Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Summer Reflections


It's so hard to believe that my long summer is finally coming to an end. I've had the most amazing few months and I feel like I'm in a really great place to "fly the nest" as such and move to university on Saturday.

This summer has been my best one yet - I feel like I've really been able to step out my comfort zone to meet new people and have new experiences which have helped me to build up my confidence before I start uni. So on that note, I thought I'd share with you some of my highlights of the summer!

Celebrate Cleethorpes
I kicked off the summer with helping out at Celebrate Cleethorpes - a Catholic Conference. This was so much fun - three of my best friends also helped out and so it was lovely to have the experience together. We helped to lead the groups of younger teenagers which was a really great experience. I found it so rewarding to work with our stream and to help them to deepen their relationship with God and each other. Thank you so much to Ruth and Joe for such a great weekend, along with everyone who made the conference possible!

The Dream Team

World Youth Day
I'm not going to go into detail here as I've already written this blog post about my experiences, but WYD was the most incredible event I've been part of. I absolutely loved the atmosphere, the people and just everything about it! There were many difficult moments on the pilgrimage, but we were able to get through them with the help of each other as well as plenty of prayers and also laughs! I think that some of the challenges we faced during WYD (such as walking 12.5 miles in monsoon-like weather carrying all our possessions from the vigil) have made me a stronger person because I would never have thought I could have done it previously!!

Waiting for Pope Francis

Youth 2000
For anyone who doesn't know what this is, it is a Catholic prayer festival in Walsingham. Again, it was an incredible experience, however in a completely different way than World Youth Day. While WYD was a beautiful experience, Youth 2000 was even more so. I felt like it really had a huge impact on my life and greatly strengthened my faith even deeper. If anyone is interested in finding out more, I wrote this article for my diocesan youth service website, and you can find out more about Youth 2000 here.

The loveliest group of people to enjoy Y2K with

Hope Meet Up Picnic
It was such a nice afternoon and I loved meeting some of the people who are also going to Hope this weekend! We had a really good time relaxing, chatting and then exploring the campus! Meeting fellow freshers has made me feel much more calm about finally moving into halls on Saturday!

I have a very close-knit immediate family and so I think I'm going to find it a bit tough being away from them so I've been trying to spend as much time with them as possible before I go! We've had some great time together this summer - from meals out to cinema trips, car breakdowns to days out and almost everything else in between! At the end of August, some of our family from Australia came over to see us and we had a lovely afternoon together catching up on two years' worth of news! So grateful for social media that we're able to see what's going on in each other's lives and organise get togethers when they're in the country!

(Still working on the whole family selfie thing!!)

With some of our wonderful family from Australia

Time with Friends
I have to admit, despite spending so much time with my friends this summer, there are still quite a few friends who I didn't get chance to catch up with. However, I still made the most of the time we had together before university and we were able to enjoy plenty of time together. Whether it was just relaxing in the sunshine at the park or going for a meal, I've had so much fun with my friends this summer and have made some amazing memories!

Surprise Birthday/Going Away Party
On the subject of friends and family, I still can't believe this actually happened!! My family told me that we were going to go for a couple of drinks with some family friends at our parish social club and when we arrived there I walked into a room full of my closest family and friends! As my 19th birthday is the day after I move into uni, the party was to celebrate my birthday as well as to say goodbyes (for now anyway!!). It was such a lovely afternoon full of laughs, chat, music and lots of love! It was so nice for me to realise how much so many people care about me and was much-needed before I move away! Once again, thank you so much to everyone who came and celebrated with me, as well as to my parents, sisters, Gill and Neil for all your hard work in organising it!

As you can probably tell, I've had the most amazing summer! It's been full of faith, laughs, happiness and love. I've made friends from all over the world (and some closer to home!) as well as strengthening bonds with friends I already had. I've realised more than ever before this summer how blessed I am to have so many amazing people in my life. So a massive thanks to each and every person who has made my summer as amazing as it has been!

Here's to hoping and praying that the next chapter of my life - starting uni - will be filled with just as many happy memories and friends!

If you'd like to vote for me as UCAS Blogger of the Month, you can do that here. All your votes are much appreciated, as always!
I'll hopefully be back soon with my thoughts on moving in to uni... It's so weird to think that the next time I blog will probably be from my uni room at Hope!! At last!

Until next time,
Anna x

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