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Finding Neverland Blog Archive

The UK Life - Induction Lectures

International Student Welcome

Wednesday was official welcome from our department of Science and Engineering, we gathered in a big room we were given presentations on the courses and the department, we also got our timetables and the course outlines as well, it was an hour long session then we were taken to the main hall where the dean gave us a lecture of about one hour, he personally asked me how I was liking England and if I was having any problems here, to be honest people here are really nice and friendly. I made one Chinese friend she was the only one in her course and wanted to change her course, I forgot to ask her name and after that could not find her anywhere among the same looking Chinese girls which was rather embarrassing. There was also another Libyan guy who turned out to be my class fellow, by the looks of it he was really nice as well, he asked me if I support Imran Khan, I told him yes I do, he told me then we can be friends as Imran Khan is the only person who is sincere to Pakistan, I somehow felt really proud and ashamed at the same time. After the events we had a buffet in which we were served variety of foods and that too halal, I was eating most of the dishes for the first time in my life but I was really hungry. One interesting thing that had happened was that whenever someone asked me what’s my name? I told them it’s Raafay, and they were like, oh itsRaafay, what a nice name. It happened with me almost three times, don’t know if I am dumb or they are stupid.

The UK Life - First proper University Day.

Teesside International Ambassador Scheme

On Tuesday I had a International Student Skills test, the Ambassador scheme was after that. I had lunch early and went to university; actually I was really looking forward to going to the university today as I had been doing nothing for the past few days. I went to the wrong room as expected but the good thing that happened was that Vishak was there, we were finally able to find the room where we had our test, the test started and though it was a little technical I thought I did well enough, they told us if we secured 80+ marks we won’t have to take an additional course, if less than it, we will have to take the skills course, I had made up my mind that I will take the course anyways. The result will be out next week let’s see what it is. After the test Vishak told me he likes a girl from my class and that I should go and talk to her, I refused initially but then had to go when he insisted. She looked like a Pakistani so I asked her in Urdu if she was from Pakistan, he replied me back in Italian that she was from Italy. I got a call from home so I attended it, but Vishak took me after that girl just to see where she lives, it was raining and it was really cold but I had to go with him just to act like a good friend but it was really awkward, I told him he should talk to her and don’t be afraid. We went to the ambassador scheme launching ceremony, the aim of this was to give us international student one person who would guide us through our starting days at uni and to settle in our lives in the new city. I signed up for the group of Emma as she had asked me to, in my group there were 10 people, I was the only one from Pakistan/USA, there were three Chinese girls and two guys, there was one Indian guy, two Libyan guys one of them was Waled, and one girl from Finland, Venessa who was extremely pretty. We sat in a group and had a chit chat, we were served with cupcakes and drinks, there was a session where we had to introduce ourselves to one another. I told them that I love Cricket and like watching Football and that I support Liverpool, Emma instantly said that her friend’s boyfriend’s ex girlfriend also supports Liverpool so we both can be really good friends. We all added each other on facebook and made a whatsapp group, the girl from Finland, Venessa turned out to be my roommate at the university. It was a really fun one hour or two and though I felt really alien and uncomfortable I liked it as well.

The UK Life - Non Ending Job Search

Acklam Road, Middlesbrough

Sunday was a free day for me, except for the movie event that was in the evening. It was overcast again and I woke up a little late and had breakfast, my aunt had cooked me enough food to last for a week by the looks of it. I had nothing to do so I went out again to look at some other places around, there was a park nearby, two actually so I told myself that I will won’t be having any excuses for not jogging. I remembered that I had asked someone for part time job  so thanks to the Google maps I started my journey, thankfully it was a straight road where I had to go and reached there in 30 minutes, It was a shop that were selling goods and they told me that my work will be to load and unload the goods when they come, and fill in the places of the things that are being sold, they also told me that I will have to work from 6AM in the morning to 2PM in the afternoon and that they will decide my pay after about 2 weeks, I really could not say yes to them as the timings didn't really match my university, by the time I came back It was too late to go to the movie and my legs were hurting but just with the thoughts of gelling in the with the people I went to the university, but guess what happened? I could not find the place where the movie was being shown so I had to come back again, it was late by now so I got in to the bed and slept early again.

On the Monday morning I really didn't know if there was any event planned for today or not but still I took a bath in such a cold weather and went to the university, they told me there was no event for today and that I will have a test for Study skills tomorrow and that our department orientation will start from Wednesday. I was kinda annoyed that I had to wake up early morning for nothing but I was happy that I had a free day for myself again. The owner of the place took me with him to show me the city, we also had to buy a microwave, I had paid them the rent and the advance because I really wanted to get settled at one place now. I finally got internet now so most of my day was spend replying people and checking my emails and replying them so there was nothing much to do and time flew quickly. The guy from the work called me and asked me I should tell him if I want to work or they could hire someone else and that I am wasting their time I told them to do what they think is better as I can’t commit as I don’t even know my timetable yet. 

The UK Life - Orientation and Kitkat.

London South Bank University

It must be about 8 AM when I woke up, the orientation ceremony for the international students was at 9AM so I had to rush quickly, took a bath and got ready for the university. As much as I act strong, that walk from the apartment to the university was a nervous one. The ceremony was at the Student Union’s building and my word what a beautiful building it was, I was among the first people who reached there, we were given a file with so many documents and pages which had all sorts of information about the university and stuff, had to sign the attendance sheet and then sat on a table. One guy came and sat with me, his name was Vishak and he was from Mauritius, we talked for a little bit, he was the son of some minister back in his country. We were taken to the other building where we were given introductory lectures about the university and the city itself, some safety issues and what we were supposed to do in the first few weeks. After that we were taken back to the student union where we had to get registered with a doctor, police, get an appointment from a bank for a bank account, and there were all sorts of other stalls there too, I took an appointment with Barclays Bank though, thankfully I didn’t have to get registered with the police and didn’t have to have a TB test, but I got registered with a doctor instantly. I wandered in the building for about 30 minutes just looking around, then a girl came and sat with me asked me if I have registered for the International Ambassador Scheme, she asked me to sign up in her group as only lucky people will be in her group, haha. Well I told her IF I register, I will sign up with her. There were different tickets being sold for different events but I didn’t feel like buying any ticket what so ever. We were served with lunch, I was really confused as I didn’t know if there was halal food or not, they asked us if we wanted to have the egg burger lunch box or tuna burger lunch box and I preferred the  egg burger one, guess what? It had a kitkat so for the first time in my life I was able to taste Kitkat. Vishak wanted to go back home so we left the building, it was raining outside and the weather was absolutely beautiful. I came back and went out for a walk just to get to know the place and enjoyed a lot. There were many halal shops around.

The UK Life - Bad beginning?


Bus arrived at the station around 5 PM , I knew the tough phase of life is about to begin, and guess what? It took only two minutes for it to begin.

My bag must be around 40kg heavy, what happened was the worst and the wheels of the bag were displaced and I had to drag the bag on the road, not even knowing where to go. I started walking on the one side of the road keeping track of the location via Google maps and after 10 minutes I circled around and came back to the exact same position from where I had started walking. Not knowing what to do, I tried calling the person where I was gonna live but he didn't pick up my calls, after a walk of about  5 minutes with the bag again (which was making way too much noise and everyone was noticing me) finally I saw a taxi and took a sigh of relief. My apartment was only 2 minutes away from the bus station and the taxi driver charged me 5 pounds. I reached the apartment, the bag was too heavy for me to lift but I just had to lift it over almost 50 stairs, then met with the owner who was running his own shop under the apartment and came back to sleep as I was really tired.

The UK Life - New Beginning within new Beginning.

Leeds, UK

Dear Diary! A new chapter in my life is about to begin. London has been wonderful but now I life is gonna get tough. University is about to start, I am on my way to the University right now in the bus, thankfully the accommodation has been arranged, it is not the best place to live but it is cheap, for now I plan to live in a place and in a way that I have to spend less. Money really does matter here.

My aunt did her best to make me feel at home, cooking all the foods from fast to desi to snacks to stuff I can make myself. From teaching me how to cook to telling me how to do things around here she has been of a lot of help. Isn't that rich yes but she didn't even let me spend a single pence during my week long stay with her.

I am also looking for part time jobs here, am in touch with a couple of people about it lets see what happens here, one thing I know is that once I start earning a little life will get a little easier. My aim is not to ask my parents for any help, and hopefully it will be this way.

I am really nervous, been a while I studied properly, for all the problems in my life studies had to take a back seat but now it all starts again, I am the nervous type yes and I will stay this way until everything gets settled. Once I attend he orientation session I am sure things will get a little clear, hopefully my timetable won’t be that tough and there won’t be any long tiring days. Another thing I am really looking forward is to find some Pakistani people around and be friends with them.

For all what people said and told me about London, I am in love with it. There is no doubt about it, London for me is the best city in the world. Not only is it different from any other city in the world, it is really different from the rest of England itself.

I have been to many places, but nothing has touched my heart the way London has. The people are just so nice I really can’t believe it. The buildings, the markets, the way everyone behaves, the manners, the places to visit, the streets worth walking along is just mesmerizing.

Hopefully things will work out soon and I will have an enjoyable time here, looking forward to learning new things and observing and knowing more people.

Goodbye for now.

The UK Life - Defining London

Life in London

Confession: I am in Love with London.

London can be described with so many things; it is a city with busy life and busy people. You will see people walking on the roads, footpaths, in the buses and trains either using cellphone or reading newspapers. They are all busy, yes but very polite and ever ready to help you. Life is same as we have been told, earphones plugged, fast food in one hand and cellphone in the other or a shopping bag or school bag with them. Most of the people prefer to walk, the buses and the trains are readily available. Buses are the cheapest mode of travel while trains and taxis are costly. London is all fashion, everything you wear and everything you buy, everything you do is fashion. You will see people in shorts to trousers, tops to t shirts, jeans to dress pants everything. Must say there is a huge difference in the people of UK and USA or Pakistan. So polite, they use the word sorry and thanks a lot, always have a smile on their face. Like the other day I was in the bus and a girl outside was walking, I was looking at her unintentionally and all she did was pass a smile, had it been Pakistan I would have been called names, had it been USA I would have been regarded as a fresher. Best thing I find about these people is that they care about each other a lot, esp their kids. It isn't like we used to hear that kids and parents don’t worry about each other, they do and perhaps more than we people do. Safe to say the worst people here are the rich* Pakistanis, who are so full of themselves as if they are from another planet. 

The UK Life - Finding Accommodation

Victoria Bus Station

A really cold day, overcast weather and we had to go out at around 7 am to catch the bus. But before that we had to take a District line train to Victoria station, we had two bags with us so it was a really long and tiring walk and train trip. The bus was on time and there was no ticket, all we had to do was to show the text message we received while booking. The motor way blocked and the bus driver was unaware of that so we were stuck in traffic and it turned out to be one horrible journey, we reached the destination two hours late in the evening. Thankfully the Bed and Breakfast we had booked was of a Pakistani who came to pick us up, he showed us the room which was by no means worth living and he was really embarrassed about it, so he made up to us by taking us to the places we had to visit. We saw the room which was okayish, and for the time being we will be livng there just outside the city but near the university, that’s the only plus and the minus point at the same time. We came back and slept early as we had to travel again tomorrow.

In hope that the roads will be opened and the bus will arrive on time we went back to my room to leave all the luggage we had brought with us, we had no clue of the surroundings so Google maps helped us a lot, you know what gprs was working without internet, strange but true eh! It helped to a limit only and we were lost soon, we asked a guy to tell us where the terminal was and not only did he guide us, he walked with us all the way to the terminal, confirmed from the authorities and then came back and told us this is the exact bus terminal we are looking for! It was so nice, people are really helpful here. We reached the bus terminal one our early but our bus was not showing in the schedule, we sat and sat at the terminal there was no one to get any kind information, our bus came two hours late, again. It was one tiring long journey back to the train station, from the train station to home. We had barbecue for dinner, and you do know it is my favorite so my mood was a little better.  My cellphone was finally working a little so I was able to use the internet for sometime on the terminal. I slept early as I was really tired.