Friday, 1 October 2010

POST 7: Brighton. Part one!

The First Days Abroad!!!!

Yeah? Finally it's here then. An account of those first days. Sorry about it not being there earlier.

So this is it, isn't it? Alone in a small room (call it cell, if you will), rather than the place I used to live in for three years and a month, in a foreign country. I've been up since seven, reading, and generally passing time. Much in the same way as I did in Holland, basically. Not having the internet brings you back to what life might have been like in the early nineties. Which is slightly more tedious. Not having television either brings you back to life in pre-1917 St. Petersburg, angry, baying for blood and revolution.

Apart from that, I can't really do anything now. It's Thursday, and I've promised I'd wait for the Broadband guy to turn up (which he will definitely do today, guarantee; apparently), and during that time, do some writing (as I'm doing right now) and some reading (been doing that quite a lot too).

At the moment I am in the Grey Room; the communal lounge area in our rented accommodation. It is very grey. Two grey couches on grey carpets with grey-coloured walls. To my left, the sun's coming over the houses across the street, being impressive, shining in from the window.

I got here on Saturday, quite straight-forward really. There were only two weird bits to the pre-flight time wasting. On Schiphol Airport I was waiting to go to the gate. As I walked through the scanner there was a weird beep, and while saying the word Random, I was frisked lackadaisically. Apparently I wasn't carrying anything metallic, I just looked like I hadn't been touched by other people for a while. I wouldn't know what I had done if he had gone all the way with the frisking. I did do a -I'm quite surprised you're frisking me-face, though.

I only got a bit on Gatwick airport, so I had ask the airport security where I could find people who would know what to do with me (as in: where to go). As it happened, I had to go find some kind of train-thing which would take me to the other half of the airport; where the main Arrivals Hall was supposed to be. It was, and I soon found a girl in a shirt with the name of my temporary Uni on it (there were some others with similar, if crucially slightly different shirts, like the university of Surrey, which I'm sure has its merits). In a packed train, with a smattering of exchange people blocking up the aisle with suitcases bigger than the average farm animal in Inner Mongolia (that's a Yak, people...), I thought about bed. As in sleeping. I was quite tired.

A young woman was sitting near the window, apparently oblivious to the amount of luggage draped around her, forming a clothes- and books-based wall around her. If the train would inadvertently crash, this would spell trouble for her, 'cause she would be buried beneath our baggage. Or she was training to be a frog and merely testing her ability to jump away from tricky situations. Yeah, it must be that.

At Brighton station I spent some time aimlessly wandering around, before finding the blue-jumpered person who pointed me to where I had to go. There was a nice man with a van who drove me to the place where I had to get my keys. They also sold bedding. This was nice, but also a bit aggressive on foreign students who, like me, possibly didn't bring a duvet with them on a long-haul flight. It was all right in the end.

The house still looked the same as it did on google maps; which isn't surprising actually, since I hadn't been informed of a fire or an earthquake. I don't think the South Coast is that vulnerable to earthquakes is it? (If it is, please let me know).

The house is nice, and so are my flatmates. The first thing we did was go mad in (nondescript supermarket) and getting enough stuff to live through the first week. But, not being able to get the cooker to work we had to go to the petrol station for M&S food. Which was nice. It's like paying 3,95 for a bit of much-missed middle-classness. After which, we did some more moaning (in the annoyed, Russian sense; not sexually) about the apparent crapulousness of the house we found ourselves in and went to bed (early. I was asleep at 21.30. UK time).

Our annoyance was based on the shared impression of things in our house not being as they were advertised (which they were, in the end) and the house-people making us live in a useless house until term actually begins. Until then, basically, we're on our own. Which was not the case.

Yet I still don't have my Erasmus grant at the moment of writing (come on!), so it's a bit hard to open an account and loading in the money for the next month's worth rent. Neither can I now get a part-time job. I can see Kafka, looking down as he does at me from his place on my bookshelf, mocking me. Well, look at you all high and mighty. You were only €3,95, a cheapo Wordsworth Student edition paperback and to top that all off; you didn't even finish it. Lah-di-dah!).


Spent reading and watching the entire first series of The League Of Gentlemen.

Later, I was trying to sleep (as you should. Are you reading this at night? Go to bed! Now! No, not a word! Bed!) but couldn't; and wrote this in my phone: I was actually spending most of the time whispering the words: duck off (sic) at the wall. The neighbours were having a party.

At about 2, I started thinking angry, evil thoughts. Why can't people who love parties leave Uni and be put to work in call centres where they belong?

Then I dreamt of them having to go on a training day in a huge ballroom type place. For their call centre jobs. Asked to lay their coat on a seat at the last table near the window. But the tables multiply, the building grows bigger and bigger too until they get crushed under the immense gravitational forces of a mega planet. Muhaha.

By the time I had written this, the music had stopped.

Day Two...

So what I basically mean is, be careful with us weirdos. Because this behaviour breeds cartoon villainy. Into phones.


Monday was the day for introductory talks and things being taken care of on a basic, administrative level. Therefore the day was ridiculously boring. But I did get the chance to be in a bus in Brighton, to the campus. Ah well.


I bought a bike from a man called Ian in central Brighton. It's a great bike and even though it gives me pride, it also confronts me with my innate and annoying Dutchness. I can't escape it!
I then got to campus for some much-needed admin and introductory speaking. This one was just for foreign students and
At night, we had a talk with our residential person. She turned out to be a very nice person, but couldn't fix the shower.
We then had a four-person house inspection of every bit we hadn't yet seen. Such as the outside bit.
The garden is filled with spider webs. Like a sea of string. I felt very much like I was in a weird Czechoslovakian Modern Dance-Production from 1985, signifying something or other. I don't know.
There is an immensely terrifying shed in the back of the garden. Can't open it, padlocked. Probably filled with six or seven giraffe carcasses.


I fixed the shower; by cycling to King's Road. It was raining, and I wore my rain-clothes, making me sweaty, but I did see the Pavilion from one side of a fence.
I finished my application by queuing for an hour, in a place. I have never queued this much before. After about ten minutes (and 80 centimetres) there was a ridiculously loud noise. Before me stood a Chinese girl and she was scared that it might be an earthquake (again, tell me about the possibility of this happening here). I told her that I, being taller than her, would bear the brunt of the building falling on our heads, giving her time to escape. There actually was building work going on, loudly. I watched Dead Set, Charlie Brooker's zombies-in-the-big-brother-house-based satire. It was very good and highly unpleasant (I hate zombie-films) at the same time.


I spent today writing this! Who-hoo! If you're reading this, I was able to put this blog online and I possibly offered a cup of tea to the cable-person. Hope you are doing fine. And 1500 words in one blog can't be bad, can it? Bye!


At last! Some internet! Who-hoo!


  1. Jorik,
    I loved your blog!
    Love mum.

  2. Thanks :-D! I'll be keeping it up throughout the year, I hope.

    Love, me.