Tuesday 2nd May 2017

Today was a special and unusual day for me – it was my birthday and the first time in my life that I have spent it entirely away from family. Even on my 11th birthday, which I celebrated in hospital, I had family around.

I had a longer lie and then got up and read all my Facebook birthday posts from so many people – that was so nice, and it has been really fantastic throughout my journey here to have  my family and friends cheering me on with their supportive comments. I had breakfast then went out to the pool and sat and enjoyed the sun for a while. Then i drove down to the yoga class on Dixie Bld and did a yoga class which was really good. I came back, got changed and had lunch in the apartment and had a Skype call with Karen and Alan – it was so nice to see them today, even if on a screen. I also had texts and cards from my mum and my sister, with vouchers for Old Navy, plus an e-card from my mum and also an email from Ricky in the School and private messages from Kate in UWS and Nicky in Menorca as well as all the other Facebook messages from friends.

I then went across to the office. Even although I had kept my birthday very quiet, I found a present on my desk from Audrey – a lovely FAU keying and a card. I told my John Smykla quietly it was my birthday but it turned out he already knew, had sent told Audrey and sent an email round the faculty. When I came out to go the Dean’s reception, I was met with John, Vaughn, Lincoln, Cassandra, Seth and Lisa waiting for me and Vaughn led off on a chorus of ‘happy birthday’ which was really nice!  We all then went to the Dean’s reception. This was the first opportunity I had had to meet the Dean of the College of  Design and Social Enquiry where Criminology and Criminal Justice belongs, Dr Wesley Hawkins. It was very nice to meet him as well as several other senior staff such as the Director of Social Work and the Dean of Education. There was food and drinks available and I left at 4pm and walked back over to my apartment to get everything ready for people coming over.

At 4.45 everyone started to arrive – it was a smaller group this evening (I think I have partied everyone out plus it was mid-week and not so many people able to come out!). I was joined by Seth and his wife, Lisa and John and several of the graduate students – Lisa, Daniele, Veanne, Amanda and David. We had a really good evening – I made champagne margaritas for them and then there were plenty of other drinks and nibbles. Daniele brought large pizzas too which was great, and we had lots of good chat and then Daniele and Lisa helped to clear the whole apartment up at the end of the evening meaning I had nothing to do! They have been such great students and it has so great to have worked with them and socialised with them so much!

Altogether I had a lovely day.

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