misspotter: miss potter at school (Default)
[personal profile] misspotter
Happy New Year, everyone! To those of you who are following this from Livejournal, you can find my annual year-in-review post here. My NYE was fairly uneventful, as my whole family were worn out from touring and everyone except me was showing signs of the common cold. So we just enjoyed the London fireworks from the comfort and warmth of our hotel room. And I got to share it with the bf too, thanks to the awesomeness that is Skype! The only non-awesome thing was that although our hotel room came with two double mattresses and one single mattress, the single bed had no linen/quilt. So I was sleeping on this bare mattress huddled under my Hogwarts robes for warmth. Not terribly fun, but at least it was only for about 6 hours...

On the first day of 2013, we woke up early, breakfasted before 8, and were heading out for the station by 9. We took the underground to Paddington and the train to Oxford, which was all surprisingly painless. It helped significantly that my brother was there to carry my suitcase. I'm thinking I won't be able to buy a lot of stuff, or else I'm going to have to start chucking things, or I'm going to break my arms on the return journey. Anyway, before we knew it, we were staring at the glorious architecture that decorates the town of Oxford.

I've been a fan of Oxford ever since my Latin days, when for some reason I had this fantasy of running away there to study classics. But when I finally got the chance to come here nearly 10 years later, "love at first sight" doesn't quite cover it. The place is full of breathtaking sandstone buildings. Imagine the Quad at Sydney uni spawning babies everywhere. Plus the shops are all so cute! I hope to check out the Anne Summers this weekend...surely the stuff they sell won't take up much suitcase room, yeah? Oh, and I came in on a nice day, so I got blue skies contrasting against the green lawns...it was magnificent. Unfortunately I didn't get that much time to take photos though, because I had boring admin things to do like moving in and buying groceries. Man, they are cheap though, we spent something like £22 on a fairly decent haul...

When I moved into my flat, I was almost immediately greeted with a fire alarm. Not knowing what to do, I stupidly stood outside in the corridor until someone came out and explained to me that this happens all the time when people get cooking. In fact, shortly after leaving the building, I noticed people going back in. Still, the noise was kind of intolerable so I grabbed some dirty clothes and went looking for the laundry. I'm glad I saved most of my coins, because all the machines are coin-operated.

But overall, I got a good feeling from the flats. On a random stroll outside, I encountered a squirrel, which both delighted and confused me. Yes, small furry animals are one of the many things that will extract a "SQUEEEEEE!" from me, but isn't it winter, i.e. the time when they should be hibernating somewhere up a tree? But I took it to be a good omen. I'm just so happy to not be living out of a suitcase for a little while (I have a very nice wardrobe that is so tempting to fill...) and to be able to come home to a room that I don't have to share with anyone. My flat is also extremely well insulated and heated so I could probably bounce in a t-shirt and undies if I felt like it. Oh, and it has an "easy chair"! How English...

Now...to my first real day...

The first day is always admin, admin, and more admin. It's even slower when your elective coordinator can't log into her email, can't find the pager number for your team, and doesn't know where any of the other elective students are. Still, I used the time waiting for her to get IT help to sign up for email and wifi (which unfortunately I don't think has reception in the Ivy Lane flats), get security clearance (but unfortunately not OHS clearance) and get a coffee (only 140p for a decent-sized mocha with real Italian coffee?!? What is this heaven?!). I finally met up with my team sometime after 1pm, and was given a tour of the Heart Centre by a very nice reg. 

Afterwards, since it was already 2pm, and it was the 2nd of January (so things in the department were still recovering from the holiday break), the reg suggested I just head off, find Osler House (it's a real house! A CLUBHOUSE for medical students!), do my groceries, etc etc etc. So I found Osler House, got swipe access (woohoo, 90p slices of cake, free coffee and a grand piano!), came back to my flat, started sorting out the 2cm wad of paperwork I'd been given in the morning, and eventually gave up and decided to go into town.

I am now the owner of a shiny 1-month bus pass! I will have to make sure I make at least 12 trips into town in the next month to make it worthwhile (doesn't seem terribly difficult...) I am also the owner of 20 pounds of toiletries which would have cost me roughly $40 had I shopped in Priceline. And some 2.40 pound snuggly slippers and 9 pound ballet flats from Debenhams. And a small Ann Summers haul that a certain someone reading this blog should be excited about. I also poked around in Zara and New Look but couldn't find anything. In fact, Debenhams had some nice women's clothing (especially coats and nice dresses), but they all seemed really big! Even the size 6s. And that leads me to my main complaint about English shopping. Why is there such a shortage of UK size 3 (aka European size 36, or Australian 5.5) shoes?!? And out of the size 3s I tried in Debenhams, many of them were too big! Do people in England have giant feet or something? Having said that, I'm willing to admit this may be more of an Oxford problem than a general English problem, because we are apparently a fairly small town in terms of pure population...

Anyway, now I'm going to shower and do some studying before bed. Hope you've all had a nice start to your year! And now that I'm settled in, hopefully I'll get to talk to some of you on gchat soon!
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