I’m a wee bit homesick, but thanks to Skype, I basically get to sit right across the table and talk to my fam. It’s amazing how well it worked!! Last night I was chatting with my niece and nephews and we realized that they were each wearing a shirt that represented me. CU, MSU, and England. Nope. Not planned. We were sending our love to Eldest Nephew Blake. He’s at Camp Invention this week. I’ll catch up with that lil dude next week! Here’s a picture I took on my computer while we were Skype-ing last night.
Every morning since I’ve been in the UK, I’ve started my day at Starbucks. And not because I’m addicted, well, partially because I’m addicted, but that’s not my point. It really is because Emily + routine = happy Emily. Not sure why, but it’s just how I am. And it is also because I love to sit here in my usual spot (the plush cozy chair in the corner under the skylight where the lighting is natural) reading my book (just about finished with I am Charlotte Simmons), sipping my ‘sit-in tall Americano with space for milk’ (I’m still adjusting to the lingo and I have to wonder if they find irony in the fact that the American ignorantly orders an Americano…), I find that I am able to constantly, nonchalantly, people watch. And that is one of my favorite hobbies.
The British culture is so fun to observe. Sometimes I actually forget that I am in another country because they are very diverse here, just like home. At first glance everything is very similar to what I’m familiar with, but then there are the small things that stand out to me. The way they dress, wear their hair, what they order, how they eat, their mannerisms in social groups, and of course, the way they talk. I’m not being judgmental, rather, I’m just taking it all in. It really does sound like I’m talking about observing zoo animals in their natural habitat, but I guess in all honesty, I am. However, I do have the utmost respect for these people. They have been so very kind – especially the young man at the counter who remembered me, knew my order and helped me count out the bloody money because I don’t know what a 5p coin looks like.
I got hooked into one of the “what do you call this” conversations again this morning. What we call the “trunk” of our car is called the “boot” here and they laughed and laughed and laughed at that. Like to the point of tears. Is it that funny? Did I miss something?
Lunch today was a success. Finally. I did the “I’m a poor college student” meal deal again, but selected my main course very carefully. I don’t understand the food here, I really don’t. Cheese and onion on wheat bread with mustard? You’ve got to be kidding me. Who would eat that?! I picked up a sub sandwich with an American flag on the sticker just out of curiosity. Ham, turkey. That was it. Nothing else on the sandwich. Do they really think we eat like that (with the exception of Alex – that’s basically his Subway order right there).
All well, so I settled for a BLT, a yogurt, and a drink. Honestly, if there is one food item that I am going to miss while I’m here it is going to be this yogurt! It is really starting to grow on me. Today I had vanilla sprinkled with dark chocolate. OH, MAH HEAVENS. It was so good, it actually reminded me more of puddin’ or maybe melted ice cream. And it is healthy, too. <– best part. The BLT was…meh. It wasn’t fantastic but at least it didn’t have any of those blasted onions. The water/juice drink thingy was cranberry and raspberry and it was a hit.
Seriously, just look at that yogurt? Am I obsessed or what? Or maybe I’m just that hungry…
Today in the office is work as usual. The problem with engineering research is that it is all very dull. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but we don’t get to go out and do cool stuff, I mean, not really. Experiments that serve a purpose in engineering are generally expensive and grad students and researchers are usually trying to find a way to use a computer to model these experiments to save on the dough. Makes sense, but now you see, it’s become a bit of a desk job. Temporarily. Not all engineering careers are desk jobs, just know that. Grad school is certainly a means to an end. A good end, where you get to do fun enginerdy things everyday, mess around with multi-million dollar toys and just have a grand ol’ time.
This morning, I started on a literature review for my thesis paper. Since there really isn’t much goin’ on around here, my advisor from home sent me 7 emails worth of publications relating to my research. I just started reading them today. It will also count towards my work in an individual study course I am doing (for credits toward graduation) on aircraft icing.
I took the afternoon off to do some exploring. Town Centre is only open until 5 pm and I don’t want to wait until the weekend. As I was sitting at the bus station, a nice older woman struck up a conversation with me – that’s just how they are. I love it. She discovered right away that I wasn’t a local and after hearing me talk for a while, she interrupted me,
nice lady: I do beg your pardon, are you Canadian?
me: Um, sorry, what? No…United Sta – I’m American.
I told her I’m from the southern states, but she knew the American accent well enough to detect that I’m from the north. Canadian, eh? Nope. Iowanian. I asked if she had ever been to the states and no she hadn’t, but she’s seen a lot of American movies. Did you hear that Hollywood? The world is watching!
Anyway, I wandered around Town Centre, did some shopping and site-seeing. Red telephone booth!!