I’m starting to think with an accent

It’s happening! Also, am beginning to weigh different groups of words in the milliseconds before I speak, e.g. contemplating between saying “thanks a lot” and “thanks very much”, or “very” versus “quite”. They are similar but the latter words give off a more British vibe in my head. I feel more proper- like I’m actually going to use the vocabulary words I’ve learned in my years of English classes and books, and not rely on a broken-down vernacular (widespread in my hometown and college), through which we communicate in fragments rather than sentences. Maybe it won’t happen, but the hope and motivation to speak more clearly and well is there! (Obviously not coming across through my run-ons, but since I’m blogging to mostly Americans, can I get away with that?)

I’ve met some cool Americans on the boat tour of the  Thames and while shopping at some markets in northern London today. Am eager to meet the real British folk, who should be arriving tomorrow in time for Monday’s classes.

My mom was very vocal about offering to fund a smartphone abroad, but after much decision, I declined. I have yet to purchase a phone (sorry mom! Plan on it tomorrow!) so in the meantime, I’ve had my new pals scrawl their numbers and names on the back of a receipt. Here’s hoping that some of the magic that accompanies songs written on bar napkins will turn up in the friends department! Not planning on it, though, since I remember how at Wes’ orientation, the race to make friends is a mad dash of courage, speed-friending, and lots of disposed phone numbers after a few weeks. But that’s okay! At least I gathered some nice pictures of us! (posted below)

Vassar/flatmate, Florida, and I

Vassar/flatmate, Florida, and I

boat tour scene. May add that on the tips of the scones lay dots of that beatific CLOTTED CREAM! But only in tiny drops and unfortunately not enough to give me a feeling of coming home. Soon!

boat tour scene. May add that on the tips of the scones lay dots of that beatific CLOTTED CREAM! But only in tiny drops and unfortunately not enough to give me a feeling of coming home. Soon!

Myself, Westchester and Philly

Myself, Westchester and Philly

Niagara (NY!) and I

Niagara (NY!) and I

But as I was saying- no smartphone, yada yada. That means I don’t have access to apps or GPS or anything more mobile and high-tech than a map right now. So, I have to plan out my trips in advance- including writing down directions and important information on notepaper! (Don’t have a printer either.) Wow, do I appreciate the ease of technology now! BUT MOM, NO that doesn’t mean I want a smartphone. It’s a refreshing change, and has an end date. I’m happy to embark on this challenging experiment!

Also, some shoutouts to pals:

Marissa: I met someone from your college! In the theater department though, so you may not know them.

Elior: I was going through my picasa and this came up:

this would happen to either one of us. it did.

this would happen to either one of us. it did.

Also while shopping today there were these hilarious cards about *awkward topics* and an ad about taking old people out on Sundays and I miss you so much!

Also, Netflix is different over here! Some cool movies available!

Tomorrow I plan on scoping out some of the town on my own. It’s fun to be with friends but I know myself enough to recognize my market habits and love for moseying. I know there is much social fun to be had in the future, and I may go to a pub with friends tomorrow for dinner. Can’t wait!

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I saw this bald guy 3 times today

He was an administrator. Very kind and friendly- each time I saw him, he flashed me a great smile. But the third time, when at the IT office, he started speaking to me about how funny it we run into each other so often today! and although we were speaking the same language, we WEREN’T because it took 50% of my jet-lagged brain to comprehend his rapid speech and 50% to finagle some jumbled reply and 10% to stay awake (yes, I am running on 110% right now). So, I just smiled and snuck in a (maybe?) fitting word here and there. English is our common language but dialect and accent are enormously underestimated when comparing the US to the UK!

Have met all of my flatmates and they’re each very friendly! One is another associate student from Vassar (she recognized Wes right off the bat) and the others are Queen Mary students. Three study biochemistry and one English.

I was cooking a rudimentary dinner of spaghetti and garlicky kale when I met my flatmate from Liverpool, Nema (only remember that because I think of nematodes. Bio geek 4 life)

Nema’s associative organism. Sorry, Nema!

It was during this conversation (and one earlier with other flatmates) that I realized how uncommon it is to know much about New York City when you’re not from the US. I was asked if Manhattan was the capital, if by “3 hours north of NYC” that meant Long Island, among other amusing queries. I know I, too will ask very silly things over the next 5 months as well, but this was a first! (A couple hours later: Just came back from a get-together and when asked where I was from, this one guy was like, “Is that near Albany?” and I was so impressed! Now they all associate me with Albany (half don’t know where it is) but it’s better than NYC! Or is it?)

A funny thing about Queen Mary is that everyone has their own bathroom. Apparently, the British value personal space very much. I was also informed to refrain from speaking to them on the tube! A met a few friends who are here through IFSA-Butler and during their orientation, someone gave them pointers on etiquette.

Here are some pictures of my room (and the infamous bathroom):

room deskBR

windowsill