Sunday, 12 January 2014

Day 3: Settling In (aka "buying lots of stuff")

Today was a day of buying lots of stuff. Seriously, look at how much stuff I bought today. 

I started the morning off with a grocery run. I was a bit over-ambitious in the amount of stuff (including several bottles of soy milk & cans of beans) that I thought I'd be able to carry back. The good news is, the check-out lady double-bagged everything so none of the bags broke!! It definitely wasn't a breeze though. Also, I laughed when I saw this at the grocery:

Notice the sign: "Healthy Dinners". Now look what's inside the freezer. Cheese pizzas, cheeseburgers,, uh, what's "unhealthy" then?

Something funny: I ran into someone coming out of the building on my way back in, and asked if he lived there. Turns out, he's the Faculty Master of the house! Woops. Anyway, after having some breakfast, I walked to the Dr Martens store about 30 mins away and bought a pair of boots, which will hopefully withstand the rain a bit better than my current ones. Some scenes from the walk:

Squirrels!! So cute.
Football practice. Very American.
The water in this river is browner than the Yarra. That is saying something. It is actually brown!
Immediately after dropping those boots off in my room, I went on the Target trip organised for the exchange students. There was a bus to take us there and back, which was much needed. I bought a ridiculous amount of stuff there - kitchen equipment, towels, bedding, bin, lamp, etc…basically everything you need to move into a new house!! Which is basically what I was doing here, since the room only came with a bed, desk, chair, drawers, and shelves, and the communal kitchen is very very sparcely equipped. It was amusing to see how much stuff everyone managed to fit onto the bus (e.g. including furniture like chairs and mirrors).

Yellow bus. Just like in the movies.
After unpacking some of the stuff, I went and joined the exchange students for dinner. Most people went for American food at Copabanana, while I went and joined a group of people at Mad Mex, which was very vegan-friendly (they even had vegan cheese & sour cream!). It tasted great for about the first half, then I realised how large the portion was. I think one thing I need to learn is that I don't have to always finish my plate. It's actually a terrible habit to have when portion sizes are oversized.

The exchange students were all really friendly, and I'm really looking forward to spending more time with them. I met people from Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Hong Kong, England, France, and SO MANY people from Australia. Literally, there are two guys from Sydney at Stouffer with me, and I met another guy from Melbourne (there should be another five from Melbourne too), another from Sydney, and a couple from Brisbane. I think I've met more Australians than Americans so far!

After dinner, we met at Copabanana for a "party", which was slightly awkward when it turned out that they wouldn't accept foreign non-passport IDs, even for people who were legit over 21 (aka not me). So we sat there awkwardly for about 30 minutes until the rest of the exchange students arrived. They are really, really serious about policing the drinking age here. Anyhow, some people went back to their colleges to get their passports, and it was still a nice gathering. I hesitate to use the term "party" though :P

What went well:
  1. Having a bus to take my stuff back from Target. It would have been much more difficult with public transport.
  2. After lugging two loads of "lots of stuff" back to my room, I am extra-grateful to be living on ground floor.
  3. Having my room set up and settled in, so hopefully I won't have to buy and carry lots and lots of stuff again, and will be able to start cooking soon. It's especially good that this has been sorted well before class starts on Wednesday.
What did I learn?
  • I need better earplugs (or need to adapt to the noise). It is much noisier in University City than at home in in suburbs of Auckland or my room back at college in Melbourne, especially because my window faces the street. Lots of traffic, shouting, and sirens at night.
  • I need to be realistic about how much stuff I can actually carry back relatively comfortably when shopping.
  • I don't notice hunger when I'm active and busy all day.
  • It is sometimes a bad idea to finish off an American-sized portion size.
  • How to use blinds!! I have struggled with blinds all my life. I generally manage to avoid the ones at home, but now I am faced with using blinds daily since my room has them. I just couldn't figure out how to get the blinds down on both sides (not just one, making it an awkward slope with one side refusing to come down), so I decided to Google it, and found this: Problem solved! The 45° angle tip worked!
  • How to connect to AirPennNet (campus wifi) on my MacBook. To connect, you had to launch an SetUp Wizard by connecting to the AirPennNet-Help network, but unfortunately it didn't pop up on my computer, and I wasn't able to access the link to the wizard since it wasn't connected to wifi. So I used my phone as a hotspot, and entered the address for the setup wizard on my MacBook, and voila! It worked!
By the way, if you're mentally screaming, TL;DR!!!, don't worry, this loquacity won't last for long. Once class kicks off, I will definitely be keeping my updates short and sweet! :)

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