On January 21st 2015, I woke up in a new bed in unfamiliar surroundings of the University of Nottingham’s Ningbo campus in China. Having travelled across the international date line from Calgary, the fifteen hour time difference was definitely playing with my mind. Cold and hungry, I headed out to walk around the campus and search for food. As it was 6am, I had to wait a little while before the canteens came to life.
Once I had managed to orient and feed myself… I headed back to my accommodation building to find an Australian girl trying to connect to the wifi in the lobby. (We didn’t have wifi in our rooms… bit of a typical first world problem these days!)
Little did I know that our small talk and introductions would turn into a friendship and to having an awesome travel buddy. Lisa and I parted ways in the ShiJiaZhuang (石家庄) Train Station after travelling and literally living out of each others pockets for three weeks.
Now, 1 year, 5 months, and 24 days later… on December 10th 2016 at a train station on the other side of the world in Nottingham… Lisa is on her way.
Of course, it never quite plays out like a movie scene does. Danny and I arrived in plenty of time to see her off the train… to manage to miss her and spend the next seven minutes ploughing up and down the station to find her. Only having a selfie sent in those few minutes as evidence that Lisa had arrived in the right place. Eventually, finally looking like a movie scene, we ran to each other.
(I’m such a romantic I know.)
We headed into town to show Lisa the centre of Nottingham. We were also on a quest to find cool Christmas jumpers as neither Lisa or I had ever owned one. Alas, three hours and three slightly exhausted people later, we still hadn’t been successful. Primark was sold out except for “you can jingle my bells” jumpers and it was surprising how so few shops were selling them! We didn’t want the pretty Christmas jumpers, we wanted the bold ones that look outrageously but perfectly festive.
So, it was time for tea.
And we did exactly that!
We went for afternoon tea at a place called The Larder in Hockley. The tea selection was a little odd but exotic. I chose a chamomile as they had no green tea, Danny went for Earl Grey and Lisa had Indian Spiced Chai. Although the service was a little slow, the tower of food arrived soon enough. We had four sandwiches each, a selection of cakes and some scones. Half way through tier two of the three towering before us… we felt stuffed! It was a good place with a “fancy” vibe and we had done something British, yay!
During our lunch, Danny’s housemate Bety had managed to successfully find the type of Christmas jumpers we were looking for in about ten minutes. They were in some of the cheaper clothes shops in Broadmarsh and had huge wonderful reindeers on them! We bought one each and decided to head back to the house for a few hours before a Revived Gospel Concert that evening which two housemates, Nichola and Connor, were participating in.
It was a University of Nottingham Gospel Choir that performed and was held at Lenton Methodist Church. My first impression was… it was a warm building! YAY. After a childhood of freezing village churches, I was happy to not be shivering in the second row.
Nichola performed a really great solo at the beginning and Connor was part of the band on bass the entire evening. I’m so glad we went because I miss those choir days and it was such a wonderful atmosphere.
With that, we headed home, and soon enough happily got into bed. Time for a lie in methinks.