My honeymoon in the land of fish and chips
Since my movement is very limited now and my world is only confined within my house and the vicinity of my zen garden. My “uzlah” has given me ample time to muse over my yesteryears, especially during my jihad in the far land – the land of football and weather forecast is a popular chat line.
I spent several years in this small city, in the northern part of the UK, The city of Durham, Land of the Geordie and big castles. A small city off the M1, used to be a coal mining territory not so long ago. We can still smell the strong and hard stench of coal fuming out from the chimneys if we stray a bit further into the many remote and scenic villages scattered along the valley.
Whether I was too smart or it was just a pure luck, I actually got several calling from the Alma maters over there and across the continent. I didn’t fancy to go to the cheese and tulip land simply because cheese is not my staple food and i was too worried that the Dutch soil will be submerged under the water in no time. Even though Durham was not in my dictionary at that time and I have to search the globe for it (mr google was not invented yet that time), it became my playing ground for four splendid years later on. And other Alma maters have really turned me off as the name of my supervisors-to-be didn’t sound much like a British at all. No point going over there, spending 12 hours in a plane and what you got was merely immigrants who have just got his/her permanent resident status. Vepeenikee or Veyenthomou…what the heck. I think “karipap” sounds much better than that. hiiiii..hiiiii (with a devilish smile).
So I chosed Durham not because her university is the third oldest university after Oxford and Cambridge, but obviously because Prof. Nick Harris sound very much close to the fish and chip and he did mentioned earlier that his favourite movie were “Mind your language” and “The Benny Hill show”. A true Englishman. Such a nice mentor and a good friend at the same time. He was very accommodating and I felt very honored to have that golden opportunity, spending many hours in laboratories which resembled much like a dark dungeon, trying to figure out why the cells in the plants didn’t evolved into a human limb. We almost had a breakthrough if not for my sponsor sending a warning letter to cut my scholarship for having my honeymoon too long over there. Hey..how come I didn’t have any photo of him. Bugger!
One thing I noticed over the years was how nice the locals treated us as a foreigner and at the same time respecting the difference in our belief. We made many friends along the way and whenever we did something or buy something “thank you love” or “thank you dear” is just a norm with a big and sincere smile in their faces. People will give ways to the elderly and parents with small children. This is something that I missed in our own society, so much so for a “masyarakat bersopan santun dan berbudi bahasa“. And in that far land, Zebra crossing is not for a zebra to cross you big head!- for crying out loud.
p/s: this observation was however only apply in places where local (read = British) is the majority. And I hate big cities for that very obvious reason, London included. It sucks!