I’ve been getting really behind on my blog, so let’s see if I can remember everything that’s happened in the past few days. Since I packed everything last night, and stayed up late doing so, I woke up later (7:45) and headed down to breakfast. Grace and I had perfect timing and were able to sit together. I had my normal hard boiled egg, hashbrowns, and Corn Flakes. Besides being my last meal at the hotel before moving into my flat, this was also the last free meal provided by IFSA-Butler. So I packed a croissant stuffed with ham and cheese for later, and also took one of their individual sized corn flake boxes. I’m glad I did that.
The rest of the morning was spent packing the last of my items and moving my suitcase down about an hour early since the four lifts are really badly timed, and there were about 100 of us trying to leave the hotel with our suitcases at the same time. I left my suitcase with the concierge and returned to my room to work on my blog some more before leaving. There were so many of us going to Queen Mary that there were two buses, and I just missed getting put on the first bus, which was actually a good thing as Lauren and Christianne were on the second bus, so I got to sit with them. Lauren and I chatted and I stared out the window every once and a while drooling at all of London as our coach passed by. It was about 11am when we finally got to Queen Mary, and I was very excited. And also very ready to find a restroom.
Getting off the bus, I followed on of the move in helpers to go and get my key. I had my passport out and ready, but they also needed my signed housing agreement. My mind went blank. IFSA-Butler handles a lot of this stuff for us, so I didn’t have a housing agreement printed out and hoped that my email stating my housing assignment would be good enough. But even with the wifi password from the wonderful MJ, my phone didn’t want to load the email. So I tried my computer. Despite taking forever to boot up, my computer found the email faster than my phone. Thankfully MJ was okay with that email and handed me my key. I was the first to move into my flat.
And oh my goodness my flat is amazing! I’ll leave it mostly to the pictures, but the kitchen is much nicer and larger than the pictures on the Queen Mary website suggested,and my room is also giant. I have enough room to do whatever stretches I want on my floor. The accomodations are much nicer than at Harvey Mudd.
Upon arriving, I discovered that the bathrooms didn’t have toilet paper or hand soap. So I ran to the student store (called the Village Shoppe) and bought some. Luckily the prices at the store are not overpriced, but slightly student subsidized, otherwise I probably would have held out for a cheaper location. I was jumping around my room with joy as I unpacked, then I heard the doorbell ring. Yes, our flat apparently has a doorbell. I ran downstairs to help open the door and it was my first flatmate! His name is James and he’s another study abroad student from University of Richmond. As we were chatting another student came in, Nicola, who is a home student studying English Literature. James went to help her and her mother move everything upstairs, but I had to run off for my 3:15 enrollment slot.
Enrollment was pretty simple. I showed up early but they still let me queue up. I essentially got my Queen Mary ID card which gives me access to the library and such. And of course my ID photo is just wonderfully terrible. The lighting is way too bright and there’s random stuff in the background. Whatever. Afterwards Lauren, Christianne, Ariel, and I met up to go to the giant Sainsbury’s down the road, which is a supermarket. We took a while to get there, and stopped at an ice cream shop (Cookies & Cream was the name) on the way, as we were all a little hungry. The ice cream really wasn’t that good. I got chocolate but there was something a bit off about the flavor. They must have used something different for their base than the traiditional cream, sugar, and occasional egg yolk. But it was a snack.
The Sainsbury’s was ginormous. I wish I could have spent more time in there, but I filled up my basket pretty quickly and it was becoming painful to lug it around. I found a baking spatula on sale, which I had to get, and was tempted to do grocery shopping but as there really wasn’t any cookware in the kitchen yet, I knew I had to wait for my suitemates to arrive first. So I settled for microwaveable items. Basically cereal, milk, breaded cod, and frozen veggies. I wanted to get so many tea biscuits, cookies, and chocolates, but I restrained myself….this time. I still need more chocolate bourbons.
Upon returning I went back to my room and saw that Nicola had put a white board on her door that said “Knock and say hi”. So I decided to actually do that. We chatted for a bit and agreed to go to the BBQ that evening together. They were subsidizing it to £1. We thought the BBQ was at 7pm, so I went back to my room to work on emails until then, but when Nicola and I walked over to the BBQ, they had just sold out of tickets. It turns out it had started at 6pm. We decided to go somewhere off campus for dinner, and James showed up for the sold-out BBQ just at that moment, so he joined us.
We started walking the same direction as the Sainsbury that I had gone to earlier, but there really wasn’t much. Most of the food vendors were fried chicken that didn’t look the nicest.
There weren’t nice take out food options. So we just kept walking and talking. We passed about two tube stops before we thought to probably find a place to eat. Luckily a bit later we found this amazing pizza place called Pixxa.
They had all these weird different flavors, and even a lot of vegan pizzas. I decided to be adventurous and try the potato truffle pizza. The pizza was already cooked and out for display like pastries in a bakery, so they put it into a quick oven to heat up, and instead of placing them on plates, they were put on wooden pizza blocks. It was so fancy! The three of us sat facing the window so we could people watch as we ate. We decided to take the bus back as we walked more than a mile to the pizza place.
When we got back to the flat, I met another flatmate, Keisha. She’s from Southern California, but is a first year doing her entire degree at Queen Mary’s. The three of us ended up going into the kitchen and just chatting for over an hour. We have an amazing flat. We are all foodies, love to cook, prefer clean kitchens, and we’re the old flat. We’re between 21 and 25. Which is amazing. I was worried I’d get immature 18 year old party boys in the flat. Keisha and Nicola both mentioned having flat dinners, which I had also hoped we’d be able to do. Essentially, we were all on the same page and got along really well and Nicola’s sister had even brought fancy cupcakes for us all to eat.
I went to bed tired and very very happy.