Yeap. This has to be the longest time I’ve abandoned this blog, am I right? Where do I even begin? Excuses (though unnecessary): I’ve just been super lazy, my free time’s been filled with mindless surfing, Facebooking, YM-ing — anything but blogging. But, it’s the third last day of the winter holidays… and if I don’t update now, I’ll never have any time during the term to do so. Oh, and I also had massive problems with Windows and errors and product keys and uni networks and other technical stuff I won’t even bother explaining. So right now my laptop’s running a dual-boot system with Windows XP and Ubuntu (which I find uber cool, but I can’t live without my Adobe products, I’m afraid ).
Right. Let’s get to it, then.
Whoo. So my first term (they don’t call it semesters here, I don’t think) of my first undergraduate year at a UK university has ended (a month ago, I should add ). What can I say? It was an experience. We had four modules (subjects) — two design modules, one about technology+environment, and another about housing. The design modules involve the usual process of coming up with ideas and developing it and producing drawings and models … the whole nine yards. The housing module even had an essay (2500 words… not too bad, I suppose), but the marks for that one isn’t out yet, so I can’t say how I did. My results for the other three were okay, thankfully. A tad above the average, I think, but nothing impressive; no flying colours or the likes.
Not that it’s about the marks anyway, I’d say. It’s a blessing just to pass the subjects, considering how last-minute some — okay, all — the projects were finished (no completely sleepless nights yet for me; I’ll at least fit in an hour of Z’s somehow ) and how I sometimes … just got stuck, didn’t know what to do: architect’s block, I’ll call it. It always, always works out in the end, though. I thank God for that.
I guess I’ll stick in some of the works of the later modules here. I haven’t edited them all nicely or whatever (in fact, my dA gallery hasn’t seen any of my schoolworks. I’m not proud enough of the architecture stuff to display them there ), so excuse the plain scans/photos.
Page 1 of my submission for the technology module. Basically construction drawings of the roof of my house design for another module (they like to relate the projects together =\ ). Figuring out the materials and dimensions and stuff was such a challenge. And I had a terrible dilemma about keeping my initial roof design while possibly driving myself crazy figuring out the construction, vs. simplifying it and making it easier just to pass the module. I went with the latter option in the end, since the point of the module was just to give us a basic introduction on structures and stuff…
So yes, these were pen drawings, the annotations were printed and stuck on (had to mention that, in case anybody would think my handwriting can ever be that neat ), and the blue bits near the titles are actually security patterns inside envelopes. I collect those envelopes for the pretty patterns. See how thrifty and green I’ve become?
The Environment part of the module was about lighting an artwork using daylight. So we had to draw chiaroscuro sketches and do experiments, yadda yadda nothing interesting. Note the very un-creative presentation of the pages. It reeks of last-minute-ness… (And yet the feedback sheet I received via e-mail sounded rather impressed. I half-wonder if he/she mistakenly marked somebody else’s works as mine…)
Page 4. The line in the middle was just the ‘shadow’ from having two scans merged together. (The pages are A3 size.) Looking back now… the design of the space looks crazy plain. So boring. Ergh. *I’m my worst critic I know I know.*
And… the rest of these were for the last design module, about designing a pavillion for a site in Barcelona, to display artworks of our own. (Postcard drawings and photographs.)
First we had to build a model of the site, as a group, and I’m just uber proud of my group’s model. My part wasn’t much; just one row of the pink shops (I printed the windows and balconies ), but look at the little details the others did. Awesome, no? Each of our pavillion models would fit into the centre bit of the big model, which is removable. A little collage of the drawings to be displayed in the pavillion. We were instructed to draw ‘memorable events’ for each day of our 8-day trip there. So these were mine. Note how loads of the drawings are food-related. There were 8 photos that needed to be displayed as well, but they’re not at all interesting, so no links here.
This would be my rather lame pavillion design. But my original idea was lame-er, so yeah. There’s a whole ‘nother story about the concept and how it related to the artworks, etc. etc. not in the mood to recall those stuff.
People liked my coloured pencil drawings. I decided that coloured pencils were ‘my thing’; all of the drawings that needed to be coloured were done with pencils. This drawing’s pretty big though; A2 size.
People think that being in a course where there aren’t any exams and ‘all you have to do is draw’ would be a breeze, but … I can’t stress enough how it’s much more than drawing. Or ‘Art’. :shakefist: Sure the drawing part can be easy, in fact I like it when I can just pop on my headphones, play my whole playlist and just get into The Zone. No thinking or analysing or brain-racking — just lose yourself and draw draw draw. But, before that part comes, it’s the intensely stressful idea-generating, problem-solving, concept-developing stuff, which is just… whoa. At least for me, it is. It’s different for everyone.
Ah. It’s annoying how little holidays there are during term times, unlike back in Malaysia where public holidays are in abundance and you always get those precious long weekends or extra day to relax… No such thing here. But our winter holiday was one month long, and very much welcomed after crazy crits and hard work. It’s also very refreshing to have the campus and ‘village’ (that I live in) so quiet. All of my housemates went home, and I would’ve been alone in the whole house if not for my lovely friend Dibah, my temporary roommate. (Her accommodation somehow does not include holiday times, how inconvenient! )
So… most of the holidays were filled with hanging around, having dinner parties or dropping by other people’s houses for food , movie or game nights, going to town, and — travelling! The first few days of hols; we were out every day. Then around Christmas it was boring again, and it was only after the New Year that Dibah and I went off on our little trip. It’ll be too much to talk about in detail, so I’ll just give a run-down of the places and what was interesting and what we did.
London. Headed to London on what was technically the last day of term (but I only had an essay and model to submit; no classes), with Dibah and Kak Aisyah. Kak Aisyah’s friend, Kak Kirin who’s studying in Manchester, was coming the next day with her family (they flew from Malaysia a while before) so Kak Aisyah was the unnofficial tour guide for the group. People here go to London like it’s our backyard (it’s about a 1.5 hour train ride, and slightly longer by coach), but I haven’t been to London again since the first time I reached Heathrow in September. We arrived in London late afternoon and spent a night there. Thank you to Kak Nourin for letting us stay over.
To keep this as short as possible, we went to the typical tourist-y places; saw the Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, London Eye, etc. etc. The tube stations and routes were crazy, as expected — soooooooooooo many people walking quickly, some with luggage, some look like they were going to work, some students, even children, everybody busy in their own worlds. I guess what I like about London is the diversity. It’s just like nowhere else. And the food is actually kinda sorta really cheap. :shakefist: Halal food’s widely available too, which we’re so jealous of. Also Kak Aisyah introduced us to Krispy Kreme donuts at Victoria Station — I became an instant fan. But I guess the most memorable events are the ones you don’t expect… let’s just say words can leave a much deeper mark than you think.
Reebok backpackThe shops. Apparently the whole complex (it was kind of a row of tents) was designed by Richard Rogers. Ashford. Again, tagging along with Kak Aisyah and Kak Kirin’s family. Ashford is in Kent, just a short train ride away. What’s in Ashford, you ask? Well, it’s a designer outlet centre. Basically, cheap shopping! Wheeee. Okay not that cheap, but very affordable yet quality stuff. I only bought a pale green backpack (£4.50) and a light grey coat (£25). The coat was about 2 sizes too big; I think it’s not meant to be mid-thigh length but I liked it and kind of needed a proper coat, so whatever. You’ll see the coat in some of the trip pictures below.
Whitstable beach. I just noticed… that girl’s coat is cute! Oh why oh why do kids get all the nice clothes and shoes… One of the cool beach houses. Whitstable. Dibah’s friend (and another friend) from France came to visit so we took them around. None of us have been to Whitstable yet; only thing I knew was that it had a beach. Turned out to be a pebble beach just like Dover, and the whole stretch was … separated by these… barriers. Nice houses there though, seems like more well-off people live there. We didn’t do much, I wanted to find the bowling place, but since I didn’t note down the address or anything, we couldn’t find it and went back.
Westgate Gardens. The river’s slightly polluted, but there are ducks and swans anyway. Sure it’s not all castle-y or old like Hogwarts, but hey. Still cool-looking.Canterbury. Hahah. So we live here, but haven’t really explored that many areas yet… (Not that there are that many areas to explore ) We went to a park near town (passed it many times but never entered the gardens before), ate at an Indian restaurant that we’ve previously only seen flyers of, oh, and walked to town instead of taking the bus. Going back to Kak Aisyah’s house was quite painful. Uphill walk. And, upon discovering a useful shortcut from my house (on campus) to Kak Aisyah’s house (off-campus), not only did I figure out a much more convenient bus stop (rather than walking through to the main campus bus stop), but also this school, St. Edmunds, which reminds me of Hogwarts.
My wheeled bag is the one on the left, mostly off-frame. I know. It is indeed pink. But they (it came with the smaller hold-all, in the centre of the picture) were on sale, okay! The main winter trip was basically a visit to a couple of places where our old ALEd friends were. Whole trip was by train, and was for a total of 6 days. (Yeap, only six. Hehe.) I’m glad I took a wheeled hold-all bag for the trip, although it was admittedly kinda big… (Idzat’s first comment when we met them at Liverpool Lime Street Station: ‘Aneesah, how many years did you pack clothes for?’ Ngaha, never been able to pack light. ) Pulling luggage along is much easier than lugging it on your shoulder.
The pretty cathedral. Even the bells sound different. I think. Forgive the small image, pic was both blurry and noisy.Us, at the shopping district. The huge shopping bag was from 99p, mind you. Liverpool. Syaza’s place. There was a lot of walking involved, as she usually doesn’t take buses, and her halls were right in the city anyway. In fact, the university’s a city university, so basically the whole city is the campus. You’d be walking down the streets and suddenly notice the ‘Department of ___ ‘ signs on what looks like normal houses. The city is… quite modern-looking, and big. The cathedral near Syaza’s halls has to be one of the most techno-looking ones I’ve ever seen. The shopping centre is OMG. Gigantic. And brand new. And did I mention gigantic? Yes. We went to Anfield Stadium, and its museum and shop. But me not being a football enthusiast — can’t really say much about it, I suppose.
Dibah took this pic of me at the docks. I like how I kinda blend into the natural colour scheme. The girls’ poses just crack me up. All the time. There was a lot of eating and card-playing going on at Liverpool. No actually, there was a lot of eating and card-playing going on at every county we went to, but what the heck. The card games started in London, I guess it was mostly my hobby back in my school days (er, when the semester’s not quite over, but exams are, so you’ve got nothing to do, everybody does it), and in London we had hours to kill while waiting for the coach, so I actually went off and bought a pack of cards to play. Somebody borrowed my cards before the trip though, so this time Dibah ventured off to a convenience store and bought a new set.
The ALEdians at Old Trafford, from left: Syaz, Dibah, Idzat, Dzul, Icam, Anas, Nana, Syaz (ok, she’s a non-ALEdian), and yours truly.‘Manchester. Icam‘s place. Mira lives here too, but she was away in Paris at the time, so Icam was our tour guide, albeit one who overslept and left us waiting at the station and phoning/texting him non-stop… :shakefist: Anyway. Only spent one day here, so it was all Old Trafford and Manchester United and football. (So not much I can comment about those.) And GEEESH Manchester is cold. Freaking cold. Did I mention it snowed here? The roads were all white and slippery, but it was the wind that was mind-blowing. (Almost literally, ha ha.) Had to use my brand-new knitted scarf (talk about this later) to cover my frozen nose.
Wooo. Go MU!!! … NOT. The city was… kind of more spacious / spread out than Liverpool? But it didn’t look as modern or shiny clean, and this might’ve been just one case for one city — but that one bus driver was … not as friendly as I was used to. Food was easy to find, like Liverpool. I so wish we had one of those international-foods supermarkets, or thrifty shops like 99p or Poundland or … anything, really! Visiting these big cities totally made me jealous. Oh yeah, gotta mention that Manchester was exactly the Kampung Melayu (more like Bandar though ) that they say it is — muka Melayu everywhere! It kinda felt like Malaysia, almost.
Part of the cityBirmingham. Loads of ALEd people here. Specifically; Mirah, Aishah, Jue, and Ezzati from our batch. (All studying Maths too — how convenient!) Birmingham was cold and snowy as well (in fact, it was snowing back in Canterbury at this time too, hmph! ), though I think not as cold as Manchester was. (Manchester’s cold was… teeth-chattering and violent shivering even when you already have four layers of clothing on.) The city (it’s odd saying this word … too used to ‘town’ ) is of course huge, but somehow felt more homely than the others. It’s somewhere between old and new. Crazy network of buses too; instead of the usual lone bus stop at one place, there’ll be about a dozen clustered around, each corresponding to a set of bus numbers. What else can I say? Huge shopping places, loads of things to see and go to, big and diverse population, very accessible halal food.
L-R: Aishah, Ezzati, Mirah, Jue, Syaz, Me, Dibah. At the train station right before leaving. Oh, and the girls live in the same house, and quite a big house to me. I mean, heck, they have a living room. And one of the bedrooms was big enough for a double bed. (Or was it queen-sized? I forgot.) I didn’t shop a lot during the trip, though. I think I bought socks at Primark, and … some yarn at 99p back in Liverpool, and that was probably it. Birmingham had cheap clothes, and Liverpool cheap shoes (didn’t spend enough time in Manchester for shopping), but it was a combination of allowance-not-banked-in-yet and I-have-enough-clothes and not-finding-what-I-actually-need. But that’s fine, travelling’s not all about shopping. It’s about food! (Kidding.) (Okay, half-kidding.)
See the halal symbol? Yum Yum, a fast food place in Birm. That Flake shake was awesome, FYI.Overall, I guess the trip showed me how freaking kampung Canterbury really is, and how much we don’t have here, and that yes — the grass is definitely greener on the other side. (Did I mention cheap food at all three places? No? Well yeap. Everything’s more expensive here in the Southeast.) But I do appreciate the town-ness of where I live, the narrow streets and elderly population, the bus drivers who call you ‘dear’, the small campus, the not-so-extreme tempreatures, and the bunnies here. Definitely the bunnies.
£2.50 pizza. Yum-oh.Wanted to give a shout-out to the hosts/tour guides and the people I’ve met again. Syaza who cooks awesomely, Icam who brought us to a pizza place because I wanted pizza, and the Birm girls who let me use their Wi-Fi. And Syaz, Idzat and Anas who came along from Surrey, and another Syaz whom I just came to know, and Dzul also in Manchester, Anwar in Birm, and Nana from Lancaster. Nice time, guys. Now let’s do it again.
Right so. A blog entry of a UK resident won’t be complete without mentioning the weather. It’s obviously winter, but the temperature fluctuates from week to week. This week looks to be warm, it’s 8°C right now, which is warm, yes. (I can see the Malaysians simultaneously lifting an eyebrow each. ) It was hovering around 0 degrees sometime ago, though. And yeap, it snowed. It first snowed in Kent in November. And here’s an uber lame video of OMGSNOWWWWHEEEEEEEEEE-Aneesah discovering the snow. (From Facebook, naturally. If you haven’t added me on Facebook yet, feel free to do so. Bucketloads of photos there. Including an album exclusively for food!)
See… the… whiter grass?It didn’t really snow again until when we were in Liverpool, which was early January. And that snow was a lot thicker; it was still here when I came back from the trip on 8th January. Most of the time before that, the only hints of snow were the grass outside being a slight shade paler in the mornings from a thin dusting of snow… Still — snow just makes the freezing cold worth it. Ze white dust makes everything prettier, I’m telling you! I’ve mostly gotten used to the climate, and by that I mean I know when two layers of clothing just ain’t gonna cut it, at what range of temperature would gloves be a requirement, the feeling when my face (stupidly) goes red when the heat creeps up after coming in from the cold outdoors, having itchy skin if I forget to apply massive amounts of lotion at least daily, realising that ice cream doesn’t really melt while you’re eating it, and that my stomach has suddenly decided to process food quite loudly, like in the middle of the night. I have a hypothesis for that, actually. Apparently it gets noisy in there when there’s gas, which I believe gets in when I eat too quickly, which I suppose I do because hot food gets cold quickly. See. Always blame the cold.
Also blaming the cold for my annoying weight gain! :shakefist: From the weighing scale at the pharmacy and at people’s rooms, I’ve accepted the fact that I’m about 2kg heavier. (Not 4kgs though, that scale at that particular house was probably faulty. ) I’m not extremely bothered about being chubbier (I was just slightly above the underweight range before), so I’ll wait till the weather warms up just a tad before going on a diet or something. (Not that I feel any sense of effective under-skin insulation anyway right now. Pffttt. )
Random photos follow.
I’ve always wanted a world map on my bedroom wall, for no particular reason… So I decided to print one out myself. Using my printer on the borderless setting, matte photo papers (the cheap generic brand though, don’t worry ), and a ball of white tack — TADA! Aside from some cut-offs at the edges (some info gets lost at the paper borders… totally my printer’s fault), it looks pretty dang cool to me. The map came from here, in case you’d like to try it out too. And for scale, those are 18 pieces of A4 paper, yes.
The scarf I knitted. Yeap, the ‘I have no use for knitted/crocheted scarves and gloves’ thing no longer applies, now that I live in a place with four seasons. As you know, I’m a total beginner knitter, so this was pretty much my first ‘real’ project. Pattern was easy anyway, just knit and purl stitches. I used two strands of yarn (white and beige) held together, though I think I knit too loose. The finished scarf is just about 5 feet long, and I added a braided fringe at the ends, which you can see in one of the Manchester pics above. Oh, I also crocheted some mittens with the same yarn, but one pair is only half-finished. So, pics later.We saw these crazy number of birds one day, as we were out at Vauxhall Road in Canterbury. (Another shopping area. There’s Matalan there, another name to add to my Stores-with-Reasonably-Priced-Clothing List. ) I suppose they might’ve been migrating or something. (Wasn’t the blue sky pretty? So rare. It’s usually white or grey…)
Right. I suppose this might be about enough for an entry. See, I wrote all this for you people! Wish me luck for the Spring term… Although I haven’t even finished one of my holiday assignments… (Yes, Kent Architecture School loooooves giving holiday work. ) Oh yeah, I wanted to plug Moon’s lovely art-a-day blog project — don’t you just love her whimsical doodles? I wish I was disciplined enough to do something with the stuff I collect… like receipts and price tags. I’ve always wanted to do scrapbooks and things but it just never happens. Kay, bye, take care everybody. Please send prayers and do what you can to help the situation in Gaza. (I know people are probably tired of hearing about this, but it’s serious and requires the world’s attention.)
Till next time.