I can't believe it's Thursday night! So much has happened since I landed yesterday that I feel like I've been here at least 2 nights. Where to start...
Well I came into Manchester finally yesterday and got through customs really easily. There was no one in line after I finished filling out my declaration form so I breezed through. He barely glanced at my paper work and just asked me a few simple questions. So much for all the worrying, applications, financial letters, bank statements, etc. I do have to remember to carry my visa letter when I leave the country to travel so I can get back in. After picking up my bag...the only one left circling the claim area...I followed "the station" signs to pick up a train to Sheffield. The next one was in 30 min. so I used the pay phone to call Matt and let him know when I'd be in. As the platform was outside, I was able to watch the blizzard that suddenly hit. Big, wet snow flakes coated everything in a slushy mess. It of course froze later so that was great. I wonder if Emily got the same gift in London. Thanks to facebook pics, I found Matt easily at my destination. We decided to catch a taxi instead of walking 15-20 min in the snow which was a smart decision. It was only like 5 pounds.
I'm not sure I should say too much about where I'm living so that parental eyes don't freak out but it's all turned out great. Matt lives with 3 other gents in a side-by-side duplex, and they all have individual rooms...a very British thing. I was going to sleep on the couch but Matt is being very chivalrous and letting me use his bed. His room is really small so I'm keeping my suitcase in Rob's room. The other 2 are Pardeep and Luke. Anyway, the guys decided to keep it simple so we went out for food and drinks my first night. They took me to one of the many pubs in the city centre for beer and pizza. Pardeep had a massive chili dog which I'll be staying away from. After watching the Leeds vs. ? soccer match and failing at pool, we went home to change for the club. I was pretty wired at this point but also on autopilot so some of it's a blur (from lack of sleep I swear!).
My temporary flatmates are hilarious mostly because I usually don't have any idea of what they're talking about. I think it's because they have all these private little jokes that have apparently been hanging on for years. So we started at Cellar 55 or something because Rob insisted he heard good things. Luke was trying to make excuses to leave because it was pretty dead (but cheap drinks). Then of course they put it on me to make the decision like I'm going to pick sides. No thanks. We ended up leaving and going to a big club...gigantic really...with like 5 different rooms all playing different music, balconies, bars everywhere--all around craziness. The people were the best part and were dressed in all types of strangeness. I watched a guy in a 70s track suit with short shorts get felt up and may be scarred for life. It was pretty awesome though and I'm impressed I survived after just coming off a long flight. In another very British moment, we came back home and some of the guys had tea.
This morning I woke up around 8:00 for orientation day 1. I was so excited to take a shower but could NOT figure it out! I had to wake up Matt to ask. Apparently you have to flip like a light switch on the OUTSIDE of the door to get the pipes to work. Who does that...really. It seems a bit dangerous with prank-pulling roomies around. After succes, I found the Union easily and sat through a few speeches with a room full of other international students. I'm glad I did the orientation because I've met some great people. We got a mini tour of the "Uni", lunch, tour of the (amazing) Union and a final Q&A. I met a really friendly French girl, Marion, in my tour group and we agreed to meet later for the planned dinner at Ranmoor village--a student housing center.
I finally bought a cell phone! I didn't really shop around but I think I got a good deal. I going with the company Orange on a pay as you go plan. But, if I pay 10 pounds a month, at least, I get free texts and facebook...plus 10 pounds talk time obviously. Not bad. I got the phone before dinner, went back home, Skyped Em, realized I was running late and practically ran back to the union. As a group we walked to Ranmoor and had a pretty good lasagna dinner. Finished the night in the downstairs pub with some German, French, Italian, Spanish, South Korean and Australian aquantances. Well we're friends on facebook so it's official now.
I took the bus back and watched a nightmarish movie with Rob and Matt. Harry Brown...pretty good but a little cringy as the Brits say. Just a lot of "did that just happen" moments.
Well I am signing up for classes tomorrow at 9:15 so I should probably hit the sack. Hopefully by post will be shorter next time.