Today, I’ve lived in England for exactly two months — and my mom keeps asking me to write something, so hello, greetings from Brighton, and hi mom! I love you!
Within two weeks of arriving in Brighton I had found a flat. I lived in two hostels, the first one much grosser than the second, while I searched and then waited to move in. I also had a minor mattress crisis (in which my mattress was delivered before I had the keys to my flat!!)
I furnished mostly through online secondhand sites (dining table, chairs and couch) and also hauled home a toaster, blender and kettle from all over town. When my flatmate Ginny finally arrived after the most horrifying visa process, her mother rented a car and we went to Ikea and purchased the rest of the furniture and household items (coffee table, two beds that took us a whole afternoon to build, desk, pillows, throws, houseplants and kitchen supplies.)
So… I guess I had everything under control pretty quickly? And I guess I managed just fine, like my dad said I would? Somehow even routines feel chaotic, and nothing ever really “settles”, but I get a sense that everyone just pretends that they are totally in control of their lives and the world keeps turning 🙂 Thoughts?
A few words about the University of Sussex and the program (Conflict, Security and Development) — it’s REALLY GOOD. I’m in two “core” modules now — Conflict, Security and Development and New Security Challenges — and in the spring I’ll take Politics of Disease and Biosecurity and Political Economy of Development. Some of our cohort just took a three-day trip to Geneva and got to speak to members of the UNHCR, the UN, the ICRC and the World Bank, and IRIN news and tour their headquarters or offices.
A few words on Brighton: it’s quirky, a little shabby around the edges, dotted with cozy cafes and tiny bakeries, cool bars and unique local shops. The traffic is heavy and I haven’t gotten on a bike here because it’s too scary. It’s urban and a little dirty, but the ocean changes colors every day, and we can see it from every window in the flat. This really is the sunny south of England– we’ve had more fair weather than rain, and our balcony faces south. The sun traces big rectangles across our living room floor all day long, setting earlier and earlier into the Atlantic as the autumn wears on. I do like it here!
A few words on British English: I kid you not– sometimes I cannot understand what people are saying. And I sometimes call cashiers “tills” and lines “queues” and I accidentally swallowed the “r” one time when I said “square” (“squaee”).
November is really the best month. My mid-term reading week is closing fast, it’s a crispy fall day, I’ve caught a cold but it’s an excuse to drink tea all day long, and I’m coming “home” home in just forty days. In that time I have whole books to read, essays to plan and a pre-Christmas visit to Finland on my agenda. See you soon, mom!