Let’s kick things back off on the 6th of September, which was the day I had my dreaded first American Modernism Poetry class. Although in the end the class wasn’t as scary as I anticipated it being, I was however obviously less experienced than some of the other members of the class in my English Literature/Language knowledge. But so long as I answer some of the easier stuff I should be fine, also, in this class there’s another exchange student from the UK! Her name’s Hollie and she’s studying at the University of Hull, we’re both kind of in the same boat when it comes to this class, we both joined it late and get the same vibe of the professor that he’s always slightly annoyed at something for no reason.
In my opinion, I find it quite a challenge taking classes in 3 separate subjects, in which all the professors expect you to have prior specialized knowledge about that field, and know everything about it. It feels like I’m majoring in 3 different subjects at times! Considering I’m not majoring in any of them, I feel like I’m doing not a bad job if I’m being rather bold. Also, I was surprised at how hot it was even for September! Why was is still so hot and sunny?! In the UK the nice weather ended around May! I couldn’t even sleep properly it was so hot, I felt like I was melting all the time ! (Rant number 2)
Wednesday the 7th was a much more interesting day and marked my first ever solo adventure to Walmart! I somehow manged to take the right bus which I was proud of (turns out I got lucky, as there’s another bus with the same number that goes a different direction). It felt weird doing my shopping alone, I was used to doing it with at least one other person, or doing it online and having it delivered (can’t beat the Swansea student life!). I did some more sensible shopping this time, although I did buy a box of mini tacos and grape soda (which tasted like chemicals, It was horrible!). Also the manufacturer of things like spreads (for toast etc) is called JIF, which is the same name as an old cleaning product in the UK, which was amusing to me for some reason.
After my shopping was done I went to the bus stop where there was a very public and loud domestic going on! (for those of you who don’t know, a ‘domestic’ is when a couple is having an personal argument in public). From what I could gather, their argument was about one of them quitting their job, and the other being very unhappy about it. I’m not sure what the rest of it was about, as at one point I think I heard one of them tell the other “I’m coming with you to get checked!”, I’m not exactly sure what they were on about but I don’t think I really want to know… As this was going on, I just awkwardly stood next to the bus stop hoping that the bus would hurry up so I could get the heck away from the whole thing!
Another weird thing is that I swear I’ve seen them in Walmart at least 3 times that I’ve been there previously, which is either just a really unlikely coincidence or they just spend WAY too much time in Walmart (that says a lot coming from me!!!) . I feel that something like this would not likely happen in the U.K. (at least not on the scale of this couple, there was no effort made to hide the fact they were fighting). I’ve noticed that people in America seem to be a lot more open and loud in public, something I’m very much not.
That evening myself, Caitlin, Hugo and Oda and Miriam (Oda and Etsu’s American/Syrian flatmate, yay for more friends!) went to the mall to go to the cinema. Before the film started we went to the food court and had some food from China Max, a place in which they rush you to make a decision about what food you wanted, although it tasted good, they make you feel so anxious! Also in the mall they have a pet adoption place just like it was any other store you’d find. They had loads of puppies in small cages and they even had a corgi puppy loose in the store. It was very conflicting for me, as I felt very bad for the puppies being in small cages, but it was nice to see so many puppies in one place.
The movie we saw was Sausage Party, it wasn’t too bad but it did get very weird at parts. It was like an adult twisted comedy version of Toy Story…but with food. After that was done, we headed home feeling slightly confused about what we had just watched.
Thursday the 8th was another less eventful day. The only thing I can really think of that might be worth noting, is that I saw Deborah (the librarian who loved talking to us) again, although I didn’t talk to her, as I was only passing by. Other than that, the only other thing I can think of mentioning is that I added Heroes to the list of TV shows to watch/re-watch. It’s safe to say I got hooked, I watched 6 episodes in one night!
I seriously have been watching way too much old TV shows since I’ve been in America! (My blogs have pretty much become “What TV show is Steffan watching this time?!”)
Friday the 9th was another less amazing day. Although I did manage to show off in my U.S. Public History class. We were talking about museums and their online websites. I chose the Titanic museum in Belfast, as I had previously been there this July when visiting/staying with my friends Rob and Kim, my professor was very impressed with this as it was somewhere outside of the U.S. (so thanks you 2 for taking me there 🙂 ) Also, one of the people in the class looked at the Guggenheim, and when the professor asked if anyone knew who created/designed it, I was the only one who answered (thanks Dad 🙂 )
On the 10th of September, there was an event happening at the sports arena on campus called ‘Clash of Quads’! It was like a really weird indoor sports day. I say this because the “sports” that were there, weren’t what you’d usually find. There was basketball, which was probably the most normal thing there. They had lots of inflatable stands (I don’t know what to call them, but it reminded me of some of the things you’d find on the kids TV show 50/50)
(Everybody wanted to be on this show when they were younger)
Ladder toss made a return here, and there was inflatable soccer, which was basically being put into an inflatable ball and running into people. When we got there, we were given a coloured T-shirt relating to which quad we were on. Our one was classed as ‘Apartments’ and it was orange, they ran out of smaller sizes so I got given an XL, it was like wearing a blanket! When we got in, we were overwhelmed by everything and didn’t really know what to do or where to go. We soon realised that there were queues for each “sport” after getting a better view higher up. When we were figuring this all out, our picture was taken, which was really annoying as we were still very confused with everything at this point
We then got in a queue for one of the inflatable games, but it never seemed to move! We got fed up of waiting after a while and just decided to call it quits and bounced. Our usual group meal on Friday was changed to be on a Saturday this week, and included eating lots of fried chicken and potatoes (compliments to Hugo and Caitlin for that). Etsu and Rikako had a friend over called Horace, he’s from Hong Kong (yay for even more friends from all over the world!). Caitlin brought some Marvel playing cards with her (which I’m sure you would have loved Rob), we played bullshit/cheat which I really enjoy playing but am really bad at, simply because I’m really bad at lying and knowing when people are lying. Then we played ‘Go Fish’, which I don’t think I’d ever played before but I now really love, It’s fun trying to figure out who has the cards you need, and then screwing them over!
After playing ‘Mafia’ quite a bit previously, Hugo taught us a more detailed and interesting version called ‘Werewolf’ (if you’ve never played it, look up the rules, it’s very fun!). It had the same format of mafia, but has a lot more roles for people so it’s more interesting. During our game the Resident Assistant: Maggie whose from China, suddenly popped up in the window asking what we were doing, at first we thought we’d done something wrong, but then it turned out she just wanted to join us! One of my highlights of playing ‘Werewolf’ was Rikako as she kept on making everyone laugh. The reason being for this, was because one of cards was labeled as the ‘Village idiot’, which basically meant that this person had to agree with what everyone else was saying, including agreeing to vote to “kill” themselves. Rikako got this card about 75% of the time, it was hilarious. Although this was all really fun, it had to be one of the hottest days yet! I was sticking to my clothes and I felt disgusting, even in the evening it was still ridiculously hot.
Sunday was an interesting day, as this was the 11th of September and the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Although it wasn’t plainly obvious, I felt like everything was a bit more somber. This stuck out the most by seeing all the American flags at half mast, and even the buses had “9/11 never forget” written on their electronic signs.
We decided to spend the day by going to a sort of community gathering at one of the local parks nearby, after Rikako had suggested this to us the night before. I’m sure you’ve already guessed it, but our main reason for going was in order to take advantage of all the free food that was on offer! We queued for a bit (just a side note: I was not impressed at how they queued, it was very sloppy) and then sat down at a bench to enjoy our food. After that we thought we’d go on some of the things at the park (this was a little kids park, but I’m a big kid anyway so it’s fine!). We went on the merry go round first, where myself and Hugo would spin Caitlin and Oda. Suddenly after about 2 minutes a little child just decided to jump on too, we asked if it was okay and he said he didn’t mind playing with us, even though we were like 14 years older than him!
Then we moved onto a weird 4 person bouncing seat thing, I don’t really know how to describe it, but it was nice anyway to be a kid again for a while and not have to worry about anything. After that, we decided it was time to head back and said goodbye to our little friend, although we did get a little lost on the way back to the bus stop. Thankfully someone could tell we were lost and helped us out (thanks kind stranger). Oda and Caitlin decided that they were going to the mall, but I was not really in the mood for shopping (I never am) so me and Hugo just went back to our apartments instead!
I hoped you enjoyed this jam packed entry, in which I think I finally get settled into American life and start finding my feet. Until next time.