Arrival · Orientation

Day 6: Return to Cambridge

Straight away after breakfast, we had to tidy up our belongings, remove our sheets and haul our bags and suitcases down the narrow stairs. A number had stayed up to watch the Presidential Debate at 2 in the morning, so there were many tired souls. We went for the busses, and after taking a little while to check that everybody was home, set off back to Cambridge. It was barely half an hour before most people on the bus were fast asleep. Unlike the first bus-ride, most people stayed in the same seats for the journey, and so we were able to have some deeper conversations about global geopolitics and racial division instead of personal introductions. We stopped twice on the way back, once for morning tea and once for lunch.

It wasn’t until 3pm that we arrived back in Cambridge. Our bus dropped us on Queen’s Road, so it was only a short walk back to my room. After dropping my luggage, I went back to the college to meet the Welcome desk, which hadn’t been set up the previous week. For the rest of the day, I was doing administrative activities. Firstly, I went and registered with a doctor, something that is a requirement for all international visitors. Next, I made my way to the Post Office to collect my Biometric Residence Permit. This took at least half an hour of waiting, but I eventually collected the small pink and blue card which entitles me to stay in the UK for more at least 4 years. Having left the post office after closing time, I wondered if I’d get anything else done for the day, but I passed a H&Ms which was still open, so I bought myself a new pair of jeans, since one of my present pairs had been compromised on the first day. Walking back through the market square, I went into Ryder and Amies, the official merchandise supplier of the University. This was a very traditional English store, with a small floorspace and wares packed to the roof: for any Harry Potter fans, it is almost exactly as you would expect Madam Malkin’s Robes For All Occasions to look like in Diagon Alley. On the second floor were the gowns. I purchased an ex-rental B.A. status gown, which is the one that I need to be correct.

I arrived back in my room, only to be invited to the dining hall for dinner by my next-room neighbour (and Gates Scholar) Ryan. Dinner is upstairs in the main college hall. There is a narrow, long servery, where I collected some chicken drumsticks, potatoes and peas, and a large, circular dining room, replete with portraits of academics long passed. There were several long tables, so we sat ourselves down and ate our way through the very nice and especially cheap food.

Upon returning to my room I found myself completely exhausted. I tidied away some of my belongings but fell asleep well before 9pm.

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