Mornings in Bristol

There is an excitement in getting ready for the day here I haven’t felt in months. Classes don’t officially start until Monday, and so everyday this week has unfolded with something new and unexpected. In between attending several hall meetings and graduate school introductions (though not all—getting lost is a daily experience for me), any opportunity admire Bristol’s BBC Headquarters on Whiteladies Road  or pick up 19p curry sauce on Queens Road is an adventure. And the weather here has been cooling down with light mists of rain in the afternoon, making it the ideal time to bring out my boots, scarves and  autumn jackets.

Hailing from Minnesota, changeable weather is nothing new to me, but the changes here feel different. The weather here is moody; wind is harder, rain is lighter, and the sunshine much more fleeting. Living here only a few days it’s natural to see why the weather plays such a pivotal role in English literature (think Wuthering Heights). The layout and architecture of the city is romantic to say the least. History is so palpable here and despite being in a city with a half a million people, Bristol feels quaint and cosy. Many of the sidewalks are lined with beautiful stone fences smothered with colorful ivy. Once classes begin, I’ll be spending most of my time in stunning stone Georgians updated to accommodate classrooms and students. Pubs and cafes are not hard to find, and it’s a good thing I walk everywhere here. Between the delicious cream teas and scones and pastries and pie, I’m in heaven.

The Brits and ‘Bristolians’ I’ve met are friendly and so willing to help a  grad student continually mistaken for a “fresher.” I don’t know if being asked out the other night by a freshman should be taken as a compliment or an insult to my maturity level. Fortunately, he was handsome.

Discovering Cabot Circus, the shopping district here, and rediscovering Top Shop took away any homesickness I might have been feeling. Conjuring up images of Becky Bloomwood in Confessions of a Shopaholic, I began to feel deeply affected by the clothes around me. All so pretty! And the right size! And so unique! But do I need this? DO I NEED THIS! In the end, I got a birthday present for my sister and a few postcards. Yes, my discipline was tested.

Keeping this short because I’m meeting other Romanticism students to see a play about the Bronte Sisters. And then it’s off to scour Bristol for the sixty plus books on the course reading list. Good thing I didn’t shop too much yesterday!



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October 2011