It felt odd going through O-Week (well, technically, “Welcome Week”) somewhere totally new again. Getting lost, learning landmarks, meeting new people and figuring out where to eat and what to eat, it made me feel two years younger. Birmingham as a campus feels smaller than UNSW does, but it’s actually 3 times bigger. Whether that means UNSW is going to feel tiny when I get back or if the memories I have endow UNSW with more detail is up for debate. I’m getting used to shopping, and laundry, and the food, and everything else. I’m missing subject selection back home – us exchange students have to do it on paper. Welcome Week is a swirling maelstrom of activity; an anarchic blend of student deals, societies, and important organisational things. I join too many societies, as per usual.
My flat is filled with 7 amazing people; 1 Aussie from Melbourne, and 6 locals (well, technically 1 is from Poland). We try and do things together. They go to Freshers Fest. I stay home, feeling much older than the 20 years I’ve lived. We go try out Korfball together. None of us actually know what it is. I get Fresher’s Flu from them. They don’t comment how I’m almost living off of avocado on toast or some variation thereof. We joke about seriously training as a team for social netball. We play consequences, and print the results out to stick on the flat noticeboard.
I’m still coming to terms with how beautiful Birmingham is; how vibrant the flora is, how odd everything smells (special mention to the carpet in my room) – it’s a paradoxical hybrid between the clean crisp air of Japan and the cloying pollution of China. Every day, it seems I have a chance to take a beautiful picture. I’m just wondering how long it’ll be until the views stop being breathtaking and become just what I pass on the way to university.
I hope that day comes later rather than sooner.