Sunday, 5 October 2014

1st week in Durham

Today is the 8th day I've been in Durham. It feels really strange to be writing that. It's been a very busy week; a lot of training sessions, inductions, coffee at the department (more on that later), and generally finding my feet, both in terms of who exactly I'm supposed to hang out with in my free time and, say, how the library works.

On Wednesday last we had our Matriculation ceremony. Basically, we went to the cathedral, speeches were given, and later we had to sign a book promising to be good students and not to plagiarise. Forever the cynic, I could probably have done without the procession and tradition of the matriculation ceremony, but it was nice to hear nice and encouraging things from those in charge. Usually you don't get the well wishes until graduation and they're kicking you out the door.

Everything here is done very officially, we all have a college, and do everything through the college. The fairly upper class formality of it all is a little awkward, but hey, it's their show, so they can do what they like. Since I'm being accommodated in my college for the time being (and it's pretty cosy, actually), I get all my meals provided, have access to a kitchen to make tea, and even have a library in my building. It's all very straightforward, and only a 10 minute walk from the university.

I'm feeling very lost without my bicycle, I haven't managed to find one here yet, and although it's just a short walk to everything, including the town, I'd much prefer to be cycling there than walking. Hopefully this week will bring good things. A meeting with my supervisors, a walking trip or some dance classes (depending on the weather), and basically all the time in the world to study, write, and eat. It's surreal.

I woke up on Monday morning and it was Autumn. Umbrellas and boots for everyone. Today it didn't rain, at least, but I could definitely start wearing my gloves, it's that nippy. It feels very strange being here, but judging by all the lost, lonely faces you see on a daily basis, in the cafeteria, on the paths to and from college, the only thing worse than being in a new place alone is being 18, living away from home for the first time, and being in a new place alone. So, there's that.
Here are a couple of snaps, I need to make it a habit:

From the Matriculation ceremony, with a ghost walking by. That poster on the wall was terrific.

The cosiest apartment I've ever seen on one of the oldest streets.

Copenhagen. Never forget.

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