Jun 27, 2006

Success!

Today was a complete success.

I got a cell phone that I can use in case of emergencies, and that I can receive calls on for free. If I never call a soul, and don't pick up a voicemail, it doesn't cost me a cent over the cost of the rental. How awesome. And, it doubles as my alarm clock and watch when I'm not anywhere near a clock, which seems to be frequently... Totally worth the $20.

I think I made a really good impression in my class today. I demonstrated that I'd thoroughly read the syllabus, excuse me, booklet, and I knew an author of one of the pieces that was recommended. I pulled Lijphart's name out and it was awesome. And then I brought up the Rand Corporation's analysis that we covered in my National and International Security class... and I got a complete look of astonishment, followed by an "Oh.." Thank you Willoughby. Too bad I copied those notes off of my computer a few days ago, they might have come in handy. Regardless, he knew my name by the end of class, and class participation is 20% of my grade. Woot! Quite simply, I owned, and that makes me happy. However, I did volunteer to give the first presentation on Thursday. Why do I do these things to myself? I know why, because it's another 20% of my grade that I can get out of the way now.

After class I headed back into Brighton with two new friends of mine to pick up the adapter that I have needed since I got here. We managed to figure out the bus system well enough to get ourselves there and back, although back was a bit of an interesting trip. We got off after the wrong bridge, and had to walk a good 15 minutes back to campus. It'd be a gorgeous walk, if it weren't for the cars speeding on the highway next to us. Oh yeah, and the cars on the left side of the road... still tripping me out. You try catching the bus on the other side of the street going in the opposite direction, it's weird.

I managed to get my computer connected to the internet. This was a feat in itself, let me tell you. No more walking to the lab and waiting for a computer that must have been built in the Stone Age. I'm not joking, they take at least 20 minutes to start up, and those are the quick ones. A working computer also means that I can charge my ipod, actually listen to music, and copy all the pictures off of my camera! In case you can't tell, I'm ecstatic. Of course this means pictures for you all... finally.


And here they come...

That's right, it's the view out my window while waiting for take off at the San Francisco Airport. Hey, I have to chronicle the whole thing, don't I?
After being delayed in Atlanta because of a massive thunderstorm, we finally landed in London 3 hours or so later than we were originally supposed to. I get off the plane, and walk the longest gateway ever to find...

LONDON! Or at least the North Terminal Car Park of the London Gatwick Airport. Riveting, isn't it?

So we head down to baggage claim, or so we think... but we have to go through customs first. Well, it wasn't really customs, but they asked us a bunch of questions and stamped our passports. And then it was the currency exchange, the purchasing of train tickets to get to the Falmer station, and then on to baggage claim. My biggest fear was that they'd lose my luggage, but thankfully it was on the conveyor, which means it then proceeded to become my biggest pain. Finally it was time to escape, and we left the terminal through the "Nothing to Declare" doorway, and got on an escalator to get on a tram to get to the South Terminal, so that we could get on a train to get to campus. Wow, this is sounding more and more like SFO by the minute.

In the few moments we had to catch our breath below Gatwick while waiting for our train, I just had to take a picture. It's a horrible shot... and I will take a better one, but this works for the time being. We finally get on our train, and we have to transfer at the Brighton station. In some ways, it reminds me of the Amtrak turnaround at Union Station, but I know that makes no sense.

It really is a beautiful place, a long arched tunnel of blue. Hopefully I'll be able to go back without a ton of luggage to really wander and take a few decent shots.

After catching the next train to the Falmer station, we were panicked that we weren't going to make the 4pm welcoming committee. We got lucky... ours was the last train that they waited for. We step outside and hear "University of Sussex?" Christina's immediate response is 'Yes! I love you" They grab all our luggage and whisk us away in the van back to campus. Turns out it's right across the street, but you can't see the underpass from the train station and it might have taken us a bit. Plus, we would have had to carry everything across campus. I thought I was free of hills... yeah, right.

The unpacking and settling went well, and I managed to go grocery shopping on Monday after not eating for about 24 hours. Everything here is closed by 5:30 at the latest, and even earlier on weekends. And I thought Lockeford was crazy. There was the standard waste of time orientation, and I hit up the library for a tour.

Last night there was a trip to Brighton, but I'll save that for another time... it's picture heavy and this post is long enough as it is. I should probably thrown in a few pictures of campus as well, not that I've had a chance to take many. Oh well...

Anyway, it's midnight here and I need to jump on that presentation. More tomorrow, I promise.

2 comments:

bryan said...

did you get ant shots over the wing while the plane was eight miles high?
i love those:)
the weather here is abnormally warm, as you seem to know already.
i may go swimming tomorrow:P
i'm so glad your all internetted up and your cellphone manages to wake you up.
by the way, you are now in a country that measures temperature by celcius so get used to it:)
:heart:
-b

Anonymous said...

i'm so excited for you. cant wait to see how your adventure pans out. toodles.

-briza