I'm sorry to everyone who may have thought I'd fallen off the edge of the planet somewhere between Singapore and London, I have been intending on blogging for some time, but haven't. I'm still alive, am now in Norwich after a fun week of total-touristiness in London. Here's a selection of touristy photos, you'll find more here.
After a long time travelling (about 24 hours flying time, plus airport waits), I finally arrived. But first a word about the journey. I couldn't get window seats, and usually hate aisle seats because when I fall asleep I slump into the aisle and get attacked by the food trolleys. But this was the best flight I've ever had in the aisle - British Airways' headrests are very flexible, and bend down a long way so my head was surrounded and held in place. Meant I got some sleep. Spent lots and lots of time standing up the back chatting to various people and looking at the window trying to work out where over earth we were. The maps weren't working on the tvs, so we just had to guess. Finally got to Heathrow at 5am, went through the British aisle of immigration feeling like a complete imposter, trying not to talk in case they noticed my accent and revoked my passport, got out and was collected by my brother. We headed off to his flat, where I met my lovely 1o month old niece for the first time:
Spent most of the day relaxing, accidently dozed off too early in front of the tv, so woke up too early, but not so early I couldn't enjoy seeing London the next day. Caught up with Carli, and we saw lots of things over the next few days. Check my facebook album for more photos, but here are just a few, with accompanying Doctor Who references when relevant:
Phone Box! Oh, and Carli and me.
The Doctor thought he'd gotten rid of them all, but he missed one. Genocide? I hope not.
Repaired after that whole alien ship crash business a few Christmas' ago.
Also saw the Tower of London (very interesting place) and spent a whole day in the Museum of London (best £0 i've never spent - go there if you get the chance, not on the standard tourist route, and therefore no big crowds, everything's completly free, and the cafe food is only mildly over priced but very yummy.)
Well then I travelled by coach to Norwich. Got here mid afternoon, after taking about 10 hours to move 5km on one stretch (a slight exagerration, but I did hear the phrase '5 mile delay'). Caught a bus from the city centre to the uni, and although I haven't been back in yet, it looked very English, and therefore good. Hopefully I'll get in tomorrow, although there are supposed to be bitter North Sea winds.
The uni seems very nice. It has been described as a concrete jungle, and I can see that. Got lost a few times, but am now starting to get the hang of how it all fits together. The maps are pretty useless, because the whole uni is connected by walkways and bridges.
As soon as I walked into my accommodation I was welcomed by a couple of other residents. The majority of my flatmates are from the UK, and have been here since September. This means they're settled and well-bonded. I was a little concerned that it might be hard to fit in, but so far they all seem pretty easy to get along with and pretty keen to make me feel welcome - I'd been introduced to a few people within about 15 minutes of arrival, another couple came and knocked on my door while I was unpacking, and my stick figure (including beanie) had been added to the whiteboard of flatmates within about 5 minutes. I think there are about 5 girls and 7 or 8 guys, but I'm not entirely sure. Not everyone is back from the break yet, but when they are I think we're all going out for bonding drinks in town. There was a rather funny moment when I revealed that I'm not really a drinker, as this apparently presents a problem for bonding, but we'll see what happens. Almost all the others in this flat are studying med, nursing or physiotherapy. THere is one person studying English, but I think that's it. A few of the nursing students are on placement at the moment, and get up ridiculously early, but I can sleep through almost anything, so I'm already getting used to the noise of them moving around in the kitchen early in the morning.
Here are a few photos of my home for the next 6 months. Not sure where I'll be for the second semester, will have to vacate then get a new place at the beginning of next semester.
My room. Right next to the kitchen, with the water pipes in my cupboard - bit noisy when people use the kitchen taps, but also a nice warm cupboard which is great for hanging damp clothes.
One of the other girls in my flat is Christian, and has offered to take me along to her church on Sunday, hoorah, and another international student (from New Zealand) is also going to be looking for somewhere, so we might go trialling together.
I've mostly been hanging out with other international students, and we're a mixed bunch. The largest group come from the US, followed by Australians. There are also some Norwegians, and probably some others, but I (unfortunately) find myself hanging out mostly with the Australians and Americans. Hopefully I'll get a chance to get to meet the others when we're not in such a large group - there are various day trips and outings planned throughout the semester. I'm looking forward to classes starting on Monday, will hopefully get to meet lots of 'natives'. I know one girl doing one of my classes, but no one else. My Latin for Historians class has about 11 people I think, so that will be a good chance to make friends I hope. Especially since the classes are 3 hours long first thing on a Thursday morning.
Timetable looks good - I have WEdnesdays and Fridays off, so will hopefully be able to do some 3 day trips to see things.
Currently the country is OBSESSED with the snowy weather - I've taken to having BBC News Channel on in the background (in the accommodation they have a free internet tv thing set up), and they just keep going back to the snow, checking in with different parts of the country, different old men and ladies eating their meals on wheels, different outdoor gear salesmen. The favourite shot is that of the reporter's foot pushing the snowy slush around on the road, followed by the locals shovelling.
That should keep you going for a little while. I'm off to find some dinner. Bye bye and thanks for reading.