Once again I’ve left this blog a rather long time since the last entry, but all is well, as I’m drinking tea right now as I write this. YES, TEA! It’s Welsh tea too (even better!)
Anyway apologies for leaving you in the dark for so long. I have actually been very busy, but I digress. When I last left you all that time ago, I had arrived in London with my parents, (kind of) ready for my flight the next day on the 20th of January. I’m not sure if you can tell from reading these blog entries, but I’m generally just a nervous and anxious person all around. So even thought I’d already travelled on my own all the way from Albany to New York City and then back home, I was still very nervous about traveling on my own again. The worst part of it all was that I had to say goodbye to my parents again. It had felt like only yesterday I had arrived back home, and now I had to leave again.
After a sad goodbye to my parents at the airport, it was time to embark on another adventure across the pond. I thankfully had no trouble finding my gate at Heathrow, and was able to relax a bit before my flight. Something funny happened as I was waiting for my flight. I checked Facebook to pass the time, and as I was scrolling I saw a post from Hollie (My British friend from Hull, that was in the same English class at Albany during the first semester for those of you who may have forgot), saying that she was at Heathrow too! Unfortunately though, she was going to be at Heathrow, but an hour after my flight had left! What would the chances have been for that to happen! I’m seriously beginning to question the amount of chance encounters I have with people I know at airports.
Now, another flight means another time for me to tell you what films I watched! This time it was ‘Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children’: a film which I was surprised to find mainly took place in Wales! I never in my life imagined Samuel L. Jackson talking about Wales! Plus the end credits features a song by Florence and The Machine (one of, if not my favourite musical artists if you were not aware), which I’d actually heard before and has become one of my favourites! (It’s called Wish You Were Here and I strongly urge you to give it a listen 🙂 ) The other film I watched was ‘Date Night’ a comedy film starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey. It’s how one date night went horribly wrong for the pair in New York City, and hilarity ensues. The one random TV show I watched this time was ‘Westworld’ and it reminded me a lot of ‘Humans’, just in a western setting. I also watched some parts of the Trump inauguration, which was weird to think I’d be arriving to a new president. The whole thing was awkward and the signal kept cutting out. I think Obama best summarizes my feelings in this one picture I took.
After landing, I had to go through customs again. I wasn’t sure which one to go through as I’d already been to the U.S. before. But because I had a J-1 Visa, for some reason I had to fill in a form as if it was my first time being in the U.S. Anyway, after that I went straight to the help desk to find out where the shuttle bus would be going from. Turns out if I’d just walked out the main doors there would be a sign right there, so that was kind of embarrassing!
The shuttle bus was much quicker than the last time I took it going back home. I was back in New York City in no time and this time instead of having a little wonder around, I just went straight into the bus station to find out where my bus to Albany would be leaving from. So I went inside and tried looking for my bus on the signboard but didn’t have any luck. I then went to the help desk to see if I could get some help. I told the woman at the kiosk that I was looking for where the bus to Albany left from and all I got was “next building, 28!”. This was not helpful in the slightest and I no idea what she was on about! I was really confused about the next building part. I still had about 2 hours before my bus was scheduled to leave so I did have plenty of time, but I was starting to get a bit tired.
Not wanting to irritate the mean kiosk person any further, I decided to head downstairs to see if there was anywhere else I could look for help or try and find something myself. I saw another board with the bus times and routes on it and tried again to find my bus. I was still confused, but once again my lucky streak with strangers in the bus station continued, as a random person came up to me and asked where I was trying to go. Either I’m very lucky that people just randomly come and help me or I just look way too confused so they take pity on me. Anyway, I told him I was wanting to go to Albany, and he too mentioned 28 as if it was something that everybody knew about. He then took me down another level and I was back at that groggy underground corridor that I had been at almost exactly a month ago!
Now that I was here again I realised that each door had a number and a route assigned to it, and Albany was of course number 28! Now all I had to do was wait about 2 hours in cramped dreary surroundings. As I’m sure you can tell, I don’t really like this bus station that much and I don’t really want to go back there anytime soon! I ended up just messaging my friends back home to pass the time and watched as people gradually got on their buses and emptied out of the depressing bus tunnel.
My time finally came at around 5:30 pm, I could finally leave that dreadful bus station for Albany. It was a much quieter bus than the one on the way to NYC last month. But this meant that I could relax a bit more and know my long day of traveling was almost at an end. We had to switch buses once we got to the Albany bus station, where there was only about 5 people, including myself, left going to Collins Circle. After finally arriving at the University I felt very proud of myself, that I was able to travel all the way from Albany back home and then repeat it all over again on my own.
I really hoped that no one else was back at the flat so I could just relax and maybe even clean a little. But NO! This was not to be. As my roommate was back already and ALREADY HAD A GIRL OVER!
After about 13 hours of travelling and being awake, with my body clock still set at 1:30 am, this was the last thing I wanted! Apparently she couldn’t move into her place yet and needed somewhere to stay until then. God know why!? How did my roommate even know her too!? I was so tired I couldn’t really believe this was happening. I don’t mean to be dramatic but this was literally the worst start to my time back in Albany. I awkwardly just sat in the kitchen wondering why this was happening. Then I eventually just decided “Screw it!” and went into our room and went to bed. It had been a very long day and I was done caring and being tired of rude people.
My first full day back in the U.S. on the 21st of January was a pretty mixed one. The entire morning and into the afternoon I was feeling very depressed and was missing home so much. I couldn’t help compare where I currently was and who I was living with, with the comfort and happiness I had felt at home. Luckily for me I have friends that are there to make me feel better. After explaining my feelings of sadness to my mum, she suggested that I try and find out if any of my friends were back at Albany from the winter break. This was a good idea, as otherwise I’d probably just be feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in sadness in my room all day.
Turns out everyone was already back, and that I was one of the last people to arrive! In the end, myself, Hugo and Caitlin went to the cinema and saw the movie ‘Split’. It was really weird and featured a really creepy looking James McAvoy playing a character that suffered from split personality disorder and kidnapping 3 teenage girls. It was very tense at some parts and featured some pretty dark themes, but entertaining none the less. So after feeling pretty homesick from the get go, I’m very grateful for the friends that I do have here at Albany and for taking my mind of things when I’m feeling particularly down.
It didn’t stop there. On the 22nd, it was more friends making me feel better. This time is was thanks to my past and future housemates + best friends; Rob and Kim. We’d agreed to Skype during this semester as it would do us all some good, as we were all so far apart in the world. Me in America, Rob is Swansea and Kim in Germany (the differences in time zones is still weird). It was so nice to see them both (even though I’d seen Rob in person only about a week ago, but I hadn’t seen Kim since about July last year!). I would say it was nice to speak with them too…
But there was an issue with my microphone on my laptop that prevented it from working! It was only after quite some time of me trying to communicate with them with no sound, and some messing around with various settings that I got it to work. For some reason the microphone only works when I leave the audio settings page open. Very strange!
Now with a new semester there has to come a new group of TV shows to watch! (You are reading my blog, so I’m not sure what else you should expect from me by now!). Okay so, on the unofficial list this time is the Netflix series ‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events’. I mentioned in a blog a while back that I was really looking forward to this TV show to arrive, and it didn’t disappoint. ‘Call the Midwife’ also came back on British television screens today. Me and my mum hoped to watch the first episode together before I came back to the U.S., but alas, it was not meant to be. For those of you who’ve never watched it before, it may seem weird watching a show about a bunch of nuns and midwives, but it’s so good at tackling social issues and showing the way things developed over time in history. Plus, it had Miranda Hart in it for a long time and I defy anyone to dislike Chummy/Miranda!
Monday the 23rd of January was the first day of classes….but not for me! Somehow I’ve managed to get all my classes to be only on a Tuesday and Thursday. I’ll get into them in more detail when Tuesday rolls around. But the only thing I really did today was have another Skype call with Rob and Kim. Such fun 😉
Okay so onto the 24th, aka: my first day of classes for 2017. My first class was at 10:15 am (not too early which is nice) and is my politics class for this semester: ‘American Legislature’. I thought this class would be a nice follow up to the U.S. elections one I took last semester. I was quite surprised to find out that my professor for this class is actually blind! As a result of this, she also has a guide dog with her that stays in the class during the lecture. It’s adorable but very distracting, it sometimes just roams around the room being cute.
I then have a bit of a break until my next class at 2:45 when I have my history class: ‘Roosevelt to Reagan’, so basically 1930 to 1970. This class looked really interesting and follows a time period that I’m especially interested in. This class had a ton of reading, plus there’s a mini dissertation assignment that involves choosing a topic and researching it all myself. Hopefully this class will somewhat prepare me for my final year at Swansea. Then at 4: 15, I have my free choice for this semester, which is an ‘Introduction to Journalism’ class. The lecturer is nuts, but very interesting. He goes off topic a lot, but I guess you can’t really go off topic when discussing current affairs. Plus, the work is actually Journalism based which is really cool.
Finally, at 5:45 I have my English class for this semester which looks at the works of ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. We read ‘The Great Gatsby’ in this class, which in itself was enough to interest me in this class! My professor for this class is like the American version of Mr Higginson: my English teacher from year 10 to 13 (that’s from the ages of 14/15 to 17/18 for those of you not from the UK) in Secondary school and just generally one of my favourite teacher ever! They’re both somewhat older, very friendly/reassuring, have an endless supply of knowledge, but also being a bit quirky. For example, American Mr Higginson loves to make best with his students about things (nothing too crazy) and grants himself one, and only one, swear/expletive each class.
I certainly have a lot of work ahead in this semester, but I’m sure I’ll learn a whole bunch of new things! I look forward to sharing more of this second semester with you and hope you still find some from of enjoyment from these blog posts. I aim to please 🙂 . Again, sorry but I can’t make any promises on when the next blog post will be up. I have Midterms this week already in real time, so things don’t look great. None the less, until next time…