Thursday, 18 August 2011

Paperwork state of mind

(Please excuse the purple Disney Heffalump on my bed, didn't realise he was there creeping until it was too late.  I'm a sucker for all things Disney... what can I say? He was a birthday gift from the bf who knows my Disney Store weakness only too well.)

Another day, another post about my rapidly approaching year abroad, apologies.  First off thank you to those of you who have commented and wished me luck.  I really do appreciate it and am very grateful for your support.  Today I started out feeling a lot better than yesterday afternoon until my Dad came back from Oman.  He had to split his holiday this summer so he and mum can take me down to France.  He arrived armed with a whole folder of my paperwork.  Most of the things were photocopies of the things I need to open up a bank account (copy of my passport), and copies of everything that prove my identity.  Including my UK tax income number (which I was very excited about getting last November).  So meet my stressed makeup less face and my pile of paper work.  It was that moment when I saw the big pile that the realness of the situation hit me.  On Wednesday I will be viewing my new flat and starting to move things in.  It's freaking me out.

My paperwork collection currently exists of:

  • copies of my passport, ID, birth certificates
  • my National Insurance Number
  • my tax income number
  • my Canadian and German passports
  • documents on how to open a bank account
  • documents on how to get flat insurance
  • my enrollment papers
  • maps of the university
  • insurance slips
  • papers for my grant
  • insurance papers from Cardiff
  • learning agreements
  • an end of year report
  • a certificate of attendance
But anyway, god bless Cardiff University, they get it so wrong sometimes but then also so right.  I changed my address to my German one so I could receive the pre year abroad pack whilst I was in Germany.  So where did the ERASMUS department send my pack? To Oman of course.  Thank god dad was at home otherwise I'd be having a big panic round about now.  For a department that as been so badly organised, this time round they're going something right.

I got this nice little booklet (expired Canadian passport not included), which to be honest fair play Cardiff, this is helpful.  It's got sections on travel (which I think I've largely mastered already) and a very useful section on how to deal with culture shock, as well as the reverse culture shock of returning back home after the year away.  It's important to highlight that, especially as I know some people who've never travelled anywhere and their biggest move was from home to university.  I'm not being condescending, in a way I am actually jealous of them because it's what I wish I could have had so badly.  I reckon the first month is going to be crazy and I don't think I'll have time to miss Cardiff because it'll be so busy, but once the routine of the second month kicks in I reckon that's when the blues will settle as well.  Then vice versa, leaving France is probably going to be difficult as well.  For now I'm trying not to look further than November when my other half is planning on visiting.  It's all about baby steps because other wise I'll freak myself out even more.

I'm trying to keep very positive; first off my parents are coming with me so I don't have to be alone, then there's the simple fact that I will be in the beautiful south of France for a whole year. I can eat pastries, go for early morning jogs through the city, go to the beach, try to eat 365 different cheeses (the French literally have 365 different cheeses) on freshly baked baguettes, I can pick up my groceries from the market, I'll be able to buy Pink Elephants and I'll be able to improve my French so much more which will hopefully make me more attractive to employers.  So yes, for now I'm actually making lists of the positives, there are obviously so many more than negatives but the situation feels very intense and a little overwhelming.  But I'm sure it'll be worth it.

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