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First Days at Berkeley

Berkeley, United States

It has been two days since my last post, and I am still not fully onto American time. This is probably due to the (relatively) long day (the sun sets at 8 o clock) and my body is used to the sun setting at about 5.

I love America. This place is awesome. I live in a hostel with about 50 other people, who are all ‘freshmen’ or Seventh Formers. They do their last year of collage at University, and so they’re roughly 17 and 18. Yesterday I again wandered round with my friends from America, and at lunch they left and I was alone. Needless to say I felt a sinking in my stomach – if things went pear-shaped, who would save me?

Luckily my dorm-mates invited me to a High School Musical 2 Singalong, and the whole thing didn’t seem so bad. An authors note: Americans are a bit cheesy. Their advertising sells them the idea that a certain product has honour, or courage, or something like that, instead of that it’s a good product. They love the whole idealism thing. It’s a bit strange, but after a while it’s strangely uplifting, because they actually believe it, and try and live like that.

Every American I have met (that wasn’t a crazy homeless man in the street telling me that the apocalypse was coming) has been polite and pleasant (if a little caught up in what ethnicity you are). They have invited me along to stuff, enthused over New Zealand and really made an effort to understand my accent, which is apparently like listening to someone with a mouth full of mushy peas, who chops words off quickly in order to stop them from falling out. I think Americans sound like they’re talking through golden syrup – all slow drawling and few inflections on words.

Today I went to a compulsory check-in meeting, and at the end they gave me a work permit! Happy, happy times! At another place they said (through a friendly Aussie translator) they’d work on one of my more pressing problems, food. The uni wants me to pay for a year’s supply, when I only need six months. As I was walking to get enough money for health insurance (it’s depressing how money runs out so fast) I was halted by a huge brass-band playing a free concert. They were fantastic! They tossed their instruments into the air, waved them in perfect unison and even did tricks with each others’ instruments. It was awesome, and then they gave me a free dinner at the end!

Food is still an issue, but its all good really. I bought a pizza which I have been chomping on for the last three days, and I still have half left. I don’t think you realise how huge the portions served here are – I need to do a lot of exercise or I will gain weight!

Finally, we walked to the top of a small hill to see the whole Bay Area spread out below us, including the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Some of the others thought it was a hike, and were thrilled with themselves when they reached the top. Think walking up Molesworth Street to the very top. They also believed they were going to die when they were asked to walk sideways along a 30 degree slope. Admittedly, some of them come from places where they have never seen a hill in their lives, so I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on them.

I am having a lovely time and wish you were here



permalink written by  Crosswood on August 20, 2007 from Berkeley, United States
from the travel blog: New Zealand Student, American University.
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So we need to get these people into the jeep and out to Moonshine. MWHAHAHAHAHAHA... ahem, please ignore the evil laughter. Am very glad you are having fun. Do you have an address i can write to or something? Seriously, mail me a letter with the address in it when you have 20 extra bucks and i shall mail one back. Or a post card! though i always have an aweful time trying to understand those.

permalink written by  Rebecca Haris on August 21, 2007

Thanks Bexy - I will send you a postcard when I find a good one. Cheers.

permalink written by  Crosswood on August 22, 2007

Food food. It is not a good plan to buy a years worth of food that you might feel obliged to eat in six months - or 4 months for that matter. Although four months of pizza.....

permalink written by  Juliet on August 23, 2007

hahaha..I was right...u ARE going to gain weight! yussss

permalink written by  annabel on August 29, 2007

Oh Annie - thank you for reading my blog. It is good to hear from you - even if it is only to comment on my new eating habits.

permalink written by  Crosswood on August 31, 2007

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Crosswood Crosswood
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I am a second year Officer Cadet in the Royal New Zealand Army, going for a trip to Berkeley (University of California) in the United States. I have a sense of humour, poor organisational skills, and collect clocks.
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