Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thriller Night

Happy Halloween! It was great being able to celebrate it instead of picturing what it would be like in the books. In any case, I was not expecting trick-or-treats. The celebration started the day before, when we got ourselves some pumpkins and had them carved. The results were terrific. Don't they seem to stare straight through you?

Boo! Halloween Pumpkins!
We decided to have our own little flat party, with proper dress-ups. Mine was really last minute. All I did was put on a jacket, borrowed a convenient witch's hat and cape that two flatmates had and voila! That aside, there's a devil, an angel, a zombie school girl, dead guy, killed assassin and creepy masked man. That's not the whole of our flat so I'll give a proper introduction another time.
Dressing up!
Our initial plan was to pay a visit to the flat downstairs but decided after a while that it'll be just as fun celebrating it in our kitchen. There's the pumpkins, the music from the laptop, food and drinks. Well, most of the food was candy.

One of my flatmates said that the night seemed surreal. I've got to agree with that although it was scarily so. That's besides the fact that we were dressed up to look like characters from fantasy. And the fact that we mimicked a puppet video from Youtube. It could be because we went visiting other flats and had people visiting us.

Oh, and a smart cat found the right flat to gain pity from. It was curious how it just turned up out of nowhere. No pets are allowed, so we let it go after feeding Samantha (as was named) some ham and milk. She was curiously clean and pretty, with a pair of green eyes. And she was black. Adds to the Halloween chill, doesn't it? A thriller night it was.

Today we didn't do much until dinner time. We ordered take-away (pizza this time) as we normally do on Sundays and had them while watching a science fiction horror movie, 'Event Horizon'. I realised that I must have watched a  part of it before. Somewhere in my memory I remembered a scene where the (mad) scientist told them about his ship that can teleport. Chilly. Thriller night it was.

PS. One of my flatmates proposed that someone could be sleepwalking because the kitchen was in a mess this morning. Most believe someone had one glass too much. Oh well.

And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller
~Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'~

Friday, October 29, 2010

To go exploring.

Norwich cathedral overlooking market
Walking down the streets of Norwich - it's quite exciting, actually. I had less time constraints but still had some things to buy. First and foremost, I got my new phone! It is the black version of my previous one (I hope whoever took my phone gets spammed by nightmares).  Anyhow, I was still disconnected in terms of communication today because there was some sort of delay in the network connection to the phone company, or so they explained to me when I got back.

On the down side, I couldn't call a friend who was supposed to join me, it was lovely not getting calls or text messages while exploring the city centre again. I've gone through the market place again. In the afternoon, unlike when I last went, it is bustling with people swarming the stalls. Fruits, flowers, Chinese takeaway, Fish and Chips, Craft stores and there's even one selling ribbons!

I even found an actual website for the market here.

Royal Arcade, where there are rows of shops... this

Though not as many as the pubs or churches, there are several malls within walking distance of each other. To get to the Castle Mall from Chapelfield Shopping Centre, I had to go through the Royal Arcade, which is basically a little walkway with more shops displaying their goods on the side.

Some shops I remember seeing during my 'mini-journey' are some shops selling candy, chocolate, vintage clothings, mustard, marmalade and teddy bears (as in, the sort you can 'make-your-own').

As the photo says.

The next time I come I must visit the Castle, which is now a museum. It should be fun, but I had to get a coat. What I got was pretty warm and comfortable as well.

The entrance
Note to self: More time needed to go exploring.

The castle from a different location


Thursday, October 28, 2010

No clouds and no worries

I like it here. I really do. And that dreadful rainy (imaginary) cloud has left me alone. 

I got good feedback from people about my poems. That gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. It made me want to jump up in glee and walk with a spring in each step. I almost did (with a grin on my face) and had to control myself to avoid looking funny.

For a flatmate's birthday we celebrated it at a campus club event called 'Skool Daze' where we had to dress up in school uniform. Three of us are not drinkers, and thank goodness my flatmates are very considerate when it comes to that. Anyway, it was a new and different experience. Not something I would go for often but it was fun.
Apart from that, I have to admit now that I was never too sure what Fresher's Flu was. So I looked it up on the web:

The fried rice I cooked: Delicious!

"Fresher’s Flu is the slang name given to illnesses that are suffered by new students at university in the first few weeks (the fresher’s weeks)." Also the term is unique to the British. For more information check here. Apparently it's caused by stress of studies, being independent and struggling to find new friends, along with an unhealthy diet, excessive smoking or drinking and being in a crowded place.

I'm glad I'm not a victim of that. In fact, I haven't even had a cold (I'm tapping on my wooden table now because winter is coming). I've been cooking almost every day (deciding on what to eat is harder than cooking) and generally I feel good.

Tomorrow I'll be going into the city centre to get some shopping done. Then there will be no clouds and no worries.
PS. Sent a letter home today. I do miss home, still.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

'Like a Virgin'

I didn't know what I was doing when I signed up for the 'Like a Virgin' Open Mic Event. I'm not the sort to speak before a room of unfamiliar faces. The silence while I do so in front of an audience meddles with my mind sometimes; it makes me imagine that people are judging. Probably from a not-so-good experience I once had in high school (I didn't like my English teacher that year).

Anyway, I wasn't part of the first ten people who signed up, but my name was one of the five that was pulled out from the hat after the closing date. I wanted to write a poem for it but with the amount of work I had over the weekend, an old poem of mine seemed good enough.

My flatmates asked me to practice once before them, which was very nice (Did I mention that I love being in this flat?). I had a nervous smile on my face as I walked towards the Grad Bar.

On the way I bumped into other Creative Writing members who told me a 'teeny-weeny' thing that I didn't see on the event page online - we have ten minutes each. Ten! One poem would not cut it unless it is an epic poem. Thank goodness I had my book of poems with me! I was going to leave it behind at first but brought it for no apparent reason. Luck, maybe? 

The waiting was the scariest bit. Plus, the performers were really good. There was a lot of poetry, some prose, even singing. I remember trying to calm myself down as Amanda (we met in the society) tried to convince me that it will be alright.

Eleven people later, it was my turn. It felt like a short time although I was later told that the timing was alright and the pace was okay - I didn't speed up with anxiety or anything. Four poems, and I think it went well. The mic was in place, the faces staring at me were relaxed and the atmosphere was casual.

In the end, I recited Take One Thing Past the Pearly Gates, Why Won't You Tell Him That You Care, No Roses For Her and Fate's Coin. You can tell that most of the time, coming up with impressive titles is not for me.

After that I felt much better. In fact, it was great! I might sign up for the next one in November if I pluck up my courage once again. By then, I'm no virgin in open mic events no more.
This is NOT St Andrews Hall. :) It's St Giles Street, I believe.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bad Stroke of Luck

I'm having a fairly bad stroke of luck lately. I've been locked out of my room not once but twice in the same week. A mistake, I admit, on my part since most of the time my natural reflex after getting up is to go to the kitchen and not to take the key. The cleaner was still around, thank goodness, so both the situations ended well. There's a problem with my debit card, which is being solved over the weekend. That, however, means that I have to postpone the payment for the Nottingham Games, and that of my phone plan.

Something sinister is happening, isn't it?

On the bright side, my flatmates and I went to the city centre today to get whatever we needed. I didn't manage to get all of what I was looking for but hopefully by Wednesday I can get it all done. So far the 'sinister situations' that have happened to me are still tolerable but this gives me more things to worry about and do.

Tomorrow, I have to sit down and get most of my essay on Keats done. And write a poem for the 'Like a Virgin Open Mic' for new creative society members next Monday. Hopefully. I suppose I could get one of my old ones out if no creative juices come to me.

Till then, I hope my luck turns soon. It seems that most unfortunate events that happened to me don't stay that way.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book addict

Today was a good day. Not because I had to roll out of bed so early in the morning for an appointment. Not because I had to walk around feeling like an ice cube sliding across the pavement. Not because I haven't decided on what I should write for my essays. Not because my phone has been missing for a week. Not because the card reader for my online banking is annoying me.

At the end of the day, I went to the post room to collect a parcel I have been waiting for. There was something about it that seemed like a present even though I already knew what the contents were. It's probably the fact that everything inside would be new, so new that imaginary sparkles might burst out from the seams.

It is definitely like a Christmas present - 8 books for my course to last me the term. I'm going to have to impose self-control now because the online deals were pretty good and I get them delivered for free!
Okay, so Christina Rossetti's anthology was a splurge but it wasn't that expensive. Furthermore, I find her lyrical style charming, seemingly simple but with a deeper message within each poem. That's a quality I adore in written works. Plus, she's my favourite poet.

That aside, the rest are classics I am meant to read before certain weeks. For now they are taking the austerity out of my shelves. I am a book addict, like many others out there. Don't you just love books? It feels wonderful just flipping through the pages, the smell of the parchment punctuating the air, sending you into a different world.

Good day. It's been a good day.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

For My Brother, Age 15

Hi Vincie! This is for you!

I miss playing PS2 games and watching Naruto with you.

I don't miss the Chinese lessons but that was just a short moment in our lives. 

Now that PMR is over, I think you're in a gleeful mood.

I know that you can achieve what you want if you want it, so reach beyond the stars.

I'll be calling you soon. Have fun turning and being 15.

Says your sister from across the seas.
Happy Birthday! :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


"Oh look, look!" My friend pulled me to the side and pointed at a bicycle stand. Perched on it was a brown bird with red plumage. "It's a robin." She said, "That means winter is coming."

I don't need a robin to inform me that winter is coming. I can feel it. Everybody can feel it. The evenings are chillier than usual; even my flatmates who are locals agree. Since three days ago the temperature seems to be dropping bit by bit; each time somewhat faster than I can adapt to the weather.

This is not my photo: Found it on Google.

I'm slightly pleased by the fact that it has not been raining so much, with occasional sunshine in the morning.

"Oh my, this year's winter is expected to be as bad as last year's." One of my flatmates told me as he read through the newspaper.

"So did you come here to experience the coldest winter ever, Rachael?" Another asked.

I thanked them for such 'comforting' news although it is scary to imagine myself locked up in my room with ten layers on me as I read a book beside the heater. If this is utterly freezing for me now then December would be hell (I'm using this because the paradox is amusing). The idea of a White Christmas is exciting (I can soon sing my favourite Christmas carol and mean it) but I certainly did not come to get frostbites.

Also, I used to feel a little sad that my flatmates would all probably go home for the Christmas holidays while I remain in Norwich. Now I'm certain that there are students who share my plight - I've met up with a bunch of Malaysians for an Asian dinner, most of which would be lingering around the area come winter.

Anyway, for my sake, it's probably best if I stop talking about the weather now since I'll be walking out the door soon.

PS. I've looked up on the 'robin' on the internet and it turns out that robins are around all year so the fact above might not be true.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

And as the Years Go By

I'm starting to feel more comfortable here, thanks to once new faces who have become familiar with time. For one, it is unusual to see an empty kitchen in the evening. In fact, today was the first time and that was shocking. By night, however, there would always be a crowd sitting around the table.

There are also people from various societies and, though still few, course mates. Last night I watched 'Toy Story 3' with someone from the Creative Writing Society. If you don't already know, I love Pixar and think that they make the greatest animated films ever. After growing up with the first two movies, the sequel is a treat. Woody is my favourite character, by the way.

I'm glad that the humour is fresh and comes at moments you'd least expect it to. Then there are the moments which got straight to my soft heart, especially the ending. I found it strangely coincidental that while Andy (the owner of the toys) left for college, I'm in no different position myself.

So you might be thinking...did I just say I went to watch a movie? On a weekday? After two weeks in the UK? Now I shall mention that there is a huge poster in every kitchen listing down every event for the Autumn semester, from parties to movies and certain important events in the university. That's not including any events in the city centre.

I'm alright for now. No Fresher's Flu too!

Walking back on a rainy day.

And as the years go by
Our friendship will never die
You're gonna see
It's our destiny
You've got a friend in me
~You've Got a Friend in Me, Toy Story soundtrack~

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chicken Rice

Chicken Rice Meal
Look! I didn't blow up the kitchen!

After days and days of craving Malaysian food, I've whipped myself some chicken rice. I did need to go on several shopping trips before I could officially start experimenting with culinary art.

I think I did alright, especially with the chicken. The rice was a little wetter than usual; perhaps it's supposed to be that way? Oh well, at least it's edible and it smelt so good that, as it was cooking, my stomach rumbled.

Basically it's rice cooked with garlic, onion and chicken stock, steamed chicken and vegetables with soya sauce. All of which are on matching plates! There's Tropical Fruit Punch in my cup.

Home cooked meals would surely beat microwaved ones. Pre-made food are not exactly healthy. but for students how easy it is to only press some buttons to have hot food. Nonetheless, I'm trying to keep a balance - I can't keep eating packeted meals for the sole purpose of survival.

We live to eat, not the other way around. Don't you agree?

Cooking is not as tiring as washing up. I hope I have the willpower to cook my own meals again. It would help if scrubbing up everything is not necessary.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fire Alarm!

First thing our lecturer asked us in our introductory lecture yesterday was this: "If someone asks you what the first thing that happened to you this morning is, what would you say?" It had something to do with context but that's not the point.

So WHAT happened first thing this morning?

The fire alarm went off. Not an unusual thing actually, because other accommodation have had their alarms blaring at them several times a week. That was how some people, unfortunately, first got to know their flatmates. In their pajamas and sleeping gowns, with hair frizzled and eyes drooped. Let's not forget that it is pretty cold here.

Thank goodness that was not the case for me.

Anyway, we stumbled out of bed the moment that alarm went off. At least we know that it works, and works well too. My first thought was, "Who didn't close their bathroom door when showering?!!" since we were warned that steam can set it off.

Residents of two houses were forced out of their beds onto the cold village street, all tired and definitely not at our best. Many must have been far away in Nod Land. Many just ran out in whatever they had on. I pity those who weren't in long trousers as even I was shivering. We're lucky it wasn't raining!

I think it's meant to be a fire drill. We were all out quickly, I suppose. And just as quickly, we raced back into the warmth of our flats.

My clock was set to 9am, an hour earlier than when it happened. This works as a wake up call too, since I can't go back to sleep, which is why I have time to sit here and update this blog.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Most Curious, Oddest, Most Interesting.

I like it when I stumble across something new and original that makes me stare and think, "Earth is the most curious, oddest and most interesting place in the universe."

There are always different things that unveil themselves with time. The same goes for this 'musician' who can play the famous 'Canon in D' on an object you'd never think of - a ruler. It's a good video to watch and enjoy this curious, odd, interesting place in the universe.

Speaking of discovering or stumbling over things, I went to the city centre yesterday on my own. Walking around a foreign place is fun, although it would have been better if I wasn't constrained by time.

And I realised that I'd taken out my SD card the night before so there was limited built-in memory in my camera. I suppose I can go back another day when I'm looking for my pots and pans. Or I can go back just for walking about! That would be fun.

As I walked through the market I found a shop selling Asian food products, and managed to get some soya sauce and oyster sauce. I'm going to have to start cooking soon but there's so much to do!
Fish and chips
For lunch, I had some fish and chips, and it tastes good especially with a little bit of vinegar. The portion for the chips is enormous though. I was stuffed with potatoes.

I miss Malaysian food. I'm starting to miss people back home now. Earth is curious, odd and interesting, but it's not like home.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

That's the Way it is

Let it be established that I am glad I got these flatmates. They have personalities that stand out and are fun, wacky people to be with.

Unlike some other flats where there are certain individuals who lock themselves up in the room, we enjoy talking, eating and playing cards in our shared kitchen or on the floor in the corridor. That's besides playing outrageous pranks as well. It feels great when all of us are in a group, whether or not attending events.

I think we are pretty close now and it's only week one! That's a good indication, I hope. For some reason, I keep imagining that if 'Friends' had eight people instead of six, it might be interesting to allocate a character each.

A nice day at the Square

Apart from that, I am quite certain Norwich is not, as they claim, the "driest place in UK" because it has been raining almost everyday, if not drizzling, along with frost breaths of the wind. When I say almost, I mean one. That day was fantastic as the Square would accommodate students who are waiting for their next classes or socialising or having lunch.

Everyone relaxing at the steps while a band plays on
Around this area in the university are shops, restaurants, banks, career centres and union bars. I like that the university offers a lot of friendly services.
Single tree in the middle of a field.
On the way to and from the university, I would walk pass a huge field with a nice tree. I don't mind sneaking under the majestic shade and reading a book there some day.