Days 101-125: apparently there are more statues of animals than women in Edinburgh

Friday April 21st-Monday May 15th

(link to article I stumbled across about the statues)

Okay, so immediately after I published the post where I talked about booking my plane tickets, I realized that I might not want to return to Edinburgh.  I was too busy being anxious about being an adult that I forgot I might want to go straight from London to Spain.  (I haven’t decided where yet–there’s one place I want to go but it might be too complicated to get to it.  I want a beach, though.  I don’t care if it’s a cold beach; I grew up in NorCal.  I’ll rent a wetsuit if I have to.)  My current plan is to take a few days to work on logistics–mostly involving getting my belongings home–and then change my booking if I need to.  I also originally booked my flight home to the U.S. to leave from Edinburgh, so I may need to change that as well.  The big variable here is my suitcase.  It’s too big to mail (and I am gonna mail some of my stuff home) but it’s too nice to abandon here.  (I asked my parents if I was allowed to and the answer was no.  I should’ve brought one of our crappy suitcases instead, or maybe bought a super cheap one, because then I wouldn’t be having this problem.  Seriously, my travel plans hinge almost entirely on figuring out what to do with my suitcase.)  There are so many logistics involved in studying abroad and traveling and also owning more clothing than any one human being reasonably needs!

I spent a decent bit of Friday morning kicking myself not only for the ticket thing, but also for messing up trying to return a pill organizer I bought on Amazon.  Apparently mailing it “by the 21st” means “before the 21st”.  Yeah, I shouldn’t have put it off until the last minute but the phrasing made me think the 21st was included in the window of time where I could mail it.  So now I’m not gonna get those £10 back and I don’t have a functional pill organizer.  Ugh.  (The one I brought with me was sturdy but it eventually broke, and this one was a piece of crap that fell apart almost immediately.)

I spent the rest of Friday alternately sleeping and sneezing my head off, for no apparent reason.  (The sneezing, I mean.  I was sleeping because I was tired.)

Anyway, as of the 21st, break is officially over, but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing now.  It’s time for “revisions” but I don’t know what that means.  I mean, I know the literal American English translation or whatever–it’s studying for finals–but I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing.  Our classes are over, right?  Are there study sessions I’m supposed to be going to?  Or is it just on my own?  I’m not used to having this huge chunk of time for stuff like that, since at Hampshire you’ve usually got a big project you’ve been working on for weeks, not a test.  And even when I had a UMass class with a final exam, it was only the week after classes ended.  Some people I know here are traveling right now, so maybe that means there’s nothing official that we’re supposed to be doing.  I haven’t had the chance to find out, since I’m still not feeling great.  I think I’m over the worst of it, but the problem is that when I was sick, I didn’t have the energy to take care of myself.  So now my body is out of whack and I’m still having difficulty doing things.

Also, it looks like I accidentally fried my camera battery’s charger.  My converter is supposed to convert current stuff as well as plug shape, but a while ago my battery was charging and I heard a popping noise and smelled burnt plastic.  I unplugged it, and the battery seemed fine, so I put it in my camera and went about my day.  (I did consult a friend who said that the numbers for my charger/the converter seemed okay.)  But now that I’m trying to charge the battery again, it’s not working.  I’ve bought a cheap charger on Amazon that’s supposed to plug into my computer instead; that way I won’t have to worry about getting a replacement when I get home, since any wall charger I buy here would have the wrong plug for the U.S.  So, uh, check your electronics thoroughly for compatibility, I guess?  I don’t even know how to do that–I was just trusting that the converter would work.  Of course I did get the charger secondhand, so maybe it was its time to die, but it always made an unsettling buzzing noise when I charged it here that it didn’t make back home.

(Update–I got the new charger very quickly, since I paid for faster shipping.  I was vaguely worried it somehow wouldn’t be compatible with my computer, but it was and it works!)

I do finally know when my exams will be–I have one each on the 17th, the 23rd, and the 24th.  (Side note: so many people are already done with their finals, but mine go almost up to the last day, so everyone’s running around partying and I am very much not.  I keep getting irrationally worried that I misread the dates for my exams and missed them because everyone else keeps talking about how they’re done.)  Unfortunately, they’re not gonna let me use Dragon Dictate.  The Disability Services people said I could apply for Special Circumstances, but since I’m already dealing with that for all my other stuff, I’ll try to soldier through.  I just pity whoever’s gonna have to read my handwriting, especially since it’ll degrade as the test goes on.

This situation is pretty frustrating.  I know I talked about using Dragon Dictate on exams in the Skype meeting in December, but the email from Disability Services says they have no record of it.  I guess the person I talked to didn’t write it down.  I went into that meeting thinking that I should do that thing you see on “how to be an adult” advice blogs where they say to take notes and then send the person you met with an email being like, “Just to confirm…” and listing the stuff you agreed on.  That way, you can pull up an email with timestamps that shows you did talk about x, y, and z.  But I didn’t bother, and now I’m regretting it.  At Hampshire, the student body is small enough and the administration flexible enough that I could work around this, but that’s not the case here.  So to add to what I said in my last post: get anything involving your accommodations in writing.  Emails with dates attached are a good way to do that.  Instead of saying, “Oh well I might need this but I don’t want to be a bother,” tell people that you are going to need that accommodation; you probably will need it but they’ll take anything less than a firm statement as you saying you won’t.

I still haven’t gotten the original Special Circumstances paperwork together because my health really hasn’t been bouncing back the way I thought it would.  I’ve moved from “well that’s annoying” to “something might be seriously wrong”.  I’m going to make a doctor’s appointment, but since they’re not open during the weekend, I’ll have to wait until Monday to call.

On Sunday the 14th, I booked the luggage mailing thing.  (The company is called Seven Seas; I found them through a brochure in the Portsburgh Court lobby.)  I decided that I’m not going to mail my suitcase–instead, I’m going to mail my duffel bag.  It’s really unwieldy, and I hated dealing with it when I flew in.  My suitcase is a better piece of luggage, and if I’m going to haul one of the two around Europe, I’d prefer it be that one.  (Or I may find a way to store it here.)  The company is going to pick my duffel bag on the 19th, so I have a few days to shove as much of my clothing as possible into it; I actually got most of it packed Sunday night, because I’d been thinking for a while about what should go in.  Packing it early also means that I have a little time to make sure I don’t need to take anything back out.

(Update as of Monday morning–I have already broken into the duffel to retrieve an article of clothing because I thought of a cute outfit that incorporates it.)

Also, with respect to my travel plans, I’m leaning towards leaving my London trip tickets the way they are.  I know myself well enough to know that I may not finish packing my entire room up before I go, and so it might be a good idea to come back here, pack for the two or so days before they kick me out, and then (hopefully?) go to Spain.  That could get expensive, though, so we’ll see.  It would also mean I could leave my huge suitcase in my room for my London trip–even though I prefer to overpack, I’m perfectly capable of packing light, so that way I could just bring my backpack.

I also made a late discovery on Monday!  I was tossing my phone around (which is a habit I should probably break) and I dropped it in the crack between my bed and the wall.  This has happened before, but that time it was close enough to the edge that I managed to stick my hand in a teensy hole and pull it out.  This time, it was solidly in the middle, so I went to the front desk to ask for help.  It turns out I’ve had underbed storage available this entire time!  The person at the front desk came and showed me that if you pull the mattress up, there are panels you can lift to put things under.  I’ve been disgruntled the whole time I’ve been here, because I could tell the bit under my bed was hollow, so why wasn’t it open for storage?  But I never thought it would be set up like that–I’m used to just a plain space under the bed, or maybe drawers set into the base.  So if you live in Portsburgh Court (and if they don’t change the beds–this place was actually sold to a different company at some point while I was sick and not paying attention, so things may change) make sure to lift the mattress up and check for panels you can open.

And yeah, we did get my phone out.

(Also whoops, I forgot to get a photo of my LangSoc sweatshirt.  Next post, maybe?)


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