Letters from the dorm: Oh, to be in England ...

Letters from the dorm: Oh, to be in England ...


Alex Wong goes punting on the River Cam, in Cambridge.
Alex Wong goes punting on the River Cam, in Cambridge.
After feeling far too nostalgic about England, I decided that a reading week (without any readings) was probably the best time to revisit the "fantasyland". This time I went as a tourist, keen to experience the English lifestyle, instead of being the grumpy student I once was.

Staying at my guardian's home, I realised Britain was exactly as I remembered it: the sky was still gloomy as ever (but in a good way), my old school still looked like a haunted house, and my guardian still cooked the best Chinese dishes - which used to be a good remedy for my homesickness.

As I toured the country, I visited and revisited places not well known to some tourists. I ventured to Manchester, where my friend attends the Music College. I discovered beautiful graffiti all over the walls of the city and under sneaky bridges. The weather was unexpectedly cold: snow fell, but didn't settle for some reason.

Then it was down to London, a city I know well: I spent my half-term holidays there. The architecture is exquisite, with gothic cathedrals standing beside newer, shiny landmarks.

I always make a point to visit Harrods, a grand store that satisfies my every guilty pleasure - beautifully glazed chocolate cakes, ice cream sundaes topped with whipped cream and caramel syrup, and Turkish delights in double-decker-shaped containers. Down two floors, the store's glittering silver kitchenware and Union flag-printed tote bags make the best souvenirs.

The highlight of my trip had to be a classy afternoon tea on the top floor of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. The multi-tiered set tea comes with a cosy cup of hot chocolate. Scones went perfectly with fruit jam and hot butter, while the savoury finger sandwiches offered a balance of flavours. The elderflower tea my friend ordered, which came in a kettle, smelled gorgeous, and tasted even better.

It was sad to leave after the incredible experiences of punting in the canals of Cambridge, of hotpotting, and catching up with old friends from Abingdon.

Reading week ended, and so did the fun. Now it's time to work my backside off!


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