Friday, September 14, 2012

Tales from WEST: the good, the bad and the awkward.

So having just survived what will hopefully be my last Welcome Week at West, I'm back in my study with a few things to say. I'll not mention the Dodgy Doughnut, the slack McDonald's staff or the I-want-to-beat-you-to-a-pulp Welsh men – that's on Facebook. But I will mention the good, the bad and the awkward...

The Good
Chuffed cause I got there in one piece – albeit much later than planned. Managed to sign up to all my subjects and got reacquainted with my fellow students. Also had a blinding curry with a good mate – good to catch up :)

But perhaps the 'goodest' thing was that they had threatened me with having to share a room... with a complete stranger. That's not the good thing. I mean what's the etiquette for changing??? Who decides when then lights go out? What if they're really annoying? Or snore? I was in some distress as I travelled up – thankfully it all proved unnecessary – I had my OWN room, all to myself. So that was good. But what about the bad...

The Bad
Within about a day of being there, I managed to break three rules. Firstly, due to electrical problems in the kitchen I couldn't make my morning tea. So I moved the kettle into my room (my own personal private not sharing room). Apparently that is against the rules. Hello!?!? The second rule I broke was due to a lack of librarian and my library account expiring, I was forced to steal a couple of books. Getting them out was the easy part... it was returning them that was rather more tricky. Hmmm. But not really life-chaning rules to break. But what about the third rule? Well, you see I... don't think I'd better put that one into the public domain... sorry. But let's move onto the the awkward...

The Awkward 
As it happens there was a rather large contingent of students from Korea over for a short while to learn a bit of English etc. They were mostly female and this meant that the normally male dominated residence was suddenly full of femininity. Not a problem. However, what I forgot to put in the bad, was that I had a cold and had not been sleeping very well. So, dragging my body out of bed, still half asleep, as any self-respecting Englishman would do, I stumbled out into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. I had hoped that the kitchen would be empty. It wasn't. With a tea bag in one hand and some milk in the other, I blundered through the door only to be met by two slightly shocked young Korean ladies. As time stood still for a brief moment, I became aware of a gentle breeze on my chest and it occurred to me that I might be baring a little more than I should. Needless to say there was some rapid redistributing of one's dressing gown. Trying to act as if nothing was amiss (my mouth gaping as wide as my gown) I tried to rescue the situation. Alas, having not spoken yet and hindered by illness, my cheery 'hello' growled out a couple of octaves lower than usual, disappeared half-way through and so sounded like 'hurrrrrrgh.' It did little to ease the situation.

There's a saying, that 'a watched kettle never boils'. Well, it did, but it took ages. Trying to break the embarrassed silence, I asked them about their special Korean evening that they had put on the night before. With broken English, they said it had gone well and asked if I had been there. Another moment of awkwardness – no, I had arranged to go out with a friend as I didn't know it was happening until too late. Woeful as this conversation was, it did mean they had to turn and face me again. Hmmm, let's go back to the pretending I'm not really here bit. Thankfully the kettle boiled and I made the fastest cup of tea in the history of tea making.

Time for a shower. In the aforementioned dressing gown, I dashed into the shower – sorted out the mess that was me and got out. Towel. Where's my towel? Oh, in MY own private single room. Down the hallway. Past the kitchen. Oh. So, soaking wet, and naked apart from my faithful dressing gown I poked my head out of the door and eyed the distance to my room. There was nothing to do except make a run for it. So wash bag in one hand and phone in the other (why did I think I would need my phone in the shower? "Hello! Sorry, can't talk now, I'm in the shower! ... No, can I ring you back? My phones getting wet..." fwzzzzfszzzzz) I ran, with my bathrobe tailing behind me... and guess what!?!? I made it! Back into the safety of MY room. No strangers, no Korean students, but thankfully one white dry towel.

I could go on, but I'm sure you don't want to hear about my sheep poo encounter and my return to THAT McDonalds and it's lack of soap in my hour of need. So there we go – the good, the bad and the awkward of (hopefully) my last Welcome Week at West. But there's always exam time to come...

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