I’ve never been particularly good at getting these finished on time, but I don’t think that devalues the exercise. In fact, in some ways I find it easier to look back on the past year once we’ve had some time to settle into the new one. Most people seem to be able to state whether twenty-seventeen was good or bad, but mine doesn’t fit into those kind of categories. It was pretty mixed, with some phenomenal highs and some tricky lows. As a result, I’ve been trying to figure out how to go about measuring the last twelve months.

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I really thought I was done with the California posts, but then I realised I’d left one out; I didn’t spend a fortnight in Berkeley and not visit San Francisco. In fact, Rosa and I headed into the city a few times, armed with clipper cards and a checklist of landmarks. I think we pretty much ticked them all off – eventually – so here’s an illustrated guide to our “scenic route” walking tour of SF.

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Well, two months down the line and my final autumn term at university is officially over. In fact, I actually arrived home for Christmas more than a fortnight ago, thanks to York’s bizarrely-early end date; as a York student you have to get used to exchanging Secret Santa gifts and saying ‘Have a great Christmas!’ just a few weeks after you celebrated Halloween. It’s been a busy term; despite having fewer commitments having left my role at the campus newspaper, third year truly swept the rug from under my feet, and it didn’t help that there was always some social gathering or another to distract me from my reading and work. But we made it to the end, as ever (forgetting that essay that’s due in on Monday of week one next term…). And it really was one of the most fun terms I’ve ever had, filled with laughter and the good kind of busyness. As a result, I definitely achieved that main goal I set myself right at the beginning: to just enjoy myself. So here are a few highlights from the last ten weeks, with some not-always-relevant photos to illustrate…

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A new term’s here, and third year has well and truly begun. It’s a total cliche to go on about how fast the last two years have gone, but then there’s a reason for that; they really did fly, even though I wasn’t always having the best time. Quite a lot has changed for my final year: although we’re staying in the same lovely house we lived in last year, we’ve welcomed three new housemates, so it’s been fun getting to know each other and so far we’ve all gelled really well. I’ve also decided to leave my beloved student newspaper after two years of hard work and endless laughter, in order to focus all of my attention on this degree thing I’m meant to be doing, so the structure of my time at university is a little different to what I’m used to.

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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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