2.5 Months Later
We've left Berlin; we spent some time in CA; some time in WA; some time in NV; and here we are in Norwich, UK. Today's weather forecast: rain.
We are lucky enough to have landed in a beautiful town, more specifically in a roomy, lovely flat in the north end of the city. Our neighborhood smells like woodburning, soil and fish'n'chips. It's not a stereotype about an abundance of fish'n'chips here...they are all over. There's one right down the block from us, though I haven't tried it yet. The reason for that isn't that I don't have a burning love for fried fish and french fries...rather, things here are quite expensive, almost prohibitively so. Luckily, Brad got a job.
So let's have a look at our place, shall we?
There are some differences now: we have a dish drainer, so imagine those drying dishes in less disarray; the bookshelf is now abundant with books on stylistics, translation, linguistics and Russian Symbolism; usually, I am on the couch, reading. Incidentally, I love my program.
The campus, however, while being situated on an extremely beautiful piece of land, looks, well, sort of Soviet. It is a mass of concrete, heavy and grey, harshly dropped next to the river Yare. It's on what is referred to as the University Broad, which is a sizable lake bordered by marsh. The land is really quite lovely.
There are thousands of bunny rabbits on campus, but they hide from the students, sadly. They are much more endearing than the rude little squirrels that ran wild on the Berkeley campus. From that picture, you can't really see the hulking mass of the Uni...
That's more like it. The whole thing was built slightly raised off the ground, with all the buildings connected by walkways; the idea behind the design was that it would force students from different fields to intermingle. "Say, I was popping out for a sandwich and bumped into a physicist!" Like that. The idea is more compelling than the execution, however. Mostly it results in bottlenecks.
Though I haven't yet gone inside, there is also a pretty big museum on campus, the Sainsbury Center for the Arts. It's very modern and sometimes free for students, which recommends it highly.
We haven't spent very much time sightseeing since we arrived here. Mostly we've been taking care of things. We've been fairly successful at that so far, you'll be pleased to know. We have been here for less than a month and are already fully entrenched in what will be our lives for the next year. I have a bus pass! I have a cell phone! We have a place to live! We even have the internet! It's pretty amazing. With Bradley's new job (at Rare Grill & Steakhouse), we may not have as much time to travel as we had in Berlin, but I think that bodes well for my studies.
The city itself is very endearing. The town center has one of the oldest outdoor markets in England and the city mostly retains its medieval plan, which means I get turned around trying to get from one end of the city to the other. The streets in the center, mostly pedestrian-only, are very twisty and sometimes cobblestoned. There is a castle (and the mall beneath it is hidden very well) and Norwich Cathedral has the second-tallest spire in England and is exceedingly beautiful inside.
Soon we'll spend a day somewhere - somewhere in the East of England, maybe Cambridge, maybe Oxford, maybe Great Yarmouth. What? Never heard of it, you say? I never had either. I get the feeling it's like a less-urban Coney Island. We hear there are gypsies there.
In the meantime, I'll be studying. The rainy weather is conducive to reading. As I compile random observations about the English way of life (for instance, bus drivers telling people that the bus is full when it is clearly not), I'll pop back and share them. See that? "Pop back?" Stuff like that. Be back soon.