A Wale of a Tale

BY: AMY PATTON

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My life has been condensed down to two suitcases and a pink tote bag. Everything I need to survive in another country for nine months is in that sparse luggage. This afternoon my belongings and I will be shipped out to Swansea, Wales to fill in the chapters of my life abroad.

What am I feeling? More anxiety is coursing through my veins than I thought humanly possible. What if I forget something? What if I didn’t bring something I didn’t even think about? Will my dad remember to feed my fish, Stuart? I’m going to miss my fishy. I even considered bringing him, but concluded that the pressure in the plane and a turbulent 20-hour trip hurtling through the air was not in his best interest. So I have usurped my guardian rights for the school year.

My to-do list is growing each day. Once I get to my accommodations Friday evening, I need to resist the urge to nap so that I can dodge the most likely inevitable jetlag, Skype my parents so that they know I have reached my destination safely and haven’t been snatched like that chick from the movie "Taken", go find a grocery store and/or local restaurant, open a British bank account, purchase a mobile phone (note the usage of “mobile” instead of “cell”. 2nd British word down!), buy a bus pass, and on Monday make my way to the campus and register for classes. I have roughly three days to do all these very grown up things. I think I am up for the challenge.

By the way, the Uni (short for university. 3rd British word, check!) has taken upon itself to assign me a Welsh buddy. His name is Rhys and I for the life of me cannot figure out how to pronounce it! I suppose I will figure it out when I meet him. He has two other American buddies he will be mentoring as well and he wants us all to meet up sometime in the near future. Oh—and Welsh buddy, if you do end up for some reason reading my blog, hopefully I will be able to say your name properly by the time you read this!

All name pronunciation issues aside, this buddy system seems rather helpful. It is reassuring to know that I have a Local that is happy to answer questions and show me the ropes. I think there are probably many ropes to see. I am confident in my ability to adapt and acclimate to a new culture though. Speaking of climate – well kind of, but not really… I did say acclimate, which sounds similar to climate – It will most likely be 60 degrees (Fahrenheit) and rainy when I get there. Not only will I need to learn how to figure out Celsius temperatures but I will soon have to acclimate to the new climate too!