyball game we attended on Friday, there must have been around 1000 people - 986 of whom were Illinois supporters.

The atmosphere was incredible - we were right in the middle of a big group of Illini (that's pronounced [ih-line-i] - it tooks us a while to work that one out) and the chants were awesome. Each player on the Illinois team had a different chant, and the ones to mock the offense were frankly hilarious. From "You can't do that!" when the opposing team fouled to "Awkward Silence!" when they took too long to serve.

Some of the other chants were a little bit harsh ("She's got crabs!" when the opposition server came up being a case in point.) but everything was in really good spirit. Oh, and did I mention that this was women's volleyball? In Britain, we like to pretend women's sports don't exist, but at Illinois, and in the Big Ten (the league Illinois is part of, which is actually a pretty original name, given that there are eleven teams in it) women's sports are as well-attended as the men's. Crazy, eh? Next they'll be running for President.

A friend of mine from camp was visiting, and we instantly found a favourite (yes, I spelt that word with a 'u', you lazy Ameriquins) player - number 2, Vicki Brown. She managed to lead her team in scoring, desite only being on the court for about two minutes at a time. We decided to start bowing to her every time she scored a 'kill', and by the end of the second game we attended, the entire hall was following suit.

That's my contribution to Illinois athletics, and I doubt there'll be another one.