Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cabin Fever

This is very odd. My younger sister Gillian left just this morning for her freshman year at Columbia University, something that is still taking a little (a lot) getting used to. I will not see her again until December, in (coincidentally) Oxford. She will fly out to spend Christmas with me, as mentioned (ticket booked and all, she is on Aer Lingus, leaving JFK and transferring through Dublin, we get about eight days together) but since she's my best friend, the separation, after being together for the whole summer, is still feeling strange. I've been away in New York myself for the past two years, but it's a novel feeling to be left, instead of doing the leaving. She'll move in tomorrow and start classes on September 2, and I know she'll have a fabulous time. But now that this official end-of-summer benchmark has been reached, I am just a little disappointed that it is not my turn to depart as well. I am at that uncomfortable juncture where I am very tired of work and want to get out, jet off to England, and have myself a merry olde time, but still have another month to go -- almost exactly. Tomorrow is August 24th (better known as my 20th birthday) and I requested for my last day at work to be September 24 ahead of a September 30 departure.

If by some miracle my savings edge up over $3000, that would be very enjoyable, but will do nothing to ameliorate what is likely to be miserable poverty. Between that and the shortened summer I will have next year, I at least will have a head start on being a starving grad student. I am dubious that £1500 will cover food and travel expenses all year. I am sure that I've covered this before... It is probably a Bad Thing to be at least a little happy when the global economy, which like the U.S.'s is taking a marked downturn, starts aiming for the shitter. It has a long way to go, but hey, the exchange rate is holding steady about $1.90/£1. I have heard that the minimum wage in Britain is a monster £10 ($20/hour) which makes me a) wonder why the hell our ostensibly advanced first-world economy can only come up with $5.15, and b) reminds me that I need to see if I'm allowed to work under the terms of my visa. I'm already planning on volunteering for Oxfam, since it's something I want to do and something that will be a strong complement to my academic work, but that's not paying work, and altruism, while good for one's complexion and sense of moral superiority, is notably deficient at padding one's already scanty pocketbook. Does this mean I have to attempt to contact the British Consulate again? Groan.

My grandmother offered to buy me Wellies as my birthday present (better known as rubber boots, which will be needed for the various wet commutes I will have back and forth between the SLC flats and Oxford itself) so I picked out a pair in a snazzy quasi-Scottish plaid. When (if) I make it to Scotland, I shall take a picture of myself in the plaid boots (and the rest of my clothes, just in case you were getting any uncouth ideas) and post it here. Just for the hell of it. Until I actually get to Oxford, I don't particularly have anything new to write about, aside from my kvetching about work, impatience, the exchange rate, how unlikely it is that I will be able to eat the entire time, how much I can't wait to get there, the exchange rate, things I want to do, the exchange rate, British consulates, plane tickets, the exchange rate, etc. But nonetheless, I occasionally feel the need to elucidate exactly nobody about the progress I am making this summer, and the excitement I feel for the fall. And how much I have a bad case of cabin fever now that Gillian gets to faff off to New York and I am left behind in a markedly quieter house. (She does an excellent job of keeping the noise at previously established levels, so my parents would never notice that they had only one kid, instead of three, around. My older sister and I have both been away at school for the last few years, so now that Gillian's out, they are officially empty-nesters. It's going to be a change.

36 days until I leave.

1 comment:

Russ said...

You're the one who's putting uncouth ideas into your readers' (one? two?) minds. ;-)