Hurricane Sandy, Obama and an Aurora Adventure

Week 11

So this week started with being stranded in Washington DC due to Hurricane Sandy and ended with a great trip to Aurora, Denver. This place never seems to surprise me!

At the end of the last post, I had moved from Ryan’s aunt and Uncles to a fancy hotel near Dulles airport, which had been populated by a fellow Model UN refugee. By this point it was really ramping up now and walking the 10m to the supermarket to stock up on provisions proved to be a challenge. Suitably catered for, we bought our provisions to the hotel room and bunkered down. The full force of the hurricane was due to hit in the early hours of Tuesday morning so we frantically charged up all out electronic devices. For the next day and a half we were effectively exiled in the hotel room, spending the majority of our time eating and drinking. On the Tuesday afternoon we did venture out briefly to a nearby Irish pub and to our relief there had been no apparent damage to the vicinity. I cannot describe how lucky I feel to be in that situation but have no real negative impacts. Sure it was mildly inconvenient, but our thoughts went out to the victims who were not as fortunate as we were.

I finally flew out on Wednesday afternoon. the drive to the airport made me realise how lucky Washington DC had been as the water marks and river banks were tantalizingly close to breaching multiple structures. After a 4 hour flight, I finally returned to sunny Colorado at 5pm completely exhausted. It felt good to be ‘home’. To me this is significant as it can be easy to feel like you’re constantly ‘on holiday’ and thus not really embedding into the local area and associated culture. I was so tired by the time I returned, so my Halloween celebrations were muted which was a bit of a shame but I was just glad to be back.

Getting back to class was certainly unusual. It almost felt like I was starting all over again! I ran into my fellow refugee who kindly gave me his ticket for Obama’s visit to Boulder that evening. Despite not arriving late to the event, a steward asked if I wanted to stand in the floor area of the basketball arena, thus being very close to the president. Why not! Despite feeling like a sauna, the discomfort was worth it as he gave another rousing speech. How odd it is that I have seen the President of the USA more times than the mayor of my small local town of Axminster! It struck me how passionate the followers were, with both the young and old dancing away. This would never happen in the UK, but I guess that’s what makes us the way we are. After the event, I rushed to my committee partner Lorraine’s birthday celebration meal which was a great laugh as ever. I’m really glad I joined such a great club!

On Friday, I spent most of the day trying to catch up with work. At 7pm though, Giulia picked me up, along with her room-mate Mandy and her boyfriend Jon. First we drove to downtown Denver and sampled an ice cream shop and the most bohemian coffee-house you can imagine. You could honestly quite see it being in Nepal. After this we went to Giulia’s house in Aurora and stayed the night.

Saturday we had planned to go to Downtown Denver, but this changed at the last-minute. Instead, we roamed the garden and the local park, playing with leaves and climbing trees. Giulia even showed me around her high-school which was certainly something I did not envisage. It was great to be in a genuine American home and see how many Americans actually live. We later got some food and went to a local mall before heading back to Boulder. Aurora, famous of course for the tragic cinema shootings was actually quite a nice experience and I am glad I had the opportunity to go there. On my return to Boulder, I quickly made my way to Saskia’s who was hosting yet another food party. This time the theme was Dutch. As ever, I had a great time catching up with old friends and making new ones.

I had a mini hibernation on sunday, so didn’t get to do as much work as I would have liked. In the afternoon, I helped out at a student orientation regarding CU students going to the UK. Talking about the UK made me realise how proud I am to be from there. However, some of the CU students who had already been on exchange to the UK were frankly delusionary, portraying the UK as an easy, booze fuelled life suffering constant near-monsoon conditions.  You would think that by being there they would have dis-spelled that myth, but apparently not. Therefore, I made it a crusade of mine to talk about how the UK REALLY is as opposed to some Harry Potter loving, drunken and sodden nation. Stereotypes really do annoy me. After this, I played football as ever and then met up with Giulia in the C4C, before returning to hers to Skype James in Oregon to thrash out some christmas plans. We have finally decided to go to Vancouver, Canada for christmas. I can’t wait! As ever, it was nice to speak to someone using all those weird British terms!

Finally, even though it should technically be in next week’s post, I would like to congratulate the American people for seeing sense and electing Obama. Good Job!!

More pictures will be uploaded soon, so come back and check them out!

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