1st July 2018—Sunday
Ever since I’ve decided to document my exchange using these blog posts, I have never regretted it. So many things happen every single day that there’s so much to write about, I am almost afraid my memory would fail me if I delay for even another day!!!
Today has been an amazing day. Yesterday I was only feeling anxious about traveling and not having any friends, but today I made so many new friends! They’re such awesome people and coming from all over the world—Hungary, Brazil, Belarus…
I’ll type up this quick blog post and then go grab dinner. I didn’t have dinner yesterday because I wasn’t feeling too well; just two bananas and a piece of pizza, then I went to bed. It’s funny how it’s 10.40pm now and I am still not hungry yet. In Australia when it’s like winter, I get hungry at like 5pm! The sun has just set in the UK, and I’m not hungry on long days like these anyway. My hunger always had nothing to do with what I ate before but more about the timing.
Ok wait, let me go grab it, I’ll be back.
I got the chicken pasta that I’ve got earlier on at Tesco’s from the fridge. Tesco is awesome, it has cheaper groceries heeee. Each time I visit something I am mentally psychoed into thinking its cheap when in fact it is in British pounds and I forgot to convert it back to AUD. We had gone grocery shopping earlier when we were in the city. It was a mini supermart, nothing fancy really, but we’re going to go to the bigger marts tomorrow!
Today began with a welcome brunch by the school and an introduction.
“Guys, I hope you know where’s Norwich, England isn’t all about London!” haha.
The student representatives were so helpful and friendly! Brunch was great. We were introduced to our student representative leaders over brunch and as I made my way into the dining area and sat down, I deliberately chose to sit with a different group of friends from my usual circle. Not because I liked putting myself out of my comfort zone but because I felt like I need to meet more people so that I can actually have travel buddies, the anxiety is almost killing me in my room last night. HAHHAA. As a result, I got to meet really awesome people!! I met this really nice girl who loves photography as much as I do, she and her friend from Romania; and another girl from Japan! I told her I went to Japan before and we talked and stuff. Plus another girl from Croatia, my dream location since forever. There are also so many familiar faces that I’ve seen from yesterday which I wanted to talk to!
We bonded after breakfast which was pastries, breakfast rolls, great coffee, fruit juice, tea, etc. It was great! Then it was the briefing and they gave us not only campus tips, but Norfolk tips for traveling around the city and also tips for greater England (how to get to different states, etc). Everyone’s just so lovely and helpful and nice! We played a game of bingo afterward and that was my favourite. Met so many people all at once, it’s almost like a game of speed friendship. I usually dislike bingo because it’s so basic, but I took a look down at my card and it says, “Recite a line from Shakespeare” and “been to the UK before” and I think it’s the most British bingo I have ever seen.
LOOKS FAMILIAR??? THE FILMING LOCATION FOR THE AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON FILM!!!! I can’t believe it, my exchange University is actually the filming location for the Avengers age of ultra film??? Plus Chris Evans has been here!!
After brunch was the campus tour. The weather was lovely, sunny with an average summer temperature of 18-20 degrees Celcius. It isn’t burning hot at all. So so perfect. We walked around campus, learning about the buildings and facilities and wow, the campus looks massive!
After the campus tour, I grabbed my camera and we all headed to the city. Here are some pics!
Norwich city seems small, but I am so surprised. The city was really cool and beyond my expectations! Norwich is more of a medieval, countryside place so I didn’t expect the city to have so many shops, packed together on every street, and they have everything ranging from local small businesses to big, global brands like Jack Wills and H&M. I think there were about 4-5 huge malls. There are also lots of quaint little cafes and boutiques along narrow alleyways, those are my favorite. The cafes are so unique and according to my sources, sell the best coffee. The alleyways are exactly what I’ve seen in movies, dotted with little-cobbled pavements and each boutique has its own design and style. (it’s like Singapore’s haji lane, but bigger and with more streets). The good thing is everything is within walking distance! Including the malls. I’ve got a monthly bus pass too so it’s not too troublesome to get around.
The best part is, almost every shop has a summer sale going on!!! We were so tempted to go in and buy stuff, but we were led by student ambassadors who won’t stop for a second because it’s just a really quick tour to give us an overview of the city, so I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, since I am pretty sure our money would be sucked away pretty fast if we actually did stop.
I passed by this really hugeee & cool TV & Movie store where they sell posters, merchandise and everything related!!! It got me so hyped up because I saw Thor Ragnorok posters stuck on its huge front doors and window panes. I could literally faint that IS PARADISE!! Thor and thor ragnarok are my fave movies and besides that I’m sure I can find other gold stuff like Sherlock and Doctor Strange inside. Besides Marvel, they also have Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, anything and everything you can think of!!! My friend and I wanted to jump in straightaway of course, but our group moved quickly so we decided we would come back again.
There are also a lot of cathedrals and castles, famous for its rich history and architecture.
By the way, the pigeons in the city were massive and fat and there’s a lot of them. They are my absolute nightmare!!! They walk in flocks, and act like they’re all high and mighty. I have already mentally prepared myself when I came here, yet I still ducked in fear whenever one of them swooped over my head. As usual, this act of mine never fails to crack my friends up.
Food all day was provided. This brunch was provided, and lunch was provided after as well. I was so so happy. Lunch was at this hotel in the city called Maids Head Hotel, serving really great main course and desserts, it almost looked too good to be true.
We were led into a really beautiful dining room.
I ordered the Dedham Vale beef rump, but they didn’t have it at the moment so they served me the Norfolk turkey breast which tastes just as good!!! Yum.
This really special desert down here! Don’t know what it’s called but its actually hot strawberry jam with ice cream on top so you have to eat it really fast before the ice cream melts (very quicky indeed)! A perfect blend of hot and cold.
After we’re done we headed out to the city again. To my dismay, the movie shop I’ve been raving about in my mind closed already. What a pity!!! I was so surprised because it’s only about 4.30pm! Shops close early about 3.30-4.30pm on Sundays. And I thought Australia’s 5-6pm was considered early! Ugh, I must visit it next time.
And oh! The houses here are an absolute gem. They are so pretty, I wonder how much they cost and what can I do in my life to live in one of them.
Then we headed off to a pub to watch World Cup! We went as a big group, and that was such a great bonding time. We walked we laughed as we wondered how on earth are we going to get a table for all 13 of us.
Andddddd Russia won! Unbelievable!!! It was such an exciting match, with extra time because of the draw and then Spain losing out at the last minute.
We then sat outside in the wonderful summer weather and talked about cultures and stuff. We’re all international students, and I couldn’t wish for a better group of friends. Also, many of us are born in a different country than the one we currently live in so we do have a lot to share. One of them’s born in Brazil, lives in Malaysia; and another born in the UK, lives in Australia; and I’m born in Singapore, lives in Australia. So……yeah we do have very interesting conversations!! We talked about how we didn’t like how some foreigners force their own culture down the throats of locals when they move. For example, they told the locals how to cook rice in a certain way, or even complain about the country. I mean if you really want to complain you could have just stayed in your own country. I think it’s good to introduce your culture to your international friends but its always not very nice to force your culture down their throats. There is a fine line between introducing/sharing and forcing but anyways, the main point is to respect and appreciate the culture of the country you are currently in.
My friends told me to cook chicken rendang or bakkutteh for the international food night, a night where we all bring a dish from our home country to share with others. Gosh, I’m SO BAD at cooking. Please help me hahahhaha I wish my mum was here.
It was a great day!! Although I wished I had more photographs of myself taken. I wanted to skip today for London but I’m glad I did not. My friends from Singapore are in London, and they’ve asked me to go over to visit the museums with them. I was so tempted to take a day trip, let me tell you. But I didn’t go because I’m having orientation on Monday and I didn’t wanna miss it. I was, and still am, so anxious to explore London! I have been dreaming of the city since I was a kid, could I not? To be honest, not a day goes by in Norwich where I don’t think of London. Here I am sitting in my dorm, thinking of London. HAHAHHA. It better be good.
Catch ya later!