I have officially made it to Birmingham, England! I have at this point been here a little under 26 hours and am officially exhausted. It’s been both an adventure and all a little surreal. I’m not sure if the surreal-ness is due to the fact that I’m in a different country or if it’s just the jet lag. At least today is better than yesterday as far as the jet lag goes. Yesterday was jet lag plus functioning on an hour of sleep. I got to Birmingham at 7 AM and was moving into my flat (as they call it here) by 8. My room’s tiny, but the view is gorgeous.
I met two of my flatmates (Guy and Ellen), and then walked over to campus and took a campus tour. While it did keep me awake (part of my goal in going) I still have no idea where anything is. I’m planning on getting horribly lost at least twice, if not more. I was pretty sure I was lost on the way back to my flat, since I came back a completely different way, but I made it. As I was trying not to nod off over a book, my new flatmates knocked on the door and we chatted for a while. I’m not sure I was intelligible, but hey. I at least made enough of a good impression that they invited me to go with them to a friend’s flat later to watch the Doctor Who premiere. I managed to stay awake long enough to go and enjoy, and then slept for fourteen hours. Today, I went into the city and found a grocery store and book shop (the two things I need most in my life.) And now I’m writing this.
But that’s just the short version. It skips over all the small stories along the way. Like the pigeon I saw in the Newark Airport.
Or the way I couldn’t stop grinning the entire cab ride from the airport, or the fact that hearing all these British accents is so strange. Stories that will come out a year or so from now when I’m back home catching up with friends and family. It’s just that there is so much to tell. Everything here is a new experience, from figuring out how the bus system works to discovering (what I think is) a shortcut to campus. And yet it’s also so familiar. Grocery shopping, walking around a campus, unpacking in a new room. Just a few degrees separated from my normal. Today I went and bought peanut butter and granola bars. But the granola bars are a different brand than usual, and the jar of peanut butter is tiny (I was worried briefly yesterday that they don’t sell peanut butter at all when I couldn’t find it in the campus convenience store, but thankfully they do). Everything new and everything the same. Like I said earlier, surreal. For now, I’m going to blame it on the jet lag.