I did a lot of exploration in the past couple of days. I find that the more I know about my surroundings, the more I feel at home. The city is in itself pretty big, but I’ll have an entire semester to explore it. For now, I’ll make sure I know my campus first, which is quite beautiful in it’s own way. The medley of modern and Victorian-era buildings make for an interesting mix:
I also visited the engineering department of the university to sort out my class schedule. There’s quite a few that seem interesting, it’s too bad I can’t take them all. Trying to make a schedule is like playing whack-a-mole: As soon as you pick a class, a conflict pops up. Resolve the conflict, a new one comes up. Replace the class, everything seems fine. Add another one, more conflits pop up. I’ll get it, it just takes careful planning.
Meeting international students is an interesting experience. Basically, we’re all standing around chatting in groups, saying all the same things; “Where are you from? What are you studying? Why did you choose Manchester?” and looks like the groups, squads and cliques are formed by looking at people, but in reality, we all just met a few days ago.
I met so many people, so fast, from so many places, that my brain has a hard time keeping up with the new names and faces. Thankfully, smartphones exist so they can do the work for me. And yet, even keeping up with all the group chats is a demanding task. I have a feeling as time goes on, we’ll all settle into our own groups with similar people.
Yesterday, I was chatting with a few people after an orientation session and just when the conversation started to fade, I proposed going to grab lunch. And here we are, munching on some burritos like old friends, 45 minutes later:
I did some shopping for raising the coziness level of my room and grabbing some utilities. Sheets, plants and forks are just examples of my shopping list.
Something interesting happened to me yesterday. I was shopping around in Poundland (the British version of Dollarama), when I felt a slight tug on my backpack. I turn around and my friend says “That guy just tried to open your bag”, pointing at a man walking away, muttering what I’m guessing is insults, in what sounded like french, who then proceeded with shopping around, like any other regular person. My first instinct was to check my bag, which the zipper was only partly open due to the stiff rubber around it. I guess I felt it before he could grab anything, luckily there was nothing in there. I spoke about it to my flatmates, who were surprised as this was the first time they’ve heard such a thing. It’ll teach me to be even more vigilant I guess. (and not to put valuable stuff in that pocket)
One joyous afternoon, I received a text from my airline saying they found my luggage and will be shipping it shortly. Receiving it was a whole other story.
The address I gave to the airline was the one for my building, but later realized I needed to give the one for the residence reception. I sent an email with the corrected address, and received a phone call a few minutes later. The delivery man said he’s arrived at the address and cannot park anywhere. I was waiting for him, who was nowhere to be seen. It was the evening, possibly at the end of his shift, so he’s getting frustrated over the phone, adding this to my difficulty understanding his accent made identifying our locations challenging. After texting me the name of the shop he’s parked beside, I quickly look it up; it was only 400m away, so I decide to run it. He wants to come back tomorrow, but I urge him that I need my bag tonight. “I’m on my way, I’ll be there in-” and my phone cuts out, it ran out of minutes. “Wha? I just activated it yesterday!? Never mind, I’ll deal with it later.” Finally met up with him a few minutes later, super nice guy. He had the right address, but I guess his GPS gave him wrong information. When he saw my name written on the form, he said: “Are your French? Moulin Rouge!” We had a good laugh. I thanked him immensely, and was ready for bed, with actual pyjamas for the first time in a few days.
Receiving my luggage gave me a great deal of relief. Now that the last piece of home is here, I can finally settle in.