Saturday, September 14, 2013

Blisters and Rewards

So I've been in Birmingham almost one entire week. A week of running around, getting lost, setting up a bank account, asking for assistance, confusing coins, breaking umbrellas, and being approached by geese with questionable intentions.

Face of innocence? I think not.

My advice for new students and especially internationals is: be prepared... And then be prepared for everything to change. The ideals you have in your mind aren't always feasible. Not many things can be done on the spot. Bank accounts take days to set up, and phone selection requires research. It's difficult but also beneficial for me to learn flexibility because I like to have a plan. Surprisingly though, as I had to adjust my plans during the course of the week, the adjustment wasn't as much of a crisis as I thought it would be. Although the process has had its frustrating moments, it's mostly been rewarding and liberating. I am responsible for everything. And I am getting things done.

Money spent so far on necessities and food: about 250 dollars. One broken umbrella as England toys with the weather: around 4 pounds. The blisters from running around the city and feelings of accomplishment after every step and interaction: priceless.

As my "have to's" are finally wrapping up (still need a coat for the chilly English autumn and a shower curtain, so I can stop flooding the bathroom floor) I'm looking forward to international orientation and freshers week. I can't wait to make new friends and get out there for the"want to's."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Time flies when... no, flies always

So my flight is the day after tomorrow, and I'm not entirely sure how that happened because it seems to me that just yesterday I was researching universities in England to apply to. Today is my last day of work. As excited as I am to go, I know it's normal to have bittersweet feelings of leaving something comfortable and familiar. However, I know that staying in the comfortable and familiar setting won't help me achieve my dreams or bring me new and exciting experiences that I crave. Today, I received the news that Aston finally received my loan disbursement cheques, so I can stop worrying about that. I have been waging war on my suitcases for about two weeks now. Condensing and eliminating the things I don't need is a necessary evil but also liberating.

I am not really sure what to expect upon arrival. I've done the whole study abroad thing before but in a different city. You never know exactly what's coming, but I know already that there are plenty of people willing to help. I will create my own support system by reaching out. Anyway, in addition to the 'practical' there is also the 'exciting.' I've been wanting to return to England/Europe ever since I left, and now it's finally happening. I'm ready, let's roll.