This coming weekend my husband and I will be celebrating our very first wedding anniversary (how fast has that flown?) and it got me thinking about where it all began…
First I need to take you right back in time to a day in my sixth form when we were sent to the library to work on our personal statement and start filling in our UCAS forms.
At the time (though recently this has been queried as to whether it was a scam – but that’s a whole other story for another time) you had to pay to apply through UCAS – it was £5 for one University and £15 for 2 or more, up to a maximum of 6. Me, being the savvy spender that I am (ha!) decided that I wanted value for money – so although I only wanted to apply for 5 University’s, out of principle I was going to apply for 6 – to get my money’s worth of course! I spent the next 30 minutes scrolling through the UCAS list at the other University’s that offered the course that I wanted to study. Pretty far up the list I came to Aberystwyth but due to my lack of ability at the time to pronounce it I moved swiftly on. The next interesting place I came across was Bangor. I had no idea where Bangor was, if it was a town or a city or that it was actually in Wales – but trusted google filled me in on the fact that it was a small city in north wales, close to Anglesey. That’ll do, University number 6 – application sent.
And that was that. Who would have thought that I would end up picking Bangor as my first choice later down the application stage, or that I would end up loving the place so much I decided to stay, get married and have 3 ducks!
Now, I am known to leave things to the very last minute – but I very rarely miss a deadline. So when I read that anyone who applies to halls before the end of June is guaranteed a place, I didn’t really see what the rush was. I spent hours looking over all the halls I could stay in and picking my top three. As you know, I have a bit of a fear of public toilets so that last thing I wanted was a shared bathroom and of course I needed a hall of residence with internet – I mean who doesn’t just love a cosy night in on msn messenger. (We are going back a fair few years remember; when myspace was the Facebook!)
Anyways, as it turns out there was a rush, as rooms are allocated on a first come, first preference basis – so to say I was devastated when I discovered that my halls not only did not have an en-suite, they also had no internet was the biggest understatement of the century. I literally cried for days and at one point, may have even refused to go to University full stop. Hindsight however it a wonderful thing – as actually applying late (but within the deadline might I add!) was the best thing that ever could have happened…not only did I meet some of my very best friends (even now) in those halls – I also met the man who would become my husband and best friend.
Skipping forward to the first day on University – I literally cried when I arrived and realised that my halls of residence was at the top of the biggest hill you have ever seen – it was literally vertical. Then I saw the halls and they were not the modern ones that they show you in the prospectus at all…it was a real life nightmare.
My family quickly moved into gear and transformed my dull box room into something that resembled comfort and we left to explore the place. When we returned I met Steve – the guy who would live down the hall from me and he was drinking out of a large Winnie the Pooh mug. Of course, that was the first thing that we conversed about – Me: I like your cup, it’s awesome. Him: I got it from Matalan earlier – they had loads of different ones. Me: cool, I’ll have to get one!* It was the dumbest conversation i’d ever had!
Later on after waving goodbye to my tribe I wandered down the corridor and asked Steve what course he was on and he said marine biology – I was like ‘woah that’s cool, ive always wanted to learn how to dive.’ Or words to that affect.
Now, I have absolutely no idea why I said this, as if truth be told – I had never, ever in my life had a desire to learn how to dive – I wasn’t much of a fan of water, like i even hated getting my face wet in the shower. But as fate would have it, of course the next thing he said was ‘well, you’re in luck, I’m actually a dive instructor – here’s my card, I can teach you if you want?’
Well, shit a brick – there was definitely no getting out of this now. So I did what any respectable 18 year old girl who had said something in order to impress someone that was completely untrue, would do… I ran to my window and yelled to my mum, “I’m going to learn how to dive!!”
And there you have it, the one where it all began!
*I should add that 2 days later I opened my kitchen cupboard door and Steve had in fact gone to Matalan and bought me my own Winnie the Pooh mug – he bought me piglet as that was who he thought I was most like (such a sweetie eh!!)