Day 1: my American accent already sounds wrong to me

Wednesday, January 11th.

Today has been mostly bad.  I’m going to try not to engage in too much whining (as much as I love to whine) because this blog is for school.  That being said, it would be hard to cast today in a positive light.  And if I tried to be positive on this blog all the time, I would never post anything.  So.


A visual aid to show you how I’m feeling.

[Image description: a photo of me with my chin resting in my left hand.  I am wearing red lipstick and looking disgruntled.]

The flights over (there were two because I had a layover in Heathrow) weren’t stellar, but they were fine.  (My bar for airplane flights is quite low, as I had a horrible experience in middle school and nothing’s ever come close to topping that.)  British Airways, it turns out, has absolutely no room to store your carry-on under the seat in front of you.  At least not when your carry-on is a large backpack.  So even though I tried not to be That Obnoxious American With The Oversized Luggage, I was a giant nuisance on my flight from New York to Heathrow.  Especially since I was in the aisle seat, so everyone had to step over my poorly-stowed luggage.  I put it in the overhead container for the next flight.

Because I don’t plan ahead, I didn’t actually test out how well it would work to balance my giant duffel bag on top of my giant suitcase beforehand.  It doesn’t work at all.  My dad pointed this out earlier, but I ignored him because I thought he was just being judgey.  He was, but he was also being right.  It’s so annoying when dads are right about things.  So there’s a tip, people: make sure you can actually carry your luggage.  I’m going to have to figure out something else for the trip back, because this was completely unsustainable.  I would go maybe two or three yards and then have to stop because my hand, arm, and shoulder hurt so much.

I finally made it to my accommodations (what they call housing) and I have to say, I think it’s a bit nicer than my room at Hampshire.  And, for the record, I live in a pretty nice Enfield mod.  I’m in Portsburgh Court, hence the name of this blog.  If future Hampshire students are thinking of living here: so far so good.  Although I think Study Abroad students usually live in the dorms–I’m just here because of my disability accommodations.  (I have to find a new word for that, since “accommodations” means “housing” here.)  There are other study abroad students in this building, though, so who knows.  One of my hallmates is already here and the rest will arrive sometime in the next few days.  Portsburgh Court is also less than a minute away from a small grocery store, which is great if you can’t walk long distances, like me.

Speaking of walking long distances, though!  It appears I am very bad at navigating cities without Google Maps nannying me along.  My phone doesn’t work over here and I haven’t gotten a new one yet.  (And when I do, it may not have apps.)  While I have a good sense of direction, and I’ve been able to get back to my accommodations every time I’ve gone out, I’ve gotten pretty badly lost multiple times.  I spent half an hour wandering around trying to figure out where a street had disappeared to, before I finally gave up and accepted that I was going to miss my appointment.  (I still don’t know where the street went, but I have to figure it out by tomorrow afternoon.)  Also: being a pedestrian here is a nightmare and I’m pretty sure I’m risking my life every time I step into the street.  I did catch the bus once to go run an errand, and then I walked back.  Bus fare is £1.60 for one trip for an adult, for the record.  My bad leg is killing me from all that walking, which is making my day even worse.

I know it’s not actually that bad; I’m just cold (my room’s heat was off at first), hungry, tired, and in pain.  Most of those things are going to improve soon–at 7 pm, there’s a welcome dinner for new visiting students so people are going to feed me.  The coldness is mostly fixed, since my room’s heat is on now, and it’s warming up in here.  And once I’ve eaten, I can go to sleep.  That’s good, because I keep dozing off.

On the bright side, I saw a lot of cute dogs while I was busy getting lost.


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