You never think it will actually come to this. The day you start packing and prepare to leave home. I am dying to get to London, and at the same time I want to chain myself to my room and withstand the passing of time. If I could just but the brakes on and have a final day with Henrik. A final night out with the girls. A final day of working with Nina in the bakery shop. But no, time cannot be stopped – and even though I have begun packing, I still cannot believe that I, a girl from the rural outskirts of Oslo, in three days will be living in one of the world’s greatest metropolises! Somebody please throw a bucket of water over my head and slap me in the face! People tell me: “Oh, I don’t see how you have the guts to move to London!”. I can’t say I am not worried sick out of my wits, but as I told myself when I went to live in Beijing – there are some things you’ve just got to try, and studying abroad is one of them. I am a person who hates change, but at the same time constantly ache for it and seek it out.
I always knew I would end up in the UK at one point in my life – ever since I was practically a toddler. Don’t be fooled by my American accent. Next to Norway, Britain is the country closest to my heart. (Maybe together with China). My mom is a UK national, and so are the tons of aunts, uncles and cousins I have scattered about Plymouth, Liverpool, Oxford and Reading. In fact, I’ve barely got family in Norway. Every year, mom took me to visit our relatives in the country across the pond, so naturally it has played a significant part of my life. English food, English Christmas traditions, English television shows – it was all in my upbringing at one stage or another. So as you can see, I have never pictured myself studying at any place but Britain.
At the moment I’m trying to cram my life into two suitcases. I have no idea what most people bring when they move to a new country, and I ask of you: Is two suitcases an awful lot? I am only bringing my most indispensible clothes and shoes, plus books on art and symbolism I’ve accumulated over the past few years. I might want to throw in a Pride & Prejudice DVD too, as my life depends on being within reach of Jane Austen.
I have been quite effective the past couple of days, doing some final preparations, otherwise known as “paper work”. To (hopefully) make things easier for myself at enrolment, I’ve already payed my UCL tuition fees online. I’ve also taken lots of stupid looking passport photos of myself (at least I don’t look like a stern part-Chinese communist official like I did the last time) and printed out tickets, timetables, addresses, invoices, reciepts, insurance papers and a map of London and collected them all in what is now a very fat folder of important documents. I am sure there is some crucial thing I’ve forgotten, but at the moment I am blissfully unaware of it, and will probably not remember it until I am in the middle of some matriculation queue – JUST LIKE IN BEIJING! (I know I have one thing left to do though, and that is to report a change of address. Although I know the address of my hall of residence, I do not know my room number, and I am a bit unsure whether or not I need to incude it. So, I will deal with that over the internet when I am safe and sound in Britain).
Another thing I’ve done that I am feeling shamelessly proud of, is that I’ve set up an awesome budget. As a student living on a small student loan in a city of temptations, I need to be strict and viligant with my economy. Sadly I never paid attention during the Microsoft Excel lessons at school – but who needs that when you can download a ready made Excel budget template for free at http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2009/07/free-budget-templates-sites.html. I am telling you, it is every students’ saviour! Your expenses are divided into various sub-categories (Vacation, Groceries, Transport, Accommodation etc.), and all you need to do is fill in your expenditures, and Excel will automatically calculate the amount of money you have left. I recommend every single student (and person in general) to download this budget template! You can also customize it so that it fits your needs. For example, as a student I don’t need the category “gardening expenses”, so I instead turned it into “laundry expenses”. God, budgets ARE sexy.