Wednesday, June 30, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Leaving...

Well, after a frenzy of laundry, packing, weighing, and repacking, I am ready to go tomorrow.
When my mom asked if there was anything someone particularly wanted for dinner, one of my brothers told me I should pick because it was my "last meal." He quickly rephrased that to something that sounded less fatal, but we had a good laugh over it.
While I am less than enchanted with the folks at my own university's financial aid office for various reasons, I am very grateful to the people with whom I have talked from the University of Southern Mississippi, particularly Frances Sudduth. It nearly brought tears to my eyes that someone actually cared whether or not my financial aid would work, and that this someone checked facts and thought over my problems enough to be able to give me good advice.
I finally found a purse that had a long enough strap to wear messenger-style that also was big enough to fit in more than a coin purse. I never noticed before, but right now the general trend in personal handbags is the bigger the capacity, the smaller the handles tend to be. The fact that my new bag is a nice cheery yellow leather one is an added bonus.
While I will probably not be able to add in photos to this blog while I am abroad, I now have a memory card for my camera that can hold over 6,000 photos and I will be happy to share upon request once I return.
I have recieved such a large amount of advice, and no doubt will recieve more on the morrow, that I thought it would be handy to begin putting together a list of things about which I have promised someone.

I, Megan Coker, do solemnly swear, that:
-I will remain my sensible self.
-I will not drink copious amounts of alcoholic beverages (copious meaning a full portion or more), even though the drinking age is lower in Europe.
-If I happen to meet the love of my life whilst abroad, I will not enter into any serious agreements with said personage until he at least met my parents and endured a nice, long interview with all of the male members of my immediate family.
-I will not roam around on my own, or indeed go anywhere without safe numbers of friends.
-I will always remember that my family loves me, even long-distance.
-I will keep a steady stream of contact whenever possible.
-I will keep my chin up and do my best.
-I will have a marvelous time.
-I will not let someone snatch my purse.
-I will not hesitate to call home if (and/or when) I need to.
-I will at least attempt to learn a London accent (can you tell which one was from my brother?)
-I will try some of the flavorful Indian food, but be very careful of the spices.
-I will remember my umbrella, and wear comfortable shoes.
-If I happen to stumble across an old and valuable manuscript previously undiscovered, I will bring it home to a certain dear friend.
-If I find the museum which contains Dragonetti's double bass, I will take copious amounts of pictures of it.
-I will return home with all limbs intact and alive (maybe I should have put this one first!).
-I will continue to update this blog as much as possible.

Next time I write, it will be from the other side of the pond!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Count Down...

I'm actually only a few days (well, okay, weeks) away from heading to the airport! It's somewhat surreal that after all the paperwork I actually get to go on the trip.
There's been some more excitement, with the surprise of finding I had been misdirected by my financial aid office in the matter of where I needed to do some of that very important paperwork. Thankfully, I found out before it was too late to rectify the problem and managed to get everything fixed and tied with a bow, so I am fine.
I've been stockpiling various items for the trip, and sometime very soon I'm actually going to get out the suitcase and start packing.
My passport and ISIC (International Student Identity Card) has arrived, although my letter of entry hasn't quite yet. I'm busy copying all of the various important documents of which I will need multiple copies.
There has been an exciting addition to my trip! I will get to go to Paris for a weekend, see some of the marvellous museums there, and probably have that song from "Funny Face" or the soundtrack of Amelie stuck in my head for the duration. Ironically, the one group I had hoped to see live in Paris, Caravan Palace, will be on an American tour at the time. But I am still extremely excited about this opportunity.
Did I mention that I found out that Elephant Parade will be ending on June 30? I'm a bit disappointed not to see the actual event, but I'm still hoping to maybe look over some of the souvenirs when I get there.
You'll never guess what I found! Everyone reading this knows my last name is Coker, right? A family member once mentioned that there was a town named Coker that was somewhere south of London. Last night I did an online search and found out that there are in fact two! The neighboring villages of East Coker and West Coker are approximately 137.22 miles southwest of London, in the South Somerset district, 2 1/2 hours worth of travel, according to MapQuest. Both Cokers are evidently named after the nearby river Coker Water, this Coker evidently coming from the Celtic Kukro meaning "Crooked stream." I don't know if this is actually where my last name might have come from, but I'm certainly going to try to visit East Coker and West Coker.