Wednesday, September 28, 1988

'Coast-to-Coast': The Journey to Kingston-Upon-Hull

Woke up this morning ready for the big coast-to-coast journey (which is not quite as daunting as it would be in the U.S.!) Ate some breakfast, brought my bags downstairs, took some final photos of the Morrisons, bid farewell to Dave and Fiona (who turned 18 today), and Dr. Morrison and I were off!

Our first stop was in the town of Disley, near Manchester, where we picked up Doug Schoener at his exchange parent's home. After loading his gear in the car, we had a tedious trek from Disley back to the motorway, which was plagued with construction. However, once we opened up on the motorway, it was non-stop at 90 mph... well, that is, until we stopped for food.

The scenery along the drive was marvelous, and quite different from what I am used to seeing along American highways. We passed by old farm houses, picturesque moors, and even a rainbow at one point added some vibrant color to the scenery. It took us about two hours to get from Disley to Kingston-Upon-Hull ("Hull" for short), and eventually came upon the largest single span suspension bridge in the world, the Humber Bridge (a toll bridge that I was told loses about 1,000,000 pounds a month in interest fees. Nice investment!) It was not long after that we approached our living quarters, The Grange... the residence where Doug and I will be living during the next year. I am living in the building called St. Martin's, and Doug is in St. Michael's. As soon as we got unpacked, Dr. Morrison bid farewell, I thanked him for his hospitality and generosity, and he drove back to Neston for Fiona's birthday party.

The excitement I'd been feeling up until this point gave way to a sudden feeling of unsureness. Not so much with me as it was with Doug. This was not what he was expecting at all. Check-in was fine, but he (and to a lesser degree, I) were not quite sure what was in store for us. The Grange Hall of Residences, where we were appointed to live, was not quite as nice as what we were used to at Millersville. The size of the room was OK, and it was interesting that there was a sink in each of our rooms, but it was an old, converted convent building with very outdated fixtures. There were actually three separate buildings, and right in the middle is an active church.

Well we decided to give it a chance and went for a meal at the dining hall (edible, but just barely), and then prepared to head to the College's Disco. From there, things started looking up again. Although it was very crowded, we were able to meet a few people and get a taste of the student night life in England... quite a change from a dry campus like Millersville, where open, school-sponsored alcohol consumption was not a part of the experience.

We met this bloke from Suffolk, John Heather, and after awhile decided to take off and head to a quieter pub, where we had a nice chat. Things continued to look up at this point. "Take it as it comes," I reiterated to Doug. "Then you can never go wrong."

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