Blaming Jet Lag

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.

Look, I took a picture!
The view from my window. (Look, I took a picture!)

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.

2015-09-18 17.09.20
Yes, it was in the terminal.

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.

Problems With Packing

I’m writing a blog to procrastinate packing.  I hate packing.  I leave for Birmingham, England in four days and I’ve done almost no packing.  I did, however, make a list of what I need to pack, which should count for something.  Right?  I’m going to pretend it does.  It’s just that there’s so much to figure out.  What exactly am I taking?  Can I make it all fit into two suitcases and a backpack?  How am I even supposed to know what I’m going to need in England?

Which brings us to the real reason I started this blog. I’m going overseas for ten months to study at the University of Birmingham, and what you do when you study abroad is start a blog.  At least, that’s my understanding.  Also, lots of people want pictures and I’m not good at taking them, but I’m hopeful that having to update this blog will force me to take pictures.  Maybe.

A brief note on the title: It’s been a running joke for a while that if I ever wrote a memoir it would be called Hold, Please since as a stage manager I say that a lot.  So it makes as good a title as any.

I’m afraid I can’t promise you particularly witty content, by the way.  I love writing, but most of what I write is fiction, or poetry, and isn’t particularly funny.  If I’m being honest, most of what you’ll get on here is me rambling.  I hope to at least ramble interestingly.

Well, here we go:

I leave in four days for England, to go to a school where I know no one, in a country that at least speaks my native language, which makes things a lot easier.  I don’t know yet what my class schedule will be, (though I do know what I’m taking) or even how classes work in England.  I’d like to assume it’s similar to the U.S., but I don’t know.  I’ve been saying that a lot, “I don’t know”.  For a person who usually plans their life several months in advance, it’s a little disconcerting.  You can’t make plans when you don’t know what to plan for.  Still, it’ll be nice to get moving again.  Everyone else has already started school, with all the trials and triumphs that entails.  I’ve been watching Netflix and reading, which is lovely, but I’m ready to get back to work.  Even if I don’t know exactly what kind of work I’ll be doing.  I think this not knowing may be particularly strange to me because this is the first time in over three years that I don’t have a show on my schedule.  Nothing to prepare for, no scripts to copy, no auditions to run.  I know I’ll be doing some kind of theatre over in England, but I don’t know what yet.  Or when.  I guess, like so many other things, I’ll find out when I get there.