It's into the second week here at
I suppose when I thought about studying abroad, I focused mostly on the weekends away, on all of the places that I'd see. Harlaxton, in my mind, became merely this stable place to come back to from each grand adventure. But I underestimated how much of an adventure it would be day to day, just living here. It's the second week, and just look at all the things that I've done right here on campus:
Upon arrival I naturally I explored the manor house, trying to find the mysterious hidden passageways and how to escape from my room if the main stairway happens to be blocked by a fire. This was especially vital since, for the first week, I was in a single room off in a small hallway that I was a little concerned was sure to be haunted (mostly because I kept having dreams about ghosts watching me in the two mirrors that faced my bed).
I've already gotten to make use of my new fancy heels (which effectively make me one of the tallest people in the room) at the first formal (or "high table") dinner, where the random seating chart forced me to make conversation with some lovely people I'd never met before.
I've lived in not one but TWO separate rooms, since I was put in an RA room for the first week. I tasted the freedom (and terror) of living in a single room in a humongous and very old manor and then the comfort (and awkwardness) of a giant four person room, where everyone else will see the ghosts if they happen to come around (don't worry, they haven't.)
I've had several meals of the reputedly terrible food, which I haven't found all that bad. Admittedly there's a lot of rice and potatoes, but as a great lover of starch, I have to say I can't complain. Yes, it's a bit of a strange hybrid between American and British cuisine, but it's warm, it's edible and it's even a little bit delicious every now and again.Not to mention, it's very cheerfully served by the fantastic kitchen staff. I am going a little bit insane with out my habitual Diet Pepsi at every meal, but I've replaced it with a spot of tea or hot chocolate, so I'm suffering through.
I learned to do several different dances from several different countries during the Ceilidh (pronounced Kaylee) that the school sponsored last week. Yes, I even had to touch people's hands and everything, but it was definitely worth it because I felt like I was in the middle of a Jane Austen novel, which is something I've always wanted to feel. Sadly there was no Darcy, but I was with my wonderful friends and met some new ones, and I think that very nearly compares to Colin Firth (sort of).
Since we all live in the same (gigantic, gorgeous) place, I've met a TON
of new people, both from my home school U of E and from the other
schools that have come together to make up this Harlaxton semester's
As the semester got underway almost as soon as we got here, I've already started in on three new classes, two of which are taught by the British faculty (British studies and Shakespeare), and one of which is an intensive writing workshop from which I can already tell I'm going to learn a lot. It's a lot of fun listening to actual British people talking about British history and about Shakespeare (although we haven't gotten too deep into that yet, having a gigantic class and needing to split it into two sections). The faculty here, both the British ones and the visiting faculty, seem pretty fantastic thus far, and I'm excited for a stimulating (if challenging) semester. Even if the last thing I wanted to do when sitting in my hotel room in London this weekend was my British studies homework.
Each night when all of this is over, I come back to the same room and collapse into the same bed when all the homework is finished, and that's as close as it gets to being the same day to day. Somehow, I'm trying to organize the busy schedule of classes, events, field trip, and travel into something that vaguely resembles a routine, because I'm the sort of person who needs a routine. However, since I'm loving every spontaneous and unplanned minute of it, I'm doing okay with the fact that the only real routine is that I wake up, go to classes, and at some point eventually make it back to my bed to rest up for whatever the next day is going to bring me. Because, yes, I do live in a manor. And that alone promises life these next few months is going to be just a little bit more than ordinary.