10 of 100 Happy Days: Remembering UEA

It’s been about six months since I graduated. I can’t believe it myself. When I got an alumni invitation for the launch of the university’s regional office in KL, I was a little hesitant at first. But I’m glad I went in the end.

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Apparently there are 760 Malaysian alumni recorded. Didn’t think there would be so many. Many seemed shocked to learn that I’m from the latest batch, especially since only one other 2013 graduate attended it.

It was a good evening overall. Met a bunch of lovely former graduates. Got some UEA goodies including a Keep Cup which I never got around to purchasing while I was there. And had a flood of fond memories sweep me away to Norwich again.

There are so many people I miss today.

Even got a very, very small video shout out from one of the current Malaysian society committee member. Aww shucks.

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Train to unchanging lands. Maybe.

It was unusually busy at the train station today. Took a while for the queues to move but at least I am on my way.

This week I started my internship at SAGE. It’s very different from the other ones I undertook, primarily because it has a large London headquarters, with rows of cubicles spanning two floors, atmospheric with computer keyboard monotones that tap, tap, tap away. Sometimes I pretend they are the chirps of electronic birds in a jungle.

I have also been tasked with assignments that I have not done before, such as looking for potential book reviewers and helping to prepare reports. I daresay, with a heave of relief, that the people I have encountered during my internship (and indeed, internships) have been very friendly and helpful. Something I am incredibly pleased has not changed.

This weekend is UEA’s 50th anniversary celebration (it started the same year as Doctor Who first aired; what a coincidence). It will be the first time since I left for London that I would be back there. It makes me feel warm inside just knowing that a lot of people will be there as if no one left. And it makes me feel nervous too.

I don’t know why I should feel nervous. Maybe because it’s nice to think that Norwich will be unchanging, wrapped in memories of good times. Going back will only help determine whether it has. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Everything changes. And people did leave. But I will rock myself back and forth while this train snakes down the tracks from London Liverpool Street and whisks me away to that idyllic place.

Gone is the grey city and smog. Green pastures and cobblestone and concrete walls await.

What lies after graduation

17 July 2013 was the day I graduated from the University of East Anglia. It was exciting, nerve-wrecking, bittersweet and incredibly hot being in those robes, but I was glad to have my family around and friends about as hats flew into the air. It’s one of those classic moments where you either go, ‘Aha! Now everything’s going to change!’ or ‘Oh no! Now everything’s going to change!’

It’s really odd looking back: first time abroad on my own, moving an over sized suitcase from a quiet airport to UEA, then realising I had to drag it all the way to the accommodation on the edge of campus. It was raining as well. Very atmospheric.

The past three years in Norwich and UEA since then have been amazing, to say the least. There was a little touch of blue sometime in between first and second year; overall though, there are many memories I would not trade for the world. Finding more and more lovely people as the years go by, being part of Concrete, running the Malaysian Society, writing hilarious poetry for a class, having Gothic seminars at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, listening to Of Monsters and Men in a corridor at the Union House, spending Christmas with wonderful families, reading at an open-mic, singing on stage, corridor conversations… let me stop there before the images blur into one another.

The people I have met, the new things I have experienced, the things I have learnt about myself – I suppose all these led me to what I have, in a fantastic leap, decided to do.

I have uprooted myself from Norwich (ironically, following the end of a house contract, I was living in the same campus accommodation as I did in first year) and moved into the large, bustling city that is London. You might like to know that the weather was perfect when I left today. I am job-hunting. It’ll be difficult but I’m staying optimistic.

As luck would have it I also managed to secure a work experience and internship with two publishing companies in London. That is 10 weeks of my life sorted.

Had it not been for these three years, I don’t think I would have been brave enough to take this step. But there you have it. My journey is still continuing and my best days are ahead of me.

An entire novel on a wall

On Thursday I went into town to look for a building that I’ve only heard about and seen pictures of. I am delighted to say that I have found this little known gem in Norwich: the building with an entire novel written on it. Yes, you read me. One whole novel. Planned and arranged such that it would fit perfectly on the walls and windows.

What I didn’t expect was for it to be located in a car park. One that I must have passed by many times and never really noticed.

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In 2006, local artist Rory Macbeth painted every word in Sir Thomas More’s Utopia onto this building supposedly about to be demolished. Obviously that changed.

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I suppose it’s only impressive if you have no problem with graffiti and if you consider how much time it took to complete this feat.

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This is on Westwick Street if you want to take a look.