Errand’s Day

What a day!  Of course I woke up late today and missed breakfast, but I had an apple left in my room so I had that with some tea.  Soonafter I left to explore the campus and get my student card, bank card, and cellphone business sorted out.   The International Society had a helpdesk set up and they were super helpful, telling us where to go and how to go about doing things – they even had a sheet made up comparing all the features of all the different banks!  Of course as an Asian/accountant I chose the free one from Barclays.  You have to get a letter from the university stating your current address and proving that you are enrolled in full time studies to open up a bank account, which thank goodness they told us about and told us where to go to get it.  The carding office and letter place were in the same room luckily, so about half an hour later all that was sorted out.

Barclay’s on Oxford Rd. was a mess today!  Students everywhere.  It took about an hour for us to get out of there, and we have to go back next Thursday to get our card because they were too overwhelmed today with students to process everything.  Apparently you need a UK bank account to get a cellphone, so I guess I’ll be reliving my pre-cellphone days for another week.

After that we hopped on a 143 and took it to the end of the line as we were told to do and found ourselves in the midst of Manchester Market!

the hustling bustling Manchester Market, open daily

At this point it was about 2pm, and both having had little for breakfast the smells wafting from all the tents were too delicious to resist.  We both bought chicken pitta (yes pitta as they call it here pronounced PITAH, not pita with an e sound) and soup.  I got jerk sauce on my pitta and the pumpkin and sweet potato soup, which was amazing.

chicken on lettuce, tomato, and onion with jerk bbq sauce. Notice the pigeons waiting for us to drop morsels of food, which we sadly did

sweet potato and pumpkin soup, which also came with strips of warm pitta bread

After we were full and happy it was time to do what we went there for.  Primark!  As explained to us by the Int Soc girl, “it’s like… Walmart?”, to which we immediately went “ohhh, ok!”.  Oh my goodness Primark has become my new favourite place to shop, everything is so cheap!  The bags and accessories are the first thing you see when you enter into the 3 floor colossus, and was hard to resist.  I bought some necessities, as well as a cute little quilted and grosgrain bowed coral purse, which I, in my defense, need because I don’t have any purses right now that allow me to keep my hands free.  I love it!

Today's spoils, courtesy of Primark

The leopard print fleece throw is probably my favourite purchase of the day though, my room is freezing cold at night!  Plus it covers up most of my horrendously hideous duvet cover, which I did not pick and very much regret ordering online as part of the bedding pack.

My very much detested "Augusta Blue" duvet cover and pillow case. It looks (and feels) like sheets you'd find in a hospital

After dinner in the dining hall I went to the U of M’s Student Union building, where they were hosting a Ceilidh Celtic dance session for international students.  Very sweaty, very fun.  It was probably more fun laughing at our inability to grasp the steps than when we did figure out how to do it, although it was incredibly satisfying when we were able to do a dance properly.

Ok, time to head to bed!  Nighty night.

Betty

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Arrival

Woke up quite early today to finish packing up and to get to our coach at Heathrow that was to take us to Manchester Airport to be picked up by “Purple People”, who would send us on another coach to be dropped off at our dorms.  I basically slept for the vast majority of time on the coaches, and luckily was dropped off right next to an awaiting University of Manchester coach.  The purple people literally had purple t-shirts that read “PURPLE PERSON”, which I found pretty hilarious but didn’t bother taking a photo of.

Key collection and whatnot was pretty straightforward; finding my room was not, but somehow I managed.  When I opened my door I was so surprised.  My room is massive!  At least double the size of my room at home with a huge bay window at the far end of the room.  I absolutely love my room, it’s got so much storage space and even has a sink so I don’t have to venture out to the washrooms with morning breath and messy hair.

the view from my room

the view from my room

The building itself is definitely very old, I think it was founded in 1900 and the brick building’s architecture reflects its age, which I find charming.   The dining room is especially gorgeous, with high ceilings and massive windows framed by light green curtains, and is furnished in light coloured oak dining tables and chairs.  I’m so glad I chose a catered hall – no need to scramble for food, and I get to eat in this gorgeous room!

I did a Tesco/Lidl run with Debbie after I had dinner in the dining hall (nothing special about the food here) and bought some necessities like toothpaste and soap, as well as a little pot of bright yellow chrysanthemums to brighten up my room.

Getting around on the bus system tonight was horrible.  The transit system here in Manchester seems archaic, with multiple operators going the same routes so if you want to buy a bus pass, you can either buy one from a single operator and only use their busses, which hopefully run all the routes you need to take, or pay a ton for one that works on all operators’ buses.   I did a bunch of research (read: googled it) and decided on the Stagecoach bus pass, which was confirmed by Debbie to be the one recommended by the University itself.  So tomorrow I’ll go buy that and hopefully also set up a bank account as well as a phone contract.

Alright, bedtime!  Cheerio for now,

Betty