Yeah, I go to school there

September 19, 2009

title

Well, THAT was mad. From the beginning, then:

I have now decided– with utmost certainty– that I do not like flying even a little bit. Maybe my impressions would be changed if I were flying in a nicer section of the plane, but as I can not afford anything other that coach, I am serially annoyed with flying. Planes just aren’t me sized. Still, everything went well, planes took off and landed on time and I was never harried, sprinting across airports to make flights, like I was on my way home from Russia.

Normally I’m antagonistic towards the idea of orientation activities, since my experiences with them have been of being smushed together with people I don’t know and being told– always implicitly– “Make Friends!” Seeing as this is a school in a different country, and they do school differently here, I decided that my normal stance would be unhelpful; thusly I have been a faithful attendee of orientation related activities. Except the dance, which I genuinely forgot about and was intending to go to. (No, not a club like in Russia, or a sway back and forth uncomfortably affair like in high school. This was intended to teach us how to dance like an Irish person.) The first night I was there all the international students had a common dinner. I sat at a table of Chinese exchange students. Some may be aware of my difficulty picking out words when the rest of the room is filled with constant white noise. This, coupled with an unfamiliar accent meant I had a devil of a time understanding the people at my table, in spite of their impeccable grammar. Slightly related, I’d say at least a quarter of the international students for this year are from southeast Asia, or are of Asian descent. I wasn’t expecting that, and I’m not sure what, if anything, that says about me. The Americans also stand out. A lot.

Mainly because they don’t listen. Also they think they’re really cool. My first night in Heemstra Brian told all the freshmen, “When you were in high school it was all right to think you were too cool to get involved in things. It was ok to be standoffish. Well, you’re in college now, and doing that hurts no one but you. If you think you’re too cool, no one else will care. You AREN’T too cool, and you should probably get over that.” I think, generally speaking, that the American students I’ve met should have Brian give them a talking to. Witness registration: we received extensive instruction as to the form and reason behind the form that our registration process would take. Of course the people sitting behind me in the queue couldn’t be bothered to have listened to that. “Why do we have to sit in these chairs and move forward?” “This just seems like a waste of my time.” “I should just go back to my room and do this myself.” “Isn’t there a better way to do this?” In a word, *facepalm.

I’ve had one slight snag, too. Apparently my loan checks haven’t made it to the financial office yet, which means I’m limited to the money I brought with me to live off. I’m going to go to the International Office on Monday and see if I can figure out what the deal is.

BUT, I’m registered for class. It isn’t quite as mental as I thought it was going to be, two classes first semester, two classes second semester, plus the dissertation. Still, I should be plenty occupied. I may also sit in on one class and do the reading for it, but not do any of the work. Basically audit the class. When I asked about doing that the student helpers from Queen’s looked at me like I was a bit nuts. “No one would ever do that here. I’m sure the professor wouldn’t mind, but… everyone else will think you’re an odd one.” Also, I discovered why my term is technically until September, even though classes are done in the middle of June. September is when my dissertation is due, and speaking of which I haven’t quite narrowed that down any yet. Rough outline: Ethno-religious conflict in the industrializing world. Wide swath to choose from there. Obviously it will require some tightening. Actually a lot of tightening.

Living arrangements are taking some getting used to. I live in Elms Village, and it is essentially the antithesis of Heemstra. I live alone in my room, and I’m not allowed to keep my door open or I’ll get grouched at by security. Sizewise the room is about the same size as one of the dorm rooms, but its just me in there. I’ve managed to make some friends on my floor, but my basic strategy has been to park myself in the lounge with the tv on while reading and wait for someone to come in to see what was on. Commence introductions and hope they don’t hate me. Frankly, its a bit lonely right now, but the buildings have been mostly empty, too, since the students from Northern Ireland just moved in today. Things should improve with more people around classes started.

I explored the city a bit today. I set out at a little past 11 to meet up for lunch with a friend on the other side of town. But I had the wrong directions and couldn’t find the place. Which is to say that I was walking around Belfast for about three hours and didn’t find what I was looking for. Just a little bit annoying. I did figure out where EBM is in relation to my place of residence, as well as finding the hostel I stayed in the last time I was in the city. I’ve seen several shops and restaurants that look promising, so maybe once my funds arrive I’ll have to give them a look. Speaking of funds, I’m going to try to find a job on campus, or even better, someplace that will help me with international/ethnic relations. Maybe work for the international office? We’ll see.

That’s all for now, I’m tired of typing. For the record, this post is 1/30th the length that my dissertation must be. Ye gads.

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10 Responses to “Yeah, I go to school there”

  1. Katie said

    Hmmm…sounds interesting so far! So do you think your time in Russia made you even more sensitive to the attitudes of the other Americans, or would have you noticed it just as strongly without? Just curious.

  2. JessicaP said

    I really enjoyed reading about what you’re up to. Hope the money comes in soon!

  3. Bearss said

    I LOVE YOU! I’m glad you are in N.Ireland now, and you should indeed make some awesome friends…so you can introduce me to people if I ever come and visit…**

  4. Jessie said

    okay…. maybe looks are deceiving…. but is that a yellow tulip in that picture? please.say.yes.

    i also appreciated the 1/30th comment. downer. you can do it, though.

  5. Mahlon said

    Interesting. You should make sure that Mr. Sales and Mrs. Sheperd see this. They would enjoy your prose!

  6. Mom said

    Every time I see you in your room I think it looks lonely. Do you want some posters or something to make it look more inviting?

    I hope you keep going out in the commons area so that you can keep meeting people and networking and making friends. I think you sometimes try to make me think that everything’s ok and don’t tell me you’re lonely, and that makes me sad.

    I hope, since this post was a long time ago, and I’m just finding it, you have found lots of new friends. Because, even though I’m your mom, who wouldn’t want to be friends with you?

    Love you!

    • christophermahlon said

      I’m not allowed to put up posters and stuff like that. The room is boring and it will stay that way.

      I’m getting better at finding people to hang out with here. No worries.

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