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Welcome to England

I arrived two weeks ago. Or rather, I was supposed to arrive two weeks ago. Instead my plane got delayed for seven hours. Without a phone (that very conveniently broke while I was in Korea) and without access to internet I was stuck in a tiny terminal in Southern France.

As we were in the air, the first time, and the pilot announced that the window in the cockpit was coming off so we had to turn around as quickly as possible I was surprised to find a calm atmosphere among most of the passengers. No one, was complaining (yet). Even when they announced that our plane would be at least 4 hours delayed everyone took in the information in a surprisingly calm manner. I reckon that the Southern French sun affects everyone, even the English.

I had been clever enough to decide that I wouldn’t need any books on my, normally, two hours flight, and would instead spend the time taking a small nap. But with nowhere comfortable to sit in the terminal and screaming children as well as loud people, there was too much noise and time to spend all my time napping. Luckily I had my adored Macbook pro (RIP Steve Jobs) at hand and found forth some videos of a favorite Korean TV show saved on it. I later passed time drawing the cast, although it was a complete failure, I had fun.

I was lucky enough to catch the last train to Bath (the place where I now reside) in the evening. I knocked on the door when the clock read ten past midnight. I had managed to get my two heavy luggages up the many steps with the help of a gentlemen that I had met on the train.

I quickly apologised to my tenant and host family for arriving late and, exhausted from the trip, headed straight to bed.

However at my arrival things weren’t as I had thought they would be and, after having spent four happy months without worrying too much about anything, coming back to an unknown situation like the one I arrived in wasn’t what I had been hoping for.

After having spent four years living with students I’ve gotten tired of the never clean kitchens the noise at 4am, that never fails to wake me up, the out-of-control parties and the same old problems. That is why I decided to move in with a host family this year. The couple that I live with is a nice middle aged couple that are very talkative and take good care of me. However I didn’t know anything about them when I first moved in, and the process wasn’t without worries.

When I first arrived “my” room was their daughter’s room, who moved out year ago. All of her old things were still inside the room decorated with photos of her and her smiling friends. The unfamiliar faces all looked down at me and I felt as though I was staying at friend-whom-I’d-never-met’s house. In case you’re in doubt it wasn’t a nice feeling. Her things, still on the desk, on top of the drawers, as well as in the drawers, made me worry not only about not feeling at home but also about the lack of space for my own things, accumulated over my previous year at university.

I have no photos of how the room looked when I arrived. The memory is bad enough, and although it’s all in past already, it seemed to much to overcome on my own at the time.

I started unpacking the next day and told Dolores (my landlord and host mother) that I didn’t think that there was enough space in my room for all of my things, let alone my clothes. She came up to look at it immediately (and I have to add that teling her that took me ages and was quite a worry) and said that she would clear all of the drawers for me and make room in one of the wardrobes for my clothes. I thanked her and carefully added that it wasn’t just my clothes that I was worried about not fitting. I announced that I would pick up the rest of my things the following day and asked if we could look at it further then. She agreed.

She came up later the same day and cleared the drawers, as she got started she asked me if I wanted the desk cleared as well. I said yes and she cleared it. She equally cleared the top of the drawers and the space under bed, even though we had discussed neither.

The following day I moved my things. Unfortunately I had the moving man move it out in front of the wrong house, only realising this mistake after he had left.  All my heavy boxes were piled up on the small path above our house. I think that was the day that I really realised how a nice a lady Dolores is. I told her that I would move it bit by bit and that it would fine, but she rushed up to my things and grabbed a box, helping me move it into the house. Everything was moved into the living room and she told me to unpack slowly saying that it didn’t disturb her.

As I started taking out one box after the other and contemplated how to ask her to take down the photos on the wall Dolores came up to my room and asked me if I wanted the things on wall down as well. I smiled, nodded, and it all came down in mere minutes.

By the evening I had unpacked everything (more or less) and only needed to find a place for my big mirror. The mirror came up the following day and I’ve been decorating the walls since, greatly regretting having left a big stack of posters in France.

So now I will open my door and let you into my room.

So Welcome in to my space.

One of the first things that people notice when they see pictures of it is the awful shell at top of the room with a mess of things. Although I notice it on pictures as well I don’t notice it every day because it’s above my  usual viewpoint. I reckon that’s yet another advantage of being short in terms of height, the world looks different from down here. Dolores told me that although she would like to move it the house is too small so there is no place to put it, I don’t mind it.

Dolores commented on my newly put-up posters yesterday and, interested, asked me who they all were. She is a curious lady.

My bulletin board above the desk is filled with photos of celebrities, concert tickets, plane tickets, and other memories from Korea.

I share the bathroom with them, but that works very nicely as well as their routines are similar yet different from mine. There isn’t space enough for my beauty products in the bathroom, but this doesn’t disturb me, there wasn’t enough space for it all when I had my own bathroom either, I’ve dedicated a large drawer and two boxes on top of my drawers for it all instead.

Let’s move on to the rest of the house.

Before seeing this place I had never seen such an English home before, it was almost a caricature of what Englishness means to me. Thankfully, I’ve grown fond of it during the past two weeks.

The living room has a beautiful view of Bath. I’ve often stood in front of the window and talked/gossiped with Dolores in the late mornings and afternoons.

But as you might be able to imagine my past two weeks have not only included moving in but also included the beginning of term and the beginning of my second year in University.

I have now had at least one lesson in all of my modules so here is my report: I love 50% of my subjects… I hate the other half.

The good news in this is that I actually like half of my subjects from the very beginning, as for the others there is a chance that they might get better as the year advances, and if they really don’t then I can just lean on the subjects that I do like. Things will work out.

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