Coming into the month of October, I have now been here more than 10 days. I have opened my bank account, done my first laundry wash (no glitches!) and started lectures.
Ironically, for all my achievements, yesterday was my first night out (past midnight!). What a night it was. It started with a China night up in Flat 29 where we were treated to real Chinese food from two very expert chefs and new friends – Channy and Catherine. The block is teeming with amazing people! They had really gone out of their way to treat us. We had fish, pork, fried rice and broccoli. My favourites were the shrimps and the potatoes. The potatoes were divine. that comes from someone who doesn’t like potatoes much! I even asked Chan for the recipe (which is here: http://www.grouprecipes.com/133278/chinese-hot,-sweet-sour-shredded-potatoes.html)
After some wine,food and frozen yoghurt with Rod (from Ukraine) and Nili (from Canada) we went to visit some course mates at their place in Roath. It was nice to get to know them and share each others tastes in funny videos and music! We went on from there to Live Lounge, where the queue was indicative of how awesome the place was.
What a difference to the clubbing scene in Malta. I appreciate the love for techno and house music in Malta, but how so much more funky is the mix of music this DJ was spinning! We had everything from Highway to Hell, to Sex on Fire, to Thrift Shop. One word – AWESOME!
3am and I felt like an Undergrad! We called a taxi, opened the door of our block, followed by that of my flat and room, changed and snuggled into bed – feeling like I was home!
I’d love to tell you more about the University experience – but there is so much to tell you, and so much improvements to my undergraduate experience that it must fit into another post!
Yesterday was National Companies Fair in the Great Hall in the Student Union. Having decided to spend the day on my own, since we had a Postgraduate Meet and Mingle, I was at first worried that I would not find my way to the Student Union from Allensbank House (where I’m staying).
I took up the challenge as I didn’t want to use the bus, and voila’ , I arrived. Moreover, I noticed some landmarks on the way which I am now associating with my new home and the cemetery doesn’t half creep me out anymore! ( I am, however, not comfortable enough as of yet to shortcut through it!)
Lidl is the final check point before entering Cathays. This is the student hub, as indicated by this massive sign as soon as you turn the street. It seems to say : This is our street, bitchez!
The Lidl here is nothing compared to the one in Malta and seems to be terribly messy, but of course, also terribly cheap! Other landmarks are a restaurant called “The Heath” (terribly original) and the Maindy barracks, apart from the aforementioned cemetry!
Another positive thing which must certainly mean I’m adapting is that I didn’t even look for the sun today! It hasn’t popped up at all these two days, and I’m getting used to it. The main problem for me is that the sky is usually an indication of the time; with this weather the sky looks excatly the same at 6am , 11am and 5.30pm! Weird!
A lesson I learnt today is that I should not go walking for long distances in a thick hoodie and a jacket. It is too hot for that. Another lesson is that using your iPod is a definate way of improving walk time – you do not see the time go by at all. I walked over 40 minutes today and felt like I did little over 20. Yay me!
Here is a photo of me being a true local – tea in the local pub!
royalty free stock image from http://www.dreamstime.com
The pavements are lined with gold
autumn leaves, soft to crunch
beneath your feet.
Lined with cushions
of soft green moss.
Today as I was walking to a new mass, in a new church, pondering about the past few days of my new adventure, I registered a clip clop clip clop. When I noticed that it was my boots, I looked down and was momentarily fascinated and weirdly inspired by the paving. The above is the result.
I can hardly believe I’m here. This is officially Day 3, but everyday seems like Day 1. There are still so many things to get used to, so many people to meet. Everything has become so familiar in one way, uncannily new in another!
The arrival here was very long, made so much more bearable by the Cardiff International Student team and the team at Liberty Living!
Mistakes were sure to be made and expectations crushed by ultra planning me, when things do not go according to plan. In this regard, a trip to Sainsbury’s and Tesco resulted in no bed linen to buy and I had to spend my first night sleeping on a simple mattress protector given to me by the lovely Student Union in the welcome pack – which I found in my apartment! This is not make for a good nights sleep!
The next day was so rainy and it matched my mood as I struggled to make my room a home, meet new people and find the right things to buy (without forgetting anything!). The one thing I learnt in these two days : do not put too much pressure on yourself! Which is the mantra I used today –a fantastic day so far! I’ve now got a lovely cozy completely unpacked room, and anything I forget – I just
Enjoy some photos here of my new place and how I’ve managed to make it mine!
Can you see the sweet Me-to-You? Would you believe that the heart pinned to his chest was printed and sewed on, by Emanuel himself! Isn’t he the cutest?
And for those who know me and my love for my very own Student Union – it’s not forgotten – look what I have attached to the bottom right hand side of my noticeboard!
Have you heard Katy Perry’s new song? Roar! I seriously love it and it is my main packing song. Makes me feel like I’m going to be my “own hero” in Cardiff! It gives me motivation and drive. Not such a fan of the video though, I’ve seen better coming from her (Wide Awake must be one of her best!)
Yesterday was family day; making the most of my family before I bugger off. It is truly amazing how much they know me because their gifts consisted of:
– A recipe book for salads! (Yum!)
– A photo frame of the whole family for my new desk with the beautiful words “Family- a patchwork of love” AND
– An OWL keychain! (squee)
We went to Il-Veduta restaurant in Mdina/Rabat and the food there is always lovely. It is a special place for my family because my grandfather used to love it. It was also the place where my Dad let us know he was leaving to Bahrain for a brilliant opportunity that gave so much to each member of our family! The view from the restaurant is another magnificent plus, hence the Maltese name of the restaurant ‘Veduta’ meaning view in English!
A great night to treasure during any lonely nights in Cymru!
Patch was a surprising present from Emanuel about a year ago. He had gone into a toy shop to buy some material for his art and he came across this cute dog with droopy ears. On instinct he bought it for me and was named Patch. In the beginning he came with us everywhere, on trips to the beach, the spa and even as far as Gozo. Of late, he has been taking residence on the other side of my double bed.
The big dilemma for me came the other day. Should he stay with me, or stay here in Malta? Having to explain to my room mates the need to carry a soft toy may be silly, but on the other hand, it’s an item from my old room and a gift from Emanuel, which I can keep close to me. Therefore, Patch has already entered my luggage, looking up at me with glee at the prospect of a new adventure! ^ ^
Favourite items of mine, stemming from my participation in the University Student Council (KSU) is owls.
I have 2 statuettes (one glass, one bronze), a couple of jewellery pieces, a mug, and teapot and bookmarks. My plan was to take up the tea-pot but it is too bulky to carry in my suitcase. Still wanting to take something owl-y, I have opted to carry my KSU logo badge.
In this way, I have an owl and I am taking a chunk of my old university with me to my new University 😀
Its 1pm and my lights are on. On a regular day in Malta, even in the middle of Winter, this does not happen. However this is not a regular day. Around the first week of September the weather in Malta nose-dives and freaks out for a couple of days. People expect it and in fact, a thunderstorm has been in the forecast for a couple of days now. The great thing about our tiny island, is that it is often a hit or miss. The storm could pass us by and travel through the sea or , on another day, it could reach our island and cause havoc. Today is that day.
The weather is still hot, in fact a lovely 25°C. In just a couple of hours the sun will come out again, and it will be as if nothing had happened. I know that this will be different in Cardiff. I have to get used to days without the sun making an appearance. It will take getting used to; the grey skies and clouds, and the endless drizzle.
One positive thing about Cardiff is that the humidity (which is about 98% in Malta), is relatively low and therefore it is easier to feel warm in clothes and inside. In Malta, due to having houses to manage the heat, we fail to retain warmth. The humid cold enters your bones and one can never feel warm, even by the fireplace. The worst thing about the humidity though is this:
This will be different in my place of residence hopefully, due to central heating. Can’t wait for cosy cuddly nights of warmth!