Tuesday January 17th-Thursday January 19th.
(Update on the hair dryer/no plugs in the bathroom thing–my friend Owen told me it is indeed a U.K. thing to not have plugs in the bathroom, so as to prevent electrocution accidents. I’m deeply amused by what this implies about us Americans.)
On Tuesday, I was late to my first class, partially because my bad leg was hurting, but mostly because I couldn’t get myself to walk quickly. No matter how hard I tried, I just tottered along. Once I got to class, the cold I’d felt coming hit me in the face like a ton of bricks, and I realized that was why I’d been so slow walking over. Sure, I’d been sniffling for a couple of days, but suddenly I thought I was running a fever, and I was wobbling when I tried to sit up straight. I made it through my classes, but instead of doing the Health Services stuff, I went home. At least when I bought groceries on Monday I bought a few instant meals, so I made some disgusting microwave noodles with veggies and shrimp. The food (and the cold medicine I’d bought) made me feel perky enough to decide to take out the trash. That’s when I made an amazing discovery: I have a backyard! This means I now have a place to take fashion blog photos.
After I spent most of the afternoon zoning out while coughing miserably, I slouched off to Ali’s Cave for the third time to buy more stuff–this time it was cleaning supplies and a few more kitchen things. I really wasn’t expecting how much all the stuff I’ve bought over the last week would add up. See at Hampshire, when I’ve lived in a mod, I’ve been living with people I was already friends with, and we had a culture of sharing our stuff. We share a lot of our food and the majority of our cooking and cleaning supplies. But that’s not how it works on this hall–and that’s not a bad thing, it’s just different! (There were times I wished we didn’t share our stuff in the mod–I once had to ban one modmate from using my cast iron skillet because they almost ruined it. They turned out to be an awful person anyway.) It does, however, mean that I need to buy a set of kitchen stuff for one person, cleaning supplies, etc. Plus there’s the stuff I had to re-buy, like bedding, because it’s not worth it to bring it with me. And sometimes I’ve had to buy more expensive stuff than I’d like, because I can’t walk far, or I’m too tired to find a better bargain. I know that most study abroad students live in the dorms (I wonder if this is part of the reason) but for hypothetical future students reading this blog: plan ahead. I’m not sure how, but. Plan ahead.
Of course, I couldn’t relax and clean–I had an old enemy to deal with. Homework. I’m used to having classes that are either M/W, T/Th, or once a week. But here, two of my classes meet three days in a row! On Monday night, I didn’t process that I would need to do homework–but then I walked into the second session of the class I’d switched into (Current Events in Semantics and Pragmatics) and realized that, oh no, I was already behind. It turns out that class has a lot of long, dense readings–maybe some of them are for the people taking it as a post-grad course? I hope so, because I only skimmed the two long ones that were due on Tuesday, since I needed to move on to the readings for Wednesday; I’m a fast reader, but I didn’t have that much time. Sigh. Second day of classes and I’m behind. Don’t be me, hypothetical future students. Look up your homework right away and do it on time, because you will probably have some due almost immediately. Also, figure out how to work Blackboard in advance; it took me about twenty minutes to find the readings for that class.
Once I moved on to the other class’s homework (this one is Pragmatics, and I haven’t been to my Traditional Drama class yet because it only meets once a week) I realized I should probably be doing my Pragmatics homework before my Current Issues homework. As you may be able to guess from the names, they’re closely linked, but the Pragmatics readings (so far) are much more of a casual explanation of things. In other words, they make a good jumping-off point for understanding my Current Issues readings. (It does look like both of them are using slightly different logical notation from what I’m used to, which is going to trip me up; I hope they’ll figure out what I mean if I slip and use my version. I don’t know if it’s a U.K. versus U.S. thing, or a teacher-by-teacher thing.)
I didn’t go to my classes on Wednesday because I was too sick. Like I said, somewhat suppressed immune system + chronic illness + cold = very sick. (One of my hallmates is also sick, but I don’t think I got it from her–I think it would’ve been too quick, plus I suspect I remember someone coughing right on me last week. I’m pretty sure I even remember going, “Oh no, that’s gonna give me a cold” when it happened.) It was a bummer, because besides missing classes, this also meant I missed the Student Activities Fair, which is basically the equivalent of Hampfest. At least I’d already picked out the groups I wanted to join. They make you pay to join them here, which is very weird to me.
While I was lying around being miserable, I made one very important (and tragic!) discovery that no one had warned me about. If you have a U.S. Netflix account and you go to the U.K. it will think you are a U.K. user and you will not be able to watch a lot of shows/movies that are available in the U.S. I wanted to watch The Clone Wars (the animated series) while I coughed my lungs up but noooooooo it’s not available on U.K. Netflix. Naturally I chose to watch something else and most certainly did not do anything illegal in any way, shape, or form. (I didn’t just laze about all day! I wrote silly poetry.* Oh, all right, and I did my homework.)
On Thursday, I was late to Pragmatics again, because our class is bigger than expected and they keep changing the room, but only telling us what building we’ve moved to, and not the actual classroom number. (I’m starting to think this is a fairly common thing they do here, because I’ve had this problem a few times. The building will be listed, but the room won’t be, so I have to run around looking at all the little monitors outside the classrooms trying to find which one it’s listed on. I’d advise future students to show up pretty early for their classes–Appleton Tower, especially, is a maze.) It was a fun class, though. I said, like, one smart thing and then went back to spacing out because I was still pretty sick.
The main reason I went to classes on Thursday is because it was the first day of Traditional Drama. I decided to take this class because my committee chair at Hampshire said that if I took a non-Linguistics class, it should be Scottish-themed somehow, so that it was something I could really only learn about while studying abroad. It looks like it’s going to be more than just Scottish drama, though, and we’ll be looking at stuff from all over Europe. The teacher is very enthusiastic and engaging and I’ve already said “asshole” in front of the whole class.
Soon I’ll have a new quest to embark upon: the laundry.
*I’ve gotten really into the “i lik the bred” meme recently–I really feel like I was destined for it as my name is from Middle English and there’s currently some debate among meme scholars over the meme is meant to resemble Middle English or if it’s just another “funny animal” style like lolcats, doge, ratemyreptile, you are doing me a frighten, or birdsrightsactivist. I personally lean towards Middle English and oh my god I can’t believe I’m talking about this in a blog for school. Anyway. I wrote many variations on “i lik the bred” while sick. Here’s a blog-exclusive one for all of you that I wrote on Thursday night:
my name is blythe
i am real sik
and i must dew
my homework kwik
for i dew feel
and i wud lyk
tu go tu bed