I have been slack about posting, but for good reason!

To be fair, I have been a busy, busy bee! I got all moved in to my dorm/room in the residence hall last weekend. I’ve spent all of this week trying to settle in, as well as attend a week’s worth of workshops, seminars, etc… for the international students. I’ve also been running around trying to take care of things related to finalizing my visa, getting ready for my classes/getting fully registered, and just basically gearing up for this school year. In addition to that – let’s face it… I’ve moved to a new country AND am in a part of London that I didn’t know very well (I’ve visited Greenwich once,) so I have been trying to get out every day and explore and familiarize myself with my new “hood.”

Let me just go on record as saying that I am completely blessed beyond measure to be here – and this place is absolutely beautiful. Just a few steps from my residence hall lies one of the oldest parks in London – and one of the Royal Parks at that! Greenwich Park. It’s huge, lush, green, and gorgeous. Oh, and there’s this little ‘ole thing called the Royal Observatory up atop this pretty steep hill where there lives a thing called the Prime Meridian… but also, it’s one of the best vantage points to look out over all of London. And this is literally at my back door, people!!

View from atop the hill at the Royal Observatory, overlooking Greenwich Park and showing a view of London near sunset.

Then if I walk the other direction towards downtown and the Cutty Sark area, I can get the most splendid views of the Thames… where I can sit and watch the boats glide past. It’s really quite calming for me! I have a feeling that will be my “go to” place when I am feeling stressed!

Sun setting over the Thames as I look out over the water, and out at London.
Sun setting over the Thames as I look out over the water, and out at Greenwich, London.

The campus itself is, of course, strikingly beautiful. The history one feels when one strolls along past these buildings… some of which were designed/built in the 1600’s… well… it’s pretty awe-inspiring for sure! I’m beginning to get a handle on which building is what, and I feel confident about where my classes are to be held, so that’s a good thing!

University of Greenwich campus
University of Greenwich campus

And I’m really loving my actual residence hall, this old building has a lot of charm. I have an exposed beam in my ceiling, as well as some brilliant storage up in the rafters over my en-suite for my luggage. Even our mailboxes are adorable! 🙂

If anyone ever mails me anything, this is where it will go!
If anyone ever mails me anything, this is where it will go!

I’ve even begun to personalize the place a bit – make it look a little more like home. 😉

It wouldn't be Janni's room without a little geek/nerd culture!
It wouldn’t be Janni’s room without a little geek/nerd culture!

And I am learning ways to save money. For instance, I can use a kiddie bowl to have my cereal out of in the mornings and it makes a box of cereal last a WHOLE lot longer (smaller portion sizes.) I can also look for meals/food that’s near its expiration date at the supermarket and get it REALLY cheap (just have to be sure to eat it in time!) I have to find every way I can to cut costs!

Breakfast of frugal uni students!
Best breakfast for this frugal uni student!

And speaking of money – I am hard at work perfecting my CV so that I can get it out there and try my best to find a part-time job. I am only allowed to work up to 20 hours a week on my Tier 4 student visa, but I need to work every bit of that if I can. I’ve got to earn as much money towards next year’s tuition as possible! I am also still looking into any scholarships that might be out there that I haven’t found yet, so if anyone finds any – please forward the information my way?

I’ve had a lot of start-up costs – many of which were unexpected (I guess I SHOULD have expected some of them, but just didn’t.) Any time one moves to another country though, I guess one will run into things they didn’t count on.

I still have my GoFundMe campaign going if anyone wants to help out there – it will go towards next year’s tuition, etc…

I could also REALLY use gift cards! Especially to places like Sainsbury’s, Waitrose… I get groceries from those places. 🙂 ALSO – THIS IS A BIGGIE: Gift cards/certificates from Amazon.co.uk are also quite useful! (One can find darn near anything on Amazon, and I know I will be needing more books for school in the coming weeks and months… Amazon’s a GREAT resource for those because I can get them cheaper than I can in the school bookstore!) I also shop at ASDA (which is like Walmart here, it’s owned by them, actually…) but sadly, you can’t get gift cards for ASDA online anymore, according to their website. So… anyway… I’ve had a few people ask if there were ways they could help, or which particular gift cards might be handy – those are all good ones! One other gift card possibility might be Argos (they pretty much sell anything and everything… reminds me of the old Service Merchandise types of stores we used to have in the states years ago, where you put in the catalog number then go pick it up at a counter…) I have bought things like my printer, and my small desk fan from them. Argos is right next door to ASDA, and just a short bus ride away, so it might be handy now and again. But the other places (like the grocery stores and Amazon for my textbooks) would be much higher on my personal preference list. 😉

Many of you have asked about a mailing address for me as well. I don’t really want to post that here on the blog, but if you know me and would like to send me something, just drop me an email and I will be happy to give it to you!

Well, I guess I will close for tonight. It’s been a busy week and I plan to kick back tonight and get some rest. I will be working on my CV this weekend, and hoping to try and find a part-time job as quickly as I can. That will be the focus for this next week for me. It will be Freshers Week (and since I have sort of already had my own kind of version of that with the international students welcome week, I think I can skip a good bit of it. LOL!) Right now, I need to focus on the job hunt so I won’t have to worry about it as much when classes begin.

Until next time… signing off from breathtaking London!



Hardest parts of packing?

Close-up of girl sitting on the suitcase and trying to pack it, isolated on white

So yeah, I’m deep in the throes of packing for the upcoming UK move now. I might add that I am not the best at packing – for any trip – let alone a move. I always tend to over pack. I got my friend Traci to come over and help me with the clothing parts of things the other day, and she was a big help! I was able to sort of get things organized and decided to leave some things behind that I likely would not use much once I was over there. My tee shirts, however, were non-negotiable. I am a huge tee shirt collector and I wear them pretty much every day. My “standard attire” consists of a cool, nerdy tee shirt of some sort, a pair of shorts, leggings, jeggings, etc… and my trusty black Converse. London is not as hot of a climate as North Georgia/Tennessee though, so I opted to leave a lot of the shorts behind (just packed three pair of basketball shorts for workouts and such.) Anyway, with Traci’s help, I was able to get the packing organized into which bag things should go into… for instance, I am spending the first five days in a hotel in Central London – so I needed things for that leg of the journey in one smaller bag (including my clothes for the theatre to see Hamlet.) Then the next bag was the things I would wear during the first week of school (as I will be arriving early since I am an international student and will have a lot of administrative type things to take care of, etc…) Lastly, all of my heavier/bulkier winter items (and books) would go into a large suitcase that I’m having shipped to a friend’s place nearby to Greenwich – I can go and collect it from her the day I move into my dorm room/flat at the residence hall.

Now I am to the “non-clothing” bits. All of those “vital” must-haves to make it through this next year of school. The electronic bits and chargers, etc… as well as a few toiletries, vitamins/supplements, umbrella, rain poncho, one set of bed linens, etc… AND the “homey” things I will want to bring along to keep me from getting quite so homesick. I honestly think this part is the most stressful, because I’m so afraid of NOT packing something vital… or packing something I really DO NOT need. Last night, I finally had to stop for a bit because I found myself looking over my selection of teas and pondering which ones I might want to take with me. I stopped myself and said “Janni, you DOLT… you’re going to ENGLAND and you’re seriously contemplating packing tea to bring WITH you? Of all the places where you would not need to bring your own tea…” LOL! Yeah. Overboard.

Today, I am still pondering items to bring along, and I am trying to figure out how to get my plush/stuffed Iron Man and Hedwig into my luggage. I sleep with them at night. Go ahead – insert your laugh HERE. (sigh) I will have to just purchase pillows when I get there, because those are not things that would be easy to pack in suitcases. And of course I will have to make a run out to a local discount store like ASDA or someplace to pick up a few essentials, but I am trying to limit the things I have to buy because I need to stretch every penny this year. I’m going to need every little bit that I can save. Thankfully, I am blessed to have some really great friends, and one of them who lives North of London and who is coming down to see Hamlet with me after I get there, is bringing me some towels! That’s one less thing I will have to buy! YAY! I will need to pick up some room essentials though, like a small wastebasket, maybe a pencil cup, and a few school supplies. There will probably be some more books I need too. Which brings me to the hard part. My books. Leaving my Shakespeare library behind is excruciating. You have no idea. LOL! BUT, I am taking my set of Lexicons. I don’t know how much I will need them, but I want to have them there, regardless.

Somehow though, I foresee me smuggling a few little things into my bags that I know others would question (a few favorite posters, a couple of action figures, and a few stress-relief toys…) I’m okay with that though… I’ve found that packing for a big move like this is all about compromise. 😉

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to help out and buy me a cup of tea, or put money towards some of the things I will have to pick up when I get over there, please feel free to visit the links on the right-hand side of my page for my PayPal, or my GoFundMe. GoFundMe is mostly for fundraising for next year… PayPal is for things I can use right away while I am over there.

Today, however, I am going to work on more errands leading up to the move… as well as try to take some time to breathe and relax. My nerves have been taking over and panic attacks have been looming. I am under a crazy amount of stress at the moment, as you can imagine. The emotional upheaval of leaving home, leaving my Dad here, and going to another country for the next ten months is really starting to hit me hard. I need to be sure to take time for “calming” when I feel myself spiraling.  Deep breaths. Please pray for me? Thanks, everyone!