Monday, September 15, 2014

If you've ever traveled abroad, studied abroad, moved to a new city, "lived the expat life" if you understand what I mean when I say that first day...and sometimes first week...can be rough. Real rough. "What-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life" rough.

I arrived to my flat and unpacked my stuff, which there seemed to be a lot more of when I had to tote it around by myself all day. My new room looked pretty empty and the feeling of the unknown began to set in. There was a window and a whole new world staring at me. The first thing my dad and therefore I do in a brand new city is simply go on a walk. I was determined to fight any jet lag so I was not going to let myself nap (not that I had a pillow or blanket to do so on...but more of that later).

Getting out in the fresh air and starting to get my bearings is the best way I know to begin adapting to a new city, especially a foreign one. From what I've seen so far, Bristol is a beautiful and busy place. It has all the perks that a big city does without feeling claustrophobic or cold. I walked for around 3 hours up hills, by the harbourside, through bits of the campus, and onto College Green where I plopped right in the grass and was able to chat with my mom on the phone for a few minutes. The weather was actually great and I ended up needing to take my jacket off. I was definitely getting some side eye for wearing my wellies on a sunny day, but those things are comfortable and were already on my feet anyway (have luggage weight limit, will travel). The walk was much-needed and a good way to begin my first day, but I still wasn't quite at peace yet.

College Green

I successfully combatted jet lag, but my appetite hadn't returned. After the fiasco that was my stomach Saturday morning, I had only managed to eat a mini bag of pretzels on the airplane and half a croissant at Heathrow, so I knew I needed to eat a proper meal for dinner.

And then I got thrown series of curveballs...

Upon returning to my room after a leisurely few hours of exploring, I found that my bedding pack, kitchen pack, and cleaning pack that I pre-ordered had yet to arrive.

No problem, I'll just head down to the office, maybe they'll have it.'s closed.

Ooooookay so I'll pop out to a nearby shop or even take a taxi to Ikea if I need to. Closed. Closed. 

Right, so no blanket or pillow. Frustration set in and I decided to distract myself with food.

So the supermarkets are also closed. to the rescue! I'll order takeaway. Oh wait, I need a valid UK phone number. Guess I can just cal-sigh-that was a dumb thought. Back up the giant hill I go.

Whew, home again and I have food! 

Ah yes, the U.K. actually cares about the planet – no packaged utensils. Aaaand my kitchen pack didn't arrive. I get to eat caveman style! Yes, I ate mashed potatoes with my fingers and laughed at my host of First World Problems. 

After over 24 hours of traveling, I am not feeling very fresh. Definitely need to shower. Mmmm. Yes. Towels are in the pack that didn't arrive yet. No shower for me.

Skype with mom and dad! I'm in good spirit because I don't know what the hell else to do. At least I didn't cry. 

Okay, time to attempt sleep. I read somewhere that sleeping on a stiff straight thing can help align your spine, maybe I'll feel EXTRA good in the morning! Spoiler alert: nope.

I tossed and turned, woke up every few hours, and tried to understand how a radiator works because my room was freezing with a capital "F" (heh).

The worst bit was had it not been Sunday when all the shops close early, everything could have been taken care of. I still had my wits about me – I can be a frustrated crier sometimes, but no tears! It wasn't the end of the world and I consider myself pretty lucky if these were the biggest problems of my day.

Day #2 was a big improvement (I have a some bedding and a U.K. phone to my name) and I can feel the cogs begin to churn.

For kicks and giggles, here's a Buzzfeed article titled "24 Agonising British People Problems" featuring tweets from @SoVeryBritish. Cheers!


  1. I can identify with so much that you wrote! When I arrived in the UK like a week ago my kitchen & bedroom pack also didn't arrive when they were supposed to, but luckily my Uni provided the Internationals with duvets and pillows :) How did you manage to get a UK phone after a day? They wouldn't let me get one without a local bank account so I still have to use my international one! :( xx

    1. Ahhh yes it was one of those days where traveling and moving on your own is already exhausting, so tiny things like these can send your emotions over the edge! I'm glad I'm not the only one!

      I think it depends on which provider you go for, Three said I needed a UK bank account but Vodafone has some pay as you go options where you add money to it each month and if you don't your phone simply stops from what I understand. It was a bit of a pain because the first 3 sim cards they gave me didn't work so I walked 20 mins to the store and back for 4 days in a row trying to get it sorted...but it works now! I use my international phone purely on Wifi and my UK phone for contacting people here and it's been a good system so far - although my UK one was really cheap so it's a bit wonky haha.


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