First

Hi friends. I am finally in the UK after months of talking and thinking about it. It still feels surreal. The reality hasn’t sunk in yet even though I sat through about 14 hours of flight and am experiencing 3 degree celsius weather. Still here but not here. I don’t know if it’s good or bad.

The night before I flew I couldn’t sleep. I must have finally drifted off after imagining the plane crash landing into the sea, my friend and I being two of the few surviving passengers. Something like that.

The Sunday I was due to fly I was extra flat. It would be my last home church service for the next half a year. Didn’t think I would get emotional but I did, a bit. Because people were so nice and stuff. A couple of my sweeties came to send me off and I got so many well-wishes that made me realize how very blessed I am. Then I was pretty much whisked away to fly with my other schoolmate. Was on autopilot all the way. I think I still am. Dang, when the reality sinks, I wonder if I’ll cry buckets.

Anyways, I managed to sleep intermittently and I didn’t get airsick, thank God. Watched Far From the Madding Crowd which was slightly disappointing because Carey Mulligan reminded me of my very smart tutor (accent accent) but her character wasn’t very smart after all even though she seemed so promising at the start. Rolls eyes. And I watched Hotel Transylvania 2 haha the baby kid was so cute.

Reached the transiting airport and it was relatively smooth through the customs so yes, another thank God mo. Then another 1 hour domestic flight. We walked past the baggage claim area when we arrived because the airport was not very intuitive. The baggage claim belts weren’t really moving and nobody in front of us seemed to stop to collect things so we just waltzed away before realizing we passed it. So we had to wait for someone to collect them for us and we sorted out SIM cards along the way. When we finally left the airport, I could see my breath and for a while, I was just distracted by how everyone looked like they were smoking haha.

Ordered a cab to drop my friend and I off at our respective halls. Cabbie was really nice and friendly and he tried to talk to us. He asked about what we were studying and then he asked me what Shakespeare I studied cos English Lit kid and cos he UK dude. We talked a bit about Hamlet. He asked me if I thought Hamlet was crazy and I said no, I thought he was just cowardly and that I didn’t like him very much. Then the cabbie asked if I thought Hamlet really saw the ghost of his dad or was he just hallucinating and I said he probably saw the ghost because how else would he know so specifically how his dad was killed, through pouring poison down his ear? It was quite a nice, short convo and I just felt quite refreshed to be able to discuss Literature with even a cabbie. You don’t get that at home. After a while, the convo just died cos my friend and I were both a bit jet lagged and didn’t really ask him much and so he just stopped talking too. Hope he didn’t feel offended and stuff. Also just not in our culture to really talk like that. At least for me.

Arrived at my temporary hall which I am typing in now. It’s a really small room and I honestly feel I’d be miserable staying in here long term so I’m glad it’s just for a couple of nights. It also seems especially little because I’ve lived in double rooms with roomies all my university life so. The only way I’m not being miserable in my room is really seeing the resemblance between this room and one of the music practice rooms back at junior college. We had a couple of little practice rooms like this, all small and carpeted, with outdated wooden furniture and a little soundproof. So I’m just imagining this room to be the practice room, the room called Beethoven to be exact, and that I’ve been given a bed and allowed to stay overnight. No piano though, but nothing is perfect. My room’s next to/opposite (?) the toilet and shower so I’ve been hearing people clanging and walking in and out all day. It’s like one single toilet and shower instead of the rows of cubicles we have at home and for some reason, I feel like that gives me less privacy. Cos house bathroom settings in a communal living with people I don’t know. Hmmm.

One thing I can’t take, though, is the absolute deafening silence in this place. I mean, yes I get the clanging, banging doors and stray music from next door, but the silence and almost complete stillness of everything else is so loud. I kind of knew I’d be missing all my tropical soundscape before I got here but that hasn’t really helped me in being prepped for it. The stillness of the air instead of the moving air from the a/c, the nothingness from outside (since it’s cold out and I can’t open the window) instead of bird calls and cricket chirps and rustling leaves. Something moving that reminds me I’m not alone and that this world is alive. Sigh. It’s too quiet to sleep. Tuning the uke helped (yes I brought the uke on this long, arduous journey) but I can’t be playing it all the time when I gotta do stuff around the room. I tried to nap because my body clock is still in home time (my whole mind still at home because I’m still fully chatting with all my homies back home anyway) but it was too darn quiet to sleep. I just couldn’t. Got up to find some nature ambience thing and tried again. Better but still not there yet. Gave up napping in the end. Missed Pasco and wished I’d stuff him somewhere even though my luggage was several kg overweight and almost impossible to move. Seriously, lugging that thing up the steps is no small feat. Dragging it along the ground almost took my arm off. Also, I haven’t been able to fully unpack and settle due to this only being my temporary accommodation. Daren’t take out too much in case I can’t zip it back. I think I’ll make a few trips to shift my things. Augh.

Explored the school a little bit this afternoon. Made our student cards and bought food and all that. Quite a nice place so far. The people were pretty nice so that’s good. Weather got better as the day wore on. Less wind. The lack of milo in the supermart scared me a little bit.

I think that’s mostly it for today. I’m quite amazed, looking back on all of it. That I’m here at all. That I’m actually doing this thing. Six months seem pretty long but pretty short too. Wonder how classes will be like.

Gonna try and turn in early for the night as soon as the guy singing in the shower…stops.

 

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