By Rhiannon Jones, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Hectic is definitely the best word to describe the last two weeks. Strange is probably another. It’s so weird to think that time has gone by so fast since I got here, and yet that first night where I slept off my jet lag under nothing but a cardigan feels like an age ago. A conversation with a friend the other day went along the lines of “Wow, it feels like I’ve known you for ages. I can’t believe it’s only been a week and a half”.
Some of the massive positives living in the US are that everyone is a lot friendlier and open, especially when you have an accent. I’ve had four people ask if I can give them and their friends a shout-out in my British accent, and do I mind if they film me while I do? I have been playing it up far too freely to diffuse awkward encounters. Too slow counting change? Prattle on about how you’re just not used to the currency yet. Have no idea what’s going on in labs? Mention loudly how it’s not the same as at home, people are more than willing to help out. The weather has also been great apart from the odd thunderstorm and even I managed to get a tan while sitting outside having lunch. It’s quite humid but there’s aggressive air conditioning for that. Finally, the food! It is possible to write a whole blog about just the amount and variety of the food here. Mains are very much the same, but the desserts are something else; who knew that everything could be put in a pie (my favourites so far have been smore and sweet potato). I’ve also had three more burritos since my last blog, which partly inspired me going to the gym again.