Saturday; September 5th, 2015
Today’s goal was hunting around for coffee shops to establish myself as a regular. I’ve decided that the place M. found near our flat is the best in terms of price, location, hours, seating, table space, and ambiance when it comes to extended sitting and studying.
Most coffee shops back in Tucson were open pretty late, which is a luxury I’d taken for granted in a college town. Newcastle’s coffee shops mostly close around 5-6PM. I thought I’d lucked out in finding one tea house near the university that boasts a closing time of 1AM, but the metro stops running before then so it’s a bust as a regular spot. All this makes me miss the tea house back at home and how it specifically catered to students. The operating hours of this city is going to promote keeping Regular People Hours a lot more than Tucson did. Especially with how cold it gets at night, I don’t think it’s worth it to stay up late doing work when it gets so damn cold. Our flat has huge, single pane windows, so running the heater could get really expensive really quickly.
I have a true appreciation for how much The College of Optical Sciences pampered us students. I was really fortunate to have 24-hour access to such a nice, temperate study space that was so close to home. Once the semester gets going, I’ll probably miss OpSci a hell of a lot more and get a real appreciation for how the PhD program is run.
Thus far, Newcastle has been lacking in in-depth conversation. I miss the people I spent my last year talking to, the pace and depth of those conversations with The Magic Boys, Writers Anonymous, and my Summer People. As much as I can appreciate the cleansing and calming effect of having only my thoughts to worry about for the next 2 weeks, I know I’m going to need some philosophical diversity before the end of the month. For now, Skype might be the best way to get a fix.
Side note: more people ask about my hair than they do about my accent, which has been a fun way to chat with the shop ladies. I like wearing an ice breaker around my face. Now if only it could elicit more complex conversation…
This last observation might be all in my head, but it feels like walking a mile here takes about 30-40% longer than it does in the US. Everything is more compact, so I pass by more places when covering an equivalent distance in Tucson, which I would’ve thought would make me interpret the walks as shorter. Instead, I’ve gotten my attention grabbed by more signs which leads to my brain being turned “on” more than off. I predict this feeling will calm down as the year goes on when I start moving in autopilot mode.
I’m almost done with my coffee now. Time to get up and go find that Asian market by the Monument metro stop. Checking out!