Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I've noticed more than a few things different from the UK in this country. For this blog update, however, I've chosen to concentrate on ice.

Now, I don't know how it is in other countries, but we don't place a lot of importance on ice in England. Over here, it appears to be a big deal. Pretty much everyone that gets a drink from one of the machines in the cafeteria fills the glass half full with ice. Which I don't really get, seeing as how the drink's freezing to start with, and you're going to drink it in less than fifteen minutes anyway. The thing's not going to boil up, for crying out loud. I went out to eat in a restuarant last week, and whilst the food was good, they filled my glass of water pretty much to the top with ice. I tell you, it was weird.

Perhaps it's because I don't have much experience with ice machines, and as such always approach one with trepidation. I made the foolish mistake of putting the ice in after the drink the first time I had a go at it. SPLASH CITY! Ah well, I'm foreign, I can get away with that sort of thing. On the other hand, this my be indicative of a deeper difference between the UK and the US, that how in one culture you can get anything you want, but less so in the other.

Far more likely is that I just wasted a few minutes of your time with an pointless update about ice! Hooray!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Great Postcard Caper of 2005

I need help from all of you. As you can imagine, my dorm room is looking more than a little bare. Right above my head, however, there is a pinboard just waiting to have things stuck on it. What sort of things, you ask?


And thus begins The Great Postcard Caper of 2005!

If you can spare the change for a postcard of your town - the lamer the better - or of anything at all, please send me a postcard to stick on my wall! I need your help to decorate my room. In return, I will either send you a postcard from sunny and beautiful Eau Claire, or something else that I haven't quite decided on yet. On top of this, you will receive my eternal gratitude and hugs. I will post a picture of the finished pinboard when I've got all the postcards, and I'll update as to the progress of the board as and when I add things to it.

The best postcard will win a special prize. Quite what determines best is entirely in your hands, so go crazy.

My all-important address is on this page somewhere, but here it is one more time:

Mark Higgins
301-B Governors Hall
640 Hilltop Circle
Eau Claire, WI

I can't wait to get what's coming to me. As long as it's postcards.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Change of Contact

After it's little excursion into the Chippewa River, my cell phone has given up the ghost. However, I now have a landline in my room! So if you feel any sort of need to call me, it's:

+1/001 (715) 855-4136

grey for international callers

I had my first classes today, and they're all going pretty well. Just introductions, etc. I expect it'll get more interesting in the next week or so, but I'm not complaining. In fact, I have to dash to one now!

Monday, September 05, 2005

I Knew There Was Something I Meant To Do

<natali> mark, so why no blog posts?

A question posed to me but minutes ago by a friend. And it's a pretty good question, I'd agree. I've been here a good week, and a great deal has happened, and I haven't had the decency to update my blog! The shame! THE HORROR!

I've been so busy this past week it hasn't even been funny. I won't bore you with the myriad details of my flights (Norwegians everywhere, Iceland is vast and empty, my feet got cold). My experience with my host family can be summed up in one word - amazing. My room was sparse, but with the arrival of my room mate - and a vast quantity of stuff as well - it's beginning to look a lot like home for the next four months.

Class starts on Tuesday. I've been here since Friday last. So, here's a brief list of things I've done.
  • Been to a bar (or two)
  • Shaken more hands than I ever have in my life
  • Forgotten pretty much everyone's names instantly
  • Been to a keg party
  • Been canoeing
  • Removed a virus from my computer
  • Capsized a canoe (that was today, and it was awesome.)
  • Got lost in the Mall of America and bought far too many things (I don't know how that happened.)
  • Slept. Briefly.
Aming other things. But those are the main ones.

So, I keep getting asked what my first impressions of America are. Firstly, it's big. It's somewhat cliched to say that, but it's so true. The people are friendly to the point of being creepy. People are punctual, and woe betide you if you arrive three minutes late, because you've missed the boat sonny jim. On the whole though, it's been more than awesome. I've been a little homsesick at times, but I've been emailing and phoning my family regularly which has been really helpful. The food's alright, I'm able to eat vegetarian quite easily so far. I've made several acquaintances, which has been cool, and I'm looking forward to meeting more when my course starts.

So. All downhill from here.