So I've officially been in the UK for 1 week now. Here are some highlights.
I rode my first motorcycle! (or motorbike as they call them here). My friend drove us over to the mall on his bike so I could get a sim card. You don't have to pay for parking on a motorbike and you're allowed to drive in between lanes (which you are definitely not allowed to do in the states) so it makes for a much faster/easier/terrifying mode of transportation. Once I got used to it, it was kind of fun driving between the cars. And the gloves I wore are made from kangaroo. KANGAROO.
Monday mostly consisted of me waiting in lines - went to the post office to get my residency permit which took over an hour. Then I went to school to register and get my student ID which took about 2 hours. Though while in line I did make my very first friend! Felicia from Singapore. She even let me use her portable charger since my phone was dying from using it for navigation all day. TRUE FRIENDSHIP. They had a little tea reception but by the time we got through the registration line most of the good stuff was gone. Also my student ID picture is horrendous. My hair looks straight up yellow. Keeping that one in the depths of my wallet forever and ever. Then I came home to set up my bed.
After a few mishaps I finally got the frame together and then it was just a matter of locking in all the support boards. The mattress came rolled up in the red bag. I thought it must be a skinny mattress, but as soon as I got it out of the red bag it started to suck in air and I could hear springs popping. It was basically inflating. I had to work quickly to get it positioned on the bed and cut off the second sheet of plastic it was wrapped in before it was too bulky for me to move. Luckily it all came together well and after 8 years of sleeping in a twin, I finally have a big girl bed!
We had our program's welcome talk and then they brought us to a bar afterwards to mingle. I met a lot of people and I probably remember 10% of their names. We are all foreign. I think there were 2 people who lived in the UK in my program and neither of them are English. It's about 80% Chinese, a fair amount of people from the EU, and then me! the only American.
Wednesday I had 2 classes at Cass. One was to show us how to access financial databases (thrilling!) and the other was a 3 hour overview on the Financial Services industry. I thought 3 hours of this would surely kill me but it ended up being really awesome! When the class began our instructor asked for 2 volunteers to come up and act out a scenario. Nobody wanted to volunteer. I never volunteered in undergrad. Fly under the radar. That was my motto. However this time I felt a weird urge to raise my hand. Maybe because I don't know anybody yet, so what do I have to lose. Or maybe because I did actually talk to the instructor some before class and felt like I should help her out. (she complimented me on my preparedness for the English weather as I was the only one in rain boots and it was pouring out) Either way, I found myself up on stage reading lines for "Amy," a misguided girl at a career fair. I'm fairly certain half of the people in that room now think my actual name is Amy. It ended up being a really fun and interactive 3 hours to prepare us for the Career Fair. Afterwards I successfully took a city bus for the first time by myself!! I was so nervous about having to push the stop button and making sure I was at the right stop. I was heading to a bar for a Nerdist meet up but after I arrived I discovered it had been moved to Thursday. Womp. At least I know how to take the bus now.
I had a refresher course on Quants. The class was so full I ended up having to sit on the floor. The professor thought there was going to be 20-25 people, there were over 100. It was 2 hours of math. But not like fun, lets solve this problem together math. It was more like - remember when you learned this pre-calc stuff over a decade ago? To be fair, for a lot of the students it was probably only like 4 years ago. Thursday evening I returned to Meltdown for the Nerdist meetup with Jessica Chobot.
She hosts their news channel and also has a podcast on weird supernatural things. I told her I am going to Romania to see Dracula's castles for Halloween and she gave me her business card to email her pictures! Her Insta gets way more likes than mine.
I went on my first run and discovered an Oktoberfest in a nearby park. So I went there to throwback a liter and listen to the craziest German band ever.
They were so fun! I knew some of the songs thanks to Busch Gardens. And then there were a lot of interactive songs that required large and ridiculous hand motions. Right up my alley.
Saturday I took the tube one stop to a giant Sainsbury's to grocery shop and get the rest of the toiletries I needed. Then realized it was a 10 minute walk back to my flat so skipped the tube home. #poorplanning. Later I headed south of the Thames to meet up with my Australian friend Jo and her Canadian coworker Amanda for drinks. It was 2 for 1 cocktails so we had a fun time. The Rugby World Cup is going on and we watched Canada lose horribly to Ireland which was also fun because I know nothing about Rugby.
All in all it was a good first week. Had some ups and downs but I am feeling relatively settled and am starting to make some friends. I also no longer need to use my phone for navigation 24/7! Longer battery life FTW!