So here we are, two weeks in.
Our introduction went just fine and I started my first weekend here. I had neglected properly settling in for the first few days because I was really tired (which seems to be a returning thing lately, I feel tired a lot more) but I spent Saturday cleaning up all my things, properly putting away my clothes and other belongings and installing my Cintiq (my drawing tablet) on my laptop.
The weekend went by rather quietly and calmly, I met with some other Erasmus students on Saturday evening and we played some card games in the Senses bar.
On Monday we had no classes so I decided to catch up with some art that I owed.
Tuesday was our first class, Short Fiction and it was really interesting. We have to read a lot of short stories but they’re all no more than a few pages long so that’s doable. 🙂 Sadly our teacher was ill and by the time the class ended she pretty much lost her voice, so our afternoon session was cancelled. Ilonka and I decided to go to the ASDA (a large supermarket nearby). We found out later that it was actually storming. Something that I’ve really noticed when I first got here that there’s a lot of rubbish everywhere, you see plastic bags, bottles and cans all over the place and nobody bothers to clean it up.
Speaking of other British things, when we were in the ASDA we were kind of goofing around and playing tourist looking at all the food things available. One thing that stuck out to me was the fact that the British really like their baked beans.
There was even more. I hate baked beans. :’)
We also found haggis in a can. That was rather… interesting.
But the best part was that I found my favorite flavour of Bulmer’s cider, red berries and lime! ❤
On Wednesday we had the day off, Ilonka told me that the other Erasmus students had planned to watch the first Harry Potter movie in the library together, so I joined in on that. We are free to use the classrooms whenever they’re not in use, so it was a nice opportunity to watch a movie together 🙂
Our first Children’s Literature class was on Thursday and despite it being 3 hours long it was a pretty enjoyable session and class in general. The teacher is very enthusiastic and nice and we were told that we are allowed to pick our own title for our essay, so that’s awesome!
That evening was the fish and chips night, which was awesome! I quite like fish and chips. The British really have a talent for taking something so healthy and turning it into something so bad for you!
Friday was our first Art class, but Ilonka and I soon figured out that the class wasn’t for us and so we decided to opt out of it and join one of the Erasmus language courses to keep our own English skills sharp. It gives us a good opportunity to practice our writing since we have to take an exam on it in June.
In the evening there was a Harry Potter themed themed party. I joined the quiz with Ann (my neighbour, she’s from Germany), Ilonka and Misha (An Erasmus student from the Czech Republic). Unfortunately we didn’t win the quiz but it was fun nonetheless. I chatted with some people at the party, watched Ilonka play Potions Pong (Beer pong but harry potter themed) and had an apple cider. I really like the fact that we have a bar here and that there’s so many events organised by the student’s union. There’s a lot to do and you don’t really have to feel lonely if you are willing to put yourself out there.
I left at around 10:30 PM because I had something fun planned for the next day.
And so we get to Saturday, it’s 6:30AM and I am standing outside at the bus stop waiting for a bus to take me to Birmingham New Street. Here I took the 7:54 train to London. I was so nervous about this whole trip that I actually didn’t sleep much, if at all the night before!
Once I got on the train I found myself a quiet spot, put my stuff away and tried to get a little bit of rest. Alas, a group of ladies joined me and I was once again reminded of the fact that the British like to chat. A lot. I didn’t really mind though because they were nice ladies. One thing that you really start noticing is that the British use terms of endearment a lot. “Are you alright, love?” for example. It seems a bit strange to me and yet it feels reassuring. I rested my eyes for a little bit so I wasn’t too tired by the time I arrived at London Euston station.
In London I met up with a friend of mine, Kevin, that I’ve known on the internet for a few years now. He took me under his wing and showed me how the tube system works in London. It’s relatively simple once you understand how it is, despite it being a tangled spaghetti mess of tubes as Kevin so eloquently put it 😛
We had a cup of coffee and a snack at a Whetherspoons at Victoria station before he took me to St Paul’s church. I snapped a few pics of it at night, it’s an awesome sight!
I met up with another friend of mine from Norway who is also studying in the UK and the three of us went out for dinner. Kevin suggested we try out Pho, which is a Vietnamese dish. Basically it’s a broth soup with noodles and they fill it with all sorts of good stuff. It sounds a little boring but it’s really good! I can recommend it!
Next time we’re in London, I’m definitely up for going back there! 🙂
After dinner we went back to Oxford Circus and I said goodbye to my friend before heading off back to Euston station. The train ride home was pretty uneventful besides a few guys who were obviously football fans sitting close to me, and later on some ladies who looked like they were headed to a party got on the train. But other than that my trip went by smooth. I got home around midnight due to me not being able to find the bus stop home (it was a level above me which I didn’t realise at first) but I got home safe and sound. I dropped my things, skyped with Maikel for a little bit and then crashed in my bed and slept for a good twelve hours.
Today (Sunday) Ilonka and I went to the Aldi, it was kind of cool being in a place that’s so familiar to us! We made a pasta bake when we got home (which was really good!) and after that I played some online boardgames with Maikel and some other friends.
I’m settling in well here and finding my place, I was right when I said I had to actually make the step and go here. Some may know that I had a hard time leaving but now that I’m here it’s not so bad. I’m looking forward to seeing Maikel again in two weeks and in March I will be going home for a good two and a half/three weeks. I am looking forward to it already 🙂