Wow. What a week. It feels like it’s been a complete whirlwind: a mix of emotions; one that has simultaneously flown by but also seems like this time last week was in the last century… So much has happened and as I sit on the sofa with Brian, reflecting on the week, it hits me as to just how tired it has all made me!
The week started with me gauging my new study-from-the-sofa routine. Unfortunately for Brian and I, our flat has lots of stairs. Our bedrooms and bathrooms are on a floor beneath the kitchen and living room, which pre-Brian is obviously no trouble but with Brian, is another story. My morning routine has been perfected over the week to minimise the use of stairs, and as I am much slower at getting ready, my Monday was a trial run of how long I needed in the morning before my 9am classes to make it to the sofa.
For this half of Trinity term we have our Entrepreneurial Proejct to continue with and two other classes. We have complete free reign to choose these modules, so for this half I have taken Entrepreneurial Finance Project and Negotiations. Both are 3 hours 15 minutes long, one on Monday and Wednesday, the other on Tuesday and Thursday. This leaves the afternoon before each class to do all the reading and pre-work.
After two sessions of each, I am definitely enjoying the Negotiations class the most. It’s a super practical class, where we learn some theory around what makes a good negotiation and then we are paired up and have a case study to negotiate. The first one was fairly brief and it was a basic sale of land. The second one took nearly an hour and was quite intense! One of my favourite readings so far really sums up negotiation: “the art of letting them have your way”.
The main event for this week though was the fact that is was my birthday! 🥳 And not just any old birthday, it was the big 3-0. Did I ever expect to be turning 30 with Brian and a broken foot? No. Did it put a downer on the day? Absolutely not.
My amazing Oxford friends (Michaela, Diego and Jas specifically) did the most incredible job of ensuring we celebrated hard. We did a great job of elongating my birthday across Birthday Eve, Birthday Day, and Birthday Boxing Day. Over the three days I was truly spoilt by friends and family and honestly couldn’t have asked for a better birthday.
Michaela had organised a knee scooter (who even knew this was a thing in the U.K.?!) which has given me so much more mobility these past few days – that thing can pick up some speed!
This meant that on my birthday I could take my class from the Business School. We took a taxi to the School but then around the building I rode my scooter – it was great! After class, Mum and Dad picked me up and went for a rooftop lunch overlooking Oxford. Luckily the weather was perfect so it was lovely sitting outside with our champagne.
Our flat was decorated within an inch of its life with balloons and banners and cards. Right now I’m looking at a 3ft inflatable dinosaur, which is hilarious. After more champagne we headed out to the pub to meet some friends, to which I took my amazing 3-0 cake to – it was a great hit!
We went to two pubs for the evening (and I scooted around with my massive balloon!) and I think everyone had a good time – there was definitely some tequila flying around at some point!
Then on Saturday, my sisters came to Oxford for a birthday lunch and the three of us went to a nice restaurant on the river. The restaurant was so accommodating with Brian, as usually there is a lot of steps to get down to it, however they let me down the ramp and in the back way, which was ideal.
So as I lay on the sofa, gazing around my birthday balloon cave 😂, writing this post, it’s probably a good time to reflect on the week and year. It really does feel strange to say that I am now 30 years old. Am I where I thought I’d be at 30? No, absolutely not. But am I happy with where I am at 30? Mostly, I’d say. It’s been a strange old year – full of the most incredible highs (cycling to Vienna, moving to Oxford) but also the most depressing lows. A year like no other.
On my birthday someone asked me what advice I’d give to myself on my 20th birthday, if I could go back in time. And honestly, it’s the same advice that I’d give myself today. Taken from one of my favourite films, “About Time”:
“Try to live everyday as if you’ve deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it were the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life“About Time, 2014