Friday, November 28, 2008

From the Rostra...

Wow, it feels like a long time since I posted on here. Not really had much time/energy/will to blog these last few weeks. Just an update, then.

It's a clich├ęd phrase, but it has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I went back to my mum and dad's for the first week for the funeral. I think it was both heartbreaking and relieving for us all when that day finally came, to be honest. I went with most of the family to see him at the funeral home the day before, and while it was hard summoning up the courage to walk into the room, in the end I'm glad I did. I still wish I could've said goodbye to him before he passed away, but going to see him managed to balm that particular wound a bit.

And I'll tell you something, there's no girl braver than my sister Iona. We were both reading bidding prayers at the funeral service, and though she was sobbing her heart out, she still managed to say her piece, up there in front of everyone. I'm so, so proud of her. If she can do that, then she'll have no problem singing in front of those sold-outs crowds at Budokan when she becomes a chart-topping singer. :)

The funeral was on the 5th, so as part of the wake we bought some fireworks. There were a lot of folk in the scheme setting them off, but ours were by far the best. That was a nice send-off for Granda, we all agreed. :)

Then, on the Saturday just after that, Father Conway, who was a great pal of my granda's and did the funeral service, also passed away. Needless to say, we were all stunned. Like my dad said, it's almost like they were waiting on each other.

Going back to uni after that was a bit strange. I stayed with my family for the rest of the week, and when I got back to uni I had a good bit of work to catch up on (and still do), had to get extensions on the deadlines for my first essays, and ran into a whole new set of assignments from my all subjects. The first week wasn't too bad - though with hindsight, I think I was still just wandering about in a daze, but last week was awful. My moods were all over the place, I was struggling to balance the immense workload, and didn't seem to have the mental strength to very much about it. I missed a good few lectures and tutorials and just getting further and further behind. That's when it all became too overwhelming for me and I broke down and ended up blubbing down the phone to my dad at half two on Friday morning, and going back home for the weekend.

Dad had intended that I take it easy, but no, as our dog, Sirius, became ill, and when we took him to the vet's on Saturday it turned out that he had prostatitis and kidney stones - lots of them, so they'd have to operate. Now, Sirry's ten years old (human years), one of his legs had to be amputated a couple of years back, and all that weekend he seemed so weak and in so much pain, so we... weren't optimistic. I think that at any other time, we all would've coped with the worry much better, but not this weekend. After what had already happened, we didn't feel we could bear another loss. To know Sirry is to love him: he's the loveliest, sweetest-tempered thing in the world, and the delight of all the primary school kids in the village. When they were making their Nativity set last Christmas, they painted in another special star - Sirius, the Dog Star, of course! So, yes, he's a big sook, but adorable with it, and none of us wanted to see him go. Not now, anyway. Not on top of everything else.

Good news, though. He pulled through. And he's back to hopping about like a mad thing, demanding cuddles and begging for food. In other words, he's back to his old self.

And I'm doing all right, too. It catches up to me at times, but I'm trying to get myself back into my normal routine. The workload is still huge, and it feels like I've spent every night typing out essays on Hallstatt D1, castles and burghs, total excavation versus problem-orientated excavation, Cicero's godawful letters, and a whole lot more, but I only have two left to write. Then, of course, it's exams. :( I'm still lagging behind in my work a bit, but I'll hopefully be able to bring myself back up to speed for the exams. Oh, well. *fingers crossed*

I've decided I'm going to slowly, reluctantly, let Latin slip by the wayside. I'm not going to stop working at it outright, but I am going to focus more on the subjects that matter most to me, those being Archaeology and Celtic. I'm glad, really, that we've only got a week of lectures left. I do like doing the Pliny, but our tutor for that part of the course - while a lovely, zany woman the rest of the time, when she's teaching Latin she's more like that centurion in Life of Brian...

I'm also trying to navigate the uni's new Student Absence Policy. It involves submitting various forms online, but - get this - for "significant absences" they want some sort of written proof. Well, that's all very well if you're ill, you can a medical certificate, but what the fuck are you supposed to give them if a family member's died? What the fuck do you want - a death certificate? Directions to the grave? I guess a meeting with Irish Advisor is in order. Ah, well. It's not like that's a bad thing, or anything. :)

There's good news, too, amidst this tale of woe. First... *drum roll*... guess who's going back to Vindolanda in the summer? And guess who's managed to drag her flatmate and fellow archaeology student Sara into coming with her? :D We decided we wanted to do a few weeks digging at an interesting site before we had to do the uni field school at Forteviot, Palace of the Rain and the Post Holes and Not Much Bloody Else. (Seriously, I've been to one of the post-season seminars they have. Cows, rain and post-holes. That's pretty much Forteviot. Not surprising, really, since the site was pretty much washed away in a flood at some point in antiquity.)

But, yeah. Vindolanda. Apparently it's the barracks this time. :)

And OMGfangirlsquee - the Doctor Who Exhibition is coming to the Kelvingrove Museum in March. Me and Alyson descended into a mad display of geekish joy.

Alyson also bought a Labyrinth poster the other day. It's pretty cool, but David Bowie's eyes follow you unerringly around the room...

Anyway, that's pretty much it. Just thought I'd post an update now that I'm feeling up to it, and while I've got some breathing space between assignments and studying. Trying to get back to normal, and that includes blogging. NaNo - which I'll be glad to reach 25K of by Sunday night; it gave me a good distraction during the first half of the month, but I've had to pretty much abandon it the last couple of weeks - has given me some ideas for writing-related posts, so I should be returning gradually over the next few weeks. :)

5 comments:

Gabriele C. said...

I'm glad to hear you're getting better - I know how it feels to lose a beloved family member.

And YAY!!! for Vindolanda. Definitely more than post holes there. Maybe you'll find a pugio this time. :)

Crystal said...

Just popping over to say hello and to try and catch up with you!

Kirsten Campbell said...

Thanks, Gabriele. It is getting better.

A pugio would be great! Though I'm determined to find the twin of that little die I found last time. ;)

Hi, Crystal. Anything you want to catch up on is right here. :)

Sarah Cuthbertson said...

Kirsten, my heart goes out to you for your Grandad. My dear Dad died on 8 November and I haven't had the chance to get to grips with the loss yet, what with all the funeral arrangements and other stuff and looking after my Mum. I wasn't as brave as your sister and so my husband read out in church the eulogy I composed for Dad's funeral.

Glad to hear that NaNo was useful even though you didn't get to 50K. I didn't either, for similar reasons. Hurrah that you're doing Vindolanda again next summer, though - something to look forward to! all the best with your studies!

Kirsten Campbell said...

Oh, Sarah, I'm so sorry to hear that. I hope you and your mum are doing well. My thoughts are with you and your family.