The Arrival

It was definitely tough saying goodbye to my family, friends, the city of Houston, the great state of Texas, and the entire United States.  I boarded my flight to Chicago on Wednesday January 4th, and met with all the others Harlaxton students who decided to fly as a group to London.  My walk to the gate was a slow one.  I was feeling a lot of emotions, and didn’t know if I was ready.  I got to the gate and was greeted by one of the Harlaxton Interns.  She got me all settled and there I was sitting in a group of about 20 students not knowing a single one of them.  I still had 4 hours until my flight, so I talked to this other Indian guy sitting across from me, really because I needed to charge my phone and he was sitting by an outlet.  Time sort of flew by, and soon there were around 70 Harlaxton students at the gate.  My flight to London was about 8 hours, but it wasn’t terrible.  I got to choose my seat online so I chose the seat right by the exit doors.  Lucky for me, I had what seemed like unlimited leg room.  I could’ve laid down there and would’ve been okay.  I didn’t get much sleep on the plane.  I mainly just read The Da Vanci Code and watched some movies.  After the flight, we got off, went through customs and all that fun stuff only to sit on a bus for 2 1/2 more hours.  I fell asleep on the bus, it was crucial, because the Harlaxton staff were not gonna allow us to sleep once we got there.

I woke up as we pulled into the city of Grantham.  I looked outside the bus window, with my eyes half open and droopy to see the giant castle.  It didn’t really hit me that I was there, until I was inside the Long Gallery listening to the Principle welcome us to Harlaxton.

After that we were given about 2 to 3 hours to settle in and explore the Manor.  But first, me and my friend Nikhil who I met at the airport needed to get some food and coffee.  We both had only gotten about 2-3 hours of sleep and it was going to be like that for the rest of the day.

For those who know me, I really like food.  Here is my experience so far with Harlaxton’s dining.  My friend and I walked to the refractory where lunch was served.  We got there, got our plates, and saw zero, ZERO, hot food. Well, expect for tomato soup, there was just bread, fruits, vegetables, and some different meats.  I grabbed a piece of chicken, and some bread since I don’t eat fruits or vegetables, this is all I had.  The chicken.  Unseasoned and cold.  Not room temperature my friends, COLD.  I couldn’t understand why they would cook chicken without seasoning, and then to further worsen it, refrigerate it.  It was one of the worse meals I’ve had in years.  When dinner came around, things seemed to turn around significantly.  There was spaghetti, cheesecake other meals.  That’s when my friend and I realized, we just missed the main meal when we had gone to lunch. So it’s really not that bad.  I’ve heard from students who attended Harlaxton, that the food wasn’t the best, but from what I’ve had so far, it’s very doable.

After dinner, I went to a RA meeting since I am going to be an RA at Harlaxton.  It let me know what to expect from the students attending Harlaxton.  That’s all I am saying for now.

Right after the meeting, all of the RA’s went to the Bistro underneath the school where students and a few professors hangout and have drinks.  It was a good time.  I met a lot of kids from the University of Evansville (a lot UE students), Western Kentucky University, Wabash College, and others that I don’t remember.

The second day we had breakfast, a lecture about keeping safe, and a lecture about the history of the manner.  This was a really interesting lecture, and has got me respecting the castle more than I had before.

I attended the Meet-A-Family introduction seminar, since I have been accepted into the program and been assigned to a family in Grantham.  I sat down the hall, and tried to facebook stalk my family.  I couldn’t find them, so I googled one of them, and found a picture. To my surprise he was the same guy that was in the Meet-A-Family pamphlet we had just picked up.  To add on to that, he was actually at the seminar and was going to speak!  I met with him and the two other girls who are going to be with his Family this semester.  I look forward to learning about the British culture, and doing fun activities with them.

The convocation and high-table dinner that night were fun.  There was a bagpipe player, who was the third best in the world.  He played and we followed him after the convocation into the long gallery for dinner.  He also led us out after dinner.  The dinner was alright, it was fun.  I met my meet-a-family’s “Mom”.  At the dinner we found out our what houses were placed in.  Being sorted into a house isn’t just a Harry Potter thing, it is apparently sort of common here in the UK.  I have been sorted into house Greggory, which is the I guess Gryffindor equivalent.  (Although, I would like to make it clear, I think I am a Ravenclaw.)  Since we were dressed up after dinner, Nikhil, Paige,  and I went and took pictures around the castle.

I really have tried to take pictures of the castle, and can’t seem to capture its true beauty.  From a quick glance it looks really fancy, but a quick glance doesn’t do it justice.  There is a 360 degree virtual tour of the manor that I strongly suggest you view at:  https://www.evansville.edu/  Just scroll down and click virtual tour and select the Harlaxton Campus.

It’s been a crazy week so far.  A lot of information has been thrown at me, and I don’t get much rest.  School begins tomorrow, and it’ll be nice to be on a regular schedule.

I know this blog post was a long one, but so was my week.

Until next week,

Afsar

 

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