I've been rather steamrollered by end-of-semester preparation madness, so apologies for taking ages to update.
It's been a crazy few weeks since I got my confirmation letter. The amount of paperwork one must do to study abroad for a year is staggering. I've filled out and signed and consulted and been advised. I'm still not done, but I'm getting there. On top of that I've been trying to keep up with all the homework involved in the approaching finals (week after next OMGWHUT). Thanks to my Very Special OCD To-Do Lists I've managed to pretty much keep on top of things.
Along with all the preparation, I got some awesome news and some terrifying news. The awesome news is that my dear friend who lives in south London offered me her spare bedroom for extremely reasonable rent. Which means not only do I have a place to live, it's cat-friendly and it's with someone I've known and loved for the better part of two decades.
I also bought my plane ticket, which was only $731 for a one-way non-stop flight thanks to a lovely student travel website. This is excellent news not only because I prefer non-stop flights (hell, who doesn't?) but for my poor cats who are going to be in Quite A State during the trip, much less so now that they won't have to take off and land twice with a plane switch in the middle. I unfortunately can't sedate them for the ride (totally not good for them), but I may do so for myself considering I'll be stressing out through the whole flight worrying about them. Hope they have cheap booze on the flight...
Now for the less pleasant news: I found out rather too late that the amount of financial aid I thought I would be getting is in fact going to be about 1/3 of that amount. I think I actually almost passed out in the poor financial aid counselor's office when I heard that. Like, I got really cold and numb for about five minutes and couldn't do anything but sort of mutter in her general direction. By the end of the meeting I'd rallied and decided I was determined to make this work. I ended up calling half my family to beg for a cosigner on a loan, and eventually got a very welcome yes. Also, just today I found out that my wonderful and lovely financial aid counselor had managed to tweak some of my current information to get me an increase in money.
The fortunate thing about the timing of this financial meeting (after I'd confirmed with the Study Abroad office and Queen Mary, micro-chipped and vaccinated my poor cats, told everyone I've ever met, secured a living situation, and bought my plane ticket) was that it didn't allow me to just think "oh well, it was a nice daydream while it lasted." Instead I dug in my heels and starting finding a way to make it work. With some help, I did. I'm a bit proud of myself, to be honest. Things really are changing for me, not only in terms of where I'm going to be and what I'll be doing, but my ability to handle adversity in a positive way instead of just sinking into depression.
I've gotten most of the paperwork done at this point. Now come the more tangible steps, like getting my student visa and consolidating/organizing/packing my belongings to be stored or brought along. I'll be doing the latter with the help of the brilliant Unfuck Your Habitat, who have already achieved the amazing goal of motivating me to make my bed everyday. (No, really. EVERY. DAY. If my mom reads this, she's going to have a stroke.)
Stay tuned for exciting cleaning and packing anecdotes!