Orientation

Day 10: A relaxing weekend

On the first full Saturday in Cambridge, and not in the Lake District, I took it pretty slow and easy. A late rise, breakfast and a recreational morning in my room were much-needed after a somewhat busy week. In the afternoon, I went out to the Fresher’s Fortnight event “Tour of Darwin”, but seemed many other people had a similar idea and also converged at the same time. So much so, that the tour group was much larger than was manageable, and people near the back couldn’t really grasp what was going on. Nonetheless, it was a good opportunity to break the ice with some of the people I am to be sharing this college with.

After the tour, I checked my pigeonhole in the porters lodge and found some much anticipated mail from Barclays. It seemed odd, I had checked late the previous night, but it turned up on a Saturday morning. Nonetheless, I initially thought that I wouldn’t be able to act on it until Monday. However, after a stray bit of googling I discovered that the branch in town was open, albeit with reduced hours, on a Saturday. At this point, England seemed oddly functional on the weekend. So I grabbed my bike and rode to the bank, to deposit the cheque I had been given as a maintenance allowance by the Gates foundation. The bank was a modern set-up, very few tellers, most of the transactions were conducted through machines that were halfway between ATMs and self-serve checkouts. It was odd, because it seemed as though after so many years of Automated Teller Machines, only finally were they actually replacing tellers.

One of the issues I encountered was that, although I had my new bankcard, I did not have the pin. For what I assume are security reasons, the card and the pin are not in the same envelope, and are not processed on the same day. So to deposit my cheque, I needed my sort code (English equivalent of a BSB) and account number, which was on the letter back on my desk. Fortunately, bikes are fast in Cambridge.

Now with a bank account working, I purchased a new sim card for my phone with O2, mainly for their superior coverage to the cheaper option of Three. My banking bottleneck is now (almost) cleared, I only now need my pin, internet banking details, and the clearance of the maintenance cheque to do all the steps I need to be fully settled in.

My afternoon was again one of relaxation, barring a quarter of an hour period standing outside due to a fire alarm. In the evening, I again made the journey to the DarBar, to try and socialise and get to know some more of the people in and around the college. Inevitably, this discussion devolved into a careful analysis of geopolitics. Once again, I turned in around half past ten.

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