Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Organizing Myself

Waking up the morning after my arrival was a welcome calm. After a good long sleep, I felt better equipped to take on the tasks I need to accomplish. I woke up at 12pm local time, however, so by the time I got to the registration desk to get my login information, the lineup was long, hot, and slow. After about an hour I got to speak to someone who reset my login and password, finally giving me access to internet in my dorm (or "flat" as it will be called from hereon). My flatmate Holly and I then ventured out to the city center, where we found "PoundLand" (essentially a Dollarama) and Argo's, where I bought some towels for a much needed shower and a new set of bedding to replace the disappointing package I was given by GCU. After setting up my new digs, I finally managed to get a call in to my mom and Jarrett. I then spent the evening walking around the city with Taylor, looking for a grocery store so I could finally have something to eat! Surprise - in Scotland, you can buy wine and beer in the grocery store! I decided against Coors Light or Budweiser, and they didn't have my beloved Moosehead (no surprise there), so I went with a six pack of Foster's Gold which I shared with Holly and Taylor back in my room. It was nice to be hanging out like normal with new friends after the unpleasant day I'd had before. I still had some trouble falling asleep after my quick video call with Jarrett after his 8pm class, for which I was up at 1am. I read some of my book and forced myself to at least try to sleep... and slept until noon again today.

My second attempt at registration was an equal failure, though I did meet a nice Glaswegian boy named Liam who asked me if everyone in Toronto was barefoot - a bizarre question. Still unable to register - and still a problem on GCU's end. So I have to wait to hear from them once they've got their problem fixed, to go stand in line again and hopefully manage to finally get a student card. Holly, Taylor and I decided today to get some important things done: I got a cheap little pay-as-you-go mobile phone, and tried to get myself a bank account but was told to come back in a week. The city is beautiful - huge strips of shops and gigantic walkways. I'm learning the rules of the city: when unsure of which way to look when crossing the street, just wait fr everyone else to cross. Also, apparently the "walk/don't walk" signs are more of a suggestion.

I'm finding myself a little shy to speak in the shops, or to ask questions, since I'm an obvious foreigner/tourist by the sound of my accent. The Glaswegian accent isn't as difficult to understand as I had expected although I have needed to ask a few people to repeat themselves. Phrasing has been more of an issue - "all right?" is more a greeting than a question, and it caught me off guard when I answered yes, I'm fine. Without trying, I've already started using terms I haven't used before, such as "dodgy" and "posh" that I've heard the Scots using.

As I'm settling in, I haven't been too social. I've made a couple of friends, and a few more acquaintances, but mostly I find myself exhausted every evening and just want to be alone to watch a movie in my room. Part of me is concerned that hermitting myself away in my room defeats the purpose of going away, but most of me feels that it's important to feel settled and comfortable before starting to really get out there. Maybe I'm just rationalizing my anxiety to myself, but I don't feel ready to go to clubs with a group of near strangers quite yet.

After a great day yesterday and a productive one today, I was feeling a little homesick this evening. I was really missing Jarrett, missing the comfort of just hanging out with someone I know so well and don't have to make an effort to make conversation with. My experience the last two days have been similar to how I felt in my first year at Brock: wanting to be happy and settled right away, and being upset that it's taking so much energy to get there. Brittany and Taylor and I are starting to plan our first trip, with flights to Dublin as cheap as £15 it might be to Ireland, or maybe Italy before the weather gets too cold. I can't wait to start travelling out of the city and creating memories.

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