My journey and arrival.
After a day of crying at every single thought of leaving, I left for England. Stafford to be exact. To end up in the bed I am sitting in now. The journey here - for the biggest part by bus - was ok up until the moment quite a big person decided to place himself next to me. Great, just great. It really pissed me off since each time he was falling asleep, his legs started parting, thus touching me. I was on the verge of mentioning something like "Would you please keep yourself away from me." but no matter what, that would not make the general atmosphere - if there even was any - any better. His kids were sitting behind me and the guy never mentioned a word to them about their behavior. The girl, who was sitting behind me and annoying me by randomly poking my chair. I could have said something about it but somehow I figured that would only make them worse and I was too tired to even bother - didn't sleep the entire way. At a certain point there was a really big person who tried to go into the bathroom, which was a funny sight. When we were in England we all had to go out of the bus with our luggage. The driver didn't speak a word of English - only German - and said: Alle müssen raus mit Taschen! Everybody stayed put. I had understood, also having made that trip before, but the person next to me prevented me from moving. A few minutes later an English policeman stepped in and explained what was going on. Instead of x-raying our luggage, all they did was look at our passports again, all for which I was dragging my way too heavy suitcase around - it predicted a lot of fun during the coming day. When we arrived at the coach station I asked a man behind the minicab service what a trip to Euston Station would cost. A mere 17 pounds. I said I'd go get some food first. Remembering all the food on offer in Victoria station [Hungry? Come grab a bite on the first floor!] and the fact that Victoria station itself wasn't far, I took my suitcase and started walking. Every ten metres I exchanged hands - carrying the suitcase was a very painful thing. Finally I got to where I wanted to be, even having used the escalator! I bought a sandwich at Subway, but only ate half of it. I didn't find myself hungry anymore, a feeling that's been common the past two days. The escalator going down, though, had broken down. Now what to do. I asked around a bit and people told me there was an elevator, but then I'd have to ask security for help. After having an absolutely retarded conversation [What did you say? Hello? You still there? Sorry - come again?], a security person came outside to see what was going on. Instead of helping me to the elevator, he just carried the suitcase down the escalator. I could have cried at the niceness, but I didn't. You really don't want to know how much time passed after getting out of the bus, eating, and then walking back to the coach station - way more than is normal. I decided to take the cab. I figured out which bus I could take, because the underground was NOT going to happen with all the escalators and long walks. Impossible. The trip with the cab took longer than expected and I really appreciated it. And the thing that completely made me happy was the fact that at that station they had trolleys! Except I didn't have the propper coin to put in it, so I went into Subway to ask if they could change. No. I ask the first person I see outside and he said I should ask inside Subway so I replied they were unable to do so. Then he said to follow him and that he would take care of it. We walked into Subway. Appearantly he was the manager of the place because he just walked around the back and changed my money without the other employees saying a word. I got my trolley! I was two hours early for my train. I sat around at looked at people - a lot of them at that. When it was time for the train and I was walking there I felt like Harry Potter with my trolley. Trains are really different than in the Netherlands though. On a really huge screen in the hallway all the trains were listed and when you could go get on, it said "boarding". The train looked somewhat like a French TGV. Above the seats there were little screens with the seat numbers and it said so if the seat had been reserved or not. Instead of keeping the luggage with you, there were luggage storage points every several metres. Then the train manager said: Welcome on board! She explained a whole load of things. There was even food available and people walked by to take your garbage. In front of each seat you could find a menu. And in front of me was a girl with some trouble with some person - she was on the phone the whole time. [Yea but no but yea but no but.] When we arrived in Stafford after an hour and a bit, I once again stood there with my luggage, not looking forward for the way I had to walk. I got there anyway, and faster than anticipated because there was a shortcut that wasn't listed on google maps. Rob was there to handle all the paperwork with me, which took ages, and all I wanted to do was take a shower. The building is absolutely huge. In my block, block C, there are two other people and one room is empty at the moment, it will be occupied in September. The two people already here are Chinese and that could be smelled when you walked into the block. In the kitchen here you can fine one cupboard that is completely stuffed with rice, believe it or not. My room is fairly large and I have my own toilet and shower. Furthermore I have a bed, a desk, a wardrobe and a nightstand. I asked Rob about the Internet since somebody mentioned to me that there was in fact Internet here. Turns out I have to order it, but where, for crying out loud. I'll find out today I think. When Rob left, I started putting my things away. It is now the morning after and things are still only half unpacked. I got my things together and went out for a walk, to find some shops, since one of the Chinese people was very clear about the fact that he bought cutlery and such himself and therefore I had to go buy my own. He probably didn't mean it in a bad way, but he's not very good at English - I can only follow half of what he's saying and that has to study in England. I don't really understand that, but who am I to judge. I found a pound store pretty quickly, where I bought things like soap and a mug with Dora on it. Had a little chat with the girl behind the counter who was surprised by the huge amount of things I was taking with me. Explaining I was here all by myself I almost started crying again. I really need to stop that. Having dropped off those things at home, I went to find a supermarket. I decided to warm up a pizza for the evening. When I was running back and forth between the kitchen and my room, one time I forgot my keys in my room - I had locked myself out. All I had with me was the pizza, the milk, my mug and my cellphone. I went to one of the Chinese people and tried to explain that I wanted Martin's phone number because I had locked myself out. Rob has Martin's phone so I got Rob and he said he couldn't be there sooner than 1.5 hrs from then. I prepared my pizza after having thoroughly cleaned the plate in the oven. The whole kitchen is disgusting. I'm going to buy something to clean that with and just clean the whole kitchen. They'll be made aware there's a woman in the house. So in the mean time I ate a bit of my pizza - not hungry - and vacume cleaned the kitchen, just to see how the vacume cleaner works. It makes a whole lot of noise. Just as the second Chinese guy made his appearance, Rob also appeared. Locking myself out cost me 35 pounds. "You won't be doing that again now will you?" That's one way to get rid of your money surely. The two Chinese people started cooking together and it was smelly. Not having internet makes me feel really cut of from the world. Hopefully today I can get things going, because this situation is not nice.
I took a shower, which was interesting to say the least. You can turn the shower on, producing a sad amount of water, and from that moment on the water only gets hotter and hotter. I'm starting to understand why there were a few plastic bowls left in the shower. Catch the water with the right temperature and then start pouring. Kind of sad. My bathroom is like a sauna cabin, built into the room. When I opened the door the rest of the bedroom filled up with steam. It will take some getting used to.
I sat downstairs for a bit, in the common room. The couches there are really comfortable, but during the hour or so that I sat there, nobody else showed. Somebody was there when I entered, but he was about to leave in any case. I watched something on my laptop and went to sleep at about 21 o clock local time. I had turned on the heater before I went to bed, which had turned itself off when I woke up. The thermostat switched itself off. I feel so bad about having to bother Rob again later, if he's even here today. It'd be nice if Martin would show, but he won't be here until Monday. I woke up at 6.30 local time. In Dutch terms I had a good night's sleep, but in English terms it's ridiculous - let's see when I get used to it. It's now 8 o clock. Tasks for today: get some more things that I forgot yesterday or didn't feel like getting yesterday. And I guess I'll walk around the town a bit. I'm getting the feeling it's really not that big. The town itself is cute though. The buildings here are different than in the Netherlands. It's rainy here though, who'd have thought that. That's all for now. I guess I'll throw everything left in the suitcase on the floor and then put that away. It can't stand in the middle of my room all the time.
You look absolutely groovy!
I got myself another mug, saying: I'm not your type, I'm not inflatable. Very proud of it. Furthermore I got more groceries and random things to keep a household going. Yay, I'm the proud owner of a household, even though it's partially shared with people I can't communicate with propperly - this will be an issue. I hope housemate #4 will arrive shortly. An English person!
I did bother Rob about the heater. He accompanied me to my room to find the heater was working propperly - it was just that the heater has a timer function which he had failed to mention. I also talked to a lot of shop staff while trying to find the shop I will be working in and trying to get my Scottish pounds exchanged for English ones. Mission one succeeded, the second one failed. On the bright side I found shop staff accepts Scottish pounds, even if it is with some curious glances to the money as well as me. The English talk pretty fast. As I was watching tv, people often laughed at things I had failed to pick up.
Tomorrow I'm going to the shop again because then Tracy is supposed to be there, my supervisor. I'm curious to see what that will bring.
While walking through the cosy centre of Stafford, a guy walked up to me and the first thing he said was: You look absolutely groovy! He was wearing a t-shirt from some sort of association so I was anticipating some random chatter to eventually get to the money bit, but we ended up having a really nice conversation even after he found out I did not have an English bank account. Later on the day I decided I'd go ask him to come over for dinner some time and after a warm welcome back he told me he didn't live in Stafford, but somewhere appearantly quite a bit away. Which honestly is a big bummer because he had "be my 1st friend in Stafford"-potential.
As far as my lack of Internet goes - it is still not present. I'm going after it tomorrow. The thing that can be arranged through Virgin Media here requires a contract of 12 months minimum. By the 1st of September I might be able to get a 9 month contract, costing me 20 pounds per month. Expensive, certainly when I only need five months. Hopefully I can find something better. Strangely the sim card I got today was free! My new phonenumber in England is 00447943793266, although my Dutch phonenumber is still active as well. I brought an extra phone with me! Aren't I genius.
As far as the art of cooking goes, I cooked some minced meat and some potatoes. Long live my new pans [or whatever they are called in English, seriousely I have no clue what the word is - and without a dictionary or Internet I won't get far]. They were supposed to have a layer that keeps food from sticking to the bottom, but stubborn and suspicious as I was, I put olive oil in the pan anyway. I ended up having to pour all the olive oil and moisture that came from the meat off my plate - luckily I only have a single plate so far, being a plate you can put soup or cornflakes [Yes, I own the largest pack of cornflakes I could find.] in so it was easy to prevent everything from falling off my plate.
Isn't all of this interesting. I go to England and all I end up talking about is me trying to get living by myself sorted out. This might change once I start working - hopefully I'll have fun customers to talk about. I made some pictures of the room and such but due to my lack of Internet I am incapable of placing these.
For everybody wondering if I'm still alive, not having heard from me, please come over here to blame Virgin Media and the landlord. Boo for telling me Internet was also accessible - tell whole truths, not half ones.
Oh and I finally bought Stieg Larssons Millenium Triology. Only part one and two though. I have been looking around for the secondhand bookshop, but as yet I'm unable to locate it, yet again I blame the lack of Internet. It seems people are unable to live without it. I also found a shop selling my much-wanted bankers lamp, but it cost 49 pounds. Maybe some other day.
Now it's time to get myself to bed, watch the last half hour of "The Motorcycle Diaries" and then sleep! Let's see if tomorrow only consists of running back and forth between shops and home, although I think that for the time being I'm all set, until the food stock starts running out of course. Oh! I need a decent thing to peel potatoes with - today I ate them with half of the *whatever* still on it. I washed them thoroughly though.
I know what I can do. Clean the kitchen. Don't know how my big Chinese friend will feel about it though - I can just imagine the look on his face. Then I go yea but this needs cleaning. And then he will say: yea yea. Then I'll say something random, and then he'll reply no no! Is mine! [Or something else, let your imagination run wild.]
See you, dear readers. I will retire to my chambers!
[Notice how I'm pretending to know English impeckably. Cheers mate! How are you today? See ya! - I still have a lot to learn. It is a comforting though that there are others who are in the need of learing more than I though.]