Saturday, 4 September 2010

Days two and three- Why America is awesome and why it is less so.



I was going to do another "what I've learnt" but I decided to mix it up :]] This is my list of things that, so far, i love and hate about being in America. Don't worry, the pros far exceed the cons.
I have just made myself a cup of tea by boiling water in a pan. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and I really wanted a cup of tea!! I have to be honest, I'm surprised how quickly I've settled in and how okay I feel.  Everyone has been really nice and we've been really well looked after. I haven't really met my roomates yet or any other people outside of the international office people and the other international students but I'm having a really good time!! I spoke to my parents on Skype today which was lovely and kinda weird, but once I got used to seeing and speaking to them it was so nice. It was like being at home!! God bless Skype!!

Liz and the other girls from the IE office have been looking after us. Liz studied at Birmingham a few years ago so she always talks about things from home which makes us feel much less homesick which is amazing!! She took us out for burritos the other day :]]


So far everything is very...different. More different than I expected. I've had a little bit of culture shock but I just sort of see it as being on holiday in a new place- things are different so I accept that and get on with it. I haven't come to America to do all the things I do at home. But I can't get hold of any vegetarian gravy which is upsetting me a lot!!


Duluth is a proper American university which I love. It looks and feels like an American university. We're right near the footbakl field and it's so cool to see them practising!! I can't wait for their first game!! Everyone also wears UMD clothing which is so cool!!


(that building in the background is where I live :]]])
Thursday we just went to Target (mmm Target) and bought kitchen and bedding and stuff, then we had dinner and went food shopping. Food is really expensive here though :[[[ I don't think people cook as much as they do at home- but who can blame them when there's so many places to eat!!

The student centre is amazing. They have so much going on and it's huge!! All of the building are connected so you never have to leave if the weather is bad outside. It's a little confusing but I really like it. The library is amazing!!


Yesterday we had orientation, had a tour of the campus, opened our bank accounts (free hoodie!! yes!!) and had a free lunch!! I got all my books yesterday. I'm really excited about all my courses; in particular my feminism module and my journalism course. I just want to sit at home and read my books!!

Then in the afternoon we had a tour of Duluth and went to the beach. Duluth is absolutely beautiful. I was worried there'd be nothing going on but it's just absolutely lovely. I'm really glad I decided to come here now!!


The lake is huge!! Way bigger than I thought!! And you can see Wisconsin when you look out!!


Then later on we went to graffiti graveyard. It wasn't easy to get there but it's so cool!! I'd love to take some outfit photos down here one day. I found out you can rent SLR cameras for free from the library!! There's an outdoor photography trip in a few weeks and I think I might go and maybe rent a camera, or just take my own and see how I get on. I really want an SLR for my birthday. Please mum!!




So, now onto my list!!

Awesome things about being in America

Mexican food
Okay, I love Mexican food. A lot. And they do it really, really well here!!

Free stuff
So far I've had cookies, lemonade and a hoodie for opening my bank account!!

Free Gym Membership
Just for coming to the University!! How awesome is that?!

Free Bus
Ditto!!

Spontaneity
I'm really enjoying just going with the flow. Being spontaneous. Doing what I want. It's very different from how I usually am!!

People liking my accent
Instead of taking the mick like they do at home!!

American Boys
The cute guy in Target, American boys gushing about England. The accent makes me melt.

Duluth!!
Duluth is beautiful. Such a lovely little city. I'm so glad that I'm here.

Campus
I love Birmingham. I really do. But it's so cool to be at a real American university. Our bookshop sells iPods!!

The beach
Okay, I hate the beach, but having one is so cool!!

International Office
They've made us feel so welcome and really looked after us. I think we've made some great friends with the girls who work in the office :]]]

My books
eeeeee I can't wait to start my classes!!

My hoodie


Less awesome things about America


Food is expensive
:[[[ i like food!!

Your sweets suck


Free candy= good. American sweets= bad :[[ why would you put chocolate flavoured gunk in a lollipop?! I miss chocolate and sweets from home. Although I did have my freddo curtsey of my BFF Ellen on Freddo Friday!! Yay!!

No gravy
Okay, this could be a Northern thing, but I love gravy. Veg and potatoes should never be eaten without gravy. Americans, quite literally, don't do gravy. I have asked for a care package of vegetarian gravy granules!!

Tea-free
I just managed to make a cup of tea with a pan of water. It is not the same. I think I need a kettle presto.
(how do you boil water over here?!)

Phones
I have a "cell phone" now but I'm pretty sure the guy in the shop lied about how much everything costs to use. Hmmm.

Lack of Blu-Tack
Okay, any Americans reading this- what do you use to stick photos on your walls etc? No-one understands blu-tack here and you defnitely can't buy it!! Tape? nails? sticky tabs? help me out!!

Jet lag
Waking up at 6.30am may make me productive, but it also makes me drowsy at 4pm. Hey, it's bedtime at home!!

I promise I will get outfit posts up once I've settled in but you'll have to cope with just updates for the next few days :]]

How is everyone at home?

Charlotte xxx

7 comments:

  1. We do have blu-tak and poster tack here though I'm not sure where to find the actual blue-tak besides teacher supply stores. Michael's most def has poster tack though, and Target will have Scotch mounting tape. Do not use nails in the dorm- they might charge you for wall damage! Most definitely get a kettle- we do have them here :P. Hmmm as for cells, if Duluth has MetroPCS you can get unlimited text and talk or $40 a month and it can be a month to month plan. Gravy, if you look in the right supermarket you can ind it, though I don't know if it's the same as English gravy... Have fun figuring this all out! :)

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  2. We do have blue sticky tack here. Try Walmart.

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  3. First of all - welcome to America, darling!! :) I am in Iowa (just one state below you!). I used to work for the Abercrombie & Fitch home office and worked with TONS of girls from England, going through the same thing you are! I might have little bits of advice. :)

    The sweets?? Oh my gosh. You are showing an example of the worst candy we have. There's more than that!! Reces Peanut Butter Cups!! Sour Patch Kids... mmmm. DOVE chocolate!!! OH man. Dove is amazing. I've had lots of your english candy from the girls at work and one thing I bet you miss is Percy Pigs. Mmm! You can get legit Cadbury chocolate bars here, fruit and nut ones, at some grocery stores! :)

    They definitely have tea kettles at Target. Go back there and get one! I've never known of someone to boil water in a pan to make tea, hehehe. We are tea drinkers too so don't worry - there will be Tea here :).

    Sticking photos on the walls in the dorms, you should use the poster tak stuff which is probably just like what you're describing but it is harder to find than tape. Ask someone that works at Target and they will know.

    Duluth is really far north (you're not far from Canada!!) so be ready for a really cold and snowy winter!! It's going to be much snowier than England I bet!

    best of luck settling in!
    xoxo

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  4. I've been stalking your blog forever, but have never commented because, while I LOVE your sense of style, my own (very neglected) blog is not about fashion at all. So, for some reason, it feels weird to comment on fashion blogs, even ones like yours that I absolutely love.

    Anyways, welcome to the Western hemisphere - don't worry, we do have better candy/sweets than that. Unfortunately, it's generally not the stuff that people will give out for free. I avoid anything with the word "Tootsie" on it - it's all horrible fake candy that no amount of sugar can redeem.

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  5. I just found your blog-and I am blown away. I am definitely becoming a follower! It's so interesting to see your opinion on all things American!


    Lindsey Soup

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  6. Having lived in both countries (+ Canada!) I can say you are pretty right. American sweets are atrocious- what is wrong with curly wurly's?!?!? Nothing, that's what. Gravy, being a welshwoman, well I'm pretty sure that's a northern thing. And you are so right about the lack of tea (especially fairtrade tea. In Britain, it's just in the supermarket. Here, you have to order it online. Beyond frustrating.) which is something I need. Tea is crucial to a British person's well being. I totally stereotyped there, but I know one British person who doesn't like tea. *shrugs* Some stereotypes are true.

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  7. It is so weird and interesting to hear this experience from the opposite end! Last year I studied abroad near liverpool for 6 months and had to get used to the fact that the uni I was at didn't have crazy school advertisement everywhere, or a butt load of "school spirit" for sports teams. There wasn't a day I didn't calculate the pound to dollar difference (it's def. a hit to my American wallet than vice versa haha, darn that exchange rate!), and I had to get a completely new wallet because mine was too small for the pound bills haha.
    To this day I miss british chocolate, it's a million times better than the high fructose syrup gunk we get over here haha, as for gravy, you will only see it during thanksgiving and when mashed potatoes are served. Well, depending on the family you are with. I have gone back a few times, and miss England terribly, I can't wait to go to grad school there!
    Sorry this is a bit of rant haha, but I am def. following your blog!

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