Waking from a coma

The mother of all lines at HKIA

The mother of all lines at HKIA

Wow. It’s been a really long time since I last posted properly. 9 weeks and counting in actual fact. The simple answer, ‘university’. The last 9 weeks or so saw Michaelmas Term 2012 flash by in a second and left me to awake from my work-induced coma just recently. There’s a million and one things that happened. Here’s the stuff that I can remember.

The flight back to the grand ole United Kingdom was enjoyable enough. despite of the massive Emirates queue that I managed to skip thanks to a little thing called online check-in, I quite enjoyed Emirates with large and spacious seats, an entertainment system that was operational even before we took-off and just about every amenity that one could imagine needing on a flight. I managed to watch Men in Black 3, The Avengers and even 4 episodes of Veep. I’d been dying to watch Veep for a while, especially after having dabbled in the West Wing and the Thick of It. Love the A380 we were on between Dubai and London, and Safe, Prometheus, Brave and Game Changer helped make time pass faster.

CIMG3558I had thankfully arranged to arrive in Oxford a few days earlier than most freshers were supposed to arrive. It meant that most of the accommodation and the college itself was empty and devoid of people. Thankfully, I was able to do quite a bit of shopping in the meantime, unpack my backs and sort myself out before everyone arrived. That’s when Fresher’s week started. I didn’t exactly go clubbing that often, but between the movies, musical shows, murder mysteries, Pizzas and work (3 tutorials on consecutive days!), it was all fun and good. I also managed to avoid Fresher’s flu, most likely the result of not having trade too many germs with others in the warm, sweaty environment of clubs.

Matriculation – The age-old ceremony where all the Freshers dress up in ‘sub fusc’ (basically a suit + a fancy gown), walk around Oxford like land-based bats. In essence, we turned into one massive tourist attraction. We had to wake up mega early for our individual photos as well as the College-wide group photo. Oh, I forgot to mention, there was also a short ceremony that officially included us as members of Oxford University. Which I guess means that until then, we were illegitimate students in spite of having attended lectures and classes just about everywhere.

CIMG3652One day, it rained really really hard. Not exactly the most exciting start to any story about the UK. But it was what meant that one evening, at about 2am my room started to flood. Well, more like water started to seep into my room from the ceiling. Thankfully, I had been forewarned about the possibility of this happening by the fact that someone else down the corridor had the same problem. Thank goodness I wasn’t asleep yet. But a bucket seemed to do the trick, and the next morning I found myself with a half bucket of water. For some strange reason, the dripping didn’t stop until late next afternoon, which means by the time the water stopped flowing, I had collected a whole other half-bucket full of water!

The first three weekends of November, I had back-to-back events. First with OxIMUN 2012 and then the Oxford IV the weekend after that. OxIMUN 2012 was must first ever uni-level MUN Conference and what a difference that makes. Stuck in the Security Council with almost no preparation… I realised exactly how much more serious MUN is at uni level than at high-school level. Thanks to my mountains of work, I didn’t really watch too much of the Oxford IV. I did wind-up at the Grand Finals at midnight, and gleefully watched the rowdy shouting prior to the debate, with a cultural show put on by the Irish. Complete with challenges to the Union President, loud shouts of USA when referencing the Canadians, mentioning of the South Korean National Dance (Gangnam) as well as a few national anthems and poems. All a lot of fun, and meant that the teams had an extra half-hour or so in prep time. Subtle and sneaky! The weekend after that, I ventured into ‘the other place’, attending the Cambridge IV. The irony of crashing at Queens, and being a student from Queen’s was not lost on me. A pity that I wasn’t really able to see much of the place while I was there thanks to the ever shortening daytime and the competition. Did managed to meet up with quite a few UWC people which was lovely.

Stopping by the Houses of Parliament

Stopping by the Houses of Parliament

The end of term was notoriously busy with some strange culmination of work, stress and lack of sleep. Boy was I glad when it all ended on the final Friday, complete with final day tutorials, a cancelled moot, crazy amounts of packing and of course, one final College dinner of the year. With that, I headed off to London for a very UWC gathering. It was so strange to see so many of my 2nd years again, including a few whom I hadn’t seen in an entire year. I also realised how long a summer + 3 months can feel when it came to seeing co-years again. I had properly switched into holiday mode by then, which was strange given that most UK uni students still had another week or so to go. Not that it seemed to stop anyone from enjoying the evening just as much though.

Flying out of Gatwick for the first time, I managed to check-in more than 2 hours in advance. What would turn out to be a bad idea. I managed to cram in The Bourne Legacy, The Expendables 2, Ice Age 3 and Madagascar 3 all between London and Dubai. Interesting isn’t it that they are all sequels. More sequels were to follow between Dubai and Hong Kong with The Dark Knight Rises. I slipped in Premium Rush, my first non-block-buster of the journey. But I suspect I was getting tired since I managed to sleep and skip a few meals along the way. Funny fact: Stephen Lam (former HK Government official) was also in Economy Class on the same flight.

So there you are. An incomplete summary of 10 very full, busy and very tiring weeks. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go back to bed and hibernate.


One comment

  1. Super like!! I enjoyed reading your concise recount of your first ten weeks at Oxford immensely. And, if I may say so, your style of writing seems to have taken on a more ‘British’ air as well…from time to time there’s a bit of lively self-deprecating sarcasm in there — something definitely absent previously! Keep the posts coming Paul…always makes me smile to read what your progress towards world domination.

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