Let me begin by saying that yesterday was one of THE most stressful days of my life.
We all had to be completely moved out of our room by 9, and breakfast is served from like 730 to 9. My group had the idea to drop off our stuff in the holding room at 745, eat breakfast, and make our own way to the train station and get to Liverpool probably at least 45 mins before the rest of the international students. However, the doors were locked when we got there and so we had to wait for someone to unlock them. After that, we had a quick breakfast and headed to the station. We made it all the way on the 10:15 train, when we were told we had to get back off and wait. I thought this was a bit silly, since we are adults and can navigate this country for ourselves. However, I can understand why they generally wanted all of us to be together. Especially since many of these students speak English as a second, third, or even fourth language. (It amazes me how many languages Europeans and Asians learn to speak, in comparison to Americans who speak English and perhaps a little of some school-level romance language)
Liverpool was really amazing. I walked around the city with one of the larger groups from Spain, especially with my friends Bea and Carmen from the southern region of Spain. They speak with a slight lisp or thickness in their accent, and I think it is just lovely! My new friends Irene (pronounced ee-wren-eh) and Ana also walked around with us, and I love talking to them as well. They love ginger hair and are all slightly fascinated by it. Naturally, I don’t mind and love getting to know them better! Kathleen and Natasa also walked around with the Spaniards, and we had a ton of laughs taking pictures and mobbing the South Hampton football players we saw getting on the bus outside the Hilton. Kathleen, Natasa and I had lunch at Cafe Rouge, a delicious chain French restaurant. My starter was a savory leek brioche with zucchini and mushrooms. The main course we all ordered was a baked chicken covered in a deliciously sweet tomato paste with more zucchini, green peppers, onions, and spices. It reminded me of ratatouille with chicken!
After lunch, we went for a bit of shopping at the H&M sale. Kathleen and I bought an identical LBD with gorgeous bustier seaming on the sides, a high neckline which will be perfect for the winter’s chill, and a slight high-low hemline. Typically, I don’t like that sort of hemline, but this is such a gentle slant that it actually is very flattering on my body shape. And the dress was only FOUR QUID. That’s like $7. Even for an H&M dress, that’s ridiculously cheap. I have a lot of errands to run today, and need to get my winter coat eventually. It’s not too chilly here just yet, but I don’t want to spend all the money I saved up this summer for my Barbour jacket and not have enough!
I’ve actually managed my spending really well. I’ve gone through about 30 pounds in cash and 30 pounds on my bank card, which is about $100. My typical spending during a week at school, not counting my rent money, is about the same. I was expecting to spend more like $150 a week since everything is more expensive here (due to both the exchange rate and higher cost of living), but even with all my one-time purchases like bedding and toiletries, I am pretty pleased with how well I’ve managed.
My room is PERFECT, despite being a shared room when I paid UTC for a single. (No worries, Mom and Dad. I will be letting them know and seeing if we can get a refund on the difference! Many other students were in the same boat. There must have been a miscommunication.) It has exposed brick walls dark brown exposed wooden beams, two skylights and a view of the chapel from one window and WALES from another. I love it. Gotta go, about to have tea!