First Week of Birmingham Semester

Written by The Bug

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It’s the first week of classes. I am somehow doing marketing and physics, and I feel adequately out of my league in both. Room placements still confound me. Society activities commence in full. Wing Chun is leaving me sore and tired but satisfied. Breakdancing is more focused on the foundations than I expected, but given my history that’s a welcome change. The flat settles down, and gone are nights full of parties and loud music, but “Ugh, I have a 9 am start…” and “I have an hour of readings to get done”. We dutifully ignore those that have 8 hours the whole week.

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I’m still sorting subjects out, and it turns out that two of the subjects I planned to do no longer exist. I scrabble to cobble something out of thin air and hope to hell and back that all my courses match. I also hope to hell that I don’t miss anything important, as a lecture is forgotten in the chaotic fray and missed entirely. I copy the lecture notes out in penance.

The campus stays beautiful, and I take many photos. It’s gotten me in a nostalgic mood, if all the Debussy and Bach I’m listening to is any indication. Even the ugly things are beautiful: unfinished sidewalks are framed with autumn leaves cradled in the to-be-filled indentation; unkept waterways are bursting with swaying plants, waving in the wind.

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I even visit Cadbury World. It’s my first time on a train in England, and also my first time waiting more than 10 minutes to buy a train ticket. I see purple-wrought iron gates long before I see or smell anything that remotely hints at chocolate. For a place of chocolate there is a lot of beautiful vegetation. I have a feeling that I will repeat some variation on “For a place of X there is a lot of beautiful vegetation” ad nauseum before this trip ends. That being said, it is surprisingly enjoyable. Given the ready availability of chocolate, the smell of chocolate they (presumably) pump throughout the entire experience, the various rides and videos, it is probably as close to Willy Wonka as we’re going to get.

I start cooking, and my meals no longer consist of sad-looking sandwiches with barely any substance (unless I have the chance to eat out, that is). We also celebrated the birthday of one of our flatmates, and somehow in sequence forgot to give him his presents or mention the existence of cake. Never before have I seen someone regret eating too much pizza. That person may or may not have been me, but regardless.

One thing seems to stay the same, regardless of   where I go though. Textbooks will make your bag heavy in exchange for making your wallet light.

Albert Lin
UNSW

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