I no longer get the hang of Thursdays

Thursday, September 21st, 2017 12:40 pm
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Had my passport interview today. Everyone told me it was fine and normal but I thought it was weird and intrusive. How many of your bedrooms look onto your back garden? Where did your parents go on their honeymoon? But it was done quickly and kindly, by a big guy with amazing facial hair and who had actually heard of Minnesota because he's an American-football player.

The worst thing about it was that we had to go all the way to Salford for it, which took ages. I turned out to also need to go back to the university because you can't sign up for language classes online, you have to go in person to the place I was twice yesterday where no one told me this. (I presume it's because they need to check the level people are at if they want to do anything other than beginner's level in their language, because there was a lot of that happening. But surely abject beginners should be able to apply with the system we have to use to do everything else?) But I filled out the form so hopefully that's done.

Which means all my bureaucracy should be done that can be done for now, which is good as all of tomorrow will be taken up with volunteer training at Manchester Museum (which is just a different kind of in-person bureaucracy, as little or none of it will be relevant to my role).

And I had a smear test today, and that's all this morning, so frankly not only am I done with today, but I think I need a medal.

For future reference, though, having a lot of local friends means a lot of them share the same doctor's surgery, and I'd heard a lot of good things about the new nurse who frankly could hardly have been worse than the old one. And she lived up to everything I'd heard about her; she didn't mention my weight, even though she did mention my blood pressure a lot which is fair enough as it was high when she checked it. She even took my height and weight which I know will be for bullshit BMI things the NHS makes them do, but while she said "Five four" as she read my height off the thingy, she then looked at the scale and said "weight...[mumbly mumble]" like she was just reminding herself long enough to go write it down (which is exactly what she was doing) so far from making a big deal of it she ensured I didn't know it at all which is the best thing for my mental health.

And when she asked if I wanted a sexual health screening done at the same time I said it was a good idea because I have two partners but it's okay and they know about each other and etc., she actually said "Oh, so you're poly?" Which left me really taken aback! I've never had a health professional know the word before. And she asked me if the partners were "male, female or other" so didn't assume sexuality or binary gender, which made me happy.

Abbreviated freshers' week

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 03:48 pm
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Somehow all my freshers' week stuff was mostly crammed into three days, which is kind of nice since I'm done with it now, which gives me time for volunteering orientation, a passport interview, a doctor's appointment, and a weekend of being in Yorkshire because of Thought Bubble.

Overall it's gone pretty well. I was nervous of feeling out of place but I really haven't. Everyone's been nice and neither I nor anyone else has called attention to me being twice their age (though I have felt it, especially since I keep coming home and taking naps, and they've been going out every night according to scraps of overheard conversation).

I've done all the bureaucracy: enrolled on everything (except my language, working on that), got my student card, met my advisor, peppered my department's admin with questions...I've been to welcome talks and figured out where some of the rooms in the rabbit warren that is the building I'll be spending most of my time in.

I've made a friend! I went to this divisional "party" thing on Monday, which is where you stand in an echoy room with a bunch of other people standing inexplicably close together. This was on Monday so I was at my most self-conscious and sure no one would talk to me, but she just walked right up and did. She's called Kitty...well, she's not because she's Chinese and can't expect people to say her name. But she told it to me, Weijia, and I said it back to her and she said my pronunciation was good but I can't remember it now! She turned up in the group meeting with our advisor today, and we were happy to see each other.

I had my introductory meeting with disability services yesterday, too. Which was great, but kind of weird. I left it convinced that if I'd had even half that support when I first went to college, I wouldn't have to be trying again now. At the time I was still firmly of the belief that I wasn't mentally ill, I was just rubbish. So much of that could have been different.

But then if it was I might not have written so much that Andrew saw on LiveJournal and he wouldn't have been able to identify with me as much as he did and maybe wouldn't have wanted to talk to me and I certainly wouldn't have visited him here if my life had stayed on the track it was supposed to be on. Things would be so different down the other leg of the trousers of time that it doesn't bear thinking about.

First day

Sunday, September 17th, 2017 07:45 pm
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Grumpy that I've got no better recourse for finding the room my "Welcome Talk" will be in tomorrow morning than turning up early and hoping there's someone to ask.

Andrew offered to come with me to help me find it but that's not going to be easy for someone who woke up at three this afternoon; it's basically an accessibility issue for him too. And it costs money in bus fare. And it's just not fair because that shouldn't be his responsibility and I hate feeling dependent on him.

I booked my Disability Services meeting a month ago for as soon as I could get it, but that turns out to be Tuesday. I know this will be a busy and nightmarish time for them, but argh. Hopefully I will be a bit less confused for the rest of the week. There are a bunch of other rooms I have to find after these first ones tomorrow!

Plan

Saturday, September 16th, 2017 08:23 pm
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Google says the thing making my feet horrible is probably... eczema! "Often caused by stress." Well, that explains why it first arrived when my parents visited! (Yes I know that was a long time ago. It's been flaring up and then almost-going-away ever since and every time it goes away I think it'll stay away and at least I'm doing something about it now.)

Can't even really make a GP appointment until I have a better idea of what my schedule will be like. Nnnrgh.

Plus I already have a follow-up appointment about my new meds, a smear test, and my first meeting with the Disabled Students Office this week, which is quite enough Health Work to be getting on with right now.

By the end of the week I will definitely know my class schedule (since it starts the week after that!) and will be able to make an appointment about my horrible feet. So at least I have a plan.

Cassini's grand finale

Friday, September 15th, 2017 07:04 pm
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I wrote about Cassini when it got to Saturn, musing on what a long time it had been traveling. So much had happened to me; I'd gone from a high school freshman to living in a country I hadn't thought much about before.

And then I happened to notice Cassini's seventh anniversary at Saturn, and thought how quickly and how slowly the years were going by.

Time piles up so quickly in space, where seven years is nothing compared to the uncountable vastness of the universe. But one of the great things about spaceships is that they connect the universe to the humans: its twenty years now Cassini has been in space. And I don't even know how many years in development to get it that far. A good chunk of a person's working life could have been spent on this one little thing, anyway, that flew through space and burnt up today.
I've seen dramatic words about Cassini "plunging to its death" and some twee cartoons about how it's going home because Saturn is its home, but all I'm interested in is how much we love this little spaceship. We've made it a person, we've given it a lot of time and attention. We've followed it on twitter. My phone's background pictures aren't of my partners or even my dog; they're ones taken by Cassini. (This one and this one, in case you're interested.) Of course we'll miss it now it's gone.
Here's a video with lots of pictures and nice music.

Haptics and other awesomeness

Friday, September 15th, 2017 07:14 am
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I said I'd try to get around to writing up some details of the museum thing before I forget them all, and I've got a little bit of time and energy before my day starts getting hectic, so!

This is very long. )

Luna

Thursday, September 14th, 2017 10:19 am
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My friends' new tiny kitten

My friend Katie rang me yesterday morning, unexpectedly. She said "I'm off work sick, and we have a kitten! Dn you want to come and see her? She's been sleeping on my lap all morning, and she's tiny, and she's called Luna. And she's adorable. And she's tiny." Katie was using that soft voice people do around new babies.

I was free so I went over and she was right. I'd never seen a cat as small as Luna away from its mother. Katie and her partner were told she was eight weeks old but she looked smaller. (For all her tininess, she eats well and she's even litter-trained already.)

Still, they were told her mother hadn't shown much interest in looking after her, which might explain how tiny she is.

And how bold! Knowing my friends had only gotten this kitten the night before, I wasn't expecting to see much of her at all, but almost as soon as I sat down Katie went to make us tea, and when she was out of the room Luna came over so I could take this picture. She jumped up onto my lap after that! All still in the time it took Katie to make tea.

Of course she's just been separated from her mother and her littermates, so she may not always be this snuggly, but it was very cute that she curled up in my oversized hoodie in between bouts of exploring the living room. I am of course more a dog person than a cat person, but I do like cats too and this one is Irresistible.

Katie is absolutely smitten with her and also lives near a posh shop full of cat things, and it sounds like she wasn't in a good place before whereas she will definitely be doted on here, so I'm happy for Luna.

We're at the point of the year now...

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 10:04 pm
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...where I go to bed because I'm cold rather than because I'm sleepy.

And pull the covers over my head and wait for my breath to warm me up.

Internet, validate my experience!

Monday, September 11th, 2017 03:46 pm
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I mailed off my passport application first thing this morning, which was stressful because again being me I can't do anything in quite the standard way so I was a nuisance at the post office this morning. And I had to run through a torrential downpour to get there; some of the things inside my bag were soaked (though my application/passport/naturalization certificate seemed okay thankfully).

Then I went to the first proper meeting of my new volunteering gig, which is basically being a consultant on some new tech for accessibility to visually impaired people. I met the fellow blind girl they have doing this, too, who's 22 and honestly reminds me a lot of myself at 22. Which is awesome but makes me feel old. We had a great time but when I checked the time not long before we left I couldn't believe I'd been there almost three hours.

But it caught up with me, trying out a whole new-to-me haptic interface, giving feedback on it to sighted people, and then running a turned-out-to-be-futile errand across the street (the benefits of volunteering with a museum that's part of your new university! well, it'd feel more like a benefit if it hadn't ended up being futile, but never mind) meant I was so tired by the time I got home that Andrew worried something was wrong with me.

I'll try to write more about the details later, because it's super-interesting, but have I done enough to justify a nap first?
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