The Welcome Weekend and Freshers Week, an account of two Australians attempting to integrate into English Culture without any grace at all. Oh, Freshers week, you had me at 'occasional free food', 'excited and ridiculously friendly English people' and 'hilarious accommodation'. Oh, and 'hello.'
Arriving at the airport Saturday morning, we were pleasantly surprised to see two - well, mildly dejected but very friendly - welcoming people standing with a 'University of Sussex' sign. A lovely gesture, and made us feel, well, 'welcomed', before we were even at the university. We took a coach to Brighton, and then taxied into Sussex, the seaside city flashing by.
Dragging the orange pumpkin (also known as my suitcase, the tiny-tiny-twenty-kilograms I was allocated to bring all the way from Australia) up the stairs, we finally reached our flat at the very very top on the very very outer edge of East Slope. We trundled in, attempted to open the doors of our rooms, found a magnificent eight or so square meters of prime real estate and a perfect view of a 'do not walk on the roof' sign, a desk, a bed, a broken cupboard, oh East Slope, you already have my heart. Dumping our stuff and escaping our rooms, it was time to meet the flat-mates, who were mildly unimpressed concerning our lack of crockery (but were mildly impressed with our Australian accents, so it made up for it, at least for a while.) One of them (superbestflatmateintheentirewholewideworld) even made us dinner, which really did set the tone for the start of our adventures at Sussex.
We met more people venturing down, the rest of the row of fortunates who live on the East Slope, danced-jumped-shook hands-laughed-spilt various volumes of alcohol down various places such as shirts-skirts-stairs-plants-roofs, made our way down to East Slope Bar - and back up again, to perch in all manners on the stairs. And this was about everything we've done the last few days, repeat-repeat-repeat; bacon and coffee in the morning to cure the 'freshers flu', some crazy questions concerning Australia (do you ride to school on a kangaroo? -no. do you have a pet koala? -no. then why do you live in Australia anyway? - precisely why we're over here, really, you don't understand how absolutely adorable your squirrels are...) and perhaps even some sleep, wow, and maybe attempting to consider academics, registering and paying the accommodation fees, listening to exchange-student lectures concerning grades, University support, and, oh, international students who accidentally find themselves in colorful Brightonian gay bars.
The Freshers fair consisted of a myriad of clubs and societies yelling at you, proffering lollies and pamphlets and badges and catching your eye, it was all quite exciting really, the atmosphere, people running about everywhere... and not to forget all the hazy memories of the events presented by the Union this week, thankgoodness for 'The Big Lemon'! (I got on for free by holding a lemon, best thing in the world! Well... at the time.)
But, apart from all of that, we've been learning one or two things. I've learnt that 'Marks and Spencers' - they're for your ''bits', some cockney rhyming slang - well, a cleaner one: 'apples and pears' mean stairs - that English people aren't really all that different from Australian kids, except they have super amazing accents (seriously, come to Australia, all of you). You kids say 'well' quite a bit, 'well good'; cheeky - 'lets have a cheeky taste then', and perhaps 'grim'... put them all in one sentence and I'll be impressed.
To be honest, the main thing we've found out is that we're all quite the same; we listen to the same music, have the same worries, make the same stupid mistakes ('where are my keys?') and we're all rather excited about learning, though don't let anyone hear you say it, at least, not just yet; what more could you possibly ask for? (Oh, perhaps a shower curtain that isn't moldy, but that's about it. Again: East Slope, I love you.)
We even made it down to the seaside and ate some fish and chips (including infamous mushy peas) on the beach, it was glorious. Though it did prove the notion that the English are fond of losing their shirts when the weather is over 20 degrees...
There isn't much else to say but everyone we have met have been lovely and perfectly friendly (with super accents, can't really get over them); most people we have met have been drunk; all of the people we have met have been hungover; lets see you do a venn diagram of that one before classes start.The University of Sussex - well, at the very least the East Slope, and my experience of it in the last few days - has turned out to be the most perfect microcosm of lovely English University students. Can't wait to commence classes next week, but this week has been an exciting and perfectly welcoming start to my time at Sussex, and I can't wait to see what else the year will bring.