Unpacking from Month in Germany

First things first, me and Em trudged up the hill in our pajamas, as usual, and hit up the breakfast joint (Beaumont hall). Beans and eggs for breakfast, some Museli and a cappuccino and some morning mumbles with our housemates.

When we got back to our room I, surprise, PICKED UP THE BOOK I WAS READING AND READ IT. This may seem like not a big deal to most people, but for me this was MONUMENTAL. I ALWAYS get back in bed after breakfast. Always fall asleep. And NEVER read any books for pleasure last semester. So, like I said, it’s really a new year. :)

At nine we went to get our luggage out of the attic when the porter came around with the key. My clothes smell of the old attic now. I like it, somehow it makes me feel comfortable in a weird way.

Took a shower, now that I had my towel and soap from the attic(and DUVET, NO MORE FREEZING TORTUROUS NIGHTS!!). Stepped in the shower and realized I have come to LOVE the musty old smell of our ancient showers. There’s just something great about it. Used my Palmolive soap that I bought at ASDA and have used all year, and realized how MUCH I MISSED THAT SOAP. It is beautiful and brings back SO MANY good memories, and instantly puts me in a good mood. When I got back to the states I’ll have to stock up on this soap so that I will never forgot the feel of being at Leicester. :)

Unpacking all of our stuff from the attic was like unwrapping Christmas presents. Each box filled with treasures collected from the semester and packed with memories. I was so happy to see my lamp, coffee maker, our posters and decorations (which we will begin putting up today. I’ll post a picture!) my stella boxes turned library shelves (complements of my momma), silverware, bowls and books and stacks of paper paper paper (which are full of written memories which I will HAVE to start typing on this blog to make them immortal ;)). I had to tear myself away from all of my old things turned new again as I got dressed and headed out the door to the bus stop.

JUST as I got to the bus stop, wouldn’t you know it, the bus zooms past. It’s cool, I can deal with that. I walked to the city bus stop on London road a ways down. Here there was sunshine!! I soaked it up for about 15 minutes, LOVING it. Scribbling notes in my diary as I carefully watched for any passing bus. No such bus came, (haha, who says the day has to be PERFECT?) so I walked back to the original bus stop, seeing my friend Conor and riding to Uni together.

So. Beginning of term. No one has class or exams. We are in limbo and we are twenty year olds. So we have been doing a bit of socializing. :)

Monday night went out to the dance club Republic; very very fun. Our ENTIRE house went out, our last time together before all the new people arrived. It was an amazing night. :)

Converted: Biking. Today I didn’t get out of the house until about 3:30, and by that time it was already starting to grow dark. I had a list of groceries that needed to be picked up today though, and I had no cash to buy them with. I started walking to town, and realized it would take way too long, and I didn’t feel comfortable walking at night alone. So I ran down to the Penny Market instead, thinking I might get lucky if I used my British debit card there. No luck. I was really pissed off and frustrated. Growing up in a world where all you have to do is slide a card to get what you want, it’s a bit of a shock for that to change. Here in Germany I cannot use my American debit card OR my British debit card (with the European chip) as these cards can technically be used as credit cards (in the states and England you can choose the credit option with it) and Germany either doesn’t trust them or isn’t up to date on them. Anyway, I was embarrassed and upset and just wanted a quick fix to my errands. But I decided to suck it up and think. So I started walking back home, it was now almost completely pitch dark at 4 p.m. and starting to rain, and I went back to Petra’s and borrowed a bike.

Flying down the sidewalk on the bike I felt much safer and made so much better time that it was incredible. I felt completely safe the whole way as people were still out, many of them biking. When I got to the village center to the ATM I was feeling pretty good about myself. Who says fear needs to dictate my activities? There is always another option. This was the first time I had been out after dark further than Netto by myself in Germany, and it felt great. I felt free and confident. At that moment I realized why there was such a cult following behind biking and how it actually IS a lifestyle. Right then and there, I converted to the biker life. I’m going to get one in Leicester when I get back. Can buy used ones for around 50 pounds!

Pulling my bike up to the ATM this bitchy old man pushed RIGHT past me up to the machine, knowing full and well I was making my way there. And then he took about five hours to complete whatever bullshit he was doing and then sauntered out. Bleh. I went and got my cash out, and behind me was this sweet young guy who smiled held the door for me. Lost my faith in humanity and then got it all back. Isn’t that how life always is?

Rode back home and on the way passed a few people and gave them genuine smiles and ‘hallo’s and got smiles back and greetings. Remembered the trick to traveling which I had forgotten: SMILE.

Went online at home and signed up for a library card at the public library next to my house in Leicester!! Already reserved some delicious books!

Talked to my parents on skype and drove them CRAZY with my worries and fears. They put in a good hour and fifteen minutes listening though. Love them so much more than they will ever know.  xxxx

Wednesday went to Red Leicester at the O2 at Uni. Great, great night. Eloi, Eva and I got together then Jisu showed up and we sat in a circle in my room passing around wine bottles and talking. So much fun. Realized the Olympics are in London this summer– while we are still in Leicester!! We are going to take a day trip too London and see them!!! We all had a GREAT night together. Danced our FEET off. :D

Today me and Eva and Emily walked to the Oadby village library, (did you know that Oadby is a seperate town from Leicester?! It’s WITHIN Leicester, but a division of it. did not know that). Anyway, the library is beautiful and it is only a 15 minute walk from our houses. Went and got library cards, and LOTS of books.  Eva and Emily were so glad I showed them the library. Me and Eva got Agatha Christie novels, I’m reading the Murder of Roger Ackroyd right now, and we also checked out the foreign language section. I stocked up on a bunch of great French books and am downloading the French CDs that I checked out as we speak!  Eva said we should have a French lesson for an hour every week! :) Also, Sam just walked in and gave me a worn out copy of Pride and Predjudice that she read over winter break because she knows I share her love of worn out books. I LOVE BOOKS.

Last night Eva gave me my birthday present. It was so sweet, it was a cd for the French band Cocoon which we both love.

Tonight after dinner I changed into pajamas and haven’t left my room since. It’s been so nice relaxing. My floor is still strewn with papers and random items that need places, but my room is definitely getting there. One more day and it will be perfected. I am attaching a picture of it tonight though to show the work in progress.

Last night Amy, Darrio, Jack and I went over to Eva’s to watch Eternal sunshine off the spotless mind. I had seen it before but it was fun to watch again. I brought the cinnamon m and ms that ma and pa sent me, and they were a HUGE hit. Good choice, rents. I think everyone in the house has tried them now. Someone walks into my room and grabs a handful every few hours or so.

OH. And last night. We all walked over to Eva’s and all sitting around talking and then Jack was like- ‘Annie. There is a huge hole in your pajamas.’ And I didn’t even have to look down to know it was true. Haha. I have two pairs of the same kind, and in the move I got the ripped ones (which I kept for some odd reason) mixed up with the new ones and wore the inappropriate ones out. So we all laughed and I kept a blanket on my lap all night. Then when we went home we had all forgotten about the hole and as we were going to bed Jack noticed again and we all cracked up. It was pretty funny. And I still have not thrown the pajamas away. It feels almost sacreligious. Any idea what I could use the pajamas for?? I DO have a sewing kit…maybe make a scarf or something out of them? Ha. I just can’t throw them away. They’ve been through so much with me…

Thursday night all of the international students had arrived. They are all really sound (British English creeping into my vocabulary…) and I think they will be great housemates. :) We all went into Italian Dan and Dario’s room and played some Kings Cup and then we all went out to the club Chili Whites. Great great great night. STRANGE night though. Haha.  We all took a cab home together and then me and Eva went back to hers to talk about the crazy new developments with Hastings House. We called Jisu a bit later and she brought Korean noodles over and we sat in a circle on the floor and at seaweed ramen spicy noodles straight from Korea. Um, YUM. I don’t think I will ever be able to eat ramen withour seaweed in it now. SO GOOD. There was a bit of drama when we were making the noodles though- after we had made the beautiful pot of food Eva got a strainer and drained them— and all the good soup went down the drain!!! Jisu let out a cry of despair, “AHH!” It was really funny but tragic. Haha. Eva felt so bad but the noodles were still really really great. We also had cherry tomatoes with it. :D

Today slept in VERY late. Obscenely late. :P Got up in time for dinner though, and our house headed to Beaumont hall. To our horror when we got there though, the meal hall was dark and empty!! FOODDDDD??!!! Luckily they were still serving food at Stamford hall– so we all headed over there. :) Talked with the new Korean girls through dinner and when we were about to leave someone was like “Annie!” It was the Portuguese girls, “You left without us!” they said. OHHH NOOOO!!!! Felt so bad because we usually just all assume that everyone goes at 6 but we had forgot to tell them! Me and the Korean girls sat down with them and finished dinner with them and got to know them and it was really nice. :) Talked about how in Portugal they eat dinner around 11 or 12 and do not usually go to bed before 3 or 4. What a different lifestyle! I wonder if that would be better or worse for my sleeping habits… Anyway then we all went to ASDA together and decided to meet up and have a drink together around 9:30. Right now doing my laundry.

Chugged two coffees and took my exam. Blasted through it with a writing fever and finished early. Ran to the post office and then to the town center. Made it back in time for my French class at six. Met so many great people! Guy named Sam from Devon, we got on really well. He is really outgoing and funny and friendly. Also had a French conversation with a guy from De Montfort University studying creative writing. Saw him across the street at the bus stop after and waved at him. :)

Talked to a girl from my class afterward in the bathroom- she is from India, somewhere up north. I like her a lot too. So many interesting people. And so interesting when we all explained why we were learning French.

The teacher is great. She knows four languages- French her first and English her second.

Thanks to her I can now pronounce the entire French alphabet- l’alphabet. The e and the u were the hardest for our class because they are so similar. The e is looser: ‘euh’ and the u is tigher, like a kissing face: a punchy ‘oo’. I said the alphabet for Aurelien and Eva when I got home and they were impressed. I will probably be spouting phrases off all night now. And I have them to help me out. And when I master it I have them to converse with.

Thank you thank you thank you family for encouraging me to study abroad. I would never have been this excited to learn a language if I didn’t have so many friends that know so many languages.

Bonne nuit! x

At Uni, went up Attenborough Tower on the crazy lift without doors 8 floors, got off in the Politics Department and was greeted by an ENORMOUS queue. Yes, QUEUEING is a real thing, and you better follow the rules or else you will NOT fit in in England. Haha. So I stood in the queue for about 45 minutes. No one complained, this is status quo, only mildly unpleasant here. Someone who complained would be annoying, not the wait. When I finally got in, I got my Politics grades for the semester. PASSED!! :) Now I just have that art history class to worry about… exam is next week.

Came out and had a bit of time before I needed to be at the International Student’s Office to sign a check in so that they won’t DEPORT ME (haha. but I’m serious) so I went to the Union to sign up for the International Students Association which I have meant to sign up for all year. So I finally did it. Paid my five quid, met the president and got a list of the trips they are taking the 2nd semester (there is still a 3rd semester here to come. you continue the same courses, but the traditional 2nd semester is split into two parts instead. it’s really confusing. It’s a cross between American and European universities).

Also today I finally got to pick up my art essay grade, which I did fine one. :) The reoccuring feedback theme of my essays has been that they have good insights and discussion, but not enough facts or clarity. My hyperbole writing has never served me very well regarding research papers.

Eva, Darrio and me jammed. Flute, violin, guitar and ukuleles. So fun.

ANYWAY. In February we are going to Windsor Castle, Stratford upon Avon, North Wales and Cambridge. In March we are going to Oxford, Stonehenge and Salisbury, Liverpool and York. Then there is a Scotland trip for a week where we hit up Glasgow, Edinburgh and a bunch of other places. It’s all really reasonable prices. Great opportunies. Can’t wait. :)

After that went and did my check in. They had made such a big deal about it I assumed it was going to be intense, but all I had to do was sign my name on a dotted line and date it. :P

Went to the post office and sent a postcard (Look out for one with a MATILDA stamp, Ma and Pa. ;)) and then came to the library to work. Got a book on art history which is very doable, and I think I will be able to finish it easlily this week.

Using the internet here as I do not have my new laptop yet (thanks papa for getting it!) and then going home to check out the public library in Oadby village and get my library card and reserved book.  On the way home I need to go to Netto to pick up my superwoman vitamins and some classy wine (CLASSY wine, Ma and Pa. After all, it is a new year. :)) Then dinner during and after which I am sure will be a lot more hugging and catching up with friends and then skyping my lovely family. Finally to end the night, pajamas and a few hours of reading in bed. :) Before I go to bed I will plan out and make a list for tomorrow like I did last night, and I will do this every night from now on. I can get A LOT done if I organize my time and think about it. So that is precisely what I intend to do.

Cramps today. Slept all day because didn’t want to deal with the world. But got myself up a bit later and was reminded that pain is not something that ruins life. It is something that is the essence of life. And that’s a bit beautiful. We’re all badasses.

Closing the curtains helps lock in the warmth and keep out the draft. Especially if you have thick curtains like we do. I can’t believe we haven’t thought of this yet!! Went into Sam’s room and was like, WHOA, this is way warmer than our room. And she said to close the curtains. She was in Scotland over break and they taught her that closing the curtains helps more than you would think. Any kind of cotton works great- they would put a cotton sheet over their door at night and it would lock the heat in. Just closed our curtains 5 minutes ago and the room is already starting to get cozy. So wish we had known this during our week without power!

Tonight I went to the store and came back with: cherry tomatos, little gem lettuce, a bottle of virgin olive oil and a bottle of basalmic vinegar, fresh tortellini and bolognese sauce, fresh tiger bread and butter.

Pajama breakfast. Me and Em. Then Rima. Then Martin. Chrissa. Aurelien and then Calum.

Talked about getting day pissed. Chernobyl and its milk. AND HOW MY MOM DRANK IT WHILE PREGNANT WITH ME. :P Love you mom! Tokyo. Running. Prince Harry being illegitimate child. The wedding. The ring not being able to go on the finger. Rocket science. Snipers. My brief appearances and secretaries. :P Gesundheit! (only understood by the Americans…) Got Martin invited on a date. And he’s like- by the way- I’m doing you a favor too. He was pretending not to know what happened with me and Aurelien so Eva didn’t find out at dinner last night. But Eva was pretending not to know so that him and Bert didn’t find out! So funny. :P So everyone knew but everyone has been brilliant at pretending not to. Good friends I guess, but damn they are also good liars!

Am officially signed up for my French class- Mondays at six for the next 10 weeks.

Em comes into the room to me curled up into the fetal position on the floor. (I had just finished yoga and was meditating.) Silence for ten minutes  and then I got up and was like, “thanks for not commenting on that.” And she was like, “its okay, i wouldn’t have known what to say anyway”

I told her I wouldn’t comment on the fact that she was consuming a very meaty sandwich. (She stopped being vegetarian the same time I did. We work very well as roommates.

Just went to the printer machine to put money on my account (which I now know how to use EXPERTLY) and noticed there was 2 pound fifty or so on the top of the machine. Someone had obviously left it there. It was in plain sight but easy to miss. The coins were warmed from the heat of the machine so I assumed they had been on there awhile. So I looked around, and then took them. Do you think I will have bad karma now? But really, if money is lying there, it is fair game, right? Especially if it is in plain sight. I accidentally left beef I had just bought in the cart at Netto in Germany- came back 10 minutes later when I remembered I left it and it was gone. That’s just how the world works, yeah? The beef cost about the same amount as the change I found. It all works out in the end.

But seriously, this library is BANK for me. I don’t come here THAT often, but I’ve found a surprising amount of pirates gold here. Last semester I walked upstairs and there was a fiver right in front of me. It always feels like a trick when you get free money, you know? Like someone is going to jump out and go, CAUGHT YOU!

Anyway. I’m sure I’ll lose something or forget something and throw that 2.50 back into the universe at some point. But when the universe throws it out at you, you have to take it. And be thankful to the fellow forgetful person who left it. :)

Went jogging. Then Eva and I went to Marquis for lunch- a French themed pub. Very fun. We stayed for like 3 hours. Came home. Went walking with music after by myself. Really nice. Here is a taste of Leicester at dusk.

Soul shine, and then flying. Making my own chances

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