Settling In


On Monday morning I packed up and headed to Hobby airport to start my internal flights over to San Jose. Security and everything was fine for this flight (what a relief) so I headed over to Dunkin’ Donut to be real american and have a donut and chocolate milk for breakfast (I actually got a chocolate and coconut donut and it was really good). Then as if they knew I was trying to pretend to be an American they had the Wimbledon tennis tournament on the tv…. haha fail.

My first flight was from Hobby Houston to Las Vegas. I flew SouthWest and they have some really good perks – 2 free checked cases, wifi, complimentary drinks and snacks etc. However, they also do unreserved seating; basically when you check in you get given a boarding number and it’s first come first served. Because I love a window seat I ended up sitting in the very back row which I was fine about until I realised the seats don’t recline and they felt straighter up than usual. Anyway, I paid my $8 for wifi access for the day (It meant I could use it on both flights) and settled down with my kindle. It was about a 3 hour flight to Vegas and I was amazed at the size of the desert surrounding it, it literally looks like it never ends.

It’s maybe a little bit disappointing that my first Vegas experience began and ended in an airport with a 2 hour layover, because it looks crazy! Like the strip is practically in the airport I can’t wait to visit what looks like a legitimately tacky world of adventure!

My second flight was just a short 1 hour flight from Vegas to San Jose. Again it had totally beautiful views and seeing where I’m going to be living from the sky was pretty cool.

The stress started once I had landed, I was meeting two of the other girls at the airport to travel over to campus and try as I did I couldn’t find them… Yeah it turns out theres two terminals at San Jose and obviously we were at different ones. I quickly jumped on a shuttle bus to get over to the other terminal to then discover you can’t get in to the arrivals hall, the obviously I had no wifi to get in touch so it was a little bit stressful. Eventually I heard a voice shouting ‘Sam’ and we all lived happily ever after!

At first the campus was a bit of a shock, it’s pretty old fashioned and the crux of it all – no air-conditioning! I was literally devastated because it’s pretty damn warm. What I have discovered though is that because we’re on the 8th floor it’s pretty breezy if you open the windows. And there’s a great view too!


For the first night we had temporary rooms so I couldn’t unpack I just had a 2 hour chill in my room where I caught up with people to let them know I had gotten here okay and I read my book for a bit.

At 5pm we all met for dinner, which was dominos pizza sat under a tree on campus which was pretty cool! It was good to get to see some of the campus too, it is such a mesh of old and new it’s crazy. And if that wasn’t American college enough, two guys with an amp blasting music and a basketball walked past. There was only 6 of us that had arrived at this point so it was a really good chance to get to know Catherine our camp director and Taylor and Farrah our co-ordinators a little better.


After pizza (I saw that even though I ate pasta and chicken wings) we headed over to the little supermarket just to get some little bits and bobs we fancied – mostly water. It turns out that downtown San Jose is literally across the road from campus which is going to be so handy! Plus they sell loads of cake and stuff so that’s always an added bonus.

When we got back to the dorms more of the girls had arrived making us a strong British presence haha. Once they got settled in we felt like little tour guides as we took them back over to the supermarket haha.

All in all it was a pretty chilled night with all the international arrivals getting to camp (i.e 6 brits and 1 canadian) it seems like it’s going to be a pretty exciting 6 weeks!



I experienced American University dorm showers this morning, well they were interesting,  after being warned by Gemma that I should definitely wear flip flops to avoid getting bacterial infections I was soooo wary. I mean it wasn’t horrendous but it’s not exactly my favourite thing to do either if you know what I mean.

Me and Jenna were up super early though so we had sat and chilled and nattered for quite a while before other people got up which was nice because we found out we’re going to be roomies!! Yeyyyy. Moving and unpacking started after breakfast and seeing as I brought my entire world with me (check out Packing…) it was really infuriating and frustrating.

For the first week or so that we’re here the dining hall is closed so Catherine, Farrah and Taylor provided a breakfast buffet, which considering it had croissants, Nutella and strawberries I was over the moon with. It’s definitely the little things in a place like this!

We also had a super boring important grown up job to do today… Open bank accounts. We went to Bank of America and the process was pretty simple but there were six of us needing accounts and only two members of staff to process them so it took quite a while. On the plus side though the bank was air conditioned haha.

Lunch today was a proper student lunch as we got given dining cards to use in the student union, everybody opted for either subway or panda express though because we’re all super healthy haha. I had a subway and was totally peer pressured in to getting a foot long that was a total waste of money because there was no way I was gonna be able to eat more than half of it. But never mind it was yummy anyway!

After lunch the creativeness started; for me at least. We were all given tasks to do to help get the campus ready for the campers arriving on Sunday and mine was to decorate the chalk boards on each floor to welcome everybody. Anybody that knows me probably could tell you how I’m a little bit anal and a perfectionist so it drove me a little bit insane but eventually I just dealt with it and it looks fairly okay I think…


Although the languages could say anything as I just copied them off a poster I found haha.

We did some more bits and bobs of prep work and whilst we were doing that the local staff started to arrive. Everybody genuinely seems soooo lovely it’s amazing! Once everybody had gotten settled in we met up to go and get dinner which was Vietnamese tonight! It was a strange little restaurant down the street which was maybe a little bit grotty, but the food was good although service was slow. I ended up sat on a table with mostly ESL teachers which was good because I got to know people a little bit. It’s strange when you throw so many people from different backgrounds together how there’s still a steady conversation and no awkward silences.

On the way back we all climbed in to the lift which obviously led to the perfect opportunity for our first Tamwood team selfie in the lift obviously.13516277_10209963711677893_4801864533443970362_n

Who wouldn’t trust us with their kids right?!? Hahaha

Because we ate early it wasn’t too late so due to the fact that we wanted to make our dorms a little bit more homely we ordered a taxi (which was difficult because nobody understands my geordie accent) and headed to Walmart. We literally spent over an hour there getting bits and bobs, and as per usual I spend the most what a surprise. But I got some sheets for my bed, a mug for a cup of tea on a morning, air freshener (because the rooms smell a little funky), some bunting to decorate the room, cookie pop tarts because they’re my favourite! and some other bits and bobs I can’t even remember. It was totally worth it though!

Ive had so much fun the past 2 days getting to know everybody but tomorrow real training starts. Let’s see what it has in store for us!

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