Monthly Archives: October 2005

Pure vanilla?


Sport, or lack thereof

At last update I was indulging in Ultimate, but I’ll probably be dropping that. They train on Sundays, but I usually can’t make it for the outdoor training because of church, so I figured it wasn’t worth it to turn up only for the indoor sessions.

I’m usually feeling really lazy on Sunday evenings, anyway. (Plus, they screen movies at that timeslot! Who knows what wonderful shows I might miss!)

That leaves only one activity I joined the AU for – karting.

I’ve been to two events so far, both at the same track. It’s a small indoor course, not really much to speak of actually, but great for a beginner like me to get into the hang of things. For £5 and £7 (discounted prices for the first two sessions) it can be considered a real bargain, even if each session lasted only about 15 minutes.

I’m not very good at it yet, slowly improving, but I think it’s great fun. There’s just something about the adrenaline rush when you’re behind the wheel and going at speeds of up to about 64km/h. Not a particularly impressive figure I guess, but aiyah… it’s just really fun lah. Kinda like playing Daytona, except that you’re really moving and experiencing the centrifugal force and stuff like that.

It’s like the ultimate racing game. That you don’t get killed playing, anyway.

I suppose I’ll get my exercise from jogging. Was supposed to go today, but somehow I got dragged into queueing for tickets to Nottingham with some seniors.

(Seniors? Juniors? It’s strange when you don’t know where exactly to classify the second year girls, but I guess that’s a thought for another time.)

Pride and Prejudice

I can be such an elitist.

Earlier I’d gone for this Psychology social but was feeling quite tired so ended up hanging around a small group of Asians somehow. With people from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan speaking in their weird (to me) accents, I just wasn’t very comfortable somehow.

It’s like I actually look down on them for their ‘poor speech’. But later I thought about it awhile and decided, who am I to judge, when the locals probably think the same about my Singaporean accent?

As though to illustrate this point, when I got back home (nearly ten) I saw a couple of housemates having dinner. “Late dinner, huh?” I asked, pointing at one of their dishes. The owner of that dish looked quite offended and replied, “Yeah, fish and cheese fries, why?”

I was rather confused for awhile (had I made a cultural boo-boo by gesturing at his food or something?) when another housemate helped clarify the issue – I’d said late dinner, not lame dinner. The offended party relaxed almost immediately.

Culinary delight

I’ve cooked for myself twice since my last post, and it’s been progressing in difficulty. The first time was a simple vegetable stir-fry (teppanyaki-style mushrooms and beansprouts), the second (today) was stir-fried black pepper beef.

(Yes, I like stir-fry. It’s nice and not too oily, something like a compromise between boiling and deep-frying.)

Only took pictures of the vegetable dish, because it was crowded when I was cooking beef today and it’s kinda embarrassing taking pictures of your food in front of your housemates, yah?

The beef didn’t turn out too well anyway. Cooked it for too long, was rather tough in the end. Crap. I guess my food’s rather bland since I don’t use many sauces and seasonings, but somehow I rather like it that way, because I don’t particularly like over-salty stuff anyway, and it’s just easier to cook.

So I went grocery-shopping today, and was looking to buy prawns. They’re pretty expensive here, so I was about to give them a miss after seeing the price for one packet (£4.49 in this case) when I noticed the 2 for £5 deal. A little voice in my head was going, “FIFTY ONE PEE FOR A SECOND PACKET! Never mind that it’s too much prawn to finish in five days, BUY NOW THINK LATER!”

And so now, after having saved £3.98 due to my eagle eyes and quick calculation, I now have to dump one packet of prawns on somebody. Anybody. Joy (Singaporean coursemate who lives really nearby) expressed interest in buying prawns, but she said she’s really picky about her prawns. Sigh. Hopefully I can dump them on her.

A quiet Sunday

This morning was my first in church for oh-so-long. I’ve been in a confused state about religion for the longest time, and before leaving I’d decided that I should really take this time to finally sort out where I really lie. It’s a little too early to tell, but I think I’ve started on the path toward reconciliation with God. Somehow, somewhen.

Afternoon was a walk to a nearby pub with three housemates, we’d originally planned to have roast for lunch. Unfortunately we were a little late and ended up eating normal burgers and stuff. It was nice, though, especially since I haven’t been interacting with them very much. Think I’m getting along with one of the guys just fine, so at least there’s someone I can call on just next door.

Evening was dinner with three other Singaporeans, where one girl did a simple pasta dish and i whipped up a repeat of my (infamous) omelette. I’ve cooked just twice so far in the UK – both times omelette. It’s quite good actually, but c’mon, how far off can you go with omelette? I think I’ve been getting on really well with the Singaporeans so far, which is great, but I keep getting these flashes in my head reminding me of how cliquish foreigners tended to be in Singapore and how I seem to be headed right down that path. Hmm.

In about 15 minutes I’ll be off to my first game of Ultimate (aka Ultimate Frisbee). I wasn’t too into it initially but I’d realised that I wasn’t gonna get a lot of exercise here if I don’t join anything physical, and Ultimate seemed to be a pretty fun way to get that.

I’m supposed to be reading my textbook in preparation of upcoming lectures this week, but somehow it’s still shrink-wrapped. Hopefully I’d be reading it sometime later or tomorrow, otherwise it seems that I’m headed toward the same old style I’d adopted toward schoolwork back at home.

My day in a nutshell. Nice, idyllic, pretty fun. Quite indicative of my average day at York thus far, I think.

My room

I don’t know what the fuss is all about, but a lot of people have been asking what my room looks like. So, well, here it is.

Today was fresher’s fair so I got a couple of free posters (of Episode III, which I’d vaguely liked) and so they’re now decorating my previously-bare notice board in the room.

Along with the posters were some other stuff like a free condom (!!!) and some little badge promoting safe sex. These amuse me quite a bit because the Students’ Union kept harping on and on about the issue when we first came.

Now, since Anakin was obviously hardly a fan of the condom, I thought that perhaps Lord Vader would be a great poster boy for family planning (having changed his allegiances by the end of Episode III).

So, yo, don’t be a fool, wrap your tool!

Also of considerable interest has been the size of my toilet. I got an en suite (with personal toilet) room and as it turns out, it’s the room for the disabled! So I get an ultra-large toilet which is about the same size as my room. In fact I’d left my suitcase in there for awhile before realising that it’ll get in the way when the toilet’s being washed. So, under my bed it now is.

Funnily enough when people first come to my room they spend much of their time gawking into it. It’s really weird when the highlight of your accommodation is your toilet, but. Oh well.

It’s amusing to watch.

London 21

London was… unmemorable. Sadly. Maybe it was just that I didn’t plan my to-do list properly, but I don’t particularly regret having not chosen UCL, aside for the fact that I don’t have any of my old friends close by. Just a week after having reached there, there wasn’t particularly a lot of stuff I was interested in doing there, so it was actually good that I was headed off for York. Thankfully I didn’t come over two weeks before term started like originally planned.

I must thank Allan for meeting me at the London airport to help with my luggage and guide me into town. I was quite confused when I’d first arrived, it was great to have someone to help out. It actually wasn’t as tough as I’d thought, but yeah when everything is new it’s kinda overwhelming, simple or not.

Well, it happened that my birthday was the day I left London for York, so a few of the councillors met the night before kinda to celebrate my 21st. It was a quiet affair, with dinner at a Korean restaurant followed by cake-cutting at Xianna’s. It was great to see everyone there, especially Zhao Qing who I haven’t seen for more than a year.

The actual birthday started with a simple brunch with Mei Ling and her boyfriend, who’d provided me with accommodation at their flat (which they shared with a few other people) for the week. More people I need to thank, for letting me disrupt their life just so I could save (a heck lot of money) on lodging.

After which it was off to York. Just like that, my 21st had somehow gone by. It was hardly unexpected, and I don’t think I could realistically wish for anything more, and yet it was… disappointing. After seeing some of the stuff others had, and having helped planned some stuff for people previously, it’s kinda tough to accept that yours was just… like that.

But like I’ve said, I don’t think I could have hoped for anything better. Thank you, everyone who tried. It’s much appreciated.

WTF is this York place anyway?

So I leave for the UK today. I’ve not finished packing, and am somewhat worried about that, but otherwise I’m rather numb to the whole thing already. I guess it’s just that I’ve been waiting too long for this day.

When I tell people that I’m headed to the University of York for my degree, the usual reaction is a blank stare. Worse still is the response, “York University, isn’t that in Canada?”


The truth is, just a few years ago I’d have been one of those vacant-eyed zombies myself, since I’d never heard of York prior to university applications either.

So where exactly is York? A quick look at the Lonely Planet map of England shows its geographical location – somewhere in the mid-eastern part of Britain. Beyond superficial details such as this, well truthfully I know very little about the place. Aside from the general pace of life and… stuff like that.

But I guess I’ll be finding out soon enough, huh?

I’ve been checking out the map of the campus and this less-than-pretty college map and unless i’ve got my bearings wrong, I think I’ve located my future accomodation.

It’s like, located right beside the Psychology department! That makes me rather happy, with visions of waking up 5min before lessons start. Fine, maybe 10min’s a more realistic dream. But anyway, it’s got a pretty good location, relatively central, next to the lake (which might be bad from the stories I’ve heard regarding bird droppings), near the sports centre… Yay.

Eight more days before I actually get there though, first up is my London mini-vacation. For one whole week I shall be sponging off others and (hopefully) just enjoying myself before heading north to embark on my studies.

Brr. Studies. For almost three years I’ve been waiting for this, and yet when it finally approaches, there is this feeling of trepidation. Ironic, isn’t it?