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Here I Am!

Hi everyone! Here I am in lovely Cambridge! It's taken a while for things to get set up, and they're not quite fully set up yet, but the new computer (named "Marlowe," since Christopher Marlowe was a Corpus alum) is here, and I've been setting it up.

So, here I am in my new apartment. It's really nice. It's actually not so much an apartment as it is a little cottage attached to the side of the larger Victorian brick house. It has its own private entrance, with a real front door that opens onto the front yard, not just an apartment door opening onto a hallway or a staircase. There are two bedrooms, of which one is the bedroom and the other is the study/guest room. Fancy fancy! There's also a combination living/dining room, a tiny but surprisingly functional kitchen, and (get this!) separate rooms for the toilet and the shower.

I've learned well the first and most important lesson of the house, which is this: do not turn on the hot water taps unless you really, really mean it! Apparently, this has to do with the way that plumbing in older British houses is designed, but every sink has a hot tap and a cold tap, and they do exactly what they say on the tin!

My shipped stuff hasn't arrived yet -- the shipping company's best guess is that the container ship is due to dock on Tuesday, and then my stuff has to get through Customs before being delivered -- so the place has that vaguely crack-house air that houses get when people live in them without much in the way of personalized things. But my books and clothes and decorations will arrive at some point, and then it'll be cute and charming and I could show you pictures.

More importantly, I have every reason to believe that the wire transfer of my money from my US bank to my shiny new UK bank account will be complete on Monday, which means that I'll finally have access to my funds. This is a great relief, since I've been living for the past couple of weeks off of the £500 that I made selling off my furniture and small appliances back in Chicago. Fortunately, the College and the Faculty of Music have helped out by inviting me to large welcome dinners. Discworld's Unseen University suddenly makes so much more sense!

There's plenty to tell, but that's enough for now. I'm here, I'm actually here! I'm in England, and so far, I like it a lot!


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 12th, 2014 04:19 pm (UTC)
Hey, I get to be the first to wish you congratulations and welcome home and just best wishes for living in Cambridge! The house sounds wonderful of course it will be so much better when your things arrive and I for one Am looking forward to pictures.

I hope your first days are very enjoyable!
Oct. 12th, 2014 04:26 pm (UTC)
So far, it's been a lot of fun. With nothing better to do, I got to spend a lot of time just exploring Cambridge, finally getting to look at all those places that I saw on my interview visit. I remember walking around King's Parade thinking that it all looked really interesting, and just hoping that I'd get to see all these places again. And I do!

Cambridge is a market town! Can you believe it? A real market, in a real market square, every day of the week! Once I'm ready to start picture-taking, I'm going to take pictures of the market. I've been buying bread and produce and spices there, and there are food stalls and bricoleurs and clothing and a bike repair tent and all sorts of lovely things to see. When my money becomes available, I'm getting a bike, and then I'll really be able to roam and explore.
Oct. 12th, 2014 04:38 pm (UTC)
Being a market tone is surprising to me, I guess because, right or wrong, I associate that with port cities or major crossroads. Is the river the reason? Do ships come bearing gifts from faraway places?
Oct. 12th, 2014 04:45 pm (UTC)
I think the river probably is the reason. One of the things I learned when I took that punting tour after my interview is that punts were originally developed as cargo boats. I guess all that cargo had to go somewhere, and with a university in the town since the thirteenth century, it was probably always something of a population center and therefore liable to have markets.
Oct. 12th, 2014 05:19 pm (UTC)
The house sounds lovely, as does the town. If I were you, I'd be missing my things but I guess that's something to look forward to.

I once read a fair amount about Christopher Marlowe. He was a major poet in his time, of course. He invented blank verse, and people used to declaim bits of Tamberlaine on the street corners for money. It's not my kind of play, but apparently people loved it. Also, there's a lot of evidence he was a spy for one or more of the political/religious factions of his day. There are even suggestions he was murdered rather than killed in a brawl over the bill in a tavern. The most entertaining book on the subject is Nicholl's THE RECKONING. He and Shakespeare were born the same year. Marlowe was only 29 when he died. If Shakespeare had died at that age, you'd never have heard of him.
Oct. 12th, 2014 05:35 pm (UTC)
I do miss my things. I'm working with reduced kitchen equipment, which is irritating. I can't just go out and buy ALL THE KITCHENWARE because it's coming, but it isn't here yet. One day, I will be able to have friends over for classy tea, because I will have more than just the one tea mug I bought, and I will have my teapot into which I can put high quality tea leaves instead of just the plain PG Tips bags. And I miss my books and decorations. The place does look more than a little bare, but I'm having fun imagining where all of the pictures will go and how to do up the daybed once the building manager gets it together and finds me a mattress and a frame that are actually the same size. Fortunately, the daybed is just the guest bed, and I'm sleeping in a fully functional bed.

Marlowe is kind of a deal at Corpus, as you can imagine! They have a plaque up about him in the Old Court, and they have this portrait in the Parker Library that they say is of him. No one knows if it's actually Marlowe, of course, but it's the right era and the right age, so I guess anything goes.

I think I have at least one Marlowe play among my books that are coming. But I'm sure there are copies of Tamberlaine to be had here. I can memorize a few passages and then declaim them on King's Parade just a few feet away from the guy who plays guitar in the trash can on weekends. (I am not making that up.)
Oct. 12th, 2014 05:38 pm (UTC)
If you start declaiming Tamberlaine, I want pictures.
Oct. 12th, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC)
Come visit Cambridge, and you can take the pictures with your very own camera!
Oct. 13th, 2014 10:55 am (UTC)
congratulations! When do you start work?
Oct. 13th, 2014 11:31 am (UTC)
Thank you! Technically, I've already started work, having attended a service at the local Reform shul. Officially, I'm waiting until my stuff arrives from the container ship and I've finished setting up housekeeping. But with my kind of work, "starting" is a nicely elastic concept. As is "finishing," unfortunately.
Oct. 14th, 2014 06:39 pm (UTC)
Hello FP and Marlowe!

I'm glad you're settling in. I've been to that market! And your cottage that's pretending to be an apartment sounds lovely. I hope your belongings arrive soon.

I didn't understand the bit about the taps, though. How on earth do Americans get water if not out of hot and cold taps???
Oct. 14th, 2014 08:54 pm (UTC)
I love my cottage! It's still a little startling when the mail thumps through the mail slot, but I'm getting used to that. And I love the fact that I have my own private entrance. It really makes it feel like a cottage. It's going to be so gorgeous once I have all my things and can decorate it. You'll have to come visit! Just like we said, "next time we're in the same hemisphere."

Americans, like most of the rest of the developed world, use mixer taps. That is, there's one spout, and a handle for hot water on one side and a handle for cold water on the other side. Both temperatures come out of the same spout, so that you can set the water to a nice warm temperature instead of ice-cold on one side and just under boiling on the other.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


by Illsaysheis

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