Days 54-64: the history of fish and chips is fascinating

Sunday March 5th-Wednesday March 15th

RE: the title–I saw this post on Tumblr, and Googled to double-check it, which led me to this cool BBC article with more info.

I crashed after all the stuff I did on Saturday.  Slept through all of Sunday and most of Monday and Tuesday.  Should probably go to the doctor.  I managed to get out to buy groceries on Monday, which was good because I was down to frozen rice and a sack of oranges and nothing else.

The PPLS ball people posted the official photos from the ball.  They were taken by someone called Perry Jonsson.  I’m making a weird face (that grimace is my “I’m exhausted and I can feel my heart having a mild freakout” face and the one with the candy is “hope no one notices how informal and klutzy I’m being”) in almost every one I’m in:

[Image description: six photos.  In the first, I am sitting at a fancy table, wearing a blue-green dress and pulling a RedVine out of the glass it was arranged in while making a vaguely awkward face.  In the second, I’m walking with a line of people down the dance floor.  In the third, I’m ducking under people who are making an arch with their arms.  In the fourth, I’m grimacing and clapping.  In the fifth, I’m grimacing and making an arch with my dance partner for people to walk under.  In the sixth I’m seen from above, from the back, standing in a line of people on the dance floor.]

I continued to spend all my time sleeping throughout the rest of the week, which is worrisome.

I finally forced myself to perk up during the weekend, and even dragged myself to see Logan at the movie theater near me to remind myself that I am a real human being who goes outside and wears real clothes and does things that are not sleeping.  (I wasn’t actually feeling better, but I decided I had waited for long enough, and I had to do things again.)  If any of you ever go to a movie at the Odeon Cinema on Lothian road, yes that is a pizzeria in the place where the theater should be.  The theater is underground and the entrance is in the pizzeria–the ticket machines are off to one side.  Anyway, the movie was great and I cried throughout the whole thing, but especially at the end; I would’ve felt bad for the people next to me, but they talked through the entire movie so, like, they could deal with me sobbing next to them for the last five or ten minutes.  But yeah, I had to like… hold my breath during the quiet part before the credits music started so that I didn’t distract everyone with my wailing.  I stayed until the end but there wasn’t an after-credits scene, so I felt silly.  (I suspected there might not be, but I would’ve felt really silly if I left and then there was one.)

I did laundry on Sunday, but only out of necessity, and that took up all of my energy.  Then I spent a bit of time in the evening being confused about Daylight Savings time.  My calendar (which is used to me being in the U.S.) said it was on Sunday, but I hadn’t noticed my computer/phone clocks changing automatically.  It looks like it doesn’t happen here for another two weeks, which is going to be confusing if I try to call home anytime soon.  (Not that I do it that often, since Skype hates my computer, but still.)

So now I have to drag myself out of the academic pit trap* I slumbered my way into.  I’ll try to write about the nitty-gritty process here, since I’m sure it’ll be different from Hampshire, and it might come in handy for future students who have similar problems.  Either that or I’ll be writing about how to gracefully drop out of study abroad and slink back home with one’s tail between one’s legs, but well.  We’ll see.

I decided to start afresh on Monday.  Yay!  New beginnings!  I only have one class, and it’s later in the day, so I could spend the morning taking care of all the communication I’d gotten behind on and then I could go to just one class and take it easy.  Of course, this was immediately ruined when I woke up late, with just enough time to realize that there was no way I could make it to class.  Then, once I finally got out of bed and started to get ready to face the day, I was delayed by an allergy-induced headache due to maintenance people coming in and spraying scented stuff at my fire alarm to test… something or other.

The first order of business was to make my first ever call with my new phone!  Yes, I’ve had it for about two months and haven’t called anyone before now.  (Now that I think about it, I need to go pay for it again on Tuesday.)  I called the uni’s Health Service to make an appointment to figure out if this is just the usual slow recovery due to chronic illness or something else.  Also I think I’m supposed to get a doctor’s note for this long of an absence.  Then came the scary part–checking my email.  I’d been too tired to deal with the stress of looking at it, and now I had 79 unread emails.  Even after I deleted the random crap (mostly stuff from Hamp that just isn’t relevant to me right now) there were still 37 left.

I decided it was time to make a run to the post office.

I started to wade through my email after I went to the post office, took care of several completely necessary chores, and ate dinner.  The emails from people at Edinburgh were calmer than I’d expected, mostly just checking to make sure I wasn’t dead.  The most panic-inducing thing was the set of emails reminding me about Div III faculty requests.  Whoops.  (I finally came up with an idea that I like a few weeks ago, which is a miracle because I thought it would never happen.)

The first person I emailed was my personal tutor, since this is exactly the sort of situation where I’m supposed to email him.  Then I emailed my Traditional Drama teacher, because I had the clearest idea of how to catch up in his class.  I decided to save the other emails for Tuesday morning.

Naturally, I crashed hard on Tuesday.  I eventually managed to get the other emails sent, and I made it to my appointment, but that was it.  The doctor said that yeah, some people just get really tired after a bacterial infection, and I had it a lot worse since I’m already chronically ill.  He said that I didn’t need a note from him, so of course when I got home and checked my email my personal tutor had replied saying that I should get a doctor’s note.  I’ll have to do that soon.

I had a bunch of important errands I needed to run on Wednesday morning (refilling my phone, withdrawing money so I could go grocery shopping in the evening) but nope!  I was way too tired for that.

I checked my email on Wednesday morning and had three emails from Hamp about the snow and one email from the person who did the extended deadline stuff for Current Issues–she’s also the course secretary for Pragmatics, and she was the first person who noticed something was wrong.  She said that in this kind of situation, my best bet is to apply for Special Circumstances.  It’s basically what you do when something out of your control affects your ability to do assignments or attend exams and it’s going to be really hard to catch up.  If the committee approves you for Special Circumstances they can do stuff like remove late fees.  (Because apparently here, if something’s more than seven days overdue, it’s a zero.  Yikes!  I think almost all my stuff is overdue by more than seven days!)  So I’m hoping to meet with my personal tutor and work on the paperwork.

But–most importantly and miraculously of all–I made it to my classes on Wednesday!  I was pretty lost in both of them, which wasn’t a surprise, but at least I was there.  I also went to Health Services and talked to them about a doctor’s note, which looks like it’s going to take a while to get.  (I hope that delay doesn’t set me too far back.)  If any of you find yourselves in a similar situation, talk to Health Services about a doctor’s note as soon as possible, because it turns out you can’t just get one right away.

I also went to talk to one of my teachers during office hours–not about the class I’d missed but about my Div III idea–but she wasn’t in.  Should’ve emailed ahead, oh well.

I’d planned on going to another one of the LangSoc lectures on Wednesday night, but I went to lie down on my bed for a sec while I tried to remember what I was forgetting to put in my bag, and then I just couldn’t convince myself to get back up and go.  (Which sucks because the person lecturing was one of my teachers.  Although to be honest, I didn’t really get the abstract–I mostly wanted to go so I could interact with other human beings who have interests in common with mine.)  The schedule of lectures and socials only goes to the end of March, so I don’t know if there are going to be more events that just aren’t on it yet, or if that’s when it stops.  There’s only one more lecture after this one and I’ll be kind of bummed if I end up not going to very many since they’re such a great resource.  I haven’t gone to any of the socials yet either–there was one I wanted to go to while I was sick, but I couldn’t manage it at all.

*There are spikes at the bottom and they are barbed.

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