One Hundred Years of Solitude

That’s a wrap. Had a great time celebrating the end of term in Rubix on Friday. It was definitely the best night I’ve had in Rubix. It was also the first time I can recall that all my housemates had come out together. Of course, once we left Rubix at 3:30am, it wasn’t worth going to sleep. So I had some chips and a coffee and watched the grand prix qualifying.

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton on the podium! What a great start to the season. Can’t wait for the second race in Malaysia this weekend!

Saturday afternoon I was picked up and brought home. It’s weird, yet again, to find myself in the same place. Nothings changed. Actually, scrap that, the toilet seat is new. But other than that, it’s like entering a time capsule of your childhood. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy coming home, it’s brilliant to see Mum, Dad and James again, but it lacks the same ethos as uni. Where are the parties? The music? People wandering into my room just for a chat? I do miss uni.

This week is about knuckling down to do some hard work. Exams are just around the corner and I will be prepared. I’ve just finished a 3 hour session this morning on analogue electronics. Talk about the tip of the iceberg…

This afternoon I’m going to a reunion of sorts. Back to sixth form for an informal meet up with old friends and teachers. Definitely looking forward to that, it’s gonna be another one of those time capsule things though isn’t it?

  • Happiness: 7.5/10
  • Workload: 7.5/10
  • Last meal: Cereal! Don’t start…
  • Thought for the day: Even with the best of maps and instruments, we can never fully chart our journeys.

PS Check out the 80+ new pictures in the Flickr stream! (that’s the thing on the right)

PPS The name we all came up with for our new house was “Zion”. That’s why the post was titled Zion, its the name of the house!

Special Post #7: Accommodation, Part 5 – Zion

This is the 5th and final part of the now infamous multi-part series about the quest for a place to live in my second year at the University of Surrey. The story continues where it left off with me and Josh looking at houses early on Wednesday…

Here’s the map from the previous post so you can follow along:

Map picture

This is a map of all the houses we went to visit that day. Houses in visited order: top right in cluster of 3; top left in cluster of 3; far left; bottom left in cluster of 3; far right.

The second house was about 10 minutes walk from the first. It was on a quite residential road and was even offset from the road so as to include space to park a car.

Inside the house was really great. Downstairs had one bedroom (the largest in the house), a small-ish lounge with room for 5 people, a table and a TV. The back of the house had a long kitchen with the bathroom off it. Let me explain:

house GF

This is the ground floor. The toilet has a bath and shower. The kitchen is new (2008) and therefore has new hobs, cooker, fridges (yup, there are two!) and freezers (yup, that’s two as well).

house 1F 

The second bedroom is apparently the smallest, because it also has the water tank in it, otherwise all the bedrooms upstairs are of a similar size. They all have a washbasin in them, which I thought was a useful addition.

Me and Josh loved it! We both thought it was a great house, great location, good price, and an overall good place to live. After we’d viewed it I immediately rang the landlord to express our interest. Sadly, yet again, someone had beaten us to it…

Only kidding! We’d got it! He said that we had to pay our deposits before we were guaranteed the house, but that we were the first to say we wanted it. The problem now was that only me and Josh had seen the house. We can’t guarantee that the others would like it and we certainly couldn’t ask them to pay a deposit on a house they hadn’t even seen!

Either way, me and Josh returned to the university (a 20 minute walk) to get lunch. Then, at 2pm, we met up with our fellow housemates to tell them the good news.

The plan for the afternoon was to look at a few more houses (just in case) and then show everyone else the good house. We also had a “back-up” house that was in town and was quite expensive, so we only considered it as a last resort if we didn’t like any of the other houses.

The next house was in Park Barn, which has a reputation for being a rough area. It was an alright house, but it was a long way from the uni and the current owners had trashed it somewhat.

After a short walk we arrived at yet another house, this time only a stone’s throw away from the house me and Josh had loved that morning. This house was almost identical to that house, but with a few small differences:

  1. It had been decorated in lighter colours which made it feel more homely
  2. The lounge was larger and squarer
  3. The kitchen wasn’t as modern
  4. It had two showers and two toilets, but no washbasins in rooms

Overall, everyone really, really liked it. So much in fact that I rang the landlord to show our interest. Unfortunately, the house had already gone less than an hour before we called. So now all me and Josh could hope for was that everyone would really like the house we’d seen that morning.

We stepped in the front door and everyone was shown round like me and Josh had been that morning. They loved it! Even more than the last house because the kitchen was better and the rooms were slightly bigger. So I rang the landlord to confirm that we were still at the top of the pile, and we were!

That evening we all got an email asking for a deposit for the house.

A few days later, 12th March, we’d all paid and we finally got confirmation that we had the house! All we need to do now is to sign the contract, which we’re doing after Easter.

WOW! That’s it. Your up to date. Only 16 days late. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this journey as much as I have writing it and experiencing it.

PS why was the post called Zion? See if you can guess and I’ll tell you the answer in the next blog post.

Mini Muse

Just a quick hello. I think that the final Accommodation post will be up soon. I know your all anxious to find out what happened.

Just a few things to say really.

  1. It’s my last lecture tomorrow!
  2. It’s the grand prix qualifying on Saturday!
  3. Going home on Saturday!
  4. Going climbing tomorrow!
  5. Overusing the exclamation mark!!!!

I had my lab evaluation today. It seemed to go really well and I think I’ve managed to survive. The project was to build a capacitance meter, and since I’ve lost most of you there I think I’ll not go into any more detail.

  • Happiness: 7/10
  • Workload: 7/10
  • Last meal: Fish fingers & chips (bonus ingredient: peas!)
  • Thought for the day: When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar!

PS: Just watching F1 Friday practice! (sorry, that’s another exclamation mark!)

The times…

Be careful. This one’s from the heart, not the brain.

This is the last week of lectures. I can’t actually believe it. It seems like only yesterday when I moved into my empty room for the first time.

In the weeks leading up to university I hadn’t thought about it. It was only as much as “Yea, I’m going to university in 2 weeks”. Never did I truly think about what it would be like to actually be at university. It’s probably because nothing can prepare you for it. It’s not life as you know it. I used to live at home, have my meals cooked for me, have clothes washed for me, went to school at the same time every morning and met friends when I’d arranged. At university it’s so different.

Being a “Fresher” is almost over. Next year, I’ll still feel like a fresher, I’ll probably even feel like a six-former (Do you ever feel like an adult?). Why does life have to move so fast? My only regret this year is that it’s already over. If only it could go slower so I could really soak up the wonderful times. The times when I met new friends and felt welcome. The first time when I went to Rubix and felt like a real student. The first stage crew meeting when I was really excited to learn new things. The fresher’s fair where I felt daunted by the people, but felt secure in the company I had. The times I’m walking around campus, see someone I know and feel included. The long talks with housemates where I learn about feelings and how other people see the world. The times I went to lectures and fell asleep because I had stayed up until 4am with Stage Crew. Being elected as VEO and feeling I’ve accomplished something. Getting a house and feeling like an adult. Being mentioned in other people’s conversions and feeling part of the group. For the first time in my life, feeling completely and fully happy with where I was and who I was with. My housemates this year: Sophie, Lauren and Mariana, have been the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time with and I know that the times we’ve spent together will be remembered for years and years to come. May we always be friends.

If university was ever this inspiring, no wonder I couldn’t imagine what it would be like. I’ve loved it. And not just a little. It’s been the best times I’ve ever had.

How can I be so happy living in a small, dingy room, studying a course that is the hardest and most challenging work I’ve ever done? Because I’m included, I’m valued, I have my place and I get the best feelings of belonging when I need them most.

Life isn’t about where you live or how hard you work. It’s about the people you meet along the way.

You got another thing comin’

I certainly do. It’s been as busy as terminal 5’s lost and found round here the last week. So here’s a check-up on how things are moving:

  • iGala. Last week was partially dominated by a Stage Crew gig called iGala. Basically the highlight of an international festival where different cultural societies showcase their counties culture. I did video which (as always) was good fun, and some of the acts were pretty amazing too (I’m thinking of the Sikh Society blindfolding someone then getting them to chop a melon resting on someone else in half! You had to be there!)
  • Lab Project. This week was the last chance we had to work on our project in labs. I think we managed to get it to work (subject to further testing, which now can’t be carried out) The case looks good and everything seemed to work out well (crosses fingers)
  • Fallow Field. Some of you may know I’m currently helping with sound for a feature film! It’s called Fallow Field and you can find out more about it here. Over the weekend we recorded some sound effects for the film, namely chains, knives, car doors, slaps, etc. It was so much fun and I can’t wait for our next session on Wednesday.
  • No Wave. On Sunday night I did video for a band night in Rubix. Got some great footage and had a good time.

This week is the last week of lectures this year! I know its almost over already. When we come back from Easter it’s all revision sessions and then exams.

If your in any doubt about following this blog, then here are a few things I’ll be posting soon:

  • The gripping finale to the Accommodation Saga!
  • The sequel – Accommodation: Reloaded!
  • The Fallow Field: Explained
  • If you have any other requests, post it in the comments!

Now for the brief-o-meter:

  • Happiness: 8/10
  • Workload: 7/10
  • Last meal: Pizza!
  • Thought for the day: “Ouch Charlie!”

Special Post #7: Accommodation, Part 4 – Going, Going, Gone – Part 2

Try and wrap your head around that title!

This is the second half of the 4th part of a multi-part series on the fight for second year accommodation. If you’ve forgotten where we left off, I don’t blame you, so had I. Basically we’d just seen a house none of us really liked, and were on our way to the next house…

The second house was on Hornbeam Road and turned out to be AMAZING! The rooms were HUGE, we came up with: 1 triple room, 1 large double room, 2 normal double rooms/large single rooms and a small room. However, the house was being renovated, as in they were still building the kitchen and hadn’t finished any rooms yet (although the rooms upstairs were nearly there). Here are some pics:

Image003

The triple room

Image006

One of the double rooms

Image005

The lounge?

So we were quite excited and rang the landlord to get the house. But guess what, yup, it had gone. And not only that but it had JUST gone. He’d just that second got off the phone with the other group. Sad faces attacked us from inside.

That night I rang a lot of landlords who had 5 bedroom houses only to find that they had ALL gone. I gave up at 8pm and rang home.

Dad gave me the willing to go and and I tried a few more landlords before I went to bed. The miraculous thing was that the last 3 landlords I rang ALL had a house still available. Result! So I began to arrange viewings for the next day…

Wednesday came around (this is the 25th February for those interested in how slow I am about revealing this information) and I rang a few more landlords before going to my lecture.

By 10am I had arranged 4 viewings for that day. By 10:30am I had a 5th. So me and Josh set off to view a few houses.

The first (a good 25minutes walk away) was alright. Essentially a 4 bedroom and a closet. So we moved on.

Map picture

This is a map of all the houses we went to visit that day. Houses in visited order: top right in cluster of 3; top left in cluster of 3; far left; bottom left in cluster of 3; far right.

The second house was amazing…

And we’ll have to leave it there for now folks. Join me again next time as we conclude the story of the great accommodation race, with a post titled “Zion”.

Been there, didn’t SAW that

Hi Y’all.

First off. You should have noticed that there is a new addition to the blog. On the right-hand side you can see my Flickr photostream. For those not acquainted with ‘the Flickr’, basically it is a list of photos that I have put on the web. They are shown showing the most recent first. The bit here only shows the last 3 photos, but clicking on the “charlesuni’s photostream” button will show you all of them. You can also see a bigger picture by simply clicking on the picture.

The pictures there are of ‘the house’, so check them out and leave a comment!

Now onto today’s topic, Thorpe Park.

Yesterday, Lauren, Mariana, Heather and I went to Thorpe Park! It was a lovely sunny day and a great time was had by all. If you’ve been reading the news, you’ll know that their newest ride, SAW-the ride, opened yesterday. So, what was it like? Well, I don’t know. You see, the ride broke down after about 2 hours, before we’d had a chance to go on it. It was then closed for the rest of the day, so we never got a chance. It looked brilliant though and I can’t wait until I go back after Easter to get my first fray with it!

Other than that disappointment, the day was a great success. We managed to go upside down 29 times in all, and, because of the SAW fail, got FREE tickets to go back!!! Result!

  • Happiness: 8/10
  • Workload: 7.8/10
  • Last meal: Leftover pasta thing (contains: bacon)
  • Thought for the day: “Portuguese is so sexist!”