Sheffield: my new home for the next year.
A short post that marks the beginning of a new adventure
New Soil, New Rules
I’ve finally arrived in the United Kingdom, a place that’s been in my dream since I was little. Now I’m here, breathing the air, feeling the early autumn wind rushing through my skin, and also panicking because my flat isn’t ready to be occupied. No, it’s not an architectural or a technical problem. I arrived on 18 September 2008, several days early than the official opening date of the new flat, Aspect 3. So, I housed my mum and me in Grosvenor House until I can check-in.
By the way, yes, my mum tailed me from Jakarta through Manchester towards Sheffield. No, she’s not staying—she’ll return as soon as I settled in. It’s a Mum thing, you see. We hopped on a train to London the next day cause Mum wanted to. We landed in Manchester, so we didn’t have the chance to sip a little bit of London on the touchdown to the Kingdom. I will write more later about this trip on another post.
Sheffield—to be honest, there is almost zero that I knew of Sheffield other than the osteoarchaeology programme at the University that I enrolled in. More on this later on, of course. I had just arrived here. I do want to know and experience how is it classified as 5-star. Reading up on Sheffield, now I knew that Sheffield is mostly known for its steel industry. It’s not so much a medieval town that I’d like to live in—not that I’m complaining. I’ve had similar thoughts about Jakarta when I first moved to the capital. I thought it’s barbaric and too individualistic compared to the province that I lived in before.
I think Sheffield is a perfect place for studying. At least that’s my impression after the first months staying here. I skipped Orientation Day at the Student Union. I’ve figured I’ve had enough of that already in my undergrad years. This time I prefer to discover Sheffield by myself, learning by doing and making mistakes along the way.
Settling in, Sheffield's New Flat.
The student flat that I chose to live in had just opened and I am one of their first tenants. Smells of fresh carpet and paint rummaged through my nostrils, and it’s the cleanest room I have ever been in. In a couple of months, I can turn this pristine condition into a pigsty. In an extravagant of (amenities) shopping, I have my pillows, duvet, and kitchen utensils ready.
I dragged my humongous suitcase through the door and as I was scrambling through my new key set, I noticed the presence of someone who looked like me at the end of the hallway. That person then became my close friend and confidant and awesome flatmate throughout my stay in Sheffield. Her name is Mbak Rini. She is studying civil engineering in the building not far from the Department of Archaeology where I am housed. I feel so lucky that a friend is just two doors down from me and she cooks too!
I love my room. It’s small but adequate—no, sufficient and functional. Having an en suite bathroom with affordable price is a privilege as an overseas student. I’m simply counting my blessings. My room is my kingdom. I get to decorate it as I like and I splurge on flowers. I got tulips, roses, sunflowers, daffodils adorning my room every two weeks. The large Tesco got fresh flowers though sometimes I also look for them if I’m at the City Centre.
How many days have I been here? Winter is yet to start and it’s already freezing cold. No snow in sight yet but clock already shifted an hour early. Mbak Rini had prior knowledge of Sheffield when she studied for her Master’s. She went back home for a while and now returned to Sheffield for her PhD. With her library of knowledge, Mbak Rini educated me on where to shop awesome Chinese food and Indonesian ingredients, which HSBC branch I should get to, how to get to the tram station and how to use it, how to get Student’s Pass—you see, basically, she taught me everything I know about life in Sheffield today. I’m all settled in.