i have adventures (sometimes)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Happiness, Sadness, and Happiness Again

Some time last week, I hit a peak of happiness. As I was walking home from the health food store with my oat milk, I had a moment of such perfect joy that I had to resist the urge to spin around and sing on the street, because (to my ongoing sorrow) I still don't live in a musical.

And then, as tends to happen, I fell into a happiness trough.* I had my department induction, which was fairly interesting, and I met the people in my course, who seem really nice, but I felt like I'd turned back into my old, socially awkward self, and I found that I just wasn't excited about actually starting. Or maybe my brain just suddenly registered that I was seriously sleep-deprived and I hadn't seen the sun for a solid week. So from a narrow brush with street singing, I ended up in my room in my pyjamas with my flauschige Teddybären, trying to remember what the sun looked like, and eating peanut butter out of the jar.

But I made myself Go Out and Be Productive, and came home with a warm, water resistant jacket (finally) and a lage bag of fruit and veg from town, and four flowering cacti from the house plant sale, which made me feel better, if only by making me feel more organised. Then I tidied ALL THE THINGS, and sent out a plaintive request for Bananagrams buddies, which was answered by Jason and later Sophie, so I spent a happy evening playing Bananagrams, and thus the emo was conquered.

Douglas, Martin, Carolyn and Arthur.
On Friday, Imke and I went on an adventure to York Hospital for our tests for TB/HIV/whatever-other-boxes-they-ticked-on-the-form, because we're from deepest darkest Africa and therefore likely to spread the plague if not carefully monitored. We actually managed to get there pretty easily, even though we had to change buses (this is foreshadowing though - hang on to it for later).

The hospital itself was amazing. Total first-world experience. Never mind the public transport, never mind the high speed internet, never mind the efficient university admin; the fact that we went to a government hospital for a five minute non-emergency procedure that actually took five minutes, the staff were friendly and professional, and we didn't leave sicker than we arrived was totally mindblowing. We were very impressed.

Remember the foreshadowing? Remember how this story involves navigation? Here it comes. So, we did get on the right bus. The problem came in when we forgot to get off. No, seriously. We assumed it stopped at the station, so when we passed the major interchange in the city centre, we decided to stay on and wait for the station, since that was where we had changed on the way there. It wasn't until twenty minutes later that we suddenly realised we'd left the city centre behind ages ago, and that this bus apparently didn't stop at the station. So I hauled out the bus map and we found out that this line didn't intersect with any which went to campus, so we got off in the creepy dead-end suburbs of nowhere, crossed the road, and waited for a bus going back into town, so we could start again from there. And we waited. And we waited a little longer. And we browsed in the local supermarket, and then carried on waiting. At last, two buses came (I think they all hide together around the corner for the lulz), and we picked one and made our way back to the city centre for a much more successful journey back to campus.

And I still made it back in time for my first lecture. Either I'm getting good at this, or I've learned to plan around my perpetual failure to get anything involving direction right first time.

After my lecture (an intro to language variation and change, which I've done before), I set to work on a fig and banana cake**, and then joined the others to walk to Jelle's house for a potluck supper. The food was amazing. I am so impressed with my friends' ability to cook. And even more than that, I was really touched that so many of them made the effort to make something vegan. The next time I have an attack of the emo, I'm going to remember that, after only two weeks here, I have friends who care about me enough to feed me. And that's pretty special.

The first contributions to the feast.
Those may look like smiles, but they're actually baring their teeth. We were all pretty hungy by this point.
Looking crazy. With CAKE!
I think at this stage we were all eavesdropping on Jelle's conversation with his neighbour.
We should be models.
It's a long story (about swimming).

*Or a sadness trough. Go with whichever makes more sense.
**In Trinidad, bananas are called figs. So it was a fig and fig cake. Fun fact.


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