Saturday, 11 January 2014

Day 2: Move-In

Today, I entered University City, which really is like a city in itself. It feels a lot bigger and more sprawled out than UniMelb. I moved into my new residence, Stouffer College House, which is also much bigger than my old college in Australia, and has six sections (A - F) with a lounge and kitchen in each. One of the first things I noticed, which made me laugh a bit, was the number of posters about using alcohol responsibly, e.g.:

A hint at the culture at Penn?

So are smart drinkers "scientists" then?

And here's my room:

Yay for the single. Most people have at least one roommate.

So then I went and got my bank account set up (Wells Fargo) and a new SIM card (T-Mobile: $50/month, unlimited talk/text in the US & 500MB 4G data). I was going to make a trip to Target to get necessities like bedding, toiletries and cooking equipment, but then it started raining so I got lazy (since it was a 1.5 hour walk or 45 min bus ride away). Instead, I bought most of the things I needed at CVS Pharmacy (it was much closer) and decided that I could go without bedding for a night since my room's got heating anyway. Holding out for the Target trip organised for exchange students tomorrow.

Today also felt a bit fuzzy and slow due to tiredness from travelling/sleep deprivation, so I'm hoping I'll be more awake tomorrow.

Some more pictures from around campus:

I just got told that people pee on this bench. DO NOT sit on it!!!

What went well:
  1. It wasn't nearly as cold today as it was last night. It was about 16°C during the day.
  2. It only started to really pour down when I was about 3 minutes away from my college house.
  3. Managed to connect to the university's wifi with no trouble on my phone (will figure out how to get my laptop connected soon…)
What did I learn?
  • My boots are really, really not waterproof! Hence, I'm going to buy a pair of (vegan) Doc Marten's tomorrow. I've heard good things about these shoes.
  • I feel really vulnerable without internet/mobile data in a new city. It felt so good getting connected again at T-Mobile, because there's a certain security of having Google Maps always at hand.
  • I need to get a unit-converting app for my phone. People still talk in Farenheits and imperial units over here!
  • I'm not really sure what to do when I'm directly asked by a person for money. This happened twice to me - once outside a corner shop, and once inside CVS. Normally, I would give when directly asked, but just judging by the number of times I was asked today, it looks like it would be a daily occurrence? At a loss. That's two marks against my "kindness manifesto"...
  • They don't include tax in the prices here, so it only appears on the final bill (8%). Totally weird.
  • It pays to pack an umbrella/rain jacket, just in case it is raining the first day you get to a new place. Woops.
  • If you're planning on buying a lot of stuff, bring a better shopping bag. The plastic ones from CVS were super-flimsy and one broke as I was walking back (holding about 6 bags, with more stuff in my backpack).
  • Don't wander around after dark. I don't mean to scare my parents (who are reading this), but I'm pretty sure I just heard a gun shot.........#staysafe

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