Saturday, 27 September 2014

Moving House

Today marks Day Fourteen in our university house in Bournemouth, something quite amazing considering it feels like we've been here longer already.
I moved in last Saturday with two other of housemates on a day that was both stressful, hilarious and one I think we're going to remember for a while. Things started off as normal - packing up the car with all the things I own wondering both how one person could have SO much stuff and deliberating how on earth we're going to fit it all in the car. Then the unpacking when we're in Bournemouth, the slight soul destroying moment as you start to take apart the suitcase and box Jenga. My parents and I started sorting out my room leaving my dad to build the IKEA bookcase I had bought along.

However, somehow the day ended with me climbing through an upstairs window...

We came back from Wilkinsons after a trip for supplies and wrapping paper to find one of my housemates frantically calling our landlord before announcing that her key wouldn't unlock her door.I think many 'facepalm' moments followed this. After some calling with no avail and then an arrangement with one of our newly found neighbours, we had a ladder. It then came to the decision on who would be the one to climb through the small window and open the door from the other side. Soon I realised that three people I was standing around were looking at me and my housemate, who although her petitieness was perfect for the job, she is also scared of heights. I was the chosen one.

I've always thought how scared it could be going up that high with nothing behind you but a 10ft drop and a hard landing. As I was prepping for my climb, many thoughts ran through my head including the many injuries or at worst death I could sustain from dropping from that height, which was soon discarded from my mind.

Despite my worries and consciousness that six people were watching me from below, I was able to cast that all away and get one of my legs into the room and catapult the remainder of my body through the window onto the bed with only the lamp being knocked over in the lunge.

The last few weeks have been a mixture of getting used to living in a house with five people and debating with utilities companies on their best deals as well as enrolling and start the panicking of how we're all going to find placements for next year. It's weird being back in Bournemouth so suddenly, but now I just want to get started with my second year.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

First Year at University: Fresher's Week

As I pack my life into boxes and suitcases once again, I can't help but reflect on my first year of university, especially as I find photos and mementos from this last year. A few of my friends took a year out and are preparing for their first year now, making me feel like a veteran and mentally (and physically) preparing them for Fresher's Week.

As someone who, a year ago, would seize up in fear and anxiety at the idea of going to a nightclub with a load of people I don't know, Fresher's Week (or fortnight as it is at Bournemouth) was a little different for me. I tried to go out the first main night of the fortnight. I went to pre-drinks (essentially when most of the drinking happens while socialising until it is an acceptable time to go to the club i.e. like 11pm/12am) which was really nice, meeting a few people in my halls including two girls that I'm moving in with this year! Things were looking up, although I felt entirely overdressed, my evenings out normally involving going for dinner or up to London. I also made the vital mistake and brought a bag with me because I was wearing a skirt (top tip: bags + club = annoying). I joined my flatmates to walk to the Old Fire Station, Bournemouth's Student Union nightclub. Some people went ahead because they paid for wristbands while I got the freebie one. I was standing in the queue with one of my new flatmates, who I had known a mere 24 hours at the point, who was also on the borderline 'I won't remember this' drunk, surrounded by people who I had no idea in hell who they were but they all looked really happy, really comfortable, really attractive - like they were at home. Me? I felt as far from that as humanly possible. I was so out of my comfort zone and felt this fear seeping into me like I felt when I first went to house parties or when someone approaches me in the street. I just felt like I needed to get out of there, there were too many people, too much noise, too many lights. I just wasn't ready for this yet.

So I left. I left my drunk flatmate in the queue (I still feel bad, I *think* he has forgiven me now), I left behind the other two flatmates who were already inside and I just walked around the corner to my halls and left. I have some regrets for doing that, but in all honesty, I really wasn't ready or comfortable in that situation and needed a way out. When I got home, I expected the other two flatmates I left behind to have gone to bed, found some other friends, just enjoying themselves without me, thinking I was the type that wanted to go out all the time. However, I found them on their laptops in our kitchen having a chat and bonding. I walked in and they looked so surprised, I just explained I needed to get out of there and they nodded knowingly and told me to join them. I felt comfortable at last.

That was pretty much my only example of going out in Fresher's Week. We went out again a week later for one of my flatmate's birthday, but it was a Saturday (worse day to go) and in a club where we all agreed was not the best place ever. So how did I spend my evenings in Freshers?
Mostly playing card games, bonding with my new friends and flatmates, watching films and just generally getting to know each other. In some ways I wish I went out more, but I wasn't ready and I'm glad I didn't.
By the second semester I was ready however, and had some of the best nights in various clubs in Bournemouth or at flat parties. I still know my limits and I would so much rather sit at home, under a duvet watching a film with some of my favourite people or spend the money you spend on alcohol on a dinner out at a nice restaurant.

I guess I'm saying that although everyone is different, it's okay not to go out. You will find someone who also doesn't want to. The best thing about university is that everyone accepts each other whether you're a geek, straight, gay, a karate king - whatever. No-one cares. I found two people on my doorstep who didn't want to go out all the time, however, friends have found ones next door, over the road or on their course. Even if all your flatmates want to go out all the time, as long as they accept that you don't want to necessarily, that's fine. And anyway, after the first month, everyone has too big a hangover to go out every day, so that hardly happens despite student stereotypes.

(I started writing about my first year and it sort of turned into a rant about Freshers...)

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

From Spain to Bristol

The last few weeks have been a little bit of a whirlwind as I've been dashing here, there and everywhere while seeing numerous people and enjoying the last remaining bit of the summer. Now that September has rolled in though, it's full steam ahead to sort out the house that five friends and myself are moving into in the next few weeks while fitting in time for IKEA and Wilkinsons trips and seeing my friends staying in London. It's all been a bit crazy!

Last week I came back from a short break with my parents and university friend to Spain where we soaked up the sun, swam a lot and ate probably five times the amount I normally eat. We were given a shock back to reality though when leaving the plane at Gatwick, however, and experiencing a chilly 15 degrees compared to the 37 degrees we had left behind. 

My friend was staying with us for a few more days before returning home which involved some relaxing but also an epic, long day in Central London. I experienced the Emirates Air Line for the first time, something we both have wanted to do since it was built in 2012. It goes from North Greenwich by the O2 to Royal Victoria by the Excel Centre in East London. I was amazed by how high it went actually across the Thames, giving brilliant and beautiful views of Greenwich, the City, the Thames Barrier and the surrounding area. It was quite surreal being high up and seeing such a built up, grey city on one side and then the rolling hills of the countryside in Essex on the other. I recommend it, just go on a clear and sunny day!

We met up with some of my friends from school and their university friends before sampling tea from a lovely little tea shop in Soho named Yumchaa and nattering about our opinions on the new Doctor Who, chopping boards and the ultimate revelation that Hello Kitty is not a cat, but apparently a schoolgirl living in the suburbs of London. 

Next, we had a wander through Regent's Park before finding ourselves in Camden to go to the penultimate 'Night Market' at Camden Lock - a massive market of freshly made food from different countries accompanied by a live band, exactly the kind of way I like to spend my evenings. It was a nice round off to the day and the food was delicious with a good 10 minutes before I could decide my choice of dinner. 

To round off last week, I then travelled to Bristol to visit my boyfriend who was house and cat sitting. Bristol is a city I've been told so much about but only visited once. I was shown some more sights such as Cabot Tower which gives beautiful views of the city and then, Bristol Museum. With every visit to Bristol, I'm increasingly liking the city more and more, wanting to discover more parts.