Back from across the pond

It really doesn’t feel like three months since I was last panicking about a Trinitonian deadline and struggling to write an article that I’m fully happy with. Summer flies by. This year, I didn’t have to suffer the outright depression that the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil gave me last year (following England’s abysmal performances), but there was plenty more to keep me occupied and, thankfully, happier.

Flying home is always a weird feeling for me. 5,000 miles is actually a really long way to travel to and from university, so it’s exciting when I get the biannual chance to visit home. My parents are normally excited to have me back, at least until after a week I haven’t unpacked and my mum wants me to start doing work around the house again. But being far away from my family and friends really makes you value them all the more. You take them for granted when you see them everyday, so the rarity of interaction makes it all the more special when you do get to see them. The same could be said for my hometown. London is remarkable in so many ways. Growing up there I didn’t realise just how lucky I was. I’m fortunate that I get to go back there at the two best times of the year: Christmas and the summer. Seeing a winter’s Oxford Street all lit up in lights is beautiful and, on the rare occasion we find a sunny day during “summer” in July, Hyde Park is breathtaking in its simplicity and elegance. I’m going a little overboard with the descriptions, but it really is a sight to behold.

But anyway, as I fight to stop myself getting sidetracked and attempt to stay under my (loosely enforced) word limit from my (lovely) editors, summer for me was pretty action-packed. I was back bartending at my local pub, where I’d worked during my gap year before coming to Trinity and every holiday period since. Working in a bar type atmosphere will really teach you a lot about yourself and other people around you. I encourage everyone to try it at least once. I knew I was back in ignorant, snobbish surroundings when one customer was overheard proclaiming that he “was actually racist” because he “hates Americans”. A flawed statement on many levels that wound me up quite a bit. I also did my best to catch up with friends and family and spent much of the summer training hard for the upcoming soccer season. More on that later.

The highlights of my summer were my trips away. Vacations, as you strange folk like to call them, are always the thing I look forward to the most. Holidays in Europe are pretty easy for me, so spending a week in Spain on our friend’s award winning olive oil farm doesn’t feel like a particularly exotic trip for me. However, the paradise that is the little village of Marà§a, about 2 hours outside Barcelona, is nothing short of a paradise. I also got to spend a week exploring a new country I’d never seen before. I spent a week in Ohrid, in the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. “Why?” I’m imagining you asking. Good question. Because the flights were cheap is my honest answer. My friends and I paid about $60 for return flights to Macedonia and almost definitely ended up spending less money on holiday than we would have had we stayed in London for the week. That’s how you do a holiday. The country itself was gorgeous with surprisingly good (and incredibly cheap) food and extremely friendly locals.

Whilst in Macedonia, the Women’s World Cup came to its conclusion. This was actually a really big deal all across the globe with record numbers of fans tuning in on TV and attending the games in the Canadian host cities. It was great to see the world finally start to give women’s soccer the admiration and respect it deserves. Though of course it left me disappointed, with England succumbing in the most English way possible (a heartbreaking last-minute own goal in the semi-final against Japan) and the tournament being eventually won by… er… hold on, I’m blanking on the name… they’re big… they like guns… oh. It’s America. You guys. Well done. Grrrr.

So that’s what happened in my summer. Not that any of you asked or wanted to know what I did, but that’s what you got so there we are. I promise to find more interesting things to write about as the semester progresses. I guess all that’s left to say is it’s great to see so many old faces back on campus as well as so many bright new ones who don’t quite understand what everything here is yet. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. It’s gonna be a good year. Hope to see you all on Saturday at the Tiger Sports Pep Rally and the following men’s and women’s soccer scrimmages against Monterrey Tech. It’s gonna be fun. If you need me, you’ll find me camped out on the baseball field excitedly counting down the minutes till T-Pain’s welcome week concert starts. I’ll see you in the front row.

Callum Squires is a junior German studies major