I write this on the first day of ‘Parents Weekend’, having just walked into a library packed full of students’ parents! For one weekend only, parents are welcomed by their children onto campus and can take part in classes, visit the libraries and dorms, attend this weekend’s BC football game (tailgating as usual, but on a larger scale with other parents) and see how their child is getting on at the $$$$$$ a year institution the parentals and bank loans are financing !
I can’t see British students welcoming their parents into campus 4 weeks into term any time soon…
It’s an American thing..!
Since I last wrote, I have fully ridden the wave and landed into a swirling whirlpool of Boston College life; I would say ‘university life’ but BC is just more intense, more campus orientated, more busy… I’ve actually found a way to be busier in America than I was in the UK!
But I’m really enjoying it! I can’t believe it’s over 2 weeks since I last wrote- the time has just flown by. Two weekends ago I visited New York with the incredible Antara, and we gave a speech about ‘Bristol student life’ to American alumni (the reference to the Cori Tap cider got the largest laugh!) and enjoyed sharing stories of our student experience so far at BC…
Well, two weeks later and I now feel like I am truly a part of the BC community-despite the fact I will not be taking part in ‘Parents Weekend’! Instead I’m doing the classic New Englander trip apple picking, which I’m incredibly excited about!
Another experience I want to briefly share with you is going to the ‘restroom’. For some reason, all toilet doors have gaps in them between the door and frame. When washing your hands in the sink, you can see in the mirror the outline of the person on the toilet! At first I thought it was just that toilet, or that room of cubicles, or a BC thing; no, now I’ve realised it’s just an American thing!
The main difference in my routine since writing last is my on-campus job at Hillside; one of the on-campus dining halls. I’m absolutely loving working there! Discovering all the language differences in the heat of the kitchen is fun: my question asking about the whereabouts of ‘butter’ was repeated three times until I realised the difference and asked for ‘bu(tt)er’! I have conceded defeat overy the “toma(y)to”/ “tomato” debate, because it causes a lot of confusion and not worth the hassle when the queue is building up! I also worked out the hard way that ‘How are you doing?’ isn’t actually a question asking about my wellbeing or life story that day, but simply a greeting, another version of ‘Hey’. The first few times I tried to answer the question and open up a conversation (in less busy queue times) by responding ‘Oh I’m good thank, how are you doing?’ was met with a confused stare, a shake of the head and a bemused ‘oh, I’m ok…’.
I’m learning..! It’s an American thing!
Most fun shift the other day was with two ladies from the Dominican Republic working on online orders, opening up the hatch window to pass food through the hatch to the smart BC students skipping the queue and opting for the ‘Ready for pick-up’ option, probably to take to library to do their 5 assignments for the week. Those who smile through the hatch when giving us their name and order would gain a nod of approval once the hatch is closed, as we searched for their order behind the scenes! I really enjoy opening the door to find out who’s on the other side- like a fun game of ‘keeping house’ that you used to play in nursery!
I also made a bit of a fool of myself when I tried to show plenty of initiative by taking the forks, knives and napkins I’d been given to load up the stations ‘out front’, assuming my job would be to replenish a supply running low. Just as I opened up the dispensing machine for plastic forks (I KNOW, I’m working on it…EcoPledge here I come!), my fellow co-worker came running round and beckoning for me to come back into the kitchen, laughing away at my mistake! Instead my task was to wrap up all the plastic forks and knives (hurts me too..) into napkins for the online orders! I had just taken what she had given me and while she was still climbing the ladder, disappeared round the corner; she had just had a little game of hide and seek around the kitchen until she discovered me doing the wrong job!
I am also now Starbucks trained (don’t ask how much syrup goes in a Peppermint Mocha..!) and will be getting a shift in the bakery some point soon, as my boss discovered I enjoyed baking and said he could get me the opportunity to work there! I also made him some scones, after telling him all about the Devon-Cornwall rivalry when he asked about Devon (I’m spreading the scones love, literally- with cream first!) However, I am yet to find clotted cream- any tips, let me know! My boss is the loveliest man though, and is someone making me feel fully at home here.
I have been so busy I only saw my homestay mom this morning after a week of only hearing each other in separate rooms! Have seen the animals more; Pearl is fully recovered from her op and wearing a cone on her head, and is instead continuing to cause mayhem -although I’ve learnt to keep my sandwiches well away from the edge of the table now- and the cats are creepy as ever (I’m really not a cat fan!).
Had a weird sleepless night couple of nights back; firstly woke up sneezing because the rain had released a lot of pollen and I was suffering the effects, second time woke up because the cat was trying to get into my room, weirdly stretching its paw through the gap underneath and rattling against the door, and third time was Pearl collapsing (collapsing is the right word!) down the stairs: bless her, 6 month old puppies do not have control of their limbs…
Anyway, I think that’s an update of what I’ve been up to; basically a lot but enjoyable and fully getting involved. But don’t worry, I am a Bristol girl at heart, and I wear DUNGAREES!