So I just got to the Bader International Study Centre in England

it has a moat and everything!

And it has been a hectic few days, to say the least. Our flight out of Toronto was delayed by about 4 hours in total, and by the time we finally got to the Castle, everyone was just so exhausted and jetlagged and confused that I don’t remember the first day very vividly. The people were cool, the Castle was amazing (it was actually sunny the first day and I’m kicking myself for not getting any photos). We got a tour of the Castle properly on the second day (and I still have trouble finding my way around – the place is a labyrinth). There are a few classrooms, mostly in one hall, a “ballroom,” a lovely courtyard in the centre (the walls around which still has the original brickwork – the outer walls were replaced at one point), a little library, a dining hall, a pub, and a number of other rooms. It also has a dungeon, a secret passageways, two ghosts, and this creepy, tiny, circular whitewash room at the top of one of the turrets with nothing in it but a bunch of flies, some bird skeletons – and a chair. They think it was probably once meant to hold pigeons. I’m going to get a photo of it at some point, it’s super creepy.

the courtyard in the middle of the castle – it’s kind of a square

On the first day a few of us ventured onto the grounds (which are, in full, about 650 acres, 450 of which are leased as farmland). We met a groundskeeper who told us a lot about the grounds, the various notable locations around the “park” as he called it – some trees that are hundreds of years old, the peacocks (that he hates), the best views of the countryside, and other stuff like that. We’re hoping to get to know the groundspeople, and help maintain the grounds, because apparently they’ll invite you to tea, or let you help catch the peacocks and stuff, which would be awesome.

The people at the Castle are pretty awesome too. I went in not really knowing anyone (I knew one person, but not well), but most people are kind of in that boat. I like being in residence this time, especially since I’m one of I think 7 girls on the floor with like 9 or 10 guys we have in the upper years. It’s so different from the all girls’ experience I had in first year. There’s more going on, for one thing. But even besides that, everyone is so friendly, and while people do seem to have their closer friends, so to speak, you can pretty confidently sit next to anyone at lunch and have a conversation. Even the first years are mostly pretty cool, walking back to res after breakfast, everyone I walked past said good morning and smiled back at me, not at all like in Kingston. I guess even though Queen’s is so tiny, we’re packed even tighter here – not to mention how many fewer there are of us. Even most of the profs live in our residence, in the Castle itself, or in cottages on the grounds. So we’ll see them in the pub and stuff. My roomie is pretty cool, we haven’t really done anything outside of our room, but she’s really nice, so we should get along just fine 🙂

my room is already a mess

If we get stir crazy, there are a few towns nearby, so people will taxi into Eastborne to go to the clubs there, and if you’re feeling adventurous you may even go to Brighton, which is about 40 minutes away. We’ll be in London a lot for field studies (mandatory field trips) as well, so I’m hoping to do some touristy stuff by myself while I’m there. There’s going to be an organized hiking trip I’d like to go on at some point, I’ve signed up for info on a kickboxing class, and am thinking about joining intramural dodgeball as well as a choir. Some friends are even planning a trip for a bunch of us to go to Morocco for two days, which is kind of incredible. I can’t wait to start traveling!

Not much to report on classes as yet, since I’ve only had two. The Shakespeare class seems good, although I’m re-reading a few plays that I just studied, blergh. We’re reading Macbeth first, though, which is awesome, because I love it. Art History is… a bit intimidating, but I guess I’m willing to try it.

Anyway, I think that’s all to report for now. I’m having a great time, I miss my friends and family in Canada, and I hope you all have happy, healthy, safe months without me.

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