Leeds – MUN & Couchsurfing

Last Friday I was off to Leeds for a weekend getaway from the “busy” school life in Sheffield. Yet I probably had a more hectic weekend than any one of those here, because the getaway included a 3D2N Model United Nations event. What’s more, I couchsurfed with a Taiwanese girl (and her flatmates) for the 2 nights, so it was absolutely the most overwhelming weekend getaway. (Basically, I didn’t get away from anything. I got myself involved in even more things.)

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Train entering Leeds Station, 20 Feb 2015 4pm

The MUN was full of surprises. First, there was a HK girl in my committee who happened to had participated in another MUN I went to 3 years ago in Hong Kong. I was a bit shocked at first because I didn’t expect to meet any familiar face in this event, so I hesitated to ask. At the end she asked if I am also from Hong Kong, so I (kind of) confessed. Turns out she is now reading Law at Nottingham, so she has been keen to participate in MUNs that take place in the country.

I also met the 3rd Luxembourgian person in my life. I know the previous sentence might just sound complete nonsense and weird and rude, but there are reasons I want to mention him. Other than the fact that he was a brilliant MUN delegate (whose wit and erudition enlightened everyone during the committee sessions), he is also a gentle and fun guy to spend time with. It is not that I fancy him, but I have been impressed (though in various ways) by every Luxembourgian person I met. And so I am grateful I was able to meet and know him. I try to treasure every friendship, but now I especially look forward to meeting more people from this small but amazing country. As a languages and cultures student, I get this feeling quite often, although I don’t know if any others will feel the same, but I am always fascinated to feel fascinated about a particular culture. It may be because I find similarities between mine and other’s culture, it may be because I find something extraordinarily admirable from other’s culture, it may be of other reasons. But the fact that I am becoming more able to understand a foreign culture simply makes me happy, because I know I am making progress in being a real “global citizen”.

Anyways, the MUN was definitely an eye-opening experience, and I am sure I will be joining more and more MUNs until I graduate from university. The other thing I want to talk about, which you might be able to realize from the title of this blog, is my 2nd couchsurfing experience.

I was extremely lucky to be able to find a host because I sent the request only 4 days beforehand. Furthermore, she studies at Leeds University, where the MUN was held, so I was able to save some time and money finding how to and commuting from where I would stay to where the meetings would be.

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Where I stayed 🙂

I was even more lucky to be able to stay with MY host, because she is such a professional host with superb hospitality, such a sweet person with an always optimistic mind, and such a good cook who insists on quality in everything she makes. I could never say enough good things about her!! During my time at her place, I also met 2 of her flatmates. One of them offered to do my moustache and eyebrows with her threading technique; the other one offered to teach me how!

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Breakfast is a luxury to me ever since I have entered university. This is manually prepared by my host…

Threading was an “ancient” technique in Chinese culture which is now lost. I have only read about it from my Chinese Language textbook when I was 13. Probably 50 years ago I would be able to find a threading service provider in my city, but now it has really became history in Hong Kong. For so long women tried different ways to remove their hair and we have entered the age of tweezers, waxing strips and hair removal creams. Yet threading is such a cultural heritage and being able to do it will certainly be a talent, for mastering it will require so much effort and practice. It was absolutely astonishing I discovered this lost treasure in the UK, letting alone that it was because of couchsurfing.

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Me being “threadened”

Despite that I have only spent 3 days and 2 nights at Leeds this time, she treat me well and I am thankful. Leeds is colder than Sheffield, the wind is stronger and the rain is heavier. However, wandering in the University Campus where buildings of Gothic revival, art deco, brutalist and postmodern styles sit, was a calming and relaxing experience.

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Parkinson Building, Leeds University 22 Feb 2015 12nn
Sorry grumpy men. Yes I am a tourist. I am a foreigner. So I can take photos whenever I want to. JK.

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