23 Jan 2008
Okay, so onto the people. My flat is made up of all international students, all of whom have been here since September. Theres Micael (pronounced Miguel), Silvia, and another girl whom I havent met yet, all from Spain, Brian from Hong Kong (whom I havent met yet either), and two from Malaysia. Silvias really nice, she made me food until I had bought my own. Its just hard, because she and Micael communicate to one another in really fast Spanish so I cant really follow. But theyre excited that Im American because they want to improve their English. Hey, maybe Ill brush up on my Spanish.
So last night, after I unpacked and showered, they invited me to this good bye party for a girl named Giorgia who was going back to Italy the next day. I was really tired, but I decided to go just to be social and meet people. Most of the people there were international students, mostly Spanish, but I didnt mind because they were all really nice. Plus they let me try cider, which Fran and the T7 girls and Rudy all told me I had to try. Im thinking, Apple cider? but its not really apple cider. Its more like champagne, with bubbles (of which Im NOT a fan, but w/e) and I cant really describe the taste. I guess its like a mix between champagne taste and apple cider taste? It was really really good, and I had a couple of glasses of those, haha, and was feeling pretty happy. None of them could understand how exciting it was to be able to drink that cider without fear of being written up or arrested, lol. It felt pretty cool to me.
And then I met the kid from NJ. As soon as I met everyone, they kept telling me about this kid from NJ, and asking me if I knew him, lol. I couldnt really figure out how to explain that NJ is the most densely populated state in America, so I most likely did not know him. So when I met him, I did NOT know him, lol. His name is Andy, and hes actually from Rochelle Park, which Ive heard of and is close to Nutley. How about that? He came with one of his flatmates, Oliver, who is British, so I talked with them for a while. Andy and I kept saying that America sucks, haha. There was also a kid there from Greece, but I cant think of any other nationalities except for Spanish, Greek, Italian, American and British. So it was a mix, but it was fun.
This morning Andy and I met up before the enrolment session, so we could walk over together. We get there and theres a long queue waiting, and they ask us if we have our acceptance letters – of course we didnt, because no one told us to bring them. But there were a bunch of other people who didnt have them either so we werent the only idiots. Instead of going the fast track lane, we had to go over to another section and have them look us up and print out our letter. Then we had to go find a Northumbria staff member (they all wore these blue sashes that said Northumbria University on them..reminded me of girl scouts..) at a computer so they could walk us through the enrolment process (and yes, Im aware that enrollment has 2 Ls, but it doesnt in England.). Which was basically going through to make sure all our information was correct. Then we had to go to the financial dudes, who just asked us how we were going to pay. So I told them I had already paid through NJSCIS, and they wrote that down. They didnt even double check to make sure I wasnt lying. We then went to the photo station, where they take your picture for your Smart (ID) card. We had to hold up a number in the picture, and I felt a little bit like a convict, but oh well. So by this point, Andy and I are confused because we thought we had to register for classes. We asked someone for help, and no one could really give us a straight answer so we went over to the international office. Which took us FOREVER to find because neither of us knew where we were going. We get to the office, and the receptionist is really nice and calls the head of the Study Abroad office up to speak with us in person. It was Melissa Schueler, who Ive emailed tons of times, and she explained to us that yes, we were registered for classes and that we would get our timetables (schedules) the next day at the welcome session. Good, thats all we had wanted to know, because we werent sure if we would have had to scramble around to find classes to take. I hope I get the British Culture class, because they take you on trips to see famous British things.
After I got back, Silvia came by and wanted to know if I wanted to go to the store after lunch. It was like 12:30ish, so I said, Sure, what time? and shes like Half past 3. I completely forgot that the Spanish have a different eating schedule, especially with the siesta in the middle of the day. She made me lunch around 1:30 though – it was a really good dish, I just have no idea what it was called. It had eggs, rice, chicken, and peas, and was sooo good. Then we left for Morrisons, the cheap grocery store. Its like a 20 minute walk through the ugly parts of Newcastle, but what can you do? Actually shopping was terrible though. I knew British food was gross, but I had no idea it would be so impossible to shop for. Im so obsessed with food labels that I just wanted to find the lowfat stuff…you know, lowfat bread, lowfat yogurt, lowfat oatmeal, etc. But I couldnt really find lowfat anything. I bought Weight Watchers bread, EatSmart yogurt, and cereal. I had to buy real oatmeal, because all the instant flavors were gross. And the milk was the weirdest thing. Instead of whole milk being in the red container,and the skim in the blue, it was the reverse – skim in red, whole in blue, so I almost bought whole milk which would probably make me sick since I havent drank whole milk since I was about 1. I had to buy strawberry jam, not jelly, lol. I also got toiletries and hangers and dishware, since I didnt bring all that. Oh, and you have to pay a pound to unlock the shopping carts, which are all chained together. How odd, and really stupid. To get home, we had to take a taxi, because the walk was too far with all those bags.
After we got back, we unpacked the groceries, and then left to meet up with Micael to go into the Newcastle Shopping Centre. Which is HUGE. Its like in any city…the street lined with shops that you just go in and out of. Kind of like New York, but New York is probably better. Theres also an inside mall, but no one calls it a mall, but thats what it is, and theres tons of shops in there too. A lot of shoe shops, luckily, so I can go find a pair of bar/clubbing shoes or boots. Silvia and Micael took me to Wilkinsons which is this dirt cheap store where I got a pillow, a comforter and some sheets. They needed to add minutes to their phones, so we went there too. We also went to this frozen foods place where everything is really cheap, but I didnt get anything. I think I may go back tomorrow to do some shopping, and go to the post office. If I can find it again.
We got back, and I made myself a sandwich and a bowl of cereal (thats basically going to be all I eat for the next 5 months. Hey, at least Ill lose 20 pounds just in time for summer..), and then played around on the computer to see if I could watch the Greys I missed from like 2 weeks ago. But apparently you can only access the full episodes on ABC.com if youre within the United States. Screw you, ABC, you ethnocentric jackasses. Europeans want McDreamy and McSteamy and Karev too, you know. So then I laid down with The Golden Compass and instead of reading, fell asleep for about 5 hours, lol. And here I am, chatting to some Americans while typing up my blog. Oh, and waiting for this Greys ep to download, since Anthony is a lifesaver and sent me this other site for tv episodes. Its going to suck missing all these tv shows, especially when I dont have a real tv to watch. I thought Id be able to just hit up the eps online, but noooo, ABC is dumb. Perhaps Fox will let you watch eps, so I dont miss House too along with Greys and Brothers and Sisters.
Anyway, Im going to go upload this and get back to sleep so I can be up early to shower before my Welcome Session at 10. Ill write again soon…Miss everybody!
posted Wednesday January 2008