Pieces of my world

Tuesday, October 03, 2006



Well I arrived here safe and sound. To contrary belief, going to university wasn't the trial of the century, or akin to climbing Mount Everest after all. I don't know why I was so stressed at all. My train was on time (I feared I'd miss it- I took a gamble and bought a student getaway on a specific train); nor did it blow up (I had visions of Potters Bar or the Madrid fiasco). In Durham I didn't collapse on the cobbled pavement under the weight of my luggage (although I almost killed myself dragging home my shopping from Tesco- home delivery is calling my name!) and the taxi on the other end was only £3 and the driver put my (very heavy- whhhhyy did I buy saucepans and textbooks in Manchester????) luggage in the boot for me (UNHEARD of in Manchester, where drivers deliberately take the longest route and sit and pretend they don't see you struggling with a huge suitcase into the back). My room is really nice and modern now I've got all my posters and wall hangings up (although please, do excuse the huge black mark on the floor- not my fault; it was like that when I came, honest).
I have been in Durham for four days. I feel as though I've been here two weeks. I've done SO much it's untrue. On arrival day we had a formal dinner (complete with tubs of playdoh-how random) and then Karaoke. The next day was spent decorating my room, journeying out on an expedition to Tesco (and Aldi, although I shouldn't admit to that- I got bananas, apples and oranges for £3! Bargain!) and on Band Night in the evening. I also had a 'party' late at night in my room (no music, just intellectual conversation and a glass of red wine with some really interesting people- I met this Norwegian guy who lived in Houston, Texas for 6 years and in Paris for one year and speaks 3 foreign languages fluently, how amazing is that??). Yesterday, I collected all my registration forms (which I have to do today), went to my introductory speech for my course, Combined Arts, signed up for classes at the Language Centre in Mandarin (so altogether I'm studying English, French, History and Mandarin...it's starting to sink in now that maybe, just maybe, I'm being a tad ambitious...) and dressed up and went to the Grease themed Evening in Cuths Bar (not to sound like a gushing schoolgirl, but they had a disco and a bouncy castle and everything!) I have also learnt how to cook on an electric cooker; that Waitrose really is expensive (I didn't believe the people who told me it was until I actually had to shop there!); that when cooking sausages it is better to overcook them and be safe rather than sorry- I certainly don't want to spend the entire evening worrying whether I've given myself food poisoning again- and I have also met hundreds of people (my voice is starting to give out a bit from having to shout over the really loud music in the bar when talking to people!) I haven't been clubbing (having never been, I wanted to see what it was like) but to be honest, I'm happy with meeting people in the Bar and at the College Ents and so I don't think I've missed very much. The people in Cuths are really very friendly- everyone says hi and smiles and and I get on ok with my flatmates (I don't have much in common with them and they're into clubbing, which isn't my scene, but it could be a lot worse). What else? I have tried drinks I have never tried before- my favourite so far is Snakebite (cider and blackcurrant, it's nicer than it sounds!) although I suppose I've only ever had two alcoholic drinks in my life (that and Barcardi and Coke). Seriously, I am SUCH a lightweight- the other night, after half a pint of snakebite and half a glass of red wine I was really giggly and found it a bit difficult to walk straight!!
There are some negatives, however. While my flatmates are reasonably quiet, the people above me have a love for dance and techno music (played so loud that my whole bed vibrates from the force of the bass) and when they get drunk it's invariably played until 5AM (although I went up to see them about it and they've switched it off earlier and had it on quieter since then, so last night I just slept through it). From what I've asked around the college, it's pretty much noisy everywhere- lots of people are having late parties everynight and coming in drunk, so what can you do?? Also, I put two frozen 'emergency' (ie: if I'm ill and can't go shopping) boxes of pizzas in the freezer and one of the boxes 'disappeared' overnight!! I didn't say anything, as my flatmates have offered me things like a glass of wine and I'd feel like a cheapskate, but I'm glad I've found out now, as I won't be putting anything nice in the freezer or fridge from now on, unless I eat it on the day I purchase it!!
I spent today queuing for various modules (luckily I got everything I wanted- 2 English Modules-Intro to the Novel and Intro to Poetry- 2 French modules- French Lang and Language, Power and the making of the French Nation- and one History module- racism in C19th America). I also spent two hours this afternoon registering for my campus card (now I am officially a student at Durham University. Strangely enough, it doesn't feel too different to previously) in what was basically a big white tent, with chandeliers and a carpet, oddly enough. The only positive is that I met lots of people in the queue from other colleges oh, and also, it's a NUS certified card so I can get student discounts with it- I'm glad I didn't pay for the 'NUS Extra' card now! My feet still kill from all that standing around, but at least I've done all my registration and can enjoy tomorrow (Matriculation and Freshers Fair). There's a Toga Night on in Cuths Bar this evening (where basically everyone wanders round in a bedsheet with a few strategically placed safety pins) but I don't think I'm going, as firstly I don't have a bedsheet, secondly I have nothing to wear beneath a bedsheet even if I bought one (and I don't think the entire student population of Cuths Bar would want to see me in my undies- in fact I'm sure they'd be scarred for life) and, thirdly, I am really tired! I think I've come out of my shell a bit more at uni and I'm a lot more confident when it comes to asking for help and directions. I'm finding that with a smile and 'hi' you can pretty much talk to anyone. However, I also feel really really old and disgustingly sensible- I want to go to bed early (before midnight) and I don't know how others stay up partying until 5AM and then wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 9! I'm also cooking proper meals (although when lectures start and I'm cold, tired and hungry, the option of picking up a fattening, empty calorie meal of a pasty and iced finger from Greggs will probably be too tempting to resist!) while my flatmates are subsisting on meals of cereal morning, noon and night. I don't know how they do it! Any less than 8 hours sleep and OctoberPoppy quickly transforms into the grumpy monster, never mind running around all day and then going clubbing again night after night and surviving on 4 hours sleep!
Overall though, I'm enjoying my time here much more than I thought I would, although I miss my family and am looking forward to them visiting. Anyway, I'd better dash, as I have to go and start tea (that's 'evening meal' for non-Brits; I've confused many an international student with that one)!!


Blogger litlove said...

So glad to hear you're getting on all right! Durham is a really nice place by all accounts. Let me know how you get on with the French!

10:17 pm  
Blogger sweetpea said...

oh its so lovely to read your blog everyday, it brightens me up everytime I log on especially now that the nights are getting colder.

So glad you arrived safely at your new destination Durham ,and that you are finding your feet at last. It also nice for your distant family who are probably wondering how you are getting on to see that you are.

Hope you get on alright with your Housemate eventually. What a shame that you have to contend with loud music most nights(people have no consideration for others)aah well I suppose thats Uni life you.

Hope you are able to continue with your blog now that you have started Uni proper and your not too bogged down with studies.

Well I will sign off now.Good luck

3:13 pm  
Blogger sweetpea said...

What a joy to read your blog everyday. It brightens up my day as the days are getting darker and colder.

Glad your enjoying Durham even though you have had a few hitches at the begining ie Loud music. Im sure this will pass.

How interesting you are doing Mandarin that will be interesting to see how you get on with this

Keep writting your blog its its so so interesting.

3:23 pm  

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