26 September 2014

Flatmates & Fanfare

Sunday night: the suitcase that had rolled so smoothly on the glass-like floors of Heathrow Airport now felt cumbersome and heavy as it clunked over the cobblestone drive to my university's entrance gate.

I checked in at the security desk and was given a key and some vague directions to my room. Luckily for me, it was right by the main entrance. Unluckily for me, the buildings were poorly marked, and I wasn't sure which building was mine and which was the next. After some quick comparisons in the dark, I figured out which building I belonged in, and went to scan my key card.

The thing is, in American hotels, you slide electronic key cards through little slots in the door to gain entry. I'm not sure if American colleges have the same setup, seeing as I've never been to one, but I had absolutely no idea how to use my key card (I later learned that you merely hold it over the sensor and it will activate the door).

As I mentioned, I was really lucky that night, because it wasn't long before a few students came over and asked if I needed help. They got me inside the building, and this guy said, "Wait, are you Monica?" I was so confused because he called me by name and I didn't understand how on earth he could possibly know it if I had only just arrived and not told anyone yet. I then realised he was my flat rep, so he was in charge of all the students on my floor. They'd been waiting for me for almost two weeks because I'd arrived late and they were all wondering who I was, where I was from, what I was like. He yelled up to the other students on my floor and said, "Hey, guys! Monica's here!" then he called out to one of his friends behind him and said, "Hey! My Fresher's here!"

Suddenly, there was this deep rumbling coming from the stairway. I looked up and saw about ten students stampeding down the stairs, cheering and yelling and clapping for me. They swarmed around me, grabbed my bags and my luggage, and led me up to our floor, singing the whole way.

A few hours prior, I wondered if it would be a bit awkward to just drop in two weeks late, but I couldn't have asked for a warmer welcome.