27 July 2010

45 days.

1 month, 15 days. And I'll be flying to Iceland, stopping for an hour, then heading to London.

Really, that's all I wanted to post.

Oh, and I told my boss today that I wanted my unofficial last day to be August 12th, and that I could work 2 to 3 days a week to cover days off and stuff until August 29th. That's reasonable, right? The problem isn't that I have stuff left to do (which I do, but it's really not THAT much stuff), it's the fact that I'd like a chance to see my extended family before I leave. I haven't seen my grandparents since April. I miss them. I want to get my fill of my grandmother's cooking and the sound of my grandfather saying "Oh, Marie..." when my grandmother does something silly or says "OH, my GOD" too many times while talking on the phone. I want to sit and have coffee with my aunts and uncles and cousins, and I want to play with my baby cousin A. I missed out on a whole day with my mother's side of the family (my cousin B had his high school graduation party), and it's quite disappointing. I could've seen everyone at once, but now I'll have to visit everyone piecemeal.

Not to mention my dad's side of the family. I saw my Aunt S for a week since she came to visit, but I haven't seen anyone else. Although I do have Cousins' Weekend in Maryland coming up (can't wait!), so I'll be able to see most (hopefully all...) of my dad's side of the family.

Sigh. I'm already homesick and I haven't even left yet.

24 July 2010

Busy week.

1. Found out I was in College Grove (just received that official letter yesterday).
2. Got the news that the loan letters will be out in the mail by Monday-ish.
3. Booked my flight.
4. Completed (mostly) my Appendix (the information section) for my visa.
5. Got a letter from the Direct Loans office saying that I've been approved for a Plus loan of the amount of money I need/requested. I need to double check, but I think this is the letter I can use to pass through customs (not the one for my visa, that's being sent out by RVC).

It's all coming together! ACK. Here comes the nervousness. 48 days left here, only 30 days (possibly less) left with EXP.

22 July 2010

Flight booked.

I saw that prices went up within the last few days, so I booked a flight (I actually did what I said I was going to do...weird).

Cue drumroll...

I went with Icelandair. I mean, really. I couldn't stomach spending $1300 on a flight just because it was non-stop. My ticket was $451 and I booked with priceline.com. Cheaptickets.com was only 8 bucks more, but I've booked with priceline.com before and I've never had issues; why change? I also got the travel insurance that they offer, just in case something happens. In my experience, if you are prepared (or over-prepared), usually nothing of note happens. Of course, now that I've said that...

Also, my payment for the pre-sessional program went through today AND I got an email from the financial office saying that they're generating our loan letters and they will be sent out on Monday. So in a week and a few days I should know how much I got in loans and be able to FINALLY complete and send out my visa application. It's all coming together! It's a little nerve-wracking, actually.

As an aside, my second set of passport photos for my visa? I look like a drug dealer (and a loop of hair is sticking straight out of the top of my head. This is what happens when the nice AAA man asks how it looks and you don't have glasses on...). I'm thinking a re-do is in order.

I think...yes, I might...

I might actually sit down and buy my plane ticket tomorrow, since I only have 50 days left in the US. For some reason, I'm still debating whether it's worth it to spend the $1000 USD on Virgin Atlantic for a 6 and a half hour flight or to cut the cost in half and stop in Ireland on the way. I won't be entering the country, but I will have a layover. Decisions, decisions...

50 days. How is that even possible?? How is July almost over? HOW IS IT MY MOTHER'S BIRTHDAY IN 6 DAYS??!

Shite. I still need to get her a present. She requested a wireless mouse. It's really not as much fun to get people what they actually ask for since there isn't much surprise left, is there?

Ok, end of extremely ADD post.

By the way, there's a hummingbird's nest in my back yard and I get to see them every morning. Isn't that cool?

For real, stopping now.

I mean it.

Anybody want a peanut?

16 July 2010

8 weeks to go!

Got two very different emails from RVC this week. I have to say, though, this is probably the most emails I've gotten since I was offered a place...

First: I'm gonna be in College Grove for first year, which is exactly where I wanted to be. I was reading reviews and a lot of people said that Mary Brancker was a better accommodation than College Grove, but I really like the idea of having my own bathroom. And it's Co-Ed. Only one kitchen, though, so I hope it won't be too bad having to share with 6 other people. I did it at UNH, I can do it again. And it'll probably be easier to share with someone who isn't my mother. The kitchen truly is her domain and it's been ages since I cooked myself a meal that didn't come out of a box. It'll be nice to cook my own meals again, stretch my cooking muscles a little. Although I've been told that there is cheap good cuisine around London (Borough Market area has a lot of good curry places, info courtesy of Stuart, my London friend), I still look forward to cooking my food, and at least I know I'm a fairly good cook (thank you, Mum, for the Sicilian cooking genes).

Second off: That whole woe-is-me post from a few days past? About not being able to do EMS in the US because Direct Loans were only to be used in the UK? Well, Chief Operational Officer Bill Taggert had it completely wrong. Here's an excerpt that I got from Rachel, the International Admissions Officer:

"After checking with other officials in the department we have discovered we were misinformed by Bill Taggart, the Chief Operating Officer for the U.S. Department of Education, that students in receipt of Direct Loans can no longer use that money to fund any study in the United States.

This means students in receipt of Direct Loans CAN do AHEMS (Animal Husbandry Extra Mural Study) and EMS (Extra Mural Study) in the United States."

What a huge weight off my mind. I'm limited to 8 weeks of AHEMS here anyway, but that means I can come home for summer and finish them off here before I start Year 3. I'm still debating whether to come home for Christmas, though.

Last but not least: I'm sending out my payment form for the pre-sessional program today (really, I'm not waiting 4 days like I did last time, mostly because I have the day off and I have a lot of money in my bank account that is burning a hole in my pocket...). Buh-bye, $1000 that I've saved so far. Only about $1000 more to go to cover costs until I receive a loan check...

11 July 2010

2 months to go...

Got an email from RVC yesterday. Found out that I can't use my Direct Loans for anything other than study in the UK.

What's that mean? It means that if I do any EMS in the States, I can't use left-over loan money to pay for any of it. Not on food, gas, room and board...nothing. This disappoints me in a big way. I mean, I get the thought process behind it. I'm taking out money for study in the UK, it needs to be used in the UK. But the stuff that I'd do here is counting towards credit/experience for my school that's in the UK. Isn't that the same thing?

Sigh. I might get a job once I settle in and save up that money for EMS when I come home. Otherwise, I'm stuck getting all my EMS done at school before I can come home and visit next summer. That also means I might need to get a flat because I might be there longer than my lease for my dorm room (whichever place I get into). Which means more budgeting so that I can afford to put down a few months rent.

So much to think about...

06 July 2010

66 days.

Last week RVC updated their website to let all us poor US students know what was up with the direct loan program. Thankfully, mostly everything is up and running and once they receive a paper from me with my signature and info on how much money I want to take out, they will be able to originate my loan and send me an official loan letter for my visa application.

Now, if I could just get off my lazy ass and wake up early to make sure I have plenty of time to make it to work (on time, of course) AND send that off in certified mail...

05 July 2010

Happy Birthday USA!

My last 4th of July in the States until 2015 is coming to a close. It was a day spent next to the ocean in southern RI, and I've accrued some freckles, a few bug bites, and a little sunburn. All worth it. Now, the traditional viewing of '1776' the musical has commenced, and I'll probably fall asleep in front of the TV just like last year.

I also had an intense bout of homesickness (yes, I haven't left yet) when I was leaving my house this morning. I was listening to 1776 (yes, I'm obsessed, one of many small obsessions I seem to have) and it hit me that holy sh*t. I'm not going to be here, in the US, for the next 4 years to celebrate American Independence. From England.

Where will I be?

Oh yeah. England.

And I'm from the first colony to declare independence from England.

On that note, only 67 days left. Time flies.

02 July 2010

10 weeks

10 weeks from today I will be getting ready to get on a plane bound for London. Crazy how time flies, eh?

Got my welcome pack in the mail yesterday and had to stop myself from jumping for joy (although I did an awkward little dance in place to celebrate). In this pack came a little thing known as an Oyster card. It's used to pay for fares on the public transport in and around London. It's reusable and you top it up (put more money on it) when it's running low. I know I'm silly, but I was so excited to have one that I posted it on facebook (yes, I know I'm a dork of inconceivable proportions).

Also in this welcome pack was a payment form for my pre-sessional course fee. I do have enough money saved up, thanks to my recent paycheck, but I think I might wait until I get my next one in two weeks to pay. I almost over-drafted last time because BoA didn't tell me that there would be a fee to pay in sterling via my debit card. Whoops.

On another note, my area has had wonderfully glorious weather as of late. Sunny, warm, not humid, just a slight summer breeze to keep you cool. I've been outside for most of the day enjoying the lovely weather, re-reading the Twilight Saga (told you, huge dork), and doing laundry. Gotta love being mostly lazy on a day off. In fact, I think I'll be off to continue being lazy... :D