A Travellerspoint blog

20th September 10:49am

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View Leeds on Jessie M's travel map.

I thought it was time for another entry. I've only been here a week and a few days but already it seems like months and I can hardly remember everything to write down.

Over the weekend Leeds and the uni exploded with British students arriving with their parents. Now the uni and all the surrounding shops are crowded every day. In a week the international students all bonded in our groups and now feel a little invaded.

But all the British students I have met so far have been great. I have been asked about three or four times about Steve Irwin and about kangaroos and other 'weird' animals. The other day I was at the house of some British people I've met and its one of those houses in the rows and redbrick. The house is weird and quiant! Door frames slope so the doors don't fit in them, I think even the floor slopes a little, there are doors to nothing and rooms that go nowhere. I love it!

I have still to meet all my flat mates - I think they are all international students as well because I've heard a lot of different languages being spoken around the place. As far as I can tell there is guy from Brazil, a girl from Italy, a girl from and Asian country, and another guy but I don't know where he is from yet.

Sharing a bathroom between five is a minor challenge - each morning I stick my head into the corridor about 3 times until I find its free and can go have a shower. And i only just got my room organised today until now I hadn't even unpacked entirely. I seem to be out all day most days, and often out late each night so I when I get home its all about sleeping. Today is the first completely free day I have had. I'll have to do some washing today since I've run out of clean clothes.

On sunday there was a trip organised to Scarborough on the coast for all the international students. It was even the perfect weather for a trip to the seaside! Not warm enough to swim of course, and there was fog all day, but the sun did shine in patches and it was warm with a cool breeze. Everything I thought an English seaside would be like.

We visited Scarborough castle. The headland it is on has been inhabited for about 3000 yrs, and the castle was built in the 12th century. Not much of the castle left due to civil war and shelling in 1914, but it was my first ruins I've seen of anything close to this old!! It was really beautiful to see and gave great views over Scarborough as well.

One well we came across we decided to drop a penny into to see how deep it was because you couldn't see the bottom. The penny took 6 seconds to reach the bottom!! (If any one is good at maths please do the calculations of speed of a penny and time it took to give me the distance!!)

It was sad to see in some places though that many people don't care at all about preserving these sites - there was rubbish in many places. It wasn't just careless littering either as in one place there was a cage over a a shallow well, but people had still gone to the trouble of squashing their plastic bottles through the openings to drop it down.

After the castle, we walked along the beach, everyone else had fish and chips for lunch but I had a pasty thing since I don't like fish (almost wish I did because fish and chips is the thing to eat in British seaside towns!) and then went to a sea life park. Pretty 'touristy' but they had some cool animals like jelly fish that looked surreal floating in the blue light, giant crabs that walked like spiders, sea turtles and a seal hospital. Got slightly lost finding our way back to bus but it was a nice day for a walk.

Since then it almost feels like I've been endlessly queing for things... food, my student card, getting into lecture theatres with weird doors, buses.... but I'm still having so much fun and my sleep routine seems to have settled down into a normal pattern.

Anyway, here are some photos from Scarborough:

The lighting wasn't the best and it was much prettier in real life but this is the first thing I saw on arriving in Scarborough.
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This is a view over Scarborough from the Keep at Scarborough Castle.
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My French friends :)
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Bjorn (Holland) and CJ (Canada) in the Keep.
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Another view from the Keep
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And another one...(That's Sara from Morocco/France)
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Posted by Jessie M 02:48 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

some pictures

rain

This is a view of the city from my window at Charles Morris (my temporary accomodation). (Taken at 5.30am when I couldn't get back to sleep.)

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This is a bus in Manchester, taken while I was on the coach on my way to Leeds - when I looked at the photo later I noticed what was written on the back of the bus - so this picture of a typical British bus and 'Don't Panic' has become my motto for the trip. (I had thought I was going to miss my coach because I've flight delays and stuff and then later was feeling overwhelemed by everything, but then it all works out in the end :)
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This is another view from Charles Morris - have a look at that smog!!
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This is a pub I passed on my way through Manchester to Leeds and I took a photo of it because it just looked so English!
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Posted by Jessie M 01:02 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (4)

Sleep Deprived but Having Fun

rain 15 °C

The first morning I was here I woke up at 4am. Yesterday morning I woke up at 3am!! I thought maybe it was because I had fallen asleep to early the night before so I tried staying up late last night to see if I could sleep in - I woke up at 6:30 and since I went to bed at 1:30am that was no better!!

Oh well, I haven't been feeling too bad during the day even if I'm running on only 5 hours sleep a night.

I've been so busy ever since I got here going on tours around the uni and the city (this uni is a maze and I still get a little lost at times - there are about 5 ways to get to one place and its like rabbit warren in some buildings!), opening my bank account, sorting out my permanent accomodation and most of all meeting lots of people. Burning through my money a bit faster than I'd like but I think that will settle down once I've sorted out pots and pans and start cooking my own food.

Today it's raining for the first time since I got here so its looking thoroughly like English weather now. It's actually quite beautiful because my residence, Lupton, is in an area with all old buildings and tree lined streets and the rain just completes the English picture! (luckily I remembered to buy an umbrella the other day.)

Last night there were salsa dancing lessons at the uni but I unfortunately my shoes have given me a blister on the bottom of my foot from the miles and miles of walking I've been doing since I got here, so I could hardly walk let alone salsa dance! But it was funnier to watch everybody else trying anyway :)

Well got to go and find something to eat for breakfast, then go shopping for food, pots and pans, phone credit, new shoes (so I can actually walk), bus tickets........ and right now I can't remember what else but so much to do!

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These are two friends I was out with last night - Quentin from France (who has the best hair :p) and Maisie from the US
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Posted by Jessie M 01:00 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

I made it!

semi-overcast 17 °C

Well, I made it. I’m here and all in one piece.

There was a bit of a fiasco with my flight from Amsterdam to Manchester yesterday after I wrote the last blog. I did find my gate ok but was then informed that the flight had been cancelled! Everyone was booked on to the next flight which was due to leave an hour later. But when I got to the new gate I looked out the window to see construction work going outside and it didn’t look like there was any way a plane could get up to the gate.

Turns out there was no way a plane could get to that gate, and we had to get on buses to go out to the plane out in the airfield somewhere. More waiting and confusion, and finally, half an hour after scheduled departure time, everyone was on the flight and we took off. So I was 1 and a half hours late.

Fortunately Amsterdam to Manchester only takes an hour, because I was thoroughly sick of airports and airplanes by this stage and I think I would have gone crazy if I had to sit on another plane any longer than that.

I was sure I would never make it to my bus on time, but when I booked the ticket I left a couple of hours leeway because I had no idea how long immigration and customs might take. But immigration and customs took about 10 minutes and I ended up making it to the bus with 20 minutes to spare! Thank you God!

He’s really been looking after me ever since I got here.

When I got to the uni I was given my temporary accommodation – Room 703 in the Chalres Morris building (which is actually three buildings and it took me getting lost in the wrong building to find this out.) When I finally did fid level 7 in the right building I went looking for room 703. I walked along the corridor, 701, 702, through another door, 704...hang on what happened to 703? I searched for a while and checked every room on the floor but there was no 703 to be found. Once I’d convinced myself that it really wasn’t there and I wasn’t just jetlagged and hallucinating, I went back to change rooms and now have 605 (which fortunately exists). It’s got a great view over Leeds from the window, but I’m glad I’m not staying here permanently. There is a common room at the end of the hallway which is the most filthy, disgusting thing I’ve ever seen. The cushions on the chairs are all stained, one is missing, there is an iron burn on the carpet..... Also, you share a bathroom between two rooms – but it really couldn’t be classified as a bathroom. It’s like the ones you get in caravans with the shower over the toilet and it opens on to two rooms, so if you didn’t realise the person in the room next to you was in there you could just open the door and get a surprise. There is no way to shut the other person’s door from the inside so potentially the only thing between you and embarrassment is a sliding frosted glass screen.

Apart from that, its been ok. I met some girls and a guy from France not long after I got here (by accident because they knocked on my door looking for a friends room). So we went down and had tea together. Again, thankyou God – just as I was thinking about whether I could face going down to tea alone to face hundreds of people I didn’t know, the girls knocked on my door. So far I’ve met 4 French people, 2 Finnish people and an American girl. Strangely enough I’ve come to England and haven’t really met on English person yet!

Well it’s about 7am while I’m writing this. I’ve been up since 4am. I watched the sun rise, though you can’t see it through the clouds – or perhaps its just smog, hard to tell!! That’s something I’ve noticed – on the horizon is a permanent haziness. Right now I’m looking out my window and anything further than 10km away is barely visible!! And I don’t know if its because of that, or something else, but the sky here isn’t as blue as at home. It’s a lot paler. But the weather has been good. It was actually hot yesterday. (And I only brought two t-shirts – the rest of my stuff is for cold weather!)

I’m quite tried right now and wish I could go back to bed, but even if I could sleep (which I don’t seem to be able to do hence waking at 4am) , I’m trying to ignore it and stick to the time zone. Going to have breakfast with my new French friends soon :)

Posted by Jessie M 07:00 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

In Amsterdam Airport

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overcast 24 °C

Right now I'm sitting at an internet access zone waiting for my final flight from Amsterdam to Manchester. (Then I've still got the coach to Leeds to go!!)

I'm hot and sweaty from wandering around (and getting lost in this monster of an airport) and carrying my heavy backpack. This airport is huge and has so many different wings and corridors and gates. I walked all the way to the end of one corridor before I realised I had missed a turn back at the other end. Then I nearly did it again in another corridor.

Its the lack of sleep I'm sure. I've discovered that I don't sleep easily sitting up, and think I've only managed about 5 hours since I left adelaide. I'm so glad I bought earplugs though, or I wouldn't have got any sleep at all!

At the moment I hardly feel like I'm on the other side of the world - all I've seen is the inside of airplanes and airports and they're all essentially the same.

Its all a sort of dreamlike, surreal and timeless thing. I can't remember how long I've been travelling for. I've given up trying to work out time because its every time somewhere at any moment. I'm just hanging out for finally arriving and getting to go outside and breathe something other than stuffy airport and dry airplane air! And a shower. And non airport food. And sleep. Mmmmm sleep. Sleep uninterupted by crying babies, half-sleep/half-awake dreams, and dehydration. I'm asking for water all the time but I'm still dried out.

I'm a little delirious I think. I'de better go - as I said this airport is huge and I think its still another 10 minutes to my gate (if I don't get lost again!)

Missing everyone already!

Posted by Jessie M 22:05 Archived in Netherlands Comments (1)

3 days to go!

or 4 more sleeps :)

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I can't believe it! Only a few days to go!

The time seems to have gone surprisingly fast since I found out I'd be going to England. But then it got to a week to go and this is seeming like the longest week of my life!! Perhaps thats because I am finally less busy this week - I still have so much to do but most of it means packing away everything I'm not taking (which is EVERYTHING - a baggage limit of 20 kg is killing me!) and packing my suitcase. Necessary but boring and tedious.

I had my goodbye party on the weekend, then family over on Sunday, and last week I was catching up with others who couldn't come on the weekend. Meanwhile I've been finishing off education assignments for uni and packing and cleaning the flat.

The last job I had to do (apart from packing) was get a bank statment to prove I've got money so they'll let me into the country and to buy some cash for until I open a bank account.
I bought some British Pounds and then took photos of the money - (Come on, you never know when it might come in handy to have photographs of British money :)

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The woman in the Travellex shop also told me I'd need local currency if I wanted to buy anything in the airport in Kuala Lumpur too, which I hadn't even thought of, so I've also got some Malaysian Ringgit.

Anyway, thats it for now. Better get back to packing - or just staring at the organised chaos in my lounge room and thinking about packing....

Posted by Jessie M 00:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

15 days, 14 hours, 43 minutes and 56 seconds....

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Not long at all until I leave!!

I finally calmed down from being stressed out, to just being excited. Seriously, I am constantly excited - from the minute I woke up this morning I was thinking about it and feeling all restless. But, even though its exhausting, being restless from excitement is better than feeling stressed and like I was going to burst into tears at any moment, which is how I was feeling a couple of weeks ago. I was a bit afraid of the trip, being alone, and what if everything didn't work out? But I finally remembered, or God reminded me, that I am never alone!

And so now I am just looking forward to whatever this amazing opportunity holds for me.

I have already booked a weekend trip to London as the further ahead you book the bus fares the cheaper it is - it's only costing me the equivalent of about $5 to travel by coach from Leeds to London (and back).

While I'm there I've got a couple of day trips to see Bath, Stonehenge, the Cotswolds, Oxford, Warwick Castle and Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare's home) - so for a History enthusiast like me it is the perfect weekend. I'm also going to see 'Comedy of Errors' performed at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (standing in the yard for the authentic poor person's experience :) Can't wait!!!

Posted by Jessie M 16:46 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

I'm going to Leeds!!!

I finally found out a few weeks ago that I've been accepted into the study abroad program!!!

So I'll be leaving for England on the 10th of September and returning by the 25th of January (just in time for Australia Day!)

I'll be a bit sad to leave and miss things like Emy's 21st and Christmas and New Years, but I'm sure this will be an unforgettable experience and when I get back I'll party with everyone to make up for it, I promise!

I've already bought my plane ticket, and my travel insurance, and bought a warm coat, and written multiple checklists so I don't forget anything. Now I've been looking into other travel I can do while I'm there - so far I'm hoping to visit:

  • London (of course)
  • Edinburgh, Loch Ness and other places in Scotland
  • Stonehenge
  • Bath
  • Stratford-Upon-Avon (Shakespeares home)
  • York - not far from Leeds and the "Viking Centre"
  • as many castles and old building as I can find

Any suggestions on places to vist and hints and tips welcome :)

That's it for now, I'll keep you updated!

Posted by Jessie M 19:17 Comments (0)

Getting Started

I know, I know, it's a little premature...

I just put in my Study Abroad application today so I don't know if I'm going yet or not, but I'm already so excited! (Trying to keep a level head in case it falls through, but its not working :)

If all goes well (fingers crossed) I'll be leaving mid-September to study for semester at the University of Leeds in England, returning late January.

Here's a map of North West England showing the location of Leeds.

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Posted by Jessie M 01:34 Comments (0)

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