Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

As conspiracies unwind, Will you slam shut, Or free your mind, Or stay hypnotised…

I’ve got to be quick doing this one as I have an early start at university today…oh btw an early start for me over in Leeds in 10am.  Haha  I will be heading off to my first class in Cybercrime – sounds kinda cool doesn’t it?  Well I’ll tell you how it goes!

Yesterday after getting up late, as is becoming the norm, my first task as I said yesterday was to do my washing, and if I say so myself it was quite successful.  I put the clothes in the machine, paid my 3 pounds, waited 30 minutes while reading my book and then threw ’em in the dryer.  Probably the only mistake I made was that after the drier some things weren’t complete dry…but I left them in front of the heater as I went about the rest of my day.

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I also spent that little bit of time I had to wait attempting to get my rubiks cube complete (a goal I was set for my entire time away), and I got the orange side done and was soooo happy.  Until I realised I would have to destroy it to try to get any of the other sides – I think I need a new tactic.

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What was the rest of my day?  Well for staters I had to walk to uni in what was the most bitterly cold day I have experienced (I don’t care what the temperature actually was…but that was how it felt).  It is funny though as with how people are suffering in Melbourne as they melt into pools of human goo, I can live with even this bitter cold!

At uni I went to my first (of 5 :P) lectures for Comparative European Legal Systems. It doesn’t seem like the most interesting course (Common Law, Civil Law and all that) but it does seem that the project and essay that we write will have a little bit of allowance for us to take it into a specific area that interests us- that could be good.  Also, it is another class I am in where I am surrounded by Aussies and first years!

After grabbing coffee, we ended up having quite an in-depth political discussion.  Yeah, I know the timing of this surprised me to but with Johnno being more political than anybody I’ve really met before (A smart man too as he is on the “correct” side of politics haha), Josh/Brent being educated conservatives I suspect it may be discussed again.  It was a little funny that we came all this way to end up talking about Australian Politics, the plight of the Liberal Party, all things Costello and the like.

I then ended up helping Johnno as he had agreed to man a clipboard for a mate who is the Leeds University Union’s Community Office, who was taking signatures for a petition to get some street lamps in Hyde Park (which is supposedly the rape captial of Europe…I won’t be going near there at night!).   For my first, and I’m sure not last time on this side of a clipboard it was quite fun; even in the arctic conditions.  I ended up being able to persuade most people I approached to sign (mainly as I approached mainly girls who seemed to be much more in favour of the movement as they are probably those who consider themselves to be most at risk but shhh…I was 8/8 at some stage while the “professional” Jonathan was being shot down haha).

It was quite funny though.  Generally around Monash I ignore anyone with a clipboard or a pamphlet who is preaching something the least bit political, let alone anything about the Union Elections and here I was actively being on the otherside a week into my Leeds experience. I think one of the reasons was that the Union here has ACTUALLY power, they can (and do) get things done and that really gives you a reason to care.  I may only be here for a semester, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Leeds left in a better way than when I found it.

Oh and by the way – I put my aussie flag up!

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January 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I’d tell all my friends, But they’d never believe me, They’d think that I’d finally lost it completely

So yesterday I did nothing for the first time in a month.  I decided that as I had no uni classes I would sit back and relax.  I watched tv, sat on the internet and slept….IT WAS AWESOME! Although I am now a little stir crazy and I think ‘once a month’ is all I will be doing that.  However, I do have a confession to make, I didn’t do my washing…as I said I was enjoying doing nothing and didn’t want such a task to ruin my day.  I had realised I had a set of clothes for today and now, as soon as I finish this post, I will be heading off to do it.
I promise :/ *thats a nervous look for all you old people*

One thing I did realise yesterday, besides the fact that Season 3 of Dexter goes down hill after the first few episodes to just being awesome and not brilliant, was how easy I have it.  I have been gone for 3 weeks, living alone for a week and yet I still don’t really miss home.  No, Its not that I’m a bastard who is not grateful for what I have back in the land of Oz, but really I am not missing much to be sad…Thanks to the internet.

Let me explain.  Thanks to news.com.au, heraldsun.com.au, theage.com.au and Crikey I am yet to miss any of the Australian News stories.  I know all about the girl who tragically got thrown of the bridge. I know all about a drunk Andrew Symonds on Roy and HG’s radio show.  I know about the trouble brewing along in the Victorian ALP. I even know stuff I shouldn’t like Thorpey just holidayed in Brazil.  I haven’t missed anything.  In fact due to the timezone differences I may even read these stories before most Australians now about them.
Now the best part of the internet for people in my position is the communication side of things.  I have facebook, skype, msn, this blog and emails all helping me stay connected to all the people back in Australia.  Us Australian International Students have also noted a phenomenom that exists that you seem to be contacted by friends/family more when you are away then just down the road (By the way….I LOVE THIS, so don’t take this as a reason to stop pestering me :P).

I can’t imagine what it would be like for people who did this move overseas to study pre internet. All I can imagine is that it would’ve lead to costly telephone bills or before that lots of letters home. Yet people still survived it and loved the experience (I know, they have told me such…). So really, I am not in a position to complain.  I have things pretty good as I can have the time of my life over in the UK while only being a keystroke away from the familiarness of home.

January 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

You never wanted me to say I’ve become assimilated, Answers wrap this all down, my friend, yeah. You never wanted me to say I’ve become an educated, chance I’ll sit this one out, my friend.

So another day and another class.  Yes that’s right I am using the singular! I only had one hour of uni today.  I got up a little later than usual as I had been out the night before, but pretty much just ate/entertained myself by watching season 3 of Dexter before heading off to uni.

Before I had my second lecture in Crime Prevention and Community Safety I met up with my personal tutor. Now the idea of a personal tutor is as foreign to me as I am to this country, but supposedly all University of Leeds students have a personal tutor to assist them in any academic matters.  All of us Australians had a short 30 minute group meeting with Amrita…who seemed nice enough, but I am still somewhat unsure how, if at all, she is useful :/

The good thing about that meeting though was that it meant all us Aussie law students were in the one room for a bit and we could chat, see who was doing similar classes (which I found out is pretty much ALL of us haha) and know the people who we can copy notes off if (or should that be when…) I sleep in.  One thing that was a little strange though was that the guy from Adelaide recognised me.  Now I wasn’t quite sure how my fame had spread westward until he said three scary letters – FPS.  It turns out that ‘Adelaide’ as I would refer to him, had competed in the nerd off in high school as well and even managed to remember parts of our skit.  It is kind of strange how small the world can be at times.

After my lecture for Crime Prevention and Community Safety, which I have to say was easy enough but some of the lecturers use of statistics bothered me (eg using “total offences per year” stats to draw trends about crime over 130 years.  I swear a per capita stat would’ve had more weight with me!) we had a quick bite to eat and then were immediately off on the Otley Run, and by immediately after we tried to get a cab and then EVENTUALLY took the longest 1 mile bus trip ever.  Now the Otley Run is supposedly a bit of a Leeds tradition as you start in Headingly and do a pub crawl in about 20 pubs back to campus.  It was a great night, especially as the fact we kept moving meant that you were always speaking to new people/changing conversations.  Hell I even met some cool Brits!

I have two last things to say and then I will go back to my world of Dexter (Season 3 is better than 2 so far! and season 2 but great!).  Firstly, on the 28th of Feb I have booked to go on a 2 day trip to Wales.  Josh is doing it as well and its through a company that specialises in doing weekend trips for International Students (Brilliant business plan if you ask me!).  So for the grand total of 89 pounds I will see all there is to see in Wales (2 days is plenty I’m sure 😛 haha)

Lastly, I have reached the point I dreaded most.  Its my day off, most of my clothes are dirty and I am going to have to a wash :O I’ll keep you informed on how that goes *gulp*

January 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

You’re the voice, try and understand it, Make a noise and make it clear, We’re not gonna sit in silence, We’re not gonna live with fear!

So yesterday was both Australia Day and my first day of classes- a busy day in all respects.  However, before I start I have a confession to make.  When I went shopping for food at the top of my list was Orange Juice.  I would need a drink with breakfast I thought. I bought a 3 litre bottle as it was cheap and looked pulp free (I blame Shan for this preference hehe), yet when I took it home and drank it…IT WAS HORRIBLE.  I wrote it off as an experience, I would drink the rest and then buy something else next time.

It was only yesterday morning that I was reading the bottle as I ate my yogurt for brekkie that I realised why it was horrible…it is not Orange Juice but Cordial! It says on the back that you need to dilute it 1 in 4, something I clearly didn’t see and I was drinking it straight.  I COMPLETELY missed this as it looked exactly like Orange Juice, had a lot of words like “natural” on the bottle and well, because I am clearly an idiot!  So it turns out my shopping skills may not be as good as I had thought 😛

I have to say that yesterday I was slightly nervous before my first class.  I didn’t know where any of the lecture theatres were. I didn’t know if I would like my classes, my lectures or if people would like me.  I didn’t know if they would bombard me with question in a “Rowena Cantly-Smith-style”…it was just unknown.  But in the end it all went well.

I went to my first class (Crime Prevention and Community Safety), found the lecture theatre easily, as it was well signed. I managed to understand my lecturer clearly – maybe even more clearly than most of my Australian lecturers back at Monash.  On top of that as it was the first lecture we only got 5 mins into the course material before it was over!  It was just like back home, expect the lecture theatre was a bit wierd.  The Lecture Theatre had no aisles, but numbers doors along the wall so that from outside the room, in the stair well, you picked your row and entered the room by that tiny door and you STAYED in that row.

My other class was Gender and the Law and although we actually covered a fair bit of work here as we only have like 7 lectures in the whole semester AND…I actually enjoyed the discussion.  It may actually turn into my favourite class which is something I wouldn’t have expected (Well maybe if I had read any of the literature before I arrived I may have realised the topics were pretty cool haha). I will say though, I have never been in a room and felt more male!  Or is that felt more masculine?  Or like  a man?- they all have different meanings I found out 😉

Now for Australia Day we had always planned to go out.  Seeing as it was the first day of classes and a good way to blow out any homesickness.  We started off by catching up with a fellow Aussie from Monash at his place – a cool place and a cooler guy, picking up a few brits and heading off to Walkabout.  Now I have discussed walkabout before, but last night it was almost infested with Australians.  All of us dressed in some form of flag, hat, zinc cream, wife beater, etc combination…it was like being at the cricket without the melonheads and it was great fun.  We had great aussie music playing – initially it was JJJ’s hottest 100 but then the horrible DJ started up with all the music we requested (Barnesy, Farnsy, Living Endsy, etc).

My night was a little later than I initially planned as we ended up heading off to some club (that we couldn’t get into despite ages in a line) and then another club (that was another fun few hours), but it was the perfect end to a good day.  It was even better as I don’t start class until 2pm today so I could sleep in afterwards 😛

January 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

And I’ll try every drug I find, Except maybe heroin and cyanide, But theres a reason I just can’t afford it yet.

So since I arrived in the UK I have discovered a few addictions I have…some good and some not so good.  Oh and before I get started, no this is NOT an AA meeting and although my name is Simon, I am NOT an alcoholic 😛 haha  Of course, I am arguably exaggerating by using the word ‘addiction’ but I’ll let you decide for yourselves.

  • I am addicted to sunlight.  There goes my future as a prisoner in solitary confinement and it also makes my decision to study in the UK during the winter a little…or a lot foolish.  However, I just love it when you can sit in the sun and relax or are woken up by the sunlight through the windows.  Thankfully the sunlight still wakes me up in Leeds but somehow it seems to get start getting darker at 9am 😛
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  • I am addicted to Television.  Without it I would probably go crazy due to the silence when I am alone and my first task when I got to Leeds was to work out how to watch TV in my room…and I thankfully have! (I may also have found a way to watch the good new shows I may be missing…THANKS CHOPSY!)
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  • I am addicted to Aussies.  There is something different about us Australians, we can go any distance away from our homeland and will till love when we run into another Australian.  Tomorrow is Australia Day, and we WILL celebrate it!
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  • I am addicted to the internet.  I probably use about 10 different firefox tabs at once just to keep up with the amount different websites I NEED to check and I love how it means that I can be connected to anybody and everybody at once.  I can have the Australian newspapers on my laptop before the papers even hit the steps of Melbourne…just awesome!
  • I am addicted to music.  I have semi-permanently had my ipod (either shuffle or video) stuck in my ears since I waved goodbye to friends and family in Melbourne.  Interestingly enough some of the songs I have wanted to listen to have been a little different – Sick Puppies and Ben Folds have gone from occasional listens to my daily soundtrack.  Music, whatever genre, I couldn’t do without it!
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  • I am addicted to Sport.  I have never been the best sportsman, but I have tried and always been a big fan.  Already in the UK I have sat up late at night reading ball-by-ball coverage of Cricket…GO VICS!….watched tons of soccer (Josh and I watched another 2 games at the Old Pub today :P) and figured out how I am going to keep up with the mighty lions in 2009.  As Homer says “sport, sport, sport, sport, sport, sport, sport, sport…Bart gets to sit in the front seat because he is good at sports” 😉
  • I am addicted to Chilli.  I found myself in Marmi’s house lovingly having curry, or other assorted spicy food every night.  It was a little different to back home, and I must admit that I was little craving less spicy food at some point.  Yet, when Riza and I had dinner out…we had spicy Nepalese food and after just a few days in Leeds I have made sure to find the local curry place!
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  • I am addicted to Mates and Family. Okay, this is where I end and get a little sentimental…but its true.  Whether new, old, conservative, liberal, long-lost or never separated it is great to know good people and call them either friend or family.
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January 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

I know money is the root of all evil, Do funny things to some people, Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime, Money can drive some people out of their minds…

I had a rather relaxing Saturday.  Actually it was probably my most relaxing day since I arrived in the UK.  I slept in until 10am. I ate breakfast. I spoke to a few people on through skype, msn, etc. I watched some tv (Scrubs rules :P). Until I then headed to the city and caught up with Josh, did some shopping, went to the pub, got some pizza and watched some Soccer (it will never be football to me).  That was my day…not much to write home about, so I don’t really know why I am writing home about it.  I’ll stop here and embrace one of my favourite hobbies…ranting!

Okay so in the UK they have 8 seperate coins (1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, 1 pound and 2 pounds) in either the traditional designs  (lright) or the newly released ‘coat of arms’ designs (left).

Now it isn’t something I usually publicise but I am a little bit of a coin collector, but that doesn’t mean that I want to have a pocket full of change.  One thing that I keep encountering here in the UK is that I come home and have a mass of coins jingling around in my pocket…such an amount that it overflows from the desingated coin pocket in my jeans. Maybe some UK jeans would have appropriately sized pockets 😉

One likely cause of this is that I rarely use coins to pay for items as I just find the ease of handing over a 5, 10 or 20 pound/dollar note better than traulling through a mass of coins to find exact change.  At most I will use a 1 or 2 pound/dollar coin to pay for something, unless I’m desperate.  However, if it was me…wouldn’t I have had the same issue where I am swimming in coins in Australia?

I seem to find here in England that the 1p and 2p coins are just annoying!  Every transaction you make almost certainly has change, there is no such thing as rounding up or down to the nearest 5 and as a result a large amount of my coins are these, not so little, buggers.  However, there seems to be a shortage of 5 pound notes here as well.  Whenever I hand over a 10 pound note to pay for something that costs abot 3 pounds I always hear the same response from the person serving me as they hurl a lot of coins in my direction… “sorry but we are out of 5 pound notes.”  It is even worse as it seems the 2pound coin is almost a rarity and my 7 pounds in change come in the form of 7 1 pound coins.

Okay so thats my rant over for today…Come on England, catch up to Australia and ditch the 1 and 2p coins and some more 5 pound notes printed/2 pound coins minted.  Thanks 😛

January 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

By the time the buzz was wearing off, we were standing out on the sidewalk with our tattoos that looked like rings…

Yesterday was a busy day – yeah I have taken to doing these the morning/lunchtime after as I think its easier 😛  I woke up early after sleeping like  a baby and had my first proper meal in my digs.  I had a nutritious breakfast of Orange Juice, Yogurt and an apple.  Now that’s good eating 😀

I had a few tasks that I had to do yesterday and I managed to complete them all with relative ease. Firstly I had to go to the International Students’ Office to buy a ticket for the trip to Liverpool next Saturday. There are 5 coach loads of us internationals going down for the day and all for the cost of 14 quid each.  That’s pretty cheap if you ask me…I’m on bus 3 and I was reliable informed that is the “cool bus”.  However, that was by someone on bus 4 so who knows haha

I also had to get my Leeds University Student Card and a Bank Letter so that I can set up a UK account.  This was pretty easy…although the line was massive and boringly slow moving.  Also, I have no added to my collection of photo Id’s that make me look like a criminal, drug addict or just not like me.  THAT photo couldn’t be more blurry if it had been taken under water lol I may choose to upload a photo of it later, but i may be too lazy 😛

I also suffered through a 2 hour lecture to “welcome” us international students to Leeds and the university. Now I thought the bad humour the night before was bad enough but here was a multitude of speakers again regurgitating information we have already been told a dozen times.  One ‘highlight’… or lowlight, I’m not sure…was the video for the Student Support Network.  With its over the top hammy acting (Think Home and Away meets the Bold and the Beautiful) and camera tricks it was as if it was directed by Homer “and starwipe” Simpson.  My favourite moment was where the security guard was on screen in triplicate (One in the car, one standing in front and one behind) explaining that “they are here for us”…although I am a little scared that if there isn’t 3 different guards they can get for the video, how successful this man force will be in protecting.

Last night we had another planned social night, this time at Mine bar.  It was okay – the company was good , although there was someone who was seriously overusing the smoke machine at 9pm, plastic glasses (it was like being at the cricket!) and we got kicked out at 10:30.  That’s right, 10:30.  No-one had informed us that we needed tickets to go to the club night at 10:30 so they shut the place down and we were on our way.  Now, maybe in some places of the world that would be an issue but in Leeds you can spit from pub to the next pub.

We ended up going to Halo.  Halo is a club in a converted church just not on campus and is a pretty cool venue.  It does seem a little sacrilegious, especially as there are still tomb carvings on the walls and the bar is on the alter…but what was worse is that the only cheap beer was Fosters.  I ended up breaking my self imposed embargo on the “great aussie export” and ended up having a great night.

So that was my day…how was yours? 😛 haha

One last note I’ll leave you on is that I am a little surprised that this blog seems to be getting at least 80 hits a day (actually for 5 days in a row it was either 84 or 82 exactly which was a little freaky!).  Now I don’t think I know 80 people who would care to read this (if you are reading this you are awesome 😀 hehe), so the only idea I have is that Mum must be responsible for like 79 of those hits a day  haha

January 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Don’t you wish that you could be a fly on the wall, A creepy little, sneaky little fly on the wall, All my precious secrets, yeah, You’d know them all…

So after a relatively good night sleep (I will have to get used to living around ‘people’ haha) I woke eager to start my day and start making my room more ‘home-ly’.  Actually scratch that…I first needed to set out for some essentials that I was missing (namely a towel and toilet paper).  But thanks to Marks and Spencers and Morrison’s respectively, lacking either of those supplies didn’t lead a crisis.  At this point I would also like to point out that seeing as a 12-pack cost about 1.5 pounds, I am now sitting on a supply of toilet paper that would make Grace proud (for those who don’t know Grace, imagine the end of Indiana Jones and replace the endless boxes for endless rolls of toilet paper haha).

I also had to make my first adventure to shop for a weeks worth of food.  In the end my food cost me about 40 dollars, which I think was pretty good considering that should be all meals except lunches. I bought rice crackers and margarine to go with my Vegemite for breakfasts (I realises bread goes off which rice crackers dont ;)). I bought Orange Juice as odds are that is all I will actually have for breakfast if combined with either of the apples, yogurts or oranges I also bought (Yes, I am being somewhat healthy).  With an eye towards dinners I bought some steaks that I have frozen, some stuffed pasta, white pasta sauce, normal twisty pasta and a jar of tomato sauce…that should go okay I think. My last item that I bought probably was when  I was slightly afraid about how “unhealthy” i may be over these 4 or so months…so I bought a 100 pack of multi-vitamins…probably a waste of money, but it couldn’t hurt right?

After then making my room slightly more comfortable by packing away all my clothes in the cupboard (a first for me haha) and laying out all my most important items…………………………………….

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I also had  a brainwave that if I use the above calender to also keep track on food and when its use by dates are, I shouldn’t waste much food as I can be quite forgetful and actually will forget what I have bought until I discover its rotten, mouldy mess weeks later 😛

After watching a little TV, I got the IPTV thing-o to work on my laptop…YAY…I then caught up with Josh again and actually went back to see his room.  Well I say room, but they call it a suite and I call it a house.  It is massive (own kitchen, own bathroom, double bed, etc) and in a nice quite part of town that is, well, very English.  Josh was initially stuck in a rats nest of a bad, noisy room and complained (using all the ‘lawyer tricks’ and got this room). If it wasn’t a 30 min walk away from uni and a 40 min walk from the city, I would’ve been desperate to swap, but as my room is pretty good (especially considering what most people have to live in) and is the best location of almost any of the halls…I am still very happy.

We then to the  “Introductory meeting, starring the Culture Shock Comedy Drama”…and yes it was as lame as it sounds.  It was a good opportunity to meet lots of fellow foreigners, all who seemed pretty cool, actually even the British organisers seemed pretty cool but, and it is a big BUT, the “Culture Shock Comedy Drama” couldn’t have been more ‘meh’.  There was neither comedy nor drama, and at many different points we would chuckle in despair to each other when we realised that we were only 1/3rd, 2/3rds, etc through the play even though it felt like 3 hours. I have to be honest though the staff who acted it out had good intentions and really committed to their roles (except maybe the ‘father’ with accidental ever changing accents)…it was just full of ‘parent humour’.

Fortunately the night continued on at the Terrace bar where I got to meet a lot more people, a lot more good people by the looks of it.  I even, this is shocking to me, found someone who not only knew of Sentinel Towers, but lives here as well.  I can’t believe how many people give me the “huh” look when I say which accommodation I am in and I don’t know why.

Anyway, I should probably finish there.  I don’t know how this word count got so high on such, what I thought, was a non-eventful day…maybe it was the fact I seemed to, in hindsight, seriously overuse the ellipsis today haha

January 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sweet home Le-e-eds, Where the skies are so blue, Sweet home Le-e-eds…

I should probably start today at yesterday.  It seems almost logical…if not a little “Mad Hatter-like”.  I have hardly felt nerves about my trip, that was until last night. I went to bed, with my bags nicely packed again (Okay messily packed) and started to think about what the next few months hold for me.  It was then that my stomach dropped.  This was the first time I had felt nervous about my trip and I felt as if I was stuck on the Pirate Ship ride at the Show.  Thankfully the feeling passed and I feel asleep.

So today started bright and early at 5am GMT.  I was graciously given a lift to the station at 6:00 by Riza on his way to work (THANKS!), a ride that gave me enough time to be early enough to well and truly deal with my paranoia about being late.  Said paranoia also played a role in me being up at 5am.  I probably could’ve easily woken up at 5:15 or even 5:30 but I had images of Riza shaking me to wake up saying we should’ve left 10 mins ago in my head…so I HAD to be careful.

Now when i finally boarded the coach at around 8:15 I was shocked.  It looked rather spacey, it looked like the leather-looking seats were rather comfortable, it looked like there were not a full coachload of people riding the bus today.  All of those proved to be right, but unfortunately the first of our two bus drivers felt the urge to punish us – so he had the heat up so high it was hotter than hell itself (Even hotter than Marmi’s house was!!!).  I managed to distract myself from my melting flesh with my ipod, which quickly ran out of battery with this fool again forgetting to charge it but thankfully I had my Shuffle back up.

We arrived at the halfway point of our journey and we weren’t stopping for long.  There was no opportunity to exercise our legs or grab a drink but THANKFULLY the bus drivers swapped over.  Just as the vitrious fluid in my eyes had evaporated completely due to the heat, our new bus driver unleashed the full force of the air-con – to our great relief.  Unfortunately it was too much to ask for that this bus driver understand that he could just turn down the heating and turn off the air con eventually and we were left with the more comfortable, but slightly awkward position of having half our body boiled by the heating at our feet and the other half frozen from the air-con from above.

When I arrived at Leeds I realised that I had forgotten to write down the address of my Accommodation…not a problem I thought.  Being the son of two geographers I initially tried to find my accommodation via memory, maps and probably smell eventually but I gave in rather quickly and just went to the International Students Office. I had to go there anyway for a briefing so as I suffered through a briefing which largely repeated information I had previously been given, I managed to find out the address of Sentinel Towers. Its on Burnley St 🙂
After I got my key from the site office, I started to look around my room.  It looked big enough, comfy enough and bare enough to be considered “butt naked”…but I suppose it could become home.  As soon as I get some BluTac for my Aussie flag that is (my first task for tomorrow :P).  It was at this point that I met my first of my flatmates (as it turned out I was living in Little-Mumbai…I couldn’t feel more like Warnie amongst the Rajasthan Royals).  He was nice enough, but he proposed that I swap rooms with his friend in the next flat.  I decided I would look at his  room and then decide.  Ordinarily I probably would’ve swapped, but I just liked the lay-out of my room better.  They didn’t seem too upset when I decided not to take up the offer…hopefully appearances don’t mask their true feelings.
Pics of the room are below….notice that this is obviously the “BEFORE” photo as I am yet to unpack.  That is a task for tomorrow.

After that I met up with Josh.  Josh is probably what I could refer to as my Aussie lifeline. I met him at the Study Abroad Orientation day and he seemed like a nice fellow.  He had also been in Leeds for a few days already so we met to catch up, discuss his somewhat horrific start to his time in Leeds, I got to see around the city for a bit and of course we ate dinner and shared a few pints – we are good Aussies after all.

That leaves me here…typing away at my keyboard.  I have a lot to do tomorrow and am pretty tired, so I’ve made the gutsy decision not to proof read this post.  After all when I’m a  rich, successful lawyer I won’t need to proof read…that’s what clerks are for!

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Your faith was strong but you needed proof, you saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you…

So today was my last full day in London before heading up to Leeds tomorrow.  Actually it is probably more accurate to call it my last day in London, seeing as my bus leaves at 8:30am tomorrow – a bus trip that is costing me all of 5 pounds thanks to wonderful internet deals.   To mark such a day, I headed off to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Now everyone had told me that I HAD to go to St Paul’s and I can see why.  It is a marvelous piece of architecture and a place that just amazes me that it could be built.  Let alone be built hundreds of years ago! As has become a regular feature of my time in London, I used an audio tour for my trip to St Paul’s and again was far from disappointed. I saw all the main parts of the Cathedral and was inundated with a raft of new information- I saw the Whispering Gallery (Soooooo many stairs), The view from the top Gallery (Sooooo many stairs and proving once and for all that I am still afraid of heights after doing the skydive), Nelson’s tomb, Wren’s Memorial, etc, etc.

For me the building felt much more than just a church, actually it felt little like a church at all. It felt like being in a war memorial, particularly with the amount of tombs and memorials to fallen heros.  This isn’t a bad thing in my opinion.  It actually lead to me being more moved than my atheist-self would’ve been by ‘just a beautiful church’ I suspect.  There was so much history built into the Cathedral.  There was even a little Australian/New Zealand corner with Billy Hughes’ carved place staring at me to my surprise (“The little digger” being one of Australia’s most interesting political figures).

And with a tube/bus ride home my tourist time in London is complete…for now (Oh and yeah, just to finish it off I awarkedly ran into my “accidental stalkee” one final time on the bus home haha).  I am really excited about what awaits me in Leeds. After living in the same house my entire life, with the comforts of home (read as “mother”) I should probably be more worried about cooking, cleaning and all in all looking after myself in a foreign land, where the people speak funny and I know few if any people…but I’m just excited.
😀

January 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments