(adapted from an email to a friend)
I have arrived! I am starting to get settled in here but still feel like there is a lot I still need to figure out. I got here in the middle of the day Thursday (well really more like mid-afternoon). My dad and I left on Wednesday at 5 am and had a pretty easy trip – My two-year-old, long-haired orange and white cat, Poncho was well behaved as always and my three-year-old, short-haired all black cat, Dwayne, didn’t cry too much. We also didn’t really hit any traffic and it was nice and sunny the whole time. There was some snow on the roads in northern Maine and across Canada but it wasn’t too bad driving. But it is cold up here!
Thursday night my dad, my new roommate Gillian, and I went mattress shopping. We eventually found me a cheap but still relatively comfy one at Sears outlet that we could take home that night (which was $300 cheaper than the one I found at a mattress discount place that wouldn’t be back in stock for 5 – 7 days). So I figure I just saved enough money to get myself a one-way trip to/from home in the future! I love saving money!!!! After that, we went out for a delicious dinner at a restaurant called the Wooden Monkey that has lots of gluten free options (for me) and vegan options (for Gill). They also have great local seafood so overall it was quite yummy! Then we had to go back and pick up my mattress and boxspring and tie it on the top of the car. It was freezing! I don’t recommend buying a mattress at night in Halifax in January while it’s snowing outside and -17C with the windchill. But the knots my dad and I tied with our numb fingers did hold up and luckily my mattress warmed up before I had to go to sleep.
Friday I got my Canadian cell phone (a new Samsung Galaxy SIII with Telus) and then took my dad to the airport and then opened a Canadian bank account (TD Canada Trust! – I am apparently one of the first people to try out the new TD “me and me banking” from US-Canadian cross border banking – I will keep you updated on how it goes). And Friday night Gill took me out to meet some of the other students from the lab at Durty Nelly’s in Halifax. They had a live band and overall it was a fun and relaxing night.
Saturday I slept in then ran a few more errands. Sunday I had an international student orientation that was really long and not really that helpful. Although I did get one helpful handout that was a checklist of things I needed to do, was provided gluten-free pizza for lunch (it was delicious but I didn’t catch where it was from), everyone was really nice, and I did get to meet a few other international students (most were from Southeast Asia and had never seen snow before – that must have been a harsh introduction to their new school!).
Monday was my first real day of school although I didn’t do much. I did have a class meeting for one of my two classes I am going to take – it’s with one of my two advisors and the other class is with my other advisor. We just went over the syllabus today though and then I went to a graduate student orientation. That was also not super helpful but at least was shorter than yesterday and gave me a few ideas of where to find future funding. Then there was a little bbq at the graduate student house – hot dogs on a napkin with some ketchup, hold the buns for me, please. After that I went to get my student ID card. There was a line out the door (which moved pretty quick but it was a cold day for standing in line outside). I ran a few other errands (picking up student insurance cards, meeting with the grad coordinator, etc). Then I managed to get on the correct bus to get home! So I was happy. I did fail at doing laundry though, which I thought would be the easy part. First there was someone else using the laundry machines on our floor, then when I went back later and it was open I couldn’t get it to start. Oh well, I’ll try again later this week.