The flight was fine. I’ve had worse, but I’ve definitely had better. The overnight six hour flight is miserable. By the time they serve dinner, I had four and a half hours until landing. So I tried desperately (eye mask + head phones + benadryl) to sleep for those four hours. But the guy next to me kept elbowing me. The flight attendant woke me up to make sure my seatbelt was on. My earbud headphone kept popping out out. And about halfway through the last of my advil that I had taken to combat a migraine had worn off. So, instead of sleeping, I spent about three hours in a migrainey benadryl sleepy haze before the flight attendants woke us up again for coffee and pastries.
The first thing I did when I was off the plane was hit the espresso, which took care of the migraine and the sleepy haze. At some point I hit that line where despite the fact that you are obviously exhausted, you are no longer sleepy or tired. Even without more coffee. So the events recorded below pretty much all took twice as long because I was in this hazy automatic place.
The bus got to campus a little before one. I brushed off the support of an awkward Christian Coalition1 first year guy and strode up the hill to Northfield, which is on the furthest point of campus. I had no problems with housing besides having tricky keys.
I spent about half an hour trying to get my internet connected. In order to set up my laptop, I needed a username and password combination that had been emailed to me or had been saved on my Cloud. Which creates a bit of a catch 22. Thankfully, the password was saved on my browser somewhere and I just went through my saved passwords until I found the right one. The wifi here is apparently not set up yet, and I do not relish going through that process with my phone.
The next thing I did was get on a bus, with my now-empty large suitcase2, and went into Brighton to stock up on things I needed like bedding and kitchen supplies.
(Sussex sells a kitchen and a bedding kit for about 35 quid each. In retrospect, getting at least the kitchen kit from campus would have been cost effective, but I could just not bring myself to stare at that ugly duvet cover for an entire year.)
Argos. A cross between Walmart and IKEA and catalog shopping with instant gratification. My mother and grandmother would go insane if there were locations in the States. You look through catalogs, write down the catalog number of the items you want, pay for them, then they pull it from their on site warehouse for you and it’s ready in about ten minutes.
I pawed through the catalog for about an hour before I realized that half the stuff just wasn’t in stock and switched to using their computer, which adds a different complication of vocabulary. e.g., Searching for “pot” gets nothing, but searching for “saucepan” gets you what you want. (What’s wrong with pot? There’s a whole five letters less in that word!)
Because I am cheap/broke and only here for a year, I attempted to get the cheapest thing in stock, which resulted in sheets that are presently akin to cardboard texture and towels that barely live up to their name. But, considering the 5 to 6 quid difference between their bottom of the line and the next rung up… well, I’ll deal. Fabric softener.
I went to the dollar store afterward – well, excuse me. Poundland. So, the $1.60 store. I have a feeling that Poundland and I will get very close in the next year or so. There I stocked up on hangers and toilet paper and soap. Then I realized I had forgotten a pot and a pan, so I went back to Argos and went through that process a second time.
(During this adventure, despite the fact that the details are lost in my zombie haze, I remember being very chatty and friendly. It’s too bad I don’t remember anyone I actually spoke with.)
I got back to campus around six, showered (which, truly, was the motivation for going to Argos in the first place as I did not have a towel)… and realized that I needed a bathmat and a basket for my shower. I went to the grocery store on campus to get dinner, which had been plum picked clean of such things as salt and bread and dishsoap. Considering how far I am from down town, it’s rather irritating to constantly find new things I need.
I slept for twelve hours. Made coffee and porridge, then started writing this entry and just answered the flat’s doorbell in my pjs (got a wide eyed “Wow, that’s a cool tattoo.” from an undergraduate RA)… which reminds me, it’s like noon here. I should get dressed and restart the process of stocking up now that I’m not a jetlagged zombie.
1 Their obvious presence, plus the amount of Jesus cars I saw in downtown Brighton, was a bit of a surprise.
2 Let me tell you how jealous I was of all those first years with cars stuffed with their shit. Also, biking into town is totally not an option: the bus ride took more than thirty minutes and the roads were kind of intense without bike lanes.