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Author Topic: Moving Across the Water! - New! Improved! Non-Computer Questions!
Eaquae Legit
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Today I got my acceptance letter.

I've been accepted to the PhD Medieval Studies program... at the University of York!

That's right, I am moving to England in January. [Big Grin] I'm SO excited, and terrified, and ecstatic. I've got paperwork to do, loans to apply for, references to thank, flights to book, bags to buy, housing to find... It's gonna be a busy fall for me!

[Wave] <- Au revoir!

[ January 07, 2008, 09:55 PM: Message edited by: Eaquae Legit ]

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brojack17
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That's really cool. Congrats EL.
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SenojRetep
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Congratulations, EL. Sounds like a great opportunity.
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Orincoro
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I've been here a few weeks in Kent, it's quite a nice place. Be prepared for lots of rain and dark dark days.

I don't know York at all, but if it's anything like Canterbury, you can expect a few things from locals that are fairly consistent outside of big cities like London. I've spent a total of probably 4 months in England, and I've found these things to be fairly true. They are observations filtered through my own experiences and opinions, so take them as you will.

- There are some prevalent stereotypes about Americans that you won't expect. People will often be too polite to voice their assumptions, and this often makes things worse because they will assume thing about you that are unspoken. These range from your tastes in food and drink to your ability to drink, your political views, your level of education concerning literature and theatre (less often music).

- Some English people do not like being called British. To them, England is England and Britain is the UK. Similar to we Californians sometimes preferring to self-designate as Californian overseas.

- The English do not understand the American political system, but they think they do. They will generally assume that they know more about American politics than you know about English politics. Though they often know the names of the major players, they rarely have a working knowledge of our systems of government. It would thus be advisable to be up to date on both governments.

- They snicker endlessly at America's poor cultural offerings (Britney spears, Budweiser, etc), and will sometimes assume that you value these things because you are American.

- Their sense of geography is slightly skewed towards regarding America as being a similar size to Britain. A common reaction to "I'm from San Francisco," will be "Oh, I've been to LA!" (or virtually any state in the western US). Sometimes people will assume that YOU have a knowledge of the places they have visited in the US even if those places are thousands of miles from your state. For instance, they sometimes expect you to be familiar with New York if you are from California, or with LA if you are from the East Coast. Generally it is little recognized that the East Coast is so distant from the west.

- The English are fascinated by accents and will talk you up for whole minutes about how many accents there are in England as opposed to the US. They may question you regarding your view of accents- if you can tell the difference, if you think Americans have different ones or not.

- The English can appear to assume that their education system is roundly superior to the American counterpart. Some important points to remember: many fewer British subjects attend university, and "uni's" usually offer a course of study lasting 3 years, and 4 for a masters or double degree. The A levels (correct me if I'm mistaken here), are courses of study in which British students specialize at the age of 16-17, and replace what would be the last years of American Highschool. As a result they are sometimes more educated in a single subject but less informed on another. Whereas you may have taken AP physics AND AP English and history, it is unlikely that they have advanced as far in both subjects- they will be strong in one. As a result they also commonly refer to themselves as being "ahead" of American students at the age of 18. I've found this to be a dubious conclusion- people prove themselves to be of all levels of intellectual development, and not generally more or less advanced than Americans I've known.

None of these peccadilloes is terribly egregious or affecting to me- they're just quirks of English thought that you will discover as you get used to the local culture.

Oh and the pubs close at like 11. That's CRAZY!

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Speed
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I spent a day in York about a year ago and absolutely loved it. I wish I could have spent much longer there. It's a small city, but so much history. It's just gorgeous. You're going to love it.

Also, the trains in England are fantastic, which means that you can take easy day trips to Leeds, Newcastle, and even Manchester and Liverpool. I didn't like Leeds all that much (if you go, don't wear tennis shoes or there isn't a restaurant in town that will serve you. But do check out the Royal Armoury while you're there.) And I haven't been to Newcastle. But trips to Manchester and Liverpool are very highly recommended. There's so much to do within walking distance (or maybe a short bus ride) from the main train stations in both those cities that you'll never exhaust your possibilities.

I'm insanely envious of you. Post loads of pictures.

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Bob the Lawyer
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That's interesting, Orincoro. I wonder if it'll be the same for a Canadian like EL [Razz]
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Orincoro
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mmm, didn't realize he was Canadian. I did have a mental tick at about 5 minutes saying... he could be Canadian.....


But I'm an American so my experiences are related to that.

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Bob the Lawyer
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EL is a she.

Strike 2! [Wink]

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Eaquae Legit
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[ROFL]

Thanks for making me actually laugh out loud.

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Itsame
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a) Congratulations! [Smile]

b) "Oh and the pubs close at like 11. That's CRAZY!"

I hope that you mean 11 in the morning.

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quidscribis
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EL, congratulations and have a great time! [Smile] Your degree program sounds so fascinating!
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Speed
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Just one quick revision to my opinion about Leeds, since you'll be a 30-minute train ride from there. And keep in mind that I only spent about 3 days there, so you'll probably end up knowing the city far better than I do. So when you find out that I'm full of crap, feel free to come back here and let me know. [Smile]

I stayed right in Leeds city center, across the street from the main train station. Around there the city is basically a giant shopping mall. So if you like shopping, you'll be in heaven. But it's not my thing.

However, the Royal Armouries Museum is within walking distance of the train station. If you're into history, plan to spend several hours in there. It's huge and fascinating. Well worth the train ride by itself.

Also, if you don't mind taking a bit of a bus ride after you get off the train, Roundhay Park is beautiful. It's basically just a city park, but it's one of the biggest in Europe, with gardens and forests and lakes that seem to go on forever. There's also a small zoo/aquarium called Tropical World adjacent to it if you feel like you should be doing something. But mainly if you want to just walk around and decompress while you enjoy nature, the park really is breathtaking.

And finally, if you're up for a slightly longer (but still reasonably quick) bus ride, Harewood House is well worth a look.

Anyway, those are just a few ideas to get you started in Leeds. Again, Manchester and Liverpool are (in my opinion) exponentially more fun.
Between all the museums and art galleries and cathedrals and concert halls and opera houses and Chinatown and the Cavern Club and everything else, there are so many things to do there I wouldn't even know where to start. But let me know if you're heading down there and I'll give it a try. Well worth a slightly longer train ride.

Of course by the time I go back to Northern England (and I will), I'll probably be asking you for advice about what to do there. In fact, I'm planning a trip to Newcastle sometime before I die, so if you find your way up there, let me know what it's like. Meanwhile, I hope this helps. [Smile]

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Eaquae Legit
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Thanks for the advice. I *love* parks and nature, so a huge honking park sounds like heaven, even if I have to take the bus.

I'm also glad to hear there's a moderately accessible Chinatown. I've become moderately addicted to a few things, and I was worried about doing without for a few years running. I'll definitely be looking back at these posts when I actually get up there and start exploring.

[Big Grin]

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Carrie
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Jealous!

Congratulations, though. [Smile]

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Speed
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One last thing. I just checked the train timetables and found out that you'll be just over 90 minutes from Lincoln, which is closer than I thought. That being the case, you really ought to think about stopping in there sometime while you're in the neighbourhood.

Lincoln is the only place in England that we've visited twice. Partly because we have friends there, but partly because we loved it so much the first time. It's well off the beaten path, so people there are actually happy to see tourists, rather than irritated.

It's a great city for just walking around and exploring, but apart from that there are two really excellent reasons to go see it.

First off is the Lincoln Cathedral. Of course, you'll be studying in the shadow of York Minster, so maybe you won't be too impressed with another cathedral. But the Lincoln Cathedral has a great deal of history. It was the world's tallest building for a couple centuries in the middle ages. It's also the place that they filmed the interiors of the supposed Westminster Abby in The DaVinci Code, if that gives you any idea what it's like. Not that the movie is a great reason to see it, but if Ron Howard was impressed you can bet that you will be as well.

And just across the street from the Cathedral is Lincoln Castle. Of course, castles are a dime a dozen in England. But this one, aside from being very lovely, houses one of the three (or is it four?) remaining originals of the Magna Carta. So if a history buff like yourself wants to get a look at it without going all the way to London, that would be your chance.

Also, if you decide to stay the night, there's a charming little bed and breakfast called Edward King House that is built in the former lodgings of the Bishop of Lincolnshire, which is literally in the shadow of the cathedral. You could practically jump off the tallest tower of the cathedral and land in your bedroom. The rates are surprisingly reasonable, or were when we stayed there, the lodgings are modest, but the location is unbeatable.

Anyway, I don't know how much traveling you'll be doing while you're there, but just one more thing to think about. [Smile]

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Kettricken
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Congratulations on your move to York. I live here, so let me know if you would like showing round.

There is lots to see and do, with easy access to many other towns and cities (Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, London, Newcastle etc) and good countryside near by (the coast is less than an hour away (car or train), the North York Moors about an hour by car and the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District all accessible).

Don’t worry about the pubs closing at 11pm – they used to but the law has changed. In York there are some pubs open after 11 every day, and many open to 12 at weekends, with a few open later. It depends on when the pub thinks it is worth opening to.

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Eaquae Legit
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You actually live in York? I was hoping there was a jatraquero there, but I couldn't think of anyone specifically. When things get closer, I may beg the answers to some questions, if that's okay?
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Kettricken
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No problem - there are lots of choices about where to live, so any questions I'll do my best.

I did my masters at the University about 10 years ago, then moved away for my PhD and am now back working in the city.

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Javert Hugo
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Congratulations! That's awesome! [Smile] [Smile]
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Eaquae Legit
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I think I'm going to live in a res, at least for the first term or two while I get my bearings. I like living independently, but the thought of trying to find housing (from a distance), on top of everything else I have to do, is almost overwhelming. Plus, I don't know a soul (except one, now [Smile] ), so I'm hoping that living in res will help me get to know some people.

I suppose I have a few questions now, but they might seem a little odd. Is there a Catholic church around anywhere? What about a bike shop (I've been told York is very cyclist-friendly)? What airport would you recommend flying in through, keeping in mind I'm okay paying a little extra for less hassle (i.e., not keen on Heathrow)?

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Dragon
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Congrats EL!
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Speed
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quote:
Originally posted by Eaquae Legit:
What airport would you recommend flying in through, keeping in mind I'm okay paying a little extra for less hassle (i.e., not keen on Heathrow)?

One last post, then I'll leave the rest of the advice to our resident expert/expert resident. [Smile]

Manchester has an international airport with a train station attached. You can get off your plane and onto a train that will take you straight to York, all without ever stepping outside. That might be a bit less hassle than going through Heathrow.

Hope that helps. Good luck. [Big Grin]

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Bob the Lawyer:
EL is a she.

Strike 2! [Wink]

Yeah well I'm an albino hemopheliac, French speaking Estonian, disabled, transgendered, alcoholic, communist, unitarian, war veteran.

If anybody ever fails to realize that I will be offended deeply.

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Kettricken
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quote:
I think I'm going to live in a res, at least for the first term or two while I get my bearings.
That's probably a good idea. York has quite a lot of new housing, so you could get somewhere quite nice. The campus is also a mile or so away from the city, so it is good to be near your department at first.

quote:
Is there a Catholic church around anywhere?
I'm sure there will be - I don't know off the top of my head, but I can find out. There are a lot of churches in York and they can't all be Anglican!

quote:
What about a bike shop (I've been told York is very cyclist-friendly)?
There are several bike shops - both new and second hand. Yes, York is very cyclist friendly, it is by far the easiest way to get around (and it is flat!)

quote:
What airport would you recommend flying in through, keeping in mind I'm okay paying a little extra for less hassle (i.e., not keen on Heathrow)?
As has already been mentioned, Manchester is your best bet - it has a lot of international flights and is a direct train from York.

If you have to change planes and Leeds is an option (mainly low cost airlines) then that is easy - a direct coach service to York station.

Birmingham and Newcastle are probably reasonable, but will need a change of trains (possibly a bus for Newcastle, I've never been to the airport), but then have a reasonable train service.

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ReikoDemosthenes
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I can't believe I didn't see this thread! I've said it elsewhere, but congratulations! I am so very proud of you [Smile]
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Olivet
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Congratulations!
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Eaquae Legit
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I've heard good things about Manchester airport before, so it really sounds like that's going to be the ticket. Thanks for reassuring me about the bike shops, too, Kettricken. I don't think I'll be able to afford to ship my own bike over with me, so it's nice to know.

The Centre for Medieval Studies (where I will be) is actually detached from the main campus and is (I think) closer to downtown.

And yeah, thanks everyone. [Big Grin]

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Teshi
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Wow, congratulations E.L.! Pretty much the perfect place to study the Medieval era for an English-speaker [Smile] . Have you been to Britain before?

quote:
None of these peccadilloes is terribly egregious or affecting to me- they're just quirks of English thought that you will discover as you get used to the local culture.
Certainly sounds like a list of things you find egregious about the British. None of the things you listed are positive quirks and all of them seem to relate to cultural hostility. It makes the British sound a little horrible.

I imagine there is equal ignorance in England about America as there is in America about England, although I've faced no hostility as a tourist in either country as a person with an accent that's half way between.

quote:
I didn't like Leeds all that much (if you go, don't wear tennis shoes or there isn't a restaurant in town that will serve you.
Solution: eat in pubs. But eating out in England is generally significantly more expensive, you'll find.
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Nell Gwyn
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Jealous! I spent the vast majority of my time (two semesters) in the UK in London, and haven't gone to York yet, but I'm jealous all the same!

And congratulations! I'm sure it'll be a fantastic experience. [Smile]

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Bella Bee
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Yay!

I graduated from York last year and had a great time there - I'm an historian too and York is such a wonderful place to study history, especially Medieval.

York's pretty cyclist friendly, but it's also not a huge city, I just walked everywhere. And there are loads of buses to and from campus.

Plus, King's Manor is gorgeous and right in the centre of town. I used to use the library there quite a lot, as well as the Minster Library which is just up the road, behind the cathedral.

Email me if you have questions about anything. [Smile]

Plus, there seem to be a lot of Hatrackers from or coming to England at the moment. We should have a party. [Party]

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Miro
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Ok, Sterling's in New Zealand and EL's moving to England. I'm officially green with with envy.
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Orincoro
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I'm in Canterbury. Be jealous of me! No one else is...
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Eaquae Legit
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quote:
Originally posted by Bella Bee:
Yay!

I graduated from York last year and had a great time there - I'm an historian too and York is such a wonderful place to study history, especially Medieval.

York's pretty cyclist friendly, but it's also not a huge city, I just walked everywhere. And there are loads of buses to and from campus.

Plus, King's Manor is gorgeous and right in the centre of town. I used to use the library there quite a lot, as well as the Minster Library which is just up the road, behind the cathedral.

Email me if you have questions about anything. [Smile]

Plus, there seem to be a lot of Hatrackers from or coming to England at the moment. We should have a party. [Party]

I have a TON of questions, and you can bet I'll be asking them as the time draws closer. The current ones that spring to mind involve somewhere to buy bed linens and towels, and possibly toiletries.
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Kettricken
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There are plenty of choices for simple things like this. It depends exactly what you want.

Student housing will usually come with bed linens, washed weekly. Otherwise there are a number of different shops (also for towels), depending on whether you want cheap, luxury, shop in the centre or don’t mind travelling out to one of the retail parks (all on bus routes).

Generally for cheap bed linen and towels (and other things like that) use the supermarkets – there are all the main ones in York (Tesco, Asda (owned by Wal Mart), Sainsburys, Morrison).

Toiletries, once again there is lots of choice, Boots and Superdrug in the centre, the supermarkets and various more expensive specialist places.

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Eaquae Legit
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Whew. Time's getting closer! I've now got my official acceptance and confirmation that I'll have somewhere to live. I even get my first-choice building, really close to my academic building! It's also the closest residence to the train station, which will be very handy. I've got new suitcases and I'm almost done my visa application. I've got paperwork out the wazoo.

So much to do, yikes!

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Teshi
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quote:
and the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District
I must add that the Lake District and Derbyshire/Yorkshire are among my favourite areas in England (of those that I've holiday'd in).
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rivka
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I missed this initially (it was during my break), so allow me to be terribly late in saying congrats, EL! [Big Grin]
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Eaquae Legit
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I bought an adaptor/converter today for my laptop, but when I took it to the front cash, the lady was surprised that I was buying one. She was even surprised they had one on the shelf. She said most people don't bother buying them, because modern laptops have the converter built right into the power cord. I checked the label on mine, and it says "Input: 100-240v". Does this mean it has the converter? Should I go return the big bulky item I got and get the smaller and more transportable plug adaptor, even though they say "WARNING! Not for laptop computers! Not a converter!"?

(I have a Compaq Presario V2000, if that helps.)

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rivka
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When I used my laptop in Israel, which has European voltage (but different plugs, IIRC), all I needed was the little plug adapter.

Not sure what the story might be for long term use, but I used it that way for a couple weeks with no problem. (I was surprised when my hostess suggested it, but it worked!)

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quidscribis
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For long term use, I've had no problem. The laptop can, indeed, be used for any voltage between whatever is indicated on the bottom of your laptop. Mine also says 100-240v, and the voltage here is 220, while in Canada it's 110. Laptops here usually come with two plugs along with the power brick - one with the North American plug, one with the round plugs. For that matter, we can also get surge protectors and power strips that can accomodate all sorts of plug ends. [Smile] So yeah, just get a plug adaptor or a surge protector that can fit what you need. [Smile]


Anyway, yeah, your laptop can handle it no problem. [Smile] Now for the warning for everyone else: Always check on the bottom of whatever electrical item you're wondering about to see what that specific electrical item says. [Smile]

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Tatiana
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And that funny smell? That means you did the wrong thing. [Big Grin]

E.L. I didn't see this before now. Congratulations! That is so awesome! Good luck. I'm sure you'll love it.

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Eaquae Legit
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Thanks guys, for the advice! I'm quite relieved about the laptop. The last thing I want is for my research to go up in flames.

And thanks, too, for the congrats. The encouragement of so many others really helps keep me from chickening out.

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Dagonee
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Congratulations, Eaquae! good luck, and make sure you give yourself a chance to enjoy it!
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Bella Bee
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You'll have a wonderful time there - I know I did! It really is the perfect town for historians. [Smile]
Plus if you need a bit of cosmopolitan lifestyle, London's only two hours away by train.

And like I said before, any random questions at all, my email's in my profile.

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quidscribis
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The chickening out bit I really understand. [Big Grin] You'll be fine. Go forth and enjoy! [Big Grin]
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Kwea
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[The Wave]


Have a blast, and tell us about it! [Smile]

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Eaquae Legit:
The encouragement of so many others really helps keep me from chickening out.

You are not allowed to chicken out. How are the rest of us supposed to live vicariously?
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Eaquae Legit
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[ROFL] I'm not allowed to chicken out now, rivka! Aside from my duties as vicarious adventurer, I've put significant money into it.

And funny, but I'd feel kinda guilty for wasting the time of all the people who have helped me, especially the admin staff at York. They've gone above and beyond for me.

If you really want to live vicariously, I started a journal/blog about it all: the paperwork, the moving, the culture shock, the academic stuff, and a little bit of therapy-angst. eaquaelegit.blogspot.com

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Eaquae Legit:
I'm not allowed to chicken out now, rivka! Aside from my duties as vicarious adventurer, I've put significant money into it.

I'm glad to see you've put the important one first. [Wink]

I'll check out the blog. [Smile]

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Eaquae Legit
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So, ah, what should I remember not to forget?
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