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As I’ve alluded to / stated in previous posts, I’m spending my first semester of university in London. Having spent just over a week here, I’m actually pretty well acclimated already! I haven’t really experienced any culture shock, miserableness, homesickness, etc., that sometimes comes with moving to a new country. Part of this is due to the fact that I don’t really have time to fret about it; each school day, I have to wake up , commute (walk to the tube, take the tube, walk to school), have class, commute home, study, commute back, have another class, commute home, etc. Obviously, the commute is the most time consuming part. But it’s worth it.
Before our classes even started, though, we took a trip as a group to Oxford and spent a couple of days there. Aside from a few group seminars and a group dinner, I was able to mostly explore the city on my own.
While there, we stayed at Wadham College (the courtyard of which is pictured in the former photo). And, on the first day, we were given a tour of some of the colleges and buildings; it was amazing to see.
The first night, we went out to dinner at a restaurant called Brown’s. The restaurant was spacious, warm, and had a really interesting drink and food menu. Unfortunately, since we were in such a large group (30+), our selections were made well in advance off of a predetermined menu. I chose the Chicken Terrine as an appetizer, the Chicken Schnitzel as an entree, and the Sticky Toffee Pudding as a dessert. While the Schnitzel was pretty plain and average, the Terrine and Pudding were flavorful and interesting. The pudding in particular was by far my favorite; it was texturally moist and perfect and flavored with molasses and clotted cream. For what I would consider my first quintessentially British dish, it came across very favorably.
A more impressive experience definitely came during our second day in Oxford. After our first seminar, we headed over to the Great Hall (yes, the Great Hall) for lunch. With full table service, we were served fresh rolls and butter, baked chicken breasts with caponata, and creme brûlée – all in all, not a bad lunch! Enjoying these tasty dishes in such a beautiful setting was magical.
But as of now, we’re living on our own and, of course, that means that we’re cooking on our own – something that I’m loving. My friend Nadine – who is conveniently in the same kitchen as I am – also loves to cook and eat well. While many of our peers are eating out or eating poorly every night, we’ve been cooking up a storm. Just in the past week, we’ve made risotto with steak and scallops, sautéed chicken with roasted potatoes, composed salads, vegetable gratin, wraps, and a bunch of other things. By buying in bulk and collaborating with our two other kitchen-mates, we’re both saving money and eating really good (and healthy) food.