Have you ever managed to drag yourself out of a lazy morning for an early run – then ending up with a wonderful feeling of self-fulfilment and achievement? Is that the same for all beginnings?
A new beginning. It seemed like just yesterday, I was nervously checking over my personal statement for silly grammatical errors, the perfectly-boastful-yet-not-proud tone, and the over-exaggerated list of extracurricular activities. Now, I’m in University.
King’s College London. Medicine. Class of 2019.
The scariest part about starting a new journey is leaving behind all the other things that you were once familiar with. The family that cared for you enough to fly for two hours to check up on you (although that doesn’t seem too possible now), the friends that were just next door and a few knocks away from a long heart-to-heart DMC (i.e. deep meaningful conversation). It all starts from scratch.
“Hi! My name is Rachel. I’m from Hong Kong.”
I’m not sure how many times I’ve repeated the phrase above, but it always seem to follow on towards further discussions topics such as families, interests, and as british as if may sound – the weather. Sometimes slotted with a little more detailed description of my background: “I grew up in Hong Kong till I was 10, then I travelled to Shanghai and lived there for 7 years until moving back to Hong Kong to attend a boarding school on my own for the past two years.”
But then, what more can you ask from conversation starters between “Freshers”. Even sometimes, the phrase that begins a conversation would be “Do you know what we’re doing?”, “Nope.”, “Okay.”
Freshers. Filled with parties, queues, and new friends.
After many attempts to try to document my ongoing activity in UK, from plain paper and pen, to Tumblr, to even Evernote, or a Pages document, I have given up and resorted in WordPress. Being the first entry of this journey, I just hope that I would be able to keep up the writing to ensure that everything that has happened shall be documented neatly and clearly on this wonderful website (until they begin to charge me for something I didn’t know I had to pay for).
Being the first post, I’m guessing that this will be a lot longer than the others to come:
1. The 48-hour journey
Being unorganised as I am, I didn’t manage to find out whether or not I would need a local police check. And being unorganised as they are (as well!), the college didn’t send out an email confirming that I needed one two days before I was going to fly. This resulted in efficient reallocation of flight tickets and rearrangement of luggage for a good 12 hours. Finally, under the work of my most intelligent mother – I had a flight that stopped in Hong Kong long enough for a visit to the police registration office (Don’t worry. I promise I’m not a criminal).
The fog surrounded the buildings like a blanket that cloaks the city in a trance of deep sleep. That was the sight I travelled alongside through towards the Shanghai International Airport. After few sentimental pictures with the parents – I went through the security and immigration as I had done so many times. Travelled to Hong Kong – visited the Police Registration Office – enjoyed lunch with my cousins and aunts – visited LPC – back onto a plane. (This was my shortest visit to Hong Kong).
After arriving at the Heathrow Airport at 5:40 in the morning, I struggled through the city by tube, bus, and walking. All of this journey made with two largely heavy bags with an extra carry-on backpack. Eventually, with the help of many angels along the way – I managed to get through the day after collecting my keys, registering with the police, and opening a bank account.
The few days after that were rather blurry – with mostly administrative things, slipped in between wonderful times with new people during the International Welcome and Orientation. Meeting the most wonderful people and starting a new journey into a new culture.
Parties: Waterfront OpenBar, Lock&Key, TogaParty, BeachParty, 4-leggedPajamaPubCrawl.
If you have made it this far down the article, I congratulate you for not being bored by my boring banter. But the whole purpose of writing all of this is for the following:
THE LANGUAGE OF WHISTLING
Fresher’s month truly began with the Fresher’s Fair – where we became officially overwhelmed with the number of student clubs available to join. So as I write by candlelight, I’m reminded of how insignificant I am compared to the greatness of our God.
I am almost always recognised as the bubbly/overly enthusiastic girl who is constantly care-free and energetic. But behind all of that – I’m just as anxious to fit in as everyone else. There is nothing worse than feeling alone in a new city. Don’t get me wrong, I get along really well with all my new friends – however, I still feel like I’m in a stage of finding my own footing amongst all the talent amongst just the 400+ students in my course, and the many more outside of my course.
Tonight, I came back from Fellowship at HTB to find out that I had failed to join a female acapella group on campus. Even though it’s not that big of a deal, it seemed to be the tipping point for me just to push me over the edge I didn’t even know I was standing close to. I just suddenly felt like I would never get used to all of this university life.
I feel lost in the enormity of the lecture theatre.
I feel lost in the wide range of sport activities that all have clashing try-out times.
I feel lost in the various opportunities to serve the community.
But as He always does, God came through.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
From OurDailyBread, I read that some farmers used to learn how to whistle in a way that their sheep would identify and follow. As weak and soft-sounding a whistle may be, it is the one thing that made sure that the sheep did not get lost.
Similarly, we are the sheep that is surrounded by many distracting voices of the world. But even amongst all the other voices of earth, God has a special way of signalling to us – leading me away from danger, and allowing me to follow on the best path He has chosen for me. Through these ‘signals’ he reminds us that he is always protecting, guiding and reassuring us of his presence.
“Father, it is a noisy world.
Thank you for always calling to us
Above the dine and ruckus that distracts us.
Help us to recognise Your voice and follow Your leading.”