For The Record

Heyyy friends~ So. It’s been exactly one month since I came to the UK! Milestone! The month actually turned out pretty well so, much pleased. ^.^ Need to update y’all and share my joys huehue. Maaay be a bit of a long-ish, touch-and-go post because there are just so many things to update onnn. So yeah. Ok leggo.

Flat Family

As of today, there are six of us in all, all present and correct. There’s Ryan and Vicki and Shawn and then Krystal and Ruth came to join us later. Krystal’s from Hong Kong so she’s a fab cook haha. Ruth is from Singapore (yay fellow Singaporean!) and she was so relieved to have met me because she was so tired of speaking in proper sentences all the time (Singlish ftw). We’re teaching Ryan and Shawn bits of Singlish because they think it’s cool lol. So far, we have imparted walao and aiyah and sian but they’re tone’s all wrong so win some, lose some.

Our flat is seriously the cutest flat ever and honestly such a godsend. We were pretty tight from the start and we’re already pretty much a (flat) family (awww). We subscribed to our local supermart’s online grocery delivery service to have food sent to our residence every week and I don’t know why but getting groceries together and sharing food gives me much family feels. Legit family yo.

It was Vicki’s birthday the first week and the flat sprung a surprise for her. We pretended we forgot/didn’t know it was her birthday and we didn’t wish her at all the whole day, then we went and baked her a cake in the evening. We even hung up a ‘happy birthday’ banner and got her a card but we didn’t get her a present because we didn’t really know her very well yet. Shawn wanted to get her a heart-shaped ‘I love you’ balloon because “won’t you be happy getting a ‘I love you’ balloon?” Ryan and I stopped him though, because we were grocery shopping (manually before we got our delivery service) and we weren’t going to carry a balloon around. The cake turned out to be super flat but since it was from the flat. Flat cake flatcake. Yay.

Then we headed to York for a day trip the second weekend! It was loads of fun because it was a free and easy kind of thing so we didn’t have to rush to places. We just moseyed around and took touristy shots. We went on tour around York Minster which was gorgeous and I got some really pretty postcards there. Then we went to the York Castle Museum and then Ryan and I went up to the Clifford Tower. The view is amazing. So much medieval feels. Weather was something else though. It would drizzle and then the sun would come out for photo taking and the wind just blew us around the whole day. Wind ruined my hair, ruined my photos. Why wind why. Cold.

Currently, only five of us are present in the flat because Krystal is out frolicking in Bath and Exeter with another flat family friend and being a proper tourist. The rest of us went for the volleyball open day last week just to try out. We all had basic volleyball skills so that’s good. Ruth, Shawn and I called quits after the first hour. We came back with bruised wrists. Ryan was fine though. He had been playing about 6 months back. The last I played was probably 12.

Oh, we also bond over music! Ryan knows ukulele and how to harmonize in thirds so that’s very helpful for group singing haha. He takes a part, I take a part and the rest take the melody so we have at least three singing parts and dang, we sound good. Shawn’s not very up to date with pop music though so it’s pretty sad that he can’t sing along. He’s a good sport though. He’ll try to give us beats and eat ice cream while listening to us. And we all learnt how to do the cup song rhythm from ‘Pitch Perfect’. Using our rice cooker measuring cups. And our recycled yoghurt cups.

Yeah, I’ve contributed my rice cooker to the kitchen since five of us are Asians so it makes sense. We have family dinners sometimes. Ryan and Krystal are so into cooking, they’ll marinate meat and cook veggies and everything. Ruth and Shawn and I will contribute the only way we know how: cleaning up after.

We’re also growing expired garlic aka the garlic growing sprouts in our kitchen. We just toss them into the yoghurt cups filled with soil and hope for the best.

Love my flat fam so much. ❤

School

School is really beautiful. It really is. I feel so at home in it already. When I first went, though, the British majority was kind of intimidating. Because you don’t see that many British people walking around back home. I felt as if I got sucked into a movie or something. After a while, I got used to it, and I feel at home now. They’re pretty nice, and I like the way they speak so well. It’s a bit tiring to have to speak in complete sentences and I always have to think twice to make sure I can complete my sentence once I start, but they’re so articulate it’s great.

My workload here is more than my workload back home. Mostly it’s because I have to prepare for seminars, with the secondary readings and questions and all that. I never had to do that back home unless it was presentation week or something. So now I actually have homework. But it’s ok, still manageable. A bit on the heavy side but I don’t mind. #nerd

The professors are really nice, they’re so earnest and passionate about what they’re teaching. I love. They’re my superheroes. When I want to grow up, I want to be like them.

I’m taking four modules this semester. My absolute favourite one is the one about the New Testament because we get an optional supplementary class in Greek just to get the nuances of translation and stuff. Language classes are funn. It’s pretty basic, no exams or anything so no pressure, just an additional thing the professor is willing to do just to help us understand the NT that much better. Currently my favourite class. Starts at 9 in the morning though sighs. Oh wells.

On the other hand, the course is challenging me a bit because I’m now taking something I’ve always regarded as the gospel truth, which my whole life is based upon, as a piece of literature, history, written and recorded by man. By consequence, that brings in a lot of new angles to the table, a lot of new interpretations which are plausible but don’t sit well with me because it just lacks the assumption of God’s goodness and character. There are so many ways to be doubtful and skeptical about God’s word, so many assumptions based on tone and word choice (half of which is probably mangled by translation anyway) and context and audience. The professors are good in that they are completely objective and I don’t expect anything more (or less) since it’s a secular course and everything but they’re raising questions without giving me answers to justify God, or in this case, Paul. So it’s a new experience which I’m relishing and still trying to pick my way through. Some commentaries though. -.- way off.

I came here with great expectations for my Broadway class. Maybe that’s why I’m a little disappointed now. It’s a one hour lecture a week class without seminars or tutorials so that’s great because I’m pretty filled up studying for the other mods but it also means we can’t really do anything in-depth. Too little time. The professor will just let us hear snippets of music and then go on about history and context and stuff. I bought three textbooks for this course and I haven’t even read them because I’m busy studying for the other courses. It’s sad that I can neglect this course like that without repercussions. Good and bad, I suppose.

The other course that’s new to me is my Religion and Politics course. It’s a bit political science-y which I realize is quite deep and theoretical. I like it and I’m trying to get it as best as I can but I still don’t really know what’s expected of me, in assignments and things. I don’t even know if I know stuff. But yes, very interesting and anthropological.

The last course is my Interpreting Drama course which has some interesting core texts (maybe I’ll r&r those another time) but not so interesting lectures which is sad. Different lecturers take different texts though so maybe it’ll get better. My seminar tutor is great, she’s a live wire and really sweet but my seminar group is still a bit awkward pausey even though they’ve got great ideas which I’m very excited to hear about.

And yes, I’m contributing in seminars! It’s not a lot but I’m quite proud of myself anyways. I think it’s the culture, how students will actually answer the tutor and stuff and how there’s no ‘lose face’ stigma that makes it easier to contribute. Yay level up~

Club Activites

The school has this thing where all the clubs and societies have try out open days for the new students or anyone who’s interested and they’re running this programme until next month. I went for a few open days the past two weeks for a bit of a look-see. So many things to dooo.

The first I went to was table tennis which was disappointing. I went and all we did was rally at a table. That’s it. Honestly. Well, I did make a friend so that’s cool but still. Nope.

Then I went for a gospel choir thing and it was a great place to just let loose and sing with a whole bunch of people. Haven’t sung in so long and haven’t sung so loudly. We were singing ‘Wade in the Water’ in parts and the choir had such a lovely sound. The student conductor was a really charming and talented third year and she taught us songs in parts in the most efficient way I’d ever seen. It made me wonder back on all those wasted sectionals poring over music scores back in my secondary school choir days. She just read the notes, sang the line through for the different sections and taught everyone. We covered three songs, albeit not difficult ones, in parts, in two hours. Genius. I was really impressed. But it was very choir-y and I felt like I didn’t really want to join choir again. I wanted something new. Nevertheless, impressed. Why are people so talented.

The third one I went to was the Musical Theatre one and I really enjoyed myself there. We played really fun ice-breakers (which is a rare thing for me to say because I don’t like ice-breakers) and we learnt a song in parts and then we did blocking (ooo yay learnt a new technical term). Blocking just means working out the actions to accompany the song so a hint of acting. It was fun though. Song in parts plus blocking is like a full course meal. It just seems more complete that way. Actions do make a difference and I had fun doing that. Musical standard not as high as the gospel choir but much fun. Still considering if I should join this club. I don’t mind having just a small back up part. I think being in a big production is still awesomes. Also made a friend here so yay friend plus one.

Yep, then there was the volleyball one which I went with the flat fam. It was ok but I’m not that dedicated a sportsy person so probably going to pass that up.

I missed two try outs this week because the hype of trying out stuff is wearing out and I’m so lazy to go back outside in the evenings when I’m already inside. I missed a Jazz band rehearsal and a opera choir thing. Didn’t feel like going so whatevs.

There’s only one upcoming tryout left I’m going for and that’s the acapella one in March. I’m going with Ryan. That kid can really sing, he’s really musical. He should just become famous already.

Chinese New Year

Spending Chinese New Year away from home didn’t turn out to be that bad after all. I actually had a great time.

Some club in school actually organised a CNY thing, kind of like a super-mini CNY fair where we cut out paper patterns and do some calligraphy stuff. I cut out a paper lantern and the word “春” (Spring), had my name calligraphed for me, calligraphed (more like tracing over the dotted lines) the word “福” (prosperity) and had a go transferring smarties from one bowl to the other using chopsticks. Also stuffed my face with fortune cookies (which are not even Chinese but I’m not complaining. Cookies~). It was fun, I rather liked it although I had expected more food.

Highlight of CNY celebrations was the steamboat the other Singaporean girls from my school organised. Five of us had a steamboat dinner in their apartment and it was loads of fun. Their steamboat was kind of like an oversized kettle so it was a bit small but it was fine. I brought my rice cooker over and some frozen dumplings and stuff. We ate and we watched “Goosebumps” which was a bit of a Disney channel-ish horror movie. Haha no Stephen Chow Jackie Chan replays this year. Then we played this awesome family game called “Fibbage” It was a ball. Had a really wonderful time with the CNY feels. 🙂 Much blessed.

Church

Currently attending the Chinese church’s English service. The crowd’s mostly students and all from the Singapore/Malaysia region soo much Singlish. It’s a pretty small church and I’m still trying to get myself comfortable here. The people are really nice though. They’re really tight and it’s a great community.

Everything Else

Cooking my own meals for now and it’s working out ok. When I first started though, the planning and shopping was a little daunting. Now that that’s settled some, I worry about getting fat because no exercise implemented so far.

I’ve never had Matthew 6:25-34 applied so squarely to my life before. Never had to worry about meals, or about whether I’ve enough clean clothes to wear or about my body. It was pretty timely that this passage came up in the sermon my first Sunday here. Also very encouraging.

My friend came over from another part of the UK to spend a day with me in the third weekend so I dragged her around museums and malls and cooked her dinner. We shared music and raved about Broadway for a bit, just like how we used to in music class. And, I dunno, I realize how much I miss this, sharing good music and discussing favourite singers. My past life. Oh, and I bought the most adorable finger puppet from the museum. He’s a little prince and he’s such a darling. I made him a bed out of bookmarks.

This is slightly (quite) unrelated but I just want to rave about it anyway. I dreamt of Harvey Korman~ Something upset me in the dream, I can’t even remember what I was being upset about. All I remember was Harvey offering me his arm and being all “there there” in a very comforting way and I was like ‘I’m never ever letting go of Harvey Korman’s arm’. Yeah. Ok, that’s it. I just want to put this somewhere so that I won’t forget. Moving on.

Need to catch up on writing everywhere now that I’m kind of on time with my study schedule.

Shopping therapy in view! There’s some vintage clothing sale this weekend. Heading for that yay.

Booked my tickets for the “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”coming in March! Hyped for that. Such a fun musical. Stoked. 😀

Lastly, practising my ukulele with a passion. Oh yas.

So that’s my first month away from home as a study abroad student. Still very fine and dandy and honeymoon-ish. Already feel like I’ll miss it here when it’s time to leave boohoo. But gonna make the most of it and have a blast. Essays and assignments are actually coming soon so I’ll be taking a crack on those soon yikes. For noww, I will be replying all the lovely snail mail I’ve gotten thus far~

Hugs 🙂

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