Saturday, January 7, 2012

I made it!

So I am pretty much all settled into my flat!  It was a long journey, with lots of adventure and stories, but I am finally here, in my bedroom, on my netbook, writing my first blog post in the UK.

Here's a recap:
I spent the last few days before I left  trying to decide what stuff I could pack in my three suitcases and what needed to be left behind- extreme triaging.  I couldn't have done it without the help of my best friend, Melissa.  <3
I finally got up to Michigan around midnight on Tuesday, and my flight left at 8:15 pm on Wednesday out of Chicago.  My mom and my brother were taking me (which is good, because I had a lot of luggage).  My very good friend, Michael, also came along, because as I was working with all my stuff on Tuesday, I realized that it would not all fit in my car.  Michael was kind enough to drive it up separately in his truck and offered to also go to the airport, which was a huge help for my mom with all the driving. 

Once at the airport, we got some food and waited for my flight a bit.  I called AT&T to get the unlock code for my phone and to cancel my cell service.  (This means my cell number no longer works, but email and facebook always will!)
My mom, Graham and me at the airport

 When I got on the plane, I ended up sitting next to another American from the Chicago area who was also going to be studying abroad in the UK, at the University of Sussex.  We chatted for nearly the whole ride, except for about 2 hours when I tried to get some sleep.

Flying from Dublin to Birmingham, the sun was shining!
I had a few hour layover in the Dublin airport, which was a nice little airport with a bar and shops and whatnot.  I  had a half pint of Smithwicks (I WAS in Dublin afterall) even though it was 9 am, with my new friend David, who I chatted with on my first flight.  I also found some pay internet stations where I was able to log on and email my mom and some friends back home.

I was picked up at the airport by one of my graduate advisors, Steve Maggs, and the program manager of the research group at WMG, Nick Mallinson.  They got there just about the time I got all my luggage together, which was perfect timing.  They took me from Birmingham to campus to pick up my flat (apartment!) keys and then took me to Kenilworth, a little town up the road from campus where my flat is located.

My flat is actually a lot bigger and a lot nicer than I expected it to be.  One of the best things was having the internet all set up when I arrived.  I had been emailing with the Student Internet company before I came over and wasn't expecting it to be ready, but it was!  It was really great to be able to get online the first night in and Skype with my mom and others back home.

The apartment is all new.  I'd say its about 750-1000 square feet of space, with two bedrooms and two full bathrooms.  My bedroom has a bathroom attached to it, with a cool standing shower, while the hall bathroom has the full tub with shower.  Here are some pics of the place:
Looking into the living room

The kitchen, which is attached to the living room.  I need to get some bar stools!

This is really cool.  The box on the top is the boiler, which is essentially a tankless, gas powered water heater.  It heats my water AND the apartment, through radiators in each room.  The washer below is ALSO a clothes dryer, has setting for each.

The hall bathroom, with the full tub.  The toilet is flushed via a silver button on the wall

My bedroom, with my green duvet that Steve and Nick helped me pick out on my first night there!  It is essentially the most awesome blanket ever.

My bathroom

Looking down the hall to the living room from my bedroom
So, that is the apartment!  I am getting pretty sleepy now and I have been battling a cold since I left the States, so I will stop now, but much more to come soon!


  1. Great to see everything with the pictures and to get more details on the trip itself.....we have incorporated pretty much all the stuff you left here and are settling in to thinking about when we can come visit.
    Have a great time and we will "skype" again!

  2. I'm so glad Melissa was able to help you pack and Mike was able to help you get to MI. Your apartment looks so nice! I'm glad you didn't arrive to a crappy apt. I'm also really glad you know a few people in your Dept. to keep you company! I'm so proud of you for having the guts to do this! When you look back, I'm sure it will be one of your happiest times! I love you <3

  3. Stealth packing - how true ninjas pack.