Well, I've been here for a week and am approximately settled. I have all the furniture I need, other than a dresser-- which I'll be picking up from IKEA the next time I am in the Baltimore area. Here is the basic idea:
It's really nice, and I actually have more space than I thought I would. The bed in there is actually the former roommate's, and I'll be putting up a sofa bed when she comes to pick that up in the next few weeks.
Dad, Marlie, Jordan, and Matt all drove down with me and helped me move in. It was sad to see them go, but it has been great talking with them on the phone and chatting online-- after being in New Zealand where I could really only talk to my family once a week, this does not feel very far away at all. I was even thinking of driving back up for the weekend, but I decided that it would make the most sense to just stay put and try to get comfortable in my skin. Plus, the bike coop I want to try to get a decent, inexpensive bike from is only open on Sundays!
I've spent most of the week driving around Durham, finding every thrift store, hunting for furniture, and meeting a ton of great people via Basma (my housemate). I am considering investing in a GPS for my car-- I've gotten lost every single time I've gone out, and I've been told that I should pretty much expect that. Durham has many winding roads that randomly change names and directions, in addition to various roads having the same (or extremely similar) names.
In happy news, Matthew's family sent me a peace lily that really cheered me up and also freshens the air! Hopefully I'll be able to keep it alive and happy. A few days later, Matt sent me a beautiful bouquet of purple flowers for our year-and-a-half-iversary, thus again proving himself to be the best boyfriend, and one of my favorite people, in the world!
I was able to get most of my furniture used, from moving grad students or a neat place called Trosa. I also went to Trader Joe's in Chapel Hill, which has an exciting and cheap selection of decent wine. Maryland does not sell alcohol anywhere but in liquor stores, so I am excited to again live in a real state, where wine is not closeted into sketchy corner stores that close on Sundays. Hurray! On Saturday, I dropped in on the Durham Farmer's Market and bought an insanely good batard, which I've been eating with jam daily. I hope to get fresh, local tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil for a matthew caprese salad at some point in the next few weeks. Besides all the delicious food, there were a few musicians around and free yoga in a nearby park. All in all, it was a feast for all the senses!
Basma and I dropped by the Duke gym, and it is gorgeous. I am excited to try out a simple and short circuit of weight machines, which I can hopefully work into my fitness routine. I've also found a pretty good jogging trail. It goes through a local park, which used to be a bird sanctuary and part of the Museum of Life and Sciences-- which means that there is a huge brontosaurus next to part of the path. I'm not joking. Go here and scroll down to "Points of Interest": the dinosaur on the right is about a 5 minute walk from my house.
On Sunday, I went to the Bike Co-op and had quite an adventure. They have a program that allows you to buy a bike for cheap-- you have to help fix it up and whatnot, but it's way less expensive than a new bike. I worked on a bike for about two and a half hours, got it ready to go, and then we decided that it was actually too small for me... Then we found a new, nearly ready bike, and got it ready to go in about 30 minutes. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot. AND, I'm now a member, so I can go back to the store to fix my bike if there are any problems. Once I get a helmet and a lock, I'll be good to go!
Orientation fills up this week, and then school starts for real next week...