Send Me On My Way -Rusted Roots

Jan 30, 2013

Big News!

Hello again!

     I hope the last few days have treated you well. They've certainly been eventful for me. I shall begin by mentioning that I still have not attended a lecture. Oops. If you've been following, you know I missed half of Orientation because my iPhone/Alarm died during the night. Well... I didn't have class on Monday at all, but on Tuesday I had it at 9:10 AM and my UK phone alarm (which I had been using all week previously with success) failed to go off at all and thus I missed my first class. Today, I was ready. This was not going to happen again so I showed up bright and early ready to go. Except no one else did. Apparently, the professor had emailed everyone else and pushed class back to next week. UGH. I already was in trouble through the International Office for accidentally skipping my first class. I guess they're afraid I'll slink off into the UK and steal their jobs, sell drugs, or just generally create mischief. Luckily, this one wasn't my fault. Side note, we call it hacking someone's Facebook, they call it Frape. HA! Tina taught me this one. She's on crutches and practically bedbound so I copy her accent just out of reach. (That's for you Tina) Moohahaha!

     To whom it may concern: Contrary to popular belief, it is not possible to live off of sandwiches and tea. Dagblastit. This discovery broke my heart and my wallet simultaneously. I had to go shopping again. Bleh. This time, I went with Jamie and Naomi to town and we figured out the bus systems on our own. Score! While in town, we went back to the Bullring and I ate an Asparagus and Mushroom pie (think Sweeney Todd minus the human flesh) at Urban Pie. After eating, Jamie and I went to Tesco (look it up Americans) and I bought some pasta and meatballs and soup. That should last a while at least. I hope... Another sidenote: While trying to put on classical piano music to type my blog to, I found out Pandora doesn't work here either. What the heck? Spotify it is.

     On a different note, I love/hate Skype. I love video chatting with home, but I hate how pixely it is and how half the time it doesn't even work. Although my family's wifi has been down since I left and I haven't gotten to Skype with them at all (pure bollocks), I have really enjoyed Skyping with Blake and Ethan the past few days. Talking to them makes me feel less homesick. It's like I'm right there with them only out of fart and nerf gun range. I've also talked to my cousin Dawson and Brittany, but only once each. Trying to get ahold of Pancho and Brittany during the Spring is next to impossible, but I knew that would happen going into it. I'm about to get pretty busy myself actually. Guess why?! I got a part in this semester's musical: The Jungle Book. We haven't started rehearsals yet, but Sam, the head honcho, says it's the part of Mowgli's childhood wolf friend, Grey Sister, who ends up fighting her father for the Alpha position and getting into cahoots with Sher Khan. Yesssssssss. So I get to play a villain, do stage combat, and apparently it's a substantial role so I get to sing a lot too. Yay! But I'm not overly excited or anything. No. Not at all.

     So back to today, after returning from shopping, a group of the Erasmus students headed to the gym to watch a football match. It's not soccer. It's football. It was too cold and I pretty much hate watching sports, so I left early. At that point, I was super exhausted so I decided to make dinner and go to sleep. It didn't happen. That was 8:30 PM and now it is 3:30 AM. When I went to heat some soup on the stove, Naomi came in (after getting struck in the head with the football) and started making tortellini. Naturally, I offered to split my soup if she'd split her pasta and naturally, she agreed. Though I haven't bee in class yet, I have learned something here, and that is when someone starts making food, a crowd gathers. Halfway through the meal, Sanna came in and I made her tea and we discussed many things (Purposefully vague). As she was about to leave, Daisy came in and joined our conversation and then Nathaneal came in and we had ourselves a dinner party. At this point, I remembered his Les Mis obsession and we decided to go down to London in a few weeks to see it on the West End (YES) and then I convinced the room to join me at the Walk the Moon concert in a month.

     After convincing them to join me in my theatrical pursuits, I started talking about Improv and the 24 hour play festival at home, at which point Nathaneal proposed that I host Improv workshops here and if they take of, maybe a 24 hour playfest. I am going to try and take this and run with it, not only because I am super passionate about theatre, but also because I have way too much time on my hands here. I'm getting stir-crazy. I shall discuss this with Kevin. Anywho, after Nate and Sanna left, Naomi, Daisy, and I indulged in an episode of Pretty Little Liars. All I can say is poor Spencer. :'( And good acting chops Troian! Loved the performance.

     Before I go, Saturday I will be going on a group day trip to Oxford. Yes. That does include places where Harry Potter was filmed. I'm bringing extra knickers in case I pee myself of excitement. I'm also bringing my time turner that Alison gave me. Maybe it will work in the presence of HP magic. Pleasepleaseplease. Of to bed then! Good night!

Russell xx

Jan 26, 2013

Crisis Alert! (Not really)


    I have just realized something awful. I cannot watch my tv shows! Hulu won't work here! What will I do without Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Being Human, Pretty Little Liars, and Once Upon a Time!? Yes, I know what you will say. "Be social" "Enjoy your time out of the country" "Really? You are in England and you want to sit on your bum and watch tv?" My answer is piss off! I want to know if Elena kills anyone on accident or if Belle regains her memory. It matters! Okay... Rant over. The spoiled American girl will chill out for a bit.

The BullRing
     Anyway, last night was very wild. I can't remember it fully, but the pieces I do were fun for the most part. Partying is huge here. There has not been one day where there hasn't been alcohol. The school (or Uni rather) has a bar downstairs. A BAR. IN THE SCHOOL. Weird right? Anyway, that is pretty much the hangout place. I don't drink every night. I had tea tonight and it was lovely. So far I have had less tea here than I usually do at home, but I will buy tea soon and then I can have it twice a day like I usually do. When I am in town though, I keep forgetting to pick some up. Yesterday, I went to town again and went back to the Bullring. This time I took a picture and, as you can see, it is massive! Wichita's two malls plus the mall in Bartlesville together are not this big. I haven't done much shopping yet, and I don't think I will do a lot other than groceries, because I am afraid of running out of money! I will be frugal so that I don't have to beg my parents for money. I hate doing that. The food can be expensive when eating out as well, but I bought a tuna sandwich at Gregg's (not Old Gregg's place) for only 2.20 pounds. About $4. It was pretty good!

Yum! Tuna!

     Today, I did not wake up until 6 PM so I don't think I will be drinking very much for a while. After I woke up though, I went over to Claudia's house and she made real Italian pasta. The food was phenomenal and there was so much that I could not finish. She is from Italy and so is Gianmarco who I have mentioned before. Those two were there as well as Max who I've also mentioned and Luka from the Netherlands and Ari (Short for Ariana) from Spain. She is very fun to converse with in Spanish so I am hoping to improve my vocabulary. I am learning so many different languages. Italian, Dutch, Flemish, German, and even British terms. It's fabulous.

     I do have to say though, I am beginning to get a little homesick. I did not anticipate so much difficulty in contacting home. I cannot use my iMessage, Facetime, or Skype on my phone because the wifi has firewalls that will not allow those things to work. When I get on Skype, it is rare for anyone to be online and many of you will be sick of me saying "Get on Skype" all the time on Facebook. Sorry, but you will just have to deal. Also, my UK phone receives calls and texts free, but it is a pay as you go phone so I can't call the US very often or it will get pricey super fast. I think watching Ted may have helped a little because it is almost too American. Haha. Not really. But anyway, I included a picture below of the Erasmus students and I will name them so you have faces to go with the names.

     Top row left to right: Naomi from Belgium, Kris from the Netherlands, Mike from England, Luka from the Netherlands, Taka from Japan, Massa from Japan, Carolin from Germany.
     Next row: Ellen from the Netherlands, I'm not sure of the next two's names yet but I know they are from Austria, Some crazy American chick, Maria from Germany, Xenia from Germany, Patricia from Germany.
     Front row: Sanna from Belgium, Claudia from Italy, Ari from Spain, Daisy from China, Gianmarco from Italy, Kelly from China, and Miki from Japan. Max from England is in front.

It is 2:48 AM here. 8:48 PM at home. I am gong to sleep now, so goodnight!! xx


Jan 24, 2013

And then I flew around the world!

     Hello to all you back home! I know I had previously told some of you I would write up a blog as soon as I got to Birmingham, but unfortunately, I needed a wifi password and login and the IT desk has been closed every day but today either because of weather or because it was after hours. So anyway, on with it, right? (A little warning: this will be all over the place at first because a lot has happened since then.)

So first: The Packing

     Oh good lord. Packing was not really difficult, but it was definitely tedious. What exactly is a necessity? Well to me that means my closet. My WHOLE closet. Narrowing down my clothing was a bit hard until I realized I could buy more here. HA! So I packed one checked bag, my carry-on, and my leather backpack. Each were completely full. It was fabulous having to take something out of my backpack and then needing to remove everything and then restuff it. Also, note to self: When I think a bag is 75 pounds, it's really 38 and I just need to work out more.

So then: The Flights

My Jam!
     The flights were alright. Mom and Loni saw me off in Tulsa and of course Mom cried. I didn't expect any less. From there I flew into Minneapolis and the layover was so short that when I looked at the departure list on the screen it immediately changed to "Boarding" and I had to power walk to my gate. The about nine hour flight was a little suckish at first because I couldn't sleep properly and the seat only tipped abut 10 degrees back. Each seat had a screen in front of it embedded in the back of the seat in front of it, so I decided to look for some relaxing music to send me off to sleep. The first album listed was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 soundtrack. How perfect is that?! I listened to it through twice. Then I listened to an Imagine Dragons album. Still not much luck with sleep so I turned on The Perks of Being a Wallflower with Emma Watson (Also perfect) and indulged my obsession a bit. The flight-attendants loved me because I made friends with them and it turns out this has benefits. At the end of the flight, he gave me a bag full of free stuff like toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, sleeping mask, and several other things. Score! Another perk was watching the elderly couple next to me play children games on their screen in which they designed cartoon animals. That was funny.
     We landed in Amsterdam and then after an hour we boarded our last flight to Birmingham. This flight was mostly uneventful since it was only an hour. Once we arrived in Birmingham, an Italian student named Gianmarco (pronounced John-Marco) was waiting for us holding a sign like they do in movies that had the name of the university on it. So then we were driven to the school on the opposite side of the road and we (the other American students, Jaime and Eric, and I) met Daisy and Kelly from Hong Kong. It is snowy in Birmingham and they had never seen snow so that was cool. Daisy said she heard that Americans wear short sleeves in the snow and I laughed and showed her my t-shirt under my coat.

Last off: Birmingham!!

     I don't want to go step by step anymore. This post is getting tedious, so I'll just write the highlights. Since I only got my wifi today, I have four days I'm trying to squeeze into one post. On the day after I arrived, an Irish guy named Kevin and a couple of English guys, Nathaniel and Max, took a few of the International students (Erasmus) downtown. Downtown was pretty big and all packed together. Walking is huge here. I was able to purchase shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and other things I needed like groceries and hangers. They gave me six hangers. SIX. I now have 30 and I still can't hang everything up that I want to. Plus my shelves are full. (Side note: The lockbox in the wardrobe is great to hold socks and underwear.)
Not sure where these places are? Brush up on your geography!
     Today! (25/1/13)! I made a great first impression and slept through the welcome breakfast and the morning orientation. They sent an English guy, Jordan, to come wake me up. That's when I realized my iPhone had died during the night so the alarm did not go off. Oops... Boring boring boring. Skip to dinner. I met several girls and we decided to put in money and make dinner together. I put in money and ate but I cannot cook. Sanna and Naomi are from Belgium and Ellen and Kris are from the Netherlands. Kelly and Daisy joined as well. It was really good food and good company. I offered to make tacos, hamburgers, and jello shots for them since they've not really been exposed to that before. (They've probably had burgers before but not American). During dinner I taught them nose goes and awkward turtle which they seem to like. They kept doing awkward turtle all night! Later, at the bar I got to meet more people and somehow we got into the discussion of boobs and names for that. I say chest and none of them do. The English say tits. When Naomi heard this she said "Oh! Like Titsburg!" I had to explain that no, it's actually Pittsburg.

I will write more tomorrow, but it is 2:10 AM here (8:10 PM home) so I am going to bed for now. I will charge my iPhone so I actually wake up and then leave you with a few fast facts. Ciao!

x Russell

Fast facts:
  • They have Subway here.
  • Bus fare for a day is 3.90 pounds.
  • They have a place called Poundland that is basically Dollar General, but it has a ton of things and never is more than a pound.
  • Tax is included in the prices before checkout.
  • The Bullring is basically a three story mall that has two buildings.
  • Big Ben is not the clock tower. It is the bell within.
  • Dallas, eclectic, and plenty are funny words for the English and Kevin to hear me say.