Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Plymouth experience #1: The starting

Author: Lee Kah Yuan Jocelyn

It has been about a week since I got back from Plymouth, UK. Many have no idea about this place because it is just a small county of Devon. It is indeed small with just one shopping centre – Drake Circus, which is the best shopping mall in the UK in terms of service. 

(Drake Circus (the furthest building) situated at Plymouth city centre)

They say time flies when you are having fun, and it is true. This whole university experience flew by so quickly, it certainly did not feel as if nine months had passed. I remember when I first got there, my friend and I were pushing two luggage each and the combined weight was more than 30kg. Lo and behold, the whole city is full of slopes. Adding on, we had to lug our heavy luggage up three stories. 

(Climbing up many slopes with heavy luggages)

(Boating trip, an orientation programme organised by Plymouth University)

(Sutton Harbour, plymouth)

We wasted no time, and went out and about to buy the necessities. We funnily accidentally bought a £5 cup because the price tag on the shelf showed £1, and had no idea we could have refunded it. It subsequently became a funny memory. I eventually gave my cup to a friend who still had a year left there, and he was so excited about it. We also saw Shin Ramen in the SU shop on campus and we got so excited, and started Snapchatting. Little did we know there were so many Asian stores around, and one was just a stone’s throw away from our school hall. We still laugh about this. 

(Radnor hostel)

There were try and errors with our cooking utensils. We lived with blunt knives and bad pots/pans for three months or so. I gave in and bought a £6 non-stick pan from Tesco. Yay to not having to scrub the pot for 20 minutes after cooking rice!! I also got a new knife (I was so happy with it that I brought it back to Singapore!) for £7 since it was on sale for £8, with an additional 10% student discount. Talking about student discount, students get discounts left and right. Shoes, food… my favourite is still The Pasty House, they generously offer students a free hot drink which can cost nearly £3 alone with every pasty/filled baguette purchase (about £2.87 depending on which type it is). 

(Enjoying "home cooked food" with cheap and good utensils)

When my parents came in January, Mc Donald’s happened to be closed due to a “technical difficulty” and got a £1.99 voucher which could be used repeatedly. It covered both breakfast and lunch/dinner. I used it to its full potential, of course! : )

Settling in did not take very long, but the difficult part was when my friend and I both fell ill together. Thankfully, we had a friend who very generously gave us her precious canned foods that she brought from Singapore that we could eat plain porridge with. My friend and I had to see who had the most energy to cook the porridge. I guess having no one to take care of you while you are sick is the worst thing about living alone, but luckily my friend stayed next door to me coincidentally. The worst thing was me spraining my ankle… and still had to buy groceries. Life goes on.

When I opened my bank account, I ran into some difficulties. To open a bank account, an appointment has to be made, rather than over-the-counter in Singapore. The first time I got delayed because I went to the wrong bank. The second was because my postal code was missing in the bank letter. I was so annoyed by myself because I didn't notice it. I had to email the school to extend the deadline for the fees, and they extended it for me without any questions. Crisis adverted.

This whole settling down experience was not an easy one, with both my friend and I being sick and with my sprained ankle.  I survived! 

(Plymouth city at night)

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