the journey in greater detail (2007-09-18 - 9:41 p.m.)
Man, was yesterday ever a long bloody day. It started with Will prodding me in the ribs with his foot and moved on to packing under pressure and the Victoria Transit bus. Toast was promised, but once it was made I noticed that the entire bottom of the piece was green and fuzzy. Yum yum!
Next we got to haul our bags through the streets of Victoria and stand in the line for the coach for the ferry, which was packed. They ended up bringing out another bus, thank HEAVENS, because I didn't exactly have a backup plan for catching my plane in Vancouver. The ferry ride was packed as well and extremely foggy, and once again thank goodness it wasn't canceled or delayed. They dumped us onto yet another bus coming off the ferry, and then we ran into road construction. Potential for disaster reared its head again, but once again was averted - I was a bit late for my coffee date with Rob and Claire at the airport, but still made my plane in plenty of time.
So then nine hours to Glasgow, some dumping off of passengers and luggage, and on to Manchester. I braced myself for Customs and in fact had a little folder of documents - everything I could think of - in case they gave me trouble. Happened to me once on my working holiday visa and was very, very unpleasant. Luckily this time I got a nice customs lady (was under the impression such a thing did not exist, but like an albino rhinoceros they must just be extremely rare) and she stamped my passport with very few intrusive questions.
My potential housemate Anna met me at the airport, as she'd offered me a ride to Bangor. This turned out to be a stroke of luck as well, as packing the bags on the train (not to mention trying to find the station at all) would have been very unpleasant. She was happy to break into a monologue and keep it up all the way to Bangor, which was fine with me as by this point my brain was buzzing with exhaustion. The house is not exactly very nice, but on the other hand it's only a temporary let and it will do just fine for now. It's two bedrooms upstairs and some kind of lair downstairs for Anna, whose parents own it. There's a small lounge and kitchen but no laundry, which I forgot to ask about. Serve me right for assuming it'd be included... The third housemate is from Libya and seems quiet but very nice. She's just finishing up HER masters in Psych.
Turns out the reason everyone I meet seems to be connected with Psychology somehow is that the Psych department has taken over the university. Other departments keep folding (math and various sciences) but the Psychology juggernaut just keeps on going. They have lots of money and contracts, which allows them to buy the newest equipment, which attracts excellent researchers, which attracts more money and contracts. Suits me fine, as this will be a golden opportunity to work with the latest equipment. I went up to the lab yesterday to find everyone learning how to do EEG (electroencephalogram) analysis - the one where you attach electrodes to someone, give them a task and then measure their brainwaves. VERY cool. In fact, I volunteered to try it tomorrow (they're short on subjects) so I can see the project from both sides.
I ended up attending a lab meeting, which was quite strenuous in that by that point I was barely awake at all. Tried hard to keep up, but by that point there wasn't much hope. Everyone seems very nice and they've set me up a desk and computer. Apparently most masters students don't work directly with a lab or have space there, but since I badgered them into letting me do my MSc there's only one of me, so I get to be part of the lab proper.
Afterwards we went out for Chinese food and then luckily I managed to find my house again. The girls from the lab have been very kind to me and are excellent company, so that at least is looking good so far. I keep going back and forth on whether this was a great idea or a terrible one... time will tell, I guess. Anyway, I'm here now, so will be giving it my best shot.
So far, though, at least six people have warned me that Bangor is very boring and there is not much here at all. In fact, that's the first thing everyone says once they hear my accent, including shop assistants. From the look of things at the lab, though, I will be kept much too busy to even notice what the town has to offer (or not).
Oh, and I got a mobile today. Email me for the number. The man at the shop was extremely friendly and very concerned and upset when I got confused about what he was explaining. Kind of a nice change, after Edmonton when people in those jobs feel they're doing you a favour by working there at all.
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