One does not simply walk into Mordor.

Ha, I couldn't resist!

Ha, I couldn’t resist!

One does not simply fly to China, either. I’m waiting at the airport now (Birmingham, of course) – after going through the longest security queue I’ve ever seen in my life, knowing that it’s not even like I have to get this flight and then I’m there.

I’ve got a seven hour flight to Dubai (setting off in an hour), then a three hour wait and a seven hour flight to Beijing. Fun times. I’m flying with Emirates though, which is the best. If all I upload the next time I get on is pictures of plane food, don’t be surprised.

Obviously, the visa issue worked itself out (in that it came earlier than we expected) and I got currency, too. Everything’s fine and I’ll be in Beijing in less than 24 hours.

I have to go and get the flight now, so I’m keeping this short. See you all on the other side!


The Middle.

It’s been five months, one week and six days since I first set off on my year abroad… and it’s seven days until I go again, this time to Beijing!

psych excited

I’m still waiting on my visa – we got a note from the post office yesterday saying they’d called while we were out, so I can go pick all of that up tomorrow. Of course, it doesn’t mean I’m 100% sure I even have the visa yet (I should, but I’m unsure about this whole thing) so it could be Surprise Trip To Manchester tomorrow if it hasn’t worked.

Apart from the visa, I’ve got currency sorted out (had to go for a wander in town, but we found a place) and I’m making a list of things I need to buy/pack. I’m planning on being packed before Sunday, this time – I wasn’t so organised on my way to Germany!

So, if everything goes according to plan, I’ll be leaving at 1.25 p.m. this Sunday. And you’ll know if it doesn’t, believe me.

I should be back some time this week – I’ve got another post or two planned (again, depending on how the visa thing goes).


(P.S. if you haven’t already voted for me in the iX13 competition, there’s still… 45 minutes left and I’d appreciate it if you did. You can click here to do it! :D)

Bring me that horizon.

And so, finally, the adventure begins.

As I type, I’m sitting in Birmingham Airport, waiting for my flight. I depart in an hour, and the next time I’ll see England after that will be (most likely) on the 22nd December.

Terminal 2 at Birmingham International Airport...

Birmingham Airport… so pretty! 😉 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The journey is already going well – the junction we needed to get off the M1 at for the airport was closed, so we were diverted somewhere else – then when I went through security, I was searched and my bags were submitted for a random drug swab! Clearly, I look like a shifty character, but nothing came up, so I’ll persevere.

This waiting lark is very boring, though. I imagine the rest of the day – after the flight – won’t be. I have to get from Düsseldorf to Paderborn by train, which should be an adventure in itself, then I have to find the person who’s coming to meet me and make my way to a new flat. I don’t even know what else there is to organise right now, but I’m sure some things will come up.

Still, it’s all rather exciting. Apparently Düsseldorf is going to be 24 degrees (75 for you Fahrenheit people ;)) and sunny, so that’ll be a nice change, and the getting there and organising things shouldn’t be too difficult.

Let’s hope I’m right!

Let the adventures begin…

To infinity and beyond!

With less than nine hours remaining in England, you’d think I’d be packed by now.

I am not.

Well, not totally. The suitcase is done (we had to go and buy a new one an hour ago and nearly ended up accidentally stealing four don’t even ask), but the hand luggage – mostly chargers and cameras and what have you – is strewn around the living room, waiting to be done.

I’ll get it sorted.

I fly at 7a.m., but from Birmingham, which is about an hour and a half away from where I live. Essentially, we’re leaving at three because I want to be there for when check in opens and I think we’re going to sit and have a coffee before I leave.

It’s slowly starting to hit me; I’m leaving for… well, I was going to put six months, but I’m coming back for Christmas, so like, four? Still, at uni I was going home every weekend or so to work, so this will definitely be a change.

I’m sure I can handle it.

… This is really happening. I’m sure I’ll put another post up in the airport when I’m waiting for the gate to open, so I’ll see you all then ;).

(In other news: my problem with the EHIC has been resolved; the International Office at Uni Paderborn, as far as I can see, is incredibly organised. I’ve been told as long as I have my old EHIC, that’s fine; and they’re sending someone else to pick me up from the train station because my buddy isn’t going to be there until Wednesday. It’s all coming together!)

He got lost, once, in his own museum!

Well, there’s only four days before I leave sunny England for what sounds like actually sunny Germany! I feel… somewhat prepared; I have a flight and insurance and accommodation, so there’s that, but a few problems have arisen.

The first one: my buddy from Paderborn contacted me a couple of days ago, saying she would sort out my keys and meet me at the airport/train station. Unfortunately, when I emailed her that I was arriving on the 4th, she told me that she wasn’t going to be in Paderborn! 😦 Apparently she’d already told the International Office though, so they should find me someone new. (I hope!)

Secondly, I went to look for my EHIC today (European Health Insurance Card, for anyone not in the EU) and found out that it expired. Ten months ago. Clearly, that’s my fault (it means it wasn’t even valid the last time I was in Germany and I took it with me at that!), but I can’t get another one for ten working days! It wouldn’t really be a problem – my mum’s said she’ll post it to me when it arrives – but to enrol at the university, I either need to bring proof of existing health insurance (which I don’t have) or show my EHIC as exemption. I’ve emailed the International Office to ask them if it’ll be okay for me to bring my real (expired) EHIC and the email I got from the NHS saying I’ve ordered a new one, just until my new one arrives. The NHS says that’ll be valid but I don’t know. I’m going to just have to wait and see what they say. I really hope it works out; I don’t want to pay an extra €60 a month for insurance! 😦

Aside from all of that, it’s looking good. I’ve been shopping today and bought some supplies; there’s more shopping planned for tomorrow, then Sunday and Monday are just hanging around the house (now I’ve finished at work that’s all I’ve been doing) and saying the last goodbyes.

Tea <3

Pictured above: supplies.

Oh, and at some point, I suppose I need to pack ;).

I’m in a glass case of emotion!

…Well, actually I’m not. Not yet.

I fly three weeks this coming Tuesday, but I have to say I’m not feeling either way about the whole thing so far. No jitters, no worries. I’m not even all that excited (generally – when I think about it, I know I am looking forward to it) — yet*.

The ball’s started rolling in the last week or so though and I’ve had emails about a number of things, including, importantly, my accommodation. I’m going to be living in student accommodation just across the road from Universität Paderborn, called Vogeliusweg.

Looks nice, huh? (source)

I’m in a single flat (living on my own, ahhh!), and it only costs €280 per month. (I say only because compared to living in Nottingham, it’s cheap as hell. I was paying £96 a week last year. T_T) Incidentally, when I went looking for the above picture, I found a bunch of memes about parties in Vogeliusweg 25.

I’m in Vogeliusweg 25.1.12.

It’s going to be a fun year, I’m sure ;).

As for the other things — I’ve had an email about the language course I’m doing in September… Classes run from 9 a.m. to 1.15 p.m. Monday to Friday, so it’s going to be a lot of work, but if it’s anything like intensive courses I’ve done before, I know I’ll learn a heck of a lot. Obviously we cover a lot of work, and I’m hoping (thinking) it will leave me nicely prepared for proper lectures in October.

But, the best thing arrived today. This:


The letter! The letter saying that actually, yes, I am going to a university in Germany (and they know I’m coming, which is a relief) and including a little brochure with sooooooo much information about the university, about Paderborn itself, about student life, etc. It’s kind of cool; it’s like being at the end of A-Levels all over again and thinking about what big scary (awesome) things will happen in September. Except in a foreign country. And without having to wait for exam results ;).

There’s still a lot to do and get organised: I’ve only got one more shift left at work before I ‘leave’, I need to do something about my phone, I need to get travel insurance… but I’m not worried about it all, yet. I’m sure it’ll get done. Next Saturday I’m having a going away/birthday meal type thing (my birthday is 3rd October – a German national holiday ;)) and there’s a whole host of going away type activities after that, so looking at it, I’ll be very busy. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

As for everyone else going on their year abroad: I hope you have a great time! I know a lot of people are heading off in the next two to three weeks, so good luck! It should be fantastic :D.

*Once I got to the end of writing this post, I realised this statement was a lie. I am tremendously excited. If I think about it too much, I do get a little nervous. But only a little.

No post on Sundays.

Well, this is a post on a Sunday, but OH WELL. I guess that just makes me Dumbledore.

Anyway, not a lot has happened since I last updated – apart from the arrival/departure of a heck of a lot of post here.

I finally sent off my application form to Paderborn (I sent them the electronic one ages ago, so it’s cool guys), so I’m hoping to hear from them soon. I want my little information packet like everyone else has! D: I also sent off my Student Finance declaration thingy, and I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping that’ll all be fine – though no doubt, there will be some problem with it.

As for receiving: apparently our invitation letters from Beijing finally arrived! That’s great and exciting and means that (theoretically, though I won’t be) I can now get my visa sorted… If the letter was, you know, in my house, and not in the post office depot which I have been unable to get to the past couple of days. There was no one in to sign for it; and it’s not a big deal because I know that I will get my hands on it, but I just want all the information right now please.

Apart from all that, I got my vaccines checked this week, so that was awesome. (It wasn’t actually that bad; I only needed one ;D.) I really don’t know how to prepare from here. I’ve started tentatively buying things (like, jeans. And nail varnish. No one ever accused me of being uber-practical…!), but apart from that and packing, I don’t know what else to do with myself.

Ho-hum. It goes on. …Only 44 days left to go though. Eeek!