Saturday, January 17, 2004

SPICE House

What attracted me about SPICE House was the possibility to get a single room, meaning not having to share your dorm room with someone else. But somehow this didn’t work out for me and I did get a roommate, Jungwon from South-Korea. I dreaded having to live in a small room with a stranger, but actually living with Jungwon is a lot of fun. It’s nice to have someone to share your all-night study sessions with and besides she’s just an awesome person to hang out with, so I’m glad I ended up with her as a roommate. Our next-door neighbors are great too: Marcello from Italy and Joaquin from Chili.
We live on the third floor of SPICE House in room 304. The building is kind of old, the rooms are small and not pretty at all, the furniture is old an ugly and the air conditioning doesn’t work either. Basically the housing is pretty crappy compared to all the wonderful apartments on Clairmont Campus, which is where they also house exchange students… At least SPICE House is right on campus within walking distance from all the important places. And I guess it’s home for a couple of months so I’d better get used to it!
When I arrived here the first thing I did was rearrange the furniture again and again and again. But with so much furniture and such little rooms the options are minimal. The bunk beds are detachable and I even took it apart to see if it would work with the two beds on the floor, it really didn’t. Problem was, I’m too scared to climb onto top bunk, I was happy to find out that Jungwon isn’t. Not that she really needs a bed, she usually falls asleep with her head on the desk anyway. In the end the best set-up was the two desks next to each other on one wall and the two beds on top of each other on the other wall.
On the first floor, we have a few common areas, like the kitchen where we have a huge fridge with two doors and loads of cooking equipment. But I don’t think I’ll ever cook anything here, because I have an already-paid-for-meal-plan and I’m a little bit too busy with homework. In the dining area we have another big fridge although this one only has one door, and a Coca Cola (what else in Atlanta?) vending machine, which is convenient. And behind some doors they’ve hidden a huge coin-operated washer and dryer, which is quite unfair because most campus housing has washers and dryers that can be used for free, but it’s all we’ve got here so we’ll just have to pay for it. Oh and there also some Japanese guy living on this floor of the house.
The living room is located on the second floor, it has a piano, two couches, two armchairs and a huge TV in a very ugly closet. SPICE House also has its own couch potato, Peter from the UK, you’ll always be able to find him channel surfing on the couch, yeah we don’t really get an opportunity to watch TV ourselves, not that we have the time. I heard that that Japanese guy on the first floor has his own TV, hmm, maybe I should befriend him…
Our house is located on Frat Row, so our street is bursting with beautiful and enormous mansions all inhabited by loud and rowdy frat boys. Our house is decorated with nice wooden decks on several levels at the back of the house, where we can enjoy a view of baseball and softball fields. Which can be quite entertaining at times, not because I like baseball, but because how the baseball team likes to pretend to have a huge audience, even when it’s just the usual 3 people on the bleachers. Still every player is enthusiastically announced from the speaker (e.g. “Therezzz Jooooohn Smiiiith, nuuuuumbaaahr 20! He is a yadaaa yadaaaa student and he is our pitchaaaaaaaaahr!”) when they enter the playing field running with their hands in the air to receive no applause at all. When everybody has entered the field in the same manner, they stand in line with their hands on their hearts to sing the national anthem while adoring the American flag. That part is very entertaining, the actual game doesn’t interest me.
There’s also a fourth floor, where the girl’s bathroom is located, of which I didn’t take pictures. There’s also a bathroom on the third floor but that is mixed, so Jungwon and I usually go upstairs to take showers to be safe from male encounters during cleansing. Well, this is SPICE House, it isn’t beautiful or luxurious like all the other houses on this road, but it’s home and it’s not bad.
SPICE House

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Arrived in the States

3 days ago I set foot on American soil for the first time in my life, after my plane landed in New York City at John F. Kennedy Airport. My whole life I’ve been obsessed with this country and now I’m finally here! I’ve been very excited about coming here for a long time, still saying goodbye to my family was impossibly hard. And in the days before my departure we made sure to photograph some of our silliness so I have something to make me laugh when I feel lonely all the way in America:
The last few days I spent in Salt Lake City, visiting with some family friends and getting to know American life a bit. This morning, very early, I arrived at the huge airport in Atlanta, where an Emory student picked me up. Before taking me to Emory we stopped at IHOP (International House of Pancakes) for the worst breakfast I’ve ever had. My order included a fried egg (sunny side up) and the egg white was still see-through… yuk. Apparently this is pretty standard though, so from now on I’ll be ordering my eggs over easy.
I left Amsterdam on January 8th, and now 5 flights later I’m finally here at SPICE House on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta, in the United States of America! This will be my home for the next 4 months, because this Spring Semester I will be an exchange students at Emory University's Goizueta Business School.
SPICE House is located on Frat Row and most of its residents are international exchange students. I already met a couple of the other residents from various countries, including a rather peculiar guy from Japan who thinks I am a rude bitch… well, he’s probably right. Anyway, I can’t wait to start my American adventure, and meet some American students!
SPICE House