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Wow. I cannot believe my first term in England is almost over and I leave for Christmas break so soon! It honestly feels like I just flew in from Boston yesterday! First term at Loughborough University has been such an amazing ride, I’m not really sure I want it to end yet. I’m still in a of bit shock I ended up where I am. I have an undergraduate degree in Sports Medicine and wanted to continue to study in that area so I accepted an offer to Loughborough University. If you’re wondering how to pronounce that don’t ask my roomie, Annie, another LTP student (it’s “Luff-brah” by the way!).

Playing it cool after a major save and clear against Durham.
Playing it cool after a major save and clear against Durham.

For those of you who don’t know, Loughborough is known worldwide for sport. This is what really attracted me to the school. The opportunity to study and learn from some of the best researchers in the world AND play lacrosse at a competitive level again?! Pinch me. Annie and I both play for the women’s first team, she plays attack and I’m the lone goalie. I’ve been on a team where I’m the only one brave enough to play goal so this is nothing new, I’m just not used to playing in December!

I’ve been able to see a few other universities while traveling with the team but I haven’t been able to do as much I would like. Lax 5 days a week can be rewarding but tiring and time consuming. However, I have been able to take a few fun trips within England. Last month I was able to make some time to go see the Nottingham Panthers (a professional ice hockey team) play. They definitely weren’t my beloved Boston Bruins but they were pretty good and crushed their opponents. My friend and I accidently bought tickets for the home team’s fan section and sat through non-stop chanting, which was certainly something new to us. I can’t even remember the number of chants they had. There was something about a moose and a tree, hadn’t heard that one before!

Nottingham Panthers Hockey Game
Nottingham Panthers Hockey Game

Annie and I also managed to make a trip up to the Manchester Christmas Markets. I was pretty excited to get to see the city and finally get some Christmas shopping done. We left on a Saturday morning and got to the city VERY early. After a stop for breakfast at one of the many Starbucks we met up with another American girl I had befriended at Loughborough and set off for the markets.

The whole city smelled like German sausage and coffee, two of the best aromas in my opinion! We roamed through the crowded streets stopping along the way at the wooden houses that housed handmade gifts and tons of delicious food. Before lunch, we made a trip to the John Rylands Library, which was incredible. The library is an architecturally beautiful building that opened in 1900. It is actually part of The University of Manchester so U of M students are pretty lucky to have such a cool place as a resource. The 3 of us wandered around for a while looking at the exhibits for a while before heading back to the street to find some decent burgers for lunch.

Annie Shippen and I With John Ryland
Annie Shippen and I With John Ryland

Later that afternoon, we decided to head over to the National Football Museum. I was basically in heaven being the Manchester City supporter that I am! I probably looked like a crazy person running from exhibit to exhibit! Sport history is one of my favorite topics so I definitely took the opportunity to soak it all in. I even got 3 out of 4 questions right on an English football quiz, what a proud moment for me. I could’ve spent the whole day there; I think Annie had to pull me out the doors so we could catch our train.

I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for me. The first few trips I’ve taken have been amazing experiences but I’m itching to cross a few more places off my bucket list. It has been a great first term but I’m excited to go home for a little “break”. Just to clarify, when I say “break” I mean in my time away from Loughborough I will be rotating between family time, stuffing my face with Jif peanut butter and Dunkin Donuts coffee, lifting and running in the gym, and hitting the wall. Our first match when we get back is against our rivals, Durham, and I need to keep my skills sharp!

All the best,

Cari Dwinal

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