As I’m composing this blog entry, I should be working on one of my assignments now. I had one due on the 9th, one due tomorrow (the 16th) and another due on the 23rd. I finished the one due tomorrow earlier today but I feel as if I need some sort of a mental break. Or maybe, I’m just too tired at that moment to do anything mentally challenging (But I will be tomorrow).
Anyway, although my work for the semester is far from complete, I do feel things are winding down a bit. On Thursday (December 12), we (my coursemates and I) had a nice little potluck in one of the classrooms on the Headingley campus to celebrate the end of the semester. I brought tofu, lentils and vegan meat (I forgot exactly what kind of meat) that I mixed into a container. I’ve been to a potluck or two where it seemed like most of what I bought wasn’t being eaten. But I’m happy my coursemates seemed to enjoy what I bought. And the next day, we gathered in the student union (a bar on the Headingley campus) to munch on leftovers (I’m surprised we had so much of them) and say our goodbyes before going our separate ways for Christmas.
Things are also winding down in a sense for me because some people I’ve hung out with are leaving Leeds. On Friday, I met up with Leona (a 日本人 I had first met at the Eldon). She’s actually leaving the UK Wednesday (I think – she might be leaving Leeds the day before). I hadn’t seen her since the first Sunday in November (I met up with her, Satoshi and some other people to see a documentary named Chasing Ice), and I really wanted to meet up with her before she leaves the UK.
I was happy to hear that she visited Paris last month. Unfortunately, her passport was stolen on the Metro and getting a replacement was quite an adventure. She had to stay in Paris longer than expected to obtain a replacement. But actually, she’s using the experience to complete a class assignment next month in Japan. Leona told me she has to do a presentation in English (she’s studying English Literature), and she’ll talk about the passport experience.
As evidenced by the above image, Leona bought a surprise gift for me: Tenugui, which is a Japanese-style hand towel. She purchased it in 日本. 素晴らしいですね. That’s actually not the first tenugui I’ve received, I think. I’m pretty sure I’ve received one in the past as a gift.
Anyway, yesterday, as normal, I participated in the Park Run. I finished second – the same as the previous week. That’s obviously not bad. Unfortunately, I completed the 5km in 17:31 – 25 seconds slower than the previous Saturday. But I’m not surprised as I’ve trained very little in the previous seven days.
And to conclude the theme of winding down, yesterday I participated in a march to honour the memory of Nelson Mandela. I’m not exactly sure who organized it but it was titled the “Walk of Respect” and everyone marched from Mandela Gardens (adjacent to Millennium Square) to the Mandela Community Centre in the Chapeltown section of Leeds. It even got a mention in the BBC’s website:
While I’m not sure if there were “hundreds” marching, it was far from a funeral atmosphere, which was great. We were there to celebrate Madiba’s life and I think we did. There was a lot of singing, dancing and drum playing – a group of women sang the South African national anthem Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika before we set off and a Sikh drum duo played while marching. We also sang some Marley tunes on the way to the Mandela Community Centre. Although it would have been just a bit better if we could have had some marchers, it was great that we weren’t ignored: our march was covered by the media: local and national. Here are some pictures: