Blog of Justin Cheuk, home to writing on London, Hong Kong, Studying Abroad, Trains and Travels.

End of My First Year in Durham

Time really does fly, at an alarming rate, and my first year at Durham has officially ended without noticing. Sitting on my southbound train back to London, I felt like it’s the time to write up something for this extraordinary year.

Let’s be honest here: I wasn’t entirely convinced about coming to Durham at the first place. It wasn’t my first choice at the time; and I have never set foot in the city before freshers week (in which I was also a late arrival). There was an everlasting lists of things to worry about, perhaps with the EVEN COLDER WEATHER in the North-East the most important. But 9 months later, I think I can genuinely say: I am soooooo glad I ended up here.

Durham is indeed a small place, nothing compared to metropolis like London or Hong Kong. But there’s also no need for it to be so. The colleges scattering around the peninsula, the river and the hill, giving off an enchanted university vibe perhaps only rivalled by Oxbridge. And of course the Castle and the Cathedral: I visit neither often, their picturesque views continue to remind me of Hogwarts: hey weren’t some scenes filmed at the Cloisters? Also, the city does have most of the shops that I’ll ever need, and there is still a few coffee shops and bookshops left for me to explore. If there is really anything to complain about on that end, then this is it: can Durham have a Primark?

The weather here is indeed quite cold. But on the plus side, the East Coast does seem to rain less frequently then say London. (Not that raining 4 days a week compared to 6 really helps, but is an improvement nonetheless) The summer months after the exams has been great, and yeah it sort of upsets the 3:30 sunsets during January. All in all, not too bad, considering this is still England…

Now the ‘boring’ stuff have been said, let’s move on to the more interesting, and more important: people. I have probably made more friends this years than the previous few years combined, and really it’s because of all of you that made this such an enjoyable year.

To the shepherds people: it’s been great knowing you guys. It did took me a while to adjust to your styles, but I am glad to say I really enjoyed your company. I have never been the type with many friends around, and I am really grateful that you guys like me (enough) for me to stick around lol. I have really broadened my horizons and had a lot fun with all of you. (say, through various ‘Malaysian traditions’, or Harlem Shake). I hope we can continue to be good friends next year despite moving out of college: I fully expect a few dinners at yours, and of course you can come over as well.

To the ‘family’: I might not be the most ‘Asian’ guy anymore, but the food or karaoke trips with you have been fun and, well interesting to say the least. Hopefully you haven’t been freaked out by my ‘amazing’ singing yet. Will be great to meet Hong Kong over the summer, and please… PLEASE LISTEN TO YOUR DAD AND DON’T BULLY ME. p.s. Please spend the summer catching up all the Korean varieties so we can watch together.

To corridormates/future housemates: Lunch (or should be correctly spelt as LAAAAAANCH) and dinner has been great. It’s such a relief to have nice people and good friends living around you, it certainly has made life an awful lot easier. That said, you guys have forever ruined ‘Wikipedia’ and ‘Single Ladies’ for me (hopefully I have installed ‘I like trains’ into your brains as well). I have every confidence that we should get on well enough (yes, ALL of us) together in our beautiful house (YAY!) next year. Again please come over to visit for food!

So yeah that’s about it. It’s so great that the year has been pretty positive and the most prominent complain I can muster is about the lack of a Primark. I am really looking forward to see you all again and living out -can’t believe I am looking forward to my second year! I hereby wish everyone a very good holiday, and hopefully see you all soon!

Photo of the Cathedral courtesy of Kyle Wong.

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