Salutations from UEA!

Hey team!

So I’ve finally made it to where I will be staying for the next three
months! I’m relatively settled into my dorm room which is really nice.
I have a single with it’s own bathroom so that’s cool. And I share my
flat with about 12 other people who are actually really nice and I’ve
been hanging out with them quite a bit in our communal kitchen.

But let’s start from the beginning. I arrived in London via Eurostar
aka the Eurotunnel that had a massive fire which caused a bunch of
hiccups in a lot of people’s travel plans i.e. mine. I had to get up
at 4:30AM to take a train from Spa to Brussels to hopefully get a
ticket, which I eventually did to make it to my 3:30pm orientation in
London. I got there actually four hours earlier and they couldn’t
check me in until 3pm so I wandered the streets with my giant pieces
of luggage and ate my first meal in London EVER.

And I’ve heard from several people that they get a kick out of the
fact that my travel emails are littered with my food adventures, but
I’ll continue to share despite the merciless teasing.

Before leaving I had heard they didn’t have avocados in England
because of the high import costs, which made me really sad because I
am a big fan of all things avocado. But upon arriving I wandered into
a little sandwich shop where I got a chicken, bacon, pesto, AVOCADO
sandwich! It’s like London knew I was having a bad day and wanted to
cheer me up some. And if you couldn’t tell I was pretty content
despite my travel troubles and my EAP abandonment issues. I’m glad I
can appreciate life just because of a sandwich. It’s a beautiful thing.

Once I finally did get checked in we had boring orientation stuff and
then went out to eat at Wagamama’s which is a noodle bar. Which had
really good noodles. And I sat with John-Carlos, one of our EAP tour
guides/advisors and is actually younger than two people in our
program, and a bunch of other people. Afterwards we went to a pub
called Opera Room where we struck up a conversation with Merick, Henry
and Dolores–native Londoners–who kindly tolerated our obnoxiousness
and told us that there is no resting in restrooms and we should call
them toilets, an adjustment I’m still having trouble remembering.

Overall, orientation in London was amazing and I made a set of really
great group of core friends. There is Mercedes aka Mia, who is from
UCLA and is just too cool for school. Kat from UCSB, who is so classy
and fun, Kaitie, who reminds me of Reese Witherspoon and really gets
me and my sense of humor, and Dane, the only boy in our group who we
affectionately refer to as our little brother despite the fact that
he’s 22 and older than all of us. He begrudgingly hangs out with us
because all the other boys have either left or live much farther away
from campus, but i think deep down he likes having four new sisters.
haha.

So, UEA is interesting. It’s a pretty small campus, a big change from
UCLA, and is about three miles from the small town. We take buses into
town to buy essentials–pots, pans, food, hangers–mostly things we
couldn’t take with us from the US.

And I found out that Norwich (pronounced Nor-rich) is known for its
mustard. I, being a fan of mustard, bought some to make sandwiches
with and I got what I thought was “plain yellow, olde english mustard”
from Tesco’s which is THE premiere discount grocery store in
town–think one pound for a 16 inch frozen pizza. Starving, I
slathered copious amounts of mustard onto my sandwich alongside my
chicken, lettuce and cheese. And being me, I made two ginormous
sandwiches at the same time. Returning to my room, I took a huge bite
out, and my nose and throat instantly became inflamed. I was tricked.
Apparently, Norwich mustard is secretly yellow WASABI. And being the
cheapskate I am, I struggled to finish both sandwiches, which burned
off any tastebuds I had and has since become the reason for my new
nickname–Wasabi. Suffice to say, I won’t be putting anymore of it on
anything and I’m trying to pawn it off on the next person that
mentions that they like mustard.

So, that’s about my life so far at UEA. I’m taking a class in Chaucer,
Literature and Desire and a Publishing class. They seem alright so
far. And I’m excited to get more involved in student life and branch
out and add on to my new assortment of friends.

I finally have my internet up and running so I’ll be on Skype and
Facebook a ton, so feel free to chat me up if you happen to be on at
the same time I’m on. And always know that I enjoy any email or
updates sent my way, it makes me feel a little bit closer to home. So
tell me about anything that’s been going on in your life, from the
most mundane trivial stories that you don’t think I would care to hear
about, to the most exciting adventures you’ve had. I mean, i just told
you a story about mustard.

I miss you all and I can’t wait to hear back from you.

Love and happiness.

Duyen.

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