I apologise for my recent absence from blogging, I appreciate I’ve been quite a part-timer of late, this was partially down to attempting to claw myself through fourth year veterinary exams…. But largely due to an unfortunate incident with my laptop charger and Teddy the bunny (I have certainly learnt the hard way not to leave any cable or any other seemingly tasty object in his vicinity un-manned!).

I thought I’d break my blogging fast by leaving India for a little while and instead talking about my time on the vet student exchange to Sweden, as a bit of a change. Now being the budding yet rather poor traveller that I am, the student exchange seemed like an amazing way to experience a new country on the cheap and in short, it was and I had a fantastic time!

The “Swedes” descended on us mid-December and Liverpool greeted them with characteristically dreary grey skies and gusts of wind which could topple even the sturdiest of people. As a result, the planned walking tour of Liverpool city centre upon their arrival turned into brief spurts of power walking until we reached the safety of the next shop or café we could take shelter in while trying to bellow over the wind to point out landmarks and points of interest. My “pet Swede” for the week Phillip turned out to be a bit of a wild card and I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to get him back to Sweden in one piece! The first time he danced with death was when Sara, one of the other girls lost her hat in the gale down at the docklands to which Philip promptly chased after it and climbed down into the water to fish it out. Now Philip was many things but coordinated he was not, and I was tearing my hair out, worried that this crazy boy would either loose his footing and fall into the crashing murky waves of the Mersey or that the police would come and we’d have to spring him out of jail. Thankfully neither scenario happened and he returned triumphant, if a little cold and soggy with the hat.

“Crazy Phill” struck again that night on our night out painting the town red in Liverpool. Alcohol in Sweden, as we were soon to find out was incredibly expensive and so to them, all the alcohol Liverpool had to offer was well within their price range and they made sure to take full advantage of this. It is quite alarming trying to control a 6ft 4 fella who was blind drunk, swaying like a tree in a storm and who got rather lairy by the end of the night. Again, I had visions of either ending up in A&E or at the police station. We ended up having to trick the party animal into a taxi along with a lot of coaxing using cheesy chips to get him home as contrary to everyone else’s opinion, he considered himself to be in a fine state to keep drinking!

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The next day was a little calmer, in Liverpool we are lucky enough to be situated a stone’s throw away from one of the best zoo’s in the world, Chester Zoo so we thought a group of Swedish vet students would leap at the chance to go and check it out. After a tiring day of animal selfies and feeling very much like a teacher on a school trip everyone returned home for a much-needed, traditional fish and Chip dinner.

On the final morning, we deposited the Swedes in the capable hands of the veterinary staff while we all dutifully attended our infectious disease lectures. The exchange students spent the day being shown around our school facilities until the evening when we picked them all up to go ice skating. It was here where it was consolidated just how horrendous I am at ice skating, I spent my time clinging to the side tentatively shuffling along, then whenever I’d get a little too cocky and let go of the side… I’d end up on my arse. Crazy uncoordinated Phil on the other hand, blossomed into some sort of gazelle on the ice and sped around gracefully in a sickeningly effortless manner.

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The next day after a farewell full English Breakfast we sent the Swede’s off to catch their flight back home. It wasn’t until February, after Christmas, revision and January exams had sailed past that we would see the Swede’s again, but this time on their own turf!

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