I started school, I went to the grocery store, and my weather pixie is a liar

She kept showing these partly cloudy skies, but I tell you those skies were leaden today, people.

It was finally the first day of school. And since I've seen Finding Nemo approximately 300 times this past summer (compared to the 700 times Savvymom has seen it) I now have Nemo in my head, shouting, "First day of school! First day of school!"

I think it went okay. I picked up my ID card, wherein I look really nasty. I got a login and password, neither of which work. And the director of the department came in and basically said that we were all going to drop dead from all the coursework, and that he was very excited about it. And that this won't be like the lazy little 3-year undergrad programs we're used to. This was worrisome, since it took me 4 years to get my bachelor's and I have no idea what these lazy 3-yr programs are supposed to be like.

The way they have it set up I have lectures and tutorials every morning starting at 9:00am, with an afternoon lecture and "practical" (which I think means lab) on Tuesday afternoons. On Friday I only have one class so I'm done by 11:00. I had the evil, evil thought of trying to change my elective class so that I don't have anything on Friday, but it's the Gender & Information Studies class that I'm all excited about, so I can't do that. But how cool would it have been to have a 3-day weekend every single week???

There are no classes on Wednesday afternoons here. The administrator who told us about that says it's because that time is dedicated to "running and jumping," and the athletes who wish to do that. I guess since the University is a big sports school and lots of people want to be Olympic athletes or something, they just shut everything down and devote that afternoon to athletics. I don't know exactly what she means by "running and jumping," though. Maybe the athletes go and train, or all the students participate in intramural games during that time, or if everyone is just supposed to drop their books and start running and jumping. Because there's no way that's happening.

I went to Sainsbury's grocery store today after class. I think my Mom should fly out here just so that she and I can walk up and down the aisles and marvel at all the fun stuff on the shelves. There's lots of prepackaged food, but it's things like cheddar & chive sandwiches and chicken tikki masala meals. Also there's squash. Who even thought that up? I noticed lots of organic foods. There's actually a store brand and an organic store brand, and you can see which things are made/grown locally. As much as I would like to be Posh Organic Girl who Supports Local Industry, I'm also Cheap College Girl Who Can't Actually Afford to Support Local Industry if It's Cheaper to Buy Food from War-Torn Areas.

There is a section where every evening they mark down the stuff that's about to expire. So I got this fresh creamy roasted veggie soup thing for 75p. Yay me! I also found a salesguy to show me where the peanut butter was. It was hidden away in with all the marmalades and bramble jams, and the jars are really tiny. This Greek girl next to me asked if the jar of honey she was looking at was any good, and I had to tell her that I didn't know—I was in the same boat she was. I guess there is such a thing as Greek honey, and they had jars there, but it was really expensive.

I finally found tortillas after searching everywhere. They had English muffins and naan breads and pitas, and finally down at the bottom I found one pack of "California-style" tortillas, with directions on how to use them and stuff ("Wrap them around exotic fillings!"). I have to mention, though, that England is dead to me, because it doesn't carry black beans. What is up with that? Do they think I'm going to eat black-eyed peas or kidney beans or some other nasty crap on my fajitas? I'll need to look around and see if any of the other grocery stores sell them, because dang.

But all that was forgotten when I reached the cheese aisle. I could just die over the cheese. There are so many different kinds! I bought medium English cheddar this time, which is more white than yellow. But they also have Irish Cheddar and Red Leicestershire and Double Gloucestershire and all these other things I've never heard of. I think I'll just work my way down the row.


Kelly said... [reply]

Mmmmm. I LOVE cheese! I think England - and most likely all of Europe for that matter - and I would get along very well.

Nemesis said... [reply]

I'm so glad that you're a cheese lover! If I could, I would have you over and we could just gorge ourselves on cheese and really great chocolate.

Miss Hass said... [reply]

Can I come too? Please? Please?

PS--Irish cheddar is to. die. for. Seriously delish.

JB said... [reply]

Their cheeses tend to be a lot whiter in general, huh? I thought that was kinda weird. And they just don't have Mexican food. It's like they've never even heard of Mexico. It made me miss our southern neighbors while I was there. :(

I think it's awesome that you found the tortillas, and good luck finding the black beans. Have you noticed that their tomato soup is different? It's sorta cheesy or something, it just doesn't taste the same.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings, I love reading your blogs! Which school are you going to? I've got a galfriend up Sheffield-way.

Streets of Belfast said... [reply]

I have a three day weekend every week--yeah me! Next semester, if everything stays the way I want it to, I will have six day weekends. Of course, I think I'm supposed to be doing something like research during those days and it will make my Tuesdays absolutely miserable. So is this peanut butter you found American peanut butter. So far I have only found this gross looking yellow peanut butter stuff that I refuse to purchase. The woman I am living with is a great believer in Squash and is always trying to get me to drink it (she just can't understand why I would want plain old water). And I am with you on the cheese. I was at Tesco the other day and all their cheese was half off. I had fun.

Streets of Belfast said... [reply]

Belfast has one Mexican restaurant and has pronunciations written in next to all the menu items only the pronunciations are completely wrong. But you have to say it wrong to get what you want or they just look at you like you are some stupid American just asking for a brick to the head.

Kristen said... [reply]

Yeah, I know I'm really late chiming in......just wanted to say 'hi' and that I'm glad you arrived safe.

Really nasty about the spider thing. I had spiders and bugs this past spring/summer and it was nasty. Some nights I didn't sleep because I was paranoid one of those little suckers would get on me. I kept a can of Black Flag near by; it was my best friend. Some nights I sprayed a perimeter around my bed. Maybe you need to move. I'm sure Colin Firth has a spare room in his huge mansion--if only you could locate him.......

Glad you survived the first day. Not to make you feel bad, but I'm so glad I'm done w/ my Master's. The thought of sitting in another class......

Add me to the list of sending your cell number. Do you still have mine?

JAIME said... [reply]

What an eventful day! School sounds like it will be very interesting. Also, I would miss Mexican food very much...it's my favorite. Oh, also, I can actually see your cute weather pixie...even if she is a liar! I'm so excited. I don't know what changed to make me see her, but I'm glad. Have fun!

CoolMom said... [reply]

I'm glad to know you are having a good time. But plan on doing your own cooking as I don't think the food there is much to brag about. There's good stuff, just not all on the same plate at once.

Your banana mentioned to me today that she would love for us to come and visit. She seemed quite serious! When do you get a nice break?

Laura said... [reply]

Mmmm cheese.

Have you eaten that peanutbutter yet? Because all of my English friends think peanutbutter is a vile disgusting thing, and I've heard from others that it is vastly different than the stuff here. Of course, these are also the friends who end up sending me vegemite in a handy travel-sized container. *shudders*.

Smart Cookie said... [reply]

just wanted to tell you that I read your blog regulary, although I just discovered it recently.

Thanks for the entertainment. I hope grad school is a great experience for you!

Cicada said... [reply]

Congrats! You are enjoying the great European adventure that I can only dream of. But I started looking at housing prices in Rome anyway. Why WOULDN'T they want to hire a girl who's fluent in French, English, and Italian, and who knows how to write and edit?

By a lucky twist of fate, in my last city on my mission, we lived about five blocks away from a store that sold tortillas and the right mixes to make exotic fillings. So I was pretty much set.

FoxyJ said... [reply]

It's been nearly five years and I still miss grocery shopping in Spain... The cheese, the yogurt, the wonderful selection of cookies and chocolate. I really want to go back to Europe.

Stupidramblings said... [reply]

OOH! YES! kelly. The selection of fineries in Spain is dee-VINE. I miss the days of buying a 1-ton milka-brand chocolate bar for just 99 ptas (roughly $1).


And then there's the cookie aisle.

And the ice cream aisle.

In fact, I am surprised they have room in those stores for bulky items like bread 'n' stuff. Maybe they crush the bread to terminal density so they can fit more chocolate on the shelves.

At any rate, I don't remember seeing bread in the grocery stores because I was busy eyeing the palmeras at the kiosko outside.

And then there were the...

CoolMom said... [reply]

The closest I've come to a post European food experience is looking at the Gummi bears in the Elmendorf Air Force Base commissary. All this talk is making me want to go back sooo bad and cooldad says I have to wait until Nemesis graduates next year!!! I'm having a difficut time.

Savvymom said... [reply]

Quit your whining coolmom. At least you get to go next summer. You can always fly over to Canada and go shopping there. They have like a whole aisle dedicated to tea. It's bigger than a cereal aisle I think.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Hass--you know you're always invited, bay!

Hi Jessica! I bought two cans of tomato soup (and almost passed out when I saw that Campbells was the cheapest brand) but haven't tasted them yet. Do you mean that it tastes kind of like the Spaghettio's tomato sauce? And what were you doing in England?

Streets, you have just plunged me into a deep, deep despair, because I probably did buy crap peanut butter.

Yay, Kristen! I figured you would know all about the pest control. ;-)

Jaime dearest, I'm so glad you can finally see her? Plus now that it's cooler she can stop wearing the odd granny pants w/the crop top.

Laura, you threw me even deeper into despair. Thanks for that. I'm afraid to even go home and try it now!

Smart cookie--thanks so much for the compliment. I'll check out yours as well!

Cicada--I have no idea. They should hire you. And give you free gelato.

Dear Foxy and Stupid--If I get to Spain I'll take some grocery orders from you!

And yay for my mom coming to visit me! I love those gummi bears too.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Everyone please forgive the typos. The keyboards over here are slightly different and I'm running late. Verry sory about that!

Kelly said... [reply]

Oh, Nemesis and Miss Hass, we could have such fun! Us and our cheeses!

Miss Hass said... [reply]

Kell--We had better not plan to do cheese in Bloomington. Last night at the grocery store I saw the same piddly wedge of Stilton in the deli case. How do I know? Because the whole thing was COVERED in mold. Covered. I just wanted to take it to the clerk and say, "This is NOT the way blue-veined cheeses are supposed to look!" But then I thought they would think I was insane.

I won't even tell you about how they had Cabot cheddar right next to the allegedly fine cheeses. Or the Manchego that I would have had to sell my soul to be able to afford.

I miss Boston! WAAAAAAH!

JB said... [reply]

Yes, it tastes a lot like Spaghetti O's sauce--that's probably the best way to describe it!

About the keyboard thing: you'd think a few keys wouldn't be that big of a deal, but it's the '@'!!! How can they put that somewhere that it totally does not belong??

I worked in London the summer before last with a few friends. It was mostly secretarial stuff, but because I worked with a temp agency, I got to move around a lot. We toured the UK before we came back to the US. I loved it there.

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