Calm before the storm

Inside the Onion - a Greek restaurant near Hyde Park

Inside the Onion – a Greek restaurant near Hyde Park

Prior to 5 p.m. yesterday (Friday, November 29), my week was pretty much uneventful. But Fridays nights and Saturday mornings always provide opportunities for fun – and insanity.

After my Marketing Responsible Tourism lesson yesterday, I met up with Satoshi to have dinner at a Greek restaurant near Hyde Park named Onion. Getting there was a bit of adventure as I was unsure how to get there – Satoshi told me to head to the Hyde Park Pub, a place I’ve seen several times but have never entered. And I totally forgot how to get there until Satoshi told me via a text message.

Anyway, we chatted and I had a delicious sandwich. Satoshi is unfortunately (for me) leaving the UK on December 17, so we won’t have many more opportunities to hang out. And I might not have more opportunities to practice Japanese in Leeds with a 日本人. Satoshi worked with me on my pronunciation of sounds like り, ら, etc. (Sounds that Japanese people normally have problems with). I need to find more 日本人 in Leeds to hang out with.

Jess, Spud, Calum and Ben

Jess, Spud, Calum and Ben

Ben and Jess' room was a bit crowded...

Ben and Jess’ room was a bit crowded…

But fun wouldn’t stop when I returned to the flat. A couple of Ben’s mates – Calum and Spud – came to visit, so it was great to see news faces on this floor. And they weren’t the only ones to stop by. A whole bunch of people (including some who attended a flat party last Saturday) popped into Ben and Jess’ room to chat, listen to music, etc. I was mostly content to listen, but I was pleasantly surprised an informal party broke out on my floor.

However, I wasn’t pleasantly surprised about what happened this morning on my floor. This fire alarm went off as the toast in the oven ended up being burned. I totally freaked out as I was unsure of what to do in that situation. Now, there are instructions posted near the kitchen of what to do when the fire alarm sounds, but I freaked out as I had never considered the possibility of the fire alarm every sounding. Fortunately, a couple of other people from another came down and they know what to do in that situation. But the kitchen was filled with smoke.

As I was confident that flat wouldn’t burn down, I left to participate in the Park Run. I’m obviously glad I did because I set a personal best – 17:12. I improved my Park Run personal best by 17 seconds. I ran 50 seconds better than I did last week. I think almost everyone did – the weather was nice (well, nice for a late November Saturday) and I felt quite comfortable. I finished third overall out of all the runners so today was a great run.

A performer at the Talent Show

A performer at the Talent Show

Before the last 20 hours, the most memorable (or interesting) part of the week was a talent show organized by the African Caribbean Society at Leeds Met. Unfortunately, they haven’t organized as many events as I would have liked, but it was really great to see the event very well attended. The talent show included rappers (or people trying to rap), singers, dancers and comedians (or people who think they’re funny). I enjoyed the talent show but I kept thinking being there represented sort of a culture shock – or maybe a reverse culture shock. I hadn’t attended an event in Leeds where there was a such a high percentage of black people. Obviously, there is a large percentage of blacks in this culture but most of the places I’ve been in since arriving here have been largely Caucasian atmospheres (although my coursemates come from a wide variety of ethnicities). In the United States, I’m very much used to being in predominantly black settings. But that really hasn’t very much since arriving in the U.K. So as crazy as it sounds, it was a bit strange being around so many black people.

Well, I titled this blog entry “Calm before the storm” because while this week was relatively uneventful, December will be anything but. Stay tuned…

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