In the summer before Year 13, my family decided to take me university hopping around the UK. We’d go to different cities, stay at a local hotel, attend an open day, explore for a day or two and then move swiftly on to the next. Sometimes we’d visit 3-4 unis back to back – no stops, just songs blasting from the car speakers and my dog jumping up at every red light. I felt like a traveller (minus the caravan).
Back then I had no clue what I was going to do. I’d always wanted to study medicine, but I just wasn’t sure if I was passionate enough to dedicate 5-6 years of my life to one subject.
So this term started off pretty well.
For the first few weeks, I had a routine going – I got up an hour before my 9am classes (a huge change from waking up 20 minutes before), made myself a healthy lunch, actually managed to get some breakfast down and was up to date with deadlines. I had enough time to see friends and go on a fun night out and I also saved some time at the end of the day to read a little just before bed. Boy, was life going great.
Honestly, I don’t really know what happened after the third week.
In Syria, we celebrate Christmas on the 25th day of December of each year. The celebrations take many forms from spectacular Christmas trees, colourful decorations and Christmas songs blasting from almost everywhere to life-size nativity scenes in big and famous churches and squares in Damascus. Giving presents is customary but it is usually from parents to their young children. It stops once the children reach a certain age around 12-14 years. Families gather together for a family feast on Christmas Eve. Usually, they can hear the sound of enthusiastic and celebratory fireworks in the background.
‘Milad Majeed’ is how we say Merry Christmas in Syria and we call Father Christmas ‘Papa Noel’ although Santa Claus is also quite common.