Last weekend we took a field trip to East Sussex to do some site seeing and on Monday, I finally attended my first class of the semester (approximately 6 weeks after my Grand Forks counterparts). It was nice to finally have something mandatory to do! My first class was Social Inequalities which was interesting as we had a presentation on the Roma “Gypsy” people in Europe. It was refreshing to learn about a minority group that is not often talked about in my Social Work classes at home. The rest of my classes are fairly similar to UND and I am also taking a French class which is a lot harder than I thought since I try to say French words the way I learned Spanish! Luckily I have a few friends in that class to help me out!
My class schedule is pretty much ideal! I don’t have class on Wednesday or Friday which gives me plenty of free time to travel and just experience England. This week I definitely did not take advantage of my fabulous schedule though and I’ve been plotting out my next couple long weekends to make the most out of my time here! So far I have trips to Wales, Amsterdam, Spain, and hopefully the French Riviera (cross your fingers I’ve caught on to French by then!) planned! The other great thing about my schedule is that I have a free week off in the beginning of November (As if not starting til October wasn’t enough!) to plan more trips!
Besides the start of classes this week went by pretty uneventfully. Except for my new adventures in British cheerleading! On Monday, myself and two other USAC girls went to try out for the squad just to get more involved at our school, meet some more people, and maybe get a few laughs out of it but after hearing the commitment requirements and the price for the uniforms we decided our time and money would be better spent elsewhere. As we left the tryouts the captain started chatting with us and convinced me (not the other girls though) to try out still. She said that since we were exchange students they were very flexible with our commitment and we didn’t have to dish out the money for uniforms since we wouldn’t be here when the uniforms came in. I think they have had American girls in the past who knew a lot about cheerleading and were very helpful to the squad so that’s why they were so accommodating for me. So after a pretty basic tryout I made the squad! On Wednesday, I went to the first practice and I was surprised at how much I remembered after not cheering for almost 5 1/2 years! I even got to fly in a stunt! And just like everything in England, after practice the Cheerleading thing turned into one big party! Because the squad is sponsored by a local bar it was a REQUIREMENT for all cheerleaders to go to the bar, spend a little money, and party with the American Football team. Apparently many sports teams have these “Socials” after weekly practice and each week is a different theme! This weeks theme was “Life’s a Beach” and next week is Initiation (eek! I don’t know what that entails!). It was fun because a lot of the girls and guys were amazed by what its like to cheer and play football in America and everyone wanted to hear stories of my days as a high school cheerleader. One guy told me that nobody watches high school sports in England which was shocking to me as Friday night football games are a staple event at home! After the bar, which was more of a pre-party, we all got VIP stamps and got to jump the line (British: “Queue”) at Brighton’s biggest club, Oceana. Oceana is 7 clubs in one and brags that you can “travel the world in one night” because each club is designed to be a different country. There were so many people in line for a Wednesday that I was so glad to get to jump the line! It was definitely a fun night out and I’m looking forward to next week’s practice and social!
Things I’m loving: How inexpensive Blackberry services are (5 pounds vs 30 dollars) and finding more and more ways to communicate home, the song Good Times by Roll Deep, Paying 6 pounds for my books for the semester, Eaton Mess (a cream, meringue, and fruit desert), Being a cheer flyer after a 5 year break and the perks of being a cheerleader in Brighton, Cheesy chips (American: “Cheesy French Fries”) at 3 am after a night out from a kebab shop or home-made by English flat mates, Finding new ways to entertain ourselves like jungle theme parties and seeing how many people one USACer can jump over,
Things I’m not quite loving: Still having to take the unreliable bus everywhere, Not being able to vote for UND Homecoming king and queen, Receiving emails about terrorist plots in London, Not knowing where to get a cheap pedicure,
Things I’m Learning: “When you’re safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you’re having an adventure you wish you were safe at home.” -Thornton Wilder
This coming week I don’t have any big plans. I may make a trip next weekend to visit some English friends or I may just give myself time to get back into the swing of school work after a 4 1/2 month hiatus. A few of us have talked about exploring the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and hitting up a few new pubs but other than that the week is totally open!
Peace, Love, Cheer and a Bit of Homesickness.
The video for my favorite song to dance to at the club!
Cartwheels at the site of the Battle of Hastings! The Battle Abbey is in the background.
Another long bus ride home.. Luckily we’ve got Cheesy Chips!
Beautiful chalk cliffs just outside Eastbourne in East Sussex.