Days 83-100: I’m going to be so sad if I can’t find the specific chocolate I’ve gotten hooked on when I go back to the U.S.

Monday April 3rd-Thursday April 20th

I think I have another cold.  This is deeply unfair because the only time I’ve gone outside this hall was when I bought groceries on Saturday.  Other than that, I’ve been holed up in my room, succumbing to the bone-deep weariness that is my constant companion.*  I guess my immune system must be in bad shape right now, since I’ve been so tired that I haven’t been eating properly.  And I don’t know what’s up with my sleep schedule–am I sleeping too much? not enough?  I can’t tell anymore.

I knew I should go to the Royal Mail place and pay for the Customs fee for my package on Wednesday, before I got any sicker, but I couldn’t manage it.  I do need to go soon, though, because I think I’m getting close to the deadline for when they get rid of it.  I think I also need to go to the doctor to get medications before the break starts?  Which I think is next week.  I’m so tired.

On the other hand, in a way, the cold is good.  Before I came down with it (assuming that I got it while shopping on Saturday) I may have been starting to feel a little bit better.  That was part of what got me up and running errands.  But then after running errands I immediately got tired, worse than I’d been in a while, even though I’d thought I hadn’t overdone it.  I was annoyed–normally I know my body pretty well and I’d thought I was doing better.  But now that I know I was coming down with a cold during that time (with this sort of stuff I always have a period of intense exhaustion beforehand) I can hold out hope that I may be able to get things done once it’s gone.

Realizing this gave me a little burst of energy on Thursday, and I managed to make an appointment for my meds as well as go to the pharmacy for cold medicine.  It turns out Health Services isn’t closing next week.  I thought they were because I saw an ad at a bus stop that reminded people to find out when their doctors’ offices are closing for Easter Break and I was like, “Oh crap, I need to get my prescription before they close!”  Except I assumed that this upcoming Sunday was Easter and that the office would be closed for the whole week after.  I didn’t realize I was wrong until I put the appointment (for Monday) in my Google Calendar and saw that it’s the Sunday after next that’s Easter.  Which would explain why the website had a notice up saying that they’ll be closed the 14th through the 17th.  So it looks like Health Services only closes on the days on either side of the Easter weekend.

I was pretty sick on Friday (I didn’t get much sleep due to people yelling outside my window) so I didn’t get anything done, even though I had some important errands I needed to take care of.  On Saturday, I made my way over to the Royal Mail place to sort out the Customs fees for a shirt I bought.  I need to stop buying things from the U.S.–it’s awfully expensive.  I spent the rest of the day in bed with a ferocious sinus headache; I suspect I’m getting a sinus infection.  I get them about half the time I get sick, so I was sort of expecting it already.

Then I blah blah blah errands blah blah blah slept poorly blah blah blah went to the doctor blah blah blah.  I haven’t been getting much done over this break, because of my cold.  It’s annoying, because I was planning to catch up and go do some tourist stuff.  I haven’t done either of those things.  On the bright side, my sinus infection never fully manifested.

I got a LangSoc hoodie, mostly because I just really wanted a hoodie, but also as a very specific souvenir.  And because the joke was funny.  (This one is a design from a while ago–the one for this year says “I’d [ɾ] that” but I would have felt weird going around saying that on a sweatshirt.**  Also I can’t consistently produce [ɾ] when I speak Spanish and it makes me angry, especially because I use it all the time in English.)  I haven’t taken a picture of the hoodie I did buy yet, but I’ll get one soon and put it in my next post and tell you about how hilarious the joke on it is.

Easter Sunday was annoying, because I was finally conscious and wearing clothes at an appropriate time to go grocery shopping, but Lidl was closed.  Since I’ve been three times as tired as usual–or maybe more like tired^3–I haven’t been making it to the grocery store very often.  And I’m too exhausted to cook, so I’ve been eating a lot of premade stuff from the Sainsbury’s Local, which is expensive.  Lidl was open again on Easter Monday, though, so I got groceries then.

I’m confused about how exams work here.  I’ve mentioned this before, but when I registered with Disability Services, I told them that I would need to use dictation software for exams that had long writing sections.  I emailed them at the end of March–well before exams start–to make sure that I would have a room to myself so I could dictate.  It turns out that was “too late” even though I first talked about it with them in December.  I sent them a cranky email, so we’ll see what happens–my hands have been in bad shape recently, and I shudder to think what’ll happen if I have to handwrite an entire essay.  I doubt things’ll work out in my favor, because their reply telling me it was too late was from ages ago.  I didn’t see it until I remembered that oh yeah, I emailed them, and then never saw what they said; it got buried under a bunch of random crap in my inbox.  So anyway, be firm about what exam accommodations you’re going to need right at the beginning of your time here.  I should have just played it safe and said I would definitely need to use dictation software and have a room by myself, instead of saying, “I may need this, so keep that in mind.”  Because clearly no one kept it in mind.

(The main reason my hands have been in bad shape is because there’s nowhere in my room to do my exercises for them, since I need a lot of space.  If I get an email back telling me to suck it up, I’m going to give in and do them on the floor of the communal kitchen to try to get my hands in working order before exams.  I haven’t resorted to that yet because I’m already coming across as enough of a weirdo, plus the kitchen floor is kinda dirty.)

I’m also trying to book some travel stuff, and I’m not sure when my exams are.  No matter what happens with the dictation stuff, I’m supposed to be in a separate room–will my exams be at the same time as everyone else’s?  At a different time but still on the same day?  On a different day completely?  I’ve been having this problem a lot, where the websites for various disability/accessibility things are written assuming that the reader already knows a lot of the big, important parts and the site only needs to explain the details.  But I don’t know those, and it keeps tripping me up.  I think my exams are on the same day, at least, but I’m not sure.  One email said that they’ll send me a schedule two weeks beforehand, but I’d like to book my plane tickets now, so they’re not horribly expensive.  (And then another email seemed to say that I’d get the schedule six weeks beforehand, so that doesn’t help with my confusion.)

RE: my travel plans, I decided I’m gonna book stuff for the 27th onwards; I may end up kicking around Edinburgh with nothing to do for a day or two, but that’ll give me more time to pack.  I believe I get booted out of my room here on June 2nd, and I’m not sure whether or not I’ll come back before then, or if I’ll just move out once exams are over and go travel.  The first thing I have planned is a trip to London for a few days, to see Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night at the Globe.  Twelfth Night is my favorite Shakespeare play, and I actually haven’t seen Romeo & Juliet performed before (I don’t think I’ve even seen any of the movie versions!), so it should be a pretty cool experience!  (I did read Romeo & Juliet in one night right at the beginning of my first year of high school though.  I went to a private middle school (which was a genuinely horrible experience) and when I went to a public high school*** it turned out our reading curriculums hadn’t matched up at all.  So my English teacher was like, “Okay here are these essay prompts!  Do this essay in, like, the first three days of your high school experience so I can see what kind of writer you are!” and I hadn’t read any of the books.  There were a few other kids with the same problem, so she finally gave us an alternate prompt for To Kill a Mockingbird.  But I spent one night thinking I was going to have to write an essay on one of the books she’d listed, and I owned the complete works of William Shakespeare, so I read Romeo & Juliet in one night.  I don’t remember any of it.  Most of my Romeo & Juliet knowledge comes from this video.  On the other hand, I spent all of last semester doing a costume design project for Twelfth Night so I’m just sitting here like, “SHOW ME THE HORRIBLE YELLOW PANTS.”)

Wow that parenthetical got away from me.  Anyway, I bought my play tickets and my plane tickets and I booked my hostel room (I polled my internet friends RE: where to look for lodgings and one linked me to this site, which I ended up using) and I felt like a very panicked fake grownup the whole time.  I did book my plane tickets for the trips between the U.S. and Scotland, but I was in the room with my parents, and they could double-check before I committed.  Oh well, if there’s one thing that going to school at Hampshire has taught me, it’s that if you just talk to people and make sad faces and are very polite and non-shouty, you can fix most of your problems.  And having to deal with health insurance for my various chronic conditions taught me that a lot of the rest of your problems can be fixed by being politely angry instead.

*Me?  Melodramatic and whiny when confronted with illnesses outside of my usual ones?  I have no idea what you’re talking about.

**[ɾ] is the IPA symbol for the sound the two ts make when a North American English speaker says “better” with anything but the crispest pronunciation.  It sounds a fair bit like a d.  The joke is that it’s known as a “tap”, so the sweatshirt said, “I’d tap that”.

***I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that “private” and/or “public” means something else with respect to schools in the U.K. but I’m too lazy to look it up.


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