Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hungover on School Spirit.

So far this blog has essentially been meaningless photos of Busted, hands, Take That (God bless their souls), but sometimes an event happens in a person life where the only place you feel you can go is the internet. Many good things are occurring, but I am BRITISH! I complain! I moan! I vent! I am not so sure these words exist in the Canada mentality. Although it must be said that I have a huge amount of respect from these people. They cheer, stomp and pep themselves up from dawn til dusk in blister inducing heat (literally blistering - my legs make me look like an alien creature. No man will ever love me again.)

Actually, I'm going to a time jump because all this pep/stress has made me feel reckless and like breaking the rules. Yesterday was.....intense and sweaty. Indescribably so.

The first flight was 8 hours of joy. The time in Heathrow passed surprisingly quickly. I almost killed a small child in the security queue and my boots apparently aroused suspicion. I was selected for all the 'random checks'. It was so tedious I thought I was going to explode (although I suppose that is what security feared in the first place). I was a bit concerned when I got on the plane as my neighbour, Andy, was a nervous flyer. I am also a nervous flyer, but he was a twitcher and a safety instruction reader. Though, luckily through the aid of conversation he curbed his fears during take off. He said that it was the best take off his life. I can't say I'm surprised. I have often been commended on my talent for given men pleasure as they go up. I spent 8 hours watching films, playing Bejeweled and listening to music. There was some turbulence which made me consider writing a will./last words, but I didn't have any pens or paper so I just chowed down on my ice cream instead and decided to die refreshed.

Slightly before landing they gave us a list of the things we had to do when we arrived in the US. The list was long. Leave the plane (which when at the back of the plane is an effort), go through immigration, take bags, recheck bags, security, trek to the other end of the terminal, get on plane. I think we had an hour and twenty minutes. With this on mind, on landing in Detroit I had 'Eye of the Tiger' on full blast as we touched down and it spurred me on. This optimism was quashed when we ended up at the back of every queue we entered. I also had the shame of accidentally handing the man at immigration a note from Jess in my passport. It had a heart on it. The rule about US immigration is they don't like joking around. I thought they might deport me there and then. Which could potentially mean spending another 8 hours with the scary flight attendant who I couldn't look in the eye in case she turned me to stone.

Anyway, by the time we were nearing the front of the security line we had about 20 minutes til our flight took off. This was not looking good. After a body scan or two I half donned my boots and then we began our less than leisurely sprint. We asked the age old question - if you have to go up an escalator and then down one of equal size...why don't you just cut out the escalators all together. A highlight of the sweat filled, adrenaline filled jog was a tunnel which had bright lights and tension music. We then ran 10 gates past our departure gate. Thinking we had missed it we were about to sit when we realised we were at the wrong gate, by which time I had removed my shoes. This twist in the tale meant that running was no longer an option. As I watched Jess sprint into the distance, I shimmied along the ground like a mental patient on a day out. Luckily they held the flight for us, and even though we were definitely carrying more than the allowed amount of liquid just in pure sweat on our bodies, they let us board. The plane was fairly small and uninspiring. No life vests, one flight attendant, not very many people. Luckily thanks to the 8 hour flight it felt like it lasted a matter of minutes. Then we had arrived. LIES LIES LIES! Jess managed to dodge the immigration's evil clutches where I had a good hour long wait watching people being deported and slowly dying of dehydration.

BUT WE MADE IT! And then things were pleasant for a good while.

Then morning was broken, and all through the building there was not one sound......until 'WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO' at 9am. The move-in committee started their rounds. This is what perplexes me. I can't understand this culture of cheering at the mundane in such an over enthusiastic way. I have never carried a six pack of toilet roll and felt compelled to cheer myself on. Staring out the window was an experience in itself. Bunches of people in coloured shirts, cheering and shouting. Sometimes together, sometimes in competition. I have no idea what anyone was saying. I have never felt more foreign in my life. I'm almost craving Luxembourgish, because I know it is a lost cause trying to understand it so I can just zone out.

This early stuff was tolerable. We sorted out some admin stuff which took a LOOOOOOOOONG time. Got our orientation kits, which seemed mainly to contain condoms - so if you read the part about my heat blisters and it has got you in the mood at least you know that I am well prepared. We also went shopping at Walmart for supplies. It was in an organised event, but it felt more disorganised then ever. After endless pottering around, we finally got there with only an hour til our floor meeting's start. We walked around in a haze. It was big, things were everywhere, announcements constantly over the speakers. I thought I was going to vomit. Especially when I realised that apparently Canadian women don't use spray deo. I have decided I am going to have 9 months using man deodorant..although I have used most of my can already today. I have never had weather so humid. I am craving me this -40 winter. We also had our campus card lanyards around our neck, and regular folk kept looking at us and making comments. I felt like part of a club...but wasn't sure if I wanted to be part of it.

After getting home and missing the meeting - along with the chance to meet everyone on our floor (smooth move, smooth move) we had a BBQ (inside?) and then headed over to the Ravenspalooza. What is the Ravenspalooza you ask? I HAVE NO IDEA. Picture hundreds of students crammed into a sports centre, music pumping, body heat spreading like wildfire and for some reason a massive slide. The first this we saw was a group of stunt men. I have no issue with this. They were talented, but for every stunt there was so much build up to build pep. Every 2 seconds there was a new cheer or chant. I have no idea what we were supposed to be chanted. It sounded like enthusiastic grunting. After a breath of fresh air, we went back inside for another dose of spirit. This time the pep rallyers had taken to the stage. I have no idea what happened after this. There were more chants, giant beach balls, subliminal ice hockey messages and so much more. A personal highlight was 'We Will Rock You' with special Carleton lyrics. 'with a smile on your face, a big brief case, taking your classes all over the place'. I'm thinking whoever wrote these lyrics gave themselves extra spirit points for that one. It was all so much. You got drunk on confusion. Everyone was cheering, chanting and going mental over absolutely nothing. People here can cheer on demand. In some ways it makes you question whether happiness truly exists over here. It seems pep runs in their blood, but then in another way the chanting is just meaningless. I managed to avoid high fives from people holding the doors open. Even the cash machine wishes you an 'excellent' day once you have used it. These people are surely lovely, but also very likely partly superhuman. They seem to have some endless energy reserve which allows them to pep it out all day long. I felt like the exchangers were the only ones with too much pride/confusion to make a massive effort. We did cheer too. Ironically. I'm not sure how much self-mocking occurs here, so I'm trying to lay low as my personality stems from the ability for self mocking.

Either way, our night ended fairly abruptly when we had taken in so much school spirit I thought I might pass out under the weight of my own awesomeness. On the way home we passed a boy getting done by campus patrol for drinking vodka in public. This was shortly before we were informed that freshers week at Carleton is also a DRY WEEK. At home I don't need to drink that much, but right now I feel the only spirit I want needs to come with at least 37.5% alcohol and a dash of coke.

This has been a rather long post so I am going to go and possibly attempt to sleep off the jet lag while the sweet vuvuzuela symphony continues outside the window. Oh. And the orientation people are going to knock on our doors at 8am tomorrow. Hello earplugs. 8am is no time for pep. I think I'm going to have to become a drug user...oh well.

All my love,

Jet lag and stress xox

GO RAVENS!!!!!!!!

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