Friday, September 30, 2011

Getting to Europe

Fortunately, the trip to the UK was rather uneventful.  Getting up in the morning, I decided to weigh my bag.  It felt a little heavy, especially after I lugged it up the stairs.  Yeah, 85 pounds was not going to cut it, so I decided I'd better get a second bag packed.  :)  I had a good chat with Mom while I did that, and then said my goodbyes to Mom and Josie.

Patrick dropped me off at the airport, like he's been doing so much lately (not for me - he's pretty much been the unofficial chauffeur for actors for the LDS motion picture studio).  Claiming that goodbyes were not his thing, he hopped in the car and drove off.  :)  I met Uncle Bruce in the airport and he watched my luggage while I checked in, then while I weighed my luggage, then while I weighed my luggage a second time after repacking the bag that weighed 53.5 pounds.  After a quick goodbye, I set off for security - and made it through in 5 minutes, giving me two hours until my flight.

The flight to Chicago was uneventful, but quick.  I talked to my seat mate (I forget her name) for the entire flight.    It certainly made things go quicker and she was a nice old lady.  

The flight to Manchester was much longer.  I tried to nap as much as possible to minimize the effects of jet lag.  It didn't really work.  The coolest thing was seeing the sun rise from the airplane.  The big dipper pretty much filled my whole window during the night.  It was so clear.  And then, slowly, the cloud cover underneath us started to get lighter while the sky overhead remained dark.  It was kind of like a soft, undulating wave of glow (I wouldn't even call it light).  The colors when the actual sunrise began were stunning; reds and purples and pinks and yellows and oranges.  

Unfortunately, the cloud cover lasted the entire trip across the Atlantic (from what I could see) and I didn't get my first sight of England until we ducked below the cloud cover over Manchester.  It was great just looking at the historic architecture and landscape mixed with the modern.  

I caught the train to Leeds and then another to Burley Station, which is about 5 minutes from my house.  My co-workers at the HBLL will be glad to know that I've already made good use of the map book they gave me.  It certainly got me to my house.

Leeds is an old mill town, which industrialized in the late 1800s.  The mills built many settlements for the workers - large, red brick apartment buildings - on the knolls.  These have been converted to student and family housing around the university.  I live in one of these, in a family neighborhood called Burley.  It's about a 20 minute hike from the university.

Here's a picture of the type of housing it is (not one of my photos)...

The house is four stories high, with kitchen and storage in the basement, living area and entry way on the first floor, two bedrooms, shower and bathroom on the second floor, and two bedrooms on the third floor.  It's cosy.

My roommates include Chris Vingoe, from King's Lynn (or something like that) and doing a BA/MA in architectural engineering, Mosiah Torres, from Ipswitch (and Portugal) and doing a BA in mechanical engineering, and Mike Marshall, from Bristol (and Panama) and majoring in Dentisty.  They're great roommates, clean, active, and I couldn't ask for better accommodations that way.  Even our landlord likes us and fixes anything we ask quickly.  Apparently that's rare here.  :)