I talk about my sister, Rosa, a lot; my usual joke is that telling the stories of what she gets up to halfway around the world makes me seem way cooler. But for a couple of weeks in the middle of summer, I finally got to share a bit of her life in Berkeley, California, and come away with some fun stories of my own. We spent days wandering the hills of San Francisco; crossed the Bay to check out Marin County; made our way to Land’s End to paddle in the Pacific; spent a day in Davis where Rosa first lived in CA; and even navigated to Muir Woods via public transport.

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I’m thinking a lot about boats at the moment. For my 19th century American Literature module next term I have to read Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and although I’m a little daunted I’m looking forward to the journey it promises when I finally pick it up. But, I wondered, perhaps the sea and I should just get a little more acquainted first. “If it’s nice tomorrow, shall we go to the coast?” I asked on Saturday evening. So the next day, a lazy Sunday morning behind us, we take the car north to Blakeney.

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I wrote this post in a lovely bakeshop in York on the last day of my second year of university. Afterwards, I wandered my city with my camera for a few hours, trying to find the words to express my gratitude and thinking about the beauty of the everyday. The following does neither justice, but I’m pressing publish all the same.

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Well, January was a bit of an odd one, wasn’t it? It’s hard to comprehend how much the world has changed since the beginning of this year, and it feels strange to try and situate my own personal day-to-day experiences within this new political framework. But this year I’ve decided that I want to take some time at the beginning of each new month reflecting on the one previous and setting a focus for the days ahead, so here goes.

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Last week in my student housing guide I weighed up the pros and cons of staying on campus for your later years at university, and those of moving out into a privately rented property. If you choose to stay in halls, it’s worth applying early on, and once you’ve applied there’s nothing more to do. In the rest of my housing guide, then, I’ll be focusing on the latter choice, and today I’m sharing your complete step-by-step guide to finding your second-year uni house.

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