I Am Mike and this Is My Heart (mrjackwhite) wrote,
I Am Mike and this Is My Heart

Wicked Little Town

This is London. And grad school. It's often hard to distinguish between the two. Living outside of Toronto for the first time, and in what I can only describe as a university town, I suppose that continually equating the two isn't so strange. It's the only way to rationalize things. If taken separately, the concept of moving to a new city and starting grad school would probably incapacitate me with fear. So the two are combined, regardless of whether it's fair or not.

Also helping the transition is that this week has felt more like a vacation than anything else. Without internet or TV, school or a job, life is pretty mundane. Evenings are spent reading or playing board games. Due to the weather, shorts, flip flops and tank tops in abundance, giving the feeling that a beach is somewhere near by. (Is this actually a result of the weather? Or a Western/London/Southern Ontario phenomenon?) The only thing missing is bingo, but I'm sure that could be found if one tried hard enough. Not being used to renting a house, it feels more like I'm at someones cottage, albeit one that is furnished with everything that I own.

The campus itself wasn't as beautiful as I was led to believe, though that was partially the fact that the common way of walking into campus is by a large four-lane road that has a constant stream of noisy traffic. To accommodate all this traffic, Western is home to multiple massive parking lots, which is obviously much different from UofT where parking is scarce and the number of traffic lights and stop signs make it impossible for cars to go at any decent speed. The oppressive heat, combined with the fact that there isn't much to look at on my way to the North Campus Building (home of the Faculty of Information and Media Studies and, ironically, not on the northern edge of campus) has not helped. (Luckily I found a lovely path that goes along the river and actually cuts down on my walk to classes, obviously a win-win situation. The highlight of the week so far has to be the fact that I came across a deer while walking on the path one morning.) Also not helping my initial dislike of the campus was that it was covered with frosh (who are annoying no matter what campus they are on). The campus changes, but the atmosphere stays the same.

One reason that cars are so prevalent in London is that the city hasn't done much to make it safe for biking, either on campus or elsewhere (though there is a bit of the chicken-and-the-egg question here: which came first, the cyclist or the bike lane?). I've yet to see a bike lane on a major road, just small ones in the heart of campus. As a result, it is commonplace that cyclists ride on the sidewalk, at a large annoyance to, well, me. The other oddity about getting around London is that traffic lights take forever to change. Good luck if you're trying to cross a major artery, you'll be waiting a while. One week down, fifty-one to go.

Next time: the problems of getting internet service in a backwater town...
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