Settling In

Although I planned to make a list, I found myself at the grocery store (for the second time) alone and without any tangible guide to indicate what I forgot to buy on yesterday’s run.  The prices, in Pounds, looked deceptively cheap at first glance, and I kept blocking the narrow aisles while I stalled for mental (and inaccurate) conversions. I left, inexplicably, with four heavy bags, and two of their handles broke on Dalkeith Street. As I retrieved some oranges, it began to rain.

I cradled two wounded bags as I arrived at my apartment with very wet hair.  Wandering into the kitchen, two of my flat mates (from Japan and Spain!) cooked dinner, and I joined them.  Over a pot of boiling Udon, Midori explained that she searched for a Japanese market for hours, and to her dismay, had to settle for a small Chinese one without a huge selection.  And as she made tea, Noria talked about how nervous she was for the ESL exam she had to take to be eligible to enroll in classes.  My other flat mates, Marika and Jill, also wandered in, and we ate together and talked about our crazy shower and how we all wanted to visit the Czech Republic and one of the mysterious RAs.

This grand ole study abroad experience seems to be all about this type of informal turbulence and learning outside of the classroom.  One of the reasons I was so excited about studying in some place outside Claremont was to nibble at an entirely different flavor of life.  So, I felt extremely confused when I found myself in the Visiting Students Office waiting room yesterday, queuing-up to switch into another honors-level Philosophy course (“honors” means “upper-division” here, similar to a high-100s course or senior seminar at Pomona…to the best of my understanding, which is admittedly limited.)  Somehow, via coaxing of both my personal tutor (like an advisor) and students at the academic fair, I kind of fell in love with (the idea of) another super-cool-super-irresistible sounding Philosophy course of which I’ll spare the details.  This is going to be a lot more work than my previously-scheduled, unrelated first-year class and as I handed in my switcheroo form, I internally screamed “WHY” and wanted to hug the transfer man at the same time.

I have literally (really, literally!) no idea what will result from this whole balancing act between tackling this kind-of-scary reading list and (sometimes desperately) soaking in Scottish culture.  For now, I’ve joined the Exmoor Pony Trekking club and I have my bus tickets to the Isle of Skye saved in another tab.  It’s a seven-hour ride, so maybe that will leave room for some studying on the way…