Letter from Kenrick Mark (13th Edition)

Letter from Kenrick Mark

Dear Esteemed Readers,

I went home around 9pm after having a wonderful, nerve-wrecking, but productive day in the library! On Sunday morning, I woke up around 830am. I showered, had a granola bar and some oatmeal. I loved Quaker oatmeal so much! I even tried it with Strawberry Jam once (instead of milk).

I didn’t know how to travel on the trains in London, and this worried me quite a bit. Before I left Belize, I spoke to my comrade Pat, who provided a wealth of advice on her experience while travelling to Europe a few weeks before. She gave me a map for the Transport of London. I told her that I would look at it, but I was lost, totally! I did messaged Andrea (my Belizean Chevening Sister), who was doing her Master’s degree at the University College of London. Actually, Andrea was the only Chevening Scholar I met before, well , back in 2011, when she was at the University of the West Indies. We met via social media and spoke quite often. I believe she was studying in a field of journalism (and/or related fields) at UWI. She did promised to visit me soon and helped me figure out the ‘train’ travelling scenario (sometimes, I can really make simple things complex (smiling, guilty). I was truly this ‘naive, bush, ‘Tacari Coolie’ guy from the Toledo district.

During our first week, my classmates were giving me travelling suggestions, both in London and across the UK. I wanted to go to Lewisham, but I didn’t know how to catch the train. So, I searched Google Map, looking for directions (and yes, I was going to walk) from Cutty Sark Greenwich to Lewisham.

I slowly walked down on Stockwell Street, into the A206 Road. As I walked, I watched with keen interest the Sunday abuzz with people touring around, lovely cafes and restaurants serving extravagant dishes, and of course, traffic, it was hectic! I think during the weekends many families are travelling and visiting relatives. There was the Oxford International Education Group HQ in the same complex as Sainsbury. I usually see students taking exams here. I’m not sure if its connected with the University of Oxford. Just before this though, was a refined, cozy looking, inviting restaurant called the ‘Rivington’. I usually saw white British elders dining here during the afternoon and night. I didn’t want to go into this restaurant, as I don’t know if the food would have cost a fortune. There was also another ‘flea’ market in the open area beside the ‘Rivington’. On weekends, there were tons of booths, selling ‘used’ household items, clothing and lots more. I visited this area later on. I kept walking past and noticed the Police Station directly opposite Sainsbury. It was a brown building made of bricks and looked highly secured. The Greenwich Public Library was next door the Police Station. Unfortunately, during my entire tenure, I never went in. I’m not sure why?. I was probably consumed with all the books in our university’s library. Who knows?

My eyes opened wide when I saw a ‘Used Books’ Shop. I walked in and saw towers of books, all kinds. The signage on the front glass window read ‘USED BOOKS — £1’. I quickly thought, I could buy many, many books, perhaps a hundred or more. I wasn’t thinking about shipping then. I graciously walked into the shop. The older white guy with long black hair and huge round glasses looked at me and said ‘Good morning, how can I help you?’ I told him that I was just looking at the books. I spent about 10 minutes, looking at books mostly at the front shelf. I decided to come back one day to purchase some. I never did. Later on, I thought about the cost of shipping.

I kept walking down the street, there was an antique store, some restaurants, shops, and a law office. I kept walking with hopes of reaching Lewisham. It was a residential area on the remainder of the street I was on. The homes were adjoined, beautiful though, with little flower gardens and carefully designed doors. Some of the houses were painted with a bright pink or yellow or blue color. Many cars were parked on the street side. I saw a few people walking around. I gave up and walked back. I was disappointed. I wasn’t sure if I was going down the right street/road.

So, I went back to the ‘Used Books’ Shop area. There was a ‘Y’ road actually, so I started down the other street/road. Again, I saw some homes. I passed a gym. I saw some guys, mostly Africans, doing gym work outs. I also saw the Greenwich Station stop. It was in that area that the other Student Hall, Daniel Defoe was located. I did read about it while I was researching halls of residence in early 2015. I saw a few students around the entrance way. Again, I saw a line of residences. I wasn’t sure where I was going. I saw the train railway above. I looked around for a while, then gave up. I walked back to the Greenwich Area.

I went back to my room for a while. I was confused, a little. I decided to go have lunch at a new place. I visited a little Alley at the Greenwich Market Area. There were many Cafes in an Alley. I went into one. It was really small, with little tables and chairs. The waitress came up and gave me a menu. I looked at it. There wasn’t anything appealing to me. I decided to have an egg and mayo sandwich and a hot chocolate. I didn’t like the meal. I went back to my room. I started talking to my Mom in Belize via social media. I was telling her of my experiences this far. She always told me to be careful, and told me to keep a healthy lifestyle, and eat good food. I also told her that I got a little lost the first day I went to scout my University’s location. They laughed! It was the same advice given to me by my comrade from Belize City.

I forgot to mention that due to my homesickness during my first week, I dismantled my bed. It was a wire based metal frame and a mattress. I placed the frame on the side of the wall and placed my mattress on the floor. I practically slept like that for about a few days (smiling). During the first week, with the impromptu parties added to my homesickness, I was sad, confused, especially when I was in my room. While I had fun when touring around, it was when I returned to my room, in a pale yellow enclosure, I missed my family and my comrades. I even thought of my close friend and how far away I was. I was hurt, for at least the first week and half, while being in my room, whether it was during the day or night. I remember messaging my close friend sometimes, and he would tell me to ‘bare with’. He said, ‘hang in there, and keep focused’. I trusted his advice. But, I felt left out sometimes. Being an introvert, I’m not sure if that was a characteristic?

I took a shower and went to sleep. I had classes on Monday, and more reading to do. I slept really well.

I’m quite exhausted for tonight. I will continue my journey in a next edition of Letter from Kenrick Mark.

Sincerely yours,

Kenrick Mark

Chairman, The Kenrick Mark Coleman Foundation ~ British Chevening Scholar ~ MA Public Relations, University of Greenwich, London ~ Holistic Conversations ~