Hello lovely readers, and hope you’re having a wonderful Summer! I’ve seen that currently, the weather in the UK is incredible. However, how am I to know? I’m currently living in the United States of America! Yes, you’ve heard me! I have actually flown the nest, 500o miles away from home to move where the grass is greener and the opportunities and chances are bigger.
I’ve always wanted to go to the USA for as long as I can remember; Mount Rushmore, Times Square, San Fran, Amish Country… the whole of the USA fascinates me. I’ve always chosen to study American history whenever I can. To be able to have the opportunity to live and embrace the culture for an entire academic year is something that, this time last year I never thought I’d have the chance. Now, I’m sitting in my apartment, reflecting on a fab last few days with an Olive Garden in my belly feeling extremely content.
So, on the 20th August, I set off, 2 suitcases in hand and a dream in her heart*. It was the first time I was flying alone, but I needn’t have worried, as there were other girls going off to NAU too. Weirdly, we were on the same shuttle bus to Flagstaff and we’ve all now become good friends (love you gals, thanks for making me feel super comfortable x)
*This is a reference to the song Just Arrived from Copacabana the Musical.
The flight was of course long. It takes just under 10 hours to get from Heathrow to Phoenix. However, I made it to the USA after security control and waited for my shuttle bus to take me to the hotel. I was immediately blown away by the heat of the American south, but apparently it’s totally normal for Phoenix. Well not for me! I made it to the hotel and stayed in Phoenix for one night, but the heat knocked me for six. I was ready to go up to Flagstaff.
I’ve been in Flagstaff for a few days now. I moved up on Sunday afternoon, unpacked my cases in my apartment and I’ve met my roommates Rita and Abi. Rita is a lovely, gorgeous American from Tucson (yes Mum, I can pronounce it now…) and Abi is actually one of the British gals; complications in rooming situations meant she could move in! It’s fun to have our own little place, it kind of feels like a holiday camp but we’ll be studying and learning and fully embracing the American culture.
Honestly, campus is GORGEOUS. It puts Warwick Uni to shame in the amount of green space, fresh open air and the hospitality and genuine loveliness of its students. I can already feel myself settling in at home here, and can’t wait to get to class. I’m studying US Women and Gender, Social Psychology, Sociology of Popular Culture and Existentialism for Term 1. In term 2, I’ll hopefully do some criminal justice and more history. I want to use this year to explore options for my dissertation. I also REALLY want to learn about the Vietnam War from the American perspective.
Campus is thriving with life and fun opportunities around every corner. Whilst some parts of our orientation have been… interesting (#nomeansno being one of them), it’s been fab! I’m already beginning to feel school pride and I’ve barely even been here.
I’ve done a little bit of exploring in the town too. My step count is going up so high at the moment, balancing out the food that I’ve been eating! Downtown Flagstaff is absolutely beautiful, it feels as though you’re walking into a Disney set. Plus, all the Americans love an English/British accent, so we’re treated like royalty. Flagstaff is a delight, and it’s also on Route 66, only one of, if not THE most iconic road in the world. How bloody American is that?
Another reason why it’s going to be so fascinating to be in the US this year is the election for the new President. Regardless of side, there will be a change in the presidency, so it’s extremely insightful to be in the land of the free at the time of the oppressed. (THAT WAS WAY TOO DEEP FOR ME NORMALLY). I had to take a picture of this stand to capture the farcical way in which the general population are treating the election. There’s loo rolls, colouring books and candles with Clinton and Trump.There’s also a democratic dream mug, where when the liquid inside is warm, the whole cup turns blue. A part of me reaaaaally wants it, but can I justify it? Could you even imagine this in the UK?
Another thing in which I’ve seen so far, besides from the infinite amount of food chains/food options in the town is the attitude towards guns. Obviously, I don’t know the exact ins and outs of everything. But, the fact that I went into a Walmart today (for the first time, cue the excitement!) and saw guns on sale genuinely shocked me. I knew that this was the case in America, but to be able to see guns for under $300 was crazy. No wonder the culture for pro Second Amendment is so strong, when you could walk into a shop and buy a box of cookies and a gun.
Hopefully that’s given you a tiny insight into what I’ve been doing and experiencing at NAU. There’s absolutely no issue with me going hungry, in fact, I’ve not been eating that much as my body is getting adjusted to the new time zone 8 hours behind the UK. However, I’m ready for classes to start and I can’t wait to be that keen kid once again, riding the bus (albeit not yellow) and living her dreams. I’ll probably be listening to this and imagining that I’m Rebel Wilson.
(ps. While I’m in the States, I’ll be blogging as much as I can, but it may get difficult. Please keep yourself assured that no news = good news and I’m still alive. I won’t have done a Violet Beauregarde and exploded from eating too much or being rude).