Adjusting to the uni life

My new iPhone finally arrived today. Apparently the reception at Lafrowda (my halls) recieved around 400 parcels today. 

I actually recieved my second bike basket today after the first one came without the rack (making it un-attachable to my bike). This was meant to help with my crazy shopping trips to lighten the load on my back. Guess what? The second one had no rack either! I asked for a refund this time….

Things are getting busy! 

I slept so deeply last night after a day of 3 lectures, 2 hours of gymnastics and then 1&1/2 hours of sightreading after a 1/2 hour walk to the actual venue where we practice on the other side of campus. 

Today, muscles are aching which I didn’t even know I possessed! Last week if you all remember I did somersaults in my first gymnastics session – well this week was cartwheels and round offs, both of which involve a lot more skill than I thought! So. Sore. 

I’ve made good friends with a couple of the girls in the gym and they are all really nice to me. I find my coach Anan funny -he’ll teach me something, then it’ll get to a point where he’ll always say, I can’t teach you anymore you have to do it yourself. And then he’ll just sit down and watch me like a critic. So then I practice and practice and practice. At least I can do cartwheels and round offs alone in the car park behind lafrowda block F. [NOT going to try somersaults without a spring floor and mat!!]

I’m loving it though ๐Ÿ™‚ I literally feel in my element here. 

I’m doing everything I love all at once with enough time to do it all (for now anyway! Slightly concerned about how many hours a job will take up if I do get a place at Coffee #1 but we’ll see). 

I had to do a mini shop today for some toiletries and a few other things. I was just about to go when two of my flat mates Josh and Rob asked if I’d get them some tins of tomatoes and beans and they’d pay me back. Each tin is about 400g un-drained. I carried home 9 (one for me, four each for Rob and Josh). That’s 3.600g – or 3.6kg possibly(!) plus my 1kg of bananas, and some eggs. And a cucumber. I don’t know how I made it home. Ifyou’ve never been to Exeter, expect one thing and one thing only. Hills. Lots and lots of hills. Long steep ones, short steep ones, long gradual ones (absolute thigh burners), and short gradual ones (the nicest of the lot). But you get my point. Hills. 

Getting to lectures on time has been really hard today purely because my legs hurt so much :’) I joke about it being my work out but it’s not really a joke – it’s reality! 

Today was our much beloved cleaners deep clean day. We always tidy up the night before and we are her favourite flat. Seriously, she totally has a soft spot for us. She’s made us welsh cakes, fruit and nut bread (on Trevor’s Birthday complete with a card!) and she gave me some gluten, grain, egg and dairy free pasta which she ‘happened’ to buy ‘by accident’ (although I doubt she did and just wanted to give it to me!) her name’s Angela and we absolutely adore that woman!!! She spotted some of my photos and was chatting to me about the amazing moon eclipse thingy on Monday morning at 3am and how I should try and snap it (no chance of that having become reality though – I was WAY to sleepy to think about waking up at 3am!) 

We all need an Angela. She must be an angel ๐Ÿ˜‡


Student Hack #1: How to Get More Sleep

2015-09-27 19.40.10

When you have a bell right outside your room….

You will need: Elastic Band (crucial)

Kitchen towel or some other insulating material.

A chair (if you are short).

A willing friend to test the bell out afterwards.

Optional additions: toilet roll tubes cut up and shoved under the bell.

NB: you are not limited to the above suggestions – be creative

At the completion of week 2

Woo survived another week! Bring on the next one.

Just to say, I changed the theme as I wasn’t quite sure that the previous one really reflected my studies and general working out of life alone as an adult….so chalk board it is ๐Ÿ™‚

*Moving swiftly on* I tried out Grace Church today and to be honest it was the best experience I’ve had so far. I really want to stick with this one. Forgetย trying all of them out….. I felt a lot more at home there and I also met this lovely fourth year Russian student (called Josie) who was really friendly and giving me the low down on her year abroad and what to expect! She’s even invited me to her house so she can cook me some Russian food for a little trial ๐Ÿ˜‰ Another plus was one of the guys from the break dance society (I’m reliably informed that he’s called Hugh – but I’ve met that many people that I can’t be 100% sure). There were also a few other friendly students helping out and they were so lovely. I think this one might be a keeper? Who knows – I just think I want to go back next week and try it again. I might try a third one but I want to go back to Grace Church next week. They’re also doing a really amazing Bible study in Romans which is one of my faves :’) I don’tย want to miss out.

I got back and felt really refreshed and recharged, which is good because most of block F crowded into our flat again to drown their sorrows in Carlesburg after the Rugby match last night. I’m not sure whether to be sad that England lost, or happy that Wales won because I drew Wales in my flat’s sweep stake. Maybe I should just go back to not caring? My flat mate Sarah was happy though, she’s Welsh!

Little update on the audition and the job interview at Coffee #1….

The audition was so relaxed – It’s probably the most comfortable one I’ve ever done. I made a few mistakes, which is annoying, but generally I think I played well. The guy judging actually played piano with me and enjoyed the piece so much that he didn’t stop me after the first page like I’d been promised he would but continued to the end, so I had to play all of the hard bits on page 3 which I was hoping to miss ๐Ÿ˜‰ They always do that! Then I had to sight read, but he played with me so I actually found it easier, although it was super easy already – D major and basically crotchets and quavers the whole way through. Standard cello part. Although I made the mistake of playing in the wrong clef so we had to restart. (This can happen on the cello and is actually perfectly understandable really, as there are 3 clefs and it has a massive pitch range – but still not ideal in an audition and particularly when playing an extract from Mozart.)

The interview was with a lovely bouncy Lithuanian lady called Gertrude. (Try not to laugh too much at the name – she was lovely ๐Ÿ™‚ ). We tried to figure out some times that would suit me around lectures (which was hard), and then she asked me some questions about situations I’d been in in the past when working for Costa etc. I did my best, and it seemed really positive. There’s some training and a trial shift involved, all of which is paid, but I’m still concerned that it won’t fit so easily around my studies and church and societies/clubs. So we’ll see. It may or may not work. If it’s going to make me stressed, I’m not doing it. I learned the hard way what happens when you take too much on and I’m not risking it again.ย No way.

Fortunately Josie (who I met at Grace church) said she knew the rugby club was often hiring out for weekend staff and it would have flexible and more student friendly shifts. Sounded much better than trying to fit four shifts into my busy schedule for Coffee #1, which yes, would be a great place to work, but I am not risking my sanity. I don’t even know how I passed my A-Levels considering how much I was doing each week. :O

Basically, I need about 1-2 shifts a week max, and preferably at the weekend. So I’m still looking. Josie also said she’d get her flat mate who works on the uni campus to send some info about where I can apply for jobs on campus which will be useful as well.

But yeah, now I’m back in my room writing this and about to start some work. Not that I have a lot (I keep on top of things) but I have to read a Spanish novel before my lecture sometime this week. And learn more Russian vocab. Wooo ๐Ÿ™‚

So. Bring on week 3. What’s it got in store for me this time?

The weekend – time to relax?

Finally made it through my first week of lectures and to be quite honest I am tired. Not least because I’m learning an entirely new language and alphabet at high speed, but also because of the late nights I’ve been having. For someone who practically never used to go out in the evening because she’d be way too tired after a full day of A-Levels and rowing, this is really difficult to handle. I just don’t get how my colleagues can do it virtually every night!

Last night, I ignorantly supposed I would get some sleep to catch up. No such chance.

I went ย to the break dance society social which was chilled and fun but I didn’t go out clubbing. Got home and discovered that yet again the club had come to me, into my flats small kitchen, where my flatmates had come up with a new drinking challenge: down 1 pint of any drink (they accept that I don’t drink and let me pick something non-alcoholic) in under 15s for the boys and under 20s for the girls, otherwise there would be a forfeit – which, knowing Rob quite well, and seeing as he set the challenge, it probably involves eating a tablespoon of paprika. The cinnamon challenge 2.5.

So I downed my pint of water in 9.15 seconds, beating a few of the lads which made me feel slightly proud of myself, although it meant I had to get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet ๐Ÿ˜‰

The only issue really were the screaming banshees outside my window at 12am preventing me from falling asleep, (the walls and windows in my block are so thin you can hear everything outside as though it were in the corridor outside your room) and then one very drunk Rob holding the doorbell button down when he forgot to take his keys with him when he went out to other flat parties in Lafrowda. At 4.15am. 4.15ย AM! And everyone else was fast asleep aided by alcohol to keep them that way, so I ended up having to let him in, which meant returning to sleep was almost impossible. (He did apologize later once sober).

Hopefully it won’t happen again. Although, there won’t be much chance of catching up sleep tonight either, as it’s Trevor’s 20th birthday and apparently we’re all going out clubbing (again). Just can’t get enough booze.

It’s stretching me a lot. I never expected to be able to put up with so much but I’m kind of hoping things will tone down at least a little once workloads increase. I’m also trying not to think about how ridiculous that hope actually is?!

Did my morning shop today. I was laughing as I got back at 10am and in walks Alec, who’s only woken up about 15 minutes ago, and I’ve already shopped and effectively done an intense cardio workout (Exeter is so hilly! This combined with two heavy rucksacks full of food made it an absolute thigh burner). Still, it’s worth it for Aldi’s prices :’)

Today I have my audition for the chamber orchestra, and I also have a job interview at Coffee #1 in town. So fingers crossed and praying hard. I’m also going to get myself some avocados – I’ve found an amazing little fruit and veg shop which sells them for 69p!!! BARGAIN ๐Ÿ˜€

Tomorrow I’m trying out Grace Church…. so I’ll update on how that goes sometime soon!

Til then ๐Ÿ˜‰

And it starts to sink in…..

Homesickness. They tell you it’s normal. Everyone feels it. Most pretend they don’t. I totally fall into that category – for now. It’s not like a massive thing. It’s more like I miss little things. Like spontaneous hugs. My mum and I have worked through some tough things and one thing she and I do is spontaneous hugging. Dad isn’t so bad at it either ๐Ÿ˜‰ I miss that.

I kind of miss my privacy too. I mean, I always had my bedroom door open and Beth was next door to me in the attic, but here, if you leave your door open EVERYONE has to say hi as they walk past. And if they don’t, YOU have to say hi.

Making big decisions is hard too. *Being totally honest now*. I’m a little overwhelmed by the idea of finding a new church. And the CU? I missed the halls dinner/social thingy last night for Lafrowda (where I live). Probably missed out, but I feel like I’m out every night! I kind of want to focus on just finding a church first and going every Sunday, then build from there…. but worried about all the friendships being made without me? Maybe just worrying too much!

Oftentimes I play the cello when I feel like this and it makes me feel better.

I wonder if it’s an actual condition – when you’ve met so many new people that you just want to shut yourself in your room and shut the world out for a bit?

On the flip side, lectures are FABULOUS. I love Russian, we’ve really got going on the alphabet and they gave us all a new Russian name so we get into the Russian persona – I picked Sonya after my mum’s name (which happens to be the Russian version of it) – it looks like this for those interested:ย ะกะพะฝั

Awesome right? Spanish is ACE too we’re getting into lots of history, which will explain the culture behind everything ๐Ÿ™‚ So yeah I’m happy.

But I do miss home a little tiny weeenyy bit ๐Ÿ˜‰


First full day of Lectures and some interesting misdirections

Today was my first full day with lectures – it was ACE. Can you tell how excited I am yet??

My first lecture at 9:30am was entirely in Spanish which made me very happy, and the second one was about translation so by the time I walked out of that one I was practically flying away on a magical unicorn ๐Ÿ˜‰

Later, my first taste of Gymnastics since I used to do it when I was five meant getting utterly lost in Exeter – but actually it turned out that I’d found it, it was just hidden behind a language clinic building! So there I was confusing all of the pedestrians as I went backwards and forwards circling this clinic for at least 20 minutes. Once in, I was thrown in the deep end. Somersaults. On my first day. Not quite what I was expecting, but hey, I guess that’s what I wanted to learn. I almost got it as well – next week I intend to be pro (slightly ambitious!). The great thing though was meeting this girl I’d met at Belmont Church on Sunday and she’d been doing gym since she was six, so she helped me out and I improved a lot with her. Friends are good ๐Ÿ™‚

I then had to dash off for my first Russian lecture.ย Thisย proved to beย a bit slow, but my teacher (she asked us to call her by her first name, Katherine (NB NOT Kathy) showed us around this thing called ELE where we can get lots of our module work and things – which was quite useful. She also taught us some of the Russian Alphabet, starting with the 5 letters most similar to the English alphabet and with similar sounds = A K T O M. She’s quite quirky so she was amusing to observe.

The drama of my day was HSBC refusing my payment for my accommodation fee – but apparently I have another 10 days to submit it so I’m on their case, not to worry! Fortunately Ellen (my lovely flatmate) had her head screwed on tighter than mine when I had a small panic about it at midday, and told me not to stress! ๐Ÿ˜‰

But yeah, now I simply do my work, and await my new printer and iphone in the post. Oh, and my hangers….. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tomorrow Lectures Start…

It’s kind of sobering to realize that the hard work begins tomorrow. I know that for your first year you only have to pass about 40% to be able to carry on with your course, but I always put a lot of effort in because I want to do well.

Tomorrow, I will have my first lecture in Russian. Not in Russian, but for beginners I mean. So it’ll be in English ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank goodness!

I’ve already started learning the alphabet on this amazing app called Quizlet where you can test yourself. It’s great for verbs and vocab etc. And learning the Russian alphabet, should you be interested ๐Ÿ˜›

I made a chicken korma curry for lunch today which was probably too spicy to actually qualify as a korma, but it stank the room out and made my clothes smell too. My flat mates (especially the lads) are very impressed with my cooking skills. (Thanks mum!)

I’ve tried to explain a little bit about how big my family is… like how my uncle is only 4 months older than me. That gets most people. But this is why I know how to cook. I come from a huge family, where leftovers and reheating food is life. Double. Quantities. For. Everything.

….Plus I just like to cook, so that always helps ๐Ÿ™‚

Ok, so today is more chilled. No one is going out tonight. Everyone wants to get organised before lectures tomorrow. I’m still desperately awaiting the arrival of some clothes hangers mum bought me on ebay because we forgot to pack any so my clothes are on the floor of my wardrobe right now. This is survival to the extreme, seriously ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been to my first church today – Belmont Chapel. It’s ok, but I felt like it wasn’t for me. So next week it’s Grace Church.

Still madly practicing the cello for my audition next weekend. Aaah scary!ย It’ll be ok though, apparently they usually don’t listen to the whole thing anyway so they will probably stop me after the first page. Mmm what can I play that has an easy first page…? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyways, this entry was going to be brief as I too want to get a bit more organised for tomorrow. My first lecture is at 9:30am – it’s Spanish Language. The worrying thing is I have no idea where ‘Harrison 004’ is…. might want to ask about that one!