Cambridge has been quite pleasant so far. I've had sun and warmth for the past few days and I even went jogging in a tank top and shorts yesterday afternoon. It was definitely a good sign when I went out on my first morning with a scarf and saw that no one was using one. After I began to feel hot, I understood why.
The city centre is pretty small and it's 15-20 minutes away on foot. I don't mind the distance except when I'm carrying back shopping and groceries, which has been the case more or less every day since I got here. Yesterday, I was carrying a big bottle of water, some cooking utensils, groceries, some hangers and a square tub thing for washing clothes, setting off from Sainsbury's to my place. The distance is about 10 minutes on foot. Yesterday, it felt like an eternity. At the height of my physical discomfort fuelled by the pain in my arms, I was cursing the hell out of everything: how Cambridge is almost like a village, how the public transport sucks, how I lived so far away, and how I didn't have a car. If this means that I'm spoiled, then so be it.
I'm sure I will get used to it though. I'm not really sure if I want a bike...I'm scared shitless of cycling and I don't really mind walking the distance. Well, not yet, anyway. It may be a different story in winter. We will see; for now, I will put off the bike.
My room felt like a shithole when I first got here but I'm kind of getting used to it. I was dismayed to find out that I'm in the basement. They exaggerated a bit about the river/garden view; it's more like I'm looking at a random shrub when I look out of the window, and I don't really see the river as much as I see the surface of it. The ceiling is also quite low and the bathroom is puny. It is hilarious now how I complained about the size of my bathroom in London; that bathroom now feels like a luxury compared to what I have. The best part was, it was flooded with water when I arrived. I cleaned it up, thinking maybe the housekeeper washed it or something and it takes a while for the floor to dry, but the same thing happened the next day. I emailed maintenance and apparently they are going to fix it today. It's 4.13pm and no one has come yet, so hopefully the maintenance guy came earlier in the morning when I was out for breakfast and it's been fixed.
More appallingly, however, is the fact that the college/university turns off heating overnight. I'm sorry but I don't understand this at all. Why turn off heating during the coldest time?! What sense does this make? Now I understand why I've gone to bed feeling really cold. I'm already down with a slight cold so this is quite annoying. I hope they can provide me with a portable heater because this simply isn't going to fly when winter arrives.
I've met a few of my housemates who have all been nice and friendly so far. There's a Dutch couple (though only the girl lives here), a guy from Belgium (who coincidentally also did his Masters at the LSE, though he finished it last year), a guy from South Africa whom I first met on Facebook, an English girl and an English guy. There are two houses, 11 people, and one kitchen I believe. The kitchen is quite shitty but I've cooked two meals already so I guess it's passable.
This is the most student I've ever lived in my life. By that I mean that I don't think I've ever lived in such squalid conditions before. When I say 'squalid', I exaggerate, of course; but the point remains. Every time the Dutch couple enters their room at night which is directly above mine, I hear their footsteps. Whenever someone cooks something and turns on the ventilator, the smell gets ventilated into my toilet because I'm just next to the kitchen. Have I mentioned how puny the bathroom is? There's literally enough space for a toilet bowl, a small sink and a square for showering. The most difficult part so far has been the noise; I've been woken up by the sound of footsteps the past two nights. Granted, I went to bed early because I was tired, but still. I think I should buy some earplugs.
I'm definitely going to move out when my lease is up. Oh, and there were a couple of floaty spiders (I don't know what they're called) in the room when I got here, a random beetle the next morning and a tiny worm on my window ledge. I just spent some time chasing a lady bug out of my room. How exciting and pleasant - I am one with nature.
What is also inconvenient is that the laundry site is across the road. It's not even in the same house. It could be worse I guess. It could be further.
I'm going to London on Saturday. Yay! I found out after I booked my train ticket that there's an event in the afternoon. Oh well, I'll just make it back in time for the event at night.
I miss London. I miss the food options, the shopping options, its bigness, everything. Cambridge is nice but I'm still not used to being in a village. Still, I've no major complaints so far. They're nothing that I can't get used to.
I received an email from my supervisor today asking for a meeting next Thursday. Oh my god, it's all really happening. I'm scared to death. They changed my second supervisor to a Greek guy (at least, I assume he's Greek based on the surname and the fact that he went to the University of Athens) who focuses on Jurisprudence, so that should be interesting.
Speaking of Greek guys: I sat down at Pret on Tuesday for a light lunch of tomato and cheese croissant and a latte and saw multiple messages from G. He responded to my simple 'Hey. Happy birthday' message, saying, 'Thank you so much. It really means a lot to me.' He sent me a selfie that he'd just taken in the university in Germany where he was attending a conference. He surprisingly replied quite quickly after I responded. We chatted for a bit. I said, 'You should come visit [Cambridge].' He said, 'I definitely want to.'
He also said, 'We should definitely see each other back in sg.'
A few minutes later: 'Skype? Wanna chat?'
My phone, whose battery has been draining rapidly for some mysterious reason in recent times, was at 20% battery, so I made him wait 20 minutes for me to get back to my room to operate Skype on my computer. I made him wait another 5 minutes while I talked to my dad. He was offline when I texted him that I was done. When he finally called me, I was in the toilet. We almost missed each other, but we made it in the end.
He's finally cut his hair. He sounded super excited when I told him that one of my supervisors does extensive work on the right to privacy. He was geeking out at this puzzle thing while talking to me, which was cute. I also said, half in jest but half not, that I was surprised that he saw my 'happy birthday' message. In response, he said that he'd thought about me and wanted to get in touch, then launched into a long story about juggling something that he's working on in Berkeley and preparing for the talk that he was in Germany to give. Basically: 'sorry too busy to chat'.
Yesterday I sent him a photo of the river that runs through Magdalene College (i.e. my college) taken at 9am when there were no tourists and the sun shone brightly in the blue sky. It was captioned 'What a lovely day. Go kick ass at the talk!' He messaged me on Skype later in the evening saying thanks for the message, etc. However, my message is still only a single grey tick...which means he hasn't opened it. Which means he hasn't seen my picture. Oh well, his loss!
It was good to see him. I've missed his voice and his gorgeous accent. I'm pleased that he said we should see each other in Singapore, but I'm not holding my breath that he'd make it back in time to see me before I have to leave again. My return date to Cambridge has not been set and I would be happy to leave a day before term starts again if he gives me a reason to do so (i.e. if he's back before 12 January); but I'm not holding my breath. With him, his work takes priority over almost everything else, definitely over me, and I don't, and won't, expect him to cut short his visit to Greece on my account. And that is fine because we are not anything; not dating, not committed, not talking that much...seeing him in Singapore will be a bonus more than anything. If he figures out how to come to Cambridge before December, that would be a major shocker. I would go to Berkeley to see him but only if he asks (which is more improbable than not); and even then, it will be tough because the flight is expensive. Anyway, we will see what happens.
I just heard back from maintenance. I cannot have my own heater because it's a fire hazard. How am I going to survive the winter? Have I mentioned that I'm definitely moving out upon the expiration of my lease?
Okay I'm off. I want to check out the laundry place before dinner. This entry is quite shit. I'm not really in the mood to write.