Letter from Kenrick Mark
Dear Esteemed Readers,
I woke up early Monday morning, and had toast and butter and coffee! I was hungry! I bought a bottle of coffee from the Nepal guy’s store last week. It wasn’t full of flavor as the Coffee Mocha from Alacosta Coffee though. The brand on the bottle was ‘Colombian Coffee’. So, I’m not sure why it wasn’t tasty! I logged in to my accounts on my computer. I checked my emails and schedule for the day and began reading. However, I had no inspiration. So, I went to the library to continue reading and understanding the academic papers, and required materials for our classes. Some of the materials were difficult at a ‘first read’, so I had re-read to understand. I was on the first floor, near the PR books section, using one of the computer stations at the beautiful view I described in an earlier letter. There were many students in the library reading and doing their projects too, so this gave me incentive to focus on my academic readings. I did spoke to a few of the other students, sometimes. I met Asians, Africans, Europeans, British, a variety of students. I always ate chocolates or crisps while reading. To me, it made the time more worthy (smiling).
I went to class in the afternoon. Again, we had a second session in the computer laboratory. We learnt about research methods, another session of research ‘know-hows’. My classmates were always supportive. I remember asking Inge and Bianca and they provided assistance as needed. It was a fully fledged class. Though I didn’t understand everything in most classes, I always went back to research/read more about the topics discussed. Classes was over an hour later and I walked back to my room. I quickly walked before everyone as I exited Queen Mary, and headed for the front gates. It was locked! I was frightened, at first. I thought, am I locked in? Oh no! Then I remembered there were other gates. I walked back down the front path and told my other classmates (they were slowly walking out) that the front gate is locked. They said ‘oh’, and mentioned that the entrance gate at the North side of campus was open. I didn’t follow them. I went to the back gates, the area where I would usually walk by when going to Alacosta Coffee. I walked out the back gates, then up the street, and then down the road to the Greenwich High Street. If I had listened to my classmates, I wouldn’t have had to make an entire turn around. I was stubborn. I enjoyed the evening walk past the restaurants and cafes and shops. As I passed by the busy streets, I could smell Asian Fried Chicken and Duck, and Noodles and cottage style Soups. I watched the local Fish & Chips outlet swarming with costumers. There was an Old Records Music shop near the Fish & Chips outlet. I went in once, during my first week. It was boring. I remember my Grandma Ethlyn had a record player and about two shelves filled with those records or big CDs ( when I was younger, I thought they were called that). I also remember watching ‘Love’ movies with the records being played. I thought that this was ‘old people’ stuff. I walked out of the store.
I didn’t go to the library as I was really tired. There was a train station stop (Cutty Sark Maritime Greenwich) near my Halls. I always saw many people going into the area, and many coming out, especially during the early morning and late evening hours, and on weekends. Gosh, sometimes that area was mostly crowded you had to push to pass through! There was also a McDonalds outlet besides the train station stop. I thought, initially that only Beef Burgers were sold here. So, I never bothered going in!
I skyped with my Mom and the rest of the family back in Belize when I reached home! It was good to see them and hear their Belizean voices. Since my parents owned a restaurant in Belize, and I was studying in England and with the time difference of both countries, we had a difficult time at first figuring out a skype schedule, but we finally did it! My Mom asked me everything about my flight, my classmates, my universities, the food, et al. I did mention about a few challenges, but I reminded her that I am a Chevening Scholar. I even mentioned that the Chevening Family is known for being disciplined, working hard and achieving results. She gave me an update on the ‘latest yeriso’ and of course, any relevant news happening in Big Falls, and Toledo, on a whole.
I also kept in touch daily with my Chevening Cohort from Belize: Andrew, Andrea, Giselle and Phylicia. We spoke via our social media group sharing our experiences, helping each other, and keeping updated with national (Belize) and international issues. I remember during my first week, I was talking to Giselle, telling her that I don’t have a heater in my room. When I arrived two weeks earlier, and after signing in, a very helpful fellow student showed me my room and all around. When I walked into the room, I saw the ‘AC’ looking machine on the wall. Well, I thought it was an ‘AC’?. In my mind, I was thinking ‘why would you put an ‘AC’ in our room if it’s mostly cold in England?.’ I never asked anyone on staff though. It was only after talking to Giselle during the first week, probably Wednesday or Thursday. I told her of the ‘AC’ and she laughed. She said ‘Kenny, that’ the heater’. You need to plug it in, and press the ‘warm’ or ‘on’ button. I was super happy! My Chevening sister helped me out. Again, I was a ‘bush’ guy from the Toledo district. At our home, we don’t have heaters or AC. And I’ve never lived or travelled to another country, except my short work/vacation to Mexico in July, 2015.
Andrea also spoke to me. She said she will visit me on Friday. I did brought a package for her from Belize so she was coming to pick it up. She would also be showing me how to use the train. We also planned a trip to Lewisham for some shopping. On Saturday, it will also be our Chevening Orientation Ceremony and All Day Event.
I’m quite exhausted for tonight. I will continue my journey in a next edition of Letter from Kenrick Mark.