Hello again. I hope you’re doing well. Apart from being a bit sleep deprived I’m doing alright. But let’s just continue on. So, on the 7th of February, I handed in my first English assignment. We have one to do every other week, which might sound like a lot, but the bonus is that there’s no midterm or final (YAY!). After finishing this assignment, it’s on to reading The Great Gatsby for the 3rd time. If you didn’t already know, The Great Gatsby is one of my favourite books, plus I do enjoy the 2013 film too (which has quite the cool soundtrack).
The 8th of February was Rikako’s Birthday! Etsu planned a little surprise party/gathering for her. We were all asked to make/bring some food as a lot of people were invited to celebrate. I ended up making American Style pancakes, as that was pretty much all I could make with the very few ingredients, that were currently in the flat. I think they came out alright, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough batter to make that many pancakes.
Anyway, after arriving I got a chance to see the wide spread of food that everyone had made/brought. Once everyone had gathered it was time to get Rikako. We thought we’d do the typical thing of turning out the lights and surprising her with a cake and candles when she came in. We ended up waiting for her quite a while in the dark, we jokingly concluded that she must have been sleeping. The candles were very short by the time she finally arrived! When she walked through the door, she was very happy and I think surprised, she couldn’t stop laughing anyway.
(Video footage provided by Hugo)
The amount of food that ended up being collected was massive, I was spoiled for choice! It was the best! After we’d finished eating, Rikako wanted us to all get to know each other, as there were some people I didn’t know and vice versa. But the catch was that we didn’t get to tell the others, Rikako did it on our behalf, which was all very thoughtful of her. Then each of us took turns to say something nice and special about Rikako. The whole thing created such a friendly and nice environment, something I don’t think happens enough these days.
We then played some rounds of ‘werewolf’ and Morgan showed us this weird hand clap/slapping game that I forgot the name of. But all in all, it was a really nice and happy evening! What also made that evening so special was that we found out that it was going to snow a lot tomorrow, and that all classes would be cancelled!
So, on the 9th and 10th of February, there was SO much snow! It was ridiculous how much snow there was. Walking back from the library on the 10th was so special. The white sheet of snow all around me was like something I’ve never seen before. Needless to say, I certainly enjoyed the heavy snowfall for various reasons!
Then on Saturday the 11th, things got better. Hugo made Cheesecake! It was glorious! Cheesecake is probably my favourite food, so I was thrilled when he told us he’d made one. I’m still waiting for the day when Hugo makes something bad, but I don’t think that day will ever come! Sunday saw even more snowfall of a ridiculous amount. We’d agreed to go out and have lunch at a Chinese restaurant the day before (when we were eating cheesecake). But we certainly didn’t anticipate this massive sudden snowfall. Me and Hugo almost missed the bus going down Washington Ave. We weren’t sure if Rikako was coming and the shuttle bus wasn’t running due to the amount of snow. Poor Rikako was sick so she couldn’t come with us, then me and Hugo had to run in the falling snow from Freedom Apartments to Collins Circle. It felt like we were running in a blizzard!
We met Etsu and Seohyeon at the bus stop and then Caitlin near the restaurant. We then had to walk through more heavy snowfall and deep snow that was on the ground. After we finally made it (with our hair covered in snow!), it was time to eat! I ordered a sweet and sour pork dish. We picked our own dish, but all shared with each other. Etsu ordered a dish with eggplants in it, and after trying some, I now know I like eggplant! I also ordered a passionfruit smoothie not knowing that it would be a slushie, so very cold! I was so full after that meal and very glad for it.
We then went to the Asian market nearby. It was a place like I’ve never seen before! There were so many fish filled to the brim in smallish tanks, it didn’t look very hygienic and it smelled a bit too…
Nonetheless, the snow plus Chinese food was a good combination and I really enjoyed dredging through the snow.
Next day on the 13th, it was Grammy’s night and we went over to Hugo’s place to watch it. It’s always nice to have these little gatherings. This year’s Grammy’s were quite interesting, for various reasons. From Beyoncé’s chair tilt backwards, the lead singer of Metallica’s mic not working when performing with Lady Gaga, Adele’s dramatic re-start to her George Michael tribute, the writer of Hello being cut off, to that other dramatic Adele moment when, in her acceptance speech for album of the year, she said that Beyoncé was the real winner to her! Crazy stuff!
There was still a ton of snow outside and when going back to our respective flats; we stopped to take it all in. After I knocked down an icicle with a snowball and held it up, Etsu and Rikako thought I looked like Harry Potter! (What!?)
The 14th of February was Valentine’s day, and while this holiday would usually mean nothing to me, it was different this year (you’ll see what I mean shortly). Also today, Hugo cooked some mango chicken with rice (fun fact: the mango used was from the Asian market!). It was delicious! After food, Etsu, Rikako and Seohyeon disappeared into Etsu’s room. When they came back they had 3 Valentine’s day sweet packets for me, Hugo and Caitlin, for what I’m now calling ‘Friendintines day’! It was a really sweet and thoughtful gesture. The 3 of them had each written a little message on the note attached to our sweet packet. It was so nice of them and made me feel very special and thought of. Etsu and Rikako told us that this sort of this was very popular in Japan, and I think this should be done more widespread in other countries too. That way everybody feels special on Valentine’s day.
In our little packet was 2 strawberry’s, one covered in white chocolate and the other covered in mochi, called ‘Strawberry Daifuku’. So, this was most certainly a Valentine’s day to remember. (Side Note) At this point, I’d had enough once again of living in dirty surroundings, i.e. my flat! So I decided to do something about it. Clean up operation ‘Steffan’s had enough’ commences next!
So, on the 15th of February, I decided to get a start on cleaning. First thing to do was to clean up the mini mountain of stuff that collected in both kitchen sinks. Everything was going well, until I got near then end, when I thought I was going to vomit! This was due to an unsuspecting water bottle that I opened to clean. Once I opened the lid and started washing it out, my nose was suddenly struck by one of the worst smells I’ve ever smelt in my entire life!
I literally dropped the bottle as fast as I could and ran into the bathroom to get away from that putrid stench! I believe the smell was due to left over protein powder festering over time and turning into a stink bomb. I left the cleaning for that day after needing to recover from that traumatic experience!
The next 2 days consisted of more cleaning up, but me best efforts unfortunately didn’t last long and were undone in no time at all. Sometimes it feels like I’m living with a bunch of pigs…
Anyway, on Saturday the 18th, we had a little movie night at Hugo’s place. We watched War Dogs, a film not about a bunch of dogs fighting each other. Instead it was about 2 guys selling weapons and other combative stuff to the military, and making a lot of money from it. It’s based on a true story too. Rikako brought with her this really cool pumpkin pie Baileys drink, that I think I may have liked a little too much; but let’s just keep that to ourselves shall we?
I’m just going to brush past the 19th of February as I don’t really have anything to say for that day. But on Monday the 20th, there was a nice surprise in the evening. Seohyeon had made a cake! I was there in no time, you don’t need to tell me twice when there’s cake! It was very good and very much needed!
I also think that at this point in the semester I hit a mini wall. I was feeling very tired these days, as my roommate insisted on staying up really late. Ultimately making me unable to sleep and stay up really late too! Plus, for some reason I was suddenly really missing being at Swansea. I guess it also didn’t help that midterms were looming in the distance.
I think I’ll leave it here for now. Not too bad this time, only a little over a week since the last blog post. It’s strange to think that I’ve only got around 45 days left of being a student at UAlbany, time does certainly fly! Until next time…