Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Class & A Chinese Feast

I had my first day of classes on Tuesday and to be honest, the way that scheduling courses here works is so much less orderly and efficient than at home. It's rather frustrating because students here do not mix classes that have different levels and take corresponding courses based on their year of study. Because of this, some weeks classes might have a conflicting meeting time/practical/assessment that makes it all the more difficult to understand the schedule. Hopefully I gain more understanding on this as time goes on, but it is a bit of a nuisance at the moment.

Aside from that, classes have been going well so far. I like the content of my mammalian evolution class as it's so far a lot of review from what I have learned at home, but is still interesting (I'm a big studier of biological evolution though, so I love the topic). Here, universities expect you to do a lot more work on your own time instead of busy work and random little assignments like we have in the US. As such, my four biology classes meet twice a week but on the same day (it's so different!) and my film course meets for four hours, with two of those hours being a screening time to watch a film we've learned about. What this then means is that I only have class Monday and Tuesday, but both of those days are pretty packed.  I don't mind too much, but my Tuesday class ends with the film screening and it's a bit hard to stay alert (and awake) in a dark film room after having had class for hours back to back all day.

What I picked up at the market for my dinner
The following day I went to Sainsbury's with a friend of mine to get a few ingredients to make a shrimp fried rice, one of my favorite dishes. She had to get more home essential-type items and some groceries as well so it worked out nicely. It's about a mile away or so we walking two miles in total to get a full selection of groceries is a bit of a challenge, but I made sure to only buy enough that I could carry. My dish was a success- though I made way too much. I always do this with rice and other grains. I don't have a measuring cup, and I'm awful at eyeballing how much to cook so I ended up with way more than I needed. On the bright side, I can eat it when I don't feel like cooking again and I can share it with my flatmates too. I also got some frozen spring rolls and sweet chili sauce which are probably my favorite appetizer/fried snack.

My fried rice and spring rolls! So proud of how it turned out!
Since it was my day off, I basically just ran errands and didn't do too much in particular aside from getting a few groceries and stopping by a mobile phone company to reassess my plan. It was nice to sort of have an off-day to chill out and just take it easy, so I was glad to be able to do that. After cooking, I video-chatted with a couple friends and family members back home and then fell asleep for a few hours. After waking again, I went into the kitchen I share with my flat and chatted with my flatmate (a medical student) who was eating a late dinner about evolutionary biology and how it's handled (or perhaps more accurately, often mishandled) in American schools and government. It was very interesting to hear about public attitudes about science here versus back home, as it seems as though in the UK people are more open to accepting scientific data and appreciating its contributions to our understanding of the world (Charles Darwin is on the £10 note after all!), but I digress. Until next time- thanks for reading!


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